Sunday, May 27, 2007


An email from Wendell Krossa []

Re the comments that none of the apocalyptic doomsayers has been right and they always fail- I would ask: What exactly are they missing? Apocalyptic doom-saying evidences a serious pathology at work. In the first place, it is a distorting perception of reality that holds a dismal view of humanity as essentially evil and bent on screwing things up. This denies the essential goodness of human consciousness and the infinite creative potential of human minds.

Corollary to this is the apocalyptic misperception that human freedom is a dangerous thing that allows people to engage in destructive enterprise. This is astounding, that all the great success of the past few centuries (lengthened life-spans, reduced child mortality, reduced disease, more comforts and conveniences, less violence in the world, cleaner and protected environments) can be dismissed as peripheral byproducts of a movement that is essentially destructive to life and nature (liberated people engaging in creative enterprise).

But it shows how the pathology of apocalyptic distorts human perception of reality. If apocalyptic were some nutty but benign sideshow then we could bemusedly watch the entertainment from the sidelines. But it is unacceptably dangerous to human society and advance. Apocalyptics don't just want to entertain you; they want to control your life and tell you just how to live in onerous detail.

Peter Foster of the National Post noted the other day that all this environmental doomsterism leads to "the almost universal call for centrally directed global mobilization to 'do something'. Now" (The Madness of Eco-crowds, May 23/07). Hence, the oft heard comment that disgruntled socialists are finding rebirth in environmentalism.

No matter how nutty we may consider apocalyptic, it is a dangerous movement because apocalyptics scare people and scared people are more easily manipulated and controlled. So apocalyptic is a direct assault on human freedom.

But perhaps the most serious impact of the pathology of apocalyptic is the waste of human potential. This is evident in the redirection of significant public and private funds that could be better invested elsewhere (Lomberg and others speak to this prioritizing of world concerns in Global Crises, Global Solutions). Along with this there is the redirection of research skills and time that could be better employed attending to issues that are of genuine concern to the planet.

There is also the overall constraining of economic growth and development that makes everyone poorer in the end (fear and guilt over using abundant energy sources to continue economic growth). And there is the unnecessary fear and guilt over enjoying the bounty of life and the abundance that Earth provides for human advance (natural and healthy consumption of the goods and services of our economies).

It reminds me of the horrific waste of human potential in the past century under socialist regimes. It is hard to imagine a greater 'evil' than to waste human lives and minds. Add to this the apocalyptic pressure to return us all to some low-consumption, peasant utopia that never existed. Apocalyptic simply ruins what ought to be the great party of life.

Julian Simon expressed something of this in his excellent book Ultimate Resource. He said the actual conditions on Earth should lead humanity to throw a party to outdo all parties. "We ought to sing, dance and be merry...but instead we see gloomy faces. They (the doomsters) are spoilsports and they have had bad effects...don't let them spoil our merry day" (p.408). He added that doomsterism undermines public morale and weakens the spirit of adventurous enterprise.

I would venture further that apocalyptic always fails because it misses the most fundamental trends in reality and life. It misses the trend of reality and life toward increasing order, organization, complexity, and toward something better. In human society this is evident in the trend toward something more humane. James Payne (The History of Force) and Stephen LeBlance (Constant Battles) both captured this in their histories of the decrease in violence over the life of human civilization.

These long term trends are never realized in steady upward trajectories but suffer setbacks along the way due to residual drives that sometimes overcome the better element of humanity (natural disasters and disease are also destructive setbacks). But these setbacks do not define the overall long term trends. They are more the nature of aberrations. The entire history of the universe, life on Earth and the progress of human society are evidence of the fundamental rising trajectory toward something better.

Without getting too spiritual about it let me also venture that all these positive trends traced by researchers like Simon speak to a fundamental generosity and goodness at the core of reality and life. Apocalyptic misses this entirely. But then wasn't it Nietzsche who said that we all hold some basic orientation toward life- either denying or affirming it.

Actual South American Snow Cover Data Show No Climate Change

Within the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authors of the chapter focusing on snow, ice, and frozen ground (Chapter 4) state that "The cryosphere integrates climate variations over a wide range of time scales, making it a natural sensor of climate variability and providing a visible expression of climate change." In their very next sentence, the authors concede that "the cryosphere has undergone large variations on many time scales associated with ice ages and with shorter-term variations." This is a conscientious caveat to their report, because it is widely accepted that Earth's cryosphere, or frozen realm, has changed significantly in the past with variability in planetary temperature. It should not be too difficult to understand the concept that periods of reduced snow and ice across Earth have historically coincided with planetary warmth. With a risk of tugging on that particular linchpin of Al Gore's scientific knowledge, here comes new research findings associated with snowpack variability in the Andes Mountains of South America.

