Monday, September 15, 2008

Climate change chicanery

By Christopher Booker

Recent events have seen the scare campaign over global warming descend to the level of a Monty Python sketch. Much publicity was given, for instance, to Lewis Gordon Pugh, who set out to paddle a kayak to the Pole to demonstrate the vanishing of the Arctic ice. At 80.5 degrees north, still 600 miles short of his goal, he met with ice so thick that he and his fossil-fuelled support ship had to turn back. But this did not prevent him receiving a congratulatory call from Gordon Brown, nor boasting that he had travelled "further north than anyone has kayaked so far".

It took the admirable Watts Up With That blog, run by the American meteorologist Anthony Watts, to point out that in 1893 the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen found the Arctic so ice-free that he was able to kayak above 82 degrees north, 100 miles nearer the Pole than our hapless campaigner against "unprecedented global warming".

Then there was the much-publicised speech to Compassion in World Farming by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pleading for people to give up meat, on the grounds that the digestive methane given off by cattle contributes more to greenhouse gases than all the world's transport.

Although hailed by the BBC as "the UN's top climate scientist", Dr Pachauri, who holds PhDs in economics and engineering, is nothing of the kind, but just an apparatchik. A vegetarian Hindu, Dr Pachauri not only used highly tendentious figures to promote his cause but said nothing about the contribution made to global warming by India's 400 million sacred cows, which presumably would still be free to vent wind even if the rest of humanity is converted to eating veggieburgers.

There has also been an acclaimed new paper by Michael Mann, the creator of the iconic "hockey stick" graph, purporting to show that the world has recently become hotter than at any time in recorded history, eliminating all the wealth of evidence to show that temperatures were higher in the Mediaeval Warm Period than today.

After being used obsessively by the IPCC's 2001 report to promote the cause, the "hockey stick" was comprehensively discredited, not least by Steve McIntyre, a Canadian computer analyst, who showed that Mann had built into his computer programme an algorithm (or "al-gore-ithm") which would produce the hockey stick shape even if the data fed in was just "random noise".

Two weeks ago Dr Mann published a new study, claiming to have used 1,209 new historic "temperature proxies" to show that his original graph was essentially correct after all. This was faithfully reported by the media as further confirmation that we live in a time of unprecedented warming. Steve McIntyre immediately got to work and, supported by expert readers on his Climate Audit website, shredded Mann's new version as mercilessly as he had the original.

He again showed how selective Mann had been in his new data, excluding anything which confirmed the Mediaeval Warming and concentrating on that showing temperatures recently rising to record levels.

Finnish experts pointed out that, where Mann placed emphasis on the evidence of sediments from Finnish lakes, there were particular reasons why these should have shown rising temperatures in recent years, such as expanding towns on their shores. McIntyre even discovered a part of Mann's programme akin to a disguised version of his earlier algorithm, which he now calls "Mannomatics".

But Mann's new study will surely be used to push the warmist party line in the run-up to the IPCC international conference in Copenhagen next year to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, temperatures continue to drop. The latest Nasa satellite readings on global temperatures from the University of Alabama, one of four officially recognised sources of temperature data, show that August was the fourth month this year when temperatures fell below their 30-year average, ie since satellite records began. The US National Climatic Data Center showsis showing that last month in the USA was only the 39th warmest since records began 113 years ago.

It is high time, however, that we took all this chicanery and wishful thinking seriously - as was evidenced in Maidstone Crown Court last Wednesday, by the acquittal of six Greenpeace campaigners tried for criminal damage to Kingsnorth power station. They were attempting to stop a new coal-fired power station being built, to produce 1,600 megawatts of electricity (two and a half times as much as is generated by all the 2,300 wind turbines so far built in Britain). As gleefully reported on the front page of The Independent, and at length by other promoters of warming alarmism such as the BBC and The Guardian, the jury agreed that the damage they had perpetrated was lawfully justified - because the damage done by the new power station, in raising global sea levels and contributing to the extinction of "a million species", would be far worse.

The court was swayed to this remarkable verdict by the evidence of two "expert witnesses" for the defence: Zac Goldsmith, one of David Cameron's envrionmental policy advisers and a prospective Conservative MP, and James Hansen, head of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr Hansen, who has been the world's leading global warming campaigner for 20 years (along with his ally Al Gore), claimed that the proposed Kingsnorth power station alone would be responsible for the extinction of "400 species".

