Friday, December 19, 2008


An email from Wendell Krossa [] to Benny Peiser:

Thanks for the good reporting on issues related to the climate alarm. Bibi van der Zee (Time to give up on saving the planet) expressed well much of the grassroots perspective on all this doom that has been beaten into public consciousness so relentlessly over the past few decades. I would suggest to Bibi that a good antidote to such depressing alarmism is to refresh one's grip on the brilliant insights of Julian Simon re short term setbacks, downturns ("blips") and long-term trends.

Simon outlined many of those long term trends in the book Its Getting Better All The Time, as well as in Ultimate Resource. Bjorn Lomberg and Indur Goklany, among others, have done similar work in their books Skeptical Environmentalist and The Improving State of the World. Focusing on these trends helps in grasping the overall trajectory of life and civilization and the most fundamental fact that life and civilization exhibit irreversible rise and progress over the long term.

This information is valuable in shaping one's basic worldview with the hopefulness that whatever problems we encounter in our era, we have the resources (intellectual, material) to solve the problems and continue the rise and progress of life. Our track record has been good so far and there is no evidence that things are any different now than in the past (Bill Rees- ecological footprint originator- has argued that we are in a unique situation now with a much larger world population and fewer natural resources than at any time in the past, but the man is a committed apocalyptic specialist who scours the world for evidence of decline and collapse and thereby distorts the true state of life).

Apocalyptic operates today in an insane self-reinforcing cycle. Someone- usually some authority figure such as a scientist or environmental NGO spokesperson- starts a scare with some comment that expresses more junk science than rationality. These comments may be in reference to some setback or unnatural event often taken out of its long-term context. The media then pick up on these comments, liberally spicing reporting with extremist and fear-engendering language to upgrade the sense of panic and looming disaster in order to capture public attention. Note the repeated use of words in headlines such as crisis, peril, threat, catastrophe, cataclysm, meltdown, alarming, and so on (media sociologist David Altheide refers to this use of alarmist language in Creating Fear). Polling organizations then take the public pulse and report back statistical levels of public fear and worry.

The political elites then take the polling results as evidence of public support for more interventionist policies which further weaken economies and, along with other unintended consequences, tend to do more damage than good in the area the fear has focused attention on (of recent note here was, for instance, the rush into biofuels based on global warming alarmism and the consequences of rising food prices which hurt the poorest most). Polices enacted in response to public panic are usually costly and damaging to public good. Another instance would be here in Canada where we are facing mounting pressure to take huge sums of money and just basically throw it to the wind in a desperate attempt to "stimulate the economy" (Keynesianism revived).

Perhaps the worst impact from all this irresponsible scare-mongering is the frightening of the general population that may not have informed themselves as to more detailed evidence regarding any given issue that the alarmists are highlighting. Frightened people are more easily manipulated by politicians and less inclined to fully engage life and progress (for instance, less inclined to support important new technology such as GM food research- e.g. Europe).

If I could contact Bibi I would tell her to take a short break and read someone like Simon. Good factual information on the long-term trends will dispel the doom she may be feeling over all this endless media-generated alarmism over short-term reversals, downturns, or aberrational events in longer-term trends. Remember, as David Altheide noted, the media are not truth-seekers but entertainers competing with the movie industry for audience. And fear is the primary tool they employ to generate audience response. Just watch someone like Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer at work.

This may be the greatest battle that humanity is facing at present- the fight against the despair and hopelessness generated by the distorting apocalyptic view of reality. The endless repetition of such a view in public reinforces a perverse narrative about life, deepens gloom, and weakens the ability of people to engage life positively and fully.


