Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much cooler than normal May, such as late spring snows as far south as Arizona, extended skiing in Colorado, and delays in snow cover melting in many parts of the northern hemisphere, the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) published their satellite derived Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit data set of the Lower Troposphere for May 2008.
It is significantly colder globally, colder even than the significant drop to -0.046øC seen in January 2008. The global deltaT from April to May 2008 was -.195øC
2008 1 -0.046
2008 2 0.020
2008 3 0.094
2008 4 0.015
2008 5 -0.180
Compared to the May 2007 value of 0.199øC we find a 12 month deltaT is -.379øC.
But even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594øC, giving a 16 month ?T of -0.774øC which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon "global warming signal" of the last 100 years.
I'm betting that RSS (expected soon) will also be below the zero anomaly line, since it tends to agree well with UAH. HadCRUT will likely show a significant drop, I'm going to make a SWAG and say it will end up around 0.05 to -0.15øC. GISS; I'm not going to try a SWAG, as it could be anything.
THERE NEVER WAS A CLIMATE CONSENSUS
Senators Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) and John Warner (R., Va.) base their proposed Climate Security Act legislation on two fundamental premises: That there is a scientific consensus on global warming and that, even if the scientists are wrong and the global-warming risk never materializes, we will at least have aided the environment. Both premises are wrong. Not just wrong. The premises could well have it exactly backwards.
First, consider the alleged scientific consensus. Nearby you'll find the cover page from the 2006 press announcement from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body coordinating the worldwide effort to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The cover page offers this impressive claim:
2500 SCIENTIFIC EXPERT REVIEWERS
800 CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS AND
450 LEAD AUTHORS FROM
6 YEARS WORK
Impressive, isn't it? You may be even more impressed if you see the accompanying press materials. And you can forgive the press for being impressed, too, at the intellects assembled to establish that global warming is real and manmade. After all, 2,500 expert scientists can't be wrong.
That figure of 2,500 scientists received saturation media exposure, and then it was amplified by environmental groups, bloggers, and others. A Google search of "IPCC" and "2500" produces almost 250,000 results, the vast majority of them references to the scientific consensus. Senators Lieberman and Warner can be forgiven for believing, as the press did, in the existence of a consensus.
But what did those 2,500 scientists actually endorse? To find out, I contacted the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and asked for the names of the 2,500. I planned to canvas them to determine their precise views. The answer that came back from the Secretariat informed me that the names were not public, so I would not be able to survey them, and that the scientists were merely reviewers. The 2,500 had not endorsed the conclusions of the report and, in fact, the IPCC had not claimed that they did. Journalists had jumped to the conclusion that the scientists the IPCC had touted were endorsers and the IPCC never saw fit to correct the record.
There is no consensus of 2,500 scientist-endorsers. Moreover, many of those 2,500 reviewers turned thumbs down on the studies that they reviewed - I know this from my own interviews with them, conducted in the course of writing a book about scientists who dispute the conventional wisdom on climate change.
From my interviews, it also became clear to me that, if a consensus exists, it exists on the other side. For instance Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute, a former peer reviewer for the IPCC's work on the spread of malaria and other diseases due to warming says, "I know of no major scientist with any long record in this field who agrees with the pronouncements of the alarmists at the IPCC." Other scientists also told me that, in their particular discipline, the IPCC's position was the outlier, far from the mainstream.
"So what?" many say. "Even if there is great uncertainty about the science of climate change, what harm will come of reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide? If it turns out that global warming is a natural phenomenon, we will have gained for ourselves cleaner air and less dependence on foreign oil." As Sen. Lieberman put it in a PBS interview, "we ought to buy an insurance policy to deal with it. You know, I buy an insurance policy on my house. I don't know there's going to be a fire or a pipe is going to break, but I spend the money on it because the consequences of not having insurance are worse. And that's what we're doing here."
