An email below from Michael Schewitz [Michael.Schewitz@bigfoot.com]
Attached, please find a letter that I sent to the BBC. I posted the letter to Ceri Thomas, editor of the Today program as well as a copy to Roger Harrabin at the beginning of October last year. I never received a response to this letter. Certainly nothing was discussed on the topic that I raised with the BBC.
This was brought to mind by your recent highlight of the email exchange between Roger Harriban and an environmental campaigner. I was amazed at how ready they were to accommodate an environmental campaigner given the fact that my letter was apparently completely ignored.
The issue discussed in the letter seemed to me to be an open and shut case. When an article on climate stability in the past (and therefore proof that current warming is highly anomalous) by Osborn and Briffa appeared in "Science" the BBC Today Program ran the story as a lead story. However, when a refutation of this article was later published in precisely the same journal no mention of this was made on the BBC.
My understanding was that, given the publicity given to the first Science article, the BBC would have felt an obligation (or indeed have a legal obligation in terms of their mandate) to at least discuss the second article. Apparently this was not so.
LETTER TO THE BBC
In 2006, when Osborn & Briffa published an article in Science that argued that warming in the late 20th century was anomalous, the Today program gave this article considerable coverage. In addition the general news service of the BBC also gave this article considerable exposure.
Attached please find a piece (off the blog World Climate Report) that discusses an article also published in Science by a prominent European statistical climatologist (Gerd Burger) from a respected institution that pretty much debunks entirely the Osborn & Briffa article.
This article was published a few months ago, but there appears to have been no coverage of it anywhere on the BBC. Thus, while the first Science article was brought to your attention, this one seems to have slipped through the net and, for this reason, I have taken the liberty of bringing it to your attention.
As mentioned earlier, the Burger article to which I refer was published in exactly the same journal in which the Osborn & Briffa article was published. Consequently, I feel that the BBC in general and the Today program in particular have a strong obligation - in line with the BBC's policy of objectivity - to give this article the same coverage that the Osborn & Briffa article was given.
I assume it would be appropriate (indeed necessary) in terms of your stated guidelines on balanced reporting to investigate this further, report on it, and maybe interview the relevant authors if they are available.
Incidentally, the attached piece also discusses an article from Earth-Science's review on Lake Baikal's Paleo Climate Record. You may also find this of interest.
I have no connection whatsoever with either the blog, or any of the authors of any of the articles discussed above. I am interested in the debate on climate modelling and so, if you run a story on this, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know when this may be.
THE WMO STATEMENT ABOUT LA NINA
An email from John McLean [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The WMO statement upon which the BBC and Daily Telegraph report appears to be that here
The statement goes to some length to report warming between December 2007 and January 2008. While it is happy to quote the figures for instances of warming it noticeably omits those for regions that reported cooler conditions. It also make much effort to report a warm January in Australia and notes that it was warmer than the previous record in 1999. Both figures are of course cited but there was no mention of the pattern of higher January temperatures, which in order were 2008 (+1.23 above average), 1999, 1988, 1969, 1879, 2001, 2006, 1973 (+0.94) at which point there is a break of 0.17 degrees. (Is it a coincidence that five of those eight years end in 8 or 9?).
The WMO report also implies that Australia's January temperatures have been steadily rising for many years. In year 2000 the January temperature was 1.01 below average, in 2002 it was 0.25 degrees below average and in 2007 it was just 0.01 above average. In other words Australia's average January temperature is varying as it has done since the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976.
Of course no-one should have expected impartiality from the WMO when the opening sentence was "The long-term upward trend of global warming, mostly driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is continuing."
The whole statement puts the WMO in an embarrassing situation. By its admission that La Nina events cause substantial cooling it is also acknowledging that El Nino events cause substantial warming. How much of temperature trend that the WMO draws our attention to is the product of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift that shifted the balance towards El Nino events? How much of the slightly elevated temperatures of the last 6 years is due to the state of "semi El Nino" that prevailed in the Pacific?
