Monday, June 23, 2008

Hansen unhinged! Calls for putting oil firm chiefs on trial for spreading doubt about global warming

Note: Hansen's funding data appears to be as skewed as his temperature data. The oil industry's contribution pales in comparison to the well funded alarmist industry. See full funding report here. Hansen is getting desperate for attention

James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable. Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated.

Hansen's speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public's attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding "it is time to stop waffling".He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.

The current concentration is 385parts per million and is rising by 2ppm a year. Hansen, who heads Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says 2009 will be a crucial year, with a new US president and talks on how to follow the Kyoto agreement. He wants to see a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, coupled with the creation of a huge grid of low-loss electric power lines buried under ground and spread across America, in order to give wind and solar power a chance of competing. "The new US president would have to take the initiative analogous to Kennedy's decision to go to the moon."

His sharpest words are reserved for the special interests he blames for public confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. "The problem is not political will, it's the alligator shoes - the lobbyists. It's the fact that money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it's intended to work."

A group seeking to increase pressure on international leaders is launching a campaign today called It is taking out full-page adverts in papers such as the New York Times and the Swedish Falukuriren calling for the target level of CO2 to be lowered to 350ppm. The advert has been backed by 150 signatories, including Hansen.


If Global Warming was a company decison, how would you vote?

Let's say this issue was on a company board of directors decision to choose to make changes to policy related to employee comfort. Some employees complain that the work environment is too hot and they have been suffering a long term effect. The board decides to hire four consultants with the mandate: "tell us if we should expend the money to replace all of our a/c units company wide in all of our world locations. The cost will be huge, so we need to know before we make a policy change to do this."

One of the consultants to members of the board who strongly advocates the policy change also has been lobbying company staff worldwide and other board members with the data he has collected and collated that shows that the trend is shifting in the direction that he advocates. As consultant, he is also the creator of one of the datasets used to evaluate the policy change.

Now when the time comes to make the decision, the board brings in all the data sets from consultants. They look at each one and see that the majority of them have no change in the last 11 years that supports the policy change to put in new a/c units. Yet the one consultant that has been pushing this policy change gives an impassioned speech that his data set tells a story that the others do not.

Some of the board members who are skeptical of this person and his data that supports the policy change do some research of their own. They discover that the dataset created by the consultant who advocates the policy change has been adjusted at many data points, almost without exception in favor of the policy change. Some board members also learn of some math errors in the data, point out the math errors, and also some of the questionable ways individual data points have been adjusted.

The consultant shrugs and retorts "you're just a bunch of court jesters".Meanwhile, it has been discovered that one of the business friends of the consultant who has been lobbying board members and staff has a company that trades in air conditioner systems. That person has been traveling to all of the worldwide offices of the company and lobbying the employees to tell them that their work environment is indeed getting hotter, and that the data from his friend the consultant proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

He tells them that his friend the consultant uses special techniques to find the "real" trend in the data and that the other datasets aren't as valuable as this one. He urges the employees to form pacts and unions to lobby the corporate board to make a change. The employees do just that.

The board looks at the data, they listen to the impassioned pleas of the employees, and they also listen to the one consultant who calls them "court jesters", and his friend the a/c salesman, who says "the time is now, you must act now'. But a few employees that are concerned that the expense the company may be about to undertake is unwarranted, they think the work environment is just fine, and the "solution" may hurt the company more than help it.

One of the employees finds that in the largest company facility, 78% of the temperature sensors used to collect environmental data in that facility have been installed incorrectly, and shows that they are too close to equipment that produces waste heat. They also discover that two of the consultants use IR sensors to get the data, but that the other two consultants are using the direct measure environmental sensors, 78% percent of which in the largest company facility are installed incorrectly.

These few employees that discover this also lobby the board by pointing out some of these issues with the datasets. So it is time for the board to vote. The one consultant who has lobbied the board most heavily says "don't worry about that 78% of the problematic environmental sensors in the biggest facility, I can adjust for that." But then one of the other skeptical board members says: "The employee that found this says "How can you adjust for these if you've never seen or visited them? How can you know they are all equally biased or not?". And, isn't it true that in some of the data you presented, there were no sensors present, and some of the data was interpolated by you, particularly at the far ends of the building?"

The consultant says: "I stand by my data and methods, and if you don't do something soon, your facility may reach a tipping point where you can no longer keep it cool enough to work in, your company productivity will tank." One of the board members says, "Ok lets stop and look at this differently". "What if we simply ignore the dataset from the consultant who calls us "court jesters" and has the buddy who's the air conditioner salesman?. Look, now there's no trend in the last 11 years".