This view finds favor with people across the ideological spectrum. Environmentalists, public-health advocates, and planners recognize an opportunity to lower emissions while promoting lifestyle changes; security hawks seize on the prospect of energy self-sufficiency; others see an opportunity to make common cause with Europe. All justify the expense of meeting Kyoto's emissions targets as an insurance policy of sorts.
The problem is that far from being an insurance policy, Kyoto represents the single greatest threat to the global environment today and its scheme for using carbon credits and carbon offsets to reduce CO2 emissions comes with horrible human costs.
When we in the West purchase carbon offsets, typically someone, or some government, in the third world is paid for providing a "sink" for the carbon we're emitting. Often that sink will be an industrial eucalyptus plantation, planted on what had been farmland or old-growth forest. Apart from the environmental amenities lost, personal tragedies abound. The former inhabitants of that land - either peasant farmers or forest peoples - will have been evicted from their lands, generally without fair compensation. Mass evictions are also the rule with new large-scale hydro dams, which can appear to become economically feasible only because of carbon credit schemes. China's Three Gorges Dam, touted for being carbon-free, is uprooting some two million peasants and townsfolk. Nuclear power, too, is enjoying a renaissance due to carbon pricing - nuclear reactors have never been commercially viable without subsidies, and coming back now only because of a perceived carbon crisis.
The third-world suffers from Kyoto in other ways. With farm lands in the west converted to ethanol and other biofuels, world grain prices have doubled, leading to food riots in Mexico, Egypt, Indonesia, and elsewhere. While many have criticized the economic costs of Kyoto, the treaty's cruel social and environmental consequences represent far greater tragedies.
Environmentalists could once be counted on to insist that sound science be brought to bear on projects or policies that carried the potential for social harm, often through open processes called environmental assessments. In the rush to solve a carbon-dioxide problem that may not exist, many environmentalists have abandoned the science they once held dear and thrown precaution to the wind.
SOME SANITY COMES TO THE GUARDIAN
The Guardian, as we all know, is a particularly fine repository of intellectualized masturbation where `global warming' is concerned, full of deep desires to wash away the false consciousness of the masses, and for us all to be made to alter our evil ways. As ever, Aunty Polly is on full Guardianista message in her column today [Polly Toynbee: `Any fat goose fretting over tax can boo this lot off course', The Guardian, June 3]:
"Taxes designed to change behaviour are always unfair ... That's how it must be if you seriously want people to stop ... gas guzzling. Inequality has to be fixed in other ways, through tax redistribution, fair pay or fuel-hardship handouts. High food prices too will need more tax redistribution to protect the poor. A serious green policy would fix energy prices at a guaranteed constant high to make everyone use less and to make green technologies economically enticing for investors - and make incomes fairer."
"To make everyone" - just note that authoritarian language, and this is only one paragraph. But, for Our Polly, the Government is a failure - it is not functioning: "Governments that lose their nerve make bad decisions. Watch while Brown and his cabinet cave in to the crocodile tears of the driving lobby. If some hard-hit drivers need special help, give it to them. If people think green tax is a con then hypothecate the takings to public transport and carbon reduction. But if Labour throws overboard more of its own budget in a frenzy of tax bribes, it's all over."
The Toynbees of this world are always wanting to employ taxes to control the people's behaviour with respect to something or other, to reverse our false consciousness or to hypothecate the tax takings to their own favourite causes, while, of course, making it hurt a bit. They like that. The streak of puritanism runs deep. And, of course, in very specific circumstances, where the public also perceives benefits, targeted laws (e.g. banning the use of mobile `phones while driving), rather than punitive taxes, can work to some degree.
Nevertheless, despite twenty years of bien pensant propaganda and hysteria, the public are not on board where `global warming' is concerned, as I know personally from my many speaking engagements around the country. Fundamentally, they have too much down-to-earth common sense about the basic economics and politics involved. This was the theme picked up yesterday by David Cox, who encouragingly brings a saner voice on this issue to The Guardian [`Cooling on warming', The Guardian, June 2]:
"Remember that global warming thingy? The idea was that we're wrecking the climate by pumping out greenhouse gases, and that we've jolly well got to change our wicked ways. Virtually the entire political, academic and media establishment threw its might behind this notion. Huge quantities of hot air were pumped out in its name, and many tonnes of pollutants expelled by planes carrying concerned dignitaries to global conferences.
