Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Climate dissent grows hotter as chill deepens

Last week, virtually unreported in Britain, the extraordinary winter weather of 2008 elsewhere in the world continued. In the USA, there were blizzards as far south as Texas and Arkansas, while in northern states and Canada what they are calling "the winter from hell" has continued to break records going back in some cases to 1873. Meanwhile in Asia more details emerged of the catastrophe caused by the northern hemisphere's greatest snow cover since 1966.

In Afghanistan, where they have lost 300,000 cattle, the human death toll has risen above 1,500. In China, the havoc created by what its media call "the Winter Snow Disaster" has continued, not least in Tibet, where six months of snow and record low temperatures have killed 500,000 animals, leaving 3 million people on the edge of starvation.

It might have seemed timely that in New York an array of leading climatologists and other experts should have gathered for the most high-powered international conference yet to question the "consensus" on global warming. After three days of what the chairman called "the kind of free-spirited debate that is virtually absent from the global warming alarmist camp", the 500 delegates issued the Manhattan Declaration, stating that attempts by governments to reduce CO2 emissions would "markedly diminish further prosperity" while having "no appreciable impact" on the Earth's warming.

This inevitably attracted the kind of hysterical abuse that has become so familiar from warmist fanatics, tellingly contrasting with the measured arguments put forward by the scientists present. One was Anthony Watts, the meteorologist who last year famously forced Nasa's Goddard Institute to correct a fundamental error in its data on US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s but the 1930s.

On his website, Watts Up With That, he is currently posting a corrected version of the global temperature graph, combining satellite and surface data from all four main official sources. A measure of his scrupulous reporting is that although this shows a recent dramatic dip in temperatures, he cautiously explains that it is not yet conclusive evidence that the world has entered a new cooling phase (as he points out, there was temporarily an even sharper drop after the "peak" El Ni¤o year 1998).

But can we doubt that, if the data showed the opposite, the media would be rushing to report this as yet further "proof" that the planet is heating out of control? The fact is that, for all their caveats that this drop in temperatures can be explained by the cooling effect of La Nina, the official orthodoxy that "more CO2 means more warming" is facing its most serious challenge yet. In light of the colossal price we are all in so many ways being asked to pay for it, the data in coming years will be more than interesting.


Myths on CO2 food miles

Comment from Australia

LAST week federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, exposed the "food miles" campaign as "nothing more than protectionism". Burke is right, but beneath such transparent protectionism, the food miles emperor is still naked. Food miles is the latest chic campaign for environmental activists to reduce CO2 emissions. But perhaps counterintuitively, if activists and consumers want to reduce their CO2 footprint they may want to support their food travelling longer, not shorter, distances.

The principle of the food miles campaign is simple. There is a significant - and, activists argue, an unnecessary - CO2 footprint associated with transporting produce. The solution is therefore to avoid these emissions by "buying local" and exercising caution when purchasing imports.

Late last year a Melbourne organisation, Community Environment Park, released a report drawing attention to the carbon footprint of food purchased by Melbourne consumers. The report unsurprisingly outlined the large footprint for much of the food bought in Melbourne's supermarkets, regardless of whether it was produced domestically or internationally. It may seem logical that the further the distance a product travels, the bigger its CO2 footprint. But as Trade Minister, Simon Crean yesterday pointed out, this view is simplistic.

First, only a full life-cycle carbon footprint can accurately measure total emissions. A life-cycle assessment would require a calculation of the total CO2 emissions from the seeding of crops and the birth of livestock, to their delivery to the consumer.

Second, the fuel efficiency that comes with bulk transport, and the mode of transport itself, need to be factored in. Agricultural products from our region transported by sea to England can produce equivalent emissions as comparable products travelling by road to England from southern Europe. In his address to the trade ministers' meeting held alongside the UN's Bali climate change summit in December last year, director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, made this point clear. Lamy argued that "90 per cent of internationally traded goods are carried by sea. And maritime transport is by far the most carbon-efficient mode of transport, with only 14g of CO2 emissions per tonne-kilometre".

