Friday, April 04, 2008


An email from Chris Horner []

I note in an AFP story, a claim that has gained customary, lazy usage, that "the world has until 2009 to draft a new pact on battling global warming". Absent was any qualifier that used to regularly follow such language, like "so as to avoid having a gap between agreements", though the peril that such a gap would pose is unclear. It also did not carry the alternate, Gore/Hansen rationale, that this is because our planet's doomsday clock is nearing midnight. Instead, it is just posited as being so: we have until 2009 to agree to a new pact.

May I suggest that readers watch for this and similar usages in the coming, oh, 20 months until the Copenhagen COP wraps up. If Kyoto is the profitable deal its champions breathlessly insist, even if experience is rather more mixed than that (of course, with no country actually *reducing emissions* since Kyoto was agreed, I suppose it's fair to admit we don't know!) we should see countries racing to replicate Europe's spectacular success and, of course, no countries looking to abandon their Kyoto promises on the flimsy premise that the extant pact is no longer current. Deadlines, including unexplained and even phony ones such as this, aren't at all necessary.

Or, it is possible that this scheme is the competitiveness-killing economic drain that some of us like to describe (and justify), in which case the expiration of Kyoto in the absence of a new pact leaves Europe to drop its pretense and leave the entire enterprise of this design to die its well-deserved death. Maybe that's what AFP meant.

Another attempt to erase the Mediaeval warm period

This time from NOAA. But in so doing they re-use the now totally discredited Mann "hockeystick". If that is not a warning of loose argumentation, what would be? It says: "Propaganda, not science coming up!" I reproduce the article below and follow it with some comments.
Norse seafaring and colonization around the North Atlantic at the end of the 9th century was generalized as proof that the global climate then was warmer than today. In the early days of paleoclimatology, the sparsely distributed paleoenvironmental records were interpreted to indicate that there was a "Medieval Warm Period" where temperatures were warmer than today. This "Medieval Warm Period" or "Medieval Optimum," was generally believed to extend from the 9th to 13th centuries, prior to the onset of the so-called "Little Ice Age."

In contrast, the evidence for a global (or at least northern hemisphere) "Little Ice Age" from the 15th to 19th centuries as a period when the Earth was generally cooler than in the mid 20th century has more or less stood the test of time as paleoclimatic records have become numerous. The idea of a global or hemispheric "Medieval Warm Period" that was warmer than today however, has turned out to be incorrect.

There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence. What records that do exist show is that there was no multi-century periods when global or hemispheric temperatures were the same or warmer than in the 20th century. For example, Mann et al. (1999) generated a 1,000 year Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction (shown above) using data from multiple ice cores and tree ring records. This reconstruction suggests that the 1998 annual average temperature was more than two standard deviations warmer than any annual average temperature value since AD 1,000 (shown in yellow). (For complete scientific reference of this study, please click here. Link to Mann 1999 FTP Data.)

In summary, it appears that the 20th century, and in particular the late 20th century, is likely the warmest the Earth has seen in at least 1200 years. To learn more about the so-called "Medieval Warm Period", please read this review published in Climatic Change, written by M.K. Hughes and H.F. Diaz.

There is actually a lot to like in the article above. It is a rare acknowledgement of hemispheric differences. It is only one small step away from them having to admit that the warming of the 1980s and 1990s was also in the Northern hemisphere only. They won't ever mention that, I imagine, but those of us with no axe to grind can do so.

I also see virtue in their comment that "There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence". 600 years is only a tiny slice of geological time so how can anyone be sure that recent climate events are anything out of the ordinary?

And even if we accept Mann's hockeystick, look where it ends: in 1998. Since then we have only reached within 0.25 deg of that point once; in Jan 2007, and other than that time, we haven't reached within 0.35 deg C of that 1998 point; but then as of Jan 2008, we are all the way back down to about where we were in the year 1000 AD. (according to Mann). Pesky?

But I think that the Coup de Grace for the bulldust above is this paper, which shows that there WAS a mediaeval warm period in the Southern hemisphere. And note that it relies on tree rings, just as Mann does.

Air execs gasp on call for more CO2

"The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better off the planet will be for humans and all other living things". If David Archibald had thrown a thunderflash among delegates at the Greener Skies 2008 conference in Hong Kong it couldn't have made a greater impact than the statement he used to start his presentation.

After a day of hearing from aviation industry leaders how the carbon footprints of the industry were boosting climate change and had to be curbed, the director of the Lavoisier Group was quickly into his stride. "In a few short years we will have a reversal of the warming of the 20th century," Archibald warned. "There will be significant cooling very soon. Our generation has known a warm, giving sun but the new generation will suffer a sun that is less giving and the earth will be less fruitful. "Carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad - it's wholly beneficial."

There would have been fewer jaws dropping if Archibald had stripped off his clothes and run naked from the room, but as his presentation continued, many no doubt wished he had disappeared. "Plant growth responds to atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment. In a world of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide, crops will use less water per unit of carbon dioxide uptake. Thus the productivity of semi-arid lands will increase the most," he said.

