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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 December, 2010

Global cooling is on the way!

Bob Foster []

A millennium ago, a sage opined “He who foretells the future, lies – even when he tells the truth”. However, with 6 billion mouths to feed, our policy-makers live in vastly different times. Now, they must address the future; and surely, they need guidance from the Geological Society of Australia – because lives depend on getting it right.

Sadly, the recent “Publicity and Media” report (The Australian Geologist of 9/2010, p.5) reveals an opportunity lost. A list of six “attention-grabbing headlines” generated by the Australian Earth Sciences Convention (AESC) lacks the crucial “Global cooling ahead!”

The 300-year warming from ‘quiet Sun’ of the Maunder Minimum to ‘hyperactive Sun’ of the Modern Grand Maximum is over. Strong solar cycles are punctual – averaging only 362 spotless days between cycles during the MGM. In 2004, NASA predicted Solar Cycle 24 would begin in early 2006, peak in 2010, and be extra strong.

I promise I am not making this up: there are now an amazing 813 days without sunspots since 2004, when Cycle 23 began to weaken - including 7-10 October 2010. Late cycles are weak; and indeed, Cycle 24 is very late. Embarrassing for NASA, I know; but will it now tell the world’s policy-makers? A big test for Dr James Hansen!

What lies ahead? As our sage so sagely said, no-one can foretell the future; but every new spot-free day makes it more likely that Earth is entering the Landscheidt Minimum – predicted at its coldest by 2030. In its Little Ice Age look-alike (the fearsome Maunder, 1645-1715) a third the population of Europe died. Planners ready?

Puzzlingly, the AESC list also reveals an opportunity misspent – “Sea levels to rise at double expected rate”. But first, I need to tell you that when Dr Rajendra Pachauri (then head of Tata Energy Research Institute, and now also head of IPCC) was President of the International Association for Energy Economics, I was among his flock.

The Report of November 2009 “The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay” is by Kathleen L. McInnes, Julian O’Grady and Ian Macadam of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. It asserts a dramatic acceleration of sea level rise, totalling a massive 0.82 metres by 2100 - based on the “IPCC 2007 A1FI scenario”.

Unchanged from 2001, “A1” is IPCC’s high-end A1 Marker scenario for projected global economic growth. “FI” is IPCC’s most-fuel-intensive story-line for calculating global CO2 emissions - which IPCC says are the primary cause of people-driven change to a stable and benign pre-industrial climate. (A warmer climate would mean an increasing rate of sea level rise.)

In IPCC’s base-year of 1990, South Africa’s consumption of commercially-traded primary energy (in million tonnes oil-equivalent) was 90.5 MTOE – similar to the 89.0 MTOE in Australia. But a phenomenal 77% of South African primary energy was coal (because of oil-from-coal at SASOL); while in Australia, coal’s share was an unexceptional 44%.

Obviously, South Africa used a very atypical proportion of coal. In 1990, per-capita GDP in South Africa was 2.8 (all GDP numbers are 1990 US$ thousands) compared to 17 for lucky Australia. But by 2100 – according to IPCC’s A1 Marker scenario – fortunes change. South Africa will be blessed to enjoy a GDP of 470, compared to 61 in pathetic Australia. Thus, IPCC’s beneficent projections for South Africa have it going from a per-capita GDP of only x0.16 that of Australia in 1990, to a whopping x7.7 that of ours in 2100.

Put another way, South Africa’s projected real-terms per-capita GDP growth of x168 is vastly better than the utterly pedestrian growth of x3.6 projected for Australia. Might we expect Australian economic refugees sailing to South Africa by 2100?

Surely, this question must be asked – and answered – before CSIRO’s sea-level work can be taken seriously. Why did Australia’s premier scientific body embrace IPCC’s nonsensical – and self-serving - economic projections? Could it be that CSIRO put advocacy above science?


A further six days (18-22 December 2010) show no sunspots visible on the solar disc – there are now an amazing 819 spot-free days in the Cycle 23/24 interregnum. No-one can foretell the future, of course. But the longer it takes Cycle 24 to fully-develop the weaker it will be; and the more likely it becomes that Earth is entering the next - and long-predicted - Little Ice Age cold period. Will it be an in inconvenient Dalton (1800-20), or a killing Maunder, look-alike?

From: The Australian Geologist, Newsletter 157 December 2010, pp. 7, 8

This winter set to be Britain's coldest in 300 YEARS

If you thought last week was as cold as you could bear it, brace yourself. Forecasters say the worst is yet to come, and this winter could be the harshest since the Thames froze over more than three centuries ago. Temperatures for December are the coldest on record, with the average reading close to minus 1c – almost six degrees below normal.

And with forecasters warning that this winter’s ‘mini ice age’ might last until mid-March, this winter could be the worst since 1683-84 when a fair was held on the Thames.

Met Office figures show that the average temperature from December 1, the first day of winter, to December 28 was a bitter minus 0.8c (30.5f). This equals the record December low of 1890.

But, with the mercury traditionally at its lowest in January and February, and more bracing weather on the way, this winter could bring the biggest freeze in 327 years.

Forecaster Brian Gaze of The Weather Outlook said: ‘It’s very unusual to have a sub-zero month - the last one at any time of year was February 1986. ‘January and February are expected to be significantly colder than average, with further snow for most of the country, and it will be no surprise at all if this persists until mid-March. Net weather forecaster Ian Michael Waite said: ‘We expect January to be colder than average – there’s no way we’re moving out of this mini ice age any time soon.’

During 1683-84, the coldest winter on record, average temperatures of minus 1.17c (31.7f) between December and February saw the frozen Thames turn into a winter wonderland of puppet shows, food stalls, horse races and ice bowling.

John Evelyn, a contemporary of Samuel Pepys wrote of the frost fair: ‘Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.’

The figures come from the Central England Temperature record, which contains data for an area enclosed by London, Bristol and Manchester from 1659 to the present day.

Met Office spokesman Dave Britton said: ‘What has been quite unprecedented has been the prolonged nature of the cold. ‘We have had some colder spells in December but what has been quite noticeable about this one is quite how prolonged it was and the amount of snow we had.’

With milder weather forecast for the next few days, we still have some way to go to beat the coldest month on record. In January 1795, temperatures averaged just minus 3.1c (26.4f).


No Correlation Between Arctic Ice And Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent

(From here)

There has been amazing amounts of noise from the climate science community claiming that the extensive snow cover this year is due to a lack of Arctic ice. But as you can see in the graph above, there is no correlation between Arctic ice extent and snow cover. Some years have more snow, some years have less snow. Arctic ice has nothing to do with it.

(From here)


New paper much less alarmist about 21st century

Physicist and Arctic research expert Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the US predicts that the temperature in 2100 will be 0.5C ~ 0.2C higher than today, rather than the 4.0C ~ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC.

Akasofu is an acknowledged climate change sceptic - although he prefers the term critic - and his prediction is based on an attempt to separate out the effects of naturally-driven warming from man-made greenhouse warming. Akasofu states that the warming trend recorded during the nineteenth and twentieth century may be a combination of a natural recovery from the so called Little Ice Age mixed in with greenhouse warming.

Akasofu's paper, "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age", has been published in Natural Science. During the Little Ice Age global temperatures are believed to have been around 1C lower than today. The Little Ice Age is thought to have begun around 1200 and to have ended in the period between 1800 and 1850. Since then, global temperatures have been recovering at a linear rate of around 0.5C per century with the effects of multi-decadal oscillations superposed, according to Akasofu.

Crucially, Akasofu believes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age is still ongoing and is in part responsible for recent warming. He suggests that the effects of multi-decadal oscillations have halted the current warming and were also responsible for a flattening in warming seen between 1940 and 1975.

As much as 0.5C of the 0.6C rise recorded in the last century may be due to the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age, according to Akasofu. He bases this on the fact that there has been an underlying linear warming since the early nineteenth century where as carbon dioxide levels only started to increase significantly from around 1946.

Understanding the relative contribution of man-made changes to global warming is important as it enables climate scientists to accurately assess the sensitivity of the climate to increases in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The accompanying diagram, from the paper, shows that the linear temperature trend between 1880 and 2000 is a continuation of the recovery from the Little Ice Age, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation. It also shows the predicted temperature rise by the IPCC after 2000. It has been suggested by the IPCC that the thick blue line portion was caused mostly by the greenhouse effect, so the future IPCC prediction is a sort of extension of the blue line, according to Akasofu. The diagram assumes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age continues to 2100, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation, which would suggest a further 0.5C warming. This view could explain the apparent halting of the warming after 2000 as a result of the impact of multi-decadal oscillations. The observed temperature in 2008 is shown by a red dot with a green arrow.

The implication is that over the next ten years or so there will be a significant and measurable divergence between the IPCC prediction and the the prediction generated by Akasoku's hypothesis of recovery from the Little Ice Age.

1) The Earth experienced the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1200-1400 and 1800-1850. The temperature during the LIA is expected to be 1C lower than the pre-sent temperature. The solar irradiance was relatively low during the LIA.

2) The gradual recovery from 1800-1850 was ap-proximately linear, the recovery (warming) rate was about 0.5øC/100 years. The same linear change contin-ued from 1800-1850 to 2000. In this period, the solar irradiance began to recover from its low value during the LIA.

3) The recovery from the LIA is still continuing today.

4) The multi-decadal oscillation is superposed on the linear change. The multi-decadal oscillation peaked in about 1940 and also in 2000, causing the temporal halting of the recovery from the LIA.

5) The negative trend after the peak in 1940 and 2000 overwhelmed the linear trend of the recovery, causing the cooling or halting of warming.

6)The view presented in this paper predicts the temperature increase in 2100 to be 0.5C ñ 0.2C, rather than 4C ñ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC

"On the recovery from the Little Ice Age" by Syun-Ichi Akasofu. Natural Science Vol.2, No.11, 1211-1224 (2010)


James Hansen 2008: Warm Winters “Clear Sign” of Global Warming

I won’t waste any time or space on a lead-up to this one, it speaks for itself:

"Hansen’s visit to London last week was partly inspired by the decision to approve construction of a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent.

This, Hansen wants to warn us, is a recipe for global warming disaster. The recent warm winters that Britain has experienced are a clear sign that the climate is changing, he says."

And the recent excruciatingly cold winters? No doubt they’re also a sign of global warming.


Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

A new year is around the corner, and some climate scientists and environmental activists say that means we're one step closer to a climate Armageddon. But are we really?

Predicting the weather -- especially a decade or more in advance -- is unbelievably challenging. What's the track record of those most worried about global warming? Decades ago, what did prominent scientists think the environment would be like in 2010? has compiled eight of the most egregiously mistaken predictions, and asked the predictors to reflect on what really happened.

1. Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event." Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

Ten years later, in December 2009, London was hit by the heaviest snowfall seen in 20 years. And just last week, a snowstorm forced Heathrow airport to shut down, stranding thousands of Christmas travelers.

A spokesman for the government-funded British Council, where Viner now works as the lead climate change expert, told that climate science had improved since the prediction was made. "Over the past decade, climate science has moved on considerably and there is now more understanding about the impact climate change will have on weather patterns in the coming years," British Council spokesman Mark Herbert said. "However, Dr Viner believes that his general predictions are still relevant."

Herbert also pointed to another prediction from Viner in the same article, in which Viner predicted that "heavy snow would return occasionally" and that it would "probably cause chaos in 20 years time." Other scientists said "a few years" was simply too short a time frame for kids to forget what snow was. "I'd say at some point, say 50 years from now, it might be right. If he said a few years, that was an unwise prediction," said Michael Oppenheimer, director of Princeton University's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy.

Of course, Oppenheimer himself is known for controversial global warming scenarios.

2. "[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers." Michael Oppenheimer, published in "Dead Heat," St. Martin's Press, 1990.

Oppenheimer told that he was trying to illustrate one possible outcome of failing to curb emissions, not making a specific prediction. He added that the gist of his story had in fact come true, even if the events had not occurred in the U.S.
"On the whole I would stand by these predictions -- not predictions, sorry, scenarios -- as having at least in a general way actually come true," he said. "There's been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that's in drought has increased over that period."

That may be in doubt, however. Data from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that precipitation -- rain and snow -- has increased slightly over the century.

3. "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000." Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1972.

Ice coverage has fallen, though as of last month, the Arctic Ocean had 3.82 million square miles of ice cover -- an area larger than the continental United States -- according to The National Snow and Ice Data Center.

4. "Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010." Associated Press, May 15, 1989.

Status of prediction: According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1989. And U.S. temperature has increased even less over the same period. The group that did the study, Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., said it could not comment in time for this story due to the holidays.

But Oppenheimer said that the difference between an increase of nearly one degree and an increase of two degrees was "definitely within the margin of error... I would think the scientists themselves would be happy with that prediction."

Many scientists, especially in the 1970s, made an error in the other direction by predicting global freezing:

5. "By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half." Life magazine, January 1970.
Life Magazine also noted that some people disagree, "but scientists have solid experimental and historical evidence to support each of the following predictions."

Air quality has actually improved since 1970. Studies find that sunlight reaching the Earth fell by somewhere between 3 and 5 percent over the period in question.

6. "If present trends continue, the world will be ... eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age." Kenneth E.F. Watt, in "Earth Day," 1970.

According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1970.

How could scientists have made such off-base claims? Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of "The Population Bomb" and president of Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology, told that ideas about climate science changed a great deal in the the '70s and '80s.

"Present trends didn't continue," Ehrlich said of Watt's prediction. "There was considerable debate in the climatological community in the '60s about whether there would be cooling or warming … Discoveries in the '70s and '80s showed that the warming was going to be the overwhelming force."

Ehrlich told that the consequences of future warming could be dire. The proverbial excrement is "a lot closer to the fan than it was in 1968," he said. "And every single colleague I have agrees with that."

He added, "Scientists don't live by the opinion of Rush Limbaugh and Palin and George W. They live by the support of their colleagues, and I've had full support of my colleagues continuously."

But Ehrlich admits that several of his own past environmental predictions have not come true:

7. "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

Ehrlich's prediction was taken seriously when he made it, and New Scientist magazine underscored his speech in an editorial titled "In Praise of Prophets."

"When you predict the future, you get things wrong," Ehrlich admitted, but "how wrong is another question. I would have lost if I had had taken the bet. However, if you look closely at England, what can I tell you? They're having all kinds of problems, just like everybody else."

8. "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." Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970

"Certainly the first part of that was very largely true -- only off in time," Ehrlich told "The second part is, well -- the fish haven't washed up, but there are very large dead zones around the world, and they frequently produce considerable stench."

"Again, not totally accurate, but I never claimed to predict the future with full accuracy," he said.



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30 December, 2010

The Warmists did NOT foresee the present cooling

Even if they now claim that it fits their theories

The UN's "Nobel Prize Winning" IPCC Report in 2007 predicted "warmer northern winters" for Europe.

As summarized in this UN Press Release of April, 2007, we should expect to see:

"the ongoing thawing of European glaciers and permafrost, the delayed winter freeze of rivers and lakes, the lengthening of growing seasons, the earlier spring arrival of migratory birds... In addition to warmer winters, Europe's northern regions will experience more precipitation and run-off.

The expansion of forests and agricultural productivity will be accompanied by greater flooding, coastal erosion, loss of species and melting of glaciers and permafrost."

A classic case of a "failed prediction." Theories making predictions that fail are called "refuted."

America's "Snowpocalypse"

More travel chaos expected in the US northeast after hundreds of flights were cancelled and the region dug out from what some are calling "Snowpocalypse".

The frustration for travellers remains after one of the biggest blizzards in years, which slammed much of the eastern seaboard from the Carolinas into Canada's Maritime provinces. Piles of snow as deep as 80cm were left by snowfalls and gales, creating more havoc for travellers, especially those flying.

Passengers are accusing airlines of poor customer service after thousands were unable to get through to reservation agents to reschedule or refund flights, and critics are incensed over what they say is the airlines' effort to blame everything on the weather and take themselves off the hook.

Airlines have since resumed limited service, but some 800 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, mostly in the New York area, which was spinning its wheels following the storm that roared up the coast on Sunday and Monday.

Officials expect it will take several days for New York and its all-important transport hubs to be fully back on track following the sixth heaviest snowfall in the city's history. "This storm is not like any other we've had to deal with," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, noting that emergency vehicles were among those stuck in the snow. "Until we can pull out the ambulances, pull out the fire trucks, pull out the buses, pull out the private cars, the plows just can't do anything," he said. "We still have a long way to go."

New York police have removed some 1000 vehicles from just three busily trafficked thoroughfares, a fraction of the stalled vehicles stranded on city roads. Snow plows and salt spreaders struggled in Manhattan, battling through knee-high snow in many streets.

The three major area airports - John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark International in New Jersey - reopened late on Monday, but the cancellations of more than 5000 flights meant a huge backlog and more delays.


Exasperation in Russia

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin rebuked officials Wednesday after bad weather brought air traffic in Moscow to a virtual standstill, telling them to forget about New Year's holidays and stop whining.

The tough-talking prime minister said all the officials in charge of transportation and relevant matters were banned from going on New Year's holidays until the situation got back to normal.

"Instead of proceeding with New Year's celebrations, everyone who is in charge of the situation should have been present on the job from the very beginning," Putin told a government meeting in televised remarks.

"There is no need to whine - everyone needs to work. Entire settlements remain without power, the situation is difficult on the roads and thousands of people are stranded in airports."

A bout of icy weather and freezing rain wreaked havoc in Moscow in recent days, disrupting the holiday plans of thousands of air travelers in Moscow.

Scuffles broke out Tuesday at Moscow's two main airports, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo, as exasperated passengers threatened to sue airlines including Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot - but officials said the situation was getting back to normal Wednesday as flights were beginning to take off in accordance with the schedule.

President Dmitry Medvedev earlier instructed his chief prosecutor to look into the matter.


Coldest Swedish December In 110 Years

Sweden’s English language The Local has the following headline today:

Coldest December in Sweden in 110 years

The last few days of the year look to be very cold throughout Sweden, according to a forecast by the Swedish meteorological agency SMHI.

"This means that several parts of Sweden, including the southern region Götaland and eastern Svealand, will have experienced the coldest December in at least 110 years.”

This reality of course flies in the face of what climate models had predicted earlier. The SMHI (Sweden’s Met Office and devout warmist organisation) keeps archives, and so I thought surely there must be something there that had earlier forecast warmer winters for Sweden. I didn’t have to look very long to find it.

First there’s this report dated 16 September 2010 here: New climate projections indicate more extreme weather. Here are just a couple of excerpts (Warning – you might first want to tie your butt to yourself to keep from laughing it off!):

"New climate projections for severe weather situations in 100 years also show that truly cold days will virtually disappear.”


"The new scenarios show the effects of global warming with more details than before, thanks to more computer power and high geographical resolution.”


"As a whole, the new ensembles are an important foundation for continued climate research. However, they can already be applied to many areas,’ says Grigory Nikulin.”

Does he mean like governments preparing for winters? And finally:

"Truly cold weather, such as -10°C in Spain or -30°C in southern Sweden, is unlikely to occur in future.”

How stupid must they feel now? The assertions made above likely stem in part from an SMHI-published report 2 years ago called: Temperature and precipitation changes in Sweden; a wide range of model-based projections for the 21st century.

The report analyzed the climate change signal for Sweden in scenarios for the 21st century in a large number of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs), used in the AR4 by the IPCC.

At the SMHI Rossby Centre, regional climate models were run under different emission scenarios and driven by a few AOGCMs. They used the results of the runs as a basis in climate change in Sweden. What did they find? (Crap, of course, but read it for yourself):

"Projected responses depend on season and geographical region. Largest signals are seen in winter and in northern Sweden, where the mean simulated temperature increase among the AOGCMs (and across the emissions scenarios B1, A1B and A2) is nearly 6°C by the end of the century, and precipitation increases by around 25%. In southern Sweden, corresponding values are around +4°C and +11%."

Okay, it’s still a long way to the end of the 21st century. But as Sweden’s 2010 December-of-the-century shows, the models and calculations seem to have forgotten a few important details. Back to the drawing board!

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Time for global warming lobby to admit they could be wrong, says meteorologist

Here’s something you’ll never hear from the Met Office. Joe Bastardi, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, has laid into the the global warming lobby for making absurd claims, especially their assertion that the cold weather is caused by global warming.

First he told Fox Business Network last week that: “These folks claiming that global warming is causing severe cold – that’s like the kid on the playground who doesn’t get his way and takes his ball home”. In fact, the cold weather “is predictable if you study cycles, if you study climatology… and don’t just say everything is global warming”.

And now he’s continued the offensive on his blog this week, writing that: "My advice is to get ready for more of this [cold weather] in coming decades. And the CO2 people should open their eyes to other sides of the argument, since in 30 years or so when we come out of the cooling cycle, there may be room for your argument being pressed forth… but first we have to watch and see if the naturalists like me (that is my new nickname… nature boy) have a point."

Ozone hole, Ice Age, Y2K, etc, etc, etc. Is it any wonder why this just looks like another in a string of missed ideas that cause needless worry? You know what is the most hideous thing about all this? The money, time and energy wasted on what may be nothing more than a fictional ghost that man has nothing to do with, while tangible societal problems that need attention are given the short end of the stick.

And it’s interesting to see that whether by magic, coincidence, or lord forbid, the actual ideas laid out here a few years ago as to why this [the cooling] is going to start happening again, WHO THE TRUE DENIERS ARE!

This is a big deal, because here we have one of the world’s biggest meteorological firms saying the global warming consensus is probably wrong. Of course, in the world of politics, no one is allowed to say this without being falsely demonised for “denying the science”. Yet the science is irrelevant to a theory that has always been little more than an excuse to expand the state. And that is why – in an increasingly cold climate – the true believers are upset.


EPA Green Priest Jackson: Regulation a ‘Moral Obligation’

People who say: "There is no such thing as right and wrong" are quick to use moral language when it suits them. It's been going on for a long time

From crèches on government property to Christian greetings in the workplace, Americans go to great lengths this religious season to separate Christmas from our public life. Not so the Obama administration and its campaign to tear down the wall separating the Green Church and the state.

In an extraordinary speech before The National Council of Churches in New Orleans this November, Environmental Protection Agency Chief Lisa Jackson — a committed Green and Christian — urged that the U.S. government and religious leaders unite in their “moral obligation” to heal the planet and “build on the religious and moral reasons for being good stewards of our environment.”

“The question now is, ‘What we can do?’” the High Priestess of Green concluded, adding that the effort was blessed by the White House’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership program.

On the Thursday before Christmas, she answered her own question, dictating a controversial cap on industrial emissions that will have profound negative consequences if enacted on jobs and economic growth in Michigan and the Midwest.

The EPA’s creche is in the public square, Mother Earth is in the manger, and Washington’s wise men are bringing gifts of taxpayer money.

“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans and contributes to climate change,” said Jackson on Dec. 23 in imposing global warming regulations on power plants and refineries.


CARB’s carbon capers

In a nearly unanimous vote, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) just approved a statewide cap-and-trade scheme to limit emissions of CO2 from six hundred major industrial plants, starting in 2012. Proposition 23 on the California ballot, defeated in November, was an attempt to at least delay the state’s Cap-and-Trade law, AB-32, until California’s record unemployment eased.

However, the slanted description appearing on both the official Voter Guide and the ballot, written by then-State Attorney General Jerry Brown and his office, the well-funded “No-on-23” campaign, and some very heavy media bias, had Californians believing that Prop. 23 would thwart efforts to curb air pollution—i.e., smog. So Prop 23 went down in flames, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and perhaps a million.

The “Cooler Heads” blog relates that the adopted regulation is more than three thousand pages long, but most of the details have yet to be worked out. CARB rushed to meet a December 31 deadline set by the 2006 legislation that authorizes CARB to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

In order to protect California businesses from out-of-state competition, CARB will (initially) allocate emissions credits (aka energy-rationing coupons) for free. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the only precedent for free allocation of carbon credits; it resulted in windfall profits for politically connected industries and higher electricity prices for consumers.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times approves of the scheme: “[AB32] will put the state far ahead of the rest of the country in energy reform.”

The regulations, if they go into effect, will create the largest market for carbon trading in the country. (Ten states including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the New England states are participating in a less extensive system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which covers only electric utilities.)

By the time the CARB program takes effect in 2012, California regulators plan to have created a framework for carbon trading with New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec—some of its partners in the Western Climate Initiative. But as long as Congress and the Obama administration shun cap and trade, California, instead of being the forerunner of a national movement, will remain part of a far-flung archipelago of states and provinces participating in a small carbon market.

Mary D. Nichols, CARB’s chairwoman, said, “We are well aware that we in California are on a different path from many other states in our willingness to be at the front” of the cap-and-trade movement. An idea of her mindset comes from a speech at the University of Rhode Island in November 2008, where she mentioned California’s efforts on climate change:
We know that the economic crisis we will face from unmitigated climate change could dwarf [sic] anything we have ever seen. That alone is a compelling enough reason to take swift action. But there’s another reason also, which is that developing a new clean energy economy that drives and rewards investment and innovation, creates jobs and serves as the engine for sustainable economic growth is exactly what we need at a time like this.

Transportation and utility industry representatives see Nichols’ push on climate-change regulation in California as evidence of an ingrained pro-regulatory bias.

I recollect Nichols as a former assistant EPA administrator in the Clinton years, under Carol Browner. In testimony to Congress in 2000, on phasing out the chemical fumigant methyl bromide (of great economic importance to agriculture but suspected of causing damage to the ozone layer), she claimed benefits of 32 trillion dollars! And no one questioned how she arrived at this wild number. A more reasonable value, I argued in my opposing testimony, would be zero benefits: There was no evidence of MeBr, with an atmospheric lifetime of only a few months, reaching the stratosphere; no evidence of a bromine-caused ozone depletion; and no evidence from ground-level monitoring stations of any increase in cancer-causing solar UV.

Among the industries immediately affected by the CARB rules will be producers of cement, which requires an industrial process in which the release of carbon dioxide is an integral part. Steve Regis, vice president of CalPortland, said in an interview, “We feel like we’re really exposed because 60 percent of our direct emissions are from the process—nothing we can do about them.” The re-engineering of that process, Regis said, would entail major costs, if it is even possible. He added that some California plants had recently shut down and moved their production out of state.

The midterm elections turned into a sweeping repudiation of the Democrats’ failed status quo—except, that is, in California, says Investor’s Business Daily. With the exception of the governor’s office, California has been a virtual one-party state since the 1960s. Now, thanks to decades of anti-business policies promulgated by a series of left-leaning legislatures, its economy and finances are a mess, and it is hemorrhaging jobs, businesses, and productive entrepreneurs to other states.

How bad has it gotten in the erstwhile Golden State? Consider:

* Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs, making for a 12.4-percent unemployment rate—one of the highest in the country.

* From 2001 to 2010, factory jobs plummeted from 1.87 million to 1.23 million—a loss of 34 percent of the state’s industrial base.

* With just 12 percent of the U.S. population, California has almost a third of the nation’s welfare recipients; meanwhile, 15.3 percent of all Californians live in poverty.

* The state budget gap for 2009–2010 was $45.5 billion, or 53 percent of total state spending—the largest in any state’s history.

* Unfunded pension liabilities for California’s state and public employees may be as much as $500 billion—roughly 17 percent of the nation’s total $3 trillion at the state and local level.

This disaster has been building for decades. In the end, only the voters of California could have changed things. But on Tuesday, November 2, they opted for more of the same governance. Empowering CARB regulation will only make conditions worse.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Warmism is contrary to physics

It relies on an ad hoc and unparsimonious theory by Planck

I've touched on atmospheric backradiation before, back when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to construct my own simple computer simulation model of global warming.

In rough outline, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is supposed to work by short wave solar radiation passing through the Earth's atmosphere and being absorbed at the surface of the Earth, and warming this surface, and being re-radiated back out into space as long wave radiation, some of which is captured by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is warmed, and in turn re-radiates this heat as "backradiation" to the Earth's surface, warming it a little more. This extra warming is AGW. And the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greater is this warming.

But some physicists object that this "backradiation" is unphysical, in that it requires heat to be transferred from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics disallows heat from flowing from cold to warm. From The Science of Doom:

What’s amazing about back-radiation is how many different ways people arrive at the conclusion it doesn’t exist or doesn’t have any effect on the temperature at the earth’s surface.

It seems that this "backradiation" is a feature of quantum physics, whereby energy is supposed to be released in discrete packets called "quanta". The quantum physical view is said to have been developed by Max Planck in about 1900 in an "act of despair" in order to get round the "ultraviolet catastrophe" whereby the classical wave mechanical understanding of radiation embodied in the Rayleigh-Jeans law predicted an infinite (and therefore impossible) energy content of high frequency radiation. Planck's new quantum mechanical understanding did not produce this "ultraviolet catastrophe", and produced a theoretical result much more closely in line with the observed radiation spectrum (see right).

The result has been a somewhat schizophrenic "wave-particle dualism" in physics ever since, with radiation being regarded as made up of waves for some purposes, and as particles or quanta for other purposes.

But according to Claes Johnson, a Swedish professor of mathematics, the classical wave mechanical view of radiation, which Planck had abandoned in order to circumvent the "ultraviolet catastrophe", can actually be used to get round the problem, by using finite precision mathematics.

A black body is regarded a vibrating string, with a number of harmonics, but with a cut-off minimum wavelength, representing the smallest wavelength the string can carry. Incoming waves excite the string harmonics, and these harmonics are re-radiated. High-frequency waves, with a shorter wavelength than the cut-off, are absorbed as incoherent high frequency vibrations which take the form of heat.

The net result is that a warm blackbody can heat a colder blackbody, through incoming frequencies above cut-off. But a cold blackbody cannot heat a warmer, because incoming frequencies below cut-off will be re-emitted without heating effect.

Since "backradiation" refers to the latter case, the model indicates that "backradiation" is not physical.

And if "backradiation" is unphysical, then it can't be happening. And if that can't be happening, neither can Anthropogenic Global Warming. And then AGW will prove to have been the product of the misdirection of physics by Max Planck in 1900 in his attempt to circumvent the problem of the "ultraviolet catastrophe". It may well turn out that the AGW problem has been a consequence of an unfortunate dualism within physics that has grown up over the past 100 years.

AGW devotees may then be seen as being followers of Max Planck ("Planckists?"), and of the orthodox quantum physics of the past century. AGW sceptics such as Johnson may be seen as followers of the older classical wave mechanical view of radiation ("Maxwellians?"). A dispute within physics has spilled out into a high-stakes political conflict.

If so, it will only be physicists - and not politicians or anybody else - who will ultimately be able to resolve the dispute. Either that, or the actual behaviour of the Earth's climate will prove or disprove one party or the other. Since more or less everyone agrees that the Earth has been warming over the past century or so, during which period carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising, the Planckists have a fairly good case that the Earth's climate is following Planckist directions. However the fact that it doesn't seem to have warmed at all over the past 13 years suggests that the climate is perhaps more Maxwellian than Planckist.

By no means all AGW sceptics deny the existence of "backradiation". Most sceptics are as Planckist (and orthodox) as AGW believers. Their scepticism is not about the fundamental physics so much as the scale of its effects and the nature of other feedback mechanisms.

This month, however, in the wake of the publication of Slaying The Sky Dragon, of which he is a co-author, Claes Johnson has been subjected to censorship by Swedish university authorities:

The highly-experienced and respected professor has been banned by his bosses from teaching any “part of course material in the course Numerical Methods II.” The material is also found in his ebook, ‘BodyandSoul.’

Dr. Johnson laments, “the course, has been “stopped” by the President of the Royal Technological Institute KTH, because the book contains a mathematical analysis of some models related to climate simulation.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

ABC's Harris: Climate Scientists `Embattled' by `Controversial' Skeptics `Despite Compelling Evidence' of Global Warming

On the Wednesday, December 22, Nightline on ABC, inspired by recent extreme weather, correspondent Dan Harris filed a report on global warming in which he gave attention to the views of a proponent of global warming theory, while giving a lesser amount of attention to two skeptics, one of whom he labeled "controversial."

Harris related that, "despite all that compelling evidence" of global warming, climate scientists "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right." He even went so far as to highlight examples of reported harassment of climate scientists, including anti-Semitic insults.

Harris also concluded his report passing on a warning from scientists that there will be more "extremely deadly weather" in the future "if the world doesn’t act very quickly":
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year’s extreme and extremely deadly weather, you’ll likely get much more if the world doesn’t act very quickly.

After beginning the report with a look at weather forecaster Piers Corbyn - calling his methods "unorthodox" because he uses magnetic fields to predict weather - Harris moved to global warming theory proponent Professor Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University:
That’s Princeton scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who says climate change is like loading the dice or tilting a pinball machine, making it more likely that we'll have heat waves, intense rainstorms and higher sea levels. It’s not a pretty picture.

The ABC correspondent passed on complaints by climate scientists that they "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right":
It might feel cold outside of your house tonight, but 2010 may well turn out to be the hottest year on record. And, in fact, the last decade was definitely the hottest on record. Despite all that compelling evidence, climate scientists say they now feel more embattled than ever. And some of their biggest opponents, they say, are politicians on the right.

Harris tried to embarrass global warming skeptics by including clips of two public figures - incoming House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Congressman John Shimkus - who expressed doubts that were either flawed or not based on scientific reasoning, before sympathetically returning to Oppenheimer to make his case, even highlighting examples of reported harassment toward global warming theory proponents. Harris:
Meanwhile, the FBI tells us it has seen a spike in threatening e-mails to climate scientists, and a white supremacist Web site recently ran pictures of scientists with the word "Jew" next to them. Michael Oppenheimer says he’s sure this interview will result in angry e-mails.

After a clip of Oppenheimer complaining about a "disinformation campaign" funded by industry, Harris got to global warming skeptic Dr. Fred Singer, whom the ABC correspondent called "controversial," only giving a couple of brief soundbites for the University of Virginia professor emeritus to say that global warming theory proponents are "wrong." Introducing Singer, Harris related:
Their foe, they say, is a well-funded campaign to confuse. Led by people like Dr Fred Singer, a controversial scientific skeptic with whom I conducted this combative interview several years ago, which was heavily criticized by many in the skeptics community.

After noting that Corbyn is also a global warming skeptic, Harris got to his conclusion which dismissed doubters and passed on the call for action, presumably meaning more government regulatoins. Harris:
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year's extreme and extremely deadly weather, you'll likely get much more if the world doesn't act very quickly.


GOP all set to wimp out on EPA?

A key Republican is already laying the groundwork for the 112th Congress’ surrender on the EPA’s climate rules. More surprising is the complicity of a tea party group.

Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman-designate of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, co-authored an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal with the promising title, “How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab.”

Now that we face the prospect of flagrantly illegal, arbitrary, expensive and pointless regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA, I was eager to read how the new Congress was going to, say, slash the EPA’s budget to prevent it from implementing the climate rules or perhaps shutdown the federal government if the Obama administration proceeded with its plan to dictate energy policy in order to control the economy.

Instead, Upton offered a mere two sentences of action that are better described pusillanimity rather than pugnacity:

The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules.

Earth to Upton, it will be impossible to overturn or delay the EPA rules because there will likey be more than 40 Democrat senators to filibuster any effort to overturn or delay the rules.

Even if a bill to overturn/delay the rules managed to get out of Congress, President Obama would veto it — and it’s unlikely that Republicans could muster the two-thirds majorities needed to overturn the veto.

The wimpiness, here is breathtaking. Aside from the total ineffectiveness of the plan, Upton fails to support his preferred solution (overturning the rules) with a more aggressive, less-palatable-to-Democrats alternative (defunding the EPA or shutting down the government). Instead, Upton’s alternative course is weaker (delaying the rules) and is offered from the position of a supplicant (“at least” do the “sensible, bipartisan compromise” — pretty please?).

I hope EPA administrator Lisa Jackson doesn’t hurt herself rolling on the floor.

Upton expresses high hopes, if not expectations, that ongoing litigation will curb the EPA. But an appellate court recently held that the EPA can wreak its havoc on our economy while the litigation is ongoing. And who knows how long it will take to get a final ruling from the Supreme Court? Keep in mind that the current Court is philosophically unchanged from the one ruling in 2007 that EPA could regulate greenhouse gases.

Moreover, while the portion of the EPA’s climate rules that is flagrantly illegal is likely to be overturned (i.e., the so-called “tailoring rule” under which EPA unilaterally amended the Clean Air Act to limit regulation of greenhouse gases from 100-ton emitters to 75,000-ton emitters), it is unlikely that the Court will overturn the EPA’s so-called “endangerment funding” (which declares that greenhouse gases are a threat to the public welfare). Under the 1984 Supreme Court case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, it is extremely difficult to show that an agency has acted arbitrarily and capriciousily in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

No profile in courage, Upton is wishing for a litigation miracle so that he doesn’t have to get down in the mud and wrestle with the Obama administration.

Also of note is Upton’s co-author, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) — a nationwide conservative grassroots group that has tried to blend in with the tea party movement. But AFP may be risking its tea party credentials by signing on to Upton’s exercise in bipartisan futility — where liberal/socialist Democrats get what they want and the rest of us get the shaft. That may be standard Washington, DC fare, but it is not what tea partiers voted for in November.

I’m not surprised by Upton’s wimpiness — that’s why conservatives wanted Joe Barton (R-TX) to be chairman of Energy and Commerce, not the light-bulb-banning Upton — but I am surprised by AFP’s. Shame on them.

Here’s the bottom line. Since the new Congress will not rubber stamp Obama’s socialist legislative agenda, the President will seek to socialize us via regulation — regardless of legality. The EPA’s climate regulation plan is unconstitutional on its face (only Congress, not federal agencies, can change laws). Another example of the coming socialization-by-regulation is the Federal Communications Commission’s recent party-line vote to implement net neutrality rules despite the a federal appellate court ruling that it lacks the statutory authority to do so.

“Every battle is won before it is fought,” said Sun Tzu. Upton, according to his op-ed, has already surrendered to Obama. Oh well, at least election night was fun.


Lowest temperatures in 30 years in Korea

A cold wave has swept through Korea. The temperature in Seoul plunged to minus 16 degrees Celsius over Christmas weekend, the lowest since minus 16.2 degrees on Dec. 29, 1980. This winter, the Northern Hemisphere has suffered record-low temperatures and heavy snow since November. Britain had 25 centimeters of snow, the worst in 17 years, and saw the temperature fall to minus 18 degrees, the lowest for November. China also suffered temperatures of minus 10 to 45 degrees and heavy snow. Though the mercury in Korea will begin to go back up Monday afternoon, two or three more cold waves are forecast next month. Since the country began meteorological observation, the lowest recorded temperature was minus 32.6 degrees in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 5, 1981.

The Korea Meteorological Administration blames this year’s cold spell to weaker Arctic oscillation caused by higher temperatures in the North Pole. The Arctic oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases. Such phenomena has weakened due to global warming, so cold air in the North Pole has been pushed by warm air to middle latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. An official at the weather agency said, “We cannot jump to the conclusion that the latest cold wave resulted from climate change. Over the long term, however, it can be seen as a phenomenon of climate change.”

Korea has suffered many weather anomalies this year. On Jan. 4, the central region had 25.8 centimeters of snow, the most since 1937. In spring, the number of rainy days hit 34.7, the highest since 1973, and that of sunshine hours was just 77 percent the usual level. Summer also saw record hot weather. In fall, 259.9 millimeters of torrential rain paralyzed the center of Seoul on Sept. 21. The annual average temperature on the Korean Peninsula has risen 1.5 degrees over the last 100 years, and certain experts predict a rise of another 4 degrees. Are climate changes bringing about a catastrophe?


University Study Confirms Renewable Energy Isn’t Economically Feasible

Colorado State University recently completed a study on the economic feasibility of increasing the usage of renewable energy. The results of this study were published in the world-renowned science periodical, The Coloradoan. Another stimulus-funded study of the obvious? No, what we have here is simply a heavy dose of reality for academicians who aren’t willing to match their rhetoric with their pocketbook. Some of the quotes in this article are quite humorous.
Fort Collins campus President Tony Frank acknowledges that the 2008 plan to “rapidly” become carbon-neutral won’t be a reality for decades because the university can’t afford to make major changes right now.

It took them two years to figure this out? Business owners have been saying for much longer that forcing draconian cuts in emissions would harm their bottom line. Apparently it’s acceptable for businesses to absorb the increased costs, but not a university.
One major challenge for CSU is that its emissions have actually been going up in recent years. In fiscal year 2006, CSU emitted 217,070 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Those emissions rose 7 per-cent by 2009.

An expanding business generates more emissions. Who knew?
For us, you’d have to really jack up tuition and put it toward plans like that.

Really? You mean mandating a huge reduction in emissions would require a business to pass on those costs to its customers?
We could save a lot of energy by sending the students home, sending the researchers home. But that’s not what we do here.

Colorado State University learned more about basic economics here than they ever could have from a government-funded study. While I’d love to believe that this knowledge will be passed on to the greater academic community, I just can’t imagine that it will. The irony of their own comments are completely lost on them.


Pressure on Australia as Japan stalls plans for Warmist laws

JAPAN'S decision to postpone its plans for an ETS by 2013 has increased pressure on Julia Gillard over her goal of pricing carbon next year. The postponement has also set back efforts for a global market to cut global carbon pollution.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt called on the Prime Minister to rule out an emissions trading scheme by New Year's Day in the wake of the Japanese move.

The decision by the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter and Australia's second-largest trading partner to postpone the scheme for a year comes after the US also stepped back from a national emissions trading scheme and as international firms remain concerned about lax pollution controls in China, which has no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Labor and Greens-backed climate change committee is looking at ways to cut carbon emissions and the Productivity Commission is examining carbon reduction regimes around the world.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has repeatedly argued that Australia is "locking our economy into failure" without a carbon price. Two weeks ago, he defended the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, dumped by the former prime minister. He said it had included an emissions trading scheme that would have "provided the greatest certainty that Australia would meet its emissions reductions targets".

But, Mr Hunt said, the government's plans were "now in tatters". "First Canada, second the US and now Japan have all determined that there is a better way to cut emissions than a massive electricity tax. "The Prime Minister should drop this electricity tax before New Year's Day."

The government should look at the Coalition's approach of market-based incentives for emissions abatement, he said. "The choice for Australia is now a massive new tax or emissions reductions by focusing on our strengths."

Mr Combet has repeatedly argued that a price on carbon is an essential economic reform that will create an incentive to reduce pollution, stimulate investment in low-emission technology and provide greater certainty for business investment.

"It will also enhance our ability to influence the direction of the international climate change negotiations and provide encouragement for a binding agreement including all major emitters," Mr Combet told the Investor Group on Climate Change this month.

"We either grasp this opportunity for an orderly, planned and gradual transition, or face the later prospect of economic adjustment at greater cost and dislocation - in circumstances where other countries have taken the lead and the competitive advantage."

The Japanese government move came after pressure from business, which was concerned an ETS would add to costs and limit their ability to compete against rivals in China and India who would not face the same restrictions.

The Japanese government remains committed to levying a tax on CO2 emissions from fuel in October next year and to the expansion of a pilot plan for renewable sources of electricity.

At the global climate change meetings in Cancun, Mexico, Japan opposed extension of the Kyoto Protocol, calling it unfair because it did not include 70 per cent of the world's emissions, with top polluters China and the US absent.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government had planned to launch an ETS, under which companies would essentially buy and sell licences to pollute, in the fiscal year beginning April 2013 but had postponed it until at least 2014. The environment and other ministers decided to postpone the plan, saying the country would first "carefully consider it".

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the pollutants companies can emit and then requires heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less, creating financial incentives to cut emissions



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Prostituting medicine to climate politics

By Michael Keane, a bioethicist, consultant anaesthetist and lecturer in public health

Medicine and science connote objectivity and the public may innocently assume contributions from the medical profession are dispassionate facts that lack political and ideological intrusion.

However, the medical profession, like every other human endeavour, operates within the realm of the human condition. In this context it is wholly expected there will be a natural tendency for the opinion and political agendas of doctors to be communicated as if they were based on science and research.

To coincide with the recent climate change meeting in Cancun, Mexico, The Lancet medical journal is promoting the Climate and Health Council, "established to enable health professionals around the world to take personal and collective action against the causes of climate change, and to insist that global health is central in climate change negotiations".

Implicit is an appeal that based on "evidence" and research doctors have an obligation, if not moral duty, to support, among various actions, carbon emission reduction strategies. However, is it ethical for doctors to be promoting such strategies under the guise of public health? The strategies to reduce carbon emissions must, necessarily, force some people to adopt behaviour against their will for the benefit of others.

This defines an ethical dilemma, trading the welfare of present versus future generations. In modern ethics the principle of autonomy reigns supreme. However, autonomy is legitimately overruled when there is a compelling argument under the ethical principle of justice. Is there a compelling case?

Many, including The Lancet, still unquestionably reference Britain's Stern review to justify the benefits of action now, despite significant controversy over the review's extraordinarily pessimistic assumptions. To be sure, within economist Nicholas Stern's review the supposed health effects have been factored into the costs of global warming along with non-market factors.

Yet many economists, including Indur Goklany, demonstrate that even if we were to accept Stern's questionable assumptions, tomorrow's generations will still be far better off than we are today, even if we do nothing about global warming. For instance, inaction on climate change will mean those living 100 years from now will be only three to 7.5 times better off than we are today, instead of 3.2 to eight times. If we do nothing, descendants of those living in the present developing world will be only 10 to 60 instead of 11 to 65 times better off.

The developing world is where children still die for want of food, millions of women will leak faeces and urine for the rest of their lives for want of basic medical care at birth and where millions die from easily preventable diseases that are almost unheard of in developed countries. There exists the real potential that many in the developing world will be sacrificed on the altar of politically correct ideology. In even the most pessimistic analysis, the potential health effects of climate change are dwarfed by those caused by lack of economic development.

Furthermore, is it ethical to justify action now to protect the welfare of future generations based on the following preposterous assumptions? Zero technological advances; future generations will make no attempt to adapt to climate change; no ways to better people's lives will be discovered including no cures for cancer and chronic diseases and no development of social institutions to foster peace and freedom; and Stern's use of a near zero discount rate which many incorrectly believe represents ethical parity between generations but in fact values those in the future more than those now.

Common sense dictates that there is a relationship between the degree to which a system is complex and the opportunity for ideology to influence the reporting of the science.

In clinical medicine debate can rage for decades over the effect of a single drug used in a single situation. Despite the fact trials can be done and empiric data collected, there are always factors and elements that can be disputed. Consider, then, the difficulty in trying to predict the health effects of changing climates hundreds of years down the track in a world in which we cannot fathom the available technology and economic development.

In this context, to whatever the degree the climate science is "settled", the evidence now available to analyse the health effects of climate change is contemptuously feeble.

Many of the supposed health consequences such as food and water scarcity, infectious diseases and exposure to heat relate to the developing world and are easily remedied by measures already available to those in developed nations.

Much of that evidence conforms to anti-West ideology that ignores the elephant in the room concerning economic development. Much of the data relating to the potential effects on the developed world is already obsolete subsequent to the implementation of simple public health measures. Overall, is the health of those in the developed world severely worse than that of our ancestors 150 years ago because the world has warmed 1.5 degrees?

The Chaser would do well to set up a stall in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows and ask people on the street to reduce their economic welfare so those in Toorak can avoid the catastrophe of being a mere 10 times better off than Broadmeadows residents instead of 10.5 times.

If we're considering such an important issue as people's health why do we rely on the analyses of single, politically appointed economists with no significant history in climate economics such as Stern and Ross Garnaut? A group of economists seasoned in many aspects of climate change economics (Copenhagen Consensus) have performed a far more compelling analysis that places carbon reduction as one the most inefficient ways to improve health and welfare.

Revealingly, the CHC declares on its "about" page: "Thirty years ago, health professionals from the USA and the former Soviet Union crossed borders to found the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War movement, an international body of health professionals dedicated to action against nuclear war. Today we will initiate an equally global movement of health professionals to tackle climate change." (There is nothing wrong with the prevention of nuclear war; it is a noble goal, but it is not related to the health effects of global warming.)

In summary, it is legitimate to hold a political opinion regarding action on global warming. But from a public health perspective it would be equally valid to argue for as many coal-fired power plants to be built in Africa, India and China as is humanly possible.


As blizzards batter the US East coast, even some "Guardian" readers are becoming skeptical about Warmism

Excerpts below from both the "Guardian" article and comments from its readers:

The East coast of the US was today recovering from a blizzard that brought air travel to a standstill in New York and other cities, paralysed rail services and hit a dozen states.

More than 3,000 flights were cancelled, mostly from New York's three main airports, stranding tens of thousands of people returning home and to work after the Christmas holiday on some of the busiest travel days of the year.

Planes were grounded in New York through most of Sunday and much of today, while airports along the east coast grappled with cancellations and long delays that were expected to continue for several days.

Six states, from North Carolina to New Jersey, declared snow emergencies, including Virginia. South Carolina and Georgia had their first Christmas snow in more than a century.

New York's central park was buried under about 50cm of snow, and parts of New Jersey recorded 75cm in a few hours. Strong winds, gusting up to 55mph, helped create drifts more than one metre deep.

Hundreds of passengers were stuck on at least three New York subway trains through the night because of the snow. Although some were theoretically able to leave the trains, officials said there was nowhere for them to go. Others were trapped between stations for hours.

The city's emergency services asked people not to call for an ambulance unless absolutely necessary after many became stuck in snow.


Some of the comments:

Well this wasn't what they were predicting a few years ago is it?

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, October 4, 2006 (ENS) - Global warming will cause major changes to the climate of the U.S. Northeast if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, scientists said today. Warmer annual temperatures, less snow, more frequent droughts and more extreme rainstorms are expected if current warming trends continue, the scientists said in a new study, and time is running out for action to avoid such changes to the climate.

The Northeast's climate is already changing, the report said, as spring is arriving sooner, summers are hotter and winters are warmer and less snowy.

The report was released by the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA), a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of independent scientists from universities across the Northeast and the nation.


That's the climate science view (as of four years ago).


One Arctic Tern does not a winter make, so to speak.

But that cuts both ways. The run of mild winters was a relatively short one, and yet we had the Union of Concerned Scientists telling us that:

"Across the globe, and here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities"


Well which is it? Can we detect anthropogenic forcing from winter weather or can't we? I'm guessing the answer is yes, but over longer time scales. I think 30 years is the usual period stated.

So why do they rush out a report after a run of only five or six mild winters claiming it as validation of their climate models? Where was the caveat that global warming could lead to snowier, colder winters in that report?


You may well be right, although I haven't been able to find a peer-reviewed article stating that 2010 was the warmest year ever globally. Perhaps you could direct me to one in a reputable academic journal?

But here's something to consider: the world has been warming gradually since the end of what's colloquially known as "the little ice age" around 1850. So you would expect each year to be a little warmer than the preceding year, broadly speaking.

The IPCC states that anthropogenic forcing can only be considered detectable after 1970, as Co2 emission prior to that were not large enough to affect the climate.

So, the question is not whether the globe is getting warmer - temperature change of some kind is always happening - but whether that warming is anomalous and if it is, whether it can be conclusively tied to Co2 emissions.

Simply stating that any given year was warmer than the year before does not prove anthropogenic forcing. But I'm sure you knew that.


Climate Scientists 2006: winters in US “becoming warmer, less snowy”

“Listen to the climate scientists” – that’s the refrain you always get from the warmists. Their argument is that we simply don’t know enough about “the science” to make our own judgments, and must bow down before superior wisdom.

But the problem is, if we did that, we’d be changing our minds with the weather – literally. Case in point: only a few years ago in 2006 a report was released by a body called ‘The northeast Climate Impacts Assessment’. Press releases informed us that this body was a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of independent scientists from universities across the Northeast and the nation.

Heavyweight stuff. The full report is (for the moment) available online here.

The Union of Concerned Scientists published the results of the study on its climatechoices website and summarized them thus:

"Across the globe, and here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities

Again we see the same claim – warmer, milder winters are entirely consistent with global warming. No mention of global warming causing extreme cold and heavy snow. No predictions of colder weather to come. But why bother with all that when you can simply issue another press release when it gets colder and claim you predicted this all along?


The destructive EPA

Not even Ebenezer Scrooge had the stomach to fire people during the holidays. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, plans to move full speed ahead with new regulations on January 2 that will likely cost many Americans their jobs before the New Year’s Eve party hats have even been put away.

In a nutshell, the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule will treat emissions from renewable biomass energy the same as emissions from the use of fossil fuels, despite the fact that both policymakers and scientists have long considered biomass emissions to be carbon-neutral due to the life cycle of the forests from which biomass is produced.

This new rule and regulatory uncertainty could spell the end of the biomass energy industry by removing the carbon-neutral status of biomass and, consequently, the biggest incentive to continue investing in it. Recent estimates have shown that biomass generated from forest byproducts could supply as much as 15 percent of the nation’s renewable energy by 2021, yet this will likely never be realized if biomass producers are forced to comply with arbitrary, unfair and unnecessary regulations like those in the Tailoring Rule.

Unfortunately, the Tailoring Rule won’t just disincentivize the use of renewable biomass energy. It will also have widespread effects on our energy options, as well as jobs and the economy.

Forisk Consulting recently released a new study on the economic impact of the Tailoring Rule, which found that the regulations on biomass will result in the loss of over 134 renewable energy projects, up to 26,000 jobs, and $18 billion in capital investment. According to the study’s authors, 23 biomass energy projects have already been placed in limbo due to regulatory uncertainty. In Wisconsin, for example, Xcel Energy Inc. halted plans for a biomass energy plant that would have brought over 100 jobs to Ashland, Wisc., as well as a needed source of domestic power for the entire area. Xcel Energy cited the expected cost increases and regulatory uncertainty as reasons for canceling plans for the plant—and they are likely to be one of many energy companies doing the same.

The negative economic impact will be especially felt in Appalachia and rural parts of the South, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast, where biomass energy shows great promise as a source for domestic clean energy and innovative new jobs.

In addition to harming domestic renewable energy development and the economy, the EPA commits a crime that Mr. Scrooge would never commit: wasting money. In President Obama's “stimulus” program alone, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy have collectively spent more than $100 million of taxpayer money to promote biomass power production.

The new study by Forisk Consulting only further confirms what bipartisan governors, U.S. Senators, and U.S. Representatives, state and local lawmakers, scientists, and forestry industry insiders have been saying all along—that the Tailoring Rule will hurt energy development, jobs, and the economy at a time when we need all three to be thriving.

Even Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), the outgoing Chair of the House Agriculture, said before the election, “[The EPA is] screwing things up. They’re raising costs for people, they’re raising the price of food, and I don’t think they’re accomplishing anything.”

The intransigent EPA isn’t yet listening to the bipartisan, nationwide outcry against the Tailoring Rule. Perhaps they will finally begin to pay attention to this latest round of hard facts about the impact of their regulations before it’s too late.


Obama's regulators kowtow to Big Green, imperil economy

Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts.

Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation.

Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she got a green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve "cap-and-trade" legislation sought by Obama. Cap and trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat.

Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of Big Green activists angered over congressional rejection of cap and trade. She promises to issue a draft rule next year and a final rule in 2012 that will establish new "performance standards" for power plants and refineries. These standards will drive up the cost of energy, especially the electricity that lights our homes and powers our computers and the gas that keeps our cars and trucks running.

Not to be outdone, Salazar countered toward the end of the week with an audacious end-around play of his own. The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the wilderness areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by Interior only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so. Big Green environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar's predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized Interior's public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a "Wild Lands" designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah and chairman of the Western Caucus in the House of Representatives, said Salazar's "decision will seriously hinder domestic energy development and further contributes to the uncertainty and economic distress that continues to prevent the creation of new jobs in a region that has unduly suffered from this administration's radical policies. This is little more than an early Christmas present to the far left extremists who oppose the multiple use of our nation's public lands."

If these White House-sanctioned bureaucratic coups against congressional authority are allowed to stand, the tombstone on the U.S. economy should read: "Here's lies the most powerful engine of prosperity the world has ever seen. Strangled by Barack Obama, Lisa Jackson and Ken Salazar."


What If the Energy Isn't "Green"?

It’s an extraordinary thing when an American President says he wants to “bankrupt” an American industry. And while it’s difficult to know the implications of such a thing – we may be in the process of finding out.

Back in January of 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama sat for an interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. In that discussion, our future President was quizzed aggressively about his “green energy” agenda, and how he would usher in an era of “green jobs.” He was also asked how, as President, he would curtail the manufacture, sale, and consumption of more traditional energy forms that are regarded as environmentally hazardous.

Responding to these questions, a fatigued and hoarse-voiced Senator Obama stated, in part:
“Let me describe my overall policy. What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in to place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gasses that is emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market, and the ratcheted-down caps that are proposed every year. So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re gonna be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted…”

From there, Mr. Obama went on to further explain that the revenues generated by “charging polluters” for their emissions, would be utilized to create wind and solar power plants. Thus, the candidate reasoned, America would begin a new era of “clean energy.”

For a variety of different reasons, these were some extraordinary remarks from a presidential candidate. For one, they presupposed that things always go according to plans, when the government is running the show. Take money away from the coal industry and give it to the “solar” and “wind” industries , so Mr. Obama reasoned, and everything would be fine – his idyllic vision of “green energy” would necessarily come to pass, simply because he said so. History shows that governmental endeavors are never this simplistic (even the fairly recent history of our government’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina demonstrate this), but politicians of Mr. Obama’s ilk don’t like to be bound by the lessons of history.

The candidate’s remarks were also extraordinary for their callousness. People like Barack Obama who lack an adequate understanding of free market economics, often fail to understand the human dimensions of economic activity. They envision some sort of arbitrarily defined “collective good” in their policies – in this case it was Obama’s dream of “clean energy” – but they fail to understand that unless one first seeks to ensure the wellbeing of human individuals, then there will never be any “collective” wellbeing at all.

In the process, this dangerous kind of thinking reduces economic decision making down to only considering inanimate things – in this case for Mr. Obama, it was all about “coal,” “wind,” “pollution” and “dollars” -while the actual lives of people employed in the coal industry weren’t even considered.

Yet Mr. Obama’s remarks, in as much as he confidently stated that his policies would “bankrupt” the coal industry, did have real implications for real individual human lives. Why would anyone – least of all a future President of the United States – want to “bankrupt” an industry, and put people out of work? One would have thought that these remarks may have had struck a note of concern for voters in coal producing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana or Ohio.

But now, less than two years into his presidency, some real human beings who are employed in the coal industry are suffering.

Last week in the coal mining town of Logan, West Virginia, residents there convened the first of several prayer vigils for the saving of their coal businesses. Members of the clergy joined the broader community to offer spiritual assistance as people suffer the loss of jobs, and to pray that their industry will be sustained and reinvigorated.

At least one participant in the event noted that part of the coal industry’s struggle may very well be a matter of bad public relations, and that there may very well be some people who don’t want the industry to exist. There are those, noted Jim Frye of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, who are seeking to “severely limit our industry,” and there are also those “who would argue to destroy our industry…”

These concerns should not come as a surprise, given President Obama’s campaign pledge. Granted, his glorious “cap and trade” vision has not happened yet, but more stringent regulations on the coal industry have, with more “crack downs” from the E.P.A. are on the way in 2011. And it is a sad day in America when Americans must pray for protection from their own government.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

A changed tune

What the WWF said just two years ago: "Global warming means milder winters and less snowfall" Ergo: We are not seeing any global warming

“From the European Alps to the Asian Himalayas, the US Rockies and the Central American Andes, global warming means milder winters and less snowfall”, the petition said. “Ice and snow are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, and as avid skiers and snowboarders we see our beloved sports endangered.”


It's Britain's coldest Christmas Day ever as mercury plummets to MINUS 18C: UK set for biggest December freeze since 1890

Britons awoke yesterday to the coldest Christmas Day on record. In parts of the country, the mercury touched minus 18C and few places saw temperatures rise above freezing. At 8am in Shawbury, Shropshire, it was minus 15.9C and in Altnaharra, in the Highlands of Scotland, minus 18.2C.

Forecasters predict this December is likely to be the coldest on record. The previous coldest was in 1890, when the average temperature for the whole month for England was minus 0.8C.

The average temperature for all of Britain up to Christmas Eve this year was also minus 0.8C, though forecasters said the weather would improve from Wednesday.

The Arctic snap brought travel chaos in the run-up to Christmas, with thousands of passengers having to sleep in terminal buildings after their flights were delayed by snow and ice.

Their spirits will hardly have been lifted by the revelation that airports throughout Europe and America have put Britain to shame with military-style weather-busting operations. European airport bosses were often able to call on many times more snowploughs, snowblowers and de-icing vehicles than the UK’s busiest airport, which boasts just 46 specialist vehicles. As our pictures show, foreign airports often deployed more than half-a-dozen machines, side by side to clear runways while Heathrow appeared to use just two at a time.

During the chaos at Heathrow, which is run by Spanish-owned BAA, some stranded passengers spent three nights sleeping on the floor and on luggage trolleys. British airline bosses accused BAA’s £1million-a-year chief executive Colin Matthews of ‘blowing it big-time’ as foreign rivals managed to get most of their flights to take off and land.

Unlike BAA, which spent just £500,000 on new snow-clearing equipment in the past year – the equivalent of half Mr Matthews’s pay – continental competitors spent tens of millions to ensure airports would stay open in such conditions.

Similarly, Gatwick, which is owned by a group of international investment funds, has more vehicles than Heathrow, with the first of two new snowploughs delivered last weekend. Gatwick is spending £9 million on new vehicles.

On the Continent, airport emergency plans swung into action to keep passengers moving. At Schiphol in Amsterdam, 98 snowploughs and snowblowers were in action. Although the airport was shut for periods last week, it maintained the best record of flight clearances in Europe.

Arlanda airport in Stockholm has never closed since it opened in 1962. It boasts the world’s fastest snow-clearing team who use a fleet of 17 Plough, Sweep and Blow (PSB) machines specially built by Volvo. Nine of the machines were being driven alongside each other, meaning that two mile-long runways, each 150ft wide, were cleared in less than ten minutes. There was also a fleet of 30 other snowploughs and snowblowers and 20 de-icing machines.

North American airports lead the way when it comes to coping in wintry conditions. Giant snow-melting machines nicknamed ‘snowzillas’ are operated by almost all of the larger airports, including New York and Toronto, where BAA boss Mr Matthews was born.

New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare and Toronto’s Pearson international airports each run 200 to 300 pieces of heavy snow-moving equipment. And Chicago has 225 machines. One senior airline executive said last night: ‘BAA and their chief executive blew it big-time last week. ‘They were shambolic and all over the place. There was poor planning and little communication both internally in BAA or with the airlines.’


"The country is grinding to a halt NOW, and they are still prattling about global warming in the period 2030 to 2100?"

Coldest Day Ever Recorded in Ireland

On Tuesday this week, the high temperature in Ballyhaise, County Cavan, clocked in at 16 degrees Fahrenheit. As Head forecaster Gerald Fleming told the Irish Times, "That's the lowest daily maximum ever recorded in Ireland, which makes it the coldest day ever recorded in Ireland."

This new low did not shock the Irish. They have been getting used to sub-freezing temperatures. This is the coldest December on record in Ireland and throughout much of Northern Europe. It is likely the snowiest as well. The weather has thoroughly disrupted European travel and is starting to damage the economy.

Not all winters are like this. I saw no snow the year I lived in Ireland in the early 1990s, and in the early 1980s, during the winter I spent in France-Nancy to be precise-the temperature never dropped below freezing, even at night.

For old time's sake, I have been tracking the weather reports out of Europe. Yet in all that I have read in the mainstream European press, I have seen no attempt to reconcile the present cold with the promised heat, not even to chalk the flagrant disparity up to "climate change." It is as if the reader is not supposed to notice.

But many do. The blogs and editorial letters boil over with outrage. Writes one not atypical letter writer in the UK, "Snowfall, ice, Arctic-level cold and all the rest have caused major disruption to the UK infrastructure in the last few weeks, not least because our gilded civil servants have been looking in the wrong direction. And they still are. . . . The country is grinding to a halt NOW, and they are still prattling about global warming in the period 2030 to 2100? These people are truly off their trolleys. They are seriously mentally ill."

The Europeans are learning what we have always known, as Michael Savage might put it, "Liberalism is a mental disorder."


The reference above is to a recent heading and subheading in The Guardian, which reads:

"UK's infrastructure will struggle to cope with climate change, report warns. Floods, rising temperatures and higher sea levels threaten the UK's road, rail, water and energy networks between 2030 and 2100"

The freeze hits Moskva

A freeze that reaches from the USA, through Britain, through Western Europe, through central Europe and into Eastern Europe is no mere "local" event, as the Warmists claim

Icy rain shut down Moscow's largest airport for nearly 15 hours on Sunday, coated roads with ice and left more than 200,000 people and 14 hospitals without electricity.

The rain struck the city on Saturday night. Workers were scrambling to restore the power supply after heavy ice snapped power lines, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Moscow's major airport Domodedovo shut down on Sunday morning after the power supply was cut off. No planes were allowed to land or take off for about 15 hours before the airport allowed outbound flights, opening check-in for two dozen domestic destinations. The full power supply had not yet been restored.