In many cases, a more accurate life-cycle assessment will show that importing food that travels long distances can be better for the environment than producing it locally. The inputs would not simply be limited to transportation costs, but would also consider such items as fertiliser, electricity, feed, tools and housing.

A recent study done by New Zealand's Lincoln University demonstrated this well. The study looked at the life-cycle carbon footprint of apples, onions and lamb exported to Europe. For all three items, the total energy input per tonne of output was substantially less if the product was produced in NZ and exported to Europe, than if it was produced locally. In the case of lamb, the CO2 emissions were more than four times less.

Third, the food miles campaign ignores the environmental benefits of international trade. The primary determinant of a product's life-cycle carbon footprint is the level of inputs. The costs of inputs are not ignored by competitive food producers. If a producer successfully reduces these inputs, it will be able to bring its product to market at a lower price, with the added benefit of a smaller footprint. Free markets are environmentally sustainable because they seek the maximum output for the minimum input.

And herein lies the challenge for the Labor Government. Despite Kevin Rudd's general commitment to the efficiency of free markets, many of his MPs are not so sure. Among the ranks of Labor's caucus is a number of protectionists who question the environmental benefits of free trade. Equally Rudd has a number of climate evangelists who actively support reducing CO2 emissions at all costs. And following the change of the Senate in July, the Greens are likely to move from the fringe of public policy debate to the centre.

The Australian Greens should follow their NZ counterparts. In 2006, co-party leader of the NZ Greens highlighted the Greens' opposition to food miles and argued that environmental activists "need to consider the emissions released during production, not just the transport emissions".

Despite the evidence not stacking up, too many advocates of food miles ignore the complexity of proper accounting for carbon footprints, and instead rely on anti-trade rhetoric to get their message across. And even fewer consider the beneficial role international trade and free markets can play in reducing emissions.

Agriculture is a diminishing but still vital component of the Australian economy. Burke is right to expose the food miles campaign as a front for protectionism and should campaign heavily against it.


Global-Warming Authoritarianism

Many people are calling for drastic political action to cope with climate change. But the authors of a new book, The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, go much further, claiming that global warming can be effectively dealt with only by "an authoritarian form of government." In an article promoting the book, co-author David Shearman praises China's recent ban on plastic shopping bags, expressing special admiration for its authoritarian quality. "The importance of the decision," he writes, "lies in the fact that China can do it by edict and close the factories."

Views like this reveal an ugly and ominous aspect of the political frenzy surrounding global warming. Though easy to dismiss as overwrought and atypical, such views expose a very real authoritarianism underlying the calls for action on climate change. While few global-warming activists are willing--as Shearman is--to come out in favor of openly dictatorial policies, the kinds of laws and regulations that activists do call for will hand a comparably frightening degree of control over our lives to politicians and environmentalist bureaucrats.

In one form or another, every minute of our every day involves the emission of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas claimed to be the cause of climate change. Every moment we spend running our computers, lighting our homes, powering countless labor-saving appliances, driving to work or school or anywhere else--we are using industrial-scale energy to make our lives better.

But global-warming activists want our use of the fossil fuels that provide the major source of that energy to be strictly controlled by the government and severely curtailed, no matter the harm that causes.

Despite the constant assertion that global-warming science is 'settled,'" Lockitch said, "it is far from certain that we face any sort of catastrophic global emergency. But in the name of 'saving the world' from unproven threats, such activists want to impose a draconian regimen of taxes, laws, regulations and controls that would affect the minutest details of our existence. Their solution to their projected 'environmental disaster' is to impose an actual economic disaster by restricting the energy that powers our civilization and subjecting its use to severe political control. Let us not allow panic over the exaggerated claims of climate alarmists to deliver us into the hands of would-be carbon dictators.


Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China

The first time Li Gengxuan saw the dump trucks from the nearby factory pull into his village, he couldn't believe what happened. Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their compound without a word. This ritual has been going on almost every day for nine months, Li and other villagers said.

In China, a country buckling with the breakneck pace of its industrial growth, such stories of environmental pollution are not uncommon. But the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co., here in the central plains of Henan Province near the Yellow River, stands out for one reason: It's a green energy company, producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world. But the byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards. "The land where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place. . . . It is like dynamite -- it is poisonous, it is polluting. Human beings can never touch it," said Ren Bingyan, a professor at the School of Material Sciences at Hebei Industrial University.

