Wednesday, March 21, 2007

'The global-warmers were bound to attack, but why are they so feeble?'

'The Great Global Warming Swindle', broadcast by Channel 4, put the case for scepticism about man-made climate change. The programme sparked a heated debate and charges of scientific inaccuracy. Here, its director, Martin Durkin, responds to the critics

On March 8, Channel 4 broadcast my programme. Since then, supporters of the theory of man-made global warming have published frothing criticism. I am attacked for using an "old" graph depicting temperature over the past 1,000 years. They say I should have used a "new" graph - one used by Al Gore, known as the "hockey stick", because it looks like one. But the hockey stick has been utterly discredited. The computer programme used to generate it was found to produce hockey-stick shapes even when fed random data (I refer readers to the work of McIntyre & McKitrick and to the Wegman Report, all available on the internet). Other than the discredited hockey stick, the graph used by us (and published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is the standard, accepted record of temperature in this period.

A critic claims that one of the graphs cited by us, illustrating the extraordinarily close correlation between solar variation and temperature change, has since been "corrected". It most certainly has not. The graph was produced by Prof Eigil Friis-Christensen, the head of the Danish National Space Centre, who says it still stands. But if the global-warmers don't like that graph, there are plenty of others that say the same thing.

No one any longer seriously disputes the link between solar activity and temperature in earth's climate history. I urge readers to look up on the net: Veizer, Geoscience Canada, 2005; and Soon, Geophysical Research Letters, 2005.

In the film, we used three graphs depicting temperature change in the 20th century. On one there was an error in the dates on the bottom. This was corrected for the second transmission of the programme, on More4, last Monday. It made no difference. Global-warmers can pick whichever graph they like. The problem for them remains the same. The temperature rise at the beginning of the century (prior to 1940, when human emissions of CO2 were relatively insignificant) was as great, most graphs show greater, than the temperature rise at the end of the century.

So what else do they hit me with? Prof Carl Wunsch, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who appeared in the film, later claimed he was duped into taking part. He was not.

The remarkable thing is not that I was attacked. But that the attacks have been so feeble. The ice-core data was the jewel in the global-warming crown, cited again and again as evidence that carbon dioxide 'drives' the earth's climate. In fact, as its advocates have been forced to admit, the ice-core data says the opposite. Temperature change always precedes changes in CO2 by several hundred years. Temperature drives CO2, not the other way round. The global-warmers do not deny this. They cannot.

During the post-war economic boom, while industrial emissions of CO2 went up, the temperature went down (hence the great global-cooling scare in the 1970s). Why? They say maybe the cooling was caused by SO2 (sulphur dioxide) produced by industry. But they say it mumbling under their breath, because they know it makes no sense. Thanks to China and the rest, SO2 levels are far, far higher now than they were back then. Why isn't it perishing cold?

Too many journalists and scientists have built their careers on the global-warming alarm. Certain newspapers have staked their reputation on it. The death of this theory will be painful and ugly. But it will die. Because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.



Locked in a struggle for control of the environmental agenda, Britain's political leaders have committed the nation, and its taxpayers, to stringent new carbon-cutting policies. But, reveals Richard Gray, they are facing tough questions over how much gain there will be for the pain

As David Cameron planted a tree in north London last weekend, it was his funky trainers as much as his handy spadework that caught the attention of onlookers. Cameron was officially marking the Conservative Party's "Green Action Day", but there was also a message in his green-laced, camouflage-soled footwear. Central Office was happy to let it be known that they were, in fact, recycled from old firemen's trousers and car seats, part of a limited edition of 400 pairs produced to mark last year's 15th anniversary of The Big Issue. As a symbol, it was true to form from a politician who, since taking over his party's leadership, has rarely missed an opportunity to advertise his green credentials, whether by cycling to work or putting a windmill on his house.

Whoever are the short-term winners and losers at Westminster, it is clear that an environmental "arms race" has begun. For the foreseeable future, our politics will no longer be simply blue, red and yellow, but made up of different shades of green. Voters be warned: Britain is going to save the planet. It is, to put it mildly, an ambitious goal. And this weekend, a number of searching questions are being asked. For example, can a country that contributes just 2 per cent of the world's carbon emissions really make much of a difference to the planet? And, if not, are politicians justified in asking the voters to dramatically change their lifestyles and, inevitably, pay more tax? Similarly prohibitive measures are not being undertaken by China, India and America, the world's largest polluters.

