Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monckton's mocking reply to an email from a "Thermista" in the Canadian Civil Service

Lord Monckton read classics at Cambridge so he enjoys his Latin and Greek but I doubt that "Thermista" will replace "Warmist" any time soon. There may be some American readers who do not recognize the salutation "Sir Humphrey" in the letter so maybe I should note that it is an allusion to a dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrat in the BBC comedy "Yes Minister"

Dear Sir Humphrey - The "Abundance of scientific statements" that you mention is no sound or logical basis for deciding or believing anything. The question is whether the scientific statements have any rational justification, and whether those making them are in effect making statements that are political rather than scientific, rent-seeking rather than objective. After all, this is the age of reason (or it was). Therefore, one should not accord to "scientists" the status of infallible high priests merely because they mumble a hieratic language with which one is unfamiliar. There is clear, compelling evidence that many of the major conclusions of the IPCC, your new religion's constantly-changing Holy Book, are based on evidence that has been fabricated. The "hockey stick" graph that purported to abolish the mediaeval warm period is just one example. So let me try to lure you away from feeble-minded, religious belief in the Church of "Global Warming" and back towards the use of the faculty of reason.

Let us begin with the "devastation of New Orleans" that you mention. Even the High Priests of your Church are entirely clear that individual extreme-weather events such as Hurricane Katrina cannot, repeat cannot, be attributed to "global warming". Even the Holy Book makes this entirely plain. There was one priest - Emanuel (a good, religious name) - who had suggested there might be a link between "global warming" and hurricanes; but he has recently recanted, at least to some extent. Very nearly all others in the hierarchy of your Church are clear that ascribing individual extreme-weather events to "global warming" is impossible. Why? Well, let's take the question of landfalling Atlantic hurricanes such as Katrina. The implication of your attribution of Hurricane Katrina to "global warming" is twofold: that "global warming" is happening, and that in consequence either the frequency or the intensity of tropical weather systems such as hurricanes is increasing.

Neither of these propositions is true. Yes, there has been "global warming" for 300 years, since the end of the 60-year period of unusually low solar activity known as the Maunder Minimum (after the celebrated Astronomer Royal who studied it). But there has been no net warming since 1995, and Keenlyside et al, in the theological journal Nature a few months ago, say they do not expect a new record year for global temperatures until 2015 at the earliest. If these theologians are correct, there will have been a 20-year period of no net "global warming" even though the presence of the devil Siotu in the ether grows inexorably stronger. And, secondly, the number of Atlantic hurricanes making landfall has actually fallen throughout the 20th century, even as temperatures have risen. Indeed, some theologians have argued that warmer weather actually reduces the temperature differential between sea and sky that generates hurricanes, reducing their frequency, and that the extra heat in the coupled ocean-atmosphere system increases wind-shear in tropical storms, tending to reduce their intensity. Certainly the frequency of intense tropical cyclones has fallen throughout the 30-year satellite record, even though temperatures have increased compared with 30 years ago. Also, the damage done by Hurricane Katrina was chiefly caused by the failure of the Democrat-led city administration to heed repeated warnings from the Corps of Engineers that the levees needed to be strengthened.

Next, you mention the recent earthquake damage at Galveston, and you imply that this is something new and terrible. Perhaps you would like to do some research of your own to verify whether the High Priests of your Church, some of whom have blamed the Galveston incident on the wrath of the devil Siotu, are likely to be telling the truth. And how, you may ask, may a non-theologian such as yourself argue theology with your High Priests? Well, the Galveston incident will give you just one indication of the many ways in which a lay member of the Church of "Global Warming" may verify for himself whether or not the Great Druids of his religion are speaking the truth from their pulpits in the media. Cast your eye back just over a century, to 1906, and look up what happened to Galveston then. Which was worse - Galveston 2008 or Galveston 1906? Next, check the global mean surface temperature in 1906: many theology faculties compile surface temperature data and make it publicly available to the faithful and to infidels alike. Was the global mean surface temperature significantly lower or significantly higher in 2008 than in 1906? What implications do your two answers have for your proposition that Galveston 2008 can be attributed to "global warming"?