There was, however, a problem: people didn't seem too keen to abandon driving, flying, meat eating, patio heating or even buying tungsten light bulbs ... We're prepared to make sanctimonious gestures and attend the occasional concert of clapped-out superstars' appalling music. But we're not apparently prepared to sacrifice our welfare or our lifestyles, and we've been letting our rulers know. "
Cox thus points us in a rather different direction from the usual Guardianista obsession with authoritarian controls, punitive taxes, and slaying the dragon of false consciousness: "Perhaps, it's time to get real ... The answer is surely to switch our efforts away from trying to change human behaviour towards other approaches to the problem."
What a heresy! You mean people may, in the main, choose themselves how to live, and we might actually adopt technological solutions and adaptive processes that are little more than "... a sinful attempt to divert attention from the hairshirt remedies on which the prophets of doom have insisted."
Cox is, of course, correct. If we were wise, we should indeed be "taking proper steps to adapt to future climate change ... Yet, we're hardly even trying to develop new kinds of flood defence or drought-resistant crops. Why should we, while policy-makers assume that we're going to head-off warming by reducing our consumption of energy?" Thus Cox concludes: "It's surely time for a change of tack. Or should we just wring our hands?"
It is good to see sense creeping into The Guardian. Climate change has never been about the `science', but about economic and political choices in response to inexorable change. To say that the climate is "changing" (it always has, and it always will), and that humans have some impact on climate, are both little more than truisms, and far too much media energy has been wasted on debating them. I am bored to the teeth with the minutiae of this debate, which adds nothing to that simple truth - climate changes. Full stop. End of story.
What truly matters are our economic and political approaches to change. And herein lies the worst, and potentially the most dangerous, mistake made by Polly and her ilk. Trying to control climate change predictably is neither feasible nor economically sensible; in other words, mitigation is an economic and political dead end. It can't be done, and, politically, it won't be done. This is why Cox is sensible. It is also why the current politics of `global warming' are doomed to failure, and why poor Aunty Polly will not get her way.
The only rational approach to climate change is to maintain strong, flexible economies; to build and to plan with the `normal' extremes of climate in mind (this is done all too rarely, even now); to support research into every aspect of agronomy in order to help us to cope with all sorts and conditions of climate; to promote practical energy; to support development and trade so that the poor gain more innate resistance and flexibility in the face of change; and, as a world, to work out ways in which adaptation may work in poor countries, as well as in rich countries. The rest is sound and fury, signifying little.
This approach is above all realistic, but it also allows for freedom. It further means that we will not be caught out by foolishly assuming just one climate trend (remember the English gardeners who were told to plant drought-resistant plants and cacti, and then the country flooded).
But, and this is important, it also tells the Aunty Ps of this world where to go with their ideas of puritanical control. Sadly, `global warming' has appealed to too many authoritarian souls who simply want to employ it to promote their own agendas, from evangelical Christians to Old Marxists, and to Guardian journalists who are desperate to find something to bind the human soul.
NASA scientist says he was 'muzzled' by agency because of skeptical global warming views
If you plug the search terms "James Hansen" and "censored" into Google, you get 37,900 results. Do the same search substituting "Roy Spencer" for "James Hansen," and you get 610 results (the third of which is from Newsbusters [here and here]).
The media is highly selective about the censorship it covers. Consider the note climatologist Roy Spencer posted on his website today:
A NOTE ON NASA'S JAMES HANSEN BEING MUZZLED BY NASA
I see that we are once again having to hear how NASA's James Hansen was dissuaded from talking to the press on a few of the 1,400 media interviews he was involved in over the years. Well, I had the same pressure as a NASA employee during the Clinton-Gore years, because NASA management and the Clinton/Gore administration knew that I was skeptical that mankind's CO2 emissions were the main cause of global warming. I was even told not to give my views during congressional testimony, and so I purposely dodged a question, under oath, when it arose.
