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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 October, 2010

Amusing: An addle-headed Professor of the environment

The article below is by Donald A. Brown, Associate Professor, Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at Penn State University. He opens up speaking of climate skepticism as "a new kind of vicious crime against humanity" and then goes on to say that "This post is not meant to be a polemic but a call for serious engaged reflection". What a contradiction! What a confused soul!

Excerpt only below but nowhere in the article does he mention a single referenced scientific fact. It is all just the usual conspiracy theories and another tired and false old claim of a "consensus". Instead of an appeal to the facts, he appeals to the NYT!

This post examines the question of whether some US companies are guilty of a new kind of vicious crime against humanity that the world has yet to classify. This post is not meant to be a polemic but a call for serious engaged reflection about deeply irresponsible corporate-sponsored programs that have potentially profound harsh effects upon tens of millions of people living around the world, countless millions of future generations, and the ecological systems on which life depends.

II. Corporate Disinformation Campaign

Although there is an important role for skepticism in science, for almost thirty years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science that has been spreading untruths and distortions about climate science. Several recent books document how this disinformation campaign began in the1980s including a book by Orkeses and Conway, Merchants of Doubt.(Orkeskes and Conway, 2010)

Although it may be reasonable to be somewhat skeptical about climate change models, some corporate sponsored participants in the climate change disinformation campaign have been spreading deeply misleading distortions about the science of climate change. These untruths are not based upon reasonable skepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science. These claims have included assertions that that the science of climate change that is the foundation for calls to action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have been completely "debunked" and that there is no evidence of human causation of recent observed warming. Reasonable skepticism cannot make these claims or others frequently being made by the well-financed climate change disinformation campaign.

Given that there are thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies that support the consensus view on the dangers of continuing to emit increasing levels of greenhouse gases, that Academy of Sciences around the world have issued statements in support of the consensus view articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , there are virtually no peer-reviewed scientific articles that prove beyond reasonable doubt that observed warming is naturally caused, that there are a huge number of attribution, fingerprinting, and analyses of isotopes of greenhouse gases that are appearing in the atmosphere that point to human causation, that the basic physics of exactly what happens when greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere in terms of absorbing and reradiating heat has been understood for over 150 years, claims that the science of climate change have been completely "debunked" and that there is no evidence of human causation are patently false. These claims do not represent reasonable skepticism but utter distortion about a body of evidence that the world needs to understand to protect itself from huge potential harms....

The October 21rst New York Times article concludes that the oil, coal and utility industries have collectively spent $500 million just since the beginning of 2009 to lobby against legislation to address climate change and to defeat candidates who support actions to reduce the threat of climate change. It would be one thing for an American corporation to act irresponsibly in a way that leads to harm to Americans, but because of climate change's global scope, American corporation's have been involved in behavior that likely will harm tens of millions of people around the world. Clearly this is a new type of crime against humanity. Skepticism in science is not bad, but skeptics must play by the rules of science including publishing their conclusions in peer-reviewed scientific journals and not make claims that are not substantiated by the peer-reviewed literature. The need for responsible skepticism is particularly urgent if misinformation from skeptics could lead to great harm. For this reason, this disinformation campaign being funded by some American corporations is some kind of new crime against humanity.

More HERE.

An earlier post on the confused mind of Prof. Brown here.

To get to be a professor he must have some modicum of intellegence so his confusion and abusive writing suggests that he is simply blinded by hate of the world about him

Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists

By Roger Pielke, Jr.

Daniel Greenberg, the widely respected journalist and author who focuses on science policy and politics, was invited by Nature to review my book, The Climate Fix. Little did he know that review would bring him up close and personal with the activist wing of the climate science community. After writing a positive review of my book, Greenberg found himself under attack by Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Stefan Rahmstorf on the pages on Nature.

What followed was an email exchange that provides some insight into the mindset of the activist wing of the climate science community. Greenberg shared this exchange with me with the following message, published here with his permission:
Roger, Re my stirring experience of jousting with Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf: What a scurrilous bunch. My sympathy to you and anyone else who has to deal with them. They're gravediggers of science. Nature will soon publish my riposte and, I think, a disclaimer of any ties to me by the Marshall Institute. Below, my further exchanges with the low-life trio. Best regards, Dan

Here is Greenberg's email to Michael Mann that concludes the exchange, reproduced with his permisison:
Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,

Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion.

Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not.

Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists.

Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.

Sincerely, Dan Greenberg

If Michael Mann thinks that he has been treated unfairly by my decision not to publish his side of the exchange, I will be happy to post up his emails with his permission. Somehow I doubt that he will be as forthcoming as Greenberg. The repeated character assassination and behind-the-scenes attacks of a small segment of the climate science community gives the entire field a black eye, and it continues unabated. Greenberg is right, these guys could make apple pie and motherhood come under public suspicion.


Maths, Science, Ego - what are we doing re 'climate' in our schools?

I think ego-building is a part of what is going on, but that is to be optimistic. Telling children that they are to 'save the planet' is perhaps good for their egos. But telling them, based pretty much on computer models that are not fit to be let out of the groves of academe, that the planet, which for the young means their family and friends and pets, is in imminent danger, is surely bad for their spirits.

And bad for their intellects too, since there is precious little good science behind CO2-alarmism and an awful lot of goal-motivated speculation. What that goal, or goals are, is worthy of debate, but handing over more taxes and more power to governments seems an intrinsic part of it. Destroying industrial progress seems another.

Mostly, though, it seems to feed on the joy of controlling others - what they eat, drink, and smoke; how they light, heat, and build their houses; what opinions they may hold on this that and the other; what transport systems they are allowed to use; and how far away their trading partners are permitted to be.

All based on fear. Irrational, spirit-sapping, mind-numbing, truth-obscuring fear. What a way to prepare the young for the future. Let us hope that in China and in India, and in other powerhouses of the developing world, they will choose instead to pursue maths, and science, and independent thought, even as the US and Europe and other places wreck themselves and their young with dismal, pessimistic foolishness on a grand scale.

These Chinese and Indian and other children will not just take the 1st and 2nd places on such podia suggested by the cartoon above, but soon the 3rd and 4th and ... nth as well. Good luck to them. Our future generations may yet learn from them in turn.


Do all those Danish windmills do any good?

Figure 1 is a simple look at CO2 emissions and wind electricity production, which explains the claims made by wind proponents based on a superficial examination of the information. Figure 1 shows what the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) reports based on an “adjustment” of actual CO2 emissions. 2007 was a windy year and 2006 was a notably low wind year.

Figure 1 – Wind-generated electricity and CO2 emissions from electricity production in Denmark for the period 1990-2008. 1990 is the base year for Kyoto performance measurement. CO2 emissions are adjusted based on net exports of electricity

This looks convincing on the surface, but is not substantiated by closer examination. There are many reasons not to look to the relationship between wind electricity production, or any electricity production, and CO2 emissions as evidence of cause and effect, and these will be covered later.

But first, it is important to understand what the actual (or “observed” using the DEA terminology) CO2 emissions in Denmark are before “adjustment”. Even in this case, it must be remembered that emissions are not actually measured but are calculated using algorithms based on assumptions. Keep this in mind in connection with other considerations covered below.

The point is that Figure 1 does not show the actual CO2 emissions from electricity generation within Denmark because the DEA takes credit for net exports of electricity.[1] Figure 2 is Figure 1 restated using actual CO2 emissions.

Figure 2 –Actual CO2 emissions from electricity generation and wind electricity generation. This removes the adjustment to CO2 emissions for the net exports of electricity

There is still a downward trend in CO2 emissions, but less consistent and dramatic than shown in Figure 1. The reduction from the peak in 1996 was due to the significant reduction in fossil-fuel generated electricity exports, as shown in Part I, Figure 3. So, choosing any specific year as the basis of comparison to 1990 (Kyoto reference point) could be used to show different performance levels. For example look at 2006 (18% increase) and 2007 (5% decrease) in Figure 2. Also note the significantly higher “adjusted” base year (1990) levels in Figure 1. The percentage reduction in 2008 over 1990 is 31% for the “adjusted” emissions, and 15% for the observed emissions. Significant reductions occurred over the period 1996 to 2008, breaking an upward trend, with the greater use of natural gas as shown in Part I Figure 2. As well, Denmark has a strong energy efficiency record.

Actual emissions show significant year-over-year variations, and are not strongly correlated with wind generation. Figure 3 further illustrates this by looking at the year-over-year changes in wind generation of electricity and CO2 emissions. Although wind may have made some contribution with the availability of significant hydro resources for balancing, there are other, likely greater factors involved in the annual CO2 emissions levels, for example (some of which may overlap):

Changes in imports and exports

Changes in fuel types used each year, such as more or less gas versus coal

Changes in plant use due to maintenance or dispatch experience

Changes in plants, such as upgrades, or introduction of new plants

Figure 3 – Annual changes in wind electricity production and CO2 emissions. Note the absence of correlation

For 8 of the 18 years, CO2 emissions do not change in opposition to changes in wind production. In the years that they did, the relative amounts varied considerably.

Why Adjustments to CO2 Emissions are Inappropriate

The DEA adjusts CO2 emissions depending on net exports/imports of electricity. In years of net exports, exported electricity is considered the export of CO2 emissions (fossil fuel produced) or CO2 emissions savings (wind produced). In years of net imports it is considered to be the import of CO2 emissions (fossil fuel).

The DEA does state that the adjusted CO2 emissions are not to be taken into account, except for some limited purposes.[2] However the reporting of adjusted numbers, which are quite prominently used throughout the report, compared to the above referenced clarification note, can be used mistakenly to attribute better performance than is real. The following illustrates the limited applicability of adjusted numbers for Denmark:

The export of fossil fuel generation, and associated CO2 emissions, will not likely be taken as an upward adjustment by the receiving country, so the CO2 emissions that occurred on the production side will be “lost” in the total accounting.
With the export of wind-generated electricity, and presumed reduction in CO2 emissions, the receiving country already has reduced some other electricity production, and the effect on CO2 emissions has already been taken into account. Further complicating this is the effect of wind production on any balancing needed by fossil fuel generation in either country that is not properly accounted for in their calculations of CO2 emissions.

The exported wind-generated electricity to Norway/Sweden is displacing hydro and there are no CO2 emissions to be saved as a result.

If it is assumed that the electricity exported to Norway/Sweden is fossil-fuel generated, it is displacing non-CO2 producing hydro.

CO2 Emissions Savings from Wind

The best case for CO2 emissions savings as the result of wind production actually used in Denmark is if this is totally balanced by hydro from Norway/Sweden. This appears not to be the case, but the actual amount is not easily determined because of the many considerations involved, including the amount of wind used in Denmark, the split between Denmark and Germany of hydro from Norway/Sweden and the split within Denmark between hydro- and fossil-fuel balancing of wind.

CEPOS calculates the cost of using wind power to save CO2 emissions to be $124 (€ 87) per tonne, presumably depending primarily on hydro balancing, which is expensive compared to the value of emissions allowances traded on the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) which varied from € 1 to € 30 per tonne of CO2. Factoring in increased CO2 emissions from any fossil fuel plants used for wind balancing could add to these costs.

Is there a better way for Denmark to reduce CO2 emissions? Do Norway and Sweden Provide Storage for Danish Wind?

Wind proponents claim that Denmark exports wind-generated electricity to Norway and Sweden and later imports this when needed. In effect Nordic water reservoirs provide storage, which is true. However in this exchange, Denmark receives little value for its exported wind, pays market prices for imports, and incurs transmission losses in both directions. Add to this imbalance that Denmark has paid heavily for its wind plants and the conclusion is easily reached that Denmark would have been better off financially, and operationally, not implementing wind plants and importing Nordic hydro-electricity when needed.

The savings in CO2 emissions would have been the same, and only because of the presence of the large hydro-generation plants in Norway and Sweden.

The lesson for other countries is that Denmark’s unique circumstances allow (1) the high level of wind production in Denmark, (2) wind used domestically within Denmark, at about 5% of total electricity consumption, to make some small contribution to CO2 emissions reduction. Otherwise, with just fossil-fuel balancing resources, there is likely no emissions savings, and (3) Denmark does not enjoy any long term benefits in any other category.


Nuclear Executive Roundtable

As the United States continues to look for clean, reliable energy to cut emissions while providing enough power for the growing country, the nuclear power industry is making plans to expand. On Feb. 16, President Obama awarded the first loan guarantee for a nuclear plant under the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The award of $8.3 billion for two additional reactors at the Vogtle plant in Georgia is conditional until the plant receives a combined construction and operating license from the NRC, which is expected in 2011.

Southern Co. is not the only energy provider looking to build the first nuclear reactors in the U.S. Along with modular design and the financial battle of building new nuclear, nuclear power has been grabbing headlines across the globe.

In a series of interviews, Power Engineering magazine Associate Editor Brian Wheeler moderated this year’s Nuclear Power Executive Roundtable.

Participants included John Herron, president, CEO & chief nuclear officer of Entergy Nuclear; Mark Morano, Areva senior vice president of U.S. new build operations; Danny Roderick, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's senior vice president for new plant projects; Christofer Mowry, president & CEO, B&W Modular Nuclear Energy, LLC; and Deva Chari, Westinghouse senior vice president of Nuclear Power Plants.

There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of a nuclear renaissance globally. What is the outlook for new nuclear projects over the next couple of years, especially given the global recession?

Christofer Mowry: Well, I guess it really depends on what market you are looking at. I think you have the emerging economies markets: the India and China type. They are really moving forward quite aggressively with new nuclear build out because fundamentally they have a need for power and they are not going to get it all from coal even if they wanted to. India and China are growing 8 to 10 to 12 percent. So there is no recession impacting those economies. Then you have the developing countries and there are a couple of dynamics there. I think the best one is if you look at Eastern Europe where they are really focused in on energy security which has nothing to do with growth either. Countries like Ukraine and the Baltic States are really looking to try and get independent of Russian gas because they have been held hostage politically on that supply for several years. I think you will see the developing countries, for a number of reasons including energy security, really moving forward. But there I think the question really is ‘what technology are they going to use?’ Then you have what I will call the developed countries: the U.S. and Europe. And there I think what is interesting is that you have a bifurcation. And this is something from a nuclear perspective that is really important. Where nuclear energy is seen as a national security and a national agenda item, and good examples of that is France and Japan; whether it’s big or small they are moving ahead because it is basically a government sponsored type of activity. That is what is going on there and I think that is somewhat insulated, if you will, from the recession in total. And then you have the more market driven energy industries and the U.S. and the U.K. are prototypes of that. And that is where we really see the impact of the recession and the strain in the financial markets having a big toll on the path forward that was charted around 2000 that was really centered on mega projects. Because the fact is that in a recessionary environment and in an area where you have the constrained capital markets, you just can’t get these projects off the ground in market driven economy and that’s why you see this whole issue with loan guarantees in the U.S. and everything kind of stalled out on the big reactor side.

Mark Morano: I think the global nuclear renaissance is much more than talk as there are more than 50 plants that are currently under construction in China, Russia, India and Europe. Those countries are leading the way. The outlook for new nuclear in these regions is very promising over the next couple of years as the demand for baseload power generation increases in developing countries, while most developed countries recognize the need to battle climate change.

Here in the United States we tend to suffer from a lack of definitive action on energy policy, climate change, and job creation. New nuclear plants can significantly help address these major issues facing our country. Building a new plant not only creates thousands of jobs during construction and hundreds of jobs during the life of the plant it also produces clean energy without greenhouse gases and reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. The key point here is there is dichotomy. Countries with smaller economies than the U.S. adopt long term energy policies and find ways to build new nuclear plants while we continue to look short term in the U.S., focus on upfront capital costs and act tactically, rather than strategically. Now is the time to take advantage of the great opportunity to create thousands of jobs and generate affordable, clean energy.

Danny Roderick: We are still very optimistic about the renaissance. We don’t think it has quite happened everywhere and what we are seeing right now is a great build out in a lot of closed markets. For the renaissance to really take place, what we are looking for are the countries that have open markets where competition is there and where all the companies can compete. That is really going to be the sign of the renaissance. I still see us right now in the U.S. as not having all the real things in place that we need to make an aggressive new build program.

We are still working a lot with our government trying to find ways to kick off and help the utility industry to want to invest this kind of money into new nuclear as well as all of us are improving our processes and fine tuning our pricing and supply chain so that we can accomplish this new build out when it happens. Around the world we are seeing some real promising signs in Europe and in the Asia market, but a lot of those are tied up on government agreements and tied up in closed markets. So we are still very bullish about it, but I still think we are still sitting in a two to five year slump here unless we find a way to somehow help the utilities to want to kick off projects here in the U.S.

John Herron: I think the key area to discuss here is what our ultimate energy policy is going to be for the United States. With the new congress coming on and with President Obama, the question is ‘where is the president going to want to go with nuclear as a clean energy source for our nation?’ Ultimately, nuclear energy is going to become a key policy agenda item. How serious are we about greenhouse gases and whether or not our country is going to take this seriously and look at what options we have in order to be able to deal with that issue?

Now with that being said, natural gas prices are anywhere from $4 to $4.50 per mm/Btu and the significant reserves of shale gas have come up to the point that we are even talking about LNG maybe being an export of instead an import – and issue that we talked about years ago. So when you look at LNG and you look at the economics, I can’t get the numbers to run for Entergy with respect to taking on a new nuclear build right now. It’s all going to boil down to carbon reduction and whether or not energy policy is going to want our country to get ahead and reduce GHG. I know nuclear power is the right way to go. It’s clean energy. It is safe and reliable. It is just the way to go. But you can’t get the new nuclear build numbers to work with natural gas and long-term natural gas looking like it is going to stay at the pricing levels where it is currently.

In respect to energy sources, you always want to have a diverse portfolio across all businesses because you don’t know what is going to happen to natural gas; you don’t know what is going to happen to coal prices; and we don’t know what is going to happen to carbon tax. In regard to the outlook for nuclear over the coming years, I will tell you that there are going to be new builds in the U.S. and it all comes down to demand, load and a diverse portfolio at the utilities. Longer term, we have to watch the direction of policy to see how the nuclear economics are made more favorable by clean energy legislation.

Deva Chari: The main drivers for nuclear expansion, both globally and in North America, have not changed. The global need for energy, and particularly for electricity, will continue to grow, environmental issues and greenhouse gas emissions will continue to be a concern and countries and regions will continue to be concerned about the security of their energy supplies. These factors will continue to make nuclear a viable and critical component of our long-term energy needs. In the near term, however, we expect to see continued slow growth as the world economies continue to recover. This is a global issue, but less of an issue in Asia than in North America and Europe.

Much more HERE

Australia: Failed NSW solar power scheme will burn a hole in every pocket

Households will pay an extra $600 on their electricity bill over six years to cover the $2 billion cost of the failure of the state government's overly generous solar power scheme.

If elected in March, the opposition will have the scheme, which runs to the end of 2016, reviewed by the auditor-general so that it can decide on its future.

From midnight last Wednesday, the government slashed from 60¢ to 20¢ per kilowatt hour the tariff paid to households installing solar panel systems because the surging number of applications has blown out the scheme's cost.

In reports tabled in Parliament last week, the government disclosed that it had been advised that even after slashing the tariff for solar panels, it anticipated 777 megawatts of solar panels would be installed by the time the scheme closed. Already, 200 megawatts of capacity has either been installed or ordered.

The reports detailed the total cost to households is forecast to reach $1975 million by 2017, placing a burden on homes at a time when power prices are rising sharply already.

The government refused to indicate when it first became aware that the initial 50-megawatt target had been breached, which triggered an automatic review of the scheme. The government began that review in August. However, Country Energy, one of the largest distributors in NSW, was informing solar industry officials as early as May that the target had already been reached.

Even so, the government "dithered until August" before holding its review, with the report only completed last week, opposition climate change spokeswoman Catherine Cusack said yesterday. "Labor's billion-dollar blowout will be passed on to families who will pay at least an extra $100 per year on their electricity bills every year until 2017," she said.

The total cost to families in some regional areas could be $1000.

A slump in the price of solar panels, to about $6000 per kilowatt from about $13,000 at the start of the year, prompted a surge in the number of households installing the systems. The price drop resulted in it taking only two years for some systems to pay for themselves, rather than six years. Cutting the tariff to 20¢ - what most households pay for their electricity - is expected to result in fewer orders for new systems.

Industry sources estimate a new system will take 5.4 years to pay for itself with a 20¢ tariff, making it hard to justify installing one. According to the government's figures, a 2.5-kilowatt system would bring a "windfall gain" of $4000 for the installer. The opposition said the total size of the subsidy was $10,000 per installed system.

Jon Dee, NSW Australian of the Year for 2010 and founder of advocacy organisation Do Something!, has added his voice to the condemnation of the government's decision. He has just installed solar panels on his Blue Mountains home and is on a lecture tour advising businesses how they can save money using sustainable initiatives.

"This is typical of our politicians, a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "Initially the tariff was too generous and now they have reduced it too heavily. What we need is a national approach where we look at what tariff will encourage sustainable growth [of the solar industry] and wean the public off … coal-fired power."

The NSW scheme paid existing solar clients 60¢ per kilowatt hour for all energy produced; other states have "net" schemes that pay for surplus power after domestic use is taken off. NSW had the most generous scheme - now the least. Victoria's net scheme pays 60¢ per kilowatt hour, Queensland pays 44¢ and Western Australia pays 40¢.

Mr Dee said a standard national rate would encourage banks to make green loans available. "The government has shown that it is incapable of running green loans schemes but that is the next step so that the average person can afford to get involved," he said.

A spokeswoman for SolarSwitch, one of the largest installers in the state, said: "[Premier Keneally] wanted to slow it down but she has slammed the brakes on and thrown us through the windscreen." She said the tighter margins would encourage consumers to look at cheaper, inferior panels with the risk of them delaminating or the glass turning milky after a few years of use.

The Clean Energy Council said the NSW government had effectively "shut down" the industry by setting the tariff at almost the same rate as the cost of electricity.

The state opposition wants the tariff reviewed. With the election imminent and the government insecure, it may get that opportunity.



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30 October, 2010

Reply to Bjorn Lomborg

This is a response to "Why Can't We Innovate Our Way To A Carbon-Free Energy Future?", a "Perspective" by Bjorn Lomborg that ran in this space a week ago.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and "Cool It," is right about the need to focus on critical health and economic priorities. But he is wrong about human carbon dioxide emissions causing what is now being called "global climate disruption."

By demonizing the gas of life, in league with Al Gore and Bill Gates, Lomborg commits several serious scientific errors. As independent scientists, with broad training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and geography, we know CO2 is not a pollutant, and the notion of "carbon-free" or "zero-carbon" energy is inherently harmful and anti-scientific.

If nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, helium or any other nontoxic gas is pumped into a chamber containing air and a growing plant, the response is barely measurable. By contrast, if more CO2 is added, the plant and its root system benefit enormously, displaying enhanced growth and more efficient use of available water and nutrients.

Far from having detrimental effects, carbon dioxide has decidedly beneficial impacts on plants, aquatic and terrestrial alike, and a new study connects enhanced plant productivity to greater bird species diversity in China. How, therefore, can anyone conclude that human carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be eradicated?

These facts erect a formidable barrier for "zero-carbon" advocates. By insisting that no human CO2 should be emitted, they are promoting continued suboptimal growth of food plant species in the face of impending global food shortages — and poorer functioning and less diversity in the global ecosystem.

Zero-carbon activists respond to these facts by asserting that human CO2 emissions cause "dangerous global warming." They are wrong about this, too.

If rising atmospheric CO2 levels drive global temperatures upward, as they insist, why is Earth not suffering from the dangerous "fever" that Al Gore predicted? Instead, after mild warming at the end of the twentieth century, global temperatures have leveled off for the past decade, amid steadily rising carbon dioxide levels.

Lomborg's claim that we need to "cure" so-called "unchecked climate change" is thus fallacious and contradicted by reality. Reducing human CO2 emissions will likely have no measurable cooling effect on planetary temperatures.

His insistence that we prioritize expenditures is spot-on when applied to genuine environmental and societal problems. However, it is irrelevant when the problems are mythical — or devised to advance ideological agendas. Moreover, even if human impacts on the global climate can actually be measured at some future date, humans currently lack the scientific and engineering understanding and capability to deliberately "manage" Earth's constantly changing climate for the better.

Most certain of all, atmospheric carbon dioxide is not the "climate control knob" that anti-hydrocarbon alarmists assert, and it is irresponsible for Lomborg to claim his socio-political agenda will provide a low-cost solution for the global warming "problem."

The scientific reality is that even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been unable to demonstrate a cause-and-effect scientific connection between rising human CO2 emissions and dangerous warming. To support global limits on CO2 emissions, in the absence of real-world data showing clear cause and effect, is scientific and policy incompetence on the highest order.

Imagine a drug company seeking FDA approval for a new drug, based on an analysis that says simply: "Our supercomputers say the drug is safe and effective. We have no clinical data to support this, but can think of no reason actual results would contradict what our computers predict. Moreover, failure to license the drug will be disastrous for patients suffering from the targeted disease." Failing to demand actual dose-and-response studies, before licensing the drug, would be gross negligence on FDA's part.

Between 2007 and 2009, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped approximately 10%, to their lowest level since 1995, largely because of reduced energy consumption during the recession. Similar CO2 emission reductions occurred in Britain, Germany, France and Japan.

Have their climates gotten better or less dangerous? Are they now a better place, for having a lower intensity carbon energy diet? Have global temperatures been statistically unchanged since 1995 because, or in spite of, Chinese and Indian carbon dioxide emissions increasing far more than the aforementioned countries reduced theirs?

These are practical, not rhetorical questions. As far as we can see, the only direct effect of decreasing CO2 levels via expensive renewable energy programs has been to cost more American and European jobs than would otherwise have been the case during the global economic recession.

The central issue is not whether rising CO2 levels will cause a warmer planet. The fundamental concern is whether globally warmer temperatures are factually worse (or better) for human societies — and more (or less) damaging to the environment — than colder temperatures (like those experienced during the ice ages and Little Ice Age).

Bjorn Lomborg, Al Gore and Bill Gates need to consider the likelihood that, driven by changes in solar activity and ocean circulation, Earth will cool significantly over coming decades. Damaging the global economy with ineffectual carbon dioxide controls, in a futile quest to "stop global warming," looks stupid now. Viewed later, with hindsight, it will be judged outrageously irresponsible.


James Cameron and Google CEO: Questioning Global Warming is “Criminal”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt and film director James Cameron recently concurred that people who question the science of anthropogenic global warming are, in their opinions, “criminal”. The two made the comments during a recent on stage conversation at a private event in Silicon Valley.

“If that continues, business as usual as our leaders in Washington say is OK for us to do, we will have extincted 70% of the species on the planet by the end of the century.” Cameron responded to Schmidt’s line of discussion on global warming.

During the same conversation Schmidt stated, “There are people who in my view criminally doubt some of the science.” “I agree, criminally, I agree with that.” Cameron interjected.

“People, we need to evolve mentally and philosophically to something that has never existed before.” the Avatar director continued. “We need to become techno-indigenous people of an entire Earth, not of a nation, not of a state, but of a planet.”

So, according to these two high priests of the scientific community, if you point out that the warming trend observed predominantly throughout the 1980s and 90s stopped over a decade ago, as admitted recently by both Professor Phil Jones, the figure at the head of the Climategate scandal, as well as one of the most prominent AGW advocate groups in existence, The Royal Society, you should be locked up.

Presumably the two would want to see thousands and thousands of scientists have their rights taken away and their freedoms eliminated, for merely expressing disagreement or dissent with the much lauded, rarely present “consensus”.

After all, questioning hypotheses and presenting counter-evidence and alternative theories has nothing at all to do with science – no no no, that’s the behaviour of morally corrupt criminals.

Cameron is of course, another green celebrity hypocrite. The man owns three large houses in Malibu, totaling 24,000 square feet – ten times the average US home. He also owns a 100 acre ranch in Santa Barbara and numerous private luxuries such as helicopters, Harley motorbikes, super cars, a yacht, and even a fleet of submarines. Nevertheless he demands that we all “live with less” because it is us that are responsible for killing the planet.

Earlier this year, Cameron said he wanted to debate the “deniers”, but then pulled out at the last minute even after the “criminals” agreed to endless dubious stipulations he kept demanding, such as no recording of the debate and no media coverage.

Cameron has also just given $1m to help defeat California’s Prop23 which will overturn the Global Warming Bill, legislation that critics have argued would cause unemployment to sky rocket, effectively killing dead the already crippled economy.

One wonders what punishments Cameron and Schmidt have in mind for global warming denying criminals? Perhaps execution, in line with the recent 10/10 propaganda campaign.


UK Carbon Tax May Force High Tech Companies Abroad

The Green/Left are intent on destroying Britain -- and the advent of a centrist government is doing little to slow that down

It is less public-facing than the hospital and public sectors, and uses less energy than the exempt transport sector – at 6,000MWh/yr -- but when it comes to business and carbon emissions, the data centre industry has received little mention, despite being one of the most affected by recent changes to the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

The announcement by the UK government last week that rebates would be turned into a fee could put the UK data centre industry at risk, according to some data centre specialists who spoke with our DatacenterDynamics London conference organisers.

The industry has since warned rising energy prices without incentives could send data centre business offshore, where nuclear and renewable power is readily available, and change the face of the industry as we know it.

The UK Government said it was scrapping plans to offer rebates to companies found to hit the top of a league list created under its original plans to highlight businesses that had made large moves towards efficiency.

Instead, the government said it will hold on to the £1bn worth of funds expected to be raised in 2014 and 2015 as part of what is now being called a ‘stealth tax’ by the industry.

Data centre operators will now face a direct tax on energy consumption at £10 to £15 per tonne of CO2 allowances and 1 tonne of CO2 equating to roughly 500kWh of grid electricity (which will raise the price of energy by about 10%), according to reports.

Britain’s data centres produce 2% of the total amount of greenhouse gas emitted in the UK each year – the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme affects those industries which make up 10% of overall emissions.

UK-based Romonet, which researches energy and cost points within the data centre, told DatacenterDynamics London, which will soon host its annual conference, that the changes could have wide implications for the data centre industry.

Romonet CTO Liam Newcombe said the large collocation and hosting data centre operators would be most affected, having to find a possible additional £500,000 in OPEX costs.“The change in the recycling payments will clearly have a substantial impact on the UK data centre sector,” Newcombe said.

“No longer is CRC simply a complex regulatory burden that will cost a lot of money in compliance and reporting. It is now and expensive tax as well. A medium-sized collocation data centre can expect to add £500,000 to its annual OPEX for the purchase of allowances in addition to the compliance costs.”

For some operators, this could be enough to halt new projects in the UK, and for some businesses, it could lead to a drop off in business, as clients investigate offshore options offering lower energy costs.

“This change to CRC will, in combination with the already high cost of electricity in the UK, cause some operators to build new facilities in other countries instead. This is likely to be particularly true for outsourcers and cloud (computing) providers who are able to deliver services from remote data centres with little overhead,” Newcombe said.

“Instead of leading the development and delivery of new technologies and services that generate service and IP exports, this displacement drives the UK towards being a consumer and importer of such new developments.”

Data centre development company Lockerbie Data Centres is currently working on a 272,000 sq m data centre north of Lockerbie, Scotland, which it says will follow world-class sustainable practices which will incorporate energy-efficient technologies.

Lockerbie Data Centre’s project director David King said he expects the data centre environment will be unsettled for some time following the UK Government’s announcement, but the changes to the CRC could actually be positive for collocation providers.

“It could take a year or more before the data centre industry really knows what it is dealing with in regards to the CRC. One thing we do know is that end users will not be investing in great numbers at this time. The CRC is a cost at the end of the day,” King said.

Further, King notes “I think that UK businesses may be driven now to outsource from the enterprise data centre into a collocation operation or into the wholesale market as they will be forced to go with larger data centres that can be twice as efficient due to scale. Some people, however, will be put off investing in the UK until they fully assess what the financial picture is."

The UK is not immune to criticism regarding energy policy and provision. Last year, representatives from Digital Britain told DatacenterDynamics that data centres in the country already struggled when it came to acquiring physical connections and installing cables, switches and transformers to the regional grid. A Digital Britain report also showed that data centres had issues accessing distribution and generation capacity across the grid. The report said that the South East of England and London – the UK’s financial hub which houses data centre reliant on low-latency connections for financial trading – pose particular challenges that jeopardize the UK’s standing against the world’s more accessible data centre markets.

According to Thomson Reuters Global Head of Energy & Sustainable Technology, Content, Technology & Operations Harkeeret Singh, who will be speaking at DatacenterDynamic’s London On November 9th, the uncertainty surrounding last week’s announcement could be enough to cause a blow for the industry.

“The initial cost and the uncertainty are not a good mix for those considering placing data centres in the UK, especially if another country is a bit more stable in its energy and tax options,” Singh said.


Don't Mention The La Nina

David Whitehouse

Regular observers of the climate scene will know it’s that time of year again. The end of the year is in sight and with it another annual global data point to add to the others to see if the world is warming, or if it is not.

It’s always unwise to speculate too much on data that hasn’t yet been measured, as unwise as it is to count chickens, but even though it’s been quite an interesting year temperature wise (heat waves in Eastern Europe, droughts and fires in Moscow), it does however not appear to be anything unusual. It will probably be like all the other years since 2001, no change and statistically identical to each other. But that’s only an impression; we still have two months to go.

But caution about data that hasn’t been collected yet is not shared by all, and those unwise enough to make predictions earlier this year are having to go back on them. Unless that is such predictions were statements of the obvious.

The dominant factor in this year’s annual temperature has been the strong warming El Nino event in the early part of the year and the transition to cooling La Nina event in the latter part of the year. Specifically the most recent El Nino began around June 2009, peaked in Jan/Feb 2010 and continued to about May/June 2010.

Since we live in the warmest decade of the past few hundred years, and the global average temperature hasn’t increased in a decade, then an El Nino event occurring in the past year is likely to elevate temperatures to almost record levels (depending on whether it exceeds the 1998 strong El Nino event.) So it is hardly surprising that statistics compiled by Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies showed the period between October 2009 and September 2010 was the warmest ever, according to their GISS database at least.

This record temperature says nothing about anthropogenic global warming, but that hasn’t stopped some distorting the science and claiming, directly and indirectly, that it has.

Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice for the Met Office told the British media, “The high temperatures this year are a clear symptom of a long-term increase in global temperatures, probably caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.”

2010 the hottest?

Despite fears (or hopes) to the contrary, according to James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), 2010 may not wind up being the hottest year in the modern temperature record after all. Hansen has said recently that the onset and intensification of La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean have cooled global average surface temperatures, and despite the record heat in the first eight months of the year, 2010 may wind up either tied with or behind 2005, currently the warmest year in the GISS analysis.

Even that might not be clear-cut. Other climate research institutions that keep temperature records, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) look as if they will see this year differently. For example, in the GISS analysis, June-July-August 2010 was the fourth warmest on record, but according to NOAA's methods it was the second warmest.

What this all boils down to is that 2010 is not going to be an exceptional year when compared to the past decade. Hansen: “It is likely that the 2005 and 2010 calendar year means will turn out to be sufficiently close that it will be difficult to say which year was warmer, and results of our analysis may differ from those of other groups.” (Later statements by Hansen suggested that 2010 might actually be cooler than 2009, although not statistically significantly so!)

This is perfectly reasonable, but then Hansen correctly states the obvious about the recent El Nino leaving the clear implication in the reader’s mind that mankind has something to do with the temperature record, “What is clear, though, is that the warmest 12-month period in the GISS analysis was reached in mid-2010.”

According to Hansen, the calendar year temperature ranking is not as relevant to monitoring long-term global climate change as the 12-month running mean -- which did hit a record high this year. This is an extreme example of cherry picking as choosing a running mean that covers an El Nino will give a false elevation in temperature. By contrast there is something to be said about calendar year averages if they (admittedly crudely) even out the El Ninos and the La Ninas.

Perhaps the long awaited record will come next year, or the year after that. The plain fact is that if the global warming theories are correct the world’s annual average temperature will have to start increasing soon. Because of the La Nina (which seems of moderate strength) we are experiencing, and which will stretch into next year; Hansen suggests that 2012 currently looks like a record year, err possibly. “It is likely that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature… the principal caveat is that the duration of the current La Nina could stretch an extra year, as some prior La Ninas have.” ...or maybe not

But what a difference a La Nina makes. Back in March it was a different story. Hansen said that his draft analysis predicted that 2010 will likely set a new global temperature record, as well as being “virtually certain” that a new 12-month running mean global temperature record would occur sometime in year. Making the record running mean prediction in March was, frankly, a no-brainer.

We will have to wait and see where 2010 comes in the ranking of recent warm years. But even if it is a record (doubtful) it will still not be evidence of warming as it is just one datapoint and one would expect, if the temperature was constant, a spread above and below the mean. So it will take several years of an upward trend to be sure the temperature is rising.

There will no doubt be some comment between now and when the temperature figures for 2010 are released, particularly from those awaiting the further warming of the world among them those who will strain the significance of an additional datapoint if it does. But already some scientists have mislead the public about the interaction between an El Nino and a running mean.


Deleted emails? Contradictory statements from the UEA

Did Jones Delete Emails? It turns out that Muir Russell didn’t bother asking, since that would have exposed Jones to potential liability.

But in a surprising new turn of events, it seems that VC Acton sort-of did what Muir Russell was supposed to do – ask Jones whether he had deleted emails. The Guardian reportsActon’s testimony as follows:

Prof Phil Jones told the University of East Anglia’s boss that he did not delete any of the emails that were released from the university last November, despite apparently saying he would in one of those emails.

In the narrowest sense, the very existence of the Climategate emails seems to show that, whatever Jones may or may not have attempted to do, he had not deleted the emails that survived on the back up server.

But, needless to say, you have to watch the pea under the thimble as there is more to the story than this, as I found out last spring.

Jones’ delete-all-emails request was directed particularly at the Wahl-Briffa exchange about IPCC in summer 2006. (In a related emails, Jones said that Briffa should deny the existence of such correspondence to the UEA administration – something that was never investigated as misconduct.)

Wahl’s insertions in the IPCC report – the unilateral changes in assessment that do not appear to have had any third party oversight other than Briffa’s – were made in attachments to his emails to Briffa.

Last spring, I sent an FOI request to the University of East Anglia for the attachments to the Wahl emails that would show precisely what Wahl had inserted. These, of course, are precisely the sort of thing that Muir Russell panel was obligated to examine but didn’t bother.

Contrary to claims by Jones and Acton that nothing had been deleted, the University refused the FOI request on the basis that the attachments had been deleted, that they no longer possessed the attachments to the emails

Acton tells the Sci Tech Committee that nothing has been deleted, but when asked for the documents that Jones specifically asked to be deleted, the university refuses the FOI request on the basis that they no longer have the documents.

Needless to say, Muir Russell didn’t bother trying to figure out what was going on.


Heresy And The Creation Of Monsters

Judith Curry

I’m having another “Alice down the rabbit hole” moment, in response to the Scientific American article, the explication of the article by its author Michael Lemonick, Scientific American’s survey on whether I am a dupe or a peacemaker, and the numerous discussions in blogosphere. My first such moment was in 2005 in response to the media attention associated with the hurricane wars, which was described in a Q&A with Keith Kloor at collide-a-scape. While I really want to make this blog about the science and not about personalities (and especially not about me), this article deserves a response.

The title of the article itself is rather astonishing. The Wikipedia defines heresy as: “Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma.” The definition of dogma is “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from.” Use of the word “heretic” by Lemonick implies general acceptance by the “insiders” of the IPCC as dogma. If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic. The story should not be about me, but about how and why the IPCC became dogma.

And what exactly is the nature of my challenges to the dogma? Lemonick made the following statement: “What I found out is that when [Curry] does raise valid points, they’re often points the climate-science community already agrees with — and many climate scientists are scratching their heads at the implication that she’s uncovered some dark secret.”

This statement implies that I am saying nothing new, nothing that climate scientists don’t already know. Well that is mostly true (an exception being my recent blog series on uncertainty); I am mostly saying things that are blindingly obvious to everyone. Sort of like in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” A colleague of mine at Georgia Tech, a Chair from a different department, said something like this: “I’ve been reading the media stories on the Georgia Tech Daily News Buzz that mention your statements. Your statements seem really sensible. But what I don’t understand is why such statements are regarded as news?”

Well that is a question that deserves an answer. I lack the hubris to think that my statements should have any public importance. The fact that they seem to be of some importance says a lot more about the culture of climate science and its perception by the public, than it says about me.



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


29 October, 2010

Gore: Do as I say, not as I do

Sheer arrogance and elitism

Recently, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore toured again. Or maybe he does that all the time. This time, he turned up in Gothenburg (Sweden) for the usual alarmist talk. In advance, all distinguished guests were politely advised to – if possible – use any form of public transportation to go to the event, in order to minimize CO2 emissions.

Intriguingly, the Master of World Climate himself arrived in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture. That is to say, about one hour. Incidentally, local legislation prohibits – for very good environmental reasons, i e pollution – any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds. Fines are severe. As far as I know, he was not fined.

It starts to form a pattern.

After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircraft. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board – and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit – offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man's destruction of the planet.

Stupidity and hypocrisy – as well as vanity – are, like it or not common human traits. I admit to some of them occasionally, but I don't demand taxpayers to finance my stupid talks


Energy Claims and Realities

Pennsylvania is lucky. Even amid this prolonged recession and depressingly high unemployment (9.5% in PA), families and businesses in the Keystone State are still paying just 9.4 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity.

That’s due in large part to the fact that Pennsylvania gets 53% of its electricity from coal. A lot of people vilify that black rock. But just think how much easier it is to cool our homes and cook our food at this price – or operate a factory, farm, office, store, hospital, school, church … or government agency.

Of course, 9.4 cents per kilowatt hour might seem like a lot to pay, compared to Indiana (where people pay only 7.1 cents), Kentucky (where electricity costs just 6.3 cents), or West Virginia (where it’s a rock-bottom 5.6 cents a kWh).

But just think how much harder all that would be if we lived in California, which generates just 1% of its electricity with coal, and people pay 13 cents per kWh; in Rhode Island, which gets no electricity from coal, and they shell out 16 cents a kWh; or just across the Delaware River in New Jersey, where families and businesses have to cough up 14.9 cents per kWh, largely because the state uses coal to produce just 15% of its job-creating electricity.

California already has its own cap-tax-and-trade global warming law, renewable energy mandates that get tougher and costlier every year, and programs that spend billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing major wind and solar energy initiatives. The once-Golden State also has the second highest unemployment rate in America (12.4%), a budget deficit of almost $20 billion, and some $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for government workers! It ranks 49th out of 50 among states for “business friendliness.”

Its burdensome rules are justified by assertions that they prevent climate change caused by rising CO2 levels. I’m no scientist, but thousands of scientists disagree. Last year’s leaked emails by top US and British alarmist researchers show that the science of global warming has become politicized to the point that scientists who disagree, or remain unconvinced, are condemned as heretics – and alarmists are actually manipulating thermometer data and computer models to get the “climate crisis” results they want. That is dishonest and wrong.

Moreover, even California’s total contribution to the planet’s carbon dioxide levels is tiny. Pennsylvania’s is smaller still. Even if the Golden State or Keystone State totally eliminated its CO2 emissions, China’s and India’s emissions would completely replace those painful, job-killing reductions in just a few months.

According to some climate experts, even if the entire United States cut its CO2 emissions by 83% by 2050, as required by pending congressional legislation – that would, at most, reduce global temperature increases by a mere 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Worse, that 83% reduction would send CO2 emissions all the way back to 1910 levels (1870 levels, if you consider population and technology changes since 1900). So we’re talking about truly painful cutbacks, and real pain at the pump, electric meter and bank account.

California’s actions are already forcing companies to lay off workers. A federal law would do the same on a national scale. Millions of workers would lose their jobs, as energy prices skyrocketed and we are forced to switch from fossil fuels that provide 85% of our energy, and replace them with expensive wind and solar power that requires huge subsidies, works only 30% of the time, on average, and currently provides just 1% of America’s energy.

Does anyone honestly think we can cap-tax-and-trade, regulate, litigate and otherwise penalize oil, natural gas and coal use – and not cause serious, even massive, harm to Pennsylvania’s economy? To the economies of the other 26 states that rely on coal for 47-98% of the electricity that generates their jobs, opportunities, prosperity and modern living standards?

States like Arkansas (47%), Colorado (65%), Illinois (48%), Indiana (95%), Kentucky (94%), Missouri (81%), North Dakota (91%), Ohio (85%), West Virginia (98%) and Wisconsin (66%), to name just a few. Penalizing coal use would cost millions of American jobs, and increase families’ energy and overall cost-of-living by thousands of dollars a year, according to studies by the Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation, Congressional Budget Office and other analysts.

As a theologian and former pastor, I embrace God’s command to be wise stewards of His creation, to care for the Earth and our fellow human beings. We are not to waste the resources with which He has blessed us, but we are to use them for our benefit.

We are also supposed to prevent or solve environmental problems. However, we are given the wisdom to make sure the problems are real, serious and imminent, before we spend billions trying to solve them – and before we create new problems that impact the environment in new ways and hurt families still more.

Increasing energy, food and transportation costs, and sending millions into unemployment lines, in the middle of a recession, is certainly an example of creating new problems. So is installing thousands of wind turbines that cover millions of acres, require vast raw materials and kill thousands of birds, to produce electricity that is too expensive and unreliable to power modern factories, shops, homes, hospitals, schools and cities.

We need to think this through very carefully, before we enact costly policies that threaten to do much more harm than good.


French academy admits to uncertainty in global warming predictions

In the small print

Global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity, the French Academy of Science has said in a report written by 120 scientists from France and abroad.

"Several independent indicators show an increase in global warming from 1975 to 2003. This increase is mainly due to the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide," the academy said in conclusion to the report.

"The increase in carbon dioxide, and to a lesser degree other greenhouse gases, is unquestionably due to human activity," said the report, adopted unanimously by academy members and published on Thursday.

The report contradicts France's former education minister Claude Allegre, a geochemist, who published a book, The Climatic Deception, which claimed carbon dioxide was not linked to climate change.

The report was commissioned in April by Minister for Research Valerie Pecresse in response to hundreds of environmental scientists who complained that Allegre, in particular, was disparaging their work.

Allegre is a member of the Academy of Sciences and also signed off on the report. "He has the right to evolve," the academy's president Jean Salencon said. Pecresse said: "The debate is over."

But Allegre told AFP the document was a compromise and "I have not evolved, I still say the same thing, that the exact role of carbon dioxide in the environment has not been shown.

"Of course it's a compromise, but it's a satisfactory compromise because what I defend - that is, the uncertainty in our knowledge about climate change - is explicitly mentioned; the word uncertainty appears 12 times."

In his book, Allegre questioned the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and criticised worldwide mobilisation around "a myth without foundation".

He disagreed with linking climate change and an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and said clouds or solar activity had more of an influence.

The IPCC, established to sift through scientific research and produce the most authoritative report possible on climate change for world leaders, has been hit by a raft of criticisms and the UN has said it needs a major overhaul.

Glaring errors were revealed in the panel's landmark 2007 Fourth Assessment Report - notably that Himalayan glaciers which provide water to a billion people in Asia could be lost by 2035, a claim traced to a magazine article.

The Academy's report said: "Solar activity, which has dropped slightly on average since 1975, cannot be dominant in warming observed during this period" even if the mechanisms involved "are not yet well understood".

"Major uncertainties remain on how to model clouds, the evolution of marine ice and the polar caps, the connection between the oceans and the atmosphere, the biosphere's evolution and the carbon cycle," the report said.

Allegre wrote that it was impossible to predict the climate's long-term evolution, but the Academy said: "Climate evolution predictions of 30 to 50 years are little affected by uncertainties on modelling slow evolution processes." "These predictions are particularly useful in responding to society's current concerns, worsened by the predictable population growth."

The IPCC's deputy head, Frenchman Jean Jouzel, welcomed the report. "Even if in this text lots of space is given to the arguments put forward by climate change sceptics, I note that the document clearly reaffirms the IPCC's broad conclusions," he told AFP. "Clearly sceptics will find some things to make their case. It says that not all is clear about the sun's role. The debate is never over."

The report was the result of written contributions as well as closed-door discussions held at the Academy on September 20 and subsequent exchanges, the Academy said.


Avatar director dramatic about climate too

Amusing that he sees children as more easily convinced of the need for panic. His beliefs are certainly at a childish intellectual level. He recently backed away from a debate with a knowledgeable adult

Cameron plans to make TV and cinema documentaries about climate change.

Cameron said a two-degree temperature change in the world's oceans "will take out all the coral reefs. Sixty percent of species could be extinct in this century with climate change," he added.

"It's highly unlikely there will be [a carbon] cap and trade [law] in the next six years, so we have six more years of inaction on putting a price on carbon emissions, and that’s a fundamental problem," said Schmidt who serves on a panel of science and technology advisors to U.S. President Obama.

"All the modeling says even with the current modest reductions we are nowhere near the needed 60-70 percent reductions in carbon emissions" to halt climate change, Schmidt said. "In my view is its going to take some kind of event and a conversation among leaders [to motivate policy change], and I don’t think it will happen soon," he added.

"It's probably the toughest challenge the human race has ever faced," said Cameron whose blockbuster movie was in part a statement about the need for greater environmental awareness. "I believe ultimately this has to be approached as a children's crusade," he said.


Biofuels; a growing evil

By Jeremy Warner

Last week I attended the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s “global financial leadership” conference in Florida – I know, it was a rough old assignment, but someone’s got to do it – in which Ian Goldin, a former vice president of the World Bank and now director of Oxford University’s Martin School, lambasted the subsidies being doled out in America and Europe for the production of biofuels as “economically illiterate, environmentally destructive, politically shortsighted and ideologically unsound”. It was a nice soundbite, but it also happens to be true.

I know that “food versus fuel” is now a relatively well weathered if quite low key debate (take a look at a recent OECD and UN Food and Agriculture Commission Report for a fuller analysis), but I suspect we are going to hear a lot more about it over the next year as growing emerging market demand pushes global food prices ever higher.

The point about biofuels, which wouldn’t exist at all without massive taxpayer funded subsidies, is that by displacing agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production, they greatly add to the pressures.

It’s reckoned that America and Europe alone are currently providing about $12bn annually in “incentives” to produce biofuels, a level of subsidy which would have to double again to meet the sort of targets governments have set for this supposedly secure and “clean” source of fuel.

I’ve written a column about all this for the Thursday edition of the Daily Telegraph, my excuse being that it’s not just subsidies for biofuels with are driving commodity prices higher right now – the Fed’s policies of ultra-cheap money, put in place to address the economic crisis, are just as damaging. They further encourage the dash to speculative investment in commodities. It may not matter too much to Americans if food prices double, but if like the bulk of the world’s population you are subsisting, it can quite literally be the difference between life and death.

My point is that when governments go looking for solutions to problems, they frequently end up creating new ones. Biofuels, which cost a bomb, are sending food prices through the roof, and far from benefiting the environment seem to damage it even further, are a case in point.


Australia: Disastrous Green energy policies in NSW

YET again, the Australian Labor Party is demonstrating that, when it comes to effective policy on green energy, it resembles the benighted fellow who, in a version of the vernacular, couldn't organise himself service in a house of ill repute with a fistful of $50 notes.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally's pratfall on solar photovoltaic subsidies may be added to the Rudd government's failures on household insulation, green loans, encouraging wind farm development through the renewable energy scheme (because it allowed it to be glutted with solar subsidies) and then the abandonment of the emissions trading scheme.

The Greens, the environmental movement and their fellow travellers do not come out of the NSW fiasco with much credit, either.

Confronted with the NSW government's decision to slash the subsidy for residential rooftop solar systems by two-thirds, state Greens MP John Kaye has cheerfully, and shamelessly, said that his party would settle for a tariff scheme that was half the value of the initial program. So he, and it, knew the original arrangements were well over the top.

The Clean Energy Council also is now happy to settle for a 45c a kilowatt hour feed-in tariff where it welcomed the initial 60c scheme as an example for the rest of the country.

Most of the mud, however, rightly must stick to Keneally and her government, notwithstanding a spin 101 media statement in which she lauded the "solar bonus scheme" as "an incredible success" on one hand and knifed it with the other, acknowledging that the "most generous scheme in Australia" at its original level would whack residential customers, already faced with their bills doubling for other reasons, with an extra $2.5 billion in costs over five years if allowed to continue.

The "generous" initial tariff enabled NSW householders swooping on the opportunity to earn 60c a kilowatt hour compared with 45.7c in the next-best program in the ACT.

As Keneally's media statement indicates, the amended NSW scheme will still sting the state's residential customers for $1.5bn over and above other higher charges by 2016.

There is no acknowledgment in Keneally's retreat that her government had created greenhouse gas abatement costing $640 a tonne under the initial scheme, according to the National Generators Forum, compared with $15 a tonne for the state's longstanding greenhouse gas reduction scheme aimed at other areas of supply and consumption.

Her government is not the first to cut and run from populist rooftop solar programs.

As the government's own review committee reports, Spain managed to bring on an almost seven-fold increase in orders for the PV systems in one year by its too-generous arrangements and then had to slash feed-in tariffs 30 per cent and impose a cap on the annual volume of installations to under one-fifth of the level they hit in 2008-09.

What made the NSW scheme so attractive to householders who were fast on their feet, and now have gold-plated subsidies locked in until the middle of the decade, was that a combination of the far too high feed-in tariff, a reduction in solar installation costs and the impact of a higher Australian dollar delivered them a pay-back period for their investment of less than three years, compared with the government's intention of 10 years.

The report indicates that the fast-footed 50,000 who got in before Keneally stopped the initial program will get a bonus of $4000 in net present value terms on their investment. Nice work, that.

The bad news for the rest of NSW's residential consumers is that the additional costs of the Keneally scheme will not show up on their bills until July next year. By then, in the view of most political analysts, her government will have been swept away in the March state election.

Her taskforce has estimated that NSW electricity consumers, including business users, collectively representing one-third of all the power account holders in the country, will get a regulator-approved rise of 11 per cent next July and another 8 per cent in July 2012, mostly as a result of much higher network costs - before the solar support bill is taken into account and before, of course, any carbon tax that the Gillard government may have put in place by then.

For the Nature Conservation Foundation of NSW, reacting to Keneally's announcement, there is no doubt where this leaves the state's consumers: "back in the dark ages of over-reliance on coal", it declaims.

I suspect they actually would be quite pleased to be back in the so-called dark ages of paying $130 a megawatt hour for their household electricity instead of the $195 that the charge has now reached, and the $250 to $300 that it is suggested the power bills will bear by 2015.

Meanwhile, it bears reporting that in the years that NSW was governed by Bob Carr, Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees - the available industry data covers only the period to mid-2009 at present - the state's government-owned power plants increased their consumption of black coal from 21 million tonnes a year to almost 30 million tonnes annually.

Not so much the premier state as the watermelon state: green on the outside, but red on the inside from burning coal.



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


28 October, 2010

British climate sceptics launch campaign to overturn green targets

Climate sceptics, including a number of high profileTory backbenchers, are launching a campaign to overturn the Coalition's green targets. Climate Sense, a loose affiliation of `climate sceptic groups', are calling for the Climate Act, that commits the UK to cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 to be repealed.

Philip Foster, a retired Church of England Reverend who is leading the campaign, said the legislation will cost taxpayers ś480bn over the next 40 years because of the cost of new technologies like wind farms.

He said Tory backbenchers John Redwood, David Davies and Christopher Chope have agreed to attend the launch of `Climate Fools Day' in the House of Commons. Labour MP Graham Stringer, who is a member of the Science and Technology Committee, also supports the campaign. Johnny Ball the television presenter is expected to attend the launch.

"There is no evidence that human input has anything to do with global temperatures," Rev Foster said. "Therefore we should not be wasting any money on climate change through things like this legislation."

The group, made up of Copenhagen Climate Challenge, Weather Action and the Campaign Against Carbon Capitalism, have also written a letter to the Prince of Wales on behalf of climate sceptics. It asks the Prince, who has accused sceptics of "peddling pseudo science", to prove climate change is happening and is signed by 166 scientists including David Bellamy.

However Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said the group misunderstood the point of science, which is to disprove theories.

He said the UK legislation was overwhelmingly backed by Parliament and is leading the world. "Nobody thinks climate change is not a problem. The discussion has moved on to what is the best way of tackling the problem and making a transition to low carbon growth," he said. "These guys are a remnant group of dinosaurs trying to argue something while frankly the public and political debate has moved on."

The ten challenges sceptics have asked 'supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change' to prove:

1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries.

2. Humanity's emissions of carbon dioxide and other `greenhouse gases' (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate.

3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate.

4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities.

5. The incidences of malaria and other infectious diseases are now increasing due to recent climate changes;

6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past.

7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in polar regions, is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions.

8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes.

9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.

10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of global surface temperature trends.


If the temperature doesn't go up, crooked Warmist "scientists" will "ADJUST" it up

Caught red-handed by amateur checker

Western Australia (WA) covers 2.5 million square kilometers (1 million square miles, about a third as big as the USA). The average of all WA stations over one month last year was adjusted up by as much as a gobsmacking 0.5 degrees due to a database "bug" - which contributed to August 2009 being the hottest August on record?! That's one heck of a bug!

Could it get worse? Unbelievably, GISS seems to have lost data for key WA locations that an unpaid volunteer found easily in the BoM online records. GISS only has to maintain copies of records for sixteen stations in WA* which have temperatures current to 2010, but in seven of them they are missing data, and it affects the results. Are they random errors? No, shock me, six errors are upwards: in one case making the spring 2009 average temperatures for Kalgoorlie-Boulder 1.1 C degrees warmer!

But with no-one auditing our BoM or NASA's GISS, and no team jointly receiving raw data or regulating standards in either agency, temperatures recorded in the field could potentially be listed in official records as being quite different, and who would know? It's left up to volunteers like Chris Gillham [see below], a freelance journalist and web designer in Perth, to run a sharp eye over the data. Chris has been tracking WA data for the last two years and his site, Average Temperature Trends Across Western Australia, has methodically, neatly exposed some major flaws.

Just how much can we trust any of the pronouncements coming out, and how significant are any of the "records", even if the adjustments are fair, unbiased and justified? The whole database is surely not "high quality" when bugs of that magnitude are running rampant and data goes missing that professionals can't find, but people who are not "paid to find warming" dig up without much trouble.

New questions about reliability of GISS and BoM data
Guest Post by Chris Gillham

Fresh doubts have emerged about the reliability of temperatures within the Goddard Institute of Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis database with revelations that missing data errors have appeared for various months in the 2009 records of Australian locations, even though the correct mean temperatures are available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

In turn, the BoM data itself has seen adjustments that might leave researchers wondering about claims that Australia has suffered record high temperatures over the past 12 months.

A BoM database bug: Oops, half a degree?

On September 1 last year, the BoM posted mean min and max temperatures on its website for the month of August 2009 at all its recording stations in Western Australia (2.5 million square kilometres).

However, on November 17 the mean temperatures for all WA recording stations were adjusted upward by as much as .5 C for August 2009.

When questioned about the adjustments, the BoM confirmed it had suffered a database bug and the upward shift was a consequent correction for August 2009, which the bureau says was the hottest August ever recorded in Australia.

GISS is "missing"data

The GISS database shows that in the following month, September 2009, there is missing data (999.9) at three Western Australia recording stations: Esperance | Kalgoorlie-Boulder | Perth Airport

Despite the missing September data and as is evident in their tables, GISS has calculated the Spring (S-O-N) mean temperatures at those three locations as 17.5 C, 20.5 C and 17.7 C respectively.

Trouble is, the data isn't "missing". A quick search of the BoM website reveals the September 2009 mean temperatures were:

13.2 C at Esperance

13.9 C at Kalgoorlie-Boulder

13.9 C at Perth Airport

This in turn means the Spring mean temperatures were actually 16.6 C at Esperance (not 17.5 C), 19.4 C at Kalgoorlie-Boulder (not 20.5 C) and 17.2 at Perth Airport (not 17.7 C).

The GISS database records for Eucla show missing data for December 2009, but the BoM records once again are available and show the mean temperature was in fact 21.6 during that month. The GISS has calculated the Summer 2009/10 (D-J-F) mean at Eucla as 22.8 C, but with the accurate BoM December data included it turns out to be 22.7 C.

Based on evidence available from the GISS and the BoM websites, it appears several WA locations with records current to 2010 have small to significant upward data adjustments.

Wait, there's more!

I've detailed the BoM bug adjustments and the GISS missing data adjustments.

While researching the GISS adjustments, I noticed yet another odd data shift that left me wondering about the reliability of temperature recordings. I had listed the 2009 monthly mean temperatures on October 4, 2010, for Kalgoorlie-Boulder, but when I returned to the GISS website database the following day, October 5, I found that every month in 2009 for that location had been shifted up by .1 C.

This means the newly adjusted GISS record shows Kalgoorlie-Boulder's average mean for Spring 2009 was 20.6C, not 20.5 C anymore, so this historic mining town's seasonal temperature record is now 1.2 degrees higher than the reality of the BoM records.

These inexplicable adjustments to domestic and international datasets raise questions about the reliability of record temperatures reported in Australia over the past year and the reliability of official records used by researchers to try to accurately gauge temperature trends.


Today's Climate Horoscope - from MIT

I've just read the latest climate horoscope at the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung website, which delivers them almost daily.

The latest one comes from the fortune tellers and scryers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by psychic Paul O'Gorman, now available at the PNAS here.

The latest horoscope foretells that (later) in the 21st century, summers will be stickier and grittier, and winters will be stormier - this according to visions and images delivered by crystal balls and gazings into MIT scrying pools.

Apparently MIT diviners made contact with the spirits of 1981 to 2000, so writes the HAZ, and felt the unsettling vibes of mystic energy of atmospheres past, and the energy intensity of past climatological storms. MIT's assortment of sophisticated scrying instruments, made of silicone and crystal, all delivered similar predictions for the 21st century - forebodings all confirmed by their climate tarot punch cards. The bad vibrations and ill spirits foretell one thing only: doom!

The 21st century

The northern hemispheric middle latitudes will be haunted by severe meteorological storms between the autumn and spring equinoxes, becoming especially intense before and after the winter solstices.

"I see storms and doom!"

For periods surrounding the summer solstices, crushing doldrums will beset northern middle latitude regions. Stagnate atmospheres will cause pollutants, and the evil spirits they harbor, to accumulate in ever higher concentrations above cities, bringing misery to non-believers.

Be forewarned! The degree of misery about to haunt the middle latitudes in the end will depend on the amount of ice surrounding the magnetic North Pole at the fall equinoxes.

The southern hemisphere will be visited by other misfortune, so say the MIT instruments of clairvoyance, and the diviners who gaze into them. There, ruthless storms will occur year-round, from solstice to solstice, from equinox to equinox.

Careful though, as other celestial alignments may impact the fortune tellers' predictions. These predictions may change as they depend on what parts of the atmosphere are heavily impacted. If the earthly layer of the atmosphere energizes, then other currents and eddies come into play.

In the northern hemisphere, however, the heavenly layers of the atmosphere shall warm, and this will act to calm the air mass energy.

Come back tomorrow for more predictions!


In Obama's Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread fraud

Projects to weatherize homes are a key part of the Obama administration's fusion of stimulus spending and the green agenda. But a new report by the Department of Energy has found serious problems in stimulus-funded weatherization work -- problems so severe that they have resulted in homes that are not only not more energy efficient but are actually dangerous for people to live in.

The study, by the Department's inspector general, examined the work of what's called the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP, in Illinois. Last year, the Department awarded Illinois $242 million, which was expected to pay for the weatherization of 27,000 homes. Specifically, Energy Department inspectors took a close look at the troubled operations of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, known as CEDA, which is the largest recipient of weatherization money in Illinois with $91 million to weatherize 12,500 homes. (Cook County is, of course, home to Chicago.)

The findings are grim. "Our testing revealed substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial assessments, and contractor billing," the inspector general report says. "These problems were of such significance that they put the integrity of the entire program at risk."

Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. "We found that 14 of the 15 homes.failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments," the report says. In eight of the homes, CEDA had come up with unworkable and ineffective plans -- like putting attic insulation in a house with a leaky roof. In ten of the homes, "contractors billed for labor charges that had not been incurred and for materials that had not been installed." The report calls billing problems "pervasive," with seven of ten contractors being cited for erroneous invoicing. And the department found "a 62 percent final inspection error rate" when CEDA inspectors reviewed their own work.

The work was not just wasteful; it was dangerous. Department inspectors found "heat barriers around chimneys that had not been installed, causing fire hazards." They found "a furnace [that] had not been vented properly." The found "a shut-off valve that had not been installed on a gas stove." And they found "carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers had not been installed as planned."

And then there was fraud. At ten of the 15 homes visited, Department inspectors found examples in which "a contractor had installed a 125,000 BTU boiler, but had billed CEDA for a 200,000 BTU boiler costing an estimated $1,000. more." Another contractor "billed for almost four times the amount of drywall actually installed." And another "installed 12 light bulbs but had billed CEDA for 20." (The Department found that CEDA paid almost three times the retail price for each light bulb.) "Billing issues appeared to be pervasive," the report concludes.

The report is in the hands of Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who has been pushing hard for more accountability in the spending of stimulus money. Grassley has complained about this specific program before, and is not happy with the new assessment. "I am concerned that the Department of Energy and state WAPs are failing to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the massive amounts of taxpayers dollars spent on weatherization projects," Grassley writes in a new letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. After Grassley earlier expressed concerns about weatherization, the Department assured him that the program had "turned the corner" and "made great strides" in cleaning up its operations. "In light of this report, it is clear that the Department's efforts have been inadequate," Grassley writes.


In Britain, energy firm set to shelve gas storage plans unless government helps

Centrica has effectively shelved its £1.5bn plan to build two gas storage facilities in the North Sea and Irish Sea unless the Government finds a way to subsidise the proposal.

The energy company would have increased Britain's storage capacity by a third, with the proposed Baird project containing 1.7bn cubic metres of gas and the smaller Bains project in the east Irish Sea holding 570m cubic metres.

However, sources described the economic climate as "extremely challenging".A final investment decision is due to be taken early next year, but it is understood that under the current circumstances, the projects would not be sanctioned.

Partly because of the rising availability of gas in shippable liquid form and a glut of supplies on the world market, the spread between winter and summer gas prices has narrowed. This is currently at 10p, when companies need a price of more like 25p to make the projects economically viable.

One of the Coalition's key aims is to increase Britain's gas security as the country becomes increasingly reliant on imported gas. Around 80pc of supplies will have to come from abroad by 2020.


Is Wind the Next Ethanol?

One "Renewable" Energy Source Follows another's History of Failure

Repeating past mistakes seems to be a recurring theme in federal policy, and nowhere more so than on energy issues. Much of the Obama administration's "clean energy economy" and "energy independence" agenda is a virtual repeat of the follies of the 1970s. Back then, failed attempts by Washington to pick winners and losers among alternative energy sources and energy-using technologies led to taxes, regulations, and subsidies that exacerbated the very concerns they were supposed to address.

Indeed, one of the Reagan administration's greater-though lesser-remembered-economic successes was the repeal of much of this government meddling beginning in 1981. Reagan's turn away from energy central planning and toward free markets brought down energy costs and helped launch a long period of economic growth.

This decades-old lesson may be lost on younger politicians, bureaucrats, and activists who may be unaware that their energy policy ideas are proven failures from the age of disco. But the same cannot be said of efforts to enact a federal renewable electricity standard (RES), which would be a near-exact repeat of a blunder that was launched just a few short years ago-the renewable fuels mandate. The requirement that ethanol be added to the nation's gasoline supply has quickly proven to be an economic and environmental failure. Congressional proposals mandating wind and other renewable sources of electricity show all the signs of becoming a similar flop, but with far more serious implications.

The True Cost of Ethanol

It should come as no surprise that the renewable fuels mandate has raised the cost of driving. After all, if ethanol were cost-competitive with petroleum-derived gasoline, it would have caught on without government intervention. In the 2005 energy bill, Congress mandated refiners to add 4 billion gallons of biofuels to the gasoline supply in 2006- mostly ethanol derived from corn, with the rest from non-corn renewables like cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel. The 2007 energy bill increased the mandate to 13 billion gallons in 2010, more than tripling mandated biofuels use over the last five years. The new mandate increases each year and will reach 36 billion gallons by 2022, with 15 billion gallons coming from corn and 21 billion from non-corn renewables. The mandate comes on top of several tax breaks and subsidies for ethanol, including a 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit. This tax credit expires at the end of 2010 and Congress is currently debating whether to extend it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, these measures cost $1.78 for each additional gallon of gasoline displaced -- on top of the higher cost to drivers

The government assistance is so generous that ethanol production has actually exceeded the mandated levels in recent years. Domestic corn growers and ethanol producers also benefit from protectionist tariffs that limit the amount foreign ethanol-mostly sugar-based ethanol from Brazil-that can compete in the American market.

The mandate took effect on January 1, 2006, and has boosted the cost of driving ever since. Over this period, ethanol has been both more and less expensive than gasoline, but per-gallon price comparisons tell only part of the story. Ethanol contains a third less energy per unit volume than petroleum-derived fuels. In other words, you cannot go as far on ethanol as you can on the same amount of gasoline. Therefore, using ethanol lowers fuel economy. In addition, the logistical costs of mixing ethanol into the fuel supply are considerable. Ethanol cannot be transported via pipeline and must be shipped by more expensive means from the Midwest to the rest of the country.

The costs also hit us at the supermarket checkout. The diversion of a third of the nation's corn supply from food to fuel use raised the price of corn and related items like corn-fed meat and dairy.

Ethanol proponents have long claimed that technological breakthroughs and economies of scale would bring down the costs over time, but there is scant evidence that this is happening. On the contrary, the above-mentioned logistical challenges and food-versus-fuel tradeoff show no signs of resolution and will likely worsen as the mandate ratchets up.....


The story is much the same with wind power, the most common renewable source of electricity, as well as lesser-used ones like solar. Wind has long been a beneficiary of generous and overlapping tax breaks and subsidies, especially a production tax credit created under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and currently set at 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour. Overall, subsidies for wind and other renewable electricity sources are more than 10 times higher per unit energy output than coal, which provides nearly half the nation's electricity, and natural gas and nuclear power, which provide most of the rest

Without this tilting of the playing field, wind would be significantly more expensive than coal, $149.30 per megawatt hour versus $100.40, according to conservative estimates from the Energy Information Administration

Despite all this help, wind and other renewables comprise only about 3 percent of the electricity supply (excluding hydroelectric which provides 6 percent). This low market penetration explains the current push by wind proponents for a federal mandate. Congressional proposals vary, but they typically require ramping up the non-hydroelectric renewables requirement to 15 to 25 percent of electric generation over the span of a decade or so. Most recently, the Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010 (S. 3813), introduced in the Sentate by Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), is pegged at 15 percent renewable electricity by 2021.