Outside of Antarctica, snow cover in the Southern Hemisphere has not received much attention in the climate change debate. In fact, within the snow, ice, and frozen ground chapter of the AR4, approximately 800 words along with three figures and one table are dedicated to snow cover variability in the Northern Hemisphere, compared to less than 400 words and no accompanying graphics for variability in the Southern Hemisphere. We're here to help spread the word on findings from the southern half of Earth.

Very late in 2006, the Journal of Climate published the research work of Mariano Masiokas (Instituto Argentino de Nivolog­a, Glaciolog­a y Ciencias Ambientales and Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario) and colleagues entitled "Snowpack variations in the central Andes of Argentina and Chile, 1951-2005: Large-scale atmospheric influences and implications for water resources in the region" (Masiokas et al. 2006). The research team used snow course data from each side of the central Andes in Chile and Argentina to develop the "first regional snowpack series." The team employed the six longest and most complete snow course records for the 55-year period in the region, covering an area stretching from 30S to 37S latitude. Their variable for study is annual maximum snow water equivalent (MSWE).

The snowpack of the central Andes serves as much more than a monitor of climate change. The authors explain that "over 10 million people in Central Chile and central-western Argentina depend on the freshwater originating from the winter snowpack of the central Andes." Alarming is their charge that "coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models especially targeted to investigate high-elevation sites" have indicated that "for the next 80 years the central Andes will probably experience significant temperature increases" (Bradley et al. 2004; Masiokas et al. 2006). To make matters worse, Masiokas et al. note that "independent general circulation model simulations also predict a significant decrease in precipitation over the region for the next five decades" (Cubasch et al. 2001). The combination of higher air temperature and less precipitation in the central Andes over the rest of this century is not the recipe for a problem-free regional water supply. The climate models seem to be sending a strong message to over 10 million people in Chile and Argentina. Surely this trend is already evident given the global warming of the past several decades that is supposedly unprecedented within Earth's climate record, right? Wrong.

Masiokas et al. found no such trend in MSWE, stating that the regional record "shows a non-significant positive linear trend (+3.95% per decade) over the1951-2005 interval," or an absolute increase of greater than 21% over the period (Figure 1). The group matched the MSWE record with mean monthly streamflow data for the primary rivers in the region. They found that river discharges on both sides of the central Andes "are strongly correlated with the snowpack record and show remarkably similar interannual variability and trends."

Figure 1. The regional snowpack (MSWE) series from the central Andes expressed as percentages from the 1966-2004 base period. The dashed lines indicate one standard deviation in the 1951-2005 regional snowpack record. MSWE means for the 1951-76 and 1977-2005 periods are shown as thick horizontal lines.

The work is important for two reasons. First, it once again either proves that general circulation models are not completely reliable, or it shows that little or no climate change has occurred in the central Andes, or both. Second, it introduces snow cover data from the Southern Hemisphere - a rarity in climate change circles. Within the snow, ice, and frozen ground chapter of the IPCC's AR4, South American snow cover is briefly mentioned among the few words dedicated to the Southern Hemisphere. One of the IPCC's conclusions is derived from newspaper accounts: "A long-term increasing trend in the number of snow days was found in the eastern side of the central Andes region (33S) from 1885 to 1996, derived from newspaper reports of Mendoza City." The other "conclusion" uses the altitude of the 0 Celsius line from atmospheric profile data at one location as a surrogate for the behavior of the snow line of the western Andes. But instead of the indirect evidence reported in the IPCC, Masiokas et al. provide data for the real thing-actual snow on the ground. In so doing, they shed more doubt on the reliability of global circulation models while boosting the hopes of more than 10 million people in Chile and Argentina.


In support of the above, note that the research below found no change in global precipitation WORLDWIDE -- very different from what warming would have produced:

Variations in annual global precipitation (1979-2004), based on the Global Precipitation Climatology Project 2.5o analysis

By Thomas M. Smith et al.


The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) has produced a combined satellite and in situ global precipitation estimate, beginning 1979. The annual average GPCP estimates are here analyzed over 1979-2004 to evaluate the large-scale variability over the period. Data inhomogeneities are evaluated and found to not be responsible for the major variations, including systematic changes over the period. Most variations are associated with El Nio/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episodes. There are also tropical trend-like changes over the period, correlated with interdecadal warming of the tropical SSTs and uncorrelated with ENSO. Trends have spatial variations with both positive and negative values, with a global-average near zero.


