Sunday, June 08, 2008

The climate facts

The world's most thorough historical temperature record is found amongst the 1,221 official, government-sanctioned weather monitoring stations that have been recognized as a part of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN). Most of the stations within this network have records that date back to the 1800s. The beauty of this system is that in so many cases the environs where the thermometer is housed has changed little over the decades, providing critical data to determine major long-term trends.

In some instances thermometers within the Network have been encroached upon by urban sprawl and their readings notably have trended upward. However, for the locations that have remained relatively stable, the temperature record hardly reeks of global warming.

A perfect illustration is found when comparing the USHCN temperature records from Central Park in New York City to those taken a mere 55 miles away at West Point. Readings in Central Park have been regularly measured since 1835 when the city's population had just surpassed 200,000. Today, surrounded by a metropolis of eight million people filled with some of the world's tallest buildings, a massive underground subway system, an extensive sewer system, power generation facilities, and millions of cars, buses, and taxis, the Central Park temperatures have been greatly altered by urbanization. And, as one might expect, the Central Park historical temperature plot illustrates an incredible warming increase of nearly 4øF.

The West Point readings have also been meticulously maintained since 1835, but the environment surrounding the thermometer shelter has experienced significantly less manmade interference then the one in Central Park. The West Point readings illustrate a significantly lower warming increase of only about 0.6øF over the same 170-year period. This is remarkable given that the year 1835 is considered to be the last gasp of the Little Ice Age -- a significant period of global cooling that stretched back several hundred years.

Cries of out of control global warming become more dubious when one looks at the hottest decade in modern history, the 1930s. The summer of 1930 marked the beginning of the longest drought of the 20th Century. From June 1 to August 3, Washington, D.C. experienced twenty-one days of high temperatures of at least 100ø. During that record-shattering heat wave, there were maximum temperatures set on nine different days that remain unbroken more than three-quarters-of-a-century later. In 1934, bone dry regions stretched from New York, across the Great Plains, and into the Southwest. A "dust bowl" covered about 50 million acres in the south-central plains during the winter of 1935-1936. In some areas, the drought never broke until 1938.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 1936 experienced the hottest overall summer on record in the continental United States. In fact, out of 50 states, 22 recorded their all-time high temperature during the 1930s, including:

* 110 degrees F Millsboro, Delaware, July 21, 1930

* 100 degrees F Pahala, Hawaii, April 27, 1931

* 109 degrees F Monticello, Florida, June 29, 1931

* 118 degrees F Keokuk, Iowa, July 20, 1934

* 111 degrees F Phoenixsville, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1936

* 120 degrees F Seymour, Texas, August 12, 1936

* 121 degrees F Steele, North Dakota, July 6, 1936

* 117 degrees F Medicine Lake, Montana, July 5, 1937.

One might make the argument that the incredible rise in temperatures in the 1930s coincided with the first notable increase in CO2, thus, the gas can be linked to global warming -- but not honestly. While levels of carbon dioxide continued to increase during the following three decades, temperatures actually decreased.

According to NASA, the average temperature on the planet between 1940 and 1970 dropped .6øF. By the mid-Seventies the media was abuzz with notions of the next Ice Age. In its June 24, 1974 edition, Time magazine warned,

"Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age"

But those warning of global cooling soon became disappointed, as from 1970 to 1998 there was a slight increase in temperature (.34øF), noted in both USGCN record and verified by satellite observations (which only became available in the Seventies). Since 1998 there has been no additional warming and indeed, a global dip in temperature began in 2007 and has continued into this year.

All this said, when examining the data from the most trusted sites within the Historical Network beginning in 1930 to present, there has actually been a net-decrease in temperature. This decrease is noted in all quarters of the continental United States. Thus, the biggest chunk of global warming that has supposedly coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the increase in evil carbon dioxide, mostly occurred after the Little Ice Age and prior to 1940.

And Congress needs to understand this: carbon dioxide is not our foe. It is a fertilizer that is essential for life on planet earth; it is no more a poison or pollutant than oxygen or water. CO2 is also the byproduct of progress. The cars that allow us to drive to important places like work, worship, our kids' sporting events, the beach or the mountains, run on a very efficient portable form of energy known as gasoline, derived from petroleum. Our homes are heated, cooled, and lighted more often than not from natural gas. Companies that make the products essential to our lives also rely on these two forms of energy to create and deliver their wares. The carbon dioxide produced from these forms of energy is identical to the gas that is gently being emitted from your lungs as you read right now. You are not expelling pollution: you are contributing to our planet's carbon cycle. And the earth has a variety of built in mechanisms to recycle your CO2.