With ethanol, direct cost comparisons of wind energy with its conventional counterparts tell only a part of the story. Just as integrating ethanol into the overall motor fuel supply creates many logistical problems, so does integrating renewable electricity into the grid. For one thing, the most desirable sites for wind are often remote mountain ridges or sparsely populated plains, thus requiring thousands of miles of new transmission lines to bring the electricity into metropolitan areas where it is needed. One study estimates that a 20-percent renewable electricity standard would require $80 billion in transmission line investments, with ratepayers likely picking up the tab. And that assumes such transmission line projects could overcome the many regulatory and legal challenges to them and actually get built.

Even more significant are the costs that stem from wind energy's intermittent and unreliable nature. Simply put, the wind does not always blow, and when it does is difficult to predict and impossible to control. Given the constant need for electricity and the fact that peak demand-hot summer days-is often a time when the wind is still, a mandate for increased renewable electricity is, for all practical purposes, also a mandate for additional non-renewable backup capacity, chiefly natural gas. Not only must the non-wind part of the system be sufficient to carry the entire load, it must be operated in an inefficient manner-ready to ramp up whenever the wind dies down, then throttled back when it picks up-in order to accommodate wind. This intermittent use is far less efficient than constant use of those same non-renewable sources.



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


27 October, 2010

Very Important New Paper on models versus reality

There is a very important new paper which has compared climate model results with observations. It is: Anagnostopoulos, G. G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstratiadis, A. & Mamassis, N. (2010) A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1094-1110.

The abstract reads
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.

The paper is examining the claim presented in the introduction of the paper that
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).

What the authors of the Anagnostopoulos et al. (2010) paper have found is that [highlight added]
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.

There is discussion of this paper in two accompanying articles. The first paper is a comment on the Anagnostopoulos et al. (2010) paper. It is:

Wilby, R. L. (2010) Evaluating climate model outputs for hydrological applications - Opinion. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1090-1093.

Wilby (2010) should be read also in its entirety, One excerpt, for example, reads
“Even if we could build perfect climate models, uncertainty about future economic and demographic pathways, natural forcings by solar and volcanic activity, and a host of non climatic pressures, mean that regional hydrological projections would still be highlyuncertain. In other words, characterizing uncertainty through concerted scientific action may be a tractable proposition, but there appears to be no immediate prospect of reducing uncertainty in the risk information supplied to decision makers.”

The second article is an editorial from the Editor of the journal:

Kundzewicz, Z. W., and E.Z. Stakhiv (2010) Are climate models "ready for prime time" in water resources managementapplications, or is more research needed? Editorial. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1085-1089.

In this article, in which they summarize the perspective of the Anagnostopoulos et al. (2010) and Wilby (2010) papers, they include the excerpts from the text [highlight added]
Simply put, the current suite of climate models were not developed to provide the level of accuracy required for adaptation-type analysis. They were designed to provide a broad assessment of the response of the global climate system to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcings, and to serve as the basis for devising a set of GHG emissions policies to slow down the rate of growth of GHGs, and, by this, to mitigate global warming impacts. To expect more from these models is simply unrealistic at this time, as they do not even perform well as weather prediction models.

However, it should be understood that RCMs (regional climate models) operate under a set of boundary conditions set by whatever GCM is being used. Hence, if the GCM does not do an adequate job of reproducing the climate signal of a particular region, the RCM will simply mimic those inaccuracies and biases, and propagate the uncertainties even further, albeit at a regional scale. It is not clear how the coupling of a RCM to a flawed GCM can provide more refined insights, any more than can statistical downscaling.

An editor's obligation is to publish papers that advance the state of science and of understanding that science. Hydrologists and water management professionals (hydrological and hydraulic engineers) have entered the scientific debate in force, because the GCMs are being advocated for purposes they were not designed for, i.e., watershed vulnerability assessments and infrastructure design. They are now examining whether these models are suitable, using their own perfectly legitimate and peer reviewed methods, as well as statistical tools developed over the course of a century of practical applications. They are not climate sceptics, but are sceptical of the claims of some climatologists and hydroclimatologists that these models are well suited for water management applications.

Our response to the question posed in the title of this editorial is that, while they are getting better, climate models are not (up to) ready for "prime time" yet, at least for direct application to water management problems.

These papers are open to discussion until April 2011. The Editor of the Hydrological Sciences Journal, Zbigniew Kundzewicz, is commended for his serving as a facilitator of all perspectives on the issues raised in the Anagnostopoulos et al. (2010) paper. If the Anagnostopoulos et al conclusions are robust, it raises the question on the value of spending so much money on providing regional climate predictions decades into the future (e.g., see the 10/21/10 post entitled “The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill” .


Tea Partiers Smarter than Democrats on Climate

The dumbest criticism the Democrats' media sheep make of Tea Party members is that Tea Partiers don't accept the global warming nonsense that most Democrats and their media sheep have fallen for.

Most Tea Party members aren't climate experts, but they are smart enough to recognize a political con when they see one. In business cons, police warn that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. In political cons, if something sounds too bad to be true it probably is too bad to be true.

Like most con artists, the people attempting to continue Enron's global warming scam try to oversell their claims. The global warming scammers are essentially saying that if we don't stop producing the "evil" gas carbon dioxide God will flood the world like he did in the time of Noah.

Supporters of Enron's global warming scam falsely claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) possesses some magical power to increase the temperature of the atmosphere by interacting with low energy infrared radiation (IR).

In the 90's Enron paid scientists and so called environmental groups to claim that an increase in atmospheric CO2 would cause significant temperature changes even though CO2 comprises less than 0.04% of the atmosphere. Enron even wrote the Kyoto Accords for the Clinton administration.

Enron wanted the opportunity to make a fortune by trading what the company called "carbon credits". Enron had previously made a fortune trading sulfur dioxide credits under a program set up to allow northeastern power plants to continue producing the pollution associated with acid rain.

People who are unfamiliar with science don't understand that western science has long been infected with con artists. In the Middle Ages "Alchemists" obtained money from wealthy nobles by claiming to be working on a method of turning a base metal like lead into gold.

Some of the more popular science scams today involve miraculous medical treatments and machines that use little or no energy.

Today's scientists don't trust each other to be truthful. Science journals require "peer review" of articles to discourage writers from publishing phony results that seem to support their theories. Attorneys in court often question whether a scientist witness has been paid to testify a certain way.

Scientists who have trouble getting money for legitimate research may feel they have no choice but to adjust their research and statements to conform to the desires of the businesses or political organizations that offer them money.

Many of the global warming "scientists" who call themselves "climatologists" lack the qualifications for making such claims. The only qualifications most of them have are for predicting short term weather.

Understanding the way climate changes over time requires a background in astrophysics and the operation of earth's complex energy system as well as an understanding of weather patterns.

The Milankovich cycles are the primary factors causing climate. Changes in the earth's tilt on its axis determine how temperatures change from one season to another. Changes in the sun's output affect short term changes in air temperature .

Those familiar with thermodynamics know that physicist R.W. Wood disproved the claim that greenhouses and the atmosphere stayed warm by reflecting IR.

Those who support the claim if global warming don't talk like scientists.

Real scientists don't use terms like "settled science" or "consensus" when talking about their theories. "Consensus" is a political term not a scientific term Scientists don't rely on consensus because the consensus view has been wrong before. In 1895 the consensus among physicists was that atoms were the smallest particles of matter. The consensus was proved wrong when Sir J.J.Thomson reported his discovery of the electron.

Priests suggest their statements represent matters that are "settled". Real scientists qualify their claims and look for additional tests to make to see if they have missed something. Scientists who believe they may have an accurate model of the nucleus of atoms are using the Hadron Collider to determine if they might have missed something.

I learned in high school that when scientists conduct experiments, they should mention conditions that could reduce the accuracy of results. Those who claim global warming ignore the likelihood that the 0.25% change in temperature during the 20th Century might indicates nothing more than the use of different equipment.

Real scientists use mathematically rigorous methods. The people who claim global warming rely on the mathematically meaningless term called "average global temperature".

Priests use terms similar to "denier" and "contrarian" to describe heretics who question their statements. Scientists provide.the results of experiments and observations to refute critics.

Contrary to the statements of President Barack Obama and various energy companies, there is no such thing as clean energy. Large wind generators kill birds and many believe they are visual pollution. The companies that produce solar cells in China are heavy polluters. Using solar energy to heat water to produce electricity requires large amounts of water.

Carbon dioxide is the most essential molecule in the atmosphere. Plants need it to convert solar energy into the bonds that hold complex carbon molecules together. Humans and other animals then use those carbon molecules for food.

Animals than return part of the carbon to the atmosphere as CO2 to be used by plants to complete the carbon cycle. Unfortunately, humans remove large amounts of plant carbon from the cycle by using plant products for items like clothing and paper in which the carbon isn't returned to the atmosphere. Some unused portions of food products are put in landfills instead of the carbon being returned to the atmosphere. We actually need to use fossil fuels to replace the carbon that we remove from the carbon cycle.


The Tangled Web they weave as they practise to deceive children on climate

There are dozens of sites, possibly hundreds, that are pushing out information and grounds for alarm to children and young people in and around our climate. The variability of this climate poses problems, not least from the inevitable 'extreme values' that must occur from time to time in any particular characteristic subject to this variability, such as temperature or rainfall. But these sites are not so much about climate as about 'blame' and political action, often using frightening images or language to engage with their targets and persuade them to hassle their parents, to change their lifestyles, and generally be scared witless about the future.

The complete lack of observational evidence to justify such treatment of the young does not deter them. They have been told by the IPCC that the world is doomed unless we act soon, and they believe it.

The 'evidence', such as it is, is entirely based on the projections of computer models of climate specifically designed to give CO2 a large, indeed driving effect, a role which it steadfastly refuses to adopt in the real atmosphere.

Very commonly, these sites compare the atmosphere to a greenhouse - an all but entirely fatuous analogy, but one which has caught on very widely. One day, pupils will laugh at any teacher who tries to explain why greenhouses get hot through 'trapping infra-red'. But Miss, they will chuckle, greenhouses almost transparent to infrared would get just as hot as ordinary glass ones. And unless 'Miss' has a red button on her desk, she will have some explaining to do.

I have put a partial listing of such sites on this blog. It can be found as a 'Page', and can be reached via the link near the top right corner of the homepage. Dave W has provided further information on some of these sites, and I am most grateful for his help.

If anyone out there would like to help with this, please email me (JSclimatelessonsatgmaildotcom) with the name of the site you plan to check out, so that we may reduce the chances of people working on the same one at the same time.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The impotent rage of a Warmist

Fraudster Ben Santer isn't happy:

"Climate change journalism has gotten worse," says Dr. Ben Santer, researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and one of the world's top scientists studying the attribution of climate change. ...

As if it wasn't enough for the media to treat information vital to our future so lightly, they have also helped to spread unfounded accusations of fraud against climate researchers. Scientists are people just like anyone else, and should not be subject to such harassment. "These attacks on people like Phil Jones," Dr. Santer agrees, "had tremendous personal cost. He was nearly driven to suicide by the hatred that he encountered." ...

Who goes into scientific research expecting death threats? "[Jones] has done more than almost anyone in the world to improve our knowledge of observed changes in the temperature of planet Earth," says Santer. "He was not deserving of this kind of treatment.

"So much attention was devoted to some incautious phrases in these emails, rather than to ask, "What kind of pressure has this guy been labouring under and operating under for years now? What sort of systematic attack by Freedom of Information Act has he been trying to deal with? ...

"These fringe voices now have megaphones," he continues, "and have means of amplifying their voices and trumpeting shoddy, incorrect science. We've seen the rise of the blogs, we've seen the rise of these "independent public auditors" who believe that they have carte blanche to investigate anyone who produces results they don't agree with, and if that individual doesn't comply with their every request, they indulge in this persecution campaign on their blogs and make your life very uncomfortable. I've had direct personal experience with that....

"The sad thing is that many folks don't want to know about the science at all. They just want to have business as usual and really not consider even the possibility that we might be changing the climate of planet Earth, that they might be culpable in that, and that they might need to think about the future".

Flashback: William M. Briggs, Statistician:

"Dear Ben Santer

For example, I read that email in which you threatened to bounce your fists off Pat Michaels's face. I know just how you feel about Pat. Last time I saw him he was wearing red tennis shoes-red!, I swear on my soul-with a suit. It took every drop of self control I had not to pounce on him and rip them off his feet."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

EPA proposes new rules on trucks

Future generations of semi-trucks, school buses and large pickups will need to cut fuel consumption and emissions by 10 to 20 percent under first-ever fuel efficiency rules for trucks announced Monday by the Obama administration.

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department released proposed fuel economy requirements and reductions in tailpipe emissions for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, beginning with those sold in the 2014 model year and into the 2018 model year.

The proposal, which is expected to be finalized next summer, seeks a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption from big rig combination tractors by 2018. Large tractor-trailers tend to be driven up to 150,000 miles a year, making them prime candidates for improved fuel efficiency.

Heavy duty pickup trucks, such as heavy-duty versions of the Ford F-Series, along with large vans would face separate gasoline and diesel truck standards phased in beginning in the 2014 model year. Vehicles running on gasoline would need to reach a 10 percent cut in fuel consumption and emissions by 2018 while diesel vehicles would need to hit 15 percent reductions by then.

So-called "vocational trucks" such as garbage trucks and transit and school buses would need to achieve a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions by 2018.

The White House has sought stricter fuel economy standards across the nation's fleet as a way to reduce dependence on oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions tied to global warming. The fleet of new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs will need to reach 35.5 mpg by 2016, and the government is developing plans for future vehicle models that could push the standards to a range from 47 mpg to 62 mpg by 2025.

Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks are much less fuel-efficient than conventional automobiles; the fleet of tractor-trailers typically get about 6 mpg to 7 mpg, while work trucks can achieve 10 to 11 mpg. While only representing 4 percent of the vehicles on the road, they consume about 20 percent of the transportation fuel in the U.S.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said that in addition to the reduction in pollution, "greater fuel economy will shrink fuel costs for small businesses that depend on pickups and heavy duty vehicles, shipping companies and cities and towns with fleets of these vehicles."

The improvements in fuel efficiency will come through a combination of more efficient engines, improved aerodynamics and better tires.

The agencies estimated the new requirements would add $7.7 billion to the costs of heavy-duty trucks but said the efficiency upgrades would save $49 billion over the life of the vehicles. They said the operator of a semi-truck, for example, could pay for the $5,900 in technology improvements in less than a year and save as much as $74,000 over the truck's lifetime.

Truck manufacturers and suppliers have sought national standards that help them plan for the changes. Rich Freeland, president of Cummins Inc.'s engine business, said the regulations would "add real value to our customers, as better fuel economy lowers their operating costs."

Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, said the proposal was "feasible and can be attained through technologies currently available to motor carriers."

President Barack Obama said in May that he intended to release the standards this year, estimating then that the fuel efficiency of tractor-trailers could be improved by 25 percent using existing technologies.

A National Academy of Sciences report issued this year said the trucks could make broad improvements during the decade through existing technologies. It found that using advanced diesel engines in tractor-trailers could reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent by 2020 while hybrid versions of garbage trucks and buses could see a 35 percent cut in fuel use by 2020.

Environmental groups said they supported the push for greater fuel efficiency but said the plan should be strengthened to boost the long-term benefits.

Dan Becker, director of the safe climate campaign for the Center for Auto Safety, said that while the administration deserves credit for issuing the standards, "the bad news is that the proposal leaves almost half of the pollution savings on the table compared to what the National Academy of Sciences recommended."

The requirements would be voluntary at first but most trucks would need to comply in the 2016 or 2017 model year.

Commercial trailers would not be included in the requirements. Jackson said the agencies may consider regulating the trailers in future rulemaking.


Australia: Labor Party support in country areas dries up as anger over water wastage proposals runs deep: Newspoll

Under Greenie influence, Gillard wants to let dammed water run out to sea rather than give it to farmers for use in irrigation

ANGER about the Gillard government's handling of proposed cuts in water use appears to have helped the Coalition overtake Labor in the latest Newspoll.

The weekend survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, found the opposition ahead of Labor for the first time since before the August 21 election, by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent in two-party-preferred terms.

The increase followed two dead-even results in previous post-election Newspolls. On election day, Labor won 50.1 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote to the Coalition's 49.9 per cent.

Although the poll shows only small movements in the primary vote since the previous survey, which was taken between October 8 and 10, Newspoll chief executive Martin O'Shannessy said last night that Labor had suffered a six-point plunge in primary support outside cities.

He linked the decline to the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's draft recommendation of large cuts in water usage, which have sparked angry protests in rural areas in the past fortnight.

"A deeper analysis of this poll shows a potential backlash against the Murray-Darling plan," Mr O'Shannassy said. "Comparisons between this Newspoll and the one of two weeks ago show a collapse of the Labor vote outside the five main capital cities. " Regional and country voters have punished Labor with a primary vote fall of just over six points to 31 per cent, down from 37 per cent just two weeks ago."

The Newspoll was based on 1150 interviews and the results include a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

It found Labor's primary vote was on 33 per cent - down two percentage points from the October 8-10 survey and five points down from election day. The Coalition was on 43 per cent in primary terms - down from 43.6 per cent on election day - with the Greens on 14 per cent.

An AC Nielsen poll in Fairfax newspapers published yesterday delivered almost identical results, with the Greens on 14 per cent - up two points. The Sydney Morning Herald reported this as an indication that Labor was continuing to lose support to the Greens.

However, the Newspoll - conducted more frequently than the Nielsen survey - has recorded support for the Greens steady at 14 per cent since the September 10-12 survey - up from 11.8 per cent recorded at the election.

Mr O'Shannessy said the fact that Greens support had not changed while Labor's had fallen indicated Labor's real losses were to the Coalition in rural and regional Australia. The Newspoll also identified a four-percentage-point reduction in voter satisfaction with Julia Gillard's performance, to 44 per cent, and a corresponding four-point increase in the dissatisfaction rate.

Voter satisfaction with Tony Abbott climbed two points to 41 per cent, while dissatisfaction with the Opposition Leader fell a point to 46 per cent, with 13 per cent uncommitted.

Ms Gillard remained favoured prime minister by a rate of 53 per cent to 32 per cent, with 15 per cent expressing no preference.



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


26 October, 2010

An email from Howard Hayden [] in reply to the NYT

Howard Hayden is Prof. Emeritus of Physics, UConn

The NYT has run an Editorial castigating Republicans for not being on board with right and proper Democrats whose unassailable beliefs about "climate change" are to be emulated. I wrote the following letter, which will undoubtedly not be printed.
The notion that there is a scientific "consensus" about global warming is at once false and irrelevant. There has never been a poll of scientific opinion on the subject, and rightly so, because scientific veracity is a matter of objective reality, not of opinion.

What would you think of a drug company that approached the FDA for licensing of a new product with the following case? "Our supercomputers say the drug is safe and effective. We can't think of any other reason for the results to come out the way our computers say they do. Moreover, failure to license the drug will have disastrous consequences."

The FDA will demand, "Show us your dose-response graphs. How much dose gives how much benefit? How much dose results in how much hazard?" If the drug company representatives failed to produce dose-response graphs of real data, they would be thrown out on their ears.

Corresponding to dose-response curves for drugs, there are cause-effect graphs for other scientific data. For global-warming alarmists, the cause is called "forcing," (heat retention, in watts per square meter). The effect is temperature rise.

To prove their case, alarmists would produce a graph of temperature rise versus the "forcing." The stunning fact is that no such graph, or even a distant cousin of such a graph, has ever been published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Failure to produce the cause-effect graph is scientific incompetence of the highest order. If you find yourselves in denial of this fact, I ask you to challenge any global-warming alarmist on the planet to show you any refereed publication whatsoever that has the requisite cause-effect graph. The response will be like somebody shaking a feather pillow in your face.

Big embarrassment for Germany's top Warmists

Scratch off the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research from the alarmist list. No kidding!

The European Institute For Climate and Energy has a new piece written by Raimund Leistenschneider that takes a look at two interesting papers dug up from 2003. I wonder if Rahmstorf and Schellnhuber are going to feign amnesia on this.

The paper by Prof Stefan Rahmstorf confirms that today’s temperatures are actually quite cool compared to temperatures earlier in the Holocene.

In a paper he authored: ”Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock“, Geophys. Res. Lett.. 30, Nr. 10, 2003, S. 1510, doi:10.1029/2003 GL017115, Ramhstorf examined the Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO events).

These events are rapid climate changes occurring 23 times during the last ice age between 110,000 and 23.000 BP and were reconstructed from the GISP-2-ice cores from Greenland.

On Rahmstorf’s paper, EIKE writes:

Easy to recognize, at least using the studies done by Rahmstorf, we are living in a comparably cold time today. During the MWP 1000 years ago, when the vikings were farming Greenland, it was 1°C warmer than today. During the Roman Optimum 2000 years ago, when Hannibal crossed the Alps with his elephants in the wintertime, it was even 2°C warmer than today. And during the Holocene climate optimum 3500 years ago it was about 3°C warmer than today. Since about 3200 years ago, there has been a cooling of about 2°C.

Meanwhile Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf’s boss at the Potsdam Institute, was unable to discern any warming when examining a multitude of worldwide temperature records back in 2002 and 2003.

In a paper published in 2003, using their own studies, the authors concluded there had been no global warming over the last decades. (J.F. Eichner, E. Koscielny-Bunde, A. Bunde, S. Havlin, and H.-J. Schellnhuber: Power-law persistence and trends in the atmosphere, a detailed study of long temperature records, Phys. Rev. E 68 2003),

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

The hurricane dearth

To this day Warmists declare that "extreme weather events" will become more frequent with global warming. Going by recent experience, then, we must be undergoing global cooling

Adam Lea, of University College London, shares these interesting hurricane factoids related the the remarkable dearth of US hurricane landfalls in recent years. His comments are reproduced here with his permission:

"As the 2010 hurricane season (with 10 hurricanes) starts to wind down I thought I would share a few statistics on how unusual this season has been historically for its lack of US hurricane landfalls:

1. Since 1900 there is no precedent of an Atlantic hurricane season with 10 or more hurricanes where none has struck the US as a hurricane. The five previous seasons with 10 or more hurricanes each had at least two hurricane strikes on the US.

2. The last precedent for a La Nina year of the magnitude of 2010 which had no US-landfalling hurricane is 1973.

3. Since hurricane Ike (2008) there have been 16 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes. Such a sequence last happened between Irene (1999) and Lili (2002) with 22 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes, and between Allen (1980) and Alicia (1983) with 17 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes.

4. The period 2006-2010 is one of only three 5-year consecutive periods without a US major hurricane landfall (the other two such periods were 1901-1905 and 1936-1940). There has never been a six year period without a US major hurricane landfall.


Energy companies tell British government: If you want us to go Green, you will have to pay for it

Britain’s “big six” energy companies will this week warn Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy, that the government’s proposed “floor price” for carbon emission permits is not enough of an incentive for them to invest in new nuclear power stations.

Executives from the companies, including Centrica, EDF Energy and Scottish Power, now owned by Iberdrola, are due to make their views clear at a dinner with Mr Huhne on Wednesday.

The industry has reached a consensus position with all companies agreeing that some form of additional incentive is required. Options range from a feed-in tariff to guarantee the price for low-carbon electricity to payments to companies as reward for having available generation capacity.

The government has already said it is seeking to put a floor under the price of carbon dioxide permits under the European Union’s emissions trading scheme. But executives believe if that were to be the only incentive the floor would have to be set at a pretty high level, with estimates ranging between €80 and €90 a tonne of carbon. The companies argue any floor price should start at a relatively low level and then gradually step up towards a level of about €35 a tonne of carbon. Prices are currently hovering at around €15 a tonne.

Volker Beckers, the chief executive of RWE npower, the German-owned energy supplier that has teamed up with fellow German Eon to build new reactors, told the Financial Times last week that the government should not “discriminate different technologies against each other” but should ensure there is a “level playing field” for all. He wants the renewables obligation, which supports wind power, to be expanded to a low-carbon obligation that would include nuclear.

Mr Huhne last week gave the green light for the development of new nuclear reactors but vowed there would be no public subsidy. Mr Beckers said he did not think of the renewables obligation as a subsidy.

“It is an obligation to a supplier to comply with environmental legislation . . . in other words, you either invest or you pay,” he said.

Two consultations – one on the carbon price floor and another on electricity market reform – are expected later this autumn. Mr Beckers said that RWE npower would make its supplier decision in the first quarter of next year and if there was “uncertainty still” it would “be very difficult”.

His comments echo those of Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, which owns 80 per cent of British Energy, who called last week for “a timely consultation on how the government will implement its stated policy to provide a carbon price floor”. “We also need progress on reform of the electricity market where EDF Energy has proposed low carbon capacity payments to support security of supply.”

Mr Huhne will meet other industry stakeholders when he chairs the next meeting of the Nuclear Development Forum, which advises the government’s Office of Nuclear Development, on Thursday.


The British government will have to confront public anger over soaring electricity costs

Thanks to Gordon Brown's profligacy, the public is about to have to pay more tax for fewer services. But the cost of green policies does not feature much in the latest debates, because most of it comes not through taxes, but through electricity bills. It is programmed to rise. This year, the total levy adds £6 billion to our household and business bills. In 2015, it will be £10 billion; in 2020, £16 billion (which equals 4 pence on the basic rate of income tax today).

For the Government, and the generators, this is a beautiful way of doing things, because they get their money effortlessly. So it is ugly for you and me. We pay for the renewable obligation subsidies, we fund the Feed-in Tariff. We pay more and more for sources of energy which will not reward us with cost reductions for at least a generation. For years, governments have gone on about the wickedness of "fuel poverty". Today, 4.6 million households are officially defined as living in it. The prevailing policies make it inevitable that fuel poverty will rise for as far as the eye can see. By 2020, our energy prices will be between 30 and 40 per cent higher than they would have been without them.

At least two things result. One is that prosperity is impaired. Cheap energy is the prerequisite of industrial success. The figures for carbon production in the West are now mildly declining, but that is not true of our carbon consumption. All that is happening is that we are, in effect, exporting the production to China, proving, by doing so, that being green and clean does not pay. Global carbon production grows. The only important country where both the production and consumption of carbon slumped was Russia. That was because, in the 1990s, it suffered economic collapse. Economic collapse is, indeed, the answer to too much carbon, but in the same way that bubonic plague is the answer to the common cold.

The other result is that people get angry. They have been conscripted by their governments into an unwinnable war without end. The bills will rise, but the emissions will not fall. The country will not get cleaner, but its people will get poorer. There will come a point – provoked by power cuts, or by the bill for a cold winter – when we will be utterly sick of being ordered to save the planet, and we shall mutiny.

Politicians who want to stay in office should realise this, and take evasive action. Hard times provide the moment. In Spain the other day, the government realised that it was spending so much on price guarantees to solar power "entrepreneurs" that it decided to cut back. The same will have to happen with wind power here. It would be so much better, and cheaper, if it came before turbines have stalked their way across every lonely and lovely place in these islands.

The obvious objection to what I am saying is that we must save the planet. Of course we must, if it needs saving. But the great rows about the emails at the Climatic Research Unit, the evidence used by the working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and so on, have forced a retreat from the favourite claim that "the science is settled". The Royal Society has long been alarmist about climate change, but its latest publication, Climate Change: A Summary of the Science, produced because of criticism about bias, is careful. It sets out areas where there is "wide agreement", areas of "continuing debate and discussion" and "aspects that are not understood very well". Although the authors clearly believe that climate change is real and risky, and is aggravated by human activity, they also emphasise uncertainties – about cause, effect, timing, modelling and the accuracy of data. In my admittedly untutored reading, it looks as if, by the Society's own account, only about a third of the science is settled.

It seems a small [platform] on which to erect the next half-century of policy, nearly £1 trillion of costs and the claim that the end of the world is nigh. In this country and the whole of the West, a strange thing has happened. A fascinating scientific theory about a controversial subject has been falsely magicked by its supporters into a hard fact. I know this Government dislikes spending money on logos, but the next time "The Department of Energy and Climate Change" orders new stationery, it should delete those last three contentious words which Gordon Brown added to the masthead.


Obama adviser finds the cause of hostility between India and Pakistan

It's global warming, of course. Nothing to do with a thousand years of Moslem/Hindu rivalry

For some, global warming is the sinister cause of every problem plaguing the world-even the conflict between India and Pakistan.

This misapprehension has apparently taken hold of Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars, Holbrooke believes there is a "global warming dimension" of the India-Pakistan conflict.

"In one discussion about the tensions between Pakistan and India," Woodward wrote, "Holbrooke introduced a new angle. 'There's a global-warming dimension of this struggle, Mr. President,' he said."

Woodward wrote that Holbrooke's "words baffled many in the room." It's not hard to see why.

“‘There are tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops encamped on the glaciers in the Himalayas that feed the rivers into Pakistan and India,’ [Holbrooke] said. ‘Their encampments are melting the glaciers very quickly. There's a chance that river valleys in Pakistan and perhaps even India could be flooded.’"

Woodward reported that attendees were incredulous. "After the meeting," Woodward wrote, "there were several versions of one question: Was Holbrooke kidding? He was not. Holbrooke subsequently detailed his concerns in a written report."

Even more troubling is Holbrooke's apparent acceptance of the notion that global warming poses national security threats, requiring the imposition of energy rationing schemes such as cap-and-trade, at home and abroad, to alleviate international conflict.

But those schemes, as even the Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed, would do little to affect climate or Earth's temperature, and therefore would be of no consequence in international relations.

What they would do is harm America's economy through, among other things, higher costs for energy, food, and other consumer goods, more dependence on foreign oil, and further decline of our manufacturing base.

That, not global warming, is the real national security threat.



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


25 October, 2010

Warmists still trying but more cautious

Note that the article below just talks about ARCTIC warming, not global warming. They use weasel words by saying that they are "concerned about global warming" but refuse to say that the Arctic warming is CAUSED by global warming. So IS the Arctic warming caused by global warming? The article immediately after the one below gives an answer

Last winter's massive snowstorms that struck the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were tied to higher Arctic temperatures, climate scientists reported Thursday.

The new Arctic Report Card "tells a story of widespread, continued and even dramatic effects of a warming Arctic," said Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Hanover, N.H.

Researchers highlighted the snowstorms as one of the immediate consequences of the warming.

"Normally the cold air is bottled up in the Arctic," said Jim Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. But last December and February, winds that normally blow west to east across the Arctic were instead bringing the colder air south to the Mid-Atlantic, he said.

"As we lose more sea ice it's a paradox that warming in the atmosphere can create more of these winter storms," Overland said at a news briefing.

There is a powerful connection between ice cover and air temperatures, Richter-Menge explained. When temperatures warm, ice melts. When reflective ice melts it reveals darker surfaces underneath, which absorbs more heat. That, in turn, causes more melting "and on the cycle goes," she said.

Another effect of the increasing temperatures is that the sea ice extent is dropping to one of the lowest levels on record. "This isn't just a climatological effect. It impacts the people that live there," Richter-Menge said.

Atmospheric scientists concerned about global warming focus on the Arctic because that is a region where the effects are expected to be felt first, and that has been the case in recent years.

In September the Arctic sea ice extent was the third smallest in the last 30 years, added Don Perovich of the Army laboratory. He said the three smallest ice covers have occurred in the last four years.

There was a slowdown in Arctic warming in 2009, but in the first half of 2010 warming has been near a record pace, with monthly readings more than 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in northern Canada, according to the report card released Thursday.


The Arctic is indeed in a warm phase -- but it is Natural Variability

By Joseph D’Aleo, meteorologist

On October 21st the Associated Press hit the wires with a story entitled Sea Ice Melting as Arctic Temperatures Rise.

The temperatures in the arctic have indeed risen in recent years and ice has declined, bottoming out in 2007 but it is not unprecedented nor unexpected. The arctic temperatures and arctic ice extent varies in a very predictable 60-70 year cycle that relates to ocean cycles which are likely driven by solar changes.

In 2007, NASA scientists stated that after years of research, their team had assembled data showing that normal, decade-long changes in Arctic Ocean currents driven by a circulation known as the Arctic Oscillation was largely responsible for the major Arctic climate shifts observed over the past several years. These periodic reversals in the ocean currents move warmer and cooler water around to new places, greatly affecting the climate.

(The AO was at a record low level last winter explaining the record cold and snow in middle latitudes. A strongly negative AO pushes the coldest air well south while temperatures in the Polar Regions are warmer than normal under blocking high pressure)

We agree. And indeed both oceans play a role. In the record-setting (since satellite monitoring began in 1979) summer melt season of 2007, NSIDC noted the importance of both oceans in the arctic ice.
“One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.

Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss.”

“Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”

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

Standard warmist Meteorology has nowhere to go

Report of BBC Weather Project meeting at Royal Society Oct 12th., where Piers Corbyn insists on fair assessment of long range forecasts. BBC and Met Office make concessions

The Scene: An impressive room in Britain’s Royal Society off The Mall. Roger Harrabin, BBC’s chief environment correspondent in the chair surrounded by representatives of “All the Royals”, as he put it, either on the presentation line up or ‘at hand’ – the Royal Meteorological Society, The Royal Statistical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society; along with experts (statistics) from Leeds University, Philip Eden of BBC5 weather, Tim Palmer of European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (& RMS), the Met Office (seasonal forecasting division) and a range of other BBC professionals, weather people and public and Michael Fish! - numbering 50 or so in all.

The Purpose: to discuss the BBC’s ‘Weather (Test) Project.

The discussion led by Roget Harrabin proceeded as if the purpose was to compare short-range forecasts of Met office and competitors and raised many ‘difficulties’. A number of people said that BBC forecasts were confused in presentation and that although ‘forecast skill’ might be something to measure, forecast usefulness is what the public and business really need.

Piers says “It’s time to Get Real”.

Tim Palmer said the main problem of weather forecasting was that weather is a ‘chaotic system’ and very small changes at the start of a computer forward projection programme can make very different outcomes (forecasts) later; and said this could ONLY be overcome in a very general way by looking at slow changes like El Nino and Ocean currents which could have a bearing on circulation a month or so ahead and enable ‘seasonal’ forecasting.

Piers Corbyn (a member of two of ‘The Royals’ RMS & RAS) said that Tim Palmer’s point about “what he calls chaos” also must mean that small external drivers such as SOLAR ACTIVITY can fundamentally change the development of weather systems and makes (with our understanding of what the sun does) long range forecasting possible NOW, many months ahead down to detail of a few days and is especially skilled at extreme events.

We, scientists, must do better!

Piers pointed out that his own WeatherAction forecast for the winter 2009/10 had been presented last October 28th in summary form in Imperial College in front of Roger Harrabin and others of the BBC who had said they would publicise it; but the BBC had not done this and instead promoted the Met offices ‘Global-Warmist’ ‘seasonal’ forecast for a mild winter which had failed absolutely as had the Met Office seasonal forecasts for the 3 previous summers & winter 08/09.

The consequence, said Piers, was that his warning that the UK would run out of road salt was ignored by Govt, Local Authorities and Emergency services and as a result there were unnecessary road accidents and deaths. “We have to do better than this” he said to the audience - who listened carefully.

“Measure skill by ‘notional’ weather bets – & assess short and long detailed forecasts including regions & extreme events”

He pointed out that his forecasts already had independently proven significant skill especially for extreme events (See Forecast accuracy button) and it was unacceptable that his forecasts which went much further ahead and gave much more regional detail than anything long range the Met Office attempts should be excluded from a fair measure of skill.

He said the fairest way was to put the forecasts into the form of notional weather bets to include regions, dates and extremes - eg the first week of Jan will be in the ten coldest in the last 100 years for Central England Temps – Fair odds 9/1 against {NB THIS is NOT a forecast!! Just an example}.

Philip Eden asked If the Met Office would enter such a form of competition (which they had seemed reluctant to do) would Piers also enter a more general less detailed set of questions? Piers agreed and said the Test committee should consider his Solar-factors improvements to short range Met forecasts as well as detailed month ahead and many months ahead forecasts including regional detail and extreme events down to a few days time resolution.

Skill and usefulness

Piers said it was simple to resolve the conflict between skill & usefulness. The test committee should test skill of any forecasts by, eg, notional Weather bets & the public separately can say what they find useful. Roger Harrabin mentioned how useful he had found a long range holiday forecast from Piers!

“It was clear from the meeting that Standard Global-Warmist Meteorology hasn’t made any advances in 5 years - indeed it has failed - and has nowhere to go”, said Piers. “Their hope to overcome ‘chaos’ by slow changing things like ocean currents and CO2 assumptions fails just as badly as their medium range forecasts beyond 10 days because the predictable solar/lunar signal is much stronger than the noise in their ‘chaos’, and of course assumptions about CO2 are proven nonsense.

The meeting was something of a watershed and the way could open to the proper advance of science. However, first the religiosity of CO2-theory and the related obsession with models which the users absurdly believe are better than nature itself at predicting nature, must end!”.


Climate Change is dead. Long live the new Eco Lie

James Delingpole

And so it begins. With all the shamelessness of a Goldman Sachser trading in his middle-aged wife for a hot, pouting twenty-something called Ivanka, the green movement is ditching “Climate Change”. The newer, younger, sexier model’s name? Biodiversity.

When I say shameless, I’m talking so amoral it makes the Whore of Babylon look like Mother Theresa; so flagrant it makes Al Gore’s, ahem, alleged drunken “Love poodle” assault on the Portland Masseuse look like an especially delicate passage from Andreas Capellanus’s The Art of Courtly Love.

Consider this summary of the UN’s two-week Convention On Biodiversity, launched on Monday:
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are being asked to agree to new 2020 targets after governments largely failed to meet a 2010 target of achieving a significant reduction in biological diversity losses, a goal set at the last biodiversity conference in 2002. And one of the same issues that led to failure the first time around could jeopardize this meeting: money.

Developing nations say more funding is needed from developed countries to share the effort in saving nature. Much of the world’s remaining biological diversity is in developing nations such as Brazil, Indonesia and in central Africa.

Do you see what’s going on here? OK. Here’s an even bigger clue. Here’s something, unbeknownst to the world’s taxpayers and free citizens, which the UN technocrats stitched together in June.
Busan/Nairobi, 11 June 2010 - History was made, Friday, in the South Korean port city of Busan, when governments gave the green light to an Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The independent platform will in many ways mirror the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has assisted in catalyzing world-wide understanding and governmental action on global warming.

The new body will bridge the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge -documenting accelerating declines and degradation of the natural world – and the decisive government action required to reverse these damaging trends.

Its various roles will include carrying out high quality peer reviews of the wealth of science on biodiversity and ecosystem services emerging from research institutes across the globe in order to provide gold standard reports to governments.

“Gold standard”, eh? Now where have I heard that phrase before?

Suddenly it becomes clear why they kept Pachauri on at the IPCC. Because the IPCC simply doesn’t matter any more. Sure it will go on, churning out Assessment Report after Assessment Report, bringing pots of money to the usual gang of bent scientists prepared to act as lead authors. But the world’s mainstream media – especially all those environment correspondents who so lovingly transcribe the press releases of Greenpeace and the WWF as if they were holy writ – will have moved on, according to the dictates of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) fashionable crise du jour.

“Never mind ‘Climate Change’,” they’ll say to themselves. “Our readers and viewers aren’t really so into that now all the winters seem to have got so very cold. Biodiversity, that’s the thing.”

And guess what? Not only does the great big new Biodiversity scam already have its own IPCC but it even has its own pseudoeconomic, panic-generating Stern Report. This one is produced by a member of Deutsche Bank which – as Hilary Ostrov tells us in an excellent post well worth reading in full – has form when it comes to promoting half-witted, ill-documented, patently political climate change ****ocks.
Hmmm … Deutsche Bank … Oh, yes I’ve heard of that one. Ross McKitrick recently responded to some misinformation they had included in “a report that aims to rebut major skeptic arguments on global warming”. But I digress …

Just read how it’s billed and weep:
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Nagoya, Japan, 20 October 2010– The economic importance of the world’s natural assets is now firmly on the political radar as a result of an international assessment showcasing the enormous economic value of forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs, as well as the social and economic costs of their loss, was the conclusion of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report launched today by TEEB study leader, Pavan Sukhdev.

“TEEB has documented not only the multi-trillion dollar importance to the global economy of the natural world, but the kinds of policy-shifts and smart market mechanisms that can embed fresh thinking in a world beset by a rising raft of multiple challenges. The good news is that many communities and countries are already seeing the potential of incorporating the value of nature into decision-making,” said Mr. Sukhdev, a banker who heads up the Green Economy Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

He was speaking at the launch of the two-year study, which has involved hundreds of experts from around the world, at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th Conference of Parties meeting (CBD COP10) in Nagoya.

The TEEB study calls for wider recognition of nature’s contribution to human livelihoods, health, security, and culture by decision-makers at all levels (local to national and business to citizens). It promotes the demonstration, and where appropriate, the capture of the economic values of nature’s services through an array of policy instruments and mechanisms.

Here’s the UN’s Achim Steiner – you’ll have seen him recently on a BBC news report where David Shuckman, was it? got to go on a nice freebie to Kenya in the guise of bigging up, you guessed it, biodiversity – telling us just how SERIAL this business is.

This year’s Global Biodiversity Outlook-3, prepared in close collaboration with UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, points to ‘tipping points’ fast emerging – changes for example in freshwater systems that soon may be irreversible.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 concluded that 60 per cent of the services provided by the world’s ecosystems that support human well being are now either degraded or heading that way.

Changes in biodiversity as a result of human activities were more rapid in the past 50 years that at any time in human history, it concludes.

The report, the output of more than 1,300 scientists from more than 90 countries supported by UNEP, the Global Environment Facility and many other partners, underlined that rather than exercising the brake the world continues to choose the accelerator.

What? Only 1300 scientists this time, was it? I’m sure the figure which used to be bandied about with global warming was more like 2,500.

Ah well, what the hell. It’s not like the “little people” are going to be able to do anything about it. That’s the beauty of the United Nations. The European Union too, come to that. Democratically unaccountable, lavishly funded, and with over a half a century’s expertise at spreading big lies round the world before the truth has got his boots on.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia: Greenie superstition masquerading as agricultural science

The angst in Murray-Darling Basin communities about proposed water regime changes belies Australian farmers' record in adopting research.

Both rain-fed and irrigation farmers have a proud record of steadily increasing sustainable productivity. The adoption of practices such as zero-till and hugely improved output per unit of winter rainfall by rain-fed farmers have resulted in grain yields doubling in the past 30 years. Irrigators have maintained the value of outputs despite using only half as much water during the drought. Both efficiencies were achieved by committed farmers backed by strong research performance from supporting agencies. There is no place for the amateur.

Michael Jeffery and Julian Cribb ("Water is the key to sustainability", The Australian, October 15) give us an interesting drop-by-drop analysis of our water resources.

They very crisply identify the challenge: minimise evaporation, recycle city waste water, don't "over-engineer" streams, preserve prime land from urban sprawls, encourage give-it-a-go farmers, maintain supporting scientific research and ensure supply of skilled personnel.

A useful definition of sustainable agriculture is that to which society has committed enough resources to identify problems, to have solutions adequately researched and to ensure adoption of the solutions: never arrive, but eternally strive! It takes time and solid support for adoption of technology: time to consider the whole impact, to change equipment, arrange finance, and make arrangements with input suppliers and product buyers. In the Murray-Darling Basin it is a whole-of-community adaptation process.

A scientific base for this development is essential but beware of false prophets! Unfortunately, Jeffrey and Cribb have been taken in by one such, Peter Andrews, of ABC TV's Australian Story fame, who scorns agricultural science in his book, Back from the Brink. He insults the rural agencies and scientists with such absurd assertions as: "In my experience most scientists are hamstrung by a fear of change", and "I know several who had an opportunity to initiate change . . . but shied away". He alleges total failure by agricultural scientists to work together on land and water management, gives no credit to the effective efforts of Landcare, state departments of agriculture-primary industries, soil conservation agencies and catchment management authorities.

Andrew's work, described as (undefined) natural sequence farming, is disconnected from the past 50 years of science which gave this country substantial increased food and fibre production and better land management. On pastures he states: "Ten per cent coverage of thistles . . . enough to maintain the fertility". Then, "grass will accumulate fertility . . . a lot slower than weeds do" and, "there isn't a pasture anywhere in Australia today . . . more productive if it had weeds growing in the grass. So it isn't just a case of weeds not being harmful; it's a case of weeds being essential."

Then again, he posits that fertilisers are not needed: "Chemical fertilisers do not really fertilise the soil; a feedback loop tells the plants to stop growing when there is not enough fertility . . . This correlation disappears as soon as you apply a chemical fertiliser. Then the plant will keep growing willy-nilly, exhausting and weakening the soil, which is then less able to cope with erosion, extremes of climate and other stressful conditions. Chemical fertilisers stimulate grass to keep growing regardless."

Surely, few readers can take such nonsense seriously? Nearly a century of scientific research and farming experience have clearly demonstrated that fertilised leguminous plants in balance with others will produce nutritious feed at the same time raising the organic matter level of the soil and protecting it from erosion.

The water conservation and food production scenario identified by Jeffrey and Cribb, and the underlying the plan for the Murray-Darling Basin, need the best trained scientific brains, well-funded for their research, capable of passing on evidence-based advice to well-trained, intelligent, adaptive farmers, who respect sound science and analysis and are capable of carrying further the successful agricultural research and development of recent decades.


Think Again: Global Aging

A gray tsunami is sweeping the planet -- and not just in the places you expect. How did the world get so old, so fast?

"The World Faces a Population Bomb."

Yes, but of old people. Not so long ago, we were warned that rising global population would inevitably bring world famine. As Paul Ehrlich wrote apocalyptically in his 1968 worldwide bestseller, The Population Bomb, "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate." Obviously, Ehrlich's predicted holocaust, which assumed that the 1960s global baby boom would continue until the world faced mass famine, didn't happen. Instead, the global growth rate dropped from 2 percent in the mid-1960s to roughly half that today, with many countries no longer producing enough babies to avoid falling populations. Having too many people on the planet is no longer demographers' chief worry; now, having too few is.

It's true that the world's population overall will increase by roughly one-third over the next 40 years, from 6.9 to 9.1 billion, according to the U.N. Population Division. But this will be a very different kind of population growth than ever before -- driven not by birth rates, which have plummeted around the world, but primarily by an increase in the number of elderly people. Indeed, the global population of children under 5 is expected to fall by 49 million as of midcentury, while the number of people over 60 will grow by 1.2 billion. How did the world grow so gray, so quickly?

One reason is that more people are living to advanced old age. But just as significant is the enormous bulge of people born in the first few decades after World War II. Both the United States and Western Europe saw particularly dramatic increases in birth rates during the late 1940s and 1950s, as returning veterans made up for lost time. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of the developing world also experienced a baby boom, but for a different reason: striking declines in infant and child mortality. As these global baby boomers age, they will create a population explosion of seniors. Today in the West, we are seeing a sharp uptick in people turning 60; in another 20 years, we'll see an explosion in the numbers turning 80. Most of the rest of the world will follow the same course in the next few decades.

Eventually, the last echoes of the global baby boomers will fade away. Then, because of the continuing fall in birth rates, humans will face the very real prospect that our numbers will fall as fast -- if not faster -- than the rate at which they once grew. Russia's population is already 7 million below what it was in 1991. As for Japan, one expert has calculated that the very last Japanese baby will be born in the year 2959, assuming the country's low fertility rate of 1.25 children per woman continues unchanged. Young Austrian women now tell pollsters their ideal family size is less than two children, enough to replace themselves but not their partners. Worldwide, there is a 50 percent chance that the population will be falling by 2070, according to a recent study published in Nature. By 2150, according to one U.N. projection, the global population could be half what it is today.

That might sound like an appealing prospect: less traffic, more room at the beach, easier college admissions. But be careful what you wish for.

"Aging Is a Rich-Country Problem."

NO. Once, demographers believed, following a long line of ancient thinkers from Tacitus and Cicero in late Rome to Ibn Khaldun in the medieval Arab world, that population aging and decline were particular traits of "civilized" countries that had obtained a high degree of luxury. Reflecting on the fate of Rome, Charles Darwin's grandson bemoaned a pattern he saw throughout history: "Must civilization always lead to the limitation of families and consequent decay and then replacement from barbaric sources, which in turn will go through the same experience?"

Today, however, we see that birth rates are dipping below replacement levels even in countries hardly known for luxury. Emerging first in Scandinavia in the 1970s, what the experts call "subreplacement fertility" quickly spread to the rest of Europe, Russia, most of Asia, much of South America, the Caribbean, Southern India, and even Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Morocco, and Iran. Of the 59 countries now producing fewer children than needed to sustain their populations, 18 are characterized by the United Nations as "developing," i.e., not rich.

Indeed, most developing countries are experiencing population aging at unprecedented rates. Consider Iran. As recently as the late 1970s, the average Iranian woman had nearly seven children. Today, for reasons not well understood, she has just 1.74, far below the average 2.1 children needed to sustain a population over time. Accordingly, between 2010 and 2050, the share of Iran's population 60 and older is expected to increase from 7.1 to 28.1 percent. This is well above the share of 60-plus people found in Western Europe today and about the same percentage that is expected for most Northern European countries in 2050. But unlike Western Europe, Iran and many other developing regions experiencing the same hyper-aging -- from Cuba to Croatia, Lebanon to the Wallis and Futuna Islands -- will not necessarily have a chance to get rich before they get old.

One contributing factor is urbanization; more than half the world's population now lives in cities, where children are an expensive economic liability, not another pair of hands to till fields or care for livestock. Two other oft-cited reasons are expanded work opportunities for women and the increasing prevalence of pensions and other old-age financial support that doesn't depend on having large numbers of children to finance retirement.

Surprisingly, this graying of the world is not by any means the exclusive result of programs deliberately aimed at population control. For though there are countries such as India, which embraced population control even to the point of forced sterilization programs during the 1970s and saw dramatic reduction in birth rates, there are also counterexamples such as Brazil, where the government never promoted family planning and yet its birth rate went down even more. Why? In both countries and elsewhere, changing cultural norms appear to be the primary force driving down birth rates -- think TV, not government decrees. In Brazil, television was introduced sequentially province by province, and in each new region the boob tube reached, birth rates plummeted soon after. (Discuss among yourselves whether this was because of what's on Brazilian television -- mostly soap operas depicting rich people living the high life -- or simply because a television was now on at night in many more bedrooms.)

Much more HERE


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


24 October, 2010

How the UN Manipulates the Media and the Public on Biodiversity

I'm going to expose what I consider to be a direct attempt by the United Nations to manipulate the media and the public into acting on the 'biodiversity crisis'. Before I do that, I feel compelled to say at least one good thing about the UN. They are very open with their documentation. All the documents I reference in this article were taken directly from their website here, or from websites which are linked within those documents. They aren't making an attempt to hide the following.

You may have heard in the news recently that there is a biodiversity meeting taking place right now in Japan. It is called the The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), here is their website. The UN seems to be pushing biodiversity much more this year than ever before (this is the International Year of Biodiversity), so I decided to go through the documents released at the convention and see what they are talking about. Here is what I have found:

1. The UN has actively trained journalists (called 'media training') in the proper way to cover biodiversity stories

2. The UN has developed partnerships with news organizations to release biodiversity stories and press releases

3. Developed educational programs (called 'education for sustainable development') incorporating biodiversity teaching intended for children, also created The Green Wave program to reach out to children

4. Developed so called Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) toolkits and workshops in order to "create broadly based support for the issues" by giving advice like this: "To involve people, nothing is more powerful than working on their emotions". I will take each of these in turn and show what they have already done and what they are trying to do. Let's start with the UN engaging in 'media training' on how to report biodiversity.

Media training

It is spelled out explicitly in this pdf, entitled Communication, Education, and Public Awareness, written on August 15, 2010. On page 5 of the pdf there is a section entitled Priority Activity 4 - Media Relations. Here is a screen capture of the first few points in that section:

Let's focus on the second point. They say:
Thanks to the financial assistance of the Government of the Netherlands, media training was carried out at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Journalists from developing countries participated in briefings on the issues under discussion at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties and wrote articles. The success of the training inspired the planning of another media briefing at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, with financing from the Government of Spain. This practice has increased press coverage of meetings of the Conference of the Parties, and had led to the development of a roster of media interested in biodiversity stories.

They are openly training the media in how to report biodiversity stories. This schedule and this schedule both confirm this, both the 23'rd and 24'th are devoted entirely to 'media training'. What exactly is media training? It certainly sounds bad, but there are very few details to go on. Here is an account from a group sending reporters to the conference:
Both reporters will also attend a two day media training coordinated by the CBD Secretariat which will help provide them with insight as to the issues at this conference. It is also planned that experiences learnt at the CBD COP 10 be shared nationally with their fellow media colleagues upon return.

I'm not sure what providing insight entails. The objectivity of reporters who attend a two day training session would seem to be in question, especially when the report lauds what positive results were obtained from the last round of media training.

UN / Media partnership

The UN has also joined in partnerships with certain news agencies to issue biodiversity stories:
15. In support of this priority activity, the Executive Secretary carried out a number of activities including integrating journalists into subregional workshops on CEPA, developing partnerships with media organizations such as Inter Press Services (IPS), the Panos Institute, IIED, as well as working even more closely with the network of regional information officers of the United Nations Environment Programme. This has taken place at the same time that there have been an increase in the number of announcements, press releases and stories that are sent out to media.

Also a few points down this appears:
18. For the International Year of Biodiversity, a partnership was established with Inter Press Services to disseminate stories about biodiversity during the year. A biodiversity reporting guide was also created and published in English and Spanish here.

The UN created partnerships with the Inter Press Service (IPS), the Panos Institute, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). A quick look at these sites shows that the partnership has yielded nothing but positive stories about the convention; this is especially true of the IPS. Let's take a look at that IPS biodiversity reporting guide and see what it contains.
The "Biodiversity Reporting Guidelines -Putting life on the front page" consist of three documents. The main document provides context and definitions, as well as examples of significant linkages between biodiversity and a range of sectors. The document includes ideas for writing biodiversity stories and how to pitch them to editors and present them to readers. It also outlines key reporting and journalism principles.

This main document is accompanied by:

a. A calendar of biodiversity-related events (meetings, conferences, etcetera) held around world over the May 2010-January 2011 period. The list also includes significant dates celebrated worldwide, which can be useful as pegs or opportunities for reports and stories.

b. A list of international conventions, treaties and agreements linked directly or indirectly to biodiversity, with links to institutional web sites and, in some cases, a brief description of the instrument.

That is pretty cut and dried, but just in case you are a journalist lacking any ambition or originality at all, they give you a list of possible story ideas:
2. Unexpected events, such as disasters or crises, offer excellent opportunities for reporting and writing feature stories with in-depth analyses of related issues. The challenge is to go beyond what is visible on the surface, because every event has an immediate cause and an underlying cause. The immediate cause is the most visible and obvious link. Reporters must reveal what lies beneath, because more often than not the underlying causes are more important. Exploring and exposing the underlying causes makes for good journalism, by adding new information, new insights and new understandings.....

There are more, but you get the picture. So far we've seen that the UN has developed partnerships with certain media groups, and when the journalists show up to the conference they are submitted to two days of media training in order to get insight. This hardly resembles how press coverage is supposed to work, at least in my mind. Perhaps I'm naive. However, it doesn't finish there.

Educating Children / The Green Wave

From the same pdf mentioned earlier:
46. To support educational objectives of Parties, during the biennium, the Secretariat has undertaken and supported the development of educational resources for children and youth. Financial contributions from the Governments of Canada and Spain have contributed to this.

What exactly are they funding? They are supporting a program called Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This initiative was started in 2005 with a push to have it integrated within a decade. This document deals with how biodiversity can be incorporated into the ESD. Here are some excerpts:
(b) Biodiversity (especially ecosystems) illustrates global interdependences which consideration is vital to ESD. Secondly, the success of ESD depends on the structural involvement of all relevant actors and cooperation beyond the (formal) education sector. The use of already existing internationally connected networks of knowledge, practice and research and the promotion of the biodiversity/ESD nexus in a comprehensive concept is important. It is also essential to involve all levels of government. Examples of this approach are eco-schools, the ASP network, nonformal and adult learning networks (CAE), professional training, biosphere reserves, UNESCO Chairs, UN University research areas, ICLEI et al. National policy debates and existing mechanisms should be used to link the desired learning and education goals.

(c) ESD has benefited from a reinvigorated global debate on climate change and biodiversity loss. More environmental education is required in formal and informal education, with better focus on biodiversity in a more holistic way, involving links to ethical, social, cultural and economic aspects. It is also important to raise awareness of the importance of the work of civil society in biodiversity conservation and education. In this respect, efforts are beginning to be made to link formal and information education in the ESD context. In fact, a variety of activities have been implemented at all levels - from local to international. However, some feel that the favourable momentum of the decade has not been sufficiently harnessed.

This is very clearly a push from the UN to change both formal and informal education to reflect their concerns over biodiversity and sustainability. However, their most successful campaign isn't mentioned above. It's called The Green Wave, and this 18 page document has nearly 3 pages devoted to it. I won't put it all in, but I will show you some highlights:
45. The contribution of The Green Wave to implementation of the educational component of the programme of work on CEPA is considerable and will be outlined below. The scope of its mobilization and the flexible framework in which activities may be carried out make it an ideal platform upon which biodiversity can be integrated into formal, informal and non-formal contexts of learning.In the upcoming biennium, it will be important to further develop the contribution of tools such as The Green Wave.

51. The Green Wave is a global initiative to support education of children and youth on biodiversity...

52. The Green Wave campaign seeks to raise awareness and educate children and youth on the loss of biodiversity and the need for action to preserve it. Each year, a "green wave" of action takes place on the IDB. Throughout the year children and youth are encouraged to plan biodiversity-related activities through the school year. The Green Wave also supports other national, international and global tree planting initiatives such as the UNEP-led Billion Tree Campaign.

57. In 2010, children and youth were joined by dignitaries, teachers, parents, experts and supporters from Government, companies, non-governmental organizations and other organizations in celebrating The Green Wave. Thousands of students from more than 1,000 schools and groups who took part in 63 countries have uploaded pictures and stories of their activities to The Green Wave website, and several hundred more groups have participated in the celebrations.

I certainly don't have a problem with kids planting trees, I planted quite a few for my older neighbor when I was young. But when you look at who created this program, who funds it, and what its goals are, it may make you think twice. What exactly do they teach the children when they are planting trees? When they say "the need for action to preserve it [biodiversity loss]", what exactly are they recommending to our children? Clearly, this program is part of ESD, whose goal is to get children to grow up with sustainability on their mind. Thousands of children around the world are learning exactly what the UN wants them to learn, through something as innocuous as planting trees.

Training journalists, partnering with news agencies, and educating children in questionable material are strange roles which the United Nations is now playing. Are the members of the UN aware that this biodiversity crisis is being presented in a very controlled manner by the UN itself? Since billions are being asked for to divert this crisis, shouldn't we take a more skeptical approach of an issue which is almost solely being presented by the UN?

The fourth and final point about the CEPA is too long to contain in this post. I'll post it tomorrow. It is essentially the blueprint for how government portrays the biodiversity crisis to the public. It contains government surveillance, attempts to alter formal education, advice on manipulating the public, and it lays out the steps that governments are urged to take to implement their CEPA (public relations) phase by phase.


The Solar Robber Barons

Comment from Canada

Some foreign — and even domestic — solar equipment manufacturers are complaining that Ontario’s buy-local policies will cost investment and jobs. It takes some gall to criticize dumb and damaging initiatives when your existence depends on them.

A group of photovoltaic producers — led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. — is complaining that to receive Ontario’s super-premium rates for solar energy, projects must have a 60% local content. This, bleat the solar robber barons, is bad for the economy!

Worldwide, solar companies have been boosted by the policy pandemic of feed-in tariffs, whereby the high costs of uneconomic renewable power are averaged down with much cheaper conventional electricity sources. This is leading to sharp cost increases for consumers.

Takashi Sato, president of Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada, was reported as saying this week that “We are very encouraged by the FIT [feed-in-tariff] as far as a tariff program is concerned.”

You bet they are! Who wouldn’t want their industry subsidized by having consumers forced to pay multiples of the market price for a portion of their purchases?

“However,” continued Mr. Sato, “the program contains some poison because of the domestic content requirement.”

We beg to differ. The program is pure hemlock all the way through.

Japan has challenged Ontario’s Green Energy Act at the WTO, with the EU and United States cheering it on, but this is sheer hypocrisy, even if the Ontario government’s actions are indefensible (It remains to be seen whether Dalton McGuinty plans to go the Danny Williams route of flouting trade agreements in the knowledge that Ottawa has to pick up the bill).

The U.S. is complaining about China’s renewable industry subsidies, but China has fired back noting that a $60-billion-plus chunk of Mr. Obama’s stimulus package consisted of such subsidies, with “Buy American” clauses attached.

“What America is blaming us for is exactly what they do themselves,” said Mr. Zhang Guobao, vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission. “Chinese subsidies to new energy companies are much smaller than those of the U.S. government. If the U.S. government can subsidize companies, then why can’t we?”

Well of course they can. The problem is that such actions are collectively suicidal.

When launching his own campaign of hypocrisy in Ontario, Mitsubishi’s Mr. Sato claimed that the solar industry was set to boom. Au contraire. The solar industry is headed for a crash, and any superficial buoyancy is not due to bright market prospects but to frenzied activity in anticipation of subsidy withdrawal. As usual, Icarus McGuinty appears a little slow on the uptake, still convinced he can bear the Ontario economy Sol-wards on waxy wings.

Spain had a similarly crazy policy that subsidized farmers to plough their orchards under and cover them with solar panels. Supposedly shrewd men of the soil invested to take advantage of a solar tariff of around 44¢ per kilowatt-hour, 10 times that paid to mainstream suppliers (but still way short of Ontario’s top rates of over 70¢).

When he unveiled a solar plant in 2007, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero declared, “We are a world power in this field, we are capable of exporting our technology and competing across five continents and we are today at the forefront of the renewable-energy industry.”

When Mr. Zapatero took a delegation to Washington a year ago, President Obama (who is to put more solar panels on the White House, just like Jimmy Carter) praised Spain as a model of green-energy-driven economic transformation.

It certainly is: the transformation to ruin.

Typical of such bold moves toward “sustainability,” Spain’s proved utterly unsustainable. Soon Madrid found itself saddled with upward of €126-billion of solar obligations. Investors wound up importing most solar equipment because domestic suppliers couldn’t meet the surge in demand. Studies indicated that each renewable job cost two regular jobs.

Spain, like most countries, has found itself with a surging deficit in the wake of the economic crisis. This in turn has forced it to renege on its commitments to high solar power prices. The response has been outrage from the solar industry, a slump in investment and a sharp drop in the price of solar panels. Critics point out that these government’s policy lurchings have damaged the investment climate more generally.

Anybody with half an economic brain could have seen that the universal policy urge to subsidize green energy was going to lead to both massive oversupply and unsustainable drainage of the public purse. Meanwhile we should remember that the whole green energy thrust is likely based on scientific sand.

As Czech President Vaclav Klaus pointed out in a speech this week to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (which was excerpted on this page yesterday), climate change is far more about political power and rent-seeking than science. The solar fiasco shows that this thrust is not merely dangerous to freedom, as President Klaus indicated, it is also fiscally suicidal.

Back in Ontario, meanwhile, Mr. Sato’s arm-twisting kicker is that unless foreign solar manufacturers get their full section of the subsidy trough, they may have to uproot and head for, well, even more stupid jurisdictions. That means Ontario might not be able to reach its renewable targets! We can only hope so.

Farewell, Mr. Sato. Don’t forget to send a postcard.


The Failure Of Sweden’s Red-Green Alliance

Niklas Nordström

Rather than propelling the Social Democrats to power it appears that the electoral alliance with the greens and the left party only served to antagonise traditional voters. Talk of a new political identity is futile unless it is based on our own values.

I was born and raised in northern Sweden, rugged country with strong labour roots. Up north, the Social Democrats easily hit 50 per cent in the polls. Many years ago, however, I moved to Stockholm. Here, the party struggles to attract one-fifth of the vote. Moving between these very different realities, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that now confront the party.

Across Europe, middle-of-the-road voters are leaning to the right. The social democratic parties have been taken to the electoral cleaners in country after country and Sweden is no exception. In the 2010 general elections, Sweden’s Social Democrats registered their worst result since 1911, garnering a mere 30 per cent of the vote.

This was hardly a shock. We social democrats have meandered into the proverbial political wilderness – with neither a compass nor a map. In Sweden part of this ill-defined journey has involved holding hands with the greens. However, this relationship has been fraught with political and ideological dilemmas.

It more or less boils down to disparate views on economic growth. The Social Democrats and unions have always agreed that the redistribution of wealth requires, well, wealth. The party has also contended that economic growth is the key to developing new and greener technology for a more sustainable future.

Sweden’s greens, however, increasingly perceive economic growth to be incompatible with their lofty environmental aspirations. The global financial crisis only served to cement this view. “To this day, no country has proven that it is possible to couple economic growth with responsible natural-resource management,” said the spokesperson of the Swedish Green Party, Maria Wetterstrand, earlier this year.

In this election cycle, one can pinpoint two specific events related to confused coalition politics that severely undercut support for the Social Democrats.

The first was in October 2008. Mona Sahlin, chairman of the Social Democrats, unveiled the red-green alliance. The move, which explicitly excluded the Left Party, was unpopular in the inner circle. Sahlin immediately backpedaled and welcomed the reformed communists into the fold.

The second was in May 2010. With just six months until the elections, all eyes were on the red-green alliance has it shaped up to present its budget. The global financial mood was shaky, not least due to the situation in Greece, and people expected a responsible, sensible plan.

The alliance failed to deliver and took a fatal blow in the polls. The public trusted the reigning center-right government when it came to sound economic policy, and had doubts about the opposition’s level of economic competence.

These were two crushing setbacks from which alliance never fully recovered. The Green Party did improve its share of the electorate, but it mainly siphoned voters from the Social Democrats. The strategy to attract young, environmentally aware, urbanites who would have traditionally voted centre-right simply never panned out.

Indeed, many traditionally social democratic voters directly cited a wariness of the red-green experiment. According to the polling institute United Minds, 32 per cent of those who turned their back on the Social Democrats did so mainly because of the collaboration with the Left Party. Roughly 44 per cent said that the Left Party had gained too much influence over policy; whilst 45 per cent cited the Green Party’s influence.

Distrust of the Green Party was especially high in historically Social Democrat strongholds. I have experienced this suspicion firsthand when talking to family and friends in northern Sweden. “They want to take away our way of life. They want to close our factories, take our cars and our snow scooters. They want to restrict hunting and travel. We have absolutely nothing in common. Their values aren’t my values. Why are we in bed with this party?”

In the cities, it is instead the Left Party that raises hackles. Their stance on taxes and economic issues as well as their radical foreign policy were anathema to middle-class voters. Moreover, many people had deep misgivings about whether the party had genuinely come to terms with its communist past.

This inability to appeal to the middle classes and wide demographic swathes of the electorate is reflected by the fact that only 22 per cent of gainfully employed voters pulled the lever for the Social Democrats in this year’s elections. The party is instead increasingly perceived to be close to – and are indeed mainly attracting – the jobless: the unemployed, people on long-term sick leave or others who depend on the state. This is not a position from which we can help them.

The bottom line is that the red-green alliance served to do little more than drive wedges deep into the heart of the Social Democratic voter base. The results were unsurprisingly disastrous.

The time has come for unflinching introspection. We social democrats – in Sweden and across Europe – should not look to clone or cosy-up to the policies of our real, perceived or imagined allies. Rather we must shape a modern political identity grounded firmly in our own principles in order to remain the leading force in progressive politics. It is only then that we can craft and convey a policy agenda that speaks with conviction to people from all walks of life.


Green Waste: Subsidies, Green Jobs Go Up In Smoke

Dutch News

Energy company Nuon is to sell or close down its solar panel factory in Arnhem as part of a cost-cutting measure by parent group Vattenfall, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday, quoting confidential documents.

Chinese company Hanenergy is interested in solar panel firm Helianthos but if the sale falls through, the plant will be closed down, the paper says.

The Helianthos plant, which employs 60 people, has had €15m in government subsidies over the past 10 years. Nuon itself has invested up to €100m, the paper says.

Nuon was taken over by Sweden’s state-owned Vattenfall last year after its local government shareholders were given a guarantee the company would ‘continue its current strategy with regard to renewable energy’.

According to internal company documents, Helianthos’ technology is ‘almost ready to be scaled up’, but that it is ‘not a core Nuon or Vattenfall business’ and there will be ‘no further investment’ in the factory.

In an internal company memo, Nuon strategists say closure carries a risk of negative reactions from the media and politicians given ‘Helianthos is seen as a green, innovative company, with recent research successes (a world record) and lots of subsidies.’


Britain's Green Car Fiasco Deepens (But Not To Worry – Taxpayers Will Subsidise Wealthy Greens)

From "The Guardian"

Sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90% in 2009 compared with their peak in 2007, according to motoring trade association figures released this week. Just 55 of the green cars – whose fans include Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Jade Jagger – were registered in 2009, in contrast to 397 in 2007, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The huge fall is a blow to UK efforts to meet tough carbon emission cut targets in a decade, and comes just months before the government introduces a subsidy of up to £5,000 off new electric cars.

Nearly half of the electric vehicles sold last year were the tiny G-Wiz car. The latest model has a top speed of 50mph and a range of 48 miles between charges.

Rudi Schogger, managing director of Goingreen, which distributes the G-Wiz in the UK, said: "Some people might be waiting for the government grants to arrive before purchasing an EV." He added that, even with a grant, most of the new vehicles on the market will be more expensive than a G-Wiz.

Although sales of all new cars fell sharply in 2009 due to the recession, the drop in new registrations for electric cars was around eight times higher. Overall, 2m new cars were registered in 2009, the lowest level since 1995.

Richard Dyer, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "The number of electric car sales are certainly disappointing. It could well be down to the recession, and the fact that they are priced at a premium over normal cars. But the government grant in January should mean a change in the fortunes of electric cars."

In January, the coalition will begin offering up to £5,000 towards the price of a series of newly launched electric cars, as part of a subsidy announced by the former Labour government. The Department for Transport (DfT) anticipates around 8,600 of the cars will be sold in the first year of the scheme. The government has so far committed £43m for the scheme to run until March 2012, with a review taking place in January 2012, but in yesterday's spending review it talked of "supporting consumer incentives for electric and other low-emission cars throughout the life of this parliament," suggesting the subsidy would continue after March 2012 though possibly at a lower rate.


The EPA’s motor vehicle dreamland

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in a "Notice of Intent" that passenger vehicle fuel economy average as much as 62 miles per gallon 14 years from now. The agency was able to arrive at this lofty mark by conveniently ignoring everything we know about the state of automotive art and the marketplace today.

For one thing, the average passenger car is going to have to get a lot more than 62 mpg to meet EPA's standard. People are still going to need trucks, vans, and high-volume vehicles that will fall far short of the 62-mpg standard. As a result, what is today's Honda Civic or Ford Fusion is somehow going to have to crank out about 80 miles per gallon.

Today, the vaunted hybrid versions of those cars generally deliver 35-40 mpg if driven with a very light touch. ("Your mileage will vary.")

The current mileage champion, at 50 mpg, is the third-generation Toyota Prius. But don't look for that design to meet EPA's prospective standard; it's just too heavy to squeeze much more juice out of the gas.