Next, you mention fires in California. Once again, you can either sit slumped in your pew, gazing in adoration at the Archdruids as their pious faces flicker across your television screen, or you can do a little research for yourself. It may, for instance, occur to you to ask whether droughts were worse in the United States in the second half of the 20th century than they were in the first half. Once again, you may want to check with your local theological faculty to obtain the answer to this question. Or you may like to pick up a copy of The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. And you may want to verify whether temperatures in the second half of the 20th century were warmer than in the first half. Once again, what are the implications of your two answers for your proposition that "global warming" is causing forest fires? You could also talk to the Fire Department in California and obtain its data on the causes of forest fires. You might be mightily surprised by the answers you get.

Next, you talk of beetles in your forests destroying natural resources. Here, you could ask the Druids just a couple of simple questions. What evidence do they have, if any, that whichever species of beetle you have in mind has not wrought havoc in the forests before? And, even if your clergy think that they have evidence that the beetle-damage is new, what evidence do they have, if any, that the beetle-damage is greater because of "global warming" than it would otherwise have been? Of course, you could ask them the wider question what evidence there is that anthropogenic "global warming", as opposed to solar warming, is the reason for the temperature increases that have occurred over the past 300 years. The more honest parish priests will admit that for 250 of the past 300 years none of the inferred warming can be attributed to human industry. They will also be compelled to concede, if you press them, that the warming of the most recent 50 years has not occurred at a rate any greater than that which was observed before, so that it is in fact very difficult to discern any anthropogenic signal at all in the temperature record.

Next, you talk of people migrating from one place to another because in some places water has become scarce. Once again, it is easy for a layman, whether a true believer such as yourself or not, to verify whether such migrations are as a result of "global warming". For instance, you could ask whether there have been changing patterns of drought and flood before in human history. Once you have collected some historical data - most theological faculties have quite a lot of this available, though you may have to dig a little to get it - you could compare previous migrations with those of which you now speak. And you could also ask your local parish priest whether a theological phenomenon known as the Clausius-Clapeyron relation mandates that, as the atmosphere warms, the carrying-capacity of the space occupied by the atmosphere for water vapor decreases, remains static, or increases near-exponentially. Once you have found the answers to these not particularly difficult questions, you may like to spend some of your devotional time meditating on the question whether, or to what extent, the changes in patterns of flood and drought that have occurred in the past give you any confidence that such changes occurring today are either worse than those in the past or attributable to "global warming", whether caused by the increasing presence of the devil Siotu in the atmosphere or by the natural evolution of the climate. During your meditation, you may like to refer to the passage from the 2001 edition of the Holy Book of the IPCC that describes the climate as "a complex, non-linear, chaotic object" whose long-term future evolution cannot reliably be predicted.

If you are willing to reflect a little on the questions I have raised - and, with the exception of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, I have done my best to avoid anything that might be too technical for a layman to find out for himself - you will perhaps come to realize that there is very little basis in scientific fact for the alarmist, hellfire preaching in which your clergy love to indulge. And you may even find your faith in your new religion beginning to weaken a little in the face of the truths that you will have unearthed by the not particularly difficult process of simply checking those statements of your clergy that you can easily and independently verify. There are, of course, many environmental problems posed by the astonishing recent success of humankind. If you were concerned, for instance, about deforestation, or the loss of species whose habitats have been displaced by humans, then your concerns would have a good grounding in fact. But, given the abject failure of global temperatures to rise as the Druids had forecast, it must surely be clear to you that the influence of the devil Siotu on global temperatures - your theologians call this "climate sensitivity" - must be a great deal smaller than your Holy Book asks you to believe.

Finally, you may wonder why I have so scathingly described your pious belief in your new religion as founded upon blind faith rather than upon the light of reason. I have drafted this email in this way so that you can perhaps come to see for yourself just how baffling it is to the likes of me, who were educated in the light of TH Huxley's dictum that the first duty of the scientist is skepticism, to see how easily your hierarchy is able to prey upon your naive credulity. I do not target this comment at you alone: there are far too many others who, like you, are in positions of some authority and whose duty to think these things through logically is great, and yet who simply fail to ask even the most elementary and blindingly obvious questions before sappily, happily, clappily believing in, and parroting by rote, whatever the current Establishment proposes. I do not know whether you merely believe all that you are told by the Druids because otherwise you will find yourself in conflict with other true believers among your colleagues or, worse, among your superiors. If you are under pressures of this kind, I do sympathize. But if you are free to think for yourself without penalty, may I beg you - in the name of humanity - to give the use of reason a try?

Why "in the name of humanity"? Because, although the noisy preachers from the media pulpits have found it expedient not to say so, there have been food riots all round the world as the biofuel scam whipped up by the High Priests of your religion takes vast tracts of agricultural land out of food production. Millions are now starving because the price of food has doubled in little more than a year. A leaked report by the World Bank says that fully three-quarters of that doubling has occurred as a direct result of the biofuel scam. So your religion is causing mass starvation in faraway countries, and is even causing hardship to the poorest in your own country. Can you, in conscience, look away from the sufferings that your beliefs are inflicting upon the poorest and most helpless people in the world? - Monckton of Brenchley

The Nonsense of Global Warming

By Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author

August was one of the nastiest months I can remember: torrential rain; a hailstorm or two; cold, bitter winds; and mists. But we are accustomed to such weather in England. Lord Byron used to say that an English summer begins on July 31 and ends on Aug. 1. He called 1816 "the year without a summer." He spent it gazing across Lake Geneva, watching the storms, with 18-year-old Mary Shelley. The lightening flickering across the lake inspired her Frankenstein, the tale of the man-made monster galvanized into life by electricity.

This summer's atrocious weather tempted me to tease a Green whom I know. "Well, what about your weather theory now?" (One of the characteristics of Greens is that they know no history.) He replied: "Yes, this weather is unprecedented. England has never had such an August before. It's global warming, of course." That's the Greens' stock response to anything weather-related. Too much sun? "Global warming." Too little sun? "Global warming." Drought? "Global warming." Floods? "Global warming." Freezing cold? "Global warming."

I wish the great philosopher Sir Karl Popper were alive to denounce the unscientific nature of global warming. He was a student when Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was first published and then successfully tested. Einstein said that for his theory to be valid it would have to pass three tests. "If," Einstein wrote to British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington, "it were proved that this effect does not exist in nature, then the whole theory would have to be abandoned."

To Popper, this was a true scientific approach. "What impressed me most," he wrote, "was Einstein's own clear statement that he would regard his theory as untenable if it should fail in certain tests." In contrast, Popper pointed out, there were pseudo-scientists, such as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Marx claimed to be constructing a theory of scientific materialism based on scientific history and economic science. "Science" and "scientific" were words Marx used constantly. Far from formulating his theory with a high degree of scientific content and encouraging empirical testing and refutation, Marx made it vague and general. When evidence turned up that appeared to refute his theory, the theory was modified to accommodate the new evidence. It's no wonder that when communist regimes applied Marxism it proved a costly failure.

Freud's theories were also nonspecific, and he, too, was willing to adjust them to take in new science. We now know that many of Freud's central ideas have no basis in biology. They were formulated before Mendel's Laws were widely known and accepted and before the chromosomal theory of inheritance, the recognition of inborn metabolic errors, the existence of hormones and the mechanism of nervous impulse were known. As the scientist Sir Peter Medawar put it, Freud's psychoanalysis is akin to mesmerism and phrenology; it contains isolated nuggets of truth, but the general theory as a whole is false.

The idea that human beings have changed and are changing the basic climate system of the Earth through their industrial activities and burning of fossil fuels--the essence of the Greens' theory of global warming--has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism. Global warming, like Marxism, is a political theory of actions, demanding compliance with its rules.