But Archibald cautioned that he did not bring only good news and said the world should prepare for another Ice Age. "We will need this in-crease in agricultural productivity to offset the colder weather coming. It also follows that if the developed countries of the world want to be caring and sharing to the countries of the Third World, the best thing that could be done for them is to increase atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. It is the equivalent of giving them free phosphate fertilizer. Who would want to deny the Third World such a wonderful benefit?'' He said the ability to grow food would become the overriding concern over the next decade.

In his conclusion, Archibald said higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were "wholly beneficial". "We have to be thankful to the anthropogenic global warming alarmists for one thing: if it weren't for them and their voodoo science, climate science wouldn't have attracted the attention of people from outside the field and we would be sleepwalking into that rather disruptive cooling that is coming next decade."

There was a stunned silence before Martin Craigs, president of Aerospace Forum Asia, called for the microphone. "Don't you have Al Gore's email address?" he asked. "How can you be right and 2,000 scientists wrong?" To which Archibald replied: "I am happy to share the science. It's all reputable."


Did the media "hype" the latest ice shelf crumble?

It's only a first step but the article below is from the Leftist "Columbia Journalism Review". It seems that some journalists are beginning to look seriously at (if not agree with) skeptical viewpoints on climate change. Even this blog gets a mention in passing!

All environmental reporters should sign up to receive the regular blog posts sent out by Marc Morano, the chief communications officer for James Inhofe, the minority leader on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. Morano's boss achieved substantial notoriety-or fame, depending on your point of view-in 2003 when he called climate change the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Morano's posts (available on Inhofe's EPW Press Blog) still reflect that opinion, despite the overwhelming body of science to the contrary, but they remain useful. As a media critic, in particular, I've always appreciated (though rarely agreed with) his particular fondness for analyzing (actually, usually lambasting) the press.

So I took notice two weeks ago when I spotted a post from Morano with the headline, "Is the Media's Environmental Reporting Improving?" The "evidence" for this seeming rapprochement comprised two acts of journalism - an article in USA Today questioning the proposal to include polar bears on the Endangered Species Act, and an editorial in the Los Angeles Times questioning the wisdom of a cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme in California. The former was, indeed, a very critical piece of reportage about bear protection. But a close reader might point out that the latter editorial actually advocated carbon taxes in place of cap-and-trade (and give Morano points for trying).

Regardless, any warming from Morano toward the media has been replaced with his usual chill. This morning I received another post from his office with the headline, "Media Hype on `Melting' Arctic Ignores Record Growth." Morano was, of course, referring to the recent collapse of a 160-square-mile piece of the large Wilkins ice shelf in Western Antarctica, on the opposite side of the peninsula from where part of the Larsen ice shelf famously broke apart in 2002. As usual, Morano's argument is not entirely wrong, but rests on cherry picking the slimmest, most sensational phrases from the coverage. And that's exactly why I recommend signing up for his emails - environment reporters should be constantly thinking about issues of accuracy and description, and Morano's tips, for all their bias, often provide a trailhead for such exploration.

This morning, Morano identified a few examples of poor headline writing. A blog entry from Salon asked, "Bye-bye Antarctica?" Yes, that topline ignores that ice is actually growing in parts of Eastern Antarctica that are cooling. But, to be fair, the author of the post, Andrew Leonard, made a point to compare information from the skeptical Greenie Watch and non-skeptical Leonard suspects the skeptics from the outset, and ultimately sides with those worried about global warming, but one should not shake a finger at his intellectually honest writing. Morano cites other articles by Reuters and The Sydney Morning Herald - both of which exhibited perfectly legitimate headlines and supporting text. But he saves his most vituperative thoughts for the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein, accusing him of having a history of "hyped alarm." It's hard to see, however, what Morano finds so disagreeable.

Borenstein's story carried one of the most accurate, straightforward, headlines out there - "Western Antarctic Ice Chunk Collapses." Other headlines seemed to suggest that the whole ice shelf had fallen, rather than a just a portion. As to Morano's argument that the media "ignored" some ice growth on the austral continent. well, here's what Borenstein had: "Much of the continent is not warming and some parts are even cooling . However, the western peninsula, which includes the Wilkins ice shelf, juts out into the ocean and is warming. This is the part of the continent where scientists are most concerned about ice-melt triggering sea level rise."

The most "hyped" (to use Morano's word) phrase of the whole affair seemed to be quote from a scientist at the British Antarctic Survey (which did onsite aerial reconnaissance of the break-up) who said that that remaining 5,000-square-miles of the Wilkins ice shelf (fully ninety-six percent of the total area) is "hanging by a thread." That made it into the Sydney Morning Herald headline that Morano cited, and it is certainly true for the time being, but it is also possible (and many scientists and reporters noted this) the coming winter in the Southern Hemisphere will boost longevity. Whatever the case may be, describing all this coverage as "hype" is a definite stretch.

