Saturday, April 12, 2008

The BBC again

The Wattmaster has a fun flashing GIF showing how the BBC backed down on their global cooling story. There have been many characterizations of the BBC over this but the one characterizing them as having "no balls" gets pretty close, I think.

Krupp's "Warming" meets Ponte's "Cooling"

Michigan, like the Midwest in general, has endured a brutal winter with record cold temperatures, snow two feet above normal as of March, six inches of snow in Detroit on Easter, 26 inches in Marquette on April 5, and more snow predicted for Detroit Metro this weekend as temperatures maintain their sub-normal trend.

But like their news-media brethren, bookstore shelves are strangely at odds with the world outside. While Michigan freezes, local sellers are showcasing Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp's acclaimed new book about the warming apocalypse called Earth: The Sequel - The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming. Krupp gets right to it in Chapter One, warning of warming calamity even as current temperature data suggests recent temperature trends have moderated:
The scientific consensus is that inaction will change the earth within a few decades into a place unlike any ever inhabited by humans. Business as usual will open the door to catastrophe: flooding and dislocation of millions of people; chronic drought and mass malnourishment in Africa; wildfires, deadly heat waves, and coastal destruction; the extinction of half the world's living species.

The words are eerily similar to another acclaimed book on my shelf published 32 years ago. In 1976 Lowell Ponte - like Krupp, an influential think-tank figure with the International Research Technology Corp. - published a book called The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? Can we Survive It? It too was written at the apex of a frightening (in his case, cold) climate trend. Here's Ponte in Chapter One:
In 1975, the U.S. National Academy of Science issued . . . a warning by some of the world's most prestigious, cautious scientists that an Ice Age (was) beginning in the near future. The tone of the report was one of repressed alarm. A study completed in 1971 by Drs. S. I. Rasool and S. H. Schneider of NASA's Goddard Institute estimates that man's potential to pollute . . . could increase the atmosphere's opacity by 400 percent. That would reduce sunlight enough, say the scientists, to drop the Earth's surface temperature by 3.4 degrees C, which would almost certainly bring on an Ice Age. (The consequences) will hamper world food production as weather gets progressively worse. The damage this can cause is already apparent in global food shortages and the recent deaths of more than 400,000 people in Africa and Asia. If global famine arises, we can expect world war.

Warming, cooling . . . choose your fad. The prevailing weather is simply an excuse to scare us silly.



A Greenie notes the bad attitudes of other Greenies below

Last week, Roger Pielke Jr. and two co-authors published a landmark commentary in the science journal Nature suggesting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had probably dramatically underestimated the likely growth of carbon emissions over the next century. Many environmentalists did not take the news well, attacking Pielke, his co-authors, and the Breakthrough Institute, where Pielke is a Senior Fellow, for conspiring to undermine efforts to address climate change.

While this post focuses on the disinformation campaign that the blogger Joe Romm [above] has launched against the Nature commentary and it authors, Romm's response is by no means an isolated reaction. Indeed, we initially asked Grist, the online environmental magazine and blog, to allow us to post this piece, and to regularly post as guest bloggers, in order to respond to Romm's serial and misleading attacks, posted regularly on Grist's well read blog, and Grist refused to allow us to do so.

Grist's refusal is, we think, reflective of a larger shift within the environmental movement. Back in 2004, Grist hosted a vigorous debate among environmentalists about the Death of Environmentalism. The debate featured a host of voices, some highly critical of our thesis and some highly supportive, and brought a diverse set of perspectives to a discussion that served both the environmental movement and efforts to address climate change well. This was not only true of the debate at Grist, but the larger environmental movement, where even many of those who initially felt that the debate was divisive now acknowledge that it was healthy and led to a much needed rethink of many environmental strategies.

Today, confident that public opinion has "tipped" on global warming, that Democrats are in control of Congress, and that a new president, Democrat or Republican, will open the way to dramatic progress on climate change both domestically and internationally, many environmentalists no longer see the utility of debating such questions. Such overconfidence will not serve environmentalists well.

New climate, energy, and economic analysis is documenting not only that carbon emissions are growing much faster than anyone thought possible even just a few years ago, but that the primary policy tools that environmentalists propose that we use to deal with it will not be even remotely up to the task of stabilizing the climate. The debate on climate change has fundamentally shifted over the last several years, but not in the way that environmentalists suppose. In the coming years, the climate debate will not be between skeptics who do not believe that global warming is occurring and environmentalists who do.

