Sunday, January 28, 2007

EVEN THE BBC DISSES STERN

BBC comment below:

When the Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change came out last year, it was showered with praise. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called it, "the most important report on the future ever published by this government". But expert critics of the review now claim that it overestimates the risk of severe global warming, and underestimates the cost of acting to stop it.

The message from the report's chief author, the economist Sir Nicholas Stern, was simple: if we did nothing about climate change, it would cost us the equivalent of at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. But if we acted today, we could prevent a catastrophe. This point was emphasised at the report's launch by Mr Blair who warned we would see the disastrous consequences of climate change - not in some science fiction future, but in our lifetimes.

These figures sounded scary and imminent. But if you read the report in detail, that is not what it actually says. The 5% damage to global GDP figure will not happen for well over one hundred years, according to Stern's predictions. And the review certainly does not forecast disastrous consequences in our lifetimes.

The report may have been loved by the politicians and headline writers but when climate scientists and environmental economists read the 670-page review, many said there were serious flaws. These critics are not climate change sceptics, but researchers with years of experience who believe that human-induced climate change is real and that we need to act now.

Richard Tol is a professor at both Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world's leading environmental economists. The Stern Review cites his work 63 times; but that does not mean he agrees with it. "If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail. "There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.

At the core of the Stern Review is an economic comparison between the damage caused by climate change with the costs of cutting our greenhouse gases. Professor Tol believes the figures for damage are exaggerated. "Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts," he said.

Many economists are also sceptical about the figures Stern uses to estimate the costs of reducing are greenhouse gas emissions. The review suggests this will cost only 1% of GDP but according to Yale University Economist Robert Mendelsohn, this is far too optimistic and the figure could easily be much higher. "One of the depressing things about the greenhouse gas problem is that the cost of eliminating [it] is quite high. We will actually have to sacrifice a great deal to cut emissions dramatically," he said.

But it is not just economists who have found fault with the Stern Review; climate scientists have also been critical. Next week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its fourth report. It is designed to be the authoritative statement on the state of global warming science. Anyone expecting to see the scary figures of the Stern report repeated is going to be disappointed. The predictions in the IPCC report will be significantly lower. For instance, the Stern review comes up with a figure for temperature increase by 2050 of 2-3 degrees, whereas the IPCC says this will probably not happen until the end of the century.

Professor Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, believes that when the IPCC report comes out next week, there will be a big difference between the science it contains and the climate debate in the UK. "The IPCC is not going to talk about tipping points; it's not going to talk about 5m rises in sea level; it's not going to talk about the next ice age because the Gulf Stream collapses; and it's going to have none of the economics of the Stern Review," he said. "It's almost as if a credibility gap has emerged between what the British public thinks and what the international science community think."

When we put this comment to Sir Nicholas Stern, he replied: "The IPCC is a good process but it does depend on consensus and it means that they have to be quite cautious in what they say. "We were able to look to the evidence and use it in a very particular way, to look at the economics of risk." Sir Nicholas is aware of the increasing number of academic critiques of his review, but remains certain about his conclusions. "It is very important that the report is discussed; a number of people have raised interesting points and we will be discussing them all. "There are no certainties; but the broad conclusion that the costs of action are a good deal less than the damages they save, I think is pretty robust."

None of Stern's critics are advocating doing nothing about climate change. What they disagree about is how much it is worth sacrificing now to try to prevent a worst-case scenario in a hundred years' time.

BBC News, 25 January 2007. You can listen to the full BBC Investigation of the Stern Review here.




SUN'S FICKLE HEART MAY LEAVE US COLD

Below is the first of two attempts to express in layman's terms the new theory about changes in the heat output of the sun -- a theory partially presented here in academic terms on 26th. The full academic paper is here

There's a dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years - exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth. So says a physicist who has created a computer model of our star's core.

Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, modelled the effect of temperature fluctuations in the sun's interior. According to the standard view, the temperature of the sun's core is held constant by the opposing pressures of gravity and nuclear fusion. However, Ehrlich believed that slight variations should be possible.

He took as his starting point the work of Attila Grandpierre of the Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2005, Grandpierre and a collaborator, G bor Agoston, calculated that magnetic fields in the sun's core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma. These instabilities would induce localised oscillations in temperature.

Ehrlich's model shows that whilst most of these oscillations cancel each other out, some reinforce one another and become long-lived temperature variations. The favoured frequencies allow the sun's core temperature to oscillate around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years. Ehrlich says that random interactions within the sun's magnetic field could flip the fluctuations from one cycle length to the other.

These two timescales are instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with Earth's ice ages: for the past million years, ice ages have occurred roughly every 100,000 years. Before that, they occurred roughly every 41,000 years.

Most scientists believe that the ice ages are the result of subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles. One such cycle describes the way Earth's orbit gradually changes shape from a circle to a slight ellipse and back again roughly every 100,000 years. The theory says this alters the amount of solar radiation that Earth receives, triggering the ice ages. However, a persistent problem with this theory has been its inability to explain why the ice ages changed frequency a million years ago.

"In Milankovitch, there is certainly no good idea why the frequency should change from one to another," says Neil Edwards, a climatologist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. Nor is the transition problem the only one the Milankovitch theory faces. Ehrlich and other critics claim that the temperature variations caused by Milankovitch cycles are simply not big enough to drive ice ages.

However, Edwards believes the small changes in solar heating produced by Milankovitch cycles are then amplified by feedback mechanisms on Earth. For example, if sea ice begins to form because of a slight cooling, carbon dioxide that would otherwise have found its way into the atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle is locked into the ice. That weakens the greenhouse effect and Earth grows even colder.

According to Edwards, there is no lack of such mechanisms. "If you add their effects together, there is more than enough feedback to make Milankovitch work," he says. "The problem now is identifying which mechanisms are at work." This is why scientists like Edwards are not yet ready to give up on the current theory. "Milankovitch cycles give us ice ages roughly when we observe them to happen. We can calculate where we are in the cycle and compare it with observation," he says. "I can't see any way of testing [Ehrlich's] idea to see where we are in the temperature oscillation."

Ehrlich concedes this. "If there is a way to test this theory on the sun, I can't think of one that is practical," he says. That's because variation over 41,000 to 100,000 years is too gradual to be observed. However, there may be a way to test it in other stars: red dwarfs. Their cores are much smaller than that of the sun, and so Ehrlich believes that the oscillation periods could be short enough to be observed. He has yet to calculate the precise period or the extent of variation in brightness to be expected (www.arxiv.org/astro-ph/0701117 ).

Nigel Weiss, a solar physicist at the University of Cambridge, is far from convinced. He describes Ehrlich's claims as "utterly implausible". Ehrlich counters that Weiss's opinion is based on the standard solar model, which fails to take into account the magnetic instabilities that cause the temperature fluctuations.

New Scientist, 25 January 2007




New ice age theory: Sun's 'dimmer switch'

Below is the second of two attempts to express in layman's terms the new theory about changes in the heat output of the sun -- a theory partially presented here in academic terms on 26th. The full academic paper is here

Ice ages are not caused by planet Earth's orbital variations as once thought, but by the dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years which is exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth, according to a radical new theory proposed by renowned astrophysicist Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University.

Ehrlich modelled the effect of temperature fluctuations in the sun's interior and showed that while the temperature of the sun's core is held constant by the opposing pressures of gravity and nuclear fusion, slight variations are possible. His research builds upon the work of Attila Grandpierre and G bor Agoston who calculated that magnetic fields in the sun's core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma inducing localised oscillations in temperature.

In an article appearing in the journal New Scientist, Ehrlich describes how some of these oscillations reinforce one another and become long lasting temperature variations, with the sun's core temperature to oscillating around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years. According to the scientist random interactions within the sun's magnetic field could flip the fluctuations between the two cycles which correspond to the Earth's ice ages.

Over the past million years, ice ages have occurred roughly every 100,000 years and before that roughly every 41,000 years. The currently accepted theories attribute the ice ages to subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles, one of which describes the way Earth's orbit gradually changes shape from a circle to a slight ellipse and back again roughly every 100,000 years.

This should, in theory, alter the amount of solar radiation that Earth receives which in turn trigger the ice ages, but a hole in this theory has been its inability to explain why the ice ages changed frequency a million years ago.

Source






Australian PM uses Greenie language to support Federal takeover of big river systems



Prime Minister John Howard yesterday labelled himself a "climate change realist", saying Australians could never return to a relaxed attitude towards water. "I regard myself as a climate change realist," he said while announcing his $10 billion water plan. "That means looking at the evidence as it emerges and responding with policies."

Mr Howard said the evidence pointed to a contraction in weather systems that traditionally brought southern Australia winter and spring rains. "Our rainfall has always been highly variable," he said. "The deviation around average rainfall is enormous and it seems to be getting bigger."

However, Mr Howard said the Australian continent was by its very nature a dry place. Australian water management systems had to be resilient and sustainable regardless of the truth or otherwise of climate change. "They must be geared not to a world of steady averages that rarely materialise but to the variability that has been part of Australia's climate since time immemorial," Mr Howard said.

He said Australians could never return to the days "when you could hose down the car". "We need to make every drop count - on our farms, in our factories and in our homes," Mr Howard said.

Source

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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.

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


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2 comments:

spurwing plover said...

Thats what they dont need in the land down under having the eco-wackos in control of their rivers

Anonymous said...

" . . . easy way out accepting what "everyone knows" more often than not simply perpetuates misinformation."

And without that, and "You don't have to fool all the people all the time," the left wouldn't have a chance.

yonaton