In fact, with the science around global warming still evolving, some ask whether now is the right time to fix on specific policy commitments at all. And then there is the basic question: has it been definitively proved that human behaviour is causing the planet to warm?.... The sceptics accept that the earth is heating up. But they think the warming is due to its natural cycles, and so doubt that humans are the cause. Therefore there is little humans can do to stop it.

Prof Bob Carter, a marine geophysicist at James Cook University, in Queensland, Australia, argues: "Public utterances by prominent persons are marked by an ignorance of the important facts and uncertainties of climate science. "The evidence for dangerous human-caused global-warming forced by human carbon-dioxide emissions is extremely weak. That the satellite temperature record shows no substantial warming since 1978, and that even the ground-based thermometer statistic records no warming since 1998, indicates that a key line of circumstantial evidence for human-caused change to 2026 is now negated."

The debate is far from over. The arguments of doubters suffered a significant blow when Channel 4's recent high-profile programme, The Great Climate Change Swindle, which presented the sceptical view, was accused of inaccuracy. One contributor claims he was misled over the programme's content. But there is also flak heading the way of Al Gore, the former US vice-president, who won an Academy Award for his film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. At the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Prof Don Easterbrook, a geologist from Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts of his concerns at "inaccuracies" in Mr Gore's arguments: "The real danger of the IPCC report and Al Gore's film is they suggest that, by diminishing carbon dioxide levels, it will solve the global-warming problem and we won't have to worry about the catastrophe they are predicting."

For the public, the science of global warming remains baffling. Advocates on both sides of the argument can produce reams of statistics to support their opposing views. A poll by ICM, published yesterday in the Guardian, revealed that voters are less engaged with green issues, and more doubtful of the ability of politicians to tackle climate change, than either Gordon Brown or David Cameron might have thought. More than a third said they did not believe MPs could tackle climate change at all. Between them, the Tories and Labour attracted only 30 per cent support for their green strategies.

This growing public disaffection may be behind a sudden move by some prominent climate-change scientists to warn against sensationalist predictions on the part of the environmental lobby. "It is dangerous for politicians to say the science of climate change is now complete," said Dr Piers Forster, an earth and environment researcher at the University of Leeds and a lead author on the UN's influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr Forster believes human activities are without doubt causing the climate to warm, but insists that it is impossible to make clear policy decisions at local or even on continental-wide levels at this stage. "We really don't know how it is going to effect our day-to-day lives over the next 100 years," he states. "People are making decisions about exactly what to do without making sure they are based on the best scientific evidence we have."

Fears about this "eco-hype" were echoed yesterday by two senior members of the Royal Meteorological Society at a conference in Oxford. Profs Paul Hardaker and Chris Collier hit out at researchers who, they say, are "overplaying" the global warming message. Some of their peers, they warn, are making claims about future impacts that cannot be justified by the science. Regardless of the ongoing debate, Britain's political parties have chosen to fight among themselves for the privilege of saving the planet....

Despite their embrace of radical environmental policies, neither party has a convincing answer as to why Britain should take the global lead on climate change, other than as a "moral obligation". In worldwide terms, Britain contributes just a fraction of total carbon emissions - about 544 million tons. By comparison, America pumps out more than 5,844 million tons. China and India, two of the fastest-growing economies, emit 3,263 million tons and 1,220 million tons respectively. China alone has more than 2,000 coal-fired power stations in operation and a new one opens every four days. If the UK stopped all of its emissions today, China would have replaced the lot within a year.

"The climate debate has been captured by people who have at heart an interest in exerting control over people's lives rather than letting them live better lives," said Julian Morris, from IPN. "It is extremely sad to see Britain's political parties trying to capitalise on this."

More here


It is customary for old-fashioned religion to threaten those whose way of life is not to its satisfaction, with the prospect of hell in the afterlife. Substitute for the afterlife, life on earth in centuries to come, and it is possible to see that environmentalism and the rest of the left are now doing essentially the same thing. They hate the American way of life because of its comfort and luxury, which they contemptuously dismiss as "conspicuous consumption." And to frighten people into abandoning it, they are threatening them with a global-warming version of hell.

This is not yet so open and explicit as to be obvious to everyone. Nevertheless, it is clearly present. It is hinted at in allusions to the possibility of temperature increases beyond the likely range of 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit projected in the recent United Nations report on global warming. For example, according to The New York Times, "the report says there is a more than a 1-in-10 chance of much greater warming, a risk that many experts say is far too high to ignore."