Malaria today is most common in tropical countries so Greenie "scientists" assume that it is a warm-climate phenomenon and predict that global warming will spread it into Europe and the United States. Below are some excerpts from an academic journal specializing in malaria studies which show that malaria is NOT limited by climate and that epidemics of it have been known as far North as Finland. So it is not climate that limits malaria but public health measures. Climate is irrelevant. Note that what is true of malaria should also be true of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and Ross river virus

Global warming and malaria: knowing the horse before hitching the cart

By Paul Reiter


Speculations on the potential impact of climate change on human health frequently focus on malaria. Predictions are common that in the coming decades, tens - even hundreds - of millions more cases will occur in regions where the disease is already present, and that transmission will extend to higher latitudes and altitudes. Such predictions, sometimes supported by simple models, are persuasive because they are intuitive, but they sidestep factors that are key to the transmission and epidemiology of the disease: the ecology and behaviour of both humans and vectors, and the immunity of the human population. A holistic view of the natural history of the disease, in the context of these factors and in the precise setting where it is transmitted, is the only valid starting point for assessing the likely significance of future changes in climate.

Common misconceptions

There is a widespread misconception that mosquito-borne diseases require tropical temperatures, or at least the temperatures of the warmer temperate regions. A glance at a map of global isotherms reveals that summer temperatures in many temperate regions are at least as high as in the warmest seasons of many regions in the tropics. The crucial difference is that the tropics do not have cold winters. Moreover, if tropical mosquito-borne pathogens are introduced to temperate regions in the right season, they can be transmitted, if suitable vectors are present

In Lapland, in the past, anopheline species survived the winter in houses and stables, feeding occasionally, and transmitting malaria when outdoor temperatures were below -40°C. These examples underline the limited value of meteorological variables as a guide to the behaviour and geographic range of vector species, and of the pathogens they transmit. Few people are aware that it is less than forty years since the final eradication of malaria in Europe and the United States. Indeed, the disease was common in the period from the 16th to 18th centuries that climatologists term the Little Ice Age and data from burial records around the Thames estuary reveal that mortality in "marsh parishes" of England was comparable to that in areas of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa today

Until the mid-19th century, the northern limit of transmission was roughly defined by the present 15°C July isotherm. Denmark and parts of Sweden suffered devastating epidemics until the 1860s. Incidence diminished thereafter and the disease had essentially disappeared around the turn of the 20th Century. The same was true in Finland, except for a brief recrudescence in 1941, during the Russo-Finnish war.


Simplistic reasoning on the future prevalence of malaria is ill-founded; malaria is not limited by climate in most temperate regions, nor in the tropics, and in nearly all cases, "new" malaria at high altitudes is well below the maximum altitudinal limits for transmission. Future changes in climate may alter the prevalence and incidence of the disease, but obsessive emphasis on "global warming" as a dominant parameter is indefensible; the principal determinants are linked to ecological and societal change, politics and economics. There is a critical need for cheap, effective control campaigns, as were implemented during the DDT era. A creative and organized search for new strategies, perhaps based on new technologies, is urgently required, irrespective of future climate change.

Malaria Journal 2008, 7(Suppl 1)

Top 10 dud climate predictions

By Andrew Bolt, writing from Australia

Global warming preachers have had a shocking 2008. So many of their predictions this year went splat. Here's their problem: they've been scaring us for so long that it's now possible to check if things are turning out as hot as they warned. And good news! I bring you Christmas cheer - the top 10 warming predictions to hit the wall this year. Read, so you can end 2008 with optimism, knowing this Christmas won't be the last for you, the planet or even the polar bears.


Tim Flannery, an expert in bones, has made a fortune from books and lectures warning that we face global warming doom. He scared us so well that we last year made him Australian of the Year. In March, Flannery said: "The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009." In fact, Adelaide's reservoirs are now 75 per cent full, just weeks from 2009.

In June last year, Flannery warned Brisbane's "water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months". In fact, 18 months later, its dams are 46 per cent full after Brisbane's wettest spring in 27 years.

In 2005, Flannery predicted Sydney's dams could be dry in just two years. In fact, three years later its dams are 63 per cent full, not least because June last year was its wettest since 1951.

In 2004, Flannery said global warming would cause such droughts that "there is a fair chance Perth will be the 21st century's first ghost metropolis". In fact, Perth now has the lowest water restrictions of any state capital, thanks to its desalination plant and dams that are 40 per cent full after the city's wettest November in 17 years.

Lesson: This truly is a land "of drought and flooding rains". Distrust a professional panic merchant who predicts the first but ignores the second.