Moscow's other two major airports, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo, remained open but experienced delays.

Russia's chief sanitary offical urged Moscow residents not to risk walking on the icy streets and to stay indoors.

Unlike the rest of Europe, Moscow had no airport delays or major road accidents last week due to winter weather.


A Blizzard of Lies in The New York Times

By Alan Caruba

Comment on: “Bundle Up. It’s Global Warming” – December 26, 2010, New York Times opinion article by Judah Cohen

It’s Orwellian when cold is declared warmth. It’s deceitful and insulting when it occurs in the midst of a huge blizzard shutting down much of the northeast.

I would not even trust the date on the front page of The New York Times because the newspaper long ago lost touch with reality, with sanity, and, one can only assume, readers fleeing to other sources for the news.

When the oft-called “newspaper of record” chooses a day on which Mother Nature is demonstrating what tons of snow and chill air can do to a huge swath of the nation’s northeast with effects reaching Tallahassee, they are either trying to see just how stupid their readers are or doubling down on the global warming hoax they have disseminated since Jim Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute declared we’re all doomed back in 1988.

If you want a lesson in Orwell’s “doublethink”, the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts or ideas at the same time, you need only read the first line of Cohen’s article: “The earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside.” In other words, who are you going to believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?

Judah Cohen is identified as “the director of seasonal forecasting at an atmospheric and environmental research firm.” No further details are offered such as the name of the firm or Cohen’s academic credentials. Is he a meteorologist? If so, he is one of the worst I have ever encountered.

It happens that I know quite a few meteorologists and climate scientists. One of them is Joseph D’Aleo, an American Meteorological Society Fellow, and editor of a science-based Internet site, Ice Cap. Suffice to say, D’Aleo has been one of a hardy band of skeptics that have countered the global warming hoax with hard science, frequently dissecting the bogus “science” put forth by government agencies including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and other such sources.

In an article titled “Why We Need a New Global Data Set”, D’Aleo wrote the following:

“As I showed in the first analysis, the long term global temperature trends in their data bases have been shown by numerous peer review papers to be exaggerated by 30% to 50% and in some cases much more by issues such as uncorrected urbanization (urban heat island), land use changes, bad siting, bad instrumentation, and ocean measurement techniques that changed over time.”

“NOAA made matters worse by removing the satellite ocean temperature measurement which provide more complete coverage and was not subject to the local issues except near the coastlines and islands.”

‘The result has been the absurd and bogus claims by NOAA and the alarmists that we are in the warmest decade in 100 or even a 1000 years or more and our oceans are warmest ever.”

While Cohen is parroting the World Meteorological Organization’s latest claim that “2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record” in England, the Daily Mail was reporting on December 5 that “Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.”

This parallels the weather occurring now in the U.S. where new low temperature records are being set while cities like Columbia, S.C., had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887!

Suffice to say that Cohen’s article repeats the usual blather about melting Artic sea ice while waiting until the very end to admit that “the Eastern United States, North Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinary snowy and cold winters since the turn of the century.”

A word to all who did not study meteorology; the World Meteorological Organization, a creature of the United Nations is also the mother ship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC, responsible for the Kyoto Protocols that called for limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, was totally discredited in 2009 when the exchange of thousands of emails revealed its chief perpetrators of the global warming hoax were manipulating the climate data it reported.

To trust the WMO or IPCC at this point in time is futile and dangerous. To trust the garbage coming out of NOAA, GISS and other government entities purporting to predict the climate is also to trust the Environmental Protection Agency that will announce in January 2011 its plans to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, claiming they are “causing” a global warming that is not happening.

Americans are being deliberately misled by rogue government agencies with no scientific justification for their continued existence.

As for The New York Times, it is unfit to line the bottom of a canary’s birdcage.


A "Concerned scientist" does not know when she is being sent up

Brenda Ekwurzel, Ph.D., Climate scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists replies in grade-school prose to a mocker. It's a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I read her first sentence or else my keyboard would have been a mess. Note also that she is one of those who claim that a freeze covering most of the Northern hemisphere is just a "local" event. What a chump poor Brenda is!

Dear Brenda,

I know our fingerprints are all over global climate change. I know the science is clear that it's happening now and that it's caused by all the human activities that emit heat-trapping gases. And I know that people, countries, and natural systems are at risk from global warming. But I don't know what to say to friends, family, or colleagues who question the existence of climate change when cold weather sets in.

I admit that sometimes, when my ears are freezing as I walk to the subway, I grumble to myself, "Where's global warming when you need it!" When it's cold, I just don't know how to explain to people that Earth has a fever. Just the other day I was talking to someone at a holiday party who said the blizzards we had last winter disproved global warming.

I'm not the kind of person who always has to set people straight even when I know they're wrong. I usually let people have their say, but I'm really appalled at the lack of understanding of basic science. If you have any suggestions, especially when it comes to winter weather, could you let me know? What can I say to people who pooh-pooh global warming? And why do they hold their tongues in summer when we're wilting in a record-high heat wave?

Cold in Winter

* * *

Dear Cold in Winter,

The hallmark of winter is cold, at least in North America. Even with climate change, you're still going to wake up on a January morning and see snow falling. I walk to the bus stop, too, so I know about cold ears and fingers. As a climate scientist, I have plenty of compelling facts at hand about global warming, and trust me, it's hard to explain the overwhelming evidence of climate change when people are feeling winter's wind in their faces. I understand the problem you describe, for sure.

You may want to remind your friends that weather is different from climate. The day-to-day weather -- even a cold snap or a heat wave -- doesn't prove or disprove climate change. Climate is the prevailing condition--temperature, precipitation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure -- of a region over a long period of time. For example, in Wisconsin you expect cold, snowy winters. In Mexico you expect mild, sunny winter weather....

It's also helpful to put our local conditions into perspective. If you look only at our country, you're seeing only 2 percent of Earth's surface. That's like watching a football game and seeing only what's going on between the 48-yard line and the 50-yard line. Well-documented measurements all across the world over the past several decades show that Earth is definitely warming. Science takes a whole-world view, just like watching the football game in high definition on a wide-screen television.

At least, don't shy away from telling people it's winter. You just might need to remind them when winter comes next year.

Your friend,


The Cancun Climate Con

As conference delegates shivered in Cancun during its coldest weather in 100 years, power-hungry elitists labored behind the scenes to implement the real goal of this “global warming” summit, this sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16), this clever political con job.

That the Cancun summit was never a climate conference at all has become increasingly obvious. Even before it began, IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said, COP-16 is actually “one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.” In fact, it has “almost nothing to do with the environmental policy.” Its real purpose “is redistributing the world's wealth and natural resources.”

A few days later, IPCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told conference attendees, “The world is looking for new answers to the political, economic and social challenges which all countries face.” That the “new answers” focused primarily on how much more money and technology developed nations “owe” poor countries further affirmed the proceedings’ true nature.

As Viscount Christopher Monckton has accurately noted, the entire UN IPCC process is a “monstrous transfer of power from once-proud, once-sovereign, once-democratic nations” … to the corrupt, unelected Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The grand design – built on the model of the European Union – is to give the Secretariat power to compel once-independent nations to compile and submit vast quantities of information to the UN, pay ever-increasing taxes to unelected internationalists, and do the bureaucrats’ bidding on a host of issues. They are especially keen to compel the replacement of affordable, reliable hydrocarbon energy with “eco-friendly,” “sustainable” wind, solar and biofuel power.

Claims that “the science is settled” and there is “scientific consensus” on manmade climate disasters have already been demolished. The ClimateGate emails, revelations that numerous “peer-reviewed” IPCC “studies” were actually environmentalist press releases and student papers, and admissions by alarmists themselves took care of that. “There has been no statistically significant warming” since 1995, Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit admitted to the BBC in February 2010.

“No kidding,” his fellow Brits would tell him now, amid one of the UK’s coldest winters in a century.

In fact, there is not now and never has been a “consensus” on manmade global warming. A new report by Marc Morano, of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and, lists more than 1,000 scientists who have openly challenged the IPCC and claims that humans, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide are causing a climate crisis. One of them, Swedish climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, accused the alarmist community of relying on inadequate computer models to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming, to generate funding, gain attention and influence public policy.

“If this is what ‘science’ has become,” he added, “I as a scientist am ashamed.”

However, these cold realities have done little to chasten the alarmists or temper their tone. Far too much money, power and prestige are at stake. Confronted in Cancun with Dr. Jones’ admission, a startled IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri pointed to the discredited Fourth Assessment Report (of which Edenhofer was a lead author) as his sole source for “scientific” information – and refused even to say whether he agreed that warming had stopped 15 years ago.

During the widely covered CFACT press conference in Cancun, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer addressed some of the reasons so many scientists dissent from IPCC orthodoxy. Many of the scary scenarios and predictions of imminent crisis, he explained, are based on computerized climate models that assume carbon dioxide drives climate change, but are deficient or erroneous in reflecting major climate mechanisms. For example, clouds cause negative feedback (cooling effects), and not just the positive feedbacks (heat trapping effects and warming) assumed by nearly all climate models.

Dr. Spencer also challenged a recent paper that continues to insist that clouds only trap heat and warm the planet. This paper defies science and common sense, he noted, and is “one more reason the public is increasingly distrustful of the scientific community, when it comes to research having enormous policy implications” for energy use, jobs, economic growth, and human health and welfare.

In short, debunking alarmist climate science is relatively easy. The much harder job has always been to expose the true intentions of the UN climate cabal. CFACT and others did this in Cancun, by demanding an end to “energy poverty,” condemning phony “climate change” obstacles to affordable energy, and insisting that poor countries be encouraged and helped to achieve the health, prosperity and modern living standards that only hydrocarbons can ensure and sustain.

When billionaires Ted Turner and Richard Branson tried to discuss ways to profit from global warming hype, “renewable” energy and CO2 emissions trading, a team of CFACT college students exposed their hypocrisy and anti-people climate profiteering. Wind, solar and biofuel companies are “producing products people don’t want and can't afford,” the students pointed out. Even more immorally, they are conspiring to keep poor families impoverished and afflicted by malaria, lung infections, dysentery and other diseases of poverty.

Meanwhile, champions of “climate ethics” and “environmental justice” in dozens of rich countries are all too happy to provide what Lord Monckton called “bailout bucks for bedwetting big businesses,” to ensure their continued cooperation with the wealth redistribution scheme. He also slammed the notion of giving kleptocratic governments $100 billion a year – which will do little except perhaps keep poor families from starving. If they are to achieve their hopes and dreams, they need abundant, reliable, affordable energy: ie, fossil fuels.

Climate alarmists say poor families will be devastated by global warming, unless we slash carbon dioxide emissions. No. The world’s poor are being devastated right now by climate alarmism. US Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) and others who say poor countries must live “sustainably” and rely on “renewable” energy are rich, callous hypocrites, Canadian policy analyst Redmond Weissenberger said. They would never live that way themselves, but they want Earth’s poorest people to forego “the energy, wealth, health, clean water, safety and longer lives we enjoy, thanks to fossil fuels.”

A CFACT-organized bus tour drove this fact home. Delegates and journalists visited a village whose residents work at lavish Cancun hotels, but whose own houses are built of cardboard, plywood, rope and sticks – and lack electricity, running water, sanitation, trash pickup or even a functional public school.

“It is wrong to erect obstacles to progress for communities like this,” CFACT President David Rothbard told tour participants. “And yet, global warming campaigners are in Cancun, proposing treaty provisions that would permanently trap these families in energy poverty, while doing nothing to stabilize the Earth’s constantly and naturally changing climate.”

“The UN has always been about the politics of [climate science],” Morano told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto. “They produce the best science that politics can manufacture, and their goal has always been global governance. They openly admit it and are using climate scares to achieve it.”

Decent people everywhere must help ensure this does not happen. The battle will continue through COP-17 in Durban, South Africa and COP-18 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, during the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit that launched this power grab. We hope you will join us on the ramparts.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

A very selective precautionary principle

Good to take precautions against warming but wrong to take precautions against cooling?

The so-called "precautionary principle" is the last refuge of the Warmist when confronted with evidence that the global warming scare rests on very shallow foundations. "But it might happen so we should take precautions against it", they say.

But it such thinking is incoherent. How do we decide what we should take precautions against? There are many hazards in life and we can afford to take precautions against only the most likely ones of them.

The incoherence was in evidence in the article I excerpted yesterday under the heading: "Britain's one time chief alarmist rejects the Warmist Met office advice". (Originally here)

The argument was that Britain should not prepare for any more severe winters as continued cooling is unlikely. In other words, the precautionary principle is abandoned and opposed in that case.

A reader comments: "I guess they just invoke the precautionary principle when it's their unproven fantasies (not to mention the greening of their pockets) that are at stake. They want us to throw trillions at non-existent AGW (oops, sorry, I mean "climate change"), but investing in something that'll save lives and prevent real massive economic loss? ...well, you've gotta draw the line somewhere, after all. Hey, what are the lives of a few peasants, anyway, if you can't make a buck off 'em; and what's economic catastrophe, if you can't profit from it?"

Assessing the accuracy of ice-core CO2 records

In the excerpt below, David Middleton points out large problems with ice-core data and suggests that fossil Plant Stomata give a much more accurate account of past CO2 levels -- an account that gives no support for Warmism at all and which in fact supports the obvious physics of the matter: Warming causes higher CO2 levels rather than vice versa

A record of atmospheric CO2 over the last 1,000 years constructed from Antarctic ice cores and the modern instrumental data from the Mauna Loa Observatory suggests that the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration was a relatively stable ~275ppmv up until the mid 19th Century. Since then, CO2 levels have been climbing rapidly to levels that are often described as unprecedented in the last several hundred thousand to several million years.

Three common ways to estimate pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentrations (before instrumental records began in 1959) are:

1) Measuring CO2 content in air bubbles trapped in ice cores.

2) Measuring the density of stomata in plants.

3) GEOCARB (Berner et al., 1991, 1999, 2004): A geological model for the evolution of atmospheric CO2 over the Phanerozoic Eon. This model is derived from "geological, geochemical, biological, and climatological data." The main drivers being tectonic activity, organic matter burial and continental rock weathering.


The advantage to the ice core method is that it provides a continuous record of relative CO2 changes going back in time 800,000 years, with a resolution ranging from annual in the shallow section to multi-decadal in the deeper section. Pleistocene-age ice core records seem to indicate a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature; although the delta-CO2 lags behind the delta-T by an average of 800 years.


Stomata are microscopic pores found in leaves and the stem epidermis of plants. They are used for gas exchange. The stomatal density in some C3 plants will vary inversely with the concentration of atmospheric CO2. Stomatal density can be empirically tested and calibrated to CO2 changes over the last 60 years in living plants. The advantage to the stomatal data is that the relationship of the Stomatal Index and atmospheric CO2 can be empirically demonstrated.

When stomata-derived CO2 (red) is compared to ice core-derived CO2 (blue), the stomata generally show much more variability in the atmospheric CO2 level and often show levels much higher than the ice cores.

Plant stomata suggest that the pre-industrial CO2 levels were commonly in the 360 to 390ppmv range.


GEOCARB provides a continuous long-term record of atmospheric CO2 changes; but it is a very low-frequency record.

The lack of a long-term correlation between CO2 and temperature is very apparent when GEOCARB is compared to Veizer's d18O-derived Phanerozoic temperature reconstruction. As can be seen in the figure above, plant stomata indicate a much greater range of CO2 variability; but are in general agreement with the lower frequency GEOCARB model.


Ice cores and GEOCARB provide continuous long-term records; while plant stomata records are discontinuous and limited to fossil stomata that can be accurately aged and calibrated to extant plant taxa. GEOCARB yields a very low frequency record, ice cores have better resolution and stomata can yield very high frequency data. Modern CO2 levels are unspectacular according to GEOCARB, unprecedented according to the ice cores and not anomalous according to plant stomata. So which method provides the most accurate reconstruction of past atmospheric CO2?

The problems with the ice core data are 1) the air-age vs. ice-age delta and 2) the effects of burial depth on gas concentrations.

The age of the layers of ice can be fairly easily and accurately determined. The age of the air trapped in the ice is not so easily or accurately determined. Currently the most common method for aging the air is through the use of "firn densification models" (FDM). Firn is more dense than snow; but less dense than ice. As the layers of snow and ice are buried, they are compressed into firn and then ice. The depth at which the pore space in the firn closes off and traps gas can vary greatly. So the delta between the age of the ice and the ago of the air can vary from as little as 30 years to more than 2,000 years.

The EPICA C core has a delta of over 2,000 years. The pores don't close off until a depth of 99 m, where the ice is 2,424 years old. According to the firn densification model, last year's air is trapped at that depth in ice that was deposited over 2,000 years ago.

I have a lot of doubts about the accuracy of the FDM method. I somehow doubt that the air at a depth of 99 meters is last year's air. Gas doesn't tend to migrate downward through sediment. Being less dense than rock and water, it migrates upward. That's why oil and gas are almost always a lot older than the rock formations in which they are trapped. I do realize that the contemporaneous atmosphere will permeate down into the ice. But it seems to me that at depth, there would be a mixture of air permeating downward, in situ air, and older air that had migrated upward before the ice fully "lithified".

The stomata data routinely show that atmospheric CO2 levels were higher than the ice cores do. Plant stomata data from the previous interglacial (Eemian/Sangamonian) were higher than the ice cores indicate.

The GEOCARB data also suggest that ice core CO2 data are too low. The average CO2 level of the Pleistocene ice cores is 36ppmv less than GEOCARB.

Recent satellite data (NASA AIRS) show that atmospheric CO2 levels in the polar regions are significantly less than in lower latitudes.


The current "paradigm" says that atmospheric CO2 has risen from ~275ppmv to 388ppmv since the mid-1800?s as the result of fossil fuel combustion by humans. Increasing CO2 levels are supposedly warming the planet.

However, if we use Moberg's (2005) non-Hockey Stick reconstruction, the correlation between CO2 and temperature changes a bit.

Moberg did a far better job in honoring the low frequency components of the climate signal. Reconstructions like these indicate a far more variable climate over the last 2,000 years than the "Hockey Sticks" do. Moberg also shows that the warm up from the Little Ice Age began in 1600, 260 years before CO2 levels started to rise.

As can be seen below, geologically consistent reconstructions like Moberg and Esper are in far better agreement with "direct" paleotemperature measurements, like Alley's ice core reconstruction for Central Greenland.

What happens if we use the plant stomata-derived CO2 instead of the ice core data?

We find that the ~250-year lag time is consistent. CO2 levels peaked 250 years after the Medieval Warm Period peaked and the Little Ice Age cooling began and CO2 bottomed out 240 years after the trough of the Little Ice Age. In a fashion similar to the glacial/interglacial lags in the ice cores, the plant stomata data indicate that CO2 has lagged behind temperature changes by about 250 years over the last millennium. The rise in CO2 that began in 1860 is most likely the result of warming oceans degassing.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)

Global warming 'will give Britain longer, colder winters' as melting sea ice plays havoc with weather patterns

Greenie logic below. For a start the Arctic has been GAINING sea ice in the last 2 or 3 years so that cannot explain recent events; They admit that warming has been very uneven across the Arctic, so how is that explained by GLOBAL warming? How does their explanation explain contemporaneous cooling half a world away from the Arctic -- in Australia?

Britain will be hit by longer and colder winters in coming years because of global warming, scientists have said.

Melting Arctic Sea ice has changed wind patterns in the northern hemisphere - bringing blasts of colder air across the UK. Scientists believe the changes could be why we have been experiencing such a bitterly cold December.

In future we are three times as likely to be hit by bitterly cold winter months because of the changing climate.

Vladimir Petoukhov, who conducted the study at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact in Germany, said the disappearing sea ice will have an unpredictable impact on the climate.

'This is not what one would expect. Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far away sea-ice won't bother him could be wrong,' he said. 'There are complex interconnections in the climate system, and in the Barents-Kara Sea we have discovered a powerful feedback mechanism. 'Our results imply that several recent severe winters do not conflict with the global warming picture but rather supplement it.'

Rising temperatures in the Arctic - increasing at two to three times the global average - have peeled back the region's floating ice cover by 20 percent over the last three decades. As the Arctic ice cap has melted the heat from the relatively-warm seawater escapes into the colder atmosphere above, creating an area of high pressure. That creates clockwise winds that sweep south over the UK and northern Europe.

The study was completed last year - before Britain was hit by a freezing winter and heavy snowfall.

Scientists said it was too early to say if the freezing conditions this year and last year were caused by changes in the Arctic. But as the ice continues to melt, Britain will begin to have warmer than average winters - but not for another half a century.

Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of physics of the ocean at the Potsdam Institute, said: 'If you look ahead 40 or 50 years, these cold winters will be getting warmer because, even though you are getting an inflow of cold polar air, that air mass is getting warmer because of the greenhouse effect. 'So it's a transient phenomenon. In the long run, global warming wins out.'

The paper was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last month.


Glory be to Gaia, I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

CHRISTMAS is when two great religions collide: Christianity and environmentalism. It's God v Gaia, Christmas trees v tree huggers, and peace on earth v Greenpeace. Christians do not see nature as an end in itself. As Genesis puts it: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

To greenies, this is a horror story: a recipe for overpopulation and the exploitation of nature. And how dare the Bible put man in charge of fish and birds and all living creatures? This is so anthropocentric, isn't it?

So along comes Christmas. It celebrates not only the arrival of yet another baby in this overpopulated world but life as such. It is about God saying yes to mankind: "peace to men on whom his favour rests", as the Gospel according to Luke records it. For an environmentalist, people are nothing to celebrate. They consume resources, they leave their carbon footprints wherever they go, and they pollute the air and the sea. A world without humans would be a much better place.

The following tips for a green Christmas are not made up. They can be found on numerous websites.

For a start, stop sending Christmas cards. Apparently, there are about a billion Christmas cards sent every year, which means 20,000 tons of paper. This is just a big waste. So abolish them. Or at least rip out the front page of a Christmas card so you can reuse it next year.

The same is true for gift wrapping. OK, nicely wrapped presents look good. But, seriously, why not use newspapers or at least recycle old gift wraps? It may not always fit the next present perfectly, but the recipient will understand that sacrifices for the environment must be made.

Talking of presents, don't give any new goods. Go to vintage and second-hand markets to find gifts that are pre-owned. This means their environmental footprint is limited. Better still: give environmentally useful presents. How about a new rainwater tank for your wife?

Christmas trees do look green, but of course they are not. It's wrong to cut a perfectly healthy tree so you can look at it for a couple of weeks. Think of the water it consumed to grow. Plastic trees are no alternative, because their production used up a lot of energy and emitted a lot of dirty carbon. Besides, plastic trees can contain PVC and that's just evil. It's a chemical and chemicals are generally suspicious.

The best tree is no tree. But if you really need to have one, make sure it is decorated with energy-saving light bulbs. Better still, use LED lights. And don't forget to switch them off when no one looks at the tree. By the way, using wax candles is not an acceptable option, as robbing the bees of their wax is ethically wrong.

The species that suffers the most at Christmas is the turkey. Millions of innocent turkeys are slaughtered every year. The least you can do is use organic turkeys. Of course, there are very few non-organic turkeys around because they all consist of living matter. But making sure that the turkey had a good life before it was killed is obviously a good thing.

Having no turkey at all is even better. In fact, don't have any meat. "If you really want to use less energy with your Christmas dinner, consider serving a vegetarian dinner," a green Christmas website suggests. "Each pound of meat raised requires far more energy (and carbon) to produce than vegetables, pulses and grains. While some families might be reluctant to try different dishes when they're expecting the usual Christmas turkey, this is a great chance to learn how to cook new and exciting dinners.'

So instead of Christmas turkey, try some home-grown organic green beans with mash. That can be very festive indeed.

Finally, resist the temptation to wash down your alternative Christmas meal with the usual beers and champagne from the big liquor chain store. There are many locally brewed organic beers, and even for sparkling wine you now have a vast range of environmentally sensible options. And apparently, as Britain's The Independent says, there is "organic champagne, which is rounder and softer than the Bollinger I used to fill up on".

So as you sit at home in front of a pot plant decorated with energy-saving light bulbs, unpacking second-hand solar-powered battery chargers from recycled newspaper wrappings, just before having a modest vegetarian organic dinner, you will surely feel the very warm inner glow of a morally superior Christmas deep inside you.

Glory to Gaia in the highest, and peace to all those who know how to celebrate a fully compostable Christmas.


Severe freeze in Alaska too

Cold temperatures again forced the Alaska Dog Mushers Association to postpone the start of the sprint sled dog racing season.

The opening event of the Annamaet Challenge Series was postponed when the official National Weather Service temperature at 8:15 Sunday morning was 25 below.

The five-race series is now scheduled for Dec. 26, Jan 2, Jan. 9, Jan. 16 and Jan. 30.


Polar bears numbers increasing, say those who live beside them

The European Union ban on polar bear trophies could be lifted, depending on the outcome of an upcoming survey of the animals in the Baffin Bay-Kane Basin area.

The EU banned the import of trophies from the area between Greenland and Nunavut in 2008, after its scientific review group reviewed population and hunting numbers provided by the territorial and federal governments and decided polar bears in the region were being overhunted.

The ban could be lifted relatively quickly, however, if the survey planned for next year finds higher numbers of the animals than previously reported, said Marco Valentini, chair of the EU's scientific review group.

The EU ban, which came soon after a U.S. ban was imposed, has hurt Inuit communities, hunters say, as fewer sport hunters are coming from Europe because they can't take their bear hides home.

"It has been one of the difficulties for the hunters, as they have lost the source of income for their family," said Harry Alookie, a hunter in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut. "If it was lifted, it would help the community, as it had benefited in the past."

Nunavut Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk announced in March that the total allowable harvest in Baffin Bay would decrease by 10 bears a year over the next four years, reducing the quota from 105 bears to 65 bears by 2013. Hunters from Greenland kill 68 each year, a drop over the last three years from as many as 200 bears a year.

Inuit hunters say the number of bears has been increasing, but most [Warmist] scientists disagree.

More here


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

A new level of Warmist panic

Below is the first part of a report in the NYT on Prof. Richard Alley. He makes the exraordinary claim highlighted below. In a subsequent email to Marc Morano, however, he had a much more cautious story

In an article this week on the relentless rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, I outlined one of the canonical projections of climate science: if the amount of carbon dioxide doubles, the average surface temperature of the earth is likely to increase by 5 or 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping change. I contrasted that with a prediction from skeptics of climate change who contend that the increase is likely to be less than 2 degrees.

One major voice on climate science, Richard B. Alley of the Pennsylvania State University, told me he gets annoyed by the way this contrast is often presented in news accounts. The higher estimate is often put forward as a worst case, he pointed out, while the skeptic number is presented as the best case.

In fact, as Dr. Alley reminds anyone who will listen, and as he recently told a Congressional committee, the estimate of 5 or 6 degrees is actually mildly optimistic. Computer programs used to forecast future climate show it as the most likely outcome from a doubling of carbon dioxide, but those programs also show substantial probabilities that the warming will be much greater.

The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said — an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants.

Dr. Alley calls the usual news media presentation of the issue a form of “false balance.” In his view, mainstream climate science should be seen as coming down on the conservative side of a range of numbers that runs from 2 degrees to 20 degrees. And in setting public policy, he said, lawmakers need to entertain the possibility that any of these numbers is correct.


The crucial cloud question

The effect of clouds is absolutely crucial to the alarmist predictions emanating from Warmist "models", but, as we see below, support for what the Warmists claim is at best equivocal

David Whitehouse

Clouds, their effect on climate and how to treat them in climate models, is one of the most pressing problems in climate science and a great limit to our understanding of the workings of our planet and our ability to make predictions. Of all the problems concerning clouds the question of cloud feedback is one of the most puzzling. Many believe that much of the warming over the next century will come from such feedback and not from CO2.

It is estimated that clouds currently reflect, on average 2 Watts per sq metre back into space. The question is, is this number a function of temperature? How do clouds react to changes in temperature? Do they counter temperature change or amplify it?

In a recent paper in the journal Science Dressler of Texas A&M University tackled the question by looking at the El Nino and La Nina effect and asking how they influenced cloud cover.

The researchers looked at changes in global cloud cover during the EL Nino’s and La Nina’s of the past decade and, after removing the effect of H2O feedbacks, say they found a small positive feedback, but then added that they cannot exclude the possibility of a small negative feedback.

The slope of the fitted line is the strength of the cloud feedback. Its gradient determines whether the feedback is positive or negative. It’s clear that the result is equivocal and that the small slope calculated depends upon only a handful of outlier datapoints out of a total 120! Personally, my conclusion is that it is probably best to draw no great conclusion from this dataset other than it indicates that any effect is not large.

Technically Dressler found that the answer to the question I poised at the start of this article; Is the reflectance of clouds a function of temperature, to be yes and gives the result 0.54 +/- 0.74 Watts per sq metre.

The way this research has been presented is somewhat puzzling. It has been described as an important check that climate models have passed?

The Dressler report was published on the final Friday of the UN conference at Cancun and the headline describing the research in the News of the Week section of Science was, “El Nino Lends More Confidence to Strong Global Warming.” In my view this is a misleading description of Dressler’s paper.

In the body of the news report at least the description of the research as “convincing evidence” is in parenthesis and there is a quote by Dressler that his analysis “doesn’t settle the question.” And that he “cannot exclude the possibility of a small negative feedback.” Such comments render the headline of the news report highly misleading.

In addition Dressler looked at the way eight leading climate models handled the issue of cloud feedback and found that on average the models produce a small positive feedback when run over a century. This was said to be some indication that the models successfully simulate the response of clouds to climate variations. Others commented that it was an important check on the models. Given the equivocal nature of Dressler’s results and the overall questions surrounding the approach of many climate models, I think that is too much of a conclusion.

Earlier this year Dr Roy Spencer published similar research, based on the same data that led to a very different conclusion. He calls the Dressler paper a “step backward in climate research.”

He maintains that Dressler is seeing not only cloud changes caused by temperature changes, but (as perhaps would be expected in such a complicated, interconnected system as our atmosphere) also temperature changes cause by natural cloud fluctuations. The problem, he says, is one of separating cause and effect

Spencer et al use a more complex, and they say more powerful, way of analysing the data that they say allows the question of cause and effect to be delineated. In so doing they say the data supports a strong negative feedback. Dressler in the Science paper says that such an approach (though it is not clear if he is referring specifically to Spencer’s paper) has been criticised on methodological grounds.

In the subsequent debate the key issue according to Dressler is that Spencer believes that the El Nino effect is caused by variations in cloud cover. Spencer denies this and says the cause of El Nino’s is not important to his analysis.

Whatever the scientific outcome of the debate about the nature of cloud feedback there are two points that emerge.

There are great policy ramifications of the results of this research and given the state of the science it would be unwise to accept this question as answered when determining policy.

In the News section of Science Dressler says his conclusions are about as good as can be done with the current datasets. This is probably true but, despite the Science headline about this research lending more confidence, the issue has not been settled.

SOURCE (See the original for the graphic)

'The Most Anti-Manufacturing Energy Policy Of Any Government In British History'

A recent speech below by Lord Lawson of Blaby to the House of Lords

My Lords, let me first declare an interest as chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, of which I gave fuller details in this House on 2 November. I must say that I am not the slightest bit surprised that this Bill has the support of the party opposite. It is the most dirigiste legislation the present Government have so far produced.

What I propose to do today is to look at the philosophy and policy that lie behind the Bill, to which the Minister alluded in his opening remarks. It is an area in which I have form, as it were. As the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right honourable friend Mr Huhne, wrote in the Daily Telegraph on 16 December:

“So today the Coalition begins a consultation on a reform that would reshape this market more fundamentally than at any time since the 1980s, when the Lawson reforms were the pioneer of Europe's deregulation”.

Nor were those reforms simply a matter of energy privatisation, although that was an important part of them. They went much further than that. As Oxford’s Professor Dieter Helm has written in his definitive work, Energy, the State , and the Market: British Energy Policy since 1979,

“the principles of energy policy were rewritten, notably after Nigel Lawson moved to the Department of Energy. His restatement of energy policy in his speech on 'The Market for Energy' in 1982 can be seen, in retrospect, as a defining moment. A new philosophy was set out, motivating much of what followed. His rejection of planning and many of the activities then going on within the Department of Energy was revolutionary at the time”.

That new approach produced well over a quarter of a century of reliable energy supplies at the lowest practicable cost. It should not be torn up, as it is now being torn up, without very good reason.

So what is the reason? According to Mr Huhne, in his Statement on so-called “Electricity Market Reform” last week:

“The current energy market has served us well, but it cannot deliver long-term investment on the scale that we need, nor can it give customers the best deal. Left untouched, it would lock carbon emissions into the system for decades to come."

So there we have it. Pace Mr Huhne the market can certainly deliver adequate investment, provided it is free from arbitrary government impositions and from major uncertainties about future government energy policy. It can undoubtedly give customers the best deal, as it has for more than a quarter of a century. But it is true that it may well lock carbon emissions into the system, to use Mr Huhne’s phrase, for decades to come. That is precisely because it is carbon-based energy that now, and for the foreseeable future, gives energy customers, both corporate and individual, the best deal. Indeed, Mr Huhne freely admitted as much when later in his Statement he said:

“At the moment, there is a bias towards low-cost, low-risk fossil fuel generation”. Indeed there is, and quite right too—except that it is not a bias. It is the market providing UK energy customers with the best available deal.

The purpose of this Bill, or, rather, the policy behind it, is to bring that to an end in an obsession to eliminate United Kingdom carbon emissions. Again I will quote from the Statement for what I promise to be the last time. Mr Huhne said that: “we face growing demand, shrinking supply and ambitious emissions reductions targets”.—[Official Report, Commons, 16/12/10; col. 1064.]

We do indeed face growing demand, although the massive economic burden imposed by the energy policy that lies behind this Bill will certainly damage the economy sufficiently to reduce the growth in demand. We are undoubtedly lumbered with self-imposed unilateral emissions reductions targets. The reference to “shrinking supply” is complete nonsense. It is the very reverse of the truth. Indeed, Mr Huhne admitted as much when he explained to the CBI: “Left untouched, the electricity market would allow a new dash for gas”.

Indeed, so it would and so it should. The most dramatic technological breakthrough in the world of energy since my time as Secretary of State almost 30 years ago is the very recent development of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which together have made the production of gas from shale economic and highly competitive. As a result, the official US Energy Information Administration, for example, announced only last week that America’s technically and commercially recoverable shale gas reserves are twice as abundant as they previously thought them to be. Indeed, the United States is already set to overtake Russia—if it has not already done so—as the world’s largest gas producer, and this is just the start.

Although America has been first in the field—a result of a technological breakthrough by the private sector, incidentally, which owes nothing to any government support or technology stimulus—the world is awash with shale, in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. We now know that we live in a world in which there will be an abundance of gas far into the foreseeable future and beyond. Because it is spread throughout the world, we no longer need to fear the strategic insecurity of being overdependent on either Russia or the Middle East.

Indeed, in so far as there is an energy security problem in this country, it stems entirely from the Government’s obsession of ensuring by means of massive subsidies, combined with growing penalties and restrictions on the use of gas, that we become heavily dependent on wind power. That government-imposed insecurity has three dimensions. First, there is the inherently unreliable nature of wind, which sometimes blows and sometimes does not. Secondly, there is the question of whether it is practically possible to build and install wind turbines on the scale required to meet our energy needs, leaving aside the huge economic and environmental costs of doing so. Thirdly, there is the fact that an indispensable component of wind turbines is neodymium, a rare mineral, which is mined and refined—in a highly polluting way, incidentally—only in China, so we are dependent completely on China.

What are the consequences of the new energy policy which lies behind this Bill, whose essential purpose is substantially to raise the cost of UK energy by turning our back on abundant low-cost gas and relying on higher cost nuclear power and, to an even greater degree, on very much higher cost wind power? There are three consequences, two of them certain and the third quite likely.

The first is that by substantially raising the cost of energy, the policy will do great damage to the economy in general and to manufacturing in particular, at a time when it is clear that our principal competitors overseas have not the slightest intention of following suit. It is indeed curious, to say the least, that a Government that came to power saying they wished to rebalance our economy so as to reduce our relative dependence on financial services, which implies having a stronger manufacturing sector, should be determined to impose the most anti-manufacturing energy policy of any Government in British history.

The second consequence is that, despite the provisions in the Bill before us today, the massive rise in energy costs, which is the clear purpose of this policy, will lead to a huge increase in fuel poverty at a time when conditions are tough enough as it is for those on low incomes. Those two consequences of this policy are certain.

The third, which is not certain but quite likely, is that the dysfunctional energy policy to which the Government are committed will prove unable to provide sufficient reliable electricity to meet the nation’s demand, and the lights will go out. The noble Lord, Lord McFall, warned of that in his intervention earlier in the debate. And all this in the cause of eliminating UK carbon emissions.

Moreover, there is a further irony. Per kilowatt of electricity generated, gas produces only half the carbon emissions of coal, so it is quite possible that by switching from coal to gas, the UK might be able to meet or at least get very close to the 2020 target for emissions reductions enshrined in the Climate Change Act. It would not, of course, make it possible to meet the near total decarbonisation enshrined in the 2050 target, but by 2020, or more likely well before that, it will have become abundantly clear that global decarbonisation is simply not going to happen, and that for this country to persist with a policy of unilateral national decarbonisation will be manifestly absurd and indefensible. Indeed, as we suffer the coldest winter since records began 100 years ago, well before 2020 it might just begin to dawn even on green-obsessed government Ministers that there may not be any case for doing so.

At present, the coalition Government are having to tackle with determination and vigour an unenviable fiscal inheritance in a tough economic climate. I wish them well. But to make that task substantially harder by embracing, for no good reason whatever, the massive self-imposed economic burden embodied in the policy which lies behind this Bill is madness.


Britain's one time chief alarmist rejects the Warmist Met office advice

The row over the need for a multimillion-pound investment in snowploughs, de-icing equipment and salt stocks deepened this morning with the publication of a government-backed report using Met Office predictions that successive hard winters are rare.

The report by David Quarmby, chairman of the RAC Foundation, said the Met Office remained convinced that harsh winters do not come in clusters. Asked whether there should be concerted investment in snow-clearing equipment, following the third snowbound winter in a row, Quarmby said: "Are you happy to invest more in kit that may sit at the back of the depot and won't be used?"

But the findings of the government-commissioned study were contradicted by Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, who warned that ministers should plan for more cold winters.

This morning, King, the chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, told Radio 4's Today programme: "My advice would be prepare for it [cold winters]. It may not happen but the risk to our economy is very significant if we are not prepared."

Quarmby said the Met Office remained convinced that the severe cold snap is a one-off phenomenon. "We cannot say this is an annual event," he said.

He estimated that the 2009-2010 cold snap may have cost the economy around £1.5bn, adding that his grandchildren had not even seen snow until last year.

However, Quarmby said politicians may have to go against Met Office advice. "Unless we have got advice to the contrary we have to build the business case on what we have been told about the statistical probability of severe weather. It is the politicians and local government who have to stand up and make the decisions.


Met office blames a 'stupid' public for being unimpressed by its refined -- and misleading -- analyses

As Britain remains cold and snowy, an interesting little dispute has boiled up between the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the Met Office over the quality of longer-range weather forecasting.

And this is illuminated by documents obtained by the BBC under freedom of information from the Met Office. These shed new light on the problems faced by the Met Office in its public communications and the strategies it has adopted for tackling them.

The Met Office is under attack from the GWPF, for its "poor advice" on the likelihood of a harsh and cold winter. The GWPF is drawing attention to a map published on the Met Office website in October which indicated that the UK was likely to experience above-normal temperatures in the ensuing three-month period.

For the GPWF, which is sceptical of the Met Office and other mainstream analysis of global warming, this is evidence of a Met Office tendency to under-predict cold weather and over-predict mild winters.

The Met Office replies that these maps, which feature in the scientific research section of its website, are probabilistic estimates of the chances of a range of outcomes and are not to be taken as simple weather forecasts that can be right or wrong. It tried to squash news stories in October that it was predicting a mild winter.

It should also be noted that, according to the Quarmby report on transport and winter resilience earlier this week, the Met Office did give "early indications of the onset of a cold spell from late November at the end of October".

This argument is linked to views about climate change, but part of the background is the major difficulty the Met Office has faced for some time over forecasting seasonal weather and conveying its views to the public.

It goes back to the well-publicised (and in due course much ridiculed) Met Office forecast of "a barbecue summer" for summer 2009, which turned out to be true if you use your barbecue for collecting rainwater. It became one of the wettest summers in the past century. The widespread derision that resulted left the Met Office feeling badly burnt (while the nation's sausages were not).

The documents we requested show that scientists within the Met Office were uneasy about the language of this prediction. One internal report states:

"The strapline 'odds on for a barbeque summer' was created by the operations and communications teams to reflect the probability of a good summer. Concern over the use of the strapline and its relationship to the scientific information available was expressed by the scientific community, who were not consulted prior to the media release."

The Met Office then resolved to use "more conservative terminology" in future. But its seasonal prediction for last winter was also awry, failing to signal sufficiently the long and severe cold spell.

An internal executive paper noted the impact as follows: "Unfortunately, less 'intelligent' (and potentially hostile) sections of the press, competitors and politicos have been able to maintain a sustained attack on the Met Office ... The opprobrium is leaking across to areas where we have much higher skill such as in short range forecasting and climate change - our brand is coming under pressure and there is some evidence we are losing the respect of the public."

This report argued that one downside of the seasonal forecasts was that they remained on the website and could easily be later compared to reality. It said:

"One of the weaknesses of the presentation of seasonal forecasts is that they were issued with much media involvement and then remain, unchanged, on our website for extended lengths of time - making us a hostage to fortune if the public perception is that the forecast is wrong for a long time before it is updated."
In contrast it noted that the "medium range forecast (out to 15 days ahead) is updated daily on the website which means that no single forecast is ever seen as 'wrong' because long before the weather happens, the forecast has been updated many times."

The intense embarrassment over the seasonal calculations prompted the Met Office to rethink its approach to predictions for several months ahead. It stopped publishing a seasonal forecast for the UK for public consumption (although it added a rolling 30-day view to its main forecast page). Instead it decided to put probabilistic seasonal data on the scientific pages of its website where, in the words of a board paper, such figures can be "more targeted towards users who appreciate their value and limitations".

As another document put it, "'Intelligent' customers (such as the Cabinet Office) find probabilistic forecasts helpful in planning their resource deployment."

A communications plan in February 2010 instructed staff that "interested customers" should be told the three-month outlook will be available on the research pages of the website but that "this message should not be used with our mainstream audiences".

Met Office staff clearly feel the general British public find it difficult to cope with probabilistic statements. A board paper from September 2009 states: "Feedback from Met Office surveys suggests that users would rather receive a deterministic forecast."

It adds: "It is considered that the task of educating the UK public in interpreting probabilistic information will be neither a short-term, nor simple task." It compares this unfavourably with the apparently greater ability of the US public to grasp such material.


Warmists Play Their Christmas Card

First it was the cuddly polar bears (Warning: Polar bears only look cuddly from a distance. They are not really. Should you by chance have a close encounter with a polar bear, do not attempt to cuddle with it) and the cute little penguins, and now USA Today reports that reindeer are endangered by climate change:
Thirteen of the Arctic's 23 largest migrating herds are now in decline, according to the 2010 Arctic Report Card by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A Canadian study last year found that global reindeer populations have fallen 57% from their peak over the past two decades.

"Arctic herds in particular are challenged by climate change, just like polar bears are," study author and University of Alberta ecologist Mark Boyce told Mother Nature Network's Russell McLendon. "It's in the Arctic that climate change is happening faster than anywhere else on the planet."

Can Santa's workshop and the elf population (herds?) be far behind?

I may be wrong but didn’t Finland cull their reindeer herd in 2005 due to overpopulation?

So now the reindeer are endangered according to NOAA because the total amount of reindeer has fallen from a overpopulated high during the Reagan / Bush era. A population that the Norwegians, Sweden and Finland deliberately culled due to overpopulation. A decrease NOAA now claims are due to global warming.

Talk about cooking the books. If increased industrial production increases the reindeer population and decreasing industrial production to fix global warming decreases the reindeer population then the problem is too many environmental activists.

Maybe the solution is to issue hunting permits to cull the herds of environmental activists to save the planet and reindeer herds. After all, if the number of environmental activists are allowed to rise without limit there will soon come a time when their ecological niche is overpopulated and damages all other related niches. Certainly the Conservative and Business environmental niches have been critically damaged.

So call your State Hunting Board today to classify the environmental activists as nuisance wildlife.
They need to be culled to maintain a healthy population as they are currently overpopulated. PETA claims a turkey is a deer is a feral swine is a PETA person. Why not take them at their word and treat them as their philosophy dictates. So call today as only you can correct the dangerous overpopulation of environmental activists.



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


24 December, 2010

New Paper: Solar UV activity increased almost 50% over past 400 years

A peer-reviewed paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that reconstructions of total solar irradiance (TSI) show a significant increase since the Maunder minimum in the 1600's during the Little Ice Age and shows further increases over the 19th and 20th centuries.

The TSI is estimated to have increased 1.25 W/m2 since the Maunder minimum as shown in the first graph below. Use of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation indicates that a 1.25 W/m2 increase in solar activity could account for an approximate .44C global temperature increase [the HADCRU global warming from 1850 to 2000 is .55C].

A significant new finding is that portions of the more energetic ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum increased by almost 50% over the 400 years since the Maunder minimum.

This is highly significant because the UV portion of the solar spectrum is the most important for heating of the oceans due to the greatest penetration beyond the surface and highest energy levels. Solar UV is capable of penetrating the ocean to depths of several meters to cause ocean heating, whereas long wave infrared emission from "greenhouse gases" or the sun is only capable of penetrating the ocean surface a few microns with all energy lost to the phase change of evaporation with no net heating of the ocean. Solar UV irradiance also "exerts control over chemical and physical processes in the Earth's upper atmosphere" such as ozone levels.

Reconstruction of solar spectral irradiance since the Maunder minimum

N. A. Krivova, L. E. A. Vieira, S. K. Solanki


Solar irradiance is the main external driver of the Earth's climate. Whereas the total solar irradiance is the main source of energy input into the climate system, solar UV irradiance exerts control over chemical and physical processes in the Earth's upper atmosphere. The time series of accurate irradiance measurements are, however, relatively short and limit the assessment of the solar contribution to the climate change.

Here we reconstruct solar total and spectral irradiance in the range 115–160,000 nm since 1610. The evolution of the solar photospheric magnetic flux, which is a central input to the model, is appraised from the historical record of the sunspot number using a simple but consistent physical model.

The model predicts an increase of 1.25 W/m2, or about 0.09%, in the 11-year averaged solar total irradiance since the Maunder minimum. Also, irradiance in individual spectral intervals has generally increased during the past four centuries, the magnitude of the trend being higher toward shorter wavelengths.

In particular, the 11-year averaged Ly-? irradiance has increased by almost 50%. An exception is the spectral interval between about 1500 and 2500 nm, where irradiance has slightly decreased (by about 0.02%).

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

A Christmas Present From The New York Times

Not that they really wanted to be so generous, mind you…but in the printed (IHT) version of this long article about the Keelings and CO2 concentration measurements, somebody at the NYT decided to include this graph:

And so millions around the world will be able to see that temperatures have gone up and down in the past 400,000 years, with a characteristic shape (sharp increase with an even more marked peak, slow decline, then sharp increase again) that is currently being replicated (and the top temperatures of the past haven’t been reached yet). The usual reply is that in the past it’s been changes in the Earth’s orbit what drove the temperature changes: and yet, even if CO2 is the “culprit” this time there is evidently something in the Earth’s climate that:

* Keeps temperatures from going unimaginably high

* Counteracts the warming, whatever the CO2 concentrations

* Maintains temperatures on average as much colder than at present

In the medium and long run, humanity should be preparing for a cooler world. Preparation means of course adaptation, the one thing nobody wants to do.


Global Warming Died; Women, Children, AlGore Hardest Hit

by Ed Driscoll

2010 was “The Year ‘Global Warming’ Died,” according to Stacy McCain. I hope he’s right, but if he is, I’d say November of of 2009 certainly accelerated the long overdue enviro-euthanasia process. As Stacy notes:

Even the New York Times is forced to admit that the alarmists are fighting a losing battle:

"The Obama administration, which came into office pledging to limit emissions in the United States, scaled back its ambitions after climate and energy legislation died in the Senate this year.

Challengers have mounted a vigorous assault on the science of climate change. Polls indicate that the public has grown more doubtful about that science."

Science! Science! And if you disagree, you’re anti-Science!

We posted a couple of lengthy items earlier this week exploring how circular the enviro-left’s arguments have become, but Ann Althouse sums them up in a single sentence: "When everything is evidence of the thing you want to believe, it might be time to stop pretending you’re all about science."

And everything really is evidence of what they want to believe.

At the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez reviews “Ice Age 6″ and gives it two frost-bitten thumbs up:

"Unseasonably cold weather in the UK has spurred speculation the earth may be entering a new Ice Age. This flies completely in the face of last decade’s strident warnings about Global Warming. “Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue. Is he barmy?”

Piers Corbyn is about as “barmy” as Time Magazine when it predicted in 1974 that another Ice Age was right around the corner:

"Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round."

The same tone of impending doom; the same portentous omens; the same catastrophic language was used not long ago — but to warn about a new Ice Age. Today the same tenor is being used to caution against Global Warming. How did the “science” turn 180 degrees around in that time? How could the data have suddenly done an about-face? Who knows?

What is common across the decades was the assertion that weather is generating a political crisis which forces governments to act.

We reviewed a number of those headlines then and now, in our “Hide the Decline” edition of Silicon Graffiti last year. Tune in here if you missed it.

And speaking of movies, as I mentioned back in March, a lot of Hollywood’s recent global warming doomfests are going to be remembered as updated versions of Reefer Madness to the next generation of movie fans. Today’s global warming fear-mongering is tomorrow’s late-night camp TV.


Global Cooling Puts Green Jobs On Ice

With much of Europe buried under six-foot snow drifts, businesses and consumers aren't in the mood to spend big dollars on technologies that will make their lives even colder

Talk about an inconvenient truth. The record winter blasting across Europe is freezing demand for products that are supposed to lower heat emissions, reduce energy use, and "save" the earth.
The big chill is also causing U.S. jobs cooked up through millions of dollars in federal swindle-us spending to disappear like snowmen in spring.

Case in point: Solar cell manufacturer SpectraWatt, an Intel spinoff that opened earlier this year in East Fishkill, New York, with the help of lots of scratch from the public coffers. At the ribbon cutting, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority president Francis Murray called SpectraWatt "a testament to the growing momentum of New York's clean energy economy."

U.S. labor secretary Hilda Solis noted that, "Green jobs pay ten to twenty percent more and will be home grown and not outsourced." And there was Marisa Lago, CEO of Empire State Development, who said the solar industry is "perhaps the fastest growing high technology industry in the world today."

That was nine months ago (or less than a year in geological time). On Tuesday, SpectraWatt filed a WARN notice with the New York State Department of Labor indicating it's closing the East Fishkill plant and is letting go its staff of 117 workers. The layoffs start in March. "Reason for Dislocation: Economic," said the notice, which employers must file in the event of substantial headcount reductions.

The notice should also have said SpectraWatt's troubles are "climatological." The deep freeze affecting Germany—one of SpectraWatt's biggest markets--and other parts of Europe and the world has businesses and consumers questioning the whole notion of global warming and suddenly there isn't as much interest in pricey photovoltaic cells as there was less than a year ago.

"The market conditions are difficult," said SpectraWatt VP David O'Connor, in an interview with The Poughkeepsie Journal, "due to seasonality issues in the industry with respect to what's happening in Germany and in general due to both weather and incentives." O'Connor noted that the German government has quietly reduced the incentives it gives to businesses to go solar by 25%.

Not surprisingly, U.S. taxpayers—even in Blue states like New York--are getting sick of watching Obamacrats throw billions of dollars down the drain in an effort to create a whole new industry whose very existence is based on a theory of global warming that many researchers dismiss as junk science that's been propped up with phony baloney data.

"Our government, backed by environmental groups and others with a financial interest, are arm twisting folks into buying products and technology that aren't yet ready for the masses," said one reader from Poughkeepsie, hardly a Tea Party hotbed. "That's why you see all these tax credits and rebates for electric cars and such to force sales for these items that most of us don't want."

It's more than ironic that a publicly funded company that set up shop to build earth-friendly products to offset global warming has fallen victim to record low temperatures in its biggest market.

But it may not be too late: Eco-bloviator Al Gore could single handedly save the green jobs industry by blowing out a few more metric tons of hot air during his next book tour. C'mon Al, the workers of East Fishkill are waiting for you to exhale.


Why did the Met Office forecast a "mild winter"?

Asks Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, as he introduces his readers to a man who got it right

Do you remember? They said it would be mild and damp, and between one degree and one and a half degrees warmer than average. Well, I am now 46 and that means I have seen more winters than most people on this planet, and I can tell you that this one is a corker.

Never mind the record low attained in Northern Ireland this weekend. I can't remember a time when so much snow has lain so thickly on the ground, and we haven't even reached Christmas. And this is the third tough winter in a row. Is it really true that no one saw this coming?

Actually, they did. Allow me to introduce readers to Piers Corbyn, meteorologist and brother of my old chum, bearded leftie MP Jeremy. Piers Corbyn works in an undistinguished office in Borough High Street. He has no telescope or supercomputer. Armed only with a laptop, huge quantities of publicly available data and a first-class degree in astrophysics, he gets it right again and again.

Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its "mild winter" schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years. Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast. He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year's mythical "barbecue summer", and he was vindicated. He was closer to the truth about last winter, too.

He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people - notably in farming - are starting to invest in his forecasts. In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame. How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun.

He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles.

He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar. Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time - and he makes a prophecy.

I have not a clue whether his methods are sound or not. But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more. Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.

Is he barmy? Of course he may be just a fluke-artist. It may be just luck that he has apparently predicted recent weather patterns more accurately than government-sponsored scientists. Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO2 into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming.

The question is whether anthropogenic global warming is the exclusive or dominant fact that determines our climate, or whether Corbyn is also right to insist on the role of the Sun. Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world? The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man. We are forged from a few clods of solar dust. The Sun powers every plant and form of life, and one day the Sun will turn into a red giant and engulf us all. Then it will burn out. Then it will get very nippy indeed.


Eco-bulbs 'a health hazard for babies and pregnant women due to mercury inside'

Energy-saving light bulbs were at the centre of a fresh health scare last night after researchers claimed they can release potentially harmful amounts of mercury if broken.

Levels of toxic vapour around smashed eco-bulbs were up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area, the study said. It added that broken bulbs posed a potential health risk to pregnant women, babies and small children.

The concerns surround ‘compact fluorescent lamps’ (CFLs), the most common type of eco-bulb in Britain, which are mini-versions of the strip lights found in offices.

The European Union is phasing out the traditional ‘incandescent bulbs’ used for more than 120 years and is forcing people to switch to low-energy alternatives to meet its climate change targets.

A CFL uses a fifth of the energy of a conventional bulb and can save £7 a year in bills. However, critics complain that CFLs’ light is harsh and flickery. Medical charities say they can trigger epileptic fits, migraines and skin rashes and have called for an ‘opt out’ for vulnerable people.

Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury, along with other variants of energy-saving lights, such as LEDs and halogen bulbs. The study, for Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, tested a ‘worst case’ scenario using two CFLs, one containing 2 milligrams of mercury and the other 5 milligrams. Neither lamp had a protective casing and both were broken when hot.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute found that they released around 7 micrograms (there are 1,000 micrograms in a milligram) per cubic metre of air. The official guideline limit is 0.35 micrograms per cubic metre.

Federal Environment Agency president Jochen Flasbarth said: ‘The presence of mercury is the downside to energy-saving lamps. We need a lamp technology that can prevent mercury pollution soon. ‘The positive and necessary energy savings of up to 80 per cent as compared with light bulbs must go hand in hand with a safe product that poses no risks to health.’

During tests the German government agency’s researchers were alarmed to discover that some bulbs had no protective cover and broke when hot. High levels of mercury were measured at floor level up to five hours after the bulbs failed. A spokesman for the agency said: ‘Children and expectant mothers should keep away from burst energy-saving lamps. ‘For children’s rooms and other areas at higher risk of lamp breakage, we recommend the use of energy-saving lamps that are protected against breakage.’

However, the UK Government insisted the CFL bulbs were safe – and that the risk from a one-off exposure was minimal. The Health Protection Agency says a broken CFL is unlikely to cause health problems. However, it advises people to ventilate a room where a light has smashed and evacuate it for 15 minutes.

Householders are also advised to wear protective gloves while wiping the area of the break with a damp cloth and picking up fragments of glass. The cloth and glass should be placed in a plastic bag and sealed. CFLs are not supposed to be put in the dustbin, whether broken or intact, but taken as hazardous waste to a recycling centre.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘The mercury contained in low-energy bulbs does not pose a health risk to anyone immediately exposed, should one be broken.’

Friends of the Earth said the switch to low-energy bulbs would reduce exposure to mercury from coal-fired power stations.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

What is the sun up to?

The sun goes through a periodic change around every eleven years where the polarity of the sun’s magnetic field changes poles. Essentially the sun’s magnetic north pole becomes the south pole and vice versa. This is a normal process. As these poles realign and the magnetic field is the weakest, there is an absence of sunspots and this period is referred to as a solar minimum. A solar cycle or SC for short is measured from one solar minimum to the next. But even though the cycle repeats, the intensity of the solar cycle varies significantly.

Scientists have been monitoring sunspots since the 1700’s. Their observations have shown when the sun gets deafly quiet such as during the Maunder and Spörer Minimums; the world experiences great cold periods. These periods were so cold they were referred to as the Little Ice Ages.

What is different about Solar Cycle 24 and why is it relevant? Since the sun has finally entered solar cycle 24 (SC24) with the resurgence of sunspots, most people have turned away from tracking the strength of the rebound. Had they looked, they would have found that the surge into this next solar cycle so far has been rather weak.

The Average Magnetic Planetary Index (Ap index) is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. It has been referred to as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. Ap index measurements began in January 1932. The quieter the sun is magnetically, the smaller the Ap index.

This solar minimum is rather unusual. If we define a period of quiet sun as those months that produced an Ap index of 6 or less and compare the total number of quiet months within each solar minimum, then the results would be: Minimum Preceding Number of Months with Solar Cycle Ap Index of 6 or less SC17 11 months SC18 2 months SC19 2 months SC20 5 months SC21 0 months SC22 0 months SC23 3 months SC24 31 months and counting Last month (November) produced an Ap index of 5. The sun still remains relatively quiet.

For the past three years during the winter, many places experienced some of the coldest, snowiest weather in decades at the same time the sun’s magnetic field produced these 31 quiet months. This occurred in both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. This trend continues into the current winter.

What is the assessment of various solar scientists? There are some scientists that believe the sun, rather than leveling off into a new state in Solar Cycle 24, will continue to free fall throughout this solar cycle. Several scientists including David Hathaway (NASA), William Livingston & Matthew Penn (National Solar Observatory), Khabibullo Abdusamatov (Russian Academy of Science), Cornelis de Jager (The Netherlands) & S. Duhau (Argentina) and Theodor Landscheidt (Germany), have forecast that the sun may enter a period similar to the Dalton Minimum or a more severe “Grand Minima” (such as the Maunder Minimum or Spörer Minimum), a decade from now in Solar Cycle 25.

A few scientists including David C. Archibald (Australia) and M. A. Clilverd (Britain) have warned this might even begin in Solar Cycle 24. We are at the transition into Solar Cycle 24 and this cycle has already shown itself to be unusually quiet. So what can we say at this point in time?

1. The solar minimum leading up to Solar Cycle 24 was the weakest observed in terms of Ap index since measurements first began in January 1932.

2. The sun has definitely undergone a state change.

3. Observationally, solar cycles 3-5, thus far, come very close to matching solar cycles 22- 24. This supports the theory that the Earth is transitioning into a Dalton Minimum type event.

4. The winter weather has produced unusual snowfalls and cold weather in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres for approximately four years now (counting this winter in the mix). This is what might be expected if the Earth is sliding into a new Dalton Minimum.


British Warmists SHOULD be red-faced

But bald-faced is more like it

Let’s hope Santa isn’t relying on weather forecasts from the U.K. Met Office. The British deep freeze of recent weeks (which has also immobilized much of continental Europe) is profoundly embarrassing for the official forecaster. Just two months ago it projected a milder than usual winter.

This debacle is more than merely embarrassing. The Met Office is front and centre in rationalizing the British government’s commitment to fight catastrophic man-made global warming with more and bigger bureaucracy, so its conspicuous errors raise yet more questions about that “settled” science.

When you’re making confident global projections for the year 2100, you can only be contradicted on the basis of alternative hypotheses, of which the vast majority of people have no comprehension. But pretty much anybody can look out of the window and tell the difference between light drizzle and a snowbank. Moreover, private forecasters strongly disagreed with the Met Office’s winter projections as soon as they were made (which should add fuel to calls for the organization’s privatization).

Yesterday, the British-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, one of the world’s leading advocates for climate objectivity, called on the U.K. government to set up an independent inquiry into the Met Office’s failures. It also wants an examination of the institution’s politicization, although that is hardly likely to come from the very government that is manipulating it. Still, bias can be expensive. Dr. Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, noted that the price tag on the country’s unpreparedness for this winter could reach $15-billion.

At the recent Cancun climate meetings, the Met Office presented a study suggesting that the outlook for global climate was, on balance, worse than projected in the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Given its short-range accuracy, this forecast might be taken with a pinch of road salt, or a tot of de-icing fluid.

Significantly, the Met Office is closely associated with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, home of Climategate. Both organizations are deeply involved with the IPCC. When it comes to the CRU’s crystal ball, one of its official declared a decade ago: “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” No danger of that for little Britons this year.

The Met’s blunder follows similar cockups last year and the year before. In February, Met Office scientist Peter Stott declared that 2009 was an anomaly, and that milder and wetter winters were now — for sure — to be expected. He suggested that exceptionally cold British winters such as the one that occurred in 1962-63 were now expected to occur “about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850.” Now, the Met Office is admitting that the current December may be the coldest in Britain in the past 100 years.

No doubt the warmist crowd will be quick to express outrage at this blatant confusion of global climate with local weather, but that won’t wash. The Met makes its short-term forecasts on the basis of the same brand of massive computer power and Rube Goldberg modelling used to project the global climate. The suggestion that forecasting the climate is easier than forecasting the weather comes into the same category as acknowledging that governments couldn’t run a lemonade stand, but then believing that they can “manage” an economy.

Confusing weather with climate isn’t always condemned by alarmists. In March, Al Gore deemed it disgraceful that “deniers” dared to suggest that North America’s East Coast Snowmageddon in any way undermined the Inconvenient Truth of man-made global warming. More snow was obviously due to man. The very next day, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell declared that the lack of snow at the Vancouver Olympics was due to … man-made global warming.

Another example of one-way theory was provided three months later by climatologist Michael Mann, concoctor of the infamous “Hockey Stick” graph, and one of the reluctant stars of the Climategate emails. In an interview, Mr. Mann claimed that the then current North American heat wave was clear evidence of hand of man. So you see the principle: If it supports the warmist cause, it’s climate; if it doesn’t, it’s just weather.

The Met’s red face comes at the end of a very bad year for climatism. It started with Climategate and ended with the utter collapse of the Kyoto process at Cancun. In between, there was a United Nations report that admitted that the IPCC process was deeply flawed, followed by projections from the International Energy Agency that confirmed that bold commitments to slash fossil fuel use were so much political pollution.

Meanwhile, the vast costs of government promotion of alternatives such as wind and solar have also become increasingly apparent, along with the fact that green jobs are a mirage. Mirages definitely aren’t a problem this week on the runways of Heathrow.


Met Office: memory or honesty deficiency?

Amusing. The Met office says it did not issue a forecast "to the general public". But it did make a forecast in map format available to all on the net. So when is a forecast available on the net not a public forecast? Search me! The point is, however, that their models clearly failed again, regardless of how "public" their model output was -- JR

Dave Britton, the Met Office’s Chief Press Officer, e-mailed the following statement to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF):
"Following the entry on your blog regarding the Met Office please find the Met Office response below:

The Met Office has not issued a seasonal forecast to the public and categorically denies forecasting a ‘mild winter’ as suggested by Boris Johnson in his column in the Daily Telegraph.

Following public research, the Met Office no longer issues long-range forecasts for the general public; instead we provide a monthly outlook on our website, which have consistent and clearly sign-posted the very cold conditions."

This is all very interesting. Either the Met Office’s left hand doesn’t know what it’s right hand is doing, the Met Office has no idea what is being said by its employees, or the Met Office is playing semantics in a very disingenuous manner. Why? This bit of information issued by the Met Office in October…
"The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.

The eastern half of England, Cornwall, Scotland and Northern Ireland is in for temperatures above the 3.7C (38.6F) average, more than 2C warmer than last winter.

The map also shows a 40 per cent to 60 per cent probability that western England and Wales will be warmer than 3.7C (38.6F), with a much smaller chance of average or below-average temperatures."