It seems to me that once the influences of the Southern Oscillation (El Nino & La Nina) are removed, along with volcanic eruptions and shifts in cloud cover, the human influence on temperature is likely to be very minor and perhaps impossible to determine.
PACHAURI: GROWING DOUBTS THAT NEW CLIMATE DEAL WILL BE POSSIBLE
Developing countries, including China and India, are unwilling to sign up to a new global climate change pact to replace the Kyoto protocol in 2012 because the rich world has failed to set a clear example on cutting carbon emissions, according to the UN's top climate official.
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said too many rich countries, including the US, had failed to take the action needed to convince the developing nations to sign up to a deal in Copenhagen next year that could help to stabilise global emissions. "You may not be able to get an agreement in one shot, let's say by Copenhagen, that sets you on the path of stabilisation in keeping with some kind of long-term target," Pachauri told the Guardian. "Looking at the politics of the situation, I doubt whether any of the developing countries will make any commitments before they have seen the developed countries take a specific stand."
He said there were "reasons for dismay" at the rich countries' failure to cut carbon emissions. "This really doesn't give anybody the conviction that those that had agreed to take action as the first step are really serious about doing so. And in several developing countries you get the feeling - in fact people state it very clearly - that these guys [rich countries] are going to shove the whole burden on to our shoulders. That's why it's necessary for the developed world to establish a certain credibility."
Pachauri said Germany had set a good example, with significant investment in renewable energy, and Britain had done "quite well". The UK is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as required under Kyoto, but will miss a separate domestic goal to reduce carbon dioxide pollution by 20% on 1990 levels by 2010. If emissions from aviation and shipping are included, Britain's carbon dioxide emissions are higher now than in 1990.
Analysts say a new global deal needs to be agreed at the Copenhagen meeting for it to come into force by 2012, because it will take several years to be ratified by countries. If a new deal is not in place when Kyoto expires, then confidence in emerging carbon trading markets - seen as a key way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution - could collapse. Schemes such as the European emissions trading scheme, set up under Kyoto, force polluting companies to invest in carbon credits or cleaner technology, but rely on carbon caps continuing past 2012.
Pachauri, who is also director general of the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, India, said: "I don't think they [China and India] will come on board in the first round. I think they would like to see some level of ambition on the part of the developed countries before they make any voluntary commitments of their own." Last year Pachauri, an economist and environmental scientist, collected the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, which it won jointly with the American former vice-president Al Gore. The IPCC analyses the state of climate science and issues reports that form the foundation for international action under the UN.
Any reluctance by China to participate in a new agreement would spell problems for the new US president, who could sign a deal in Copenhagen next year and then find it rejected by the US Senate. Several leading figures in the US have said the Senate would be unlikely to pass a new treaty that did not require China to act on its soaring carbon emissions. All three presidential candidates have promised stronger domestic action on global warming, and are expected to play a more constructive role in the search for a new international treaty than the Bush administration.
Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told an IPCC meeting in Budapest this week that it would be "very, very difficult" to reach an agreement. He warned that if the carbon emissions of China and India continue to grow at the same pace as their economies, mankind would be unable to prevent a critical level of warming.
Pachauri said there was still time for the developed countries to convince India and China to sign a new deal next year, but that it would require a series of "measures and actions" in the next few months. He urged other rich countries to follow Europe's lead and set ambitious carbon reduction targets for the next 10 years. He said more money was needed to help poorer countries adapt to the likely impact of global warming, as well as "some tangible efforts to make technology transfer a reality". Rich nations could help China to invest in more efficient coal power stations, for example. "If there was low interest financing of some of these measures, it would make it very attractive to developing countries."
Britain and the US have pledged support for new World Bank funds to support climate adaptation and technology transfer, but poorer countries and green campaigners are more sceptical, and would prefer the money to be administered through the UN. Rich countries have failed to keep similar promises in the past - only 90m pounds of a promised 600m to pay for adaptation measures had been delivered to a Global Environment Facility fund by the end of last year.