To bolster its 62-mpg proposal, EPA produced a numbing 245-page analysis of prospective automotive technologies — many of which don't exist, the rest of which have been rejected by consumers. The report doesn't mandate any one technology, but instead offers a myriad of pipe-dream possibilities.

Why aren't these technologies widely available now? Excellent question — especially because this isn't the government's first attempt to command the 80-mpg passenger car.

In 1993, the Clinton administration grandiosely announced the "Program for a New Generation of Vehicles" (PNGV), which showered the then-Big Three with about a billion bucks to produce a fuel-sipper. It never appeared.

The technological solutions proposed then really aren't very different from what we see now. Cost and acceptability were the two factors that condemned the PNGV to failure, and things haven't changed enough to expect a different result today.

A non-participant in PNGV, Honda, decided to throw every fuel-saving technology it could muster into one platform. It hit 66 mpg with the 2000 Insight, a frameless 1,850-pound aluminum vehicle that seats two. Consumer demand? An average of 2,250 sold annually in the six years it was offered.

Despite the relative success of Toyota's Prius, the fact is that people just aren't flocking to hybrid vehicles. Their lack of appeal mainly has to do with price; people just don't want to pony up an additional cost that may take more than 10 years to recoup at the gas pump.

Despite this history, EPA thinks there will be a massive shift to subcompact cars in the next six ears. Instead of the Accord, you get the Fit. Camrys turn into Yarises. Consumer preferences magically change. Indeed.

EPA forecasts that despite their current unpopularity, hybrid sales will grow by orders of magnitude. Especially large numbers of Honda-style hybrids are predicted to be purchased (despite the fact that hybrid customers clearly prefer the heavier Toyota and Ford versions).

Sales of "plug-in" hybrids also supposedly will take off. These are vehicles that can run on battery power alone for 20-40 miles, and then (as in the new Chevrolet Volt) a gas engine kicks in as a generator. EPA is also counting on pure electric vehicles, with a range of up to 100 miles before they must be charged — a process that takes hours at special charging stations on the street or overnight at home.

Drive the Chevy Volt more than 30 or so miles and it will be powered by a generator — not a motor — inefficiently powering a 3,500-pound car. No one knows the true fuel economy, but it's not even likely to beat the Prius in real-world driving. That leaves us a long way from 80 mpg.

(The above information about the Volt was what I was told by a GM engineer at the Detroit auto show last January, while sitting in the very car. GM revealed on Oct. 10 that the internal combustion engine indeed will drive the wheels at high speed. This is no breakthrough automobile; on the freeway it is a conventional hybrid.)

Then there's the heavily subsidized, all-electric Nissan Leaf. The company's president, Carlos Ghosn, says he will be happy to produce them as long as Uncle Sam guarantees him a profit on a vehicle that simply can't stand on its own four wheels. The electricity that charges it probably comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases. Calculating the actual mpg of this car is therefore complicated at best.

So far as one can tell from EPA's 62-mpg proposal, the agency thinks that in a mere 14 years Americans will buy hybrids that they can't stand, subcompacts that families hate, an electric car that can only run 30 miles before it likely becomes more inefficient than its conventional counterpart, and a 100-mile electric car that requires hours of charging once it runs out of juice.



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


23 October, 2010

"Scientific American" rediscovers science

An email from Vincent Gray [] below:

I have been a subscriber to the "Scientific American" for as long as I can remember. I have been bitterly disappointed at there persistent embrace of the climate change fraud and the publicity they have given to its promoters.

I have still kept subscribing for the occasional genuine scientific articles.

I just received the issue for November 2010 and I almost fell off my chair at two of their articles. They now admit for the first time the sceptics might be right and they invite discussion on their website here

The first article, page 8 entitled "Fudge Factor" tells of a scientist who always found the results which fitted theory when they did not, how this sort of thing happens all too frequently and includes a sentence questioning whether proxy temperatures measured from tree rings are not an example..

The second article, page 58 has a full page photograph of Judith Curry, Climate Heretic who has been consorting with the likes of Chris Landsea, Roger Pielke Sr, Steven McIntyre and Pat Michaels, who has doubts about the entire IPCC process. I had noticed her intelligent letters on the various blogs

There is a diagram showing how ridiculous the Hockey Stick becomes when you put in the uncertainties.

I have only just finished reading this so I have not so far commented, but I thought you should know that when a magazine like the "Scientific American" permits free discussion on climate change it must mean the beginning of the end.

Immediately below is the introduction to the second article that Vin Gray refers to. Note the Fascist attitude highlighted in red. Below that is an excerpt of the first article referred to. Again note the rubric

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues

Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate?

In trying to understand the Judith Curry phenomenon, it is tempting to default to one of two comfortable and familiar story lines.

For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black­board.

Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”

She reserves her harshest criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For most climate scientists the major reports issued by the United Nations–sponsored body every five years or so constitute the consensus on climate science. Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect, but Curry thinks it needs thoroughgoing reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.”

Whispered discreetly at conferences or in meeting rooms, these claims might be accepted as part of the frequently contentious process of a still evolving area of science. Stated publicly on some of the same Web sites that broke the so-called Climategate e-mails last fall, they are considered by many to be a betrayal, earning Curry epithets from her colleagues ranging from “naive” to “bizarre” to “nasty” to worse.

All of which sets up the two competing story lines, which are, on the surface at least, equally plausible. The first paints Curry as a peacemaker—someone who might be able to restore some civility to the debate and edge the public toward meaningful action. By frankly acknowledging mistakes and encouraging her colleagues to treat skeptics with respect, she hopes to bring about a meeting of the minds.

The alternative version paints her as a dupe—someone whose well-meaning efforts have only poured fuel on the fire. By this account, engaging with the skeptics is pointless because they cannot be won over. They have gone beyond the pale, taking their arguments to the public and distributing e-mails hacked from personal computer accounts rather than trying to work things out at conferences and in journal papers.

Which of these stories is more accurate would not matter much if the field of science in question was cosmology, say, or paleontology, or some other area without any actual impact on people’s lives. Climate science obviously is not like that. The experts broadly agree that it will take massive changes in agriculture, energy production, and more to avert a potential disaster.

In this context, figuring out how to shape the public debate is a matter of survival. If people and governments are going to take serious action, it pretty much has to be now, because any delay will make efforts to stave off major climate change much more expensive and difficult to achieve. But the COP15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December ended in a watered-down policy document, with no legally binding commitments for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Following Copenhagen, the U.S. Senate was unable to pass even a modest “cap and trade” bill that would have mandated reductions. And in the wake of Climategate a year ago and widespread attacks on the IPCC and on climate science in general, the public may be more confused than ever about what to think. Is Curry making things worse or better?


Fudge Factor: Did Marc Hauser know what he was doing?

As of this writing, the precise nature of Marc Haus­er’s transgressions remains murky. Haus­er is Harvard’s superstar primate psychologist—and, perhaps ironically, an expert on the evolution of morality—whom the university recently found guilty of eight counts of scientific misconduct. Harvard has kept mum about the details, but a former lab assistant alleged that when Hauser looked at videotapes of rhesus monkeys, in an experiment on their capacity to learn sound patterns, he noted behavior that other people in the lab couldn’t see, in a way that consistently favored his hypothesis. When confronted with these discrepancies, the assistant says, Hauser asserted imperiously that his interpretation was right and the others’ wrong.

Hauser has admitted to committing “significant mistakes.” In observing the reactions of my colleagues to Hauser’s shocking comeuppance, I have been surprised at how many assume reflexively that his misbehavior must have been deliberate. For example, University of Maryland physicist Robert L. Park wrote in a Web column that Hauser “fudged his experiments.” I don’t think we can be so sure. It’s entirely possible that Hauser was swayed by “confirmation bias”—the tendency to look for and perceive evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss or distort evidence that is not.

The past few decades of research in cognitive, social and clinical psychology suggest that confirmation bias may be far more common than most of us realize. Even the best and the brightest scientists can be swayed by it, especially when they are deeply invested in their own hypotheses and the data are ambiguous. A baseball manager doesn’t argue with the umpire when the call is clear-cut—only when it is close.

Scholars in the behavioral sciences, including psychology and animal behavior, may be especially prone to bias. They often make close calls about data that are open to many interpretations. Last year, for instance, Belgian neurologist Steven Laureys insisted that a comatose man could communicate through a keyboard, even after controlled tests failed to find evidence. Climate researchers trying to surmise past temperature patterns by using proxy data are also engaged in a “particularly challenging exercise because the data are incredibly messy,” says David J. Hand, a statistician at Imperial College London.


The ClimateGate Secret Meeting

Some interesting news from Portugal

A usual reader of the blog sent me yesterday an interesting news from a Portuguese newspaper. It deals with the classic Medieval Warm Period problem, in the most green Portuguese newspaper. I immediately recognized one of the worst environmental journalists in Portugal, dealing with one of my favorite issues. Interestingly enough, Ricardo Trigo, a portuguese climatologist, was trying to explain the pseudo-science behind climate change and global warming, confusing things like Greenland's vikings and Maunder's Minimum.

But what really interested me in the story was a reference to Phil Jones, the person in the center of the ClimateGate controversy. And references to a conference in Portugal, regarding the Medieval Warm Period. I spent some time trying to figure out what had happened. Turned out that I had not read the news with attention: the conference had happened a month before!

Between 22 and 24 of September, a symposium entitled "The Medieval Warm Period Redux: Where and When was it warm?" was organized in Lisbon, Portugal. The Climategate mob was here, including Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Malcolm Hughes and Raymond Bradley. I bet the main point on the agenda was how "to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period".

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The abstracts for the conference mentioned above are available here. They all recognize that the MWP happened but, as usual, try to minimize it or attribute it to ocean currents only.

That variations in solar output might affect the oceans is carefully left unmentioned. Most of the earth's surface is water so what happens there could be a major mechanism for solar influences on the climate in the rest of the world.

But, whatever its cause, the fact that the MWP happened shows that the present warm period is not unusual and is therefore unlikely to be the result of human influences. So the widespread recognition of the MWP at a Warmist conference would appear to be a major step towards the decay of climate alarmism -- JR

No more beef and cheese: Go vegetarian, by order of the UEA climate crooks

Wholesale changes to the nation’s diet, with a move towards vegetarian food and away from beef and cheese, have been recommended by Government advisers.

A report commissioned by the Food Standards Agency suggests radical changes to what we eat and even how we cook. These include eating more seasonal produce to reduce transportation and switching to microwave ovens and pressure cookers to use less energy in preparing food.

Out would go beef, cheese, sugary foods and drinks such as tea, coffee and cocoa. In would come vegetables and pulses, together with yoghurt.

The FSA says the switch is necessary as part of a move to a diet that is low in greenhouse gases (GHG), which are associated with climate change.

The report, compiled by a team from the University of East Anglia, suggests that schools, hospitals and other public bodies should be expected to lead a change in national behaviour by putting low-GHG food on their menus. The university was at the centre of allegations last year that it had manipulated climate change data to magnify the problem.

Its report, called Food and Climate Change, will be controversial given that many people may baulk at being told what they should eat in order to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.

However, the recommendations will be welcomed by vegetarian campaigners and those who support organic farming, which is recognised in the study as producing food that is lower in GHG.

But the National Farmers’ Union has ridiculed the idea that a shift to vegetarian food will combat climate change as ‘simplistic’. A spokesman said: ‘It is simply not true that fruit and vegetables are a better climate option than meat and milk. You have to look at how these crops are produced in terms of the energy used for growing and transport.’


The British elite prefers polite Malthusianism

The American woman paying British drug addicts to stop breeding is only saying out loud what more "respectable" people normally say in code

Barbara Harris, an American mother of four children whom she adopted from a crack addict, is offering British drug users a fix with a twist: cash for sterilisation.

Harris’s North Carolina-based charity Project Prevention has already paid 3,500 Americans addicted to drugs or alcohol to have sterilisations or to get long-term birth control. Now she is bringing the initiative to Britain and has been accused of taking advantage of vulnerable people and even of acting like Hitler. She is offering to pay £200 to any drug user in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Leicester and parts of Wales who agrees to be operated on. Critics claim her brash methods may work in America, but they have no place in Britain.

In truth, Harris’s highly distasteful Malthusianism is mirrored across polite British society. There are many charities and influential spokespeople here who try to cajole people into limiting the number of children they have. The only difference is that amongst Britain’s better-educated Malthusians, the preferred method for pregnancy prevention is moral bribery rather than financial bribery. Instead of cold, hard cash, ‘Our Malthusians’ use seemingly subtle, fluffy incentives to try to control fecundity, such as telling us that having smaller families will help reduce our carbon footprints and leave a more spacious, eco-diverse planet for the next generation.

Harris’s no-BS approach may jar with British sensibilities, but in the UK many a stiff upper lip has curled at the thought of rampant procreation ruining the planet. Only the other week, for instance, John Guillebaud, an emeritus professor of reproductive health and family planning at University College London, proposed a ‘non-rigid guideline to UK couples that a two-child maximum is the greatest contribution anyone can make to a habitable planet for our grandchildren’.

Guillebaud said the world is experiencing a ‘youthquake’ and proposed that doctors encourage patients not to have more than two children. The benevolent professor admitted that enforcing a Chinese-style one-child policy or socially stigmatising unplanned pregnancies would be bad things. Still, something must be done, he said, because larger families need larger cars and houses and use up more resources.

So while Harris tells her ‘clients’ that they have a responsibility not to pass on crack addictions to their kids, the esteemed professor tells couples that they have a responsibility not to pass on their ‘addiction to stuff’ to the next generation.

Guillebaud’s proposal is far from original. Last year, the green, overpopulation-obsessed outfit the Optimum Population Trust launched a ‘Stop at Two’ online pledge to encourage couples to limit their family size. Jonathon Porritt, a patron of OPT and previously an environmental adviser to the New Labour government, said ‘every additional human being is increasing the burden on this planet which is becoming increasingly intolerable’.

Such is the deep Malthusianism of sections of the eco-lobby that some greens don’t even need a handout from an American in order to get sterilised – they are doing it voluntarily. Some British women are getting sterilised in order to protect the planet from overpopulation. One, who works at an environmental organisation, got an abortion and then a sterilisation in order, she said, to help save the planet: ‘Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of overpopulation.’

Compared to the deranged worldview of deep greens, who see every pregnant woman as harbouring an environmental-disaster-in-the-making, Project Prevention looks positively tame. The odious Barbara Harris sees only one section of humanity, the drug addicts, as giving birth to a damaged kind of life – the respectable green movement sees every birth as potentially destructive.

You might say that in targeting drug addicts, Harris is saying that some people – Them – have no right to become parents. But the overpopulation debate is also riddled with prejudice about the ‘wrong’ kind of people having too many kids, whether it’s working-class people in Britain or black and Asian families in the developing world. Harris’s organisation is only saying more explicitly what the respectable Malthusians have learned to spin in the language of saving the planet and empowering women. Here is a woman who just comes right out and says it: some people are not worthy of having children. No mollycoddling, no subtle nudging; just a couple of hundred quid, a snip, and the problem is solved.

Of course, for the mainstream Malthusian lobby, talk of sterilisation sounds too much like eugenics; campaigning for couples to have just one child sounds too much like Chinese authoritarianism; and only criticising oversized Third World families is too much like colonialism. They far prefer initiatives such as the ‘stop at two or the planet gets it’ campaign, which is seen as being completely PC and acceptable in polite society. That is, they prefer moral blackmail to financial blackmail, warning us again and again that if we don’t stop breeding, the world will become an uninhabitable place. Is such baseless fearmongering about fecundity really that much better than giving cash to junkies on a Glasgow estate? In both cases, the aim is the same: to put pressure on people to stop breeding.

Harris’s cash-for-sterilisation incentive is insensitive and cruel. But the emotional blackmail of the mainstream sustainability school of thought is even more insidious, devious and tasteless. It poses everyone who has children as selfish and irresponsible, telling us that by having kids we are creating little carbon monsters who will grow up to be as addicted to stuff as their parents were.



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


22 October, 2010

What Happened to All the Hurricanes, Al?

Worldwide hurricane activity hasn't just slowed since Katrina, it's dropped off a cliff. The Warmists thought they were pretty safe in predicting "extreme weather events" -- as that meant that both drought and floods could be used as support for their prophecies. But once again Mother nature has mocked them. If I were not an atheist, I would say that God is showing the Warmists what he thinks of them -- JR

After Hurricane Katrina and the amazing season of 2005, we were supposed to see year after year of terrible hurricanes. Where are they?

Where is all the death and destruction? We were told global warming was here, and would ignite a fire under the storms, making them bigger and more frequent. Massive hurricanes like Katrina would become much more common. The world’s oceans were warming, and this would stoke the fires of these tropical monsters. But they are not here — the hurricanes are missing in action, and have been ever since 2005. The truth: there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of hurricanes in the last five years. The total energy of all hurricanes around the world has plunged since 1993 — the opposite of what was predicted. How could that be, if global warming is real and is impacting our climate today?

Let’s go back to the middle of last decade, and see what took place.

Four hurricanes made landfall on the United States during the 2004 season — all of them hit Florida. On August 13, Charley hit the southwest coast as a tiny but powerful Category 4 storm. There was massive damage over a narrow path from the Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte area all the way to Orlando. Hurricane Frances came ashore at Stuart, FL, during the night and morning hours of September 4 and 5. Even though the storm was only a Category 2, its slow forward movement inflicted many hours of pounding hurricane-force winds. A large area from Palm Beach County northward to Vero Beach and beyond was severely impacted.

Three weeks later, to the dismay of everyone on Florida’s east coast, Jeanne struck Stuart! It hit during the night of September 25. Jeanne had moved along the north coast of the Dominican Republic on September 17. By the 20th, Jeanne was moving to the northeast, away from the United States. Unbelievably — while people on the east coast of south and central Florida were recovering from Frances — Hurricane Jeanne did a complete 360 degree loop and headed back towards Florida. The Category 3 hurricane made landfall right at Stuart: two significant hurricanes in the same place within three weeks of each other!

Ivan came ashore as a Category 3 hurricane just to the west of the Florida panhandle during the night of September 15. Fortunately for residents of southern Alabama and western Florida, Ivan had diminished in strength — it had been a mighty Category 5 when it passed the western tip of Cuba on the 13th.

The hurricane season of 2004 was a horrible time for Florida. Then came 2005.

The long-term average number of named tropical storms in the Atlantic basin is 11. In 2005 there were 27. The long-term average number of hurricanes is 6. In 2005 there were a record 15.

Actually, the hurricane seasons of 1933 and 1887 were probably very similar in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes — there were no satellites to see all the storms back then, so 2005 stands as the “record” year. There were so many storms in 2005 that the hurricane center used up all the letters of the alphabet for names! Names from the Greek alphabet were recruited to fill the void. This was the first year since the naming of storms began in 1953 that this was necessary.

This was also the year of Hurricane Katrina. This massive hurricane first made landfall near Miami as a Category 1 hurricane on August 25. Katrina then entered the Gulf of Mexico and became a powerful Category 5 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 175 miles per hour, on the 28th. Katrina then moved northward, and made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the morning of August 29 as a weaker but very dangerous Category 3. Over 1,800 people officially lost their lives — there were probably many more that were never found or counted — and the broad area of destruction made this one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

In his movie An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore said global warming caused Katrina. Although Katrina was a devastating hurricane, it was not the most powerful to hit the United States. Hurricane Andrew struck extreme south Florida on August 24, 1992, as a Category 5, with maximum sustained winds of 165 miles per hour. The Okeechobee hurricane of 1928 struck Palm Beach as a Category 4, and was more powerful than Katrina. The Galveston hurricane of September 8, 1900, struck the Texas coast as a Category 4. There are many other examples.

Mr. Gore does not know the difference between weather and climate. It is not possible to say that any single weather event can be the result of a long, slow climate trend. There is simply far too much year-to-year variability in weather to attribute a single hurricane or any other weather event to a climate trend.

Not to be outdone, another massive hurricane named Rita struck the upper Texas coast on September 24, 2005. Rita had also been a Category 5 storm over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but struck Texas as a Category 3. Hurricane Wilma became another super storm in the western Caribbean on October 19 — that day, Wilma had maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour! The storm crossed the northeastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula on the 22nd, and then tracked to the northeast. Hurricane Wilma made landfall on the southwest Florida coast on October 24 as a Category 3 storm. The hurricane did extensive damage across portions of Florida before moving off into the Atlantic.

At this point, many in Florida had seen enough and moved out. Three hurricanes in south Florida in two years was more than some could take. A friend of mine in West Palm Beach said to me as the 2006 season began: “I feel like I’m looking down the barrel of a gun.” Another friend of mine in Boca Raton just gave up and moved away. He couldn’t sell the house, because it was on a canal and would flood if another hurricane hit. But at least he was far from the coast and the worst of the storms. He could sleep better.

By the spring of 2006 people were wondering if it was going to be what Al Gore said it would be. Global warming was going to make more hurricanes, and more powerful hurricanes. After what happened in 2004 and 2005, people were beginning to believe it. Well … at least some people did. A review of hurricane history showed that the amazing season of 2005 was a rare event. Since the mid-1880s there have only been two other seasons like it — 1887 and 1933.

By May of 2006 there was great anticipation as the next hurricane season approached. Private weather companies made predictions that the northeastern part of the country was at “high risk” of being hit by a hurricane. Some were predicting five hurricanes would hit the U.S. in 2006. But the hurricane season of 2006 was quiet. Very quiet. There were five hurricanes, but they were far at sea and none came close to hitting the U.S. mainland.

As the 2007 season approached, the forecasts were again for an active to very active season. The 2007 season was more active, but the total of 6 hurricanes was only the long-term average number. It was not active or very active at all. There were two Category 5 hurricanes: one of them struck Mexico, and the other Central America. One Category 1 hurricane, Humberto, hit the upper Texas coast on the evening of September 12, but did little significant damage.

The season of 2008 was back to being active, with 16 named storms and 8 hurricanes. Three hurricanes made landfall that year, but the one that stood above the others was Ike. This Category 2 hurricane was a broad storm with winds very near Category 3 intensity when it made landfall near Galveston, Texas, during the early morning hours of September 13. There was a large amount of damage from the winds and the storm surge.

The hurricane season of 2009 was predicted to be average. Instead it was one of the quietest hurricane seasons in the last 25 years. Only 3 hurricanes developed, and none did any damage to the United States. Ida was a Category 1 when it made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River on November 9.

So what happened? Where did all the hurricanes go?

The crazy 2004 and 2005 seasons were supposed to be the new normal. Pretend scientists like Al Gore said global warming was here, and we had better listen to him because he had all the answers. People pay Al Gore $200,000 to speak, but that doesn’t mean he knows anything.

Very active hurricane seasons like 2005 are rare, even in periods of increased activity which we are in now and have been in since about 1995. The increase in hurricanes since 1995 is due to a cyclic warming of the Atlantic Ocean — not any so-called global warming. The same thing happened from the 1930s to the late 1950s. Even in periods of increased activity, there can be several years of decreased hurricanes due to things such as El Nino, cooler water temperatures, and dust from the Sahara desert.

To date, no Category 3 or stronger hurricane has hit the United States since 2005. Ike in 2008 was close, but not quite. This is the longest stretch of time that we have not had a Category 3 or greater hurricane hit the U.S. since the period of 1911 to 1914!

The great hurricane flameout that has dominated the seasons since 2005 is just part of the natural variability of weather. Those that said global warming caused 2005, and Katrina, and that our future was doomed to get stormier and stormier were completely wrong, as usual.

Interestingly, the great hurricane flameout has been a worldwide phenomenon. The ACE index measures the energy of all tropical storms and hurricanes around the globe: currently the ACE index is at its lowest level in 30 years. Worldwide hurricane activity has been not only lower since 2005, it’s much lower.

This won’t last forever. The active phase of hurricanes has not gone away. However, it is very unlikely we will see a season like 2005 for a very, very long time.


The Devil's religion reigns at the NYT

The constant repetition of tired old mantras of hate instead of a discussion of the facts reveals Warmism as a faith -- A demonic faith if you believe in the Devil. A recent article in the NYT by John Broder is a good example of the phenomenon

For John Broder – this is science : "Climate change is real, and man is causing it,” Mr. Hill said, echoing most climate scientists. “That is indisputable. And we have to do something about it.”

That sounds like a statement of faith, not science. Broder then turns logic on its ear: "Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement, here in Indiana and across the country".

Skepticism forms the basis of science, but for Broder, faith is science and science is faith. Then he launches a non sequitur tirade of smears against skeptics.

The “right wing religious nuts” smear: “It’s a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”

The “corrupt big oil” smear: "Those views in general align with those of the fossil fuel industries, which have for decades waged a concerted campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming and to undermine policies devised to address it.

The “paranoid urban legend” smear: "They have created and lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global-warming studies, paid for rallies and Web sites to question the science"

Sorry John, I’m not religious, I don’t get paid, and I don’t like cars. I do this because I hate stupid religions and all other philosophies which stifle human beings: Like Broder’s core belief system.


UK rail network 'at risk' from climate change

This is a laugh. The incompetently-managed British bus and rail networks grind to a halt for considerable periods every winter. Global warming is just about the only thing that might keep them running

Changes to the climate could pose a "serious threat" to the UK rail network, scientists have warned. Extreme weather events - wet winters and hot summers - are projected to become more common over the next 50 years as a result of global warming.

A new study, in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, predicts this could lead to more landslides and floods. The authors say the damage could cause "widespread disruption" to travel.

To reach their conclusions, scientists from the University of Southampton and Network Rail studied the number of landslides and floods that resulted in delays of more than eight hours to rail travel.

They found that the frequency of these major incidents was far higher during the wet winter of 2000-2001, when rail passengers experienced widespread travel disruption. Scientists predict that such wet winters will become more common in the future, raising fears that climate change could result in "travel chaos".

Lead author Fleur Loveridge, a PhD student at the University of Southampton, said: "This is a really serious issue which needs to be addressed."

Ms Loveridge told BBC News: "Climate change in the near future is 'locked in' - it's too late to change that.


The new atomic age in Britain

This week another Liberal Democrat minister has had to abandon party policy for the good of the coalition. On Monday, the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announced that eight sites have been approved for use of future nuclear power stations. This came on the same day that Severn barrage, aimed at harnessing the “green” power of the tidal estuary, was scrapped.

This shift in energy policy back towards nuclear is an indication that the Coalition is once again taking a practical view about energy provision, despite the debate being a potential flashpoint between the two parties. With many nuclear plants nearing the end of their life span, a decision about the future of this industry had to be taken. To let nuclear power in the UK lapse would mean that the 20% of electricity that is currently produced would have to be provided by other sources of energy. Renewable energy alone cannot make up this potential shortfall before the current plants become redundant, leaving the government with no alternative except to open new plants to secure Britain’s long-term energy security.

What can be gleaned from the announcement made today is that any decisions regarding energy production will be derived from the ability of the market to provide, rather than being based on government subsidies. The Severn barrage was scrapped because there was no “strategic case” for investing £30 billion of public money into the scheme. Nevertheless, it appears that smaller, privately funded tidal energy projects that do not require taxpayer money will go ahead on the Severn Estuary.

This element of market provision is also present in the nuclear arena, with Mr Huhne stating that the new sites will receive no public subsidy. I hope that this is the case and that market forces are truly allowed to form within the energy sector – only then will the country be able to move on from political point-scoring over energy provision.


A comment from Australia about the Hal Lewis resignation from the APS

For a demolition of the APS response, see here

This is not just about global warming. It's about the corruption of science.

Science, the search for knowledge and understanding of the universe we inhabit, used to be mankind's most noble pursuit. But it has been kidnapped and subverted by those who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of power and wealth. And here I'm not just talking about Al Gore. I include environmental alarmists at all levels, in all walks of life, those with much influence and those with little. I include George Monbiot, I include the leaders of the Royal Society.

I include the people who land themselves cushy jobs with local councils as biodiversity controllers and climate change advisers. I include teachers who spread pernicious political propaganda to children too young to resist or defend themselves. I include the man down the pub who wants to look clever and knowledgeable without taking the trouble to actually learn anything. I include the proponents of recycling who want to make householders do their jobs for them.

I include television producers and presenters (mostly on BBC) who like to give their shows an edge by including gloom-laden prophecy I watched Countryfile last night, in fact, and distinctly heard one presenter use the expression dangerous carbon . We're all made of carbon, you arsehole, carbon dioxide is all around us, we breathe it out all day every day, plants need it to create oxygen, without carbon the world and all the living creatures would not only cease to exist, but would never have started to exist in the first place. In what sense is it dangerous, exactly, you ridiculous muppet?

All of these people, important or obscure, seek to increase their control over the lives of the people around them. Some wish to do it by making others respect and admire them, some by making people fear them or their message, some by making people trust them to sort out the alleged crisis, some by achieving financial and political power or professional eminence. And to do so they choose to use their own perverted pseudo-science because they realise that (a) while they know little or nothing about real science themselves, neither do most of the people they're trying to control; (b) like almost all scientific data, the information available to us can be subject to careful selection that will prove almost anything you like; (c) the average man in the street regards scientists with an almost superstitious awe, precisely because he doesn't understand what they're talking about and they do. Well, I should qualify that statement: he used to regard them with awe, but I suspect some of them may have blown it. They've revealed themselves as gullible, venal, self-regarding, hostile to opposition, self-seeking and greedy. Just like the rest of us, in fact. And the man in the street now knows it. That's likely to change things a bit in future.

All this is nothing new, of course. History is littered with bullies who sold the people lies and illusions ... the Cardinal in his finery who demands that his flock bow before some mouldy old statue and obey his every whim (especially those whims concerning their pre-adolescent sons and pretty daughters) ... the fire-and-brimstone non-conformist minister who threatens his parishioners with ostracism in this life and everlasting damnation in the next if they won't believe in the particular cruel and joyless creed his daddy beat into him with sodomy and a leather belt ... the long-haired cult leader foretelling the imminent end of civilisation from which there is no escape except to hole up in the wilderness with a lot of guns and compulsory promiscuity. Now we have Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri who smile and smile and show us graphs they've made up and photo-shopped pictures of polar bears and promise us salvation if we make them rich and all-powerful by buying in to this carbon trading thing they've invented.

Good grief, we've just survived one world-wide crisis caused by greedy bankers trading in non-existent financial commodities, and now they seriously expect us to swallow yet another fairy tale. Just how thick do they think we are?

Don't answer that.


Australia: Farmers to get a reprieve from Greenie wreckers

The Water Minister, Tony Burke, has enraged environmentalists by saying he could amend the Howard government's Water Act if it prevents him from protecting rural economies in the Murray-Darling Basin.

"I am determined to get … a healthy river, protect our food production and keep strong rural communities," Mr Burke told the Herald. "I am seeking legal advice as to whether or not I can deliver that under the current act and I am not ruling in or out what action I then take when I get the advice."

Irrigators have argued the 2007 act should be amended because it draws its constitutional power from an international environmental treaty and requires the government to give environmental concerns precedence.

The chief executive of NSW Irrigators, Andrew Gregson, said he was "very happy Mr Burke has taken this positive step". "It would never have happened under the previous minister [Penny Wong] but this minister is making all the right noises," said Mr Gregson, who attended a crisis meeting with Mr Burke last night.

Environmentalists said the government was panicking because of the fierce demonstrations in rural towns against water cuts of between 27 and 37 per cent suggested in a preliminary plan released by the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

"The whole point of having an independent authority was to take the politics and the state parochialism out of the water reform process … The unfortunate outcome of the shenanigans in Griffith and the other towns seems to be that the politicians are pulling the process back in-house and that raises the real risk that politics will hijack it again," said Arlene Buchan, the healthy rivers campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Mr Burke told Parliament the government's election promise to buy back however much environmental water was recommended by the authority applied only to the final plan - after it had been amended at the direction of the minister.

"What the Prime Minister said was that we would … implement the Murray-Darling Basin Authority plan. That … is the final document that comes out at the end of next year after there has been an opportunity for ministerial intervention, to either ask them to reconsider aspects of it or specifically to demand that they change aspects of it. That is the document the Prime Minister quite rightly committed to implementing," Mr Burke said.

The opposition spokesman on the Murray-Darling Basin, Simon Birmingham, accused Mr Burke of "rewriting history", citing Senator Wong's comment during the election campaign that "this government is prepared to back the independent authority in its determination on what the rivers need".

At a Canberra water forum yesterday a leading water economist said farm groups were "grossly exaggerating" and making "false claims" about job losses and the death of rural towns.

The Australian National University economics professor Quentin Grafton said the proposed water buybacks were far less than communities had endured during the drought. They were taking place when the value of production and total employment in the basin had risen. He also said the water reform process had $9 billion to spend on infrastructure and buybacks.

The chief executive of the National Farmers' Federation, Ben Fargher, said the authority was losing the trust of communities in the basin.



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


21 October, 2010

The Great Climate Clash

Dr. Eric Grimsrud and Dr. Ed Berry both live in Flathead County, Montana. As a result of their Letters to the Editor in the Daily Inter Lake, they agreed to conduct an online debate open to the general public. While they live in what many consider a remote part of America, their Climate Clash debate is relevant to all of America even into the Halls of Congress.

Dr. Ed's first post reviewed "The Scientific Method." Dr. Eric followed by suggesting the problem of AGW is too complex for the scientific method. Dr. Ed concludes with his challenge to Dr. Eric:

"A refusal by Dr. Eric to agree to using the Scientific Method as the one and only method for verifying the AGW hypothesis, will be an admission of defeat. This will be clear evidence that AGW is based upon pseudo-science and is a fraud. The debate will be over."

Details here

Ecofascists drop the mask

Three examples

These days, explicit arguments in favor of fascism and the ideology of unlimited state power are, how shall I put this, ineffective at convincing the masses. Though people still adore the fascist ideology of the boundless power of the state and its fusion of public and private business, this is only so long as it is not given its proper name.

These days, people prefer their fascism to be cloaked in disingenuous and deceptive language that disguises its true nature. All those old slogans about the supreme state and the suppression of the individual to the collective are so early 20th century! Far better to have your leaders pay lip service to "freedom" and "human rights" as they coercively mold you into a docile little manikin fit for their desired bureaucratic utopia.

Modern authoritarian movements tend to adopt the strategy of avoiding talking about or even hinting at the coercion they will adopt to deal with those opposed to the supreme rule of the all-powerful state apparatus. They deny that they are fascist movements and instead adopt a slew of fanciful euphemisms for the coercive policies they propose to inflict on their brutalized subjects.

You silly fool! They are not robbing people — they are just "asking them to pay their fair share." They are not micromanaging people's lives — they are just "looking after their health and welfare." They are not silencing dissent — they are just "ensuring tolerance" and fighting "hate." They are not trespassing against private property — they are just "managing the economy." They are not enslaving people — they are just "encouraging volunteerism." Didn't you realize?

Of course, every so often, a modern fascist movement develops such a degree of hubris that it decides to dispense with all the euphemisms and denials and openly display the coercive means underlying its ambitions. After all, surely the poor rubes in the population must have figured it out anyway! Why not just level with them for a moment and have a little chuckle?

For those of you that haven't already heard, the ecofascist movement is currently having a bit of a heart-to-heart with the population of this kind, and they are letting us have a quick peek at the ol' mailed fist under the velvet glove. You see, having achieved all of this wonderful "consensus," they are now ready to drop the mask a little bit, and have a bit of a giggle about the fact that, well yeah, they really are a pretty violent bunch.

Exhibit A: The "No Pressure" Short Film

The new ecofascist short film "No Pressure" created by director Richard Curtis for the 10:10 "carbon reduction"[1] campaign is a beautiful example of the environmentalist movement dropping its pleasant-looking mask and joking about its true authoritarian nature. The film shows several sketches in which supporters of an environmental program to cut carbon-dioxide emissions explode people into a bloody mess when they decline to participate. After telling their hapless targets that there is "no pressure" to take part, the environmental organizers press a magic button, and presto, another dissenter liquidated — literally. The film ends, having murdered eight people (including two children) in four separate sketches, with these ominous words: "Cut your carbon by 10%. No pressure.

The video, which (of course) was funded with money stolen from British taxpayers, has now been removed from its previous home by its creators after some members of the public found the "joke" to be offensive. But the real joke is on the environmentalist movement. The ecofascists are learning the hard way that people do not like to be confronted by the realities of coercion in modern authoritarian ideologies. They want their fascism with nice cuddly slogans, and plenty of euphemisms. Jokes about killing dissenters, it turns out, are only funny when you are not actually touting an authoritarian ideology that uses coercion as its central tool.

Exhibit B: The Greenpeace Skinhead-Thug-in-Training Video

Here is another ecofascist advertisement, this time created by those cuddly loveable fascists at Greenpeace. The video shows an angry and menacing child, dressed up and lighted to look like a young hooded skinhead thug,[2] as he angrily lists a litany of alleged environmental outcomes that will destroy his future, if adults fail to act. After going through the litany of environmentalist propaganda, he tells us, in a menacing tone and with plenty of scowling looks:

"[W]e're not just talking about the future. We're talking about my future. But this is no surprise. You adults have known about this for years. And though you could have done something about it, you haven't. You can say "It's not my problem"; you can say "I won't be around in fifty years"; but from now on, you can't say "I didn't know." Starting today, the lines are drawn: you have to choose sides. Either you're for my future, or you're against it. You're a friend, or you're an enemy. I may just be a kid today, but tomorrow will be different. This is the last time I'll be talking to you adults. You had your chance to fix this problem, now we have ours. We won't be cute, we won't be patronized, we will not be denied our future.

Watching this video, I can't help but think of myself replying in my best talking-to-a-baby voice, saying "What a gorgeous little ecofascist you are! Yes you are! Yes you are!"

But I guess that would be patronizing, and according to the video, this young man will not be patronized. Oh yes, and in case you didn't quite understand the thinly veiled message, he may just be a kid today, but tomorrow, he will be a full-grown ecofascist hoodie-wearing skinhead thug, and you, dear viewer, will be his enemy.[3]

Exhibit C: The "Planet Slayer" Game

Some more ecofascist propaganda, this time designed directly for young children. The Planet Slayer game features, among other things, a cartoon pig game used to calculate carbon-dioxide emissions. It helpfully informs children when they should die in order to ensure they do not use more than their "fair share" of the planet. Other helpful information for children includes some harsh words against "cultural imperialism" (i.e., the free choice of people in other countries to adopt certain products and practices from Western countries) and this helpful instruction: "Organise and socialise comrades. Together we can save the world!"

Like other pieces of ecofascist propaganda, this one was also funded with taxpayer loot, and is also recommended for primary-school teaching by several government education departments. It has now been taken down from its previous home at the government media provider after some parents found its content, hmmm, how shall we put it, less educational than was intended. Again, jokes about exploding children (even in pig form) are only funny when you are not actually touting an authoritarian ideology.

There are plenty of other examples that could be given, though the three present exhibits are probably the most egregious in recent memory. For some reason, they do not make me feel any more inclined to cut my carbon-dioxide emissions or save the world from loggers and nuclear power plants. Nonetheless, all three of these pieces of ecofascist propaganda have something to recommend themselves: they all accurately represent the true nature of the environmentalist movement and draw attention to its love of violence to achieve its aims, even if sometimes in an allegedly light-hearted manner.

It seems that environmentalists are forgetting the lessons of George Orwell, who tells us: "[P]olitical speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. [Brutal policies] can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness".[4]

Indeed, it is precisely this kind of euphemism and cloudy vagueness that most people adore when they are being presented with state-sponsored schemes to save us from all our ills and perils. It is smiley-face fascism they want, and they find it rather tactless to speak about all that nasty coercion stuff that goes along with it.

So don't be offended by these videos, advertisements, and games. Be thankful — thankful that the environmentalist movement is now ready to show us what it really thinks, stripped of all its pleasant euphemisms and ambiguity. Be thankful that they are ready to have a little joke at their own expense and press their own magic red button. Kaboom!


Greenie judge wants to make polar bears 'endangered'

Purely on theory about the future. The bears are thriving in the present

A federal judge ordered the Obama administration on Wednesday to review whether polar bears, at risk because of global warming, are endangered under U.S. law. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wants the Interior Department to clarify a decision by the administration of former President George W. Bush that polar bears were merely threatened rather than in imminent danger of extinction.

Sullivan's request, made at a hearing Wednesday in federal court, keeps in place the 2008 declaration by the Bush administration.

Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said in May 2008 that the bears were on the way to extinction because of the rapid disappearance of the Arctic Sea ice upon which they depend. But he stopped short of declaring them endangered, which had it been declared would have increased protections for the bear and make oil and gas exploration more difficult. Scientists predict sea ice will continue to melt because of global warming.

Along with the listing, Kempthorne created a "special rule" stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

The Obama administration upheld the Bush-era policy, declaring that the endangered species law cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by sources outside of the polar bears' habitat. If the bears are found to be endangered, however, that could open the door to using the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gases.

Sullivan said he would issue a written order shortly, but said Wednesday that the government is likely to have about 30 days to explain how it arrived at its decision. A lawyer for an environmental group called Sullivan's action "good news for the bear," adding that the popular animal's fate was now in the hands of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

"The court is not accepting the Fish and Wildlife Service argument that extinction must be imminent before the bear is listed as endangered," said Kassie Siegel, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based group that challenged the polar bear listing.

Reed Hopper, an attorney for the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation, which opposes protections for the bears, called the ruling disappointing.

"We would have liked to have the case decided earlier," Hopper said, noting that legal challenges have lingered in the courts for two years and probably will be delayed at least several more months. Hopper's group has filed a separate challenge to the polar bear listing, calling the bear a "thriving species" that now numbers about 25,000 from Alaska to Greenland, the highest total in history.

The bear's threatened status is due mainly to projections about declining Arctic sea ice, rather than a current decline in bear populations, Hopper said. A spokeswoman for Salazar would not comment Wednesday. A Fish and Wildlife Service official referred calls to the Justice Department, which also refused to comment.


Green Subsidies: Price Shock For German Electricity Customers

Next year, German households are in for a big price shock: the renewable energies levy, which every household in Germany has to pay as part of their electricity bills, will increase by over 70 per cent to 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. This was announced by the German network operator on Friday. For an average household this will mean additional costs of around 10 € a month, according to the Federal Environment Ministry.

An end to the price spiral, which is caused by the subsidies for green electricity, is not in sight. Holger Krawinkel, energy expert of the Federation of Consumer Organizations, expects a further rise of the so-called EEG surcharge in the medium term. “It will rise by more than 5 cents in coming years in any case", Krawinkel predicted in an interview with the news agency DAPD. The reason: The federal government has failed to cut subsidies for solar energy fast and strong enough. Moreover, the impending boom in offshore wind energy is not even included in the green energy levy.

Potentially, there is a small consolation for electricity consumers: the price increase does not necessarily have to be passed on in full to customers. The President of the Federal Network Agency, Matthias Kurth, appealed to utility operators not to pass on the full price increase to consumers. After all, the companies have been benefiting in recent weeks from lower prices (of conventional energy) at the Leipzig Power Exchange.

13 billion euro subsidies

Overall, German consumers will subsidize green electricity through the compulsory green energy levy by around 13 billion euro in 2011. According to the transmission system operators, the reason for the drastic increase is mainly due to the expansion of solar energy panels. The installed photovoltaic systems in the Federal Republic has increased by almost 50 percent in the first eight months of this year. In addition, the lower prices for (conventional) electricity at the Leipzig power exchange further increases the need for subsidies.

The surge of green electricity subsidies has heated up the debate over the future support of wind, solar and biogas plants. Germany’s industry is increasingly overwhelmed by the financial burden. Manfred Panitz of the Federal Association of Energy customers, who primarily represents medium-sized companies, demands an end to green subsidies in face of the price explosion: "The government must abolish the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) or at least put a lid on the development of renewable energies.”

Federal Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen (Christian Democratic Union) defended the green levy against criticism from the industry. "The promotion of renewable energies is an investment in future technologies, which are of crucial strategic importance to our future economic development," said the CDU politician in Berlin.

More HERE (in German). Translation above by Philipp Mueller

The eternal return of overpopulation

Getting the cause of high fertility backwards

Overpopulation panic is back. Concerns about a world too full of “filthy human children” motivated eco-terrorist James Lee when he held employees of the Discovery Channel hostage at gunpoint in September. But the deranged Lee is far from alone when it comes to worrying about overpopulation. The May-June cover of the progressive magazine Mother Jones asked, “Who’s to Blame for the Population Crisis?” British journalist Matthew Parris wrote an op-ed in September in the London Times asserting, “If you want to save the planet, stop breeding.” Parris further coyly suggested that we study “China’s example, for lessons good and bad.”

But on World Population Day in July, British journalist Fred Pearce argued that “population is not the problem.” Pearce’s relatively sanguine article at the environmentalist website Grist provoked Robert Walker, former head of the anti-gun group Handgun Control and now executive vice-president of the Population Institute, to respond at the same site with an article titled “Of course population is still a problem.”

Walker asks Pearce what he evidently thinks are deep questions: “Looking ahead, Fred, will these countries [with anticipated population growth in Africa and Asia] be able to feed themselves? Will they have enough safe drinking water? Will their lands be deforested or their rivers polluted? Will their maternal mortality rates and infant mortality rates remain unacceptably high? Will they be caught in a demographic poverty trap? Will they become failed states? If you have good answers to these questions, please let me know.”

Let’s take a stab at providing good answers to Walker’s questions.

Will the world be able to feed itself in 2050? As it happens, the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) devoted its September 27 issue to analyzing the issue of global food security through 2050. One of the specially commissioned research articles projects that world population will reach around 9 billion by 2050 and that in the second half of the 21st century, “population stabilization and the onset of a decline are likely.” This should allay Ryerson’s concern that the world’s resources are not infinite and therefore “cannot support an infinite population of humans.” So okay, infinite human population growth isn’t likely, but can the Earth adequately feed 9 billion people by 2050?

Well, yes, suggest two other of the Royal Society articles. A review of the relevant scientific literature led by Keith Jaggard from Rothamsted Research looks at the effects of climate change, CO2 increases, ozone pollution, higher average temperatures, and other factors on future crop production. Jaggard and his colleagues conclude [PDF], “So long as plant breeding efforts are not hampered and modern agricultural technology continues to be available to farmers, it should be possible to produce yield increases that are large enough to meet some of the predictions of world food needs, even without having to devote more land to arable agriculture.”

Applying modern agricultural technologies more widely would go a long way toward boosting yields. For example, University of Minnesota biologist Ronald Phillips points out that India produces 31 bushels of corn per acre now which is at the same point U.S. yields were in the 1930s. Similarly, South Africa produces 40 bushels (U.S. 1940s yields); Brazil 58 bushels (U.S. 1950s yields); China 85 bushels (U.S. 1960s yields). Today’s modern biotech hybrids regularly produce more than 160 bushels of corn per acre in the Midwest. For what it’s worth, the corporate agriculture giant Monsanto is aiming to double yields on corn, soybeans, and cotton by 2030. Whether or not specific countries will be able to feed themselves has less to do with their population growth than it does with whether they adopt policies that retard their economic growth.

Another article looking at the role of agricultural research and development finds that crop yields have been recently increasing at about 1 percent per year. In that article researchers estimate that spending an additional $5 to $10 billion per year would increase food output by 70 percent over the next 40 years. Note that world population is expected to increase by about 33 percent over that period.

What about safe drinking water? Water is more problematic. The researchers commissioned by the Royal Society run a model that projects that competition for water to meet environmental flow requirements (EFRs) and municipal and industrial demand will “cause an 18 percent reduction if the availability of water worldwide for agriculture by 2050.” Interestingly, the amount of freshwater withdrawn for municipal and industrial use was 4.3 percent in 2000 and is estimated to increase to 5.9 percent by 2050. So the main competition for agricultural water is maintaining flows for environmental reasons. Since water is now often unpriced and subsidized, it gets used very inefficiently. As water becomes scarcer farmers and other users will have incentives to adopt water sparing techniques, such as drip irrigation. In addition, researchers are close to developing drought tolerant crops. The study also notes that water stressed regions will be able to “import water” in the form of food produced in areas with abundant water.

With regard to deforestation and polluted rivers, the answer is probably yes for many of the poorest countries. However, speeding up economic growth and technological improvements will dramatically lower the risks of these undesirable outcomes. As noted above, enough food to feed 9 billion can be grown on land currently devoted to agriculture.

With regard to water pollution, it is one of the first environmental problems that poor countries begin to clean up as they grow wealthier. A recent study found that in every country where average annual per capita income exceeds $4,600 forests are stable or increasing [PDF]. In addition, technological progress offers the possibility that humanity will increasingly reduce its future demands on nature by a process of dematerialization [PDF], that is, obtaining more value while using less material.

Maternal mortality rates have fallen substantially—from 422 per 100,000 live births to 251 per 100,000 live births—over the past 30 years, according to a study published in The Lancet this past April. Sadly, the study noted, “More than 50% of all maternal deaths were in only six countries in 2008 (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo).” Oddly, some activists opposed the publication of The Lancet article, fearing that the good news would stifle their fundraising. The world’s infant mortality rate has never been lower. Most countries, even very poor countries, continue to experience declines in infant mortality.

Walker’s last two questions about poverty traps and failed states are related, but not in a way that supports his implied points. As Wheaton College economist Seth Norton explains, "Fertility rate is highest for those countries that have little economic freedom and little respect for the rule of law.” He adds, "The relationship is a powerful one. Fertility rates are more than twice as high in countries with low levels of economic freedom and the rule of law compared to countries with high levels of those measures."

Fertility rates are high in failed states like Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Yemen, because of the lack of rule of law which inexorably generates poverty. Norton persuasively argues that such places are so chaotic that it’s like living in giant open access commons. In those cases people often reason that more children means more hands for grabbing unowned and unprotected resources for the family. Such anarchic places would be particularly ill-suited to implementing the kind of population control policies Walker favors.

According to research published by the Royal Society, it looks as though the world will be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050, perhaps even allowing some farmland to revert to nature. Water is a problem, but economic and technological solutions show promise in ameliorating it. But more importantly, Walker and other overpopulationists get the causality backwards. Poverty is the cause and high fertility is the symptom. Poverty traps and failed states which result in high maternal death rates, starvation, pollution, and deforestation are not created by population, but by bad policies. Working to spread economic freedom and political liberty is a lot harder than self-righteously blaming poor people for breeding too much. But it's the only real option.


Australia: Another "Green jobs" bungle hurts those who took a Green/Left government at its word

A BRISBANE war veteran has been forced to sell his service medals after almost losing his livelihood in the Federal Government's bungled Green Loans Program.

Robert Rice, who served in Afghanistan and Bougainville, received his Green Loans assessors' accreditation two days before the scheme was radically altered before finally being axed.

"The Government was crapping on about how we've got to get it sorted out, so I basically waited like all the other assessors and later on they came back and said all the Green Loans (were) gone," he told The Courier-Mail.

Mr Rice, 44, said the debacle cost him the $3000 training fee and an estimated $45,000 in lost wages because he rejected other work in anticipation of the scheme taking off. He sold his service medals to help recover some of his losses. "It was really tough," Mr Rice said.

The troubled $174.4 million rollout was shut down in July but no compensation has been provided for the thousands of assessors left out of pocket. "The way the Government handled it was absolutely disgraceful," Mr Rice said.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt has written to Climate Change Minister Greg Combet seeking "justice" for Mr Rice, saying he was a "casualty of Labor's incompetence".

"He's been forced into a fire-sale of his service medals after the Government's bungling of the Green Loans scheme," he said. "In the very week Parliament is debating the importance of the work of our soldiers in Afghanistan, the treatment of Mr Rice is just inexcusable."

The Auditor-General last month found "significant failings" in the scheme, set up to provide free energy assessments, and loans to encourage homeowners to install energy-efficient products. A Senate inquiry into the scheme is due to report next week.



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20 October, 2010

New nukes for Britain

Controversial plans for the next generation of nuclear power stations were unveiled by the Government yesterday with a pledge that taxpayers would not have to foot the bill. In an astonishing U-turn, Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne – a once vocal opponent of nuclear power – said the eight power plants were vital to fill Britain’s looming energy gap.

He also shelved £30billion plans to build a ten-mile barrage across the Severn estuary to generate ‘green’ electricity from tides. It aimed to meet five per cent of Britain’s electricity needs.

Critics condemned the nuclear plans as flawed, claiming they left the door open for public subsidies to pay for handling nuclear waste and decommissioning plants in years to come.

And they lambasted Mr Huhne for ushering in a new era of nuclear power after standing on a no-nuclear ticket at the General Election.

Announcing the plans, which could see the first new nuclear plant built by 2018, Mr Huhne said: ‘I’m fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear, which means we have neither.

‘We urgently need investment in new and diverse energy sources to power the UK. 'We’ll need renewables, new nuclear, fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, and the cables to hook them all up to the Grid as a large slice of our current generating capacity shuts down.’

But before the election, Mr Huhne was a fierce critic of nuclear power. In 2006, as Lib Dem energy spokesman, he claimed no private investor had built a nuclear power station without ‘lashings of government subsidy’ since the 1980s.

In 2007 he described nuclear power as ‘a tried, tested and failed technology, which is clearly a costly blind alley’ and condemned Tony Blair for a ‘U-turn’ on the issue.

Although the Lib Dems were opposed to nuclear power in their election manifesto, Mr Huhne said their position changed as part of the Coalition deal. He added: ‘And when I do a deal, I deliver it.’

A report from the new Department of Energy and Climate Change paves the way for nuclear power stations at eight sites: Bradwell in Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham in Lancashire; Hinkley Point in Somerset; Oldbury in South Gloucestershire; Sellafield in Cumbria; Sizewell in Suffolk and Wylfa on Anglesey. All are near existing nuclear plants.

Three other locations – at Dungeness in Kent, and Braystones and Kirksanton in the Lake District – were ruled out. The Government insists investors will be willing to pay for new nuclear plants without public subsidy.

It says that although nuclear electricity is more expensive to generate than power from fossil fuels, the rising price of oil, gas and coal over the next decade will make nuclear more attractive.

Under the plans, energy companies will meet all the costs of handling radioactive waste and decommissioning the plants at the end of their lives.

The Government will fix a ‘clean up’ price before the first concrete is poured. Energy firms will have to pay compensation for any accidents to a limit of £140million.

But Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner Simon Bullock said: ‘The Coalition promised no public subsidy for nuclear power, but not ruling out a cap on liability costs for nuclear operators in case of an accident is a subsidy by another name.’

The Coalition’s revised draft national policy statements on energy also showed that half the new energy capacity built in the UK by 2025 was expected to come from renewables – mostly wind.


Food for thought: Lord Monckton on Canute, Communism, Climate, and Conspiracies

Greenpeace and communism. Maurice Strong and world government. Climate scientists suborned and suborning. And more. Well worth an hour of your time, and if you are a teacher or in educational administration or leadership, food for thought as you reflect on whether you want to be part of the deliberate scaring and misleading of the young about what we know and don't know about climate variation.

This is part 1 of a 5 part set of YouTube videos capturing an interview/presentation with Lord Monckton published by Alex Jones on The links to the entire set are here:

Now this broadcaster, Alex Jones and his site are new to me. He seems to be attacked by the establishment as a 'right-wing conspiracy site', and of course as such any posting using his materials will risk being attacked as well. Well, so be it. My examination of his site suggests to me that he is democratic, libertarian, and a believer in the Constitution of the United States. So far, that's good enough for me.


John Droz Jr gives an example of how to respond politely to pseudo-scientific garbage

He is referring to this "Report"

This report (like many others) has the appearance of legitimacy. After all it looks professional, and is authored by several credentialed people. It would be easy to assume that it is legit. The litmus test though is: did it adhere to the Scientific Method? Let's do a quick peek at the five Scientific Method elements, and see what the result is.

1) Was it done by independent parties?

The study is sponsored by the Civil Society Institute. This organization is an strong advocate for making changes because of "Global Warming" (AGW). Surprisingly (since this is one of their main agendas), they present zero evidence that Global Warming is scientifically legitimate. Their position is "Let's just assume that AGW is real, and start making changes"

That's a science red flag

The founder of the Civil Society Institute (Pam Solo: credited for reviewing and correcting the report) has a clear and stated bias against nuclear power. Little wonder that their hired personnel will mirror that position in their attack on nuclear power.

Regarding the authors, it appears that they all belong to the same church. For instance: "Goeff Keith has worked extensively with advocates and technology manufacturers to support the "commercialization of clean energy technologies." In other words, Goeff (listed as the lead author) appears to have a vested interest in promoting “clean” technologies.

Kenji Takahashi has been involved in a variety of environmental campaigns, like "Citizens' Alliance for Saving the Atmosphere and the Earth." Wow, saving the earth's atmosphere!

Alice Napoleon: another environmentally correct person working with "residential, commercial, and industrial working groups to recommend, develop, and quantify costs and benefits of possible state actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Etc. Etc.

Independence Score: 3 out of 10

2) Is it objective?

Objectivity is all about examining things in an unbiased manner as possible. Since we all have biases, a critical part of this is to minimize assumptions, and to carefully examine all remaining assumptions made. Real scientists clearly identify their minimized assumptions, and provide genuine proof for such assumptions. These people didn't bother with either of these. There there are numerous stated and implied unproven assumptions that are the basis for their subsequent conclusions. Remember, the most well-constructed building is worthless when built on sand.

Lets start at the beginning (page 5): "the risks associated with climate change are forcing us to consider quantum shifts in the way we generate and use electricity." This is a totally unsupported political statement that sets the tone for the agenda that these persons are intent on distributing. What proven "risks" are there? What proof is there that we need to make "quantum" shifts? Oh, these are buried somewhere in their catechism, and we just expected to believe it. More science red flags.

The next few sentences cleverly throw coal and nuclear together, as if they have similar issues. Their tag on the nuclear apparently is "Nuclear power produces high-level radioactive waste, and the nation still has not established a long term repository for that waste." Well, nuclear does produce a byproduct, but the facts are:

a) the byproduct is mostly usable fuel. If they are concerned about reducing this byproduct they should be advocating reprocessing.

b) that "the nation still has not established a long term repository for that waste" is hardly the fault of the nuclear industry, or an inherent issue with nuclear power. The disposal matter is a political issue, that has already been solved by scientists. Nowhere do I see either of those details mentioned.

Another key statement is still on that first page: "The goal of the study is to provide a highly transparent and objective analysis of the cost of moving away from coal and nuclear energy and toward efficiency and renewables." Note that they do not state that the goal is to determine if there are merits for "moving away from coal and nuclear energy and toward efficiency and renewables." No, their position is that there are merits, so they are "proving" that such a move is desirable. This is NOT how science works. Big red flags.

And then "The need to reduce CO2 emissions will force a major retooling of the electric industry." What "need" have they proven? None. Just reference some other political polemic. It goes on and on with the same unscientific mentality.

Much more HERE

Sen. Bingaman's Insidious National "Renewable Electricity Standard" (S. 3813)

On September 21, 2010, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced a bill[1] that would create an insidious national "Renewable Electricity Standard" (RES). Bingaman now has 32 cosponsors but expects 60.

The bill would result in higher monthly bills for millions of home owners and renters, farms, businesses, industries, hospitals, educational institutions, and any other organization that uses electricity.

Despite the intense citizen displeasure with Congress, Bingaman's RES bill shows that both Democrats and Republicans, while in Washington, are eager to favor special interests and their lobbyists while ignoring the adverse impact of their actions on the nation's ordinary citizens, consumers and taxpayers. The bill belies Republican claims that they favor less federal government intrusion, control, and damage.

Key Provisions

The bill would require that, by 2021, 15% of the electricity sold by an electric utility must be generated from wind or certain other "renewable" energy sources, or from energy efficiency. The bill would create a new US Department of Energy (DOE) bureaucracy to oversee and enforce the new federal demands. Under the bill, up to 4 of the mandated 15% could, theoretically, be achieved by actions that improve energy efficiency but the measures that qualify are tightly defined so utilities may have to use electricity from renewables instead of energy efficiency to meet the bill's requirements.

As demonstrated by states and European countries that have imposed similar "renewable" energy requirements, higher electric bills are a direct result. Electric bills will increase because it is much more costly to produce electricity from wind and other "renewables" favored by Bingaman's bill than from existing, reliable generating units. Electricity from wind is especially high in true cost and low in value.[2]

Special Interests Pushing Hard

During the past decade, the wind and other renewable energy industries have been incredibly successful in getting federal and state government officials to grant them generous tax breaks and subsidies, including state Renewable Portfolio Standards. The lobbying effort mounted during the past few weeks suggests that they are intent on gaining another subsidy in the form of Bingaman's proposed RES.

The wind industry, which has received nearly $4.5 billion in "stimulus" program[3] cash grants during the past year from the Obama Administration, apparently has plenty of cash to finance its intense lobbying.

Many senators and representatives are vulnerable since they (a) wish to have campaign contributions, (b) don't yet understand the adverse impacts of wind energy, and (c) may not yet realize the extent of their generosity to owners of "wind farms" and other renewable facilities or the extent to which they are enriching these owners and their financial partners at the expense of taxpayers.[4]

Insidious Impacts of Tax Breaks, Other Subsidies

Tax breaks and subsidies, including "Renewable Electricity Standards" such as those proposed by Senator Bingaman are insidious because they hide from public view the high true cost of electricity from "wind farms" and other favored "renewable" facilities.

Much of the true cost of these facilities is covered by federal and state tax breaks and subsidies. These generous benefits flow directly to facility owners and are separate from and in addition to the revenue facility owners receive from the sale of electricity. Of course the cost of the government subsidies and tax breaks do show up in tax bills. So, tax burden escaped by owners of "wind farms" and other facilities is shifted from the owners to ordinary taxpayers who don't have the benefit of generous tax shelters.

Wind and other "renewable" energy industries have secured another subsidy in some states in the form of state "Renewable Portfolio Standards" (RPS) that are similar in effect to Bingaman's proposed national RES. Like the proposed RES, state RPS require that significant shares of the electricity sold by utilities come from wind and certain other "renewable" energy sources.

State RPS and the proposed national RES, in effect, create artificially high priced markets available only to owners of "wind farms" and other renewable energy facilities. These markets are not available to owners of electric generating units using traditional energy sources that produce electricity at lower cost.

Under Bingaman's proposed national RES, utilities selling electricity to customers would be forced to either (a) produce electricity from renewable electric generating facilities they own, (b) buy electricity at high, above market cost from others who own such facilities, or (c) buy "renewable energy credits" (RECs) or "energy efficiency credits" (EEC) under the complex new national certificate trading system "managed" by DOE.

Utilities that are forced to produce or buy electricity from renewable energy facilities pass along the higher costs to their customers via their monthly bills. When electric bills go up, customers typically blame their local electric utility - not the legislators who have created the additional costs. Thus, RPS and RES are ways legislators are able to satisfy the wind and other renewable industry lobbyists and campaign contributors while not "having their fingerprints" on the higher electric bills.

Harsh Negative Impacts

Tax breaks and subsidies have already become so generous that they - not the alleged environmental and energy benefits - have become the primary reason "wind farms" have been built in the US. In fact, it is now clear that wind energy advocates have overestimated environmental benefits while understating adverse environmental, ecological, economic, scenic, and property value impacts of "wind farms."

In fact, there are three major adverse economic impacts of government tax breaks, subsidies and renewable standards that should not be overlooked:

* First, wealth is transferred - hundreds of millions of dollars annually - from the pockets of ordinary taxpayers and electric customers to the pockets of the owners of "wind farms" and other renewable facilities and to the financial partners.

* Second, billions of capital investment dollars are being misdirected to the construction of energy facilities - particularly high cost "wind farms" that produce only small amounts of electricity - which electricity is intermittent, volatile, unreliable, and low in real value. It is low in real value because it is unreliable and tends to be produced at night and in colder months and not during periods of high electricity demand when electricity has high real value.

* Third, other resources - including human talent - are diverted. Those in the private sector with resources to invest have learned that they can obtain larger returns with less risk by "mining" generous government tax breaks and subsidies than they can by investing in potentially productive and innovative endeavors in the private sector where risks are higher and returns not guaranteed.


Wind power? Saving the earth or just costing it?

If you’re hankering to see Britain’s green and pleasant land and rugged coastline, don’t wait too long. In an increasingly desperate bid to meet its EU climate and renewable-energy targets, the British government is planning to build 10,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines – many 400 feet high – over the next 10 years.

The “British wind experience,” however, constantly cited by Canadian, United States, and other advocates, far from saving the earth, turns out in practice to be costing the earth.

Costs have ‘escalated markedly’

Last month the UK opened the world’s latest and largest wind farm off the English coast at Thanet, Kent, amid a blaze of publicity. The 100 turbines are just stage one, with another 242 on way. Just a few weeks earlier, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) – one of the government’s think tanks – published a new report warning that wind-generation costs had “escalated markedly” since the “optimistic predictions of the early 2000s.” According to the report, electricity generated by wind power in the UK now costs twice as much as that generated by gas or coal.

The UKERC report states that instead of falling as predicted the cost of installing offshore turbines has gone up by 51 per cent over the past five years. Spread over the projected 25-year lifespan for a typical wind farm, each kilowatt-hour of electricity now costs around 15 pence (15/100 of a British pound), almost twice the eight pence per kwh for conventional coal and gas-power plants. Nuclear power would do the same job for 10 pence per kwh. While costs “could fall,” the report warns they could also rise as high as 19 pence per kwh.

The reason? The unreliable and intermittent nature of wind requires a whole fleet of gas and coal-fired turbine backup facilities to cope when the wind fails. Unfortunately, in Britain, times of least wind (January and February) coincide with the coldest times of year, when electricity demand is highest. And given the raison d’ętre for the rush to wind – reducing carbon emissions – gas and coal turbine backups regularly having to kick in will more than cancel out meaningful CO2 reductions.

UK electricity prices already “hide” a renewable, mostly wind, subsidizing levy of around £200 (C$323, US$319). That’s as much as 20 per cent per bill, a tab the report says British taxpayers will be picking up till at least the mid-2020s. This helps explain why British electricity bills are the highest in Europe.

What the report doesn’t say, however, is that if the same £1.2 billion (about $1.9 billion Canadian or U.S.) was invested into a single (mostly) carbon-neutral nuclear power station, the electricity yield would be up to that 13 times higher, with vastly superior reliability, not to mention cleaner air.

Dr. David Whitehouse is an astrophysicist, author of the acclaimed book The Sun: A Biography and a former BBC science editor. Speaking to Troy Media, Whitehouse explains, “Renewable-energy sources such as wind, wave and solar just have not got the power to make a big difference to an industrialised society which requires concentrated industrial-strength power generation to keep us warm.”

Two key factors are at play here that wind advocates do their best to obscure.

The ‘capacity versus load factor’ game

The wind industry plays a little game whereby it constantly fails to explain the difference between capacity and “load factor,” or actual power generated. The Thanet wind farm is a classic case in point. Much was made of the claim that the farm could produce capacity up to 300 megawatts of electricity, or “enough to power 200,000 (even 240,000) homes.” But the fact is, wind farms almost always never get anywhere close to capacity.

The recommended load factor that determines whether a wind turbine or farm is economically viable and efficient is just over 30 per cent. The energy reality, in Britain’s “experience,” is that onshore farms run at a meagre 20 percent or below, with some, in urban areas, dropping as low as nine percent. The “experience” offshore isn’t much better. According to the UK Department of Energy and Climate’s own statistics, the average output of electricity power generated (or load factor) offshore during 2009-10 was just 26 per cent of capacity. In consequence, the British government has legally obliged UK electricity companies to buy offshore wind energy at three times the normal market rate.

Whitehouse tells Troy Media, “No matter how many wind farms or tidal barrages you build, there is just not enough energy density in wave and wind to make a big difference. You could capture wind and wave energy with 100 per cent efficiency all over the country, and you wouldn’t have enough energy to power Birmingham, England.”

Density: the definitive issue

In his brilliant essay Understanding E=mc2 (and his book Terrestrial Energy from which it is distilled), William Tucker shows that the density of mass in both wind and water bears no comparison with that of oil, coal and gas. Tucker calculates, for instance, that a land mass of about 375 square miles with around 660 widely spaced, gigantic turbines is necessary to match a power return of 1,000 megawatts, the normal candle for a conventional power plant. And that would be with the wind turbines working at 100 per cent capacity – which, as we’ve seen, isn’t happening, even in the windiest countries.

“The British experience,” Whitehouse says, “has been to use wind farms to increase the energy bills of every household without increasing the security of energy supply.” In Britain, that explains why energy analysts have of late widely predicted national power cuts within just four years.

Once we get past the wind-industry press handouts, what the “British wind experience” actually teaches is how quixotic fictions can easily leave us cold.


Spain's Solar Deals Face Bankruptcy As Subsidies Founder

By failing to control the cost [of green subsidies], Zapatero saddled Spain with at least 126 billion euros of obligations to renewable-energy investors. Now Vilimelis and more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster as the policy makers contemplate cutting the price guarantees that attracted their investment in the first place.

German Vilimelis heard about Spain’s solar gold rush from his brother-in-law in 2007.

Across the plains around Lerida, the northeastern Spanish town where they spent weekends, farmers were turning over their fields to photovoltaic panels to capitalize on government solar- energy subsidies. Vilimelis persuaded his father, Jaume, who made a living growing pears on 5 acres (2 hectares) of land in Lerida, to turn over a portion of his farm for the project, Bloomberg Markets reported in its November issue.

Vilimelis, 35, a procurement manager for a consumer goods company, pooled his family savings and mortgaged his apartment to obtain a loan of more than 400,000 euros ($558,500) to cover the investment. Within nine months, the family’s 80-kilowatt generation unit -- 500 solar panels on seven racks angled toward the sun -- was feeding power into the national grid.

Solar investors such as Vilimelis were lured by a 2007 law passed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that guaranteed producers a so-called solar tariff of as much as 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity for 25 years -- more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price of about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour paid to mainstream energy suppliers.

Thanks to the incentives, the family met the monthly cost of the loan and even earned a small profit. Once the debt was paid off in 2018, Vilimelis looked forward to making even more money during the 15 additional years of subsidies guaranteed under Spanish law.

Now Vilimelis and more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster as the policy makers contemplate cutting the price guarantees that attracted their investment in the first place.

“You feel cheated,” he says. “We put our money in on the basis of a law.”

Zapatero introduced the subsidies three years ago as part of an effort to cut his country’s dependence on fossil fuels. At the time, he promised that the investment in renewable energy would create manufacturing jobs and that Spain could sell its panels to nations seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

Yet by failing to control the program’s cost, Zapatero saddled Spain with at least 126 billion euros of obligations to renewable-energy investors. The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs, because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.

Stark Lesson

Spain stands as a lesson to other aspiring green-energy nations, including China and the U.S., by showing how difficult it is to build an alternative energy industry even with billions of euros in subsidies, says Ramon de la Sota, a private investor in Spanish photovoltaic panels and a former General Electric Co. executive.

“The government totally overshot with the tariff,” de la Sota says. “Now they have a huge bill to pay -- but where’s the technology, where’s the know-how, where’s the value?”

U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted solar energy as part of his plan to create green jobs this month with a decision to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of the White House. The government also approved the first large-scale solar-power projects on public land. Dublin-based utility NTR Plc and Chevron Corp. will build plants in California generating enough electricity between them to power about 600,000 homes.