So 3 of 4 datasets, each presented by independent consultants are in front of them and show no change in the past 11 years. The one that does show a trend has been heavily lobbied and has been shown to have errors in measurement by environmental sensors and questionable data adjustment methods applied. Plus the consultant who prepared it has insulted those members who dared to question his data and methods, and he is the only one of the four consultants who has links to the air conditioner salesman, as it was discovered that the air conditioner salesman invited the consultant to speak at one of his employee rallies.

How do you think the board of directors will vote on this policy change?


Poll: most Britons doubt cause of climate change

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer. The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The findings come just before the release of the government's long-awaited renewable energy strategy, which aims to cut the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next 12 years.The poll, by Ipsos MORI, found widespread contradictions, with some people saying politicians were not doing enough to tackle the problem, even though they were cynical about government attempts to impose regulations or raise taxes.

In a sign of the enormous task ahead for those pushing for drastic cuts to carbon emissions, many people said they did not want to restrict their lifestyles and only a small minority believe they need to make 'significant and radical' changes such as driving and flying less.

'It's disappointing and the government will be really worried,' said Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the government's Sustainable Development Commission. 'They [politicians] need the context in which they're developing new policies to be a lot stronger and more positive. Otherwise the potential for backlash and unpopularity is considerable.'

There is growing concern that an economic depression and rising fuel and food prices are denting public interest in environmental issues. Some environmentalists blame the public's doubts on last year's Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, and on recent books, including one by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, that question the consensus on climate change.

However Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, said politicians and campaigners were to blame for over-simplifying the problem by only publicising evidence to support the case. 'Things that we do know - like humans do cause climate change - are being put in doubt,' said Lomborg. 'If you're saying, "We're not going to tell you the whole truth, but we're going to ask you to pay up a lot of money," people are going to be unsure.'

In response to the poll's findings, the Department for the Environment issued a statement: 'The IPCC... concluded the scientific evidence for climate change is clear and it is down to human activities. It is already affecting people's lives - and the impact will be much greater if we don't act now.'

Ipsos MORI polled 1,039 adults and found that six out of 10 agreed that 'many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change', and that four out of 10 'sometimes think climate change might not be as bad as people say'. In both cases, another 20 per cent were not convinced either way. Despite this, three quarters still professed to be concerned about climate change. Those most worried were more likely to have a degree, be in social classes A or B, have a higher income, said Phil Downing, Ipsos MORI's head of environmental research.'People are broadly concerned, but not entirely convinced,' said Downing. 'Despite many attempts to broaden the environment movement, it doesn't seem to have become fully embedded as a mainstream concern,' he said.

More than half of those polled did not have confidence in international or British political leaders to tackle climate change, but only just over a quarter think it's too late to stop it. Two thirds want the government to do more but nearly as many said they were cynical about government policies such as green taxes, which they see as 'stealth' taxes.


Thermometers Are Doing the Talking

What a world!! Global warming alarmists bring us to the brink of world food shortage and economic collapse - using words and computer models, not higher temperatures. As a result, more wildlife species are threatened by palm oil plantations growing biodiesel than by climate change.

Heavy sea ice just trapped a big Russian ice-breaker for seven days in the Arctic's Northwest Passage, which the alarmists told us last year would soon be open sailing. The sunspots and a Pacific Ocean cooling phase are forecasting the earth will cool further over the next two decades. In the past, both have accurate in their in their predictions.

The blue collar world sees no warming, but they surely see economic ruin staring them in the face. Finally, the workers of the world are crying, "Enough of this man-made warming hype without warming!"

* Fishing fleets have gone on strike across Europe against ultra-high diesel prices, while the Greens demand that fuel become even more scarce and expensive

* Truckers are staging fuel-protest slowdowns in major European cities.

* Protesting French farmers have blockaded fuel stations.

* More than 70 percent of Britons now say they will not pay any extra taxes to "save the planet."

Meanwhile, the Vatican, widely flung governments, and dozens of universities have scheduled conferences on the global food shortage. Guess whose advice we took on shifting much of our cropland from food to biofuels? The advice of the same Greens who told us not to burn coal or oil. We shifted too much of our scarce cropland into corn ethanol and palm oil biodiesel. We forgot that the world's food and feed demand was in the process of doubling due to

1) the last surge in human population growth;

2) rising Third World incomes and expectations; and

3) millions more beloved cats and dogs as households have fewer children and more affluence

Assuming society is not yet ready to starve the poor or euthanize their pets, we must feed them. That means at least twice as much global food and feed per year by 2040. Nor do we want to clear the forests or drain the wetlands to grow more crops. That means there is no "spare" cropland for corn ethanol

Unless the planet starts warming again, quickly and significantly, the Green momentum for a low-carbon society will come to a screeching stop. There are many indications that we are in a long, moderate warming cycle, which began 150 years ago with the end of the Little Ice Age, and may continue for several more hundred years. There is no indication that this modest warming will be bad for humans, or for the wildlife.