But I didn't complain about it like Hansen has. NASA is an executive branch agency and the President was, ultimately, my boss (and is, ultimately, Hansen's boss). So, because of the restrictions on what I could and couldn't do or say, I finally just resigned from NASA and went to work for the university here in Huntsville. There were no hard feelings, and I'm still active in a NASA satellite mission and fully supportive of its Earth observation programs.
In stark contrast, Jim Hansen said whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to the press and congress during that time. He even campaigned for John Kerry, and received a $250,000 award from Theresa Heinz-Kerry's charitable foundation -- two events he maintains are unrelated.
If I had done anything like this when I worked at NASA, I would have been crucified under the Hatch Act. Does anyone besides me see a double standard here?
Yes. Dr. Spencer is right about the double standard, and also right to note that government scientists have bosses who -- quite appropriately -- get to set the rules. Not NBC News, not the Washington Post, and not each individual government employee (even the ones who think they are smarter than everybody else). No, the bosses who report to, and sometimes are, directly elected by the public get to set the rules, and employees like Hansen are supposed to follow them. If they don't want to, they can quit -- as Roy Spencer did -- or even run for office themselves. (I don't recall James Hansen ever submitting his name on the ballot for public approval.)
The entire so-called "censorship" controversy is a creation of the media, Hansen himself, and a few other pro-global warming theory activists who are trying to promulgate the absurd notion notion that federal government employees, unlike any other employees anywhere, get to say whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want, while on office time. Hansen called it censorship when his employer decided to have its employees coordinate work-related media interviews through a designated office, leaving some of us to wonder how we can possibly be expected to accept the results of complicated global warming models promoted by a guy who doesn't even understand the definition of a commonplace word like "censor."
Hansen even had the chutzpah to refuse to testify before Congress in 2006 because a so-called "skeptic" scientist, the highly-credentialled and far more polite Dr. John Christy, was also invited to testify. Hansen's effort to get Christy booted from a Congressional panel's witness list doesn't quite fit the formal definition of censorship, but Hansen's intent -- to keep Christy from sharing his views -- was substantially closer to it than anything the Bush Administration has ever done to Hansen.
And speaking of ethical violations, government employee Hansen's refusal to testify to Congress was itself an ethical violation. There may not be a formal rule against it in the rulebook, but Congressmen are the people's representatives, and Hansen works for the people. When Congress wants information, Hansen should provide it. (Too bad Congress didn't subpoena him. Let him claim "censorship" while he's being chased around by U.S. marshalls for his refusal to speak.)
Dr. Spencer does valuable work at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, but Alabama's gain was NASA's loss -- the loss of a true professional that few in our blind-eyed news media even realizes, much less acknowledges
The Greenpeace Scam
Being attacked by Greenpeace should be considered a badge of honor. In May, the Heartland Institute was the subject of a Greenpeace news release that described the Chicago-based think tank as "a free-market, anti-regulation right wing think tank" funded by leading American corporations and reputable foundations.
That same month, Heartland Institute sponsored a ground-breaking conference on climate change in New York. More than 500 of the world's leading climatologists, meteorologists, economists, policy analysts, and others attended. Its keynote speaker was Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic.
Having lived under communist rule, President Klaus understood the true nature of Greenpeace and other environmental organizations. He is an outspoken critic of the global warming hoax. He, along with many others, has identified the real reason for the climate alarmism endemic to the environmental movement. Its agenda has always been to drastically reduce the human population, to attack consumption as evil, and its rabid hatred of capitalism. "The climate alarmists believe in their own omnipotence, in knowing better than millions of rationally behaving men and women what is right or wrong," says Klaus.