Those who buy in to global warming wish to drastically curb human economic and industrial activities, regardless of the consequences for people, especially the poor. If the theory's conclusions are accepted and agreed upon, the destructive results will be felt most severely in those states that adhere to the rule of law and will observe restrictions most faithfully. The global warming activists' target is the U.S. If America is driven to accept crippling restraints on its economy it will rapidly become unable to shoulder its burdens as the world's sole superpower and ultimate defender of human freedoms. We shall all suffer, however, as progress falters and then ceases and living standards decline.

Out of Balance

When I'm driving to my country home in Somerset, I pass two examples of the damage Greens can cause when their views are accepted and applied. Thanks to heavy government subsidies, many farmers switched from growing food to biofuel crops--perhaps the most expensive form of energy ever devised. The result has been a world shortage of food, with near starvation in some places, and a rise in the cost of food for everyone. We're now getting wise to this ridiculous experiment; shares in biofuels have fallen, and farmers are switching back to their proper work. But the cost has been enormous.

The other thing I pass is a new windmill, spinning slowly around. Windmills were the great invention of the early Middle Ages--man harnessing nature and using it to replace muscle power. When I was a boy more than 70 years ago there were still a few windmills, but nobody doubted they were on their way out. The thought of going back to wind power would have seemed preposterous. Nevertheless, under pressure from Greens this has happened. Wind power is a grotesquely expensive and inefficient form of energy, and the new windmills are hideous things, ruining the landscape and making an infernal noise.

Marxism, Freudianism, global warming. These are proof--of which history offers so many examples--that people can be suckers on a grand scale. To their fanatical followers they are a substitute for religion. Global warming, in particular, is a creed, a faith, a dogma that has little to do with science. If people are in need of religion, why don't they just turn to the genuine article?


Big eco-brother is watching you!

Keeping track of your carbon footprint could become as simple as slipping a mobile phone in your pocket: a London-based start-up company has developed software for mobile phones that uses global positioning satellites to work out automatically whether you are walking, driving or flying and then calculate your impact on the environment.

Carbon Diem's inventors claim that, by using GPS to measure the speed and pattern of movement, their algorithm can identify the mode of transport being used. It can therefore calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that a journey has emitted into the atmosphere - without any need for input from the traveller.

The system's inventor, Andreas Zachariah, a graduate student of the Royal College of Art in London and chief executive of the Carbon Hero company, said that Carbon Diem is the world's first automated carbon calculator.

Because it keeps a constantly updated diary of a person's carbon emissions, Zachariah said that a user can easily track their environmental impact and, if they choose, modify their behaviour to lower-carbon alternatives.

"We're facilitating people to make little changes and allow those changes to be noted and registered and possibly shared," he said. "If lots of people realise we're in this marathon [in tackling climate change] and we're not running alone, then we actually think people will be motivated to stick to changes."

He has tested the software in Nokia and Blackberry phones, using computer algorithms to predict the kind of transport a person is taking. He claims that in tests over the past year, the software was almost 100% accurate in working out when people were on airplanes or trains; it was between 65-75% accurate at guessing when people travelled on buses.

Zachariah said he had the idea for Carbon Diem when he tried to work out his own carbon footprint using the many online calculators available. These usually involve manually entering the details of type of transport and the length of a journey. "The whole process is so painful," Zachariah said. "That's when I realised it had to be effortless."

Zachariah believes companies could also benefit from the software, as firms committing to reducing their environmental impact may need to collect travel data on their employees. He accepts there could be concerns over privacy but says the software can be used to record only the carbon impact, not the actual routes.

Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner, Robin Webster, said: "Individuals have an important role to play in tackling climate change - and technologies like the Carbon Diem could help people cut their carbon footprint."

The European Space Agency (Esa) gave the Carbon Diem software a regional award last year in its European satellite navigation competition. It will launch commercially in spring next year.


Reality Check: McCain Prius Backlash

In the battleground state of Michigan, John McCain is taking heat in recent days for purchasing foreign cars - especially the pet Prius he bought his daughter.