Send your underwear to the Undersecretary

Top-loading laundry machines have long been a low-priced, dependable home appliance. But no more-the federal government has wrecked them with its energy-efficiency regulations. That's the finding of the June 2007 issue of Consumer Reports. In its words: "Not so long ago you could count on most washers to get your clothes very clean. Not anymore. .What happened? As of January, the U.S. Department of Energy has required washers to use 21 percent less energy, a goal we wholeheartedly support. But our tests have found that traditional top-loaders . are having a tough time wringing out those savings without sacrificing cleaning ability, the main reason you buy a washer." Some of the top-loaders tested had "the lowest scores we've seen in years."

In fact, out of the 21 new top-loader models that Consumer Reports tested, it couldn't pick a single one as a "Best Buy": "[F]or the first time in years we can't call any washer a Best Buy because models that did a very good job getting laundry clean cost $1,000 or more."

Government mandates for higher efficiency are almost always accompanied by claims that the higher prices they cause will be more than offset by their alleged savings from lower energy costs. But that raises a fundamental question-if these new technologies are so good, then why do we need laws to force consumers to buy them? In fact, efficiency mandates often flop, and in some cases they flop disastrously. Government fuel efficiency rules for cars, for example, already contribute to thousands of deaths each year due to vehicle downsizing. Many people dislike compact fluorescent bulbs for perfectly valid reasons, but there is now a push to mandate their use by banning incandescent bulbs.

The risks of the laundry washer rules were pointed out long ago. But despite the fact that these problems have now developed, Congress may well boost efficiency requirements once again-not just for washers (as if they haven't done enough damage already) but for cars, trucks and a huge range of appliances and machinery.



Targets and timetables for carbon emission cuts are still out but a call for a major meeting in December to agree the way forward on global warming is back in the latest draft conclusions to be put to next month's G8 summit. The draft, seen by Reuters and dated May 15, reinstates a call for the meeting in Bali in December to make progress on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol which is the only global deal on cutting carbon emissions but which lapses in 2012. "We are committed to moving forward in that forum and call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement at the UN Climate Conference in Indonesia in December 2007," the draft says.

That paragraph was excised from a previous draft in April. Many other paragraphs stressing the urgency of the climate crisis remain deleted in the latest draft. Diplomats says the cuts were made by a group of countries led by the United States but including Canada and Japan. Negotiations to expand and extend Kyoto beyond 2012 are barely moving and diplomats are hoping that the G8 summit in the German resort of Heiligendamm from June 6-8 will agree on a declaration strong enough to revitalise the talks.


Australia: A Greenie absurdity made real

MEET Queensland's first carbon farmer. Peter Allen, pictured, a third-generation farmer from Moura, has signed a $1 million deal for doing nothing at all. In a historic transaction, mining company Rio Tinto bought the rights to carbon dioxide stored in 3500ha of Mr Allen's heavily vegetated property, 575km northwest of Brisbane. Instead of clearing the land to run cattle, Mr Allen will preserve the trees for 120 years to ensure they soak up carbon dioxide.

When you hear talk of carbon offsets, this is where the money goes. Many of the state's farmers stand to reap multimillion-dollar incomes from selling carbon rights to large corporations or individuals wishing to become carbon neutral. "It's not like I have won the lotto or that I'm a tree-hugger. It was a purely financial decision," Mr Allen said. "We looked at the return on developing that land for grazing, compared to the return from the carbon rights. "We had to think hard before we decided to lock that land up for the next 120 years. "If it had been any less money, we wouldn't have done it."

This time last year, Mr Allen had eight bulldozers ready to knock down a swathe of trees on an investment property just outside Charleville. Under the State Government's moratorium on land clearing, farmers were given until December last year to enact one final clearing permit. Rio Tinto stepped in, offering Mr Allen and five other farmers money in exchange for their inaction. A total of 12,060ha was spared, the carbon rights secured under a legally binding contract. It is believed to be Australia's biggest carbon-trading deal.

The carbon industry is expected to boom after the Prime Minister's Task Group on Emissions Trading hands down its blueprint next Thursday. But as the carbon industry gears up, questions have been raised about the lack of regulation over the voluntary offset market - the system through which airline passengers, rock festival patrons and motorists can pay for their pollution. Green watchdogs say the voluntary market is open to exploitation, with no controls on who can sell carbon and no checks on the work carried out. Further questions have been raised about the effect of tree-planting, the popular method used by most carbon offsetters.



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.


No comments: