Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Ever wonder how Al Gore, the United Nations, and company continue to get away with their claim of a "scientific consensus" confirming their doomsday view of global warming? Look no farther than Wikipedia for a stunning example of how the global-warming propaganda machine works.

As you (or your kids) probably know, Wikipedia is now the most widely used and influential reference source on the Internet and therefore in the world, with more than 50 million unique visitors a month. In theory Wikipedia is a "people's encyclopedia" written and edited by the people who read it -- anyone with an Internet connection. So on controversial topics, one might expect to see a broad range of opinion.

Not on global warming. On global warming we get consensus, Gore-style: a consensus forged by censorship, intimidation, and deceit. I first noticed this when I entered a correction to a Wikipedia page on the work of Naomi Oreskes, author of the now-infamous paper, published in the prestigious journal Science, claiming to have exhaustively reviewed the scientific literature and found not one single article dissenting from the alarmist version of global warming.

Of course Oreskes's conclusions were absurd, and have been widely ridiculed. I myself have profiled dozens of truly world-eminent scientists whose work casts doubt on the Gore-U.N. version of global warming. Following the references in my book The Deniers, one can find hundreds of refereed papers that cast doubt on some aspect of the Gore/U.N. case, and that only scratches the surface.

Naturally I was surprised to read on Wikipedia that Oreskes's work had been vindicated and that, for instance, one of her most thorough critics, British scientist and publisher Bennie Peiser, not only had been discredited but had grudgingly conceded Oreskes was right. I checked with Peiser, who said he had done no such thing. I then corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so.

Peiser wrote back saying he couldn't see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again. I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made.

Turns out that on Wikipedia some folks are more equal than others. Kim Dabelstein Petersen is a Wikipedia "editor" who seems to devote a large part of his life to editing reams and reams of Wikipedia pages to pump the assertions of global-warming alarmists and deprecate or make disappear the arguments of skeptics.

I soon found others who had the same experience: They would try to squeeze in any dissent, or even correct an obvious slander against a dissenter, and Petersen or some other censor would immediately snuff them out.

Now Petersen is merely a Wikipedia "editor." Holding the far more prestigious and powerful position of "administrator" is William Connolley. Connolley is a software engineer and sometime climatologist (he used to hold a job in the British Antarctic Survey), as well as a serial (but so far unsuccessful) office seeker for England's Green party.

And yet by virtue of his power at Wikipedia, Connolley, a ruthless enforcer of the doomsday consensus, may be the world's most influential person in the global warming debate after Al Gore. Connolley routinely uses his editorial clout to tear down scientists of great accomplishment such as Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service and a scientist with dazzling achievements. Under Connolley's supervision, Wikipedia relentlessly smears Singer as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry.

Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, and it has a code of civility. Those rules and codes don't apply to Connolley, or to those he favors. "Peisers crap shouldn't be in here," Connolley wrote several weeks ago, in berating a Wikipedian colleague during an "edit war," as they're called. Trumping Wikipedia's stated rules, Connelly used his authority to ensure Wikipedia readers saw only what he wanted them to see. Any reference, anywhere among Wikipedia's 2.5 million English-language pages, that casts doubt on the consequences of climate change will be bent to Connolley's bidding.

Nor are Wikipedia's ideological biases limited to global warming. As an environmentalist I find myself with allies and adversaries on both sides of the aisle, Left and Right. But there is no doubt where Wikipedia stands: firmly on the Left. Try out Wikipedia's entries on say, Roe v. Wade or Intelligent Design, and you will see that Wikipedia is the people's encyclopedia only if those people are not conservatives.


Warming as the cause of South American Glacier change debunked

It's been unusually COLD there, after all

2008 so far has been a very interesting year. All the months in the first half of the year ended with below normal temperature, a situation not observed since 1962. Our fall was very cold and performed like winter. June was really cold. The frost ruined 1.3 million tons of corn in the state of Parana, a damage not seen in 8 years. July has been very mild and the forecast models do not indicate any cold incursion in the next 10 days. It is quite unusual to not have very cold days in the first 15 days of July. Usually, the lowest temperatures of the year occur between July 5 and July 15th in our region. It seems the nature is compensating a very cold and early winter with mild temperatures in the peak of the climatic winter.