Rather, it will be a multidimensional debate among a much larger variety of parties, all serious about addressing climate change, about what we will need to do in order to effectively address it. In this debate, the traditional environmental remedies of lifestyle change and pollution regulations will be revealed as so massively inadequate to the climate challenge we face as to be largely irrelevant. Thanks to folks like Joe Romm and the editors at Grist, environmentalists will be the last to know.


Back in the 90's and early part of the current decade, the environmental movement embarked upon a well documented campaign to convince the news media and the American public to stop taking those who questioned the existence of climate change seriously. Environmentalists went to great lengths to demonstrate that those who doubted the existence of climate change were crackpots, paid flaks of the fossil fuels industry, or otherwise lacking in credibility. They urged media reporters to stop covering "both sides" of the debate about climate, pointing out that on one side of that debate was an overwhelming consensus within the scientific community while on the other was a motley collection of ideologues and marginal academics, most with connections to the fossil fuel industry. And they started labeling them "deniers," explicitly referencing those who deny that the Holocaust ever occurred.

The strategy worked. News coverage today rarely, if ever, cites sources who question the existence of climate change or its anthropogenic origins. And few policymakers continue to publicly question climate change. The assumption among environmental leaders was that once the scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change was occurring was established, this consensus would translate into a consensus as to what to do about it -- a consensus that would embrace the policies long advocated by the national environmental movement, namely the Kyoto framework at the international level and cap and trade legislation at the domestic level.

But a funny thing has happened over the last several years, as opinion about the reality and urgency of the climate crisis has "tipped." The consensus that would allegedly result once broad public acceptance of anthropogenic climate change was achieved has fractured. Efforts to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Accord at the international level have stalled, as developing economies, led by China and India, have balked at any framework that would constrain carbon emissions and slow economic development in the developing world, where most of the growth of carbon emissions over the next century will come from. The fragile coalition of businesses, some segments of the energy industry, and environmentalists that appeared ready to support a domestic cap and trade system has frayed, as the environmental movement has demanded that all carbon allowances be auctioned and business interests have balked at the increasing costs of the regulations.

And a variety of scientific and economic analysis has come out, not from opponents of action to address climate change but from supporters, suggesting that the policy framework developed by environmentalists in the early 1990's to address climate change will not be capable of achieving its objectives. These include a recent Nature commentary suggesting that the IPCC may have vastly underestimated the likely growth of carbon emissions over the next century, and thus underestimated the scale of the technology challenge necessary to stabilize carbon levels in the atmosphere, and a raft of studies and other analysis suggesting that carbon caps, regulations, and pricing, the primary policy mechanisms proposed by the environmental movement to address climate change, will not drive rapid and large scale transition from conventional energy sources to zero and low carbon energy sources.

Unfortunately, the response to these developments from some environmentalists has been to attempt to tar those who have challenged the efficacy of the dominant environmental policy framework to address climate change with the same brush that they used to discredit those who denied the existence of anthropogenic climate change back in the 90's, only this time they are attacking respected climate scientists, energy experts, and activists who have no connection to the fossil fuel industry and have long and well documented track records of advocating for strong action to address climate change....

So it is particularly unseemly for prominent environmentalists, having spent the last decade demanding that policy to address climate change conform to the reality of climate science, are now attempting to destroy, quash, and otherwise discredit good science and important scientific and policy debate because it challenges the immediate political and policy objectives of the movement.

Yet that is exactly what some environmentalists have set out to do and there is no better example than Joe Romm's recent posts on his Climate Progress blog. Romm's employer, the Center for American Progress, on its website, espouses the view that, "Real progress will be achieved only through innovative solutions borne of open collaboration," but it would appear that Romm's primary objective is to slander, intimidate, and generally shout down any deviation from the climate orthodoxy and policy proposals promoted by the national environmental movement. What follows is primer in the new climate politics of personal destruction embraced by Romm and tolerated, if not encouraged, by environmental elites -- from the Center for American Progress, which pays Romm's salary, to Grist, which has provided Romm a very regular platform from which to slander his enemies.

More here


Fluctuations in solar radiation could mean colder weather in the decades ahead, despite all the talk about global warming, retired Western Washington University geologist Don Easterbrook said Tuesday. Easterbrook is convinced that the threat of global warming from mankind's carbon dioxide pollution is overblown.

In a campus lecture, he cited centuries of climate data in an effort to convince a somewhat skeptical audience that carbon dioxide's impact on climate is being much exaggerated by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and by scientists who appear to have won the debate over global warming. "Despite all you hear about the debate being over, the debate is just starting," Easterbrook said.

Easterbrook doesn't deny that the Earth's climate has been warming slowly since about 1980. But he argued that this warming trend fits a longstanding pattern of warming and cooling cycles that last roughly 30 years. Sunspot activity and other solar changes appear to explain the 30-year cycles, he said. If that pattern persists, the earth could now be close to the next 30-year cooling cycle, Easterbrook said.

