Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It has now got to the point where the politicians have got to make hard decisions to back their big Greenie talk but they can't face it, knowing how the voters will respond to the costs involved. So they are just waffling. Nettles are remain ungrasped. The recent huge turn by the voters against the very Green British government is no doubt top of mind for many. Amusing, though, that the British government is being blamed for something it didn't do (increased fuel prices) rather than things it did do (increased electricity costs, for instance). Three recent reports below:

G8 talks

Environment ministers from the world's top industrial powers called Monday for more effort to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but little headway was seen in setting more immediate goals. Ministers from the Group of Eight held three days of talks here in a bid to set the tone for a summit involving the G8 leaders, which opens July 7 in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako and is expected to focus on climate change.

The ministers in a statement said they hoped the summit would "go beyond" the agreement set by last year's summit in Germany to "seriously consider" halving the world's output of greenhouse gases by 2050. But to the dismay of some, the talks in the Japanese city of Kobe did not signal a direction on the more immediate goal -- coming up with commitments on slashing greenhouse gas emissions once Kyoto's obligations expire in 2012.

More than 180 countries agreed in December on the Indonesian island of Bali to reach a post-Kyoto deal at a conference in late 2009 in Copenhagen. "I think it's very clear that without a mid-term target, a mandatory mid-term target for developed countries, it's going to be very complicated to get an agreement in Copenhagen," said Matthias Machnig, Germany's secretary of state for the environment.

But Japan's Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita defended the outcome of the meeting here, saying that all sides had shown a "strong will" to move forward with an agreement. "In terms of mid-term targets, that is an issue negotiated at multinational meetings," Kamoshita told reporters. "This environmental meeting was meaningful in accelerating the efforts by developed countries and raising the momentum," he said.

More here


Part two of Chancellor Merkel's ambitious package of measures aimed at reducing German greenhouse gas emissions may be in trouble. Originally set for passage on Tuesday, many of the law proposals are under attack. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has managed to develop quite a reputation on the international stage for her efforts to combat climate change. Back home in Germany, however, important pieces of her climate protection package threaten to fall through.

On Friday, with just days to go before the cabinet planned approve a second package of environmental laws, the item was suddenly removed from the Tuesday agenda. It now won't be considered by the Merkel government until the middle of June. And on Saturday, a number of dailies indicate that the problems facing the proposed measures are many.

Perhaps most serious are disagreements regarding a proposal to base automobile registration and tax fees on vehicle CO2 emissions instead of, as has been the practice until now, on engine size. Such a change was agreed upon last December, when the government pushed through its first major package of laws aimed at reducing German CO2 emissions. The Economics Ministry under Michael Glos made it clear that the goal must be that of "preventing higher taxes on automobiles" in Germany. The point of the law was to provide a financial incentive for Germans to buy cars that emit less greenhouse gases.

Disagreement, however, is also rampant when it comes to rules relating to the remodelling of buildings and the expansion of Germany's power line network. A proposal to tie truck tolls to the amount of CO2 emitted by the vehicles has also run into difficulties.

Merkel's government has committed to reducing Germany's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent relative to 1990 levels by 2020. Last December, her cabinet approved a package of laws, representing a 3.3 billion euro commitment, designed to encourage businesses to conserve energy and to expand Germany's reliance on renewable energy sources. A recent study commissioned by the Green Party, however, has found that Merkel's goals could be unrealistic. The study warned that a reduction of just 28 percent is achievable.



Anger over Gordon Brown's failure to deal with rising fuel prices will boil over tomorrow in the first major new protest against sky-high petrol and diesel costs. Hundreds of truckers will descend on the capital for a mass rally to draw attention to a crisis that is hurting millions of motorists. With fuel prices going up every day, protesters will demand the Prime Minister cuts duty after having raked in millions in additional tax.

In scenes reminiscent of the 2000 fuel protests, demonstrators will gather at Marble Arch before a delegation marches on Downing Street to demand talks with Mr Brown. They hope to exploit his vulnerability in the wake of Labour's meltdown in the local elections and last week's humiliating by-election defeat in Crewe.

Motorists are already facing record fuel prices after crude oil last week hit 135 US dollars a barrel - its highest ever level. The pressure on motorists is underlined by a study showing that the cost of fuel for a typical bank holiday weekend away has soared by up to 74 per cent in just five years.