It is extraordinary that two such partisan witnesses were accepted by the court in this role, since the rules, as defined by Mr Justice Cresswell in 1993, insist that the function of an "expert witness" is only to give "objective evidence". He must not be an "advocate" for one side or the other on any issue on which experts are divided.

This should have ruled Dr Hansen out at once. Question marks are raised over his institute's temperature data. Last year he was forced by Steve McIntyre to revise his figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as Hansen claimed, but the 1930s. He has also campaigned tirelessly for the scrapping of all coal-fired power stations.

Yet we are critically dependent on coal-generated power: it supplies 35 per cent of Britain's needs and 50 per cent of America's. Thanks to EU rules, we will be forced to close six coal-fired power stations before long, and without new ones, such as that proposed for Kingsnorth, our economy will judder to a halt.

David Cameron could well be prime minister by then. That one of his closest advisers believes that criminal damage is justified to stop coal-fired power plants being built is just as alarming as that the British courts now seem to agree with him.


The Warmists' sham cost estimates

The Warmists always assume that the costs that they want to subject us now to will be effective in averting future losses. But there is no way that is so. All of the feasible policies will have only minute effects on anything

By Bjorn Lomborg

One commonly repeated argument for doing something about climate change sounds compelling, but turns out to be almost fraudulent. It is based on comparing the cost of action with the cost of inaction, and almost every major politician in the world uses it. European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, for example, used this argument when he presented the European Union's proposal to tackle climate change earlier this year. The EU promised to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, at a cost the EC's own estimates put at about 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product, or roughly $100 billion per year. This is obviously a hefty price tag - at least a 50 per cent increase in the total cost of the EU - and it will likely be much higher (the EC has previously estimated the cost to be double its present estimate).

But Barroso's punchline was that "the cost is low compared to the high price of inaction". In fact, he forecast the price of doing nothing "could even approach 20 per cent of GDP". (Never mind that this cost estimate is probably wildly overestimated; most models show about 3 per cent damages.) So there you have it. Of course, politicians should be willing to spend 0.5 per cent of GDP to avoid a 20 per cent cost of GDP. This sounds eminently sensible, until you realise that Barroso is comparing two entirely different issues.

The 0.5-per-cent-of-GDP expense will reduce emissions ever so slightly (if everyone in the EU actually fulfills their requirements for the rest of the century, global emissions will fall by about 4 per cent). This would reduce the temperature increase expected by the end of the century by just 0.05C. Thus, the EU's immensely ambitious program will not stop or even have a significant impact on global warming.

In other words, if Barroso fears costs of 20 per cent of GDP in the year 2100, the 0.5 per cent payment every year of this century will do virtually nothing to change that cost. We would still have to pay by the end of the century, only now we would also have made ourselves poorer in the 90 years preceding it.

The sleight of hand works because we assume that the action will cancel all the effects of inaction, whereas of course, nothing like that is true. This becomes much clearer if we substitute much smaller action than Barroso envisions.

For example, say that the EU decides to put up a diamond-studded wind turbine at the Berlaymont headquarters, which will save 1 tonne of CO2 each year. The cost will be $1 billion, but the EU says that this is incredibly cheap when compared to the cost of inaction on climate change, which will run into the trillions. It should be obvious that the $1 billion windmill doesn't negate the trillions of dollars of damage from climate change that we still have to pay by the end of the century.

The EU's argument is similar to advising a man with a gangrenous leg that paying $50,000 for an aspirin is a good deal because the cost compares favourably to the cost of inaction, which is losing the leg. Of course, the aspirin doesn't prevent that outcome. The inaction argument is really terribly negligent, because it causes us to recommend aspirin and lose sight of smarter actions that may actually save the leg.

Likewise, it is negligent to focus on inefficiently cutting CO2 now because of costs in the distant future that in reality will not be avoided. It stops us from focusing on long-term strategies like investment in energy research and development that would actually solve climate change and at a much lower cost.