But you don't have to take my word for it. See, for example, the only two major newspaper editorials that addressed the collapse. The New York Times had this: "Nothing dramatizes the urgency of global warming quite like a fracture of this scale. There is nothing to be done about a collapsing polar ice sheet except to witness it. It may be too late to stop the warming decay at the boundaries of Antarctic ice, yet there is everything to be done. Humans can radically change the way they live and do business, knowing that it is the one chance to find a possible limit to radical change in the natural world around us."

The Times in London had this: "The disintegration of a large section of the Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula does not in itself presage major global sea level rises, still less the end of life as we know it. But there is no longer any reasonable doubt that climate change is the cause; that it would take centuries of lower temperatures for these ice shelves to re-form; and that if they do not, the great ice sheets of the Antarctic interior will be the next to melt."

Hype? I think not. But thanks anyways to Morano for provoking the mental gymnastics.

Source. Another journalism site agrees with the above.

Networks Hype Rising Sea Levels in One-Sided Global Warming Reports

Parts of the Eastern English coastline have been sinking for many years

This time, the "CBS Evening News" traveled all the way across the pond to pushing the alarmists' global warming agenda. The March 27 "Evening News" went to the coastlines of England to show melting ice caps causing people to lose their homes. "Much of the effects of climate change have been couched in terms of if or when its effects will be felt," CBS correspondent Mark Phillips said. "Well, here there is no `if.' And when is now. So choices are being made. It's called managed retreat. Some areas of coastline deemed indefensible are being abandoned. Climate change is producing winners and losers, and Diana Wrightson and the others here have already lost."

However, global warming expert Lord Christopher Monckton, a policy adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told the Business & Media Institute blaming global warming for this is "nonsense." "This story is nonsense from start to finish," Monckton told the Business & Media Institute. "As a result of continuing isostatic recovery following the recent end of the last Ice Age (about 9,000 years ago), the western half of the U.K. has been rising, and the eastern half has been falling."

Monckton continued, "The loss of coastal properties in eastern England, which began occurring long before we could have had any appreciable influence on the climate, has nothing to do with rising seas and everything to do with falling land. But stories like this are constantly peddled by the leftist media, who have no regard whatsoever for objective truth."

That same night, "NBC Nightly News" correspondent George Lewis took on rising sea levels, but they went all the way to Antarctica to find a source of their global warming alarmism.


Green bullying is the last straw

By Andrew Bolt (Writing from Australia)

BORDERS [bookshop] has at last crossed a border of my own - demanding I pay 10 cents for a plastic bag to carry home their books. This senseless green bullying is the last straw. For 10 cents it's lost a customer who's been worth hundreds of dollars a year.

I'm not easily put off by a shop like Borders, you should understand. In this case, I've long tolerated its haphazard stacking of classical CDs and foreign DVDs, its books thoroughly thumbed by its coffee shop customers, and the disengaged, overworked staff, who rarely know much about what they sell.

But my last straw broke last week when I got to the register with another four books for my children, bought on impulse on the way to the movies. "Would you like a plastic bag?" I was asked, in the disapproving tones I've learned to accept from sales staff of a certain age and taste for studs. Why Borders should be so down on a little plastic bag is a mystery, actually, given its business is selling stuff made of murdered trees and plasticised oil.

But, ever placid, I sweetly replied, yes, please - I would indeed like to carry those books in a bag rather than cart them into the cinema in my arms. Not that I said that last bit, of course.

And then I was told Borders now charged 10 cents for each bag. I pointed out that the bag should be given for free as a service to customers kind enough to buy armfuls of the shop's wares. But the sales assistant informed me in tones sanctimonious that this 10 cents was for "the environment" - going to Coastcare, a green group I'd never heard of. As I told her, to the increasing mortification of my 14-year-old son, if I wanted to donate to Coastcare I'd do it myself, and I do not need or want Borders to bully me into it.

As I huffed off with books unbagged, I heard her protest to a colleague that I was wrong to object because the bag levy really was for "the environment". Rubbish. It's for Borders' preening, and a green group's grooming. I've since learned that Borders is far from alone in this green bullying of customers. IKEA does much the same, and Bunnings doesn't even give customers the option of a bag.

Crazy. If plastic bags really were a public menace to rival cigarettes or a Tim Flannery, I could understand such finger-wagging and 10-cent fines. But claims that the bags kill 100,000 animals a year have been completely discredited, and no study can swear they're a big menace to wildlife or even the landscape. Banning or restricting them is purely symbolic, and done at the cost not of retailers but customers.

Enough of this hectoring, moral show-boating and donating with other people's money. It's the principle of the thing: If Borders wants to donate to Coastcare, let it do so with its cash, not mine. And give me my damn bag.

Source. A good reason to order from Amazon. And they use HEAPS of packaging!


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Borders, whose market share is being eroded by Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has lost 76 percent of its value on the New York Stock Exchange in the past 12 months."