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


19 October, 2010

False prophet Paul Ehrlich still at it

Attributing recent species extinctions to global warming has one large problem: Even the IPCC says that we have had less than one degree Celsius average temperature rise since the beginning of the 20th century. Saying that such a tiny warming has had any effect on anything is absurd. All animals encounter much larger temperature variations than that in the course of a single day, for instance. So it is clear that the extinctions and population reductions mentioned below were NOT caused by global warming. Much of the drop in amphibian populations was caused by fungi

It’s an uncomfortable thought: Human activity causing the extinction of thousands of species, and the only way to slow or prevent that phenomenon is to have smaller families and forego some of the conveniences of modern life, from eating beef to driving cars, according to Stanford University scientists Paul Ehrlich and Robert Pringle.

This extinction—the sixth in the 4-billion-year history of the Earth—"could be much more catastrophic than previous ones," says Ehrlich, author of the controversial Population Bomb, which predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s. That fate was forestalled by the green revolution in Asian agriculture, in which new strains of cereal crops plus enhanced use of fertilizer and irrigation allowed farmers to grow enough food to feed a burgeoning population. But this is a new threat: "Anything in the vicinity of the previous ones," Ehrlich says, such as the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous that killed half of all species, including the dinosaurs, "would wreck civilization."

Right now, at least 2,000 frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are in danger of going extinct, according to a survey by biologists David Wake and Vance Vredenburg, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Coastal seas and estuaries have lost as much as 91 percent of certain species, such as oysters, according to another survey. And nearly 50 percent of all temperate grasslands and forests have disappeared.

But through it all the species responsible for this change—through overuse, pollution and other impacts—has continued to thrive and multiply, reaching roughly 6.7 billion in population and counting.

"The fate of biological diversity for the next 10 million years will almost certainly be determined during the next 50 to 100 years by the activities of a single species," write Ehrlich and Pringle in their proposal for addressing the biodiversity crisis. Adds Pringle: "The world's remaining wild areas and the species in them are being pulverized, and that's a multi-layered tragedy."

That’s why Ehrlich and Pringle call for educating women, which has slowed or stopped population growth in the developed countries of Europe. "Education and employment—for women especially—along with access to contraception and safe abortions are the most important components," they write. Adds Ehrlich: "The most basic response is to get going on stopping population growth and starting a decline. Second is doing something about consumption. If you don't do anything about those, then you are in trouble in all the others: more people, means more greenhouse gases, which means more rapid climate change."


Sea level rise dies NOT indicate warming

Texas A&M professor Andy Dessler claims that rising sea level is evidence that temperatures are increasing. It is trivial to demonstrate that his claim is both incorrect and absurd.

Over the last 8,000 years, temperatures have steadily fallen – as seen above. At the same time, sea level has risen about 20 metres.

There is no correlation between rising temperatures and rising sea levels. Anyone with a basic understanding of science knows that ice melts above the freezing point – regardless of whether temperatures are increasing or decreasing.

Sea level will keep rising until the amount of new glacial ice formed each year equals the amount of melt. That circumstance would require a considerable amount of cooling from present.


Warmist crook Gerald North Caught Fibbing About Hockey stick

By S. Fred Singer

In responding to Congressman Joe Barton’s letter of Oct 12, Prof Gerald North (Letter, Oct 17) claims that “we have not found any evidence that his [Prof Michael Mann’s] results were incorrect or even out of line with other works published since his original papers.”

This statement is factually incorrect: There are numerous papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, which show clearly that the 20th century was not the warmest in the past 1000 years (as claimed by Mann). Medieval temperatures were substantially greater – and so were temperatures during the earlier Roman Warm Period.

All of this is in addition to the valid criticism of the statistical methodology used by Mann. Tellingly, Canadian Prof. Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick showed that even random data fed into the faulty Mann theory would always yield a record-warmest 20th century.


The Slow Death of the Environmental Movement

By Alan Caruba

“Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.”—Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!

“If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels”. —Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

If you want to understand how utterly soulless and nihilistic environmentalism is than you need only pay attention to what they say. (Click here for more such quotes)

My friend, Joseph A. Olson, PE, recently wrote of “Climate Science’s Worst Week in History” in which he noted a series of events such as the UK’s Royal Society’s step back from its former support of global warming.

This was followed by a Washington Post opinion editorial by one of its perpetrators, Michael Mann of Penn State University, pleading for a Democrat victory in the midterm elections so he could avoid being investigated by Congress.

That same week Dr. Hal Lewis, a renowned physicist, resigned from the American Physical Society, rebuking it for having been subverted to serve the global warming hoax.

Having observed the movement for decades, I think we are seeing a growing awareness that environmentalism is fear-driven, based on many false claims, a threat to the U.S. economy, fundamental freedoms, and humanity in general.

The environmental movement has its roots in what was formerly called conservation. Its great champion was Teddy Roosevelt and it was led by men like John Muir (1838-1914), a naturalist who advocated setting aside places like the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas.

The objective was not only to preserve such areas, but to permit future generations to visit, enjoy, and be inspired by them. In creating national forests, it was understood they were to be managed in a fashion that yielded timber while providing opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.

Muir founded the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s largest environmental organizations. Today there are so many environmental organizations and groups that you need a directory to sort them out. These groups, however, are now far more political than their original intent.

They are ministries of misinformation, disinformation, and outright scare mongering.

The movement as we know it today got a boost with the publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring.” It was an anti-pesticide diatribe whose claims have long since been disproved, but it set in motion a tsunami of fears regarding all chemicals and, beyond that, concerns about all kinds of manufacturing and technology; indeed anything involving energy resources.

Within eight years of the book’s publication President Nixon initiated the Environmental Protection Agency that has since metatisized into a rogue government agency intent on controlling all aspects of life in America. The EPA invents most of the science it cites and has an authoritarian contempt for the fundamental principles of science, the truth, and the process of legislating and regulating as set forth in the Constitution.

The scope of environmentalism is manifest in the United Nations Environmental Program of which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the source of the global warming hoax, has been the most visible of late.

We are witnessing, if not the death of environmentalism, at least its growing marginalization. The early signs are there to be seen. It will take a lot of time to rid ourselves of its excesses and idiocy because much of academia, the judiciary, the media, some churches, and our schools have been hijacked by the environmental movement.

Like socialism/communism, a political movement closely aligned with environmentalism, environmentalism not only does not work, but imposes restrictions that run contrary to economic growth, health, and fundamental freedoms. Its solutions are as often as not are the cause of mass death as in the case of the banning of DDT.

Ultimately, environmentalism is opposed to all the technologies that protect, enhance and extend life for everyone on planet Earth.

This is why we see, time and again, environmental opposition to anything that might ensure a steady, dependable source of electricity, the power that maintains everything upon which a modern society depends.

This explains why environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth are leading campaigns against the use of coal to generate electricity and other forms of power generation.

Environmentalists oppose oil and its derivative, perhaps one of the greatest inventions of the modern era, plastic.

It is why they advocate turning food, corn primarily, into an inefficient fuel called ethanol that can damage car engines. The diversion of massive amounts of corn has only served to drive up food costs.

It is why they advocate mass transportation and do all they can to impose new costs on the manufacture and use of automobiles.

It is why they advocate wind and solar power as viable sources of energy when neither would even exist without huge government subsidies. They are touted as a source of mythical “green jobs”, but Americans want real jobs and wonder why so few factories have been built here since the 1970s.

It has been environmentalists that foisted mandatory recycling programs that have proven as great a waste in time, labor and energy as the benefits they were purported to provide.

Was it a worthy goal to clean the nation’s air and water? Yes, without question, but by almost any standard one can name, that goal has been achieved. When the EPA announced recently that it was going to regulate dust, you had to know that it’s being run by crazies. The East Coast of America receives a lot of dust blown in from Africa!

The death of environmentalism began with the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in the history of modern man, global warming. It has taken decades for it to be exposed and its demise, along with other environmental “solutions” put forth are reaching a point of widespread public rejection.

That is a very good thing because at the very heart of environmentalism is the intent to reduce the human population of the Earth. It is human “consumption” that environmentalists hate whether it is the food you eat or the energy you use in your daily life.

It will take a generation or two or three to rid ourselves of the chains environmentalism has imposed on us and the economy, but it will happen. It took some seventy years for the former Soviet Union to ultimately implode.

Just as communism killed millions, so too has environmentalism. Both still exist in various places and various forms, but they will fail. Perhaps not in my lifetime or yours, but if we remain vigilant, if we resist, they too will die a deserved death.


Why climate change isn’t an election campaign issue

Following is from a Warmist

Coming into this year, conventional wisdom had it that if Democrats failed to get an energy and climate bill passed by this summer, a new attempt would have to wait until at least 2011. Think longer-term than that. Maybe a lot longer.

In his most recent reading of the political tea leaves, published Oct. 8, noted analyst Charles Cook of the Cook Political Report sees Republicans in the House picking up at least 40 seats – with 39 needed to take the majority. A headline on the Associated Press's latest analysis? "As Democrats' message lags, GOP awaits huge wins."

And not just at the national level. In a hard Senate fight in West Virginia, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin is running as fast as possible from any association with the concept of a cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In a campaign ad, Manchin literally fires a shot at the bill. Other Democrats are downplaying (or remaining silent on) climate change as a campaign issue.

Meanwhile, GOP candidates – incumbents and challengers – are lauding the benefits of carbon dioxide for creatures great and small, attributing global warming to sunspots (long discredited), and in general touting the notion of human-triggered global warming as a hoax.

Ironically, they seem to be out of step with much of the American public. In a new survey released by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, 63 percent of Americans agree that global warming is happening. A plurality (50 percent) agree that it's triggered by human activity, compared with 35 percent who say it's natural, and 7 percent who say it isn't happening at all. The survey, conducted from late June to late July included 2,030 adults in the US.

From the standpoint of solutions, large majorities agree that switching to green energy sources, preventing deforestation and other approaches would reduce global warming. But the study points out a majority of respondents (53 percent) either don't believe that large tax increases on fossil fuels would help, or they say they don't know.

And therein lies a great deal of the rub, according to the Council on Foreign Relations' Michael Levi. In a blog post earlier this year, he noted in effect that once again, "it's the economy, stupid."

Especially in lean economic times, a cap-and-trade bill (Republicans have dubbed it the Pelosi energy tax) designed to shift the economy to greener energy technologies injects too much uncertainty into the calculations of people who have jobs.

The switch by definition implies that some existing jobs will vanish. The thought of losing those jobs would be bad enough in economically good years. But when the unemployment rate hovers between 9 and 10 percent, and economic growth is expected to be anemic for some time? A double no-thanks on all your proposals.

And those who are unemployed and might benefit from the change are a smaller, less influential slice of the electorate.

If that's the case, the US currently may be experiencing in its own way an internal version of the arguments that have played out on the international stage between rich and poor countries on battling global warming.

When an economy is in the tank, either because of a near-depression or because a country is underdeveloped, it’s a lot tougher to sell what are perceived to be expensive environmental solutions whose benefits may not be seen for decades to individuals who are worried about their job today.


Another Warmist who is a prophet of Apocalypse and a believer in conspiracy theories

The Weather Underground launched in 1995, becoming the first commercial internet weather service, and among the first using real-time features of the internet for weather education. Today, it’s the 80th largest site on the internet, getting between 10- and 11-million page views a day and 15-million unique users a month.

Masters considers this another dream job, not only creating the programming but expanding his role to blog and generate content for the website.

Masters reads plenty of other blogs, and is a fan in particular of John Cook’s blogs at He also frequents,, and, which he thinks does well at unveiling climate deniers’ public relations campaigns intended to counter climate change science.

Masters says his blogs don’t “trash people” or question their motivations. “I’m just speaking the truth as I see it,” and presenting the best science, he says.

Masters considers himself different from most meteorologists, many of whom he says are unreasonably skeptical of climate change science. He says he thinks their skepticism stems in part from bachelors degree meteorology students’ not being required to study climatology or climate science as part of their formal degree requirements.

Masters says he believes that the conclusions of the IPCC report are “genuine, valid, and probably understated.” And he is critical of what he sees as well orchestrated and well funded climate misinformation campaigns.

“They’re able to persuade even intelligent people with a background in meteorology” that climate change isn’t occurring, he said. “It’s going to be a terrible wake-up call when the climate becomes unstable, and we’ll kick ourselves for being resistant to cutting our use of fossil fuels.”

He’s shared these views in his blogs, not surprisingly leading to hundreds of “hate e-mails” a year. Critics call him biased and chastise him for defending scientists named or involved in last fall’s hacked e-mails controversy at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. While he respects the right of these people to voice their point of view, he doesn’t pull punches: “The ignorance and greed that human society is showing in this matter will be to our ultimate detriment and possible destruction,” he says.



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


18 October, 2010

Does CO2 Drive the Earth’s Climate System?

Roy Spencer points out that the latest NASA/GISS emission assumes what it has to prove

There was a very clever paper published in Science this past week by Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy that uses the GISS climate model (ModelE) in an attempt to prove that carbon dioxide is the main driver of the climate system.

This paper admits that its goal is to counter the oft-quoted claim that water vapor is the main greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. (They provide a 1991 Lindzen reference as an example of that claim).

Through a series of computations and arguments, the authors claim that is actually the CO2, not water vapor, that sustains the warmth of our climate system.

I suspect this paper will result in as many opinions in the skeptic community as there are skeptics giving opinions. But unless one is very careful in reading this paper and knows exactly what the authors are talking about, it is easy to get distracted by superfluous details and miss the main point.

For instance, their table comparing the atmospheres of the Earth, Venus, and Mars does nothing to refute the importance of water vapor to the Earth’s average temperature. While they show that the atmosphere of Mars is very thin, they fail to point out the Martian atmosphere actually has more CO2 than our atmosphere does.

I do not have a problem with the authors’ calculations or their climate model experiment per se. There is not much new here, and their model run produces about what I would expect. It is an interesting exercise that has value by itself.

It is instead their line of reasoning I object to — what they claim their model results mean in terms of causation– in their obvious attempt to relegate the role of water vapor in the atmosphere to that of a passive component that merely responds to the warming effect of CO2…the real driver (they claim) of the climate system.


From what I can tell reading the paper, their claim is that, since our primary greenhouse gas water vapor (and clouds, which constitute a portion of the greenhouse effect) respond quickly to temperature change, vapor and clouds should only be considered “feedbacks” upon temperature change — not “forcings” that cause the average surface temperature of the atmosphere to be what it is in the first place.

Though not obvious, this claim is central to the tenet of the paper, and is an example of the cause-versus-effect issue I repeatedly refer to in the past when discussing some of the most fundamental errors made in the scientific ‘consensus’ on climate change.

It is a subtle attempt to remove water vapor from the discussion of “control” over the climate system — by definition. Only those of us who know enough of the details of forcing-feedback theory within the context of climate change theory will likely realize this, through.

Just because water vapor responds quickly to temperature change does not mean that there are no long-term water vapor changes (or cloud changes) — not due to temperature — that cause climate change. Asserting so is a non sequitur, and just leads to circular reasoning.

I am not claiming the authors are being deceptive. I think I understand why so many scientists go down this path of reasoning. They view the climate system as a self-contained, self-controlled complex of physically intertwined processes that would forever remain unchanged until some “external” influence (forcing) enters the picture and alters the rules by which the climate system operates.

Of course, increasing CO2 is the currently fashionable forcing in this climatological worldview.

But I cannot overemphasize the central important of this paradigm (or construct) of climate change theory to the eventual conclusions the climate researcher will inevitably make.

If one assumes from the outset that the climate system can only vary through changes imposed external to the normal operation of the climate system, one then removes natural, internal climate cycles from the list of potential causes of global warming. And natural changes in water vapor (or more likely, clouds) are one potential source of internally-driven change. There are influences on cloud and water vapor other than temperature which in turn help to determine the average temperature state of the climate system.

After assuming clouds and water vapor are no more than feedbacks upon temperature, the Lacis et al. paper then uses a climate model experiment to ‘prove’ their paradigm that CO2 drives climate — by forcing the model with a CO2 change, resulting in a large temperature response!

Well, DUH. If they had forced the model with a water vapor change, it would have done the same thing. Or a cloud change. But they had already assumed water vapor and clouds cannot be climate drivers.

Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling “plunging the climate into an icebound Earth state”. The result after 7 years of model integration time is shown in the next image.

Such a result is not unexpected for the GISS model. But while this is indeed an interesting theoretical exercise, we must be very careful about what we deduce from it about the central question we are ultimately interested in: “How much will the climate system warm from humanity adding carbon dioxide to it?” We can’t lose sight of why we are discussing all of this in the first place.

As I have already pointed out, the authors have predetermined what they would find. They assert water vapor (as well as cloud cover) is a passive follower of a climate system driven by CO2. They run a model experiment that then “proves” what they already assumed at the outset.

But we also need to recognize that their experiment is misleading in other ways, too.

First, the instantaneous removal of 100% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere except for water vapor causes about 8 times the radiative forcing (over 30 Watts per sq. meter) as does a 100% increase in CO2 (2XCO2, causing less than 4 Watts per sq. meter), something that will not occur until late this century — if ever.

This is the so-called ‘logarithmic effect’…adding more and more CO2 has a progressively weaker radiative forcing response.

Currently, we are about 40% of the way to that doubling. Thus, their experiment involves 20 times (!) the radiative forcing we are now experiencing (theoretically, at least) from over a century of carbon dioxide emissions.

So are we to assume that this dramatic theoretical example should influence our views of the causes and future path of global warming, when their no-CO2 experiment involves ~20 times the radiative forcing of what has occurred to date from adding more CO2 to the atmosphere?

Furthermore, the cloud feedbacks in their climate model are positive, which further amplifies the model’s temperature response to forcing. As readers here are aware, our research suggests that cloud feedbacks in the real climate system might be so strongly negative that they could more than negate any positive water vapor feedback.

In fact, this is where the authors have made a logical stumble. Everyone agrees that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system on average. But the climate models suggest that the cloud feedback response to the addition of CO2 to our current climate system will be just the opposite, with cloud changes acting to amplify the warming.

What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state. Oops.

(In retrospect, I suppose they could claim that cloud feedbacks switched from negative at the low temperatures of an icebound Earth, to being positive at the higher temperatures of the real climate system. But that might mess up Jim Hansen’s claim of strongly positive feedbacks during the Ice Ages).

Unfortunately, what I present here is just a blog posting. It would take another peer-reviewed paper that follows an alternative path, to effectively counter the Lacis paper, and show that it merely concludes what it assumes at the outset. I am only outlining here what I see as the main issues.

Of course, the chance of editors at Science allowing such a response paper to get published is virtually zero. The editors at Science choose which scientists will be asked to provide peer review, and they already know who they can count on to reject a skeptic’s paper. Many of us have already been there, done that.


The Week That Was (To October 16, 2010)

Excerpts from Ken Haapala

On Tuesday, the Obama administration lifted its controversial ban on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while demanding that the oil industry must meet new, complex regulations. Rather than providing relief for businesses that have been idled and those who have been unemployed by the ban, the announcement created further uncertainty. There were no assurances that permits would be granted expeditiously. Rather, there were promises of even more regulations in the future.

The administration seems to be oblivious to the national unemployment rate that is 9.2% and that businesses do not hire in periods of regulatory uncertainty. The only state with strong employment growth is North Dakota where oil drilling is expanding rapidly thanks to the new technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that is opening up extensive oil reserves previously locked in deep, tight shale formations.


Several thought-provoking articles appeared discussing problems with alternative energy. Tom Fuller, an alternative energy advocate, explains why he thinks wind power is not doing well in 2010 - the buyer market is highly concentrated (basically forced by government). Thus, there is no pressing need on the producers to reduce costs because the eventual users must buy regardless of cost. (Since regulated utilities pass on costs plus a profit calculated on costs to their customers, including government imposed costs, utilities have no incentive to demand lower costs.)

Bjorn Lomborg points out how government officials in Europe have failed to conduct the proper research to discover the tremendous hidden costs of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. As a result, European countries that invested heavily in these sources are experiencing unexpectedly high utility rates.

Peter Grover discusses the folly of British experience and the government's current mania to build even more expensive off-shore wind farms.


Another provoking piece appeared on the blog of Roger Pielke, Sr. He describes the requirements of a good scientific model as explained in The Grand Design, a new book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, and then concludes that the IPCC models fail the Hawking and Mlodinow requirements. A good scientific model:

1) is elegant,
2) contains few arbitrary or adjustable elements;
3) agrees with and explains all existing observations, and
4) makes detailed predictions about future observations that can disprove or falsify the model if they are not borne out.


The issue regarding the resignation of Hal Lewis from the American Physical Society continues to cause controversy. TWTW carried the resignation letter last week. The American Physical Society issued a press release defending its position and Roger Cohen rebutted the press release.

SOURCE (See the original for links and refereces)

Second Hand Smoke [SHS] and Lung Cancer

S Fred Singer

In 1993, the EPA published a report claiming that SHS [sometimes known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke - ETS] causes 3000 deaths from lung cancer every year.

Anyone doubting this result has been subject to attack and depicted as a toady of the tobacco lobby. The attacks have been led by a smear blog called "DesmogBlog," financed by a shady Canadian PR firm of James Hoggan, and have been taken up with great enthusiasm by a self-styled "science historian," Professor Naomi Oreskes.

The ultimate purpose of these attacks, at least in my case, has been to discredit my work and publications on global warming. I'm a nonsmoker, find SHS to be an irritant and unpleasant, and have certainly never been paid by Phillip Morris and the tobacco lobby, and have never joined any of their front organizations, like TASSC [The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition].

So what is the truth about SHS and lung cancer? I'm neither an oncologist nor a chemical toxicologist, but I do know some statistics, which allows me to examine the EPA study without bias [I personally believe that SHS cannot be healthy].

I can demonstrate that the EPA fudged their analysis to reach a predetermined conclusion - using a thoroughly dishonest procedure. They made three major errors:

1) They ignored publication bias, that is, studies that do not produce significant results are seldom published,
2) They shifted the confidence intervals,
3) They drew unjustified conclusions from a risk ratio that was barely greater than 1.0.

My opinions are independently confirmed by the Congressional Research Service [CRS-95-1115], and by a lengthy judicial analysis by Judge William Osteen [all available on the Internet].

1) Since none of the epidemiological studies provided a clear answer, EPA carried out a "meta-analysis". Unfortunately, this approach ignores "publication bias", i.e., the tendency for investigators not to publish their studies if they do not give a positive result.

2) The EPA in order to calculate a risk ratio, moved the confidence intervals from 95% to 90% -- and said so openly.

3) Even so, their risk ratio was just a little above 1.0 - whereas epidemiologists ignore any result unless the RR exceeds 2.0.

To sum up, while we cannot give specific answers for lung cancer cases or other medical issues connected SHS, we can state with some assurance that the EPA analysis is worthless.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #31-2010 (Oct. 16, 2010)

Time to get real about climate change

10/10/10 and based on urban legend, not science

"We are very energized and enthusiastic about millions of people coming together and making this the biggest day of climate action ever," said a young German activist wearing a T-shirt at Berlin's 10/10/10 demonstrations on Sunday. Campaigners around her, and indeed, "people at 7,347 events in 188 countries," according to organizers, danced, sang, planted trees and picked up garbage as part of the massive worldwide 10/10/10 Global Work Party.

What's that all about? And what is so special about 350?

Bill McKibben, founder of, explained: "It's the boundary condition for a habitable planet. We're already past it. We're at 390 parts per million [of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere]. That's why the Arctic is melting. That's why Australia is burning up ... . If we put very much more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll pass the kind of tipping points ... that mean we'll never be able to get back there, even if we stopped driving every car and powering every factory. ...We're fighting to keep real collapse at bay."

Mr. McKibben asserts that only misguided "climate change deniers" disagree with the urgent need to reduce humanity's CO2 emissions to avoid climate catastrophe. But he is wrong.

First, no rational scientist denies that climate changes. As professor Tim Patterson of the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa testified before a parliamentary committee, "Based on the paleoclimatic data I and others have collected, it's obvious that climate is and always has been variable. In fact, the only constant about climate is change; it changes continually."

Scientists such as Mr. Patterson obviously would deny that they deny climate change - they are denial deniers. If anyone could rationally be labeled a climate-change denier, it would be one of those who hold the absurd view that our climate was tranquil until we started to emit significant amounts of CO2.

The "denier" label is simply an attempt to equate those of us who question political correctness on climate change to Holocaust deniers. It is trying to discredit a message by discrediting the messenger, a logical fallacy referred to as ad hominem - against the man. It's also irrational to put the questioning of forecasts of future events on a par with denying what has happened already.

Climate activists claim there is a consensus among experts that humanity's CO2 emissions are causing a climate crisis. In reality, there has never been a reputable worldwide poll of the thousands of experts who study the causes of climate change. Assertions that the multitude of scientists who worked on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports agree that our CO2 emissions are taking us to a planetary crisis are unfounded. Climate data analyst John McLean of Melbourne, Australia, has demonstrated repeatedly that only a few dozen scientist participants in the IPCC process even commented on the issue.

Most climate statements by national science academies are quite meaningless, as well. They are simply proclamations from academy executives or select panels, not their scientist members, because no national science body that has spoken in support of schemes to "stop climate change" have demonstrated that a majority of their members agree with the academy statements.

We cannot forecast climate decades from now any better than we can predict the weather two weeks ahead. The system is simply too complex and our understanding of the science too primitive. Chris Essex, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, explains, "Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved." Not only are today's computerized climate models (the primary basis of the alarm) not known to properly represent the climate system, they cannot be programmed to do so, because we do not know the underlying science well enough to know what to program the computers to compute.

Many scientists who work with the IPCC know this. They even stated in their Third Assessment Report: "In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) chief science adviser Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia writes in his new book, "Climate: The Counter Consensus" (Stacey International, 2010) that "science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous global warming or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring ... despite the expenditure since 1990 of many tens of billions of dollars searching for it."

It is no secret that many experts in the field agree with Mr. Essex, Mr. Carter and Mr. Patterson. ICSC's recently launched Climate Scientists' Register already has attracted the endorsement of 139 leading climate experts from 21 countries. The register states, "We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

Sadly for the environmental movement, which has committed vast resources to this activism, 10/10/10, and similar campaigns are dangerously off-track. When the public finally comes to realize how it has been so seriously misled on what has become a central theme of modern environmentalism, efforts to address real environmental problems may very well be set back decades.

In the meantime, billions of dollars are wasted and thousands of jobs threatened, all for an unproven hypothesis that never made any sense in the first place.


The climate is changing. But it always has

By Dr. David Whitehouse, Astronomer and Author

The global climate is changing. It always has. Fifteen thousand years ago the place where I am writing this (Hampshire, England) was Arctic tundra on which almost nothing could live. The glaciers reached not far north of here, and places that were to become Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow were under a kilometer of ice. When the ice receded Britain was completely covered in trees. That the trees are fewer was due to early man. That the ice is no longer here was due to natural climatic cycles.

Few doubt that the world has warmed in the past thirty years. We have reasonably good global temperature records for the past 150 years and, in general, they show a gradual warming, possibly from the cold spell in the 17th century some call the ‘Little Ice Age.’

Temperatures at a plateau

From 1850 to about 1910, the temperature did not change very much at a time when the world was somewhat colder than it is today. Between 1910 and 1940 there was a sustained warming, 0.4 deg C in 30 years. Then there was a period of 40 years when again the temperature did not change much. Just before1980 it started rising again, 0.4 deg C in 25 years, but this rise ceased in 2000. We live in the warmest decade for at least 150 years, probably longer, but in the last decade the global average annual temperature has remained at a plateau.

On the face of it, today’s warm spell isn’t anything unusual. There is growing evidence that there was a so-called Medieval Warm Period about 800 years ago. In a recent research paper, Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University – of now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph fame – admitted that the temperatures then could well be higher than today. It used to be thought that the Medieval Warm Period was confined to Europe, but there is now evidence it was more global.

There is also some evidence that a thousand years before the Medieval Warm Period, the so-called Roman Warm Period was just as warm, possibly warmer, as was possibly the Minoan Warm Period a 1,000 years before that. So, in absolute terms the recent warm spell is not historically extraordinary.

Some argue that the rate of increase of global temperature in the past 30 years has been more rapid than in the past. This is not so. The IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) says that the year when mankind’s influence on the global climate was first apparent was 1960. Before that time, it maintains, all changes can be explained as natural. It is curious, then, that the rate of temperature increase seen before that date (1910 to 1940) is statistically identical to the recent rate of temperature increase (1980 to 2000).

So neither the warmth of the past few years, nor the temperature increase leading up to it is unusual.


German Parliamentarian Under Massive Fire – For Skepticism

It was bound to happen sooner than later. A high level German politician speaking out against dubious climate science. Marie-Luise Dött, German Parliamentarian and a central figure on Angela Merkel’s environmental committee, expressed scepticism on climate change, the Financial Times Deutschland reports here in an article titled: The Climate Revisionists.

Now she is at the receiving end of brimstone and hellfire from all sides, including the media. Here in Germany, climate skeptics face a level of intolerance not seen here in 65 years.

Last Wednesday, she made comments at a parliamentary forum discussion on the economic impacts of climate protection held by the FDP Free Democrats, the junior coalition partner of Angela Merkel’s CDU/FDP coalition government. Fred Singer - ”a tobacco lobbyist” - was a guest speaker.

Dött’s comments not only left environmentalists and climate protection activists speechless and gasping for air, but exposed Dött as a climate skeptic. She is reported to have called climate protection a "…replacement religion, and that anyone who dared to express doubt could be branded an outlaw, forced to confess sins, sent to purgatory, or even cast into hell, if being really bad. Free scientific thinking is a myth here".

Well, the vicious intolerant reactions she is now reaping confirm that her views are accurate, more than ever imagined. Even colleagues from within her own CDU Party piled on: "The next days are going to be very uncomfortable for her".

The intolerance from the opposition came swiftly. Hermann Ott, a spokesman for the German Green Party, blasted Dött and her CDU Party: "The CDU and the FDP Free Democrats are moving outside of the common community when they provide a forum in the German Parliament for the blind theories of climate change deniers".

(Note: denying the Holocaust in Germany is a crime. Ott is de facto calling Dött a criminal of the worst kind).

A member of the SPD was said to be in “shock” and demanded Dött be fired. He added it all confirmed the “real intentions of the coalition government.”

I’m not even going to get into what the media snobs are saying. Noses could not be higher.

Frau Dött not only has revealed herself to be skeptical of climate science, but has exposed Germany’s return to last century’s intolerance.



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


17 October, 2010

The latest Warmist emission

Jim Hansen's crew at NASA/GISS have just put out a desperate piece of "research" in support of Warmism which is nothing more than just another run of their magical "models". Only this time they ran an even more unrealistic simulation that LEFT OUT even more factors than they usually do. And they describe their results as an "experiment"! -- an experiment that manipulated nothing in the real world at all! The text is below but the comments (see the original) are the most interesting part. There are the usual sneers from Warmists and the usual appeal to the facts from skeptics!

Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

The study, conducted by Andrew Lacis and colleagues at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, examined the nature of Earth's greenhouse effect and clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. Notably, the team identified non-condensing greenhouse gases -- such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons -- as providing the core support for the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

Without non-condensing greenhouse gases, water vapor and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. The study's results will be published Friday, Oct. 15 in Science.

A companion study led by GISS co-author Gavin Schmidt that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that carbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and aerosols make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth's greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth's greenhouse effect.

The climate forcing experiment described in Science was simple in design and concept -- all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases and aerosols were zeroed out, and the global climate model was run forward in time to see what would happen to the greenhouse effect.

Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth's greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state -- a clear demonstration that water vapor, although contributing 50 percent of the total greenhouse warming, acts as a feedback process, and as such, cannot by itself uphold the Earth's greenhouse effect.

"Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics of Earth's greenhouse effect, and enabled us to demonstrate the direct relationship that exists between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global temperature," Lacis said.

The study ties in to the geologic record in which carbon dioxide levels have oscillated between approximately 180 parts per million during ice ages, and about 280 parts per million during warmer interglacial periods. To provide perspective to the nearly 1 C (1.8 F) increase in global temperature over the past century, it is estimated that the global mean temperature difference between the extremes of the ice age and interglacial periods is only about 5 C (9 F).

"When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City," said co-author David Rind, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "Today we are in uncharted territory as carbon dioxide approaches 390 parts per million in what has been referred to as the 'superinterglacial.'"

"The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth," Lacis said. "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has fully documented the fact that industrial activity is responsible for the rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is not surprising then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general."


Now it's avalanches

For a while it was "extreme weather events" that were suppposedly increasing. Now that that scare has been debunked, the Warmists have thought up a new scare. It's already a pretty weak scare though, because the events they quote are only "in high mountain ranges". Bad for hermits and gurus, I guess, but not many other people live in such places

EARTH is starting to crumble under the strain of climate change. Over the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods (see "Early signs"). The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together.

Worse may be to come. Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure.

For Earth this phenomenon is nothing new, but the last time it happened, few humans were around to witness it. Several studies have shown that around 10,000 years ago, as the planet came out of the last ice age, vast portions of volcanic summit cones collapsed, leading to enormous landslides.

To assess the risk of this happening again, Daniel Tormey of ENTRIX, an environmental consultancy based in Los Angeles, studied a huge landslide that occurred 11,000 years ago on Planchón-Peteroa. He focused on this glaciated volcano in Chile because its altitude and latitude make it likely to feel the effects of climate change before others.

"Around one-third of the volcanic cone collapsed," Tormey says. Ten billion cubic metres of rock crashed down the mountain and smothered 370 square kilometres of land, travelling 95 kilometres in total (Global and Planetary Change, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.08.003). Studies have suggested that intense rain cannot provide the lubrication needed for this to happen, so Tormey concludes that glacier melt must have been to blame.

With global temperatures on a steady rise, Tormey is concerned that history will repeat itself on volcanoes all over the world. He thinks that many volcanoes in temperate zones could be at risk, including in the Ring of Fire - the horseshoe of volcanoes that surrounds the Pacific Ocean (see map). "There are far more human settlements and activities near the slopes of glaciated active volcanoes today than there were 10,000 years ago, so the effects could be catastrophic," he says.

The first volcanoes to go will most likely be in the Andes, where temperatures are rising fastest as a result of global warming. Any movement here could be an early sign of trouble to come elsewhere. David Pyle, a volcanologist at the University of Oxford, agrees. "This is a real risk and a particularly serious hazard along the Andes," he says.

Meanwhile, ongoing studies by Bill McGuire of University College London and Rachel Lowe at the University of Exeter, UK, are showing that non-glaciated volcanoes could also be at greater risk of catastrophic collapse if climate change increases rainfall.

"We have found that 39 cities with populations greater than 100,000 are situated within 100 kilometres of a volcano that has collapsed in the past and which may, therefore, be capable of collapsing in the future," says McGuire.


Global warming not worth the fight says MIT Warmist

The United States would gain little in trying to forestall climate change says Keith Yost

Global warming is real. It is predominantly anthropogenic. Left unchecked, it will likely warm the earth by 3-7 C by the end of the century. What should the United States do about it? Very little, if anything at all.

As economists, we are inclined to take the vantage point of the benevolent dictator, that omnific individual with his hands upon all of the policy levers available to the state. When placed in such a position, the question of how to respond to global warming is answered by performing a simple comparison: does x, the cost of optimally mitigating carbon emissions, exceed y, the benefit of that carbon mitigation? Where the answer is yes, the global carbon mitigation effort remains rightfully nascent, where the answer is no, it springs up and becomes law with a just and sudden force.

H.L. Mencken once wrote, “Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an well-known solution to every human problem ­— neat, plausible, and wrong.” Such is the economist’s explanation of climate change.

Global warming is a tragedy of the commons, carbon emissions are a negative externality, and reducing CO2 in the atmosphere is a global public good. These types of problems have been well-studied by economists, and solutions to them are known. Unfortunately, these solutions require a sovereign power to enact them, and in this world there is no global power to enforce economically optimal solutions, no benevolent dictator, no organ of international government capable of superceding national sovereignty and its attendant self-interest. The international system is not cooperative — it is best defined as anarchic and follows the Thucydidean maxim: the strong do as they can... the weak suffer as they must.

Instead of thinking as economists, we should think as international relations realists. In the realist school of thought, a man comports with another’s will only in proportion to the cudgel wielded over his head. We will not, solely through moral suasion, convince others to act against their own national interests.

Countless man-hours of scientists and economists have gone into trying to estimate the costs and benefits of climate change mitigation. Yet the real question is not whether y is greater than x, but rather whether it is greater than x + z, where z is the cost of enforcing an agreed upon reduction in carbon emissions. This is the minimum threshold that must be passed before any action is possible, and the chances of passing it in the near future are slim: not in least part because we lack the technology to monitor the emissions of other countries. But even if we did have the technology, the nature of the problem makes the challenge nearly impossible. Suppose two nations Alpha and Beta, agree to limit their emissions, and suppose further that it is cheaper for Alpha to reduce its emissions in the present while it is cheaper for Beta to limit its emissions in the future. What prevents Beta from reneging on its agreement after Alpha has already committed to a reduction? The act of punishing a defector, whether it comes in the form of a trade sanction or other action, is itself a public good that carries some cost to the punisher.

The sound and the fury that has characterized the public discourse on global warming often obscures a basic economic fact: we are in the situation we are in because it requires fewer resources to generate electricity with coal or propel automobiles with petroleum than it does to accomplish those same goals with solar cells and biofuels. The “green economy” our politicians have placed on a pedestal is not an improvement over our existing one — there is no gain to be had in producing with the effort of three men what we previously accomplished with two. We should tolerate this inefficiency only insofar as it helps us avoid some other, greater harm.

There are many who would have us act unilaterally, who claim we will gain some sort of “competitive edge” over China and the rest of the world by pursuing national policies of innovation or economic re-engineering. Through the magic of innovation, we will improve our economy, gain power relative to the rest of the world, and save the environment all in one stroke. This is nonsense.

Firstly, it misunderstands international trade. Our economic well-being is independent of Chinese productivity. The idea that other nations will “steal our jobs” or otherwise capitalize off of our unwillingness to go green is a fallacy. The belief that another country’s rise or fall impacts our economic well-being in any appreciable way is unsupported by economic theory and disproven by empirical evidence (ignoring, for simplicity, the prospect of military confrontation, where relative strength does indeed matter). There is no race or contest being played out; the U.S. and China are not Pepsi and Coca Cola writ large.

Secondly, it misunderstands the nature of public goods problems, in which players benefit by avoiding the costs of providing the good rather than leaping headlong into them. When we offer to reduce our carbon emissions, pay for green research, or otherwise make some sacrifice for the global environment, we are merely generating a benefit for the rest of the world to free-ride off of, bearing the weight of having three men do the work of two so that others will not have to make the same effort.

Lastly, it misunderstands the nature of innovation. The word is tossed around like a magic wand, but it is merely a means to an end. National policies to subsidize innovation have no more a successful track record than national policies that subsidize capital formation. The policies themselves (usually large, government spending boondoggles like the Synthetic Fuels Corporation), are economic distortions — they place incidences on some and make beneficiaries out of others, but on the net, society as a whole loses. Innovation is doubly worse as a public policy — not only is it a distortion, but information creation is yet another global public good. Take, for example, the tale of solar power. U.S. companies, at considerable cost to the taxpayer, have made advances in solar cells, making them at lower cost and with greater efficiency. Their inventors have reaped considerable reward for the sale of their intellectual property. But nearly all of the productivity gains from those technological developments have gone to countries like China and Malaysia, the places where it makes economic sense to manufacture solar cells.

It is not in our national self-interest to try and bear the costs of global warming by ourselves. For a wealthy, cold, non-agrarian, stable country such as ours, it is unclear whether we even stand that much to lose from a rise in temperatures. There have been several studies that suggest the costs of mitigating climate change exceed the benefits in a country such as the United States — work by William Nordhaus and Robert Mendelsohn of Yale, Richard Tol of Carnegie Mellon, Melissa Dell and Benjamin Olken of MIT, and others, suggest this outcome is likely.

But even if we take the estimates provided by the advocates of aggressive action, the math comes up short. For example, the National Resource Defense Council estimates that if left unchecked, global warming will cost the U.S. 1.8 percent of its GDP by the year 2100. Meanwhile the Stern Review estimates the cost of carbon mitigation to total 2 percent of world GDP by the year 2100. It appears that the hot areas of the world should be bribing us to take action, not the other way around.

More to the point, unilateral action will not mitigate climate change. The U.S. is only a small fraction of total emissions. Even if all of the Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol agreed to binding constraints, they would account for less than half of the world’s total emissions, and a far smaller fraction of the expected growth in emissions between now and 2100. To act unilaterally, or even in conjunction with the rest of the developed world, would mean paying the full measure of mitigating climate change while receiving only a fraction of its benefit.

It is tempting to play the crusader, to make some moral, if futile stand in defense of our current thermostat setting. But we must be realistic. There is little hope of creating an enforceable global carbon constraint, and without the existence of such a regime, there is little point in surrendering our national economy to green adventures.


Censorship of scientists by government

The latest evidence that scientific integrity is a bipartisan policy issue comes from Nature in a story just out. It details a number of remarkably familiar and troubling instances of the suppression of scientists in the federal agencies under the Obama Administration. Here is an excerpt that details several instances in USDA and NOAA:
In May this year, Steven Naranjo, a research leader at the ARS office in Maricopa, Arizona, ran up against a wall when he received an interview request from National Public Radio to comment on a paper published in Science. The paper discussed the emergence of 'non-target' pests in areas where genetically engineered insect-resistant crops are grown. Naranjo had reviewed the paper for Science and wanted to do the interview. But when he asked for permission from the ARS information staff, the request was passed up to the communications office of the USDA, and ultimately denied, he says. "They decided it was too controversial," says Naranjo. "It was a little frustrating, but not a big deal."

The process is more than a little frustrating for one ARS researcher, who says he is so fed up with the system that he has simply stopped asking for permission. For years, this scientist has been writing columns for regional newspapers and speaking to journalists without reporting it to the information staff. "I don't want them changing my words," this scientist said, under the condition of anonymity. "Getting permission is one more hoop and it's a pain in the neck."

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) encountered problems when they started talking about the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA employees are allowed to speak to the press without getting permission from the press office as long as they are talking about science, according to policies set in 2007. But Mark Powell, a hurricane expert at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, says that after the oil spill, a team of NOAA experts was assembled and 'cleared' to talk to the media. As Powell understood it, no one else was allowed to speak publicly. "I decided to turn down a local TV interview because I had not yet been cleared," he says.

Communication staff at NOAA say that they used the term cleared to identify subject experts who had been put through some quick media training after the explosion. "This effort did not preclude anyone from speaking to the media or public, as per the NOAA policy," says Justin Kenney, director of communications for NOAA. But Powell wasn't the only one with the impression that communications rules had been tightened. "I did feel early on that I would make people a lot happier if I worked with media relations," says Michelle Wood, director of the ocean chemistry division in the same lab as Powell, a process that she says was "maddeningly slow" and often sent journalists to experts outside of NOAA. Wood says it was a great relief to later learn that it was coordination with external groups working on the spill that was delaying NOAA's responses to the media, rather than NOAA itself, and that communication lines eventually opened up.

Nature explains that the Obama Administration promised guidelines on communication for science agencies that were due more than a year ago and have yet to be delivered. Neal Lane, science advisor to Bill Clinton, sums up the situation quite well:
"If this is a priority of our president's, the [cabinet members] are going to go back to their agencies and ask that the message be sent all the way down through the organization. They don't want to read in Nature that one of their scientists was prevented from talking after the president has just told them that he's serious about this."

Too late for that.


Warmist fanatic wants a new Hitler Youth -- but with green shirts of course

Hitler exploited the gullibility of young people too and this guy's claim: "this is an urgent situation. We must act" sounds just like early Fascism in Italy. Note for instance the prominent references to action in Mussolini's summary of Fascism. See also here

"What we need more than anything else is a mass movement of young people," Peter Goldmark, director of EDF's Climate and Air Program, who recently announced his retirement at the end of the year. "In American culture, it is youth that sets the agenda. It's always been this way. Think who was driving change in the anti-Vietnam war movement, in the civil rights era. They have to mobilize, now, and demand action against global warming."
The wheel of change is turning in spite of our government's inactivity

"My generation has failed," he says flatly. "We are handing over the problem to our children. They—and their children—will live with the worst consequences of climate change. Make no mistake, global warming is happening right now. It is only going to get worse."

But the world, Goldmark added, was failing that challenge: "We all—citizens, governments, and foundations—face in common the imperative to respond constructively to the crises of our times. And we are not responding. We are drifting."

What Goldmark—along with all leading authorities on climate change—fears most is that we still do not understand the urgency of the problem. "When I think about how I would address a group of young people, my message is not a gentle one," he says. "This is the hardest, most terrible, thing to say to a young person, but we have no choice: it is five minutes before midnight. Time is running out."

That means we no longer have the luxury of polite, time-consuming public debate on the issue. "We have to be much more aggressive about pinpointing our enemies, and doing it early—showing how and where they are spending their money to undermine our efforts," he says. "We need to learn how to inflict pain on the opposition."

The need for global solutions is another reason Goldmark is now putting his hope into a youth movement. "Young people are already transnational thinkers. This is one of the great gifts of the Internet culture. Fifteen to 35 year-olds are used to thinking globally. They are the ones who are going to insist that the United States get on board with international solutions."

"It has got to be said, over and over again," Goldmark says, "this is an urgent situation. We must act."


Africa demands reparation for climate change

They can't be blamed for seeing $$$$s in the crap they hear from Western governments. More golden bedsteads for dictators coming up!

Participants at the on going Seventh African Development Forum in Addis Ababa have accused developed nations of paying lip service to funding Africa’s efforts at combating climate change.

Speaker after speaker noted that while Africa contributes barely four per cent of carbon emissions, the continent bears the brunt while those whose actions endangered the planet remain reluctant at financing the process that will mitigate the disaster.

Jose Endundo, the minister of environment, nature conservation and tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo who spoke on the theme: Africa and international climate change negotiations, said previous commitments contained in the Kyoto protocol and at the Conpenhagen conference must be met immediately.

“Africa will no longer tolerate the alibi of using governance issues like transparency and legitimacy as a pretext to efforts at checking the consequences of climate change in Africa,” he said.

Mr. Endundo warned that if the parties concerned do not deploy the required funding to check the menace of global warming, the number of ecological migrants would swell to 200 million in the next three decades.

“Common sense show that we can no longer have the rich on one hand and the poor on another.”

Mr Endundo said historical facts, and fairness require that the advanced nations provide the technology, the capacity and the funds needed to ensure sustainable development in Africa in the face of climate change.

In his contribution, Peter Ekweozoh, an assistant director in the federal ministry of finance in Nigeria, said as a member of the negotiating team to the climate conference, he disagrees with the notion that Africa lacks the capacity to fight climate change.

He noted that for decades Africa has come to negotiations expecting the European and American partners to provide critical help on issues, but such help hardly comes.

Mr Ekweozoh said the only way out is for the continent to acquire the requisite technology that will ensure that Africa consumes its quota on emissions.

“The technology to grow is in the public domain. We must use it to build industries and provide jobs for our people.”

However, Ako Amadi, the executive director of Nigeria’s Community Conservation and Development initiative, told NEXT that he is disappointed at Mr Ekweozoh’s submission that Africa has the capacity which is domiciled outside the continent.

A retired marine biologist from the Institute of Oceanography, Lagos, Mr Amadi said Mr Ekweozoh failed to consider the fact that capacity is an institutional matter, and research institutions have been destroyed, at least in Nigeria.



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


16 October, 2010

Peer reviewed paper in academic journal says that most climate variation on earth is due to celestial effects (movements of the planets etc)

Long range weather forecasters with good track records have long used such factors in making their forecasts. That the Warmist "models" don't include such factors shows how inaccurate they are. Abstract below

Empirical Evidence for a Celestial Origin of the Climate Oscillations

by Nicola Scafetta


We investigate whether or not the decadal and multi-decadal climate oscillations have an astronomical origin. Several global surface temperature records since 1850 and records deduced from the orbits of the planets present very similar power spectra. Eleven frequencies with period between 5 and 100 years closely corresponding the two records. Among them, large climate oscillations with peak-to-trough amplitude of about 0.1and 0.251C, and periods of about 20 and 60 years, respectively, are synchronized to the orbital periods of Jupiter and Saturn.

Schwabe and Hale solar cycles are also visible in the temperature records. A 9.1-year cycle is synchronized to the Moon’s orbital cycles. A phenomenological model based on these astronomical cycles can be used to well reconstruct the temperature oscillations since 1850 and to make partial forecasts for the 21st century. It is found that at least 60% of the global warming observed since 1970 has been induced by the combined effect of the above natural climate oscillations. The partial forecast indicates that climate may stabilize or cool until 2030-2040. Possible physical mechanisms are qualitatively discussed with an emphasis on the phenomenon of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators.


Impure as the Driven Snow

Soot is a bigger problem than greenhouse gases in polar melting

Belching from smokestacks, tailpipes and even forest fires, soot—or black carbon—can quickly sully any snow on which it happens to land. In the atmosphere, such aerosols can significantly cool the planet by scattering incoming radiation or helping form clouds that deflect incoming light. But on snow—even at concentrations below five parts per billion—such dark carbon triggers melting, and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming.

"Impurities cause the snow to darken and absorb more sunlight," says Charlie Zender, a climate physicist at the University of California, Irvine. "A surprisingly large temperature response is caused by a surprisingly small amount of impurities in snow in polar regions."

Zender, physicist Mark Flanner and other colleagues built a model to examine how soot impacts temperature in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Temperatures in the northern polar region have already risen by 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.88 degrees Fahrenheit) since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The researchers incorporated information on soot produced by burning fossil fuels, wood and other biofuels, along with that naturally produced by forest fires and then checked their model predictions against global measurements of soot levels in polar snow from Sweden to Alaska to Russia and in Antarctica as well as in nonpolar areas such as the Tibetan Plateau.

The researchers also took into account the natural darkening of snow as it ages. "The larger crystals eat the smaller ones and get larger, and that means they get darker and absorb more sunlight,'' Zender explains. "When soot is there it heats the snow. It acts like a little toaster oven."

Whereas forest fires contribute to the problem—the effect noticeably worsens in years with widespread boreal wildfires—roughly 80 percent of polar soot can be traced to human burning, adding as much as 0.054 watt of energy per square meter of Arctic land, according to the research published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research. When the snow melts, it exposes dark land below it, further accelerating regional warming. "Black carbon in snow causes about three times the temperature change as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," Zender says. "The climate is more responsive to this than [to] anything else we know."

He argues that simple steps, such as fully burning fossil fuels in more efficient engines and using cleaner-burning cooking stoves, could help preserve the dwindling Arctic snow cover and ice (see video here). Even changing the timing of such soot emissions could play a role. "If you have to burn dirty fuel, you can do it in the fall or winter" when it will be buried under subsequent snowfall, Zender says. "If you can time your emissions so they have the least impact then you will not trigger these very sensitive regions to start warming by this ice albedo feedback process."

Unfortunately, the soot problem extends beyond snow, he says, noting that similar studies are needed to assess how the smut affects the melting of sea ice. That meltdown may be the impetus for an accelerating doom as it opens up shipping lanes previously blocked by ice in the Arctic Sea. "Those ships are great emitters of soot," Zender points out, adding that, "putting a locally heavy source in the Arctic in the early spring," is virtually guaranteed "to polish off the summer sea ice."


Royal Society Humiliated by Global Warming Basic Math Error

Top international experts prove British numbers on carbon dioxide are wrong. Royal Society blunder grossly exaggerates climate impact. Even I raised my eyebrows when I saw the Royal Society claim debunked below -- and I am only a humble social scientist. Clearly, even the most eminent Warmists are unreasoning fanatics with no concept of truth or grasp on reality -- JR

by John O'Sullivan

German chemist, Dr Klaus Kaiser has published evidence that proves the Royal Society (RS), London, has been caught out making schoolboy errors in mathematical calculations over the duration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere. Backed up by a review by a leading Swedish mathematics professor the revelation is a serious embarrassment to the credibility of the once revered British science institute and a major setback for its claims about climate change.

A gaffe in their own basic calculations led the RS to falsely find that CO2 would stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years rather than a dozen or so as peer-reviewed studies show. Global warming skeptics have been quick to condemn the error and demand an apology and immediate correction.

The Royal Society advises the British government on matters concerning climate change. Due to the scale of the error any forthcoming review will necessarily result in a substantial downward revision of the threat posed by CO2 in the official government numbers.

In an article published on Canada Free Press (CFP: October 13,2010) Dr Kaiser explains how he picked up on the fault after a recent climate skeptic “rebellion” by senior members of the world’s oldest scientific institute forced the RS to revise their guide “Climate change: a summary of the science”(30 September 2010).

Of great concern to Dr Kaiser was one offending paragraph under the heading The Carbon Cycle and Climate where the RS says: “Current understanding indicates that even if there was a complete cessation of emissions of CO2 today from human activity, it would take several millennia for CO2 concentrations to return to preindustrial concentrations”.

Dr Kaiser’s article poses some very embarrassing questions about the competence of authors of the Royal Society document. The German chemist expertly dismantles the claims by the Royal Society that it would take “millennia” for atmospheric CO2 to return to preindustrial levels. Such a claim, he says, “cannot be true.”

Backing up Kaiser's analysis is none other than Sweden’s eminent mathematics Professor Claes Johnson, who was quick to respond to the German’s findings when posting on his blog, ‘Claes Johnson on Mathematics and Science.’

“The revised statement by the Royal Society Climate Change Summary of Science is full of scientific misconceptions as noted in the earlier post Royal Society in Free Fall", said the Professor of Applied Mathematics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Posing the question about this shocking error on his blog the math professor added, “How can it be that even elementary mathematics is beyond the capacity of FRS?”

Leading Canadian Climate scientist, Professor Tim Ball emailed this author to add his own comments and suggests the issue of residency time was part of the strategy to increase the focus on CO2. He says, "It is part of a bundle of claims about CO2 that are now shown false and Dr Kaiser's is another major correction. I believe they were all produced with malice and forethought driven by the political need to demonize CO2." Professor Ball further believes such a position is supported by the evidence of how the RS dealt with other issues including advocacy of dubious computer programs.

Climate writer and former US Navy meteorologist, Dr. Martin Hertzberg added, "The failure of the Royal Society and the APS to do their homework on this question and to accept propaganda as though it was valid science, is scientific malfeasance on a grand scale."

Taking the Royal Society to task Kaiser refers to several peer-reviewed papers reporting the half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere to be “between 5 and 10 years.” The chemist calculates that with a half-life of 5 years means that more than 98% of a substance will disappear in a time span of 30 years.

The German then poses the question that if CO2 were to stay in the atmosphere for millennia, why has its level in the atmosphere not doubled in the last 15 years, or gone up tenfold-plus over the last 100 hundred years?

In conclusion Dr. Kaiser dismisses the claims of the Royal Society as “clearly untenable.” He admonishes the once peerless institution for failing to do a few “simple order-of-magnitude calculations” so as to as check the veracity of their claims. Even though it took months to prepare that document, Klaus says, “ it appears the Royal Society’s math is still wrong.”

Finally, he cautions us “…not to trust all the hype or myths you hear or read…but look at the facts, then make up your own mind, and do believe in a better tomorrow.”


Royal Society: doh!

by James Delingpole

Of the many pseudoscientific institutions responsible for pushing the pseudoscientific fraud of Man Made Global Warming in recent years, few have been quite so assiduous in promulgating the great lie as our own Royal Society. (H/T John O’Sullivan at Suite 101)

“Pseudoscientific” may seem a bit of a harsh charge to lay at the door of the reverend body founded in 1660 whose alumni include such distinguished figures as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Hans Sloane, Sir Joseph Banks and leading palaeopiezometrist Bob Ward. The problem is, in the latter part of the last century and the first bit of this one, it managed to urinate three centuries’ worth of credibility and rigour up against the wall by deciding to abandon all objectivity and act as cheerleader for the Man Made Global Warming lobby.

The three men largely to blame for this were its fanatically warmist presidents Lord Rees and Lord May, together with the even more dismal Sir John Houghton, who was partly responsible for perhaps the most embarrassing document in the institution’s history: the one called Facts And Fictions About Climate Change.

This 2005 propaganda exercise rode a coach and horses through the Royal Society’s traditions of non-partisanship. As Nigel Calder has pointed out, for two centuries the following advertisement was printed in its house journal Philosophical Transactions:

… it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion, as a Body, upon any subject, either of Nature or Art, that comes before them.

But perhaps more importantly it was hopelessly inaccurate, which is why, following a rebellion by some of its members, the Royal Society last month issued a revised guide to Climate Change.

However, this one is apparently wrong too. According to German chemist Dr Klaus Kaiser, the new document grossly exaggerates the amount of time the deadly, devil gas they call CARBON DIOXIDE (mwa ha ha ha!) spends in the atmosphere.

Here’s what the Royal Society claims:

“Current understanding indicates that even if there was a complete cessation of emissions of CO2 today from human activity, it would take several millennia for CO2 concentrations to return to preindustrial concentrations”

But Dr Kaiser says this is rubbish, for reasons he explains at length in Canada Free Press.

It is also obvious then that the statement by the Royal Society that it would take “millennia” for atmospheric CO2 to return to levels at preindustrial times upon a (theoretical) complete and sudden cessation of all manmade CO2 release to the atmosphere cannot be true. If the CO2 were to stay in the atmosphere for millennia, why has its level in the atmosphere not doubled in the last 15 years, or gone up tenfold-plus over the last 100 hundred years? Furthermore, there are several peer-reviewed papers reporting the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere to be between 5 and 10 years. A half life of 5 years means that more than 98% of a substance will disappear in a time span of 30 years.

He has the support of Swedish maths professor Claes Johnson, who has written scathingly before of what he calls the “Royal Society in Free Fall”.

This is not science which has been shown to be correct, but populistic science selling “truths” which serve a certain political agenda.

The Royal Society’s next president will be the Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Sir Paul Nurse. He has got his work cut out, I’d say.


Global warming propagandist slapped down

William Connolley, arguably the world’s most influential global warming advocate after Al Gore, has lost his bully pulpit. Connolley did not wield his influence by the quality of his research or the force of his argument but through his administrative position at Wikipedia, the most popular reference source on the planet.

Through his position, Connolley for years kept dissenting views on global warming out of Wikipedia, allowing only those that promoted the view that global warming represented a threat to mankind. As a result, Wikipedia became a leading source of global warming propaganda, with Connolley its chief propagandist.

His career as a global warming propagandist has now been stopped, following a unanimous verdict that came down today through an arbitration proceeding conducted by Wikipedia. In the decision, a slap-down for the once-powerful Connolley by his peers, he has been barred from participating in any article, discussion or forum dealing with global warming. In addition, because he rewrote biographies of scientists and others he disagreed with, to either belittle their accomplishments or make them appear to be frauds, Wikipedia barred him — again unanimously — from editing biographies of those in the climate change field.


Denying the Catstrophe: The Science of the Climate Skeptic’s Position

Blog post from "Forbes" business magazine

In last week’s column, I lamented the devolution of the climate debate into dueling ad hominem attacks, which has led in almost a straight line to the incredible totalitarian vision of the 10:10 climate group’s recent film showing school kids getting blown up for not adhering to the global warming alarmists’ position.

In writing that column, it struck me that it was not surprising that many average folks may be unfamiliar with the science behind the climate skeptic’s position, since it almost never appears anywhere in the press. This week I want to give a necessarily brief summary of the skeptic’s case. There is not space here to include all the charts and numbers; for those interested, this video and slide presentation provides much of the analytical backup.

It is important to begin by emphasizing that few skeptics doubt or deny that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas or that it and other greenhouse gasses (water vapor being the most important) help to warm the surface of the Earth. Further, few skeptics deny that man is probably contributing to higher CO2 levels through his burning of fossil fuels, though remember we are talking about a maximum total change in atmospheric CO2 concentration due to man of about 0.01% over the last 100 years.

What skeptics deny is the catastrophe, the notion that man’s incremental contributions to CO2 levels will create catastrophic warming and wildly adverse climate changes. To understand the skeptic’s position requires understanding something about the alarmists’ case that is seldom discussed in the press: the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming is actually comprised of two separate, linked theories, of which only the first is frequently discussed in the media.

The first theory is that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels (approximately what we might see under the more extreme emission assumptions for the next century) will lead to about a degree Celsius of warming. Though some quibble over the number – it might be a half degree, it might be a degree and a half – most skeptics, alarmists and even the UN’s IPCC are roughly in agreement on this fact.

But one degree due to the all the CO2 emissions we might see over the next century is hardly a catastrophe. The catastrophe, then, comes from the second theory, that the climate is dominated by positive feedbacks (basically acceleration factors) that multiply the warming from CO2 many fold. Thus one degree of warming from the greenhouse gas effect of CO2 might be multiplied to five or eight or even more degrees.

This second theory is the source of most of the predicted warming – not greenhouse gas theory per se but the notion that the Earth’s climate (unlike nearly every other natural system) is dominated by positive feedbacks. This is the main proposition that skeptics doubt, and it is by far the weakest part of the alarmist case. One can argue whether the one degree of warming from CO2 is “settled science” (I think that is a crazy term to apply to any science this young), but the three, five, eight degrees from feedback are not at all settled. In fact, they are not even very well supported.

Of course, in the scientific method, even an incorrect hypothesis is useful, as it gives the scientific community a starting point in organizing observational data to confirm or disprove the hypothesis. This, however, turns out to be wickedly difficult in climate science, given the outrageously complex nature of the Earth’s weather systems.

Our global temperature measurements over the last one hundred years show about 0.7C of warming since the early 1900s, though this increase has been anything but linear. Skeptics argue that, like a police department that locks on a single suspect early in a crime investigation and fails to adequately investigate any other suspects, many climate scientists locked in early on to CO2 as the primary culprit for this warming, to the exclusion of many other possible causes.

When the UN IPCC published its fourth climate report several years ago, it focused its main attention on the Earth’s warming after 1950 and in particular on the 20-year period between 1978 and 1998. The UN IPCC concluded that the warming in this 20-year period was too rapid to be due to natural causes, and almost certainly had to be due to man’s CO2. They reached this conclusion by running computer models that seemed to show that the warming in this period would have been far less without increased CO2 levels.

Skeptics, however, point out that the computer models were built by scientists who have only a fragmented, immature understanding of complex climate systems. Moreover, these scientists approached the models with the pre-conceived notion that CO2 is the main driver of temperatures, and so it is unsurprising that their models would show CO2 as the dominant factor.

In fact, the period 1978 to 1998 featured a number of other suspects that should have been considered as potentially contributing to warming. For example, the warm phase of several critical ocean cycles that have a big effect on surface temperatures, including the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, coincided with this period. Further, the second half of the 20th century saw far greater solar activity, as measured by sunspot numbers, than the first half of the century. Neither ocean cycles nor solar effects, nor a myriad of other factors we probably don’t even know enough to name, were built into the models. Even man’s changing land use has an effect on measured temperatures, as survey efforts have shown urban areas, which have higher temperatures than surrounding rural locations, expanding around our temperature measurement points and biasing measured temperatures upwards.

If CO2 is but one of several causes of warming over the past decades, then current climate models almost certainly have to be exaggerating future warming. Only by attributing all of the past warming to CO2 can catastrophic future warming forecasts be justified. In fact, even the 0.7C of measured historic warming is well under what the climate models should have predicted for warming based on past CO2 increases and their assumed high sensitivity of temperature to CO2 levels. In other words, to believe a forecast of, say, 5C of warming over the next 100 years, we should have seen 2C or more of warming over the past century.

This is why the IPCC actually had to make the assumption that global temperatures would have fallen naturally and due to other manmade pollutants over the past several decades. By arguing that without man’s CO2 the climate would have cooled by, for example, 0.5C, then they can claim past warming from CO2 as 1.2C (the measured 0.7C plus the imaginary 0.5C). Anyone familiar with how the Obama administration has claimed large stimulus-related jobs creation despite falling employment levels will recognize this approach immediately.

Despite these heroic efforts to try to find observational validation for their catastrophic warming forecasts, the evidence continues to accumulate that these forecasts are wildly overstated. The most famous forecast of all is perhaps NASA’s James Hansen’s forecast to Congress in 1988, a landmark in the history of global warming alarmism in this country. Despite the fact that 2010 may well turn out to be one of the couple warmest years in the past century (along with 1998, both of which are strong El Nino years), the overall trend in global temperatures has been generally flat for the last 10-15 years, and have remained well below Hansen’s forecasts. In fact, Hansen’s forecasts continue to diverge from reality more and more with each passing year.

Of course, as we all know, global warming has been rebranded by alarmist groups as “climate change” and then more recently as “climate disruption.” This is in some sense inherently disingenuous, implying to lay people that somehow climate change can result directly from CO2. In fact, no mechanism has ever been suggested wherein CO2 can cause climate change in any way except through the intermediate step of warming. CO2 causes warming, and then warming causes climate changes. So the question of warming and its degree still matters, no matter what branding is applied.

In fact, it is in the area of the knock-on effects of warming, from sea level increases to hurricanes, that some of the worst science is being pursued. Nowhere can we better see the effect of money on science than in climate change studies, as academics studying whatever natural phenomenon that interests them increasingly have the incentive to link that phenomenon to climate change to improve their chances at getting funding.

The craziness of climate scare stories is too broad and deep to deal with adequately here, as nearly every 3-sigma weather anomaly suddenly gets attributed to climate change. But let’s look at a couple of the more well-worn examples. In an Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore warned of the world being battered by more and more Katrina style category 5 storms; in fact, 2009 and 2010 have seen record low levels of global cyclonic activity, despite relatively elevated temperatures. Or take the melting ice cap: on the same exact day in 2007 when newspapers screamed that the Arctic had hit a 30-year low in sea ice extent, the Antarctic hit a 30-year high. The truth of the matter is that ice is indeed melting and sea levels are rising today – as they were in 1950, and 1900, and even 1850 (long before much man-made CO2). The world has warmed continuously since the end of the little ice age around 1820 (a worldwide cold spell generally linked to a very inactive period in the sun) and sea levels can be seen to follow an almost unbroken linear trend since that time.

Alarmists like to call climate skeptics “deniers,” usually in an attempt to equate climate skeptics with holocaust deniers. But skeptics do not deny that temperatures have warmed over the last century, or even that man (through CO2 as well as land use and other factors) has played some part in that warming. What skeptics deny, though, is the catastrophe. And even more, what skeptics deny is the need to drastically reduce fossil fuel use – a step that will likely be an expensive exercise in the developed west but an unmitigated disaster for the poor of Asia and Africa. These developing nations, who are just recently emerging from millennia of poverty, need to burn every hydrocarbon they can find to develop their economies.

Postscript: You will notice that I wrote this entire article without once mentioning either the words “hockey stick” or “Climategate.” I have never thought Michael Mann’s hockey stick to be a particularly compelling piece of evidence, even if it were correct. The analysis purports to show a rapid increase in world temperatures after centuries of stability, implying that man is likely the cause of current warming because, on Mann’s chart, recent temperature trends look so unusual. In the world of scientific proof, this is the weakest of circumstantial evidence.

As it turns out, however, there are a myriad of problems great and small with the hockey stick, from cherry-picking data to highly questionable statistical methods, which probably make the results incorrect. Studies that have avoided Mann’s mistakes have all tended to find the same thing – whether looking over a scale of a century, or millennia, or millions of years, climate changes absolutely naturally. Nothing about our current temperatures or CO2 levels is either unusual or unprecedented.

The best evidence that the problems identified with Mann’s analysis are probably real is how hard Mann and a small climate community fought to avoid releasing data and computer code that would allow outsiders to check and replicate their work. The “Climategate” emails include no smoking gun about the science, but do show how far the climate community has strayed from what is considered normal and open scientific process. No science should have to rely on an in-group saying “just trust us,” particularly one with trillions of dollars of public policy decisions on the line.



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15 October, 2010

The sad anti-intellectualism of even moderate Green/Leftists

Below is the first third of a recent cover story in TNR -- a Leftist organ that tries to present itself as moderate or even centrist. It is another alleged attempt to "understand" skeptics.

But throughout the article he mentions not one scientific or historical fact. In the usual Leftist way, he is uninterested in looking at the evidence and just assumes that the current Leftist consensus must be true. He voices some hope that he might persuade some conservatives to the Warmist cause. How he thinks he can do that without arguing the evidence for his beliefs is a mystery.

All he can come up with is the usual unsubstantiated "oil money" accusation. Oil companies do distribute their donations widely but give much more to Green/Left causes than anyone else. I can assure him without fear of contradiction that nobody has ever paid me a cent for my years-long coverage of the actual facts about climate and most other skeptics say the same.

He does however manage to misrepresent some facts in a very slippery way. He refers to China's "per capita" gas output when it is actually the total gas output that is at issue. So he once again shows that Leftists can only cope by turning their eyes away from the relevant facts. All they have is abuse. Facts are poisonous to them. So they can talk but cannot argue a rational case.

He has faith in prophecies, though. How pathetic! Prophecies in general have a terrible record and Greenie prophecies in particular have a record of complete failure. The Left truly is just another faith -- but a particularly bone-headed, aggressive and dogmatic faith, sadly. No wonder they get on so well with Islamists

One interesting fact heading into the mid-term elections: Almost none of the GOP Senate candidates seem to believe in the idea that humans are heating the planet. A few hedge their bets—John McCain says he’s no longer sure if global warming is “man-made or natural.” (In 2004, he told me: “The race is on. Are we going to have significant climate change and all its consequences, or are we going to try to do something early on?”) Most are more plainspoken. Marco Rubio, for instance, attacks his opponent Charlie Crist as “a believer in man-made global warming,” explaining, “I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it. The climate is always changing.” The most likely cause of that change, according to Ron Johnson, who is leading the Senate race in Wisconsin: “It’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity.”

The political implications are clear. Climate legislation didn’t pass the current Congress, and it won’t have a prayer in the next one. If the Republicans take the Senate, James Inhofe has said that the Environment and Public Works Committee will “stop wasting all of our time on all that silly stuff, all the hearings on global warming.” And in the House, Representative Darrell Issa says that he would turn his Oversight and Government Reform Committee over to the eleventeenth investigation of Climategate, the British e-mail scandal. But, for the moment, it’s less the legislative fallout that interests me than what this denial of climate change says about modern conservatism. On what is quite possibly the single biggest issue the planet has faced, American conservatism has reached a near-unanimous position, and that position is: pay no attention to all those scientists.

The few exceptions prove the rule. Ronald Bailey, the science writer at Reason, converted a few years ago to belief in global warming and called for a carbon tax. His fellow libertarians weren’t impressed: Fred Smith, the head of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, suggested that Bailey had been “worn down by his years on the lecture circuit.” Jim Manzi, a software exec and contributing editor at National Review, wrote a piece asking conservatives to stop denying the science. Even though he’s also downplayed the risks of warming, it was enough to earn a brushback pitch from Rush Limbaugh: “Wrong! More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not likely to significantly contribute to the greenhouse effect. It’s just all part of the hoax.” For the most part, even Manzi and Bailey’s own colleagues pay them no mind: National Review maintains a Planet Gore blog devoted to—well, three guesses.