The situation in Li's village points to the environmental trade-offs the world is making as it races to head off a dwindling supply of fossil fuels. Forests are being cleared to grow biofuels like palm oil, but scientists argue that the disappearance of such huge swaths of forests is contributing to climate change. Hydropower dams are being constructed to replace coal-fired power plants, but they are submerging whole ecosystems under water. Likewise in China, the push to get into the solar energy market is having unexpected consequences.

With the prices of oil and coal soaring, policymakers around the world are looking at massive solar farms to heat water and generate electricity. For the past four years, however, the world has been suffering from a shortage of polysilicon -- the key component of sunlight-capturing wafers -- driving up prices of solar energy technology and creating a barrier to its adoption. With the price of polysilicon soaring from $20 per kilogram to $300 per kilogram in the past five years, Chinese companies are eager to fill the gap.

In China, polysilicon plants are the new dot-coms. Flush with venture capital and with generous grants and low-interest loans from a central government touting its efforts to seek clean energy alternatives, more than 20 Chinese companies are starting polysilicon manufacturing plants. The combined capacity of these new factories is estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 tons -- more than double the 40,000 tons produced in the entire world today. But Chinese companies' methods for dealing with waste haven't been perfected.

Because of the environmental hazard, polysilicon companies in the developed world recycle the compound, putting it back into the production process. But the high investment costs and time, not to mention the enormous energy consumption required for heating the substance to more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit for the recycling, have discouraged many factories in China from doing the same. Like Luoyang Zhonggui, other solar plants in China have not installed technology to prevent pollutants from getting into the environment or have not brought those systems fully online, industry sources say. "The recycling technology is of course being thought about, but currently it's still not mature," said Shi Jun, a former photovoltaic technology researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Shi, chief executive of Pro-EnerTech, a start-up polysilicon research firm in Shanghai, said that there's such a severe shortage of polysilicon that the government is willing to overlook this issue for now. "If this happened in the United States, you'd probably be arrested," he said.

An independent, nationally accredited laboratory analyzed a sample of dirt from the dump site near the Luoyang Zhonggui plant at the request of The Washington Post. The tests show high concentrations of chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which can result from the breakdown of silicon tetrachloride and do not exist naturally in soil. "Crops cannot grow on this, and it is not suitable for people to live nearby," said Li Xiaoping, deputy director of the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences.

More here

The King of 'Climate Porn'

A new book by the UK government's former chief scientific adviser sheds yet more heat than light on the global warming debate - despite its promises of balance

In The Hot Topic, Sir David King and Gabrielle Walker promise to `unpick the entire essential story of global warming - what we humans have done, how we have done it, how we will need to prepare for the changes we can't stop and how we can prevent the even worse effects that will otherwise follow'. Determined to avoid both `pessimism' and `denial', they vow to pick their way through `the blizzard of information and misinformation about global warming, explaining each point in the most straightforward way possible'.

That would indeed be a great book to write; and given the authors' credentials, a truly comprehensive discussion of `how to tackle global warming and still keep the lights on' would be well worth a read. Unfortunately, The Hot Topic adds about as much cool science and clarity to the global warming debate as the celebrity chef wars add to our understanding of nutrition.

The authors of The Hot Topic assure us that we can trust them, that despite their `considerable experience in the worlds of media and politics' they `have no personal axes to grind'. Sir David King is the UK government's former chief scientific adviser, and Gabrielle Walker is a freelance writer and broadcaster and former climate change editor at the prestigious science journal Nature. They have wielded significant influence over the global warming debate to date: the book begins by reminding us that it was King who caused a furore in 2004 by describing climate change as `the most severe problem we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism', and, by implication, who began the process of placing climate stage centre stage on the political map.

Indeed, in December 2007, in his last interview in post as the chief scientific adviser, King told The Times (London) that raising government consciousness of climate change was his key legacy. He recalls how Ian Coon, a director of British Petroleum, `made a speech in which he said that before Al Gore was Dave King' and points out how he was sticking his neck out on the issue `certainly before Gore started making those speeches'. It is nice to know that King has no axe to grind against his rival eco-worriers, who have heaped his book with praise: among them Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth), Tim Flannery (The Weather Makers) and James Lovelock (Gaia and The Revenge of Gaia).

King and Walker try to stand out from the crowd of global warming consciousness-raisers by claiming that their book will not only challenge climate change `deniers' (whom they dismiss as either having a `vested interest in ignoring the scientific arguments' or `they are fools'), but challenge the doom-mongers on the green side, who `see disaster around every corner and indulge in gory scenarios that have been labelled "climate porn"'. In January 2008, King told the Guardian that he now thinks that some parts of the green movement are in danger of going too far, and that `the risk is that people feel the problem is being so overstated that it simply can't be true'.

For those of us who have long argued the need for a more sober, rational debate about global warming, a bit of climate-porn busting from somebody with the status of Sir David King would be very welcome - if rather disconcerting, given the chief scientific adviser's own history on this matter. King's attempt to place himself in the territory of opposing both denial and alarmism, and to claim the mantle of a neutral reporter of what `the science' says, seems somewhat ironic given his past willingness to make bold statements about climate change in the name of awareness-raising. In 2004 - having established that global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism - King also told the Independent on Sunday that Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked. Strangely, this is not a claim that features in his newly balanced book.

In the same month, following a screening of the Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow - a preposterous fantasy in which the ice caps melt, causing a shutdown of the Gulf Stream followed by all manner of disasters leading to a new Ice Age - King admitted to the BBC that `the film brings events together into a highly unlikely or even impossible scenario'. But, he added: `[W]hat's good is that while my colleagues and I have just spent half an hour presenting you with the scientific understanding of climate change, the movie gets the basic message across in a few sentences of dialogue. It's a beautiful piece of script-writing.'

King expressed his `hope' that US audiences would see the film, as `it's very important that we all take cognisance of what science is saying, and that includes American politicians'. The fact that no real science would ever `say' the scenario etched out in The Day After Tomorrow is presumably beside the point.

But anyway, given that the world now has watched the movie and we are all very well aware of global warming, is the `awareness-raising' King of old prepared to discuss the issue in more sober and balanced terms? Hardly. As soon as you go beyond the jacket of The Hot Topic, King and Walker seem less interested in promoting understanding and reasoned debate than in foisting a one-sided account of climate science, coupled with narrow and constraining policy prescriptions, on to their readers. It's a beautiful piece of script-writing, but does nothing to tackle the misleading alarmism over global warming. Indeed, as Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of East Anglia, pointed out in his review of The Hot Topic for the UK Independent, the authors are happy to indulge in some additional climate porn of their own:

`[T]he 15 pages of chapter 5, "Wild Cards", offer enough material to keep even the most optimistic of us lying awake at night. In 4,500 words we have 37 separate depictions of climatic fear, one for every 120 words. We have climate change that is "frightening" six times and "alarming" twice, four "disaster scenarios", four "tipping points", three "collapses", two "abrupt dramas", not to mention the "bleak outlooks", the "catastrophe" and the three "grave dangers to our civilisation".'

It is striking the number of times King and Walker lapse from sober science into the trite language of therapeutic policymaking, instructing us that it is time to `kick' our `carbon habit'.

However, what is probably most irritating about The Hot Topic is the way in which one particular response to global warming is promoted as the only sensible response - do everything possible to restrict climate change to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels - without providing any sense of the substantial controversy that surrounds such a target.

The argument posed by King and Walker runs like this: `All the evidence suggests that the world will experience significant and potentially highly dangerous changes in climate over the next few decades no matter what we do now. All things being equal, to keep the "danger" as low as possible we would pick the lowest possible rise, in other words set a temperature limit of two degrees Celsius. (In addition to the 1.4 degrees Celsius that's already inevitable, that would allow us just 0.6 degrees Celsius of leeway in which to kick our carbon habit.)' [Emphasis in the original.]