The thermometers show a net global temperature increase of just 0.2 degree C since 1940 -and even that tiny increase has been inflated by the urban heat island effect. The big temperature increases are all in those unverified computer models so beloved by the Green movement.

The mothers of the world's kids and the workers who grow and catch its food now demand to see the thermometers climb more than .2 degrees before they renounce their food and jobs. Without energy, the workers can't work, the farmers can't farm, and the children can't eat. Until and unless the Greens and the UN can offer some evidence beyond the guesses of computer models that consistently over-estimate the warming that is occurring, we'll accept the unsung voice of the thermometers.


Global Warming and Energy Implications: Will Nature Soon Cool Hot Debates?

Post below excerpted from Energy Tribune. See the original for more graphics etc.

Measurements by four major temperature tracking outlets reported that world temperatures dropped by about 0.65ø C to 0.75ø C during 2007, the fastest temperature changes ever recorded (either up or down). The cooling approached the total of all warming that occurred over the past 100 years, which is commonly estimated at about 1ø C. Antarctic sea ice expanded by about 1 million square kilometers - more than the 28-year average since altimeter satellite monitoring began.

But have these collective announcements ended the global warming debates? No, stay tuned for further developments. Cyclical, abrupt, and dramatic global and regional temperature fluctuations have occurred in observable patterns over millions of years, long before humans invented agriculture, capitalism, smokestacks, and carbon trading schemes.

To appreciate just how lucky we are to live in the present, consider climate cycles from a historical perspective. Over the past 400,000 years, much of the Northern Hemisphere has been covered by ice up to three miles thick, at regular intervals lasting about 100,000 years each. Very brief interglacial cycles lasting about 12,000 to 18,000 years, like our current one, have offered reprieves from the bitter cold. From this perspective, there can be no doubt that current temperatures are abnormally warm.

The average temperature of our planet has been gradually increasing on a fairly constant basis over the past 18,000 years or so since it began thawing out of the last ice age. About 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, the Earth had warmed enough to halt the advance of the glaciers and cause sea levels to rise. About 8,000 years ago, a land bridge across the Bering Strait submerged, cutting off migrations of people and animals to North America.

As recently as 1,000 years ago, from about 800 to 1300, much of the world climate was similar to what it is now, but Greenland was warmer. Icelandic Vikings began to settle on Greenland's southwestern coast in the 980s and raised cattle, sheep, and goats in the grasslands. Then around 1200, temperatures began to drop, causing settlements to be abandoned by 1350 or so. Atlantic pack ice began to grow around 1250, and shortened growing seasons and unreliable weather patterns, including torrential rains in northern Europe, led to the Great Famine of 1315-17.

Although the last 500 years have been generally mild, substantial climate fluctuations have occurred. An example is the Little Ice Age (which was not a true ice age) that brought frigid weather to the Northern Hemisphere between the 16th and 19th centuries. By the mid-17th century, alpine glaciers in Switzerland advanced to gradually engulf farms and villages. The Thames River and New York Harbor froze over by 1780, and sea ice closed shipping harbors in Iceland, where an estimated one-third of the population perished.

In about 1850, the northern climate began to warm again, although slight cooling recorded at certain ground stations in the 1970s prompted some media attention regarding a possible imminent ice age. Then, little more than a decade later, alarm was trumpeted in the press. Global warming was now an impending menace, and human-produced CO2 from fossil-fuel burning industries was indicted as its villainous agent.

Forcing the Issues

It is currently impossible to reliably forecast weather events over days and weeks, much less climate changes measured over decades. The variables are too numerous, and their interactions are too complex and dynamic, to support accurate long-term modeling. Many factors, and clearly the most dominant ones, involve naturally occurring events.

Key among these is believed to be changes in the Earth's orbital eccentricity around the sun, along with its slow axial "wobble" over many thousands of years. These conditions influence the amount of sunlight received on the surface and seem to correspond with glacial and interglacial cycles. Short fluctuations within interglacials appear to be linked to other influences. They include periodic cyclical variations in solar outputs, seasonal effects of cloud cover, precipitation and vegetation growth, and occasional volcanic eruptions producing warming greenhouse gases along with dust and aerosols that block sunlight to cause cooling.

Many scientists believe that Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation cycles associated with El Nino and La Nina conditions in combination with solar activity variances have had important climate influences during the past century. These factors may account for much of the observed warming trends of 1910-39, cooling from the 1940s to the '70s, and warming during the '80s and '90s.

Solar activity cycles of about 11 years and 200 years may modulate the effects of galactic cosmic ray magnetic fields, producing changes in cloud cover with both warming and cooling results.