If Barroso were alone, perhaps we could let his statement go, but the same argument is used again and again by influential politicians. Germany's Angela Merkel says it "makes economic sense" to cut CO2, because the "the economic consequences of inaction will be dramatic for us all". Australia's Kevin Rudd agrees that "the cost of inaction will be far greater than the cost of action". UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has gone on record with the exact same words. In the US, both John McCain and Barack Obama use the cost of inaction as a pivotal reason to support carbon cuts.

Californian senator Diane Feinstein argues that we should curb carbon emissions because the Sierra snowpack, which accounts for much of California's drinking water, will be reduced by 40 per cent by 2050 due to global warming. What she fails to tell us is that even a substantial reduction in emissions - at a high cost - will have an unmeasurable effect on snowmelt by 2050. Instead, we should perhaps invest in water storage facilities.

Likewise, when politicians fret that we will lose a significant proportion of polar bears by 2050, they use it as an argument for cutting carbon, but forget to tell us that doing so will have no measurable effect on polar bear populations. Instead, we should perhaps stop shooting the 300 polar bears we hunt each year.

The inaction argument makes us spend vast resources on policies that will do virtually nothing to deal with climate change, thereby diverting those resources from policies that could actually make an impact.

We would never accept medical practitioners advising ultra-expensive and ineffective aspirins for gangrene because the cost of aspirin outweighs the cost of losing the leg. Why, then, should we tolerate such fallacious arguments when debating the costliest public policy decision in the history of mankind?


Fascism comes to New Hampshire

.00009 Degrees Cooler; Human Rights Gone

Over in New Hamshire, the rights of our fellow humans have a chance to be seriously infringed upon. The NH Climate Change Policy Task Force, created by Gov. John Lynch, is considering seriously scary government policies.

These include “taxing individuals for each pound of trash they produce; imposing higher automotive registration and insurance rates on individuals who drive more; increasing gasoline taxes; reducing the availability of parking; and establishing ‘Residential Behavior Change Programs’ that would employ community networks to intimidate individuals into ‘making sustained, socially beneficial changes at the household level.’”

Ok, so I’m assuming that this disturbing intrusion into American lives has a cause that justifies the actions. Let’s break this down.

The US, in 2004 was responsible for 22.2% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. China has passed us since then, meaning our percentage has gone down some, so I’ll estimate the number at 20% right now.

In 2005, the New Hampshire produced 21.21 Million Metric Tons of CO2. The entire US made 6,049,235 Thousand Metric Tons of CO2 in 2004. This is where it got tough, but I bore down and put my thinking cap on to figure it out. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that 21.21 Million Metric Tons is 21,210 Thousand Metric Tons.

That would make the percentage of carbon dioxide in the US that New Hampshire creates is a measly .35% of the total amount we produce. But wait, there’s more!

The US makes only 20% of the worlds CO2. So .35% multiplied by 20% equals……. only .07% of the worlds carbon dioxide production. That’s all New Hampshire makes.

We also know that the if every country accepted the Kyoto Protocol, the world's temperature would be reduced by only .06 degrees Celsius. The reductions Kyoto calls for are 5% below 1990 levels.

The worlds carbon emissions are expected to be 28,563 million metric tons in 2012. In 1990 it was 21,563, and 5% below that is 20,485 MMT. So essentially, getting rid of 8,078 MMT (per year) of CO2 will reduce global warming by .06 degrees.

What does that mean for New Hampshire? It means that if the state stoped producing carbon dioxide indefinitely, it would reduce global temperatures by approximately .00016 degrees Celcius by 2050.

Of course, completely halting production of CO2 won’t happen. Let’s say they reduce emission by 60% throught these policy changes, something which almost surely won’t happen, (unless nuclear was used) the temperature reductions would be .00009 degrees Celsius.

So that’s the dilemma. Reduce our emissions, resulting in a lower quality of life and government intrusion and regulation like none seen before in the US, and the result is a temperature reduction that is almost incomprehensibly small.

.00009 degrees Celsius. Human rights and living standards. Which one is more important? That’s up to you to figure out.

The data I used for this post are from these 3 sources:
World Energy Consumption and Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1990-2025

List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions

Energy CO2 Emissions by State


Time Mag. Sept, 13, 1937: 'Northwest Passage's navigability was dramatically demonstrated'

Nothing new about recent summer openings in the Arctic ice

Last week this new, shorter Northwest Passage's navigability was dramatically demonstrated as Hudson Bay Company's Eastern Arctic Patrol Nascopie sounded her way through Bellot Strait. Snow shrouded the Arctic dusk as head on through the haze came the bow of another ship.