Carbon dioxide accounts for only slightly more than 3/10000ths of our planet's atmosphere. And what percentage of the miniscule amount of gas is produced by the activities of man, including the utilization of fossil fuels? According to a thorough analysis by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, a research wing of the U.S. Department of Energy, only 3.207% -- well within historical norms. And how much has CO2 increased in the atmosphere over the past 150 years? Approximately 35%.

In his must-read eco-thriller, State of Fear, Michael Crichton creates a brilliant visual to assist us in wrapping our minds around the components of Earth's atmosphere. On page 387, he likens the atmosphere to a football field. The goal line to the 78 yard-line contains nothing but nitrogen. Oxygen fills the next 21 yards to the 99 yard-line. The final yard, except for four inches, is argon, a wonderfully mysterious inert gas useful for putting out electronic fires. Three of the remaining four inches is crammed with a variety of minor, but essential, gases like neon, helium, hydrogen and methane. And the last inch? Carbon dioxide. One inch out of a hundred-yard field! At this point I like to add, if you were in the stands looking down on the action, you would need binoculars to see the width of that line. And the most important point-how much of that last inch is contributed by man-made activities? Envision a line about as thin as a dime standing on edge.

Are you still worried about the dangers of CO2? Me, neither. And historically, CO2 has been significantly higher than today. In data primarily gathered from ice cores, we see carbon dioxide levels were 500 times higher during the Cretaceous period, some 160 million years ago. Many theorize that the dinosaurs were able to grow to such sizes because of the indescribable abundance of carbon fed foliage and overall atmospheric conditions present during that era. Certainly the SUV could not be blamed for those high levels of CO2. Dinosaur flatulence, perhaps?

Despite the cries of Congress, the Earth does not have a fever and carbon dioxide is no more dangerous than the breath of life. During the fall elections we need to cap the rhetoric from some of these political whiners by trading them in for people who know a good thermometer when they see it.

More here


Timely broadcast on BBC Radio 4's "In Our Time" series, about Lysenko and "lysenkoism", the propaganda-based "science" that Stalin's agricultural adviser managed to sell as "truth" from 1928 to 1962 at least.

In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan - nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour. Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.

Today, Lysenko is a byword for fraud but in Stalin's Russia his ideas became law. They reveal a world of science distorted by ideology, where ideas were literally a matter of life and death. To disagree with Lysenko risked the gulag and yet he damaged, perhaps irreparably, the Soviet Union's capacity to fight and win the Cold War.

The MP3 of the programme can be downloaded here.

What makes it relevant to the climate debate is the list of parallels that can be made between Lysenko's "Soviet biology and genetics" and contemporaneous thoughts of Anthropogenic Global Warming:

(a) Results, and success are declared before an experiment has completed (at position 12m10s, in the mp3 file above). In AGW, just look at the innumerable papers that take AGW as established truth, even as the debate on "attribution" is still very much open among mainstream scientists.

(b) Proponents always declare "victory", no matter what happens, and are always ready to shift the ground (mp3 position: 14m15s). That's quite common in AGW circles: nowadays, if the planet warms up or cools down, it's anyway compatible with AGW theory.

(c) Science is presented as a series of "solutions", not simply as "knowledge" (mp3 position: 19m45s). AGWers cannot disentangle research from advocacy: for example, the IPCC is politically active, to the point of qualifying for a Nobel Peace Prize.

(d) According to the scientists, central planning is better than free capitalism (mp3 position: 35m45s). From Al Gore to London School of Economics' Professor Lord Giddens, there is only one thought: free markets are not good enough, and a big State intervention is needed to save the planet from climate doom.

Ironically, the BBC guests laughed only up to a point to the witty remark made by one of them: that Lysenko's personality and attitude would have made him a "guaranteed success in British science today" (mp3: 24m15s). Even more ironic is the fact that Lysenko himself did come up with a geoengineering way to change the climate of Siberia (by planting trees in clusters, so that the weakest ones would sacrifice themselves to let the most resistant plants survive. And in case you wonder: no, it didn't work...