Welcome back to the real world, candidate McCain. As a senator, McCain has basked in the approving glow of Washington and press elites who think that purchasing a Toyota Prius is a high moral achievement. McCain was quick to note to the Detroit News, when he visited us during the primaries, that he had purchased the Japanese-made hybrid for his daughter - part of his moral duty to "do everything" to "save the planet." His hybrid investment no doubt is also well received at Georgetown and Sedona diner parties.

But now that he is campaigning in the industrial Midwest, his purchase is being seen in a wholly different moral light: A betrayal of American industries trying to "save American jobs." Union independents - so-called Reagan Democrats - are crucial to McCain winning here in November, a fact that Obama-supporting UAW President Ron Gettelfinger knows all too well. So Gettelfinger has unleashed a fusillade of criticism aimed at McCain for buying foreign.

It's not that the UAW chief is opposed to hybrids, mind you. But if it's green McCain wants, he should buy a Ford Escape hybrid as Gettelfinger's man Obama has done. Never mind that McCain's personal car (he owns 13 vehicles in all, just three of them foreign) - a Cadillac CTS - contains 82 percent of domestic-manufactured parts while Obama's Ford contains only 63 percent.

"`Buy American' can't just be a slogan John McCain rolls out when he's in Michigan," Gettelfinger said Sunday. "We are going to make an all-out, full-court press to make sure these issues get out in front of our members and the general public." Saving the planet apparently isn't common cocktail conversation with these voters.

All of which serves as a reminder that green is an upper-class thing. Those politicians who think it trumps middle-class pocketbook issues need only look at how easily Mr. McCain's Prius can be exploited.


'World is riding a 50-million-year-long cooling trend'

With all the focus on human-triggered global warming, it may be hard to imagine that the world is riding a 50-million-year-long cooling trend. But it is, and blame the trend on a continental-scale collision, say geophysicists Dennis Kent of Rutgers University and Giovanni Muttoni of the University of Milan in Italy.

Researchers say there is strong evidence that increases in atmospheric CO2 contributed to a warm spell 50 million years ago dubbed the Early Eocene climate optimum - the warmest period in 65 million years. But over the following 15 million years, deep sea temperatures fell by about 10.8 degrees F., reflecting a significant cooling at the surface. This cooling ultimately allowed the cycle of ice ages to emerge.

Drs. Kent and Muttoni have mined paleomagnetic and other data and suggest that atmospheric CO2 dropped because India collided with Eurasia, shutting down a productive, natural CO2 factory.

Some 120 million years ago, the subcontinent that is now India was migrating north from Antarctica. As it moved, it shoved the ocean crust that was ahead of it under an existing crustal plate. As long as this zone off the Eurasian coast was under water, bottom muck enriched by carbon from the biologically-rich ocean plunged under the plate. It got recycled as lava in volcanoes along a geological feature dubbed the Kohistan Arc, as well as in a vast lava-oozing formation called the Deccan Traps. The eruptions released the carbon as CO2, which helped warm the climate. But once India collided with Eurasia 50 million years ago, India rode over the top of the zone and shut off the process. This, plus changes in ocean circulation as continents rearranged themselves, contributed to the long chill, the researchers suggest.

The results appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Australia: Professor "Think of a number"

It is clear that there is no science involved here -- just rather inept politics

The federal government's top climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has toughened his recommended greenhouse targets - but fears they won't come to pass. After infuriating green groups earlier this month by recommending a 10 per cent greenhouse target by 2020, he's now more open to a 25 per cent cut in emissions. He also aspires to a 90 per cent target by 2050, compared with the Federal Government's 60 per cent goal.

Professor Garnaut today released his long-awaited 620-page final report on what the nation should do about climate change. "Strong mitigation, with Australia playing its proportionate part, is in Australia's interests,'' the report says. ''(Australia) should express its willingness to reduce its own entitlements to emissions from 2000 levels by 25 per cent by 2020, and by 90 per cent by 2050 in the context of an international agreement.'' [The escape hatch]



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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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