Nascopie's Captain Thomas Smellie's incredulous hail got a booming reply from veteran Arctic Trader Patsy Klingenberg, from the deck of the Schooner Aklavik, eastbound to Baffin Island, and astonished Eskimo cheers from both crews echoed through the rock-bound channel.

That night captains of both vessels described from their anchorages to Canadian Broadcasting Co. and NBC audiences their historic meeting. Hopeful for the growing trade of the North were residents and sponsors of Churchill that somehow Northwest Passage II would bring business, help redeem millions of dollars sunk in Canada's most northerly port.

Across the Pole is the Northeast Passage to China along the top of Norway & Russia. Sebastian Cabot initiated its search in 1553. Henry Hudson twice attempted a passage but it was not until 1879 that the route was navigated. Now Russia currently operates 160 freighters on summer schedules in the Northeast Passage's more open but colder waters.


A Spotless Sun and the Coming Ice Age

By Alan Caruba

There's a wonderful irony in the fact that, back in the 1970s, the Greens were issuing warnings and even writing books about the coming Ice Age. They would abandon this issue, based in well-known and accepted solar science, in favor of a vast international hoax alleging man-made global warming.

As the global warming hoax begins to lose its power to influence public opinion and policy, the Greens are not likely to be heeded for a long time to come because they were right about an Ice Age and lying through their teeth about global warming.

Scientists and laymen who follow the Ice Age cycles have been warning that, if not a full-fledged Ice Age, at the very least a Little Ice Age comparable to one that lasted from 1300 to around 1850 is on its way. Amidst all the media coverage of Hurricane Gustav and the Republican Convention, a report in was not likely to get much attention, but it forecast a very cold world in the years to come. The Earth has already started to cool and scientists date the change from 1998.Headlined, "Drop in solar activity has potential effect for climate on Earth", the news is that, for the first time in 100 years, "an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted."

The author, Michael Asher, noted that "The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity-which determines the number of sunspots-is an influencing factor for climate on Earth."

My friend, Robert W. Felix, wrote an excellent book on this titled "Not by Fire, but by Ice" ($15.00, Sugarhouse Publishing, softcover, second edition) which can be purchased from his website at "We're beginning to realize that Earth is a violent and dangerous place to live," wrote Felix. "We're beginning to realize that mass extinctions have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on Earth."

Felix has a new book soon to be published that addresses magnetic reversals, another cyclical factor affecting life on Earth. "During the last 4.5 million years, at least six out of nine radiolarian extinctions occurred at magnetic reversals." They appear to be a factor in the sudden emergence of new species so Darwin's theory is likely to be reexamined.

As the DailyTech report notes, "In the past 1000 years, three previous such events, the Dalton, Maunder, and Sporer Minimums," of reduced sunspot activity, "have all led to rapid cooling," adding that, "For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases."

An article by William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, "Sunspots May Vanish by 2015", predicts that sunspots will disappear completely. "Such an event would not be unprecedented, since during a famous episode from 1645-1715, known as the Maunder Minimum." That solar cycle "was shown to correspond with the reduced average global temperatures on the Earth."

In other words, it's going to get COLD.The Little Ice Age had an effect on history as you might imagine. The French Revolution is attributed to it insofar as the cost of bread rose as wheat crops failed. Riots followed. Similarly, Napoleon's invasion of Russia met with defeat thanks to a winter that killed thousands of his troops. In America, it was reflected in the travails of Valley Forge.

Over at, Felix posts the latest news from around the world that tells of anomalous events ranging from freak early snow storms to expanding glaciers. Soon enough, those living in the northern hemisphere will become more aware as winters lengthen and become more severe. After that, the scenarios grow quite serious.

Even the venerable Old Farmers Almanac is making news these days forecasting a far cooler winter and suggesting that the Earth is already in a cooling cycle. No doubt some diehard Greens like Al Gore will continue to spout nonsense that the cold weather is due to global warming, but it has to do with the Sun that's gone quiet. It's not myth. It's reality.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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