Friday, November 23, 2007


Journal abstract and graph below:

Energy & Environment, 2007, 18(7-8): 1049-1058

A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies

By Loehle, C.

Historical data provide a baseline for judging how anomalous recent temperature changes are and for assessing the degree to which organisms are likely to be adversely affected by current or future warming. Climate histories are commonly reconstructed from a variety of sources, including ice cores, tree rings, and sediment. Tree-ring data, being the most abundant for recent centuries, tend to dominate reconstructions. There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not properly capture long-term climate changes. In this study, eighteen 2000-year-long series were obtained that were not based on tree ring data. Data in each series were smoothed with a 30-year running mean. All data were then converted to anomalies by subtracting the mean of each series from that series. The overall mean series was then computed by simple averaging. The mean time series shows quite coherent structure. The mean series shows the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly, with the MWP being approximately 0.3°C warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites.


Have a Green Thanksgiving

Worries over calories or family squabbles pale in comparison: Make room for a green Thanksgiving, which has nothing to do with broccoli and everything to do with guilt. Scolds and activists have descended upon tomorrow's feast, demanding Americans serve a "sustainable" meal that conforms to a brisk list of eco-conscious dictums. It can boil down to finicky details.

"Serve tap water instead of bottled at your holiday table and cut down on plastic bottles," noted the World Wildlife Fund yesterday in its top-10 tips for a low-impact Thanksgiving. "Serve wine sealed with a cork not a plastic stopper."

The D.C.-based conservation group also recommends online shopping, centerpieces made from backyard brambles, minimal packaging on food items and an attitude adjustment. "Although Thanksgiving is supposed to be a feast, don't prepare more food than will be eaten. American's throw out nearly 40 percent of their food. This year, encourage guests to clean their plates," they advised.

This year, one must practice "local eating for global change," said Canadian-based cookbook author Alisa Smith. If the turkey, veggies, breads and other holiday menu staples are not grown or produced within 100 miles of home, forget it. Such items require too much fossil fuel to get them from field to table, Ms. Smith reasoned — but her logic has serious impact on granny's traditions. Cinnamon and nutmeg are verboten in the pumpkin pie, for example; both spices are imported. And unless a bog is down the block, cranberries can be on the no-no list as well.

More here

An awkward admission from some Warmist scientists

In a Policy Forum article inspired by the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Oppenheimer et al. (2007) write in the 14 September issue of Science that "with the general credibility of the science of climate change established, it is now equally important that policy-makers understand the more extreme possibilities that consensus may exclude or downplay." Why is that? Because, as they continue, "setting aside or minimizing the importance of key structural uncertainties in underlying processes is a frequent outcome of the drive for consensus."

In light of this illuminating admission, we note that the setting aside of key uncertainties in the climate modeling enterprise could well lead to more extreme possibilities at both ends of the climate prognostication spectrum, such that not only may earth's surface air temperature rise somewhat more than is predicted by the current IPCC consensus, it could equally as easily rise somewhat less than that august group has opined. And for the IPCC's current full range prediction of 21st century warming (1.1-6.4øC), somewhat less warming could well turn out to be indistinguishable from no warming at all.

But how could this possibly be? The answer may well be found in the implementation of another important principle enunciated by Oppenheimer et al., i.e., their contention that the basis for quantitative uncertainty estimates "must be broadened [our italics] to give observational, paleoclimatic, or theoretical evidence of poorly understood phenomena comparable weight [our italics] with evidence from numerical modeling."

As a prime example of important paleoclimatic evidence that has been largely ignored by the IPCC, we cite the stunning results of the many studies we continue to identify and analyze in our Medieval Warm Period Project, where each week we highlight the findings of a different paleoclimatic study that reveals the time domain and various climatic characteristics of this probably warmer-than-present century-scale period of a thousand years ago, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was only about 70% of what it is today. A repeat performance of whatever caused that earlier warm period (it was clearly not a spike in the air's CO2 concentration) may well be what brought about the Little Ice Age-to-Current Warm Period transition; and its possible full or partial reversal some time over the next 93 years could well result in the mean global air temperature in AD 2100 being equal to -- or even less than -- today's mean air temperature.

Likewise, an example of a poorly understood phenomenon of truly huge climatic significance is the means by which small changes in solar activity are able to bring about significant changes in climate. As Lean (2005) describes it, "a major enigma is that general circulation climate models predict an immutable climate in response to decadal solar variability, whereas surface temperatures, cloud cover, drought, rainfall, tropical cyclones, and forest fires show a definite correlation with solar activity."