The recent campaign urging people to turn off their lights was a futile and stupid gesture by environmentalists
By Bjorn Lomborg
When it comes to all things "green", common sense seems to have been abandoned. Our failure to think clearly about such matters would be amusing if the potential consequences were not so serious.
Consider the recent "lights out" campaign that supposedly should energise the world about the problems of climate change by urging citizens in 27 big cities to turn out their lights for an hour. With scores of companies and municipalities signing up, and even the monarchies of Denmark and Sweden turning off the lights in their many palaces, the World Wildlife Fund quickly called it an amazing success. Newspapers around the world dutifully wrote feel-good stories about how engaged environmentalists celebrated as the lights went out around the world.
Nobody, it seemed, wanted to spoil the party by pointing that the event was immensely futile, that it highlighted a horrible metaphor, or that it caused much higher overall pollution.....
Ironically, the lights-out campaign also implies much greater energy inefficiency and dramatically higher levels of air pollution. When asked to extinguish electric lights, most people around the world would turn to candlelight instead. Candles are cozy and seem oh-so-natural. Yet, when measured by the light they generate, candles are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights.
Moreover, candles create massive amounts of highly damaging indoor particulate air pollution, which in the United States is estimated to kill more than a 100,000 people each year. Candles can easily create indoor air pollution that is 10-100 times the level of outdoor air pollution caused by cars, industry, and electricity production. Measured against the relative decrease in air pollution from the reduced fossil fuel energy production, candles increase health-damaging air pollution 1,000-10,000-fold....
Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax Heats Up
Post below recycled from Tim Wood. See the original for links
The BBC today aired a story confirming what responsible scientists have been saying for some time - that there has been no notable variation in global temperatures for the past ten years. This is an inconvenient truth for the vast edifice being built atop the myth that human related carbon dioxide has exceeded some imagined tipping point, turning the world into a deadly hotbox.
The World Meteorological Organization literally blames the El Nino Pacific current for upsetting the carefully orchestrated media meme of runaway heating caused by all that nasty capitalist production. What they should be admitting is the relative ignorance of scientists about all the factors that drive climate variation. The fact that the WMO and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were incapable of reflecting El Nino's impact on their temperature models simply underscores how politically driven and unscientific climate science has become. The "consensus" models must be considered worthless after years of failed predictions. To be fair, the IPCC models admit that they do not even take Pacific Decadal Oscillation into account.
The correspondence between El Nino and recent climate events and trends is striking; no less striking than correlations with Sun spot activity and precipitation systems. Indeed, the WMO admits that El Nino, "has contributed to torrential rains in Australia and to some of the coldest temperatures in memory in snow-bound parts of China." Yet there are countless media stories and journal articles blaming human related carbon dioxide emissions for these events.
Despite the facts directly contradicting the predictions of ever-hotter years unless "greenhouse gas emissions" were severely curtailed, the WMO and others continue to spin the warming myth saying we can be sure 1998's average temperature will be exceeded at some point in the near future. Laughably, Adam Scaife, lead scientist for Modelling Climate Variability at the Hadley Centre in Exeter, told the BBC that La Nina is just noise amidst a larger climate change signal. Isn't it amazing that mere noise can disrupt every major climate change model.
It's worth reviewing why no reasonable person subscribes to the idea that human related carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic global warming. Some basic points:
1. Persons and interests unknown claim to have identified with incredible precision Earth's optimum temperature, sea level, snow cover, ice packing, crop yields, soil moisture, ocean salinity, speciation, particulate concentrations in the atmosphere, crustal movement, weather severity and forestation among thousands of other variables of life. Absurd, isn't it? These supposedly optimum levels have been decreed permanent even though they relate to a recent period when more sophisticated measurement and data analysis became possible, and which conveniently coincides with the end of a mini ice age. The reasons for selecting this false optimum equilibrium must be political rather than scientific since the long-run climate data shows much greater volatility than the earth has recently experienced. Precession, anyone?