In any event, the occasional magazine column has had no impact at all. Only 10 percent of Republicans think that global warming is very serious, according to recent data. Conservative opinion has been steadily hardening—for decades Republicans were part of the coalition on almost every environmental issue, but now it’s positively weird to think that as late as 2004, McCain thought it would make sense for a GOP presidential candidate to position himself as a fighter for climate legislation. And all of that is troubling. Because we’re going to be dealing with climate change for a very long time, and if one of the great schools of political thought in this country has checked out completely, that process is going to be even harder. I don’t have any expectation that conservatives will mute their tune between now and November—but it is worth thinking in some depth about what lies beneath this newly overwhelming sentiment.

One crude answer is money. The fossilfuel industry has deep wells of it—no business in history has been as profitable as finding, refining, and combusting coal, oil, and gas. Six of the ten largest companies on earth are in the fossil-fuel business. Those companies have spent some small part of their wealth in recent years to underwrite climate change denialism: Jane Mayer’s excellent New Yorker piece on the Koch brothers is just the latest and best of a string of such exposés dating back to Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 book The Heat Is On. But while oil and coal contributions track remarkably close to political alignment for many senators, they are not the only explanation. Money only exerts political influence if it can be connected to some ideological stance—even Inhofe won’t stand up and say, “I think global warming is a hoax because my campaign treasurer told me to.” In fact, some conservatives have begun to question endless fossil-fuel subsidies—since we’ve known how to burn coal for hundreds of years, it’s not clear why the industry needs government help.

Another easy answer would be: Conservatives possess some new information about climate science. That would sure be nice—but sadly, it’s wrong. It’s the same tiny bunch of skeptics being quoted by right-wing blogs. None are doing new research that casts the slightest doubt on the scientific consensus that’s been forming for two decades, a set of conclusions that grows more robust with every issue of Science and Nature and each new temperature record. The best of the contrarian partisans is Marc Morano, whose Climate Depot is an environmental Drudge Report: updates on Al Gore’s vacation homes, links to an op-ed from some right-wing British tabloid, news that a Colorado ski resort is opening earlier than planned because of a snowstorm. Morano and his colleagues deserve their chortles—they’re winning, and doing it with skill and brio—but not because the science is shifting.

No, something else is causing people to fly into a rage about climate. Read the comments on one of the representative websites: Global warming is a “fraud” or a “plot.” Scientists are liars out to line their pockets with government grants. Environmentalism is nothing but a money-spinning “scam.” These people aren’t reading the science and thinking, I have some questions about this. They’re convinced of a massive conspiracy.


Greenie UFOs

If they are dumb enough to be Warmists, they couldn't be extraterrestrials -- was it just the latest desperate Greenie stunt?

THE bizarre cluster of shiny objects in the sky that brought bustling New York City to a standstill has the internet abuzz with talk the event was foreshadowed as a UFO phenomenon.

If one retired US Air Force officer and thousands of witnesses are right, UFOs hovered the skies over the Big Apple this week, but they came in peace.

The mysterious balls of light stopped traffic and sparked an alien scare as hundreds of New Yorkers gawped at the hovering globes on Wednesday.

Thousands have since taken to Twitter and social websites to talk about the unidentified flying objects sighting and post videos and photos of the bizarre event.

Although officials could not confirm what the celestial objects were, sceptics believed the objects were balloons used in a promotion event on Broadway in Times Square despite the Federal Aviation Administration reporting that nothing was in that area around that time of day.

But believers cite a September 13 press release for the book Challenges of Change by retired Air Force officer Stanley A. Fulham, which predicted a fleet of UFOs would descend upon Earth's major cities on Wednesday, October 13.

Fulham stated the extraterrestrials would neither land nor make any communication with Earth on Wednesday. But their presence would be "the first in a series intended to avert a planetary catastrophe resulting from increasing levels of carbon-dioxide in the earth's atmosphere dangerously approaching a 'critical mass.'

(...) They are aware from eons of experience with other planets in similar conditions their sudden intervention would cause fear and panic."

He says their contact with Earth is part of their process of leading mankind into accepting the "alien reality and technologies for the removal of poisonous gases from the earth's atmosphere in 2015, if not sooner."

The book also states that with the help of a channeler, Fulham has been in contact with a group known as the Transcendors for more than a decade.

He described them as a group of 43,000 eons-old souls, who use their experience and knowledge to provide information to "humans in search of basic realities of mankind's existence." The press release also stated:

The Transcendors reveal through the author crucial information about urgent global challenges facing mankind such as earth changes, international terrorism, worldwide financial collapse and the environmental crisis. One revelation is al Qaeda has a dirty nuclear bomb and WMD, but faces a moral quandary over "containment of collateral damages."

Utilizing the theme of the Four Horsemen as symbolic metaphor, Fulham warns mankind will survive all of these future challenges, except the CO2 pollution of our atmosphere. According to information provided to the author by the Transcendors, the build-up of CO2 pollution is rising 1% annually to a "critical mass" of 22% in which mankind could not survive "without outside intervention."

The FAA also stated Wednesday that after reviewing radar information, they only found typical helicopter traffic above the West Side but could not detect anything unusual that would prompt the avalanche of reports they received.

"We re-ran radar to see if there was anything there that we can't account for but there is nothing in the area," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. "There was some helicopter traffic over the river at that time and we checked with LaGuardia Tower. And they said they had nothing going low at that time."



All those theories about Wednesday's mystery UFO sightings over Manhattan are about to go "pop."

A Westchester elementary school believes the puzzling orbs floating over Chelsea were likely a bundle of balloons that escaped from an engagement party they held for a teacher.

"UFO? They're crazy - those are our balloons!" said Angela Freeman, head of the Milestone School in Mount Vernon. "To me it was the most automatic thing. But it's all over YouTube."

A parent was bringing about 40 iridescent pearl balloons to the school for language arts teacher Andrea Craparo when the wind spent a bunch away around 1 p.m.

"They looked big and they were all together, so it looked like one UFO," said fourth-grader Nia Foster, 9.

Why believe the Green/Left?

When no one has time to study their complex claims about the future climate, it's reasonable to start looking at their track record on other things -- and the record of prophecy generally

Two weeks ago I explained why I don't recycle. I relied on sources that may or may not be disputed. I could be completely mistaken.

A few days ago, Lew Rockwell posted a 40 year-old clip expressing John Lennon's skepticism toward over-population. I'm inclined to side with Lennon. But I may be wrong.

For years we've been warned that the planet is warming because of human action, that this would bring disaster, and that therefore governments must restrict human action to prevent the warming.

A member of my family is a professional meteorologist who teaches at a major university. He is no conservative or libertarian, and he's an environmentalist. But he's a global-warming skeptic, along with apparently thousands of other scientists.

Who are we to believe?

Ten years ago, economists forecasted federal budget surpluses as far as the eye can see. But they weren't politicians, and a Republican Congress with enthusiastic support from Democrats repealed the "pay as you go" rules in the early 00's which required that any new spending increase be offset by either a cut elsewhere or a tax increase. An era of surpluses became an era of record deficits.

So either the economists were wrong, or there were factors they weren't taking into account.

Several Christian authors have made millions of dollars with their theories about the historical conditions for the return of Jesus Christ. Other theologians have brought up the idea that the prophesies of Jesus and his disciples were fulfilled in AD 70.

Some Protestants laugh at the idea that Jesus's mother Mary was a perpetual virgin. Catholic apologists have explained how this is entirely plausible. Other skeptics, however, provide seemingly plausible arguments that Jesus never existed at all. In all cases, plausible evidence is provided.

So we are all plowed with contradictory information not only about the environment, but also the fate of our own souls. What should we do? What should we believe?

Ultimately, matters of religion and spirituality boil down to belief. No one has the time to study all the religion, philosophy, and science to be ABOLUTELY SURE that one particular religious system is superior to all the rest.

Likewise, no layperson has the time to understand all the issues related to the environment. The issues are too complex, and all the theories have the ring of plausibility to them.

But for everyone who pretends to invoke "science" to achieve their end of enlarging the state and reduce individual liberty, to question the science at all is proof that you are a backwoods redneck hick or a conservative ideologue. They don't know all the science or economics themselves, so their first recourse is the ad hominem: if you don't believe the claims of government-subsidized scientists, you are intentionally ignorant. It makes them feel secure that they are smarter and morally superior to you.

But left unresolved is, are these claims true? Environmentalists want to pretend the claims are true. They might be right. But how will we know? How can anyone persuade anyone else with complicated scientific data?

To me, it simply does not follow that even if climate change is caused by humans, that enlarging the state and abridging individual freedom is the answer. And here the mainstream environmentalists has generally been on the pro-state, anti-liberty side on other issues. They've invoke racism to attack private property rights. They've blamed markets for the financial crisis, as if government policy had nothing to do with it. Their "progressive" interpretation of the Constitution is, "Whatever the politicians say, goes."

In other words, the mainstream environmental movement embraces an ideology that I believe is wrong. If they are wrong on so many other things, it is very tempting to assume that the environmental claims and equally false and are being invoked mainly to increase the power of the government.

It's possible that human-made climate change really is going on. It is also possible that this is another example of the political class, those who want government jobs and subsidies, waging war on the productive class.


How the Green/Left is invading your home

The Obama administration isn't satisfied giving the American public vast things we don't want — from stimulus packages to bailouts to ObamaCare: It's a small-scale nuisance, too — witness its attempt to redesign home appliances.

In the pipeline are dumb regulations for almost everything that plugs in or fires up in your home.

Just weeks after taking office, the president ordered the Energy Department to speed up the process of issuing harsh new energy-efficiency standards for appliances. Since then, the agency boasts, it "has issued or codified new efficiency standards for more than 20 different products," and still more are on the way.

These regulations are sure to raise the price of appliances — often by more than consumers are ever likely to earn back in the form of energy savings. And some will make the product perform less well.

The administration is meddling with every room in the house:

The basement: New standards are in the works for water heaters and furnaces. For water heaters, the Energy Department estimates price hikes from $67 to $974, depending on size and type.

The bathroom: The same 1992 law that gave us those awful low-flush toilets also restricted the amount of water showerheads could use to 2.5 gallons per minute. Some consumers who disliked the resulting weak trickle opted for models with two or more showerheads, each using the maximum 2.5 gallons. But Team Obama has now eliminated this "loophole" by requiring that the total flow must comply with the limit.

The kitchen: Think remodeling a kitchen is expensive now? Pending regulations target refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens and ranges.

For refrigerators (at least), this is a clear case of overkill. The American fridge has already been hit by several rounds of tighter standards, with each new rule saving less energy than the last — but boosting the price and compromising performance and reliability. Even the Energy Department admits that most consumers will lose money on its latest refrigerator regulation.

The laundry room: New standards are on the way for washers and dryers. When the last clothes-washer regulation hit in 2007, Consumer Reportslamented that several ultra-efficient models "left our stain-soaked swatches nearly as dirty as they were before washing" and that "for best results, you'll have to spend $900 or more." The Obama rules will probably mean even worse news.

Any air-conditioned room: Both central air conditioners and window units are scheduled for new regulations. When the Energy Department rolled out its last round of central-AC rules back in January 2001 (one of those last-minute Clinton administration "midnight" regulations), it admitted that many homeowners would never recoup the added up-front costs. The new standards will follow the same "logic" — and thus should make for another lousy deal.

The Obama regulations come on top of all the past ones, including the worst one of all — the Bush-era requirement that will effectively ban incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.

In nearly every case, consumers who want more efficient appliances — or those compact fluorescent light bulbs — are free to buy them. Energy-use labels tell you everything you need to know to make comparisons. All the federal rules do is is to force the government's preferred choice on everyone.

Government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is busy enacting a bunch of things the people don't want, including these appliance regulations. Add them to the growing list of Obama (and Bush) measures ripe for repeal.


Guardian Super-Blogger flames the irreverent "Register"

Globally popular Guardian science correspondent Martin Robbins has initiated a public flame war with the Reg. This is our response

Earlier today, under the page title "The Register misrepresents climate science", the Guardianran this piece by Robbins, who blogs for the Graun under the title "The Lay Scientist" and who recently shot to world fame after writing this terrifically popular spoof science article - which we thought was pretty good, by the way.

But Robbins doesn't like us, here on the Reg boffinry desk. In particular he didn't like this pieceof ours, reporting on recent research into the effects of solar variation on climate change.

Under the headline "Much of recent global warming actually caused by Sun", we wrote: "New data indicates that changes in the Sun's output of energy were a major factor in the global temperature increases seen in recent years. The research will be unwelcome among hardcore green activists, as it downplays the influence of human-driven carbon emissions".

We had based this on the fact that the new research covered the period 2004 to 2007, which we would say fits pretty well under "recent years". We thought the phrase "major factor" was appropriate as Professor Joanna Haigh - lead scientist conducting the research - told Nature, publishing it, that increased visible-light emissions by the Sun have caused as much warming over those recent years as human carbon emissions have. We quote Nature:

"Over the three-year study period, the observed variations in the solar spectrum have caused roughly as much warming of Earth's surface as have increases in carbon dioxide emissions, says Haigh".

Open and shut, then. Much of recent global warming - as much as was caused by human carbon emissions, anyway - was actually down to changes in the Sun. At least, if you believe Professor Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London.

As for this being unwelcome news to hardcore green activists, the response the piece received - not least from Robbins of the Grauniad - suggests we were right on the money there, too. He says: "At a time when action to deal with climate change is needed more than ever, this sort of misleading reporting does nothing to help the public debate".

We've got no argument with the idea that CO2 in an atmosphere has a greenhouse effect: that's just a fact. But as for massive global action being required by the climate changes and atmospheric measurements observed in the present day, that's just an opinion based on long-range weather forecasts. It's an opinion widely held, apparently by Professor Haigh, certainly by Mr Robbins and many other green activists. For the record, your correspondent simply doesn't know whether they're right or not.

The opinion of an eminent physicist like Professor Haigh carries weight - Robbins' is worth less than the electrons used to publish it, of course. But then we might also consider the opinion of the still more eminent physicist Freeman Dyson - who considers the menace of carbon emissions to be seriously overblown, and who is not alone among eminent physicists in this.

Then, even James Hansen of NASA himself - the man who more or less invented the idea of carbon-driven warming and who believes that only the exhaustion of global oil supplies can save humanity - has lately admitted that in fact other things might have just as powerful an effect on the climate as CO2.

Then too there are all the embarrassing blunders made by the IPCC lately, in allowing totally unverified claims regarding glaciers, rainforests etc to filter through from hardcore green activists to official UN descriptions of the scientific state of play.

All in all, then, we'd say that our reporting is a lot more accurate than most on the environment beat. But we would say that, wouldn't we?

Robbins doesn't agree, certainly. He says we have "seriously misrepresented" the research, and quotes Haigh as saying:

"The title of the article in The Register entirely misrepresents the paper's conclusions. While our work showed over a 3 year period that declining solar activity might have caused a warming of the planet it made no claims on longer periods. Even if it were the case that solar activity is inversely related to warming then the ups and downs of the solar cycle would cancel out over time. And over the past century overall solar activity has risen which, on the same basis, would imply global cooling".

But in fact the article title accurately reflected her comments to Nature: and we repeatedly made clear in the body of the piece that the research referred only to the period 2004-2007. We also reported her comments on the solar cycle and possible effects over the past century:
"All that can be said with any certainty is that through 2004-2007, the Sun warmed the planet much more powerfully than had been thought..."

Haigh thinks, however, that... over long periods of time solar warming probably has little effect on the Earth's temperature one way or the other, as solar activity cycles up and down regularly: "If the climate were affected in the long term, the Sun should have produced a notable cooling in the first half of the twentieth century, which we know it didn't," she says.

Which is probably why the Professor specifically states only that the headline misrepresents her paper's conclusions. But it doesn't refer to the paper's conclusions - it refers to her accompanying comments, and we stand by it as presumably she stands by them.

Anyway, enough of Haigh and solar warming. Let's finish up with the "Lay Scientist". In addition to accusing us of "misrepresenting climate science", and - worst of all - "completely contradicting The Guardian's reporting" (OMG!!! Heresy!) he simply doesn't like our style. He writes:
"It's not just the misrepresentation of science that grates. Through-out the article, the author, [sic] uses rather unfortunate language to describe scientists... the research is described as being published in "hefty boffinry mag Nature."

The use of 'boffin', common at the random-USE-of-CAPITALS end of tabloid journalism, is problematic to many scientists, as the word is increasingly loaded with negative connotations...

Whenever I see it, it reeks...

I feel it belittles researchers, and patronizes the reader.

Three minutes before Mr Robbins' effusion went up at the Graun, we received an email from him, which we reproduce here in part: "I trust that you'll pass on her concerns to your readers in an amendment to the article, and I'd be interested to hear your response to the criticism".

Well, down here at the random-use-of-capitals end of tabloid journalism, Mr Robbins, we DON'T CARE what YOU THINK. We are certainly not going to amend the article because you say so: and this is our response, delivered pretty much the way your request for comment was.

Boffinry Bootnote

We do care what boffins think, though, so we'd just like to repeat our previous assertions that on the pages of the Reg the word "boffin" is a title of honour accorded only to researchers we respect - generally from the proper sciences and able to do hard sums, like Professor Haigh. Lesser practitioners (for instance business-studies or psychology professors purveying dubious surveys and statistical analyses) are generally known as "eggheads" or "trick-cyclists", for instance.

We get a fair bit of positive mail from people we have dubbed boffins, so we're fairly sure most of them know this, but it never hurts to be sure.


Green mania to cripple Australia

Andrew Bolt

ENOUGH. It's one thing that this green madness is driving your power and water bills through the roof. But now it threatens to destroy not just your household budget, but entire towns in our richest farming land. Mildura, Robinvale, Coleambally, Leeton, Deniliquin and Moree - all now face devastation.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has been warned in a survey it commissioned of big lenders to rural business that these specific towns and more will struggle to survive the cut in irrigation water the authority now demands to "save" the Murray and the rivers that feed it.

Yet the MDBA is pushing on, proposing a cut in farmers' water entitlements of between 27 and 37 per cent - on top of the deep cuts it's already made for "the environment".

In some areas, farmers will lose as much as half their irrigation water and will have to close their gates.

Wait and see what that does to the price of your fruit, vegetables and rice. Heavens, even the green faithful will scream at the price of tofu, made of soy beans grown in the same irrigated fields now being robbed of water.

If only we could trust the MDBA'S claim that this huge sacrifice would at least fix a true environmental catastrophe.

But there are five reasons to suspect that this is a largely pointless political gesture, and the small good it would do will be outweighed by huge social pain.

* First, almost everyone along the rivers has noticed that claims of their imminent doom seem grossly exaggerated. For a start, the drought has broken, and the Murray is flowing so strongly that its mouth has burst open again - something it rarely did even before irrigation farmers moved in.

* Second, more care seems to have been lavished by the MDBA on considering the "needs" of the rivers than on the needs of the people depending on them. It's telling that MDBA chairman Mike Taylor has already conceded that the proposals he released just days ago would cost vastly more jobs than the mere 800 his report ludicrously claimed. Try 23,000, says the furious NSW Irrigators Council.

* Third, the people of the Murray-Darling Basin have seen similar green scares before, and learned to consider them as dodgy as Greenpeace.

Take the great salinity scare we were told a decade ago would wipe out the same area and "kill" these same rivers. In 1993 the MDBA predicted dryland salinity would increase by 10-15 per cent a year. Urging it on was the CSIRO, which had a Rising Groundwater Theory and computer models to "prove" that farming land twice the size of Tasmania would become too salty for crops.

Great models they were, too, showing salinity levels soaring in the Murray, when the measuring station at Mannum showed them actually falling over 20 years.

What fear there was then. The National Farmers Federation was screaming for $65 billion to fight the salt and then ... well, hello. The money was not spent and the salinity catastrophe never materialised. As the chairman of Murray Irrigation said four years ago: "It just seems that somewhere the science got it seriously wrong." But were the scaremongers held to account?

* Which brings us to the fourth reason to be sceptical of these new claims of environmental doom if irrigators aren't squeezed dry. You see, this frenzy to "save" the rivers, the fish and the red gums is driven in part by the global warming scare and, more particularly, by the evangelist CSIRO, back with a new theory and new models, this time claiming global warming is drying out the Murray-Darling system, already suffering from an over-allocation of water rights.

And the MDBA has bought it again. "Basin-wide changes of 10 per cent less water (are) predicted" from "climate change effects", it claims in its report, demanding more water to make the Murray "healthy". Yet a 2008 National Technical University of Athens study into the track record of the kind of regional climate models used by the CSIRO to predict a fall in rainfall concluded they "perform poorly" and their "local model projections cannot be credible".

But did we in Melbourne need to be told that? We need only remember the excuse Melbourne Water gave on behalf of its Labor masters for not building a huge dam on the fast-flowing Mitchell River for just $1.3 billion. "Unfortunately, we cannot rely on this kind of rainfall like we used to," it claimed last year.

Global warming, you know: "While the Mitchell has flooded recently, investing billions of dollars in another rainfall-dependent water source in the face of rapidly changing climate patterns is very risky."

Well, look now. Three years ago the Mitchell flooded twice. This year there's so much rain falling again that it may take years before we need the desalination plant Premier John Brumby built instead of a dam- and not for $1.3 billion but for $5.7 billion, plus huge power costs, to deliver just a third of the water.

Queenslanders got stung in precisely the same way. Premier Peter Beattie in 2007 said he'd also build a desalination plant because he, too, had been told global warming was drying up the rain. Three years on, and Queensland is on flood alert. The state's dams are full to overflowing, holding so much water that Queenslanders could survive on it until 2018 even if no drop of rain fell again.

Such madness. Look again at your water bills, never higher. See how much extra you're paying for that desal plant we were stampeded into buying? Or look at your fast-rising power bills. See how much more you're paying now that governments have forced generators to use more "green power"?

See how much more you must pay as generators factor in the taxes the Gillard Government plans to impose to "save" us from a global warming the planet seems not to notice?

Wonder how much more again they'll go up if the Brumby Government goes through with its mad promise to fight this warming by closing a quarter of the giant Hazelwood power station?

You notice the bills, all right. But have you figured what's causing them to rise, and thousands of farmers to fear being sold up? It's green politics.

*And here we come to the fifth reason to be sceptical that science alone is behind the Gillard Government's drive to tip irrigation water back into the rivers. Last January, Frank Sartor, the NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, went up the Murray-Darling Basin to persuade locals they were threatened by yet another green catastrophe that demanded sacrifices.

This time it was river red gums that were "dying" and had to be "saved", by proclaiming a national park on the Murray River flood plain that would put hundreds of timber workers out of a job. Workers in Deniliquin told Sartor to his face that the red gums were actually fine, so what was his game?

About 30 of those workers have since told the ABC that Sartor's reply went like this: "I'm going to give you people a lesson in politics. The Greens hold 15 per cent of the votes, we need those votes to stay in power. They also want or need a national park and they want it in red gum." (Sartor denies this.)

So you wonder why people up the Murray are now sceptical when politicians come calling again, with fresh claims of doom, fancy computer models and demands of sacrifices that seem out of all proportion? Time you grew sceptical, too, at last, because what these zealots are doing to farmers they're already doing to you, too. Difference is, at least the farmers will no longer cop it. Shown green, they now see red, and a counter-revolution has begun.



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


14 October, 2010

Climate Change Dictionary

PEER REVIEW: The act of banding together a group of like-minded academics with a funding conflict of interest, for the purpose of squeezing out any research voices that threaten the multi-million dollar government grant gravy train.

SETTLED SCIENCE: Betrayal of the scientific method for politics or money or both.

DENIER: Anyone who suspects the truth.

CLIMATE CHANGE: What has been happening for billions of years, but should now be flogged to produce `panic for profit.'

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Leftist Nutcase Prize, unrelated to "Peace" in any meaningful way.

DATA, EVIDENCE: Unnecessary details. If anyone asks for this, see "DENIER," above.

CLIMATE SCIENTIST: A person skilled in spouting obscure, scientific-sounding jargon that has the effect of deflecting requests for "DATA" by "DENIERS." Also skilled at affecting an aura of "Smartest Person in the Room" to buffalo gullible legislators and journalists.

JUNK SCIENCE: The use of invalid scientific evidence resulting in findings of causation which simply cannot be justified or understood from the standpoint of the current state of credible scientific or medical knowledge.


BBC told to ensure balance on climate change

Climate change sceptics are likely to be given greater prominence in BBC documentaries and news bulletins following new editorial guidelines that call for impartiality in the corporation's science coverage.

The BBC has been repeatedly accused of bias in its reporting of climate change issues. Last year one of its reporters, Paul Hudson, was criticised for not reporting on some of the highly controversial "Climategate" leaked emails from the University of East Anglia, even though he had been in possession of them for some time.

Climate change sceptics have also accused the BBC of not properly reporting "Glaciergate", when a study from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that glaciers would melt by 2035 was discredited.

But the BBC's new editorial guidelines, published yesterday after an extensive consultation that considered over 1,600 submissions by members of the public, say expressly for the first time that scientific issues fall within the corporation's obligation to be impartial.

"The BBC must be inclusive, consider the broad perspective, and ensure that the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected," said BBC trustee Alison Hastings.

"In addition the new guideline extends the definition of `controversial' subjects beyond those of public policy and political or industrial controversy to include controversy within religion, science, finance, culture, ethics and other matters."

However James Delingpole, a prominent climate change sceptic, yesterday said that he predicted little movement in the BBC's environmental stories.

"It's highly unlikely that they'll be more balanced in their coverage," he said.

"It's a whole cultural thing at the BBC - that people who don't believe are just `flat earthers'. Whenever they invite dissenters like me on to debates, they surround us with `warmists'. On Any Questions, for example, Jonathan Dimbleby does his best to be impartial, but this is a man with a wind turbine in his garden."

In 2007, a BBC Trust report called Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century said: "Climate change is another subject where dissenters can be unpopular . The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate."

The BBC Trust is also currently conducting a separate review into impartiality in the corporation's science coverage, led by Professor Steve Jones from University College London, which will report in the spring of next year.

Professor Jones has been asked to consider whether the BBC's output "gives appropriate weight to scientific conclusions including different theories and due weight to the views expressed by those sceptical about the science and how it was conducted or evaluated."


First do the research

Bjorn Lomborg

CLIMATE committees across the world are mistakenly putting the cart before the horse

ADVOCATES of drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions now speak a lot less than they once did about climate change. Climate campaigners changed their approach after the collapse of the Copenhagen climate change summit last December, and the revelation of mistakes in the UN climate panel's work, as well as in response to growing public scepticism and declining interest.

Although some activists still rely on scare tactics - witness the launch of an advertisement depicting the bombing of anybody who is hesitant to embrace carbon cuts - many activists now spend more time highlighting the "benefits" of their policy prescription. They no longer dwell on impending climate doom but on the economic windfall that will result from embracing the "green" economy.

You can find examples all over the world, but one of the best is in my home country, Denmark, where a government-appointed committee of academics recently presented their suggestions for how the country could go it alone and become "fossil fuel-free" in 40 years. The goal is breathtaking: more than 80 per cent of Denmark's energy supply comes from fossil fuels, which are dramatically cheaper and more reliable than any green energy source.

I attended the committee's launch and was startled that Denmark's Climate Commission barely mentioned climate change. This omission is understandable since one country acting alone cannot do much to stop global warming. If Denmark were indeed to become 100 per cent fossil-free by 2050, and remain so for the rest of the century, the effect, by 2100, would be to delay the rise in average global temperature by just two weeks.

Instead of focusing on climate change, the Climate Commission hyped the benefits that Denmark would experience if it led the shift to green energy. Unfortunately, on inspection these benefits turn out to be illusory.

Being a pioneer is hardly a guarantee of riches. Germany led the world in putting up solar panels, funded by E47 billion ($66bn) in subsidies. The lasting legacy is a massive bill and lots of inefficient solar technology sitting on rooftops throughout a cloudy country, delivering a trivial 0.1 per cent of its total energy supply.

Denmark itself has also already tried being a green-energy innovator; it led the world in embracing wind power. The results are hardly inspiring. Denmark's wind industry is almost completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies, and Danes pay the highest electricity rates of any industrialised nation. Several studies suggest that claims that one-fifth of Denmark's electricity demand is met by wind are an exaggeration, in part because much of the power is produced when there is no demand and must be sold to other countries.

The sorry state of wind and solar power shows the massive challenge that we face in trying to make today's technology competitive and efficient. Direct-current lines need to be constructed to carry solar and wind energy from sunny, windy areas to where most people live. Storage mechanisms need to be invented so that power is not interrupted whenever there is no sunshine or wind.

Proponents of carbon cuts argue that green-energy technologies only seem more expensive because the price of fossil fuels does not reflect the cost of their impact on the climate. But allowing for this would make little difference. The most comprehensive economic meta-study shows that total future climate impacts would justify a tax of around E0.01 per litre of petrol ($0.06 per gallon in the US) an amount dwarfed by the taxes already imposed by most European countries.

Despite the fact changing from fossil fuels to green energy requires a total economic transformation, Denmark's Climate Commission claimed that the price tag would be next to nothing. The commission reached this conclusion by assuming that the cost of not embracing its recommended policy would be massive.

The commission believes that, during the next four decades, fossil-fuel costs will climb sharply because sources will dry up and governments will place massive taxes on fossil fuels. But this flies in the face of most evidence. There is clearly plenty of cheap coal for hundreds of years, and with new cracking technology, gas is becoming more abundant. Even oil supplies are likely to be significantly boosted by non-conventional sources such as tar sands.

By the same token, the prediction that governments will impose massive carbon taxes has little basis in reality. Such assumptions seem like a poor framework on which to build significant public policy and seem to ignore the substantial cost of eliminating fossil fuels, which is likely to amount to at least 5 per cent of gross domestic product a year.

The shift away from fossil fuels will not be easy. Policy-makers must prioritise investment in green-energy research and development. Trying to force carbon cuts instead of investing first in research puts the cart before the horse. Breakthroughs do not result automatically from a combination of taxes on fossil fuels and subsidies for present-day green energy: despite the massive outlays associated with the Kyoto Protocol, participating countries' investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP did not increase.

The change in message after the disaster of the Copenhagen summit was probably inevitable. But the real change that is needed is the realisation that drastic, early carbon cuts are a poor response to global warming no matter how they are packaged.


What on earth is Bob Ward?

James Delingpole

A few days ago I had the rare pleasure of listening to quite possibly the most revoltingly parti pris, cloying, wrongheaded, disgraceful and thrillingly, collectably awful radio programme since the days of Lord Haw Haw. It was on ABC – Australia’s answer to the BBC: you can read the transcript here – and purported to present a reasonable and balanced view on Climate Change, courtesy of an “expert” named Bob Ward.

Bob Who? Well indeed. If you were to judge only by the sycophantic treatment he received at the hands of interviewer Robyn Williams (someone so instantly irritating he makes the other, more famous irritating Robin Williams seem an unparalleled delight of charm and understatement, by comparison), you would imagine he were some sort of cross between Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, plus maybe a bit of Svante Arrhenius and Joseph Fourier for the specialist Climate Change bits.

Actually, though, Bob Ward is a PR man. He used to work for the Royal Society, from which Warmist redoubt he once famously had the chutzpah to write to Exxon ordering them to stop funding “climate change deniers”. Now he works for something called the Grantham Research Institute, a “research department” at the London School of Economics (LSE) funded by an American hedge-funder called Jeremy Grantham and headed by the economist and former treasury official Lord Stern.

Grantham is, of course, a passionate believer in the green orthodoxy. He has made his money and if he wants to put some of it into an organisation promoting belief in the AGW religion then that’s his prerogative. But let’s not delude ourselves that the Grantham Institute is exactly a neutral source of information on this issue. Taking its lead from Lord Stern’s (tragically flawed) report, it is committed to the ideological position that man-made “Climate Change” represents a major, immediate threat which must be dealt with urgently through costly intervention. There is not much tolerance for “climate scepticism”, let alone “denial” at the Grantham Institute.

Which is why it came as rather a surprise to many ABC listeners to hear the Grantham Institute’s angry baldie attack dog Bob Ward being feted like the ultimate arbiter of neutral authority. Among them was Tom Harris, who eviscerates both Ward and Robyn Williams here in this magnificent Fisking of the fawning interview.
And when Ward asserts that dangerous global warming is "the kinda [sic] thing that I think most people would not want to risk if there is a cost effective solution to reducing emissions", why didn't Williams ask Ward what such "a cost effective solution" would be? Is it perhaps because no one can complete a meaningful cost/benefit analysis when future climate states are even less understood than the economic and social impacts of both climate change or energy rationing due to the sort of greenhouse gas controls Ward promotes? Ward's statement is also self-evident - no one would oppose eliminating risk, no matter how small, in any field if a "cost effective solution" could be found. But then to formulate such a solution we first need to know accurately the balance of cost and benefit - which, for climate change, we do not.

Next, Ward attributes nonsense to climate skeptics:

Anybody who seriously argues that carbon dioxide and methane are not greenhouse gases; that increasing the concentrations in the atmosphere doesn't warm the world; I mean they're basically fighting against 200 years worth of science..


Now, you've got to be very, very blinkered in your view if you are saying "I know for sure there will be no increase in temperature and there's no risk."

Why didn't Williams ask Ward to tell the listening audience who has made these sorts of absolute statements? Is it because no one actually has? Certainly, Ward's primary targets for vilification in the interview, Professors Carter, Lindzen and Plimer, never have. Even with his relatively weak science background, Ward must know that.

Ward's conclusion is classic:

… what's worrying about this is they [climate skeptics] are creating confusion at a time when we have to make very serious decisions because the climate responds slowly to changes in greenhouse gas emissions and actually the decisions we gonna [sic] make today about emissions are about what kind of climate we'll see 20, 30 years from now and has very large implications if we make the wrong decisions.

Given Ward's overconfidence about a science that he admits is grossly uncertain, Williams should have jumped at the chance to ask him an obvious question, which is:

Since the impacts of major greenhouse gas decisions are delayed for decades, shouldn't we take the time to carefully consider what leading experts such as Carter, Plimer and Lindzen are saying? Why rush decisions when the consequences of being wrong are so high? Either we are headed towards climate catastrophe or we are on the verge of wasting trillions of dollars worldwide on a non-issue. Either way, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to perform due diligence on the issue before making any decisions at all.

Harris’s demolition is well worth reading in full. What I personally found most amusing about the interview was its arrant hypocrisy. Here is Ward’s dismissive verdict on “sceptics”:
…They write newspaper articles and go and appear on the media because what they are really interested in is influencing public debate rather than debating the intellectual basis of their objections.

But isn’t this exactly what Bob Ward does all the ruddy time, popping up like a bad smell on TV and radio whenever a rentaquote spokesman is needed to talk about ‘Climate Change’? He’s a PR man, let us remind ourselves, not a scientist (although he can claim an unfinished PhD thesis in Palaeopiezometry).

His job – for which he no doubt receives a salary a heck of a sight bigger than any of his “denier” oppos, like me – is by its very nature about swaying public opinion using traditional PR techniques like exaggeration, blustering and economy with the actualite. It’s not like Ward-y spends his days poring over radiosonde data or measuring ice caps or poking around in polar bear poo. He’s a hatchet man. He’s quite good at it.

That’s probably why they chose him. Because he looks a bit like an angry pit bull and he’s quite a scary thing to confront when you’re up against him in a debate, trying to get awkward scientific truths across like the fact that Global Warming hasn’t actually happened since 1998.

Bob Ward is not afraid to play dirty. One of his favourite tricks is to deploy the Press Complaints Commission weapon. He has inflicted this torture device more than once on Christopher Booker, reporting him for some doubtful inaccuracy or other which the PCC almost certainly won’t have either the intellect or the ideological neutrality to judge fairly, but which will result in his unfortunate victim being tied up for days answering pointless questions about tiny details for the PCC’s kangaroo court. If you see him try it on me, you’ll know why.

For further stories about Bob Ward in action, read Bishop Hill – another victim of Ward’s vicious campaigning – here, here, here. The Bishop also rightly condemns Ward’s disgraceful – and quite possibly actionable – assault on the distinguished and thoroughly decent Professor Bob Carter on the abovementioned ABC radio suck-up.

Roger Pielke Jr, meanwhile, has an amusing story about the Grantham Institute’s pathetic inability to provide anyone – other than the inevitable Bob – to debate with him on his visit to London next month.
Here is my view — If the Grantham Institute insists on having Bob Ward going around in blogs and in the media seeking to criticize my work — as he did on the disaster issue and has done so more recently — then they have an obligation to come out from behind him to actually engage in intellectual debate. The alternative would be to inform Mr. Ward that they do not wish to back up his various attacks.

I understand that people are busy. So I have offered up two weeks worth of dates for the Grantham folks to find a single faculty member to defend Ward’s frequent attacks on their behalf. Apparently they can not or will not put someone up. (And it does indeed have to be a faculty member. I have debated Mr. Ward before and, not surprisingly, he was unprepared to actually debate. So I won’t repeat that experience again.)

Since the Grantham Institute folks have been given the opportunity to debate issues openly and in public, I will be very surprised to see Bob Ward rejoining his attacks on me in blogs and in the media. That would be pretty uncool. The offer of a public exchange, which I am sure would be of wide interest, will remain open to those hiding behind Mr. Ward.

This is far, far more than I ever wanted to write about Bob Ward and I promise never to sully my typing fingers in this way ever again. Why did I do so? Simple. Because as we approach endgame in the great Climate Change Pseudoscience Fraud, people will understandably want to know how this massive con trick was able to penetrate so deep into the public psyche.

For the full disgraceful story you must wait for my forthcoming book Watermelons. In the meantime, let me offer the case of Bob Ward as an example of how the poison spread.

Let me make one thing clear: I’m not criticising Ward on the grounds that he is a PR man. He is as entitled to speak out on “Climate Change” as I – a mere Oxford Eng Lit grad blogger and hack – am. But note, pray, one key difference. If ever I am called to debate about climate change on the BBC or wherever I will always be introduced as a climate change “sceptic.” Ward, on the other hand, though as virulent an activist as anyone on my side of the debate, will be introduced as a spokesman for the Grantham Research Institute – thus lending him an aura of dignity, neutrality and lofty expertise he simply doesn’t merit.

The effect of this imbalance is distorting and dangerous. I have lost count of the number of environmental news reports in serious newspapers which quote Bob Ward as though he were THE ex-cathedra authority on all matters to do with “Climate Science.” Presumably, on the same grounds, every time there’s a meat recipe they should ring up for the views of Paul McCartney; and every time there’s a story about heroism in Afghanistan, they should court the vital opinion of Parliament Square “peace activist” Brian Hawes; and every time there’s a piece about the Pope they should ring up Ian Paisley. After all they’re just as reliable and just as unbiased.


From Desperate Housewives to Desperate Climate Liars

By Alan Caruba

Not long ago, the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Harold Lewis, caused quite a stir in science circles when he resigned from the American Physical Society. Physics is an exacting science, bound by immutable laws that are true throughout our universe. It was not widely reported to the general public, but Lewis who had been a member of the American Physical Society for 67 years, made his reason quite clear after having received an APS statement supporting global warming.

The entire global warming fraud has tainted groups like the American Physical Society and the American Meteorological Society among others that lent their prestige and support to it.

This brings us to an opinion editorial by Michael E. Mann that was published in The Washington Post on October 8 titled, almost comically, "Get the anti-science bent out of politics." Mann gained notoriety among climate scientists for his "hockey stick" graph that alleged a steep rise in the Earth's temperatures while ignoring other critical factors in its long history such as the medieval warm period. It wasn't science. It was propaganda, a deliberate falsehood.

The global warming hoax would not have lasted as long as it did if governments all over the world didn't throw millions of public funds toward so-called climate change science that was, in reality, simply a huge windfall of money for any scientist who wanted to cash in on it. And many did.

What has Mann worried is that, if Republicans gain control of Congress or even just the House, he is going to be hauled before Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who will be the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mann believes that a "hostile investigation of climate science" will ensue.

He's wrong. What will ensue will be an investigation of the manipulation of science for the purpose of advancing political agendas hostile to the welfare of the nation.

Right now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is threatening to regulate carbon dioxide, the gas blamed for "causing" global warming if the Senate does not pass the hideous Cap-and-Trade Act, the greatest increase in taxes in the history of the nation.

Desperately, Mann says, "My employer, Penn State University, exonerated me after a thorough investigation of my e-mails in the East Anglia archive." Yeah, sure, we can be completely confident that Penn State University is going to investigate itself after it and Mann benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in climate science funding.

Decrying the potential House investigation and one by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (the University of Virginia was a previous employer), Mann declared there had been "a twenty-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none." None? When a relative handful of internationally renowned climate scientists stood their ground against the Climategate hucksters and the likes of Al Gore, they were labeled "deniers" and calls to jail or execute them were common.

Like any trapped rat, Mann repeated the global warming mantra that "The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers, and raising sea levels."

All this is FALSE. The Earth has been COOLING for the whole of this decade, Arctic ice is growing, glaciers are not melting, and sea levels are not dramatically rising. But Mann was not through; he claimed that "scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity."

For the past four years, leading climate and other scientists from around the world have attended the unreported or under-reported international climate change conferences sponsored by The Heartland Institute of Chicago, publishing data and holding seminars that reveal the true science that undermines the lies put forth by Mann and his fellow conspirators.

Desperately Mann said "the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science."

The central methodology of science is to question hypotheses and to test them in order to determine their accuracy. The "science" of the climate hucksters has utterly failed and, in point of fact, their efforts have been "anti-science" as they strove to foist a political agenda on the world that enriched themselves, their universities, and those who invested in the carbon credit exchanges created to enrich others.

How ironic and how pathetic it is to read Mann's closing statement that "My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public."

Why then are President Obama, former Vice President Al Gore, and others of their ilk still talking about "climate change", the new code words for global warming? The answer is to mislead and distract the public.


California's green nightmare

It's hard to know where the fairy tale of "green jobs" first came from. It was probably a clever marketing scheme by radical environmentalists who realized that their anti-growth climate change agenda wasn't going to sell among the American electorate if workers realized how many jobs would be eviscerated by the new taxes and regulation. So, from somewhere out of Madison Avenue or K Street, the left devised the green jobs story line: we can impose a $1 trillion new tax on the U.S. economy over the next decade, and it will save jobs, as hundreds of thousands of Americans begin assembling windmills and solar paneling.

If we want to see how green policies work in the real world, we don't have to look any further than America's left coast. California has become the poster child of green jobs. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger boasted in his 2007 State of the State Address that "California has taken the leadership in moving the entire country beyond debate and denial [on global warming] to action. As goes California, so goes the nation."

He's right. California is the nation's laboratory in green job initiatives of the type that so many politicians in Washington, D.C., and the states see as America's economic passport to the future. The Golden State was first in the nation in renewable energy standards, it is the home of the most stringent cap and trade legislation (called AB 32) to reduce carbon emissions, and it has poured hundreds of millions of state tax dollars into renewable energy research.

So where are all the green jobs? A new 2010 study by the University of California-Berkeley comes to the sobering conclusion that "the green economy accounts for just 1 percent of California's jobs."

That's right: of the roughly 15 million California workers, only about 159,000 have green jobs (and this was an expansive definition of green jobs, including trash sorters at the dumpsters). That same study did find that green employment is "growing about 50 percent faster than the economy overall." But that's mostly a reflection of anemic job generation in California's industrial base, and not a sign that green jobs are going to sprout all over the state like avocado plants.

California's heavy "investment" in green job projects -- on the types of initiatives that President Obama is all gaga over on the national level -- hasn't added at all to overall state employment. As of June, California had 2.2 million unemployed workers and the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.3 percent. Even if the state were somehow to quadruple its green jobs, the Golden State would still have an unemployment rate above the national average.

Nor has "going green" helped the state's finances. The budget deficit in Sacramento is expected to reach $20 billion and the state's credit rating of A- is the worst of any state in the nation, while its default risk is rated on par with that of Libya. California voters are partly to blame. In 2008 they approved a $9.95-billion ballot initiative to build a high-speed "green" rail project from San Diego to San Francisco and beyond. The state can't pay its bills already. Most rail experts believe the actual cost will be multiples higher than anticipated, and that's only for the construction costs. The train figures to be an albatross around the neck of the state budget every year in operating subsidies, much as Amtrak is in Washington. By the way, you can take a Southwest flight from San Francisco to San Diego for as little as $59.

Amazingly, even Gov. Schwarzenegger's own economics team concluded this year that the state's green regulatory structure is a menace to the state's economy. The governor's office study concluded that California's already iron-fisted environmental and workplace regulations translate into about $176 billion in lost output and nearly 4 million lost jobs. This study was so embarrassing to the legislature and the Schwarzenegger administration that it was suppressed for many months, until several Republican legislators demanded its release.

Meanwhile, California's celebrated AB 32 climate change law will take effect in 2012. But it is already causing an outsourcing of manufacturing, construction, and utility investment in anticipation of the new regulations. A Riverside construction company, CalPortland Cement, announced in late 2009 it was closing its plant because of AB 32's impending regulations. The CEO wrote: "A cement plant cannot be picked up and moved, but the next new plant probably won't be built in California," but rather in Nevada or China.

Last year, researchers at the college of business at California State University in Sacramento estimated that higher energy prices from AB 32 will increase consumers' food, utility, and housing costs by $50 billion. That's the equivalent of a 4.5 percent sales tax on most consumer items Californians buy. Small business costs would rise by $60 billion annually to pay for a policy that will have at best a microscopic impact on global temperatures.

The Golden State is also first in the nation in stifling renewable portfolio electricity standards. These are expected to raise electric power costs on every Golden State business and homeowner by 2 percent, which is like a $250 tax on a typical family. Another expensive initiative, the 1 million solar roofs project, will pour tens of millions more scarce tax dollars into green programs the debt-drenched state can't afford.

How does this all translate into jobs? Well, of course, it doesn't, and last year California Republicans held field hearings in Reno, Nevada, to discover where all the businesses have fled. The presidents and founders of more than 100 businesses, all formerly in California, almost all said much the same thing. Although taxes are excruciatingly high in the Golden State, the businesses said they could tolerate those if it weren't for the regulatory climate. They couldn't stomach the anti-business attitude of so many of the California regulators. One former manufacturer in Los Angeles complained that "the regulators come onto your facility, and they want to shut you down. They view businesses as enemy combatants." Earlier this year, the EPA chased out of town the last steel foundry in Los Angeles, a firm that had hired hundreds of Southern California workers with good wages for decades.

Joseph Vranich, a business relocation expert, has a database of firms that move in and out of California. "Thanks mostly to California's hostile regulatory climate," he says, "for every three new businesses that move into the state of California, about 100 move out." He's compiled an exit list of A-list home-grown California-based companies that are expanding operations elsewhere. It includes Intuit, StarKist, Facebook, Northrop Grumman, and Apple. Perhaps even more embarrassing is that when California's investments do generate new jobs, they are increasingly located outside the state. In June, the hot Silicon Valley firm MiaSol‚ reported that its planned home for one of the largest solar factories in North America, a 500,000-square-foot 1,000-worker plant, will be built in Atlanta.

Similarly, CalStar Products has erected its newest green plant in Wisconsin. Since then, it has been awarded nearly $2.5 million in federal clean energy tax credits through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the company said, "We expect to build additional plants down the Mississippi Valley and East Coast over the next couple years" -- and conspicuously, not in California. Another green firm announced it will build its new plant in Wales. Other states and nations are getting rich on California's green spending. Much like Europe, California is discovering that for every green job that has been created, several more conventional hardhat jobs have disappeared. The term "green jobs" is a fancy way to say 12 percent unemployment.

Even the politicians in Sacramento are starting to realize the tomfoolery of one state trying to stop planetary global warming all on its own. So Mr. Schwarzenegger has been trying to persuade the governors of other neighboring states like Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to sign a Western state cap and trade treaty. The other governors have declined, no doubt having observed how well climate change legislation has worked in California.

The whole fight of jobs versus greens comes to a climax in November, when voters will decide on a ballot initiative to suspend the state's global warming law until unemployment falls back to 5.5 percent.

The initiative is polling well, but green groups around the country are raising millions of dollars to defeat the measure. This is Waterloo for the Green Movement. If California rejects expensive job-killing remedies to climate change, other states will surely follow. California, ironically, could be the state that says, "Whoa: jobs first."



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


13 October, 2010

Distinguished physicist resigns from The American Physical Society After Nearly 70 Years -- and joins skeptical organization

A TOP American professor has quit a prestigious academic body after claiming that global warming has become a “scam” driven by “trillions of dollars” which has “corrupted” scientists.

Professor Harold Lewis, 87, described his “revulsion” at last year’s leaked “Climategate” emails which appeared to show scientists at East Anglia’s world-leading Climate Research Unit rigging evidence in favour of man-made climate change.

He branded man-made climate change “the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud” he has ever seen.

The scientists involved have been cleared of wrongdoing by a series of investigations. But Prof Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has formally resigned from the American Physical Society after nearly 70 years as a member.

He claims that the APS, the society for America’s top physicists, has refused to engage in proper scientific debate about climate change and ignored climate sceptics.

Yesterday Benny Peiser, of the climate-sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Prof Lewis has agreed to join its advisory council.

Dr Peiser said: “In America they have failed to do what the Royal Society in Britain and the Academy of Sciences in France have done – which is to engage with sceptics and allow them to debate this issue. At least we are making progress here in trying to generate some semblance of scientific debate.”

Prof Lewis’s resignation comes as governments around the world press ahead with costly green policies despite growing controversy about whether climate change is man-made.

The Climategate scandal – which was leaked just before last December’s Copenhagen climate summit – boosted criticism by climate sceptics.


Britons No Longer Worried About Climate Change

Britons are less environmentally conscious than they were five years ago, with twice as many people now "bored" by talk of climate change as in 2005. Four in 10 take no action at all to reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions. Experts warn that green fatigue is a major reason why there are more cars on the roads, more planes in the sky and no reduction in the mountain of packaging waste.

As a new energy report reveals that too few people are making an effort to reduce their household CO2 emissions, environmentalists believe the recession is further undermining public commitment.

The report, by market researchers Mintel, shows that many of Britain's 26 million homes fail to make simple adjustments such as turning down thermostats, switching off lights and switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby. The findings also reveal people are less willing to spend money on energy-efficient appliances than they were five years ago. Analysts believe the recession together with a backlash against "extreme" environmentalist pressure has reduced people's enthusiasm to combat climate change.

The report also found that resistance to saving the planet was greater among men: one in four said they think there is too much concern over the environment, compared with one in six women.

Other evidence of waning public interest in consumers' carbon footprint includes a rise in air and car travel. The number of cars on UK roads has risen from just over 26 million in 2005 to more than 31 million in 2009. Air travel has also increased, the number of passengers rising from 227 million in 2005 to 235 million in 2008.

New research from the Energy Saving Trust found that climate change has taken a back seat to recession concerns. The authors of the Mintel, blaming the problem partly on consumer ignorance, recommend the Government "help consumers to help themselves" by providing them with more information about energy savings in accessible ways.


British Government In U-turn Over Green Energy

A wail from "The Guardian":

David Cameron has reneged on a pre-election promise to reward early adopters of solar panels and other domestic green energy generation, it has emerged.

Under the "feed-in tariff" scheme introduced in April, owners of solar panels fitted to houses after 15 July 2009 are paid 41.3p per unit of electricity, while householders who put up panels before that date get just 9p.

Green energy campaigners had fought the difference, which they called a "betrayal".

Responding in March to a letter from one of his Witney constituents calling for an increase in payments to such "pioneers", wrote in a letter seen by the Guardian: "I agree with you that the [Labour] government's current proposals for feed-in-tariffs will unfairly penalise the very people who were the early investors in local energy."

He added: "That is why under a Conservative government, any micro-generation technologies that have already been installed … will be eligible for the new higher tariffs once they commence."

Within days of taking power as PM, he also said the coalition would be the "greenest government ever".

But last month, responding to a question from Green MP Caroline Lucas the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, ruled out any such move. "I considered the issue carefully on a value-for-money basis, andI am afraid that the advice from my officials was clearly that we cannot introduce retrospection in such cases because it does not represent value for money," he said.

"We are trying to introduce new schemes in future, and therefore, sadly, the only incentive and payback that people such as the Hon Lady and I will get is the warm glow of being pioneers."

Charles Hendry, the Conservative MP who is now minister of state at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), also wrote pre-election letters to campaigners, saying a Tory government would pay higher rates to those who had installed early. Many Lib Dem MPs pledged it too, signing an early-day motion on the issue.

Julie Davenport, chief executive of renewable energy supplier Good Energy, said Cameron's U-turn showed he was failing on his promise of a "big society": "Good Energy is extremely disappointed that the government has not met its own pre-election promise to support early adopters of renewable technologies. We urge David Cameron to ensure that there is no further reduction to the feed-in tariffs in any way."

"Feed-in tariffs encourage new, local investment in green energy, are a catalyst to break up traditional energy markets and help many ordinary people make a difference to climate change. Isn't that what a "big society" really means – taking control from the few and giving it back to the many?"

In addition to Huhne's comments, recent speculation that the 41.3p feed-in-tariff rate will be cut as part of spending review annoucements on 20 October mean it is now highly unlikely that early adopters will get the redress they hoped for.


Environmentalist Stewart Brand: ‘By Second Half of the Century the Population Crisis Will Be Seen As Not Enough People’

Environmentalist and author Stewart Brand, an advocate of geoengineering to combat climate change, told that “human technology” has been “disturbing the atmosphere and climate” for the last “10,000 years,” but also rejected the prescription of some environmentalists who have argued that economic development needs to be stopped, an idea Brand called “unjust.”

Brand also predicted that a declining, not an increasing, human population will be seen as the problem of the future, saying that "by the second half of the century the population crisis will be seen as not enough people."

“Human technology is disturbing the atmosphere and the climate, but we’ve been doing that for about 10,000 years since we started doing agriculture and have been affecting the climate in a big way all that time and it’s gotten a lot more significant in the last 200 years and even more significant than that in the last 50 years and so on,” Brand told on Monday after a panel discussion on geoengineering at the New America Foundation.

“Right now, you’re getting a lot of economic take off in the developing world. They are going to be using a lot more energy. So far a lot is being used in coal," said Brand. "Greenhouse gases are multiplying and the climate is responding, pretty much as predicted it would. So now the question is: Can we move technology ahead to offset what the previous technology acceleration has unleashed? And I think we can.”

When asked if curbing technological advancement will prohibit the development of the United States, Brand, who was editor of “Whole Earth Catalog,” rejected the prescription of some environmentalists who believe stopping economic growth is necessary to protect the environment.

“No, not even remotely," said Brand. "Stopping economic development is, I know, an agenda of some of my fellow environmentalists and I think, one, it’s actually unjust because a lot of people are getting out of poverty for the first time and to say, 'No stay in poverty, because poverty is so green,' is not something we can say.”

Brand most recent book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, explains his unique approach to environmentalism.

“Furthermore, attempts to stop economic growth in the past have all failed," he said. "So, economic growth will continue unless and until we have a disaster and we may have disasters from climate change and so the much greater economic threat comes from bad things happening with the climate than bad things happening from attempts at mitigation.”

White House science adviser John Holdren, an early and highly influential leader of the environmentalist movement, called in the 1973 book he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich for a “massive campaign” to “de-develop." Holdren, Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily of Stanford University also wrote in a 1995 essay published by the World Bank that mankind must face up to a “world of zero net physical growth” and reduce “material consumption” and limit population growth. asked Brand if he agreed with Holdren’s ideas.

“All of that’s happening anyway," Brand said. "We’re doing more with less all the time. Everything that is in the information technology domain gets lots more done with a lot less energy and materials than it was back in the strictly mechanical industrial period.

“Population is leveling off rapidly and by the second half of the century the population crisis will be seen as not enough people, as we’re already seeing in many European countries," said Brand. "So, in a sense, what John Holdren was saying should be a program back 30 years ago has actually come to pass without it actually even being a program.”

“It’s not a question of it being done. It’s just happening," said Brand. "We are using less material for any economic event. We are using less energy for any economic event. There are fewer and fewer people to where over half of the nations of the world now have a below-replacement birth rate. So, we’ll level off probably below 9 billion and then head down from there. I think it’s great that the program John Holdren was pushing back then didn’t have to be pushed it actually was a window into the future.”


Greenie electricity nonsense causing hardship to families in Victoria

Greenie "smart" meters etc. are behind it. Because of its large and conveniently located suppies of brown coal, Victoria used to have very cheap eletricity -- in the days before Greenie obsessions

MELBOURNE residents are paying up to $285 a year for power before they turn on a single light or appliance. Hundreds of thousands of households are being stung with the highest supply charges in Australia as new smart meters are rolled out and distributors pass on increased costs. Soaring fees for some customers are almost double those in Sydney and Brisbane, a review by fee broker reveals.

Homes in Broadmeadows, Sunbury and Preston are among the worst hit.

The finding comes as some distraught customers say they are going to bed early to save money in the face of crippling electricity bills. EnergyWatch national sales manager David Perry said anxious pensioners and struggling families were restricting movements to one room with one light on at night, or going to bed earlier. "For some people it's not only too expensive to go out, it's becoming too expensive to stay at home," Mr Perry said.

EnergyWatch general manager Ben Polis said smart meter rollout costs, electricity network upgrades and higher generation costs were to blame for surging power bills. "It's a bucket with a hole in it," Mr Polis said.

The price study examined charges for customers on combined electricity and gas who have never signed up for a market offer. About 30 per cent of Victorian homes - 800,000 households - are still on default energy prices, which tend to be the dearest on the market.

Even customers who had signed up to competitive deals were paying the most of any major capital city for fixed supply charges, Mr Polis said.

Generators had factored in higher prices since an emissions trading scheme designed to reduce pollution and encourage green energy was first mooted by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The Herald Sun last week revealed Victorians were already paying an average $900 more for electricity, gas and water compared with five years ago. Power prices are expected to rise again in January.


Germany's major socialist party has lost its way

It represents the workers in name only now

"Those who turn themselves green will be eaten by goats," says a German folk saying. Once in a while, Germany's "Labour" Party is finding out that one should listen to what common people think. The Green Party, according to opinion polls, has caught up with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and, in some places, are set to overtake them. Instead of a future Red-Green coalition government, there could be a Green-Red one.

How could it have come to that? The decline of the SPD can be explained in large part by the fact that its party manifesto, to a significant extent, is a pirated carbon copy of green beliefs. The idea of progress, which once distinguished the SPD, as a party of skilled workers, engineers and technicians, was thrown overboard and replaced by a green-coloured pessimism about the future. The SPD is against nuclear power, against genetic engineering, against coal power plants, yes, most recently, even against railway stations. The SPD is generally opposed to any "big technology" and is now in favor of a society which looks like Tolkien's Hobbit land: a pastoral idyll full of windmills.

Apparently, leading Social Democrats believe this strategy will score points with green high earners. What a mistake: These people continue to choose the original, if only for biographical reasons. For a good part of the green electorate, voting for the Green Party is a confirmation of one's own goodness. Choose green is the easiest way to soothe the guilty conscience that plagues some because of their spoiled lifestyle. Socialist world views look quite different.

Traditional labour voters have almost nothing to do with the green elites. They often work in an industrial plant, are more likely engaged in the trade union than in the local citizens' initiative against the construction of a bypass route. The common SPD voter experiences in his daily work the absurd mismanagement due to green eco-dogma and the resulting laws and regulations.

And there is another thing that he has understood: the green electorate puts solar panels on the roofs of their houses, and the Labour voter in the apartment building must pay for it - by a levy on electricity costs. Unfortunately the SPD leaders do not understand that this is a rather one-sided redistribution in favour of green property owners. Similarly as in the Sarrazin debate, the gentlemen on the bridge do not realize that the mood has turned on the lower deck a long ago. Many SPD supporters are tired of constantly being lectured to be green by their leadership: Whether the holiday flight to Majorca or the food from discount stores - just about every facet of their lifestyle is under attack from their own party - Pardon: their former own party.

SOURCE. [translation Philipp Mueller]. See also here on the same topic.


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


12 October, 2010

Naomi and friends

It sounds like she is as good a politician as she is a poor scholar. And given her associates, her "findings" are no surprise

A key political ally of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders has been on the campaign trail for Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby, who is battling GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray. Jim Waring, who was forced out of his job as Sanders’s land and development planning chief during a scandal over the size of the Sunroad office tower near Montgomery Field, is throwing open his La Jolla home for a Busby fund-raiser on October 11, with ticket prices ranging from $100 to $1000.

The special guest is UCSD history professor Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Event sponsors include investor Murray Galinson and attorney Eugene Iredale…The new “Acting Senior Vice Chancellor—Academic Affairs” at UCSD will be making $350,000 a year, $50,000 more than the previous occupant, thanks to a recent decision by UC regents.


Estimated CO2 Warming Cut By 65%

Any competent researcher involved with the science behind climate change will admit that CO2 is far from the only influence on global climate. It has long been known that short-lived greenhouse gases and black-carbon aerosols have contributed to past climate warming. Though the IPCC and their fellow travelers have tried to place the blame for global warming on human CO2 emissions, decades of lies and erroneous predictions have discredited that notion. For anyone still clinging to the CO2 hypothesis, a short perspective article on the uncertainty surrounding climate change in Nature Geoscience has put paid to that notion. It states that not only did other factors account for 65% of the radiative forcing usually attributed to carbon dioxide, but that it is impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity given the state of climate science.

In “Short-lived uncertainty?” Joyce E. Penner et al. note that several short-lived atmospheric pollutants—such as methane, tropospheric ozone precursors and black-carbon aerosols—contribute to atmospheric warming while others, particularly scattering aerosols, cool the climate. Figuring out exactly how great the impacts of these other forcings are can radically change the way historical climate change is interpreted. So great is the uncertainty that the IPCC's future climate predictions, which are all based on biased assumptions about climate sensitivity, are most certainly untrustworthy. As stated in the article:
It is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) from past records, partly because carbon dioxide and short-lived species have increased together over the industrial era. Warming over the past 100 years is consistent with high climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide combined with a large cooling effect from short-lived aerosol pollutants, but it could equally be attributed to a low climate sensitivity coupled with a small effect from aerosols. These two possibilities lead to very different projections for future climate change.

All truthful climate researchers know these facts, yet publicly the party line is that catastrophic changes are in the offing and CO2 emissions are to blame. The perspective authors argue that only by significantly changing the amounts of these other pollutants and carefully measuring the impact on global climate over a period of several decades will science be able to figure out what is going on. “Following this strategy, we will then be able to disentangle the warming and cooling contributions from carbon dioxide and short-lived pollutants, hence placing much tighter constraints on climate sensitivity, and therefore on future climate projections,” they state.

And they said it was all carbon dioxide's fault.

Most of the factors under discussion have relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere, several less than two months. We do not know how the relative influences of these various substances (referred to by climate scientists as “species”) may change in a warming climate. It is also not clear how to reduce short-lived species under present conditions but the uncertainties in atmospheric chemistry and physics must be resolved if Earth's environmental system is to be understood. Again quoting from the paper:
Of the short-lived species, methane, tropospheric ozone and black carbon are key contributors to global warming, augmenting the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide by 65%. Others—such as sulphate, nitrate and organic aerosols—cause a negative radiative forcing, offsetting a fraction of the warming owing to carbon dioxide. Yet other short-lived species, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, can modify the abundance of both the climate-warming and climate-cooling compounds, and thereby affect climate change.

Quantifying the combined impact of short-lived species on Earth's radiative forcing is complex. Short-lived pollutants—particularly those with an atmospheric lifetime of less than two months—tend to be poorly mixed, and concentrate close to their sources. This uneven distribution, combined with physical and chemical heterogeneities in the atmosphere, means that the impact of short-lived species on radiative forcing can vary by more than a factor of ten with location or time of emission. The situation is further complicated by nonlinear chemical reactions between short-lived species in polluted areas, as well as by the interactions of clouds with aerosols and ozone. These processes add further uncertainty to the estimates of radiative forcing.

Unfortunately, climate models neither accurately deal with local effects of these pollutants nor are the complex interactions among these substances understood. That not withstanding, the report is clear—CO2 does not account for even a majority of the warming seen over the past century. If other species accounted for 65% of historical warming that leaves only 35% for carbon dioxide. This, strangely enough, is in line with calculations based strictly on known atmospheric physics, calculations not biased by the IPCC's hypothetical and bastardized “feedbacks.”

Of course, the real reason for the feedbacks was to allow almost all global warming to be attributed to CO2. This, in turn, would open the door for radical social and economic policies, allowing them to be enacted in the name of saving the world from global warming. The plain truth is that even climate scientists know that the IPCC case was a political witch's brew concocted by UN bureaucrats, NGOs, grant money hungry scientists and fringe activists.

Now, after three decades of sturm und drang over climate policy, the truth has emerged—scientists have no idea of how Earth's climate will change in the future because they don't know why it changed in the past. Furthermore, it will take decades of additional study to gain a useful understand climate change. To do this, climate scientists will need further funding. Too bad the climate science community squandered any public trust it may have had by trying to frighten people with a lie.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

JPL Acknowledges That The Basis Of Hansen’s Sea Level Numbers Is Wrong

Antarctic temperatures are far below freezing all year.

During June, I explained on WUWT that the University of Texas GRACE interpretations were wrong due to glacial rebound (isostasy.) Later in the summer they acknowledged that my explanation was correct.
a new study published in the September issue of Nature Geoscience suggests that the true melt rate might be much slower than that. (Access a PDF of the study here.) A joint team of American and Dutch scientists took another look at the GRACE data and found that Greenland and West Antarctica may be melting just half as fast the earlier studies estimated. As researcher Bert Vermeersen, a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, told the AFP, the earlier estimates failed to account for glacial isostatic adjustment—the rebounding of the Earth’s crust after the end of the last Ice Age:

Hansen’s “non-linear” theory was ridiculous to begin with, and was undermined by the JPL study.
Under BAU [business as usual] forcing in the 21st century, the sea level rise surely will be dominated by a third term: (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on the gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005–15 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. That time constant yields a sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century.

His doubling has been halved. That means ice loss rates have not changed, which was obvious from sea level data. Temperatures in Antarctica are cold and getting colder.

How does this crap get through peer review? Ice doesn’t melt in summer temperatures of -10C, and Antarctica is getting colder.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

German Warmists getting even more arrogant

Some arrogant German socialism in the middle of the last cebtury did not end up very well, I seem to recollect -- JR

Schellnhuber Admits: “Climate Science” Would Not Stand A Chance In A Public Debate. That’s the amazing thing warmist and alarmist Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has recently admitted, according to Der Spiegel here (read the last paragraph).

And again they assert that the public is just too stupid to have a say in this important public issue.

Schellnhuber is even so arrogant that he compares himself, his fellow “climate scientists” and climate science to Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity (read below).

Two days ago Der Spiegel came out with one of the nastiest hit pieces I’ve seen in a long time called: Crusade Against Science – The Charlatans of Climate Science. (Note they’ve softened the title in English). The title I translated was the one used here, scroll down.

After reading the Der Spiegel piece, the first thing that popped into my head was: Wow! No wonder Fred Singer left Germany in 1940!

Der Spiegel singled out Fred Singer and attacked every aspect about him, rehashing all the old tobacco and merchant-of-doubt stuff. Naomi Oreskes’s fingerprints were everywhere here. Face it, she’s hopelessly infatuated with Fred Singer.

Der Spiegel calls Singer “one of the most influential climate deniers worldwide” and a lead denier in the NIPCC, which it describes: "Sounds impressive, but is actually just a collection of like-minded scientists that have gathered around him. Also one German is in it: Gerd Weber. a meteorologist who for 25 years was at the service of the German coal industry."

Der Spiegel also goes after Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell, writing that spreading doubt in USA has been easier than in Europe, but that Singer and the “deniers” are working on that too, and have teamed up with the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). Der Spiegel: "Behind the impressively sounding name is hardly anything more than a post office box in Jena. President Holger Thuss is a local CDU politician [conservative party]."

Indeed it is so. There is simply no funding for them and so this small but committed group is forced to operate on a shoestring. EIKE is not showered with tens of millions of euros like activist groups and warmists are. Yet, notice how fearful Der Spiegel and the Science Establishment in Germany are. Even Der Spiegel feels it has to mobilise and slap down the EIKE shoestring operation.

Der Spiegel writes that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has nothing against having a discussion with serious scientists, but refuses to debate with whom he considers “amateurs”. Der Spiegel: "In the end, the science has gotten so complex that the large part of the population is not able to follow it. The climate sceptics, on the other hand, are satisfying “a need for simple truths”." And that’s precisely where Schellnhuber sees the sceptic’s secret to success. Unfortunately a public debate would not help: “Imagine if Einstein had to defend his theory of relativity on talkshow Maybritt Illner. He wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.”

What Schellnhuber is saying here is amazing. He’s saying that his climate science would not stand a chance in a public debate. How right you are Herr Schellnhuber. But here it is so because your science is light-years away from Einstein’s when it comes to quality, and not because the people in the land of poets and thinkers are unable to understand it.

And so that’s why he accepts having a discussion only with people who agree with him.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

Amid Britons’ protests, UK pushes wind farms

Reg Thompson, a retired computer manager, loves the view from his rear bedroom window over the beech trees and across the lush green fields of Norfolk in the east of England. But if E.ON, a German power company, has its way, that view would soon include five wind turbines about 15 times the height of his house.

The view is not the only thing that worries Thompson, 62. In April, he dressed up in a bird’s costume with pink Wellington boots to protest the turbines and their danger to the rare pink-footed goose the region is famous for. There are 250,000 of them left, and Thompson fears that wind turbines could slash that number. “We were blessed with these rare animals, and the danger is they would either get chopped up by the turbine blades or would be driven off their feeding ground,’’ Thompson said.

The local council is due to decide on E.ON’s planning application later this year.

Despite growing opposition from citizens, nature conservation trusts, and local lawmakers, the government continues to push for more wind farms across the country. Time is ticking toward a deadline in 2020 set by the European Union by which Britain would have to increase the amount of power it generates from renewable sources to 15 percent, from 3 percent now.

Britain is among Europe’s laggards in expanding the renewable share of its energy mix, ranking in the bottom three of the European Union league table just above Luxembourg and Malta. Many industry experts question whether the government can meet the target within a decade, especially when money is tight.

The coalition government was expected to announce drastic cuts in public spending recently as part of a plan to reduce a record public deficit. And even though Prime Minister David Cameron had said renewable energy would remain one of his priorities, it is not clear how much he will be able to spend on such projects as the government cuts social benefits.

In a giant leap toward meeting the European Union target, Britain recently opened the world’s largest offshore wind turbine farm in the North Sea off Thanet, at the southeast tip of England. Operated by Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, it has 100 turbines spreading over 13.5 square miles, with a capacity to power more than 200,000 homes.

Vattenfall’s turbines raised Britain’s wind-power-generating capacity to five gigawatts, enough to power every home in Scotland, the government said. Chris Huhne, Britain’s energy secretary, said the country was “in a unique position to become a world leader in this industry.’’ “We are an island nation, and I firmly believe we should be harnessing our wind, wave, and tidal resources to the maximum,’’ Huhne said.