More here


Billions of pounds are being wasted in paying industries in developing countries to reduce climate change emissions, according to two analyses of the UN's carbon offsetting programme. Leading academics and watchdog groups allege that the UN's main offset fund is being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that should not qualify. The result is that no genuine pollution cuts are being made, undermining assurances by the UK government and others that carbon markets are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases, the researchers say.

The criticism centres on the UN's clean development mechanism (CDM), an international system established by the Kyoto process that allows rich countries to meet emissions targets by funding clean energy projects in developing nations.

Credits from the project are being bought by European companies and governments who are unable to meet their carbon reduction targets. The market for CDM credits is growing fast. At present it is worth nearly $20bn a year, but this is expected to grow to over $100bn within four years. More than 1,000 projects have so far been approved, and 2,000 more are making their way through the process.

A working paper from two senior Stanford University academics examined more than 3,000 projects applying for or already granted up to $10bn of credits from the UN's CDM funds over the next four years, and concluded that the majority should not be considered for assistance. "They would be built anyway," says David Victor, law professor at the Californian university. "It looks like between one and two thirds of all the total CDM offsets do not represent actual emission cuts."

More here

The Unholy Alliance that manufactured Global Warming

By Dr. Tim Ball

In previous parts of this series (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) I've shown how a political agenda took over climate science primarily through the UN and specifically the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The agenda was spread to the world at the 1992 Rio Conference. Periodic Reports from the IPCC maintained the focus on CO2 and increased the political pressure. Please understand I am not claiming a conspiracy, but rather a cabal, which is defined as a secret political clique pushing a political agenda; in this case, designed by Maurice Strong.

Although the IPCC was the major vehicle other agencies got caught up quickly as governments became more involved. Results of the IPCC reports were skillfully propagandized so the issue took hold with the media and the public. It was also due to bureaucrats in each country carefully selected from weather related offices to serve on the IPCC. As MIT professor Richard Lindzen, former member of the IPCC said, "It is no small matter that routine weather service functionaries from New Zealand to Tanzania are referred to as `the world's leading climate scientists.' It should come as no surprise that they will be determinedly supportive of the process." A political bias made a few of them especially supportive. The pattern of their machinations emerged early and continues. A measure of this was how long many of them kept the Hockey Stick graph on official government web sites.

Contrary to popular belief politicians do listen. The problem is they usually hear if they think there is a consensus, whether right or wrong, or if the issue can garner votes. Both these situations existed in the claims of global warming. In addition, most politicians don't understand climate science and were forced to rely on the bureaucrats.

The most notorious was the Hockey Stick (HS) in the IPCC 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR). Despite its destruction by McIntyre and McKitrick confirmed by the Wegman committee reporting to the National Academy of Sciences, Michael Mann and his associates continue to claim their work was legitimate. Its omission from the 2007 IPCC Report told the real story.

While the Hockey Stick was exposed and rejected it drew attention away from a more insidious piece of `human signal' evidence in the 2001 IPCC (TAR). This was the claim by P.D. Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that the global average annual temperature increased 0.6øC ~ 0.2øC in some 130 years. It was claimed the increase was beyond any natural increase with the strong implication it was caused by humans. The data is simply not adequate to make this conclusion. The first problem is the huge error factor of ~ 0.2øC or 66%, which essentially makes the number meaningless. Imagine a political poll saying it was accurate plus or minus 33%. Besides, there are so many problems with the global data many consider it impossible to calculate the global temperature. Some of the problems explain why.

There are very few records of 130 years, indeed, few over 100 years.

The number of these stations is not representative of the world; they were even less so as you go back in history. Most stations are still concentrated in eastern North America and Western Europe as the Global Historical Climate Network shows (see map). This was even truer as you go back in time. Then, whole continents were excluded or at best represented by a single station. There are virtually no measurements for the oceans, the forests, deserts, mountains or Polar Regions.

Most of the older stations are the ones most affected by the Urban Heat Island Effect. This is an artificial increase in temperatures as a city expands around a weather station. There is considerable disagreement over how much adjustment is necessary. There are serious questions and proven limitations of many of the stations..

Two US authorities, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS) produced different global annual averages for the year 2007. GISS claimed it was the second warmest year on record while NOAA said it was the seventh warmest year, both ostensibly using the same data.

In 1999 the US National Research Council Report, expressed serious concern about the data "Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results." In response to the report Kevin Trenberth said, "It's very clear we do not have a climate observing system...This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what's going on with the climate, but we don't." It has not improved. In fact, there are fewer global weather stations now than in 1960.

