Saturday, May 31, 2008


Last week, Dr. Arthur Robinson of Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that over 31,000 American scientists signed a petition rejecting the theory of man-made global warming. So why is the support for this theory evaporating among scientists? Perhaps it might be due to the fact that global temperature trends have remained flat for the past decade while the levels of carbon dioxide have risen 5.5%.

The foundation of the AGW theory is based on rising carbon dioxide levels producing higher temperatures. Perhaps this evaporating consensus might be due to the analysis of paleoclimate data that reach back hundreds of thousands of years through glacial/interglacial transitions. This analysis showed that changes in Earth's temperature always preceded changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide. How can that be? Well the oceans are a vast reservoir of carbon dioxide. As the oceans warm, it release this gas back into the atmosphere. The atmospheric carbon dioxide levels measured today are primarily of a natural origin rather than man-made.

Or perhaps the global warming theory is in trouble because it is based primarily on a complex computer climate model that is more hype than substance. This sophisticated model fails to include the effects of cloud-cover. Clouds are a major factor in modulating Earth's temperature. Clouds block sunlight, reflecting the light back into space thus lowering temperature. The intensity of the sun's magnetic field controls the rate that high energy particles, called galactic cosmic rays, hit the Earth's atmosphere. These particles seed cloud formation through ionization. This process was demonstrated experimentally at the Danish National Space Centre by Dr. Henrik Svensmark and his research team with the results published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in Great Britain in 2007. Therefore the climate models, without adequately including cloud mechanics, will be poor predictors of future climate on Earth.

So if you set aside these climate models for a moment, what is science trying to tell us about the near-term climate? The sun's magnetic field has been unusually strong for the past century. But the field appears to be weakening. We are at the verge of entering solar cycle 24. Judging by the extent of spotless days (days without sunspots) during this solar minimum, this cycle appears weaker than the 20th century solar cycles.

This will result in greater cloud cover and declining temperatures over the next decade or longer. This process may already be underway since global temperatures as measured from satellites have fallen significantly over the past year. Dr. Noah Keenlyside of Germany's Leipzig Institute of Marine Science, published a paper this month in Nature indicating global warming will stop until 2015 based on an analysis of ocean temperatures and the giant ocean "conveyor belt" known as the meridional overturning circulation. So as I sit near my computer with the heater running during the end of May when it should be warm, I ponder "Where is a little global warming when you really need it!"



By Charles Krauthammer

I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2into the atmosphere but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems -- from ocean currents to cloud formation -- that no one fully understands. Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation. "The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity," warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, "is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism."

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue.

But declaring it closed has its rewards. It not only dismisses skeptics as the running dogs of reaction, i.e., of Exxon, Cheney and now Klaus. By fiat, it also hugely re-empowers the intellectual left.

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class -- social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies -- arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).

Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher's England to Deng's China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but -- even better -- in the name of Earth itself.

Environmentalists are Gaia's priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. (See Newsweek above.) And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment -- carbon chastity -- they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.

Only Monday, a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe.

There's no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society.

So what does the global warming agnostic propose as an alternative? First, more research -- untainted and reliable -- to determine (a) whether the carbon footprint of man is or is not lost among the massive natural forces (from sunspot activity to ocean currents) that affect climate, and (b) if the human effect is indeed significant, whether the planetary climate system has the homeostatic mechanisms (like the feedback loops in the human body, for example) with which to compensate.

Second, reduce our carbon footprint in the interim by doing the doable, rather than the economically ruinous and socially destructive. The most obvious step is a major move to nuclear power, which to the atmosphere is the cleanest of the clean. But your would-be masters have foreseen this contingency. The Church of the Environment promulgates secondary dogmas as well. One of these is a strict nuclear taboo. Rather convenient, is it not? Take this major coal-substituting fix off the table, and we will be rationing all the more. Guess who does the rationing.



The Government was struggling to maintain its green taxation agenda on transport this week amid truckers' fuel protests, a media onslaught and a revolt by its own backbenchers.

The unrest continues a miserable few weeks for green transport policy advocates, following on from the election defeat of Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral elections and of Roger Jones, the public face of Greater Manchester's congestion charging plans in the local elections (LTT?16 May).

Ministers, already alarmed at Labour's plummeting poll ratings and stung by this month's byelection defeat in Crewe and Nantwich, this week insisted that they were in listening mode to the protestors, which suggests they may be prepared to abandon policies that are central to their attempts to reduce transport's carbon dioxide emissions.

Truckers took to the streets of London and Cardiff this week to protest at the rocketing price of diesel. The Freight Transport Association says the cost of diesel has risen 34% in the last year and by 15% (14 pence per litre) since the beginning of the year.

As a minimum, the haulage sector wants the Government to commit to abandon the 2p per litre rise in fuel duty planned for the autumn. But the sector also wants a duty cut. "There is nothing to stop the Government, other than political will, reducing the duty on diesel down to EU average levels of 25p per litre from its current level of 50.35p per litre," said Simon Chapman, the FTA's chief economist.

As LTT closed for press, 42 MPs, many of them Labour, had signed an Early Day Motion calling for the Government to reconsider the proposed restructuring of vehicle excise duty from April next year. This will see the owners of vehicles with high carbon dioxide emissions pay considerably more and MPs are particularly unhappy that the new levels of VED?will apply retrospectively to vehicles registered since 2001.