He noted that the 2007-08 winter set records for cold and snow in many parts of the globe. According to the data he displayed, the Earth's temperature hit a peak in 1998 and has been steady or slightly cooler since then. "One cold winter doesn't mean much of anything," he said. "A 10-year trend is interesting."

He contended that warming periods appear to match periods of sunspot activity, which currently is at a low point. Easterbrook noted that astrophysicists have been expecting that activity to begin increasing soon, but so far it has not. Prolonged periods of low activity could lead to a dramatic cooling such as occurred in Europe during the so-called "Little Ice Age," a term loosely used to describe cooler weather in the 14th to 19th centuries, Easterbrook said.

More here

Climate change: A Contrarian's Opinion

Not a day goes by where we are not all bombarded with angst over global warming and climate change caused, apparently, by our over use of fossil fuels. We are told how oceans will rise, crops will fail, the Arctic will melt, polar bears will die, droughts will happen, and a whole slew of other awful things.

I don't buy it, and would venture that the whole movement is another manifestation of man's inherent need to get power and control over others by any means necessary. The claim is out that the science is unequivocal and beyond doubt, but a cursory examination of the evidence with a skeptical mind suggests that nothing is a simple as we are told. The prophets of doom such as Al Gore and David Suzuki are masters at controlling the agenda sold to the masses while they accumulate wealth and power while generally disregarding the changes in their own behaviour that they advocate against for all the regular less important folk out there.

Who amongst us is not familiar with Gore's excessively sized house and utility consumption? Suzuki is busy with tour buses and jet setting around the world, and in Toronto; Mayor David Miller left Earth Hour to shop and attend a party after extolling the rest to turn off the lights, not at all dissimilar to the communist cadres of the Soviet Union who sold communism to the masses while accumulating their own power, wealth, and privilege. Have a look at Gore's balance sheet pre and post An Inconvenient Truth.

So how about a little bit of old-fashioned common sense to the whole premise of climate change? Could the climate be changing? Absolutely! It has changed significantly one way or another since the dawn of time. Did man cause any of the previous climate changes? Well, Alberta is known to once have been a tropical sea, and no, we had nothing to do with it disappearing. Is carbon dioxide increasing? Yes, but nowhere near as much as it did during other geologic ages such as the Jurassic period (dinosaurs) and others. Is there a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature change? No, but studies have shown it correlates highly with solar cycles.

What has the most effect on temperature and climate cycles? Unequivocally, it is the natural cycles of the sun. Has the temperature actually increased? It depends on whom you read and who funded the study. For the ambitious reader, take some time to study Dr. Theodr Landscheit from Germany and his studies into CO2 levels, and solar cycles. Some of those in these fields are more worried about a potential cooling than warming.

If one studies the human record for the last 10,000 years the climate has varied hugely, and the periods of prosperity are generally the warm periods. One must ask whether they would rather cope with warming or cooling. I think I know which I would fear more.

The world is a complex equilibrium and our creator, if that was the case, installed a lot of checks and balances. The carbon cycle is inherently balanced as an increase in carbon production in the atmosphere is followed by an increase in carbon storage and consumption by plants and algae. It is a generally accepted fact that North America is covered with more trees now than at the turn of the century. And in global terms, 70 per cent of the world is covered by water and correspondingly 70 per cent of the climate is set by the sea regardless of what we do on land. If the world gets warmer, more cloud forms over the sea, reflects sunlight, and cools the world.

If you want to at least open your mind to being skeptical of global warming, you might start with Ask yourself how a politician who failed at the presidency and an amphibian biologist became experts at an incredibly complicated science such as the climate. Ask yourself who and what companies gain in the race to trade and control the consumption/production of carbon.

Ask yourself if the climate can be predicted two weeks ahead let alone for two years. Ask yourself why the last great scare over the Ozone hole proved to be a non-event. We were told that it would take generations to repair the hole then it closed in two years, and then reopened partially indicating that it has a cycle of its own having little to do with hydrofluorocarbons.

Perhaps the whole debate should be reframed in terms of conserving energy, using it more efficiently, and wasting it less, because in the form of fossil fuels, energy is a somewhat finite resource. Energy breakthroughs are good for the economy and can make us more prosperous. In the bigger picture the world is awash in energy thanks to the limitless supply from the sun.

So instead of wasting our resources chasing our tails with carbon taxes and empowering the prophets of doom, unleash the creativity and power of humanity moving the production and use of energy up the chain closer to where it all comes from which is the sun. The market will help take care of this as traditional fossil fuels get pricier due to a higher level of scarcity.

Choose to be an optimist and relax a bit while tuning out the nihilistic Gore and Suzuki who really are more concerned with the vestiges of power and wealth than about what common sense dictates is best for us all. These people have just enough knowledge and conviction to be dangerous and have no place setting the agendas of large-scale policy that can affect us all so much.



The troubling tension between propelling prosperity and limiting climate risks in a world still wedded to fossil fuels is on full display this week. India's Tata Power group just gained important financial backing from the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank, for its planned $4 billion, 4-billion watt "Ultra Mega" coal-burning power plant complex in Gujarat state.

The I.F.C., along with the Asian Development Bank, Korea, and other backers, sees the need to bring electricity to one of the world's poorest regions as more pressing than limiting carbon dioxide from fuel burning. The plants will emit about 23 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to the I.F.C., but using technology that is 40 percent more efficient at turning coal into kilowatt-hours than the average for India.

The decision powerfully illustrates one of the most inconvenient facets of the world's intertwined climate and energy challenges - that more than two billion people still lack any viable energy choices, let alone green ones.

More here

Climate change will harm beer

Wotta lotta rubbish! A warmer climate would be a wetter climate overall and both rain and warmth are GOOD for crops. Article below from Australia

BEER will be in short supply, more expensive and may even taste different as climate change affects barley production, according to a scientist. Drought conditions in parts of Australia where malting barley was grown was likely to get worse, according to Jim Salinger of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Barley production in the main growing region of Canterbury in New Zealand - where brewing giant Lion Nathan gets about 70 per cent of its malted barley - would also be affected, the New Zealand Press Association said. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," he said.

Malting barley production in Australia was likely to be hit hard in parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW. The dry areas of Australia would become drier and water shortages would get worse. "It will provide a lot of challenges for the brewing industry," Dr Salinger said. He said breweries could be forced to look at new varieties of malt.

Dr Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention in Auckland today that by 2100, the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases - measured in equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide - would be double, and possibly four times pre-industrial levels, leading to further climate warming. "Most areas in Australia where malting barley is cropped are likely to experience producing declines," he said.



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OBloodyHell said...

> "Most areas in Australia where malting barley is cropped are likely to experience producing declines,"

They do love to ignore any blatantly obvious context, don't they?

Even if true -- Does this mean that *other* areas of Australia will not *become* prime areas for malting barley?

In Florida, the orange crop is a highly visible one. The rolling hills to the north of Orlando (where Disneyworld is) used to be covered, as far as the eye can see, with orange trees. As the frost line moved south (AHEM. Yes. *south*. In the late 1800s, they used to grow oranges in the US State of Georgia. Glean from that what you will), those orange groves were abandoned, and land to the south was bought and planted with oranges. Now the land tends to be used for other things, including paper-pulp pines and "Christmas" trees. The area also has a burgeoning wine industry.

Anonymous said...

I caught 'New Scientist' (6 Oct 2007 p47) in a lie. I wouldn't mention this umpteenth anti-USA rant, but for its hilarious propaganda angle: instead of the poster child being Polar Bears, it's another meat-eater, the Venus Flytrap!

Since it mentions "coastal swamps" of North Carolina, I dug through a NASA site to find a rural stations wher' rivers flow seaward 'round thems parts, and sure 'nough got me some, goin' back a century (

Guess what? SAME OLD STORY. Temperature is going DOWN. Same at the airport, further towards the sea. A few URBAN stations on land do go up, but even most of those go sideways or down.

The arrow in the middle of the map shows the Smithfield station:¤t=VenusFlytrap.jpg

The whole area is urbanized, so it makes sense to turn a few swampy areas ("wetlands") into parks, which was done, long ago. A single variety of this plant is native to this tiny region of the USA only, but is NOT listed as endangered (only "of concern" due to their high value on the market, with a $1000 fine for picking one). Now if real conservation efforts get no attention because the media blames their fate on "global warming" (even though it's COOLING there), what is the fate of the Venus Flytrap?

Domestication! It's one of the most popular novelty plants of all time. Unlike polar bears, it will go the way of the cat, dog, horse or pigeon (and indeed are already cheaply available in seeds in mixed or pure breeds with names like Royal Red, Vigorous, Fine Tooth x Red, Triffid Traps, Red Piranha, Low Giant, Big Mouth, Dentate Traps, Blood Red Traps, Banded and Fang):

If you thought cat or dog shows were full of freaks, bred pigeons look like aliens! Since Venus Flytraps also look like aliens, I imagine that they are already becoming "invasive" species wordwide, as people plant them in their gardens.