It would appear the political consensus on global warming was as exaggerated as the alleged scientific consensus." (Stephen Moore, writing on the Democrats' collapsing Climate Tax Bill, in The Wall Street Journal, June 6

The `global warming' mad house is flourishing! I have rarely known a couple of days in which so many `global warming' foibles and follies have been exposed for the nonsense that they are.

Senate Climate Bill Doomed

[Update: as predicted here this morning (UK time) [below] the U.S. Senate has ignominiously brought an end to the debate on the doomed Climate Tax Bill, and thus the bill is withdrawn. The Democrats could not raise the 12 votes to make the 60 necessary to proceed. Sixteen senators were absent during the vote, including, as already mentioned, likely presidential nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama (see: `Senate Kills Climate Change Bill', The Washington Independent, June 6)]

First, and by far the most significant, the debate on the climate-change bill, the Climate Tax Bill, in the U.S. Senate has been reduced to a farce, with even many Democrats now wanting to kill it off as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Indeed, we may have to witness the bizarre spectacle of Republicans trying to prolong the debate in order to embarrass Democrats even further. The plot of this Gilbert-and-Sullivan-style operetta is vividly told today in The Washington Post [`Senate Democrats May Pull Climate Bill', May 6]:

"Although parliamentary maneuvers could still extend the debate into next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) faced the prospect of failure in a bid to end debate on amendments to the climate bill this morning. In that event, he was expected to seek withdrawal of the entire measure, to the relief of some Democrats from coal-producing or heavy industrial states. `We are going to have Democrats voting to end debate on what they call the most important issue facing the planet and Republicans voting to continue debate on it,' said Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky)."

Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), Ranking Republican Member of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, is reported as observing: "`This bill was doomed from the start. The committee process was short-circuited, the floor debate was circumvented and the amendment process was derailed. I do not see how the Democrats use this failed bill as any kind of model for future success. As I suspected, reality hit the U.S. Senate when the economic facts of this bill were exposed. When faced with the inconvenient truth of the bill's impact on skyrocketing gas prices, very few Senators were willing to even debate this bill.'" Neither Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) nor Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) attended the debate or voted.

Stephen Moore, writing in today's `Political Diary' for The Wall Street Journal, turns the screw [`Climate-Change Collapse', June 6] : "Environmentalists are stunned that their global warming agenda is in collapse. Senator Harry Reid has all but conceded he lacks the vote for passage in the Senate and that it's time to move on. Backers of the Warner-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill always knew they would face a veto from President Bush, but they wanted to flex their political muscle and build momentum for 2009. That strategy backfired. The green groups now look as politically intimidating as the skinny kid on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face.

Those groups spent millions advertising and lobbying to push the cap-and-trade bill through the Senate. But it would appear the political consensus on global warming was as exaggerated as the alleged scientific consensus. `With gasoline selling at $4 a gallon, the Democrats picked the worst possible time to bring up cap and trade,' says Dan Clifton, a political analyst for Strategas Research Partners. `This issue is starting to feel like the Hillary health care plan.'" .....

`Global Warming' Off Track

There will, however, be no `Strasbourg Express' to ease the pain of the long-suffering British public. For my last item today, we really do enter the mad house. Fasten your seat belts for what must be possibly one of the most blatant abuses ever of `global warming' politics by a Minister in order to excuse Government inaction. The Times carries the sorry tale [`High-speed rail travel is not a green option, say ministers', June 6; paper edition: `Rail passengers to stay on the slow track because it's the greener option', p.8]: "Britain is to be left out of Europe's high-speed rail revolution because the Government has decided that 200 mph trains are bad for the environment."

"What!" The Times alleges that it has got hold of a disgraceful letter (and piece of sophistry) from Tom Harris, the Rail Minister, in response to an appeal from Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West of England: `"The argument that high-speed rail travel is a `green option' does not necessarily stand up to close inspection. Increasing the maximum speed of a train from 200 kph [125 mph - the current maximum speed of domestic trains] to 350 kph leads to a 90 per cent increase in energy consumption."'

This is absolutely mind-blowing! Here is a Government Minister seemingly using the excuse of `global warming' to prevent the progress of train travel. My, the Fat Controller has truly lost his top hat this time. What about all the folk who would move from plane to train? What about the severe overcrowding on our Inter-city services? What about the known demand for such services? And, why should the UK lag so far behind the rest of Europe where fast rail is concerned? France alone has over 1,000 miles of high-speed track, with more planned.