PROFESSOR Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University, is Australia's most quoted reef expert. He's advised business, green and government groups, and won our rich Eureka Prize for scares about our reef. He's chaired a $20 million global warming study of the World Bank. In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg warned that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white. In fact, he later admitted the reef had made a "surprising" recovery.

In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant "between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland's great Barrier Reef could die within a month". In fact, he later admitted this bleaching had "a minimal impact".

In 2007, he warned that temperature changes of the kind caused by global warming were again bleaching the reef. In fact, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network last week said there had been no big damage to the reef caused by climate change in the four years since its last report, and veteran diver Ben Cropp said this week that in 50 years he'd seen none at all.

Lesson: Reefs adapt, like so much of nature. Learn again that scares make big headlines and bigger careers.


In April this year, the papers were full of warnings the Arctic ice could all melt. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time," claimed Dr David Barber, of Manitoba University, ignoring the many earlier times the Pole has been ice free. "It's hard to see how the system may bounce back (this year)," fretted Dr Ignatius Rigor, of Washington University's polar science centre. Tim Flannery also warned "this may be the Arctic's first ice-free year", and the ABC and Age got reporter Marian Wilkinson to go stare at the ice and wail: "Here you can see climate change happening before your eyes."

In fact, the Arctic's ice cover this year was almost 10 per cent above last year's great low, and has refrozen rapidly since. Meanwhile, sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing. Been told either cool fact? Yet Barber is again in the news this month, predicting an ice-free Arctic now in six years. Did anyone ask him how he got his last prediction wrong?

Lesson: The media prefers hot scares to cool truths. And it rarely holds its pet scaremongers to account.


Al Gore sold his scary global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, shown in almost every school in the country, with a poster of a terrible hurricane. Former US president Bill Clinton later gloated: "It is now generally recognised that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming. . . It's going to lead to more hurricanes." In fact, there is still no proof of a link between any warming and hurricanes. Australia is actually getting fewer cyclones, and last month researchers at Florida State University concluded that the 2007 and 2008 hurricane seasons had the least tropical activity in the Northern Hemisphere in 30 years.

Lesson: Beware of politicians riding the warming bandwagon.


Ross Garnaut, a professor of economics, is the guru behind the Rudd Government's global warming policies. He this year defended the ugly curved steel roof he'd planned at the rear of his city property, telling angry locals he was protecting himself from climate change: "Severe and more frequent hailstones will be a feature of this change," he said. In fact, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits "decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne. . ."

Lesson: Beware also of government advisers on that warming wagon.


A bad ski season three years ago - right after a great one - had The Age and other alarmists blaming global warming. The CSIRO, once our top science body, fanned the fear by claiming resorts such as Mt Hotham and Mt Buller could lose a quarter of their snow by 2020. In fact, this year was another boom one for skiing, with Mt Hotham and Mt Buller covered in snow five weeks before the season started.

What's more, a study this year in the Hydrological Sciences Journal checked six climate models, including one used by the CSIRO. It found they couldn't even predict the regional climate we'd had already: "Local model projections cannot be credible . . ." It also confirmed the finding of a study last year in the International Journal of Climatology that the 22 most cited global warming models could not "accurately explain the (global) climate from the recent past". As for predicting the future. . .

Lesson: The CSIRO's scary predictions are near worthless.


The CSIRO last year claimed Perth was "particularly vulnerable" and had a 90 per cent chance of getting less rain and higher temperatures. "There are not many other parts of the world where the IPCC has made a prediction that a drop in rainfall is highly likely," it said. In fact, Perth has just had its coldest and wettest November since 1991.

Lesson: As I said, don't trust the CSIRO's model or its warnings.


The seas will rise up to 100m by 2100, claims ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams. Six metres, suggests Al Gore. So let's take in "climate refugees" from low-lying Tuvalu, says federal Labor. And ban coastal development, says the Brumby Government. In fact, while the seas have slowly risen since the last ice age, before man got gassy, they've stopped rising for the last two, according to data from the Jason-1 satellite. "There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rises," the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute declared last month.