2. Ideological interests antipathetic to modernism run the business of global climate change. Consider just the acquiescence of "scientists" to the United Nation's repeated publication of climate policy recommendations before supporting scientific materials are published. In fact, the UN IPCC openly stated last year that scientific reports were being modified to fit policy recommendations, which required the delay in publication. And how else do you take this quote from Maurice Strong, one of the big bananas in the global green junta: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring about?"
3. Climate "science" is pimped by big money lobbies and transglobal ideological movements. American federal funding of climate research alone runs to some $5 billion per year. Take careful note how the green movement is hysterically assertive about controlling climate change money flows via the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The reason is obvious - it provides the best means to wrest policy making away from elected and accountable politicians.
4. Climate science is subject to peer review rather than auditing, which is insufficient control for public policy decisions. Canadian geologists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated this by uncovering what can only be described as the fraudulent development of Michael Mann's "Temperature Hockey Stick" graph. The IPCC relied heavily on the graph - which was extensively "peer reviewed" - to support demands for urgent policy changes. The graph has since been abandoned after being exposed as a fabrication.
5. One fraud is sufficient to disqualify any organization from retaining trust, respect and authority. The IPCC is guilty of more than one fraud, whilst elite agencies and academies are routinely being embarrassed by research errors. For example, see how the Hadley Center responded when cold temperatures this January and February disrupted the politically correct view of incessant warming. NASA also recently admitted a serious error with its temperature data. Also, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does not adjust temperature data the way a sister federal agency, NASA, does.
6. The most widely cited climate models with respect to policy impacts are scenario projects - which is how adults describe creative thinking. To quote a climate change insider: "None of the models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models." - Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and lead author of the UN IPCC's Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. Note his half-hearted admission that climate science is in its infancy, yet he is willing to support destructive policy changes based on his faith.
7. Observed real climate systems behave oppositely to the predictions of the leading computer models.
8. Global temperatures have been much higher (5 degrees centigrade) in the past than they are now or are projected to be.
9. A majority of climate data collection stations in the United States are compromised by poor location and other factors. Agencies have been "adjusting" this data with a clear upward bias for temperatures.
10. Climate politicians have arbitrarily rejected more than 90,000 direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere, carried out in America, Asia, and Europe between 1812 and 1961. These measurements are highly accurate and contradict the ice core data that global warming myths are built on.
11. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide is irrelevant to greenhouse effects.
a. Water vapor constitutes 95% of the greenhouse effect.
b. Human activity is responsible for just 3% of CO2 emissions. The other 97% comes from natural sources.
c. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not historically unusual, despite the IPCC's false claim that 379ppmv is "far above" the "natural range" for the past 650,000 years. As recently as 1942, CO2 was 400ppmv. More reliable data shows that over the last 10,000 years CO2 concentrations generally exceeded 300ppmv. It is also stands to reason that even if CO2 concentrations are unusual, it is irresponsible to ascribe most of the increase to anthropogenic causes given that humans are responsible for so little of it.
d. The assumptions of CO2 glaciology used to infer historically lower levels of CO2 are demonstrably false.
e. The correct interpretation of CO2 ice core data reveals the gas increases following temperature increases. In other words, the consensus has cause and effect completely reversed. When the earth warms up, CO2 is traded from oceans to the atmosphere and vice versa.
12. Climate politics has ignored astronomical impacts, such as solar activity for the past 50 years exceeding thousands of recent years.
13. Ice measurements show no alarming net loss of ice such that you will need a kayak to get to work in Manhattan in 2015. Satellite data from NASA shows Greenland's ice thinning at the margins, but thickening inland such that the total ice measured has increased. Antarctica has been losing ice in the west and gaining in the east, though there has been a net loss. The estimate for the impact on sea levels is an increase of half a millimeter per year!