With this little bit of ministerial gerrymandering, we have surely plumbed the `global warming' nadir. Not only is every type of weather, from drought to flood, to be caused by `global warming', `global warming' is now the portmanteau excuse of the Government to do either nothing or something. The argument works anyway it pleases.

As readers of GWP know, I rarely agree with the Liberal-Democrats, but who can gainsay Mr. Davies' reaction? "It is very disappointing to see the minister scrabbling around for excuses for the Government's inaction on high-speed rail, especially when those excuses are so weak." Indeed. `Global warming' is thus off track on every front, from the railways of the UK to the floor of the U.S. Senate. When will this `global warming' madhouse be closed down and confined to the dustbin of history? Or trash can?

More here

British Greenies: Britain should have 'zero net immigration' policy

Greenies hate people anyway so it figures

Britain should set an example to the world by reversing its steeply-rising population growth and allowing no more people into the country than leave, the Government's chief "green" adviser has said. Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, said it was entirely possible to be "very progressive" on immigration while still having a policy of "zero net immigration" and no further population growth

Mr Porritt told an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival, he would like to see Britain's population on a declining trend, instead of increasing to 65 million in ten years and to 70 million by 2031. Mr Porritt, who is a patron of the charity, the Optimum Population Trust, warned that globally spending on family planning was "massively" lower than the 8 billion pounds spent on HIV/Aids. Yet it should be around 12.5 billion to 15 billion if the world was to avoid a population of more than 9 billion or more by 2050.

Mr Porritt warned that in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, population trends were increasing "disastrously" because of low spending on family planning. In Kenya and Ethiopia, spending on family planning was now running at 2 per cent of spending on HIV/Aids. As a result the population of Kenya, which had been thought to be around 40 million by the mid-century was now expected to be 80 million. "We are guaranteeing an unstoppable flow of problems like HIV and Aids into the future," he said.

Mr Porritt said there were "complex cultural and religious reasons" why globally family planning had such a low priority. "I've highlighted the malign combination of a Catholic church which sees contraception as a wicked sin, a religious, ideological approach to family planning in the United States, politically correct and ignorant environmentalists and development economists."

He said it was "incomprehensible" why environmentalists and development economists would not acknowledge the significance of family planning and population policies. In fact, if one looked at the amount of carbon it would be possible to emit in 2050, without contributing to dangerous climate change, it was 10 billion tons of carbon, around one ton per person. The larger the world's population was the more uncomfortable that would be, but if the right policies were adopted 30 years earlier it would be possible to keep the world's population at around 8 billion.

Mr Porritt said people were uneasy talking about family planning as a means of reducing population growth. "Politicians won't touch it because they think it will get them into trouble on immigration policy." Others thought "it takes you into China's one child per family and other authoritarian policies." But he highlighted the example of Iran, where population growth had been halted simply through education, backed by religious leaders.

Around the world, he said, it was a universal truth that the longer girls remained in education, the fewer children they had. Mr Porritt said that the prevailing assumption of UN economists that population growth would fall as the world got richer was out of sync with the need for the human race to live within environmental limits. "We can't wait for Bangladesh to get rich enough to do something about it. It will be game over for human kind at that point."



AUSTRALIAN industries may be crippled if they are forced to meet ambitious targets for tackling climate change, the Rudd Government has been warned. The Queensland Government, Australian Workers Union and big business across the nation fear forcing businesses to pay for the pollution they create would cause economic upheaval. The State Government fired a warning to Canberra in Tuesday's budget, urging it not to set over-ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions for fear of destabilising the economy.

It comes as the AWU is set to join forces with some of the country's biggest companies to warn an emissions trading scheme could send investment abroad and cost jobs. AWU national secretary Paul Howes last week won the backing of his national executive to make emissions trading his union's main political priority for this year. With about 90 per cent of AWU members in emissions-intensive industries - such as steel, aluminium, oil and gas - Mr Howes said a blanket carbon tax could send investment, and jobs, offshore. "We could end up in a scenario where you have offshoring of facilities to countries where there are less environmental regulations than we have here already, with the problem just compounding itself," he said.

The widespread angst about the planned carbon tax is set to become a major challenge for the Rudd Government, which has committed to introducing an emissions trading scheme in 2010. Households have already been warned that the scheme will drive up energy and fuel bills and the Rudd Government's top climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, has hinted that high-income earners will bear the brunt of the cost.

More here


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