In a display of open-mindedness uncharacteristic of most climate alarmists, Oppenheimer et al. go on to suggest that "a special team of authors could be instructed to examine the treatment of unlikely but plausible processes," stating that such analyses might even be conducted by "competing teams of experts." Unfortunately, past findings of the IPCC are already driving massive political and governmental actions throughout the world; and backtracking -- which is what the implementation of Oppenheimer et al.'s suggestions would effectively constitute -- simply cannot be tolerated by those who have invested so much political and economic capital in the reigning climate-change paradigm of CO2-as-global-warming-demon ... unless, of course, people suddenly come to their senses and begin paying attention to all of the pertinent scientific literature, as we attempt to do here at CO2Science.


Environmentalism in an historical context

By Sean Gabb

According to all the newspapers and television stations and all the politicians, we are facing a serious environmental crisis. We are told that global temperatures are rising, and that they are rising because of economic development, and that, unless we make radical changes to the ways in which we live, sea levels will rise and the world in general will become less pleasant.

I am not a scientist, and I am not competent to examine the detailed claims about the nature and extent and causes of global warming. But I believe these claims are all lies. I believe they are the latest attempt by some very nasty people to stop the progress of the human race to unlimited self-improvement.

History and Class Oppression

Until about 250 year ago, the normal situation of humanity was stagnation. There might be ages of improvement, but these hardly ever improved the lives of the poorest, and they were always followed by a decline of economic activity. This was a world in which society was shaped like a broad pyramid-a very small ruling class enjoying fabulous wealth and status, and a great mass or ordinary people at the bottom living in poverty. It was a world in which more than half of all children born died before they reached the age of five, and in which the great majority of ordinary people died in their thirties.

The libertarian revolutions of the 17th century in England led to a sudden increase in general wealth during the 18th century. By around 1800, it was plain that this was an improvement unlike any other before. For the first time, larger and larger numbers of ordinary people were enjoying cheaper and better food and clothing. Other European governments looked on this with envy, as greater national wealth meant greater military power.

But many, both abroad and in England, were concerned about the social and political impact of these developments. They meant that more and more ordinary people were moving about and improving their lives, and they were thinking for themselves, and beginning to question political arrangements that delivered immense differences of wealth and status.

The Reaction

The first reaction against market liberalism was purely conservative. Churches and landowning interests put much effort into defending the old order of things. Look, for example, at this verse from a Church of England hymn:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate

The meaning of this is that God had given everyone a certain position in the world, and this position had to be accepted without complaint or attempts at change. Without massive government force behind it, this sort of reaction was a failure in every place it was tried. Even there, it tended to fail. No dungeons in this world, or threats of hellfire in the next, could stifle the news of freedom and enrichment.

And so the next step in reaction was to disguise conservatism as progress. Ideologies were developed that looked progressive, but the effect of which would be to stop all further progress. That is the significance of many kinds of socialism and particularly Marxism. These doctrines spoke about equality and freedom and growing wealth, but were obviously about the exact opposite. Even before the first socialist experiments, liberals were analysing the socialist claims and announcing that a socialist society would be a dictatorship in which the great majority of ordinary people would be made poor again.

This was the result of actually existing socialism in the 20th century. Countries like Russia, East Germany and Czechoslovakia had fast economic development among their stated goals. In fact, the only really growth was in the amount of pollution their factories produced. The only liberty and equality and economic development that have ever been seen have taken place in countries like England and America and Germany and Japan- where people have mostly been left alone to look after themselves and their families.

With the collapse of socialism at the end of the 1980s, it looked for a moment as if all the barriers had been lifted to unlimited improvement for the whole human race. It seemed that we could look forward to a world in which everyone had a motor car and a refrigerator and a telephone.

Environmentalism: The Last Communist Refuge

Then the environmental movement grew big. This had been around since the early 1960s. At first, it concentrated on things like chemical pollution and rapid population growth and how the world would soon run out of oil and other minerals. The problem was that its claims were always proved to be wrong. For example, we were told in the 1960s that population growth would soon lead to mass starvation. In the event, living standards continued to rise faster and faster all over the world. Again, we were told that the oil would run out before the middle of the 1980s. In the event, more and more oil was found, and we now know that we have enough to last for centuries to come. Again we were told in the 1970s that industrialisation was leading to global cooling and that there would soon be another ice age. This also did not happen.

But, since the collapse of socialism, the environmental movement has grown bigger and bigger, and is now arguing for regulations and taxes that would soon stop all further economic growth-particularly in Asia, India, Africa and South America. That is the goal of all this endless propaganda in the media, and all the talk about carbon footprints.