Indeed, despite the renewable sector’s lowly ranking in percentage terms, Britain now generates more energy from offshore wind turbines than any other European country, according to the government.

With a height of 377 feet, or 115 meters, Vattenfall’s turbines are visible from the coast in Kent. Unlike onshore wind farms, however, they have attracted few objections from local villagers. As a result, the government has recently started to focus more on offshore than onshore wind farms, even though they tend to be more expensive to build.


The overpopulation myth

The idea that growing human numbers will destroy the planet is nonsense, says an environmentalist

Many of today’s most-respected thinkers, from Stephen Hawking to David Attenborough, argue that our efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will all fail unless we “do something” about population growth. In the Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking declares that, “in the last 200 years, population growth has become exponential… The world population doubles every forty years.”

But this is nonsense. For a start, there is no exponential growth. In fact, population growth is slowing. For more than three decades now, the average number of babies being born to women in most of the world has been in decline. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better.

Here are the numbers. Forty years ago, the average woman had between five and six kids. Now she has 2.6. This is getting close to the replacement level which, allowing for girls who don’t make it to adulthood, is around 2.3. As I show in my new book, Peoplequake, half the world already has a fertility rate below the long-term replacement level. That includes all of Europe, much of the Caribbean and the far east from Japan to Vietnam and Thailand, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia.

It also includes China, where the state decides how many children couples can have. This is brutal and repulsive. But the odd thing is that it may not make much difference any more: Chinese communities around the world have gone the same way without any compulsion—Taiwan, Singapore, and even Hong Kong. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, it had the lowest fertility rate in the world: below one child per woman.

So why is this happening? Demographers used to say that women only started having fewer children when they got educated and the economy got rich, as in Europe. But tell that to the women of Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest nations, where girls are among the least educated in the world, and mostly marry in their mid-teens. They have just three children now, less than half the number their mothers had. India is even lower, at 2.8. Tell that also to the women of Brazil. In this hotbed of Catholicism, women have two children on average—and this is falling. Nothing the priests say can stop it.

Women are doing this because, for the first time in history, they can. Better healthcare and sanitation mean that most babies now live to grow up. It is no longer necessary to have five or six children to ensure the next generation—so they don’t.

There are holdouts, of course. In parts of rural Africa, women still have five or more children. But even here they are being rational. Women mostly run the farms, and they need the kids to mind the animals and work in the fields.

Then there is the middle east, where traditional patriarchy still rules. In remote villages in Yemen, girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage. They still have six babies on average. But even the middle east is changing. Take Iran. In the past 20 years, Iranian women have gone from having eight children to less than two—1.7 in fact—whatever the mullahs say.

The big story here is that rich or poor, socialist or capitalist, Muslim or Catholic, secular or devout, with or without tough government birth control policies in place, most countries tell the same tale of a reproductive revolution.

That doesn’t mean population growth has ceased. The world’s population is still rising by 70m a year. This is because there is a time lag: the huge numbers of young women born during the earlier baby boom may only have had two children each. That is still a lot of children. But within a generation, the world’s population will almost certainly be stable, and is very likely to be falling by mid-century. In the US they are calling my new book “The Coming Population Crash.”

Is this good news for the environment and for the planet’s resources? Clearly, other things being equal, fewer people will do less damage to the planet. But it won’t on its own do a lot to solve the world’s environmental problems, because the second myth about population growth is that it is the driving force behind our wrecking of the planet.

In fact, rising consumption today far outstrips the rising headcount as a threat to the planet. And most of the extra consumption has been in rich countries that have long since given up adding substantial numbers to their population, while most of the remaining population growth is in countries with a very small impact on the planet. By almost any measure you choose, a small proportion of the world’s people take the majority of the world’s resources and produce the majority of its pollution....

Economists predict the world’s economy will grow by 400 per cent by 2050. If this does indeed happen, less than a tenth of that growth will be due to rising human numbers. True, some of those extra poor people might one day become rich. And if they do—and I hope they do—their impact on the planet will be greater. But it is the height of arrogance for us in the rich world to downplay the importance of our own environmental footprint because future generations of poor people might one day have the temerity to get as rich and destructive as us. How dare we?

Some green activists need to take a long hard look at themselves. We all like to think of ourselves as progressives. But Robert Malthus, the man who first warned 200 years ago that population growth would produce demographic armageddon, was in his time a favourite of capitalist mill owners. He opposed Victorian charities because he said they were only making matters worse for the poor, encouraging them to breed. He said the workhouses were too lenient. Progressives of the day hated him. Charles Dickens attacked him in several books: when Oliver Twist asked for more gruel in the workhouse, for instance, that was a satire on a newly introduced get-tough law on workhouses, known popularly as Malthus’s Law. In Hard Times, the headmaster obsessed with facts, Thomas Gradgrind, had a son called Malthus. In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge was also widely seen at the time as a caricature of Malthus.

Malthus, it should be remembered, spent many years teaching British colonial administrators before they went out to run the empire. They adopted his ideas that famine and disease were the result of overbreeding, so the victims should be allowed to die. It was Malthusian thinking that led to the huge and unnecessary death toll in the Irish potato famine.

We must not follow the lure of Malthus, and blame the world’s poor for the environmental damaged caused overwhelmingly by us: the rich. The truth is that the population bomb is being defused round the world. But the consumption bomb is still primed and ever more dangerous.



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


11 October, 2010

We all died 10 years ago according to Obama's chief "scientist"

Trust emptyhead Obama to pick a cloth-headed fool -- prone to drawing the most sweeping conclusions from the most superficial of knowledge. In a rational universe he would be a laughing stock

Turns out we have all been dead for over a decade. So what are we arguing about? Holdren wrote this in 1969:
"World food production must double in the period 1965-2000 to stay even; it must triple if nutrition is to be brought up to minimum requirements. That there is insufficient additional, good quality agricultural land available in the world to meet these needs is so well documented (Borgstrom, 1965) that we will not belabor the point here."

Then he went into a long diatribe about how we are going to run out of water, energy, food, land – and that the heat from nuclear power plants is going to destroy the climate.
A more easily evaluated problem is the tremendous quantity of waste heat generated at nuclear installations (to say nothing of the usable power output, which, as with power from whatever source, must also ultimately be dissipated as heat). Both have potentially disastrous effects on the local and world ecological and climatological balance.

This guy must be the life of the party. After a dozen pages of psychotic disaster prediction, he gets to the punch line. He wants to snip men’s private parts.
If we may safely rule out circumvention of the Second Law or the divorce of energy requirements from population size, this suggests that, whatever science and technology may accomplish, population growth must be stopped.

But it cannot be emphasized enough that if the population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.’ Therefore, confronted as we are with limited resources of time and money, we must consider carefully what fraction of our effort should be applied to the cure of the disease itself instead of to the temporary relief of the symptoms.

We should ask, for example, how many vasectomies could be performed by a program funded with the 1.8 billion dollars required to build a single nuclear agro-industrial complex, and what the relative impact on the problem would be in both the short and long terms. The decision for population control will be opposed by growth-minded economists and businessmen, by nationalistic statesmen, by zealous religious leaders, and by the myopic and well-fed of every description.

It is therefore incumbent on all who sense the limitations of technology and the fragility of the environmental balance to make themselves heard above the hollow, optimistic chorus-to convince society and its leaders that there is no alternative but the cessation of our irresponsible, all-demanding, and all-consuming population growth.

In other words, he proposed forced sterilization based on his hair-brained theories. His reward for being dangerous, wrong and anti-democratic? Obama made him his science advisor.

Remember to vote next month.


A closer look at the "cooling" sun paper

Utter confusion based on the tiniest bit of data. But at least it shows that the science is not "settled"! It shows in fact that our understanding of the sun has a long way to go

David Whitehouse

Who was it that said that the good thing about science was that you get such a lot of speculation from such a small number of facts? The recent paper by Haigh at al concerning measurements of the solar spectrum is an excellent example.

This interesting paper and what it actually said has been lost amongst the comments made about it in an associated press release and interviews, about which more later. It’s obvious that many of those who reported on the papers findings have only read the press release.

The new paper by Joanna Haigh et al is based on two datapoints, or rather two spectra. They are 10-day averages centred around 21 April 2004 and 7 November 2007, when the solar cycle was in its declining phase from the 2000 peak. Haigh et al find that the sun’s spectrum was different on the two dates. There was a larger decline in Ultra Violet radiation than expected. Visible radiation increased almost compensating.

This leads one to wonder what the differences in the spectrum mean and where they came from and could they be related to changes occurring as part of the solar cycle or just as a result of shorter-term fluctuations? Two data points from such a variable sun is clearly inadequate to determine very much. What for example is the difference in solar spectra between an active sun and a lesser active sun during the same year? How does the spectrum vary at solar minimum, if at all? Also we know that the sun is currently behaving strangely these days.

When plugged into atmospheric models the researchers found that using the 2007 data when the Ultra-Violet had decreased there was an increase in visible radiation reaching the lower atmosphere. It caused a warming. One should note that the Hadcrut3 global data set shows that the Earth’s temperature was unchanged between 2004 and 2007. This means that, if we accept the researchers conclusions, some other cooling factor (or combination) must have compensated exactly for the sun’s warming influence resulting in no observable change in the Earth’s temperature!

Reverse Logic

Then the authors SPECULATE that the reverse MIGHT be true, that is that if the visible radiation decreases at solar maximum then the earth might cool. Based on this speculation, not in the Nature paper but elsewhere, the authors suggest that as solar activity increased throughout the 20th century the sun may have been a cooling influence.

Consider what was actually said in the Nature paper: “At present there is no evidence to ascertain whether this behaviour has occurred before, but if this were the case during previous multi-decadal periods of low solar activity it would be necessary to revisit assessments of the solar influence on climate and to revise the methods whereby these are represented in global models.”

In associated press release the lead author is quoted as saying, "We cannot jump to any conclusions based on what we have found during this comparatively short period and we need to carry out further studies to explore the sun's activity and the patterns that we have uncovered on longer timescales.”

One could paraphrase the situation by stating that one should be very cautious about these observations themselves and the fact that there are only two datapoints and because they are anomalous. So while they cannot “jump to any conclusions” that’s nonetheless exactly what they are going to do.

Here it all starts to unravel. In recent years many scientists have made set great store by what they claim is the fact that their climate models (which include solar influences) can completely explain what was going on in the climate up to about 1960 without mankind’s influence, but that after 1960 manmade global warming is necessary to explain the data. It was this line of argument that an initially skeptical David Attenborough said persuaded him of mankind’s influence.

Now if Haigh et al are right the solar factor in this climate modeling was incorrect even though it did an amazing job of reproducing natural variations in climate from the 19th century up to 1960! So, one wonders, which is wrong, the suggestions by Haigh et al, or the climate models that reproduced natural variability so well up to 1960 (suspiciously well, in my view).

I’m also wondering how this research fits in with the infamous Lockwood and Frolich Royal Society paper of 2007. That used sunspot data and GISS global temperature data to show that as the sun’s activity declined after the great solar grand maxima of the late 20th century the earth’s temperature continued to rise. They concluded that the sun’s increased activity wasn’t responsible for the world warming (had they used another global temperature dataset I think they might have got a different answer.) If Haigh et al are right then the decline in solar activity, estimated by Lockwood and Frolich to be in the 1950’s (it was also in the 80’s) actually coincides with the recent spell of warming! So one could now argue it was the sun that did it after all!

Then there are the Maunder and Dalton minima. These are periods of low solar activity that coincided with cool global temperatures. If Haigh et al are correct then the quiet sun, rather than cooling the planet, would have been warming it. The impression I get is that climate models struggle to explain these cooling episodes. The Maunder Minimum requires low solar activity and volcanic effects according to one explanation. If Haigh et al get their way then that explanation fails utterly.

The sun is making a comeback. Look at articles in the leading journals as well as press reports of 15 years ago and it was not uncommon to see scientists saying that the sun was an important influence in climate change. About a decade ago that changed, but in recent years it has been coming back in many ways.

And still the sun remains historically quiet, greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere, and the annual global temperature refuses to increase.


A modern-day witch hunt in Britain

Eureka, the science magazine from The Times, is in many ways a brilliant accomplishment. Advertising is following readers in an online migration - but James Harding, the editor, personally persuaded advertisers that a new magazine, in a newspaper, devoted to science would work. And here it is: giving the New Scientist a run for its money every month.

That's why it's such a shame that today's magazine opens on an anti-scientific piece denouncing those who disagree with the climate consensus. My former colleague Ben Webster, now the paper's environment correspondent, is an energetic and original journalist - so it's depressing to see his skills deployed in a game of hunt-the-heretic.

The magazine's list of 100 greatest scientists is preceded by a heretic list of five 'sceptics' who are denounced on the flimsiest of grounds. Bjorn Lomborg is no.1. "He appears to concede that man-made global warming is a serious problem," says Webster. Appears to? He has explicitly stated this, time and time again. His argument is that we must introduce proportion to the debate: ask what these expensive solutions actually achieve. And ask whether, if saving lives is the priority, money could be spent in better ways. Webster finds him guilty of "producing alarming statistics that suggest cutting carbon is too expensive". Strikingly Webster does not say that his figures are wrong, or exaggerated. To dismiss studies because the conclusion is wrong is not science, but spin.

Next, Nigel Lawson and his Global Warming Policy Foundation. "This 'think tank' of retired grandees gives sceptic arguments a veneer of authority," he complains. Might that be because the board's credentials are impeccable? That they include former Cabinet Secretaries with no skin in the climate change fight - other than dismay at the anti-intellectual way the debate is conducted?

Bafflingly, Sarah Palin is next. She is credited with "exploiting the University of East Anglia emails to undermine last December's Copenhagen summit". Can anyone remember the part in that summit where things were going swimmingly until Palin intervened? My recollection is of a summit buckling under the weight of its own contradictions. The idea of sourcing the doubt - even the emails - to Palin is certainly novel. Webster also claims that her influence "helps to explain" why Obama 'has shelved plans for legislation to cut back on US emissions".

Christopher Monckton, the sceptic peer, is next - like Palin, his intellectual influence is great. "He plays to full houses in the US and Australia". This is reminiscent of Naomi Klein's theory in No Logo: that free market economics have no force in their own right, but emanate from Bad People (Friedman was hers).

Steve McIntyre is perhaps my favourite. "Feared by climate scientists for his doggedness in hunting down flaws or inconsistencies," Webster says - and this is, apparently, enough to qualify him for the "infamous five" list. Proper science invites refutation. Denouncing people for pointing out "flaws" is not science.

Webster finishes off by saying that sceptics are over 60 "so few will be alive in 20 years' time to see the consequences of their efforts to resist global action on climate change". But this raises another point.

At the launch of Nigel Lawson's excellent think tank (which acknowledges that global warming is real and a problem - a point Webster didn't make, no doubt due to lack of space), I was approached by one of its directors - someone, again, with a distinguished record in public life. "Looking around, most of us are retirement age," he said. "That's because if you're young, and you raise the slightest objection, your career is over. You will be ostracised, and if you have any profile the press will destroy you. So its only my generation, with nothing to lose, who can make these arguments in this hysterical intellectual climate."

Webster's piece proves his point. Even journalists, whose job is normally to probe and question, have become cheerleaders for a cause. There is a mood of hysteria - and before CoffeeHousers go the other way and attack Webster, I'd like to say that he is not one of those journalists. His reporting in Copenhagen and afterwards fully reflected both sides of the debate - which is why it's so strange to see this piece from him today. And even stranger to see it commissioned by a science supplement - when scientific progress depends on the the type of refutation and questioning which Lomborg, Lawson and McIntyre have brought to the debate.

As for Palin and Monckton - Webster wasn't really serious. I hope.


Green Subsidies Will Have Disastrous Effect On UK Economy

Pandering to policy makers who see the future of UK energy defined by expensive "eco-bling" solutions will have disastrous effects for the government and for consumers.

That's the warning from the incoming president of Europe's largest engineering membership body. Dr. Nigel Burton, who formally assumes the presidency of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) this Thursday, will offer credence to the coalition government's position of reviewing the UK's energy framework.

In a call to action for the engineering policy community, Dr. Burton will suggest that there need be no gap in time before money-saving energy policy can be introduced. This could be achieved, he says, by reducing subsidies for some current high-cost, low-saving initiatives.

In his wide ranging inaugural speech, Dr Nigel Burton says some technologies "are a serious misallocation of resources if the principal objective is cost-effective emissions reduction. Early enthusiasm for domestic wind turbines has waned as it has become clear that in general these have no economic value and in some cases consume more electricity than they produce." The subsidies for solar photovoltaics risk repeating the expensive mistakes made in Germany.

Dr Burton argues that "Reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 will require a complete redesign of UK energy production and consumption." He goes on to say that these changes will require investment of an estimated £400 billion by 2050.

One of his key recommendations is to focus on the decarbonisation of electricity production. He also claims that widespread public "conversion to electronic vehicles should be given a high priority." He goes on to make the wider point that "most hopes of achieving the carbon reduction targets rest on increased electrification of the economy and decarbonisation of the power sector." However, that is no easy change as about 78% of electricity generation is currently from coal and gas.

Dr. Burton, makes his opening address at the IET's London headquarters, with a widely anticipated discourse on energy, entitled ''Keeping the lights on - an inconvenient truth'. The lecture will be attended by IET members, policymakers and the public.


Green Jobs Utopia Goes Up In Smoke

A whine from "The Guardian" below

Plans to build three new factories to make thousands of giant offshore wind turbines that would create an estimated 60,000 jobs are set to become the latest casualty of the spending review, it has emerged.

The previous government had pledged £60m to upgrade ports, mainly in the north-east, to enable them to handle the next generation of giant turbines for installation off the UK coast.

Siemens and General Electric have announced plans to invest £180m in two new manufacturing facilities in the UK, but say this is conditional on the necessary work on nearby ports. Mitsubishi is also interested in building a third factory.

But the Guardian has learned that the competition inviting ports to bid for the funds is likely to be scrapped. Officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which is to provide half the £60m required, are still fighting for the funds. However, they have little support from the Department for Business, which would have to find the other half, or from the Treasury.

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is understood to be determined to set up a Green Investment Bank, which will have to take public funds for existing renewable and low-carbon schemes, such as the ports, to have sufficient capital.

The Guardian has also learned that the nuclear industry has successfully lobbied the government to safeguard the huge budget to decommission the UK's old reactors, handled by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. This year, about 60% of the NDA's budget – £1.7bn – came from taxpayers via the DECC, making up about 40% of the ministry's entire spending.

In opposition, the Conservatives had wanted to cut about 25% of DECC's funding to the NDA. But after the election, industry executives outlined to ministers the urgency of the clean-up of Britain's nuclear sites, particularly Sellafield in Cumbria. One source said: "We succeeded in scaring David Cameron off." The NDA, which is cutting its own operating budget, could even secure a slightly higher funding settlement than this year.

MPs will debate the ports programme in the House of Commons on Tuesday, with the trade body RenewableUK warning that 60,000 jobs are at stake. No final decision has been made either on the £60m ports plan or the NDA's budget, with the funding settlement for DECC only expected to be formally agreed just before the Treasury's publication of the spending review on 20 October. It is thought that the most that would be available would be funds to upgrade one port.

But the scrapping of the ports competition will sit uneasily with Cameron's declaration that this "would be the greenest government ever". It will also raise questions about the government's commitment to help the economy grow out of recession, in particular by boosting hi-tech exporters. It has already axed an £80m government loan to the engineering firm Sheffield Forgemasters.


Power failure in Canada

The Swedish retail giant IKEA announced Thursday it will invest $4.6-million to install 3,790 solar panels on three Toronto area stores, giving IKEA the electric-power-producing capacity of 960,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. According to IKEA, that's enough electricity to power 100 homes. Amazing development. Even more amazing is the economics of this project. Under the Ontario government's feed-intariff solar power scheme, IKEA will receive 71.3¢ for each kilowatt of power produced, which works out to about $6,800 a year for each of the 100 hypothetical homes. Since the average Toronto home currently pays about $1,200 for the same quantity of electricity, that implies that IKEA is being overpaid by $5,400 per home equivalent.

Welcome to the wonderful world of green economics and the magical business of carbon emission reduction. Each year, IKEA will receive $684,408 under Premier Dalton McGuinty's green energy monster--for power that today retails for about $115,000. At that rate, IKEA will recoup $4.6-million in less than seven years--not bad for an investment that can be amortized over 20.

No wonder solar power is such a hot industry. No wonder, too, that the province of Ontario is in a headlong rush into a likely economic crisis brought on skyrocketing electricity prices. To make up the money paid to IKEA to promote itself as a carbon-free zone, Ontario consumers and industries are on their way to experiencing the highest electricity rates in North America, if not most of the world.

The government's regulator, the Ontario Energy Board, has prepared secret forecasts of how much Ontario consumers are going to have to pay for electricity over the next five years. The government won't allow the report to be released. The next best estimate comes from Aegency Energy Advisors Inc., in a study it did for the Canadian Manufactures and Exporters group. Residential rates are expected to jump by 60% between 2010 and 2015. Industrial customers will be looking at a 55% increase. (See graphic.)

Going back to 2003, based on numbers dug up by consultant Tom Adams, the price of residential electricity in Ontario hovered around 8.5¢ a kWh in 2003 -- the first year of the McGuinty Liberal regime. By 2015, Aegency Energy estimates the price will be up to 21¢, an increase of 135%. Doubling the price of electricity in a decade is no way to spur growth and investment. In this age of global economic competition IKEA may end up with fewer sales of its Billy bookshelves in Toronto because its customers will be bogged down with soaring power bills and a sliding economy.

Almost all of these increases are due to green energy activism brought on by George Smitherman, the former Ontario energy minister now running for mayor of Toronto on the claim that his Green Energy Act is not responsible for rising prices.

There are probably some holes that can be picked in the Aegency Energy numbers in the graph, but they are not likely to make that much of a difference. If the OEB has better numbers that disprove the Aegency report, then let's see them. In the meantime, Aegency is all we have and their report was an eye-opener when it was released back in August -- for everybody except Premier McGuinty, his Energy Minister, green activists and Mr. Smitherman.

Mr. Smitherman is the godfather of the Ontario Green Energy Act and the feed-intariff scheme that will transfer billions of dollars out of consumer pockets and into the hands of subsidized solar and wind power producers and government corporations. He likes to blame rising electricity prices on the province's new HST and the failure of previous governments to maintain infrastructure. The numbers in the Aegency Energy report make it clear that Mr. Smitherman is running on a dead battery.

All those costs and spending (which total more than $21-billion between 2010 and 2015) will add little to Ontario's electricity inventory. Through that time period, total electricity demand in Ontario is expected to remain relatively flat. By 2015, in other words, Ontarians will likely be consuming the same amount of electricity as they are today but paying twice as much as they were in 2003.

There is even a prospect that Ontario will generate additional surplus electricity that will have to be exported to the United States, essentially subsidizing U.S. consumption. Tom Adams adds that the latest U.S. electricity forecasts suggest U. S prices will remain stable. Price are lower this year and are expected to increase next year by 2.4%. Ontario, meanwhile, is looking at average gains of 9.7%. "We're heading toward European prices," he said.

The supposed objective of all this is to reduce carbon emissions and offset the mandated closure of Ontario's coal plants. But the Green Energy Act reaches way beyond offsetting coal. It aims to reduce Ontario carbon emissions, although no targets have been set.

According to Aegency Energy's calculations, the cost of power produced by IKEA solar panels at 71.3¢ will reduce carbon emissions at a cost of $1,384 a tonne if there is a corresponding reduction in Ontario's need for gas-fired electricity production. That number compares with official national and international carbon tax ideas involving maybe $25 a tonne or, at the extreme, $200 a tonne.



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


10 October, 2010

Professor Emeritus Hal Lewis Resigns from American Physical Society -- saying that it has put money before science

The following letter to the American Physical Society was released to the public by Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Sad that it is mostly retired scientists who feel safe in speaking out these days. But the retired people concerned are often men of great distinction in their fields -- as is Prof. Lewis

Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis

From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’ętre of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.


(Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making))


Prominent Warmist ambushed: Unable to answer basic questions

- Science abandoned for metaphysics & quasi-mysticism

- Admits Piers Corbyn's (solar based!) extreme events forecasts important

CLIMATE SENSE campaigners - Philip Foster, Graham Capper, Piers Corbyn & Hans Schreuder attended a talk by Prof Mike Hulme (of University of East Anglia and various UN (IPCC) and EU climate panels and bodies) at Emmanuel United Reformed Church Cambridge on 8th Oct. They found he offered no meaningful defence of the science, indeed he gave significant ground and seemed to be moving onto 'higher' things.

Prof Hulme's talk which was part of the Church's 'EARTHED' series* indicated he had largely moved 'beyond' Climate Change and considered the subject more of a metaphysical or quasi-mystical 'sign' or figure of speech for a plan to better approach the problems of a finite planet and its inhabitants in line with his religious beliefs.

Although he considered the question: What does Climate Change demand of us? he could not defend the supposed science which is claimed to be at its core.

Questions and comments were put to him by Philip, Piers and Hans, of ClimateSense which is campaigning for EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENCE, to the effect that:-

- There is no evidence for the CO2 theory only evidence against.

- ALL the CO2 based predictions of the UN's IPCC have failed,

- World Temperatures have been falling for a decade while CO2 is rising,

- There has been no increase in extreme weather events,

- If you really care about the world then extreme weather events prediction is important and this is being done (eg Russia heatwave etc - see WAnews31**) using solar activity while CO2 tells us nothing; therefore you should be supporting this SCIENCE not a failed theory.

Prof Hulme (First Degree Geography 2(i) Univ of Durham) defended that

(i) it could not be denied that CO2 is an infra-red absorber and emitter and that

(ii) (accepting that temperatures have not risen in a decade despite IPCC predictions) temperatures have increased over the last 50 or so years.

Piers (First degree Physics First class Imperial College London) pointed out that although CO2 is indeed an infra-red absorber and emitter any consequences are completely negated by feedbacks such as extra plant transpiration surface cooling due to extra CO2 which makes plants grow faster****; which is why the data shows CO2 has zero effect in the real world atmosphere.

The temperature point is selective and 'so what?' because fuller data shows CO2 temperatures fluctuating up and down while CO2 was still rising.

Prof Hulme (then) said that dealing with extreme weather events is important whatever the cause and that Piers making and continuing to circulate predictions of extreme weather events is important.

Afterwards a number of people expressed keen interest in what the ClimateSensers had said and took leaflets.

Piers commented: "Prof Hulme offered no meaningful defence of the failed science of the Global Warming lobby and his welcoming my solar-based predictions of extreme weather events is good and an admission of failure of the IPCC project - the whole reason for which was to deal with extreme weather events which were supposedly driven by man-made CO2! Will he now suggest the Govt and UN use these forecasts?

"The Global Warmers are on the run. We now have to take the matter to politicians to turn the run into a rout. The next event is our public Climate Fools Day rally in Parliament*** Wed Oct 27th"


Sensationalist Green/Left journalist warns of apocalypse

Without mentioning one single scientific fact, just the usual appeal to prophecy. He would make a good Jehovah's Witness

We have seen recently how global warming activists have lost all attempts at rational thinking, with horrific advertising campaigns aimed at scaring children about the climate and blood and gore movies simulating the detonation of AGW sceptics. We have had publicly-funded university psychologists trying to discover why so many people will just not believe the climate scare campaigns from the UN. The Godfather of Global Warming, NASA’s James Hansen, promotes civil disobedience and endorses an author who proposes terrorism against power plants.

The whole mind set is exemplified in this piece by Mark Hetsgaard, Author of ‘Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth’. They really do think the sky is falling.

Read it. It speaks volumes.
Mark Hertsgaard: Meet Generation Hot

In fact, every child on earth born after June 23, 1988 belongs to what I call Generation Hot. This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

For Generation Hot, the brutal summer of 2010 is not an anomaly; it’s the new normal.

One wouldn’t know it from most media coverage, but the world’s leading climate scientists have concluded that last summer’s rash of extreme weather — including record heat across much of Europe (especially Russia) and the United States — was driven in no small part by man-made global warming. Of course no single event can ever be definitively attributed to global warming; weather results from many factors.

But according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, the extraordinary heat, rains, drought and flooding that occurred this summer fit the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projections of “more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.” In other words, dangerous climate change is no longer tomorrow’s problem; it is here today.

It’s not that we weren’t warned. I date the beginning of Generation Hot to June 23, 1988 because that is when humanity was put on notice that greenhouse gas emissions were raising the temperatures on this planet. The warning came from NASA scientist James Hansen’s testimony to the U.S. Senate and, crucially, the decision by the New York Times to print the news on page 1, which in turn made global warming a household phrase in news bureaus, living rooms and government offices the world over.

“This was a crime,” Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the climate adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told me, referring to the past two decades of global inaction. But the wrong people are being punished. My daughter and her peers in Generation Hot have been given a life sentence for a crime they didn’t commit; they will spend the rest of their lives coping with a climate that will be hotter and more volatile than ever before in our civilization’s history. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of this crime continue to reap record corporate profits, win political re-elections and get invited onto national TV and radio programs.

Probably the most far-sighted work is taking place in the Netherlands, which has launched a well-funded, politically tough-minded 200 Year Plan to adapt to climate change. (No, 200 is not a typo.) Most countries, however, like most private companies and local communities, are doing little or nothing to prepare for the storm bearing down upon them.


China hoists the West with its own petard

Saying: "You first"

China said a failure by developed nations to honor their commitments to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is hindering progress in talks in Tianjin aimed at reaching an agreement to tackle climate change.

Negotiations between delegates from about 175 governments in Tianjin, northern China, are being held up as the host country declined to discuss the legal framework for a second set of emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol after the first expires in 2012.

China is boycotting the talks because developed countries listed in the Protocol are trying to add a global target rather than discuss their individual commitments, said Huang Huikang, China’s special representative for climate change negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Our intervention is not to block discussions of the Kyoto Protocol group, we just want to keep the group’s discussion the right way,” Huang told reporters today. “The key issue is the lack of substantive progress on the developed countries’ side.”

The holdup prevents discussion on countries’ commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from going forward, Jurgen Lefevere, an EU climate adviser and co-chair of the Kyoto Protocol working group, said in an interview this week.

Countries are unwilling to finalize emissions commitments until they know what new rules will cover issues like land use or agriculture, he said. China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil are the main blockers, he said.

Last Chance

In New Zealand, where about 50 percent of emissions come from agriculture, a rule change could affect the country’s emissions reduction target by as much as 4 percent, the New Zealand delegation said today in a meeting.

“This is not a sustainable situation,” Australia’s delegation said of the impasse.

The Tianjin meeting is the last chance before envoys meet in Cancun, Mexico, for Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 talks to help reach an agreement that even the United Nations has said is unlikely this year. The last climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 failed to produce a binding agreement even after leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama flew in to try to hammer out a deal.

The Copenhagen talks broke down over issues including setting a global emissions reduction target and developing a system to measure and verify emissions cuts. Specifically, the U.S. and others wanted China and some larger developing countries to accept higher scrutiny of their reduction measures. China said richer nations should pledge deeper emissions cuts.

‘This Precondition’

“The precondition is mitigation by developed countries and money to support developing countries, as well as technology,” Huang said today. “Without this precondition, it’s unfair to ask developing countries to do more.”

The U.S. lead negotiator Jonathan Pershing said this week that the U.S. is willing to be flexible with poorer nations even though China, India and Brazil have the “capacity” to be transparent about their emissions reduction measures.

“I don’t think this is a big problem for China, China’s Huang said today. “Our main concern now is that developed countries honor their commitment first, then we will seriously consider sitting down to discuss other issues.”

The time may have come for the U.S. and China to “have negotiations inside the negotiations” to prevent the issue derailing progress on other issues, Dessima Williams, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States and Grenada’s ambassador to the UN, said today in an interview. “It’s the brinkmanship game again, if you don’t jump, I won’t jump,” she said. “This is not a correct approach to negotiations because people’s lives are at stake.”

China, the most populous country and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is hosting a meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for the first time.


Green fever

A mental disorder we should name "green fever" is the only explanation I can come up with for suicidal environmental policies, such as the cutoff of water to California's San Joaquin Valley, impoverishing farmers and creating a new dust bowl, in the name of "saving" a supposedly "endangered" species - in this case the Delta Smelt, a tiny and useless fish.

Another instance comes from Maryland, where houses are about to tumble down a cliff, with authorities preventing the owners from saving their homes because an "endangered" beetle's habitat consistes of burrowing into and weakening the cliffs. WJZ TV in Baltimore reports:
Earlier this year, we revealed why almost 100homes are in danger of falling down a cliff. (snip)

In February, an investigation revealed 90 other homes are also in danger of collapse but nothing is being done because of the rare Puritan Tiger Beetle. Only 5,000 of the endangered species are left on the planet.

"How much is this tiger beetle worth, compared to a bald eagle, a polar bear or that bush?" said Glenn Thierres, DNR.

Last winter, WJZ spoke to a state official in charge of endangered species. He said because of the way these beetles burrow and lay eggs, they need the fast-eroding cliffs to reproduce or they could become extinct.

"If erosion doesn't occur on the cliff faces, then vegetation establishes itself. It's detrimental to the beetle," Thierres said.

Greenies, including global warmists, always speak with utmost certainty about their predictions of doom. However, when it comes to "endangered" species (as with global warming predictions of doom), they often don't know what they are talking about. David Derbyshire of the UK Daily Mail:
Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said. (I still want to question every thing every "scientists" should all of the press)

A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.

The shy okapi - which resembles a cross between a zebra and a giraffe - was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1901.

After increasingly rarer sightings, it vanished from the wildlife radar for decades from 1959, prompting fears that it had died out.

But five years ago researchers working for the WWF found okapi tracks in the wild.

Other mammals ‘back from the dead' include the rat-like Cuban solenodon, the Christmas Island shrew, the Vanikoro Flying Fox of the Solomon Islands, the Australian central rock rat and the Talaud Flying Fox of Indonesia.



Four current articles below

Australia's malicious ABC Science Show

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) currently dominates climate science to the extent that many consider it a fact – not a theory. The famous philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, would describe AGW as the current dominant paradigm because this is where the majority of professional scientists claim their allegiance. Of course there are dissenters, commonly referred to as sceptics or deniers, and Kuhn would have correctly predict that these individual would be excluded from the scientific community as evidenced in the Climategate emails.

It is particularly evident from the Climategate emails that a group within the scientific community will go to great lengths to deny so-called sceptics the opportunity to publish in the peer-reviewed literature including through the removal of editors and stacking of review committees.

Nevertheless, outspoken sceptic Bob Carter has managed, over his distinguished career to amass a long list of publications in the peer-reviewed literature including publications of direct relevance to climate science in the best international peer-reviewed science journals.

I make specific mention of Professor Carter and his publication record, because yesterday, on the ABC Science Show, it was repeatedly stated that Professor Carter has a very poor publication record.

Robyn Williams’ introduction to the interview explains:

“Bob Ward says those who seek to reinterpret the science of climate change often have minimal publication records. Publication involves peer review. This process weeds out experiments and papers which are sub-standard. By contrast, anyone can write a book, write a newspaper article, or address public meetings. Bob Ward mentions a paper by Bob Carter, saying it contains false quotes and numerous examples of inaccuracy. Bob Ward says the Carter paper is the worst that has ever been published about climate change.”

Worst, in the actual interview not one specific, substantive error of science is raised by Mr Ward, or Mr Williams, to illustrate the general accusation.

While it is generally acknowledged that Mr Williams is hopelessly biased when it comes to the issue of climate change, his malicious treatment of Professor Carter is beyond anything reasonably acceptable on a science show broadcast by the ABC.

While an apology is in order, in addition I suggest that Mr Williams dedicate a show, within the next month or so, to an interview with Professor Carter to discuss the science in his new book ‘Climate: the Counter Consensus’.


Coal OR Crops? NO. Coal AND Crops

The Queensland Government has announced plans to create a new category of restricted land called “Strategic Cropping Land” which bans all mining or development. The Carbon Sense Coalition has lodged a submission opposing the proposal. See: here

If Queensland’s politicians were really concerned about food security they would not have sterilised millions of acres of grazing land under scrub clearing bans, conservation zones, heritage areas, wild rivers, national parks and other anti-farming bans.

Nor would they have encouraged the diversion of cropping land from producing food for humans to producing ethanol for cars; or used false global warming dogma to justify covering food producing land with feral forests of carbon credit trees.

It seems that the Queensland government has a secret plan to destroy Queensland’s primary industries, all motivated by suicidal Green hostility to the production of carbon fuels and foods, mainly coal, cattle and sheep.

Queensland has always relied on both mining and farming. To undermine mining on the pretence of helping food production is false and destructive. This is not about crops or food – it is just another chapter in the Green war on carbon fuels whose goal is to prevent development of new coal mines and power stations.

The hidden tragedy of this silly policy is that we will never know which protected paddock is underlain by a treasure house of coal or minerals. With modern machinery and knowledge of soils and plants it would be very easy to replace the food lost in the tiny area of crop land likely to be disturbed by coal mining.

The choice is not “Coal or Crops”. A sensible policy is “Coal AND Crops”.

This proposal is quietly slipping beneath the radar. Have a look at the enormous area covered. When this blanket of bans is added to the Wild Rivers sterilisation, development and industry will be excluded from a huge area of Queensland. Future generations will be far poorer if this proposal succeeds, but few people will understand why.


Greenie flatulence

The Northern Territory Government is funding a university study to measure the impact of Australia's wild camel population on climate change.

Charles Darwin University has been funded for the year-long study to monitor the impact of the wild camel herd on the carbon cycle.

It is estimated that more than one million camels are roaming the country's arid regions.

The study will monitor carbon emissions and sequestration, in particular, looking at camel flatulence and the greenhouse gas effect created by decomposing carcasses.

The university says Indigenous people in remote communities will be involved in the project on Aboriginal land.

It is expected to shed light on the environmental impact of techniques for camel management, like animal culling.


Labor locked in deadly embrace with the Greens

GILLARD'S alliance with the minority party was ill-advised and could prove fatal

Christopher Pearson

JULIA Gillard's success in cobbling together a slim majority has distracted attention from Labor's biggest problem. The ALP is being cannibalised to the point where it may not have a future as a governing party in its own right.

It hasn't maintained anything like its normal percentage of the 18 to 34-year-old voters, especially in inner-city electorates. According to Newspoll, 50 per cent of them intended to give their primary vote to Labor during the period from July to September 2008, but it fell to 35 per cent during the month of August this year.

Having lost a swag of that cohort at the age when they're apt to be most idealistic and engaged, Labor is unlikely to be able to count on many of them regularly giving it their first preferences later on.

In outer suburban and regional seats, socially conservative, blue-collar workers and their families were once the core of Labor's vote. That support base was eroded under Paul Keating and sizeable chunks of it swung to John Howard until Work Choices. Tony Abbott has won most of them back and can expect to make further inroads.

None of this is lost on Gillard, of course. However, her decision to enter into a formal agreement with the Greens tells us she hasn't grasped the policy implications. If she is to have any hope of surviving as a long-term leader, her first task is to defend what the advertising agencies call Labor's "brand". The ALP can't afford to be cast in the role of a senior partner in a long-term alliance with the Greens because they are competing for the loyalty of the same voters and Labor will keep bleeding votes.

Some party loyalists within Club Sensible say the agreement was necessary to build the momentum, along with Andrew Wilkie's pledge of support, so as to cajole the rural independents. I don't buy it. At this distance, especially in the light of ABC1's Four Corners program last week and Rob Oakeshott's revelations about his voting habits, their decision seems to have been a foregone conclusion.

Given that the Greens' Adam Bandt had already repeatedly ruled out supporting the Coalition, no pact needed to be formalised or concessions made last month. Whatever message it sent to the independents is as nothing compared with the one sent to all the voters who veer from election to election between the two main parties: we are prepared to vacate the middle ground and govern from the Left.

Why, regular readers may be wondering, am I not delighted by Gillard's folly? The answer is simple. The national interest demands that at any given time both main parties should be capable of running competent governments, neither of which would be beholden to fringe parties.

For almost all of its recent history the ALP has understood that the Australian electorate is pragmatic and, if anything, mildly conservative. Modern Labor has been most successful when it framed its policies accordingly.

Even when the Hawke government's primary vote slumped in 1990 and it was relying on the minor parties for their preferences, it made relatively few concessions to them.

Gillard will justify her embrace of the Greens in terms of running a minority government and improving the relationship before the new Greens senators take their places next July. But if her strategic sense was anywhere near as developed as her tactical skills, she and her ministers would be reminding voters of why the Greens' policy on almost everything is utopian, ill-considered and not properly costed.

To consolidate their own position as parties for grown-ups, Labor and the Coalition should always speak of the Greens as the infantile party: resolutely irresponsible, innumerate and a threat to the economy.

They should also be pointing out that the Greens provide a flag of convenience for former Moscow-liners, Trotskyites and other ultra-leftist ratbags.

Rather than promising "to engage in a respectful conversation" with them, Gillard should take a leaf out of Kevin Rudd's book and barely speak to them at all. If she wanted to govern from the Centre, she would seldom need their votes because she could usually be confident of support from the Coalition under Abbott.

Bob Hawke relied on Coalition votes, notably under John Howard, to pass most of his economic reforms.

There was plenty of room for product differentiation to preserve the parties' brands and to allow for politicking at the margins.

Both sides were able to take some of the credit. The reforms were overdue and courageous on the government's part because in the short term they often adversely affected traditional Labor voters. Nonetheless, the national interest has seldom been better served than in the Hawke years and it's no coincidence that he won four elections on the trot.

Gillard's pact with the Greens virtually rules out a return to the Hawke tradition. Even if she cared to do so, I doubt that she's politically nimble enough to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. The junking of her pre-election promise that there'd be no carbon tax and the design of a committee to consider the tax that deliberately excludes half the polity tell us several things.

The first is that the alliance with the Greens is more than merely symbolic. The Coalition's claims about a secret preference deal with strings attached were warranted.

Second, she lacks even rudimentary caution. Given that it was she who persuaded Rudd to drop the emissions trading system, we can be confident her acceptance of a carbon tax is not a matter of conviction but a high-stakes gamble that the rest of the world will move in the same direction. It was an option that she need not have exercised and may well prove disastrous, for Labor and the economy. It's a decision she could comfortably have deferred until 2013. By then we may have a better idea what -- if anything -- the Americans and the Chinese in particular are proposing to do about carbon.

Pragmatic, mildly conservative voters don't like politicians taking premature, high-stakes gambles, especially ones that drive up the cost of living. If Abbott succeeds in painting the carbon tax in those terms, Labor may decide to depose Gillard before he has the chance to defeat her.




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


9 October, 2010

Scientific Rube? John Holdren mocked for claiming Arctic could be ICE FREE IN WINTER!

Holdren 'appears to have less scientific competence than most 1st graders' He must live in a dream

John Holdren holds the highest position of scientific authority in the country. He was hand chosen by President Obama. He also appears to have less scientific competence than most first graders:

"...if you lose the summer sea ice, there are phenomena that could lead you not so very long thereafter to lose the winter sea ice as well. And if you lose that sea ice year round, it’s going to mean drastic climatic change all over the hemisphere" - John Holdren, 2009.

Temperatures are well below freezing across the Arctic now, and about -20C near Greenland. they will continue to get colder for the next few months. New ice is forming at the rate of one Manhattan every minute and a half, in areas that were previously ice free.

The North Pole has gone completely dark. There is no SW radiation to warm things up. Temperatures are too cold to hold much water vapour, so there is almost no greenhouse effect. It is butt cold in the Arctic, and only a scientific illiterate would think otherwise.
Monday, March 9, 2009

When President Obama lifts restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research today, he will also issue a presidential memorandum aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence, officials said yesterday.

Does Obama ever tell the truth about anything?


Geologist says there's no need to fight over mineral resources

It's easy to be a pessimist in a world full of calamities. But for those worried about the continuing availability of natural resources, data from the ocean makes a good case for optimism, says economic geologist Lawrence Cathles.

In a review paper published June 23 online in the journal Mineralium Deposita, Cathles, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, writes that while land-based deposits may be a dwindling source of valuable minerals, deposits on the ocean floor could power humanity for centuries.

The minerals, including sulfur, copper, zinc, iron and precious metals, are contained in volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits that form on the ocean floor where tectonic plates pull apart and allow magma (molten rock) to invade the Earth's 3.7-mile- (6 kilometer-) thick crust. The magma heats seawater to 662 degrees Fahrenheit (350 degrees Celsius) and moves it through the ocean crust via convection; and the seawater deposits the minerals where it discharges along the ridge axis.

According to model simulations by Cathles and colleagues combined with heat flow measurements from the 1980s around the Galapagos Islands, the seawater convection cools the entire crust -- "like a homeowner who lights a fire in his fireplace for the express purpose of cooling his house," said Cathles.

That knowledge, along with the known thickness of the ocean crust, allows researchers to calculate the quantity of dissolved minerals that could be transported over each square meter of ocean floor.

If just 3 percent of the dissolved minerals precipitate -- an estimate based on earlier studies -- the ocean floor would hold reserves vastly greater than those on land, Cathles said.

In the case of copper -- a key component in construction, power generation and transmission, industrial machinery, transportation, electronics, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, telecommunications and more -- calculations show that just half of the total accumulated amount could be enough to bring the world's growing population up to a modern standard of living and maintain it for centuries.

"I think there's a good chance that it's a lot more than 3 percent," Cathles said. "But even just taking 3 percent, if you calculate how long the copper on the ocean floor would last, just half of it could last humanity 50 centuries or more.

"You go back to Christ, and then you go twice as far again, and you've got that much copper," he said. "That's everyone living at a European standard of living, essentially forever." Equally large quantities of uranium, lithium, phosphate, potash and other minerals are dissolved in ocean water and could be extracted, he added.

With the necessary precautions, extracting the underwater deposits may also be a more environmentally friendly process than mining on land, Cathles said.

And it could provide other benefits, both scientific and psychological. Undersea exploration around ocean ridges could open doors to new research on the fundamental processes behind the formation of Earth's crust, he noted; and a more positive outlook on the future could lead to fewer wars and more positive engagement.

"We are not resource limited on planet Earth. For a human on Earth to complain about resources is like a trillionaire's child complaining about his allowance or inheritance. It just doesn't have much credibility in my view," he said.

"I think there's real risk if we don't really carefully, and in a credible way, articulate that there are enough resources for everybody," he added. "We don't have to fight over these things."


Pollution overestimate fueled California's landmark diesel law

Too high - by 340 percent! Odd how the "mistakes" are always in the same direction: The Green/Left direction

California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high - by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.

The staff of the powerful and widely respected Air Resources Board said the overestimate is largely due to the board calculating emissions before the economy slumped, which halted the use of many of the 150,000 diesel-exhaust-spewing vehicles in California. Independent researchers, however, found huge overestimates in the air board's work on diesel emissions and attributed the flawed work to a faulty method of calculation - not the economic downturn.

The overestimate, which comes after another bad calculation by the air board on diesel-related deaths that made headlines in 2009, prompted the board to suspend the regulation this year while officials decided whether to weaken the rule.
Proposal announced

On Thursday, after months of work, the air board and construction industry officials announced a proposal that includes delaying the start of the requirements until 2014 and exempting more vehicles from the rule. It would be a major scaling back of the rule if the air board approves it in a vote scheduled for December. The announcement was made as The Chronicle was preparing to publish this report, which had been in the works for several weeks.

The setbacks in the air board's research - and the proposed softening of a landmark regulation - raise questions about the performance of the agency as it is in the midst of implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - or AB32 as it is commonly called, one of the state's and the nation's most ambitious environmental policies to date.

AB32, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, has come under intense political attack this year as the state prepares to elect a new governor. Critics cast the law as a jobs killer because of the expenses to industry and businesses in conforming to new pollution regulations. Supporters say it will reinvigorate the state's economy and create thousands of new jobs in the emerging green sector.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has promised to suspend the law for at least a year, while Democrat Jerry Brown supports the law. California voters, meanwhile, will vote on Proposition 23, a November initiative to suspend AB32 until the unemployment rate - now at 12.4 percent in California - falls to 5.5 percent or less for a year.
No answers

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, offered no explanation when The Chronicle questioned her about the diesel emissions miscalculation. She was recently asked why the air board estimate of a nitrous oxide source was off by at least a factor of two - air board scientists have since revised their numbers, and data show the estimate was off by 340 percent. Nichols' response: "I can't answer that for you."

Nichols was emphatic, though, when asked whether she has concerns about other scientific calculations made by air board scientists. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no and no," she said.

Members of Nichols' board don't have an answer for the overestimate either, said Ron Roberts, an air board member who is a Republican supervisor in San Diego County and who voted in favor of the diesel regulation. "One of the hardest things about being on the board is separating fact from political fancy," Roberts said.


Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism

by Steve Goreham

In an address to Green Mountain College on May 15, Carol Browner, Director of Energy and Climate Change Policy, stated “The sooner the U.S. puts a cap on our dangerous carbon pollution, the sooner we can create a new generation of clean energy jobs here in America…” In July, 2009, President Obama lauded the “Cash for Clunkers” program, stating that the initiative “gives consumers a break, reduces dangerous carbon pollution, and our dependence on foreign oil…” Unfortunately, our President is misinformed about carbon pollution.

The phrase “dangerous carbon pollution” has become standard propaganda from environmental groups. An example is a May, 2010 press release from the World Wildlife Fund that called for “a science-based limit on dangerous carbon pollution that will send a strong signal to the private sector.” Environmentalists have successfully painted a picture of black particle emissions into the atmosphere. This misconception is being used to drive efforts for Cap & Trade legislation, renewable energy, and every sort of restriction on our light bulbs, vehicles, and houses—all in the misguided attempt to stop climate change.

Carbon is integral to our skin, our muscles, our bones, and throughout the body of each person. Carbon forms more than 20% of the human body by weight. We are full of this “dangerous carbon pollution” by natural metabolic processes.

It’s true that incomplete combustion emits carbon particles that can cause smoke and smog. But this particulate carbon pollution is well controlled by the Clean Air Act of 1970 and many other federal and state statutes.

According to Environmental Protection Agency data, U.S. air quality today is significantly better than it was in 1980. Since 1980, airborne concentration of carbon monoxide is down 79%, lead is down 92%, nitrogen dioxide is down 46%, ozone is down 25%, and sulfur dioxide is down 71%. Carbon particulates have been tracked for fewer years, but PM10 particulates are down 31% since 1990 and PM2.5 particulates are down 19% since 2000. Over the same period, electricity consumption from coal-fired power plants rose 72% and vehicle miles driven are up 91%. We do not need Cap & Trade, Renewable Portfolio Standards, or the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), to reduce carbon particulates.

Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic, Figure 78, data from EPA, 2006

The target of “dirty carbon pollution” propaganda is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an invisible, odorless, harmless gas. It does not cause smog or smoke. Humans breathe out 100 times the CO2 we breathe in, created as our body uses sugars. But since it’s tough to call an invisible gas “dirty,” Climatists use “carbon” instead. It’s as wrong as calling water “hydrogen” or salt “chlorine.” Compounds have totally different properties than their composing elements.

Not only is carbon dioxide not a pollutant, it’s essential for life. As pointed out by geologist Leighton Steward, carbon dioxide is green! Carbon dioxide is plant food. Increased atmospheric CO2 causes plants and trees to grow faster and larger, increase their root systems, and improve their resistance to drought, as documented by hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers. Carbon dioxide is the best compound that mankind could put into the atmosphere to grow the biosphere.

This “carbon pollution” nonsense is driven by Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate. In a debate at the Global Warming Forum at Purdue University on September 27, Dr. Susan Avery, President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was asked “What is the strongest empirical evidence that global warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions rather than natural causes?”

Neither Dr. Avery nor Dr. Robert Socolow of Princeton, who also presented, could provide an answer, except the ambiguous “There is lots of evidence.” In fact, Climatism is based largely on computer model projections. There is no empirical evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global warming. According to Dr. Frederick Seitz, past President of the National Academy of Sciences, “Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.”

As Joanne Nova, Australian author, points out: “Everything on your dinner table—the meat, cheese, salad, bread, and soft drink—requires carbon dioxide to be there. For those of you who believe carbon dioxide is a pollutant, we have a special diet: water and salt.” So the next time you drink a beer or eat a meal, beware of that “dangerous carbon pollution.”


Measuring Ocean Temperatures Properly

Measuring ocean temperature globally is harder than it sounds. But it is crucial to understanding climate, because most of the heat in the climate system (water, air, ice, and snow) is stored in the oceans. Ocean temperature is a better indicator of global warming than air temperature, but we care more immediately about air temperature because we live on land.

Figure 15: The Argo network has over 3,000 floats measuring temperature in all of the oceans

The Argo network of over 3,000 duck diving floats has finally overcome many of the problems, but only became operational in mid-2003.

Ocean temperature data before Argo is nearly worthless. Before Argo, starting in the early 1960s, ocean temperatures were measured with bathythermographs (XBTs). They are expendable probes lowered into the water, that measure temperature and pressure, and transmit data back along a pair of thin wires. They were nearly all launched from ships along the main commercial shipping lanes, so geographical coverage of the world’s oceans was poor—for example the huge southern oceans were not monitored. XBTs do not go as deep as Argo floats, and their data is much less accurate (they move too quickly through the water).

Oceans Are Cooling

Argo found that the oceans have been in a slight cooling trend since at least late-2004. Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in charge of the Argo data, said in March 2008 on NPR: “There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant”.

The Argo data originally showed a strong cooling trend. Josh Willis was surprised at the results: “every body was telling me I was wrong”, because it didn’t agree with the climate models or satellite observations of net radiation flux. (Willis, who has written a paper with the father of alarmism James Hansen, had an “eye-opening” brush with Rush Limbaugh over the original data.) Willis decided to recalibrate the Argo data by omitting readings from some floats that seemed to be giving readings that were too cold.

(This is an example of a general problem with data in climate science: believers hold all the authority positions in climate science and own (manage) all the datasets. Datasets that contradict their theory have a habit of being recalibrated or otherwise adjusted for technical reasons, and the changes to the datasets always make them more supportive of the theory of man-made global warming. It has happened several times now—but by chance alone you would expect technical adjustments to make the data less supportive of any given position about half the time. Don’t be surprised if the Argo data for the last few years is “revised” at some stage to show warming instead of slight cooling.)

The Argo results shown here are the new data, after those omissions were made:

Figure 16: The ocean heat content from mid 2003 to early 2008, as measured by the Argo network, for 0 – 700 meters in depth. The vertical axis measures changes in units of 1022 Joules (about 0.01°C). There is seasonal fluctuation because the oceans are mainly in the southern hemisphere

They Keep Quiet About The Results

The western climate establishment run the Argo network, but they have made it extraordinarily difficult to obtain the ocean temperature from the Argo data. (On the Internet there is raw Argo data, related results like some Pacific temperatures or temperature by depth at some locations, and float positions. But the computations to move from there to the global ocean temperature are prohibitively complex.) There is no graph of global ocean temperature from up-to-date Argo data on the public web; in contrast, there are several for air temperature.

Basically the only way to get Argo’s global ocean temperatures is to ask Josh Willis (above) and get lucky. The graph here comes from Craig Loehle, who got the data from Willis a couple of years ago, analyzed it, and put the results in a peer reviewed paper available on the Internet. Willis now won’t give out the data (maybe it undermines the establishment?): here he turns down non-establishment climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr (Sept 2010).

Why is there no website showing the latest global ocean temperature as measured by Argo? The western public have paid for this data and it is crucial to the climate debate, so why isn’t it freely available?

If the Argo data showed a warming trend, don’t you suppose it would be publicized endlessly? The climate establishment and the mainstream media are keen to trumpet any evidence of warming. Good news! From the silence we can only conclude that Argo is not showing any ocean warming.

In science, data is supposed to be shared. The climate establishment’s behavior over ocean temperatures shows they are more interested in shaping the public’s perception than finding the truth.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Australian Greenies to push up the price of food

AUSTRALIAN households are already pay the highest ever rates for electricity. Now get ready to start doing the same for food and clothing. Proposed drastic cuts to water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin will hit farmers from Griffith to Narrabri and send supermarket prices soaring, industry experts said.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority - an independent body charged with "restoring balance" in some of the country's most productive agricultural areas - released a proposal yesterday to cut up to 37 per cent from irrigators' water allotments.

The full cost is expected to be at least $1.1 billion in lost agricultural production, while some regional towns relying on irrigation farming may become ghost towns. The authority believes just 800 jobs will be lost, but the NSW Irrigators Council reckons that figure will be more like 17,000.

Regional Australia isn't happy but the flow-on effect will be felt as keenly in the city with more costly food and clothing, to go with already high cost-of-living pressure. "There will be riots in the streets, which is a colourful statement but this is clearly a plan to not only hurt our farmers but to depopulate regional Australia," Murrumbidgee Irrigation chairwoman Gillian Kirkup said.

In NSW, the report recommends cuts of up to 43 per cent in the Murrumbidgee and up to 37 per cent in the Murray and Gwydir as part of a plan to direct more water toward environmental purposes, such as desalination.

Farmers Association vice-president Peter Darley said the report could spell the end of farming as we know it. "They have put environmental flows ahead of food security, which is disgusting," Mr Darley said. "The cuts will push the price of food up but by how much only time will tell. But retailers will certainly capitalise on this."

The report also warns that tough restrictions on the use of Australia's most productive river network - the source of 40 per cent of our food - could push cotton farmers in the state's north to alternative crops, or right off the land. "Some service centres may become more welfare dependent," the Murray-Darling Basin Authority report [smugly] said.

The authority wants to raise environmental water flow [i.e. let the water run straight out to sea] from 58 per cent to 67-70 per cent in a bid to save native birds, fish and trees. The study is a "guide" for a draft report which will lead to a final document not expected before the end of 2011.



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


8 October, 2010

A stronger Sun actually cools the Earth

An increase in solar activity from the Sun actually cools the Earth, suggests new research that will renew the debate over the science behind climate change. The research overturns traditional assumptions about the relationship between the sun and global warming.

Focused on a three-year snapshot of time between 2004 and 2007, the findings will be seized upon by those who believe that man's role in rises in the earth's temperature has been overstated.

As solar activity waned at the end of one of the Sun's 11-year cycles, the new data shows the amount of light and heat reaching the Earth rose rather than fell. Its impact on melting polar ice caps, and drying up rivers could therefore have been exaggerated by conventional climate models during the period.

Scientists also believe it may also be possible that during the next upturn of the cycle, when solar activity increases, there might be a cooling effect at the Earth's surface.

However while this may support climate change sceptics' arguments in the short term, long term analysis suggests it actually provides further evidence that the heating of the planet is more than a natural, cyclical phenomenon.

Over the past century, overall solar activity has been increasing and should therefore cool the Earth, yet global temperatures have increased.

Professor Joanna Haigh, from Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "These results are challenging what we thought we knew about the sun's effect on our climate. "However, they only show us a snapshot of the sun's activity and its behaviour over the three years of our study could be an anomaly.

"We cannot jump to any conclusions based on what we have found during this comparatively short period and we need to carry out further studies to explore the sun's activity and the patterns that we have uncovered on longer timescales. "However, if further studies find the same pattern over a longer period of time, this could suggest that we may have overestimated the Sun's role in warming the planet, rather than underestimating it."

She denied that it would fuel scepticism about climate change research. "I think it doesn't give comfort to the climate sceptics at all," she said. "It may suggest that we don't know that much about the Sun. It casts no aspersions at all upon the climate models."

The research, published in the journal Nature, is based on data from a satellite called SORCE (Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment) that has been measuring the sun's energy output at X-ray, ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths.

Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, said: "We know that the Earth's climate is affected both by human activity and by natural forces and today's study improves our understanding of how the Sun influences our climate.

"Studies like this are vital for helping us to create a clear picture of how our climate is changing and through this, to work out how we can best protect our planet."


Lubos Motl on "Splattergate"

Ending on "What's good for the goose is good for the gander"

In The Guardian, film director Franny Armstrong (who has already contributed to an aptly named movie called Age of Stupid) claims that their conscience is fine because they have only killed 5 people while 300,000 people are killed by climate change every year. Well, they have actually killed 7 people in the video (murderers of their caliber probably can no longer even count the victims) - and global climate change kills 0 people a year. But is a murder of 5 or 7 people insufficient?

I hope that this mini-movie will make many people realize that climate alarmism is a genuine threat for our freedom, democracy, prosperity, and even security, much like islamic terrorism, and we may have to do something about it. It was actually difficult for me to believe that the movie was created by the actual alarmists. Wasn't it just a movie paid for by some skeptics to exaggerate how a typical alarmist thinks and to blow a final lethal blow to the AGW movement?

Is there any exaggeration in the movie at all? Maybe, the climate alarmists really want to scare the ordinary people to death - make them think that they will be killed if they openly display the skepticism. What will you do, the ordinary people? Are you scared? Well, believe me, children would surely be scared.

An initial caption on the YouTube video argued that there was a "shrinking time frame" for a climate action. Oh, really? (If there were a climate threat of any kind, it would take centuries for it to become substantial.) So maybe if there is such a "shrinking time frame", you may really want to start to kill the people around, right? Franny Armstrong told the Guardian that the detonation could be exaggerated but they could amputate the skeptics' arms and legs. She thinks it's a great and funny idea that should spread in the society.

The explosions of the people may have been computer tricks. But to be sure, the 10:10 campaign has equally passionately destroyed a big airplane, and this act was for real. The airplane was cut into pieces, melted, and transformed into lots of tags with the Nazi-like logo of the eco-terrorist organization.

A self-described "friend" of the inhuman creatures behind the 10:10 movement, who is also harbored by The Guardian, a left-wing U.K. daily, asked his "friends" about the effects and motivations for this shocking piece of work. My understanding is that these unhinged people really want to detonate - or at least scare - millions of humans because they believe that climate action "has" to be done in 4 years (click for a 3-minute video explanation of the deadline). Wow.

The fact that environmentalism originally emerged from Nazism rather than communism has been made clear many times but few of us expected that the true "roots" of environmentalism would ever be made so self-evident, with so many famous people participating.

I think that many people keep on underestimating how serious those folks are about all these matters. The Guardian knew about the video - and praised it - yesterday. Jamie Glover, a boy who was the first male to explode in the video, was told that he had to be sacrificed to save the world. What did he say afterwards?

"Jamie Glover, the child-actor who plays the part of Philip and gets blown up, has similarly few qualms: "I was very happy to get blown up to save the world."

You see that there's no qualitative difference in their methods of brainwashing of the children between the greens and the conventional Islamic jidhadists. They're ready to sacrifice their life for the "highest value". Compare Jamie's answer with the Arabic hit song, "When We Die As Martyrs".

Well, hours after the video had to be removed, I hope that the reactions to the film have been genuinely fascinating for the ecofascists - and they will continue to be fascinating up to the very last 10 minutes and 10 seconds of global warming ecofascism.

In this sense, I favor the precautionary principle. Nothing else than a complete liquidation of the climate change ecofascism can safely protect the children's lives at school. Now, let me just press a little red button here.

More here

A more useful "10:10" goal

There is an ongoing and concerted effort [1] by a well-funded group of eco-warrior style partners [2] to reduce the emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases” for the sole purpose of reducing the impact of human developments on the “disruption of our climate”.

As a scientist with no faculty to support or a desk to defend, I am free from the shackles of academia that prevent the truth from surfacing. [3] So instead of aiming for a 10% reduction of “greenhouse gas emissions” some time before the end of this year, 2010, I propose to do the exact opposite and I’ll explain why.

First and foremost, there is not one single shred of evidence that so-called “greenhouse gases” do what they are alleged to do: warm the earth by either trapping or re-radiating some energy back to earth. [4]

Secondly, there is also no evidence that the increased level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is caused exclusively by the emissions from human developments. The only evidence that does exist quantifies the human emissions as no more than about 5% of all the atmospheric carbon dioxide. [5]

Thirdly, it is impossible for any gas to trap heat in our open-to-the-vacuum-of-space atmosphere. By definition any gas that is warmer than its neighbouring molecule will rise and in so doing lose its heat in the three ways that heat passes from one molecule to the next: conduction, convection and radiation. [6] Last but not least any heat that is re-radiated back to earth can not make the earth any warmer than it had become from solar radiation that made it warm in the first place. If that was not the case we could produce extra energy from chambers filled with carbon dioxide; if only that were true all our energy problems would be solved overnight.[7]

This is in fact the worst crime of junk-science claims - because carbon dioxide is not a “heat trapping” gas. Not in an open-to-the vacuum- of-space setting, only in a laboratory flask where the heat can not escape.

So then, instead of reducing our emissions and thus reducing our industrial output and thus reducing the wealth of all citizens dependent upon those emissions [8] [9], we should rather work to increase our emissions in order to spread wealth where there is now poverty, clean drinking water where now there is none, sanitation where now there is none and a life with basic education where now there is none. [10] [11] [12]

The terms “renewable” and “green energy” refer to sources that are not renewable, green or sustainable but are, in fact, glib green-wash misnomers hawked by big industry for the sole purpose of attracting big government subsidies taken from the taxpayer. [13] [14] [15]

Let us instead aim for an atmospheric carbon dioxide content of 1010 parts per million, as that would greatly enhance the growing potential of all our crops and also help trees to grow big and strong [16] [17].

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Designing Obamacar

Bureaucrats target SUVs, muscle cars, other consumer options

It's not enough for the Obama administration to take over America's largest automaker. The O Force is pushing to redesign every car on the road to reflect the bland, lifeless vision of an activist base committed to undoing the Industrial Revolution.

Proposed rules floated Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation would raise the existing corporate average fuel economy mandate of 35.5 mpg by 2016 to 60 mpg by 2025.

Even advocates admit the expected change would increase the cost of a new car by at least $2,670 - assuming it's even possible to meet the new target. Realistic goals, however, have never been the forte of the amateurs drafting the new regulations. The administration's goal has been to involve as many special interests as possible.

"We will continue to work with automakers, environmentalists and other stakeholders to encourage standards that reduce our addiction to foreign oil, save money for American drivers and clean up the air we breathe," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a statement last week. The same press release identified the stakeholders as "nongovernmental organizations, state and local governments, and labor unions" - in other words, everyone but consumers. That's a recipe for a typically disastrous committee-designed product that nobody wants. Here, the public won't have any other choice.

The administration's fact sheet on the scheme refers to engine "downsizing" as one of the goals of the new regulation. So forget about a new Ford Mustang GT or Chevy Tahoe. Mr. Obama wants to cram you and your family into a European-style microcar pulled by a struggling 3-cylinder engine. Realistically, even that would not cut it, and wasteful, heavy, feel-good hybrid systems would need to be bolted into each car. This represents a boon to the rent-seeking "green" companies peddling their subsidized wares, which would fail in an open market.

None of the proposed changes would do anything to make air more breathable. The internal-combustion engine has developed to the point where high performance is no longer accompanied by noxious fumes at the tailpipe. So, to remain relevant, bureaucrats have shifted focus away from actual pollution toward an obsession with eliminating carbon dioxide at the tailpipe. C02, of course, is the same gas you are exhaling as you read this. The utopian crackpots would be amusing if their schemes weren't backed up with governmental power.

The heart of the matter is that liberals hate motorcars. The automobile gives families the freedom of escaping the centrally planned urban landscape. Instead of depending on the timetables of the local transit authorities, car owners can go wherever they want, whenever they want in comfort and safety. The new Obamacar mandates will make travel by car less pleasant, reducing the allure of a personal sedan.

The free market is more than capable of producing clean, efficient engines that grow more fuel-efficient over time. That's because consumers consider the total cost of ownership as an important factor in their buying decisions. Shortcutting the market and freezing consumers out of the decision-making process unbalances the equation and eliminates factors such as safety, comfort, utility and fun in favor of gas mileage alone. That's exactly what the car-hating activists want.


Possible cause of bee die-off found

It's not global warming after all

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Liaisons between the military and academia are nothing new, of course. World War II, perhaps the most profound example, ended in an atomic strike on Japan in 1945 largely on the shoulders of scientist-soldiers in the Manhattan Project. And a group of scientists led by Jerry Bromenshenk of the University of Montana in Missoula has researched bee-related applications for the military in the past — developing, for example, a way to use honeybees in detecting land mines.

But researchers on both sides say that colony collapse may be the first time that the defense machinery of the post-Sept. 11 Homeland Security Department and academia have teamed up to address a problem that both sides say they might never have solved on their own.

“Together we could look at things nobody else was looking at,” said Colin Henderson, an associate professor at the University of Montana’s College of Technology and a member of Dr. Bromenshenk’s “Bee Alert” team.

Human nature and bee nature were interconnected in how the puzzle pieces came together. Two brothers helped foster communication across disciplines. A chance meeting and a saved business card proved pivotal. Even learning how to mash dead bees for analysis — a skill not taught at West Point — became a factor.

One perverse twist of colony collapse that has compounded the difficulty of solving it is that the bees do not just die — they fly off in every direction from the hive, then die alone and dispersed. That makes large numbers of bee autopsies — and yes, entomologists actually do those — problematic.

Dr. Bromenshenk’s team at the University of Montana and Montana State University in Bozeman, working with the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center northeast of Baltimore, said in their jointly written paper that the virus-fungus one-two punch was found in every killed colony the group studied. Neither agent alone seems able to devastate; together, the research suggests, they are 100 percent fatal.

“It’s chicken and egg in a sense — we don’t know which came first,” Dr. Bromenshenk said of the virus-fungus combo — nor is it clear, he added, whether one malady weakens the bees enough to be finished off by the second, or whether they somehow compound the other’s destructive power. “They’re co-factors, that’s all we can say at the moment,” he said. “They’re both present in all these collapsed colonies.”

Research at the University of California, San Francisco, had already identified the fungus as part of the problem. And several RNA-based viruses had been detected as well. But the Army/Montana team, using a new software system developed by the military for analyzing proteins, uncovered a new DNA-based virus, and established a linkage to the fungus, called N. ceranae.

“Our mission is to have detection capability to protect the people in the field from anything biological,” said Charles H. Wick, a microbiologist at Edgewood. Bees, Dr. Wick said, proved to be a perfect opportunity to see what the Army’s analytic software tool could do. “We brought it to bear on this bee question, which is how we field-tested it,” he said.

The Army software system — an advance itself in the growing field of protein research, or proteomics — is designed to test and identify biological agents in circumstances where commanders might have no idea what sort of threat they face. The system searches out the unique proteins in a sample, then identifies a virus or other microscopic life form based on the proteins it is known to contain. The power of that idea in military or bee defense is immense, researchers say, in that it allows them to use what they already know to find something they did not even know they were looking for.

But it took a family connection — through David Wick, Charles’s brother — to really connect the dots. When colony collapse became news a few years ago, Mr. Wick, a tech entrepreneur who moved to Montana in the 1990s for the outdoor lifestyle, saw a television interview with Dr. Bromenshenk about bees.

Mr. Wick knew of his brother’s work in Maryland, and remembered meeting Dr. Bromenshenk at a business conference. A retained business card and a telephone call put the Army and the Bee Alert team buzzing around the same blossom.