Regarding the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, which the BBC claimed had a huge ice dam on Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier is about to break apart for the first time during the southern hemisphere winter, there is an interesting quote in the Argentinean press today:

Victor Jorge Leis, operational director of the National Weather Service of Argentina, expressed doubt about global warming as the cause of the rupture of the glacier. "It is too difficult to establish a connection with the greenhouse effect because temperature has not been much above normal in the region in the last few months. Besides, temperature is just one factor in the ice behavior and wind and oceans tide should not be ignored", he told. Other experts mentioned that the glacier tip is 400 years old, that justifies its fragility". The last time it ruptured in July was in 1951 (coming off a strong La Nina).

There is a news report quoting one of the most important experts in the glacier that has the following headline: "The Perito Moreno rupture is not consequence of greenhouse effect: "Ricardo Villalba, director of the Argentinean Institute of Glaciology, Snow and Environmental Sciences (Ianigla) tells Los Andes newspaper that the position of the ice and the tides can be blamed for this unusual breakup in the winter."

Source (PDF)

Are we staring at global cooling?

(By Dr Gerrit van der Lingen, a geologist and paleoclimatologist and former director of Geoscience Research and Investigations New Zealand)

The deep sea around Antarctica is getting colder, the German research ship Polarstern from the famous Alfred Wegener Institute, has reported recently after summer studies as part of the International Polar Year. At the same time, satellite images showed the largest amount of summer sea-ice on record. This was not surprising, as the sea-ice cover around Antarctica during the previous winter was the largest since measurements by satellite begun in 1979.

Since 2000, about 3000 buoys have been deployed in seas around the world. The project is called Argos. The buoys automatically go up and down and measure sea temperatures (and salinity) to a depth of 2000 metres. After resurfacing, the buoys transmit their data via satellites to land-based stations. Since the start of their deployment they have recorded a slight cooling of the oceans.

But global temperatures have also not shown an increase since 1998 - if anything they have slightly cooled. This was reported by the UN World Meteorological Organisation, one of the two parent organisations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. On May 4, the BBC published the following news item on its website: "Global temperatures will drop slightly this year as a result of the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific. The World Meteorological Organization's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer. This would mean that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory."

La Nina, and its opposite El Nino, are natural climate oscillations. They are characterised by a change in air pressure between Darwin and Tahiti and a change in equatorial sea surface temperatures between the West Pacific and Peru. These events can last between 7 and 8 years. But there is an even longer-lasting oceanic oscillation, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. It fluctuates between cool and warm phases and has a strong influence on world temperatures. Last century it had a warm phase from 1905 till 1946, a cold phase from 1946 till 1977, and a warm phase since 1977. Recently, the PDO changed back to a cool phase. It is therefore not surprising that the last Southern and Northern Hemispheres experienced severe winters. We have all seen the TV pictures and newspaper articles about the severe winter storms in China, the worst in 50 years.

Last November, the European Alps received its largest snow dump in 40 years. North America was hit by severe snow storms. New Hampshire received the largest snowfall since 1873. Even the Arctic was affected. Sea ice cover between Greenland and Canada was the largest in fifteen years and the ice was 10-20 cm thicker than the year before. The entire Northern Hemisphere winter snow cover was the largest since 1966. It snowed in Baghdad and Jerusalem. The Southern Hemisphere was not spared. Argentina had an exceptionally cold winter. On November 17, 2007, Buenos Aires recorded its lowest temperature in 90 years. More dramatically, between January 2007 and January 2008, global temperatures plummeted by 0.6 degrees Celsius. This is almost as much as the total warming in the last 150 years.

The ultimate driver of our climate is the sun and historically, there is a close correlation between climate and sunspots. Solar activity (expressed by sunspot activity) is cyclic. The shortest cycle is 22 years, called the Schwabe Cycle (11 years minimal sunspots, 11 years maximum sunspots). There are larger solar cycles, such as the Gleissberg Cycle (88 years) and the Suess Cycle (208 years).