Now, it may be that there really is a problem with the environment. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. But I find it historically significant that environmentalism has grown big at the very moment when every other argument against human progress has been disproved. I therefore believe that the claims of the environmentalists are lies. They are an excuse for returning humanity to a dark age of inequality and stagnation.


Back to the horse!

This is a rather good confirmation of the retrograde mentality that Sean Gabb speaks of above

French towns worried about fuel prices, pollution and striking transport workers need look no further than the horse. Horses are a possible alternative for vehicles such as school buses and refuse trucks, say groups eager to pick up on global concerns about eco-friendly transport. "It's all about sustainable development and bringing some humanity back to today's monotonous, machine-driven jobs," Stephane de Veyrac, from the French National Stud Organisation, said at this week's annual conference of French mayors.

De Veyrac's group says it is the first in France to offer consulting on a wide range of horse-powered vehicles that could also haul bottles and aid street sweeping. "It is a serious alternative -- horses are already in use in over 70 towns as replacements for gasoline- and diesel-powered service vehicles," said de Veyrac, pointing to the 'Hippoville' prototype parked in the exhibition hall. With prices starting at 11,562 euros ($17,090), this revamped horse-drawn carriage with disc brakes, signal lamps and removable seating, goes for around the same price as 170 barrels of crude oil.

De Veyrac's group was founded by Louis XIV's Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert to supply war horses for military campaigns. Today the group advises French towns interested in horses for city services. One project in northern France involves a pick-up route for glass bottles in the seaside resort of Trouville. The project is backed by the Regional Horse Promotion Commission, which holds an annual convention in Trouville to promote horses for collecting recyclables, street sweeping, and even transporting children to school.

Olivier Linot, who heads the project, said towns are realizing the beasts are well-adapted for certain work and can reduce job stress and dissatisfaction. He expects at least 30 more communities to start using horses next year. Studies about cost and overall carbon footprint are still underway but supporters say the animals beat cars and trucks on a number of criteria, especially for transport work requiring frequent stops over short distances, like emptying trash bins. "It's great for workers and the community to have contact with a living thing," Linot said. "The civil servants are on strike now, but I tell you if they had their hands on a horse they'd be happier -- I've never seen a driver kiss his truck."


Australian Greenie defends graffiti

Australia's Greens are generally far-Leftists and the ideas below are a logical deduction from the Leftist mantra that "There is no such thing as right and wrong"

A Greens MP has launched an extraordinary defence of spray can vandals, saying graffiti brightened up the city and could be attractive. Sue Pennicuik told State Parliament new laws cracking down on graffiti vandals were draconian and unnecessary. She said graffiti vandals were being treated more harshly than dangerous drivers. Declaring that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", Ms Pennicuik said corporate logos were as much a blight on the landscape as graffiti. People who sprayed graffiti should be called graffiti markers, rather than vandals. "A lot of graffiti, including tags, can be political, aesthetically pleasing and thought-provoking," the Upper House MP said in a 48-minute speech. She said there were two points of view about graffiti, and "not everyone hates graffiti and not all graffiti is bad".

Ms Pennicuik's speech, and her bid to amend the new laws, were attacked by her rivals from across the political spectrum, with Labor MP Martin Pakula saying graffiti vandalism was idiotic. "The vast majority of Victorians absolutely detest graffiti. They detest it because it is mindless vandalism," Mr Pakula said. He said that 95 per cent of graffiti was not art. "It is not self-expression, it is not clever, it is not political comment, it is mindless vandalism."

Ms Pennicuik defended her speech, saying she was seeking to highlight concerns about the harsh penalties and police powers under the new laws, which were due to pass the Upper House last night. She said offenders, who were mostly teenagers, could be jailed under the new laws. She said the laws also created a reverse onus of proof, meaning people found with suspected graffiti implements, such as spray cans and stencils, would have to prove they were in possession of them for legitimate reasons. "I'm not saying there shouldn't be any penalties -- there should be -- but that there should be a diversionary program for young offenders. "Graffiti is a problem, I agree. No one likes tags particularly, and I don't like them. But do we want two-year jail terms for 15-year-old kids to be the penalty?"

In her speech, Ms Pennicuik said the cost of cleaning up graffiti should not be the reason for making it a crime. She argued some graffiti walls, such as those in Hosier Lane in the city centre, were tourist attractions. "So what is the price of having clean walls? "This Bill . . . is an over-reaction to the issue of graffiti." Ms Pennicuik also told Parliament that "one could say the graffiti can break up the monotony of urban space". "While in one way of looking at it graffiti is annoying and costly, the other way of looking at it is that it is an acceptable way of expression and it could be tolerated, and is tolerated, in certain circumstances."



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