Environmentalist threats of hell can be expected to become more blatant and shrill if the movement's present efforts to frighten the people of the United States into supporting its program of caps and reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions appear to be insufficient. Hell is the environmentalists' ultimate threat.

So let us assume that it were true that global warming might proceed to such an extent as to cause temperature and/or sea-level increases so great as to be simply intolerable or, indeed, literally to roast and boil the earth. Even so, it would still not follow that industrial civilization should be abandoned or in any way compromised. In that case, all that would be necessary is to seek out a different means of deliberately cooling the earth.

It should be realized that the environmentalists' policy of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is itself a policy of cooling the earth. But it is surely among the most stupid and self-destructive such policies imaginable. What it claims is that if we destroy our capacity to produce and operate refrigerators and air conditioners, we shall be better protected from hot weather than if we retain and enlarge that capacity. What it claims is that if we destroy the energy base needed to produce and operate the construction equipment required to build strong, well-made, comfortable houses for hundreds of millions of people, we shall be safer from hurricanes and floods than if we retain and enlarge that energy base. This is the meaning of the claim that retaining and enlarging this capacity will bring highly destructive global warming, while destroying it will avoid such global warming.

In contrast to the policy of the environmentalists, there are rational ways of cooling the earth if that is what should actually be necessary, ways that would take advantage of the vast energy base of the modern world and of the still greater energy base that can be present in the future if it is not aborted by the kind of policies urged by the environmentalists.

Ironically, the core principle of one such method has been put forward by voices within the environmental movement itself, though not at all for this purpose. Years ago, back in the days of the Cold War, many environmentalists raised the specter of a "nuclear winter." According to them, a large-scale atomic war could be expected to release so much particulate matter into the atmosphere as to block out sunlight and cause weather so severely cold that crops would not be able to grow.

Wikipedia, the encyclopedia of the internet, describes the mechanism as follows:

Large quantities of aerosol particles dispersed into the atmosphere would significantly reduce the amount of sunlight that reached the surface, and could potentially remain in the stratosphere for months or even years. The ash and dust would be carried by the midlatitude west-to-east winds, forming a uniform belt of particles encircling the northern hemisphere from 30ø to 60ø latitude (as the main targets of most nuclear war scenarios are located almost exclusively in these latitudes). The dust clouds would then block out much of the sun's light, causing surface temperatures to drop drastically.

Certainly, there is no case to be made for an atomic war. But there is a case for considering the possible detonation, on uninhabited land north of 70ø latitude, say, of a limited number of hydrogen bombs. The detonation of these bombs would operate in the same manner as described above, but the effect would be a belt of particles starting at a latitude of 70ø instead of 30ø. The presence of those particles would serve to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching most of the Arctic's surface. The effect would be to maintain the frigid climate of the region and to prevent the further melting of its ice or, if necessary, to increase the amount of its ice. Moreover, the process could be conducted starting on a relatively small scale, and then proceed slowly. This would allow essential empirical observations to be made and also allow the process to be stopped at any time before it went too far.

This is certainly something that should be seriously considered by everyone who is concerned with global warming and who also desires to preserve modern industrial civilization and retain and increase its amenities. If there really is any possibility of global warming so great as to cause major disturbances, this kind of solution should be studied and perfected. Atomic testing should be resumed for the purpose of empirically testing its feasibility.

If there is any remnant of the left of an earlier era, which still respected science and technology, and championed industrial civilization, it might be expected to offer additional possible solutions for excessive global warming, probably solutions of a kind requiring grandiose construction projects. For example, one might expect to hear from it proposals for ringing North Africa and Australia with desalinization plants powered by atomic energy. The purpose would be to bring massive amounts of fresh water to the Sahara Desert and the deserts of Australia, with the further purpose of making possible the growth of billions of trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Another possibility would be an alternative proposal simply to pump an amount of sea water into confined areas in those deserts sufficient to provide an outlet for a growing volume of global seawater other than heavily inhabited coastal regions. (I would not be ready to endorse any such costly proposals, but they would be a vast improvement over the left's only current proposal, which is simply the crippling of industrial civilization.)

Once people begin to put their minds to the problem, it is possible that a variety of effective and relatively low-cost solutions for global warming will be found. The two essential parameters of such a solution would be the recognition of the existence of possibly excessive global warming, on the one side, and unswerving loyalty to the value of the American standard of living and the American way of life, on the other. That is, more fundamentally, unswerving loyalty to the values of individual freedom, continuing economic progress, and the maintenance and further development of industrial civilization and its foundation of man-made power.