14. Demands for anthropogenic greenhouse gas reductions are oblivious to the costs and benefits. This is an unreasonable and irrational approach to any problem, but especially for a project that claims to be able to restore Earth to a mythical optimum climate.
NOTE: The BBC story referenced here was modified - without notification to readers - after publication to reinforce some global warming dogmas. The BBC's compliance with activist demands for the story to be recast is detailed by Marc Sheppard on American Thinker.
World Health Organization nonsense about malaria
Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the implications of climate change for human health. Malaria will top the menu, but so will ignorance and disinformation. The lead witness will be Dr. Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has suggested that U.S. energy policy may be "indirectly exporting diseases to other parts of the world." Dr. Patz, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others claim that global warming is now spreading disease and may be the cause of some 160,000 deaths a year.
In 2007, for example, WHO pointed to rising temperatures in an outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus, Chikungunya, in Italy. Yet WHO misdiagnosed the problem. Modern transportation, not climate change, caused the outbreak. In that case, the transmitter of the disease, or vector, was the Asian Tiger mosquito. It is native to Asia, but exported world-wide in shipments of used tires. It is now abundant in parts of U.S. and in 12 countries in Europe. In cities, it breeds in man-made containers of water, such as saucers under flower-pots, water barrels, blocked gutters and so on. The virus was carried to Italy by an infected Indian who flew from Delhi, where an epidemic of the disease was then raging.
So the real technological villain in that case was the jet airplane. It was irresponsible, then, for WHO to state "although it is not possible to say whether the outbreak was caused by climate change . . . conditions in Italy are now suitable for the Tiger mosquito." And it was absurd for environmental alarmists to chime in with apocalyptic pronouncements.
The globalization of vectors and pathogens is a serious problem. But it is not new. The Yellow Fever mosquito and virus were imported into North America from Africa during the slave trade. The dengue virus is distributed throughout the tropics and regularly jumps continents inside air passengers. West Nile virus likely arrived in the U.S. in shipments of wild birds. These diseases are spread by mosquitoes and therefore difficult to quarantine.
It may come as a surprise that malaria was once common in most of Europe and North America. In parts of England, mortality from "the ague" was comparable to that in sub-Saharan Africa today. William Shakespeare was born at the start of the especially cold period that climatologists call the "Little Ice Age," yet he was aware enough of the ravages of the disease to mention it in eight of his plays.
Malaria disappeared from much of Western Europe during the second half of the 19th century. Changes in agriculture, living conditions and a drop in the price of quinine, a cure still used today, all helped eradicate it. However, in some regions it persisted until the insecticide DDT wiped it out. Temperate Holland was not certified malaria-free by the WHO until 1970.
The concept of malaria as a "tropical" infection is nonsense. It is a disease of the poor. Alarmists in the richest countries peddle the notion that the increase in malaria in poor countries is due to global warming and that this will eventually cause malaria to spread to areas that were "previously malaria free." That's a misrepresentation of the facts and disingenuous when packaged with opposition to the cheapest and best insecticide to combat malaria - DDT.
It is true that malaria has been increasing at an alarming rate in parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world. Scientists ascribe this increase to many factors, including population growth, deforestation, rice cultivation in previously uncultivated upland marshes, clustering of populations around these marshes, and large numbers of people who have fled their homes because of civil strife. The evolution of drug-resistant parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, and the cessation of mosquito-control operations are also factors.
Of course, temperature is a factor in the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and future incidence may be affected if the world's climate continues to warm. But throughout history the most critical factors in the spread or eradication of disease has been human behavior (shifting population centers, changing farming methods and the like) and living standards. Poverty has been and remains the world's greatest killer.
Serious scientists rarely engage in public quarrels. Alarmists are therefore often unopposed in offering simplicity in place of complexity, ideology in place of scientific dialogue, and emotion in place of dry perspective. The alarmists will likely steal the show on Capitol Hill today. But anyone truly worried about malaria in impoverished countries would do well to focus on improving human living conditions, not the weather.
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.