The first steps were awkward, partly because the Army lab was not used to testing bees, or more specifically, to extracting bee proteins. “I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

The process eventually was refined. A mortar and pestle worked better than the desktop, and a coffee grinder worked best of all for making good bee paste.

Scientists in the project emphasize that their conclusions are not the final word. The pattern, they say, seems clear, but more research is needed to determine, for example, how further outbreaks might be prevented, and how much environmental factors like heat, cold or drought might play a role.

They said that combination attacks in nature, like the virus and fungus involved in bee deaths, are quite common, and that one answer in protecting bee colonies might be to focus on the fungus — controllable with antifungal agents — especially when the virus is detected.

Still unsolved is what makes the bees fly off into the wild yonder at the point of death. One theory, Dr. Bromenshenk said, is that the viral-fungal combination disrupts memory or navigating skills and the bees simply get lost. Another possibility, he said, is a kind of insect insanity.

In any event, the university’s bee operation itself proved vulnerable just last year, when nearly every bee disappeared over the course of the winter.


"Green" policies hitting Australians hard in the pocket

THE triple whammy of soaring electricity, gas and water costs follows years of financial pain already biting into budgets across Victoria. A Herald Sun investigation has found typical households are paying a staggering $900 more for the essentials compared with 2005. The blowout is forcing some to cut back on fresh food and skip doctor visits when they are sick. Electricity and water bills are up an average 45 to 60 per cent. Gas is 20 per cent higher.

Thousands of struggling customers are seeking payment extensions to cope with the crippling costs. And industry experts warn it will only get worse.

Ben Freund, of price comparison service GoSwitch, said that electricity costs were set to explode over the next five years as governments forced companies to commit to more expensive forms of green energy such as solar and wind power, and homes overflowed with power-hungry appliances.

"The increase in the price of electricity will not just affect power bills but the entire cost of living," he said. "It will impact the price of groceries from the supermarket and the price of a takeaway coffee. "The causes are necessary and expensive upgrades to the network as well as environmental programs and mandatory renewable energy targets imposed by state and federal governments."

Analysts are tipping power bills to rise at least 10 per cent next year. That's $120-$170 extra for an average household. The hip-pocket hit will be less severe for those on market contracts or who shop around for the best deals.

Conservative estimates put the rise for gas at 5 per cent, or $50 more for a standard home on a basic tariff.

The Herald Sun review found annual utility bills have jumped up to six times faster than inflation in some parts of Victoria. Water bills have ballooned because of the drought and major project costs including the Wonthaggi desalination plant.

Exclusive modelling by Victoria's utilities watchdog, the Essential Services Commission, predicts annual water bills in Melbourne will surge by at least $70 after the next approved price rise flows through from July 1 next year. Increases of up to 10 per cent are locked in for next financial year to fund the State Government's water infrastructure, designed to secure future supplies.

Bill rises in country Victoria will range from at least $8 in the Lower Murray region to $88 in Wannon Water's area.

Victorian Council of Social Service chief Cath Smith said surging utility bills were being deeply felt across the community. "It's noticeable by all - even those who are better off - because the prices of other luxuries or items such as fridges, cars, airline tickets and flatscreen TVs have gone down," Ms Smith said. "Suddenly, instead, everyone is having to devote more of their income to the basic essentials."

Ms Smith said skyrocketing bills, especially for electricity, were hitting low-income households hard, along with pensioners and the jobless. "We know some people are sacrificing on fresh food and health because of utility and rent rises," she said. "They won't go to a doctor because of gap fees, or will share prescriptions among family members."

People desperately needed a boost to pensions and concession payments to deal with the cost crisis, she said.

Energy Retailers Association of Australia executive director Cameron O'Reilly said families that failed to curb energy consumption faced a rude shock. "The increased cost of generating power is going in one direction only, and that's up," Mr O'Reilly said.

"Costs of transporting electricity are also massively driven due to larger houses, population growth, big-screen TVs and the number one baddie of them all - air-conditioners."

St Vincent de Paul Society state president Tony Tome said even customers who weren't using any more power were being harshly stung. "More and more people are presenting, needing help with utilities accounts - whether that be extra time to pay, emergency relief, or food vouchers so that they can cover their bills," Mr Tome said.



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7 October, 2010

Legal Defeat for Global Warming in Kiwigate Scandal

By John O'Sullivan

New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction.

NIWA’s statement claims they were never responsible for the national temperature record (NZTR).The climb down is seen as a dramatic legal triumph for skeptics of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) who had initiated their challenge last August when petitioning the high court of New Zealand to invalidate the weather service’s reconstruction of antipodean temperatures.

According to NZCSC, climate scientists cooked the books by using the same alleged ‘trick’ employed by British and American doomsaying scientists. This involves subtly imposing a warming bias during what is known as the ‘homogenisation’ process that occurs when climate data needs to be adjusted.

The specific charge brought against the Kiwi government was that it’s climate scientists had taken the raw temperature records of the country and then adjusted them artificially with the result that a steeper warming trend was created than would otherwise exist by examination of the raw data alone.

Indeed, the original Kiwi records shows no warming during the 20th century, but after government sponsored climatologists had manipulated the data a warming trend of 1C appeared....

In circumstances strangely similar to those witnessed in the Climategate controversy Kiwigate appears to match Climategate in three key three facets. First, climate scientists declined to submit their data for independent analysis. Second, when backed into a corner the scientists claimed their adjustments had been ‘lost’. Third, the raw data itself proves no warming trend.

More HERE (See the original for references)

Satellitegate US Agency Faces Courtroom Climate Showdown

Note: The points made below reflect on the secretive attitudes of a major U.S. government climate agency: NOAA. It is this ethical malfeasance that is of concern. Like everything else, satellites break down eventually so it is not the breakdown that is of concern; It is the attempt to cover up the matter. Why the culture of secrecy? One guess.

Note that the temperature measurements reported by UAH under the guidance of Roy Spencer come from an entirely different satellite and are thus not impacted in any way by any of the matters mentioned below -- JR

by legal writer John O'Sullivan

The controversy over ‘Satellitegate’ hots up as NOAA faces a court appearance for refusing to release evidence that would show whether one or more US satellites exaggerated global warming temperatures

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on reporting the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. When the story first broke NOAA bizarrely announced it would withdraw satellite ‘images’ from its archives but failed to state whether reams of cooked data had also been withdrawn.

An official US Government statement last July confirmed that the NOAA-16 earth orbiting satellite used to measure surface temperatures suffered failure due to a “degraded” sensor system. But skeptics now fear that because government climate scientists won’t answer any more questions or reveal the discredited data archives they may be guilty of fraudulently cooking the books to show super boiling temperatures.

The story broke after an anonymous member of the public contacted a skeptic blog when he stumbled across thousands of alarming readings on a government website. The website showed thousands of surface temperatures of over 400 degrees fahrenheit. Dubbed Satellitegate the shocking revelations proved that all such bogus data had been fed automatically into data banks that the US Government then sold all over the world.

As proprietary temperature data products the junk numbers were used by domestic and international weather and climate researchers. Fears are growing that the junk data may have contaminated scores of climate models worldwide and artificially increased average global warming records by several degrees.

In the three months since the story hit the news NOAA still hasn’t come clean as to the true extent of the data contamination. Now it may be necessary for lawyers to file an official Freedom of Information request (FOIA) to compel the government, under federal legislation, to stop the cover up and reveal the truth.

What makes the Satellitegate controversy so intriguing are three simple questions:

1.Why do the thousands of high temperature “errors” favor the alarmist (thus government) case?

2.Why were such “errors” only acknowledged by the US government when the story became big news?

3.Why won’t NOAA answer my follow-on questions and release all the facts?

So how do anti-corruption specialists prove malfeasance/fraud under the civil burden of “the preponderance of the evidence?” Well, ultimately we need to demonstrate a good probability that X , Y or Z are unlikely to be merely incompetent time after time when their repeated errors favor only one outcome as opposed to a random one. When it becomes statistically improbable that such “errors” could be down to chance alone, that’s when a jury convicts.

What those without legal training also often fail to grasp are two key concepts that courts must address that may be fatal for those implicated parties:

(i)Omission-conscious failure to positively remedy a known error is malfeasance and may thus constitute conspiracy to commit fraud;

(ii)Loss or destruction of evidence by any party subject to an FOIA constitutes evidence abuse which is dealt with by the spoliation doctrine (i.e. the offending party is sanctioned under law because the law states that a party shall be punished when it ought to anticipate legal proceedings-thus securing conviction by default judgment).[1.]

The worst evidence of hyper-inflated global warming data that I found was on a web page entitled, ‘Michigan State University Remote Sensing & GIS Research and Outreach Services.’ When I contacted NOAA for further information I was denied by their lawyers. Is this necessary if we are talking about a non-problem over trivial errors of data no one uses? Does that smell of negligence or more of fraud? Taxpayers have a right to know what evidence has now become conveniently “lost” or destroyed.

NOAA and MSU have effectively blocked further access to all associated data preventing my associates and me from analyzing it to identify if there is any case to answer.

As any competent government corruption attorney will tell you, repeated errors constitute malfeasance when a continuous and unrelenting omission to address a known sequence of data ‘degradations’ can be judged to be nothing short of a conscious and willful act.

Moreover, when there is also the intentional failure to divulge the evidence that would prove conscious intent not to correct a fault in your favor then that is also proof of fraud. Thus, a group of those who knew of the errors and collectively and consciously failed to act are as guilty of conspiracy to defraud as those who perpretrated the original wrong. Bankers have been jailed for less, why aren’t climate scientists?


Climate Change: The data just isn't there

Add political bias to already shaky data and you get whatever you want -- anything but objective truth

By Dr. Tim Ball

Science must have accurate and adequate data. It’s the basis for producing or testing theories; without it results are meaningless. Inadequate data seriously limits climate research, but scientists and governments who manipulate it for political goals make it impossible. This occurs because most government weather and climate agencies work to create and confirm results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

On Oct 14, 2009 Kevin Trenberth, member of the IPCC and leading member of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) group, wrote one of the leaked emails that exposed climate science corruption. He said, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.” He made similar comments back in 1999 on the release of the National Research Council (NRC) report on weather data. The press release reported, “Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the record….place serious limitations on the confidence in the research results.” Trenberth commented “It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system…This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s gong on with climate, but we don’t.” This didn’t stop him participating in IPCC and CRU research.

Data collection is expensive and requires continuity – it’s a major role for government. They fail with weather data because money goes to political climate research. A positive outcome of corrupted climate science exposed by Climategate, is re-examination beginning with raw data by the UK Met Office (UKMO). This is impossible because much is lost, thrown out after modification or conveniently lost, as in the case of records held by Phil Jones, director of Climategate. (Here and Here)

Evidence of manipulation and misrepresentation of data is everywhere. Countries maintain weather stations and adjust the data before it’s submitted through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to the central agencies including the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), the Hadley Center associated with CRU now called CRUTEM3, and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

They make further adjustments before selecting stations to produce their global annual average temperature. This is why they produce different measures each year from supposedly similar data.

There are serious concerns about data quality. The US spends more than others on weather stations, yet their condition and reliability is simply atrocious. Anthony Watts has documented the condition of US weather stations; it is one of governments failures.

A US election candidate said electing her opponent was like hiring Count Dracula to run the blood bank. Putting a person who is fanatically opposed to CO2 production from fossil fuels in charge of climate data is similar. James Hansen is Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), a major source of global temperature data. He was arrested for protesting again recently right outside the White House. It’s another in a list of protests and arrests directed against CO2 from fossil fuels, with a special focus on coal.

Part of his political activity included a claim he was being muzzled. His former boss Dr. John Theon exposed the lie. “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Theon was even more pointed. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it.”

GISS results are derived GHCN data and are consistently different from those of other agencies. Under Hansen’s control GISS ‘adjustments’ and errors always produce higher temperatures.


Britain needs more nuclear plants, not wind farms

By Nigel Farage a Ukip South East MEP,

Britain faces a power crisis of unimaginable proportions. Our generating capacity is degrading at a rapid pace, and according to energy minister Chris Huhne, we face power blackouts in a few years.

Indeed, we are looking at a shortfall of at least 40 per cent as our elderly nuclear and conventional gas, coal and oil power stations reach their dotage. As they close, the spectre of fuel poverty will continue to raise its head.

During last winter, that coldest of cold snaps, according to official statistics, thousands of pensioners died because they were unable to afford to heat their homes. Sadly this is just the beginning.

Our economy runs on power. After wages, the biggest cost to most businesses is energy. We have all seen domestic bills soar in recent years, cutting into our disposable income and making life much less pleasant. How can this be?

It is not as if we don't know that we need power, it is not as if siren voices haven't been warning us for at least a decade that unless we seriously invest in energy generation we will be back to candles and watermills.

Only last week, Mr Huhne was bobbing self-importantly around in the midst of the Great Thanet wind farm. He, too, is worried about the shortfall in our energy supply, and he, like so many of our political and social elite, sees developments like the Swedish Vattenfall's wind farm as the only way forward. It isn't, and here is why.

They need back-up power (read conventional power stations - the ones that are closing down) running continuously in case the wind stops blowing. Even if they did work as we are told, to supply the UK's energy needs of 78GW we would require at least 78,000 5MW turbines.

The Government boasts that we have 4,500 of them. They are not self-funding like other kinds of power, and can only survive with subsidies such as the upwards of 14 per cent secretly added to everybody's electricity bill to pay for our EU-inspired Renewable Energy Obligation.

And you thought the wind was free? They are unreliable and the power from them is unpredictable. The Government talks about full capacity - at best they run at 26 per cent, which means you can only expect to get 1MW from a 4MW turbine.

They fail to provide jobs. Vattenfall boasts that East Kent will get 21 jobs in Ramsgate, but the company will get £1.2 billion in subsidy over the next 20 years, if they last that long. We have no idea how much maintenance will cost. Anybody who lives near the sea will tell you about the ability of salt to gum up the works. These precision instruments will break down.

If we are worried about power then sadly these ornaments, these vanity projects will never provide the power we need. According to figures released this week by the Government's own UK Energy Research Centre, the energy produced at Thanet over the projected 25 year lifespan of the farm, measured in megawatt hours, is expected to be £149 a pop. That compares with £80 for coal and gas, and £97 for nuclear power. Costs have increased for all generation, but offshore wind farms are way the most expensive.

This is, of course, madness but it is the collective lunacy of our political class. Two years ago, Parliament near unanimously supported the Climate Change Act. This forces us to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, at a cost of up to £18 billion a year, or £734 billion in total. They have done this to apply EU rules.

What they don't tell you is that they are slowly seeing through the climate scam themselves. Only in June at the Bilderburg conference of world leaders the agenda read: "The conference will deal mainly with financial reform, security, cyber technology, energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, world food problem, global cooling, social networking, medical science, EU-US relations."


An Escape clause from California's global warming law

If Proposition 23 on the Nov. 2 ballot doesn't pass, your lives, livelihoods and liberties will come inescapably under the thumb of the Administrative State.

Prop. 23 would merely delay – mind you, not repeal – implementation of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, perhaps the most arrogantly misnamed law the California Legislature ever passed.

The Act, also known as Assembly Bill 32, set in motion an army of unelected, unaccountable Air Resources Board bureaucrats to write restrictive regulations and concoct an arbitrary cap-and-trade program to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, principally carbon dioxide. In effect, AB32 imposes a onerous energy tax to transfer wealth from innocent taxpayers and politically out-of-favor industries to endeavors that can't pay for themselves without taxpayer subsidies, things like windmill farms.

For perspective, carbon dioxide is the stuff you exhale. It's essential for plant growth, making it necessary for human existence. It's also a byproduct of virtually every human commercial activity, from pouring concrete to driving a car to flipping the light switch. What CO2 isn't, is a pollutant, even though the Supreme Court was persuaded to declare it one in 2007.

If government can regulate, tax and ration CO2, government can control just about everything. That's not hype.

Prop. 23 would delay this army of bureaucrats from inflicting who-knows-what economy-killing policies yet to be drafted. That's obviously prudent, considering unemployment in this state persistently hovers above 12 percent, and state government already is dysfunctional and out of control. The delay would prevent the state from rewarding friends and punishing enemies until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters, which has occurred three times in the past 40 years.

AB32 is wrong in at least two significant ways. It's based on bad science and will result in bad economics.

The Science

The first thing to understand is that the only place manmade CO2 ever created catastrophe is in computer models. In fact, the presumed cause-and-effect relationship of CO2 and higher temperatures also exists only in theory.

If higher levels of CO2 were an absolute cause of hotter temperatures, we would have seen temperatures soar over the past dozen years because CO2 levels dramatically shot up. Instead, temperatures have been level or declining.

Then there's the inconvenient truth that the Earth has been at least as warm, or even much warmer than it is today, long before man began spewing CO2 into the air anywhere near the rate we do now.

Some of the same climate alarmists who demand we implement Draconian controls like AB32 are the same people who insisted in the 1970s the Earth was headed into a new Ice Age that would kill millions and cripple civilization. That catastrophe didn't happen, but we are to trust that this one will. Chicken Little comes to mind.

Not incidentally, the motive in the '70s was the same as today: control. Whether we're going to freeze or roast, the argument is that government must have greater control to save us.

Speaking of ice ages, the planet has been coming out of the most recent one for a few hundred years, quite a while before the uptick in industrial CO2 emissions of the past half century. One might reasonably surmise that we should be getting a tad warmer. If there's any increased warming in the past century, it's as likely a natural cycle as any other explanation.

Then there's this: Even by alarmists' calculations, temperatures over the past century increased less than 1 degree Celsius. If that sounds tiny, it's because it is. Is it conceivable when dealing with literally a fraction of a degree that the margin of error in measuring temperatures might come into play? You decide.

After the Soviet Union fell, more than 100 surface climate-data stations in the eastern portion of the nation, including Siberia, stopped recording temperatures. Russians had more important things to do. About that time, the so-called average global temperature began increasing.

Measuring stations that record surface temperatures "are disappearing worldwide at an alarming rate," says meteorologist Anthony Watts. Some have been closed, including many in Canada and Russia. Others simply disappeared. Those remaining can be problematic. Many once were located in placid pastoral settings but today are on heat-reflecting concrete and asphalt.

Watts' documented 1,003 of the 1,221 U.S. measuring stations and found many "located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas. In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements."

Those measurements, probably a better yardstick for how hot concrete can get than atmosphere, are included when calculating the so-called global temperature.

"How do we know global warming is a problem if we can't trust the U.S. temperature record?" Watts asks. By the way, the U.S. measuring stations are universally regarded to be far more reliable than the rest of the world's.

When climate researchers' e-mails were leaked last year, it was apparent that they consistently resisted challenges to their practices. One practice is "adjusting" temperature readings to align them with what "should" be expected – at least what is expected by researchers, whose grants hinge on defining global warming as a problem. A Russian think tank charged that measurements still being collected in that country were cherry-picked, discarding lower temperatures.

Let's sum up: Incomplete, questionable, perhaps cherry-picked temperatures that are "adjusted." Did we mention margin of error?

It is this hodgepodge of sporadic, questionable temperature data that's fed into the touted computer models to project the future. Garbage in, garbage out?

One more point: climatologists on both sides agree that they haven't a clue whether or how much clouds increase, decrease or do both to global temperatures. They generally agree, however, clouds have far greater influence than CO2.

The Economics

If AB32 isn't stopped, by the time it is fully implemented it will have cost California about 1 million lost jobs, according to a Cal State Sacramento study. It also will increase costs for anything produced by energy. Electricity rates will go up as much as 60 percent, according to the Southern California Public Power Authority, and gasoline, diesel and natural gas prices will increase.

Opponents of Prop. 23 say the global warming law will offset this harm by creating "green" jobs. They promise these "clean-energy" jobs will sprout within renewable-energy industries, such as solar and wind power.

Next time you drive past windmill farms in the hinterlands, count how many "workers" you see toiling away. I've never see one. Ask yourself how many times you'll need to hire a "green" installer to put that outdoor plumbing on your roof to rig your house with solar panels.

Well, there's always the manufacturing jobs AB32 will create. In China.

To become windmill-reliant, whatever manufacturing jobs are created, there won't be many in California because of its burdensome, costly regulations. China, which doesn't have a cap-and-trade scheme that inhibits manufacturers, builds windmills for places like California, which we are told must have a cap-and-trade scheme. What's wrong with this picture?

Christopher Horner, author of "Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed," notes that advocates for laws like AB32 say we must not let China win the windmill race. The fact is, the U.S. already has installed 33 percent more windmills than China, which apparently prefers selling them to saps like us. Incidentally, every three weeks China brings online a new, CO2-spewing, coal-fired power plant to meet its energy needs.

Let's allow, for argument's sake, that green jobs should be encouraged. Here's the problem: They are economic losers. Ask Germany, the Netherlands or Spain. In Spain, where green jobs are heavily subsidized by taxes, for every green job created, two normal jobs were lost. Moreover, those thrown out of work required unemployment aid.

Does it make sense to create a new economic model based on a product, whether windmills, solar panels or biofuels, that must be subsidized by taxpayers? Even if we disregard the viable jobs and profitable industries destroyed by such a policy, what of the tax-subsidized new ones we create?

"The very presence of subsidies and targeted favors for a particular good means that the real value of the resources being used to create that good is greater than the value of the good itself," William L. Anderson, associate professor of economics at Frostburg State University, writes in the Freeman. "No economy can grow under such circumstances. The reality is that 'green energy' actually causes the economy to contract."


God isn't dead – he has just turned green

The young don't need religion, as the environment gives them all the certainty they need, says Robert Colvile in Britain

First, the good news: Richard Dawkins's campaign to turn Britain's children against organised religion seems to have failed. Unfortunately, it hasn't done so because of the depth of Christian belief in this country, but because kids, by and large, can't be bothered with religion at all.

According to The Faith of Generation Y, a study of 300 people born after 1982 who have been involved in the Church's youth and community projects, hostility towards Christianity has faded into brute indifference. True, only 12 per cent denied the existence of a higher power, while 23 per cent were relatively traditional believers. But by far the most popular answer, collecting approximately 43 per cent of the vote, essentially amounted to "Dunno, really".

The explanation is simple: for those of us born in the Eighties and later, religion just doesn't impinge on our lives. My education was unusually traditional – as well as the statutory RE classes, there were daily chapel services and Bible readings, and I even served my time in the school choir as a warbling, off-key alto.

But as soon as we had the chance, even those brought up in the faith ditched religion as quickly as the Prodigal Son ditched his dear old dad. At university, theology was for the weirdos who were actually interested in the stuff, or for the dossers who thought it was an easy route to Oxbridge. The only visible religiosity came from the evangelical, Christian Union types – a weird, cultish sub-sect who just seemed too damned happy. In the 2001 census, a majority of my yearmates gave their religion as "Jedi", just because we thought it was funny.

So the new study does have a point when it claims that the "chain of Christian memory" has become "eroded", that Britons are no longer sustained by a common store of religious knowledge. But it comes a cropper when it paints a picture of an apathetic generation, slouching through life with its gaze fixed on the here-and-now, "not looking for answers to ultimate questions" and relying – when consolation is needed – on "a very faded, inherited cultural memory of Christianity in the absence of anything else".

For this generation is not, as the report says, "unstoried and memoryless" – it has turned to another story altogether. A couple of years ago, the Government sent every state school in England a copy of Teach Your Granny to Text, and Other Ways to Change the World – the result of an exercise in which more than 4,300 schoolchildren were asked to suggest ways to make the planet a better place. The majority of the published suggestions were about the environment: ask your dad to stop singing in the shower, so he wastes less water; don't waste electricity by leaving the charger connected to your mobile phone.

Greenery, as a secular religion, has come to dominate not just the curriculum, but the imagination. It's Blue Peter's recycled bottle tops on a grand scale: lessons on the dangers of global warming, projects on endangered species, litter-picking exercises. As any parent will testify, pester power is as often employed these days to guilt Dad into separating out the recyclables as to beg for the latest Transformer. Colleagues who have suffered their children's eco-scorn assure me that no member of the Inquisition was ever so ruthless, ever so certain of his faith, as their tiny Torquemadas.

For the Church, the problem is clear. Environmentalism can offer all the upsides of faith – the sense of community, of certainty, of moral superiority – with none of the nagging doubts. The idea that Jesus died for your sins can be hard to get your head around. How much simpler, and how much more appropriate for our age, is the idea that you can save your soul, and the world, simply by shopping in the organic aisle.



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


6 October, 2010

British climate activist Jo Abbess thinks the eco-Fascist video is just fine

Abbess is best known for getting the BBC to censor one of their stories.

She first reveals below, mockingly, that she knows the 10:10 video is ecofascist but then goes on to approve of it. That would once have been called "nailing your colours to the mast". Should we say "Heil Abbess"? No doubt she would like that. She does seem a lonely soul -- determined to take out her own unhappiness on mainstream society

In a critical stage of the the battle to win hearts and minds with a massive global campaign, Franny Armstrong has decided to blow up every ounce of credibility she has ever earned** by agreeing to produce what has to be the most repulsive**, sick** little film in the entire universe.

Or not. Depending on whether you find the viral transmission of outrageously disgusting** YouTube movies humourous. Or not.

It’ll certainly get the 10:10 campaign through to people, but maybe not quite in the way she intended. I’m thinking fatwas**.

So much for decades of trying to convince people that the green movement isn’t all about world domination through domestic fascism and mind control.

Wave goodbye to all that hard work to sell the concept that eco-living is about a shared vision, building bridges and finding common ground – no pressure.

Eco-fascism. It’s right back there on the agenda now, thanks to you, Franny**.

And it’s going to encourage very nasty e-mails. Which we really don’t need. Oh goody. It’s already attracted enough complaints about violence for you to take it down from the 10:10 website. Good call, I’d say :-

** No relationships were harmed in the making of this post – it’s all intended to be ironic. If you didn’t realise that, sorry, but it should have been really obvious. Franny Armstrong is a fabulous individual, as everybody knows, and the 10:10 campaign is ultra cool. It’s a shame that this mini-movie didn’t work for so many people. We’re all different, and we all have a different sense of humour, and that’s great. Go on, pass the YouTube link on to someone and start a conversation. No pressure.


The Environmental Activist mind-set: The Age of Utter Stupidity

We have had “An Inconvenient Truth”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Acid Test” “The Age of Stupid”, all propaganda films pushing the central tenets of the Global Warming movement and produced by professional film-makers.

We have had scary adverts for children, warning of the planet’s imminent collapse unless we “mend our ways” and that means your parents, kids.

We now have a new low in media presentations, a film that was available on You Tube, until it was pulled today, within a few hours of the exposure it received when the Guardian highlighted it as part of their support for the 10:10 climate change campaign. I suspect they were quite surprised by the reactions even from AGW supporters.

This delightful film series has the title “No Pressure” and is written by Richard Curtis, a highly successful writer with a long list of comedy successes to his name. It comes from the Franny Armstrong stable, famous for the dreadful “Age of Stupid” film, showing a world destroyed by its inhabitants. This nice little example is no comedy, although it producers think it is highly entertaining. The title of the Guardian article in which the film is linked, is entitled: “There will be blood”.

The main message from the film is that the planet has only four years left for long term survival unless we all cut back our emissions of CO2 now. Anyone who doesn’t agree is detonated, with lots of blood and guts sprayed around. It even has a rider attached that says: This film contains scenes that some viewers may find distressing. Not suitable for children.

This is what activist film maker Franny Armstrong thinks about her work:

“Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age. What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet?

Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start? jokes 10:10 founder and Age of Stupid film maker Franny Armstrong.”

This woman is so hilarious it hurts. So anyone who disagrees with them has “an affliction” and is threatening everybody’s existence on the planet. What crass, hubristic arrogance from this spoilt brat.

The Guardian interviewer asks her, “But why take such a risk of upsetting or alienating people?”

Her reply: “Because we have got about four years to stabilise global emissions and we are not anywhere near doing that. All our lives are at threat and if that’s not worth jumping up and down about, I don’t know what is.”

“We ‘killed’ five people to make No Pressure - a mere blip compared to the 300,000 real people who now die each year from climate change,” she adds.

Of course she has no evidence to back up this valueless claim, which comes from the United Nations, but in fact previous centuries have shown considerable mortality from extreme weather events long before carbon dioxide became flavour of the month.

They are perverting the minds of young children:

“Jamie Glover, the child-actor who plays the part of Philip and gets blown up, has similarly few qualms: “I was very happy to get blown up to save the world.”

Although again intended to be in jest, (I hope), is it an over-reaction to suggest that that sounds like a jihadist?

Richard Curtis, is equally proud of the production: “The writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Blackadder and an early 10:10 supporter, acknowledges that the 10:10 film is very direct.”

“The 10:10 team are a fearless, energetic bunch, completely dedicated to getting the public fired up about climate change. They also turn out to be surprisingly good at blowing stuff up,” he said.”

So how many eco-terrorists of the future are they fostering by this crude attempt at propaganda. Maybe their next proposal will be to “eliminate” China to stop their emissions.

Armstrong’s film, the “Age of Stupid”, was embraced by the Royal Society in March this year, when they organized a Public Symposium with the Tate Modern Gallery in London. It’s title was: Rising to the Climate Challenge - Artists and Scientists Imagine Tomorrow’s World.

“Tate and the Royal Society collaborate by bringing together scientists and artists to imagine the social and psychological impacts of climate change.

On 19 and 20 March, Tate and the Royal Society collaborate to bring you a screening of the film The Age of Stupid following, (sic) by a discussion and a public symposium about the social and psychological impacts of climate change.”

If that is what passes for science today from the august 300 year old Royal Society, it’s no wonder they had so many complaints from their members that they have had to re-write their treatise on climate change to remove a lot of the non-science.

Franny Armstrong has a film company called “Spanner Films”:

“Former pop drummer and self-taught filmmaker Franny Armstrong, born 1972, has directed three feature documentaries - The Age of Stupid (2008), McLibel (2005) and Drowned Out (2003) - which have together been seen by 70 million people on TV, cinema, internet and DVD worldwide. In the early days of the internet in 1996 she founded the McSpotlight website, which Wired magazine described as “the blueprint for all activist websites”.

Through her company, Spanner Films, “Franny” pioneered the “crowd-funding” finance model, which allows filmmakers to raise reasonable-size budgets whilst retaining ownership of their films - Age of Stupid is the most successful known example, raising 900,000+pounds from 300+ investors - as well as the “Indie Screenings” distribution system, which lets anyone make a profit by holding screenings of independent films - Stupid was screened locally 1,100+ times in the first six months.

Then in September 2009, a million people watched Stupid’s Global Premiere event - featuring Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson & Radiohead’s Thom Yorke - in 700 cinemas in 63 countries, linked by satellite. In September 2009 Franny founded the 10:10 climate campaign, which aims to cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 10% during 2010.

It seems that she has found considerable traction and no doubt funding, from public companies and government bodies.

The campaign has amassed huge cross-societal support including Adidas, Microsoft, Spurs FC, the Royal Mail, 75,000 people, 1,500 schools, a third of local councils, the entire UK Government and the Prime Minister, (then Gordon Brown, no doubt the new incumbent has been happy to go along with it as well) 10:10 launched internationally in March 2010 and, as of July 2010, has autonomous campaigns up and running in 41 countries, where some of the key sign-ups include the French Tennis Open, the city of Oslo and L’Oreal.

Armstrong’s parents are both in the environment game and also feature on the spannerfilms website.

Her step-mother is co-founder of the OneWorld Network and co-director of OneWorld UK.

Her father, Peter, is co-founder of the OneWorld Network and director for the OneWorld International Foundation, although their site shows no activities since 2008. He is described as a former BBC radio and TV producer and a policy advisor to governments and international bodies on the use of information and communications technology for global sustainable development.

Let us hope that this excursion into the ridiculous will make her sponsors think again about their relationship with this type of distorted propaganda.

Comment by Piers Corbyn:

I fear we are seeing a rise of real eco-fascism which fits neatly with the world rise of religiosity which follows from the spinelessness and corruption of modern politics in the face of globalisation. Governments the world over are looking to impose strong states and autocracy and these sorts of propaganda film - the fact they can even be thought of - spells possibilities to them certainly first in the form of lesser threats such as job security, wages etc. Galileo was only shown the instruments of torture, remember; but Bruno had been burnt at the stake before.

Consider this question: Why hasn't the film been denounced by EVERY leading politician in the world? Suppose it was produced as an attack on black people or gays or jews and the questions to the children were like 'Hands up those who think it's better to be white/straight/gentile' and then for those who didn't raise their hands POW+SPLAT. Yes such a film would not even have been thought of, but this? Well, The Guardian thought it was OK to POW+SPLAT those who don't accept fraud and support evidence-based science.

There is evil at the core of the CO2-Global Warmists movement and they must be fought all the way. They will NOT wither away in their own stupidity.

Recall during the rise of Hitler the Brownshirts went along with Hitler's more extreme views thinking it would all be OK in the end. Many communists took the view 'After Hitler our turn', believing that Hitler was so extreme people would see through him. NOT SO. The Brownshirts were massacred and the communists went up the chimneys via death camps. And note the historical fact; what we call working liberal democracy only exists in a minority fraction of the world and in terms of human existence it is but like a single tea party in the norm of human existence which for thousands of years has been dominated by tribalism, dictators, monarchs and war-lords.

I attended that Fran Armstrong Tate Modern +Royal Society poorly attended discussion at the SouthBank in March and asked the straightforward question WHAT IS YOUR EVIDENCE? They had no answer but bluster and a clear indication that supporters of evidenced-based science was a sub-species she neither understood nor welcomed.

The new wave of eco-fascists are dangerously self righteous; and it's a short step from that to extreme action against 'THE enemy' and to even the likes of suicide bombing - not Fran Armstrong or Curtis of course but their misguided followers.

“We ‘killed’ five people to make No Pressure - a mere blip compared to the 300,000 real people who now die each year from climate change,” Fran Armstrong said.


For example, a number of people were killed on UK and European icy roads last winter (and Spring) due to the fact that the UK and Europe ran out of road salt. This running out of road salt was because Councils and Government heeded the Met Office advice that there would be a mild winter and ignored our WeatherAction warnings that the UK would run out of road salt.

As I explained to Hilary Benn on Sept 29th at the Labour conference in Manchester, the reason why the Met Office long-range forecasts were so deadly wrong last winter . (and the one before, etc. etc.) was because they back-tested them using (as well as failed assumptions ) CRU data which was fraudulently made warmer than reality: so forecasts based on that are bound to come out too warm and cause deaths which could otherwise have been avoided.

I made the point specific in a recent video giving the tragic example of the child killed on 31st March in a school bus which crashed on snow covered black ice in Lanarkshire.

Around the world thousands die from extreme weather events, the solar-based forecasts of which are ignored by governments because they do not want to upset the CO2-Climate Change ideology on which they rely to control energy, resources, the public and to raise carbon taxes and boost the carbon trading bubble of false values.


American Environmentalists mostly refuse to condemn British eco-fascist video

Although the British organization which created an advertisement depicting the gruesome murder of its conservative opponents has since apologized and removed the ad from its website, American environmentalists have stayed largely quiet about the affair.

The Daily Caller asked six key environmentalist groups about the ad. Only one group, Greenpeace, responded, with a tepid denunciation the advertisement.

The advertisement depicts a series of authority figures asking crowds to participate in voluntary efforts to cut energy use. The few in the crowd who do not volunteer – including two schoolchildren — are graphically blown to pieces, with their blood and guts covering the others in the room.

“Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended,” said 10:10, the British group who created the ad.

Of the environmental organizations contacted by TheDC, only Greenpeace offered its take on the ad.

“As an organization committed to non-violence, I think you can imagine how Greenpeace views this material. At this time, the only people promoting the material are climate skeptics and think tanks funded by corporations known for lobbying against climate change legislation,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Jane Kochersperger.

Another American environmental group,, also denounced the advertisement in more forceful terms.

“ strongly denounces the ‘No Pressure’ video released in the UK by the 10:10 Campaign,” the group said in a written statement. “The video is diametrically opposed to everything we and this movement stands for.” even severed its ties to 10:10. “Upon seeing the video…we have informed 10:10 that we can no longer remain partners on 10/10/10 or any other initiative,” the group said.

However,’s denunciation appeared to be at odds with a variety of other environmental groups who chose not to comment on the violent advertisement.

TheDC contacted the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund, but none of the groups responded. Neither have those groups posted statements to their website as of press time.

Frequently outgunned in resources by industry opponents to their efforts, environmental groups are savvy practitioners of public relations battles and typically respond quickly on issues they wish to comment on.


Sony, Kyocera bail out of violent climate video outfit

Sony and Kyocera Mita are no longer listed as sponsors of the violence-advocating 10:10 climate group. (h/t Paul Chesser)

In addition to Sony and Kyocera leaving 10:10, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Deere & Co., Xerox and Marsh & McClennan have abandoned the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP).

Is corporate support for the green agenda melting faster than the Arctic ice cap?


"We are now on the edge of seeing the entire international climate regime system disintegrate and fail more or less irreversibly."

Notes the BBC

This week marks a first for China - the first time that the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and therefore (you can argue) the country whose decisions will most affect the global climate over the next few decades, has hosted a meeting of the UN climate convention.

Whether the location will play a part in the progress of the talks is an unknown at this point.

What is certain, though, is that almost a year after the Copenhagen summit, there is tangible fear among some long-time observers that the UN process is close to becoming moribund.

As one such observer recently said privately:

"We are now on the edge of seeing the entire international climate regime system disintegrate and fail more or less irreversibly."

And with it, many would argue, would go any hope of restraining the global average temperature rise within the 2C limit that has become such a commonly-cited touchstone of "maximum safe" warming.

Indications are that the US - which effectively holds power of veto over the talks - is angling to downgrade the role of the UN process.

Officials have constantly and openly praised the Copenhagen Accord, the document agreed behind closed doors by a handful of countries in the last throes of that summit, as a template for action - conscious as they are that it does not have the status of an official UN agreement, and that it's predicated on the concept of unilateral, voluntary actions, rather than the negotiated approach implicit in the UN climate convention....

There is little notion here of the world finding itself in a mess that affects everyone, and plotting a coherent path out of that mess in a way that helps those at the greatest risk most - which is what the UN convention is ostensibly about.

Now, the talk from officials and politicians is "no binding deal in Cancun - but aiming for a binding deal in South Africa (at the end of 2011)".

If anyone can show me (a) that the US will be able to demonstrate by then that it can meet its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17% cut in emissions between 2005 and 2020, or (b) that there will be genuine desire across all important parties for a binding deal by the end of next year, then please post a comment.


More environmental lunacy in Australia

FIVE dead trees could cost the Gold Coast a $100 million development because they might be home to an owl and a sugar glider. In an evaluation of a proposed Upper Coomera project, council environmental bureaucrats ruled that the dead 'owl house' trees on the site could not be cut down.

The ruling effectively removes six lots worth a total of $1.2 million from the proposed multimillion-dollar Upper Coomera residential project, a move which developer Norm Rix says virtually makes his development financially unviable.

His development on the corner of Days and Old Coach roads was approved by the city planning committee yesterday, but with a condition he said he could not accept and which could lead to a legal battle involving ratepayers' money.

Mr Rix said he was willing to reduce a proposed eight-storey and another seven-storey tower to three as requested by council, but said giving up six lots worth a combined $1.2 million to protect five dead trees was 'too much'.

The council report stated the trees, classed as 'hollow bearing trees', might provide a home for native animals. It stated that owl pellets were discovered on the site, while a squirrel glider had been spotted 500m south of the trees in July.

The council environmental officers originally wanted 12 lots of land removed from the development to protect the trees, but were talked down to six by Mr Rix.

Mr Rix said he would still lose money on the development in its current form and would take the council to court over its decision. He said with the red tape developers had to battle through, it was no wonder construction jobs were moving up to Logan, Ipswich and Redlands.



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


5 October, 2010

British Charity Commission covers up for a Warmist crook

Christopher Booker

Next weekend, as delegates from 194 countries gather in South Korea for a crucial meeting of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, their big talking point will be whether the IPCC’s chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri should resign – as a recent report from the world’s leading scientific academies seemed strongly to hint he should. The delegates face a dilemma. If they sack him, it would be a serious blow to the reputation of the panel, which has been central to the global warming scare since its founding in 1988. If he stays, it could severely damage the authority of its next major report, due in four years’ time.

Last winter, Dr Pachauri’s reputation took a hammering. On the one hand, there was the exposure of all those glaring and alarmist scientific errors in the IPCC’s last major report, produced under his guidance in 2007. On the other was the revelation in this newspaper of how his prestige as the “world’s top climate official” had coincided with a massive expansion in the fortunes of Teri, his Delhi-based research institute. Not only had Pachauri been appointed as an adviser to some of the richest banks and investment funds in the world, but Teri’s empire had mushroomed to include branches in Europe, North America, Dubai, Japan and South-East Asia.

When Dr Richard North and I came to examine this empire, our interest was drawn to Teri Europe, based in a suburban house in south London, which is registered under British law as a charity and is obliged to publish its accounts on the Charity Commission website. When we looked at these, however, they seemed rather odd. The figures showed the charity’s income and expenditure rising steadily in its early years – but from 2006 onwards they suddenly plunged to below £10,000 a year.

This was significant because £10,000 is the threshold below which a charity does not have to publish full accounts. Yet we knew that in these years Teri Europe was rapidly expanding, receiving sums way above that threshold. These included several payments from the UK government, such as £30,000 for the services of an employee of Dr Pachauri’s Delhi office to act as his co-editor on the IPCC’s 2007 Synthesis Report.

When we approached Teri Europe with our evidence, the charity’s secretary immediately admitted that there were “anomalies” in the accounts. The Charity Commission agreed to investigate. Not the least point of interest was that the charity’s trustees – “responsible,” in the commission’s words, “for approving the accounts before submission” – included, alongside Dr Pachauri, two other luminaries of the global warming establishment. Sir John Houghton was a founder of the IPCC, and had long played a key role in it. Sir Crispin Tickell was one of Houghton’s most influential allies back in 1988, as “our man at the UN” and as the adviser who talked Mrs Thatcher into enthusiasm for global warming at that crucial moment (a fervour she later disavowed).

Since it seemed that both Teri Europe and the trustees were in serious breach of the Charity Commission’s rules, this has led over recent months to a protracted series of exchanges with the commission.

First, the names of Houghton and Tickell swiftly disappeared from the list of trustees. Then, in May, after an audit by a firm of accountants, the commission’s website showed dramatically revised figures for one of the three years in question. The charity’s income for 2008 had now risen from £8,000 to £103,980, its expenditure from £3,000 to £97,419. But the figures for the previous two years were unchanged. The commission explained that it had allowed this “to save the charity a considerable amount in accounting fees”. It also claimed that the errors were due to the charity’s “inexperience in preparing accounts”, though the figures for earlier years showed no sign of “inexperience”.

I therefore put 10 searching questions to the commission. Why, for instance, was its website continuing to give false information? Would the commission show equal leniency to other bodies found to have provided misleading accounts, since normally a charity would be severely penalised for such offences?

When eventually I had a lengthy response it didn’t give a direct answer to any of my questions, except to say they were not prepared to disclose the date on which Houghton and Tickell had resigned as trustees. But clearly the commission had been embarrassed by my questions, since over the next few weeks revised figures for two more years appeared online. Income for 2007 rose from £9,000 to £49,878, for 2006 from £7,000 to £16,610 – showing that nearly £150,000 had not previously been disclosed. And, as can be seen from the commission’s website, the accounts are now shown to have been up to “1,246 days overdue”.

Doubtless, compared to the difficulties Dr Pachauri may face next weekend in holding on to the post which has helped him so to extend his institute’s fortunes, these accounting anomalies in one of its branches may seem pretty small beer. But an important question remains: why, when they came to light, did the Charity Commission struggle so long and hard to give this particular charity such an extraordinarily easy ride?


Al Gore Heckled During Global Warming Speech

Crowd chants "you are a fraud!" - "global warming is hoax!" during Al Gore's global warming speech in Tampa

Nothing Wrong With Our Graph

Dr. David Whitehouse

The GWPF’s graph, displayed on the GWPF's homepage masthead, showing that the global average annual temperature hasn’t changed this century, drawn against a nice blue backdrop, is making a few people see red. Why this is I don’t exactly know as their logic, in contrast to their anger, isn’t entirely clear. Perhaps it is because it neatly summarises the uncertainties in climate science as well as common misconceptions (as was the intention) that some commentators find too uncomfortable to address, instead becoming deniers of basic scientific data. It certainly seems a difficult fact for some, but inconvenience is one thing, facts are another.

Those who complain that the graph is wrong, if they are to be fair and consistent, should now target the Royal Society in their sights as it has admitted this in its recent brochure on the science of climate change that the recent spell of warming ended in 2000.

It is not alone. The Journal Science has said the pause in global temperatures is real, as do many refereed scientific papers in numerous journals. Also in State of the Climate in 2008, a special supplement to the August Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, no less, confirmed that in the past ten years the HadCRUT3 temperature data (there are problems with this data set regarding its reliability and how it calculates averages but it is probably the best we’ve got) shows no increase whatsoever. Their analysis showed that the world warmed by 0.07 +/- 0.07 deg C from 1999 to 2008, not the 0.20 deg C expected by the IPCC. Corrected for the large 1998 El Nino event (that made 1998 the hottest year on record) and its sister La Nina, the last decade’s trend is perfectly flat. There were even comments in the so-called Climategate emails along the lines of the temperature not increasing and “it’s a travesty” that we can’t explain it.

Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit also holds this view, saying yes in a BBC interview in response to the question; Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically significant global warming.

We live in the warmest decade, no one doubts that (though possibly not as warm as it was 1000, 2000 and 3000 years ago), and this explains why the world’s warmest years are clustered during that period. Look at the order of the warmest years, however, and you will see they are jumbled up and sit well within each other’s errors of measurement. There is no upward trend, just a plateau.

The latest warm period began in 1980. This means we have had 30 years of it. It is clear from looking at the data that it is composed of two distinct periods and it is not cherry picking to identify these as they stand out in the data. There is the period 1980 – 1995 when the world warmed, and the period 1995 – 2010 when it didn’t increase its temperature. We are told, by some, that 30 years is about the minimum for statistically significant climatic data to emerge. However, at 15 years each these two periods are now of equal statistical significance. If the standstill continues then it will soon become the dominant climatic factor of the past 30 years.

It is interesting to also note that the warming between 1980 and 1990 was not in itself statistically significant. This means that it was only the 5-year warming period 1990 -1995 (before it ceased) that has made all the difference to the statistics and significance of Earth’s warming in the past 30 years!

No climate computer model predicted the recent standstill but they have been used with hindsight to explain it. It has been suggested that natural cycles, oceanic cooling and solar influences, are responsible. The Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of computer climate predictions all of which had programmed into them the 0.20 deg C long-term IPCC trend. They found that in many of the computer runs there were decade-long standstills, but none of 15 years. If one took that 15-year figure at face value it would mean that the data already accumulated has falsified the IPCC’s basic assumptions about the rate of warming. However, bearing in mind that the proposed explanation for the hiatus was arrived at post-hoc and relies on the same computer models that failed to predict it, one should be cautious. Modelling is one thing, real-world data is another and we should never confuse the two.

So whilst a few might not like it, there is nothing wrong with the GWPF’s temperature graph which is based on freely available HadCRUT3 data. In fact, it would be scientifically justifiable to replace it with a constant straight line with data scattered around the mean (the scatter between 2009 and previous years is insignificant). The graph is a useful discussion point that illuminates some of the problems in climatic research today. It has achieved its purpose in encapsulating a basic scientific fact about climate change and in stimulating debate.


Russian forecasters: Coldest European winter in 1,000 years on its way

After the record heat wave this summer, Russia's weather seems to have acquired a taste for the extreme. Forecasters say this winter could be the coldest Europe has seen in the last 1,000 years.

The change is reportedly connected with the speed of the Gulf Stream, which has shrunk in half in just the last couple of years. Polish scientists say that it means the stream will not be able to compensate for the cold from the Arctic winds. According to them, when the stream is completely stopped, a new Ice Age will begin in Europe.

So far, the results have been lower temperatures: for example, in Central Russia, they are a couple of degrees below the norm.

“Although the forecast for the next month is only 70 percent accurate, I find the cold winter scenario quite likely,” Vadim Zavodchenkov, a leading specialist at the Fobos weather center, told RT. “We will be able to judge with more certainty come November. As for last summer's heat, the statistical models that meteorologists use to draw up long-term forecasts aren't able to predict an anomaly like that.”

In order to meet the harsh winter head on, Moscow authorities are drawing up measures to help Muscovites survive the extreme cold.

Most of all, the government is concerned with homeless people who risk freezing to death if the forecast of the meteorologists come true. Social services and police are being ordered to take the situation under control even if they have to force the homeless to take help.

Moscow authorities have also started checking air conditioning systems in all socially important buildings. All the conditioners are being carefully cleaned from the remains of summer smog.


The Curious History of 'Global Climate Disruption'

More revealing history from Russell Cook

Global warming alarmists are seriously considering rebranding their fear campaign in the face of public skepticism.

A September 16 Fox News report analyzed the suggestion by Science Czar John Holdren to rename global warming "global climate disruption," while also offering this tidbit: "In a 2007 presentation, Holdren suggested a similar phrase change -- "global climatic disruption."

The newest suggestion prompted many satirical alternatives, however, his own 2007 variant actually goes back to 1997, revealing a far more serious association with an eco-advocacy group.

According to a May 14, 1997 endorsement request to scientists made by directors of Ozone Action, "The enclosed statement was initiated and written by six of your colleagues who hope you will join them in raising awareness about the threat of climate change."

As I detailed in my July American Thinker article, Ozone Action seems to be the epicenter of a successful campaign to portray skeptic scientists as tools of Big Coal and Oil executives. The Statement the directors refer to is seen here: Scientists Statement on Global Climatic Disruption. One of the other six was Jane Lubchenco, current head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and founder of the Leopold Leadership Program, which she and another Statement signer, Hal Mooney, created in 1998 to "train mid-career academic environmental researchers to communicate effectively to non-scientific audiences." While she was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997, the AAAS website had a direct link to Ozone Action's page for the Statement. Arguably, the Leopold group, given Lubchenco's association with Ozone Action, would perhaps be good at communicating the IPCC version of global warming, while not speaking highly of skeptic scientists.

While the Scientists Statement was said to be "initiated and written" by the six scientists and promoted by Ozone Action, an alert by the Union of Concerned Scientists in March 1998 about an unpublished Wall Street Journal op-ed letter suggests that the origin of the effort wasn't necessarily arranged by the scientists: "In an effort organized by Ozone Action in response to the Petition Project, this letter has been endorsed and circulated by a prominent group of scientists."

The associations take a turn for the worse upon mention of the Oregon Petition Project, a list of scientists questioning the idea that human-induced CO2 disrupts the climate. Condemnations of the Petition having fake names are viral across the internet, apparently tracing back to a May 1, 1998 Seattle Times article by AP writer H. Josef Hebert:
Several environmental groups questioned dozens of the names: "Perry S. Mason" (the fictitious lawyer?), "Michael J. Fox" (the actor?), "Robert C. Byrd" (the senator?), "John C. Grisham" (the lawyer-author?). And then there's the Spice Girl, a k a. Geraldine Halliwell: The petition listed "Dr. Geri Halliwell" and "Dr. Halliwell."

Sounds initially damaging, until you read the same AP writer's long version written on the same day:
John Passacantando, executive director of the environmental group Ozone Action, scoffed at any claim that Robinson's petition represents the widespread views of scientists. He said his group scoured the list and found dozens of names unlikely to be scientists: "Perry S. Mason" (the fictitious lawyer?), "Michael J. Fox" (the actor?), "Robert C. Byrd" (the senator?), "John C. Grisham" (the lawyer-author?). There also were Drs. "Frank Burns" "Honeycutt" and "Pierce" (Remember the trio from M A S H?), not to mention the Spice Girl, a.k.a. Geraldine Halliwell, who was on the petition as "Dr. Geri Halliwel" and again as simply "Dr. Halliwell."

Several groups, or just Ozone Action? In his May 20, 1998 letter to the NY Times, Passacantando actually names "Hawkeye Pierce and BJ Honeycutt," but he fails to mention any other groups spotting those. Ozone Action's Brandon MacGillis' April 24, 1998 letter to the Washington Times (pg. 7 here) said:
Several members of the scientific community have looked over the signatories listed on the petition's web site, and they did not recognize a single scientist known for work on climate change. ... I did recognize one name: Geri Halliwell, a k a Ginger Spice.

It's possible to view 1998 archive web pages of the Petition (oldest link here, which may be for a page dating from June 1998 or earlier) and see if names matching the M*A*S*H doctors really are there, or if Richard Lindzen, S. Fred Singer, and Sherwood B. Idso -- scientists Holdren and Lubchenco should have been familiar with -- are there. If it's troubling to find the Mason and Grisham names on the list, does that imply that an example like the current Arizona state government is equally troubling because of Hollywood celebrities on its elected officials list, like Dean Martin, Paul Newman, and Linda Gray?

The trouble for Holdren lies in the Greenpeace archive scan page following MacGillis' letter; a scan of a letter by Holdren and George Woodwell to the International Herald Tribune, November 14-15, 1998, mimicking the Passacantando and MacGillis letters; and the H. Josef Hebert article.

Or was Holdren's/Woodwell's letter ghostwritten by Ozone Action? That was an assertion posed to the ombudsman at the now-defunct media watchdog magazine Brill's Content, as described in his May 1999 analysis of the IHT letter and protests by Candace Crandall (an associate at Fred Singer's Science & Environmental Policy Project), Passacantando, and IHT editor Michael Getler (the same Getler who is now ombudsman for PBS). Ombudsman Kovach's analysis is marvelous to read, with a powerful ending about the importance of fact versus opinion. Two troubling statements about Ozone Action's association with science speakers are made, the first here:
"... complicating this is Ozone Action's acknowledgement in its own letter that the group helped Woodwell with research for the op-ed."

And second, about Holdren/Woodwell:
"They also said that they had used Ozone Action, with whom they have worked frequently on global warming issues, to place articles in newspapers which had carried an earlier article they wanted to dispute."

Scientists certainly are glad to accept good research help on other matters and assistance to broaden public understanding of their work. But Holdren, Lubchenco, and other scientists allied with Ozone Action, a group that was the epicenter of Ross Gelbspan's campaign initiated in 1996 to portray skeptic scientists as tools of Big Coal and Oil executives, and Holdren himself became entangled in highly questionable allegations about the Petition Project.

Each set of accusations starts to crumble under simple fact-checking and leads only to more questions about the motivations and actions of all involved. When the mainstream media failed to notice these red flags over a decade ago, they essentially became part of the orthodoxy of man-caused global warming believers, telling everyone to ignore, ridicule, ostracize, and -- in regard to the latest horrific video -- strongly suggest in ironic fashion that nonbelievers are under "no pressure" to change their ways.

This cumulative effort prompts an unavoidable question: Do the believers ultimately have no confidence that the underlying science can be defended on its own?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Warmist says "Patchy" has got to go

That a railway engineer was made chief climate authority shows how political, rather than scientific, the IPCC is

By Fred Pearce

In scientific circles they call him Patchy. His real name is Rajendra Pachauri, the supremo of climate science at the United Nations, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He picked up the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his organisation less than three years ago. But it was pride before the fall. I lit the fuse under Patchy's chairmanship eight months ago. Now, I say he should go.

If governments won't fire him when the IPCC meets at the Korean seaside resort of Busan next week, he should fall on his sword. For the good of the battered reputation of climate-change science. For the good of the planet.

Patchy is an amiable, bearded, vegetarian railway engineer and cricket fanatic, born under the British Raj in India. He has been showered with prizes, including Indian of the Year in 2007, and held jobs all over the world. He got the IPCC chair in 2002, after the Americans fell out with the then chairman, a Brit called Bob Watson, who is now our Government's chief environmental scientist.

But Patchy is not a climate scientist. And he is 70 years old now. There have been too many mistakes during his eight years at the top of the IPCC. And he has made too many of them worse. Patchy is no longer part of the solution to telling the world about climate science. He is part of the problem.

How did I light the fuse under Patchy? I am a science journalist - one who happens to believe that man-made climate change is virtually beyond doubt.

The story began last December when a Canadian expert on glaciers called Graham Cogley emailed me to say that an IPCC report published two years before, with Patchy named as first author, contained a dreadful error. It claimed that, thanks to global warming, all the Himalayan glaciers would be gone within a generation - by 2035.

It was a stunning claim, but simply not true, said Cogley. The warming was certain enough, but the melting would not take 25 years; more like 350 years. But, he went on, the reason the crazy claim was in the report, which had been signed off by 1,000 scientists, almost 200 governments and the entire UN system, was an article I had written a decade before.

My blood ran as cold as any glacier. Could this be true? I could believe my story had been proved wrong. But journalism is not supposed to be peer-reviewed science. And peer-reviewed science is most certainly not supposed to be journalism. This kind of thing shouldn't happen.

The IPCC report gave as its source for the prediction a report by the Indian branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). So what was the WWF's source? The only one it gave was a short news item I wrote in New Scientist magazine in 1999, quoting a top Indian glaciologist and university vice-chancellor called Syed Hasnain.

He had told me he was about to deliver a report, based on four years' study, that said the central and eastern Himalayas would be ice-free by 2035.

When the claim turned up in the 2007 IPCC report, I smiled to think I'd had the story eight years before. But Cogley, a glaciologist at Trent University in Canada, said: 'Fred, it's still wrong.

The glaciers are up to half a kilometre thick; they are not going to disappear overnight. It will take centuries.'

What does a journalist do? He writes the story, of course. I wrote an article explaining how, far from substantiating Hasnain's claim, the IPCC had clearly not checked it at all.

When it said: 'Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high,' it had just copied and pasted the WWF's words.

And this is where Patchy comes into the picture. A quick apology and retraction from the boss of the IPCC, and chief author of the report, would have defused the situation. Instead, when Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh accused the IPCC of being 'alarmist' about the melting Himalayas, Patchy accused him of 'voodoo science'.

He turned a one-line mistake into a diplomatic incident. And the voodoo science was at the IPCC.

Oh, and one other thing. By now my discredited source, Hasnain, had ceased to be a vice-chancellor and had taken up a new post. He was head of glaciology at the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a prestigious Indian think-tank set up by Tata, an industrial conglomerate best known for making tens of millions of Indian trucks. TERI is run by - you guessed it - Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

After my article laying bare the unedifying story appeared last January, the row became headline news round the world. Inevitably, it became known as 'Glaciergate'.

A few people criticised me for writing the original story without checking whether other glaciologists agreed with Hasnain. Fair cop, maybe, though he was vice-chancellor of one of India's top universities at the time and his findings were about to be reported to the International Commission on Snow and Ice. Can nobody be trusted?

Then a few people criticised me for revealing the truth and undermining the IPCC's credibility. Well, sorry guys, we all have to try to get our facts right.

But the IPCC's big mistake was not owning up to the error promptly. As they used to say about the original '-gate' - the Watergate break-in that brought down US President Richard Nixon - it is the cover-up that is politically deadly, not the original offence.

Only after a week of worsening headlines did the white flag go up from inside Patchy's bunker. But by then his rashness in defending the indefensible had turned the IPCC into a laughing-stock. Sometimes I want to cry for an agency stuffed with good, conscientious and clever people brought down by such stupidity.

Since then Patchy has been pursued by journalists looking for new IPCC errors. They had plenty of material to work with: more than a thousand pages of the IPCC's five yearly assessment, published under his name in three volumes in 2007.

Actually, most of it stood up to the challenge pretty well. In parts it was, if anything, too cautious - for instance, playing down growing fears among climate scientists about scary tipping points in climate that could destroy the Greenland ice cap or trigger super-hurricanes and mega-droughts.

But the second volume, on the possible impacts of climate change, was less sound. It was co-edited by a British academic called Roger Parry of Imperial College London, who has so far managed to evade the flak.

Some of the mistakes in that volume were silly. It said 55 per cent of the Netherlands was below sea level. The real figure is 26 per cent, but the Dutch government gave the wrong stats. No big deal. It got the references all wrong for a claim that 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest could die within a few decades from heat and drought. Sloppy again, but no big deal.

What about this, however? A headline claim in the report was that African farming is heading for the abyss.

And very soon. 'Projected reductions in [crop] yield in some countries could be as much as 50 per cent by 2020,' it said. Phew. That captured public attention - not least because Patchy highlighted it in several of his public speeches. Tens of millions would starve.

But was it true? The footnote referenced an 11-page paper by a Moroccan called Ali Agoumi that covered only three of Africa's 53 countries: Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Agoumi's paper, which had not gone through scientific peer review, simply asserted without giving any evidence or sources that 'studies on the future of vital agriculture in the region have shown... deficient yields from rain-based agriculture of up to 50 per cent during the 2000-2020 period'.

What studies? He has never said. Even Agoumi did not claim the changes were caused by climate change. In fact, harvests already differ by 50 per cent or more from one year to the next, depending on rainfall. In other words, Ali Agoumi's thin, un-reviewed paper said nothing at all about how climate change might or might not change farm yields across Africa.

That's not to say climate change won't cause droughts, or that droughts are not big killers in Africa. This is a serious matter. It deserves serious attention. So how much more disgraceful is it that the IPCC stats - stats highlighted personally by Patchy - were junk?

When I raised these issues, the only answer I got was an email from Patchy's co-editor Roger Parry from a 'working retreat' on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

He said the criticisms of his report were ' clamour without substance'. Patchy agreed.

Even so, the UN became sufficiently scared by all the bad press for the IPCC that it set up a high level commission to investigate. This InterAcademy Council included nominees from Britain's prestigious Royal Society.

The council's report, published at the end of August, was damning. Chairman Harold Shapiro found that Parry's climate impacts report in particular showed a tendency to 'emphasise the negative impacts of climate change', many of which were 'not sufficiently supported in the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly'.

How did that happen? Well, they used 'non-peer-reviewed literature', such as WWF reports, without the findings being 'adequately evaluated' - perhaps a polite phrase for the IPCC's disgraceful use of that old standby of students: copy and paste.

This farrago coincided with another scandal in climate science. With a certain lack of originality, we hacks called it Climategate. This was the release of all those emails from scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. The scientists were in charge of trying to piece together the history of changing global temperatures, using thermometer records, tree rings or whatever other information they could get their hands on.

The emails did not, as some claimed, reveal a massive conspiracy-to con us about climate change. But they certainly showed scientists using underhand tactics to silence their critics - critics who claim the tree rings don't show anything worth knowing about temperature, and that some of the data on global warming of recent decades are contaminated by the local warming effects of urbanisation.

Climategate was bad news for Patchy too. For the emails reveal University of East Anglia scientists sidelining criticisms of their own work when compiling IPCC reports - prompting the InterAcademy Council to call for the IPCC to adopt a 'rigorous conflict-of-interest policy'. Why wasn't there one already? Ask Patchy.

Even grubbier, when someone put in a Freedom of Information request, asking to see emails discussing drafting of the IPCC report, the University of East Anglia scientists emailed colleagues asking for those emails to be deleted. This was against IPCC rules and possibly against British law.

Did Patchy know about this? Probably not. Should he have been policing how the IPCC authors went about their task? Surely that was his job. What was his response when the emails were published online? He defended the scientists.

There is a pattern of behaviour here, I think, from the man with arguably the most important role in protecting the world from climatic meltdown. Complacency. Loyalty to those who do not deserve it. Intemperate statements at inopportune times.

Climate scientists should not tolerate this. Environmentalists should not tolerate this. The UN should not tolerate this.

The InterAcademy Council's report to the UN refused to say that Patchy should go. But this was humbug. It said that, in future, IPCC chairmen and other top leaders should serve only one term, overseeing one five-year scientific assessment. The council said it was nothing personal. But it reached that conclusion because of what happened on Patchy's watch. Surely it must apply to him above all.

Let's be clear. The basic problem here is not climate science. There is very little doubt that the world has been warming this past half century. And little doubt either that man-made pollution is mainly to blame. The problem is the IPCC.

Nobel Prize or no Nobel Prize, the 22-year old organisation is too important to be allowed to fail. It is badly in need of reform. A fresh start with a new, less accident-prone chairman.

Will they bite the bullet in Busan? There are stories going around that Western governments are unwilling to wield the knife because they fear a backlash from India and the developing world. How ridiculous.

After the 'voodoo science' row over Glaciergate, I doubt Pachauri has many friends in the Indian government anyway. Even so, if he isn't going to be pushed, he should jump. Sorry, Patchy, but time is up.



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


4 October, 2010

Four related murderers

The real Warmist motivation revealed

A parody of this, of course. So if you think it's a bit nasty, blame the original authors. What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Sea Level Falling In 2010

We are constantly being told that 2010 is the hottest year ever, and that the polar ice caps are melting down at a record rate. Dr. Hansen tells us to expect 3-6+ metres of sea level rise this century. That would be a minimum of 30 mm/year.

Given Dr. Hansen’s record heat, the oceans must be heating and expanding, and the polar ice sheets must be melting and pouring into the sea. Sea level must be rising like crazy!

Hansen’s completely bogus graph below shows Greenland blowing away their previous record high annual temperature. They must be having a flood of melting ice up there.

Only problem is, since the start of the hottest year ever, sea level has fallen 10 mm. The most recent data from The University Of Colorado is shown below.

We can conclude that the oceans are neither heating nor are the polar ice caps melting at a rapid rate. As usual, Hansen’s theory does not match observations on the ground.

Hansen is so last millenium. He already used up all of his best temperature adjustments and is running out of time to get some real warming going.



Senile dementia?

Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the environmental activist group, The David Suzuki Foundation, is now touring Canada promoting his new book, "The Legacy - An elder's Vision for our Sustainable Future". The speech he gave this evening in Ottawa at the Dominion Chalmers Church was essentially a summary of the book, with much of the book's text used verbatim in the presentation.

The book, and to a considerable extent the presentation, is a strange combination of environmental mysticism, science and folklore that leaves one wondering what is real and what is simply David Suzuki’s imagination. While both the book and his presentation are superb works of communication, they contain far too much native environmental spirituality, and significant science mistakes, to be of much use to most western readers who need a serious, rational basis for the important decisions about the environment and society that we must make today.

First, his focus on the "sacredness" of nature is foreign to most people. He promotes the concept that the air, the soil, the water and fire are all sacred. Suzuki writes, “biodiversity, the web of life itself, should be considered a sacred element, in addition to the other four elements.” It is unclear whether or not he actually believes this or simply says this to try to get people to care for natural things more. Perhaps it is both. Regardless, it may very well originate with his father who, Suzuki writes, "found great strength in the Japanese tradition of nature worship.”

Some of the The Legacy delves into what one may consider environmental mysticism. Saying that, because air is in and around us, we are air and since we all share that air, then “I am you”. Because plants and animals ultimately come from the soil and we eat plants and animals, then “we are earth.” In referring to animals and plants, Suzuki says, “All life on Earth is our kin. And in an act of generosity [a strange concept to attribute to species other than humans], our relatives create the four sacred elements for us.”

There are many science mistakes in the book too numerous to list here but one alone is all that is needed to demonstrate how far Suzuki has strayed from a rational assessment of main stream science (p. 17):

"We have become a force of nature ... Not long ago, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, forest fires, even earthquakes and volcanic explosions were accepted as "natural disasters or "acts of God." But now, we have joined God, powerful enough to influence these events." He said essentially the same thing in tonight's presentation.

During the presentation tonight, Suzuki also strongly, even angrily, promoted the human-caused climate catastrophe hypothesis - no one dared contest him in the question period.

Due to his prominence in society, Suzuki has the opportunity to be a unifying force in Canada between those of different approaches and across the political spectrum. He could help bring us together to work sensibly on our real environmental problems. Instead, by taking a dogmatic, anti-intellectual point of view on many issues and demonizing those who disagree with him (though not much in this particular book), he has become a polarizing force, taking us further from the crucial compromises that are needed to pave the way to real environmental progress in a democracy. His absolute “I am right, period” approach may work in the sort of environmentalist dictatorship described by science-fiction writer Larry Niven in his book Fallen Angels, but it will never gain traction with enough of our population to move us forward to a worthwhile plan of action.

Unless, David Suzuki can engage in a more balanced, scientific approach, working with his intellectual opponents instead of trying to beat them up, then he needs to leave the public stage.

Dr. Suzuki has accomplished a good deal in the form of environmental consciousness raising over the years but his recent aggressive and now mystical approach is simply alienating more and more Canadians.


How Big Brother Is Using the National Parks and Other Agencies to Promote His Climate Religion Using Your Tax Dollars

Alan Carlin

(See the original for links and graphics)

The Obama Administration has made many efforts to support its climate religion (climatism). Since this viewpoint has no basis in the scientific method, it is not science and would seem best characterized as religion. For a list of what the Administration believes they have done see page 27 here. The first item listed is $80 billion (with a “b”) for “clean and efficient energy in ARRA” (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly called the stimulus bill). Since most of this expenditure will not stimulate anything except the income of politically favored alternative energy providers and their suppliers and future higher cost energy for rate-payers, it is highly unlikely to be very stimulative for the economy as a whole.
The Administration Has Also Embarked on an Extensive Propaganda Campaign in Behalf of Climatism

Although not mentioned in the list of Administration efforts linked above but perhaps at least as worrisome, the Administration appears to have embarked on an extensive propaganda campaign to promote its climate religion to the general public at taxpayers’ expense. They have gone well beyond trying to defend their proposed greenhouse gas regulations by the US Environmental Protection Agency and are attempting to use other EPA programs and other agencies under their control to promote their viewpoint on this subject without the approval of and perhaps even the knowledge of Congress.

Recent news reports are that EPA is now proposing to require that information on greenhouse gas emissions by new automobiles be added to the mileage labels required on all new cars. Such Federal “educational” efforts are not limited to EPA, however. A recent news item reports that AmeriCorps is funding interns in Marin County Schools in California to assist with a climate change education program also designed to motivate students and their families to take voluntary energy efficiency actions to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Department of Education’s Plans for an “Education” Program

Even more recently, the Secretary of Education announced that his Department plans to “help advance the sustainability movement through education” through Federally subsidized school programs beginning as early as kindergarten that teach children about climate change and prepare them “to contribute to the workforce through green jobs.” His intention is that the Department’s efforts will “explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet.”

My comment is that one of the reasons that the Federal Government does not have primary responsibility for education is to avoid the possibility that it could directly inculcate the viewpoints of those currently in power on students throughout the country. But when funds for education at the state and local level are short, the Federal Government may believe that it has found a way around this restriction.

Most of this post, however, will deal with the expansion to the National Park Service (NPS), which may not have been so widely publicized but appears to be further along in its implementation so that it is easier to visualize what the “educational” efforts by other departments may look like when fully implemented. Because the Park Service is often viewed as an impartial source of objective information on natural history subjects, the NPS effort may carry added weight with citizens who view it, although the attempts to teach climatism to children as early as kindergarten may also be viewed as likely to be unusually “effective” by those desiring such an outcome.

On a recent visit to the Visitor Center for North Cascades National Park near Newhalem, Washington, I encountered a large “traveling” exhibit panel entitled “Arrange for Change” with NPS and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) symbols indicating sponsorship. Rangers at the Visitor Center reported that it had been there for about a month and had come from Lewis and Clark National Historic Park and would soon move to another park. It was apparently intended as a temporary exhibit since the more permanent exhibit it replaced was still partially visible behind the large new exhibit in front of it. There were no handouts or other written material provided with the exhibit or available from those rangers asked so visitors would necessarily have to go by the exact contents of the exhibit in formulating their views on the subjects raised.

Briefly, the exhibit attempts to summarize the case for climatism with an emphasis on evidence from and impacts on national parks and ends by stating in the fourth of four sections (in the lower right of the written area of the exhibit and in the photograph above) that:

“Perhaps one of the best strategies for coping with change is for each person to become ‘carbon neutral’ in their daily lives. This can be accomplished by reducing energy use and investing in practices and alternate technologies that offset carbon emissons we are generating.”

Although the exhibit adheres closely to the standard climatism religion, and is therefore subject to the many general criticisms (see, for example, here and here) of it, I do have a number of questions and concerns about particular points made in the exhibit. First of all, the recommended strategy assumes a degree of altruism rarely seen in the real world since anyone who adopted the advice would have to engage in less energy-using activities and/or pay others to reduce their emissions through buying offsets. This is the reason that most advocates want mandatory standards so that everyone would have to endure similar losses whether they are altruistic or not.

The rationale for all this may be a little hard to understand by those not familiar with the climatism viewpoint. The first of the four sections in the exhibit states that:

“The scientific consensus is that global temperature in now rising at a rate unprecedented in the experience of modern human society (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004). Scientists also say most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

Accompanying these words is the Mona Loa CO2 level chart showing steady increases over the years 1960 to about 2004.

This first section has a few problems. It relies almost exclusively on the authority of largely unspecified “scientists.” Since there is some evidence that temperatures rose at a similar rate in the 1920-30s, and, in fact for similar periods in the gradually rising 60 year cycles exhibited by global temperatures since the Little Ice Age (see here and my Comments, which can be downloaded from here), it is difficult to understand how the authors of the exhibit believe that global temperatures are “rising at a rate unprecedented in the experience of modern human society.” Perhaps more important is the lack of a citation (such as perhaps various IPCC reports) for the even more doubtful statement that most warming over the last 50 years is due to human activities. The implication of the Mona Loa chart would seem to be that the increasing levels of CO2 are due to human activities, although this is certainly not stated and highly doubtful. Finally, no mention is made of the alternative hypothesis that the rise in CO2 levels is an effect of rising ocean temperatures sometime in the past rather than anything humans may have done since rising ocean temperatures mean that the oceans cannot hold as much CO2.

Exhibit Says Wildland Fires Have Increased–But Is This a Result of a Policy Change?

The lower left section is entitled “Changes Disrupt Park Use.” The text states that:

“Higher temperatures in spring and summer and earlier melting of the snow pack in recent years have contributed to an increase in the frequency and duration of wildland fires. This increase in wildfires often causes park facilities to close. The 2006 fire season set a 45-year-high in the number of acres burned. 2006 was also the hottest January through July on record in America’s parks. In many parks, wintry weather is beginning later and ending earlier. Although this makes for a longer season of hiking and camping it reduces opportunities for recreational skiing and other winter sports due to inadequate snow cover. These impacts have economic implications.”

This section also has pictures of a plume from a forest fire and a cross-country skier.

No source is given for the temperature statement; it does seem odd that the period January through July was chosen rather than a full year, which would seem to be slightly more relevant (but hardly conclusive for assessing whether there really has been climatic change). Presumably most fires occur in the late summer or early fall, which is excluded from the period referenced. Also, I thought that the Park Service had changed its views concerning the role of fires in parks and now regards naturally-originated fires as good rather than a target for suppression. In some cases it even carries out controlled burns. Could it be that the increase in the number of acres burned was the result of this change in policy rather than climate change? The exhibit does not explain. It should also be pointed out that attempts to control carbon emissions also have economic impacts–and quite likely little, if any, impact.

The upper right section is entitled “Climate Change Is Happening.” It shows two pictures labelled Northwestern Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, 1909 and 2005, respectively. The former appers to show a much larger glacier and more mountain snow than the latter. No month or day of the year is provided for either photograph. The text states:

“Warmer winters and longer, more intense periods of melting have increased the rate of glacial retreat in many parks, as demonstrated by the Northwestern Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is estimated by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey that by 2030, many of the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park will be completely gone. In Yosemite, the pike population is endanger of extinction as warming temperatures are shifting their cool habitat higher and higher on the mountainsides.”

A picture of a pika is provided.

There is undoubtedly some climate change occurring on Earth, just as there has been for billions of years, but this section of the presentation does not make a case for climate change due to human activity as opposed to natural forces. And unless there is change due to human activity, there is no basis for “solving” the “problem” by modifying human behavior. With regard to the claim in the exhibit that there has been climate change in the parks, since no month is given when the two photographs were taken it is not possible to say whether the change in mountain snow levels between them is due to differences in time of year or in climate.

Such is not the case, however, for the extent of the glacier since that is much less dependent on time of the year but is greatly dependent on the amount of precipitation in the form of snow. It is important to note that the year 1909 is at or near the low point in the 60 year natural climate cycle while 2005 is near the top of this natural cycle (see my Comments downloadable from here), so some or even all of the differences in the extent of the glacier may be explainable by the natural 60 year climate cycle or changes in snow precipitation rather than any change in human emissions. If so, there may be climate change, but not necessarily human-induced climate change.
Some Questions About the Appropriateness of Using Public Funds to Directly Influence Public Opinion on a Highly Partisan Issue

In addition to the substantive issues raised above concerning the statements in the exhibit, it is very important to question the appropriateness of having the exhibit in a national park, paying Americorps interns to teach climatism to students, or using Federal subsidies to teach climatism in the schools. The effort appears to be widespread enough in the Federal Government so that it may have been directed from the White House, but it is possible that these various efforts are the result of individual departments attempting to curry favor with the Administration by supporting known Administration viewpoints. It would be interesting, however, to learn just how widespread these efforts are in the Executive Branch and how much is being spent on them.

The critical question, it seems to me, is whether taxpayers should pay for trying to influence the opinions of park visitors or students concerning a highly partisan issue which has split the Democrats in Congress and united the Republicans in the Senate in opposition. The highly questionable views (see my Comments downloadable here) attributed to “scientists” presented by the exhibit make no effort to present a balanced viewpoint by the many scientists who have presented differing views on the subject. And if such attempts are made to influence public opinion is it not the Park Service’s and each school’s responsibility to present all viewpoints in a balanced way, which is presumably what they try to do with their many other presentations to the public/students? Have the Park Service and Americorps and the Department of Education become mere propaganda arms for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government? Since climatism is currently a highly partisan debate in Congress and some state legislatures, should these agencies use taxpayer funds to support one side of the debate with no mention of the opposing viewpoints?

I think the answer to these questions should be for Federal agencies to get out of the climate change education business. Big Brother should not be attempting to sell his religious views to students or park visitors. Since the Administration appears unlikely to do this on its own, probably the easiest way to implement such restrictions is to prohibit the expenditure of Federal funds for the purpose of promoting climatism to the public.


Climate change linked to quakes?

European research claiming global warming might spark earthquakes and tsunamis is being treated cautiously by New Zealand scientists.

Vulcanologists, seismologists, glaciologists, climatologists and landslide experts met in London this month to discuss geological hazards related to climate upheaval.

Professor Bill McGuire, of University College London, the organiser of the three-day conference, said when land-based ice shelves melted, the Earth's crust bounced back up, triggering earthquakes which sparked submarine landslides and tsunamis.

"Climate change doesn't just affect the atmosphere and the oceans but the Earth's crust as well. The whole Earth is an interactive system," he told Reuters.

Victoria University professor Martha Savage, a seismology expert, said she had seen one published paper on the topic.

Global warming might cause a small increase in earthquakes, she said. "I think it's really tiny – it [global warming] has a much stronger effect on creating more tornadoes and hurricanes than creating more earthquakes."

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal climate scientist James Renwick said the theory was reasonable because major ice sheets put huge weight on the Earth's crust. The processes of ice sheet melting and the geological response happened slowly. "I wouldn't see it as terrifically relevant day-by-day or year-by-year to what's happening here right now."



Two reports below

Labor fights 'old Europe' over trade

CRAIG Emerson has declared the Gillard government will not bow to the Greens on trade policy. Mr Emerson said the government would fight European threats to erect trade barriers around countries not imposing carbon pricing, dismissing them as "old protectionism".

The Trade Minister said Labor's alliance with the Greens would not alter its free trade agenda, even as Regional Development Minister Simon Crean conceded that the Greens' rise was behind Julia Gillard's decision to put a carbon tax on the table for consideration by the government's multi-party climate committee.

As the Prime Minister prepares for a round of meetings with world leaders in Brussels this week, Dr Emerson attacked European threats to impose trade retaliation against countries not prepared to price carbon as protectionism designed to shield European industries from international competition.

"We won't cop governments cloaking protectionism in this sort of green cloak of respectability, where it's just old protectionism," Dr Emerson told Australian Agenda on Sky News.

Last year in the US, then prime minister Kevin Rudd warned that France was leading a movement to restrict trade from countries without a carbon emissions trading scheme and warned of potential trade imposts on Australia.

But Dr Emerson said Australia would use the World Trade Organisation rules "to rail against this". "Of course we are committed to putting a price on carbon, but let's not believe that this is all about climate change. There is a very clear European old protectionist instinct under this green cloak of respectability and we won't cop it," he said.

But Dr Emerson said a recommendation from the climate change committee to put a price on carbon "would help us somewhat in the international arena in terms of this sort of green protectionism".

However, his comments about fighting environmental protectionism were seized on by opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella, who said the government's green car innovation fund was what Dr Emerson had accused other governments of doing -- protectionism under a so-called green label. "The poorly targeted $35 million for the hybrid Camry was an expensive photo opportunity . . . Even the government has admitted the fund is a dog by cutting $400m from it," Ms Mirabella said.

Dr Emerson also sympathised with US moves to pressure China to revalue its exchange rate, saying if China wanted to present itself as having market economy status, "let's have a few market forces applying to the exchange rate".

He said the government would not be swayed by its alliance with the Greens by bowing to their policies to insert environmental and labour standards into trade deals. He specifically declared he was against including labour standards in trade agreements. "I think what'll happen is that the Greens will articulate a Greens platform. Labor will articulate a Labor platform," he said. "On some matters, we may agree with the Greens. On other matters, we won't agree with the Greens. And that is understood."

Dr Emerson said the government would look at good policy proposals from the Greens, "but we will not be in a position obviously where the Greens say, 'This is what we want', and then Labor says, 'Because you want it, we'll implement it' ". "They understand that, we understand that," he said.

The Greens have previously warned that Australia may face trade sanctions unless it takes action to price carbon but have mainly campaigned on biosecurity issues on Australian trade policy as well as inserting human rights clauses into trade deals.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne campaigned strongly against allowing apple imports from countries with the disease Fireblight and has also opposed beef imports from countries with BSE.

Senator Milne said Dr Emerson was quite right -- the Greens' and Labor's trade policy differed "to the extent that the Greens want fair trade considerations, including environmental standards and human rights conditions, taken into account in negotiating trade deals".

Regional Development Minister Simon Crean defended Ms Gillard's backflip on consideration of a carbon tax. He said her pre-election position of ruling out a carbon tax was because the government had come to the conclusion the most efficient way forward on pricing carbon to address emissions was through a market mechanism.

"Because a tax doesn't actually deliver you the reduction in the greenhouse emission," Mr Crean said, adding that the Greens would now hold the balance of power in the Senate after July next year and it was important for the climate change committee to meet to identity the best way to price carbon.


Carbon tax not a done deal: Crean

A SENIOR federal government MP has insisted that a carbon tax is by no means a done deal - a shift that could threaten the alliance between Labor and the Australian Greens.

Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean says the decision to put a carbon tax back on the table does not mean Australia will go down that path in response to climate change.

In the days before the August 21 election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard twice ruled out a carbon tax.

But she has since changed course on the issue after the Greens found an unlikely ally in BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers, who called for it to be considered as part of Australia's answer to climate change.

Mr Crean on Sunday defended the change in direction, saying the political landscape had altered since the failed Copenhagen summit. "At the time we, along with the rest of the world, had come to the conclusion the most efficient way forward was to do it through a market mechanism," he said, referring to Labor under Kevin Rudd and the failed attempt to introduce an emissions trading scheme.

He said that "simplistically put", the point could be made that placing a carbon tax back on the table amounted to a policy reversal, but added that the prime minister had also consistently stated that a price on carbon was needed.

Mr Crean said that while the political landscape had changed since the election, it was wrong to suggest the prime minister had "caved in" to the Greens on climate change, saying they would not necessarily get their way on a carbon tax. "She hasn't caved in. She hasn't said she's supporting a carbon tax. What she has said is we will have a carbon tax on the agenda," he said.

Mr Crean's comments were echoed by Trade Minister Craig Emerson, an indication Labor is attempting to put a little distance between itself and the Greens. "We will not be in a position where the Greens say this is what we want and then Labor says because you want it we will implement it," Mr Emerson said.

The caution from two senior Labor ministers that the government is not wedded to a carbon tax despite the alliance with the Greens could put a strain on the relationship between the two parties. Labor needs the support of the Greens in the lower house to preserve its one-vote buffer.

Mr Crean also conceded the government, under Mr Rudd, had failed to effectively explain its climate change policy. The former Labor leader, however, backed Ms Gillard to be able to manage the difficult policy area, as well as the issue of asylum seekers. "We've got to develop more effectively the message," he said.

"Trying to achieve (progress) in the context of an election campaign was difficult. Now that she's negotiated the basis of the government going forward, I think you will see progress on these areas. "I think that she is a conviction politician. She's clearly a skilled negotiator, which is going to be pretty important over the course of the next three years."

Mr Crean said the economy would also remain a chief focus for the government. "You need a robust economy. Without strong economic growth you can't resource the things that are needed." "You also need productivity in that economy because without lifting productivity you can't lift real wages."



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


3 October, 2010

Climate folly of all the Scottish political parties

Comment below from Neil Craig in Scotland -- now up on the ChangeScotland site. Holyrood is the location of the Scottish parliament

LAST YEAR Holyrood, unanimously, passed the most restrictive "Climate Change" law in the world. Together with the closure of our nuclear plants this means that over the next 10 years we have to close down half, far and away the least expensive half, of our electricity production.

This unanimity was largely reflected in the Scots media with BBC Newsnight Scotland breaching its nominal commitment to impartiality by describing the passage of the Act as the "good news" of the day - the bad news being the not unrelated fact that the recession is deeper and worse in Scotland.

There is a close relationship between electricity usage & GNP. and Britain already has the highest ratio of GNP to electricity consumption of any large developed country so we might be quite lucky to get off with only halving Scotland's GNP as a result of halving our electricity production. Thus the Scots MSPs are unanimously saying that warming is so catastrophic that destroying half of Scotland's economy, even though the world CO2 reduction will be microscopic, is necessary.

Such unanimity in politics was common in the USSR. It is not expected in a democracy. If Scotland is a healthy democracy with parties who are genuinely free thinking then the evidence that we are experiencing catastrophic global warming must be so overwhelming and unarguable that it is worth destroying our economy simply to make what is, in terms of world CO2 production, only a token gesture.

There is, however, no evidence for catastrophic warming. None. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. There is a theory, described in computer models, but a theory is not evidence and computer models themselves are only an extension of theory. None of the models predicted in advance that we would have the cooling there has been since 1998, indeed they did not show the medieval warming period though it was already known. The scientific method consists of making observations, producing a theory that explains them and then testing the theory against future observations. The warming hypothesis fails the test of explaining all previous observations and thus cannot even be called scientific.

The claim of any warming at all depends on doubtful measurements, many taken at sites which, a century ago, were in countryside but which have now been urbanised, with a consequent significant increase in temperature. The warming claim also depends on the year chosen. If the start year is 1975, 1850 or 1600 we have had warming & alarmists usually start their graphs then. If the start year chosen is 1998, 1934 (in the US), 1000 or 6,000 BC, which would be equally legitimate, the globe is cooling. What we actually see is no clear upward or downward trend and a remarkably close correlation between temperature and the sunspot cycle.

CO2 levels are essentially irrelevant and any recent change is well within historic parameters. The Medieval warm period was about 1.5 degrees warmer than today and the well named Climate Optimum of 9-5,000 BC was as much as 4 degrees warmer - this was an era of hippopotamus filled lakes in the middle of the Sahara, the folk memory of which may be reflected in the Garden of Eden story. Obviously that was not "catastrophic" nor did any "tipping point" to runaway warming occur then.

There are many other reasons to doubt the alarmists - the repeated frauds and lies they have come up with; that some of them such as James Hansen, were involved in the previous global cooling story; that CO2 increase means crops and other plants grow faster, absorbing more CO2 and thus making the phenomenon self limiting; that only 3% of all the CO2 produced worldwide is by Man so we simply cannot be causing the disaster being claimed; that "environmentalists", have threatened us with dozens of catastrophe stories over the last 30 years, including global cooling, none of which have come close to being true; that despite the hype ("Netherlands under water by 2007") sea level refuses to show any significant rise (what we can see are some land masses rising and falling while the sea level barely changes); that we now know the Greenland ice cap has been there for at least 450,000 years and isn't that fragile; that we know of geoengineering methods of cutting global temperature at a small fraction of the trillions this scare has already cost.

The fact that this year, before the end of September, Scotland has experienced sub-zero temperatures, may also persuade some that the oft repeated official warnings of "mild winters" and "barbecue summers" have not proven entirely factual.

Life is too short to mention all the holes in the theory but suffice it to say that anybody who honestly believed CO2 was causing extinction level catastrophe would have to be demanding massive subsidies for nuclear power as the practical system that can provide large scale reliable power with far less CO2 than, for example, windmills (remembering that windmills need massive conventional back-up). Almost nobody pushing this scare does so and if those pushing it know it is a lie we should have no doubts.

Yet if all this is true (and I urge anybody to check) it is legitimate to ask why almost all our politicians and mainstream media warn us of catastrophic warming? Why do they say there is a "scientific consensus" on it?

The nature of this lie points to its creators. I have personally asked many hundreds of politicians, newspapers, broadcasters and alarmist websites worldwide to name 2 scientists who are part of this "consensus" and who are not funded by the state. The editor of the Independent and somebody on a South African website were able to give the same name (Professor James Lovelock who, seeing the climategate emails has largely reversed his position). Nobody else has managed even that.

Patrick Harvie MSP, asked on air, merely asserted that everybody knew it so he was not required to name anybody. It is a strange "scientific consensus" from which the large majority of scientists are excluded. In fact the largest single expression of scientist's opinions is from the Oregon Petition where 31,000 scientists have said the scare is false, but you won't see news reports on the state broadcasting service reporting that.

An example of the quality of government-supported alarmist science was given recently in a lecture by Scotland's Chief Science Advisor. Among a long list of counter factual statements was the howler that "global warming will extend day length." Day length is determined by the planet's axial tilt as any well informed schoolboy knows.

Per capita Scots get more scientific papers cited than any nation other than Switzerland. We have some of the world's best scientists yet the Lab/Libs chose the advisor and the SNP confirmed her appointment. This is not purely a dig at Holyrood - she is also on a quango called NERC with a £400 million budget essentially for promoting "environmental" scare stories.

In 2003 the OECD showed that government funding of science had negative value. The way the state has been funding only "science" and "scientists" who support alarmism while preventing sceptical research, when science is nothing but methodical scepticism, supports this disgraceful conclusion.

The explanation, or at least the only one that fits the facts, says much about the nature of modern politics. The great American writer H.L. Mencken once said "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." I do not easily come to believe that our entire political structure, including our nominally free media, whose standard of impartiality is set by the state owned BBC, is so completely corrupt that they would destroy our country simply to maintain power.

Unfortunately, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Since we have eliminated the possibility that we really are experiencing catastrophic warming as claimed and even eliminated the possibility that most proponents actually believe it, the truth that remains must be that virtually all our politicians and state controlled institutions are deliberately promoting this false "hobgoblin" for personal power and profit. I am forced to agree with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who knows what censorship of debate and unanimous votes mean and says, "I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism"

The world economy is now back to growing at 5% annually. China and India are growing at 10%. There is no question that we could at least match their growth rate if those in charge were not preventing it. That they are deliberately preventing it, despite almost identical promises from all the main parties, is thus also undeniable. There is really nothing one could say about those in power which would be overly critical.

Walrus Desperatus By Medius Doofus – The Latest Media Hoax

It’s September and so it’s the time of the year for ritual bed-wetting here in Europe among the alarmist media and environmental activists, all triggered by the annual arrival of the Arctic sea ice minima.

No matter where one looks, one finds horror stories of “unprecedented” Arctic ice melt and implications of grave consequences in the major media outlets.

Yet, it’s not enough to report only about melting sea ice. An additional instrument, extra shock, has to be found to emotionalize the event. This year that instrument is no longer the polar bear, trapped on a single tiny chunk of ice. That’s out. The new symbol of climate doom this year is the lovable walrus – odobenus rosmarus.

Practically every major German media outlet has reported on the “plight” of the poor walrus, “forced to flee” to the Alaskan beaches because of the “dramatic” ice melt. It’s the latest unprecedented event that’s proof of anthropogenic global warming.

Die Zeit writes: "Thousands of walrus have landed on the shores of Alaska. The timid animals have fled because the ice on which they normally relax has melted away"

Die Welt writes: "The ice has melted beneath their bellies. That’s why tens of thousands have landed in Alaska, forced to flee."

Der Spiegel, not to be outdone, writes: "The ice no longer suffices: in northwest Alaska tens of thousands of walrus have landed on the beaches. Satellite measurements show that the ice areas of the Arctic have again shrunk a lot this year. Now biologists fear that the heavy animals could crush each other."

And of course all the radio outlets, etc. have followed and parroted these reports in tones laden with drama.


Relax. Walrus landing on the beaches is nothing unusual. Yes, the beaches in Alaska have been invaded by thousands of walrus. But it turns out that this is nothing unusual. The Tucson Citizen reports here that according to the The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:

The largest concentrations are found near the coasts, between 70 degrees North and Pt. Barrow in the east and between Bering Strait and Wrangel Island in the west. Concentrations, mainly of males, are also found on and near terrestrial haulouts in the Bering Sea in Bristol Bay and the northern Gulf of Anadyr throughout the summer. In October the pack ice develops rapidly in the Chukchi Sea, and large herds begin to move southward. Many come ashore on haulouts in the Bering Strait region. Depending on ice conditions, those haulout sites continue to be occupied through November and into December, but with the continuing development of ice, most of them move south of St. Lawrence Island and the Chukchi Peninsula by early to mid-December.

In October? Why are they early this year? The Tucson Citizen also quotes the Alaska Fish & Game Department, which says that concentrations of walrus on beaches is not unusual.
Best known among the Walrus Islands is Round Island, where each summer large numbers of male walruses haul out on exposed, rocky beaches.” “Walrus return to these haulouts every spring as the ice pack recedes northward, remaining hauled out on the beach for several days between each feeding foray.

Even Wikipedia writes:
The rest of the year (late summer and fall) the walrus tend to form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops. The migration between the ice and the beach can be long distance and dramatic. In late spring and summer, for example, several hundred thousand Pacific Walruses migrate from the Bering sea into the Chukchi sea through the relatively narrow Bering Strait.

And finally, h/t to reader M White below, see The Beeb and Nature here: "The annual walrus gathering on Wrangel Island."

How deranged must the media be to take normal behavior of wildlife, and to spin it into a phony tragedy in order to maliciously spread anxiety through the public? When are they going to learn that there are other alternative sources of information out there that are waiting to expose their shenanigans?


Little repentance from hate-filled Warmist videographers

Mentioned yesterday on this blog was a Green/Left video that justified the murder of skeptics. It was justified as funny and warmly embraced by Britain's leading Leftist rag, The Guardian. Leftists never have been bothered by the killing of those who oppose them.

The idea that people should be violently killed because of their opinions was however greeted with widespread revulsion so the authors of the video have now stopped its circulation and apologized. Below is their apology:

Sorry. Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure'.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website.

We'd like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

Eugenie, Franny, Daniel, Lizzie and the whole 10:10 team

More HERE. Video at link. More comments on the video here and here.

More ill-informed sea level propaganda

The conclusions precede the evidence!


In Part 1 of this three-part article I talked about some of the earlier political propaganda promoting The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis and looked at possible motivation of one UK publisher of books by authors who support that hypothesis. This time I’ll talk about a book that is in preparation, the co-authors and a little about its USA publisher.

This additional potential “spin and scare” book “Rising Sea Levels” is being prepared for publication by McFarland & Co by co-authors Hunt Janin and Ursula Carlson. Let us take a closer look at the degree of expertise in the subject of “Rising Sea Levels” shared by this pair of ambitious writers. After all, it would seem to be reasonable to expect that they know something about a subject that they are writing about, especially one as contentious as sea levels claimed to be rising as a result of our use of fossil fuels.

Hunt Janin

Hunt is “a former US diplomat-turned writer” and “a published author of children's books and young adult books” (Note 1). In July I was surprised to receive an E-mail from Hunt, someone I had never heard of before, requesting help on this book. I considered it worthwhile helping him to write accurately about such an important subject so the next day I offered my assistance with suggestions about balance when commenting on measurement and modelling.

Hunt responded, acknowledging his state of ignorance on the subject and attaching a draft copy which I reviewed. Hunt’s response to my review comments included “I'm assuming that the deniers will not like what I write. That's OK with me: I'm writing for the British Library, not for them .. and will, I hope, remain there for a very long time -- long after the current generation of deniers is dead and buried...”. Those references to “deniers” gives an indication of the degree of balanced presentation to be expected in the book. I heard no more from Hunt after that.

Ursula Carlson

Co-author Ursula Carlson teaches writing and literature at the community college of Western Nevada as Professor in the English Department. She has a B.A. in English from Michigan State University; an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Detroit - note that “creative writing” bit (Note 2).

The Nevada education authority’s Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee commented recently (Note 3) that she is knowledgeable, scholarly, intellectual, well-grounded in her subject and stands for integrity. The committee makes no mention there of any expertise in sea levels or climate change, however, it does say that she is a published poet (hardly relevant to writing a book about rising sea levels).

I thought it possible that the committee had simply overlooked that area of her expertise so searched elsewhere for any reference to it. Ursula did write a couple of articles on the subject for publication by her local newspaper The Nevada Appeal. In the first article “Fresh ideas: Heed signs of a warming planet before it's too late” (Note 4) in June she gives the impression that she is knowledgeable on the subject of global warming and says such things as “ .. nearly every major glacier in the world is shrinking .. Oceans are not only warmer, but more acidic; the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures is decreasing; plants are blooming earlier (some by days, some by weeks) than they used to; animals are moving farther and farther toward the North and South poles .. ”.

Ursula concludes “In other words, as I understand it, by the time global warming is so obvious as to be potentially or probably catastrophic, climate change may be so much underway that there is little that can be done to mitigate it, much less reverse it”.

This is very scary, but how does she know all of this? Well, the note at the bottom of the article says “Ursula Carlson .. for this column referred to Elizabeth Kolbert's “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” published in 2006”. So that expression of her “understanding” is not from her own research into the subject but is second hand from Elizabeth Kolbert.

Where have we seen that name before? Oh yes, she is author of one of the books published by Bloomsbury that I listed in Part 1 of this series. Elizabeth Kolbert, like Ursula Carlson, is not a scientist. She is a journalist who studied literature and moved straight into journalism (Note 5) and has been with the Obama-supporting New Yorker since 1999. The extent of her expertise in the numerous scientific disciplines that contribute to improving our poor understanding of global climate processes and drivers is from talking to scientists. This suggests that the extent of Ursula Carlson’s expertise in this area is even less than that of Elizabeth Kolbert and I have been unable to find any evidence to the contrary.

In the second article “Loss of permafrost provides visual proof of climate change” this month (Note 6) she is somewhat more cautious. Although she talks about global warming and greenhouse gases she avoids any suggestion that humans are responsible for any climate change or able to exercise any control over it. She does make the nonsensical statement that “Melting snow and ice seems reasonable in a world that is getting warmer, but the earth itself, the dirt, the soil, the permafrost is melting as well”. Although “Ursula .. is currently reading studies on climate change” she does need to do much more reading before she can be considered to be an authority on the subject.

The Co-authors

To sum up so far, Hunt Janin and Ursula Carlson appear to have only two things in common as far as writing a book relating to sea level rise or climate change:

1) they co-authored “Trails of Historic New Mexico: Routes Used by Indian, Spanish and American Travellers Through 1886.” (Note 7), which had nothing to do with the subject,

2) neither appear to have any demonstrated expertise in the subject.

On 1st September I wrote to Hunt and Ursula recommending that they read the article "South Pacific Sea Level: A Reassessment" by highly respected sceptic Vincent Gray (Note 8) but neither responded. I didn’t expect to get involved with either any more after that but I was drawn back to them via a seemingly unconnected comment about political “spin”. This led me to checking the Internet for what, if anything, Hunt was doing about his book.

I found that Hunt is trolling Internet blogs - mostly of supporters of The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis - seeking help on the topic from anyone who is prepared to give it, regardless of expertise in the subject, e.g. realclimate, Profmandia, Open Mind, Design Observer, Scienceof Doom. As is to be expected, the responses on these blogs to the questions Hunt was posing are heavily biased towards supporting the IPCC’s position that our continued use of fossil fuels will result in catastrophic changes to global climates. The responses, which also refer Hunt to equally biased blogs, give an indication of the likely shape of the finished book As an example there is not a mention of sea level expert Nils-Axel Mörner (Note 9).

From this evidence Hunt and Ursula need help – a lot of it, but not from Internet blogs. A good starting point would be an interview with Mörner entitled “Sea-level Expert: It’s Not Rising” (Note 10).

This is enough to give you a feel for how biased that book “Rising Sea Levels” by Hunt Janin and Ursula Carlson will be. This begs the question of why would a respected publisher of non-fiction get involved with people who are writing a book on a subject about which they know virtually nothing?

More here (See the original for references)

Greens Shackle National Security - and Renewable Energy

Paul Driessen

“China’s control of a key minerals market has US military thinkers and policy makers worried about access to materials that are essential for 21st-century technology like smartphones – and smart bombs,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Plus stealth fighter jets, digital cameras, computer hard drives – and wind turbine magnets, solar panels, hybrid and electric car batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, catalytic converters, and more.

China’s dominance in mining and processing 17 “rare earth” metals “has raised alarms in Washington,” says the Journal. These unique metallic elements have powerful magnetic properties that make them sine qua non for high-tech, miniaturized and renewable energy equipment.

China currently produces fully 97% of the world’s rare-earth oxides, the raw materials that can be refined into metals and blended into specialty alloys for defense, commercial and power-generation components. However, the Middle Kingdom has slashed its rare-earth oxide and metal exports.

Beijing claims to be motivated by environmental concerns – reflecting the fact that rare earths are present in very low concentrations, mountains of rock must be mined, crushed and processed to get usable metals, and every step in the process requires oil, gasoline or coal-based electricity. A more likely reason is that the Chinese want to manufacture the finished goods, thereby creating countless “green” factory jobs, paid for with US and EU taxpayer subsidies, channeled through GE, Siemens, Vestas and other “socially responsible” companies that then install the systems across Europe and the USA.

So here we are, long beholden to foreign powers for petroleum – and newly dependent on foreign powers for “green” energy. National security issues (direct defense needs and indirect dependency issues) once again rise to the fore, and the Defense Department, Government Accountability Office, House Science and Technology Committee and others are busily issuing reports, holding hearings and expressing consternation. Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN) worries that the United States is being “held hostage.”

As well he should. However, the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves – or more precisely in our militant environmentalists.

Back in 1978, I ruined a perfectly pleasant hike in a RARE-II roadless area, by asking an impertinent question. “How do you defend prohibiting any kind of energy or mineral exploration in wilderness study areas?” I asked Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rupert Cutler and Forest Service Chief John McGuire, “The 1964 Wilderness Act expressly allows and encourages those activities, so that Congress and the American people can make informed decisions about how to manage these lands, based on extensive information about both surface and subsurface values. How do you defend ignoring that provision?”

“I don’t think Congress should have enacted that provision,” Dr. Cutler replied.

“That may be your opinion,” I responded. “But Congress did enact it, and you are obligated by your oath of office to follow the law the way it was written, not the way you think it should have been written.”

“I think we’ve said enough to this guy,” Cutler said to Chief McGuire, and they walked away.

A couple months later, I asked the Denver Sierra Club wilderness coordinator a related question: “Why are you focusing so heavily on areas with the best energy and mineral potential? Isn’t that going to impact prices, jobs and national security?”

“Americans use too much energy, and they’re not going to change voluntarily,” he said. “The only way to make them change is to take the resources away. And the best way to do that is put them in wilderness.”

And every other restrictive land use category that arrogant, thoughtless activists, bureaucrats, judges and politicians can devise, he might have added. Which is how we got where we are today.

As of 1994, over 410 million acres were effectively off limits to mineral exploration and development, according to consulting geologist Courtland Lee, who prepared probably the last definitive analysis, published in The Professional Geologist. That’s 62% of the nation’s public lands – an area nearly equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined – primarily in Alaska and our eleven westernmost Lower 48 states. Today, sixteen years later, the situation is much worse – with millions more acres locked up in wilderness, park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness study and other restrictive land use categories, or simply made unavailable by bureaucratic fiat or foot-dragging.

Due to forces unleashed by plate tectonics, these rugged lands contain some of the most highly mineralized mountain and desert areas in North America. They almost certainly hold dozens, perhaps hundreds, of world-class rare-earth deposits. The vast mineral wealth extracted from those areas since the mid-1850s portends what might still be there, to be discovered by modern prospecting gadgets and methods. But unless laws and attitudes change, we will never know.

How ironic. First eco-activists lock up the raw materials. Then they force-feed us “renewable energy standards” that require the very materials they’ve locked up, which we’ve never much needed until now. Thus China (and perhaps other countries a few years hence) will happily fill the breach, creating green jobs beyond our borders, selling us the finished components, and using our tax dollars to subsidize the imported wind turbines, solar panels and CFL bulbs that are driving energy costs through the roof.

Science historian James Burke became famous for chronicling the “Connections” between successions of past discoveries and achievements and various modern technologies. Unfortunately, today’s increasingly powerful and power-hungry activists, jurists, legislators and regulators cannot see the connection between their actions and the economic havoc they leave in their wake.

Of course, there is little incentive for them to do so. They know they will rarely be held accountable. Others may freeze jobless in the dark – but most of them will keep their jobs, perks, pensions, positions of power over our lives, economy and civil rights progress.

However, there are bright spots. The upcoming elections offer hope for a general House (and Senate) cleaning. A recent poll found that a third of all Americans don’t want to pay even $12 a year in higher energy costs, even to create “green” jobs or forestall Climate Armageddon. Many people are simply fed up – with Washington, and with constant assertions of imminent eco-catastrophes.

A steady stream of shale-gas discoveries in Europe and the United States suggests that we still have plentiful supplies of cheap natural gas. Evidence is mounting that petroleum is abiogenic in origin – and natural forces deep inside the Earth are constantly creating new hydrocarbons from elemental carbon and hydrogen. Both developments undermine a principle argument for pricey, land-intensive, intermittent wind and solar power: that we are running out of “fossil fuels.”

Just north of the Mojave Desert, near Mountain Pass, California, Molycorp is working to restart mining operations at the largest rare-earth deposit outside of China. They had been suspended in 2002, for economic, permitting and environmental reasons that have since been resolved. China’s Baotou Rare Earth Company was a happy beneficiary of the circumstances and US regulatory excesses.

Now there is hope that common sense will prevail at Mountain Pass, new processing methods will reduce costs and environmental impacts, and exploration may one day be permitted in areas locked up by Cutler & Company. Too many technologies depend on lanthanides to keep US deposits under lock and key.

Radical greens may not give a spotted owl hoot about military needs. But they may care enough about preserving their dream of a hydrocarbon-free future, while a few politicians may want to ensure that tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies for wind and solar power and electric cars don’t all head overseas.


40 Years of Energy Panic

We seem to get all the oil we want at a price we're willing to pay

The scene was a Senate hearing last November, before the Gulf oil spill. To his credit (and unlike a BP exec seated nearby), Shell's Marvin Odum went on about the risk of spills, the history of spills, the response to spills.

Then he launched into a section that began: "The U.S. imports approximately 60% of its petroleum needs. This is not necessary. . . . We should not be satisfied with having other nations produce their energy for our use."

No, our point isn't that fear of foreigners is being used by Big Oil to con us into taking unacceptable environmental risks. If anything, BP's success in recapping the Macondo well suggests that, had a reliable blowout preventer been installed in the first place, BP's numerous errors needn't have resulted in any spill at all. Rather, our point is that the endless invocation of an alleged energy crisis is used to sell deep-water drilling because it's used to sell everything.

Turn on the TV: ethanol, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, coal, offshore drilling, onshore drilling, wind, natural gas. Inflicted on us relentlessly since the 1970s, the most mischievous and misleading trope in American politics is the idea that our energy supplies are in danger, that foreigners are out to get us, that a crisis is upon us.

What exactly has been the record of poor, pitiful us during this time? We seem to get all the oil we want at a price we're willing to pay. For three decades, our economy enjoyed one of its greatest boom periods ever—a boom that ended, ironically, not because of oil shortages, but because of overspending on giant houses far from town by people happily conditioned by the ubiquity and affordability of their energy supplies.

And look at countries even more dependent on oil imports than ours. China and India have inaugurated two of the greatest growth stories in history. Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, much of Western Europe—states notorious for a paucity of natural resources—have built among the highest sustained living standards on the globe.

Some confused persons still think we invaded Iraq to get its oil, which would have been like spending a dollar to get a penny. Saddam would have sold us all the oil we wanted (and Kuwait's too) if we had just left him alone.

Now whole careers in the public eye are being built on the idea of peak oil—a geological conceit that produces scenarios of global catastrophe only because it omits the price mechanism, which has worked well for a century to adapt the world economy to whatever amount of oil is geologically available at a given time.

This isn't to say that oil isn't a political problem maker. Villains like Saddam want to steal it. As a fount of domestic patronage, it spoils, corrupts and degrades societies where control is handed to politicians. But for the rest of us, that corruption is mainly visited via policies peddled domestically with a heavy dose of energy panic.

Take the two scandals dogging BP lately. Britain's craven behavior toward a terrorism-sponsoring Libya partly arose from an exaggerated notion of Britain's stake in Libyan oil. The British, like us, have had no trouble buying all the oil they want on world markets.

And, in retrospect, the obvious question raised by the Macondo blowout is why anyone would bet their company by drilling in ultra-deep water where the consequences of a blowout can't quickly and economically be contained.

It turns out that one reason is the now-famous Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which capped oil-spill liability partly out of fears of jeopardizing the nation's energy. Even so, when the bill was debated, shipowners warned that any substantial liability at all might kill the global oil trade.

Well, if not in law then in practice, the cap has been repealed. We'll soon see on what terms shareholders and insurance markets are willing to back the search for oil in deep waters. Guess what? By properly pricing the risks of a deep-water blowout, we're likely to get much safer drilling.

Would that all our energy choices were allowed to work the same way, undistorted by rampant intervention premised on the false notion that the global oil market has proved to be anything other than what it is: robust, reliable, unfailing, if frequently volatile.

Even the greenies might be better off—Americans might be more amenable to modest energy taxes to fight global warming (if that's your cup of tea) if not preached into constant fear of energy shortages. Someday it will behoove a professor to write a book about the greatest failed political marriage of all time—the marriage of the global warming crowd with the energy panic crowd.

Look how little it has achieved despite commanding the airwaves, the media and nearly universal assent from the great and good. Why the marriage failed so abysmally is a question for another day. For now, it suffices simply to notice that it has.



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


2 October, 2010

"Green investment" panic in Nederland

The turning tide against climate idiocy is gaining strength, at last! After months-long coalition talks, the Dutch have finally got a new government, leaning heavily towards common sense.

One of the consequences is the removal of "green energy subsidies" and the "green investment funds" have promptly closed their doors to new investors.

Use an online translator for further details here

Criminals and Muslims who refuse to abide by Dutch law have also been given notice - this is news you won't see in a hurry on your TV screens. So far not a word on the BBC web pages.

An email from Hans Schreuder

LOL! Osama bin Laden concerned about climate

There is an old saying about knowing a man by the company he keeps ....

OSAMA bin Laden believes climate change is more damaging than war. An audio recording attributed to the al-Qaeda leader and broadcast on the internet yesterday expresses concern about the devastating floods in Pakistan and calls on Muslims to provide relief for the victims. "The number of victims caused by climate change is very big... bigger than the victims of wars," says the recording.

If genuine, the recording would be Bin Laden's first since March 25. It was not clear when the tape was made, but Bin Laden congratulated Muslims on the holy fasting month of Ramadan which ended September 10.

"The catastrophe (in Pakistan) is very big and it is difficult to describe it," the recording says. "What we are facing... calls for generous souls and brave men to take serious and prompt action to provide relief for their Muslim brothers in Pakistan."

The recording makes a series of recommendations to deal with climate changes namely preventive measures that should be taken by governments in the face of disasters. "Providing tents, food and medicine is a duty... but the disasters (facing many Muslim countries) are much bigger than what is being offered. "Action should not be confined to providing emergency aid... but to set up a capable relief task force that has the knowledge and experience need to" meet the challenges.

One of them is "setting up studies of urban areas that lie by rivers and valleys in the Muslim world", a reference to floods that hit the Saudi city of Jeddah earlier this year.

The recording also calls for a review of security guidelines concerning dams and bridges in Muslim nations and said more should be done to invest in agriculture to guarantee food security for all. "Investment in agriculture needs a lot of efforts and yields small gains. The issue today is not about gains or losses, but about life or death."

In one of two tapes issued in January, bin Laden blamed major industrial nations for climate change, a statement the US State Department said showed that he was struggling to stay relevant.

In his most recent remarks, he warned that al-Qaeda would kill Americans if the alleged mastermind of the 2001 attacks on the United States, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, were executed.

Plans to send Mohammed to trial just steps away from his alleged crime in New York had to be put on hold after a furious public backlash over potential costs and security threats.

In another statement in January, he claimed responsibility for the botched Christmas Day bombing attempt of a US airliner and vowing further strikes on American targets.

Bin Laden also referred to US support for Israel in the January message. "God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel," he said.

Bin Laden's whereabouts are unknown, but in August, the US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, said he was in the remote mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Desperate Warmist Video

Killing people is amusing to the Green/Left. Their kinship with Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. is evident

John O'Sullivan

UK cinemas see national release of ‘fun’ new climate activists campaign video showing killing of global warming deniers. Film marked with a parental advisory warning.

Touted in The Guardian newspaper the film labeled, “Not suitable for children” marks a new low in environmentalist cinematic propaganda. Announcing the film’s release the national newspaper boasts, “Our friends at the 10:10 climate change campaign have given us the scoop on this highly explosive short film, written by Britain's top comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis, ahead of its general release.” (hat tip: Barry Woods).

Last Ditch Attempt in Failing Campaign

The offering is being dismissed as a lamentable last-ditch attempt to salvage something of the British government’s futile and soon redundant‘10:10 climate change campaign’ (an initiative to persuade Brits to cut 10% from their carbon emissions in 2010). Official figures show that UK household emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by more than 3% this year as domestic fuel use rose due to colder temperatures.

Guardian readers are invited to guffaw as role models and authority figures depicted in the film press a red button and detonate global warming ‘deniers’ into gory lumps of offal. Packaged in the guise of humor this naked hard sell seems a pitiful attempt at convincing the ‘one or two’ of us who are still left that the sky really is falling despite no rising temperatures globally since 1998.

Gillian Anderson (X-Files) and Radiohead join the motley collection of B listers and has-been former soccer stars. Along with indifferent school kids and non-compliant office workers the naysayers all have their innards exploded. No doubt an enhanced 3-D high-definition sequel will be in the pipeline if the premier of this ‘offaling’ goeswell. For your edification you can watch a nay-saying soccer player and movie star vaporize into gory pulp- all for ignoring their carbon footprint!

Bad Year for Hollywood’s Warmist Cinema

Sadly, 2010 is fast turning into a bad year for tree-hugging film makers. It started with so much promise with the general release of James ‘Chicken’ Cameron’s animated full length feature, ‘Avatar.’ But, Cameron, the new Hollywood darling of the warmist crazies, turned tail and ran after canceling at the very last minute after demanding a climate debate with prominent skeptic, Marc Morano of Climate Depot.

On this evidence, Curtis and Hamilton have so much in common: both appearing to be intellectually bankrupt yet filled by self-loathing as they mournfully concede that public interest in climate-related issues just walked off a cliff.

Setting the bar so low with its most simple (or should that be simplistic?) message, this mercifully short film, also showing on Youtube, is literally tripe and speaks more to the converted than non-believers. But as they say, all publicity is good, right?


An encouraging degree of open-mindedness among French scientists

Comments by Vincent Courtillot, the Director of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and Professor of Geophysics at the Denis-Diderot University

On 20 September, the French Academy of Science organised a climate debate that was instigated by the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Mme Valérie Pécresse. This is a short report about the meeting.

The President of the French Academy of Science, Jean Salençon, emphasised from the onset that this meeting was being held in the normal way the Academy operates when asked by government to provide advice on a major topic: a working meeting is first held with those academicians who agree to engage actively in the discussion, together with a number of guests suggested by the academicians themselves or public research organisations such as the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).

After the debate a short report and recommendations to the government are discussed at a full meeting of the Academy where it can be amended. Then a larger report is produced after a couple of months. The recommendations and the report will be sent to Mme Valérie Pécresse, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, who asked for it, but I assume it will be made public. In that sense, this meeting was not especially 'secret.' However, on this particular topic, it was likely on the minds of the Academy advisers that the debate would be scientifically deeper and less passionate if the debating scientists did not have to be concerned about journalists, some of whom may relish in sensationalist reporting of skirmishing and in-house fighting rather than matters of fact.

I believe some 70 academicians attended (out of about 200 members), and there were about 60 guests, mostly scientists engaged in climate research. There were four equal parts in the debate:

1) observations and methods of analysis of these observations;

2) climates of the past;

3) numerical climate models;

4) physico-chemical mechanisms.

In each section, there were 45 minutes of presentations by speakers. Each part was chaired by an academician not involved in climate research.

Then two rapporteurs provided their synthesis of the 42 papers that had been submitted via the academy website in response to a call by the organisers (I believe in June). Finally, 3 to 4 scientists involved in climate research could give a short presentation (in principle 7 minutes and 5 slides each). An hour of open discussion followed. Some examples of these short presentations included Serge Planton (from Meteo-France) and myself in part 1 (I summarised our research - with Jean-Louis Le Mouël and Russian colleagues - of the past 3 years on solar signatures in climate observations), Jean Jouzel and Jean-Claude Duplessy on part 2, Richard Lindzen and Hervé Le Treut on part 3, Robert Kandel and Edouard Bard on part 4.

My own assessment of the day was that it was quite well organized by our colleagues Jean-Loup Puget and René Blanchet (an astrophysicist and a geologist who are representing the Academy's research section on 'sciences of the universe'). Most presentations were balanced, presented in a quiet and open way. It was very interesting to hear the comments of academicians who were not climate specialists (mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists,...), who formed a sort of "educated public" and allowed all to think of how to present this complex science to the more general public. I took 15 pages of notes and heard some very interesting comments and suggestions. There were 4 or 5 rather tense and hostile comments each lasting only a few minutes; overall the day was not (to me) as tense as had been feared or has been suggested afterwards by some journalists.

Although, of course, there was no "vote" at the end of the day, my impression is that half of the attendees balanced in favour of anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the main cause of recent warming (the spatial and temporal signatures of which were discussed), and half in favour of natural causes including the sun. These figures, of course, have a large uncertainty. Even more interestingly, a majority of those leaning towards AGW were quite open to discussion and I believe a main conclusion of the day should be to reaffirm the need that any debate on such a complex scientific question will remain absolutely free, open and tolerant to alternate views, provided of course scientific arguments are used.


Sea Level Rise Due To Groundwater Extraction

Large-scale groundwater extraction for irrigation, drinking water or industry results in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately 0.8 mm, accounting for about one-quarter of total annual sea-level rise (3.1 mm). According to hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares, the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the fact that most of the groundwater extracted ultimately winds up in the sea. The hydrologists explain their findings in an article to be published in the near future in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Groundwater extraction is more common in more arid regions of the world, where there is less available surface water. It is used for crop irrigation, drinking water or industrial purposes. Aquifer levels will decline if over a prolonged period more groundwater is extracted at more locations than can be replenished by means of rainwater recharge. As a consequence, rivers and wetlands will run dry and aquifer levels will fall to such a depth that pumping becomes impossible. Aquifer depletion can eventually spell ecological disaster or even lead to famine.

Rising sea levels

With the knowledge that most of the extracted groundwater eventually winds up in the sea, the researchers at Utrecht University and Deltares calculated the contribution groundwater extraction makes to rising sea levels. Researcher Marc Bierkens says, “We calculated it at eight-tenths of a millimetre per year. This is surprisingly large when compared to the current annual rise in sea levels, which the IPCC estimates at 3.1 mm.” About half of the current rise in sea levels can be attributed to thermal expansion, a little over one quarter to run off from glaciers and ice caps, and the remaining quarter to groundwater depletion. “Although the role of groundwater depletion in rising sea levels had already been acknowledged, it was not addressed in the most recent IPCC report due to a lack of reliable data to illustrate the severity of the situation. Our study confirms that groundwater depletion is, in fact, a significant factor.”

Groundwater depletion

The researchers looked at a combination of information to identify the areas in the world where groundwater extraction leads to groundwater depletion. An estimate of the amount of groundwater extracted annually in most of the world’s countries could be obtained from a database of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), which is affiliated with Deltares. Combining this information with the estimated demand for water, based on population density and data on irrigated areas, the researchers were able to produce a map of global groundwater extraction. A water balance model was then used to map out global groundwater aquifer recharge, i.e. precipitation that seeps through the soil to recharge groundwater aquifers. By subtracting the figures of the groundwater extraction map from the figures of the groundwater aquifer recharge map, the researchers were able to compile a map of global groundwater depletion.

Depletion worst in certain countries

According to Bierkens, “The study reveals that depletion is the most acute in areas of India, Pakistan, the US and China, which are also the regions without sustainable levels of food production and water consumption and which are expected to experience major problems in the long run.” The hydrologists estimate that global groundwater extraction and depletion have increased by 312 km3 to 734 km3 and 126 km3 to 283 km3 per year, respectively, since 1960.


Another government mandate: First they force you to buy health insurance, then wind power, too

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican (and the party's gubernatorial nominee) must be gluttons for punishment.

Mandates to buy things - pushed by Washington - have fouled the political air. The public, which is shown in polls to hate Obamacare, hate most the part that obligates them to buy health insurance. What else do they despise? The ban on the incandescent light bulb, which begins to take effect in 2012 and will force everyone to buy higher-priced mercury-filled compact fluorescents for the rest of their lives. More than a few people hope for a repeal of both measures after the November elections.

So Americans are tired of the dictating, but what do the aforementioned senators do? They dictate more, with a proposed law that will force you to procure part of your electricity from windmills, solar farms and other costly sources. It's called a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), brought to you by politicians who think they know what's good for you.

It works this way: The nation's biggest utilities (think Exelon, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy), which supply the majority of the country's power, are coerced into generating a minimum percentage of their electricity from alternative energy. It's 15 percent under the Bingaman-Brownback bill. It costs much more for these resources - even after heavy subsidies from government - so the utilities must pass on the rate increases to their customers.

A study by the Washington-based Institute for Energy Research found that states with their own binding renewable electricity standards have 40 percent higher electricity prices than do states without such mandates. It is impossible to determine how much the extra costs are attributable to an RES (they are still relatively new), but the states that have them - mostly on the West Coast and in the upper Midwest and the Northeast - are generally known for greater government energy-market regulation than are those who don't have them - mostly in the South. You get the picture.

But the implications won't stop with the rise you see on your monthly power bill. Business and industry, which provide the products and services you consume every day, will not absorb these extra costs for the overall cause to "go green." They will instead incorporate them in their charges to you.

So also will governments face larger electric bills, with schools, facilities and public buildings hit with the additional charges. There goes more spending of taxpayer dollars, again.

And don't forget: Politicians love and alternative-energy companies need the subsidies that keep the solar and wind businesses alive. Without that massive infusion from taxpayers, they - the lawmakers without ribbon-cuttings and the rent-seekers without corporate welfare - could not survive.

Indeed, this summer, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) showed how dependent alternative energy interests are on taxpayers after the Senate omitted a national Renewable Electricity Standard from its energy bill. In a July 27 press release, AWEA stated, "The U.S. wind industry is in distress. Today we announced that with only 700 megawatts added in the second quarter, wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 57 percent and 71 percent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively, and manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. An RES is a critical component to ensure the U.S. wind industry thrives."

Understand? Squiggly light bulbs don't sell without a government mandate. Windmills don't sell without a mandate. And every other harebrained energy-generating scheme (like chicken-excrement incinerators) doesn't sell without a mandate. Yet in about 30 states they get them - and subsidies, too.

Unfortunately, there may be enough of Mr. Bingaman's and Mr. Brownback's Senate colleagues to get a national renewable electricity standard passed - maybe even during a lame-duck session this year. While it doesn't surprise that nearly all the Democrats are on board, Reuters reports that support from several Republicans could make a filibuster shutoff easy. The news service identified Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Nevada's John Ensign, Maine's Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Tennessee's Bob Corker, Alabama's Jeff Sessions, and Iowa's Charles E. Grassley as members who have backed RESs in the past and might do so again.

Pretty amazing in this electoral season when "Throw the bums out" is the theme because people are fed up with government diktats. Will the Beltway establishment ever get it?



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


1 October, 2010

Eating meat is good for the planet (and that's according to a militant vegan)

Lunch with Simon Fairlie is a carnivore’s nightmare. Around the communal table at Monkton Wyld Court — the ‘sustainable lifestyle community’ in the Dorset hills where Fairlie lives — our plates are filled with corn fritters and sprouting quinoa seed salad.

But although the diet is strictly vegetarian, the talk is all about beef. That’s because Fairlie — just in from milking his two cows, and every inch the hippie farmer with his beard and tatty embroidered waistcoat — is no evangelical vegetarian.

Rather, this former co-editor of The ­Ecologist is a rebel from within the environmental movement who says that the eco-establishment has got it badly wrong over animals: that farming them and ­eating meat is OK. In fact, he claims, ­moderate carnivores may be better for the planet than vegans.

He despises the urban Greens and their ignorance about the countryside

As a keeper of livestock, Fairlie was also struck by the endlessly repeated ‘facts’ used by vegetarians and environmental campaigners to prove the inefficiency of raising ­animals as human food. Chief among those is the notorious 10:1 ‘conversion rate’, which appears everywhere from ­scientific papers to school textbooks. This states that to produce 1kg of beef, you need to feed a cow 10kg of grain. If humans ate grain, then, instead of beef, there would be far more food to go around.

‘This figure has its origins in the 18th century,’ contends Fairlie, ­adding that it was publicised most dramatically in an essay by the poet Shelley, who in 1813 became one of the world’s first militant vegetarians. George Bernard Shaw and Paul McCartney were his heirs, and with them rose an ‘urban green agenda’ that Fairlie despises, because of its ignorance about the countryside. ‘Most rural Greens eat meat,’ he says.

And that 10:1 ‘conversion rate’ is an absurd exaggeration, Fairlie’s research shows. It would be true if you fed nothing but grain to cows — but no one does that.

Even in the mega-farms where cheap beef is produced in the U.S. — which do use huge amounts of grain to fatten animals — the ratio is perhaps 7:1.

On a traditional small farm, very ­little vegetable matter fit for human consumption is used for beef ­production and the real conversion ratio is perhaps 1.4 to 1 — for every 1.4kg of vegetable humans could have eaten, you can produce 1kg of beef.

‘And that’s a pretty good exchange, if you’re getting something different and nice to eat,’ says Fairlie. There are other benefits, too. A dairy herd is a highly efficient way of turning something humans can’t eat — grass — into things they can, such as milk, butter and cheese. What’s more, cows recycle nutrients back into the land as manure, and their grazing encourages grass to grow.

One of the great disasters of recent years, in Fairlie’s eyes, is the ban on feeding swill — waste food from ­restaurants and factories — to farm animals following the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001. Before that, many pigs on small farms ­happily ate kitchen waste, costing the planet and the farmer very little.

Now two-thirds of Britain’s pig feed comes from meal, which is expensive, or grain that humans might have eaten — much of it imported soya. Meanwhile, the 20 million tonnes of food we throw away each year is burnt or buried.

Fairlie thinks there is a worrying ideological agenda behind the dodgy statistics of the anti-meat lobby.

In his book, he quotes prominent vegetarian philosophers and ­campaigners in organisations like PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) who would like to do away with all animal-based food, instead producing genetically-engineered ‘cultured muscle tissue’ for humans in factories. He quotes one of these luminaries boasting that he insists on feeding his dogs and cats on soya protein, rather than meat.

So how does the ‘Fairlie diet’ work? He tells me he eats meat ­perhaps twice a week — the last was a steak and kidney pie at a friend’s birthday. ‘We should eat more of the animal — like the offal — and learn to cook with smaller amounts of it.’

That would make our diet more like that of our ancestors. They enjoyed animals like pigs and chickens which are cheap to keep, because they consume waste and surplus grain.


Ethanol: Following the E10 to E15 debate

The ethanol industry was patiently waiting for the EPA to approve an increase from 10 percent ethanol blends to 15 percent in gasoline. They are still waiting, but no longer patiently.

Numerous groups have voiced their opinion to keep the blend wall at 10 percent, or at least not to approve the increase until further testing is done. Despite the fact that the opposition comes from organizations such as the National Council of Chain Restaurants (this one is admittedly confusing), the Engine Manufacturers Association, and the Motorcycle Industry Association, the domestic ethanol industry is convinced this is an enormous big-oil conspiracy to keep the ethanol industry from succeeding. Did they just finish watching JFK?

From the reading I’ve done, it looks like 15 percent blends of ethanol aren’t going to have any negative effects on newer car engines — and EPA statements have hinted that the industry will get their 5 percent increase this year. But there is evidence that it can cause harm in non-automobile engines — like outboard engines used in boating, which explains why ESPN ran an article covering the issue.

Why is this confusing the ethanol industry? As the ESPN article says: "The lack of general public understanding of the differences between E10 and E15 increases the risk that boaters may misfuel their engines once E15 becomes readily available at gas stations."

The average citizen has no idea what E10 or E15 or E85 are. They might buy E15 rather than E10 and use it, potentially damaging very expensive equipment.

The underlying issue here is that the Renewable Fuel Standard is mandating huge blends of ethanol into our fuel supply, but the EPA isn’t permitting a high enough blend that will allow the mandate to be met. This highlights the absurdity of government energy policy. One government organization mandates a policy and another government organization sets policy making the original initiative impossible to obtain. This is one of the many reasons why consumers, not governments, should decide what they want going into their fuel.

And yes, the oil companies oppose the increase — as they should. They have absolutely nothing to gain from this, and will lose money as each gallon of gasoline sold now contains less refined oil and more ethanol. To some, it is downright shocking that a company would oppose policies that would have the direct effect of making their industry less profitable.


Will “clean energy” lead to an economic recovery?

Can pigs fly?

Keynesians and semi-socialists claim that “clean energy” will create jobs and net economic growth. From Al Gore to the New York Times, “green energy” is almost religious in scope, as advocates claim that not only will it give us better air and weather, but it also will be a fundamental building block of economic recovery.

To speak out against this is tantamount to treason in some quarters, and people who dissent are vilified in the media; organizers wanting California’s recent “clean energy” law repealed recently were attacked by the New York Times. Indeed, it almost seems to be self-evident that a “key” to economic recovery is government “investment” in “green technologies,” so anyone who might look differently at this new government-led venture not only opposes progress but new jobs as well.

The technologies leading the way in this effort include biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol and biodiesel; wind power; and solar photovoltics. Not surprisingly, Gore partners with a venture capital fund that helps to finance many of these things.

Of course, these are ventures are not profitable on their own. In other undertakings, entrepreneurs find new ways to apply existing resources in hopes of making a profit. They rarely have the luxury of being targeted for success by governing bodies; rather, they have to deal with all the roadblocks and difficulties that any business venture might find in its way.

With green technologies we have a situation in which entrepreneurs purchase various factors of production, put together a product, sell it, and then chronically fall short of making a profit. Then they lobby for subsidies or mandates. This is not the same kind of situation that faced a capital-intensive operation like Federal Express, which went five years without making a profit. The goal was to be profitable in the future, knowing the company would not receive special government benefits.

As Robert Bryce notes in his eye-opening book, Gusher of Lies, much of what proponents claim about these “new technologies” not only is untrue but will remain untrue because of the first and second laws of thermodynamics: The laws of science stand in the way of these projects ever becoming profitable on their own, and Congress cannot repeal either economic or scientific laws.

Some green energy proponents understand this, but counter that if governments limit consumer choices, people will be forced to purchase these products at prices that will make them appear profitable. That means government coercion is enlisted to create the illusion that “green technologies” are viable when in reality people must use them under threat of state-sponsored violence. One cannot build a prosperous economy on that footing.

Why can’t a good that must be subsidized be the basis of an economic recovery? The answer would seem obvious on its face, but people often don’t see it. The answer is based on this fact: The very presence of subsidies and targeted favors for a particular good means that the real value of the resources being used to create that good is greater than the value of the good itself. No economy can grow under such circumstances. The reality is that “green energy” actually causes the economy to contract.

Part of the misunderstanding comes because people see only one side – new jobs being created in the subsidized industry – but fail to see the entire picture. This hardly is limited to alternative energy — the “broken window fallacy” permeates our body politic and even more so when we suffer economic downturns, as governments seek “solutions” that only make things worse.

If there ever were an example of the “broken window fallacy” in energy, it is the notion that “green energy” in its present circumstances will help the economy grow. That is a logical impossibility, but governments (and, sadly, many economists) don’t do economic logic.


New U.S. Senate Report: EPA’s polices harming america’s maufacturing base

Washington, DC-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released today a new EPW Minority staff report titled, “EPA’s Anti-Industrial Policy: Threatening Jobs and America’s Manufacturing Base,” which chronicles a series of EPA proposals that could destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, many in the industrial heartland, raise energy prices for consumers, and undermine the global competitiveness of America’s manufacturers.

The report reviewed the following proposals:

* New standards for commercial and industrial boilers: up to 798,250 jobs at risk;

* New standards for Portland Cement plants: up to 18 cement plants at risk of shutting down, threatening nearly 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs;

* The Endangerment Finding/Tailoring Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions: higher energy costs; jobs moving overseas; severe economic impacts on the poor, the elderly, minorities, and those on fixed incomes; 6.1 million sources subject to EPA control and regulation; and

* The revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone: severe restrictions on job creation and business expansion in hundreds of counties nationwide.

Sen. Inhofe: “I have great personal respect for EPA Administrator Jackson, but we disagree fundamentally on EPA’s policies and the economic and financial harm they pose for consumers, workers, and small businesses. The record as outlined in this Minority report, which includes EPA’s own analysis, is very clear: EPA will make consumers pay more for electricity, shut down the local factory, and give Chinese firms a decisive advantage over America’s manufacturers, which are struggling to meet the agency’s bureaucratic mandates.

“The irony of EPA’s agenda is that, along with higher costs, it will fail to provide the American people with meaningful environmental benefits. In some cases, it will actually impose environmental harm, as EPA’s ever-increasing mandates shift production to China, where technology and standards don’t measure up to our own.

“Our task ahead is to bring balance back to federal clean air policy, so that economic growth, job creation, and environmental progress can coexist, rather than be in conflict with each other.”

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.): “The regulatory obligations under the Obama administration’s EPA are set to kick the legs out from an already limping economy. It will be almost impossible for Congress to compensate for the jobs that will be lost under the regulatory burden of an ambitious and ever-growing EPA bureaucratic scheme that is crushing every sector of American business.”

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo): “When we ask ‘Where are the jobs?’ this report answers that by showing how the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is killing American jobs and sending them overseas.”

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio): “During my tenure on the Senate EPW Committee, I have worked hard to enact common sense environment and energy policies that protect our environment while enhancing our economic competitiveness.Time after time, these efforts have been met by firm resistance from environmental zealots and an out-of-touch federal bureaucracy.

“Now, when America families are struggling under the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, EPA has launched an aggressive campaign of regulations, red tape and backdoor energy taxes that will undercut our efforts to create jobs and further erode America’s global competitiveness. We should be doing everything we can to create jobs and grow our economy - that includes stopping unelected bureaucrats from raising energy costs and using regulatory red tape to stifle our economy. We must put our nation’s environment and energy policy back into Congress’ hands.”


America Needs Coal

But Obama is intent on stopping coal mining

Those who are in line to receive a heap of coal in their stocking from Santa this year might want to hang on to it. The EPA recently gave “further guidance” to the mountaintop mining industry. Using the Clean Water Act, coal mine plans must meet various expectations and guideposts before new projects or add-ons can begin.

Oddly enough, these standards set by the EPA only apply to six states that house the Appalachian Mountains and only apply to coal miners. “The Administration is singling out coal miners by reinterpreting a law and tilting it in favor of Obama’s environmentalist agenda,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Coal miners are now required to keep streams cleaner and to a higher standard than that of tap water. Sound impossible? It is for most mountaintop coal miners in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and as far as southern Ohio.

Why does the new interpretation of the Clean Water Act only apply to six states affecting only one industry? When EPA’s Administrator Lisa Jackson says, “the goal is a standard so strict that few, if any, permits would be issued for valley fills,” it makes one wonder the true motive behind the guidelines.

The coal industry in U.S. provides almost half of America’s electricity. Surface mining, which includes mountaintop mining and the use of valley fills, removes the top soil and brush and extracts entire coal seams from below the surface.

This type of mining runs vast through the states of the Appalachian Mountains. All of these states employ coal miners and all of their jobs and businesses are slowly being picked off by near-impossible guidelines they must follow.

“Coal mining is such a backbone industry in the Appalachia,” says Gene Kitts, senior vice president of mining services for the International Coal Group (ICG). “It employs tens of thousands directly, and if you simply say you can’t mine anymore, there aren’t a lot of options.”

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, says, coal mining jobs are already being threatened. “Companies are doing all they can to keep people working,” he says. “There have been some layoffs. There is an overwhelming cloud of uncertainty. You go to work today, but you don’t know if you’ll go to work tomorrow.”

Since Obama took office, the coal mining industry has been under attack. In a 2009 video interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama said, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Freezing the coal mining industry is a big step towards Obama’s cap-and-trade plan. From the Appalachia states of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, 269 million tons of coal was produced, nearly 25 percent of the nation’s entire production, Kitts says. By stopping, or even slowing down production in these areas, customers will soon be paying more for their electricity with a demand far exceeding the supply.

“This Administration is not friendly to coal by any means — mining or the use of coal,” Kitts says. “Using the Clean Water Act has been effective in stopping the mine permitting process. It’s managed to bring it to a halt.”

Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association (NMA) says the EPA uses “bad science” and only focuses on the results most beneficial to them.

“The studies the EPA cites show no comparison between mountaintop mining and the streams below,” Popovich says. “The studies don’t consider rainfall or the building of roads. They are cherry-picking what they want instead of looking at a range of data.”
Raney agrees and adds, “They will get anything they can and use it to support their anti-coal agenda.”

A press release by the NMA highlights analyses done by outside groups, GEI Consultants, Inc. and Norwest Corporations, on the studies the EPA is using to restrict mountaintop mining.
Some of the key findings by these groups include:

• The study (Pond-Passmore) EPA relied upon to set new water quality standards for valley fills at coal mining operations in Appalachia found no direct correlation between changes in water quality and aquatic life and the number or location of valley fills;

• EPA failed to establish cause and effect relationships by relying on field data from uncontrolled settings rather than laboratory data — in violation of its own methodology guidelines;

• EPA used too few organisms and relied on those rarely found under any condition to determine that a species is absent from an ecosystem; and

• EPA incorrectly characterized the findings of scientific research and selectively used conclusions to support various presumptions.

Popovich says a lawsuit was filed in July against the EPA’s science. Furthermore, Kitts says the EPA cannot prove the water quality in the Appalachian Mountains around mining sites is hurting humans and/or fish. Instead the EPA is only focusing on aquatic insects, like the Mayfly, that is sometimes found in streams in the Appalachia not near mining sites.

EPA has also enforced that the conductivity number in the water below mining operations must carry a rate of 500 or less. A conductivity rate measures how well typical water conducts an electric charge. The more minerals or solids in the water will give the water a higher conductivity rate.

Kitts says the conductivity in tap water is often at a rate between 600 and 750. “The conductivity rate is not based on good science,” Kitts says. It is not an appropriate measure of impact on the environment.”

Kitts has many permits that have been in limbo for more than a year due to the heavy involvement of the EPA. “Complying with the EPA standards is nearly impossible,” he says.
A mining operator in West Virginia has been waiting for a green light to begin work for 13 years.

Arch Coal met all regulations to get a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia, to mine in the Appalachian coalfields. The operation finally received a fully valid permit in 2007. Now that permit is being questioned by the EPA.

A press release from Arch Coal states, “the Spruce permit is the most scrutinized and fully considered permit in West Virginia’s history.” After 13 years of waiting to begin the project, the EPA could quite possibly revoke the permit.

“At a time when the U.S. economy is still hurting, now is not the time to end coal production,” says Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association. “By harming coal you will damage the economy of the entire nation.”

Bissett estimates that the U.S. will increase electricity demands by 40 percent by 2025. “We will need every form of energy to meet that demand,” he says. “Coal should remain.”

For these Appalachia states it needs to remain. Kentucky alone gets 92 percent of its energy from coal, Bissett says. To pull the rug out from under these economies dependent on the production and use of coal would be a blow to the entire nation.

An Administration under heavy scrutiny for failing to provide job opportunities for almost 10 percent of the U.S. population is unfazed by the fact that it will soon add tens of thousands more to the unemployment lines. “The EPA guidelines are nothing more than a plot to end coal production in the U.S.,” says ALG’s Wilson.

As coal miners and operators wait to hear their verdict from the EPA, you might want to plead Santa for some coal in your stocking this year. It might prove useful.


Dreams in Denmark

Entirely without foundation

The falling cost of renewable energy and rising cost of oil and gas will allow Denmark to develop an energy network entirely free of fossil fuels by 2050, according to a report published by the government's climate commission.

The committee predicted that wind and biomass energy could meet the bulk of the country's energy requirements. It also argued that switching to renewables would be cheaper than continuing to use fossil fuels, particularly if predictions of soaring oil and gas prices are borne out.

The report recommended that the government immediately start devoting 0.5 per cent of the country's annual GDP to renewable energy investment in order to help achieve the 2050 target, resulting in a total spend of 17bn kroner (£1.9bn) by 2050.

The Danish climate and energy minister will now consider the commission's report ahead of the release of the government's official climate strategy proposal in November.



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


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.

Blog 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


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 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

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

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

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)