The VED?issue was one of the components of the Tories' Crewe and Nantwich byelection, victory with the party distributing hundreds of campaign leaflets titled 'Grant theft auto' - a play on words from the popular computer game of the same name.

Newspapers have joined in the protests with the Telegraph, Express and Mirror among those running campaigns in support of motorists. The Guardian and Independent were this week urging ministers to stand up to the protestors and keep environmental policies on track.

Opinion polling, however, indicates that a large proportion of the public believes that the environment is being used by the Government as an excuse to raise taxation.

More here


Members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition remain "miles apart" on a plan to link car taxes to emissions and are unlikely to introduce the change in 2009 as planned, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said.

Merkel came under criticism for backtracking on her environmental aims when the government announced last week that approval of the plan to change car tax rules to take exhaust emissions into account would be delayed.

She insisted over the weekend that the "Kfz" tax change, part of a climate protection package agreed by the coalition last year, was not dead despite differences in her government.

But Tiefensee, in an interview with Die Welt newspaper, suggested the plan was doomed and blamed Economy Minister Michael Glos for a "surprising reversal" on the issue.

"The chances of getting the Kfz tax in place from Jan. 1, 2009 are next to nil," Tiefensee told the newspaper in an article to be published in its Thursday edition. "We are miles apart in the coalition on this project."

Tiefensee, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), said Glos and his party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), appeared reluctant to back the plan ahead of elections in their home state of Bavaria later this year.

More here


While the three remaining presidential candidates have touted climate change as a central theme in their campaigns, all of them may miss next week's critical vote when the Senate considers a landmark bill imposing mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.

With the debate set to begin Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will miss the entire proceedings because he will be campaigning all week. In a press conference Wednesday McCain defended his decision to skip the vote, and outlined his opposition to the bill. "First of all, I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000," he said. "The people of Arizona understand I'm running for president of the United States."

McCain added that even if he did show up he would not back the bill, which is authored by two of his closest allies, Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.). "Second of all, as I have said, I'm very deeply committed to the nuclear component of any legislation that will have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions," he said. "And I've been disappointed so far that there has not been a robust and serious addressing of the issue of nuclear power...You're never going to really significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless nuclear power is a major component of it. I know that's not a popular position."

Democratic Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) -- both of whom back the Lieberman-Warner bill -- haven't said whether they'll vote on it, but it comes just as their presidential primary is reaching its end. A source close to the Obama campaign said the senator is working on amendments to the bill that he could offer as a co-sponsor even if he cannot return to Washington early next week. "It's going to be difficult during the last few days of the primary season," the source said. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said he did not know yet whether his boss would vote on the legislation.

Environmentalists warned today that presidential candidates can't claim to be green on the campaign trail when they're ducking the most important environmental vote of the year.

"If you don't come back to vote on the bill, you can't say that you're all that serious about taking action on climate change," said Lexi Shultz, deputy director of the climate program at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists.


Australia: Official Warmist guru misrepresents the climate projections that he relies on

Kevin Rudd entrusts Ross Garnaut with Australia's long-term response to global warming, but the economics professor is in a tangle over how climate change will hit his own back yard. In a bid to build a sustainable second house behind his home in inner-Melbourne Princes Hill, Professor Garnaut has told the City of Yarra Council that global warming will lead to more hailstorms in Melbourne - a claim, it now emerges, at odds with those of leading climate change scientists.

In a letter to the council, the economist uses his expertise to argue that heritage traditions, including a slate roof, should not apply to the property when defending what objectors say is an ugly, curving steel roof set to dominate the streetscape at the rear of the property. He points out the greater resilience of a steel roof over slate given the increasing hailstorm threat. He says he has consulted the insurance industry in the course of his climate change work to back up his argument. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fourth assessment report, Climate Change 2007 - Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability - says in chapter 11: "Decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne and Mt Gambier." It does not back up Professor Garnaut's letter, which says: "Severe and more frequent hailstorms will be a feature of this change."

Professor Garnaut was quizzed about the letter at a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Thursday night. Victorian Liberal senator Mitch Fifield asked Professor Garnaut about an article in The Weekend Australian on May 10. Senator Fifield asked Professor Garnaut: "Were you seeking to use your position as a climate change adviser to influence a council decision for your private benefit?"

Professor Garnaut replied: "I should first point out that I did not have any role with the commonwealth at the time of those events. That relates to submissions to the Yarra Council last year. I can assure you and the committee ... that I was not trying to use my position to 'heavy' anyone."

Senator Fifield said: "Professor Garnaut, have you had any progress with the council?"

Professor Garnaut replied: "Senator, so that there will be no suggestion I am seeking to influence anyone, my wife is now handling this matter." The professor went on to tell the committee: "We instructed our architect to design a building that was exemplary in sustainability in every respect."

Ten neighbours in Park Street, Princes Hill - where Professor Garnaut wants to build the new home behind one he owns with his wife Jayne - have objected that the development does not meet heritage and residential codes. The dispute will be resolved in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal next week.

Professor Garnaut, who is due to hand down his final climate change review this year, was not available to comment yesterday, but his spokeswoman said the dispute was "a private matter".



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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Wonderful stuff.