The piece even goes on to name the Met Office employee who spoke about the map and talked up the effort that had gone into producing the start point for a ‘seasonal forecast‘:
"Helen Chivers, Met Office forecaster, insisted the temperature map takes into account the influence of climate factors such as El Nino and La Nina – five-yearly climatic patterns that affect the weather – but admits this is only a “start point” for a seasonal forecast. She said: “The map shows probabilities of temperatures in months ahead compared to average temperatures over a 30-year period."

You can read the whole piece on the Daily Express website, including this response from the independent forecaster, Positive Weather Solutions:
"But other experts maintain we are in for another big freeze. Positive Weather Solutions senior forecaster Jonathan Powell said: “It baffles me how the Met Office can predict a milder-than-average winter when all the indicators show this winter will have parallels to the last one.

“They are standing alone here, as ourselves and other independent forecasters are all predicting a colder-than-average winter.

“It will be interesting to see how predictions by the government-funded Met Office compare with independent forecasters.”

So when is a forecast not a forecast? When the Met Office gets it wrong, it seems. Let’s see how they spin this. But for now the words ‘bang to rights’ spring to mind. ["bang to rights" is a British expression meaning roughly "caught red-handed"]


UK: The big freeze death toll hits 300 people every day

Will this make Seth Borenstein's death count? He recently scraped up a list of deaths due to bad weather which he asserts were caused by global warming. But since warming causes cooling (according to him), I guess the deaths reported below will be added to his list

Just about everybody knows (as mentioned below) that there are more ("excess") deaths in winter than in summer, however, so Borenstein is off with the fairies anyhow. Warmer weather brings FEWER deaths. But I don't suppose we can expect much reality contact from the chief environment reporter of the Associated Press

Nearly 300 more people a day died when freezing temperatures hit at the start of this month, new figures show. A total of 11,193 deaths were registered in England and Wales bet­ween December 3 and 10, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

This is a 21 per cent rise on the previous week, which works out at 282 extra deaths every day.

It has also emerged flu rates have more than doubled in the past week with children the worst-hit. Flu cases in England and Wales rose from 33 per 100,000 people to 87, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners. Infection rates are highest among those aged five to 14, followed by those under four, then people aged 15 to 44.

Age UK called for ministers to bring in an emergency winter plan and tackle fuel poverty and energy efficiency to cut the number of exc­ess deaths in winter. ‘Every winter, tens of thousands of older people die from prevent­able causes. We believe this is an avoidable tragedy we can help to prevent,’ said the charity.

The number of deaths linked to cold weather fell dramatically last winter, despite Britain experiencing what was then one of the worst winters in decades. There were 25,400 ‘excess winter deaths’ in England and Wales between Dec­ember 2009 and March 2010 – 30 per cent down on the previous winter when the weather was milder. It is believed deaths dipped bec­ause flu levels were low.

The Department of Health said it was too early to comment on this year’s rates as figures are compiled from December to March.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley insisted the NHS was prepared. "The winter fuel allowance has been retained and a temporary rise in cold weather payments brought in by the previous government has been made permanent", he added.


UN subterfuge… the global warming hoax

For 30 years the UN has fomented worldwide hysteria based upon the premise of global destruction by CO2

After schooling in the Environmental Sciences, and cleaning up toxic waste sites for an environmental agency, my hobby became global warming. At first it was interesting because the prevailing theory was always changing, but as new theories were advanced, they relied more on data adjustments and political strategy, than science. Today, Americans perceive global warming as a low priority item, and have turned their attention to our economic and security concerns. But big government agencies (UN and US) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) continue to quietly expand UN influence, by teaching their insidious Marxist policies to the bureaucratic, naive, and idiotic.

In 1972, Drs. George Kukla and Robert Matthews were the central figures in convincing the US government that climate change was a threat. Kukla worked with geologist Robert Matthews of Brown University, and presented the conference: “The Present Interglacial: How and When will it End?” Their presentation influenced President Nixon to create the “Panel on the Present Interglacial.”

In a 1974 Time article, Dr. George J. Kukla said the earth was in crisis because his research indicated the earth was headed into an Ice Age! Time reported: “The trend shows no indication of reversing.” Sound familiar? But in the 1981 article: “Evidence is Found of warming Trend,” Kukla said: “We have found within the general pattern a warming element in the right place and in the right season; it is just where we expected it from the theory, it fits nicely.”

The UN jumped on the environmental issue at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, at Stockholm, Sweden. It was organized and led by Canadian, Maurice Strong, the Secretary-General of the Conference. During this conference, the UN Environment Programme was born, which has worldwide jurisdiction over UN environmental matters. The first Executive Director of UNEP was Maurice Strong.

At the June 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Maurice Strong kicked off the conference by calling you a wasteful capitalist pig! Aiming his words at America he said: “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class‚Äîinvolving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning, and suburban housing‚Äîare not sustainable. A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns.”

It was at Rio, that the UNEP issued Agenda 21, a 40-chapter plan detailing the global goals of the UNEP. “Agenda 21” refers to the goals the UN wants to achieve in the 21st century. The UN also created the UN’s Division for Sustainable Development, to fund and manage the implementation of Agenda 21. (In 1992, Congress ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which GH Bush signed. In 1993, WJ Clinton issued Executive Order 12852, creating the “President’s Council on Sustainable Development.” Its purpose: “The Council shall advise the President on matters involving sustainable development.”

For 30 years the UN has fomented worldwide hysteria based upon the premise of global destruction by CO2, and a large percentage of the population reacted just as HL Mencken predicted: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

The science of global warming has been unraveling for years, but one of the most glaring revelations came in 2007, when a UK High Court judge considered the science behind the 2006 Academy Award winning movie “Inconvenient Truth.” The judge ruled the movie contained nine significant errors and ruled it was a “political” movie, not a science movie.

Through the serendipity of Climategate, we discovered that although Russian weather stations cover most of Russia: “the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.” Then came the discovery that famed UK global warming scientist Professor Phil Jones moved weather stations in China. As the scientific methods of global warming scientists were aired, the number of skeptics increased, and one petition now has over 31,000 signatures.

But while the world was debating, the UN was infiltrating! The UN has been quietly training local governments and universities on UN sustainability policies and organizing techniques since 1990. Their plans are in Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, which advises: “Local authority programmes, policies, laws and regulations to achieve Agenda 21 objectives would be assessed and modified, based on local programmes adopted.” This chapter is a primer on how to infiltrate the US at every level, and in every organization.


For 30 years UN scientists contorted scientific theories, data, and “hockey sticks” to cobble their science together. The current status of global warming can be summarized with the Jeffersonian maxim: “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” It is now clear that global warming was an epic scam. Please consider:

Why reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels as called for in the Kyoto Treaty? Which scientists determined the 1990 CO2 levels would save the planet? Actually, the 1990 level was negotiated by bureaucrats, and despite their assertion that CO2 is harmful, they exempted two of the biggest CO2 emitters, China and India.

In 2007, Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria discovered: “These two countries (China and India) are currently building 650 coal-fired power plants. The combined CO2 emissions of these new plants is five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords-that is, if the Kyoto targets were being adhered to by western countries, which they are not.” (Quoted in Climate Change and Presidential Policy, p4.)

Climategate. “Hey buddy, can you tweak some data and delete a few emails for me?”

The 1992 Rio delegates actually admitted that science doesn’t matter! Principle 15: “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

In 2003, Economist Michael Grubb wrote: “The Protocol is essentially an agreement to extend economic globalization to environmental policy: to establish a global emissions market to counter the global environmental consequences of global economic growth.” Fortunately, there were men of vision such as Al Gore, Maurice Strong, and Barack Obama, who teamed up with their friends at Goldman Sachs to create such a system, and thus was born the Chicago Climate Exchange. (CCX).

In November 2010, UN environmental economist Ottmar Edenhofer admitted that in regard to UN environmental policy: “developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

The UN infiltration of America was authorized by bipartisan quisling presidents, whose actions empowered the UN to quietly train and create; hundreds of Marxists change agents at all levels of government and academia. This has been a stealth operation and completely under the media radar. The people who have assimilated the global warming sustainability propaganda are trained and motivated advocates who uphold the New World Order of sustainability by UN fiat, not the Constitution of capitalists.

Sound far-fetched? The US Congress never passed a bill approving green house gas regulations or Cap and Trade. But that hasn’t stopped the EPA from promulgating GHG regulations; and in November 2010, the EPA took a step towards globalizing environmental compliance by signing a cooperative agreement with the European Chemicals Agency, for: “the implementation and further development of EU policies.”

There are hundreds of cities from El Cerrito, California, to Belfast, Maine, that have been trained, and agreed to implement UN Agenda 21 policies! The barbarians are inside our offices, municipal buildings, and schools! If this UN advocacy for a New World Order is not reversed, isn’t it only a matter of time until America becomes known as the most powerful country in the North American Union?


Let there be light – and liberty

Phyllis Schlafly

If we want to continue to enjoy the bright, warm light Thomas Edison's incandescent bulb radiates, Congress will have to repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Environmental "standards" will start eliminating 276 versions of incandescent light bulbs in 2012, and the drop-dead date for our favorite 100-watt light bulb is just one year away.

Then, we will only be able to buy more expensive but allegedly more energy-efficient lighting products such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and force us to do our duty to save the planet. CFLs are also supposed to reduce our dependence on oil, but that's not persuasive because only 1 percent of our electricity is made by oil.

The repeal bill called the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act, introduced by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., will die at the end of this year. We should start now to line up members to support repeal in the newly elected Congress.

When Elena Kagan was asked in her confirmation hearing by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., if it would be constitutional for the government to order all of us to eat "three fruits and three vegetables every day," she evaded answering. She is part of the progressive Obama administration that is committed to the unconstitutional notion that government should tell us how to spend our own money and live our lives, even within our own homes.

The essence of Obamacare is forcing individual Americans to buy health insurance they don't want. Federal Judge Henry Hudson just ruled it is unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health insurance, and we shouldn't be forced to buy light bulbs we don't want.

Newer lighting technologies are on the drawing board, but Americans don't need government to compel us to purchase a new product. We easily advanced from kerosene lamps to Edison's light bulbs, from horse and carriage to automobiles, and from cassettes to CDs and DVDs, without any laws to mandate those changes.

CFLs are so toxic because of the mercury in the glass tubing that the cleanup procedure spelled out by the Environmental Protection Agency is downright scary. The EPA warns that if we break a CFL, we must take the pieces to a recycling center and not launder "clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage." CFLs must be rather dangerous if they will pollute the sewage.

CFL bulbs do not work well in colder temperatures, and most cannot handle dimmer switches; broken CFL bulbs allegedly cause migraines and epilepsy attacks. Their supposed capacity to save energy is greatly exaggerated because, since CFLs do not emit as much heat, we'll have to compensate by turning up our thermostats in winter months.

The one result of CFLs we are sure about is that they export American jobs to China, where manufacturers enjoy the benefit of cheap labor. General Electric has already closed factories in Kentucky and Ohio, and this month it is closing its major light bulb factory in Winchester, Va., that employed 200 people.

The EPA has issued 91 pages of regulations to force manufacturers to revise their packaging to make CFLs more attractive to reluctant customers. The new labels get rid of the watt as the measure of light a bulb puts out and replace it with the lumen, making it difficult for Americans to select the right bulb.

Globalists give us the usual propaganda about an obligation to conform U.S. policy to the rest of the world. Cuba in 2005 exchanged all incandescent light bulbs for CFLs and banned their sale and importation, but surely we should not take our lead from Cuba.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., has been credited with banning incandescent light bulbs, along with imposing obnoxious regulations and phase-out dates. He's now not so eager to claim credit for that law.

When asked in September about his authorship, Upton said, "It was Jane Harman's bill with Denny Hastert and others." By November, he was promising that if he becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, "we'll be re-examining the light bulb issue, no problem."

By December, he was saying that "we have heard the grass roots loud and clear, and will have a hearing early next Congress. The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties – and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best."

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., summed it up: "The misguided ban on incandescent light bulbs needs to be repealed. Banning a product that has been used safely for more than 100 years in favor of Chinese imported CFLs that pose considerable health risks is yet another example of more government intrusion into Americans' personal lives."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Biting winters driven by global warming, say Warmists

The explanation below depends on retreating Arctic ice but in the last two years it has in fact been growing. So they are wrong from their first premise. As an explanation of the present freeze, their explanation explains nothing. They are just closing their eyes and gibbering

Counter-intuitive but true, say scientists: a string of freezing European winters scattered over the last decade has been driven in large part by global warming.

The culprit, according to a new study, is the Arctic's receding surface ice, which at current rates of decline could to disappear entirely during summer months by century's end. The mechanism uncovered triples the chances that future winters in Europe and north Asia will be similarly inclement, the study reports.

Bitingly cold weather wreaked havoc across Europe in the winter months of 2005-2006, dumping snow in southern Spain and plunging eastern Europe and Russia into an unusually -- and deadly -- deep freeze.

Another sustained cold streak in 2009-2010, gave Britain its coldest winter in 14 years, and wreaked transportation havoc across the continent. This year seems poised to deliver a repeat performance.

At first glance, this flurry of frostiness would seem to be at odds with standard climate change scenarios in which Earth's temperature steadily rises, possibly by as much as five or six degrees Celsius (9.0 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. Climate sceptics who question the gravity of global warming or that humans are to blame point to the deep chills as confirmation of their doubts.

Such assertions, counter scientists, mistakenly conflate the long-term patterns of climate with the short-term vagaries of weather, and ignore regional variation in climate change impacts.

New research, however, goes further, showing that global warming has actually contributed to Europe's winter blues. Rising temperatures in the Arctic -- increasing at two to three times the global average -- have peeled back the region's floating ice cover by 20 percent over the last three decades.

This has allowed more of the Sun's radiative force to be absorbed by dark-blue sea rather than bounced back into space by reflective ice and snow, accelerating the warming process.

More critically for weather patterns, it has also created a massive source of heat during the winter months. "Say the ocean is at zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit)," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. "That is a lot warmer than the overlying air in the polar area in winter, so you get a major heat flow heating up the atmosphere from below which you don't have when it is covered by ice. That's a massive change," he told AFP in an interview.

The result, according to a modelling study published earlier this month the Journal of Geophysical Research, is a strong high-pressure system over the newly-exposed sea which brings cold polar air, swirling counter-clockwise, into Europe.

"Recent severe winters like last year's or the one of 2005-2006 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it," explained Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study and a physicist at the Potsdam Institute. "These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and north Asia," he said.

The researchers created a computer model simulating the impact on weather patterns of a gradual reduction of winter ice cover in the Barents-Kara Sea, north of Scandinavia.

Other possible explanations for uncommonly cold winters -- reduced Sun activity or changes in the Gulf Stream -- "tend to exaggerate their effect," Petoukhov said.

He also points out that during the freezing 2005-2006 winter, when temperatures averaged 10 C below normal in Siberia, there were no unusual variations in the north Atlantic oscillation, another putative cause.

Colder European winters do not indicate a slowing of global warming trends, only an uneven distribution, researchers say. "As I look out my window is see about 30 centimetres of snow and the thermostat reads -14.0 C," said Rahmstorf, speaking by phone from Potsdam. "At the same time, in Greenland we have above zero temperatures -- in December."


Comment on the above by Roger A. Pielke, Sr., pointing out that, for all their theories, the Warmists' still can't predict anything

They continue to miss the significance that it is the regional circulations that matter, not a global average anomaly, as I mentioned on my post today.

Until and unless they can skillfully predict observationally documented CHANGES in the statistics (probabilities) of the different major circulation patterns, their explanations are necessarily flawed. There is no evidence that the global climate model multi-decadal predictions (and even shorter term runs on a year or less into the future) have the needed skill.

This does not mean that added CO2, and other human climate forcings [that we discuss in our EOS paper, as well as natural focrings and feedbacks, are not important, but just that we can not predict their effects on circulation features.

Bastardi on global warming causes cold weather myth

Bastardi's Italian English breaches all rules of English grammar but you get the drift

Much of the United States and Europe is suffering through extreme wintery weather conditions. But what is causing it?

Some have blamed global warming, specifically the “Arctic paradox.” However, AccuWeather’s chief hurricane and long-range forecaster Joe Bastardi told the Fox Business Network on Tuesday you can chalk it up to three things – oceans, sunspots and volcanoes.

“A few years ago, about why we have to start looking for more and more of this [cold weather],” Bastardi said. “It’s called the triple crown of cooling – the natural reversal of the oceans cycles. Three years ago the Pacific went into the cold state. Solar activity, very low sunspot activity and volcanic activity, not the kind you see in the tropics but the kind we had in the Arctic regions a couple of winters ago — and this is something that could be causing a return to for instance, the times of the Victorian era when they used to have ice fairs in the early-1800s around Christmastime on the Thames and you’re seeing that type of thing go on.”

As for those who are blaming global warming, Bastardi said that theory was childish and presented instead the possibility of long-term global cooling.

“Well, I’ve been saying what I believe is going on is this is the big debate between the natural cycles and the forces of AGW [anthropogenic global warming] – by the way, these folks claiming that global warming is causing severe cold is like the kid on the playground who doesn’t get his way and takes his ball home. The fact of the matter is the forecast that was made by this forecaster three years ago that we we’re going to start seeing these things because of this and it opens up the big debate – are the natural cycles taking over and are we going to see cooling over the next 20 to 30 years? You see, we started measuring temperatures with satellite at the end of the last cold cycle in the Pacific. We had nothing but warm in the Pacific and warm in the Atlantic. What’s going to happen to the temperatures if the oceans are warm? Now that they’re cooling let’s see what’s going to happens in the next 20 to 30 years.”

He said that the unseasonably cold winter is something that could be predicted and told viewers not to just blame global warming.

“This is predictable if you study cycles, if you study climatology,” Bastardi said. “And don’t just say everything is global warming.”

But, Bastardi also warned of a drought that will in cause higher commodity prices.

“I think the southern plains of the United States are starting evolve a drought now,” Bastardi said. “This dryness that you’re seeing in Texas I think will evolve into spring and summer time and Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas into the lower Mississippi valley looked to me to be very dry this upcoming summer and nothing like crazy weather. It is the pattern and what the pattern dictates.”


The mini ice age starts here

The article below is from a year ago. It shows that the skeptical scientists drew the right inferences from the data they had then and DID predict the current freeze. "By their predictions ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free", to paraphrase a little

The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.

Their predictions – based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.

According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 – and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.

The scientists’ predictions also undermine the standard climate computer models, which assert that the warming of the Earth since 1900 has been driven solely by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and will continue as long as carbon dioxide levels rise.

They say that their research shows that much of the warming was caused by oceanic cycles when they were in a ‘warm mode’ as opposed to the present ‘cold mode’.

This challenge to the widespread view that the planet is on the brink of an irreversible catastrophe is all the greater because the scientists could never be described as global warming ‘deniers’ or sceptics.

However, both main British political parties continue to insist that the world is facing imminent disaster without drastic cuts in CO2. Last week, as Britain froze, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband maintained in a parliamentary answer that the science of global warming was ‘settled’.

Among the most prominent of the scientists is Professor Mojib Latif, a leading member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been pushing the issue of man-made global warming on to the international political agenda since it was formed 22 years ago.

Prof Latif, who leads a research team at the renowned Leibniz Institute at Germany’s Kiel University, has developed new methods for measuring ocean temperatures 3,000ft beneath the surface, where the cooling and warming cycles start.

He and his colleagues predicted the new cooling trend in a paper published in 2008 and warned of it again at an IPCC conference in Geneva last September.

Last night he told The Mail on Sunday: ‘A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.

'They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.

‘The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling.’

As Europe, Asia and North America froze last week, conventional wisdom insisted that this was merely a ‘blip’ of no long-term significance.

Though record lows were experienced as far south as Cuba, where the daily maximum on beaches normally used for winter bathing was just 4.5C, the BBC assured viewers that the big chill was merely short-term ‘weather’ that had nothing to do with ‘climate’, which was still warming.

The work of Prof Latif and the other scientists refutes that view.

On the one hand, it is true that the current freeze is the product of the ‘Arctic oscillation’ – a weather pattern that sees the development of huge ‘blocking’ areas of high pressure in northern latitudes, driving polar winds far to the south.

Meteorologists say that this is at its strongest for at least 60 years.

As a result, the jetstream – the high-altitude wind that circles the globe from west to east and normally pushes a series of wet but mild Atlantic lows across Britain – is currently running not over the English Channel but the Strait of Gibraltar.

However, according to Prof Latif and his colleagues, this in turn relates to much longer-term shifts – what are known as the Pacific and Atlantic ‘multi-decadal oscillations’ (MDOs).

For Europe, the crucial factor here is the temperature of the water in the middle of the North Atlantic, now several degrees below its average when the world was still warming.

But the effects are not confined to the Northern Hemisphere. Prof Anastasios Tsonis, head of the University of Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group, has recently shown that these MDOs move together in a synchronised way across the globe, abruptly flipping the world’s climate from a ‘warm mode’ to a ‘cold mode’ and back again in 20 to 30-year cycles.

'They amount to massive rearrangements in the dominant patterns of the weather,’ he said yesterday, ‘and their shifts explain all the major changes in world temperatures during the 20th and 21st Centuries.

'We have such a change now and can therefore expect 20 or 30 years of cooler temperatures.’

Prof Tsonis said that the period from 1915 to 1940 saw a strong warm mode, reflected in rising temperatures.

But from 1940 until the late Seventies, the last MDO cold-mode era, the world cooled, despite the fact that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continued to rise.

Many of the consequences of the recent warm mode were also observed 90 years ago.

For example, in 1922, the Washington Post reported that Greenland’s glaciers were fast disappearing, while Arctic seals were ‘finding the water too hot’.

It interviewed a Captain Martin Ingebrigsten, who had been sailing the eastern Arctic for 54 years: ‘He says that he first noted warmer conditions in 1918, and since that time it has gotten steadily warmer.

'Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended into the sea they have entirely disappeared.’

As a result, the shoals of fish that used to live in these waters had vanished, while the sea ice beyond the north coast of Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean had melted.

Warm Gulf Stream water was still detectable within a few hundred miles of the Pole. In contrast, Prof Tsonis said, last week 56 per cent of the surface of the United States was covered by snow.

‘That hasn’t happened for several decades,’ he pointed out. ‘It just isn’t true to say this is a blip. We can expect colder winters for quite a while.’

He recalled that towards the end of the last cold mode, the world’s media were preoccupied by fears of freezing.

For example, in 1974, a Time magazine cover story predicted ‘Another Ice Age’, saying: ‘Man may be somewhat responsible – as a result of farming and fuel burning [which is] blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the Earth.’

Prof Tsonis said: ‘Perhaps we will see talk of an ice age again by the early 2030s, just as the MDOs shift once more and temperatures begin to rise.’

Like Prof Latif, Prof Tsonis is not a climate change ‘denier’. There is, he said, a measure of additional ‘background’ warming due to human activity and greenhouse gases that runs across the MDO cycles.

But he added: ‘I do not believe in catastrophe theories. Man-made warming is balanced by the natural cycles, and I do not trust the computer models which state that if CO2 reaches a particular level then temperatures and sea levels will rise by a given amount.

'These models cannot be trusted to predict the weather for a week, yet they are running them to give readings for 100 years.’

Prof Tsonis said that when he published his work in the highly respected journal Geophysical Research Letters, he was deluged with ‘hate emails’.

He added: ‘People were accusing me of wanting to destroy the climate, yet all I’m interested in is the truth.’

He said he also received hate mail from climate change sceptics, accusing him of not going far enough to attack the theory of man-made warming.

The work of Profs Latif, Tsonis and their teams raises a crucial question: If some of the late 20th Century warming was caused not by carbon dioxide but by MDOs, then how much?

Tsonis did not give a figure; Latif suggested it could be anything between ten and 50 per cent.

Other critics of the warming orthodoxy say the role played by MDOs is even greater.

William Gray, emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University, said that while he believed there had been some background rise caused by greenhouse gases, the computer models used by advocates of man-made warming had hugely exaggerated their effect.

According to Prof Gray, these distort the way the atmosphere works. ‘Most of the rise in temperature from the Seventies to the Nineties was natural,’ he said. ‘Very little was down to CO2 – in my view, as little as five to ten per cent.’

But last week, die-hard warming advocates were refusing to admit that MDOs were having any impact.

In March 2000, Dr David Viner, then a member of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, the body now being investigated over the notorious ‘Warmergate’ leaked emails, said that within a few years snowfall would become ‘a very rare and exciting event’ in Britain, and that ‘children just aren’t going to know what snow is’.

Now the head of a British Council programme with an annual £10 million budget that raises awareness of global warming among young people abroad, Dr Viner last week said he still stood by that prediction: ‘We’ve had three weeks of relatively cold weather, and that doesn’t change anything.

'This winter is just a little cooler than average, and I still think that snow will become an increasingly rare event.’

The longer the cold spell lasts, the harder it may be to persuade the public of that assertion.


GWPF Calls For Independent Inquiry Into Met Office's Winter Advice

The Global Warming Policy Foundation ( is an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity

The Global Warming Policy Foundation has called on the Government to set up an independent inquiry into the winter advice it received by the Met Office and the renewed failure to prepare the UK for the third severe winter in a row.

"The current winter fiasco is no longer a joke as the economic damage to the British economy as a result of the country's ill-preparedness is running at £1bn a day and could reach more than £15 billion," said Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF's Director.

"It would appear that the Met Office provided government with rather poor if not misleading advice and we need to find out what went wrong. Lessons have to be learned well in advance of the start of next year's winter so that we are much better prepared if it is severe again," Dr Peiser said.

Last summer, the Department of Transport carried out a study of the resilience of Britain's transport infra structure in the light of the two previous severe winters.

The Met Office informed the government that the chance of a severe winter would be relatively small and that the effect of climate change had further reduced the probability of severe winters in the UK.

The transport minister Philip Hammond said yesterday that he has asked the government's chief scientific adviser whether the three winters was a ‘step change’ in weather in the UK.

"The Met Office appears to deny this possibility. But the key question is: if there was a 'step change' in the UK weather, what would it look like? The answer is, of course, it would look like what we have seen in recent years. Hence there is no logical case to say there hasn't been a step change - we will have to wait and see but it cannot be ruled out," said Dr David Whitehouse, the GWPF's science editor.

In light of the renewed failure to prepare the UK for a prolonged and harsh winter, the following questions need to be addressed in order to avoid future debacles:

1. Why did the Met Office publish estimates in late October showing a 60 per cent to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter? What was the scientific basis of this probabilistic estimate?

2. Has the October prediction by the Met Office that this winter would be mild affected planning for this winter? If so, what is the best estimate of how much this has cost the country?

3. Last year, the Met Office predicted a 65% chance that winter will be milder than normal. Has the Met Office subsequently explained what went wrong with its computer modelling?

4. What is the statistical and scientific basis for the Met Office's estimate of a 1-in-20 chance of a severe winter?

5. Has the Met Office changed its view, or its calculations, following the harsh winters of 2008, 2009 and 2010?

6. Is the Met Office right to claim that the severe winters of the last three years are not related?

7. Which severe weather alerts were issued by the Met Office and when?

8. Although the Met Office stopped sending its 3-month forecasts to the media, it would appear that this service is still available to paying customers, the Government and Local Authorities for winter planning. What was their advice, in September/October, for the start of winter 2010?

9. Has the Met Office been the subject of any complaints from its paying customers regarding the quality of its advice?

10. Is it appropriate that the chairman of the Met Office is a member, or a former member of climate pressure groups or carbon trading groups?

11. Should senior Met Office staff (technically employed by the MoD) make public comments advocating political action they see necessary to tackle climate change?

12. Has the government evaluated different meteorological service providers and has it ensured that it is using the most accurate forecaster?

13. What plans has the government to privatise the Met Office?

Above is a press release from the GWPF. Contact Dr Benny Peiser []

Another amusing flashback -- to Feb. 2008

Winter has gone for ever and we should officially bring spring forward instead, one of the country’s most respected gardeners said yesterday. For climate change has wiped out the season of traditionally long, hard frosts and replaced it with brightly blossoming gardens bursting into flower months early.

The curator of Kew Gardens said that native plants which historically flower in May are already in leaf and a modern definition of the seasons was needed. “Over the last 12 months there has been no winter,” said Dr Nigel Taylor. “Last year was extraordinary. Spring was in January, April was summer, the summer was cool, then it was warmer and sunny in autumn.

“English hawthorn or May – so called because it used to flower then – has leafed out in Kew in the last week of January, two months or more ahead of when it normally would. “It may flower before the end of February. Blackthorn is already leafed out and in flower and common ash is in flower.

“These are months earlier than the norm and, given that they are species which have evolved in the vagaries of the English climate, the more remarkable and surprising. “The climate is behaving very strangely. No one predicted winter was finished but these plants’ behaviour shows it has ended.

“There is no winter any more despite a cold snap before Christmas. It is nothing like years ago when I was younger. There is a real problem with spring because so much is flowering so early year to year. It’s hard to plan attractions as the marketing has to be planned. You do that relying on things happening at certain times.”

Dr Taylor added: “Like most scientists, I’m fairly convinced that climate change is down to man’s reckless use of fossil fuels and destruction of natural habitats.


Australia: Another stupid "Green" scheme bites the dust

In the latest environmental bungle to plague the Gillard Government, a $130 million program to help households go green was yesterday scrapped before it even started.

The cancellation of the Green Loans program and now its replacement, Green Start, leaves the Federal Government without a major scheme to help Australians tackle rising power costs and climate change in their own homes.

The mishandled policy has also left the Government with a $30 million bill to help the estimated 10,000 green loans assessors who will be left without work from February next year when the existing scheme ends.

But those who never got a job will have to wait up to 12 months to get a refund on their $3000 training costs while contracted assessors will get $2500 to upgrade their skills.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet yesterday insisted a number of positives had come from the program. "Hundreds of thousands of home sustainability assessments have been conducted and I think have been conducted professionally," he said. "I think that's been of significant benefit to many households and the Government will continue to look for effective value-for-money programs that can assist households achieving improvements."

Mr Combet said any new household abatement assistance would not be considered until the Government decided how to put a price on carbon, a process which will ramp up next year.

He said there were too many risks to go ahead with the Green Start program amid concerns about poor quality data from home assessments already conducted under the Green Loans program.

The loans component of the $175 million scheme was cancelled in July after a damning audit found widespread problems with the scheme including mismanagement and breaches of Government guidelines.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

The Pyramid of Frauds

One of the fastest growing industries in the world is based on a pyramid of frauds and its inevitable collapse will be worse than the sub-prime crash.

The Global Warming Industry is now fed by billions of dollars from western taxpayers and consumers. It is based on the unproven and now discredited claim that man's production of carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming.

The basic fraud is this:

There is no evidence that carbon dioxide controls world temperature – just a theory and the manipulated results from a handful of giant computer models that very few people have checked or understand. But there is clear evidence from historical records of atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature that carbon dioxide does not control temperature. Rather the reverse – as solar or volcanic heat warms the oceans, the waters expel carbon dioxide. Global warming causes an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, not the reverse.

Moreover, every day provides more evidence that current temperatures are not unusually high. Over the past 2000 years there have been two previous eras of warming ("the golden ages") separated by two mini ice ages ("the dark ages"). Both the Roman Warming and the Medieval Warming were warmer than today and there was no human industry causing that warming.

The next fraud, invoked as the first fraud started to falter, is the claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the food for all plants and thus the food source for all life on earth. It is not poisonous at any level likely to be experienced in the atmosphere and there is clear evidence that more carbon dioxide makes plants grow faster and bigger, and makes them more tolerant of drought, heat and salinity. Current levels are below those optimal for life.

A related scientific fraud is the claim that grazing animals increase atmospheric carbon. Any competent biologist can debunk this fraud by explaining the carbon food cycle.

Built on these frauds are the fraud-riddled carbon credit and carbon trading empires. The revelations of massive fraud in European carbon credits and the collapse of carbon trading on the Chicago Climate Exchange are harbingers of crises yet to surface. Carbon credits have no intrinsic value – they are dependent on political support, and this will always evaporate in time.

The next level of fraud is the alternate energy industry. Despite decades of subsidies and tax breaks the wind/solar power industry cannot survive unless the handouts continue, and their coal competitors are taxed heavily. To call these activities "industries" is a fraud – they are corporate mendicants.

Finally, those who waste millions on projects designed to prove the feasibility of burying carbon dioxide are committing a fraud on taxpayers and shareholders. There are no benefits of burying atmospheric plant food from any source. With zero benefits and huge costs CCS can never be "economic" and it is fraudulent to pretend it can ever be otherwise.

The global warming industry is a huge pyramid of financial and political fraud resting on a quasi-scientific foundation of quicksand.

A press release from Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition Email:

Losers! Environmentalists facing 'profound bout of soul-searching' after failure to enact climate regulations

As 2010 comes to a close, U.S. environmentalists are engaged in their most profound bout of soul-searching in more than a decade. Their top policy priority - imposing a nationwide cap on carbon emissions - has foundered in the face of competing concerns about jobs. Many of their political allies on both the state and federal level have been ousted. And the Obama administration has just signaled it may retreat on a couple of key air-quality rules.

Hence a shift of focus away from the toxic partisanship of Washington back to the grass roots and the shared values that gave the movement its initial momentum more than 40 years ago.

"Certainly I think we have figured out we need to find a way to really listen harder and connect with people all over America, especially in rural America," said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "I don't think we've done a particularly good job of that."

The change casts a sudden pall over environmentalists' top-down approach.

"The tragedy is that they spent the last 10 years on this and not anything else," said Clean Air Task Force Executive Director Armond Cohen, whose group has pursued an array of alternative strategies aimed at curbing climate change and air pollution.

Now, instead of spending millions of dollars seeking to win over wavering lawmakers on the Hill, green groups are ramping up their operations outside D.C., focusing on public utilities commissions that sign off on new power plants and state ballot initiatives that could potentially funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservation efforts.

The Nature Conservancy, for example, successfully championed a ballot initiative in Iowa this fall that will devote a portion of any future sales tax increase to land and water conservation initiatives. According to its president, Mark Tercek, a series of floods helped focus Iowans' attention on the benefits of preventing soil erosion and other problems.

"The average Iowan is not liberal," Tercek said, noting the initiative could generate $150 million a year for conservation. "They're saying through this, 'We need to invest in ecosystems.' "

The Sierra Club, meanwhile, is bolstering its long-standing campaign to block the construction of power plants across the country, assembling a team of 100 full-time employees to focus on the issue in 45 states.

"This is where the environmental movement will make the most progress in the next five years," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. founder Bill McKibben, who has been trying to foster a global grass-roots movement, wrote in an e-mail he sees it as the only way to overcome traditional opponents who are far better positioned in Washington: "Since we're never going to compete with Exxon in money," he wrote, "we better find another currency, and to me bodies, spirit, creativity are probably our best bet."

This strategic reassessment also has given hope to those working on lower-profile environmental issues, which were largely sidelined during the climate change debate. Vikki Spruill, president of the Ocean Conservancy, noted that the combination of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the fact that oceans have "less partisan baggage" could enhance the prospects for marine conservation next year.


Hype Versus Reality on Indian Climate Change

The Cancun global warming and wealth redistribution summit concluded last week, with little to show for two weeks of talking in 5-star hotels and restaurants, other than vague promises that countries will try to do something meaningful about the “threat” of “dangerous” climate change.

Indian Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh nevertheless praised the summit. Rich countries will finance global warming adaptation measures in poor countries, he announced, invoking the good will of “goddesses” of Mexico to achieve some degree of public relations success. (At least they promised, again, to provide some financing … someday … from somewhere.)

Meanwhile, the Northern Hemisphere was being blasted by record cold and snow, as Old Man Winter arrived early. Britain, the United States, other countries and even Cancun were pummeled by record cold, and early snowstorms shut down highways, airports and cities.

In India, at least three people died in the northwestern states of Punjab and Haryana, when night-time temperatures dropped by three degrees Celsius below normal. Cities from Hisar to Amritsar experienced record low temperatures of 3-7 degrees Celsius (5.4-12.6 F). In central England, the BBC reported, 2010 has ushered in one of the coldest starts to winter since 1659.

Is this how rising atmospheric CO2 increases global warming? A closer look at India’s history of climate change provides still more evidence that the “dangerous manmade climate disruption” thesis is backed by very little evidence.

The cold reality is that overall average Indian temperatures have increased by only 0.4 degrees C (0.7 F) over the past century, while northwestern India and parts of south India have witnessed cooling trends. Himalayan glaciers grew to their maximum ice accumulation about 260 years ago, according to the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, and their well-known retreats began as Earth warmed following the 500-year-long Little Ice Age – not because of human CO2 emissions.

Then why on Earth did Minister Ramesh work so hard to promote CO2-induced global warming, by issuing an official report, “Climate Change and India: A sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s,” just before Cancun? Why does he prefer to believe computer-generated scenarios of extreme warming 20-30 years from now, rather than rely on his country’s past climate variations? Is there a “goddess” in his computer who can foretell our future?

Apparently, there is much still to learn from Henry Blanford (1834-1893), the Geological Survey of India’s pioneering scientist, who wrote about Indian monsoons and climate change in Nature magazine in 1891:

“[T]his warning, alas! is no mere guesswork of credulous and speculative minds, such as in these latitudes certain of our would-be weather prophets love to put forth at hazard, to furnish the topic of a day’s gossip to the millions, or happy to win for themselves a summer day’s reputation with the uninstructed, in the event of a successful [prediction]. Certainly, indeed there is not and cannot be till science shall have extended its domain far beyond its present limits.”

Even today, we are far from having predictive capabilities, and even computer-generated threats of sea level rise do not match reality.

Tide gauge data collected over the past 20 years reveal that mean sea level rise averages only 1.3 mm per year along India’s coastline. By contrast, Environment and Forests Ministry computer models projected that India’s coastal sea level might rise by three times that amount: 4mm per year or 0.4 meters (1.3 feet) per century.

Two distinguished sea level experts from the University of Durham in Britain and University of Pennsylvania, USA analyzed past sea level studies based on dating coral, marine shells, beach ridges and coastal sedimentary sequences from the Northern Indian Ocean along India’s east coast and the coast of Sri Lanka. They found at least four periods, each one lasting 1000 to 1800 years, during the mid-Holocene period (7500 to 1500 years ago), when seas were one to three meters above current levels.

Another study by Peter Ramsay of Durban, South Africa produced a 9000-year record along the southern African coastline. It shows a 2500-year-long sea level rise of up to 3.5 meters (11.6 feet) during the early to mid Holocene, before sea level fell to current levels.

This evidence suggests that the Middle Holocene was warmer than today – and that “scary” CO2-induced sea level rises projected in the ministry’s 2030 Climate report are less than natural cycles of high and low seas that our ancestors faced in India and elsewhere.

Yet another study examined coastal erosion. Scientists from the Directorate of Water Management in Orissa found that 88% of stations along India’s tropical river basins had measured reduced sediment levels for the last three decades. But this had nothing to do with CO2 emissions. The actual cause was significant diversion and storage of runoff to meet increasing water demands for agriculture and industry – and the false cure of cutting emissions would not improve this situation.

The news media and environmental organizations repeatedly tell the “uninstructed” public that current global warming is unprecedented and threatens humankind and all life on Earth. However, past temperature and sea level changes were certainly more extreme than what scientists have observed in India during the past two centuries. More importantly, even the exaggerated computer model future for India in 2030 would not be extraordinary or unprecedented, and there is no evidence that human CO2 emissions caused recent or current (natural and cyclical) temperature and sea level fluctuations.

We survived those past global warming and cooling periods. With our scientific and technological advances, we will survive future changes, too – if we do not shackle our energy and economic development, thereby keeping billions of people poor and deprived of the ability to adapt. The ministry’s November 2010 climate change report says India’s average annual temperature could increase a minimum of 1degree to a maximum of 4 degrees C (1.8 to 7.2 F) by the 2030s. We seriously doubt that these higher temperatures are based on reality, but wonder if they might save lives, like those lost during Punjab’s cold spells in December 2010.

The report also says warmer temperatures will prevail during the nighttime over the south peninsula and central and northern India, whereas daytime warming is will occur in central and northern India. However, such diurnal warming patterns might simply be related to the distance from the sea, rather than to any CO2 global warming effects.

Like Henry Blanford, we believe India, the USA and the rest of the world need more paleoclimatology and field monitoring work, before anyone makes speculative predictions based entirely on CO2-driven computer climate model “scenarios” of the future. For countries to implement restrictive, punitive energy policies – based on such speculation – would be crazy and suicidal.


A Scientific Theory Is Judged By Its Predictive Power

The now notorious talk of snow in the UK becoming so rare that children would not experience it is looking a little foolish now that we have had two snowy winters in a row, especially since increased snowfall and colder winters were expected by others, not obsessed with CO2 at the expense of everything else, who noted solar and other cycles pointed towards a colder period due in the northern hemisphere.

Even the roughly 30 years patterns of minor warming and cooling we saw in the 20th century superimposed on the otherwise fairly steady warming observed since the early to mid 19th century, point to a cooler spell. These past two years, and the ironic coolings at the IPCC conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun, do not disprove the alarmist case, but they ought to weaken it and encourage more attention, and more funding, for those outside the very prosperous 'CO2 dominates the climate' camp.

The powerline blog expresses it thus:
'But snow isn't all bad. Those British kids who were never supposed to know the joys of sledding, skating and, above all, snowball fighting are in luck:

'It's fun to ridicule the warmists because they are so often wrong, but their errors are in fact significant: a scientific theory that implies predictions that turn out to be wrong, is false. A principal feature of climate hysteria is its proponents' unwillingness to be judged by the standards that govern real science.'

Donna Laframboise has dug out some of the absurdly confident assertions of the IPCC with regard to what we were going to experience thanks to global warming:
'the 2007 climate bible written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It told us that winters would be warmer and less extreme. I invite you to take a look for yourself. This table is titled Temperature-Related Phenomenon and appears on a page titled: Some Unifying Themes. The table contains phrases such as: more frequent heat waves / hot spells in summer; more warm and fewer cold nights; fewer frost days; fewer cold outbreaks; fewer, shorter, less intense cold spells / cold extremes in winter

Across from those phrases, on a case-by-case basis, the IPCC tells us these phenomenon are either “likely” or “very likely.” So, for example, the IPCC said it was very likely that we’d experience fewer below-freezing days everywhere in the world. We were further assured that all of the IPCC’s climate models are in agreement on that point.

Similarly, George Monbiot’s 2006 book was titled Heat. Its subtitle was not: How to Stop the Planet from Freezing. Rather, it insisted the planet was in danger of burning. A year earlier, in a Guardian newspaper column, Monbiot told readers that “The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are…unlikely to recur.”

As the final two weeks of 2010 count down, reality is not being kind to these prognosticators. Instead of sugar dustings of snow and mild temperatures, many parts of the world are in the grip of another unusually harsh winter:

new record-low temperatures are being set in a variety of locales, including: Cuba, China, Japan, the UK, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina

snow and ice are stranding motorists in their cars in: Italy, China, the UK, Canada, and Indiana

snow is interrupting air travel across Europe (more here with great pics)

communities are coping with unusual amounts of snow from Helsinki to New York, from Minnesota to the UK

people are dying of hypothermia in many parts of the US, including some unlikely ones: South Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin

wildlife is being adversely affected by the cold in the UK as well as in Florida (more here)

In the UK a recent newspaper headline read: Millions facing fuel rationing over Christmas as heating oil runs low. In one of the world’s wealthiest countries some households face a four-week-long wait for furnace oil shipments, and the price has nearly doubled.

Rather than being warm and comfortable, many people will spend their holidays cold and miserable – not to mention worried that their water pipes might freeze and burst (more here). Meanwhile, a women’s World Cup skiing event has been postponed due to too much snow in France.

Although the mass media barely mentioned this fact, it’s more than a little ironic that the Mexican resort town of Cancun broke cold weather temperature records six days running during the United Nations’ anti-global-warming summit earlier this month.

We’ve long been advised that the symptoms of climate change are all around us – and that global warming is happening faster than predicted. But Mother Nature, it seems, has a wicked sense of humour.

In related news, I love this headline on yesterday’s Christopher Booker column in the UK Telegraph: It’s ‘the hottest year on record’, as long as you don’t take its temperature

Back in January I wrote a lengthy blog post examining snowfall in Britain over the past decade. In the year 2000 the Independent newspaper interviewed climate scientists and then advised the public that soon children wouldn’t know what snow was. Global warming would result in “not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.” I examined every one of Britain’s winters since the year 2000, however, and found no shortage of the white stuff.'

Elsewhere, we hear of climate alarmists responding to the snow up to their ears to assert that that is exactly what we should, now, expect from global warming. In fact, that is just what we should, now, expect from global warmists.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Britain's Met Office unbowed by its amazing record of wrong predictions

Met Office 2008 Forecast: Trend of Mild Winters Continues

Met Office, 25 September 2008: The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average. It is also likely that the coming winter will be drier than last year.

Reality Check: Winter of 2008/09 Coldest Winter For A Decade

Met Office, March 2009: Mean temperatures over the UK were 1.1 °C below the 1971-2000 average during December, 0.5 °C below average during January and 0.2 °C above average during February. The UK mean temperature for the winter was 3.2 °C, which is 0.5 °C below average, making it the coldest winter since 1996/97 (also 3.2 °C).

Met Office 2009 Forecast: Trend To Milder Winters To Continue, Snow And Frost Becoming Less Of A Feature

Met Office, 25 February 2009: Peter Stott, Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: "Despite the cold winter this year, the trend to milder and wetter winters is expected to continue, with snow and frost becoming less of a feature in the future.

"The famously cold winter of 1962/63 is now expected to occur about once every 1,000 years or more, compared with approximately every 100 to 200 years before 1850."

Reality Check: Winter Of 2009/10 Coldest Winter For Over 30 Years

Met Office, 1 March 2010: Provisional figures from the Met Office show that the UK winter has been the coldest since 1978/79. The mean UK temperature was 1.5 °C, the lowest since 1978/79 when it was 1.2 °C.

Met Office July 2010: Climate Change Gradually But Steadily Reducing Probability Of Severe Winters In The UK

Ross Clark, Daily Express, 3 December 2010:

"One of the first tasks for the team conducting the Department for Transport’s “urgent review” into the inability of our transport system to cope with snow and ice will be to interview the cocky public figure who assured breakfast TV viewers last month that “I am pretty confident we will be OK” at keeping Britain moving this winter. They were uttered by Transport secretary Philip Hammond himself, who just a fortnight later is already being forced to eat humble pie...

If you want a laugh I recommend reading the Resilience Of England’s Transport Systems In Winter, an interim report by the DfT published last July. It is shockingly complacent. Rather than look for solutions to snow-induced gridlock the authors seem intent on avoiding the issue. The Met Office assured them “the effect of climate change is to gradually but steadily reduce the probability of severe winters in the UK”.

Met Office 2010 Forecast: Winter To Be Mild Predicts Met Office

Daily Express, 28 October 2010: It's a prediction that means this may be time to dig out the snow chains and thermal underwear. The Met Office, using data generated by a £33million supercomputer, claims Britain can stop worrying about a big freeze this year because we could be in for a milder winter than in past years…

The new figures, which show a 60 per cent to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures this winter, were ridiculed last night by independent forecasters. The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.

The Daily Telegraph, 28 October 2010:

Its “Barbecue Summer” was a washout while its “mild winter” was the coldest for 31 years, so you might be forgiven for taking the Met Office’s latest prediction with a pinch of salt. But the official forecasters have said that this winter could be unusually mild and dry, with temperatures at least 2C more than last year’s big freeze in which snow and ice caused travel chaos across much of Britain.

Although the Met Office no longer issues long-term forecasts, their latest data suggest a high probability of a warmer winter for London, the East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The South West, Wales and most of the North of England are less likely to enjoy such relatively pleasant temperatures but still have a 40 to 60 per cemt chance of being mild.

The statistics were generated by the Met Office’s new £33million supercomputer built by IBM. Forecasters used it to analyse how likely temperatures and rainfall were to be above normal for winter but not how far above.

Reality Check: December 2010 "Almost Certain" To Be Coldest Since Records Began

The Independent, 18 December 2010: December 2010 is "almost certain" to be the coldest since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.

Met Office Predicted A Warm Winter. Cheers Guys

John Walsh, The Independent, 19 January 2010:

Some climatologists hint that the Office's problem is political; its computer model of future weather behaviour habitually feeds in government-backed assumptions about climate change that aren't borne out by the facts.

To the Met Office, the weather's always warmer than it really is, because it's expecting it to be, because it expects climate change to wreak its stealthy havoc. If it really has had its thumb on the scales for the last decade, I'm afraid it deserves to be shown the door.

A Frozen Britain Turns The Heat Up On The Met Office

Paul Hudson, BBC Weather, 9 January 2010: Which begs other, rather important questions. Could the model, seemingly with an inability to predict colder seasons, have developed a warm bias, after such a long period of milder than average years? Experts I have spoken to tell me that this certainly is possible with such computer models. And if this is the case, what are the implications for the Hadley centre's predictions for future global temperatures? Could they be affected by such a warm bias? If global temperatures were to fall in years to come would the computer model be capable of forecasting this?

A Period Of Humility And Silence Would Be Best For Met Office

Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times, 10 January 2010: A period of humility and even silence would be particularly welcome from the Met Office, our leading institutional advocate of the perils of man-made global warming, which had promised a “barbecue summer” in 2009 and one of the “warmest winters on record”.

In fact, the Met still asserts we are in the midst of an unusually warm winter — as one of its staffers sniffily protested in an internet posting to a newspaper last week: “This will be the warmest winter in living memory, the data has already been recorded. For your information, we take the highest 15 readings between November and March and then produce an average. As November was a very seasonally warm month, then all the data will come from those readings.”


Summer freeze in Australia!

Australia generally is having an unusually cool December. I cannot remember cool nights ever before lasting this far into December -- and I live in the subtropics! Or as it says here: "Brisbane is experiencing its coldest December minimums in nearly a decade, with temperatures five degrees below average. The city last night reached 14.7 degrees, far below the average December minimum of 20.3" -- JR

Thongs and board shorts gave way to beanies and scarves yesterday as summer gave way to a wintry blast of snow and icy temperatures in the country's southeast.

While the bitter freeze in Europe continues, Victoria and NSW have had a cold snap of their own, with off-season ski slopes transformed into winter wonderlands. About 30cm of snow fell at Perisher in NSW yesterday, while Victoria's Mount Hotham received a 10cm dusting on Sunday.

Charlotte's Pass in the NSW Snowy Mountains also received a 10cm sprinkling of snow, prompting would-be bushwalkers to don clothing more suitable for skiing.

It was surprising to see the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel blanketed with snow at this time of year, resort manager Michelle Lovius told The Australian yesterday. "I'm sitting inside in my scarf and beanie," she said. "When you walk in it, it's up past your ankles and it's just started snowing heavily again. "

In Sydney yesterday, there were blustery winds and unseasonably low temperatures of just 13C. The western suburb of Horsley Park recorded 9.8C and the Blue Mountains dropped to -2C.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

The Week That Was (To December 18, 2010)

Excerpt from Ken Haapala

After the usual, last minute, frantic, late-night negotiations, the 16th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ended in Cancun, Mexico, last Saturday, December 11, with the typical announcement that a deal was agreed upon. Some news agencies, such as BBC, thought the deal important, others such as the New York Times thought it less so. The NY Times carried the article on the closing on page A 16, and did not have an editorial on the deal until December 16.

The agreement contained the usual provisions that the endless talks and meetings will continue to next year when a "real deal" can be reached at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. The current deal sets up a mechanism whereby developed nations will provide payments to developing countries. These payments are scheduled to go up to $100 Billion per year by 2020. Fred Singer puts it best - this would be a transfer of wealth from the poor in rich countries to the rich in poor countries.

Since there are no guarantees as to which countries will make such payments, in 2011 a real sense of urgency will strike the leaders of countries expecting such payments. As Japan pointed out in its position, the Kyoto Protocol that provides the justification for these endless meetings and proposed payments has a provision that none of the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol are obligated by it after 2012. Thus, the original signatories have no obligation to meet the emission restrictions they had agreed upon, much less make compensation payments to developing nations.

Perhaps the greatest heat the globe will experience in 2011 will come from those who insist that nations must continue "the process." Please see the articles under "On to Cancun" that were selected from sources generally considered to support the concept of human-caused global warming.

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Appropriately for the Cancun conference, Jim Hansen of NASA-GISS announced 2010 was the "hottest year on record." Hansen's year was a meteorological year that ended on November 30, but was compared with the calendar year for 2005 (not quite apples to apples) and, of course, based on NASA-GISS surface records. (SEPP questions the use of NASA-GISS surface records since they have been modified so many times that they greatly differ from the available raw data.)

Consulting Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo immediately rebutted Hansen's claims. In his rebuttal, D'Aleo produced a chart comparing the historic temperatures prior to 1980, as stated by NASA-GISS in 1980, with the historic temperatures as stated by NASA-GISS 2010. The difference is telling.

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The viability of wind power to provide electricity in developed nations with a well established grid is becoming an issue even among its traditional media supporters. The New York Times ran a two-part series on wind power bringing up some serious issues A third article raised the issue of increased dependence on China for rare earths that are required for the magnets in wind turbines as well as for other high tech uses.

Carefully read, the first article describes how China came to dominate the manufacture of wind turbines. China invited Western wind turbine companies to the country with a promise of virtually unlimited opportunity. Then, ignoring World Trade Organization rules, China required that these companies purchase parts locally. Obligingly, the Western turbine manufacturers taught Chinese suppliers their technology. Then China gave preference to Chinese turbine manufacturers who bought from Chinese suppliers at lower costs than available to Western companies located in China buying from the same Chinese suppliers. Through this procedure, China established the largest manufacturing capability for wind turbines in the world, and Western companies are being forced to close their manufacturing capability in Europe. Economists may describe such government actions as Mercantilism or those of a profit-maximizing monopolist.

Now that China has the largest wind turbine manufacturing capability in the world, according to the NYT, China is significantly cutting back on its installation of wind power, claiming it does not have the grid capacity to handle it.

Assuming its numbers are correct, the second NYT article states that wind turbines delivered to the US from China built by Chinese companies cost about $600,000 per megawatt (MW) while turbines delivered to the US from China built by a Western company cost about $800,000 per MW. This does not included instillation and other costs.

As long as the Federal and state governments have mandates and give subsidies for wind power, cost is not a major problem for wind farm developers whose returns are based on capital costs and receive cash payments from the Federal Government. Under the tax bill just passed, the 30% tax credit for alternative energy will continue to be a cash payment from the Federal Government to the alternative-energy developers. However, high costs will be a burden for the consumers who, under government mandates, must pay for these costs.

For example, the cost estimates for Cape Wind range from $900,000,000 to over $2.500,000,000. The first estimate comes from a web site that claims Cape Wind will save 113 million gallons of oil. Less than 1% of US electricity is generated from oil. Thus, the site is questionable. The second estimate is reported in a Boston Globe article stating it came from the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. The article also states that the cost of Cape Wind has not been announced by the developers.

The Cape Wind web site gives no estimate of cost, however it states the average annual output will be 170 megawatts (MW). Using the state estimates of cost, this results in an estimate of $14.7 Million per MW of average output. These estimates do not include the cost of back-up when nature decides not to cooperate.

The estimated costs for the first set of new nuclear power plants in the US are about $3.5 Million per MW. No doubt the costs will be higher. But operating at 90% capacity, nuclear plants appear to be a bargain even at twice the cost.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

New Paper: Arctic Temperatures 2-3C higher only 1000 years ago

A paper presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting this week finds that Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic experienced a "dramatic" Medieval Warming Period from 800-1200 AD with temperatures 2 to 3 degrees C higher than the mean temperature of the past 100 years. Ellesmere Island was also in the news this week due to a discovery of a mummified forest where "no trees now grow" due to its "current frigid state."
A 5,000 year alkenone-based temperature record from Lower Murray Lake reveals a distinct Medieval Warm Period in the Canadian High Arctic

D'Andrea, W. J.; Bradley, R. S.

American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2010, abstract #PP43C-10

Lake-based paleotemperature reconstructions are of particular importance in the Arctic, where other useful archives (e.g., tree rings, speleothems) for developing dense networks of quantitative climate records are absent or limited. Lacustrine alkenone paleothermometry offers a new avenue for investigating the evolution and variability of Arctic temperatures during the Holocene.

We have generated a ~5,000 year long, decadally-resolved record of summer water temperature from the annually-laminated sediments of Lower Murray Lake on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. The varved sediments of Lower Murray Lake allowed high-resolution sampling and excellent chronologic control of the sedimentary record.

We calibrated the alkenone paleothermometer for Lower Murray Lake using previously published data as well as new data from lakes in Norway and Svalbard, providing a quantitative record of temperature variability for the past 5,000 years.

The previously published mass accumulation rate from Lower Murray Lake has been interpreted as a paleotemperature record and provides complimentary information to the new alkenone record. Melt percentage measurements from the nearby Agassiz Ice Cap provide another independent summer temperature reconstruction for comparison.

Most strikingly, the alkenone record reveals warm lake water temperatures beginning ~800 AD and persisting until ~1200 AD, with temperatures up to 2-3 deg C warmer than the mean temperature for the past 100 years. This dramatic medieval warm period on Ellesmere Island interrupted a distinct (neoglacial) cooling trend that had begun approximately 2000 years earlier.

Furthermore, the three warmest intervals seen in the alkenone record during the past 5,000 years correspond to the periods during which the area was occupied by Paleo-Eskimo groups, providing evidence that local climate conditions played a significant role in determining migration patterns of people of the Arctic Small Tools tradition.


Mummified forest provides climate change clues

By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer

AP Dec 16, 2010: "On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic where no trees now grow, a newly unearthed mummified forest is giving researchers a peek into how plants reacted to ancient climate change.

That knowledge will be key as scientists begin to tease out the impacts of global warming in the Arctic.

The ancient forest found on Ellesmere Island, which lies north of the Arctic Circle in Canada, contained dried out birch, larch, spruce and pine trees. Research scientist Joel Barker of Ohio State University discovered it by chance while camping in 2009.

"At one point I crested a small ridge and the cliff face below me was just riddled with wood," he recalled.

Armed with a research grant, Barker returned this past summer to explore the site, which was buried by an avalanche 2 million to 8 million years ago. Melting snow recently exposed the preserved remains of tree trunks, leaves and needles.

About a dozen such frozen forests exist in the Canadian Arctic, but the newest site is farthest north.

The forest existed during a time when the Arctic climate shifted from being warmer than it is today to its current frigid state. Judging by the lack of diverse wood species and the trees' small leaves, the team suspected that plants at the site struggled to survive the rapid change from deciduous forest to evergreen.

"This community was just hanging on," said Barker, who presented his findings Thursday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

The next step is to examine tree rings to better understand how past climate conditions stressed plant life and how the Arctic tundra ecosystem will respond to global warming.

Since 1970, temperatures have climbed more than 4.5 degrees in much of the Arctic, much faster than the global average."

Note: the alarmist claim in the last sentence above from James Hansen/GISS is based upon extrapolated temperatures from sites up to 1000 miles south and is contradicted by data from the Danish Meteorology Institute, which has direct measurements from multiple sites in the high Arctic:


Failure Equals Success in Looking Glass World of Cancun

But they did agree on the important thing: The need to meet again in some pleasant place

The Mexican standoff has ended in Cancun. While some will certainly see Cancun’s redistributionist gabfest as a "failure" of "the world community" to address the "imminent disaster" of Anthropogenic Global Warming. I don’t share their pessimism.

Cancun may have been a failure to bureaucrats and inhabitants of the “climate crisis” Looking Glass world. Personally, I view the "failure" as a success, for it gives us an opportunity to understand what we must do to solve the real problem of two billion people still living on less than two dollars a day – and to take action. But first, we must answer two fundamental questions.

1) What hard, factual, empirical evidence do we have that humans are causing dangerous global warming, perilous climate change or global climate disruption?

Not computer models, assertions, assumptions, questionable surface temperature data or phony consensus. Actual evidence. If the alarmist camp has that evidence, it must share not just its pasteurized, homogenized, massaged data and conclusions – but its raw data, methodologies and computer codes. And it must be willing to discuss and debate its claims and evidence with people who are not convinced we are causing a planetary climate emergency.

2) How can we make plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide emissions RISE?

From 1900 (and even earlier), life expectancies, living standards, human health and all other key indicators of quality of life in the developed world have been improving. Since at least 1970, air and water quality have steadily improved, after decades when they arguably had declined, as the developed world built sanitation, transportation, manufacturing and other infrastructure that made these improvements possible.

In recent decades, China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies have followed this lead – and greatly improved their citizens’ lives. But meanwhile, in the impoverished Third world, life expectancies, living standards and other basic indicators of quality of life have remained awful … or gotten worse.

In every case where people’s quality of life has improved, they owe that change to one thing above all others: a massive increase in productivity through the use of technology – and thus to the abundant, reliable, affordable energy that makes that technology possible. In the vast majority of cases, that has meant access to hydrocarbons and electricity. Even today, with nuclear and hydroelectric power making huge contributions, hydrocarbons remain king. And because of that, people in developed nations today live better than even kings and queens did a century ago.

Today, China is providing a model for the rest of the developing world to follow. Ignoring the hypocritical calls from the West to rein in its growth, China has lifted millions of its citizens out of poverty and given them far better quality of life – and far more opportunities – by increasing the use of oil, coal and natural gas, and accepting many tenets of the free market.

We should be thankful that these talks to replace Kyoto are failing. Kyoto failed and with good reason: given our current technology (including expensive, land-intensive, unreliable wind and solar power), it is impossible to provide a healthy economy and affordable, reasonable quality of life without using oil, coal and natural gas. (Nuclear power would certainly help, but Greens oppose that too.)

Canada did indeed sign the Kyoto Protocol – but then it wisely proceeded to abandon any attempt to comply. The Canadian economy and population were growing, in one of the coldest nations on Earth, and to restrict our economy the way Kyoto demands would severely hamper our ability to feed people, keep them warm, and keep our country prosperous.

As to “technology transfer” agreements, many talk about “incentivizing innovation” to “encourage” and “facilitate” transfers. However, UN bureaucrats do not realize that innovation cannot be generated by transferring taxpayer and consumer money to politically favored corporations. This leads only to mal-investment – the forced movement of scarce financial, material and creative resources into unproductive pursuits, like industrial wind farms. Too often, these “transfers” have meant loans, subsidies and mandates from Ottawa, Washington, Berlin, Madrid, the IMF and the World Bank, to pay politically correct and connected corporations to install expensive equipment. This is corporate welfare, nothing else.

If the EU and its member states want to "transfer" technology to the developing world, they should do it the old fashioned way – through free trade, fair trade, a fair exchange of money for the best, most efficient, lowest polluting modern technology available. They should lower barriers and let developed countries trade freely with the people of Africa and other poor regions, open EU markets to their agricultural and other products, and trade with them for what they want and need.

When it comes to deforestation and environmental protection, once again embracing the natural human “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another" would solve many problems. Taking care of the environment isn't cheap, and there is a connection that is not often noted by the greens: the richest nations also have the cleanest environments.

We in the developed world no longer need to cut down trees and destroy wildlife habitats to cook our food. We no longer endure the energy poverty – and consequent lung and intestinal diseases, malnutrition, misery and premature death – that infect billions of poor people all over the world.

There is a direct correlation between the quality of life that a country can provide to its residents and its per capita CO2 emissions. Trying to force an unneeded transition to renewable energy technologies that are not ready for prime time (and are not needed for “climate change prevention” reasons), in the name of ideologically driven goals, will lead only to unnecessary hardship for people in developed countries. It will perpetuate the economic and energy poverty, misery, disease and early death that still plague billions of people around the world who live on less than two dollars a day.

The United States and Canada need to get back to what they have done best over the last 100 years: providing a model of what the free human spirit can accomplish, if given the opportunity. In other words, guide and help poor nations to build a prosperous society that can lift all boats and all people, by providing opportunities to everyone. If we happen to create a little CO2 along the way, then so be it.

Humans are part of nature. The use of hydrocarbons is part of nature. Carbon dioxide emissions are a vital fertilizer that helps food crops and all other plants grow better and faster and with greater resistance to drought and disease, thereby making ALL life on earth possible.

We are the rational animal, and our creativity and ingenuity should not be stifled – nor should anyone seek to condemn half of humanity to a lives that shackle their ability to make full use of their gifts. Instead of worrying about carbon dioxide, we should ask: How can we make better use of the greatest resource we have yet discovered – hydrocarbons?

We should not ask, How we can reduce our CO2 emissions? Rather, we should ask, How we can raise CO2 emissions in the Third World, by giving them better access to the vast energy and opportunity stored in hydrocarbons – and thereby reducing their need to chop down forest habitats and burn trees in dangerous, polluting open fires?

The best commitment the United States and Canada can make is to promise that they will do all they can to relegate the Kyoto protocol to the dustbin of history, leave UN bureaucrats to tilt at windmills – and help all still impoverished people achieve their hopes, their dreams, their true destinies.


Greenie versus Greenie again

Concerns that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the federal government's push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely this summer after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The restriction has stymied efforts to "fast-track" approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all three in California. Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds. If extensions aren't granted in the lame duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt.

"(Companies) are waiting to know the criteria to get a permit," said Larry LaPre, a wildlife biologist for BLM's California desert district, of the companies hoping federal agencies will begin permitting again soon. LaPre said he expects it to be "at least a year or longer" before permitting resumes.

Golden eagles are the latest roadblock to establishing wind farms on federally owned land, already an expensive process plagued by years of bureaucratic delay. The projects also have been untracked by other wildlife issues, a sluggish economy and objections by defense and aviation authorities that wind turbines interfere with the country's aged radar system.

The delays are occurring despite a target set by Congress in 2005 that directed the Interior Department to approve about 5 million homes worth of renewable energy on public lands by 2015. Since then, only two of the more than 250 currently proposed wind projects have been approved and neither has been built, records and interviews show.

There are presently 28 wind farms operating on public lands, which make up about 13 percent of the U.S. land surface, although records show that more than 800 have been proposed in recent decades.

The vast majority of public lands regulated by the BLM are in western states, where all current onshore wind farms approved or in planning stages will be located. Offshore wind farms, like those proposed off the New England coast, are regulated by a different federal agency.


Even primitive people were able to adapt to climate changes of the past

Samuel Munoz, now a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and geologist Konrad Gajewski at the University of Ottawa measured the effects of five major climate change events in North America.

They looked at samples of sedimentary pollen and charcoal collected between Maine and Pennsylvania. This gave them a historical record of temperatures, vegetation patterns and fire history in the area, which was then matched with data from the Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database, containing more than 35,000 radiocarbon dates. The period they examined ranged from the time humans first settled the region 13,500 years ago to the first European-settled colonies 500 years ago.

The researchers compared the known changes in climate to the cultural time periods defined as Paleoindian, Archaic and Woodland.

Every change in the climate, they discovered, occurred at the same time as a change in the culture. The tools the natives used, the crops they grew, the animals they hunted all changed with the circumstances. "Even the subgroups within the periods lined up with environmental changes," Past Horizons quoted Gajewski as saying.

Some of the changes were abrupt, some more gradual, but largely 'every cultural transition corresponds to a major transition in the climate and vegetation of the region', observed the researchers.

When climate change altered food resources for pre-agricultural American Indians, they shifted strategy, and sometimes population size.

Similar climate changes are now happening in Alaska and the Yukon, where the present day indigenous people are still living. Summers are getting drier and lightning-caused forest fires are getting more intense. The boreal forest, mostly spruce, is on the verge of a major transformation and will gradually be replaced by lodgepole pines.

Besides changing the look of the forest, the transition will be good news for moose, which find lots to eat in deciduous forests, and bad news for caribou now living the area, which do not. "People who are dependent on caribou will have to change," said Gajewski.

But they will find adaptation more difficult than the people of the past, according to Craig Gerlach of the Center for Cross Cultural Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as modern indigenous people can no longer pick up and move or change their food sources as easily.

"Five hundred years, a thousand years ago people would have been able to respond to changes in distribution and abundance whether driven by natural cycles or by changes in the climate or weather," said Gerlach. "People are no longer as flexible because they live in permanent villages, so they can't respond appropriately." "In the past, people would have been able to respond to changes in distribution and abundance whether driven by natural cycles or by changes in the climate or weather," said Gerlach.

Human ingenuity being what it is, they may, of course, prevail without losing their culture, although it will probably not be easy.


Another Warmist becomes shriller as his religion loses appeal

AP's climate hoax promoter SETH BORENSTEIN thinks you're stupid: When premature deaths from all causes (e.g. heart attacks, cancer, road accidents, war) vastly outnumber deaths due to weather events, we're supposed to panic and blame carbon dioxide. An excerpt from his shriek below

"This was the year the Earth struck back.

Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 ...

And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say.

Even though many catastrophes have the ring of random chance, the hand of man made this a particularly deadly, costly, extreme and weird year for everything from wild weather to earthquakes....

Disasters from the Earth, such as earthquakes and volcanoes "are pretty much constant," said Andreas Schraft, vice president of catastrophic perils for the Geneva-based insurance giant Swiss Re. "All the change that's made is man-made." ...

No one had to tell a mask-wearing Vera Savinova how bad it could get. She is a 52-year-old administrator in a dental clinic who in August took refuge from Moscow's record heat, smog and wildfires. "I think it is the end of the world," she said. "Our planet warns us against what would happen if we don't care about nature."

The excessive amount of extreme weather that dominated 2010 is a classic sign of man-made global warming that climate scientists have long warned about....

"These (weather) events would not have happened without global warming," said Kevin Trenberth, chief of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo....

For example, even though it sounds counterintuitive, global warming likely played a bit of a role in "Snowmageddon" earlier this year, Holland said. That's because with a warmer climate, there's more moisture in the air, which makes storms including blizzards, more intense, he said.

White House science adviser John Holdren said we should get used to climate disasters or do something about global warming: "The science is clear that we can expect more and more of these kinds of damaging events unless and until society's emissions of heat-trapping gases and particles are sharply reduced."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Britain has coldest December on record

And the Warmist government was not prepared for it, funnily enough. They are just lying low

Millions of Britons were facing travel chaos today as snow and ice left motorways and airports closed and train services disrupted.

Gatwick Airport has cancelled all flights until 5pm today, with further problems in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. British Airways cancelled all their flights out of Heathrow.

Overnight blizzards and plummeting temperatures buckled a huge chunk of the country's road, air and rail networks on the busiest weekend for travel and shopping before Christmas.

As the mercury plunged, hundreds of drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars on the M6 after a lorry jackknifed at midnight.

The North West was hit with deluges of up to 10in of snow while parts of the south were also blanketed overnight, with blizzards expected in parts of the South East and Midlands today.

Lancashire Police declared a major incident area in the region and warned people to avoid the M6, which was closed after a lorry jacknifed. The northbound carriageway was closed between junctions 22 and 27 was not expected to reopen until sometime this morning.

Some commuters took the drastic step of abandoning their cars overnight but this hindered the efforts of gritters who were battling to keep the road networks moving.

Severe weather warnings of heavy snow and widespread icy roads are in place in London and the South East, the South West, the Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber. Wales, northern Scotland and Northern Ireland - which had experienced its heaviest snow for 25 years - were also issued with severe warnings.

Mr Seltzer predicted that it could be the coldest December on record, with a current average temperature of minus 0.7. That sits at five degrees below the long-term average.

Travel misery also hit the airports. A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: 'Severe disruption is expected today at all London airports.' Passengers were advised not to go to the airport unless they had a confirmed booking on a new flight.

British Airways has cancelled all flights out of Heathrow despite the runways remaining open. A spokeswoman for the airline said: 'The weather at Heathrow now is quite appalling. 'We knew that severe weather conditions were expected, so rather than asking passengers to travel just to have their flight cancelled, we think it's better to tell all our customers that flights are cancelled.

'We need to give our customers some certainty. We would rather they sat at home with all the information needed to rebook their flights rather than sat on the floor on an airport not able to fly or get home.'

The Royal Mail said it was planning to deliver today to around one million addresses. But with the AA’s warning of ‘possibly the worst driving conditions imaginable’, fears were heightened that millions of packages and mail would fail to be delivered in time for Christmas.

AA Spokesman Gavin Hill-Smith had earlier said: ‘There are horrendous driving conditions in some parts with driving, drifting snow and bad ice making for possibly the worst driving conditions imaginable, even for experienced drivers.

Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said the prolonged freeze could lead to up to 1,000 businesses going bankrupt. Many shoppers would be forced to stay at home because of treacherous roads, he added.

There are also concerns that supplies of heating oil – used by around two million homes, schools and hospitals – are nearing ‘crisis levels’. The Government is said to be considering rationing.


It's 'the hottest year on record', as long as you don't take its temperature

Much of the data cited to support warmist claims is pure conjecture, says Christopher Booker

We have lately heard much of the claim that 2010 will turn out to have been “the hottest year on record”. No one has done more to promote this belief than Dr James Hansen, head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), responsible for one of the four main official global temperature records.

As reported by the US blogs Real Science and Watts Up With That, in a post headed “GISS temperatures out of line with the rest of the world”, the GISS record has in recent months been diverging wildly from the others. While three have shown global temperatures dropping sharply, by as much as 0.3C, the GISS figures (based, despite the link to Nasa, on surface temperatures) have shot up by 0.2C.

In a second post (“Hansen’s 'Hottest Year Ever’ is primarily based on fabricated data”), Real Science demonstrates that the parts of the world which GISS shows to be heating up the most are so short of weather stations that only 25 per cent of the figures are based on actual temperature readings. The rest are simply conjectured by GISS.

This is not the first time Dr Hansen’s temperature record has come under expert fire. Three years ago, GISS was forced to revise many of its figures when it was shown that wholesale “adjustments” had been made, revising older temperatures downwards and post-2000 figures upwards.

Since Dr Hansen first sprang to fame in 1988 for his part in setting off the global warming scare, he has become one of the world’s most outspoken climate activists. He recently appeared in a Nottingham court as defence witness for 20 activists who were found guilty last week of criminal conspiracy for trying to shut down our second largest coal-fired power station.

No one familiar with Hansen’s pronouncements in recent years would be surprised by this. Still, it might seem odd that a senior US federal government employee should fly to England to support a bunch of criminals. Nothing like so odd, however, as the way his state-sponsored temperature record is still the one cited by politicians and the media to support their belief that this is the “hottest year in history”.


The Curious Case of the Climate Covenant

By Russell Cook

Just in time for the Christmas season, we have a Dec. 13, 2010 article in USA Today titled "Advent: Let's start to heal our planet," about the association of basic Christian care with climate change concern: "The start of Advent, this season of waiting and watching, coincided with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. We are not waiting for climate change. It is here. And religious communities are taking the lead with incremental solutions to a warming planet".

Untold numbers of well-informed individuals are rolling their eyes at all the "warming planet" warnings failing to happen, like low-lying islands swamped by rising seas, more frequent and intense hurricanes, and the Arctic starting down the path of being ice-free in the summer -- a process less likely to happen since the big ice cube up there keeps getting bigger each winter.

Eyes roll, but tough questions aren't being asked about the origins of faith-based organizations' climate change concerns, so those ideas are allowed to spread, ultimately corrupting a perfectly unsuspecting Advent season.

The question is this: what prompts this faith-based concern about an essentially political issue?

The USA Today article says, "Many of the 10,000 congregations involved in Interfaith Power and Light have joined a Carbon Covenant[.]"

Click on the link for "Carbon Covenant" at the article's page, and you are taken to the Interfaith Power and Light web page. Click on IP&L's Resources link and continue to their "Building" page, and the #2 link is for a PDF file of "Bottom Line Ministries that Matter: Congregational Stewardship with Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies" by the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Program. A handy online version of that PDF file shows that it was prepared by Matthew Anderson-Stembridge and Phil D. Radford, with absolutely no reference of who these people are.

Who is Phil Radford? He's the current Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and as noted on Greenpeace's Experts page, he also worked at the enviro-activist group Ozone Action: "As field Director of Ozone Action from 1999 to 2001, Radford planned and managed a successful grassroots organizing campaign in the 2000 presidential primaries that convinced Senator John McCain to push for action to combat global warming."

Who is Matt Stembridge? Another Ozone Action alumnus, as noted by a 2000 Dartmouth Annual Report's Environmental Studies Division: "Matt Stembridge '99, a.k.a. Captain Climate, now working for Ozone Action, we worked to focus the candidates' attention on global climate change and other environmental issues".

Captain Climate? That's how Stembridge was described by a May 12, 2008 Bloomberg Businessweek article: "John McCain's global warming journey started back in 2000, when a strange apparition named 'Captain Climate' began to turn up at Presidential campaign events."

Stembridge moved on to several faith-based enviro-advocacy positions, and in his YouTube profile video at the 2:40 point, he describes how he was a rabid anti-Christian while working on environmental campaigns but later changed and ended up working for the Lutheran Church. No surprise that he is easily found in a search of a current Lutheran enviro-advocacy website.

What was Ozone Action? As I described in detail in my July 6 American Thinker article "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics," it has every appearance of being the epicenter of the long-term smear of skeptic scientists. Ozone Action's primary accusation against skeptics is tied to a phrase from an unseen 1991 coal industry internal memo supposedly discovered by book author/"Pulitzer winner" Ross Gelbspan. But Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer prize despite a huge number of descriptions to the contrary, nor was he the first to publish quotes from the unseen memo.

So what do we have here? Apparently, a monumental problem concerning the "moral imperative" to save the planet. Before these faith-based advocacy efforts can say it is some kind of sin to emit greenhouse gases, they are going to first have to ask if it was right to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt, considering a complete lack of evidence supporting that accusation, or considering even the lack of a basic effort to allow skeptic scientists the chance to defend themselves.

The Science and Public Policy Project had this to say after Gelbspan's first book was published: "We have yet to catch a glimpse of Gelbspan here at SEPP. In gathering material for his book, he never visited our offices, spoke to no one on staff, and never contacted Fred Singer for an interview to cover point-by-point the claims he later made in his book. He has had no contact with the Project whatsoever."

So which is the bigger sin? Failing to stop a so-called global warming crisis which has increasing credibility problems with its underlying science assessments, or breaking the 9th Commandment [bearing false witness] in order to be sure scientists' criticisms aren't taken seriously?


Warmist "scientists" told to get political

The scientist as an objective seeker of truth seems to have vanished under the influence of Warmism

Geoscientists want everyone, including policymakers, to understand their work and its possible ramifications for society. But on Wednesday, an overflow crowd of 400 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting here received some practical advice about getting the message out.

"Communication with the public is not a monologue, it's a dialogue," said Princeton University climatologist Michael Oppenheimer. "We should get used to being public people." Climate scientist Jay Gulledge of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia, said, "There used to be arguments in sessions like this between those who said, 'Keep your nose clean,' and others who said, 'Go talk to politicians.' You don't hear those [arguments] anymore."

Oppenheimer's talk was part of a bevy of presentations at the weeklong meeting devoted to communicating science to a broader audience. The initiative, part of AGU's increased emphasis on the topic, included workshops on speaking and science blogging and a panel with several authors of books on climate (including this reporter).

Oppenheimer said he felt scientists had opportunities to meet with local politicians, speak to their neighbors or friends about climate science, and talk to the media when appropriate. "Blogging on controversial issues, going on television to talk about climate, or taking on skeptics is not for everybody," Oppenheimer said. "But you don't have to be a Steve Schneider or a Jim Hansen to make a difference."

He also emphasized the limits of speaking out. "Don't use your science as a cloak for what are really ethical or policy issues," said Oppenheimer. "Lay out your biases," he advised, but added the warning, "Expect to be vilified, even for making technical points."

Others provided some additional tips. "Your power does not need to come from becoming an excellent communicator," said Greg Craven, a member of the authors' panel. Craven is an Oregon science teacher whose homemade videos on climate change have garnered millions of views on YouTube. "It is the public seeing the fact that you are participating and that you are concerned, or even terrified."

Paleontologist Tom Dunkley Jones of Imperial College London says he agrees that "there's a real gap" between science and the public that researchers should try to fill. "For many of us, we know our little bit of [climate] science," he said. "But it's dangerous to go out of our safety zone" to counter the arguments from skeptics, he added. He said he hoped that delivering lectures to undergraduates, which he will be doing soon, would train him on a broader swath of the field.

Civil rights attorney Joyce Schon of progressive group By Any Means Necessary encouraged participants to display their passion for the cause. "Your role is to discover the truth and lay down your lives to disseminate it," she told attendees during a panel discussion. The group distributed flyers asking scientists to "Defend our Science and to Fight for the Real Political Action Necessary to Solve the Environmental Crisis."

This fall, AGU announced it has added to its board prominent left-leaning blogger Chris Mooney and analyst Floyd DesChamps, a former science policy staffer for John McCain. In June, AGU started an experts' referral service for journalists. "It used to be you published your paper and you were done," said remote-sensing expert Steven Lloyd of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a member of the scientific committee for this year's meeting. "Now that's just the first step. Welcome to the new AGU."


Sometimes salesmen get to believe their own pitch

Words of Greg Craven, a High School teacher and author of a Warmist book:

"It might surprise, and hopefully disturb you, to hear that in my short time at AGU, I discovered four scientists who are already creating some form of survival retreat for their family, and they told me there are many more. But they are all too scared of being ostracized in the scientific community if they speak of it. It struck me that they aren’t even “in the closet” yet. They still think they are isolated freaks of nature, ashamed to share what they truly feel.

...I am filled with despair. As a result of my time at AGU, I’ve decided to retire completely from continuing to pursue making a difference in the debate, and for my family’s sake I will focus instead on building our own lifeboat. And leave the debate to others.

I know that may confirm to many people that I have indeed gone off the deep end. And I grieve if the many people who have respected and helped me in spreading the videos and writing the book now feel betrayed. So be it. But, given the fact that those four scientists I mentioned were paleoclimatologists, with access to the newest and best data, and with their position of knowing more than any other discipline what the global climate is capable of doing, perhaps you shouldn’t assume I’m crazy. Or that my message has no merit.


Background on shelter building in the '60s:

Mr. Craven's panic is not new. Some psychologists followed people who bought bomb shelters during the Cold War. It found that they tended to exaggerate the threat of nuclear war, relative to the population at large, and to discount peace proposals. It was as if they were invested in nuclear war. See F. K. Berrien et al., "The Fallout-Shelter Owners: A Study of Attitude Formation", The Public Opinion Quarterly 27, No. 2, 206-216 (Oxford University Press, 1963). The opening sentence of the article shows that the more things change the more they remain the same: "From the inception of the debate over fallout shelters it was apparent that the issue would not be resolved on the merits of the facts alone"

Cap and Trade by Stealth: U.S. States Partner With Foreign Governments

How to chase away industry -- Southwards and overseas

While Americans were battling cap-and-trade legislation at the national and international levels, global-warming alarmists were quietly building regional systems between state and local governments, private industry, and even foreign governments that basically achieve the same effect — higher energy prices for consumers and more money for governments.

The first and most prominent of these U.S. cap-and-trade systems is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It was created not by the people through their legislatures, but by a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” between state governors.

Consisting so far of 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — the scheme is described on the RGGI website as “the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Its board of directors consists primarily of each participating state’s top environmental bureaucrats.

The “Initiative” works by having each state cap its carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level, then auctioning off emissions permits to the highest bidder. Eventually, the CO2 limits will be reduced, causing increased energy prices as companies pass along the added costs to consumers. By 2018, the RGGI plans to reduce energy-sector emissions by 10 percent.

Thus far, the scheme has netted close to a billion dollars by selling “carbon credits” to utility companies and other firms in participating states, earning about $50 million through an auction held on December 1. The first auction was actually held in 2008, and there have been nine since then. Spoils from the emissions permits are then handed out by state governments to companies, environmental groups, and others.

Incredibly, the RGGI has managed to avoid public scrutiny of its operations by incorporating as a non-profit organization and leaving enforcement and regulation to the individual states. The corporation claims it does not have to respond to public requests for information since, technically, it is not actually a government entity.

But the corruption is already coming out in the open. “New Hampshire conservationists had high hopes for how $18 million in funding generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might advance energy efficiency projects,” wrote columnist Fergus Cullen in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year. “Unfortunately, cronyism and corporate welfare hallmark too many grants awarded by the Public Utilities Commission so far.”

Cullen’s piece details, among other things, the outrageous handouts to “environmental” front groups and big businesses that helped push the scheme through. For example, an activist group in New Hampshire called “Clean Air Cool Planet” was incorporated by out-of-state bigwigs to promote global-warming alarmism — including Al Gore’s discredited “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth.

“Having helped create this pot of money, Clean Air was one of the first in line with its hand out so it can do more alarmist advocacy, paid for with public resources awarded by friends,” Cullen explains. The group has already received almost half of a million dollars. Another example cited by the columnist: “Yogurt on a mission” producer Stonyfield Farm, with $300 million in yearly sales, received nearly $150,000 to upgrade its air-conditioning system.

Money was basically shoveled out, “creating opportunities for the well-connected and the in-the-know” while “millions of dollars have gone out the window, wasted like heat leaking out of an uncaulked pane,” Cullen concludes.

But RGGI boss Jonathan Schrage — who after intense public pressure recently disclosed his salary of almost $170,000 per year — thinks the scheme is great. “I look forward to building RGGI Inc. into a dependable administrative ally of each state’s RGGI program,” Schrag said in a press release when he was appointed executive director. “The states have done tremendous work to develop the first CO2 cap-and-trade system in the U.S.”

Not everyone thinks so, though. And in an e-mail to supporters, the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise warned of even bigger problems to come. “RGGI is the prototype for more regional cap & tax entities,” wrote the organization’s executive vice president Ron Arnold. “Soon RGGI will expand to every state and stick you with astronomical energy prices.”

Arnold blamed the “corruptocrats in Washington” for the “gigantic waste of tax dollars,” adding that the “crooks behind RGGI must be exposed” and held accountable. He also said that, despite RGGI claims that it is “making a significant impact to combat the threat of global warming,” the data proves otherwise.

“The only impact RGGI has made so far is they have raised energy prices and created a slush fund for each member state,” Arnold explained. And according to his letter, “the fact that global warming isn’t even real” won’t prevent the “climate change scam” from spreading to other states. And he’s right — it’s already happening.

An even bigger and more ambitious effort that includes Canadian provinces — and even Mexican states — as “observers” is set to go into effect in 2012. Known as the Western Climate Initiative, the scheme is described on its official website as “a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.”

Among the participating “jurisdictions”: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and four Canadian provinces. So-called observers, “jurisdictions” that are likely to join soon, include six Mexican states, an additional six U.S. states, and another three Canadian provinces. The Western Climate Initiative, like the RGGI, was also created by an agreement between state governors — not legislatures.

A similar scheme for the American Midwest, under the banner of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, is also set to enter into force in 2012. The agreement encompasses Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — for now. Three other U.S. states and one additional Canadian province are listed on the scheme’s website as “observers.”

One unifying factor between all the regional partnerships is the emphasis on promoting expansion and eventual federal — and even international — involvement. And in Cancun at the global warming summit, state and local-government leaders made it clear that they would continue marching forward with the anti-carbon dioxide schemes at the global level — no matter what the outcome of United Nations climate talks currently underway in Cancun.

"We are proving that while a global agreement is important, we do not need to wait for it to start building the path to a new low carbon future," explained Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the co-chair of the States & Regions Alliance, during a summit at the COP16. "As our national counterparts meet here in Cancun to continue the negotiations, states and regions are continuing to show the leadership necessary to make practical headway on climate action."

And this is all part of the broader global plan. The so-called “States and Regions Alliance” represented by Premier Charest — some 60 state and regional governments accounting for about 15 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product — is part of a shadowy but powerful international non-profit known as “The Climate Group.”

The organization works with the United Nations Development Program, the World Economic Forum, the Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other high-profile institutions, agencies and governments to advance the global climate agenda. And it promotes the implementation of global-warming schemes through “sub-national” levels of government — among other things.

“States, regions and cities are where the rubber hits the road in terms of practical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote States and Regions Alliance co-chair and Quebec Premier Charest, along with his fellow co-chair, South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

“The UN Development Program estimates that 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to keep climate change below 2C will need to be delivered at state, regional and city levels,” the co-chairs noted in their joint column for The Australian entitled ‘Think globally, act locally? States already are.’ “This is because regional governments often control regulation for many of the key areas for addressing climate change, such as power generation, the built environment, waste management, transport and land use planning.”

CEO of The Climate Group Steve Howard offered a similar analysis. "A clean industrial revolution is not only possible, but it is well underway in the world's leading states, cities and regions," he told COP16 attendees at the “Climate Leaders Summit” in Cancun Wednesday. "The subnational governments in our Alliance are not waiting for a global agreement but are forging agreements of their own to lead a growing global market for low-carbon goods and services already estimated at $4.7 trillion."

Despite the U.S. Senate’s rejection of cap-and-trade legislation, the carbon-tax agenda is still being implemented in America and around the world. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama administration is moving forward on regulating emissions of carbon dioxide at the federal level. And through alliances and agreements between states and even foreign governments — unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution — those same forces are building a powerful and expensive carbon regime that could eventually encompass every state in the Union, and beyond.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

A new drought scare

As the authors below implicitly admit, a warmer ocean should in general create MORE rain, not less, but in good Greenie style they want us to have the worst of all possible worlds so they purport to show that we could have drought and warming too. Whether their claims about past drought are correct, however, depends on how good their proxies are -- and after the need to "hide the decline" shown in tree-ring proxies, we must be thoroughly skeptical about that

An unprecedented combination of heat plus decades of drought could be in store for the Southwest sometime this century, suggests new research from a University of Arizona-led team.

To come to this conclusion, the team reviewed previous studies that document the region's past temperatures and droughts. "Major 20th century droughts pale in comparison to droughts documented in paleoclimatic records over the past two millennia," the researchers wrote. During the Medieval period, elevated temperatures coincided with lengthy and widespread droughts.

By figuring out when and for how long drought and warm temperatures coincided in the past, the team identified plausible worst-case scenarios for the future. Such scenarios can help water and other resource managers plan for the future, the team wrote.

"We're not saying future droughts will be worse than what we see in the paleo record, but we are saying they could be as bad," said lead author Connie A. Woodhouse, a UA associate professor of geography and regional development. "However, the effects of such a worst-case drought, were it to recur in the future, would be greatly intensified by even warmer temperatures."

The team's paper is part of the special feature, "Climate Change and Water in Southwestern North America," scheduled for publication Dec. 13 in the Early Online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper by Woodhouse and her colleagues is titled, "A 1,200‑year perspective of 21st century drought in the southwestern North America." Co‑authors are Glen M. MacDonald of the University of California, Los Angeles; Dave W. Stahle of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; and Edward R. Cook of Lamont‑Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y....

The most severe warm-climate drought in the Southwest within the last 1,200 years was 60 years long and occurred during the mid-12th century, according to research by Meko and others. That drought covered most of the western U.S. and northern Mexico.

For a 25-year period during that drought, Colorado River flow averaged 15 percent below normal, according to the tree-ring-based reconstruction of stream flow at Lees Ferry....

"Even without warming, if you had one of those medieval droughts now, the impact would be devastating," she said. "Our water systems are not built to sustain us through that length of drought."

In addition, other research predicts that changes in atmospheric circulation will reduce the amount of winter precipitation the Southwest receives in the future, she said. "The bottom line is, we could have a Medieval-style drought with even warmer temperatures," Woodhouse said.


The weather gods demand a sacrifice

Jared Olar

Well then, I would say that pretty much confirms it. For quite some time, I’ve harbored the suspicion that both the popular science and the political activity that create and sustain the belief in Global Warmingism are informed by a retrogressively pagan mindset.

It’s not just that the quasi-religious, pseudo-scientific “Gaia hypothesis” — the belief, taking its name from the pagan Greek goddess of the Earth, that the sum of the parts of the Earth’s ecosystems together make up a living thing — is popular in certain environmentalist circles.

No, the basis for my suspicion is, in large part, the irrational and superstitious way Global Warmingism proponents and adherents react to any kind of extreme weather as evidence that modern economic and scientific activity is making global temperatures unnaturally rise.

If it’s a drought, or a long spell of hot and dry weather, they think we must be doing something to nudge up the Earth’s thermostat. If it’s a nasty hurricane or a notably destructive line of tornados, it’s our fault for driving SUVs. If riverside communities get flooded, that’s also the result of global warming. And if we get an unusually harsh and lengthy winter, yes, that, too, is proof that the Earth is getting warmer.

The Global Warmingists have covered all their bases. No matter what the weather is like, it always turns out to be exactly the kind of weather we should expect if human activity were causing global temperatures to rise.

The natural sciences have terms for that kind of hypothesis. “Unfalsifiable” is one of them. “Unscientific” is another. An idea may be true, but if it is incapable of being “falsified” or proven wrong, then whatever else that idea is, it certainly isn’t science.

Another thing that feeds my suspicion that a pagan mindset informs Global Warmingism are the steady and consistent calls for sacrifice — even human sacrifice — to ward off the threatened catastrophes.

I’m not opposed to moderation and frugality, and we certainly should put aside our avaricious and materialistic ways. Sacrifice, too, is virtuous and meritorious, as long as it is voluntary and sincere.

But the Global Warmingists seem more intent on making others sacrifice than in making big, painful changes in their own lives (yes, Al Gore, I’m talking to you).

More to the point, I can’t help but suspect that these calls for sacrifice are, like the Gaia hypothesis, quasi-religious in nature, and at times plainly religious.

Like the pagans of old thought they could appease the angry gods or win their favor through sacrificing the things most dear to them — their livestock, and if that didn’t work, human beings, even their own children — so it appears that Global Warmingism demands that we sacrifice. And it’s not really sacrifice because it’s moral or sensible or good for us, but sacrifice to appease the offended ecosphere.

It’s the old, old thought process of: “Bad things are happening and we don’t know why. How can we stop these things? How do we control what we don’t understand? We must be to blame. We must do something, anything, to make amends.”

It doesn’t matter that our efforts don’t have any demonstrable connection to the problem, or that they don’t do a thing to improve our situation but instead cause even more harm. All that matters is that we do something, and the bigger and more painful it is the better.

And so it was that the United Nations, having figured out that it’s bad for propaganda to engage in handwringing over global warming during a Scandinavian behemoth of a blizzard (like they did last time), gathered this winter month in balmy Cancun, Mexico — and once again failed to reach a binding international agreement on which of us should sacrifice and how much.

They failed despite opening their meeting with (I kid you not) religious rites invoking the supernatural assistance of an ancient Mayan jaguar goddess. Yes, I would say that pretty much confirms it.


Embarrassment! In 1999 the Warmists said that Global warming caused WARM winters

These days they blame COLD winters on Global warming. Excerpt from a 1999 article below, featuring some of the usual climate fakers

A team of scientists from Columbia University has shown that warm winters in the northern hemisphere likely can be explained by the action of upper-atmosphere winds that are closely linked to global warming.

Global mean surface temperatures have increased in the range of 0.6 to 1.2°F since the late 19th century. But far more severe warming has taken place over wide regions of northern Eurasia, Canada and Alaska, with temperatures averaging 7 to 10°F warmer in the last 35 years, according to data previously compiled by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City.

The research, which appears in the June 3 issue of the British journal Nature, offers no predictions on what temperatures future winters will bring, but suggests a continuation of the current trend for three to four more decades.

If warming trends continue, said Drew Shindell, associate research scientist at Columbia's Center for Climate Systems Research and lead author of the report, northern regions of Europe and Asia and, to a lesser extent, North America, can expect winters that are both warmer and wetter, with increased rain and snow.

"Based on this research, it's quite likely that the warmer winters over the continents are indeed a result of the increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Dr. Shindell said. "This research offers both a plausible physical mechanism for how this takes place, and reproduces the observed trends both qualitatively and even quantitatively."

Other authors of the Nature paper were Gavin A. Schmidt, associate research scientist at Columbia's Center for Climate Systems Research; Ron L. Miller, associate research scientist in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia, and Lionel Pandolfo, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Drs. Shindell, Schmidt and Miller also maintain an affiliation with the NASA Goddard Institute.

The Columbia team used several versions of the NASA Goddard Institute's general circulation model, a computer construct that predicts the Earth's climate when certain inputs are varied. Model simulations suggest that much of the increase in surface winds and in continental surface temperatures during the winter months is induced by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the model, increasing greenhouse gas emissions lead to a warmer surface and, at the same time, a colder stratosphere. The large wintertime continental temperature increases produced in the model correspond quite well with what scientists actually observe.


Newspapers should lead the country?

Joanne Nova

A REPLY to a critic of "The Australian's" coverage of the debate about climate change

DAVID McKnight's criticism of "The Australian" over climate change ("Sceptical writers skipped inconvenient truths", Inquirer, December 11) makes for a good case study of Australian universities' intellectual collapse.

Here's a University of NSW senior research fellow in journalism who contradicts himself, fails by his own reasoning, does little research, breaks at least three laws of logic, and rests his entire argument on an assumption for which he provides no evidence.

Most disturbingly - like a crack through the facade of Western intellectual vigour - he asserts that the role of a national newspaper is to "give leadership".

Bask for a moment in the inanity of this declaration that newspapers "are our leaders". Last time I looked at our ballot papers, none of the people running to lead our nation had a name such as The Sydney Morning Herald. Didn't he notice we live in a country that chooses its leaders through elections? The role of a newspaper is to report all the substantiated arguments and filter out the poorly reasoned ones, so readers can make up their own minds.

The point of a free press is surely for the press to be free to ask the most searching questions on any topic. Yet here is an authority on journalism attacking The Australian for printing views of scientists who have degrees of doubt about global warming and/or any human component in it.

And these scientists that McKnight wants to silence are not just the odd rare heretic.

The swelling ranks of sceptical scientists is now the largest whistle-blowing cohort in science ever seen. It includes some of the brightest: two with Nobel prizes in physics, four NASA astronauts, 9000 PhDs in science, and another 20,000 science graduates to cap it off. A recent US Senate minority report contained 1000 names of eminent scientists who are sceptical, and the term professor pops up more than 500 times in that list. These, McKnight, an arts PhD, calls deniers.

Just because thousands of scientists support the sceptical view doesn't prove they're right, but it proves their opinions are nothing like the tobacco sceptics campaign that McKnight compares them with in a transparent attempt to smear commentators with whom he disagrees.

Ponder the irony that McKnight, the journalism lecturer, is demanding The Australian adopt the policy espoused by the dominant paradigm, the establishment, and censor the views of independent whistleblowers. He thinks repeating government PR is journalism; the rest of us know it as propaganda.

McKnight doesn't name any scientific paper that any sceptic denies. Instead, he seems to use a pre-emptive technique designed to stop people even discussing the evidence about the climate.

McKnight's research starts with the assumption that a UN committee, which was funded to find a crisis, has really found one, and that it is above question. His investigation appears to amount to comparing articles in Fairfax versus Murdoch papers, as if the key to radiative transfer and cumulative atmospheric feedbacks lies in counting op-ed pieces. If he had made the most basic inquiry, McKnight might also have found out that the entire case for the man-made threat to the climate rests on just the word of 60 scientists who reviewed chapter nine of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report.

He'd also know that the people he calls deniers, far from being recipients of thousands of regular Exxon cheques, are mostly self-funded - many are retirees - and that Exxon's paltry $US23 million for 1990-2007 was outdone by more than 3000 to one by the US government alone, which paid $US79 billion to the climate industry during 1989-2009.

So "sharp" is McKnight's analysis that he calls the independent unfunded scientists "a global PR campaign originating from coal and oil companies", but all while he is oblivious to the real billion-dollar PR campaign that is waged from government departments, a UN agency, financial houses such as Deutsche Bank, the renewable energy industry, the nuclear industry and multi-hundred-million-dollar corporations such as the WWF.

The job of a newspaper, he indicates, is to decide which scientist is right about atmospheric physics. Is Phil Jones from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit right, or is Richard Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorologist, right? Add that to the duties for aspiring national editors. Tough job, eh?

McKnight's main error in his article - accepting an argument from authority - has been known in logic for 2000 years, and his entire synopsis is built around this fallacy.

Just suppose, hypothetically, that the government employed many scientists on one side of a theory and none from the other. McKnight's method of "knowing" who is right involves counting the institutions and authorities who support the grants - I mean, the theory. If science were exploited this way, McKnight would fall victim every time, blindly supporting the establishment.

That doesn't prove he's wrong but his analysis is confused at every level. He claims The Australian has zig-zagged from acceptance to denial but then later accuses The Australian's columnists of repeating "the dominant editorial line". But which editorial line would be dominant: the zig type or the zag?

In science, evidence is the only thing that counts, not opinion. McKnight, the follower of funded opinions, has the gall to question The Australian's standards of evidence but the only evidence he offers is a collection of opinions. McKnight paints himself as an authority on journalism yet fails to investigate his base assumption, research the targets of his scorn, or understand the role of the free press: he is his own best example of why argument from authority is a fallacy.

If our journalism lecturers are feeding students with ideas of leadership roles, how decrepit is the institution where students are not even taught that the highest aim of a journalist is to ask the most penetrating questions and leave no stone unturned, so the people they serve might have the best information?

Such is the modern delusion of the activist-journo: McKnight wants to be the leader, to dictate what the public can think and to direct where public spending goes, but he doesn't want to bother running for office or to expose his claim to open debate. He's nothing more than a totalitarian in disguise.


Climate Change now a Homeland Security Issue

If it were, Obama's bungling DHS are the last people we would want dealing with it

At an all-day White House conference on "environmental justice," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations.

Speaking at the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice on Thursday, Napolitano discussed the initial findings of the department’s recently created "Climate Change and Adaptation Task Force." Napolitano explained that the task force was charged with “identifying and assessing the impact that climate change could have on the missions and operations of the Department of Homeland Security.”

According to the former Arizona governor, the task force would address specific questions, including:

“How will FEMA work with state and local partners to plan for increased flooding or wildfire or hurricane activity that is more serious than we’ve seen before? What assistance can the Coast Guard bring to bear to assist remote villages in, for example, Alaska which already have been negatively affected by changes up in the Arctic?”

The findings from the Homeland Security Department (DHS) also asked: “(H)ow can we focus on how climate change is going to affect our rural citizenry including those who live along our boarders both northern and southern?”

Napolitano did not elaborate on the new task force and the Department of Homeland Security has yet to respond to requests by for additional information on the task force.

The conference did not define “environmental justice,” and the only reference to the task force that can be found is on the DHS Web site. The June 2010 Department of Homeland Security Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan states “climate change has the potential to accelerate and intensify extreme weather events which threaten the nation’s sustainability and security.”

This plan also noted: “Many USCG [Coast Guard] and Customs and Border Protection facilities, by their mission, are located in the coastal zone which will be adversely impacted by sea level rise. Costs will increase for protecting existing facilities from the impacts of sea level rise and some facilities might have to be abandoned in the longer term.”

The all day White House Forum on Environmental Justice also included talks by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.


Insane British government energy policy

Preparing for warming while people freeze

I AM used to governments blaming Britain’s economic ills on sinister foreign influences: US mortgage-lenders, international commodity traders and Chinese savers. But ministers won’t get away for much longer trying to blame international factors for the steadily rising inflation rate – which hit 4.7 per cent on Tuesday – without admitting the contribution of its own energy policy.

The average UK household, according to Ofgem, now pays £1,245 a year in gas and electricity bills. Of this, £84 goes towards subsidising green energy schemes. We are each paying £24 a year towards the EU carbon trading scheme, £12 towards the Renewables Obligation, which forces electricity companies to buy some of their power from more expensive green energy sources, and £45 a year to subsidise domestic insulation schemes.

But that is nothing compared with what is to come. Energy secretary Chris Huhne admitted yesterday that the switch to greener power stations will add a further £160 a year to domestic energy bills by 2030 – the money going to subsidise wind farms and other forms of green energy as they replace decommissioned coal and gas power plants.

Others, however, believe the increase will be much greater. Price comparison website uSwitch predicts that bills will rise by £500 a year. The Government’s green energy programme would be an outrageous attack on lifestyles at any time but coming from an administration that has committed itself to Labour’s targets for reducing “fuel poverty” it represents a bizarre lack of joined-up thinking.

FAR from eliminating fuel poverty – which is defined as a household that spends more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel – the number of households fulfilling this definition has doubled since 2003 to more than 4.5 million.

With Britain in the grip of one of the coldest winters in decades this statistic isn’t just a technicality, it represents real hardship for millions struggling to keep warm and, especially for the elderly, to avoid a grim death from hypothermia. Insulation and green energy – or at least some forms of it – are a good thing.

It is beneficial in many ways if we can cut pollution and reduce our dependence on importing fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. Hopefully one day, technology will mean that green energy becomes cheaper than that derived from fossil fuels but the speed and extent to which the Government is committing Britain to existing, untried and inefficient technologies is an irresponsible experiment that is impoverishing the population and undermining economic recovery.

It isn’t, of course, just households that use energy. While Chris Huhne keeps throwing about wild boasts of the numbers of jobs that his green energy drive will create, what he doesn’t say is that rising energy costs threaten to put our remaining manufacturing industry out of business.

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if other countries had committed to the same green energy drive – at least then our competitors would be in the same boat. But Britain has made commitments that way outstrip those made by other industrial nations. The Climate Change Bill 2008 legally bound us to reduce our carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

Other EU nations are bound only by a loose pledge to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 – if and only if developing countries make a similar pledge. Since the likelihood of the Third World following suit is virtually zero – it would after all condemn the poorest countries to a perpetual state of pre-industrial poverty – the pledge is pretty meaningless.

The science behind global warming has been looking increasingly shaky in recent months, following the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia and the obvious failure of the British weather to obey the patterns confidently predicted by scientists a few years ago. Yet even if global warming is happening it doesn’t follow that the best way to tackle it is by hampering the economy.

Rich countries can cope with natural disasters, be they anything to do with climate change or not; poor countries cannot. The biggest threat posed to Britain from climate change, as we are frequently reminded, is flooding from rising sea levels.

In fact, flooding is a constant threat even with the climate we already have. A large slice of the money being lavished on fighting climate change ought to be spent on river and coastal defence. Yet the Government has slashed the already low flood-defence budget.

This isn’t so much unjoined-up government as bumper car government – where different policies seem intent on knocking each other into oblivion. As things stand we will all shiver in our homes, our industry will be decimated – and we will suffer increased flood risk too. Energy and climate change policy is a national scandal to whose idiocies and contradictions Government ministers appear to be blind.



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


17 December, 2010

False prophet: What the original moonbat and Britain's chief climate screamer said in 2005

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 14th February 2005

It is now mid-February, and already I have sown eleven species of vegetable. I know, though the seed packets tell me otherwise, that they will flourish. Everything in this country - daffodils, primroses, almond trees, bumblebees, nesting birds - is a month ahead of schedule. And it feels wonderful. Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are - unless the Gulf Stream stops - unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.

And this is surely one of the reasons why we find it so hard to accept what the climatologists are now telling us. In our mythologies, an early spring is a reward for virtue. “For, lo, the winter is past,” Solomon, the beloved of God, exults. “The rain is over and gone;/The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come”.(1) How can something which feels so good result from something so bad?


More errors by the IPCC

A recent independent review, by H. Douglas Lightfoot, of a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (AR4), appears in the December 2010 (vol. 21.7) issue of Energy & Environment (Multi-Science Publishing).

H. Douglas Lightfoot's recent paper, "Nomenclature, radiative forcing and temperature projections in IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (AR4)", identifies significant inconsistencies and problems in the crucial IPCC AR4 report.
Three main problems are identified:

Firstly, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration units have been confused. Measurement units of “parts per million by volume” (ppmv), meticulously specified by Charles Keeling for measurements of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, were replaced by “parts per million” (ppm), a measurement by weight without sufficient notification. For carbon dioxide, 1 ppmv is equal to 1.52 ppm, a significant difference.

“This confusion has escaped to the scientific community at large,” explains author H. Douglas Lightfoot, “and has potential to cause serious problems. One has only to remember the Gimli Glider, an Air Canada flight, which ran out of fuel in mid-air over confusion between gallons and litres, to recognize potential hazards in confusing units.”

Secondly, the most frequently quoted estimate of the warming effect of carbon dioxide appears to be overestimated by 2 to 10 times. There is a large discrepancy in the warming contribution of carbon dioxide between pre-industrial times and the present era. Before 1750, carbon dioxide was estimated to contribute approximately 11% of the warming effect, whereas between 1750 and 2005 the IPCC report states the effect at close to 100% of total warming. The paper suggests the large discrepancy in values is unsubstantiated, casting doubt on the validity of the IPCCs reported contribution of carbon dioxide to current global warming.

Finally, the paper explains that there is simply no evidence to support the upper range of projected increases in atmospheric temperature to 2100 of between 2.9 and 6.4C, stated in the AR4 report. Using only information presented in the AR4 report, calculations show that required levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are two to four times more than is possible for the scenario estimates of world energy demand in the year 2100.
Identified inconsistencies in the AR4 report are evidence that there are no trustworthy temperature projections in AR4 for the purpose of policymaking.

“A reasonable recommendation is that the IPCC issue a warning about the problems in AR4,” Mr. Lightfoot explained, “followed by a schedule for completing necessary corrections. This would minimize damage to the credibility of the IPCC and that of its scientists, many of whom have done good work and are not associated with the temperature change projections.”

“An investigation into how these problems passed through unnoticed would be a welcome further step,” Mr. Lightfoot explained. “It is imperative that a body of engineers and scientists independent of the IPCC verify the results of the re-assessment. I support the 2010 Interacademy Council review of the IPCC’s procedures. Their recommendations are an important step towards preventing the types of problems identified in the IPCC’s AR4 report.”

“We currently have a debate in the climate sciences,” Mr. Lightfoot explained. “It is possible that several of the existing inconsistencies identified in my recent paper are contributing to this debate. It is my hope that the process for correcting these problems can change the debate to a useful and beneficial dialogue.”

A more detailed explanation of this paper’s findings is available by contacting The Lightfoot Institute. See also here.


New paper "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age" is published in Natural Science, Vol.2, No.11,1211-1224 (2010)


A number of published papers and openly available data on sea level changes, glacier retreat, freezing/break-up dates of rivers, sea ice retreat, tree-ring observations, ice cores and changes of the cosmic-ray intensity, from the year 1000 to the present, are studied to examine how the Earth has recovered from the Little Ice Age (LIA).

We learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner, from 1800-1850 to the present. The rate of the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming.

It is suggested on the basis of a much longer period data that the Earth is still in the process of recovery from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the end of the recovery before 1900. Cosmic-ray intensity data show that solar activity was related to both the LIA and its recovery. The multi-decadal oscillation of a period of 50 to 60 years was superposed on the linear change; it peaked in 1940 and 2000, causing the halting of warming temporarily after 2000.

These changes are natural changes, and in order to determine the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect, there is an urgent need to identify them correctly and accurately and remove them from the present global warming/cooling trend.


Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time

Today, the George C. Marshall Institute released a new paper examining the viability of electric cars. Authored by the Institute's CEO, William O'Keefe, Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time, considers whether public subsidization of electric vehicles is worthwhile, concluding: "Like many of the solutions to national problems that are invented in Washington DC, there is less to the electric car movement than the public has been led to believe. The image created for electric cars does not match today's reality."

O'Keefe reviews the arguments used to justify public investment and finds that there generally are more efficient and effective ways to achieve the same ends.

After reviewing the costs of electric vehicles and the associated technical and infrastructure requirements, O'Keefe concludes that: "Without subsidies and political pressure, it is doubtful that there would be much demand, except by the wealthy early adopters who want to make an environmental statement."

Furthermore, he notes that government has a poor record of successfully teasing commercial viability out of its preferred technologies.

"O'Keefe's piece is a call for caution in the rush to spend taxpayer resources on a boutique technology for which there is little need and even littler public demand," Jeff Kueter, the Institute's President remarked.

Press release above. See here for the paper referred to

The Dems' Lame-Duck Land Grab

Environmentalists hate sprawl -- except when it comes to the size of their expansive pet legislation on Capitol Hill.

In a last-ditch lame duck push, eco-lobbyists have been furiously pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to pass a monstrous 327-page omnibus government lands bill crammed with more than 120 separate measures to lock up vast swaths of wilderness areas. Despite the time crunch, Senate Democrats in search of 60 votes are working behind the scenes to buy off green Republicans. House Democrats would then need a two-thirds majority to fast-track the bill to the White House before the GOP takes over on Jan. 5.

Yes, the hurdles are high. But with Reid and company now vowing to work straight through Christmas into the new year (when politicians know Americans are preoccupied with the holidays), anything is possible. The Constitution is no obstacle to these power grabbers. Neither is a ticking clock.

The Democrats' brazen serial abuse of the lame-duck session is as damning as the green job-killing agenda enshrined in the overstuffed public lands package. Earlier this month, Reid assigned worker bees on three Senate committees -- Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce, and Environment and Public Works -- to draw up their public lands wish list. All behind closed doors, of course. House Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., rightly dubbed it a "Frankenstein omnibus of bills" and pointed out that the legislation "includes dozens of bills that have never passed a single committee, either chamber of Congress, or even been the subject of a hearing."

The sweeping bill bundles up scores of controversial proposals, including:

-- A stalled land transfer and gravel mining ban in Reid's home state of Nevada.

-- The designation of the Devil's Staircase Wilderness in Oregon as a federally protected wilderness where logging and road development would be prohibited.

-- Multiple watershed and scenic river designations that limit economic activity and threaten private property rights.

-- The creation of massive new national monument boundaries and wilderness areas along the southern border opposed by ranchers, farmers, local officials and citizens.

One New Mexico activist, Marita Noon, said the federal plans to usurp nearly a half-million acres in her state would result in an "illegal immigrant superhighway" off-limits to border security enforcement. Security analyst Dana Joel Gattuso pointed to a recent General Accounting Office report on how environmental permitting rules and land-use regulations have hampered policing efforts at all but three stations along the border.

This jumbo green goodie bag would be a threat to financial security for untold numbers of workers in the demonized mining, logging and construction industries already reeling from economic hardship. Vigilant GOP Sen. James Inhofe has also called attention to how the Democrats' ambitious water protection schemes would enhance the "broad, and unprecedented, scope of authority it grants EPA over state permitting programs." In addition, restrictions on public access to newly expanded wilderness areas would hit hunters, fishermen and others in the recreation and tourism businesses.

The eco-job-killers' timing couldn't be worse. The Obama administration's de facto and de jure drilling moratoria have left Gulf Coast workers in crisis. Mom-and-pop fishing operations in New England are reeling from increased regulatory burdens. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and energy czar Carol Browner's War on the West has resulted in precipitous declines in new oil and natural gas leases on public lands. And Salazar's recent expansion of the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) -- by administrative fiat -- will severely curtail energy development and tourism across more than 27 million acres of federally designated wilderness, conservation areas, rivers and monuments managed and protected by the BLM.

The extreme preservationists have run amok. It's time to fence them in.


Political interference will cripple climate debate

Some good points below from Michael Asten, a professorial fellow in the school of geosciences, Monash University, Australia

THE Cancun climate change conference has come and gone. As expected, it began with a statement from climate scientists on the magnitude of the threat: a predicted sea-level rise of 0.5m to 2m by 2100.

Australia's Climate Change Minister Greg Combet spoke of Australia's commitment to spend $599 million on regional adaptation programs on climate change for poor countries. This may be a wise move since, based on the conference outcomes, few could be optimistic that the global community would succeed in reversing climate change by agreement on decreasing carbon emissions.

Less wise are the Gillard government's promises to introduce a price on Australian carbon emissions next year; we are entitled to ask first whether the government has learned from past mistakes, in particular its failure to countenance and consider a breadth of points of view on which mechanism, and indeed which scientific prediction we should believe.

The recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, which advocates putting a price on carbon, is notable in its absence of endorsement of Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme over a carbon tax or vice versa.

The preferred mechanism for a price on carbon was a matter of some debate - and bureaucratic abuse of process - last year when Clive Spash, then of the CSIRO, wrote a journal article advocating a response to climate change via changes in economic structure, institutions and behaviour, rather than by the introduction of an ETS.

The Spash paper should have been welcomed as an example of the CSIRO fulfilling its six-point charter, which includes agreement for open communication, encouragement of debate on research issues of public interest, the contestability of ideas and demonstration of independence and integrity. Unfortunately, the CSIRO failed both its employee and its employer (the nation). The author was subject to intense pressure from his employer to modify his conclusions after they had been accepted by external peer review, to align them with the policy of the government of the day.

In what will be seen by historians as an outstanding example of political interference in the academic process, Spash resisted the demands for alteration, had his professional reputation traduced by ill-considered claims by Science Minister Kim Carr and eventually resigned his position.

His paper appeared this year in the June issue of the journal New Political Economy, and it is relevant to the present debate in that it questions the cost-effectiveness of an ETS and warns of the "potential for manipulation to achieve financial gain while showing little regard for environmental or social consequences".

A particular irony of this case is that Spash accepts the scientific evidence for anthropogenic global warming but differed from the 2009 government views on the nature of economic management of such change. Spash now holds a professorial position in Norway, and his work has renewed credibility as the OECD and our parliament consider options for a carbon-pricing alternative or some other mechanism for managing climate change.

Has the government learned from its mistakes of last year? Probably not. The supposedly multi-party Climate Change Committee set up by Combet includes a proviso that members must commit to a carbon price; the opposition has understandably declined to participate under such loaded terms of reference.

I also fear that the quality of scientific advice to the government is likewise loaded so that ongoing studies on scientific parameters vital to the climate debate such as the magnitude of the CO2 and water vapour-related feedbacks in atmospheric warming, the role of solar-magnetic and cosmic influences on climate, and the geological-historical records of cyclic climate change are starved of funding in Australia relative to the munificence of grants available for Combet's regional adaptation programs, or various green energy projects.

And if scientists involved in the foregoing topics arrive at a conclusion inconvenient to government policy, Spash's experience gives us no confidence that they will receive a fair hearing.

Political interference against scientific objectivity is insidious and may ultimately deliver hideous outcomes. It is common in climate change debate for lesser intellects to label those who dare to question present climate science orthodoxy as deniers, making the implicit association between climate sceptics and Holocaust deniers.

Such accusers probably are unaware of the savage irony in this epithet, in that German academics and scientists compliant with government policy were intimately involved in the formulation and development of Nazi racial policy, and, as historians have commented, the Nazi regime brought boom-time conditions for scientists from racial anthropologists, biologists and economists who were able to contribute to this aspect of the regime's policies. Those academics who were outspoken were removed by the Gestapo.

I do not offer these thoughts as being analogous to present climate debate but by way of caution to politicians who may be unwilling to allow debate, and scientists who may be unduly influenced by funding sources.

As a geophysicist my reading and writing leads me to question the level of influence of human-related CO2 emissions on present versus past climate change, and it is of huge concern to our nation's future if we commit to a price on carbon without a parallel high-priority, objective and ongoing scientific effort to quantify uncertainties and natural factors also affecting climate change.

The Cancun predictions on sea-level rises contrast with recent satellite observations on the rate of sea-level change and provide a timely example on the need for scientific objectivity.

A recent peer-reviewed paper by Svetlana Jevrejeva from Britain's National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, provides a calculation of 0.6m-1.6m by 2100 using a range of climate models. However, these models also show predicted sea-level change rates of 4.2mm-5.4mm a year for the first decade of the 21st century.

I contrast these predictions with just published observations by Riccardo Riva from Delft in The Netherlands and international colleagues who use satellite technology to measure actual global sea level rise in this same decade to be in the order of 1mm a year, which happens to be about the rate of sea-level increase that has been observed during the past century. In other words, the observational data suggests the problem as modelled may be overstated by a factor of five.

Did scientists from the no-longer independent CSIRO (or other competent body in Australia) brief minister Combet and his team at Cancun on this discrepancy and its implications? Are they permitted to make such comment publicly? And how will such observations affect the targeting of our funds on offer for regional adaptation programs?

Until we have confidence scientists can address such issues without censorship or denigration, we cannot have confidence that a price on carbon will be scientifically justified or wisely spent.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

NASA admits we could be entering a new ice age

The comments below appear to be part of some "educational" postings and are undated. Now that skeptics are beginning to note them, they might not stay up much longer -- or is the ship really beginning to turn? And I won't comment on the grammar

The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth's climate system. Sunlight warms our world. Sunlight drives atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. Sunlight powers the process of photosynthesis that plants need to grow. Sunlight causes convection which carries warmth and water vapor up into the sky where clouds form and bring rain. In short, the Sun drives almost every aspect of our world's climate system and makes possible life as we know it.

Earth's orbit around and orientation toward the Sun change over spans of many thousands of years. In turn, these changing "orbital mechanics" force climate to change because they change where and how much sunlight reaches Earth. (Please see for more details.) Thus, changing Earth's exposure to sunlight forces climate to change. According to scientists' models of Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age.

However, a new force for change has arisen: humans. After the industrial revolution, humans introduced increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and changed the surface of the landscape to an extent great enough to influence climate on local and global scales. By driving up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (by about 30 percent), humans have increased its capacity to trap warmth near the surface.

Other important forcings of Earth's climate system include such "variables" as clouds, airborne particulate matter, and surface brightness. Each of these varying features of Earth's environment has the capacity to exceed the warming influence of greenhouse gases and cause our world to cool.

For example, increased cloudiness would give more shade to the surface while reflecting more sunlight back to space. Increased airborne particles (or "aerosols") would scatter and reflect more sunlight back to space, thereby cooling the surface. Major volcanic eruptions (such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1992) can inject so much aerosol into the atmosphere that, as it spreads around the globe, it reduces sunlight and cause Earth to cool. Likewise, increasing the surface area of highly reflective surface types, such as ice sheets, reflects greater amounts of sunlight back to space and causes Earth to cool.

Scientists are using NASA satellites to monitor all of the aforementioned forcings of Earth's climate system to better understand how they are changing over time, and how any changes in them affect climate.


Attention-seeking b*tch created a false scare

Erin Brockovich claimed that a substance -- chromium 6 -- released into groundwater by a power company caused cancer and on very specious grounds won a huge court settlement from the company in 1996. The town allegedly affected was Hinkley. Now, a recent survey shows that the incidence of cancers in Hinkley is in fact on the low side. And that was exactly what the medical facts would lead us to expect. As we read here:

"Further, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicology web site, “No data were located in the available literature that suggested that chromium-6 is carcinogenic by the oral route of exposure.” Indeed, "Exposure to chromium-6 in tap water via all plausible routes of exposure,” even in extremely high concentrations, concluded “the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, poses no “acute or chronic health hazard to humans.”

The power company should be refunded its money

A state survey has not found a disproportionately high number of cancers in Hinkley, a high-desert community that has become the symbol of public fears about exposure to groundwater tainted with carcinogenic chromium 6.

From 1996 to 2008, 196 cancers were identified among residents of the census tract that includes Hinkley — a slightly lower number than the 224 cancers that would have been expected given its demographic characteristics, said epidemiologist John Morgan, who conducted the California Cancer Registry survey.

The survey did not attempt to explain why any individual in Hinkley contracted cancer, nor did it diminish the importance of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. cleaning up a plume of groundwater with elevated levels of chromium 6, Morgan said.

"In this preliminary assessment we only looked at cancer outcomes, not specific types of cancer," Morgan said. "However, we did look at a dozen cancer types in earlier surveys of the same census tract for the years between 1988 and 1998. Overall, the results of those surveys were almost identical to the new findings, and none of the cancers represented a statistical excess."

The findings come as some residents are pushing PG&E to purchase their properties, after tests showed that chromium-tainted groundwater was migrating toward them. That miles-long plume, the result of decades of dumping water tainted with chromium compounds into local waste ponds, was at the center of a $333-million settlement over illnesses and cancers made famous by the movie "Erin Brockovich."

With that in mind, residents of this ranching community about five miles west of Barstow remained skeptical of the survey. Their water supply comes from local wells, and their fear of cancer persists.

"We just want to get the hell out of Hinkley," said Greg Kearney, 64, who shares a 3,000-square-foot ranch house with his wife, Elaine, 63, who has had seven strokes, their 41-year-old daughter, Keri, who has advanced lung cancer, and a younger daughter who has had five miscarriages and gave birth to a son with severe cognitive problems.


Very green, but not so jolly

Several recent stories indicate anew just how green the Obama administration is, and how much harm it is prepared to inflict on the country to further its environmentalist agenda.

First is the report that the administration is yet again reversing course on offshore drilling. Back in March, weeks before the BP oil spill, Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the administration would finally open the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Atlantic coast (in particular, the coast of Virginia) to oil and gas exploration. This marked a change of position for Obama. While campaigning for the presidency he said he would allow expanded coastal exploration and development (this as McCain was getting traction in the polls with “drill, baby, drill!”); but once elected, he reversed his position and refused to allow it.

So now we are back to no new offshore drilling (and a continuing moratorium on deepwater drilling). Karen Harbert, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, put the situation aptly: “The Administration is sending a message to America’s oil and gas industry: take your capital, technology, and jobs somewhere else.”

The absurdity of this policy is underscored by the fact that gasoline nationwide is edging back toward $3 a gallon, and by the news that unemployment just went up to 9.8% nationwide, marking the longest period of over 9% unemployment since the Great Depression.

The second story is a study in contrast. It’s a report that China plans to spend over $500 billion to build 245 new nuclear power plants. This would mean adding nearly two and a half times as many as the U.S. has in total. As Zhao Chengkun, vice-president of the China Nuclear Energy Association, put it, “Developing clean, low-carbon energy is an international priority. Nuclear is recognized as the only energy source that can be used on a mass scale to achieve this.” While our administration dithers about constructing just one new reactor, the Chinese barrel ahead.

A third story concerns the ever-frisky EPA. It has just announced a dramatic increase in regulations on energy industries aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Among the new EPA diktats is the requirement that the maximum allowable ground-level ozone level be dropped by up to 20%. Hundreds of American municipalities are struggling to comply with the existing maximum level, so tightening the standards still further will just bury those places financially. The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI estimates that this new EPA regulation will cost America on the order of 7.3 million jobs and about a trillion dollars in regulatory costs within a decade.

It is doubtful whether this reduction in ambient ozone would result in any measurable gain in public health, much less in a gain big enough to justify the huge economic and human costs. But the Obama administration is full of green ideologues for whom such considerations matter little.

To be green means that you worship all life forms — except human beings.


"Tipping point" theory takes a fall

THE risk of polar bears becoming extinct may have been overstated, according to research suggesting that Arctic sea ice will melt more gradually than previously estimated.

The new projections suggest that if carbon emissions are curbed quickly, enough ice is likely to remain to sustain the current population of polar bears during the next century.

Previously it was believed that once temperatures rose beyond a certain point, the retreat of Arctic ice would become unstoppable even if global temperatures subsequently stabilised. Under this projection, about two thirds of the world's 22,000 polar bears were predicted to have been lost by mid-century.

The latest simulations, published in the journal, Nature, suggest that instead a linear, and reversible, decline in ice is more likely.

If carbon emissions drop during the next two decades, the polar bears' habitat could be preserved. "What we projected in 2007 was based on the usual greenhouse gas scenario," said Steven Amstrup, an emeritus researcher with the US Geological Survey and a senior scientist with Polar Bears International. "That was a pretty dire outlook, but it didn't consider the possibility of greenhouse gas mitigation."

Professor Cecilia Bitz, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington: said: "Our research offers a very promising, hopeful message, but it's also an incentive for mitigating greenhouse emissions."

However, other scientists felt the new projections were too optimistic. "I wouldn't say that we can rule out a tipping point, but it does show that a tipping point isn't inevitable," said Walt Meier, a senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado. Professor Henry Jacoby, founder of the MIT Global Change Joint Programme, said a potential flaw was that the emissions scenarios used in the study were based on a "world that's already long gone".

A second study presented yesterday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco shows that even if global warming continues at the current pace, a belt of ice from the northern archipelago of Canada to the northern tip of Greenland is likely to survive because of the local wind and sea current system.


Will this winter be even colder in Britain than the winter of 1962-3?

Temperatures will plummet tomorrow and will stay bitterly cold for the next month, forecasters have warned. Severe weather warnings have been issued as the second Big Freeze of the season puts the country on course for a winter even colder than the notoriously treacherous 1962-63.

North-westerly parts of the country got a sneak preview today of the freezing weather to come. At 9am, West Scotland was still shivering at -7c while the mercury stood at -3c in north-west England.

Large swathes of the country were today issued with severe weather warnings, with ice and snow expected to make driving conditions treacherous from Thursday onwards.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: 'A band of rain and snow will move southwards across Scotland and Northern Ireland during the early hours of Thursday with widespread icy surfaces then rapidly developing, potentially around the morning rush-hour period. 'This risk will also extend into northern England. Heavy snow showers will then spread to areas exposed to the strong northerly wind.'

Temperatures on Thursday night will drop to between -3c and -6c, according to MeteoGroup. Forecaster Aisling Creevey said: 'We've had a little bit of a reprieve over the last few days - pretty much everywhere is at risk from snow and icy conditions as the temperature drops on Thursday. 'And temperatures could be down to -10c in Scotland and to -4c and -5c across the country overnight on Friday.'

Snow is set to feature throughout the weekend. David Price, a forecaster for the Met Office, said there would be 5cm-10cm of snow over much of the country, with some higher areas of Scotland facing as much as 20cm.

Looking further ahead Jonathan Powell, a forecaster with Positive Weather Solutions, said: 'Our models are showing we will see a white Christmas. The most likely places to have one are Scotland, north-east England, the east coast, the South East and London. It's going to happen.'


Worst storm this century traps 300 motorists in Ontario

The Canadian military is racing to rescue more than 300 motorists who are trapped on a highway in the worst storm to hit Ontario in 25 years. Some people were trapped for nearly 24 hours with snow piled up so high they could not open the doors of their cars on Highway 402 outside the town of Sarnia.

The military has mobilised a CC-130 Hercules airplane, two Griffons helicopters and an array of snowmobiles and four-wheel drive SUVs for the rescue effort. They have reached some motorists just in the nick of time. 'You really felt almost despair,' Brandon Junkin, who had run out of gas and was trapped in his truck for nearly 24 hours with just a blanket to ward off the sub-zero temperatures, told CNN. He was rescued when he heard a military helicopter hovering over him.

Video taken by another trucker and posted on YouTube shows a barren, Arctic-like landscape, with powdery snow being blown by the wind and the vague shapes of other vehicles buried in white.

Other truckers are inviting car drivers to shelter with them in their rigs, and neighbours living near the stretch of highway have opened their homes to motorists.

The Ontario Provincial Police said initially that 360 vehicles were trapped on the 402, which connects the U.S. border with London, Ontario. Some have since been rescued but Sarnia officials admitted it could be up to 24 hours more before everyone is safe.

Meanwhile more than 100 motorists in Indiana were rescued from their cars in biting temperatures as snowstorms were blamed for at least 15 deaths in the U.S. LaPorte County sheriff's Deputy Andy Hynek said officials did not know exactly how many people were stranded, but some had been stuck for as long as 12 hours.

The heavy snow in the Midwest state was part of a slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the central U.S. since Friday night. The storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow before it stretched further east, with snow in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

The upper Midwest has been gripped by bone-chilling cold as Arctic air swept in behind the storm. At least 15 deaths in four states have been attributed to the storm. Eight people died in traffic accidents, and a 79-year-old man clearing the end of his driveway in western Wisconsin was killed when a plough truck backed into him.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Arab named as chief scientist at NASA

Online biographies of him studiously avoid any mention of his early background but Waleed is an Arab name so he is almost certainly a Muslim -- though at the outside he could be a Lebanese Christian.

As Muslims often have loyalties that transcend loyalty to the country in which they live, this appointment does not inspire much confidence in his future words and deeds.

But if such doubts are justified he would in any case be in comparably unreliable company among NASA environmental officials. One thinks, of course, of Jim Hansen and his ever-changing temperature histories.

I note that Abdalati's first degrees were in engineering so his environmental expertise would seem slight. But IPCC head Pachauri is an engineer too so scientific expertise would seem to be no precondition for environmental appointments anyway

University of Colorado-Boulder faculty member Waleed Abdalati has been selected as NASA's chief scientist.

The 46-year-old associate geography professor will start the two-year term in January.

Abdalati directs the Earth Science Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, a venture of the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His research focuses on understanding changes in Earth's ice cover.

Abdalati will be chief adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency's science programs, planning and science investments. He'll work with the White House, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.


Greenland ice sheet flow driven by short-term weather extremes, not gradual warming: research

Sudden changes in the volume of meltwater contribute more to the acceleration – and eventual loss – of the Greenland ice sheet than the gradual increase of temperature, according to a University of British Columbia study.

The ice sheet consists of layers of compressed snow and covers roughly 80 per cent of the surface of Greenland. Since the 1990s, it has been documented to be losing approximately 100 billion tonnes of ice per year – a process that most scientists agree is accelerating, but has been poorly understood.

Some of the loss has been attributed to accelerated glacier flow towards ocean outlets. Now a new study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature, shows that a steady meltwater supply from gradual warming may in fact slow down glacier flow, while sudden water input could cause glaciers to speed up and spread, resulting in increased melt.

"The conventional view has been that meltwater permeates the ice from the surface and pools under the base of the ice sheet," says Christian Schoof, an assistant professor at UBC's Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences and the study's author. "This water then serves as a lubricant between the glacier and the earth underneath it, allowing the glacier to shift to lower, warmer altitudes where more melt would occur."

Noting observations that during heavy rainfall, higher water pressure is required to force drainage along the base of the ice, Schoof created computer models that account for the complex fluid dynamics occurring at the interface of glacier and bedrock. He found that a steady supply of meltwater is well accommodated and drained through water channels that form under the glacier.

"Sudden water input caused by short term extremes – such as massive rain storms or the draining of a surface lake – however, cannot easily be accommodated by existing channels. This allows it to pool and lubricate the bottom of the glaciers and accelerate ice loss," says Schoof, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Global Process Modeling.

"This certainly doesn't mitigate the issue of global warming, but it does mean that we need to expand our understanding of what's behind the massive ice loss we're worried about," says Schoof. A steady increase of temperature and short-term extreme weather conditions have both been attributed to global climate change.

According to the European Environment Agency, ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet has contributed to global sea-level rise at 0.14 to 0.28 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2003. [Wow! A quarter of a millimetre. Do you know how small a millimetre is?]

"This study provides an elegant solution to one of the two key ice sheet instability problems identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their 2007 assessment report," says Prof. Andrew Shepherd, an expert on using satellites to study physical processes of Earth's climate, based at the University of Leeds, the U.K.

"It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, Greenland ice sheet flow might not be accelerated by increased melting after all," says Shepherd, who was not involved in the research or peer review of the paper.


Corporate ­crooks at Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is putting its interest in making money off climate change ahead of the facts

The corporate climate-change bandwagon, an unprecedented global scramble of money-grubbing and subsidy-seeking opportunists, shows no signs of ending. Whatever the failures and limitations of last week’s United Nations’ conference in Cancun, the prospect of cashing in on the idea of carbon-free energy has galvanized corporate players all over the world, generating a momentum that seems to have left the UN effort in the dust. The carbon targets proposed in the Kyoto Protocol may be too crazy for governments to adopt, but they’re just fine with all the banks, solar power firms, turbine makers, consultants, real estate speculators, regulatory manipulators, scammers and spinners who aim to make a killing off climate change.

An example of such a pro-climate change campaign is the work of Deutsche Bank, the giant German financial institution that has imbedded itself in the renewable energy field. Deutsche Bank claims to have funded more than $5-billion in renewable projects, the result of its aggressive marketing of Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) as government policy. It promotes FIT pricing of electricity all over the world, from Ontario to developing nations. Investors are urged to sink money into renewable energy, on the claim that the returns will beat the market.

Earlier this month, the bank announced a $70-million funding of two solar power parks in Ontario to be installed by SkyPower Ltd., a company that has a turned the province’s rich solar-power pricing schemes into a corporate bonanza. Similar announcements pop out of Deutsche regularly, along with weighty reports from a section of the bank called DB Climate Change Advisors.

DB Climate Change Advisors is a part of the bank’s asset management group, whose leader, Kevin Parker, likes to point out in the reports that it is the bank’s belief “that Feed-in Tariffs create a lower risk environment for investors.” No kidding. That’s because the risk is being picked up by ratepayers and taxpayers. In the bank’s view, Germany and Ontario set global standards in policies that subsidize solar and wind power.

To support its corporate strategy, Deutsche Bank recently went after climate change critics who might upset the gravy train of subsidies, regulation and FIT programs. David Henderson reports in Tuesday’s FP Comment on the bank’s efforts to discredit skeptics.

In a report in September, titled “Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” DB Climate Change Advisors commissioned scientists at the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute of Columbia University to take down the work of such skeptics as Ross McKitrick of Guelph University. They picked the wrong skeptic to go after.

Prof. McKitrick focused on two central topics treated in the Deutsche Bank report. The main emphasis is on the so-called “hockey stick” controversy. The other issue is an infamous quote from a Climategate email in which Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at University of East Anglia in the U.K. refers to a “trick” to “hide the decline” in a graphic presentation of temperatures.

Prof. McKitrick identifies and spells out an extended list of errors, misrepresentations and falsehoods in the Deutsche Bank report. As is typical of climate science conflict, the subject quickly gets complicated and arcane.

The opening segment in the Deutsche Bank report attempted to demolish the “hockey stick” portion of the skeptics’ arguments. The famous hockey-stick graph, created in 1997 by U.S. climatologist Michael Mann, appeared to show that recent temperatures were the highest in 1,000 years. Beginning in 2003, Mr. McKitrick (along with Toronto consultant Steve McIntyre) demonstrated conclusively that the 1,000-year claim was unsupportable.

According to the Deutsche report, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences had investigated the hockey stick issue and “rejected the claims of McIntyre and McKitrick and endorsed, with a few reservations, Mann et al.’s work.” The Deutsche report also claimed that another investigation into the hockey stick conducted by a team of statisticians headed by Edward Wegman, “also concluded that the methodological errors in the original Mann et al. papers had no impact on the scientific conclusion.” According to Deutsche Bank, the NAS and Wegman reports “confirmed the soundness of the [Mann] research and concluded the primary conclusions were unaffected by any methodological problems.”

All of this was too much for Prof. McKitrick. In his formal response to the Deutsche report, he wrote: “In addition to misrepresenting the NAS findings, this is a wholly false misrepresentations of the findings of the Wegman report.” Not only did the Deutsche document distort the process, it got the Wegman conclusions wrong. The Wegman committee actually said that “the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the [Mann et al.] analysis.”

In a second set of comments, “Response to Revised Report from Deutsche Bank,” Prof. McKitrick takes another critical whack at the Deutsche report. Among other things, Prof. McKitrick turns his attention to a direct attack on work. “Attempts to reproduce the work of McIntyre and McKitrick,” said the Deutsche paper, “have shown their original claims to be largely spurious.”

This is untrue, and Prof. McKitrick cites the Wegman review, which said: “In general, we find the criticisms by [McKitrick and McIntyre] to be valid and their arguments to be compelling. We were able to reproduce their results and offer both theoretical explanations and simulations to verify that their observations were correct.”

The Deutsche Bank treatment of the Climategate email about “hiding the decline” is particularly wrongheaded. In the email, Mr. Jones, the East Anglia chief, refers to the official graph of northern hemisphere temperatures that blended actual temperature records with tree ring measurements of temperature records without acknowledging the switch. This “trick” gave the impression of a continuous record of rising temperatures in the late 20th century, when no such record existed.

The authors of the Deutsche report glossed over this misleading use of data, calling it “inappropriate.” But Prof. McKitrick said the hiding-the-decline trick is more than a case of bad graphic presentation. It was misleading — or worse. “Data manipulation … is not ‘poor presentation.’ ” He added: “The WMO chart did not suffer poor presentation; it was, in fact, quite an attractive graph. The problem was that it was misleading, and in that sense the care that went into making it look compelling only compounds the problem.”

To date, the Deutsche Bank organization has not responded to Prof. McKitrick’s second round of criticisms. The original report still stands in the web-site. The few corrections admitted to so far remain buried in the back in a barely readable form.

Prof. McKitrick makes another striking observation: “At a certain point it becomes disconcerting that Deutsche Bank, which is among other things one of the few international banks qualified to act as a primary dealer for the New York Federal Reserve, and is thereby subject to particularly stringent requirements about accuracy of commentary it publishes on economic and policy issues, is going to such efforts to excuse publication of misleading information.”

As Mr. Henderson puts it, the Deutsche report on climate skeptics has been rendered worthless as a guide to the science and for investors. It also betrays a larger issue, which is a corporate role on the part of Deutsche Bank that makes Exxon look like a Boy Scout.


Where are all those green jobs?

The Obama Administration channeled $90 billion of the $870 billion dollar stimulus package towards the new green economy. The hope was that a national move from fossil energy to green energy would not only be good, long term, for the environment, but that the transition could also be a jobs' driver, which would help resuscitate the overall economy.

But two years into Obama's administration, the White House has reported it's helped create 224,500 green jobs, far short of the 5 million it had openly predicted.

At the Ocala green job training school, the reality for students is that only about 25 percent of the green graduates have found green employment.

Analysts say the reason for green jobs not growing as fast as hoped include several reasons:

--Government subsidies to give industries incentive to go green tend to be short term. Industries want long term commitments to permanently invest in green technologies.

--There are not government regulations forcing industry to meet certain green thresholds.

--Perhaps most relevant in this still-tight economy where what costs less often prevails: fossil fuels remain cheaper than going green.

"The reason for the slow growth in green jobs in the U.S. economy over the past two years is that the industry was very small to begin with, so it was very hard to leverage that industry up to make it create jobs," says Samuel Sherraden of the New America Policy Foundation.

As for progressive expectations that jobs in recycling, solar and wind energy, sustainable landscape design, battery redesign and green demolition would lower the national unemployment rate noticeably, those were ambitious, to say the least.


Michigan buried by global warming

Has there ever been a better illustration of the gulf between America's political elites and Middle America?

This weekend, a delegation to the United Nation's Climate Summit in the resort city of Cancun, Mexico that included Washington negotiators, Michigan faculty, and Ann Arbor students returned to declare that they had come to an agreement to transfer $100 billion — that's BILLION — to Third World countries to combat catastrophic global warming. The announcement came as a brutal winter snowstorm buried the Midwest in record snowdrifts that collapsed the Minneapolis Metrodome, drove temperatures to record lows in the south, and killed five people in the Metro Detroit area.

How many people has global warming killed?

Despite last year's Climategate scandal that have gutted climate science credibility, the United States increased funding three-fold in 2010 to a staggering $1.7 billion-a-year to fight the phantom global warming scare at a time when the country's federal and state budgets are hobbled by a loss of revenue from the Great Recession.

Is global warming a greater threat than state bankruptcy?

While the Cancun delegation studied the diversion of another $100 billion in tax dollars to the help Third World governments build windmills, local Michigan governments like Oakland County cut its snow and salt crews by a third to meet budget — crews that were sorely missing Monday morning as semi-trucks jackknifed on slick roads, clotting roadways and forcing backup for miles.

Is global warming a greater threat than road safety?

In Atlanta last week, hundreds of poor residents shivered in line for home-heating assistance as the mercury in southern Georgia plunged into the '20s. Indeed, Cancun itself greeted its warming saviors with record low temperatures while climate delegates met amidst hotels full of resort vacationers honked off by 50-degree temperatures. This is madness.

The University of Michigan sent 30 professors, students, and alumni to the Cancun Summit. "Rather than only learning in the classroom about the most complex and contentious environmental negotiations that we have ever faced, the students will get a first-hand look at how such an international treaty is worked out," said Andrew Hoffman, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Freezing, overtaxed Michigan voters may wonder whether if this is the best use of their U-M subsidy dollars.

"Last year, the masses in Copenhagen were alive with the idealistic belief that a solution to climate change was at hand. This year, the masses in Cancun are alert to the nearest bar with a deal on margaritas," sniffed one U-M student in Cancun about the vacationers around him. "Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against tanned bikini clad bodies or margaritas. At the same time, it does give one pause when the vast majority of people just outside the conference walls are oblivious to the debate which could have a drastic impact not only on their own lives but the lives of future generations."

Maybe these students would have learned more helping "the masses" in a Detroit warming center where large numbers of homeless are expected this year in the midst of a down Detroit economy.

While The Detroit News reports that "extreme temperatures" this winter will see an overflow of families to Detroit warming centers, Gov. Jennifer Granholm is celebrating the forced purchase of wind power — to fight global warming — by DTE in order to meet state alternative energy mandates. The expensive mandates will suck more money from Michigan ratepayers. The governor applauded the deal as Lansing has experienced record snowfall and record low temperatures this decade.

It is hard to square the rhetoric of Cancun with the reality of Detroit's streets. U-M might expose its students to climatologist Pat Michaels who explains that even Cancun's goal of an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050 would have minimal effect on global temperatures. Or that diverting $100 million from the economic engines like the U.S. to create green utopias will increase poverty.

Instead, students get green mythology. "We hope to participate actively while in Cancun, as well as share our experiences with our community upon return," said one Mexico-bound U-M student. More likely, she'll be sharing experiences of slip-sliding across an iced-over campus in 10-degree temperatures.


Is the ‘Columbo of climate change’ someone who would rather avoid Columbo-like questions?

Russell Cook

When a member of the baby boomer generation like myself sees someone describe environmentalist author Ross Gelbspan as the “Columbo of climate change,” it’s a bit sad that the description is basically lost on the younger generations who probably have no idea who Lieutenant Columbo was. I loved that old ’70s-’80s television series, where viewers routinely saw the guest star’s character commit the “perfect crime,” only to be caught in the sights of homicide detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk. He would always begin asking ordinary questions as a matter of standard police inquiry, but ultimately pestered the criminal with unrelenting sporadic follow-up questions until the crime was exposed. It was priceless to see the pained look on the criminal’s face every time Columbo’s unexpected appearance was followed by his trademark “I don’t mean to bother you, but there’s just one more thing…”

I’m also a bit troubled by the uncontested claim that Gelbspan is any kind of Lt. Columbo. Yes, the book accompanying Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” movie said Gelbspan was “a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who discovered a 1991 coal industry internal memo” with a phrase sounding like a top-down directive for skeptic scientists to deliberately portray global warming as unsettled science. Gelbspan is highly praised in viral form across the internet for his 1997 The Heat is On book, in which this “discovery” supposedly frames skeptic scientists as hopelessly corrupt.

The problem is, literally anyone who undertakes a search at the Pulitzer organization’s web site will soon discover Gelbspan is not listed as a Pulitzer winner.

Kind of makes you want to knock on Gelbspan’s door and say, “Excuse me, sir, sorry to bother you, but about Gore’s claim that you are a Pulitzer winner. It does say that right here in the sleeve of your 1997 book’s dust jacket, and here on the front of your 2004 hardcover book. Were those printing errors?”

The 1991 “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” memo phrase, shown in red letters full screen in Gore’s movie, got one of the two biggest applause responses when the audience saw the next screen comparing it to prior tobacco industry campaigns’ attempts to say the science was unclear about the harmful effects of smoking. A very convincing one-two punch.

However, a problem arises when anyone does a reasonably good internet search of that phrase. We see in short order (ignoring results from my own recent articles and blogs) that Gelbspan is widely credited with making the phrase famous in his 1997 book, but it is also plain to see he did this after the phrase was published in a 1994 book by Curtis Moore and Alan Miller, and after several newspaper and magazine articles authored by others in 1991, most notably the NY Times.

“Oh, Mr. Gelbspan, I’m glad I found you here today. Forgive me for the intrusion, I know you are a busy man. Just a couple more things are bothering me. I’m trying to make sense of this idea that so many people say you discovered this memo.”

What we also see in various searches of the phrase is a complete lack of any web links to the entire page where the “reposition global warming” phrase can be seen in its complete context, except in my own articles. In fact, of all the web pages proclaiming this phrase to be the smoking gun indictment of skeptic scientists, it’s impossible to even find a single page that makes the effort to show it as a scanned image.

“Good evening, Mr. Gelbspan, I hope I’m not disturbing your dinner, sir, but forgive me, this one question will only take a minute. This 1991 memo that so many talk about…you’d think we’d see it everywhere, where you could read the whole thing top to bottom. You know, sir, it turns out to be so hard to find, and I’ve been wondering why…”

This 1991 memo is even referred to — but not shown — in two of the three major global warming nuisance lawsuits, and a lawyer in one of these two is also a primary one in the Supreme Court case that will decide whether it should move forward.

Then there’s this other problem.

“Mr. Gelbspan! I’m glad I could catch up with you. I’m trying to get a handle on all this, sir, and there’s just one more thing that’s bothering me. Your two books here, it’s fascinating stuff, really scary weather that will happen if we don’t stop global warming. But you’re saying skeptic scientists who claim man is not causing it are paid by coal and oil companies to say that. Well, you do have proof their claims are pure fabrications, where you can trace exact money figures to a specific science conclusions that other scientists can easily disprove… correct? You see, I can’t seem to find any evidence of that in your books…or your lectures…or in any of your articles. You do see the problem here, sir?”

I’m not a police detective, nor do I play one on TV. All I am is a semi-retired idiot graphic artist. And I’m not suggesting I’m any kind of Lt. Columbo. What I am suggesting is that the mainstream media has not done enough to question Gelbspan’s accusations.

The theory of man-caused global warming is supported by only two legs, one saying the consensus of scientific opinion is unimpeachable, and the other proclaiming skeptic scientists should be ignored because they’re corrupt. The skeptic scientists are continually asking tough questions about the first leg. It’s time for professional journalists to start asking pesky questions about the second one, to see whether Ross Gelbspan is the “Columbo” he’s said to be, or is someone who would rather avoid Columbo-like questions.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Forty Years of Drama Queen Scientists

We are routinely urged to heed climate scientists who say the world is in peril and that humanity must mend its environmentally damaging ways. What we’re rarely told is that these scientists are part of a long tradition.

Four decades ago, in January 1972, the Ecologist magazine published a lengthy essay titled A Blueprint for Survival. Shortly afterward, the essay was re-packaged as a 140-page best-selling paperback. As the back cover of my edition explains, the book:

" …offers radical proposals for immediate action…The Blueprint is supported by 34 distinguished biologists, ecologists, doctors and economists… "

On the front, in large type, is a quote from the Sunday Times:

"Nightmarishly convincing…after reading it nothing seems quite the same any more"

Forty years ago, therefore, environmentalists, experts, and journalists were doing exactly what they do now. Brandishing impressive credentials, they were scolding us about our lifestyles and threatening dire consequences if their pessimistic pronouncements were ignored.

It is the proper role of scientists to collect and interpret data. They can then present their findings regarding what effect they believe we are having on the environment. But the question of how society should respond to their findings is a political matter. It involves debate and a careful weighing of competing approaches and interests. The decision must be made by those elected to govern us. This is because elected officials are accountable. If they introduce policies the public considers intolerable they’ll lose their jobs.

The 34 distinguished biologists, ecologists, doctors, and economists who endorsed the Blueprint are accountable to no one. If such people started making decisions regarding economics, public health, transportation, and other matters we’d be exchanging representative democracy for tyranny on the part of these select experts. We’d be saying that a small number of people know better than we do what is best for us and our children.

I think that’s bunk. I also think it’s important to note that some experts are drama queens. For them, the glass is always half empty and everything is always a crisis (rather than a manageable problem). Unfortunately, drama queens tend to attract media attention. We therefore need to start noticing that, no matter what the specific problem has been, drama queen scientists have been pushing the same unpalatable solutions for 40 years: fewer humans, less consumption, less travel – and less freedom.

Let’s take a peek inside 1972′s Blueprint. According to the preface:

* we should be concerned by “the extreme gravity of the global situation“

* if current trends persist “the irreversible disruption of the life-support systems on this planet, possibly by the end of the [20th] century, certainly with the lifetimes of our children, are inevitable.“

* governments are refusing to face facts and therefore are failing to undertake necessary “corrective measures“

* a self-appointed group of “scientists and industrialists…is currently trying to persuade governments, industrial leaders and trade unions throughout the world to face these facts and to take appropriate action while there is yet time.“

* a new political movement is necessary; this movement must embrace “a new philosophy of life, whose goals can be achieved without destroying the environment“

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Forty years ago some scientists used their respected place in society to advocate for a new political movement, a new philosophy of life. While scientists are entitled to their views, their expertise is not in political philosophy. This means their opinions regarding how the world should function deserve no more consideration than the opinions of a random nurse or taxi driver.

What else were they saying back in 1972? The first line of the Blueprint‘s introduction declares that an industrial way of life is “not sustainable.” We’re told humans are consuming too much, polluting too much, and having too many babies. We’re told economic growth is the enemy and that austerity is the answer. We’re warned that unless things change radically “a succession of famines, epidemics, social crises and wars” are inevitable.

Let’s think about that last point for a moment. For decades, people have wanted us to urgently and radically change our ways. Why? Because, in their opinion, bad things will happen if we don’t.

I’m happy to take my chances with the future, thanks. The past 40 years bear little resemblance to the horror story the drama queens were predicting back in 1972. Average people are now richer and healthier. They live longer lives and many enjoy access to more food, culture, and technology than did the princes of old. In much of the world the air and water is cleaner than it was in the 1970s, and the forests are larger. As books such as Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist patiently explain, the planet is not headed to hell in a handcart. Things are far from perfect, but the current situation looks nothing like the collapse predicted by the Blueprint 40 years ago.


NSIDC Shows Antarctic Spring/Summer Sea Ice Above Normal For Two Straight Years

Antarctic ice anomalies are located at lower latitudes than Arctic ice anomalies, so they have a larger effect on the Earth’s radiation budget – by reflecting sunlight back into space. Global sea ice anomalies cool the planet.

Image from here


Pesky West Coast fog: Declining, not increasing

Global warming should increase fog as warmer oceans give off more water vapor -- but fog is in fact going in the opposite direction. The author below has an ad hoc explanation for it but how many ad hoc explanations do you resort to before you conclude that the underlying theory is wrong?

Fog is a common feature along the West Coast during the summer, but a University of Washington scientist has found that summertime coastal fog has declined since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly.

Fog formation appears to be controlled by a high-pressure system normally present off the West Coast throughout the summer, said James Johnstone, a postdoctoral researcher with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the UW.

"The behavior of that high-pressure cell is responsible for a lot of the weather phenomena we see on the coast," he said. It can alter water temperature, ocean circulation, surface winds and other factors linked to coastal fog formation.

The fog decline could have negative effects on coastal forests that depend on cool and humid summers, but Johnstone, who presents his findings Monday (Dec. 13) at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco, hasn't seen evidence of that yet.

In fact, climate models indicate that coastal fog should be increasing because of global warming, but he believes that is not happening because of strong influence exerted by regional circulation patterns related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. That climate phenomenon, centered in the North Pacific, has wide-ranging effects that last for years or even decades rather than for just a year or two.

"You would eventually expect to see significant effects on the coastal forests if the fog continues to decline," he said.

Johnstone examined records from airports up and down the West Coast that have taken hourly readings on cloud height for the last 60 years. He looked closely at two stations in particular, Monterey on the central California coast and Arcata on the northern California coast, and found that their decline in fog and increase in temperature matched very closely despite being separated by about 300 miles. Both also reflected a great deal of variability.

A next step in his work will be to understand the discrepancy between climate models and actual fog observations so that the factors involved in summer fog formation can be better understood.


More egregious fudging of the figures from climate Messiah Jim Hansen

He reports temperature changes that no-one else can see

Data source

GISS shows temperatures rising sharply since July. We have been having a record cold La Niña since then, and everyone else shows temperatures plummeting.

GISS also showed a huge spike in March which nobody else saw. Does this have anything to do with Hansen’s constant claims of 2010 as the hottest year ever? He shows peak La Niña temperatures almost as warm as peak El Niño temperatures. That is simply ridiculous.

Data source

GISS is not credible.


Climate Change and Biodiversity

Warming INCREASES diversity

In their quest to control carbon dioxide emissions, together with the economic power that entails, climate alarmists are claiming that global warming will cause massive species extinctions. The geologic record, however, shows the opposite. Major extinctions are associated with ice ages and other cooling events. The current wildlife extinction rate is the lowest in 500 years according to the UN’s own World Atlas of Biodiversity.

Perhaps the first species to be listed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) on speculation of the effects of global warming is the polar bear. On May 14, 2008, the FWS listed the bear as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), based on the supposition that carbon dioxide emissions are melting its Arctic habitat.

But in deciding whether or not to list the species as "endangered," the FWS is following a political agenda based on junk science, and its Climate Change Strategic Plan is based largely on reports from the discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 2007, just prior to listing, the Arctic sea ice reached the lowest level recorded since 1979 when satellites began tracking the ice. However, that same year, Antarctic sea ice reached the maximum extent ever recorded, an episode which went largely unreported.

The Department of the Interior press release on the polar bear claimed, "The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species."

But the FWS listing is based on computer projections and false assumptions. An article in Science Daily claims, "Federal Polar Bear Research Critically Flawed ..."

People who live in the Arctic know that polar bear populations have been increasing, mainly due to changes in hunting regulations. Native Inuit hunters say that "The growing population has become ‘a real problem,’ especially over the last 10 years."

The polar bear has been around for a very long time and somehow survived conditions that were warmer than now and even warmer than computer projections. It is also telling that the Canadian government, which oversees 14 of the 19 polar bear populations, has not listed the bear as "threatened" or "endangered." The Alaska Department of Fish & Game opposed the listing claiming that FWS did not use the best available science and that the FWS cherry-picked models, choosing only those which supported their case. Alaska Fish & Game says that polar bear populations "are abundant, stable, and unthreatened by direct human activity."

Real, on the ground, research into the relationship between global warming, species extinction, and biodiversity paints a picture very different from the speculative computer models. Abundant research shows that warming increases the range for most terrestrial plants and animals, as well as for most marine creatures. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes plants more water efficient and more robust.

Looking at the greater geologic record, we see that in the warming period subsequent to each ice age, life rebounded with more speciation and greater biodiversity. We have ample reason to believe this pattern will continue.


Britain's "clean coal" fantasy crumbles

Powerfuel, which is developing the UK’s first commercial scale clean coal power plant, has gone into administration because of the crippling cost of the project.

Richard Fleming, joint administrator, said: “Developing low carbon energy generation requires a large amount of capital upfront and the CCS development falls £635m short of the investment needed to progress the project beyond the preliminary stage. It needs moving on to a new owner with deeper pockets.” ....

The administration is also a blow for CCS technology, which the UK and EU see as vital to meeting targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Only last week Powerfuel Power announced plans to build a pilot gas power plant with a new CCS technology. However, industry experts warned that few private operators would go ahead without more government support.

The government is running a competition for up to £1bn in subsidies. A consortium led by Scottish Power is the only bidder after Eon pulled out saying the market was “not conducive”.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

The Week That Was (To December 11, 2010)

Excerpts from Ken Haapala

The 16th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is finishing up in Cancun. The gathering is part of the UN's constant battle against UN claimed human-caused global warming. The conference started with a prayer Ixchel, a Mayan goddess, offered by Christina Figueres, the executive secretary of the conference. Perhaps some other gods were angered because the conference is closing with six days of record-breaking cold.

Whatever US monetary commitments come out of Cancun, they will require backing by the US House of Representatives, where all revenue bills must originate. The Republicans, many of whom doubt human-caused global warming, will control the House starting in January. They may have challenging questions for the State Department as it tries to explain its activities and the need to continue with additional COPs.

Given the extreme cold during last year's COP in Copenhagen and record breaking cold in Cancun during this year's COP, there may be few locations that would care to host such an activity in the future. Is this the way the world ends?


During the Cancun conference, Science Magazine issued a press release to a few groups embargoed until late this week. [By declaring the article embargoed, Science Magazine demand it not be publicly disclosed until after publication.] The release highlighted a study that claims to demonstrate that the feedback from clouds is positive rather than negative.

If the net feedback from warming caused by CO2 emissions is positive, then the total warming from CO2 emissions could be significant, as claimed by the UN IPCC. If negative, then the total warming would be negligible. Normally, TWTW would not discuss such a technical topic; however, since TWTW carried a two part book review of Roy Spencer's book, Blunder, the article and Roy Spencer's rebuttal are referenced. In brief, Spencer says that the authors of the new article made the same mistake as previous modelers and confused cause with effect.


The British Met Office is quickly losing any credibility it had remaining in England after the Climategate email leaks. In 2000, it predicted that, due to global warming, snow would become a rare event in England. In the latter part of 2009, it predicted that 2010 would be the hottest year on record. The 2009-2010 winter was one of extreme cold and a snow that covered the entire United Kingdom. According to reports, over 25,000 people died in England and Wales due to cold. This fall the Met Office predicted a mild winter for the UK. Thus far, December has been extremely cold in the UK and northern Europe and another snow storm covered most of the UK. Now, the Met is predicting that 2010 will be the hottest year on record, but not in England. [Or, elsewhere where it is cold?]


The US EPA has declared it will delay the implementation of new regulations on ground level ozone and on industrial boilers. The latter requires the approval of a federal judge. In both instances the EPA stated it needs more time to study the regulations as well as to study the scientific and health issues of ozone and smog effects.

Certainly, the environmental industry is not pleased, particularly after many supported these regulations that EPA declared necessary to save lives.


THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK: is less than 1%. Less than 1% of US electricity is generated from using oil according to the 2009 Electric Power Industry report by the US Energy Information Administration This fact clearly falsifies claims that mandates and subsidies for renewable sources to generate electricity are needed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The report also states that due to the recession, electrical generation fell by the greatest amount in over 60 years. The total generation is the lowest since 2003. The largest decrease is in coal-generated power, now producing about 44.5% of electricity (from about 48.2%), the largest increase is natural gas generated power now producing about 23.3% (up from about 21.4%). Wind generates about 1.9% of total electricity (up from 1.3%). The figures for wind do not reflect the back-up requirements for wind due to its unreliability.


Dr Pangloss Alive And Well At Cancún

Prof. Philip Stott

When it comes to UN climate conferences, I am constantly flabbergasted by the breathless naivety and forced optimism of certain politicians and environmental reporters, not to mention of green activists. It is as if Voltaire's very own Dr. Pangloss had set sail to Cancún with Candide. Despite having become a syphilitic beggar, Dr. Pangloss remains firm in his belief that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds", explaining that syphilis "… was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal."

'Global warming' was likewise reduced to a clapped-out beggar last year in frozen Copenhagen. Yet, in the best of all possible worlds, this Danish debacle is now seen as a good thing, because it brought a sense of reality to the delegates in Cancún, who still, of course, neatly proceeded to avoid any legally-binding commitments on emissions, and on pretty well anything else for that matter, putting off the whole charade until next December in sunny Durban, South Africa. My, how this ship of fools traverses the globe - Candide and Gulliver have nothing on them! And, it is worth remembering that Cancún was the 16th Conference of the Parties no less.

Even more difficult to comprehend, however, is the desperate desire for a post-Kyoto Protocol. After all, it is not even as if the Protocol reduced carbon emissions in any meaningful way. In truth, it appears that emissions actually rose after the Protocol was put in place on December 11, 1997. The average annual growth in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 50 years (as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, in parts per million by volume - ppmv) was around 1.37 ppmv. In contrast, the average since 1997and Kyoto has risen to about 1.97 ppmv. So much then for the value of internationally-binding protocols.

This would perhaps be a cause for wry amusement were it not for the fact that political and economic policies predicated on UN Climate Conference agendas are raising costs and burdens for everyone around the world, and especially so at a time when the financial crisis is putting much in jeopardy. In the UK, our ludicrous political obsession with carbon footprints is warping energy policy, dangerously loading energy prices and costs, heaping retrogressive debt on 5 million people in energy poverty, and undermining UK competitiveness, and all at a time when vast new reserves of cheap energy in the form of gas and oil shales are becoming a reality.

As Benny Peiser, Director of The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), wisely argues:

"No other country has been as foolish as Britain to enact extremely aggressive and completely unrealistic climate targets. For the UK, to keep going it alone is not merely suicidal but pointless.

Nor does it make sense to make British industry - and manufacturing in particular - even more uncompetitive, or to drive it overseas, by gratuitously driving up energy costs.

The Government should now suspend its unilateral and extremely costly climate targets until such time as all other major nations have signed up to the same course."

This is even more the case when we note the extraordinary decline of global-warming coverage and interest throughout the British media since Copenhagen. Until this last Friday, one would have hardly known that Cancún was a two-week conference, and, even now, after it has limply concluded, the coverage is so slim as to merit comment.

For example, as far as I can judge, in the main 'Sunday Times', the conference does not achieve a single mention, while the climate-change obsessed 'Observer' manages only half-an-inside page and a short, mealy-mouthed editorial partly worthy of Dr Pangloss himself.

The reality is surely dawning, if too slowly, that, to paraphrase Voltaire's famous 1767 letter to Fredrick the Great, King of Prussia: "Global warming is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and cost-raising farce that ever infected the world."


Islands in the climate storm

If Pacific islands are being washed away due to climate change-induced floods, how come land prices are stable?

According to environmental activists, the Cancun climate negotiations may be the last chance to save the Earth. Most politicians agree. But what do the markets say?

This question has haunted me since I attended the previous summit to save the Earth, namely the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in freezing cold Copenhagen a year ago.

The loosely worded accord that anti-climaxed the Copenhagen summit was a bitter disappointment to many in the developing world. The Sudanese ambassador compared it to ‘asking Africa to sign a suicide pact’. He also claimed Western inaction was tantamount to genocide by climate change.

The prime minister of Tuvalu, Apisai Ielemia, said rich Westerners were allowing his nation to perish. He showed a group of journalists, me among them, a video of floods that threaten to wash his tiny Pacific island nation to the sea.

While some Sudanese hyperbole is to be expected at UN conferences, surely the Pacific island nations should be listened to. It’s one thing to dispute obscure points of aquatic physics sitting comfortably in your office, but the people of Tuvalu are apparently on the frontline of climate change.

After showing the film, Ielemia took questions from journalists who were clearly shocked by the footage. I, too, got a chance to ask a question of the accommodating prime minister. ‘Mr Prime Minister. In view of the impending deluge, how much have land prices fallen on Tuvalu?’ I stammered.

For some reason my question completely silenced the room packed with environmental press. After what I will charitably call an inquisitive stare, the prime minister gave his longwinded answer full of long-term projections of rising ocean levels. To be fair, he concluded with a simple declaration: ‘Land prices have not been affected.’

This baffles me. The Tuvaluans have experienced the very floods Ielemia had just shown us. If the ocean is encroaching the island, surely it would make sense to sell all your land, at any price, while you still have some. This should cause a dramatic drop in land value as the market gets flooded (no pun intended). But no, land prices are stable.

The story gets even more baffling when one looks at the Maldives. Remember, this is the tiny nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean where the government held an underwater cabinet meeting in November 2009 to emphasise the imminent peril of climate change-induced rises in the ocean levels. But in the Maldives, too, land prices are holding.

Indeed, land is selling for as much as one million Euros per hectare, comparable to the finest vineyards of the hilly and deluge-safe Champagne region of France. These prices are ridiculous considering that the best informed party, the government, says everything will soon wash away.


Prophecies come in cycles too

From Time Magazine:

“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.” Time Magazine, September 10, 1924.

“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.” Time Magazine, Jan. 2, 1939

“Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another Ice Age.” Time Magazine, June 24, 1974

“Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” Time Magazine, April 9, 2001


New transmission lines to remote areas: Another "green" raid on the wallet of the little guy

How would you like to pay higher utility bills to finance expensive electricity from solar and wind power, which you would never use? That’s the issue now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and it deserves more public and political scrutiny before it becomes a reality.

FERC has a draft rule that could effectively socialize the costs of paying for multi-billion dollar transmission lines to connect remote wind and solar projects to the nation’s electric power grid. If FERC rules in favor of Big Wind and Big Solar, the new policy would add billions of dollars onto the utility bills of residents of at least a dozen states—including California, Michigan, Oregon and New York—that will receive little or no benefit from the new power lines.

Transmission lines connect coal, natural gas and nuclear plants to the electric grid so that power can be delivered to homes and businesses. The costs of building this infrastructure, hooking up to the national electric grid and transporting electricity to the end users has traditionally been paid by the industries and passed on to rate payers. This long-standing user-pays policy would be replaced with a policy of everyone pays under FERC’s plan.

As FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff has put it: “This is a country where transmission lines have traditionally been built by the incumbents who serve that area; the question is whether we should continue that policy in the future.” He told Congress that we should steer away from pricing that would “calculate the precise monetary benefits expected to accrue from a new transmission facility.” But that’s exactly what investors try to do in assessing the economic viability of any new project.

The big winners from socializing transmission costs would be wind and solar projects that tend to be in remote areas, like the desert or offshore. In many cases, thousands of miles of new transmission lines would have to be built to get the power to the end user. Google recently announced it will be a major investor in a $5 billion wind farm off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia that will require hundreds of miles of underwater transmission lines. No one is saying who will pay for those transmission costs, but it’s a safe guess the investors are betting that FERC will decide to socialize them.

Very big dollars are at stake in this fight. By some estimates the cost of building out new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy and other new electric power sources could exceed $160 billion. Wind and solar proponents insist that renewable energy standards can only be reached if transmission costs are shared by everybody. This sounds like an admission that these energy sources are inefficient sources of power that can’t compete in the marketplace without subsidies. The policy the renewables are pushing would be analogous to taxpayers underwriting the cost of tankers and truckers that transport oil to service stations.

Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, both of whom have big wind and solar projects in their states, pushed a Senate energy bill this summer that would have socialized these transmission costs. That bill has stalled, so FERC—supported by the White House and Democratic leaders—may move on its own.

Fortunately, the “loser” states are finally catching on to how much this cost-shifting would add to their utility bills. Last year Governors Jan Brewer of Arizona, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Christine Gregoire of Washington, Ted Kulongoski of Oregon and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California opposed the plan as “inappropriate to assess the cost of transmission build-out to customers that cannot make use of the facilities, or who elect not to because they can access more cost effective options that do not rely on large, new transmission investments to meet environmental goals.”

Eleven eastern governors have raised similar objections, arguing that this policy would “undermine the significant renewable energy potential along the East Coast by subsidizing distant terrestrial wind resources which would stifle economic recovery in the east by destabilizing competitive electricity market structures and increasing energy prices in regulated markets.” Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, hardly a Milton Friedman apostle, describes cost-sharing as “a radical Soviet-style approach to transmission planning.”

One of the biggest losers would be Michigan. One economic analysis sponsored by Michigan utilities found that, despite some initial gains for certain wind projects in the northern part of the state, under a proposed regional payment scheme, “Michigan will be sending hundreds of millions of dollars annually outside the state to fund transmission projects which not only provide little value to the State, but will actually harm our ability to develop our own renewable energy market.” Michigan rate payers would have to subsidize 20% of the cost of some $16 billion of transmission projects outside the state. Talk about outsourcing.

This is all the more maddening given that renewable energy projects already receive tens of billions of dollars of loans, grants, tax credits, earmarks, renewable energy mandates, stimulus money, and on and on. According to a 2007 U.S. Department of Energy study, wind and solar already receive subsidies that are more than 20 times greater per kilowatt of electricity than conventional power sources. But as with ethanol, even these subsidies are never enough.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee has sponsored legislative language that would instruct FERC to allocate transmission line costs in a way that is “reasonably proportionate to measurable economic and reliability benefits.” In other words, no charging rate payers in New Jersey for the costs of a wind farm in Texas based on vague benefits of reduced planetary carbon emissions.

The courts have also generally ruled that pricing for electric projects must be commensurate with benefits derived by rate payers. If Congress or FERC mandate a cost-spreading scheme for transmission projects, then the highest subsidies will go to the least efficient projects. That wastes money and energy, which doesn’t sound too green to us.


British Consumers will pay the cost of going green as energy reform will add £500 a year to bills

Environmental reforms to the energy market, to be unveiled this week, will result in huge gas and electricity price increases over the next ten years. Under the changes, householders will have to pay an extra £500 a year by 2020 effectively to subsidise the cost of new nuclear power plants and wind energy.

The Government has been forced into the reforms by claims from energy companies that unless there are more incentives, green investment will not happen and Britain will miss tough climate change targets.

Over the next seven years most old coal-fired power stations and nuclear plants will be shut. With demand set to grow, the country faces the danger of blackouts. To avoid this, energy companies say the most economical way to keep up energy production would be to build more gas-fired power stations, but this would destroy any hopes of meeting the Government's carbon emission targets.

So on Thursday, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will unveil a White Paper outlining plans for a 'carbon floor price'. This will artificially raise the price of the carbon allowance to penalise fossil fuel generators.

Under the European Emissions Trading Scheme, companies get allowances, or permits, for the amount of CO2 they may emit. These can be bought and sold, which means there is a 'market price' for carbon emissions. Critics-argue that the scheme was poorly designed and so the market price has fallen too low.

The Government is also expected to propose capacity payments for low-carbon electricity generation. This would reward companies for making their electricity generation capacity available to the grid, even if it is just as a back-up.

It is also expected to stop the building of new coal-fired power stations unless they are equipped with carbon-capture technology.

These measures will cost money. Britain now pays about £1 billion a year in subsidies for renewable energy, which adds about £80 to a typical household's annual bill. Energy experts say that propping up nuclear and renewable energy could cost every household more than £500 a year by 2020.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

“Gore Effect” on Steroids: Six straight days of record low temperatures during COP16 in Cancun Mexico – more coming

The irony, it burns. Do you think maybe Gaia is trying to send the U.N. and the delegates a message? One record low was funny, three in a row was hilarious, a new record low for the month of December was ROFL, but now six straight days of record lows during the U.N. COP16 Global Warming conference? That’s galactically inconvenient. The whole month so far has averaged below normal


UN climate change talks in Cancun agree on a new "tone" and "mood"

And giving lots of money to poor countries (which will probably never materialize -- as in the past)

UN talks in Cancun have reached a deal to curb climate change, including a fund to help developing countries. Nations endorsed compromise texts drawn up by the Mexican hosts, despite objections from Bolivia.

The draft documents say deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed, but do not establish a mechanism for achieving the pledges countries have made. Some countries' resistance to the Kyoto Protocol had been a stumbling block during the final week of negotiations. However, diplomats were able to find a compromise.

Delegates cheered speeches from governments that had caused the most friction during negotiations - Japan, China, even the US - as one by one they endorsed the draft.

The Green Climate Fund is intended to raise and disburse $100bn (£64bn) a year by 2020 to protect poor nations against climate impacts and assist them with low-carbon development.

A new Adaptation Committee will support countries as they establish climate protection plans. And parameters for funding developing countries to reduce deforestation are outlined.

But the deal is a lot less than the comprehensive agreement that many countries wanted at last year's Copenhagen summit and continue to seek. It leaves open the question of whether any of its measures, including emission cuts, will be legally binding.

"Overall, we've moved on from Copenhagen - we can leave that ghost behind - it's another mood, another tone," said Tara Rao, senior policy adviser with environmental group WWF.

The final day of the two-week summit had dawned with low expectations of a deal. But ministers conducted intensive behind-the-scenes diplomacy to formulate texts that all parties could live with.

Russia and Japan have secured wording that leaves them a possible route to escape extension of the Kyoto Protocol's legally binding emission cuts, while strongly implying that the protocol has an effective future - a key demand of developing countries.

The Green Climate Fund will initially use the World Bank as a trustee - as the US, EU and Japan had demanded - while giving oversight to a new body balanced between developed and developing countries.

Developing countries will have their emission-curbing measures subjected to international verification only when they are funded by Western money - a formulation that seemed to satisfy both China, which had concerns on such verification procedures, and the US, which had demanded them.


New paper shows that there is no means of reliably predicting climate variables

NO model "backcasts" past climates and there is much to suggest that climate prediction is intrinsically impossible

A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data

From Hydrological Sciences Journal, 55:7, 1094 – 1110

By Anagnostopoulos, G. G. et al


We compare the output of various climate models to temperature and precipitation observations at 55 points around the globe. We also spatially aggregate model output and observations over the contiguous USA using data from 70 stations, and we perform comparison at several temporal scales, including a climatic (30-year) scale. Besides confirming the findings of a previous assessment study that model projections at point scale are poor, results show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor.


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global circulation models (GCM) are able to “reproduce features of the past climates and climate changes” (Randall et al., 2007, p. 601). Here we test whether this is indeed the case. We examine how well several model outputs fit measured temperature and rainfall in many stations around the globe. We also integrate measurements and model outputs over a large part of a continent, the contiguous USA (the USA excluding islands and Alaska), and examine the extent to which models can reproduce the past climate there. We will be referring to this as “comparison at a large scale”.

This paper is a continuation and expansion of Koutsoyiannis et al. (2008). The differences are that (a) Koutsoyiannis et al. (2008) had tested only eight points, whereas here we test 55 points for each variable; (b) we examine more variables in addition to mean temperature and precipitation; and (c) we compare at a large scale in addition to point scale. The comparison methodology is presented in the next section.

While the study of Koutsoyiannis et al. (2008) was not challenged by any formal discussion papers, or any other peer-reviewed papers, criticism appeared in science blogs (e.g. Schmidt, 2008). Similar criticism has been received by two reviewers of the first draft of this paper, hereinafter referred to as critics. In both cases, it was only our methodology that was challenged and not our results. Therefore, after presenting the methodology below, we include a section “Justification of the methodology”, in which we discuss all the critical comments, and explain why we disagree and why we think that our methodology is appropriate. Following that, we present the results and offer some concluding remarks.......


It is claimed that GCMs provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. Examining the local performance of the models at 55 points, we found that local projections do not correlate well with observed measurements. Furthermore, we found that the correlation at a large spatial scale, i.e. the contiguous USA, is worse than at the local scale.

However, we think that the most important question is not whether GCMs can produce credible estimates of future climate, but whether climate is at all predictable in deterministic terms. Several publications, a typical example being Rial et al. (2004), point out the difficulties that the climate system complexity introduces when we attempt to make predictions. “Complexity” in this context usually refers to the fact that there are many parts comprising the system and many interactions among these parts. This observation is correct, but we take it a step further. We think that it is not merely a matter of high dimensionality, and that it can be misleading to assume that the uncertainty can be reduced if we analyse its “sources” as nonlinearities, feedbacks, thresholds, etc., and attempt to establish causality relationships.

Koutsoyiannis (2010) created a toy model with simple, fully-known, deterministic dynamics, and with only two degrees of freedom (i.e. internal state variables or dimensions); but it exhibits extremely uncertain behaviour at all scales, including trends, fluctuations, and other features similar to those displayed by the climate. It does so with a constant external forcing, which means that there is no causality relationship between its state and the forcing. The fact that climate has many orders of magnitude more degrees of freedom certainly perplexes the situation further, but in the end it may be irrelevant; for, in the end, we do not have a predictable system hidden behind many layers of uncertainty which could be removed to some extent, but, rather, we have a system that is uncertain at its heart.

Much more HERE

The Antarctic had a Medieval Warm Period too

Discussing: Hall, B.L., Koffman, T. and Denton, G.H. 2010. "Reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula at 700-907 cal. yr B.P." Geology 38: 635-638. Note: "BP" is jargon for "ago"

Authors Hall et al. (2010) write that "over the past 50 years, the Antarctic Peninsula warmed ~2°C," and that resultant rapid breakups "have destroyed several small, thin ice shelves fringing the Antarctic Peninsula (i.e., Cook and Vaughan, 2009, and references therein)."

Climate alarmists make much of this phenomenal warming and its destructive impact on the peninsula's ice; but before we get too excited about what's happening there, we have to ask ourselves, as the authors do: "Is the recent warming of the Antarctic Peninsula unique in the Holocene?" [Geologically recent past]

"In order to put current ice recession in context," as they describe it, Hall et al. "examined organic-rich sediments exposed by recent retreat of the Marr Ice Piedmont on western Anvers Island near Norsel Point," where glaciers "have been undergoing considerable retreat in response to the well-documented warming."

There, they "obtained moss and reworked marine shells from natural sections within 26 meters of the present ice front," as well as "both peat and reworked shells from sediments exposed in a tunnel beneath the residual ice mass," several samples of which were radiocarbon-dated and the results converted to calendar years.

The three U.S. scientists report that "peat from the overrun sediments dates between 707 ± 36 and 967 ± 47 cal. yr B.P.," leading them to conclude that "ice was at or behind its present position at ca. 700-970 cal. yr B.P. and during at least two earlier times, represented by the dates of shells, in the mid-to-late Holocene."

In language pure and simple, Hall et al. say their findings mean that "the present state of reduced ice on the western Antarctic Peninsula is not unprecedented," which leads them to pose another important question: "How widespread is the event at 700-970 cal. yr B.P.?"

In answering their own query, the researchers respond that (1) "Khim et al. (2002) noted a pronounced high-productivity (warm) event between 500 and 1000 cal. yr B.P. in magnetic susceptibility records from Bransfield Basin," that (2) "dates of moss adjacent to the present ice front in the South Shetland Islands (Hall, 2007) indicate that ice there was no more extensive between ca. 650 and 825 cal. yr B.P. than it is now," that (3) "evidence for reduced ice extent at 700-970 cal. yr B.P. is consistent with tree-ring data from New Zealand that show a pronounced peak in summer temperatures (Cook et al., 2002)," that (4) "New Zealand glaciers were retracted at the same time (Schaefer et al., 2009)," and that (5) their most recent findings "are compatible with a record of glacier fluctuations from southern South America, the continental landmass closest to Antarctica (Strelin et al., 2008)."

In light of these several observations, it would appear that much of the southern portion of the planet likely experienced a period of significantly enhanced warmth that falls within the broad timeframe of earth's global Medieval Warm Period, which truly impressive interval of warmth occurred when there was far less CO2 and methane in the atmosphere than there is today.


Scaring the kids: Santa might not come unless you are Green enough!

Even the Leftist "Guardian" (below) is dubious about it

CiTV, the children's arm of ITV (the UK's oldest and most-viewed terrestrial commercial network), is set to feature a new series called Mission: Green Santa, during the run-up to Christmas. This is how the media news site is reporting it:

The new 10-part children's show, Mission: Green Santa, has been licensed to ITV and in each 12-minute episode, climatologist and amateur reporter, Dr Maurice Bergs will tell children about the dangers and global warming and encourage them to log onto the Green Santa website to make an environmental pledge. The programmes will include interviews with Santa's helpers and live links to schools taking part across the UK.

Dr Bergs is played by newcomer Ben Faulks, who stars alongside Anita Dobson, as Mrs Santa.

Mission: Green Santa is produced by Patrick Egerton and directed by its co-creators Danny Brooke Taylor (creative director at MCBD) and Colin Offland, Chief's managing director. Matt Baker is the writer. It was licensed for CiTV by Jamila Metran. The series kicks off on 13 December and will run until Christmas eve.

For those of you who recognise the Green Santa idea, it was originally thought up in December 2008, when Love joined forces with Chief to launch the then web-only initiative to get children interested in green issues.

Over at the website for Chief Productions, the Manchester-based production company responsible for the series, this is how the programme is being described:

Dr Maurice Bergs is a climate scientist and he's discovered something truly shocking that he needs to tell the world. We know the ice-caps are melting, and that it's all our fault. But did we know that global warming is threatening Christmas itself? Why? Because Santa's ice runway is melting too. If it gets much shorter, then Santa's sleigh won't make the take-off on Christmas eve and good children across the world will go without their presents.

The objective of Green Santa is to engage kids with the story of Santa's melting runway and then encourage them to make online pledges to save energy in their homes and schools. Kids will be given direct feedback on the positive impacts of their pledges and will be kept up to date on what's going on at Santa's compound. Get involved at [not yet live].

This description alone is sure to raise hackles is certain predictable corners. But, for somewhat different reasons, I have to say that I'm also not convinced that this is an entirely sensible way of getting children interested in the topic of climate change.

The three-minute trailer for the programme appeases me a little given that the presentation style is clearly light-hearted and self-mocking, but the central premise that climate change is melting Santa's runway and, therefore, could, if you don't make a pledge, result in a lack of Christmas presents (which, of course, will be advertised to the young viewers in the ad breaks!) is, in my view, an unhelpful blancmange of psychophysical triggers and one that is dangerously close to warrant being labelled emotional blackmail.

Surely, we've learned the lesson by now that scaring people into action has been shown to rarely work in the long term? If any lesson was learned through the Department for Energy and Climate Change's ill-judged Act on C02 "Bedtime Stories" adverts, then this was it.

I asked Adam Corner, a research associate in the Understanding Risk research group at Cardiff University, to watch the trailer and offer his own view. Corner specialises in the "application of psychological and social scientific research to practical questions such as the effective communication of climate change, and the psychological barriers to engaging in pro-environmental behaviours".

This is what he told me afterwards:

Children learn through stories – and so trying to weave climate change into stories that children already understand, like Santa and his sleigh, is an important idea. The danger – as shown by the Act On CO2 "bedtime story" advert – is that scaring children to care about climate change can be counter-productive, not least because their parents resent it. Is threatening kids that their presents won't be delivered unless they save energy at home really the best approach?

People respond better to being shown what to do than they do to being told what to do. What if Santa was shown setting a good example for children? Showing a much-loved (and respected) figure being concerned and making changes to his routine because of climate change might be a more palatable message for kids and adults than the threat of no presents.


Do You Believe In Magic Numbers?

Average annual global temperatures have risen a degree or two since the Little Ice Age ended some 150 years ago. Thank goodness. The LIA was not a particularly pleasant time.

Prolonged winters, advancing glaciers, colder summers, more frequent storms and extended cloudiness reduced arable land, shortened growing seasons, rotted grain in wet fields, and brought famine, disease and death. Coming after the prosperous Medieval Warm Period – when farmers grew wine grapes in England and Vikings raised crops and cattle in Greenland – it must have been quite a shock.

The LIA underscored how much better a warmer planet is than a colder one. Moderate warming above today’s norm would likely bring expanded cultivation during longer growing seasons in northern latitudes, fewer people dying from hypothermia during frigid winters, and many other benefits.

What caused the Medieval Warm Period to end, and the Little Ice Age to come and go, is still debated. Even the best scientists don’t fully understand what alignments of solar, cosmic, oceanic, atmospheric and planetary forces control this millennial warm-cool rhythm.

In any event, the initial warming of 1850-1900 was followed by perhaps an additional overall 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) of warming during the twentieth century. However, it was not a steady rise in temperatures, proportionate to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, as “manmade climate disaster” themes suggest. Instead, Earth warmed noticeably1900-1940, cooled slightly 1940-1975 (“most scientists” worried about another little ice age), warmed again 1975-1995 (“most scientists” feared global warming), and exhibited little change from then to the present.

The 20-year late twentieth century warming supposedly justifies demands that we stop using hydrocarbon fuels, halt US economic growth, hold back Third World development, ban incandescent light bulbs, blanket the planet with unreliable wind turbines and solar panels, make recompense to poor nations for emitting CO2 and “causing global climate disruption,” and even consider “geo-engineering” (putting dust particles or tiny mirrors into space to block the sun’s rays) to prevent warming that stopped in 1995. Even though no reliable or factual evidence shows that this recent warming was (primarily) human-caused!

These are important issues for the next Congress (and others) to grapple with. But an even more fundamental question is rarely raised, and almost never addressed.

How much credence can we give any claim that average global temperatures have risen or fallen X degrees over a certain period, or that this year or decade is “the warmest ever,” or “since record-keeping began” – especially when the alleged difference is measured in tenths or hundredths of a degree?

The answer: Not much. The truth is, we cannot trust the hype and numbers that routinely come out of the IPCC, NOAA, NASA, CRU, White House and other branches of the climate crisis industry.

Certainly, satellites have gathered arguably reliable atmospheric temperature data since 1980. However, they obviously provide no insights into pre-1980 warming and cooling trends. And for 1850 to 1930, we must rely on scattered land and oceanic thermometer measurements; historic anecdotes, diary entries and paintings that give only general descriptions of climate, heat waves, floods and blizzards; and “proxy” records like tree rings. Even together, this evidence is so sparse, scattered and of uneven quality that it cannot and must not be used to drive major energy, economic and environmental policy decisions.

Calibrated thermometers were invented in 1724, but they provide only random measurements for vast continental land masses until well into the twentieth century – and across much of Africa, Asia and South America even today. No one can calculate 1850-1950 average global temperatures from that. To fill in the huge gaps, scientists often utilize tree rings. However, annual tree growth is determined as much by rainfall as by temperature. Far worse, researchers have been caught selecting twelve trees out of hundreds from Siberia, to generate desired “warming trends,” and splicing thermometer measurements onto tree ring data that suddenly showed inconvenient “cooling” trends.

Temperature data from the 71% of Planet Earth covered by oceans is even more sporadic. Today, buoys and satellites cover large expanses that previously were measured only by ships traveling different routes, during favorable times of the year, using a variety of methods to measure seawater and air temperatures. But even today only a small portion of Earth’s oceans are measured regularly or accurately.

Compounding these problems, 55% of the 12,000 surface temperature stations operating in 1990 have been closed down – and many of the now missing stations were in Siberia and other cold regions. This alone has created a significant 20-year “warming” bias, notes former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Tim Ball.

Today, nearly half of the world’s remaining stations are located in the United States, on 1.9% of the Earth’s surface. The vast majority are in the Lower 48 States. And as meteorologist Anthony Watts has documented, most of those stations are near parking lots, air conditioning exhaust ports, highways, airport tarmac and other artificial heat sources – all of which skew the recorded temperatures upward. His report, “Is the US surface temperature record reliable?” is a real eye-opener.

However, none of this sobering reality deters climate chaos alarmists, who consistently show a penchant for distributing dire news releases on the eve of important global warming votes and conferences.

2000-2010 was “the hottest decade ever,” and 2010 “is shaping up to be the hottest year on record,” NASA and NOAA breathlessly announced … on July 28, prior to hoped-for Senate votes and the Cancun summit. “World temperatures in 2010 may be the warmest on record. 2010 will be one of the two warmest years, going back to 1850,” Britain’s Meteorology Office intoned … in late November.

“This year will be the third warmest year on record, since 1850,” the World Meteorological Organization declaimed … on December 3. Other organizations issued similar headline-grabbing alarums.

But before you say kaddish or “requiescat in pace” for Mother Earth, keep the previous caveats in mind and note a few other realities. One, only a few hundredths of a degree separate the 2010 decade from the similarly very warm 1930s – and NASA and other researchers refuse to release their raw temperature data and analytical methods, so that independent researchers can examine their calculations and claims.

Two, most of 2010 was marked by El Nino, the warming phase of the periodic climate pattern across the tropical Pacific Ocean that typically makes summer months warmer than usual. Three, the pre-Cancun pronouncements were based on January-through-October temperatures, and an assumption that November and December will be “average.”

Four, the climate and record books are not cooperating with that assumption or the hype, headlines and summit on Climate Armageddon. South Florida just had its coldest night in 169 years, Wales its coldest since recordkeeping began; and in the middle of its global warming gabfest, Cancun set four record low temperatures in a row. Other local cold records are falling all over the Northern Hemisphere, hot on the heels of record cold and snow during the 2009-2010 winter in both hemispheres.

But then “climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection,” IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer reminded us recently. In fact, “the world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.” [emphasis added] Keep that in mind, too, next time someone says we have a climate crisis.

Magic is delightful when it’s Criss Angel or Harry Potter. Magic numbers – pulled out of hats, computers and fertile imaginations – are a lousy, fraudulent way to set public policy.


Rage against the dying of light (bulbs)

Somewhere in Wayne County there's an ACO hardware store without a single incandescent light bulb in stock. They're all on a shelf in my basement.

The idea of soon having no illumination choice other than those twisty light bulbs has left me a little bit nuts. So now part of my Saturday routine is making the rounds of various stores and loading my pickup with packages of incandescent bulbs. It's an obsession I bet I share with others who dread the day a year from now when the old-fashioned bulbs become extinct by federal fiat, and all that's left are the smug compact fluorescent lights.

Congress has decided that everyone should use the new bulbs because they are more energy efficient, though I doubt anyone factored the extra energy used to ship them from China, where they're being made instead of the Midwestern plants that produced the old bulbs to price them anywhere near affordable.

I hate everything about the new bulbs. So I've done my best to calculate how many of the old bulbs I'll need to light the rest of my days. I figure I burn out about 25 bulbs a year. If I'm lucky I've got 30 years left. If I'm really lucky and someone comes up with a major life-extending breakthrough, 40 years.

So I'll need 1,000 bulbs. If I've overestimated my expiration date, any remaining bulbs will make a nice next egg for my heirs. I've got to believe they'll be like glass gold once folks can't get them anymore. There may even be a trading exchange.

I've been buying them in every wattage and shape. Three-ways. Spotlights. Sconce bulbs. I'm even thinking about stashing away some colored Christmas twinklers.

Revulsion to the new bulbs is rooted in two of my many character flaws: impatience and stubbornness.

It's as simple as this: When I flip a light switch, I expect light. Immediately. The delay between switch and light with the new bulbs is unsettling. No matter how many times it happens, my reaction is always to keep flipping the switch on and off again.
I suppose I could get used to that, but not to what the new bulbs represent. I don't want to use them mostly because the federal government is telling me I have to.

We've been bullied and brainwashed into accepting the ever-growing intrusion of politicians, regulators and do-gooders into our personal decision making in the name of the greater societal good.
We're told that if we give up some of our individual freedom to buy what we want, drive what we want, smoke and eat what we want, the world will be a better place.

But we can't be trusted to make the right decisions on our own just because we understand the need to conserve and may hope to save a few bucks. We need laws to make sure nothing is left to chance.

Those mandates have already saddled us with toilets that won't flush, washers that won't wash, ethanol-laced gasoline that burns up our lawnmower engines and electric cars that aren't nearly as comfortable, powerful or practical as the models they're supposed to replace. And next, we get crazy-looking light bulbs shoved into our sockets that may or may not come on before we fall down the stairs in the dark.

Well not my sockets. If I can hoard enough bulbs to make sure I die by the glow of an incandescent light, I'll consider it a small blow for freedom. If you feel the same way, you'd better get to ACO before I do.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Where Science is Flawed

I heartily agree with the article below, which is why I reproduce it fully (with links). And its relevance to Warmist "science" needs no spelling out. I saw all of the faults discussed below in my own social science research career and to this day I tackle similar problems daily in my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog.

I can however go beyond the article below and point to what is the remedy to these now well-documented faults in scientific reporting. The remedy is to encourage similar research by those who have an OPPOSITE agenda to the established writers. Because I am a conservative, I saw the received wisdom in my Left-dominated field of research as quite absurd. And I set out to show that such theories were absurd. And I did. I even got my findings published over and over again in the academic journals. My findings, however, had no impact whatever. Leftists didn't want to believe my findings so simply ignored them.

If however, I had been one of many people with opposing views writing in the field, that would have been much harder to ignore and a more balanced view might have emerged as the consensus position.