Lesson: Trust the data, not the politicians.


The British Met Office is home to the Hadley Centre, one of the top centres of the man-made global warming faith. In April it predicted: "The coming summer is expected to be a 'typical British summer'. . ." In fact, in August it admitted: "(This) summer . . . has been one of the wettest on record across the UK." In September it predicted: "The coming winter (is) likely to be milder than average." In fact, winter has been so cold that London had its first October snow in 74 years -- and on the day Parliament voted to fight "global warming".

Lesson: If the Met can't predict the weather three months out, what can it know of the climate 100 years hence?


Speaking of the Met, it has so far predicted 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007 would be the world's hottest or second-hottest year on record, but nine of the past 10 years it predicted temperatures too high. In fact, the Met this month conceded 2008 would be the coldest year this century. That makes 1998 still the hottest year on record since the Medieval Warm Period some 1000 years ago. Indeed, temperatures have slowly fallen since around 2002. As Roger Pielke Sr, Professor Emeritus of Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science, declared this month: "Global warming has stopped for the last few years."

Lesson: Something is wrong with warming models that predict warming in a cooling world, especially when we're each year pumping out even more greenhouse gases. Be sceptical.

Those, then, are the top 10 dud predictions of that hooting, screaming and screeching tribe of warming alarmists. Look and laugh. And dare to believe the world is bright and reason may yet triumph.



The article below is from a "moderate" Warmist site that accepts an influence of CO2 on temperature but says that the size of the effect has been exaggerated. It is a rare sober look at the Warmist case. The article points out that the recent cooling trend could well be temporary and that the trend over the last 150 years as given by Hadley is still one of rising temperatures. It also points out, however, that there has been no acceleration of warming in recent decades and does not offer any evidence that the warming is an effect of CO2. They also acknowledge via a link that the Hadley trend could be exaggerated by heat island effects etc. They show that natural oscillations such as the PDO are the largest influences on global temperature. See the original for graphs

As 2008 nears an end, there are a lot of folks waiting to see where the final number is going to come in for this year's global average temperature. It's likely that the average temperature for 2008 will fall below the value for 2007 and quite possibly be the coldest year of the (official) 21st century. 2008 will add another to the growing recent string of years during which time global average temperatures have not risen. Does this mean that pressure of "global warming" fuelled by increasing greenhouse gas emissions from human activity has abated? The answer is a qualified "no"-it seems that natural variations have been flexing their muscles and offsetting anthropogenic warming.

Figure 1 shows the time series of monthly average global temperatures from January 1850 to October 2008, as given by Britain's Hadley Centre. Clearly, overall, temperatures have risen. (We have noted elsewhere that there is probably an overestimation of warming in recent decades).

Figure 1b shows the same history since 1965. The overall rise is still clear, but the temperatures during the last several years have just as clearly remained relatively level.

So what does this say about the rates of global warming? Is the lack of temperature rise in recent years unusual? To examine better this, we calculated the linear trend through the most recent 10 years of temperature data and compared it to the trend through all other 10-yr periods during the past 40 years. Our results are shown in Figure 2. As can be seen, recent trends are not particularly unusual in the broader context.

To see if our analysis was sensitive to the length of the trend we selected, we did the same thing for 8-yr trends and 15-year trends. The results we found were similar (Figure 3). In each case, recent trends are relatively low, but not unprecedented in the past 40 years.

The reason for the rise and fall of the trend values is that, over these time scales, natural variations-primarily the cycle of El Nino/La Nina and volcanic eruptions-can and do impart a sizable signal to global temperatures. Compare the variations in the strength of El Nino/La Nina as depicted in Figure 4 with the variations in the magnitude of the short-term (8- and 10-yr) trends depicted in Figure 3. Also notice that the trace of the 15-yr trend in Figure 3 is much less sensitive to El Nino/La Nina variations.

Some of you may have noticed that there is a statistically significant positive trend in each of the three (8-yr, 10-yr, and 15yr) trend time series (Figure 3). A trend of a trend is an indication of an acceleration taking place. But don't go and get too excited about this. The reason for this acceleration is, as they say, "more apparent than real."