Having made the case for setting this temperature limit, Walker and King hit us with `the really bad news': that in fact `it's now almost certainly impossible to restrict warming to two degrees Celsius'. `If', they tell us, `we had started two decades ago we would have had a good chance. But in the present climate, that target looks increasingly out of range'. The problem, according to their account, is that carbon dioxide concentrations are already too high to provide a realistic chance of restricting warming to their desired level. Compared to a pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of around 280ppm (parts per million), they state that today's atmosphere is currently around 430ppmCO2eq (meaning CO2 equivalent concentration when additional greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide are also taken into account), and argue that with rapid emissions controls 450ppmCO2eq is the lowest we could hope to achieve. How this will translate into temperature increases depends on how sensitive the climate system is to changes in CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

According to Walker and King, the likeliest average global temperature value to be associated with 450ppm is 2.5 degrees Celsius - if we're lucky and the sensitivity turns out to be low `we might stay below that', but if we're unlucky `we could find ourselves heading for a highly dangerous 3.5 degrees Celsius'.

Having befuddled the reader with statistics, Walker and King reassure us that this is not a counsel of despair but rather a call for prompt action. The `good news' is that `we do still have a chance of keeping greenhouse gases to that 450ppm limit' but `we have to act fast'. They are not kidding! `Fast' means that global greenhouse emissions will need to `peak within 15 years, and by 2050 they will have to have fallen to half their current levels'. They accept that this `sounds like a lot to ask, especially when you consider that much of this change will have to come from developing countries that are currently much more focused on improving the wretched lives of their citizens'. Yes, it does sound like a lot to ask.

Set against this hopelessly unrealistic target, and the further impoverishment of the developing world that would be required even to attempt to reach it, the `good news' bit - that `many of the technologies that we will need to curb greenhouse gases are already available or in the pipeline' - does not seem particularly reassuring.

All this might be less objectionable if the book's stated aim were not to pick through `the blizzard of information and misinformation about global warming, explaining each point in the most straightforward way possible'. For there is nothing `straightforward' about a target of two degrees Celsius; and while the EU has also adopted this target, it is a controversial one that could very well be based on some `misinformation'. For example, the economist Professor Richard Tol, highly regarded and widely cited in the climate change literature, has critiqued a two degrees Celsius target as being `supported by rather thin arguments, based on inadequate methods, sloppy reasoning, and selective citation from a very narrow set of studies'. In an examination of the literature supporting a two degrees Celsius target, he points out a number of problems with many studies, such as the lack of attention paid to mitigation costs and, most importantly, the failure to take account of the scope for adaptation especially with regard to risks such as malaria and water shortage.

Tol points out that `a number of "cost-benefit analyses" of greenhouse gas emission abatement have been published' and that the `technically sound amongst these studies (for example, Nordhaus, 1991; Peck and Teisberg, 1992; Maddison, 1995; Manne et al., 1995; Tol, 1997) argue that it is not in our collective best interest to stabilise concentrations - unless there happens to a cheap, large-scale, carbon-free energy source - let alone at the levels needed to meet the 2oC target.' Tol concludes, therefore, that even though the `growth of greenhouse emissions has to be slowed if not reversed', that `deep cuts in emissions will only be achieved if alternative energy technologies become available at reasonable prices'.

Tol is not an insignificant figure in the climate change debate, and nor are the other authors he cites, but nowhere do Walker and King deem it necessary to explain or discuss in any detail alternative positions to their own. Meanwhile Bjorn Lomborg, who has achieved widespread coverage for his argument that adaptation to the effects of climate change is generally a more sensible response to global warming, especially given the far greater opportunities that will inevitably become available to future generations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions more cheaply, doesn't even merit a mention in The Hot Topic - let alone any engagement with or rebuttal of his ideas.

For Walker and King to disagree with these perspectives is one thing, but to essentially ignore them is quite another. While they do devote five-and-a-half pages to the work and criticism of the economist Nicholas Stern and a superficial discussion of debates about whether `to pay now or pay later', they conclude that `there's little need to worry about how much climate change might cost us in the future, when its effects are already being felt today'. But weighing up the potential impacts of climate change against the scope for human adaptation and the costs of emissions reduction in the future is central to any reasoned response to climate change as opposed to chastising humanity for having an impact on the planet.