Global warming is not a threat. But environmentalism's destructive response to it is.

In claims to want to act in the name of avoiding the risk of alleged dreadful dangers lying decades and centuries in the future. But its means of avoiding those alleged dangers is to rush ahead today to cripple industrial civilization by means of crippling its essential foundation of man-made power. In so doing, it gives no consideration whatever to the risks of this or to any possible alternatives to this policy. It contents itself with offering to the public what is virtually merely the hope and prayer of the timely discovery of radically new alternative technologies to replace the ones it seeks to destroy. Such pie in the sky is a nothing but a lie, intended to prevent people from recognizing the plunge in their standard of living that will result if the environmentalists' program is enacted.

As I've written before, if the economic progress of the last two hundred years or more is to continue, if its existing benefits are to be maintained and enlarged, the people of the United States, and hopefully of the rest of the world as well, must turn their backs on environmentalism. They must recognize it for the profoundly destructive, misanthropic philosophy that it is.

They must solve any possible problem of global warming on the foundation of industrial civilization, not on a foundation of its ruins.


Michael Mann's beloved bristlecone data

After his "hockeystick" was debunked as a mathematical artifact and he had to do some real analyses, Mann relied on Bristlecone pine tree-rings to support his picture of the climatic past. Below is a brief excerpt that comments on that procedure:

What were those bad numbers Mann plugged in to get his fake results? Modern bristlecone pine tree-ring data in which recent tree rings showed the widths that would normally mean unusually warm weather.

However, these trees were located near temperature recording stations that showed lower than usual temperatures. So instead of being a sign of warmer temperatures, the tree rings are actually responding to the increased CO2 levels.

Even the heading on this bristlecone pine study clearly stated that the wider tree rings did not indicate higher temperatures. But Mann plugged them in as if they did, producing the one dataset that showed "warmer weather" (i.e., wider tree rings) in recent years, allowing the defective software to produce its hockey-stick result.

The bristlecone pine study was real science. Mann's use of it was deliberately fraudulent.


Global warmers call for faith

CLIMATE change activists are asking global warming fence-sitters not to be put off by figures that show losses related to natural disasters fell in 2006. Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsurer, said insured losses were $US15.9 billion ($A20.46 billion) last year. Accounting for inflation, only 1997 and 1988 have been cheaper.

But Insurance Australia Group executive, culture and reputation, Sam Mostyn - named by chief executive Michael Hawker as a guiding figure in IAG's global warming campaign - said single years or events should not be held up as conclusive evidence for or against global warming. "Climate modelling and the impact of climate change must be analysed over the long term," Ms Mostyn said. "IAG's research confirms the view that the effects of climate change will increase over time and so IAG supports the case for early action."

Swiss Re's sigma study showed 349 natural catastrophes and man-made disasters claimed more than 31,000 lives around the world. But most disastrous events were in developing countries, resulting in "comparatively light economic losses" of $US48 billion ($A61.56 billion). "Low insurance penetration in developing countries also meant that only one-third of these economic losses in 2006 was actually covered by insurance," Swiss Re said.

"Over the past decades, insured losses have shown a rising trend, due mainly to weather-related catastrophes. This also reflects an increasing concentration of property values and urban encroachment into highly exposed regions."



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

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



RobC said...

This is just more of Durkin's slipperiness. He pretends to respond to criticism; actually, he's responding to criticisms that haven't been made, or at least not prominently.

The criticism made prominently is that he misrepresents the solar activity data. What he shows is a heroic, and invalid, manipulation of solar-cycle length data. Did you notice that the narrator didn't tell you where the plot came from? What really happened was that solar activity peaked in 1980 and has gone down since 1990. Meanwhile, CO2 concentration is higher now than ever before; for more that 400,000 years it was always less than 300 ppm and now it's over 380. That's the reason for all the concern, and the film simply ignores it.

I've posted the most reliable data I could find on a web page called Global Warming: A Guide for the Perplexed. References are given for everything there so you don't have to accept it blindly. Or, you can skip that and just look at called Global Warming: A Guide for the Perplexed --Skeptics. References are given for everything there so you don't have to accept it blindly.

Anonymous said...

The greenies claim "...that if we destroy our capacity to produce and operate refrigerators and air conditioners, we shall be better protected from hot weather than if we retain and enlarge that capacity."

Well of course. Just look at how well that worked for France.