At the moment, however, being skeptical of any scientific consensus is career death. So the only remedy is for skeptical views to be specifically rewarded both among students in marking, in academic hiring and in career advancement. It is only a faint hope but perhaps there are enough people of integrity in science to bring that about eventually. Science will be greatly hobbled otherwise -- JR

In its current issue, The New Yorker has an excellent piece on the prevalence of (unconscious) bias in scientific studies that builds on this recent must-read piece in The Atlantic. And to some extent, Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker article builds on this story he did for Wired in 2009. Anyone interested in the scientific process should read all three, for they are provocative cautionary tales.

Back to Lehrer’s story in The New Yorker. I’m going to quote from it extensively because it’s behind a paywall, but I urge people to buy a copy of the issue off the newsstand, if possible. It’s that good. His piece is an arrow into the heart of the scientific method:
The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. Replicability is how the community enforces itself. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. Most of the time, scientists know what results they want, and that can influence the results they get. The premise of replicability is that the scientific community can correct for these flaws.

But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts were losing their truth: claims that have been been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable. This phenomenon doesn't yet have an official name, but it's occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology.

How did this happen? How have “enshrined” findings that were replicated suddenly become undone? The fatal flaw appears to be the selective reporting of results–the data that scientists choose to document in the first place.

This is not the same as scientific fraud, Lehrer writes:
Rather the problem seems to be one of subtle omissions and unconscious misperceptions, as researchers struggle to make sense of their results.

He then describes “one of the classic examples” of selective reporting:
While acupuncture is widely accepted as a medical treatment in various Asian countries, its use is much more contested in the West. These cultural differences have profoundly influenced the results of clinical trials. Between 1966 and 1995, there were forty-seven studies of acupuncture in China, Taiwan, and Japan, and every single trial concluded that acupuncture was an effective treatment. During the same period, there were ninety-four clinical trials of acupuncture in the United States, Sweden, and the U.K., and only fifty-six percent of these studies found any therapeutic benefits. As [University of Alberta biologist Richard] Palmer notes, this wide discrepancy suggests that scientists find ways to confirm their preferred hypothesis, disregarding what they don’t want to see. Our beliefs are a form of blindness.

Lehrer then introduces Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis, the star of the The Atlantic story. Lehrer writes:
According to Ioannidis, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls “significant chasing,” or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance–the ninety five percent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. “The scientists are so eager to to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,” Ioannidis says. In recent years, Ioannidis has become increasingly blunt about the pervasiveness of the problem. One of his most cited papers has a deliberately provocative title: “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.”

The problem of selective reporting is rooted in a fundamental cognitive flaw, which is that we like proving ourselves right and hate being wrong. “It feels good to validate a hypothesis,” Ioannidis said. “It feels even better when you’ve got a financial interest in the idea or your career depends on it. And that’s why, even after a claim has been systematically disproven”–he cites, for instance, the early work on hormone replacement therapy, or claims involving various vitamins–”you still see some stubborn researchers citing the first few studies that show a strong effect. They really want to believe that it’s true.”

That’s why [UC Santa Barbara cognitive psychologist Jonathan] Schooler argues that scientists need to become more rigorous about data collection before they publish. “We’re wasting our time chasing after bad studies and underpowered experiments,” he says. The current “obsession” with replicability distracts from the real problem, which is faulty design…In a forthcoming paper, Schooler recommends the establishment of an open-source database, in which researchers are required to outline their planned investigations and document all their results.”I think this would provide a huge increase in access to scientific work and give us a much better way to judge the quality of an experiment,” Schooler says.

As I said, you really should read the whole piece if you want to learn more about this widespread but little discussed problem with a key tenet of the scientific method. Lehrer perceptively concludes:
We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.


ANOTHER factor left out of the Warmist "models"

Warmist "models" are models with arms and legs missing. They spin it as well as they can below but sound very self-contradictory in doing so

A new NASA computer modeling effort has found that additional growth of plants and trees in a world with doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would create a new negative feedback -- a cooling effect -- in the Earth's climate system that could work to reduce future global warming.

The cooling effect would be -0.3 degrees Celsius (C) (-0.5 Fahrenheit (F)) globally and -0.6 degrees C (-1.1 F) over land, compared to simulations where the feedback was not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Bounoua is lead author on a paper detailing the results published Dec. 7 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Without the negative feedback included, the model found a warming of 1.94 degrees C globally when carbon dioxide was doubled.

Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will chip away at the uncertainty range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate. "This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming," Bounoua said.

To date, only some models that predict how the planet would respond to a doubling of carbon dioxide have allowed for vegetation to grow as a response to higher carbon dioxide levels and associated increases in temperatures and precipitation.

Of those that have attempted to model this feedback, this new effort differs in that it incorporates a specific response in plants to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. When there is more carbon dioxide available, plants are able to use less water yet maintain previous levels of photosynthesis. The process is called "down-regulation." This more efficient use of water and nutrients has been observed in experimental studies and can ultimately lead to increased leaf growth.

The ability to increase leaf growth due to changes in photosynthetic activity was also included in the model. The authors postulate that the greater leaf growth would increase evapotranspiration on a global scale and create an additional cooling effect.

"This is what is completely new," said Bounoua, referring to the incorporation of down-regulation and changed leaf growth into the model. "What we did is improve plants' physiological response in the model by including down-regulation. The end result is a stronger feedback than previously thought."

The modeling approach also investigated how stimulation of plant growth in a world with doubled carbon dioxide levels would be fueled by warmer temperatures, increased precipitation in some regions and plants' more efficient use of water due to carbon dioxide being more readily available in the atmosphere. Previous climate models have included these aspects but not down-regulation. The models without down-regulation projected little to no cooling from vegetative growth.

Scientists agree that in a world where carbon dioxide has doubled -- a standard basis for many global warming modeling simulations -- temperature would increase from 2 to 4.5 degrees C (3.5 to 8.0 F). (The model used in this study found warming -- without incorporating the plant feedback -- on the low end of this range.)

The uncertainty in that range is mostly due to uncertainty about "feedbacks" -- how different aspects of the Earth system will react to a warming world, and then how those changes will either amplify (positive feedback) or dampen (negative feedback) the overall warming.

An example of a positive feedback would be if warming temperatures caused forests to grow in the place of Arctic tundra. The darker surface of a forest canopy would absorb more solar radiation than the snowy tundra, which reflects more solar radiation. The greater absorption would amplify warming. The vegetative feedback modeled in this research, in which increased plant growth would exert a cooling effect, is an example of a negative feedback. The feedback quantified in this study is a result of an interaction between all these aspects: carbon dioxide enrichment, a warming and moistening climate, plants' more efficient use of water, down-regulation and the ability for leaf growth.

This new paper is one of many steps toward gradually improving overall future climate projections, a process that involves better modeling of both warming and cooling feedbacks. "As we learn more about how these systems react, we can learn more about how the climate will change," said co-author Forrest Hall, of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Goddard Space Flight Center. "Each year we get better and better. It's important to get these things right just as it's important to get the track of a hurricane right. We've got to get these models right, and improve our projections, so we'll know where to most effectively concentrate mitigation efforts."

The results presented here indicate that changes in the state of vegetation may already be playing a role in the continental water, energy and carbon budgets as atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, said Piers Sellers, a co-author from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

"We're learning more and more about how our planet really works," Sellers said. "We have suspected for some time that the connection between vegetation photosynthesis and the surface energy balance could be a significant player in future climate. This study gives us an indication of the strength and sign of one of these biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks."


Bedbugs are entirely a political problem -- driven by Greenie horror of "chemicals"

By Rich Kozlovich

In recent months the bed bug issue has reached headline proportions on the national scene. National television news networks have featured the story, magazines have highlighted the problem nationally and newspapers have focused on local infestations that seem to be out of control and growing. We, the pest control industry, have known this day was coming for some time, and in point of fact I know one old timer who ominously stated over ten years ago that bed bugs would be among the first vermin to reappear as a national plague.

Since 1962 when Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring came out the world of pest control and pesticides have been turned upside down. As the years went by people seemed to believe that living a pest free life was a right; it was all part of the American Dream and pesticides had nothing to do with it. Instead of society believing that pesticides are life savers, society has come to believe that pesticides are doing all sort of terrible and unknown things. That in spite of the fact that people are living longer and healthier lives than any time in human history, an accomplishment which pesticides have played a major role.

The American Dream was defined as an national ethos by James Truslow Adams in 1931 as , "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class f or circumstances of birth. The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the second sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence which states that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

(As a side bar: the Declaration really does say "inalienable" and not "unalienable" in spite of the fact that modernists attempt to change It by quoting incorrectly. To be truthful I don't really know if it may be more correct or not, but the Declaration says "inalienable"; a point that no one seemed to care about or saw the need to change for over 200 years!)

You will notice that it didn't say a thing about bed bugs. However, being rid of vermin in our homes and lives is central to everything Adams stated about the American Dream.
Does anyone believe that life isn't richer and fuller without bed bugs, rats, roaches and mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and malaria?

Isn't it basic to our American nature to believe that everyone, regardless of social standing, should be able to live a life without vermin in their homes and have the pest control tools available in order to care for their families?
There was a time (and in my lifetime) when mothers used to stand above a boiling pot of pasta or beans and wait for the bugs to surface so that they could skim them out with a strainer. We don't do that anymore because we developed chemistry that eliminates most pests from our food. Does anyone wish to go back to those days because they feel it makes their lives "richer and fuller"? If so, I invite them to go to countries that live that way and leave the rest of us alone; and as soon as possible if you please.

I have had friends tell me that they have gone on bed bug job only to find children so badly bitten that if they didn't know what had caused it they would have called Children's Services on the parents. At the end of WWII when the boys came back bed bugs were ubiquitous, but that was because they were there when they left. After DDT was so extensively used the bed bug population dropped dramatically. After resistance developed in bed bugs to DDT we turned to organophosphate products such as malation. That was the knockout punch.

Now we are almost right back to where we were in 1945! And we are now facing a national plague! Offices at the Wall Street Journal had to be treated, along with a host of well known retailers in New York City. Bed bugs are expanding rapidly and exponentially across the nation. Every person in every state, in every city, in every town, in every village and in every home will eventually face the potential of infestation if they travel, have company in their homes, go to the theater, go to work, go shopping or visit others in their homes or have children that go to school, public or private.

Those are the facts! And they are undisputed!

After 1994 the Congress made an attempt to fix the Delaney Act, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FFDCA). The Delaney Clause states that nothing can be used if "it is found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce cancer in man or animal". But because it was so extremely complicated and convoluted (made mores so by a court case Les v. Reilly) it was implemented in such a way that it basically declared that if something was carcinogenic at any level it was carcinogenic at every level and nothing that tested carcinogenic could be used in any food additives in processed food.

Since Delaney required zero risk versus negligible risk the whole thing became so perverse that Delaney would forbid the EPA from registering new pesticides that were perceived safer if they tested carcinogenic. This was known as the Delaney Paradox. This clearly had created a regulatory nightmare based on a law that had no basis in real science. Because of this the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a statement in 1987 outlining four principles that pesticide law should meet

1. All pesticides should be regulated on the basis of a consistent standard, so that there is no "double standard" for raw vs. processed foods or for old vs. new pesticides. The NAS found no public health reasons for treating residues on raw or processed foods differently.

2. A uniform "negligible risk" rather than a "zero risk" standard for carcinogens in food, consistently applied, would best enable EPA to improve the overall safety of the food supply, and would result in only modest reductions in the benefits of pesticide use to farmers.

3. EPA should set its regulatory priorities by focusing first on the most worrisome pesticides used on the most-consumed crops.

4. The Agency should adopt a comprehensive analytical framework for forecasting the broad-scale impact of its pesticide-specific regulatory actions on the overall safety of the food supply.

This clearly seems to be more than reasonable and justified. Unfortunately the fix ended up being as bad as the problem. Possibly worse because the EPA was being forced by lawsuits to enforce Delaney to its fullest extent, and if that had occurred we might have gotten rid of it entirely, instead we ended up replacing it with another compromise now based on risk assumptions.

The FQPA changed the rules regarding the 100 fold safety factor tied up in pesticides by a potential factor of ten, ratcheting up the safety factor from 100 to a potential of 1000. (This explanation is a "really" shortened and simplified version of this subject. Please go to Frank B. Cross's extremely well done and lengthy examination of this subject in the article, "THE CONSEQUENCES OF CONSENSUS: DANGEROUS COMPROMISES OF THE FOOD QUALITY PROTECTION ACT")

At this point I think it worthwhile to explore this issue of carcinogenic testing. The EPA bases it judgment on rodent testing. Make no mistake about this; a mouse isn't a little man and using rodents that are genetically predisposed to growing tumors for testing and then exposing them massive doses of anything to make that determination isn't the best science as required under the Information Quality Act.

In 2005 the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) (As a point of disclosure: I am member of ASCH) petitioned the EPA to "Stop declaring chemicals carcinogens based on rodent tests alone". ACSH noted that the law permits EPA "to adopt policies that err on the side of caution when faced with genuinely equivocal evidence regarding a substance's carcinogenicity, but the IQA does not permit EPA to distort the scientific evidence in furtherance of such policies."

The petition argues that EPA "distorts scientific evidence through its Guidelines' use of "default options," its purported right -- based not on scientific evidence but its regulatory mission to protect human health -- to assume that tumors in lab rodents indicate that much smaller doses can cause cancer in humans. Erring on the "safe side" in regulatory decisions does not, argues the petition, permit EPA to falsely claim that such regulated substances truly are "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." To do so, argues ACSH, is a distortion of both science and law. "

Finally after months of delays the EPA formally responded saying "that their Risk Assessment Guidelines are not statements of scientific fact -- and thus not covered by the IQA -- but merely statements of EPA policy." My question was then and is now. If EPA policies aren't based on scientific fact, what are they based on?

In 1950 the legal limit for DDT was seven parts per million. Why? Because they couldn't test below that; so anything below seven parts per million was zero. As the years went by we have learned how to detect substances at parts per billion, then parts per trillion, then parts per quadrillion and parts per.well.even higher numbers that I can't recite. At some point we will be able to detect everything in anything. But should that matter? No! At some point the molecular load will be so small that cells will not respond to it. Under Delaney that wouldn't matter. It was later discovered, mostly through the efforts of Dr. Bruce Ames, that the number of naturally occurring carcinogens was shockingly high. Take for an example the traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu which is filled with carcinogens.

So the goal to fix Delaney was a worthy one, but devastating as it was replaced by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in August of 1996 by Congress and the Clinton EPA under Carol Browner. This amended FFDCA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and rodenticide Act which the structural pest control industry also falls under. This ended up being one of the most significant environmental and public health bills passed since the Nixon administration, and most of the Congress didn't really understand what this was going to mean.

As a result of FQPA we lost (in the U.S.) whole categories of pesticides that had been used for years safely and effectively here and around the world.

Along with all else, the EPA requires pesticides to be re-registered after fifteen years. That means more unnecessary and expensive testing. It costs around $300,000,000 to bring a new pesticide to market. Manufacturers want to make sure that re-registration is worth it to them before they spend millions of dollars more on re-testing. Further testing for what you might ask? Who knows, because after a product has been on the open market for fifteen years you absolutely know what, if any, hazards it represents to humanity or to nature. Most importantly after fifteen years these products have probably gone out of patent. That means there is less value to the primary registrant, and if that is the case, there was no value incentive for the manufacturer to spend millions of dollars more to retest. They then simply pull their registration "voluntarily".

This is just another way the EPA has found to eliminate pesticides without banning them, which can be a messy process; a process in which they would probably lose. When you ban something you have to show reasons for the ban. You have to have facts, figures and..most importantly..real science. If there is none the product stays. They have avoided all of that through their system of rules which can make it a de facto ban without any messy legal stuff.

Organophosphates, such as Dursban absolutely kill bed bugs; on contact and as well as a residual. But in 1996 the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was passed and that changed all the rules. This national policy under the EPA to create uniform regulations with the stated goal to reduce the use of pesticides based on assumed risks cannot occur without compromising the health of the nation. This national bed bug plague is one of those issues, and the tip of the iceberg. Make no mistake about this; if bed bugs were transmitters of disease such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis or West Nile virus we wouldn't be having this national conversation.


Ethanol: Let protectionism expire

After more than three decades, the U.S. ethanol blenders' tax credit and the ethanol-import tariff that was put in place to offset it are set to expire at the end of the year. The way things are looking, we may finally be rid of these indefensible and parochial market distortions. The ethanol tax credit alone costs taxpayers over $6 billion per year.

The expiration of these policies will have little, if any, impact on the U.S. ethanol industry, because the Renewable Fuel Standard requires Americans to consume an increasing amount of biofuels each year. The demand for ethanol will therefore not drop significantly even when the current tax credit (45 cents per gallon) and tariff (54 cents per gallon) expire. As a mandate, the standard acts as a built-in market for U.S. ethanol producers.

Still, Tea Party darlings Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) rightly began pushing the ethanol issue immediately after the election as a key test of whether congressional Republicans could get serious about fiscal discipline. Last week, a bipartisan group of 17 senators, led by the unlikely tandem of Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and John Kyl (R., Ariz.), signed on to a letter calling for an end to ethanol price supports.

The letter was countered by a statement from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Kent Conrad (R., N.D) declaring that the U.S. would suffer catastrophic job losses and domestic ethanol production would plummet. Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) proclaimed, "They have to show me a valid economic reason why the 45 cents is not in the best interest of this country and our economy."

This argument is exactly backwards: Harkin is unable to demonstrate that the tax credit does anything but subsidize domestic gasoline consumption and exports of ethanol.

Although tax credits by themselves encourage ethanol production, they drive down the cost of gasoline when a mandate controls the price of ethanol. A tax credit gives blenders the incentive to blend more gasoline than they would otherwise (and thereby derive more profits from the tax credit). This increases the supply, and thus decreases the price, of fuel. Because the ethanol market price is fixed by the mandate, when the fuel (ethanol plus gasoline) price has to decline, it does so in the form of lower gasoline prices.

Meanwhile, U.S. corn-ethanol production is at an all-time high of 38 million gallons a day (13.9 billion gallons a year), with exports exceeding even Brazil's. Corn prices are near their record highs, and food-price-inflation concerns are rising. It is time for lawmakers to adjust to these new realities.

Redundancy and high costs are contributing to politicians' reluctance to extend the tax credit — as is the growing uncertainty over the claimed environmental benefits and the bad publicity that accompanied the perception that biofuels were a primary culprit of the 2008 commodity price spike.

The waning public support in the U.S. for biofuel subsidies is taking many forms. A broad coalition of organizations, including value-added agricultural industries, environmental groups, and some in the oil industry, is lobbying strongly against extension of the tax credit and tariff. This in the face of divisions within the ethanol lobby, where some argue tax credits are no longer necessary while others propose a shift to a production tax credit, which would be paid to ethanol producers instead of fuel blenders.

If the economic rationale for the ethanol-import tariff is to offset the tax credit, then the tariff should expire along with the tax credit. Letting the tariff expire can provide more competition in the ethanol market and allow more environmentally friendly ethanol onto the market — such as Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. The primary reason sugarcane ethanol is, by far, the world's lowest-carbon-intensity biofuel produced on a commercial scale is that one obtains twice the amount of ethanol per land unit from sugarcane as from corn. Furthermore, sugarcane is not a staple food crop and, unlike corn, has only an indirect effect on food prices. It is better for Brazil to produce ethanol and the U.S. to produce corn.

Brazil ended subsidies for ethanol over ten years ago and eliminated its ethanol tariff early this year. The U.S. should reciprocate. As the world's top producers of ethanol, the U.S. and Brazil should collaborate in building an open and global biofuels marketplace for clean, renewable energy.

The best thing President Obama and Congress could do for ethanol policy this year is nothing — let the tax credit and tariff expire.


West Virginia May Soon Set Nation-wide Pattern to Get Around the EPA

Coal mining has long been under attack from environmentalists and especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The result of these attacks have caused coal mines to be closed until they receive certification and permits that meet the approval of bureaucrats that are decidedly anti-coal mining. Hundreds if not thousands of coal mining jobs have been lost due to this bureaucratic nightmare.

In West Virginia though, a newly elected State Delegate has drafted legislation that would undo these unnecessary mine closures and put the miners back to work. Gary Howell, elected to his first term in the State House of West Virginia in November, is wasting no time getting his "put West Virginia to work" legislation signed in to law.

Delegate-elect Howell told, "[t]hese mines have met all the requirements for their EPA permits to be issued, but the Obama administration is simply not issuing the permits. The Obama administration's actions are illegal and are being challenged in the courts, however the court cases will take time. The Intrastate Coal and Use Act will take effect immediately allowing the mines to open, which will not only increase employment but increase the tax bases without the need for increased taxes on the individuals and provide energy security for the nation."

According to Howell, hundreds of coal mining jobs have been put on hold because of the actions taken by Obama's EPA. If Howell's legislation becomes law, West Virginia coal miners could soon be back to work.

The bill being introduced by Howell states that coal that is mined in West Virginia and used entirely within West Virginia, should not fall under the Federal government's jurisdiction. According to Howell's legislation, "Any West Virginia coal mine producing coal which is used commercially or privately in West Virginia and which is consumed or otherwise remains within the borders of West Virginia, and, any West Virginia facility producing chemically altered coal products used commercially or privately in West Virginia, which remain within the borders of West Virginia, shall be issued a permit to operate by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection once the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has certified that the mine or facility is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws or state and federal regulation."

If Howell's legislation is signed in to law, he will have scored an important 10th amendment victory. The jobs created in West Virginia are also something of great import. According to Howell, "a low estimate would be between 500 and 1,000 jobs that would be involved directly in mining operations across the 38 mines in West Virginia. That excludes the truck drivers, private contractors, surveying crews and even the college kid that will work the shift change at the local convenience store."

"Thousands of jobs ranging from high paying to entry level positions are being held up by the Obama Administration's EPA because the mining industry does not operate in a vacuum," Howell continued.

The effects of Obama's EPA are wide reaching and not just West Virginia. Nationwide, there are approximately 100 mines that are effected like the 38 mines of West Virginia. According to Howell, "Other state legislatures are looking at what happens with this bill in West Virginia as we take the lead on this issue."

Even though Howell's bill is still a draft, he expects it to gain momentum at the start of their legislative session on January 12th. As Delegate-elect Howell correctly stated, "it is not a left or right bill, but a `put West Virginia to work bill,' I expect it to have strong bipartisan support."

Delegate-elect Howell is taking a brave stand against the forces of Big Government environmentalism that have killed thousands of jobs nationwide. More states should look to Howell's example and take a stand against regulations that are destroying the economy and raising unemployment.


Australia: "Green" policies are cold comfort for older citizens

By Senator Barnaby Joyce

Certain things paint an indelible image in your mind. One happened to me lately when my mother in law told me that whilst doing meals on wheels in winter there was always a place you could find pensioners, in bed. This was not because of an infirmity but because they could not afford the price of the power to stay warm outside bed. How completely self indulgent and pathetic we have become that in our zealous desire to single-handedly cool the planet we have pandered to those who can afford the power bill over those less fortunate to avoid privation. How pathetic we are that South Korea, using our coal, can provide power cheaper to their citizens after an 8,300 km sea voyage than we can with power stations in our own coal fields.

Oh yes, aren't the solar panels doing a great a job. In Canberra last week it was revealed that they would add $225 to the average electricity bill, and that the Government's proposed carbon tax would raise them by a further 24%.

It is just that the poverty creep is making its way up the social strata, though I doubt it will reach the most affluent group The Greens. Bitterness on my part I suppose but I represent a party that represents the poorest electorates. Now what other lunacy are we considering, none other than shutting down the Murray Darling Basin so you can have a diet that suits the misery of the winter nights temperature in the unheated house..

Yes we have become so oblivious to the obvious because the loudest voices are not necessarily the neediest. We spend, sorry borrow, for school halls that do not make students more competitive in competency. No school hall taught a student a second language or a higher level maths. We borrowed for ceiling insulation and burnt down 190 houses and 4 installers died.

We borrowed for aimless $900 cheques as we decided that somehow imported electrical goods to Australia would reboot the US economy. We borrowed so much that we are now 170 billion dollars in gross debt. We are told not to worry about gross debt, its net debt that counts. Well try that out on your local bank manager. Try paying him back what you think you owe him, because of what you think others may owe you. Not surprisingly he will direct you to what is noted on your loan statement.

It is funny how the people who try to assuage our concerns with the net debt myth can never clearly identify what are the items that make up the difference between the figure on the Office of Financial Management website as Australian Government Securities outstanding and their miraculous net debt figure.

Since the election, the Labor-Green government has borrowed an average $1.6 billion each week. Every fortnight that amounts to three new major public hospitals or the inland rail from Melbourne to Brisbane. Not bad going for a country that can not keep its pensioners warm.

Whilst we are waiting we are merrily selling at a record rate our agricultural land, mines and now the hub of commerce the ASX, so that when the day of reckoning for our children comes they can try and get out of trouble by working fastidiously for someone else and hoping they feed them. The average foreign purchase of agricultural land over the past two years is 2.7 billion a year or more than 10 times that of the average of the previous 10 years.

So when is all this going to change? When are we going to shake ourselves out of this dystopia that we are inflicting on others less connected but more affected by the self indulgent political delusion. What is our current solution to the very real problems becoming more and more apparent at the bottom end of the lucky country?

Well apparently it is gay marriage. Yep I am sure that will warm the cockles of their hearts, if not their living rooms, that our nation's wisest are going to engage in hours, possibly days at the end of the political year on gay marriage. Then when we are finished with gay marriage we may have enough time to engage the remainder of our time on euthanasia.

You can not reduce power prices without increasing the supply of cheap power. No other nation has an earnest desire to feed you before they satisfy their own. It is a fluke of history that you are here in this nation but luck is easily lost with bad management and naive aspirations.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

The UEA predicted Britain's present Arctic weather in advance -- WAY in advance

See the article below that appeared in the "Windsor Star" on Sept. 11, 1972. Hubert Lamb, the director of the CRU in 1972 says that the overall temperature trend they were forecasting was definitely downwards. Lamb warns that there may be "minor upward fluctuations" but he says we shouldn't be misled by these into thinking the earth was getting warmer


Tim Ball comments:

Yes, but that was when Lamb, who founded the CRU was still in charge. I discussed the same thing with him when he was advising me on my doctoral thesis. Our discussion about the cold was triggered by my comment that I had never been so cold as I was standing on the platform at Norwich railway station. This included five years of flying search and rescue throughout the Canadian Arctic.

He anticipated the loss of control of CRU and to whom. In his autobiography, "Through all the Changing scenes of Life" he wrote:

"The research project which I put forward to the Rockefeller Foundation was awarded a handsome grant, but it came to grief over an understandable difference of scientific judgement between me and the scientist, Dr Tom Wigley, whom we appointed to take charge of the research." (p.204)

Wigley went on to oust Lamb and become Director from which position he linked with the IPCC group in conjunction with his protege Phil Jones who replaced him. Wigley moved to Colorado to expand the Climategate debacle with US funding. You can watch Wigley at his unctuous best in the 1990 documentary "The Greenhouse Conspiracy" talking about getting funding.

A few years after I first met with Lamb I learned from a CRU student that "The Prof," as he almost derisively called him, was still coming in every day but nobody was paying him any mind.

When you read the leaked emails you see that Wigley is the grandfather and eminence grise who they all defer and refer to for his opinion on many issues. I wrote about that here

Incidentally, Lamb received money from the US because the UKMO and other British funding sources ignored his goal of building better historic records. He wrote on page 203 that:

"When the Climatic Research Unit was founded, it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important."

This idea evolved from his difficulties with accurate forecasting for bombers flying over Europe in WWII. He determined that better forecasting required understanding past patterns so he spent time in the archives of the Met Office.

It was an agenda that did not fit with the political use of climate by Wigley, the UKMO, Schneider and many others. Sadly it is a requirement that still limits understanding today, but made worse by the lack of funding to data reconstruction and the closing of weather stations so that data that was already inadequate has become truncated and discontinuous at best.

2010: An Even More Unexceptional Year

The Warmists saw some warm months in this year's data and have ever since been frantically trying to prove that 2010 as a whole is an exceptionally warm year. Dr. David Whitehouse points out, however, that their own datasets betray them -- and that 2010 is in fact a perfectly ordinary year

Following my analysis of 2010 based on Met Office temperature data it has been suggested that I perform my analysis on other global temperature data sets that are more comprehensive. It has also suggested that when I do I will arrive at a different result, and that all of the months in 2010 have been anomalously warm.

Well, here it is.The first data set, from the UK Met Office, is here:

January was cooler than January in 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 1998. SAME.

February was cooler than February in 2007, 2004, 2002, and 1998. SAME.

March was exceptionally warm. However it was, given the errors, statistically comparable with March 2008 and March 1990. SAME.

April was cooler than April 2007, 2005, and 1998. SAME.

May was cooler than May 2003 and 1998. SAME.

June was exceptionally warm though statistically identical to June 2005 and 1998.SAME.

July, when things started to cool, was cooler than July 2006, 2005 and 1998. SAME.

August was cooler than August 2009, about the same as 2005, and cooler than 2001 and 1998. REVISED. August was now cooler than 2006 as well.

September was cooler than September 2009, 2007, 2005, 2001 and 1998.REVISED. September was cooler than 2009, 2007, 2005.

October ­ the last month for which there are records was cooler than October 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 1998. SAME.

Because the world has been markedly cooling for the past four months unless November and December are extraordinary and go against this trend, then 2010 will be cooler than 2005 and 1998, at least.

The same analysis can be performed on the other two commonly used global temperature datasets.

Firstly, NOAA:

January was cooler than 2007, 2003 and 2002.

February was cooler than 2003, 2002, 1999, and 1998.

March was exceptionally warm, statistically equal to 2002.

April was exceptionally warm, statistically equal to 1998.

May was roughly equal to 2005 and cooler than 1998.

June was roughly equal to 2005 and cooler than 1998.

July was roughly equal to 2005 and cooler than 1998.

August was cooler than 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2001, and 1998.

September was cooler than 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001.

October was cooler than 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001.

Using the NASA dataset the results are:

January was cooler than 2007, 2005 and 2002.

February was cooler than 1998.

March was cooler than 2002.

April was the warmest on record.

May was cooler than 1998.

June was cooler than 2009, 2006, 2005, and 1998.

July was cooler than 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003, and 1998.

August was cooler than 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, and 1998.

September was cooler than 2009, 2006, 2005 and 2003.

October was cooler than 2005 and 2003.

These databases give the monthly temperature to thousandths of a degree which is superfluous. When rounded up to a more physically sensible 0.1 deg almost all of the differences between the years of the past decade go away, but that is another story, and not the subject of this post.

The suggestion that all the months this year in the CRU, NOAA and NASA global datasets for which data has been collated (January - October) were anomalously warm is incorrect, as even the most cursory examination of the datasets shows.

The result of using the different databases is even more stark than my original analysis.

The conclusion is therefore even more solid about 2010 being an even more unexceptional (in the context of the past decade) El Nino year with a warm Spring.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

New House committee to challenge the "consensus"

Ralph Hall is poised to become the next chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee after fending off a challenge from California Republican Dana Rohrabacher.

Hall, 87, on Tuesday won the endorsement of the GOP panel tasked with selecting chairmen, a member of the steering committee told POLITICO. The recommendation will go before the full caucus Wednesday, but the vote is seen as little more than a formality.

At the helm of the Science Committee, Hall is expected to be at the forefront of GOP efforts to probe the Obama administration’s climate policies next year.

Hall told POLITICO in a recent interview he’s not a climate skeptic. “If they quote me correctly, I've never said it's outrageous to even think about global warming. I want some proof,” he said. “If I get the chair and have the gavel, I'm going to subpoena people from both sides and try to put them under oath and try to find out what the real facts are.”

But he said he does want to question all sides of the issue, including the scientists at the center of the so-called “Climategate” controversy surrounding e-mails stolen from climate researchers last year in England. He said at a hearing last month that the documents exposed a “dishonest undercurrent” within the scientific community. Investigators in the United States and Britain have cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing.

Hall’s expected appointment as Science chairman will likely be seen as the lesser of two evils among proponents of efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Both Hall and Rohrabacher have expressed doubts about the science linking manmade carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, but Rohrabacher is seen as a more aggressive skeptic than his Texas colleague.

“Dana would be out to disprove the theory,” said outgoing Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who is the current ranking member on the Science Energy and Environment Subcommittee. “Ralph would likely not ... be as animated in his pursuit of the destruction of climate science.”

“He’s very, very smart,” Barton said. “He goes to great lengths to hide his intelligence with his folksiness and his East Texan-ness, but he’s a very bright, sharp fellow. We’re very lucky he still wants to be in Congress and he’ll be a great Science chairman.” And when it comes to investigating climate science, Barton said he’s sure Hall will be aggressive enough. “When he’s got that gavel, he’ll be a tiger.”

Beyond Hall and Rohrabacher, the panel will likely be stacked with vocal climate skeptics, including Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

After GOP leadership dismantled Democrats’ global warming panel, Sensenbrenner — the committee’s top republican — could win the chairmanship of the Energy and Environment or Investigations and Oversight subcommittees on the science panel.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), ranking member of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, wants to see it lead the charge on climate science. “I very much would like to debunk this myth that there is a scientific consensus that we have human-induced climate change,” he said last week. “I want to focus on what the truth is, instead of this blanket statement that there is this scientific consensus that this is occurring, which is balderdash.” Broun said he’s unsure whether he’ll remain on the committee.

Meanwhile, some climate scientists are calling on the incoming majority to use its position to further the public understanding of climate science, rather than assailing scientists.

Rep. Inglis urged climate scientists to view any climate science probes as opportunities to share their data and welcome the inquiry, “even if that’s not really the spirit in which they’re given the opportunity to testify,” he said.. “If they do, then hopefully some people will — skeptics will begin to see the data as what it is.”

Outgoing Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), said last week he isn’t worried about GOP efforts to upend the science. “There is no upending the science, the science is very clear on it. [What science? Prophecies are not science] So I hope that they will have hearings on it, because it will just demonstrate that,” he said.


UK Government Is Asking For Trouble over energy bills

HOUSEHOLD energy bills could double to £2,500 a year in an “unstoppable” rise driven by the £200 billion fight against climate change, a market expert warned yesterday.

Mark Todd, of, said rocketing prices will send costs for hard-pressed families and the elderly into the “stratosphere”. He said consumers will have to pick up the tab for new windfarms, nuclear power plants and the networks needed to support them.

Mr Todd’s worst-case scenario forecast means bills could rise from the current £1,215 average for gas and electricity – so-called dual fuel bills – to £2,472 a year within 10 years. He spoke out as five of the biggest energy firms in Britain told MPs that energy bills will rise by up to 25 per cent over the next decade. That would slap another £303 on the average gas and electricity bill.

Yet campaigners Consumer Focus said that over the past seven years alone domestic dual fuel bills have soared 124 per cent – from an average £543 a year. Mr Todd said: “Both the cold spell and rebound in the economy are contributing factors to wholesale gas prices rising by 56 per cent in the past three months. It’s therefore no surprise that five of the big six energy companies have warned MPs that domestic bills will continue to rise.

“There seems to be an almost unstoppable upward trend with prices creeping up remorselessly. When price drops come they tend to be small, when price rises come they tend to be big.”

The Government is shortly expected to announce a consultation on reforming the energy market.

And on Monday the Climate Change Committee quango laid out a blueprint for cutting carbon emissions which it admitted would require investment of about £150 billion in energy infrastructure up to 2030.

Mr Todd said: “The year’s price rises are only the tip of the iceberg. “An unpalatable cocktail of green taxes, power station investment, a crumbling grid and dwindling gas supplies is set to send prices into the stratosphere. “Energy bills are many homes’ biggest expense. UK consumers must shop around for a better deal.”

Head of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, said: “It is up to the energy industry to show that any price rises are fair. It must be easy for customers to find the best tariff, switch easily and be confident they are paying a fair price.”

Energy UK, which speaks for the major suppliers, last night urged the public to make homes more energy efficient.


Is the EPA necessary?

A repeated myth is that government intervention comes only after private markets have clearly failed and the bureaucracy must step in to stop the abuse. For example, we hear that Congress created the Food and Drug Administration in 1906 because conditions in American meatpacking plants had become progressively dangerous as corporate bosses put “profits ahead of people.”

So it is with the Environmental Protection Agency, created by Congress and President Richard Nixon in 1970. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson painted the same gloomy picture that is given for creation of any federal agency: American life had become too intolerable without it. She writes:
Last month’s elections were not a vote for dirtier air or more pollution in our water. No one was sent to Congress with a mandate to increase health threats to our children or return us to the era before the EPA’s existence when, for example, nearly every meal in America contained elements of pesticides linked to nerve damage, cancer and sometimes death. In Los Angeles, smog-thick air was a daily fact of life, while in New York 21,000 tons of toxic waste awaited discovery beneath the small community of Love Canal. Six months before the EPA’s creation, flames erupted from pollution coating the surface of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, nearly reaching high enough to destroy two rail bridges.

Coverage of the Cuyahoga River fire featured a Time Magazine photo from a 1952 fire on the river with claims it was taken during the June 1969 fire. However, as Stacie Thomas pointed out in this article, the real fire was brief, no photos were taken, and damage to the bridges was minimal.

Furthermore, notes law professor Jonathan H. Adler, the “pollution-was-progressively-becoming-worse” scenario Jackson paints is not true:
Contrary to common perceptions, many measures of environmental quality were already improving prior to the advent of federal environmental laws. The Environmental Protection Agency’s first national water quality inventory, conducted in 1973, found that there had been substantial improvement in water quality in major waterways during the decade before adoption of the federal Clean Water Act, at least for the pollutants of greatest concern at the time, organic waste and bacteria.

Unfortunately, Jackson is not satisfied with rewriting environmental history. She also commits the venerable broken-window fallacy, failing to account for what did not happen because of government intervention. She writes:
We have seen GDP grow by 207% since 1970, and America remains the proud home of storied companies that continue to create opportunities. Instead of cutting productivity, we’ve cut pollution while the number of American cars, buildings and power plants has increased. Alleged “job-killing” regulations have, according to the Commerce Department, sparked a homegrown environmental protection industry that employs more than 1.5 million Americans.

She’s also guilty of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Moreover, Jackson confuses jobs with the creation of real wealth. For example, many of the new “green jobs” are created via government subsidies, which means that the government is cannibalizing profitable entities to prop up those firms that are unprofitable. Far from creating wealth, this activity is economically destructive.

One wonders how much economic growth would have taken place had the EPA not existed. Obviously, that is a calculation no one is able to perform, but I suspect that some readers of this site who have had to deal with EPA bureaucrats can tell a few horror tales.

My only contact with the EPA came more than 30 years ago when I was a news reporter covering a story about a fertilizer plant’s discharges into Chickamauga Lake. Although Tennessee state water-quality authorities were willing to work with the firm, given there was no immediate health or aquatic hazards, the EPA was utterly rigid and the plant was shuttered. It was the bureaucratic mind at work.

Jackson wants us to believe that without the EPA we’d all be dead. I doubt that seriously, but I don’t doubt that EPA is a destructive enterprise killer. While Jackson calls for “common-sense solutions,” I submit that common sense tells us to do away with the agency.


Number of climate refugees overstated

The writer below accepts warmism but also knows something about human population movements

If we are to believe recent reports, the effects of climate change over the next 90 years will make up to 1 billion people homeless, deny 3 billion access to clean water and see the emergence of "ghost states" whose governments-in-exile rule over scattered citizens.

The sensational claims in The Observer were based on a scientific report presented this week at the start of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico. The report outlines the effects of human-induced climate change to be expected this century, largely because it now appears we cannot stop global temperatures rising by 4 degrees.

Climate change-induced migration and displacement are real. But it is too simplistic to suggest that the impacts of climate change on human settlements will spur mass migration, and it could feed panic about the security implications of human movement.

The figures cited don't ring true with any of the research being done by migration experts on the impacts of climate change and human movement. The report might have the basic "science" right, but it overlooks the human elements - people's inherent resilience, their lack of resources and desire to move great distances, their cultural ties to their land - which make it unlikely that billions of people will ever flee their homes for other countries. Perhaps most significantly, it overlooks the evidence we already have about what is happening in countries most at risk. This is underscored by my own field work in Bangladesh and the Pacific.

Bangladesh is often cited as the country that will produce the most "climate refugees". Some alarmist predictions estimate that 30 million people will be displaced by 2050. But, as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) explains, these figures tend to be based on sea level rises outside the "harshest" scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, count land loss but not accretion, assume no adaptation measures, and apply long-term, country-wide estimates that overlook "more localised, fine-grained" contexts.

Existing patterns of movement from natural disasters - which provide the best indicators of future movements - do not support claims that climate-induced displacement will involve large-scale international migration. Despite annual flooding, cyclones and coastal and riverbank erosion, there is no evidence of mass cross-border movement from Bangladesh, although there is considerable internal displacement which needs to be addressed through a human-rights framework.

In fact, research shows that only very few of the poor - the people most heavily impacted by climate change - will move irregularly across an international border, and typically only if they have family links there. Financial restrictions, a close sense of attachment to land, family and culture inhibit movement abroad.

There is also a more fundamental problem which centres on climate change "cause and effect". As one government official in Kiribati, one of the "sinking islands" of the Pacific, observed, climate change overlays pre-existing pressures - overcrowding, unemployment and environmental and development concerns. Certainly the impacts of climate change are real, and affect people's ability to remain in their homes, but attributing displacement to climate change alone is impossible.

There is a risk that focusing on climate change as "the" cause of human movement may backfire.

The IOM has observed that there is a risk of undermining the case for investment and measures to meet the needs of vulnerable coastal communities, such as in the threatened states of Bangladesh, Kiribati and Tuvalu. From an advocacy perspective, one can appreciate that alarmist lobbying - extending to pressure for multinational approaches such as a "climate refugee" treaty - may generate attention and mobilise civil society.

Nevertheless, it is imperative that advocacy is well-informed, because if there is an absence of rigorous analysis and empirical evidence to support claims being made, it will not achieve its ends. Indeed, messy work may lead to a backlash and attempts to discredit the phenomenon of climate change-related human movement altogether.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Britain's freeze of the century: Army on standby in coldest December for 100 years

There is no realistic way this is compatible with global warming

The army was put on high alert last night as Britain headed towards its coldest December for 100 years. As temperatures plunged to -18c (0f) David Cameron said the military ‘stands ready to help’.

The Prime Minister also revealed Cobra-style emergency meetings of senior officials and Ministers had been held to discuss the Government’s response to the big freeze.

After a further 4in of snow fell yesterday the Met Office warned that – despite a brief respite this weekend – temperatures would stay ‘remarkably’ low for another fortnight. If that happens, this month could replace 1981 as the coldest December since records began in 1910. To do so, the average mean temperature for the month will have to be lower than 0.2c.

As forecasters warned of more snow, sub-zero temperatures and ice for the Christmas period:

* The Prime Minister urged homeowners to embrace the ‘we’re all in it together’ strategy of the Conservatives Big Society by being good neighbours.

* More than 100 motorists were rescued after being trapped as heavy snow fell on the A171 near Whitby, in North Yorkshire.

* The AA said it had responded to more than 230,000 incidents in just 14 days.

As soldiers were called in to help clear roads in Scotland the Prime Minister told the Commons: ‘We stand ready to give any assistance. We have ministerial meetings at effectively the Cobra level that are going through what action needs to be taken.

‘There is a bigger strategic supply of grit than there’s been in previous years. ‘The military stand ready to help and whatever needs to be done, I can guarantee you will be done.’

But he urged people to do their bit as well. ‘There’s also something that we can all do to help neighbours and people that could suffer in this cold weather by being good neighbours.’

Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, went further and urged homeowners with access to grit and salt to tackle those roads and pavements not treated by councils. ‘People have always dug their way out of their own driveways...and I would encourage people who are able to do that kind of thing to continue doing it for themselves and for neighbours who are perhaps less able to,’ he said.

Last winter, more than 25,000 people died in England and Wales as a result of the cold temperatures. Most of them were aged over 75.

Nigel Stafford, from the British Red Cross, said: ‘We all need to look out for each other during the severe weather and make sure those less able than ourselves are not forgotten.’

The snow which crippled Scotland moved south yesterday leaving a further 4in across the Yorkshire Moors and parts of the east coast. More than 100 vehicles were trapped on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough when the snow fell on ice, making driving extremely hazardous.

Severe weather warnings remain in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands as temperatures dropped to -18c (0f) at Shap Fell in Cumbria, -15c (5f) in Edinburgh and -10c (14f) in Manchester.

Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: ‘December has got off to a remarkable start. It’s possible it could be the coldest on record. ‘We will have to wait and see but it’s going to stay cold for much of the rest of the month with widespread risk of ice, frost and snow showers.’

He said that the country would enjoy warmer temperatures - as high as 7c (45f) or 8c (46f) - over the weekend before the freeze returns. ‘There is scope for more snow showers to come in, particularly next week,’ he added. ‘Widespread ice and frost will return, particularly from the middle of the week onwards.’


Evidence of fraud by Phil Jones and his Warmist colleagues

Excerpts from Doug Keenan. There is a lot in it but Doug is to be congratulated for making it easy to read. A mathematician with a talent for writing!

The 1990 study

In 1990, the following study was published in the leading scientific journal Nature (note that Jones is the first author).

Jones P.D., Groisman P.Y., Coughlan M., Plummer N., Wang W.-C., Karl T.R., “Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land”, Nature, 347: 169–172 (1990).

This study concerns an issue with measurements of global temperature. As a simple example of the issue, consider a thermometer in the middle of a large field. Suppose that there was a city nearby, and over time, the city expanded to replace the field with asphalt and buildings. Then the temperatures recorded by the thermometer would tend to be higher, because asphalt, buildings, cars, etc. give off extra heat.

Many thermometers used by weather stations are in areas that have undergone urbanization. Thus, such thermometers might show temperatures going up, even if the global climate was unchanging. It is widely accepted that some of the increase in measured temperatures during the past century is due to many weather stations being located in areas where urbanization has occurred. A critical issue is this: how much of perceived global warming is due to such urbanization effects?

The latest (2007) assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change considers this issue The IPCC does not do original research itself; rather, it assesses research previously published in scientific journals. The IPCC assessment of the urbanization effects concluded that such effects are insignificant overall. One of the main studies cited by the IPCC to justify that conclusion is the 1990 study of Jones et al. The study of Jones et al. looked at urbanization effects in eastern China (as well as eastern Australia and western Russia). It found that urbanization effects there were insignificant. Eastern China has had much urbanization; so if the temperature measurements from there were essentially unaffected by urbanization, then that would suggest the temperatures records from other countries around the world were also little affected, in general. Hence urbanization effects are probably insignificant globally.

The study of Jones et al. is not the sole study relied upon by the IPCC report for its conclusion about the global insignificance of the urbanization effects. Hence even if the study were wholly invalidated, that would not imply that the conclusion was unsupported. On the other hand, arguments made in some of the other main studies have been strongly criticized (both in the peer-reviewed literature and on scholarly blogs). The Russell report rightly states that the study of Jones et al. “is important”.

Fraudulent claims

A problem with analyzing temperature measurements from weather stations is that the stations sometimes move, and that can affect the measurements. For example, one of the stations used in the 1990 study was originally located upwind of a city and later moved, 25 km, to be downwind of the city; such a move would be expected to increase the measured temperatures, because a city generates heat. It is obvious that when a station moves, the temperature measurements from before the move are not, in general, directly comparable with the measurements from after the move.

The 1990 study of Jones et al. claims that the weather stations that were studied “were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times”. That claim is essential for the study.

Jones et al. asserted that they obtained the Chinese data from a report that was jointly published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The DOE/CAS report states that its purpose is to present “the most comprehensive, long-term instrumental Chinese climate data presently available”. The report also states, though, that for a majority of the stations studied by Jones et al., “station histories are not currently available” and “details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times … are not known”. For a minority of the stations, histories are available: over half of those had substantial moves. Thus, there is strong evidence that the claim of Jones et al. to have selected stations on the basis of their histories is fraudulent.

Potential problems with the claim of Jones et al. were first raised on the Climate Audit blog of Steve McIntyre. I subsequently investigated. It became clear that fraud had occurred, but that Phil Jones was innocent: the evidence strongly indicates that, for the Chinese data, Jones trusted and relied upon one of his co-authors, Wei-Chyung Wang.

Wang is a professor at the State University of New York at Albany. In 2007, I filed a formal allegation of research fraud with the University. Details are given in a peer-reviewed article that I published in the journal Energy & Environment (2007), entitled “The fraud allegation against some climatic research of Wei-Chyung Wang”. The University conducted an investigation, which concluded that Wang was not guilty. There were, however, serious procedural irregularities during the investigation. For example, I was not contacted during the investigation: a breach of the University's own policies, U.S. federal regulations, and obvious natural justice.

Moreover, when asked to produce the station histories, Wang claimed, in effect, that he had plagiarized the work and that the person from whom he had plagiarized had since lost the information; yet the university ignored the admission of plagiarism. Details are on my web site here

The U.S. Congress' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has contacted me about the irregularities in the investigation. In November 2010, the Committee informed me that it is considering whether to investigate the matter. Final status of the allegation against Wang thus remains to be decided.

IPCC misrepresentation

Although Jones was innocent in 1990, he was no longer so by 2001, when the following research paper was published (note that Jones is one of the authors).

Yan Z., Yang C., Jones P., “Influence of inhomogeneity on the estimation of mean and extreme temperature trends in Beijing and Shanghai”, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 18: 309–321 (2001).

The paper of Yan et al. studied two weather stations, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. The Beijing station had five locations spread over 41 km. The Shanghai station had only a single move, but that move caused a doubling of the long-term warming trend there (according to Yan et al.). The station movements imply that the temperature measurements from the stations cannot be directly used in analysis, as discussed above. Yet the measurements had been used in the analysis of Jones et al. (1990). And given that this problem arose for both the stations that were studied by Yan et al., then it must be suspected for at least some of the other stations used in 1990.

Thus, by 2001, Jones must have known that the 1990 study should not be relied upon. As the lead author of the 1990 study, Jones should have then tried to have had the study retracted: it is clear that that is the ethical thing to do. Indeed, the UK Research Integrity Office now has guidelines stating that a retraction may be necessary “when there is clear evidence that the reported findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct, such as fabrication of data, or honest error, for example, miscalculation or experimental error”. Jones, however, did not try to have the 1990 study retracted.

In 2007, the IPCC published its most-recent assessment report on climate change. The IPCC reports are widely considered to be the most authoritative assessment of the science of global warming. For the 2007 report, there were two scientists with final responsibility for the chapter in the report on “surface and atmospheric climate change” (here “surface” refers to the surface of the Earth, i.e. where people live). Those two were Phil Jones and an American colleague, Kevin Trenberth.

The chapter of Jones & Trenberth cites the 1990 study for its assessment of the issue of urbanization effects. Thus, in 2007, Jones was responsible for having the IPCC cite the 1990 study even though he knew that the study should not be relied upon. This constitutes fraud— fraud in the writing of the most important reference that there is on global-warming science.

On 19 June 2007, I e-mailed Jones about this, citing Yan et al. and saying “this proves that you knew there were serious problems with Wang's claims back in 2001; yet some of your work since then has continued to rely on those claims, most notably in the latest report from the IPCC”. I politely requested an explanation. I did not receive a reply.

In August 2007, I submitted a draft of my article on these allegations to the journal Energy & Environment. The journal editor then sent the draft to Jones. Jones replied with many comments, but he did not attempt to rebut the allegation against him.

On 2 February 2010, in the wake of Climategate, The Guardian published a front-page story that reported on my allegations. The Guardian is a major advocate for global warming; yet the report was highly positive. The story was re-reported around the world. Later that day, the University of East Anglia issued a press release to clarify some issues. Yet the press release did not attempt to rebut the allegation.

Jones has never publicly attempted to deny the fraud allegation against him.

Note that the allegation against Jones is separate from the allegation against Wang. The allegation against Wang relies on the DOE/CAS report. The allegation against Jones is independent of that and relies on the paper of Yan et al.

The 2008 study

In 2008, Jones and two colleagues (neither of which was Wang) published a study that claimed to verify the conclusion of the 1990 study. Jones, and others, have since cited the 2008 study to argue that issues with the 1990 study are therefore immaterial.

The 2008 study, however, relies upon the same station histories as the 1990 study. The histories that are not extant. Indeed, Jones discussed my fraud allegation in an interview with Nature (published on 15 February 2010), and in the interview Jones acknowledged that the histories had been lost long ago. In the same interview, however, Jones reasserted that the 2008 study verified the conclusions of the 1990 study —which is obviously impossible.

Moreover, in 2008, Wang made a submission to the University at Albany during the university's investigation of my allegation against him. His submission (which was leaked as part of Climategate) included a letter from a colleague in China who co-authored the DOE/CAS report. The letter stated that the relevant histories had been lost long ago. Indeed, it is manifest that if the histories were available in 2008, Wang would have produced them to defend himself.

Jones' story about the 2008 study is plainly false. Jones changed that story in a second interview with Nature (published on 15 November 2010). In the second interview, Jones claimed that the histories had not been lost, but “the authorities [in China] have not released the full station-history data”. Jones' change of story seems highly suspicious. Moreover, the changed story has a problem: what reason do the authorities have for not releasing the histories? The histories are not state secrets; their release, if they were extant, would benefit science; and CAS undertook a project with DOE to publish them.

Oxburgh and Russell panels

The Oxburgh panel had, as its remit, to assess the integrity of work done at CRU. The allegation that I made against Jones is the sole explicit allegation of fraud that has been made against anyone at CRU. Yet the report of the Oxburgh panel does not consider the allegation. Indeed, Lord Oxburgh stated, when giving oral evidence to the Committee on 8 September 2010, that he did not recall looking at the allegation.

The Russell panel did consider the allegation: Section 6.6 of their report is devoted to this. Neither that section nor any other section of their report, however, cites Yan et al. In other words, the Russell panel did not consider the evidence for the allegation.

The Russell panel claimed, though, that the 2008 study by Jones et al. “verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data”. As discussed above, this claim is extremely dubious. Additionally, my allegation is that Jones committed fraud. The allegation does not concern the validity, or otherwise, of the 1990 conclusions. If those conclusions were invalid, that might potentially have consequences for global-warming science, but it is of little consequence for the central issue: the integrity of Jones' research.

The panel further claimed that Wang being found not guilty by the University at Albany implied that Jones was not guilty. As discussed above, the allegation against Wang is independent of the allegation against Jones.

It is also notable that the Russell panel had, in its remit, the investigation of e-mails that were released in Climategate and that three of those e-mails included copies of my e-mail to Jones on 19 June 2007, which cited Yan et al. and requested for an explanation for his actions (the e-mails were #1182342470, #1182346299, #1182361058). If every member of the Russell panel read all the Climategate e-mails, as Sir Muir asserted in his oral evidence to the Committee on 27 October 2010, then surely they would have seen the reference to Yan et al.

That is particularly so given the publicity that my e-mail to Jones received. For example, the Associated Press had a report on the Climategate e-mails in December 2009. That report highlighted my e-mail to Jones as one of the most significant (though regarding Wang rather than Jones). The report was apparently published in over 1000 newspapers around the world, often of the front page. A Climategate e-mail given that much publicity would be expected to have gotten the attention of a panel investigating the Climategate e-mails.


From this summary account, two main conclusions emerge. First, there is good evidence to support the allegation that Jones committed fraud in some of his research —including research which influenced a chapter of the principal report upon which governments rely for a scientific assessment of global warming. Second, the evidence for the allegation was not considered by either the Oxburgh panel or the Russell panel; indeed, it has not been properly investigated by any competent and authorized body.


More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims - Challenge UN IPCC & Gore

More than 1000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 2010 320-page Climate Depot Special Report -- updated from 2007's groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming "consensus" -- features the skeptical voices of over 1000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in March 2009. This report's release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit in being held in Cancun.

The more than 300 additional scientists added to this report since March 2009 (21 months ago), represents an average of nearly four skeptical scientists a week speaking out publicly. The well over 1000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010 as the Climategate scandal -- which involved the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists -- detonated upon on the international climate movement. "I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple," said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke. Climategate prompted UN IPCC scientists to turn on each other. UN IPCC scientist Eduardo Zorita publicly declared that his Climategate colleagues Michael Mann and Phil Jones "should be barred from the IPCC process...They are not credible anymore." Zorita also noted how insular the IPCC science had become. "By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication," Zorita wrote. A UN lead author Richard Tol lead author grew disillusioned with the IPCC and lamented that it had been "captured" and demanded that "the Chair of IPCC and the Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups should be removed." Tol also publicly called for the "suspension" of IPCC Process in 2010 after being invited by the UN to participate as lead author again in the next IPCC Report.

Other UN scientists were more blunt. South African UN scientist declared the UN IPCC a "worthless carcass" and noted IPCC chair Pachauri is in "disgrace". He also explained that the "fraudulent science continues to be exposed." Alexander, a former member of the UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters harshly critiqued the UN. "'I was subjected to vilification tactics at the time. I persisted. Now, at long last, my persistence has been rewarded...There is no believable evidence to support [the IPCC] claims. I rest my case!" See: S. African UN Scientist Calls it! 'Climate change - RIP: Cause of Death: No scientifically believable evidence...Deliberate manipulation to suit political objectives'

The rapidity of the global warming establishment's collapse would have been unheard of just two years ago. Prominent physicist Hal Lewis resigned from American Physical Society, calling "Global warming the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life." UK astrophysicist Piers Corbyn was blunt about what Climategate revealed: "The case for climate fears is blown to smithereens...the whole theory should be destroyed and discarded and UN conference should be closed."

Even the usually reliable news media has started questioning the global warming claims. Newsweek Magazine wrote in May 2010 about the "uncertain science" and how "climate researchers have lost the public's trust" from a "cascade of scandals" from the UN IPCC. Newsweek compared the leaders of the climate science community to "used-car salesmen."Once celebrated climate researchers are feeling like the used-car salesmen" and the magazine noted that "some of IPCC's most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles...Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments."

As the global warming edifice crumbled in 2010, the movement lost one of its leading lights due to the Climategate revelations. Dr. Judith Curry, the chair of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at GA Institute of Tech, explained her defection from the global warming activist movement. "There is 'a lack of willingness in the climate change community to steer away from groupthink...They are setting themselves up as second-rate scientists by not engaging, Curry wrote in 2010. Curry critiqued the UN IPCC for promoting "dogma" and clinging to the "religious importance" of the IPCC's claims. "They will tolerate no dissent and seek to trample anyone who challenges them," Curry lamented. "The IPCC assessment process had a substantial element of schoolyard bullies, trying to insulate their shoddy science from outside scrutiny and attacks by skeptics...the IPCC and its conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy," Curry wrote.

Much more HERE

The truth is getting out in India too

The following letter to the editor from Prof ARUN DEEP AHLUWALIA, Emeritus Geologist-Environmentalist, Planet Earth Centre, Chandigarh was published in THE TRIBUNE of India

*Climate change: the truth must be told*

Global warming, wrongly attributed in an exaggerated manner entirely to man, is, in fact, largely natural. All the hype and projections about it makes most geologists wonder if the climate change has been hijacked from scientists by politicians, and some scientists in the IPCC have been bending backwards to conform to the politicians and gain grants and favours from the UN and various governments.

The earth has witnessed prolonged ice ages with much longer spells of global warming since the first ice age. The only issue to ponder over is if man during last 50 years of fast industrialisation has accelerated the natural process of global warming.

The last word on this question as a simplistic cause and effect relation cannot be said with any certainty. The sun-earth system and atmosphere ocean system is too complex to make such generalisations. Our biosphere may have a huge capacity to absorb the carbon dioxide generated.

I was amazed to learn that climate was a political issue in the meeting. It is indeed a pity that in their haste to fleece the poor nations the Al Gores and the Obamas are twisting climate science to suit their political and economic agendas.

Let us restore our balance and sense of proportion in matters of global warming and environmental pollution. Over 1,000 eminent scientists across the world are debating if we are entering a mini-ice age and if global warming is waning.

At times one suspects that the huge money involved in all other pollutions of soil, water, air and consequently our food chain makes the powers-that-be and their brokers all around create a hype around global warming and divert attention from real man-made pollution of the environment.

Indeed, we need to promote walking, cycling, better public transport and safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Look around if any of these do-gooders is bothered about it. None at all! They travel in chartered flights to preach car pooling! If there were a Nobel Prize for hypocrisy there would be tough competition for it.

If anything, they are all in a mad race to promote the use of more cars, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and GM food, and to discourage organic farming systematically. We do plant trees but never care to look back at the saplings after the ritual. It is time to call the bluff of the politicians-turned-pseudo-environmentalists and recreate respect for water, soil, air in the spirit of our gurus and Vedas and see the truth of climate change as well as environmental pollution.

North America: The new energy kingdom

The American Petroleum Institute reports that the United States produced more crude oil in October than it has ever produced in a single month, “peak oil” or not.

This reversal of trend helps explain why U.S. domestic production for the year will be 140,000 barrels a day higher than last year (which was 410,000 barrels a day higher than 2008). Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says U.S. production will decline next year, who knows?

Could these numbers reflect the beginning of the end for U.S. dependence on Mideast oil? Well, in fact, they could be. As Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes optimistically asserted the other day, the whole world is “awash in energy.”

Mr. Forbes isn’t the only one to notice. As an article last month in The New York Times observed: “Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes, giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation.”

Further still: “Another wave of natural gas drilling has taken off in shale rock fields across the United States, and more shale gas drilling is just beginning in Europe and Asia.”

Mr. Forbes was explaining why CNOOC, China’s principal state-owned oil company, was paying Chesapeake Energy $1.08-billion (U.S.) in cash for a one-third interest in the company’s next shale gas play in Texas – and paying 75 per cent of the cost of developing it.

Yes, China was investing in drilling technology: China itself has abundant shale gas reserves. But China had another objective. “Within a decade,” Mr. Forbes said, “the U.S. will be a major natural gas exporter.” And China will be a major importer.

The two countries signed an accord (the U.S.-China Shale Gas Resource Initiative) last year to reflect this coming U.S. energy reversal. “The United States,” the accord notes, “is a world leader in shale gas technology.” The accord commits the U.S. to deliver this technology to China – and, by implication, requires China to open further its oil and gas industry to Western companies.

With rising production from shale fields, the U.S. surpassed Russia last year to become the world’s largest supplier of natural gas. Shale now accounts for 10 per cent of the country’s natural gas production – up from 2 per cent in 1990. Chesapeake’s production from its next Texas project, expected by the end of 2012, will by itself supply the energy equivalent of 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

For new oil, the U.S. has the huge Green River play that overlaps Colorado and Utah, one of the largest shale oil fields in the world. The EIA reports that the country’s proven reserves of crude rose last year by 9 per cent to 22.3 billion barrels.

For natural gas, the U.S. has the four largest fields in the world: the Haynesville field in Louisiana (with production up by 77 per cent in 2009); the Fayetteville field in Arkansas and the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania (both with production up by 50 per cent); and the Barnett field in Texas and Oklahoma (with production up by double-digit increases). The EIA reports that proven U.S. reserves of natural gas increased last year by 11 per cent to 284 trillion cubic feet – the highest level since 1971.

Beyond shale oil and shale gas, there’s the awesome energy promise of methane hydrates, frozen crystals of water and gas that lie beneath the northern permafrost and beneath oceans floors around the world in quantities that boggle the imagination.

“Assuming 1 per cent recovery,” the U.S. Geological Survey says, “these deposits [in U.S. territory] could meet the natural gas needs of the country (at current rates of consumption) for 100 years.”

The UN Environment Program describes methane hydrates as “the most abundant form of organic carbon on Earth.” The agency says field testing, in which Canada has been a leader, will be finished by 2015; and that commercial exploitation will be under way by 2020 or 2025. Within a decade or so, North America will almost certainly emerge as the world’s biggest supplier – and exporter – of reasonably cheap energy.


Why Do Greens Hate and Fear Abundant Energy?

New Republic recently admitted that, "Utopian a form of escapism and disengagement from reality." The extremists scoff at science and would apparently prefer scarcity so that bureaucratic rationing will enforce a change in American lifestyles.

Instead of producing more of the cheap, abundant energy that fueled America's dynamic growth, the extremists who support and surround Obama dream of drastically cutting American consumption.

Powerful green (and Luddite) lobbies believe that a source of clean and abundant energy would be an unmitigated disaster to their cause (and their livelihood). That is one reason that the Obama administration is trying so hard to bankrupt coal before clean technologies can gain a foodhold, and to prohibit shale gas and oil sands through backdoor faux environmental regulations.

Abundant, clean energy would be a boon to the private sector of the economy and to economic growth. Greens and Luddites hate nothing more than a prosperous, growing private sector.

Geoffrey Styles confronted the energy starvationists on a recent webinar, where the fanatical zeal of energy starvationists and dieoff.orgiasts was on full display:

"Yesterday I participated in a webinar on The Energy Collective examining the sustainability aspects of the shale gas revolution. The online audience asked good, probing questions, and if there was a theme to them, it seemed to be that somehow the sudden abundance of natural gas resulting from a novel combination of shale-exploitation technologies--as well as the technologies themselves--must at a minimum be considered a mixed blessing, if not actually too bitter a pill to swallow, because of its perceived shortcomings and the potential threat it poses to other, favored energy technologies.