During the Little Ice Age (ca. 1300 - 1850) there were four exceptionally cold periods. During these periods there were few or no sunspots. The coldest was the so-called Maunder Minimum (ca. 1645 - 1715), when there were no sunspots for 70 years!

By analysing these sunspot cycles, astrophysicists are predicting that we may be going into a cold period that may be as severe as the last sunspot minimum of the Little Ice Age, the Dalton Minimum (ca. 1790 - 1830) and which could last for 30 years or more.

Since 1755, Schwabe sunspot cycles have been given numbers. We are now at the end of Cycle 23. A change from one cycle to another is indicated by a reversal of the magnetic polarity of sunspots. However, Cycle 24 is already 14 months overdue. Most of the time there are no sunspots at all. One can find information on sunspots on the Internet ( When I checked when writing this article (June 5), there had been no sunspots at all for 10 days. This is worrying. If the sun stays quiet, we may be in for a cold winter. According to NIWA, last May was already the coldest since 1992.

We can only hope that the astrophysicists are wrong in their predictions, as global cooling would be infinitely worse than warming. Each year, many more people die from cold than from warm temperatures.


Your Carbon Ration Card: Lessons from Britain

While American politicians mull a carbon cap-and-trade system for industry, our British cousins are already contemplating the next step: personal CO2 rations. A Parliamentary committee in May proposed giving all British adults "carbon allowances" that they would be required to spend - along with, you know, real money - when buying gasoline, airline tickets, electricity or natural gas. Britons who wanted more credits than they were issued could try to buy them - again, with real money - from those who hadn't spent their allotment. All of this is supposed to give people a financial incentive to reduce energy consumption and thus their carbon "footprint."

The Labour government, already in a precarious political state, isn't dumb enough to support the rationing plan, which Environment Minister Hilary Benn calls "ahead of its time." Instead, it favors a climate-change bill that Parliament is on the verge of passing that would lay much of the necessary groundwork. But eco-eager Britons don't have to wait for Westminster. A private test program for personal cap-and-trade began recently with 1,000 volunteers keeping tabs of their gasoline use.

It would cost a country like Britain billions of dollars a year to run a personal cap-and-trade system nationwide, but set that aside. War-time-like energy rations are a clear illustration of the extent to which environmentalists hope to control every aspect of modern life. Do you really want to blow much of your annual "ration" on that long carbon-spewing jet flight to Florida, or should you swap that summer AC for weekend drives in the country?

The global warmists want you to sacrifice for their cause. And the duration of their war on carbon will make the decade-and-a-half of British rationing during and after World War II seem like a fleeting moment. The pending climate-change bill calls for a 60% cut in carbon emissions from their 1990 levels by 2050. Once 2050 rolls around, who exactly will declare the end of hostilities?

The prospect of personal CO2 rations should debunk the idea that the cost of curbing carbon emissions would fall on the owners of dirty old factories. That notion was always a green herring: Like corporate taxes, the business costs of carbon reduction will be passed on to consumers. In that sense, we should be grateful to the Brits for showing us where this anticarbon crusade really ends up.



Truth may enter the world by many doors, but she is never escorted by force. I thought that was a lesson learned long ago, and learned by none more tellingly than scientists. Real scientists, actually, have learned it. A new amalgam has emerged however, the scientist-activist, and for that specimen it's a lesson passed by.

In the dawn of the Enlightenment, it was scientists who were hauled before tribunals and inquisitions. Galileo is the arch example, the pioneer empiricist who rejected the ancient Earth-centric model of the (then known) universe, and for his pains earned the attention and wrath of the distinctly unscientific Inquisition.

I am drawn to these thoughts, and to the long-decayed example of the Inquisition, by a most curious outburst this week by James Hansen, the principal voice of NASA on the subject of global warming, a man who played - as it were - John the Baptist to Al Gore's messianic teachings on the subject. Dr. Hansen is largely credited with "sounding the alarm" on man-made global warming, and he has been a persistent, high-profile and very aggressive proponent of the cause for over two decades now. Dr. Hansen doesn't take kindly to those who dispute his apocalyptic scenarios. I choose the term, apocalyptic, deliberately. According to Dr. Hansen, mankind may have reached the tipping point with global warming. Should that be the case, wide-scale calamity and catastrophe are inevitable. And should we not have reached the point of absolute crisis, should there be a minuscule interval for the human species to act and avert the very worst, according to Dr. Hansen, what yet remains to be faced is still horrible enough indeed.