Based upon current solar data, the Russian Pulkovo Observatory concludes that Earth has passed its latest warming cycle, and predicts that a fairly cold period will set in by 2012. Temperatures may drop much lower by 2041, and remain very cold for 50 to 60 years.

Kenneth Tapping at Canada's National Research Council thinks we may be in for an even longer cold spell. He predicts that the sun's unusually quiet current 11-year cycle might signal the beginning of a new "Maunder Minimum" cold period, which occurs every couple of centuries and can last a century or more. Then again, theories are only theoretical.

Comment from Christopher Monckton:

This projection of a prolonged solar cooling, to commence at the end of Solar Cycle 24 in about a decade and lasting for perhaps the remainder of this century, is consistent with Usoskin et al. (2003); Hathaway et al. (2004); Solanki et al. (2005); the proceedings of the 2004 Symposium of the International Astronomical Union; and the consensus of opinion among solar physicists (though we should be cautious about relying upon any "consensus" now that science has become so intensely politicized). The Sun's activity is now declining from the Grand Maximum of the past 70 years, that peaked in the early 1960s. During the Grand Maximum (which you won't hear much about in the media, but which has had a great deal of attention from solar physicists in the peer-reviewed literature), the Sun was more active, and for longer, than at almost any previous similar period in at least the past 11,400 years. It is only by some dubious prestidigitation that the UN manages to relegate the role of the Sun to a minuscule bit-part in recent warming.


Thomas Malthus has been dead for 170 years, but the Malthusian fallacy -- the dread conviction that the growth of human population leads to hunger, shortages, and a ravaged environment -- is unfortunately alive and well:

* America's congested highways are caused by "population growth wildly out of control," laments Californians for Population Stabilization and several allied groups in a new ad campaign. So are "schools and emergency rooms . . . bursting at the seams." And with every additional American, immigrant or native-born, "comes further degradation of America's natural treasures."

* In a new documentary, Britain's Prince Philip blames the rising price of food on overpopulation. "Everyone thinks it's to do with not enough food," the queen's husband declares, "but it's really that demand is too great - too many people."

* Overpopulation is "very serious -- very, very serious," the Dalai Lama tells a crowd of 50,000 in Seattle. Somewhat inconsistently, he also proclaims that "children are the basis of our hope," and that "our future depends on them."

* "Is our planet overstuffed with human beings?" asks columnist Johann Hari in The Independent. The "overpopulation lobby," he decides, has a point. "How can you be prepared to cut back on your car emissions and your plane emissions but not on your baby emissions? Can you really celebrate the pitter-patter of tiny carbon-footprints?"

Like other prejudices, the belief that more humanity means more misery resists compelling evidence to the contrary. In the past two centuries, the number of people living on earth has nearly septupled, climbing from 980 million to 6.5 billion. And yet human beings today are on the whole healthier, wealthier, longer-lived, better-fed, and better-educated than ever before.

The catastrophes foretold by Malthus and his epigones -- some of them in bestsellers like The Population Bomb, which predicted that "hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now" -- have never come to pass. That is because people are not our greatest liability. They are our greatest asset -- the wellspring of every quality on which human advancement depends: ambition, intuition, perseverance, ingenuity, imagination, leadership, love.

True, fewer human beings would mean fewer mouths to feed. It would also mean fewer entrepreneurs, fewer pioneers, fewer problem-solvers. Which is why it is not an increase but the coming decrease in human population that should engender foreboding. For as Phillip Longman, a scholar of demographics and economics at the New America Foundation, observes: "Never in history have we had economic prosperity accompanied by depopulation."

And depopulation, like it or not, is just around the corner. That is the central message of a compelling new documentary, Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family. Longman is one of numerous experts interviewed in the film, which explores the causes and effects of one of what may be the most ominous reality of 21st-century life: the fall in human birth rates almost everywhere in the world.

Human fertility has been dropping for years and is now below replacement levels -- the minimum required to prevent depopulation -- in scores of countries, including China, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Turkey, and all of Europe. The world's population is still rising, largely because of longer life spans -- more people live to old age than in the past. But with far fewer children being born today, there will be far fewer adults bearing children tomorrow. In some countries, the collapse has already begun. Russia, for example, is now losing 700,000 people a year.

Even in the United States, where birth rates are still (barely) at replacement level, there are hints of the dislocations to come: In Pittsburgh, reports The New York Times, deaths now outnumber births and hospitals are closing obstetrics wards or converting them to acute care for the elderly. Pittsburgh's public school enrollment was 70,000 in the 1980s. It is 30,000 today -- and falling.

By mid-century, the UN estimates, there will be 248 million fewer children than there are now. To a culture that has been endlessly hectored about the dangers of overpopulation, that might sound like welcome news. It isn't. No society gains when it loses its most precious resource, and no resource is more valuable than the human mind. The coming demographic winter will chill us all.



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