Ultimately Walker and King appear to regard their trump card as the threat of the Greenland Ice Sheet melting, which they state is expected to begin when temperatures increase to around 2.7oC. Though they accept this process would likely take many centuries, they point out that sea levels would eventually rise by seven metres - which is undoubtedly a significant amount. But is this argument the show-stopper they seem to regard it to be, necessitating expensive and drastic action to reduce carbon emissions now? Again, the authors seem to be shy of providing a full and accessible account of the current substantial gaps in our knowledge of climate change processes.

Take, for example, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which reports the contribution of Greenland ice sheet melting to sea level rise between 1993 and 2003 to be 0.21 (+/- 0.07) millimetres per year and an Antarctic ice sheet contribution of 0.21 (+/- 0.35)mm - in other words, for Antarctica they don't currently know whether it is adding or subtracting to sea level rise. Projecting forward to 2100, the IPCC estimates a sea level rise by the end of the century of between 0.18 and 0.59 metres excluding future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow (see below) but including `a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993 to 2003'.

None of this provides a basis for alarm, as Walker and King are well aware. However, they point out that `the vulnerability of Greenland depends on aspects of its internal dynamics that are as yet uncertain' - namely whether rapid dynamical changes are likely to occur or not - and that `if these mechanisms cause Greenland to melt more quickly than we expect, sea level could rise by a matter of meters over the next century, which would cause grave danger for our civilisation'. This, they state, `is one of the most convincing reasons we have for the urgent need to curb climate change'.

What Walker and King do not draw their readers' attention to is the fact that the IPCC has excluded such factors from their projections `because a basis in published literature is lacking'. They state, with regard to the possibility of greater contributions to sea level rise from the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets: `Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise.'

It would appear then, that a key plank of Walker and King's argument for their stringent emissions targets are processes so poorly understood that even the IPCC, whose projections involve large degrees of uncertainty more generally, was unwilling to include them in its future projections. Surely, a balanced account would explain this fact to the reader? Indeed, the more general difficulties and limitations of modelling climate change are not something that Walker and King enlighten their readers on much either.

So how, after all this, can the diligent reader hope to achieve a more balanced understanding of the global warming debate? Many books may pretend to give the whole story, but no single book can do it. For an antidote to the climate porn popularised by King, Gore and others, you could read Bjorn Lomborg's Cool It! (previously reviewed in the spiked review of books here), or turn to Aynsley J Kellow's recently-published Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science.

Kellow's key argument is that corruption in the name of a noble cause is facilitated by the virtual nature of much environmental science, which relies on mathematical and large-scale computer models. Using the two key examples of biodiversity and global warming, Kellow argues that environmental science is often not conducted with the same kinds of safeguards as surround other scientific research, such as medical research for example. His final chapter, which deals with science and its social and political context, looks at past examples of politicised science, notably Lysenkoism in Stalinist Russia, and the influence of ecological thought on the Nazis.

Kellow's key argument is that it is the indeterminacy of the science that permits political frames to become more prominent. This seems rather a forgiving way of looking at the problem we are witnessing with the climate change debate, where science is routinely misrepresented to suit instrumental ends. Nonetheless, in a debate where far too many questions are asked and alternative explanations given, those who hold the process up to scrutiny are far worthier of a close read than those who spend several hundred pages telling us what, in their view, `the science' tells us to do.



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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Manhattan Declaration"

I'm so proud. Just as the Manhattan Projected ended both WWII and all future world wars, maybe our little Isle of Man may end proxy wars based on junk science. A lot of people just got hit over the head with a hockey stick.

Nik from NYC, Ph.D.

* * *

Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

"Global warming" is not a global crisis

We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,

Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;

Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;

Recognising that the causes and extent of recently observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed 'consensus' among climate experts are false;

Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change. Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing, human suffering;

Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:

Hereby declare:

That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity's real and serious problems.

That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.

That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

Now, therefore, we recommend --

That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as "An Inconvenient Truth."

That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008