Not all the world shares Dr. Hansen's vision of imminent ecological Armageddon. Serious minds, seriously disinterested in the subject, throw up caveats all the time. They question the models of climatological speculation; they question the peculiar mix of man-made and other likely sources of climate dynamics; they question some of the data gathering and some of its interpretation; and they question the very maturity of the highly complex, and experimentally deficient science of global warming itself.

They seriously question, too, the massive policy prescriptions that are being insisted upon as necessary in response to the scientific determinations of man-made global warming. There is lots of room for different, honest opinion on questions so large and complex, questions at the terribly complicated intersection of science, politics and economics.

But, to Dr. Hansen's agitated mind, those who raise such questions, who inject skepticism into the global warming debate, are "deniers." The word here is becoming commonplace, but it remains a singular slur. A clutch of the global warming believers like to cast all who would argue with them into the polemical pit, the pit being that dissent from orthodox opinion on global warming as the equivalent of Holocaust denial. It is a shameless and vicious tactic, and hardly accords with the nobility that is suppose to drive the conscience of those out to save the planet. Dr. Hansen is overfond of the specious and chilling analogy: He has written of the "crashing glaciers serv(ing) as a Krystal Nacht" and, although he later repented of the metaphor, compared coal trains to "death trains - no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species." This week, Dr. Hansen went a step even more noxiously forward.

He called for a tribunal, or as I prefer to call it, an Inquisition, to put on trial for crimes against nature and humanity, the CEOs of the big oil companies who, according to Dr. Hansen's frantic view of things, feed the public "misinformation" about the climate crisis. Again the implicit model is to Nuremberg, as the man attempts to put concern for a future - let us call it a probability - on a moral and factual par with the unquestioned, historical, shattering enormity of the Nazi Holocaust.

Is this a scientist speaking? If so, it is more than curious that in the 21st century it is the scientist calling for the secular equivalent of an Inquisition. More to the point, are these the words of a man really certain of his truth, or one who - with the anxiety of the fanatic - is trying to shield it from all rigour of skepticism and inquiry? In either case, I do not question at all the assertion that it is the voice of a man who is neither a friend to reason or science. This is the voice of the scientist-activist consumed with his own virtue and fearful of all dispute.

Science has no need of tribunals or trials, no need of Nuremberg justice, or analogies with the Holocaust. James Hansen's words this week were an offence, an offence against inquiry, against science, against moral seriousness. They were a piece of insolence against the idea of debate itself.


German scientists state the obvious about CO2: A risky deed in today's world

The dangerous rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may be troubling scientists and world leaders but it could prove to be a boon for plants, German researchers said Tuesday. Increasing exposure to carbon dioxide appears to boost crop yields, Hans-Joachim Weigel of the Johann Heinrich von Thuenen Institute for rural areas, forestry and fisheries in the central city of Brunswick told AFP. "Output increased by about 10 percent for barley, beets and wheat" when the plants were subjected to higher levels of carbon dioxide, Weigel said.

The Thuenen Institute, which has been monitoring the phenomenon in fields since 1999, trains CO2 jets on the plants so the gas reaches 550 parts per million in the air around them -- the level expected in the atmosphere by 2050. Weigel said the studies have indicated that while greater CO2 exposure appears to spur growth, it can also undermine the quality of the produce. He said the next step in the study would be to evaluate the effect of higher temperatures on plant growth -- which scientists cite as another consequence of higher CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

Weigel said that while the institute's findings may prove surprising to some, they are not intended to undermine the drive to slash CO2 emissions. "This research is not intended as an argument for doing nothing to curb the rise of CO2 levels," he said. "It is to find out what the effects would be."

Other studies have presented a more mixed picture about the impact of higher CO2 levels on plants, and there is uncertainty about its effects on soil fertility and which plants benefit most from more CO2.



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