The biggest uncertainties associated with shale gas don't concern the size of the resource or our ability to extract it safely, but whether we will decide to allow this to be done on a scale that would make a meaningful difference in our energy and emissions balances, or under such tight restrictions that we will forgo its game-changing potential. Like anything, shale gas drilling and fracking must be done responsibly, in accordance with state and local regulations and to industry standards that are constantly improving. Post-Deepwater Horizon, that's a much tougher sell, but it doesn't make it any less important. Shale gas isn't perfect energy, not because of any unique imperfections, but because there is no perfect energy source. It requires mature, reasonable assessments of its risks that don't assume that there is."

Greens and Luddites want nothing more than to starve the developed nations down to a much smaller size. Their motives are mixed, being based on both political biases and faux environmental premises. The end result -- if Salazar, Holdren, Obama, Boxer, etc. are allowed to succeed -- is an industrial collapse in the west due to "voluntary" energy starvation.

The rest of the world will survive in better condition, because China, Russia, India, Brazil, and other nations are not so foolish as to destroy their own nations' industrial and commercial capacity via energy starvation. Unfortunately, the EU and the Anglosphere may be too invested in carbon hysteria and faux environmentalism to reverse course before running aground on its own idiocy.


U.S. Republicans Go After Green Opponents By Cutting Off Their Funding

Billions in federal subsidies for manufacturers of solar panels and wind- and solar-power facilities will end Jan. 1, 2011, unless lawmakers who negotiated a deal to extend tax cuts back down from their positions.

The clean-energy incentives were created by 2009 economic stimulus legislation. Republicans are taking a firm stand that they aren't part of a deal reached with the White House, and shouldn't be a part of broader legislation to extend tax cuts for individuals and businesses, according to GOP aides.

Democrats have sought to extend the programs, most recently in legislation from Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) that failed in the Senate last week. Republican leaders Tuesday said the deal they reached with the White House is final, and only some specifics of the provisions that were part of the deal need to be ironed out.

Congressional staff of both parties began that process Tuesday, meeting behind closed doors for several hours with White House officials to began putting legislation together.

Ultimately some decisions about what to include will be subject to negotiations by GOP and Democratic lawmakers. One open question is an extension of Build America Bonds for state and local infrastructure projects. Democratic staff in Tuesday's meeting pressed for those bonds to be extended as part of the tax package, participants said.

On the energy-tax breaks, solar- and wind-power facilities for the past two years have been able to get federal grants equal to 30% of the cost of installing new facilities. Tax credits have long been available for those costs, but the stimulus act removed the need for new solar and wind operators to tap the tax credit market for financing.

The American Wind Energy Association warned in a Tuesday press release that a refusal to extend the grant program could jeopardize 15,000 jobs in the sector. "We are risking those jobs by not sending a clear signal that America remains open for business in wind energy," said CEO Denise Bode.

A one-year extension of the program sought by Mr. Baucus would have provided $3 billion in federal grants in 2011, according to congressional tax estimators. A 30% tax credit for builders of plants that manufacture solar panels or other clean-energy components also appears set to be phased out, according to Republican aides. That provision, also created as part of the stimulus law, could have provided $2.5 billion in tax credits under the Baucus proposal.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Perspective on climate history badly needed

An email from physicist James Marusek []

Over the centuries, mankind has experienced tremendous rainfalls and massive floods, monster hurricanes and typhoons, destructive tornadoes, parched-earth droughts, strong gales, flash floods, great snowfalls and killer blizzards, lightning storms sent down from the heavens, blind dense fogs, freezing rain, sleet, great hail, and bone- chilling cold and even an occasional mudstorm or two and in-between, periods of warm sunshine and tranquility.

And WE ARE STILL HERE. We are perhaps a little battered and bruised from the wear. But there is nothing new in the weather to fear because we have been there before. We have learned to cope. We have developed knowledge, skills and tools to reduce the effects of weather extremes.

Today, every time a heat wave or a great flood occurs (such as those in Russia and Pakistan this year), voices arise claiming this is more proof of man-made global warming. I wonder to myself if these voices are intentionally ignorant of historical weather extremes or just dishonest.

Early meteorologist and historians have documented weather for many centuries. Recently, I have compiled several of these accounts into “A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events” and published this document on the Impact website here . This chronology covers the years 0 to 1900 A.D. (When downloading the file, please be a little patient. This is a master resource and the 6.5 MB file may take a few minutes to access.)

Why is a chronological listing of weather events of value? If one wishes to peer into the future, then a firm grasp of the past events is a key to that gateway. This is intrinsically true for the scientific underpinnings of weather and climate.

SCOTUS takes on global warming case

The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a major environmental lawsuit that seeks to force six electric power companies to cap and reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

The lawsuit – filed in 2004 by eight states, the City of New York, and three land trusts – targets what it claims are the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States and among the largest in the world.

It seeks a judicial order declaring that the fossil-fueled power plants are a “public nuisance.” It also seeks a judicial order capping the plants’ greenhouse gas emissions and requiring the plants to adopt a schedule of reduced emissions in future years.

What makes the lawsuit unusual is that it is an attempt to fill a vacuum in US environmental policy on how best to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming. The issue is a source of substantial controversy and a political hot potato, particularly at a time of high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on grounds that it raised sensitive policy questions best left to the political branches. But a federal appeals court in New York reversed that decision, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

The power companies are now asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the appeals court and dismiss the lawsuit.

“The ramifications of this [appeals court] holding, if it is allowed to stand, are staggering,” wrote Peter Keisler in a brief on behalf of the six power companies. “This litigation seeks to transfer to the judiciary standardless authority for some of the most important and sensitive economic, energy, and social policy issues presently before the country.”

The lawyer added: “Virtually every entity and industry in the world is responsible for some emissions of carbon dioxide and is thus a potential defendant in climate change nuisance actions under the theory of this case.”

In a brief filed on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Obama administration said that Congress had empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions from power plants through the Clean Air Act. The brief said the EPA has taken “several actions” under the CAA to address greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA has adopted greenhouse gas emission standards for certain motor vehicles and is currently “evaluating whether and how to add greenhouse gases to the new source performance standards that apply to power plants,” the brief said.


Sen. James Inhofe Warns Against EPA Activity, Attacks on Capitalism in Video Message to Cancun Summit

Without the leadership of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the leading skeptic on the science of man-made global warming in the U.S. Senate, anti-energy legislation may well have become a reality. He is the indispensable in the fight against “cap and trade” schemes aimed against America’s free enterprise system. Below is the full-text of his video address to the U.N. global warming/climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico:

“Hello, I’m Jim Inhofe, Republican Senator from Oklahoma and top watchdog of the Obama Administration’s global warming agenda.

“I had hoped to join you in Cancun tonight, but we had votes that I could not miss and given that EPA is busy trying to implement cap-and-trade through the backdoor, I felt it was important to keep watch in Washington. You see, the Obama Administration is trying to achieve administratively what it could not legislatively. Cap-and-trade is now as dead as a doornail, as the American people rejected it at the ballot box on November 2nd. But that hasn’t stopped the Obama EPA. So it’s our mission now to stop EPA and its job-killing agenda.

“We have come a long way since the last UN Climate meeting last year when President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lisa Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and dozens of lawmakers made their way to Copenhagen to tell the world that cap-and-trade was going to pass the United States Senate. Yet the truth was it had no chance of passing. To deliver that message, I traveled to Copenhagen as a one-man truth squad. I was only on the ground for about 2 hours, perhaps the most enjoyable 2 hours of my life, but the message I delivered was clear; under no circumstances will Global Warming Cap and Trade legislation ever pass the United States Senate. The reporters and diplomats didn’t like it. They hated me for telling the truth. But here we are: I was right and they were wrong.

“The fact is, nothing is going to happen in Cancun this year and everyone knows it. I couldn’t be happier and poor Al Gore couldn’t be more upset: it has been widely reported that he is “depressed” about Cancun.

“But let me be clear: despite our success over the past year, global warming alarmists will continue to push their agenda. For example, some leaders in Cancun are stepping up their attacks on capitalism and United Nations officials are saying they need to do more to ‘spread the wealth around.’ All of this is more of the same.

“Remember it was French President Jacques Chirac, who said in 2000 that Kyoto Protocol was the ‘first component of an authentic global governance.’ And Margot Wallstrom, the European Union’s former Environment Commissioner, who said in 2001 that Kyoto is about ‘trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout the world.’”


Some reasons why mathematical models cannot predict the future

The article below is directed at practice in economics but climate science has followed in those footsteps

At the end of this week we will know who will play for the national championship of major college football. Will it be Oregon? Auburn? Boise State? Texas Christian University, or another team? We won’t know until a mathematical equation tells us.

That’s correct. A mathematical algorithm determines who plays for the Bowl Championship Series trophy. True, the teams that play will have had outstanding seasons, and maybe had there been a playoff the same two teams would have reached that final game. It’s something we never will know, but there are some things we can know about the use of mathematics.

A mathematical formula never would have placed Butler University within one rimmed-out shot of beating Duke University in the NCAA basketball finals last April. A mathematical formula never would have given us Boise State’s exciting overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago, complete with a hook-and-ladder play for a touchdown and a Statue of Liberty play to score the winning points.

Predicting the Economy’s Future

Likewise, a mathematical formula cannot tell us what the U.S. economy (or any other economy) is going to do next year; nor can an algorithm tell us exactly how much revenue a new tax will collect, no matter what the Congressional Budget Office and Paul Krugman tell us. (A computer spits out the results, but it only operates according to the formula someone programmed into it.)

I am not denigrating mathematics per se; there is a place for math. However, there are legitimate reasons that using math in the way economists currently use it will result in failure. The first is that our economic future is not based on risk for which there can be understood probabilities. No, what we face is something entirely different: We face uncertainty, which economists like Frank Knight and Ludwig von Mises understood as a range of outcomes that are unknown until they happen.

The second reason is that economists cannot place entrepreneurial insight into an equation. Entrepreneurship is not quantifiable; one cannot subject it to probabilities or mathematical rigidity.

For example, laws of probability could not tell us that two college dropouts would invent a personal computer, build it in a garage, and then have the entrepreneurial vision to turn that invention into a line of products under the name Apple. Furthermore, one cannot put the freedom of enterprise (that quickly is disappearing in this country) into an equation and then predict an iPod or iPhone with it.

Economists once understood this point, but the lure of mathematics was too great. Paul Samuelson at mid-century wrote that unless economics adopted the mathematical analysis of the physical sciences, economists would not be true scientists, which would place their work into the undesirable category Mises called “metaphysics.” While Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Murray Rothbard pointed out the folly of trying to fit the square peg of economic analysis into the round hole of math, other economists derided them and declared that mathematics should dominate economics because it “fits the market test. (I deal with the “market test” issue in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics [pdf].)

There are legitimate reasons why a math formula could not have seen Butler almost win the NCAA championship and why no mathematical economist could have foreseen Apple. An algorithm can be based only on what we already know and by definition cannot deal with uncertainty. It cannot predict an injury to a key player, a critical missed foul shot, a slip by a defender, or a fingertip catch in the end zone. In fact, none of us can know these things – until they happen.

The popular 1960s cartoon The Jetsons featured futuristic home computers that looked like, well, 1960s mainframes. The creators could not have envisioned what actually would exist just a few decades later, not hundreds of years in the future. Likewise, the algorithm, although useful in building rockets and bridges, cannot tell us what we need to know in economic analysis – or give us a national collegiate champion in football.


The original Moonbat is freaked by the savage Northern winter

In a typical Green/Left flight of ego, he thinks God must be against him. See below. But he is certainly right about the way Warmists such as Al Gore are followed around by freezing weather. It hasn't yet occurred to Monbiot that maybe the weather is real and the temperature statistics are "fudged".

Incidentally, he starts out with a lie when he says "the rest of the world cooks". I live in subtropical Queensland in Australia and am at the moment experiencing the Southern summer. But, far from "cooking", the weather here has been unusually cool for a summer. And, geographically, Queensland is not an insignificant place. It's about the size of western Europe

Cancún climate change summit: Is God determined to prevent a deal?
While the rich parts of the world are covered in snow and ice, the rest of the world cooks

Is the divine presence a Republican? Or is He/She/It running an inter-galactic fossil fuel conglomerate? As His name doesn't feature on the exxonsecrets site, the Congressional funding database or any of the other sponsored denier lists, we'll never know, but whatever the explanation may be, the Paraclete appears to be as determined as any terrestrial corporate frontman to prevent a successful conclusion to the climate talks.

How do I know? Because every time anyone gets together to try to prevent global climate breakdown, He swaths the rich, densely habited parts of the world with snow and ice, while leaving obscurer places to cook.

The UN's World Meteorological Organisation has just reported that 2010 is likely to be one of the three warmest years on record. Combining the WMO's database with the temperatures measured by the US agencies Nasa and NOAA gives this year a ranking so far of equal first or equal second. But you'd scarcely believe it if you live in northern Europe or parts of the US, where (alongside a few anomalously hot ones) we've been hit by a series of freakishly cold weather events.

During the climate talks in Copenhagen last December, a band of hideous weather was aimed with surgical precision at Denmark, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and the US. Everything above and below this band was unseasonally hot: in the case of the Arctic, 7.5C above the monthly average. As we don't live in the Arctic, we didn't notice, but the cold weather in London, Washington, Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen was missed by no one. To prove that it was no accident, the man upstairs ensured that the entire tract of sea between the UK and Denmark was anomalously warm, even as people stuck in the endless queues outside the Bella Centre in Copenhagen were fainting from the cold.

(You can see the whole picture on Nasa's site, where you can scan global temperature anomalies month by month.)

As if more proof of intent were needed, take a look at the Met Office data for the UK. Had the talks in Copenhagen taken place in September, October or November 2009 – all of which were anomalously warm – the people of this country would have needed little persuading that life was hotting up. But the moment December comes along, the map goes powder blue – meaning an anomaly of between -1.5 and -2.5C. The cold snap was accompanied, as is traditional at this time of year, with an outpouring of moronic articles insisting that a month or two of cold weather in one region invalidated a 150-year record of, er, global warming. Dumb as they were, they hardly helped the climate talks towards a successful resolution.

(I found the pages I wanted with the help of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, which is a very useful resource.)

Now He's at it again. Last week, just before the resumption of last year's failed climate talks, the UK recorded its lowest temperature for 25 years, just down the road from where I live. No one missed the fact that Powys, Wales, was struck by an Arctic -17C, but scarcely anyone was aware that, on the same day, Narsarsuaq in Greenland was basking in a thoroughly unseasonal +12C.

Now, as the talks begin in Cancún, there's scarcely an adult in this country who hasn't had the corny thought that we could do with a bit of global warming. Just look out of the window, Monbiot, the dolts who clutter my inbox insist, and tell me where your global warming is now. OK, with the caveat that weather isn't climate, it's in Narsarsuaq, currently still basking in +6C, expected to rise to +10 on Saturday. And probably in many other parts of the world as well.

But, perhaps in the throes of one of His Old Testament rages, He would rather you didn't know. God, alongside half the corporate world and many of its most powerful legislators, has declared war on the climate talks.


The great warming scare turns into a greater joke

Comment from Andrew Bolt in Australia

THE great global warming scare is dying not with a bang, or even a whimper. Try a great horse laugh.

Right now, 20,000 activists, politicians and carpetbaggers are meeting in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. They are there for the latest United Nations conference on how to make everyone else cut the emissions caused by, for instance, flying a population the size of a small city to a Mexican beach.

These are the emissions we’re told are heating the world so dangerously that Europe is now gripped by one of the coldest winters of a generation.

Indeed, it’s so bad that Vicky Pope, a warming pundit from Britain’s Met Office, was trapped in London by the snow that the Met’s climate models failed to predict, and so couldn’t fly to Cancun to explain how very hot the world in fact was.

This kind of thing dogged the UN’s climate mega-summit in Copenhagen a year ago. The heavens dumped 10cm of snow on the city in one night, while blizzards threatened to shut airports in Washington, forcing US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to fly home early while she could.

It’s driven prominent warming propagandist George Monbiot to sigh that God is on the side of Big Oil: “Every time anyone gets together to prevent global climate breakdown, He swathes the rich, densely habited parts of the world with snow and ice . . .”

Or, in our case, with torrential rain that our own warmist Bureau of Meteorology didn’t see coming, either, having predicted a drier spring.

Never mind. Fresh off their jets, and cooled by the tropical resort’s airconditioners, the Cancun evangelists are learning of cheery plans to put the rest of us on rations to restrict our use of such things as planes and coolers, and salsa bands flown in from Acapulco. Indeed, Prof Gary Egger from our Southern Cross University is to tell the summit that he’s got $390,000 from the Gillard Government to test the first such ration scheme on Norfolk Island.

To put the Cancun warmists in the right spirit, the UN’s top official there, Christiana Figueres, introduced them to a new god of this neo-pagan faith, the ancient Mayan jaguar goddess Ixchel. “May she inspire you,” Figueres cried to the crowd, which says it has science on its side.

Meanwhile, back home, we’re counting the cost of this green frenzy. The Queensland Government, for example, has just mothballed its $1.13 billion desalination plant, which it was persuaded to build by warmists who swore warming would dry the rain.

As then premier Peter Beattie explained, the “likely impact of climate change” included “lower than usual rainfall” and dams would not do.

But now Brisbane’s dams are full to overflowing, and Victoria’s own $5.7 billion desal plant, also built by a government claiming “we cannot rely on this kind of rainfall like we used to”, has been delayed for months by rain.

Other countries are also tempering the madness. Spain last week slashed the lavish subsidies for solar and wind power that was driving it broke.

France at the same time put a cap on solar power to cut costs, and Germany said it might also cut solar subsidies, as NSW did this year to save $2.5 billion.

But how did we ever succumb to the madness? Actually, WikiLeaks may help you to understand, having now published leaked US diplomatic cables revealing Big Government finances whole nations to give in to the warming faith.

In February this year, an ambassador from the Maldives told US deputy climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing that if the US handed over “tangible assistance”, other nations would realise “the advantages to be gained by compliance” with the accord agreed to at the Copenhagen summit. He mentioned a figure of $50 million.

Does the Maldives Government really believe warming will drown its island nation? You’d think not, given it’s building a brand new airport right by the sea, so even more tourists can fly in.

The US cables also show that Ethiopia agreed to back the accord, but wanted a personal assurance from President Barack Obama that he’d deliver aid, while Saudi Arabia asked for US aid to “take the pressure off climate change negotiations”.

Dutch climate negotiator Sanne Kaasjager even “drafted messages for embassies in capitals receiving Dutch development assistance to solicit support (for the accord)”.

It’s man-made, all right, this climate of opinion—made by an army of salvation seekers, rent seekers and pleasure seekers, now doing the samba in Cancun while we sandbag towns from the floods they told us not to expect again in this strangely, madly over-heated world.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Swedish Fascism: University in Shock Ban on Academic Freedom and Debate

Sweden has been quietly Fascist for a long time and Warmism is just the latest excuse

by John O'Sullivan

Extremist pro-green Swedish university shackles academic freedom and bans all teaching that doesn’t conform to dogma of human-caused global warming: The latest victim targeted by global warming fascists is Swedish professor, Dr. Claes Johnson who is smacked down for speaking the truth by his employers, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

It’s no coincidence that Johnson, a world-leading mathematics professor has been silenced in the very week his co-authored climate skeptic book, ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ stormed has stormed the science best seller listings after rave reviews.

Johnson is among 22 leading international experts who have dared to join forces and speak out in a blockbuster of a book that exposes the fraudulent science and calculations built into the theory of man-made global warming. The two-volume publication skillfully shreds the lies of government climatologists that faked the warming effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by falsely multiplying the numbers three times over.

Cynics are claiming the teaching ban is a knee-jerk panic reaction to these startling revelations that Johnson had dared to explain in depth to his inquisitive students. The math professor reports that this latest gagging is most extreme because it includes required material for his students and may be fatally damaging to their studies.

Dr. Johnson laments, “the course, has been "stopped" by the President of the Royal Technological Institute KTH, because the book contains a mathematical analysis of some models related to climate simulation.”


Alarmist Doomsday warning of rising seas 'was wrong', says British Met Office study

A partial backdown

Alarming predictions that global warming could cause sea levels to rise 6ft in the next century are wrong, it has emerged. The forecast made by the influential 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which would have seen cities around the world submerged by water, now looks ‘unlikely’.

A Met Office study also rules out the shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean’s conveyor belt, which would trigger Arctic winters in Britain like those seen in the film The Day After Tomorrow.

However, the report says the IPCC was right to warn of a sea level rise of up to 2ft by 2100, and that a 3ft rise could happen.

The IPCC underestimated the danger posed by the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the release of methane from warmer wetlands, the report adds.

Vicky Pope, head of climate science at the Met Office, said: ‘In most cases, our new understanding has reinforced results from the IPCC report – and the degree of impact is about the same.’

The 2007 analysis was criticised last year after it was found to have wrongly claimed Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

The new Met Office report is the first serious attempt to update the science of global warming since the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment. The new Government funded study, says the worst case scenario is now a one metre (3.3 ft) rise.

In 2007 the IPCC reported preliminary evidence that the Atlantic conveyor belt that brings warm water north and keeps Britain relatively mild for its latitude during winters was breaking down. But more recent observations show the currents are stable.

However, the report also has bad news. It says there is new evidence that the Arctic will become largely free of ice during most summers earlier in the century than the IPCC warned, and that the Greenland ice sheet is more likely to melt in centuries to come than previously thought. It also warns that the release of methane from warming wetlands will be greater than thought in 2007 - leading to more global warming in the coming decades.


Cancun summit: cutting carbon emissions will help combat obesity

They're getting desperate now

Cutting carbon emissions will help combat obesity even if global warming is a myth, a senior scientist has said. The world needs to go on a “fossil fuel diet” to stop both climate change and obesity, according to health experts.

Professor Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said there is a direct correlation between and carbon emissions and expanding waistlines. He said as soon as countries begin using cars and other energy intensive machines, it not only causes an increase in greenhouse gases but also in the population's average weight, because people exercise less.

He said that the health problem was another reason to tackle carbon emissions. “There is an almost linear relationship between carbon consumption and average BMI,” he said. “The world is getting hotter and the world is getting fatter. Fundamentally fossil fuel energy is the cause of both.

“The world needs to go on a fossil fuel-controlled diet even if climate change is a hoax – which I do not think it is – the world would still have to go on a fossil fuel controlled diet otherwise our healthy systems will just break down, we will not be able to deal with the growth in obesity.

“The decarbonisation of the transport and greener lifestyles are going to be good for health as well as being good for the planet.”


Get your fracking facts right

The Warmists hate fracking but their objections to it are very shallow. No energy extraction process is without problems. Comment below from Australia

Hydraulic fracturing - fracking (Herald style), or fraccing (used by the natural gas industry) - represents a potential goldmine for Australia. It is the key to developing energy resources potentially much bigger than the natural gas deposits off Western Australia that have been part of the resources export boom that protected Australia from the global recession and is beginning to change the entire economy.

The natural gas fields off the coast of Western Australia have enough energy to sustain all of Australia's baseload needs for hundreds of years, and slash greenhouse emissions in the process, yet these reserves are exceeded by what lies below much of NSW and Queensland, trapped inside enormous reserves of coal, according to the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. All up, with natural gas we are sitting on another Saudi Arabia.

But we are also being told that much of this is destructive energy, that the process of hydraulic fracturing, which is how coal seam gas is extracted from coal beds, can only be achieved by an unsustainable level of water depletion, and an unacceptable risk to ground water tables.

That is why the short word used for hydraulic fracturing is essentially becoming synonymous with environmental vandalism. Now exploratory drilling for coal seam gas is about to begin within Sydney itself, in St Peters, because Sydney is sitting on the sort of coal beds that can yield commercial coal seam gas.

You would certainly believe this was bad if you had seen the new film Gasland, a horror movie in documentary form. You would also hate fracking if you believed the Greens. Having killed off the Rudd government's proposed emissions trading scheme, the Greens are now busy clogging the development of the technology which represents transformative change in reducing greenhouse emissions - natural gas, nuclear power, and now coal seam gas, the energy source extracted by fracking.

The chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Belinda Robinson, says: "The Greens have described climate change as 'the greatest threat to our world in human history', yet their political response is to oppose, at every turn, the development of Australia's gas industry." In contrast to this view, every possible argument to the development of coal seam gas in Australia can be found in Gasland, an American documentary now showing in some Australian theatres and on Qantas long-haul flights.

I enjoyed Gasland. How can one not be moved by claims that a relatively new technology, hydraulic fracturing, poses an innate threat to ground water supplies wherever it is used? The film features some wild images, such as when Mike Markham turns on the kitchen tap in his home in Colorado, puts a lit lighter to the flowing water, and the water bursts into flame. This, we are told, is what fracking does to your water supply. It makes you sick. It makes your home dangerous.

Gasland also features stark images of entire communities that have become sick after their water supply was contaminated by natural gas. It features despoiled landscapes. It also features a brace of scientists.

The scientists are important because the maker of Gasland, Josh Fox, is not a scientist. He is a good filmmaker, but he is also a polemicist, intent on revealing what he believes is a vast conspiracy of silence.

He also may have trouble with the truth. Large factual holes can be found in Gasland. Yes, Markham's kitchen water caught on fire, but the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission had already conducted a study of his property before Gasland was made and concluded that his water was contaminated by natural gas - it's impossible to miss - but the gas was naturally occurring, not the result of nearby coal seam gas mining. The film simply ignores this, as it does with several other similar findings in properties used as other examples.

This is the inconvenient truth that Gasland skirts. If you live above coal seam beds, your wells have a chance of natural contamination. It doesn't require coal seam gas mining for this to happen, but Gasland blames mining every time. It prefers the dramatic to the accurate, such as this claim: "[The process] blasts a mix of water and chemicals 8000 feet (2438 metres) into the ground. The fracking itself is like a mini-earthquake . . . in order to frack, you need fracking fluid, a mix of over 596 chemicals."

But nearly all the fluids used are a mixture of water and sand, along with a handful of chemicals - not 596 - most of which can also be found in household items, such as emulsifiers in ice cream. Numerous other bald claims made in Gasland are simply untrue. I downloaded eight pages of scientific material debunking the film.

No energy extraction process is without problems. But the idea that fracking is run by secretive cowboys, largely beyond the bounds of environmental oversight, is wrong on every count. Gasland, in other words, is like the Greens: it spouts far more hot air than strictly necessary.


Crazy Green/Left Australian Federal government wants to take river water away from irrigated farms and let it run out to sea as "environmental flows"

And even their chosen bureaucrat thinks it's destructive -- so has resigned

JULIA Gillard has declared the shock resignation of Mike Taylor as chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority won't halt the government's water reforms. The Prime Minister said the government would replace Mr Taylor, and did not share his concerns that the Water Act made it difficult to balance the environmental and socio-economic impacts of cuts to water allocations aimed at rescuing rivers in the basin.

Mr Taylor has written to Water Minister Tony Burke to say the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is not empowered to undertake the “entire complex task” of water reform and that “it is time for the government to reconsider the next phase”.

His resignation, to take effect at the end of January, comes amid growing controversy over government's plan to buy back water from regional irrigators.

The authority confronted widespread anger during a series of community consultations following the release of a draft guide to its basin plan, which outlined widespread cuts to water allocations. The authority was asked by Mr Burke to balance socio-economic impacts with the need to restore environmental river flows to the Murray-Darling Basin.

Mr Taylor said the draft guide, which advocated returns of between 3000-4000 gigalitres of water per year to the environment, was developed with full regard to the requirements of the Water Act, and in close consultation with the Australian Government Solicitor.

He said in a statement that “balancing the requirements of the Water Act 2007 against the potential social and economic impact on communities will be a significant challenge”.

But Ms Gillard today gave no indication the government would seek to amend the Water Act, despite the problems identified by Mr Taylor, and said basin reforms would stay on track.

“As Mr Taylor makes clear in his letter of resignation, he has a particular view about the meaning of the Water Act and the way in which the Murray-Darling Basin reforms should occur,” she said.

“Particularly he believes that the overriding outcome that should be sought from these reforms is the environmental outcome. As Prime Minister, my view is that we must optimise across the environmental, social and economic areas of work.

“That is the aim of these reforms - to ensure that we've got a healthy river, we've got food production and we've got viable regional communities. We want to optimise across those three areas.

“The government will continue to see these reforms with optimisation across these three areas. The government will appoint a replacement as chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and our reform program will stay on track.”

Mr Burke said the government was standing by its own interpretation of the Water Act. He also said that would ensure that Mr Taylor's resignation would not detract from the government's goal of “seeing healthy rivers, strong communities and continued food production”.

“It has been known for some time that there has been a difference of opinion between the government and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority over the interpretation of the Water Act,” he said in a statement. “The government stands by its interpretation of the Water Act, which was the view of the previous government when the Water Act was introduced by Malcolm Turnbull.”

But farming groups and the Coalition seized on Mr Taylor's resignation as evidence of a problem with the Water Act's focus on environmental requirements. Executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, Mick Keogh, said the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had always felt constrained by the Act because of the environmental requirements.

“I think the Murray-Darling Basin Authority made it quite clear very early on that they felt constrained by the Water Act 2007 in that it put a very high level of focus on environmental requirements and then only allowed consideration of socio-economic factors, subject to having met those environmental requirements or standard,” he told The Australian Online.

“They (the MDBA) actually published their understanding of the requirements of the legislation quite early in the piece. And Mike has maintained that line constantly.”

Mr Keogh said the resignation of Mr Taylor “highlights that the process was already in trouble and I think that's widely recognised”. “So it is going to take quite a deal of effort to put it back together and get some common agreement.”

Opposition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce repeated his call for an investigation into the Water Act and for any necessary changes to be made. “My concerns have obviously been confirmed by Mike Taylor,” he told The Australian Online.

Senator Joyce said there were clear differences in the legal advice received by Mr Burke in relation to the ability of the Act to take into account environmental and social considerations and what Mr Taylor's own understanding was. “I'll be looking forward to discussing with Mr Taylor and I understand the predicament he's in.”

Senator Joyce said that one of the next steps forward was to “come up with the proper changes (to the Act) if required to bring about a triple bottom line outcome.”

NSW independent Tony Windsor, who heads an inquiry into the impact of the social and economic costs of the proposed cuts to water allocations, did not advocate changes to the Water Act. He said parliament would have the final say on the shape of any cuts in water allocations and repeated his argument that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had no real authority.

“Irrespective of the pros and cons of whether the Act does this or whether people in the authority agree with one another, any decision-making will be the parliament making decisions. “And so we can argue whether the Act's good or the Act's bad. At the end of the day the issue will be addressed by the parliament, because the authority has no authority to do anything.

“The authority has to work under the Act. That doesn't mean the parliament has to take any notice of the authority,” Mr Windsor said. “For the process, it's best to actually move forward. The parliament will make the decisions irrespective of what the authority does.”


Defeated Democrats still clinging to Warmism

The political collapse of cap-and-trade climate legislation won't dislodge greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the top of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's agenda next year, Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) vowed today.

Briefing reporters on her priorities for the international climate talks proceeding in Mexico (see related story), Boxer framed her hard-fought re-election victory last month -- as well as Californians' rejection of a bid to delay the landmark state global warming law -- as a sign of public support for cutting carbon emissions without a comprehensive climate bill.

"What we have to do is just let people know the truth" about the science of climate change, Boxer said. The oil industry-backed ballot measure aimed at stalling California's state law lost decisively, she asserted, after supporters of emissions limits "pulled open the curtain" with a well-funded messaging campaign (

"We're going to continue, in this committee, to tell the truth," Boxer added [If only ....]. "That's going to mean some robust debate, and I like that -- let the American people see the deniers, and let them see the science. ... I believe in the American people's wisdom."

Boxer said she expects the environment panel to keep the climate issue front and center through briefings, hearings and other events in 2011. Even as she acknowledged that the cap-and-trade approach passed last year by the Democratic-controlled House is dead for the time being, Boxer said committee action on some form of a climate bill could well come in the 112th Congress.

"We have many things we can do here through the budget process" to make progress on limiting emissions, she said, citing energy efficiency and a renewable electricity standard as potential areas for accord next year. "We will do a comprehensive bill when we have the votes to do that."

Senate Democrats' loss of six seats last month, coupled with the GOP takeover of the House, leaves energy policymakers on the Hill facing multiple fronts of battle over dismantling or delaying U.S. EPA emissions regulations set to take effect next year.

While noting that she is "not blind to" the need for a coordinated defense against any challenges to the Obama administration's authority over greenhouse gas cuts, Boxer also sounded a bipartisan note on the long-postponed congressional transportation debate.

The Californian said she already has talked with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's incoming chairman, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), about keeping the nation's cash-strapped highway trust fund intact. The two will sit down "at the soonest opportunity" to discuss the parameters for a new long-term transportation reauthorization bill, Boxer added.

The environment panel chairwoman also hinted at a communications strategy aligning that transportation bill with the administration's work to tout the environmental benefits of its hike in automobile fuel economy. A long-term reauthorization will be aimed at "reducing congestion," Boxer said, adding later that "cutting congestion is another way of cutting pollution."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

The Week That Was (To December 4, 2010)

Excerpt from Ken Haapala

The 16th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change started in Cancun with few of the grandiose announcements that occurred at last year's COP in Copenhagen. The somber mood is reflected by decidedly more modest goals. The failure of cap and trade in the US and Canada, and the results of the US elections are no doubt influencing the festivities. Four Republican Senators sent the State Department a letter stating they oppose the transfer of US funds to other nations in accordance to the agreement reached in Copenhagen, but which is not a formal treaty. The impact of this letter may be significant.

In January, Republicans take control of the US House of Representatives and it is in the House where all revenue bills must originate. Many Republicans are skeptics of human caused global warming. Other related events include the announcement by Japan that it will not agree to an extension to the Kyoto Protocol that is set to expire in 2012. At this time it is difficult to predict what will occur at the COP, but it may be of little significance.


Roy Spencer reports that, as measured by satellites, in November, the lower troposphere temperature anomaly showed slow cooling, but temperatures for 2010 remain in a dead heat with 1998 for the warmest year since satellite measurements began in 1979. These data contradict claims, such as by NASA-GISS, that 2010 is the hottest year ever.


The US Department of Interior announced a new moratorium on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard for up to seven years, as reported in the article under BP Gulf Oil Spill. Last March, the administration announced it would permit such drilling at the same time as it announced it would ban drilling on the West Coast. Now, the administration insists that it needs up to seven years to study the situation as a result of the BP Gulf oil spill.

Major drilling for oil and gas in the turbulent North Sea began in the 1960s. There were mistakes and accidents including one that took over 160 lives. Companies have been drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1940s. Accidents occurred in both the North Sea and the Gulf and lessons were learned, but drilling proceeded. Until the BP spill, there have been no major failures in the Gulf, even in 2005 when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. Now, after the BP misadventure, the administration claims it needs seven years of study?

In defending his actions, Interior Secretary Salazar declared oil companies have other areas where they can drill. He committed the logical fallacy of composition whereby something which is true for a part of the whole is assumed to be true for the whole. Apparently, Mr. Salazar would have us believe oil and gas are uniformly distributed throughout the Gulf of Mexico and not concentrated in certain areas. (Also, Mr. Salazar did not state when he will start issuing the necessary permits to drill.)


NUMBERS OF THE WEEK: 2 deg C and 4 times. The environmental ministers of a number of Western nations have announced that they are committed to keep global temperature rise below 2 deg C and stated this as a goal of the Cancun conference. Assuming CO2 is responsible for the recent temperature rise, which SEPP thinks it is not, what does this mean?

As MIT Professor Richard Lindzen tried to patiently explain to the US House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment two weeks ago, assuming there are no feedbacks, the generally accepted calculation is that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce a warming of about 1 deg C. Since the relationship between temperature and CO2 is logarithmic, each subsequent molecule has less an influence than the preceding one, a second doubling of CO2 will produce a warming of an additional 1 deg C.

Thus, to limit warming to no more than 2 deg C requires limiting the increase in CO2 to less than 4 times the preindustrial level. Assuming the preindustrial level was about 270 parts per million ( ppm), then to hold the temperature rise below 2 deg C requires limiting CO2 to below 1080 ppm. It is now about 390 ppm, so we have a long way to go.

Applying the calculations further, to reach an increase of 3 deg C, which many IPCC models project, requires an additional doubling of CO2 to about 2160 ppm, which is probably impossible by humans. Thus, many of the models used by the IPCC are inconsistent with the classic theory which assumes no feedbacks.

Of course, the assumption of no feedbacks is the major point of contention, which is glossed over by the IPCC. Generally, the modelers assume that increases in water vapor will amplify the warming from CO2 - a positive feedback. This critical assumption has never been empirically verified. The empirical research by Lindzen, Spencer, and others indicates that natural mechanisms will reduce the warming from CO2 - a negative feedback. There will be some warming from increasing CO2, but tiny - perhaps one-half the calculated amount.


Germany's Offshore Wind: Wasted Resources, Environmental Blight

Thousands of bureaucrats are at another cushy climate confab–this time in Cancun–while Senators Bingaman, Brownback and Reid are contemplating how to ram a federal renewable energy quota through a lame-duck session. Their prospects are not good, which should give them more time to consider the experiences of Europe and windpower. The results of this experiment in energy coercion are humbling.

Germany, specifically, is in the throes of a windpower boondoggle that should be heard the world over. The general lesson is that energy forcing brings with it technological risk that must be factored into the public policy equation.

A North Sea Boondoggle

Barely two months after the inauguration ceremony for Germany’s first pilot offshore wind farm, “Alpha Ventus” in the North Sea, all six of the newly installed wind turbines were completely idle, due to gearbox damage. Two turbines must be replaced entirely; the other four repaired.

Friends of the project, especially Germany’s environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, talked of “teething problems.” The problem is far more serious than that, for wind turbines in the high seas are extremely expensive for power consumers, even when they run smoothly. When they don’t, the problem intensifies. Germany could face blackouts – a new dark age.

The Alpha Ventus failures created intense pressure for Areva Multibrid, a subsidiary of the semipublic French nuclear power company Areva. Every “standstill day,” with the expensive towering turbines standing idle and not generating a single kilowatt hour of electricity, causes lost revenue.

Environmental economist and meteorologist Thomas Heinzow of the University of Hamburg estimated the operator’s revenue shortfall at almost $6,500 (€5,000) per turbine per standstill day. Instilling additional consternation within Areva was the certainly not unreasonable fear that already skittish investors could get cold feet, and wander off in search of less risky ventures.

Actually, Areva, Areva Multibrid and the construction engineers can consider themselves lucky that the North Sea was relatively calm, thanks to the summer heat wave. Installing turbines and blades is done via jack-up platforms, a tricky business under the best circumstances. With anything above Beaufort Wind Force 3 (an 8–10 mph “gentle breeze”), the work becomes downright risky.

The six Areva Multibrid wind turbines stand 280 feet (85 meters) above the waves at the gearbox and turbine hub. Their heavy blades are 380-feet (116-meters) in diameter. Each turbine weighs 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds), including the tripod base, which rises up from the sea floor 100 feet (30 meters) beneath the surface of these notoriously rough and frigid North Sea waters.

Imagine trying to disassemble and then rebuild these monsters in anything other than calm seas.

The good news is that “Alpha Ventus” also includes six even bigger wind turbines, supplied by the formerly German company REpower, which now belongs to India’s Suzlon Corporation. These turbines have thus far been running faultlessly. However, there are enough other issues associated with operating offshore turbines to send additional shivers up the spine.

High Costs Remain

Monster turbines rated at 5 megawatt maximum power generation impose high costs even when – perhaps especially when – they are running full blast. Because each turbine costs $5,200 (€4,000) per kilowatt in upfront investment, Euro legislators have decreed that turbine operators must be rewarded with 20 cents in incentives for every kWh generated on the high seas.

Therefore, Europe’s energy consumers must pay 20 cents per kWh generated, plus an additional 5 cents per kWh for transmission costs. They must pay this regardless of whether they need the electricity at the moment, and despite the fact that a kWh of wind electricity is worth less than 3 cents on the Leipzig Power Exchange, due to the intermittent and highly variable nature of wind.

Other Problems

Even crazier, when high winds generate huge quantities of electricity, power consumption is low, the Power Exchanges must then sell the electricity at a loss, to persuade purchasers to buy the excess electricity.

At the moment, the most common purchasers are Austrian pumped storage operators, who use wind turbine power to pump water into mountain lakes, so they can later use the water to run hydroelectric generators during peak demand periods – and sell that power at premium prices.

Heinzow calculates that water equivalent to Lake Constance (13 cubic miles or 55 cubic kilometers) must be pumped 1,165 feet (350 meters) high, just to buffer the supply-demand discontinuity caused by the thousands of wind turbines that are already planned for the North and Baltic Seas. There are only two alternatives to this.

Firming Problems

One is gas turbines, to function as backup generators that can supply power whenever winds are not blowing at usable speeds. But unless shale gas development proceeds apace, this would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies. It would also result in inefficient gas use and higher carbon emissions, as generators ramp up and down every time wind turbine output changes.

The other is nuclear power plants. High performance nuclear plants can adjust their electricity output to replace the highly variable output from wind farms, but that reduces efficiency and causes irregular burn-up of fuel rods. This is a serious concern, because high efficiency is the primary way nuclear plants make up for their high capital costs. A bigger concern is that the German government has still not reversed its decision to phase out all nuclear power plants.

Did I Mention Transmission?

However, the lack of suitable or sufficient backup power generation may still be a relatively small problem. Billion-dollar investments in transmission lines are needed to bring expensive wind power from offshore sites north of Germany to big industrial consumers hundreds of miles away in the south. But resistance to new high voltage lines in urban and recreation areas is high and rising.

A Lower Saxony law already prescribes the use of ground cables in certain areas. But those are ten times more expensive than above-ground lines – and less reliable, due to constant assault by water, salt and subterranean animal life.

A Darker Germany?

The bottom line: Germans will have to prepare for significantly higher electricity tariffs – and more frequent blackouts.

“If all German wind power projects are realized as planned, the country will incur economic losses well over 100 billion Euros by 2030,” Heinzow says. “The only word that describes this ‘world improvement’ strategy is suicidal.” Does America really want to go down this path?


Taken for another ride by the Warmists

Aaaaah! Look at this lovely picture of a polar bear cub riding on its mother’s back. It appeared in a number of papers this week with stories – inspired by the lobbying group WWF – suggesting that this was a new development, caused by global warming.

This is propaganda garbage, just like the piffle talked about another famous picture of polar bears perched on a melting ice floe. That was taken in August, when ice in Alaska always melts. Land was close by. Polar bears can swim for hundreds of miles if they want to.

The piggyback picture is just as misleading. It isn’t remotely new. I have established that it was taken by the charming Mrs Angela Plumb on a holiday in Spitsbergen more than four years ago, on July 21, 2006.

It then formed the basis of a scientific paper written by the equally charming Jon Aars, a Norwegian polar bear expert. I have read this paper. It speculates that the cubs may ride on their mothers’ backs to avoid the cold water, as they don’t have the thick layer of blubber that allows adult bears to swim in icy temperatures for hours.

But there’s no proof of this, as polar bears can’t speak English or Norwegian so cannot tell us why they do what they do. The paper accepts that bear cubs may always have done this.

Jon Aars himself said to me that polar bear cubs have ridden on their mothers’ backs for ages. ‘What we do not know is whether or not it is happening more frequently than it used to,’ he says.

So we don’t know. Once again the almost invariable rule applies. If any picture is produced to support the warmist panic, it will turn out to be suspect. Oh, and by the way, how much use have all those stupid windmills been during the cold snap?


What happened to the 'warmest year on record': The truth is global warming has halted

Comment from Britain

A year ago tomorrow, just before the opening of the UN Copenhagen world climate summit, the British Meteorological Office issued a confident prediction. The mean world temperature for 2010, it announced, 'is expected to be 14.58C, the warmest on record' - a deeply worrying 0.58C above the 19611990 average.

World temperatures, it went on, were locked inexorably into an everrising trend: 'Our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications that about half the years 2010-2019 will be warmer than the warmest year observed so far - 1998.'

Met Office officials openly boasted that they hoped by their statements to persuade the Copenhagen gathering to impose new and stringent carbon emission limits - an ambition that was not to be met.

Last week, halfway through yet another giant, 15,000 delegate UN climate jamboree, being held this time in the tropical splendour of Cancun in Mexico, the Met Office was at it again. Never mind that Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996. Globally, it insisted, 2010 was still on course to be the warmest or second warmest year since current records began.

But buried amid the details of those two Met Office statements 12 months apart lies a remarkable climbdown that has huge implications - not just for the Met Office, but for debate over climate change as a whole.

Read carefully with other official data, they conceal a truth that for some, to paraphrase former US VicePresident Al Gore, is really inconvenient: for the past 15 years, global warming has stopped.

This isn't meant to be happening. Climate science orthodoxy, as promulgated by bodies such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), says that temperatures have risen and will continue to rise in step with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and make no mistake, with the rapid industrialisation of China and India, CO2 levels have kept on going up.

According to the IPCC and its computer models, without enormous emission cuts the world is set to get between two and six degrees warmer during the 21st Century, with catastrophic consequences.

Last week at Cancun, in an attempt to influence richer countries to agree to give £20billion immediately to poorer ones to offset the results of warming, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute warned that global temperatures would be 6.5 degrees higher by 2100, leading to rocketing food prices and a decline in production.

The maths isn't complicated. If the planet were going to be six degrees hotter by the century's end, it should be getting warmer by 0.6 degrees each decade; if two degrees, then by 0.2 degrees every ten years. Fortunately, it isn't.

Actually, with the exception of 1998 - a 'blip' year when temperatures spiked because of a strong 'El Nino' effect (the cyclical warming of the southern Pacific that affects weather around the world) - the data on the Met Office's and CRU's own websites show that global temperatures have been flat, not for ten, but for the past 15 years.

They go up a bit, then down a bit, but those small rises and falls amount to less than their measuring system's acknowledged margin of error. They have no statistical significance and reveal no evidence of any trend at all.

When the Met Office issued its December 2009 prediction, it was clearly expecting an even bigger El Nino spike than happened in 1998 - one so big that it would have dragged up the decade's average.

But though it was still successfully trying to influence media headlines during Cancun last week by saying that 2010 might yet end up as the warmest year, the small print reveals the Met Office climbdown. Last year it predicted that the 2010 average would be 14.58C. Last week, this had been reduced to 14.52C.

That may not sound like much. But when one considers that by the Met Office's own account, the total rise in world temperatures since the 1850s has been less than 0.8 degrees, it is quite a big deal. Above all, it means the trend stays flat.

Meanwhile, according to an analysis yesterday by David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, 2010 had only two unusually warm months, March and April, when El Nino was at its peak.

The data from October to the end of the year suggests that when the final figure is computed, 2010 will not be the warmest year at all, but at most the third warmest, behind both 1998 and 2005.

There is no dispute that the world got a little warmer over some of the 20th Century. (Between 1940 and the early Seventies, temperatures actually fell.)

But little by little, the supposedly settled scientific 'consensus' that the temperature rise is unprecedented, that it is set to continue to disastrous levels, and that it is all the fault of human beings, is starting to fray.

Earlier this year, a paper by Michael Mann - for years a leading light in the IPCC, and the author of the infamous 'hockey stick graph' showing flat temperatures for 2,000 years until the recent dizzying increase - made an extraordinary admission: that, as his critics had always claimed, there had indeed been a ' medieval warm period' around 1000 AD, when the world may well have been hotter than it is now.

Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour - a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide - may account for much of the 20th Century warming.

Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year's 'Climategate' leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a little-noticed BBC online interview that there has been 'no statistically significant warming' since 1995.

One of those leaked emails, dated October 2009, was from Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the US government's National Centre for Atmospheric Research and the IPCC's lead author on climate change science in its monumental 2002 and 2007 reports. He wrote: '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.'

After the leak, Trenberth claimed he still believed the world was warming because of CO2, and that the 'travesty' was not the 'pause' but science's failure to explain it.

The question now emerging for climate scientists and policymakers alike is very simple. Just how long does a pause have to be before the thesis that the world is getting hotter because of human activity starts to collapse?


German consumer groups call for end to EU light bulb ban

Consumer protection organisations have demanded a suspension of the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs, citing official tests that showed the new compact fluorescent lamps to be dangerous if broken.

The energy saving bulbs show mercury levels 20 times higher than regulations allow in the air surrounding them for up to five hours after they are broken, according to tests released Thursday by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

“If the industry can’t manage to offer safe bulbs, then the incandescent bulbs must remain on the market until autumn of 2011,” said Gerd Billen, the leader of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB).

His group encouraged the federal government to push for a suspension of the ban in Brussels until there was a safe and practical alternative. “It can’t be that the state bans a safe product and replaces it with a dangerous one,” Billen said.

In September, the EU began phasing out incandescent light bulbs in a bid to save energy and protect the environment. Their replacements were meant to be the energy-saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent and LED lights. The complete phase-out of old light bulbs is to occur by 2012.

So far the UBA has tested just two types of lights.

“There was energy savings of up to 80 percent compared to incandescent bulbs, but this should come with safer products that have no avoidable health risks,” UBA President Jochen Flasbarth said, calling the mercury danger the “Achilles heel” of the energy saving bulbs.

Flasbarth recommended that consumers use energy saving bulbs with protective plastic casings in areas such as children’s rooms to avoid the danger in the short term.


Australia: Greenie-inspired Desalination Plant to be mothballed

ANYTHING was better than building dams and global warming was going to bring drought so a gullible State government spent a fortune on this thing. But the prophecies were wrong (funnily enough!) and Australia is now having widespread floods -- so there was no need for it anyway

THE troubled Tugan Desalination Plant is now a $1.2 billion white elephant, with the Bligh Government also forced to mothball hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other plants in a desperate bid to cut water bills.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the Government has also decided to take an axe to the bloated water bureaucracy and sack highly paid water executives under a new stategy to reduce hikes to household bills by $5 next year.

The desal plant on the Gold Coast, which has been plagued by rusting and cracking problems since it opened last year, will be shut down early next year, along with half the $380 million Bundamba treatment plant and the new $313 million plant at Gibson Island.

However, the futures of staff working the plant contractor Veola are unclear.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser yesterday confirmed the plans, saying the shutdowns would be revisited if dam storage levels hit 60 per cent. Challenging councils to halt their planned price hikes, Mr Fraser said prices were to rise by $59 on average in 2011-12, but would now only increase by $54 after the $18 million in savings.

"It's small, but every little bit counts," he said. "This means the Government has taken steps to reduce price increases, but the council-owned water entities are on the public record supporting $200 and $300 increases."

The desal plant will run on "hot standby" with only one shift a week to keep the machinery turning over, but the facility can be switched on within 72 hours.

SEQWater will be merged with WaterSecure in July , with senior contracted managers to be sacked and no EBA staff sacked.

Mr Robertson said the water reforms would provide relief to householders dealing with the rising cost of living. ``For a typical household, next year's bulk water charge will be around $5 less than previously announced - $54 down from $59," he said. ``Additional savings will continue for every year and will grow to more than $30 per household by 2017."

One of Bundamba's two treatment plants will be placed on standby, Mr Robertson said. The treatment facility at Luggage Point will remain at 100 per cent while the Gibson Island plant will be closed.

All plants would be brought back on line if dam capacity trended under the 40 per cent trigger point to add purified recycled water into Wivenhoe Dam, Mr Robertson said.

The government will also revise down its 10-year price-path for bulk water sales to the council-owned retail water entities following savings from the scrapped Traveston Dam project, he said.

Mr Robertson said the state government had consulted unions about the merger of southeast Queensland's two bulk water authorities - Seqwater and WaterSecure. ``We will continue to protect workers' entitlements throughout the process," he said. ``There will be no forced redundancies of staff employed under awards or enterprise bargaining agreements."

Mr Robertson called on local councils profiting from water retail businesses to pass on savings to struggling householders.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Warmism serves a lot of personal needs

"Man marries Earth in Rare Ceremony"

On December 4, 2010, [Danny Bloom] married his longtime companion and love of his life -- Earth!

The festive ceremony was an internet-enabled weddiing, online and in real time, in which the groom, 61, married his longtime companion and love of his life -- Earth!

The festive ceremony was an internet-enabled weddiing, online and in real time, in which Bloom, a Boston native, recited previously keyed-in vows declaring that he would "love and cherish his beloved, Earth, -- 4,000,000,010 years old but still beautiful and comely in her white aura of cloud cover -- for the rest of his life or "until death do him part."

Bloom, who was never married previously, told news reporters lurking online that he was "more than happy to have finally tied the knot with the one I love."

An online justice of the peace officiated at the one of a kind ceremony. Earth, for her part, said: "We're soulmates now. We always were, but now it's on paper. I've married the man I created! I've married the world I love."

Bloom asked that instead of gifts, guests and other interested parties donate funds to global warming awareness campaigns in their respective countries.

After the wedding was over, symbolized by a long green fern wrapped around his balding head, Bloom kissed his bride one more time, saying to everyone within earshot: "Fly me to the moon! To Jupiter and Mars!. This is the most wonderful day of my life!"

Earth, as beautiful as ever, added: "He always says things like that! For my part, today marks the beginning of a new conciousness among humans, and if our little private ceremony has been able to help raise awareness about the problems of global warming and climate change, then I am one happy planet!"


Japan bails out

Japan is the third largest economy in the world. In absolute, unequivocal terms it has just announced it will not be extending the Kyoto agreement.

It’s hard to see how a carbon trading scheme can continue to grow when major emitters are pulling out.

“The delicately balanced global climate talks in Cancún suffered a serious setback last night when Japan categorically stated its opposition to extending the Kyoto protocol – the binding international treaty that commits most of the world’s richest countries to making emission cuts.

The Kyoto protocol was adopted in Japan in 1997 by major emitting countries, who committed themselves to cut emissions by an average 5% on 1990 figures by 2012.

However the US congress refused to ratify it and remains outside the protocol.”

‘The forthrightness of the statement took people by surprise,’ said one British official.

If it proves to be a new, formal position rather than a negotiating tactic, it could provoke a walk-out by some developing countries and threaten a breakdown in the talks. Last night diplomats were urgently trying to clarify the position.

Japan — owes some $13 Billion thanks to Kyoto. They must be regretting ever signing it.

The stakes are changing in this poker game. Who knows — maybe the Japanese Translation of The Skeptics Handbook made a small contribution

More HERE (See the original for links)

The dying light at Cancun

Comment from Christopher Booker in England

If, last week, frozen behind a snowdrift, you heard a faint hysterical squeaking, it might well have been the sound of those 20,000 delegates holed up behind a wall of armed security guards in the sun-drenched Mexican holiday resort of Cancun, telling each other that the world is more threatened by runaway global warming than ever.

Between their tequilas and lavish meals paid for by the world’s taxpayers, they heard how, by 2060, global temperatures will have risen by 4 degrees Celsius; how the Maldives and Tuvalu are sinking below the waves faster than ever; how the survival of salmon is threatened by CO2-induced acidification of the oceans; how the UN must ban incandescent light bulbs throughout the world.

“Scientists”, we were told, are calling for everyone to be issued with a “carbon ration card”, to halt all Western economic growth for 20 years.

Meanwhile, Dr Rajendra Pachauri was telling us that we must spend hundreds of billions on covering the world’s oceans with iron filings, on building giant mirrors out in space and on painting all the world’s roofs white to keep out the heat from the sun.

The most obvious thing about all this ritualised scaremongering was how stale it all was. Not one of these points hasn’t been a cliche for years.The only scientist who believes we should all be issued with carbon ration cards is a Prof Kevin Anderson, who has been saying it since 2004. It is only those same old computer models that predict that Tuvalu and the Maldives are about to drown, when real measurements show the sea around them not to be rising at all. Far from the oceans acidifying, their pH currently ranges between 7.9 and 8.3, putting them very firmly on the alkaline side of the threshold, at 7.0.

The prediction that global temperatures will rise by four degrees in 50 years comes from that same UK Met Office computer which five weeks ago was telling us we were about to enjoy a “milder than average” winter, after three years when it has consistently got every one of its winter and summer forecasts hopelessly wrong. (And the reason why our local authorities are already fast running out of salt is that they were silly enough to believe them.)

When Vicky Pope, the Met Office’s Head of Climate Change Advice, wanted to fly out from Gatwick to Cancun to tell them that 2010 is the hottest year on record, she was trapped by inches of the same global warming that her £33 million computer had failed to predict.

As for all that “geo-engineering” make-believe which has been peddled for years, about giant mirrors and covering the sea with iron filings, it comes straight from Swift’s Academy of Lagado – as fanciful as the idea that we can save the planet by forcing everyone to use those miserable mercury-vapour “low-energy” light bulbs, or that we can pipe away all the carbon dioxide from power stations to store it in holes under the North Sea.

What we are seeing here is one of the greatest collective flights from reality in the history of the human race. As western Europe shivers to a halt and our energy bills soar through the roof, the time has come when we should all start to get seriously angry with our politicians for being carried away by all this claptrap.

Why, for instance, when our public debt is still rising by £3 billion a week, do we allow our Government to ring-fence £2.9 billion of our money to help the developing world to build useless wind turbines and solar panels?

Why do we tolerate a Parliament which blithely commits us to spending £18.3 billion every year for 40 years under the Climate Change Act, without having the faintest idea how we are going to keep our lights on?

The global warming scare may have been fun for the children while it lasted. But the time has come for the joke to be declared well and truly over.

If you want a truly inspiring early Christmas card, which is the very opposite of all that is stood for by global warming, social workers, the European Union, the Coalition Government and the rest of this column’s usual fare, may I suggest you Google “Celestial Junk Food Choir”, for five minutes of pure, uplifting joy.


False prophecies beget faulty policies

By Willie Soon and Madhav Khandeka

The annual climate summit opened in Cancun, Mexico this week. A few days earlier, India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests released a new report, “Climate Change and India: A sectoral and regional analysis for the 2030s.”

“It is imperative,” E&F Minister Jairam Ramesh observed, that India has “sound, evidence-based assessments on the impacts of climate change.” Not surprisingly, the report claims India will soon be able to forecast the timing and intensity of future monsoons that are so critical to its agricultural base.

Could 250 of India’s top scientists be wrong when they say their computers will soon be able to predict summer monsoon rainfall during the 2030s, based on projected carbon dioxide trends?

Do “scenarios” generated by any climate models really constitute “sound, evidence-based assessments”? Are attempts to predict monsoons and other climate events any more valid for ten or twenty years in the future, than for a century away?

We do not believe it is yet possible to forecast future monsoons, despite more than two centuries of scientific research, or the claims and efforts of these excellent scientists. The Indian summer monsoonal rainfall remains notoriously unpredictable, because it is determined by the interaction of numerous changing and competing factors, including: ocean currents and temperatures, sea surface temperature and wind conditions in the vast Indian and Western Pacific Ocean, phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation in the equatorial Pacific, the Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow covers, solar energy output, and even wind direction and speed in the equatorial stratosphere some 30-50 kilometers (19-31 miles) aloft.

Relying on computer climate models has one well-known side effect: Garbage in, gospel out. Current gospel certainly says CO2 rules the climate, but any role played by carbon dioxide in monsoon activity is almost certainly dwarfed by these other, major influences.

Computer climate models have simply failed to confirm current climate observations, or project future climatic changes and impacts.

Both Indian and global monsoons have declined in strength and intensity over the last 50 years – and this measurement-based reality largely contradicts climate model “forecasts” and “scenarios” that say monsoonal rainfalls will increase. It is equally well known that climate models have been unable to replicate the decadal to multi-decadal variations of monsoonal rainfalls.

Dr. Fred Kucharski and 21 other climate modelers challenge the alleged CO2-monsoon linkage. Using World Climate Research Programme climate model analyses, they conclude that “the increase of greenhouse gases concentrations has had little impact on the [observed] decadal Indian monsoonal rainfall variability in the twentieth century.” Perhaps the Indian scientists missed their report.

No climate models predicted the severe drought conditions for the 2009 Indian monsoon season – followed by the extended wetness of the 2010 season. The inability to foresee this 30-50% precipitation swing in most regions underscores how far we really are from being able to forecast monsoons, for next year, 2030 or the end of the century.

Another recent analysis, by scientists from National Technical University in Athens, found that computer model projections did not agree with actual observations at 55 locations around the world. Computer forecasts for large spatial areas, like the contiguous United States, were even more out of sync with actual observations than is the case with specific locations!

Minister Ramesh says India hopes to offer a “middle ground” and present a less “petulant and obstructionist” perception during climate negotiations in Cancun. But if he believes the new report and claims of imminent forecasting ability will make this happen, we fear he is mistaken. “What-if” scenarios, based on CO2-driven computer models, are hardly a sound basis for negotiations, energy policies, agricultural planning or changed perceptions.

The impotence of current climate models is not surprising. Climate models have not yet gotten even the most basic aspects of annual, decadal or multi-decadal monsoon events correctly.

A 2009 paper demonstrates that not one of the 24 climate models used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generated accurate predictions forannual cycles of land surface temperatures or the arrival of seasons outside the tropics for 1954-2000. Accurate predictions of decadal cycles are out of the question.

A 2008 study found that almost all current climate models overestimated the amount of solar radiation absorbed at Earth’s surface – leading them to forecast more severe regional dryness than will likely be the case. Even more appalling, this computer model error has been documented since 1996, and yet there are still no improvements.

Drs. Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green found that IPCC forecasting procedures violated 81% of the 89 forecasting and scientific principles they were able to evaluate. These serious errors prove that IPCC climate projections and scenarios are useless for public policy decisions.

As climate scientists, we know computer climate models are very useful for analyzing how Earth’s complex climate system works. However, models available today are simply not ready for prime time, when it comes to predicting future climate, monsoons or droughts. Persistent attempts to use computer climate models to generate “what-if” scenarios are unrealistic, counterproductive and even anti-scientific.

Our understanding of how weather and climate vary from year to year is still very immature, and it will be years (if not decades) before we resolve fundamental questions of how various forces interact to cause those changes.

Computer models still cannot accurately simulate or predict regional phenomena like the Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Even when model outputs agree with certain observations, we cannot be certain that the models did so for the right reasons. Considering the myriad factors that influence and alter weather and climate regimes, it is clear that climate models cannot make meaningful projections about future events, especially if they focus on the single factor of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Science and society will pay a very dear price, if political agendas continue to generate and legitimize false and pretentious computer outputs that have no basis in reality.

How much better it would be if researchers focused on improving our ability to accurately forecast monsoons, droughts and other events just a few weeks or months in advance. That would really give farmers and others a chance to adapt, minimize damages and actually benefit from being better prepared.


WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

Rather surprising to see this in "The Guardian". I guess they are more anti-American than they are pro-Green -- JR

Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen accord", the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

Seeking negotiating chips, the US state department sent a secret cable on 31 July 2009 seeking human intelligence from UN diplomats across a range of issues, including climate change. The request originated with the CIA. As well as countries' negotiating positions for Copenhagen, diplomats were asked to provide evidence of UN environmental "treaty circumvention" and deals between nations.

But intelligence gathering was not just one way. On 19 June 2009, the state department sent a cable detailing a "spear phishing" attack on the office of the US climate change envoy, Todd Stern, while talks with China on emissions took place in Beijing. Five people received emails, personalised to look as though they came from the National Journal. An attached file contained malicious code that would give complete control of the recipient's computer to a hacker. While the attack was unsuccessful, the department's cyber threat analysis division noted: "It is probable intrusion attempts such as this will persist."

The Beijing talks failed to lead to a global deal at Copenhagen. But the US, the world's biggest historical polluter and long isolated as a climate pariah, had something to cling to. The Copenhagen accord, hammered out in the dying hours but not adopted into the UN process, offered to solve many of the US's problems.

The accord turns the UN's top-down, unanimous approach upside down, with each nation choosing palatable targets for greenhouse gas cuts. It presents a far easier way to bind in China and other rapidly growing countries than the UN process. But the accord cannot guarantee the global greenhouse gas cuts needed to avoid dangerous warming. Furthermore, it threatens to circumvent the UN's negotiations on extending the Kyoto protocol, in which rich nations have binding obligations. Those objections have led many countries – particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – to vehemently oppose the accord.

Getting as many countries as possible to associate themselves with the accord strongly served US interests, by boosting the likelihood it would be officially adopted. A diplomatic offensive was launched. Diplomatic cables flew thick and fast between the end of Copenhagen in December 2009 and late February 2010, when the leaked cables end.

Some countries needed little persuading. The accord promised $30bn (£19bn) in aid for the poorest nations hit by global warming they had not caused. Within two weeks of Copenhagen, the Maldives foreign minister, Ahmed Shaheed, wrote to the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, expressing eagerness to back it.

By 23 February 2010, the Maldives' ambassador-designate to the US, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, told the US deputy climate change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, his country wanted "tangible assistance", saying other nations would then realise "the advantages to be gained by compliance" with the accord.

A diplomatic dance ensued. "Ghafoor referred to several projects costing approximately $50m (£30m). Pershing encouraged him to provide concrete examples and costs in order to increase the likelihood of bilateral assistance."