Roger Pielke Sr and Dallas Staley tested the 2007 Report, "To evaluate the IPCC's claim to be comprehensive, we cross-compared IPCC WG1 references on near-surface air temperature trends with the peer-reviewed citations that have been given in Climate Science. We selected only papers that appeared before about May 2006 so they were readily available to the IPCC Lead authors."(Author's note; The IPCC used this cutoff date argument to ignore research such as the relationship between sunspots and global temperature. In that case they did it even though the research was in the literature as early as 1991).

They found, The IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 Report clearly cherrypicked (sic) information on the robustness of the land near-surface air temperature to bolster their advocacy of a particular perspective on the role of humans within the climate system. As a result, policymakers and the public have been given a false (or at best an incomplete) assessment of the multi-decadal global average near-surface air temperature trends."

Gore's movie trumpeted that 1998 was the warmest year on record. This is wrong. An error was found in the NASA GISS data and when corrected made 1934 hottest year on record, not 1998; 1921, became the third hottest year on record not 2006; three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940; Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the growth in human produced greenhouse gas emissions during the last century. If it was a genuine error then somebody should be fired, if it wasn't there are more serious implications. Suspicions are raised by a pattern of `adjustments' that make earlier years cooler thus making more recent years warmer. The procedures that cause this are explained in an article titled, "Rewriting History, Time and time again."

The pattern of adjustments and failure to disclose methods is deeply disturbing and requires much more investigation. It parallels too closely what has happened at the IPCC and makes a mockery of their claim that, "Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the twelve warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850)."

The 66% error factor is sufficient in itself to reject the argument that Jones' figure represents an unusual increase. It is definitely inadequate to serve as the basis for a global climate and energy policy. But there is a more serious problem.

We can't reproduce Jones' results because he refuses to disclose which stations he used and how the data was adjusted. To a request for information from Warwick Hughes, an Australian climate researcher who has long studied the global temperature record, Jones wrote, "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it." (Jones' reply to Warwick Hughes, 21. February 2005; P. Jones later confirmed this to Alex von Storch.)

Jones was not alone in the practice of non-disclosure or denial of access to climate data. A series of attempts to obtain information from the University of East Anglia and from the joint enterprise of the Hadley Centre and the Climate Research Unit are well documented on the Blog site Other people involved in the reconstructions have also ignored requests to post their data and methods, even though much of it is paid for by taxpayers and is the required practice in all other areas of scientific research. For example, it appears NASA GISS doesn't provide all the computer source code, formulae, or the correction used for the final temperature data. Scientists must be able to validate the work and claims of others for science to advance. It is even more important if your work is the basis for global climate and energy policies. But you may consider it unnecessary if you claim the science is settled and have a political rather than a scientific agenda.

Professor Wegman's Committee for the National Academy of Science arbitrated the hockey stick debate and identified problems in one segment of climate science, namely paleoclimate. However his remarks identified problems that plague all of climate science and especially the IPCC.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann's assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

These are devastating remarks for any committee to make, but especially a science committee. They illustrate the fine line so far drawn between culpability and incompetence. They appear to illustrate behavior patterns more in line with proving a theory than disproving it, which underlines political rather than scientific objectives. It is no coincidence that it was a child who observed that the Emperor had no clothes.


Update: Tanzania official now declares ice caps on Mt Kilimanjaro 'increasing'

In his film "An Inconvenient Truth" Gore says: "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro." See here

A Cabinet minister has allayed fears that ice caps on Mt Kilimanjaro that is a big tourist attraction in the region could disappear permanently. The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Shamsa Mwangunga, says contrary to reports that the ice caps were decreasing owing to effects of global warming, indications were that the snow cover on Africa's highest mountain were now increasing. "Among the signs of more snow is the decrease in temperatures in areas surrounding the mountain, heavy rainfall this year and increased precipitation and spring water flow on the slopes of the mountain," she pointed out.

The minister toured the mountain last week as part of activities to mark the African Travel Association's annual meeting held in Arusha. She said reports that the ice caps at the 5,895 metres high mountain would disappear in the next 20 years were overblown because there were signs that the snow cover had increased in recent years.

Ms Mwangunga explained that initiatives have been taken to minimise the effects of global warming and preserve the mountain's environment among other natural tourism attraction features.

More here


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