In the early 1990s, an encyclopedic book, "Trashing the Economy", by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb, closely examined the many environmental organizations, among which was Greenpeace. It was and is quite revealing, noting that Greenpeace was founded in 1971 by a group of draft dodgers living in Vancouver, Canada. "Confrontation, civil disobedience, inflammatory lies and physical harassment are Greenpeace's methods."
Greenpeace gained fame protesting the whaling industry and went on to attack the timber industry. It gained further momentum attacking genetically modified seed stocks responsible for increasing the yield of crops that has since been recognized as preventing famines. The book called Greenpeace "the archetypal `Eco-Thug' organization that behaves as if it were above the law of all nations."
The May Greenpeace news release attacked Heartland's citation of a petition signed by "more than 500 qualified researchers whose research in professional journals provides historic and/or physical proxy evidence" that debunks the global warming hoax. Among signers of the petition attacked by Greenpeace are Dr. Fred S. Singer and Dennis Avery, two scientists with impeccable credentials, but who Greenpeace said were not climate scientists. Dr. Singer, is the former director of the National Weather Satellite Center and a renowned atmospheric scientist from George Mason University. Avery is a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute, a prolific policy analyst, and an author of a book debunking global warming.
Among the founders of Greenpeace was Peter Bahouth who is on record saying, "I don't believe in the market approach.When companies have a bottom line of profit you won't have them thinking about the environment." Capitalism is about profit and from that comes jobs, dividends for investors, research and development of new technologies, and the opportunity to improve both the individual's wealth and that of entire nations.
Another founding member, Dr. Patrick Moore, and ecologist, has long since disowned Greenpeace and the environmental movement. In an interview, Dr. Moore was asked why the movement "got it wrong?" He responded saying that, "The environmental movement abandoned science and logic somewhere in the mid-1980s, just as mainstream society was adopting all the more reasonable items on the environmental agenda."
He went on to note that, "Environmentalism was always anti-establishment," citing Greenpeace's opposition to the forestry industry, genetically modified crops, and other example of commerce and modern technology.
The big difference between Greenpeace and the Heartland Institute is that the former has never been interested in the truth, scientifically or otherwise, while the Institute has been dedicated to both the best that science has to offer and to our nation's leadership in defending capitalism against authoritarian regimes and the failed communist/socialist economic systems.
Greenpeace, a multi-million dollar operation with branches around the world, has demonstrated the capacity to manipulate public opinion, but it does so in the fashion that the entire environmental movement has adopted, the unrelenting attack on the motives and credibility of those who step up to present the truth with the belief that it is the best defense against the endless flow of lies with which the environmental movement has become identified.
JIM CROW ENERGY POLICIES
The U.S. civil rights revolution of the 1950s and '60s was one of the greatest social and political liberations in history. It gave African-Americans and other minorities new opportunities and new levels of success in virtually every walk of life. But today we face unprecedented new challenges to indispensable but often neglected rights enunciated in our Declaration of Independence: "That all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
These fundamental rights are under assault in subtle, often insidious ways. Sometimes it is with the best of intentions, by good people who don't realize they are impairing other people's rights, hopes and dreams. At other times, it is by people who are willing, even determined, to sacrifice individual rights in the name of a proclaimed threat or greater common good. One critical challenge involves restrictions on access to energy and economic opportunity - and thus on liberties and rights - in the name of protecting the environment.
Energy is the master resource of modern society. It transforms constitutionally protected civil rights into rights we actually enjoy: jobs, homes, transportation, health care and other earmarks of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. With abundant, reliable, affordable energy, much is possible. Without it, hope, opportunity, progress, job creation and civil rights are hobbled.
Laws and policies that restrict access to America's abundant energy drive up the price of fuel and electricity. They cause widespread layoffs and leave workers and families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive, wear and do spirals higher. They roll back the progress for which civil rights revolutionaries like the Rev. Martin Luther King struggled and died.