The Maldives were unusual among developing countries in embracing the accord so wholeheartedly, but other small island nations were secretly seen as vulnerable to financial pressure. Any linking of the billions of dollars of aid to political support is extremely controversial – nations most threatened by climate change see the aid as a right, not a reward, and such a link as heretical. But on 11 February, Pershing met the EU climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, in Brussels, where she told him, according to a cable, "the Aosis [Alliance of Small Island States] countries 'could be our best allies' given their need for financing".

The pair were concerned at how the $30bn was to be raised and Hedegaard raised another toxic subject – whether the US aid would be all cash. She asked if the US would need to do any "creative accounting", noting some countries such as Japan and the UK wanted loan guarantees, not grants alone, included, a tactic she opposed. Pershing said "donors have to balance the political need to provide real financing with the practical constraints of tight budgets", reported the cable.

Along with finance, another treacherous issue in the global climate negotiations, currently continuing in Cancún, Mexico, is trust that countries will keep their word. Hedegaard asks why the US did not agree with China and India on what she saw as acceptable measures to police future emissions cuts. "The question is whether they will honour that language," the cable quotes Pershing as saying.

Trust is in short supply on both sides of the developed-developing nation divide. On 2 February 2009, a cable from Addis Ababa reports a meeting between the US undersecretary of state Maria Otero and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, who leads the African Union's climate change negotiations.

The confidential cable records a blunt US threat to Zenawi: sign the accord or discussion ends now. Zenawi responds that Ethiopia will support the accord, but has a concern of his own: that a personal assurance from Barack Obama on delivering the promised aid finance is not being honoured.

US determination to seek allies against its most powerful adversaries – the rising economic giants of Brazil, South Africa, India, China (Basic) – is set out in another cable from Brussels on 17 February reporting a meeting between the deputy national security adviser, Michael Froman, Hedegaard and other EU officials.

Froman said the EU needed to learn from Basic's skill at impeding US and EU initiatives and playing them off against each in order "to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future train wrecks on climate".

Hedegaard is keen to reassure Froman of EU support, revealing a difference between public and private statements. "She hoped the US noted the EU was muting its criticism of the US, to be constructive," the cable said. Hedegaard and Froman discuss the need to "neutralise, co-opt or marginalise unhelpful countries including Venezuela and Bolivia", before Hedegaard again links financial aid to support for the accord, noting "the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries". Later, in April, the US cut aid to Bolivia and Ecuador, citing opposition to the accord.

Any irony is clearly lost on the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, according to a 9 February cable from La Paz. The Danish ambassador to Bolivia, Morten Elkjaer, tells a US diplomat that, at the Copenhagen summit, "Danish prime minister Rasmussen spent an unpleasant 30 minutes with Morales, during which Morales thanked him for [$30m a year in] bilateral aid, but refused to engage on climate change issues."

After the Copenhagen summit, further linking of finance and aid with political support appears. Dutch officials, initially rejecting US overtures to back the accord, make a startling statement on 25 January. According to a cable, the Dutch climate negotiator Sanne Kaasjager "has drafted messages for embassies in capitals receiving Dutch development assistance to solicit support [for the accord]. This is an unprecedented move for the Dutch government, which traditionally recoils at any suggestion to use aid money as political leverage." Later, however, Kaasjager rows back a little, saying: "The Netherlands would find it difficult to make association with the accord a condition to receive climate financing."

Perhaps the most audacious appeal for funds revealed in the cables is from Saudi Arabia, the world's second biggest oil producer and one of the 25 richest countries in the world. A secret cable sent on 12 February records a meeting between US embassy officials and lead climate change negotiator Mohammad al-Sabban. "The kingdom will need time to diversify its economy away from petroleum, [Sabban] said, noting a US commitment to help Saudi Arabia with its economic diversification efforts would 'take the pressure off climate change negotiations'."

The Saudis did not like the accord, but were worried they had missed a trick. The assistant petroleum minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told US officials that he had told his minister Ali al-Naimi that Saudi Arabia had "missed a real opportunity to submit 'something clever', like India or China, that was not legally binding but indicated some goodwill towards the process without compromising key economic interests".

The cables obtained by WikiLeaks finish at the end of February 2010. Today, 116 countries have associated themselves with the accord. Another 26 say they intend to associate. That total, of 140, is at the upper end of a 100-150 country target revealed by Pershing in his meeting with Hedegaard on 11 February.

The 140 nations represent almost 75% of the 193 countries that are parties to the UN climate change convention and, accord supporters like to point out, are responsible for well over 80% of current global greenhouse gas emissions.

At the mid-point of the major UN climate change negotiations in Cancún, Mexico, there have already been flare-ups over how funding for climate adaptation is delivered. The biggest shock has been Japan's announcement that it will not support an extension of the existing Kyoto climate treaty. That gives a huge boost to the accord. US diplomatic wheeling and dealing may, it seems, be bearing fruit.


Focus Magazine: “Global Warming Is Good For Us”

News from Germany

Another huge slab of the Climate-Berlin-Wall has fallen. It’s a climate skeptic jail-break! I imagine the Climate-Politburo members must be quivering and trembling in their bunkers in Potsdam by now.

A leading German news magazine has decided to depart from the dogma of angst and catastrophe and bring up climate science issues that, up to now, have been strictly taboo here in the Vaterland. Tomorrow FOCUS magazine will come out with its newest issue titled: "Prima Klima! Umdenken:Wieso die globale Erwärmung gut für uns ist". (Best Climate! Change of Thinking: Why global warming is good for us.)

Change of Thinking – yes! And the timing couldn’t be better.

Folks, this is the first time in a long time that a major German news magazine has decided to do a little investigative reporting, instead of relying on the press releases from the Palaces Of Panic like the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, NOAA, Alfred Wegener Institute, etc., and seriously look into this controversial global issue. Game over comrades!

When the global warming hoax collapses in Germany, then Europe follows right behind it – and then, of course, the rest of the world. Germany is that one domino. This represents a major setback for the warministas. Indeed it would be interesting to know what went on in the FOCUS editorial offices.

Perhaps the normally über-alarmist FOCUS has already gotten tired of the winter and longs for the warmer days. I can’t explain why they are coming out with such an issue – especially during Cancun.

The video begins with:

"This week in the coming FOCUS: Best Climate. Change in thinking – global warming is good for us. FOCUS editor Dr. Christian Pandler (sp?) researched the current topic and reports on it in the new issue".

Editor Dr. Pandler (a bit paraphrased):

"In the new FOCUS issue, we take a look at the question of climate change. This week the world climate conference is taking place in Cancun, where world leaders are going to debate over how to combat warming. Our question: Is global warming actually bad? Does it entail only disadvantages and only catastrophic consequences? Up to now, people have only focused on what will be bad. The question is what could be good? No one has really looked at this. It’s taboo in Germany.

We know from history that warm periods were good periods for us. Cold periods were bad periods. We know that 20,000 years ago Europe was a frozen wasteland where nobody lived. That was a real climate catastrophe. For example we had a warming 10,000 years ago, which led to a greening of the Sahara. Then there was cooling which led it to be parched again. Now it’s warming, and there are lots of signs that show it is greening up again. For the people in Africa, it is absolutely a positive development. If it continues that way, it could once again become green with a variety of wildlife, rivers and lakes and so on. This is a consequence that hardly has been discussed.

We’ve spoken to scientists who are there on site. One researcher in particular has gone there every year for 30 years and photographed how the Sahara is gradually getting greener."

In the meantime, my advice to that brave editor at FOCUS: Put on your bullet-proof political vest and find the deepest possible bunker. The greenshirts are sending over the B-52s! Achtung!

This is going to be something to relish.

Ironically this comes out precisely when the science is showing signs that cooling is coming instead, and so FOCUS may be only getting false hopes up. Lol! You just can’t make this stuff up. It makes my day.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Cancun 'Can’t'

“Cancun can.” That’s the catchphrase of this year’s United Nations’ “global warming” conference – a costly taxpayer-funded boondoggle being held at the tropical Yucatan vacation destination. Last December U.S. taxpayers shelled out more than $1 million to send a 106-person delegation to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen – where President Barack Obama pledged billions of American tax dollars toward a radical global wealth redistribution scheme.

How much will this latest junket cost us? Aside from the exorbitant travel costs, American “climate ambassador” Jonathan Pershing has already pledged $1.7 billion of your tax money to the effort – and that’s just to cover the scheme’s “fast-start” funding.

According to the agreement reached in Copenhagen, this wealth redistribution fund would siphon as much as $100 billion annually from developed nations like the U.S. beginning in 2020.

Fortunately last year’s non-binding “Copenhagen Accord” – much like Obama’s “cap and trade” energy tax hike – has stumbled upon a steely resistance in Washington. Even members of Obama’s party who went along with his multiple domestic bailouts and socialized medicine proposal want nothing to do with his climate crusade. Emissions targets agreed upon in Copenhagen have been dismissed by many of the administration’s key Democratic allies as economically impractical, and before Obama even departed for last year’s conference a sitting Democratic Senator blasted him for presuming to have the “unilateral power” to commit America to any of Copenhagen’s controversial provisions.

During the 2010 campaign, one Democratic Senate candidate went so far as to fire a bullet through Obama’s “cap and trade” bill to demonstrate his opposition to the president’s environmental policies.

As these political battles waged, the so-called “science” behind global warming was also dealt a string of setbacks. This process started (publicly, at least) with the November 2009 release of thousands of emails from a British University – documents which showed that “scientists” had manipulated and even destroyed data in an effort to trick the world into accepting the climate change myth. This University’s findings were among the central planks of the UN’s case for climate change – along with similarly-debunked claims about an impending glacier meltdown in the Himalayas.

In light of these political and scientific setbacks, the wealth redistributors have been forced to start from scratch with a new PR angle. In this recession-ravaged economy, it’s now all about dollars and cents. According to Danish bureaucrat Connie Hedegaard – the European Union’s “climate commissioner” – the fight against global warming is no longer a moral imperative or a prerequisite for the continued survival of the human race. Now it has conveniently become a “bottom line” issue.

“Those in the end who improve energy efficiency and improve innovation, they will save money,” Hedegaard said at a recent conference. At another recent event, Hedegaard encouraged several of the world’s largest corporations to assist her by spreading “the good example that [climate policy] is also good for the bottom line.”

Based on the current sovereign debt crisis that is confronting the Eurozone, Hedegaard and her peers are probably not the best people to consult for financial advice. Also, based on the results of last month’s election it is doubtful U.S. taxpayers would view it as “good for (their) bottom line” to pump billions of dollars each year into a global wealth redistribution scheme cloaked in fuzzy science and misleading rhetoric.

Unfortunately, Obama has made it clear in the past that he supports policies which “spread the wealth around,” and the UN is making no bones about its true intentions with respect to the climate issue. Last month, Ottmar Edenhofer – a German economist and one of the UN’s top climate leaders, told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that “climate policy is redistributing the world’s wealth,” adding that “it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization.”

Sounds like an economist after Obama’s own heart, doesn’t it? Armed with their new “pro-business” public relations spin, the forces pushing this debate are once again attempting to give your money away – the only difference is that this time they are concealing their socialist designs beneath “business-friendly” rhetoric.

Cancun can’t be permitted to get away with such a costly deception.


Britain's Warmist Pope can't get to Cancun -- too much snow

Vicky Pope, head of the climate predictions programme at the Met Office's Hadley Centre, was stuck at Gatwick airport this week, a victim of Britain's brutal cold snap.

Ironically, she was on her way to Cancún to announce, together with the UN's World Meteorological Organisation, that 2010 had provisionally tied with 1998 as the hottest year on record.

Scientists from the Noaaa and Nasa, the two other institutes that provide data on global temperatures were wisely staying put in the US, having already stated that it looked like being the hottest year ever.


Snow Used To Be Caused By Cooling, Now Caused By Warming

Last winter had the second largest northern hemisphere snow extent on record, after 1978. The 2010 snow was of course due to global warming, while the 1978 event was due to global cooling.

The trend line is completely flat, indicating the subtle transition from global cooling to global warming – which is only perceptible by climate experts looking for attention and funding. (The survival of the planet depends on these people being continuously hysterical about something or other.)

The global warming story has lost traction and I think they should seriously consider restarting the global cooling scare – of course they can start by blaming global cooling on global warming. Regardless of whether the planet is warming or cooling, it is 100% for sure the fault of Republicans.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

The latest on windmills from John Droz Jr. []

As you know, in my view this wind controversy is largely a PR matter. As such it is critically important to win over other citizens. We simply have no chance without a modicum of public support! Toward that end I am sending you two new contributions:

1 - A short animated video I just finished today. It is still in it's draft form but I thought you'd like to see it. I'm sure that there are people out there that are more artistically creative that could come up with an even better video — so please do! See here. If I get motivated (and have the time) I might create part 2 of the story: that one showing Jane at the town board meeting, using some of the material from the next item.

2 - I wrote "What Not To Say" (a play on the TV program) to give citizens some guidance on what TO say when having an opportunity to speak in front of their town, county, state, or federal representatives. This is still the draft version, so if you have any good suggestions, feel free to forward them. See here

3 - Lastly, I’ve gotten many requests for information about the effects on home values due to nearby wind projects. Since there is a lot of information out there, and I think that this is an important area, I’ve created an addendum page to my website to list some of the better articles here. Please send any good real estate related studies to me, and I'll add them.

I was dismayed to see the blatant bias in the National Association of Realtor’s web page on home values and wind energy. See here I wrote to them, complaining. The end result was that they said that they would add a link to my new page. That's a slight improvement.

Above received by email

Obama and oil

The real problem with the White House's attitude toward oil, and energy generally, is how deeply ideological it is. Few presidents have talked a bigger game about pragmatism while pursuing a dogmatic agenda.

To be fair, the White House is hardly as radical as many of the Greens descending on Cancun this week for the next round of fruitless climate-change talks. For instance, Kevin Anderson, director of Britain's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, recently authored a paper in which he argues that Western nations should use WWII-style rationing to simply halt economic growth for the next 20 years in order to curb greenhouse gas production. There's a winning political agenda!

Obama doesn't advocate anything so stark, but that's not necessarily a point in his favor. Radicals like Anderson are honest about the trade-offs between climate-change policies and economic growth. To listen to Obama, however, dismantling our fossil-fuel industries would be an unalloyed economic boon, generating countless lavish, rewarding green jobs that would replace those dirty, icky carbon-intensive jobs. It's not just an argument for a free lunch, it's an argument for a magic free lunch.

Obama admits he has no idea how to get to this Brigadoon-like green economy, and his Energy secretary has conceded it will take quite a few Nobel Prize-worthy scientific breakthroughs to even get close. Details, details.

The only detail missing is evidence. A friend of mine once ran a painting service in college whose unofficial motto was "We may be slow, but we're expensive." That's the story of Europe's pursuit of green jobs. They're inefficient, producing meager amounts of energy at high costs.

It wasn't supposed to work like this. According to Al Gore, we were going to have an energy version of Moore's Law (though not actually a scientific law, Moore's Law refers to the trend of computers to get twice as powerful every 18 months). Gore argued that solar cells and wind power would get drastically more efficient very quickly. Nothing like that has happened or is likely to happen, as the University of Manitoba's Vaclav Smil has demonstrated at great length. Transitions from one form of energy to another, Smil writes at The American (, are "inherently protracted affairs" requiring "decades, not years." And let's remember that Gore once insisted that ethanol subsidies were a fast track to a green economy. He said, in effect, "never mind" about that last month.

Obama won't admit it, but his moratorium is simply supply-side rationing. America should deny itself economic growth despite the fact it has potentially massive oil reserves. Democrats uniformly insist they are fixated on creating good jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. But they're intent on killing oil-industry jobs, which by definition cannot be sent overseas and also pay twice the national average.

Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that the U.S. could be the Saudi Arabia of cleaner-burning natural gas, with an estimated 100-year supply of the stuff (and possibly more). And yet roadblocks to natural-gas development grow by the day. We could make realistic progress on reducing our carbon emissions if we set about replacing coal with natural gas. (At minimum we could and should phase out mountaintop removal coal mining, which among other things would make natural gas more competitive.)

Of course, greens say that climate change trumps such considerations, and that's a principled argument -- flawed in my view but principled. But mainstream politicians and pundits with the courage to make the principled case for rationing are hard to come by.

I'd have a lot more respect for Obama if he came out and said, "You know all that stuff I said about doing everything possible to create good jobs here at home and get this economy moving again? Well, never mind."


Proof of global cooling!

The Warmists told us for years that warming would cause drought, so ....

Note that Australia is a continent so this is not trivial

AUSTRALIA has recorded its wettest spring in 111 years of records as the Weather Bureau warns of heavy rain on Saturday for much of Queensland's southeast. The nation recorded an average 163mm over spring, up on the previous record of 140mm set in 1975.

It comes as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt raises concerns about the impacts of the wet on the reef.

Dr Reichelt said on Thursday that although cloud cover could help keep sea surface temperatures down and reduce bleaching, cyclones and flood run-off could cause damage. Environment Department staff and tourism operators would be involved in monitoring reef health. "Surveys will provide early warning of any problems such as coral bleaching and disease and damage from predators and storms," Dr Reichelt said.

Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Saunders said all states, except Tasmania, recorded heavy spring rain. "A moderate to strong La Nina weather pattern through the Pacific Ocean has delivered Australia's wettest spring in the 111 years of records we have available," he said.

"The wet spring follows a wet summer, autumn and winter. The nation has averaged 580mm so far this year, our third wettest January to November on record."

Mr Saunders said the La Nina showed little sign of weakening, so above average summer rain should continue along the east coast. "With catchments saturated following the spring downpours, there is a serious risk of further flooding," he said.


Australia: No sign of summer in Queensland as 2011 draws near

They're dying of cold in the Northern winter at the moment and even in the Southern summer it is unusually cool. No matter how the Warmists try to explain it away, the cooling is GLOBAL!

As the holidays approach and the New Year inches closer, it is the question on many Queenslanders' lips: where is summer? With the state seeing its wettest spring in 111 years and no sign of clear skies, the normally hot and humid weather characteristic of a Queensland Christmas is yet to set in.

Information from the Bureau of Meteorology showed that in 2009, the average temperature for November and the dying weeks of spring was 29.5 degrees, with a top of 34.8. However, November 2010 saw an average of only 26.6 degrees and a top of 29.5; over five degrees cooler than this time last year.

And with showers predicted for the whole of next week and temperatures to remain in the mid to high 20s, it seems December is shaping up to be just as overcast.

Bureau of Meteorology climate meteorologist Xiankun Meng said the higher than average rainfall was causing the lower temperatures. “The increased rainfall causes more cloud cover. This means the average temperatures are decreased,” he said.

Mr Meng said the increased activity in the eastern regions of the Pacific due to El Nino effect was causing more weather activity and the excessive rainfall to southeast Queensland.

He said the Bureau predicted that the southern half of the state would experience below average temperatures over the summer period and a cooler minimum. And although some hot days are possible after the New Year, there were no available long-term predictions.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

And the Fraud Goes On

Ray Kraft is scornful:

I have a question. Is the entire media a paid for propaganda machine? Or are they mostly just dumber than dirt? I think "paid for propaganda machine" is giving them too much credit. I'll go for dumber and dumberer than dirt. You can't pay off everybody. But dumber than dirt is an epidemic.

Let's put it this way. Over the last few years, I've asked a few dozen people if they know how much CO2 is in the atmosphere as a percentage. So far, not one has been able to tell me. Not one. The correct answer (according to the IPCC) is 0.038%, although it may be up to 0.039% by now. Less than 4 parts per 10,000.

And the dips think this trivial trace of CO2 drives climate change. No, they don't think, they just don't think.

Hell, all the evidence they need is right there by Al Gore in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, in which he points to a wall-size climate change chart behind him that shows 5 cycles of Global Warming over the last 450,000 years approximately 100,000 years apart and approximately 5,000-10,000 years long, with ice ages in between. But he's too damn dumb to understand what he's pointing to. His own evidence proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it's a natural cycle that was in full play long before there was Us, and that "our" Global Warming began about 12,000 years ago and peaked about 8,000 years ago.

You can see it again on You Tube, just Google "Al Gore Inconvenient Truth" for the clips.

But who bothers to look at the evidence behind Al Gore that Al is pointing to and misunderstanding while he's talking? This is proof of the very popular fallacy of Proof by Authority, or the Evidence of Authority. Al says it! I believe it; that settles it!


78% Nitrogen

21% Oxygen

1% Everything Else

0.039% CO2

0.00017% Methane

I'm not sure the media are paid for. I think they mostly suffer from True Believer Syndrome. They accept Authority as Evidence, and once a man believes in a theory, his mind is closed to everything else, wrote Thomas Jefferson two hundred years ago.

Once you Believe in Faith, you can have Faith in anything. Once you have Faith in Belief, you can Believe in anything. I don't need no damn facts, I have Faith! I Believe! - don't confuse me with Evidence! With Faith and Belief in Al Goe and Global Warming, or anything else, you don't need Evidence.

There are two excellent little books you ought to read by Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, and The Passionate State of Mind. They cast a very bright light on the psychology of politics. Eric Hoffer, a migrant farm worker when he was young who never finished grade school, a longshoreman later who educated himself by reading Montaigne and other philosophers in the UC Berkeley Library, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Philosophy by UC Berkeley for those two books.

But, of course, Eric Hoffer is largely forgotten by now. Who needs to read and think, when we can take it straight from the mouth of Al Gore?

What this really is, is an indictment of the abject failure of science education in American schools. And even thousands of scientists have fallen for the fallacy, confusing correlation with causation. believing in the theory, and ignoring everything else.

Of course, if Global Warming is caused by Us and We can fix it, then it has enormous political and monetary value. If it's a natural cycle, it's not our fault, and we can't fix it, it has Zero political and monetary value.

And, oh, yeah, it's a great fund raiser for politicians to rile up the base, We need to Fight Global Warming Now! Send Money!

Received by email

A Warmist says the attempt by by Gore and his followers to ignore the skeptics was an epic fail

There is an old saying: "The truth will out"


Given the sad, flaccid atmosphere lingering around the Cancun climate talks this week (Andy Revkin tells about how the Japanese, who once upon a time hosted the Kyoto meeting that started things, are now the biggest party poopers) it seems like a bad time to talk critically of Al Gore’s effort, but this stuff is important so I ask you to keep your mind open.

Let’s start with a quote from one of the most popular books on storytelling in recent years, “The Story Factor,” by Annette Simmons. She says, “Demonizing the other side sets up a lack of mutual respect that prevents your story from being heard.” Or, in other words, “respect your opponent.” These are words to live by.


Previously I have railed against the climate movement for it’s unwillingness to take “a critical look” at the single most important piece of global warming mass communication to date, Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

When I say “a critical look,” I’m not talking about examining it’s factual accuracy. That was performed by numerous sources shortly after the release of the movie. In my book I cited the analysis of Kare Fog who dinged the movie for several “errors” and “flaws,” as well as the 2007 NY Times article indicating that the science community gave it an overall thumbs up, as reflected by James Hansen saying, “Al does an exceptionally good job of seeing the forest for the trees.”

That’s not what I have complained about. I’m talking about the critical assessment of how effectively the movie achieved it’s goals of awareness and persuasion. I’m talking about assessing “what worked and what didn’t work” about the film as an exercise in the mass communication of a major piece of science.

Earlier this year I praised the movie for accomplishing so much in raising awareness of the issue, and more recently I’ve been doubling the praise for the fact that “AT LEAST THEY DID SOMETHING,” in terms of their having taken a bold chance by even making the movie (i.e. it was people DOING something instead of just sitting on blogs and talking about doing something). The people behind it are forever to be applauded for their courage.

But that said, I have also criticized the movie for being a boring, maudlin, piece of exposition that failed to tell a good story that would make people enjoy repeated viewings. However, there was one very important element I’ve so far left out of my critique which I want to examine in detail now.


There was a key moment in the movie which I feel is historically important as it became a major piece of leadership from Al Gore. It was the main point in the movie when he addressed the issue of climate skeptics.

Here, verbatim, is what Gore said, in reference to dissent from “the consensus”: “There was a massive study of EVERY scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal written on global warming for the last TEN years, and they took a big sample of ten percent — 928 articles. And you know the number of those that disagreed with the scientific consensus that we’re causing global warming and that it’s a serious problem? Zero.”

Yes, the substance of that statement is completely accurate. But let’s talk about the STYLE. It was dismissive. As a gesture, it was equivalent to sweeping aside the entire climate skeptic movement — deeming them trivial and irrelevant. Which would have been fine had they been nothing more than a bunch of kooks with the same scale of resources as 9/11 conspiracists, Obama birth certificate fanatics, JFK assassination nutballs or even Holocaust deniers. But they weren’t, as you can see below.


Do you remember in 2004 when John Kerry addressed the Swift Boat Veterans controversy by deciding to ignore it in hopes that it would simply fade away? Do you remember in 1988 when Michael Dukakis tried to ignore the Willie Horton commercial and the vicious assault masterminded by Lee Atwater (btw, if you haven’t seen the 2008 documentary, “Boogey Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” it is one of the most gripping documentaries in recent years). Gore sent out the same signal with this scene in his movie — the idea of, “Ignore ‘em and they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.

By 2007, when I was shooting my movie, “Sizzle,” I found it frustrating that none of the major environmental groups would show any guts and actually confront the skeptics. Which was why I was relieved on March 18, 2009 when I received a mass email from Sam Parry of Environmental Defense Fund titled, “By the Numbers,” in which he FINALLY showed numerically how massive the resources of climate skeptics had become.


This is from a mass email sent out by Sam Parry of Environmental Defense Fund. I found it to be a breath of fresh air that finally an environmental group was willing to go the opposite direction of Gore. Rather than attempting the failed, “ignore them and hope they’ll go away” strategy, this was an effort to get the public to realize, “THESE FOLKS ARE SERIOUS AND ARE NOT GOING AWAY.” This email was essentially sounding the alarm a few months before Climategate, but it was an alarm that went largely unheeded. (btw, I’ve always loved that EDF has me in their files only by my last name, so that their phony personal greeting reads, “Dear Olson,” which has all the charm of, “Hey You”).


Gore had attempted to send out the simple signal, “there is no debate,” which was an effort to use the idea that, “there is no SCIENTIFIC debate,” as a means of getting the public to think there is no broader debate in general. I have no way to quantify or really document this. I only know I got a big taste of it the year after his movie when I was filming “Sizzle” in the summer of 2007. I heard this phrase all over the place, and one prominent member of the IPCC said it to me forcefully in emails as he refused to take part in any movie that would give screen time to these supposedly fringe elements, the climate skeptics. A major television journalist barked the same message at me — “there is no debate.”

More importantly, you saw the major environmental groups involved with global warming simply turning a blind eye to this significant opposition force. There existed an opponent, but no one wanted to look them in their eyes. I was amazed in 2007 that virtually no one had been to see some of the major climate skeptics (Singer, Michaels, Morano, Hayward, Gray) to interview them for a film previous to me. There was just a big campaign to “ignore them and they will go away.” Aside from Naomi Oreskes (ironically the source of the numbers Gore cited) who was engaged in direct and blunt combat with them, no one seemed to be taking them on through any sort of mass media.

By 2008 when I released the film I began to get blowback from people at scientific institutions where we wanted to show the movie. Many said they believed there “is no debate,” and simply didn’t want to support a movie that suggested there is.


And then there was Climategate. Literally overnight the, “there is no debate,” voice vanished. The science and environmental communities finally learned there is a debate — not through effective leadership and communication, but by having their noses shoved in it.

Sorry. This is history. It’s important that it be talked about and examined. It’s called “trial and error.” It’s how you get smarter. “An Inconvenient Truth,” made a lot of good and important contributions to the topic of global warming, and it made some mistakes. There continues to need to be in-depth examination and discussion of both. Why? Because it is the ONLY significant piece of mass communication of global warming to date. It’s the only brave effort to address this enormous topic. It needs to be a source of learning, and not just swept into the past – ESPECIALLY when Japan says they are quitting the climate stuff because the two leading carbon emitters, the U.S. and China, are not showing any leadership.


EPA at 40 — Doing an end-run around the legislative process

The Environmental Protection Agency is 40 years old. It came into being under a Republican president, Richard M. Nixon, and opened its offices on December 2, 1970. In January of that year, Nixon had signed the National Environmental Protection Act, and on the last day of December 1970, he signed the Clean Air Act of 1970.

Fast forward to the year 2010, with an EPA now with almost limitless powers in the environmental arena — regulating greenhouse gas emissions, policing carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and expanding the purview of the Clean Air Act, without congressional approval.

As CEI’s Marlo Lewis wrote: ". . . EPA has positioned itself to determine the stringency of fuel economy standards for the auto industry, set climate policy for the nation, and even amend provisions of the Clean Air act–powers Congress never delegated to the agency. The Endangerment Rule is both trigger and precedent for sweeping policy changes Congress never approved. America could end up with a pile of greenhouse gas regulations more costly than any climate bill or treaty the Senate has declined to pass or ratify, yet without the people’s representatives ever voting on it.

Here’s more from a coalition letter trying to roll back these expanded powers: "Is climate policy to be made by the people’s representatives or by politically unaccountable bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and activist judges?"

Only one answer to that question passes constitutional muster. EPA has no authority to do an end-run around the democratic process. Climate policy is too important to be made by an administrative agency without new and specific statutory guidance from Congress.

Republicans are now in control of the House, and with six additional seats in the Senate, they, working with moderate Democrats, should be able to pass legislation suspending or overturning EPA greenhouse gas regulations. We, the People, can “take back our government” only if our representatives stop administrative agencies from legislating.


Britain's Green taxes to stymie job creation

An onslaught of punitive environmental taxes is to be unveiled next year in a drive to turn Britain into a “low carbon economy”. Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will spearhead the green tax plans on business and households in an attempt to shift the burden of tax from income and profits to production and consumption.

But the move last night raised fears of sharp hikes in energy bills plus petrol and diesel prices, adding to costs for firms already struggling in the fragile economic climate. The blitz was signalled in an economic growth discussion paper ministers released earlier this week.

Green revenues accounts for about 8.1 per cent of taxes. But Mr Huhne wants green tax receipts, up £500 million last year at £39.5 billion, to hit £50 billion within five years.

Supermarket chain Morrisons said: “We would like to build more stores and employ more people. “But this is not going to help growth.”


The Shame Of Green Britain: One Third Of Welsh and Scots can't afford to keep warm

The numbers of those living in fuel poverty rose to 26% in Wales and nearly 33% in Scotland in 2008, according to figures published on Friday. The latest statistics for fuel poverty and energy efficiency indicate that 332,000 households in Wales and nearly a third of all households in Scotland were spending more than 10% of their household incomes on fuel bills.

Welsh Environment Minister, Jane Davidson said that while the statistics show the scale of the challenge, the Assembly Government has spent £134 million improving the energy efficiency of 124,000 households in the region.

“However, the last few years have seen significant rises in fuel prices, and there is no doubt that has hindered our efforts to tackle this problem,” she admitted.

She pledged to work with the UK Government on tackling fuel poverty and said that the budget for Wales’ Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) budget has been increased to £22.7 million in 2009-10.

The Scottish figures tell a similar story with 140,000 homes having benefitted from improved insulation. “However, it is bitterly cold and we know many hard-pressed households are struggling with fuel bills,” says Scottish Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil. Pricing is particularly crucial, he said, with the figures indicating that over 42,000 households move into fuel poverty with every 5% increase in bills.

He urged Ofgem, which announced a review of fuel costs on Friday, and the Government to ensure that prices are fair and transparent.


Unusually cold weather to hit supply of Christmas trees

Some Minnesota tree growers predict there could be a shortage of balsam fir Christmas trees this holiday season. An early spring followed by a cold snap in May caused damage to the species in Minnesota and other parts of the country.

Natascha Smrekar, who operates a tree farm near Guthrie in north central Minnesota, says the late frost last spring damaged many balsam fir trees on their farm. The frost caused the trees to grow unevenly through the summer, and growers had to do much more extensive trimming to make them suitable to sell.

"I think there's enough trees out there, and enough farms out there that people can find what they're looking for, but they just may have to look a little harder for it," she said. "The frost did affect everybody across the state, and it took a lot more energy to correct the problem as the trees tried to grow through the damage that happened in the spring."

That means there will be fewer balsam fir trees for sale and they may cost more. Balsam firs are one of the most popular Christmas trees for consumers.


Australia dropping solar subsidy too

But it won't be remotely the disaster it was in Spain

THE Gillard government has moved to ease pressure on rising power prices by phasing out support for household rooftop solar panels from July next year, one year earlier than previously planned.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announced the changes to the the government’s solar credits scheme today. "The cost to install solar panels has reduced substantially since the solar credits mechanism was first announced in December 2008, driven by a strong economy, a high dollar and falling technology costs," Mr Combet said.

"In this time, demand for solar installations has also increased rapidly, as the out-of-pocket cost to households has dropped and generous State and Territory feed-in tariffs have provided additional support to households."

The change would allow electricity retailers to reduce the proportion of renewable energy certificates they are required to purchase from small-scale systems including solar panels. Under the renewable energy target (RET), energy retailers are obliged to buy renewable energy certificates or RECS. The changes announced today mean that retailers will now be obliged to purchase fewer of the certificates and the flow on costs to consumers will not be as great.

Mr Combet said the measure was expected to save the average household $12 in electricity prices in 2011. But he stressed that systems installed before July 1, 2011 would "not be impacted by the changes, allowing industry and households time to adjust".

The program had previously been attacked as a middle class welfare measure because the subsidies tended to favour the well-off and had minimal impact in reducing Australia’s emissions.

Mr Combet said the government had always emphasised the importance of households carrying some of the costs of installing solar systems.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 December, 2010

Pachauri admits that we don't know crucial facts about climate

Unknowns of Arctic methane, acid oceans etc.

From the methane-laden tundra of the far north to the depths of the oceans, world governments need to spend more on cutting-edge research to "get a handle" on how much and how quickly the world will warm in decades to come, says the head of the U.N. climate science network.

"There are huge gaps in the effort as far as scientific research is concerned," Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press, pointing to concerns that the Arctic's thawing permafrost is releasing powerful global warming gases, and the oceans might eventually turn from absorbing carbon dioxide to spewing it into the atmosphere.

"What is being done today is certainly far from adequate," said the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization whose twice-a-decade assessments of the latest climate research have been the authoritative guides to a warming world.

In its last detailed report, in 2007, the IPCC recommended that global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, largely byproducts of fossil-fuel burning, be reduced by 25 per cent to 40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020, to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

Expert analysis of current pledges to rein in emissions finds they'll go only 60 per cent of the way toward that goal. And those pledges are voluntary, with no guarantee even of that 60 per cent.

Pachauri met with the AP here Tuesday early in the two-week annual negotiating conference of parties to the 193-nation U.N. climate treaty.

Deep-seated disputes within the conference continue to block agreement on a new binding global accord requiring rich nations — and perhaps some emerging economies — to reduce emissions. At best, the delegates are expected to concur in a handful of decisions on secondary issues.

Underscoring the need for action, the World Meteorological Organization reported at the conference Tuesday that events of the past decade confirmed scientists' predictions of 20 years ago that temperatures would rise and storms would become fiercer.

The unprecedented heat waves that struck western Europe in 2003 and Russia this July will seem like average summers in the future, said Ghassam Asrar, head of the WMO's climate research centre.

In a detailed announcement later this week, the WMO will report that 2010 is likely to end as the warmest year in the historical record, Asrar said.

In the AP interview, Pachauri was asked about the extreme events of 2010 — the Russian heat wave and wildfires, unprecedented nationwide flooding in Pakistan, China's worst floods and landslides in decades. He said the IPCC is working on a special report on the link between global warming and such extreme events.

"The trend is very clear," said the Indian engineer and researcher. "We have and will continue to have increasingly more floods, more droughts, more heat waves, more extreme precipitation events."

Describing areas where more intense research is needed, Pachauri spoke of the uncertain state of the Arctic tundra. Last year, he asked his scientific network to focus on possible "abrupt, irreversible climate change" from thawing permafrost, tundra soil frozen year-round, covering almost one-fifth of Earth's land surface and running up to 600 metres (2,000 feet) deep.

Plant and animal matter accumulated through millennia is frozen in that soil. As it thaws, these ancient deposits finally decompose and are attacked by microbes, producing carbon dioxide and — if in water — methane. Both are greenhouse gases, and scientists don't know how much is being released and how quickly.

"It's basically the fact that people have not carried out enough measurement so that we can get a handle on how this is going to change in the future, what sort of increase of temperature will occur with the melting of the permafrost," Pachauri said.

Similarly, he said, "the oceans require a lot more concentrated attention."

Researchers are growing deeply worried about the growing acidification of the oceans, from their absorption of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. More acidic waters make it more difficult for coral, oysters and other undersea life to produce their calcium carbonate shells, threatening to blow holes in the oceanic food chain.

"We need to understand how this will affect marine life," Pachauri said.

And beyond that, he said, scientists must try to gauge the oceans' ultimate capacity to continue operating as a "sink," absorbing carbon dioxide. If that stops — and researchers believe they have detected a slowing of absorption in the seas north of Antarctica — the planet will be in even deeper trouble.

"We need to understand how the oceans, if at all, might get converted from net sinks to net emitters," the IPCC chief said. "We have to understand what will happen with the increase in temperatures in the oceans. Will that make them net emitters?" All this requires more research money, he said. "As far as climate change is concerned, we need a lot more research."


Global Food Prices About To Break An All Time High

Thanks in large part to the diversion of America's corn crop into ethanol production

Inflation in emerging markets is hitting food prices hard, and now we have raw data from the UN to confirm.
The latest report from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization shows prices are back at 2008 levels, and have increased for five months in a row.

The data evaluates 55 different food commodities, so it's a pretty broad gauge of world costs.
Whether or not costs are high enough yet to lead to a world food crisis remains to be seen, but further inflationary pressures on emerging markets, where there are the most mouths to feed, will remain a threat.


Global cooling causes chaos across Europe

Heavy snowfalls forced some of Europe's busiest airports to close and wreaked havoc on roads and railways as an unseasonable cold snap swept the continent, claiming at least 15 lives. Temperatures dropped to as low as minus 18 degrees Celsius in some parts of Germany, while driving rain in Italy triggered the collapse of two Roman walls in Pompeii and flooding in Venice.

Thirteen people died of exposure in central Europe, including eight in Poland. Most were under the influence of alcohol, according to police. Two people died in England in accidents blamed on the weather, one in a motorcycle crash and the other after falling into a freezing lake.

Albania meanwhile proclaimed a state of natural disaster in the north due to heavy floods, and more than 200 people were evacuated from the region near Shkodra as hundreds of houses filled with water.

Transport chaos hit the whole of the continent as the snow spread, and Britain - shivering in the earliest widespread snowfalls of winter since 1993 - was one of the countries worst affected.

London’s Gatwick Airport, Europe's eighth busiest passenger air hub, will be shut until at least 0600 GMT on Thursday as staff worked to clear the runways.

A Qantas spokesman said none of their flights had been delayed. He said the airline operates out of London Heathrow Airport and Germany's Frankfurt Airport, both of which have not closed.

Edinburgh Airport, Scotland's busiest, was shut and delays were reported at airports in Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland, Newcastle in northeast England and Jersey in the Channel Islands.

British forecasters said Wednesday had been the coldest December 1 on record, with no hope of a let-up in the coming days.

British insurer RSA warned that bad weather in the run up to Christmas would have a major impact on the economy and could lead to significant losses for struggling businesses. "This cold front couldn't come at a worse time for the UK," said David Greaves, director of RSA. "If we lose just one fifth of our daily GDP through companies not being able to open and people cancelling spending plans on events and shopping, we're looking at about £1.2 billion every working day," he said.

Oil giant BP said the weather had "severely impacted" its deliveries to more than 100 petrol stations across Scotland and that it would only carry out safe and essential deliveries from its Grangemouth terminal near Edinburgh.

Police in the southern countries of Kent and Surrey advised motorists not to travel unless their journey was absolutely essential, with severe delays reported on the M25 London orbital motorway which passes through the counties.

Britain, which last year shivered through its coldest winter in 30 years, has not seen such widespread early snowfall since 1993.

Heavy snowfall also forced the closure of Geneva International Airport where 100 stranded passengers had to spend the night in the terminal. Two hundred others were sheltered by the civil protection unit as hotels were fully booked.

Switzerland's Basel Airport shut its runway in order to clear off the 10cms of snow that accumulated in just over two hours. The country's biggest airport Zurich was still operating, although 70 flights had been cancelled due to bad weather conditions in other airports.

At Germany's Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, 153 flights were cancelled, all due to flights not arriving from elsewhere.

And 250 flights were cancelled at Munich airport, nearly a quarter of the daily total, mostly due to snow preventing take-offs.

In the Paris area, French aviation authorities asked airlines to cancel 25 per cent of their flights at Roissy airport and 10 per cent at Orly because of expected snowfalls. But there were no flight cancellations Wednesday

Snow and freezing temperatures however forced authorities to cancel 116 flights from Lyon Airport.

Trains were also hit, including the Eurostar, which operates high-speed passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels. Speed restrictions were imposed and led to delays of up to 90 minutes and some cancellations.

There were widespread problems on the roads across Europe, including in France where 17,200 trucks had to abandon their journeys nationwide. There were serious accidents reported on the main road between Prague and the eastern Czech city of Brno. In Italy snowfalls disrupted traffic in city centres and on motorways in the northern Lombardy and Piedmont regions, and in Spain school transport services were disrupted by heavy snow in northern and central regions. Snowdrifts and fallen trees also caused traffic problems in Germany.

Bild newspaper said it was the coldest December 1 in several hundred years, with temperatures as low as minus 18C in some places.

Eight people have died of exposure in Poland, three in the Czech Republic and two in Lithuania, officials said on Wednesday.

In Italy two ancient Roman walls fell down in the archaeological site of Pompeii due to persistent heavy rains that wore away the ancient mortar between the stones.


U.S. Republicans Axe Global Warming Panel

House Republicans will scrap the committee set up by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate global warming, the panel’s top Republican announced Wednesday. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) made official what many had already expected – the GOP majority will axe the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Pelosi created in 2007. “This hearing will be the last of the select committee,” Sensenbrenner announced.

Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called Wednesday’s hearing to give witnesses a chance to warn of the perils of climate change before the GOP launches efforts next year to roll back the Obama administration’s climate policies.

Sensenbrenner, a vocal climate change skeptic, had pushed to keep the panel alive to probe the White House’s energy policies. But it was seen as unlikely that GOP leadership would devote resources to the panel created by Democrats at the same time that they called for scaling back government spending.

The Wisconsin Republican may still play a key role in leading investigations into climate science next year. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who’s vying for the chairmanship of the Science Committee, told POLITICO Tuesday he’d like to see Sensenbrenner lead the panel’s climate science probes.

Markey, meanwhile, assured Republicans that he and others will battle from the minority to slash global warming emissions. “We are not going away because the problems that climate change presents are too dangerous too urgent for us to disappear into the abyss of cynicism and loss,” Markey said. “We are not going away because China, India, and Germany are not going away as competitors for global energy dominance. We are not going away because the national security threats from our continued dependence on foreign oil are not going away.”


Lewis to EPA: We’ll gut your funding

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) wants to get the chair of Appropriations once Republicans take control of the House, and he’s campaigning hard to demonstrate his commitment to conservative causes. In an attempt to move the conversation away from earmarking, Lewis has fixed his sights on the EPA and its “arbitrary interpretations of the Clean Air Act,” warning EPA head Lisa Jackson that he intends on stripping the agency of funding for her climate-change agenda:

Rep. Jerry Lewis is hoping to strengthen his bid to chair the House Appropriations Committee by threatening to strip funding from the Obama administration’s controversial environmental rules.

The California Republican vying for the gavel of the powerful spending panel sent a letter Monday to the Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson warning that the GOP-led House plans to strip funding for agency regulations and conduct “unprecedented levels of oversight,” with a particular focus on the administration’s climate change policies.

“In addition to scrutinizing the agency’s entire FY 2012 budget, with particular attention on the agency’s rulemaking process, the House Appropriations Committee will be exercising its prerogative to withhold funding for prospective EPA regulations and de-fund through the rescissions process many of those already on the books,” wrote Lewis, who chaired the spending panel in 2005 and 2006.

Specifically, Lewis said he wants to target EPA’s “ongoing arbitrary interpretation of the Clean Air Act” to begin regulating greenhouse gases in January. He said he will refuse to support federal funding to regulate greenhouse gases in the 112th Congress “unless Congress passes bipartisan energy legislation specifically providing the authority to do so.”

Lewis also signaled plans to target EPA agricultural regulations dealing with spilled milk on dairy farms, airborne dust, lawn fertilizer and arsenic in ground water.

Lewis might get a chance to do something about the FY2011 budget, too, if Democrats don’t stop focusing on the DREAM Act and other nonsense. They have just three weeks to pass a full budget, but instead they’re discussing the remainder of the progressive wish-list agenda. If they don’t act to create a full budget by the end of the session — one which Republicans will allow to proceed in the Senate — then the chair of Appropriations will have a lot more immediate impact on the EPA’s ambitions on climate change.

That’s not likely to change no matter whether Lewis or John Kingston gets the chair. Reining in the EPA will be a high priority for business-minded Republicans, and funding will be the manner in which they yank the leash. The Senate doesn’t have enough Democrats to force the House to fully fund the EPA, especially since so many Democrats will have to stand for re-election in 2012, especially in Midwestern and southern states that rely on agriculture for their economy. Defending Jackson now or later in 2011 will have deep ramifications for politicians like Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, and Jim Webb.


Warming Underestimated - Does It Matter?

It’s a curious phenomenon that examples of climate ‘forcing’ always seem to occur just before big environmental summits, and that the forcing only ever goes in one direction. The UN Climate Change meeting at Cancun this week is no exception. The UK’s Met Office, among others, released a series of statements and in the Met Office’s case a brochure about climate change. Their conclusion is that things are probably worse than we thought, and in their opinion, is worse than the current science is telling us. I suppose in the face of uncertainties in the science, and contradictory data, touting authoritative opinion is seen as a way to influence important meetings (the Royal Society obviously thinks the same), although it must be said that when it comes to opinion the Met Office track record for accuracy is not shining.

Just four lines of information released in the Met Office’s brochure attracted most of the attention in the media. It seems that there is a case to be made that ocean temperatures need to be adjusted. Prior to about 2002 they need to be lowered, and post 2002 they need to be raised slightly.

Those four lines were;

Changes in the way sea-surface temperatures were measured

over the last decade have introduced a small artificial cooling

of up to 0.03 °C over the last decade. This is being corrected

in a new version of the Met Office dataset.

The reference for the statement was given as; J. Kennedy, R. O. Smith and N. A. Rayner, 2011. Using AATSR data to assess the quality of in situ SST observations for climate studies, in press Remote Sensing of Environment.

It would be fair to say that the most inconvenient truth in climate science at the moment is that the world has refused to warm in the past decade. That includes the land as well as the oceans and the scientific literature is replete with research that arrives at this conclusion. It’s a topic we have discussed several times in the Observatory, most recently here. Obviously given the importance of such a finding that the ocean temperature dataset needs adjusting it is important to check, and recheck, the data on which it is based.

This is what the Met Office has done showing that recent warming may have been as much as 0.03 C per decade larger than previously thought. But does it matter, and does it justify the headlines?

Despite the unequivocal headlines no mainstream environmental journalist (in the UK at least) did anything other that repeat those four lines, and the associated comments on the Met Office’s press release. Indeed, when contacted for the scientific paper on which those four dramatic lines are based the Met Office Press Office didn’t have it and had to scramble to track it down.

Measuring Temperature

The research paper deals with different ways to measure the sea’s temperature, from ships, buoys (drifting and moored) and satellite-based observations.

They all measure different things. Temperature measurements from ships are the most variable. Some have done it by lowering a bucket (sometimes a specially designed one), which is raised, and the temperature measured and recorded with the time and ship’s position. Some ships measure the temperature of the water engine intake that comes from a different water depth and is specific to the design of the individual ship. Buoys are specially designed to take meteorological readings and sea temperatures but until recently were of a mix of designs each with their own idiosyncrasies and errors. Satellite observations (looking at the infra-red spectra of the ocean) measure something different, the temperature of a very thin slice of the ocean’s surface. When compared to the other data satellite observations have to be converted to ‘bulk temperatures’ which is a non-trivial process with scientific problems of its own.

To investigate the relationship between ships, buoys and satellites the researchers take the satellite data as the most accurate and (taking only night-time satellite observations in the first instance) then look for simultaneous ship-satellite observations as well as simultaneous buoy-satellite data between 2002 - 2007.

The satellite temperature data has an average scatter of 0.14 C. Ship data are less accurate with a scatter of 0.71 +/- 0.74 C when compared to the satellite data. Buoy data are better with a scatter of 0.29 +/- 0.26 C when compared to satellite data. None of these figures are surprising, or particularly new.

Taken together these figures suggest that, when compared to (processed) satellite data buoys tend on average to read cooler and ships warmer. According to the researchers this means that ship temperatures must be depressed and buoys raised. In addition the increasing number of measurements of sea surface temperature from ocean buoys and the decreasing proportion of measurements from ships since 1980 should be taken into consideration.

The researchers conclude that this difference spread across the globe and over the years is sufficient to add a warming of 0.03 C per decade to the HadCRUT surface temperature record. Despite the impression given in the media this is a small correction. It should also be noted that the 0.03 C is very much a statistical upper limit on the purported shortfall in warming. It assumes that the bias in global average sea surface temperature is on the large size of estimates and that the sea surface temperature contributes around 70 per cent of the average global surface temperature.

Superficially then, one can say the temperature in the past decade has been adjusted upward and therefore the oceans have warmed more than was realised. That view however does not take into account the variability in the data, which should not now be ignored, as that was the whole point of the exercise in the first place.

The correction is smaller than the inter-year variability and does not change the impression that there was no oceanic warming before 1997 and after 2002, after which there is if anything a slight cooling. Also note that this lack of warming occurred when the percentage of buoys rose from 40% to 80% of the data set and the cooling when the percentage of buoys remained constant at about 80%.

To my mind the new corrected data tells us nothing new and nothing that the satellite data when taken in isolation (it is after all claimed to be the best data) hasn’t already revealed.

When the errors in measurements and the scatter in the data are taken into consideration the adjustments, if confirmed and accepted, do not make much difference to way the global average annual temperatures have changed in the past twenty years and in fact confirm the non-warming of the oceans in the past decade.

So the media headlines could have just as accurately have read ‘New Met Office data confirms no warming of the oceans in past decade.’ But that would have meant abandoning journalistic acceptance of authority statements, as well as reading beyond four lines in a brochure.

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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 December, 2010

Using Greenie tactics against them

The principles used in the article below could equally be used to stop the building of windfarms, which have a high nuisance value

Basic real estate law could stop gas drilling in the Northeast.

Here's the idea. When you bought your house you didn't buy just dirt and bricks; you bought what your lawyer calls a bundle of rights. That includes what he or she calls the right of quiet enjoyment.

Quiet enjoyment means more than the right to sit on your porch and watch the sunset; it includes the right to enjoy the value of your property. If your neighbor does something to hurt this right, he has to pay you the before-and-after difference -- to make you whole, as they say.

It's called nuisance law, and means everybody has the right to do what they want with their property -- as long and they don't hurt anybody else. If they do, they have to pay.

So, since banks won't lend on a house near a gas well unless the owner can prove their water supply will always be safe, and that can't be done -- i.e.: where there's gas drilling, property values collapse -- it follows as the night the day that if your neighbor leases his land for gas drilling, you can sue said boneheaded neighbor to make you whole.

"It's just Real Estate 101," says the co-chair of one of the American Bar Association's practice groups. "I'm surprised nobody's using it now."

As it happens, it is being done now. Two recent Pennsylvania lawsuits, filed separately against Southwest Energy Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., claim that their gas drilling has contaminated local water supplies and harmed the related property values.

That first claim -- that gas drilling contaminated the local water -- is the hot button issue for anti-drilling activists. But Peter Cambs, the partner in Parker Waichman Alonso LLP fighting the suits, likes the property value issue better.

"It's the stronger claim," he says. "I don't think there is a defense" against it. Nationwide, the statistical case that gas drilling depresses property values is practically bullet-proof.

On the other hand, says Cambs, defense attorneys can try to play out the clock on the water contamination claim with what you could call the tobacco defense -- first deny there was any contamination, then that gas drilling caused it, then insist the issue needs more study, and finally say there's no way to quantify the damage.

By the time they're ready to settle, it's many years later, and drilling's gone on apace. He says his case will be an appeal to common sense -- that the water was fine until drilling began, so it obviously caused the contamination.

How useful common sense will be in a court room remains to be seen. In any case, says Cambs, he expects the case to last at least two years -- before appeals.

Of course, the problem for many property owners living near gas drilling is that they didn't buy their rural property to live in an industrial zone. And they're remarkably uninterested in being hurt in the first place.

Enter Gregory Alexander, A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell University. He says there's a well-trodden legal path that could stop drilling before it begins.

Called anticipatory nuisance, it's basically the notion that you can stop your neighbor from doing something if waiting to sue until you're harmed is ludicrous. In a western, this is where the marshal says you shot in self-defense.

"It's a doctrine that's established in common law," says Alexander. "A court would not be making new law" by supporting such a claim, and "it presents a plaintiff with a lot of ammunition."

The beauty here is that applying the case law to gas drilling is no stretch. According to George P. Smith, II, who wrote an article about this in the Vermont Law Review, it was established in 1864 America, when a court found that one Mr.Tipping's property rights would be harmed by a proposed smelting operation, even though there were several factories nearby. More rulings followed.

These are really two different sorts of lawsuits; one compensates you if drilling's already taken place and the other would stop it before it happened. And anybody can tell you that what anti-drilling activists want to do is the latter -- which is why they're trying, at least in New York, to convince Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo to either throw out the regulations already drawn up by the state's Department of Environmental Protection and start over (they're not yet adopted), or ban modern, horizontal gas drilling -- so-called "fracking" -- altogether.

Only Mr. Cuomo knows if he'll ever do that, and so far, he hasn't committed himself. But even if he did completely disappoint the anti-drilling forces, they could use Prof. Alexander's idea in a test case that would tie up drilling for a long time -- and maybe stop it altogether. It would cost plenty; but the money and legal talent could probably be found, if it came to it.

Since each state has their own case law in these matters and states like Texas and West Virginia don't favor such lawsuits, this leaves us with the problem of what to do in Pennsylvania, New York, and, maybe, Ohio. It's where things will get messy and people will have to get their hands dirty.


NOTE also:

Most environmental groups are blindly supporting wind energy. The fact is that there is no such thing as wind energy by itself. Wind energy MUST be paired with a conventional source of energy. Country-wide the most frequent source is gas.

So, it should be clearly understood, that support for wind energy is defacto support for more gas power. More gas power at this point requires more affordable and plentiful US gas supplies, which means hydrofracking. Therefore, anyone who supports wind energy is (in effect) supporting hydrofracking.

Conversely, one way to reduce hydrofracking is to get rid of wind energy.

Green energy never ready for prime time

For most businesses, Election Day is already an afterthought. Their viability depends on customers, not on politicians. For "green" energy industries, however, unfavorable political winds can easily lead to bankruptcy.

Consider the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange. It was established seven years ago to facilitate the "trade" part of a "cap-and-trade" policy. Accordingly, the fortunes of CCX have mirrored the prospects of climate policy in the Congress. In May 2008, as the Senate prepared to take up cap-and-trade legislation, CCX-investor optimism spiked - as did the price for a credit representing a ton of carbon dioxide on the CCX, at almost $7.

Then the Senate shelved the controversial measure and the price of a ton of carbon dioxide plummeted steadily, now languishing at 5 cents. When the November Republican election tide became reality - with its corresponding doom for the politically poisonous cap-and-trade bill - the CCX, begun and sustained with so much media and political fanfare, announced that it would fold.

The fall of CCX brings into stark relief the central problem ailing the entire "clean energy" industry that President Obama has promised to conjure: It exists only by the grace of politicians.

For decades, renewable energy sources have existed solely due to subsidies, yet they still cannot compete. According to the federal Energy Information Administration projections, in 2016 wind will still be nearly 50 percent more expensive than coal and nearly 80 percent more expensive than natural gas. The EIA projects thermal solar will be 150 percent more expensive than coal, and 200 percent more expensive than gas.

Don't take our word for it. Green energy execs regularly acknowledge that their industries face ruin unless the taxpayer spigot is kept wide open, all the while providing assurances that they have become cost-competitive:

-Biomass Power Association President Robert Cleaves (February 2010): "Thousands of jobs in the biomass power industry could be lost if Congress fails to extend the production tax credit."

-American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode (July 2010): "Manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn't act now" to impose a federal mandate for electricity produced by AWEA members.

-Solar Energy Industry Association President Rhone Resch (September 2008): "Unless Congress promptly returns to complete their unfinished business, the solar industry will suffer with the loss of 39,000 jobs."

-Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen (November 2010): "Allowing the tax incentive to expire would risk jobs in a very important domestic energy sector and across rural America."

Of course, it is only natural for aid-dependent industries to warn that they would suffer without the continuation of aid. Employing this circular logic, taxpayer funded renewable power has remained the "energy of the future" for decades. But American taxpayers simply cannot afford to subsidize industries that are forever-nascent.

Although conventional energy sources like coal and natural gas also, unfortunately, receive subsidies, their existence does not depend on handouts, and renewable power generation receives at least 50 times the taxpayer subsidies doled out to fossil fuels per unit of energy produced, even before the 2009 stimulus act and its more than $60 billion in green energy giveaways. In the face of rising deficits, it's well past time to end wasteful, taxpayer-funded welfare.


EPA not serving health, the public

During the week of Nov. 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new air quality regulations intended to reduce carbon emissions among many of America’s industries and activities. We can argue about the need to better our air quality beyond the amazing improvements we have witnessed the past 30 years. We can argue about the need to reduce carbon emissions when carbon dioxide is the life blood of our planet supporting the plant life that makes life for mankind viable.

But no one can argue that EPA is using a heavy hand in giving the public exactly two weeks to respond to its proposal by a Dec. 1 deadline – with one of the weeks being taken up largely with our nation’s Thanksgiving celebration.

This command-and-control form of government brings to mind Nancy Pelosi’s announcement to the House of Representatives last spring regarding Obamacare – when she said “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Of course most of us know how that turned out.

It is clear now that Cap and Trade legislation to control carbon emissions is not going to pass through our Congress. The public has expressed overwhelming objection to it – everywhere but California. It is just as clear, however, that under the direction of our president and his EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, we are going to be subject to regulation with out representation. This is disgraceful, and would certainly have our founding fathers rolling over in their graves.

It is time to rein in the EPA whenever and wherever its efforts are serving neither the health of the public, nor the environment, but instead causing significant economic damage.


Veteran Journalist Banned from Climate Change Conference

Might ask questions

It appears that drug cartel-related kidnappings and murders are not the only crimes taking place in Mexico these days. According to a message received this morning, Phelim McAleer has been denied press accreditation for the Cancun Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Only days before the international conference opening today, the United Nations refused access to the veteran journalist and documentary filmmaker who produced and directed Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary on Global Warming.

Apparently, climate scientists and politicians attending the conference are afraid McAleer might ask them to explain their global warming beliefs. After all, he has done that before in conjunction with the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009

During an encounter in September 2009, an armed U.N. security guard prevented McAleer from asking a scientist difficult questions about the ClimateGate e-mails and warned that if he did not stop filming he would confiscate his equipment and expel him from the conference

McAleer says the refusal to allow him access to the Cancun Climate Change Conference is censorship. "I sent them exactly the same documentation that was acceptable for Copenhagen last year, but it seems they did not like my coverage of Copenhagen and are now trying to silence me and the people who have questions about this process.

"The message is clear: ask U.N. scientists and politicians difficult questions and you will be banned from any U.N.-sponsored events. No difficult questions allowed," he added.

McAleer is a 20-year veteran journalist who covered the Northern Ireland troubles. He has also worked for the U.K. Sunday Times and as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and The Economist. He has worked as a journalist and filmmaker in countries as diverse as Ireland, Romania, Uzbekistan , Indonesia, Madagascar, Chile, Indonesia, Vietnam, and many other countries.

SOURCE. (Lots of videos at link)

You Can Stop Paying for Al Gore's Mistake

In Greece earlier this month, Al Gore made a startling admission: "First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake." Unfortunately, Americans have Gore to thank for ethanol subsidies. In 1994, then-Vice President Gore ended a 50-50 tie in the Senate by voting in favor of an ethanol tax credit that added almost $5 billion to the federal deficit last year. And that number doesn't factor the many ways in which corn-based ethanol mandates drive up the price of food and livestock feed.

Sure, he meant well, but as Reuters reported, Gore also said, "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

In sum, Gore demonstrated that politicians are lousy at figuring out which alternative fuels make the most sense. Now even enviros like Friends of the Earth have come to believe that "large-scale agro-fuels" are "ecologically unsustainable and inefficient." That's a polite way of saying that producers need to burn through a boatload of fossil fuels to make ethanol.

Gore also showed that most D.C. politicians can't be trusted to put America's interests before those of Iowa farmers. But there is one pursuit in which homo electus excels: spending other people's money.

Beware politicians when they promise you "the jobs of the future." Last week, the Washington Post ran a story about a federal grant program in Florida designed to retrain the unemployed for jobs in the growing clean-energy sector. Except clean tech isn't growing as promised. Officials told the Post that three-quarters of their first 100 graduates haven't had a single job offer.

In May, President Obama came to a Fremont, Calif., solar plant where he announced, "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra." This month, Solyndra announced it was canceling its expansion plans. The announcement came after voters rewarded the green lobby by defeating Proposition 23 -- which would have postponed California's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law AB32 -- because voters bought the green-jobs promise.

Back to Gore. There is a movement in Washington to end Gore's mistake. Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina have proposed ending the 45-cent-per-gallon subsidy on corn ethanol, which is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it.

As DeMint explained in an e-mail to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, "Government mandates and tax subsidies for ethanol have led to decreased gas mileage, adversely effected the environment and increased food prices. Washington must stop picking winners and losers in the market, and instead allow Americans to make choices for themselves."

That's what free-market types who oppose corporate welfare -- like me -- have been saying for years.

So the question is: Will this new batch of Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to buck the farm lobby and agribusiness by weaning them from the public teat? Or are they no better than the farm-lobby-pandering Al Gore?


Support for nuclear power coming from the Australian Left

They are freaked by what the voters might do about the higher electricity bills that green power will necessitate. Electricity bills have already risen a lot and they know that cannot go on forever

FEDERAL Labor MPs are calling for Australia to embrace nuclear power, leaving Julia Gillard facing another damaging split in her Government. Ms Gillard is under pressure to put the divisive issue on next year's ALP national conference agenda - with MPs claiming voters care more about power bills than gay marriage.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson last night said those advocating nuclear power had as much right to have the issue debated at the showcase event as those backing changes to gay marriage laws.

Defying Labor's official ban on nuclear power, a number of MPs have gone public in their support for the low-carbon energy source. "My view is that all forms of energy supply should be under active consideration," former frontbencher Mark Bishop said. Senator Bishop said the "Government should give more active consideration to putting nuclear into the equation of all forms of energy supply, particularly those that are subsidised".

NSW Senator Steve Hutchins also wants nuclear power debated after Ms Gillard this week argued that a price on carbon would be a high priority for her Government. "In my opinion it should be part of the [energy] debate if we want to have a clean future," he said. "I cannot see us returning to living in the cave and burning fallen timber to keep us warm."

Privately a number of ministers support nuclear power being considered along with coal, solar and other energy sources as part of Australia's future energy mix.

The nuclear push will receive a boost today when Mr Ferguson releases a report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. The study finds nuclear power will be cheaper than traditional coal-fired power stations and renewables such as solar - once Australia introduces a carbon tax.

Labor MP Chris Hayes said Australia would soon become the biggest exporter of uranium as he called for nuclear to be included in the energy debate. "Why would we simply reject it out of hand?" Mr Hayes said.

Senator Michael Forshaw said key regional players were rapidly embracing nuclear power. "I am not one who says we should never, ever contemplate the possibility of nuclear. It should be part of a broad debate about cleaner energy," he said.

Senator Hutchins wants the issue on the agenda for the ALP national conference. "It is more important for the country's future than gay marriage and it affects a lot more people," he said.

Mr Ferguson said he believed those advocating change should have the chance to state their case at Labor's showcase event. "They have as much right to discuss nuclear at the 2011 conference as other people have to debate the issue of gay and lesbian marriage," he said.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific lashed out at the ALP over the issue last night. Spokesman Stephen Campbell said nuclear power and its waste were a threat to people and the environment and "not a solution to climate change".

"It's also too expensive and too unsafe. If the ALP went down that road, they would be costing the taxpayers billions of dollars to establish the technology, while renewable energy is safer, cheaper and much easier to build," he said.



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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

My academic background is in the social sciences so it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me both from what you see above and from what you see elsewhere on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics. So the explanation for such beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. Logical? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

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

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)