Friday, June 27, 2008

The melted pole: More breathtaking stupidity from the mainstream media

Post below recycled from Tom Nelson. See the original for links

From The Independent:
Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic - and worrying - examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

From a June 20 National Geographic article:
Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.

But there's a big problem with this "alarming" story: it's not even rare for the North Pole to be ice free. See the details here, and note that the New York Times ran (and then retracted) a similar story back in August 2000. From a November 2000 Patrick Michaels article:
By August 29, the level of outrage the Times had incurred provoked a half-hearted retraction of sorts, on page D-3, where the paper admitted it misstated the true condition of polar ice, noting that about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is open in the summer and that those open areas do in fact sometimes extend to the Pole. McCarthy, the Times reported, "would not argue with critics who said that open water at the pole was not unprecedented." How about the truth? Open water is common.

That's apparent from even a cursory look at the U.N.'s own temperature data or from a study of climate history. Climatologists are pretty sure that polar regions were around 2øC warmer than they are today during the period from 4,000 to 7,000 years ago. That's three millennia in which summer sea-ice was likely more scattered than it is today. The only ecological catastrophe ecologists might be able say resulted from this deplorable condition was the rise of human civilization.


I have long ago lost track of all the international conferences about climate. They must be a lot of fun to have so many of them. A nice holiday at taxpayer expense, I guess. Anyway, the one below seems to be the latest

Major carbon dioxide emitters failed to agree on a numerical target for reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 even though the final session of a two-day meeting here was extended into Monday morning, conference sources said.

According to the sources, however, participants in the fourth Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change (MEM) did manage to hammer out a broad agreement on a draft MEM leaders' declaration to be issued on July 9 after talks to be held on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit meeting in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, which starts July 7.

The MEM comprises 16 nations, including China, India and South Korea, and the European Union plus the eight countries that form the G-8. Its first meeting was held at the initiative of the United States in September. The participating nations account for about 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

The G-8 groups Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Russia and the United States.

The content of the draft declaration has not been made public. According to sources, the draft indicates that developing nations also will be invited to take part in discussions on a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, based on the premise of receiving financial assistance from industrialized countries and technology cooperation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In regard to the long-term target of reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050, as proposed by Japan, the draft incorporates a certain understanding and awareness of this goal on the part of emerging economies, such as China and India, in addition to industrialized nations, according to the sources.

But this does not mean all 16 participating countries agreed to set a definite numerical goal, non-Japanese conference sources said, indicating that participants failed to clarify specific numerical targets and reach agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half.

As for a midterm goal targeted for around 2020 through 2030, opinion was divided with industrialized nations calling on the emerging economies to share the responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. For their part, the emerging economies urged the industrialized nations to reduce their emissions in advance, the sources said.

For this reason, the draft failed to incorporate a definite agreement or goal, a Japanese government source said.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mitoji Yabunaka, administrative vice foreign minister, said: "It's good that a [draft declaration] document was compiled with the aim of submitting it to the G-8 summit. But it's not yet complete."



Householders will be warned today to expect five years of higher home energy bills to pay for a green power revolution. John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will outline plans for a massive shift away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and tidal power, but will add that the change comes at a price. "We think there will be a cost," he told The Times yesterday.

The plan, which he calls the biggest shake-up in Britain's power generation since the Industrial Revolution, requires 100 billion pounds of new investment but would lead to five years of higher gas and electricity bills from about 2015, he said.

Homeowners will be given financial incentives to fit their roofs with solar panels and there will be ambitious targets to increase their use from 90,000 today to seven million within the next 12 years. The plan also envisages a 90 per cent increase in the use of ground and air-source heat pumps that provide "free" heat by tapping the warmth in the air or the earth. Mr Hutton will also outline a "feed-in tariff" allowing homes that generate surplus electricity to sell it to the national grid as an incentive to switch.

The news comes a day after the chiefs of the big six energy companies gave warning that energy bills, which have already risen more than 15 per cent this year, would rise again within the next few months because of the rising price of oil.

Mr Hutton said the renewable cost would be "relatively modest", set against the current increases in the prices of coal, oil and gas and the scale would depend on movements in world oil prices. But he said that it was a necessary price to pay if Britain was serious about addressing climate change and switching to green technology.

More here


The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says. Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest. The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change. Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020. Oxfam estimates the EU's target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report's author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol. "If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead," he said. "Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."

More here


The Antarctic set a new record (since records began in 1979) for sea ice extent at the end of last winter. It stayed well above the normal through the summer with icemelt 40% below the normal. As a new height of irony and hype, the media made a big deal about a fracture of a small part of the Wilkins ice sheet in late February (160 square miles of the 6 million square mile Antarctic ice sheet (0.0027% of the total).

Media headlines blared: Bye-bye, Antarctica? and Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica. But as you can see from this Cryosphere chart, the extent never dropped to less than 1 million square km ABOVE NORMAL during or after the brief event. Currently Antarctic ice extent is running nearly 1 million square kilometers higher than last year at this time. Peak comes at the end of the southern winter (September).

This chart, also from Cryosphere, shows the Global Sea Ice Area from 1979 to present. It begs the question, where's the melt?

More here


Apparently a number of papers are "commemorating" today the 20th anniversary of James Hansen's speech before Congress warning of catastrophic man-made global warming. So let's indeed commemorate it. Here is the chart from the appendices of Hansen's speech showing his predictions for man-made global warming:

I have helpfully added in red the actual temperature history, as measured by satellite, over the last 20 years (and scale-shifted to match the base anomaly in Hansens graph). Yes, 2008 has been far colder than 1988. We have seen no warming trend in the last 10 years, and temperatures have undershot every one of Hansen's forecasts. He thought the world would be a degree C warmer in 20 years, and it is not. Of course, today, he says the world will warm a degree in the next 20 years -- the apocalypse never goes away, it just recesses into the future.

This may explain why Hansen's GISS surface temperature measurements are so much higher than everyone else's, and keep getting artificially adjusted upwards: Hansen put himself way out on a limb, and now is using the resources of the GISS to try to create warming in the metrics where none exist to validate his forecasts of Apocalypse.

More here


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