They create unnecessary obstacles to the natural, justifiable desire of minority Americans to share in the American Dream. They prevent us from resolving conflicts through compromise and impose needless and unfair burdens on our poorest families. These regressive, energy-killing laws and policies deny minority and other poor families a seat at the energy lunch counter and send us to the back of the economic bus.
The Congress of Racial Equality and I care deeply about our environment. But we also care about having jobs, and affordable food, heat and transportation. We care about impoverished Third World families achieving their dreams. We want to know that the environmental values we cherish really are threatened the way environmental activists say they are. And we want to know that the solutions they advocate really will safeguard those values, at reasonable cost, without creating enormous new problems, like global grain shortages. Today, unfortunately, these common-sense requests are under assault by activists who want to eliminate fossil fuels, base public policies on unfounded ecological scare stories, and stifle debate by attacking anyone who challenges their assertions.
Energy reality must no longer be denied. Fully 85 percent of all the energy Americans use comes from fossil fuels. Add in nuclear and hydroelectric power, and we've reached 96 percent. Biomass (3 percent) is mostly waste from paper mills and sawmills. A mere 0.8 percent is wind and solar power. These renewable sources are not alternatives to fossil fuel use. They are supplements. Just to provide electricity to meet New York City's needs would require blanketing Connecticut with 300-foot-tall wind turbines that generate power only eight hours a day, on average. That is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable.
If we attempt to force a massive switch away from fossil fuels, we will create a Grand-Canyon-sized energy gap between what we need and energy we actually have if its production is delayed, outlawed, restricted or priced out of reach.
Geologists say America's onshore and offshore public lands could contain enough oil to run 60 million cars and heat 25 million homes for 60 years; enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years; enough coal, uranium and shale oil for centuries of power. These energy resources belong to all Americans. They are not the private property of activists who insist they never be touched, or citizens who have been bamboozled into thinking they cannot be developed without destroying ecological values.
These energy takings force Americans to pay more for energy that is artificially scarce. Their economic progress is held back. They lose the jobs that energy development would create. They lose billions of dollars in royalties and taxes. Energy saved through painstaking conservation and alternative energy efforts is offset by declining U.S. production, and America ends up importing still more foreign oil and sending more jobs overseas.
We could produce almost 20 billion gallons of gasoline annually by drilling safely and carefully in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - in an area one-twentieth the size of Washington, D.C. We could get vast quantities of oil and natural gas from the Outer Continental Shelf. But instead, politicians have locked this energy up and told us to rely on 7 billion gallons of ethanol, from corn grown on an area the size of Indiana. Food prices soar and millions starve.
Climate change is real, and has been throughout Earth's history. But there is a huge difference between acknowledging this and claiming that our use of fossil fuels is the primary cause of climate change; future changes will be catastrophic; slashing carbon dioxide emissions will stabilize our fickle climate; and we can slash emissions without impairing energy use, living standards, jobs and civil rights.
More than a dozen climate bills are pending in Congress. Hundreds more are pending at the state, county and city level. Unaccountable activists and judges say we must protect polar bears that unreliable computer models say might someday be endangered.
Every proposal requires major reductions in greenhouse gases - many of them by 80 percent below 2005 emissions, a level not seen in these United States since 1909! Every one would give activists, courts and bureaucrats control over virtually any activity that produces greenhouse gases, and every aspect of our lives. Every one would curtail energy use and economic opportunity. Not one would make a serious dent in global CO2 levels or temperatures.
Whether the blunt instrument is a carbon tax, a carbon offsets tax, a cap-and-trade tax, a carbon sequestration mandate tax, or a bloated bureaucracy tax, the effect on prices would be the same - and already stressed families would get another dose of economic arsenic. We cannot let that happen.
In this election season, every thoughtful, caring citizen in our great nation must join me in challenging the modern-day Jim Crow laws that prevent poor people from having the energy they need to achieve Dr. King's dream of civil rights, equal opportunity and true environmental justice. Together, we can make that dream come true.
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.