It is not from increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, but instead, is an artifact of the eruptions of El Chicon and Mt. Pinatubo, which acted to cool temperatures in the early-to-mid 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s beneath where they otherwise would have been. To demonstrate their effect on the trend calculations, we statistically adjust the temperature record to approximate what it likely would have been had these large volcanic eruptions not occurred. Figure 5 shows our results. Note that the large 1982-83 El Nino signal seen in Figure 4 (a warming) becomes much more pronounced as does the warming signal of the extended moderate El Nino in the early 1990s. The warming influence of these El Nino events had been offset by the contemporaneous cooling of the volcanic eruptions.

So what effect does the removal of the volcanic signal have on the running trends? The putative acceleration of global warming vanishes.

Figure 6 shows the 10-yr running trend through the observed global temperatures along with the 10-yr running trend through the global temperatures with the effect of volcanoes removed. The trend through the trends is now gone, and the amount of variation is slightly reduced. Also notice in Figure 6 that still, even after accounting for the onset and recovery from volcanic eruptions, the low trend values in recent years are still not particularly unusual.

But, there is an interesting recent development that may be an indication that the ongoing slowdown in the global temperature rise will last longer than other recent ones, and therefore become unprecedented in this era. This concerns the large-scale behavior of the sea surface temperature (SST) patterns in the Pacific Ocean-a phenomenon known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO for short. The PDO represents a flip-flopping of the persistent patterns of SST across the Pacific and seems to change its state every several decades (Figure 7). In its positive state, global temperatures seem to rise, while in its negative state, they seem to fall. There was a change in the PDO from positive to negative in the early 1940s and again from negative to positive in the mid-late 1970s. This matches well with the character of global temperature over the past century-an increase into the early 1940s, a cooler period from the early 1940s to the mid 1970s and increasing temperature again since the late 1970s (see Figure 1).

A close look at the recent values of the PDO index values shows that there is some indication that it may be in the process of switching from positive to negative. In fact, the folks at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have begun to suggest that this is a real possibility. If it proves to be true, then we may see an extended period of time, perhaps even several decades, in which a natural cooling offsets at least a portion of the growing warming pressure of an increasing greenhouse effect. The rise in global temperature could be stopped for years to come.

If, on the other hand, the PDO is just flirting with negative territory, and instead returns back to the positive state that has marked the period since 1976, then global temperature may soon begin again their upward climb. Only time will tell.

The bottom line is this: the anthropogenic influence on global temperatures, while surely omnipresent, is not of a magnitude which prevents the influence of natural variations within the earth's climate system from dominating the global temperature record for periods of years to perhaps even decades-with the downstream effects impacting the ultimate course that climate will take during the coming century. While the anthropogenic pressure towards global warming has not stopped, it most definitely has been sidetracked.


Global cooling hits Las Vegas

A rare snowfall has blanketed Las Vegas, cancelling all flights in and out of the city, snarling traffic and dusting palm trees and marquees along the Strip. Forecasters were predicting the Las Vegas Strip could receive more then seven centimetres of snow overnight. Other locations were forecast to receive as much as 20 centimetres of snow in the second winter storm this week to drop snow on the desert city.

Snow piled up around the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign on the south end of the Strip, as visitors parked and posed for pictures wearing hooded jackets. In other parts of the Las Vegas valley, snow toppled trees, blanketed rooftops and delighted residents who rarely get to see winter weather. "Sometimes you have to travel to the mountains to see the snow, and now you don't have to," said Jose Villeda, 38, as he stuck his tongue out to catch snowflakes outside of Lavo, a restaurant and nightclub at the Palazzo hotel-casino. Snowfall is common in nearby mountains, but not on the Strip or surrounding neighbourhoods.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Gorelow said seven centimetres of accumulation on the Strip would break the December record of five centimetres set in 1967, but wouldn't match the Las Vegas winter record of 22.5 centimetres set in 1974.

The unusually strong arctic blast dumped snow over a large swathe of Southern California mountains and high deserts, shutting down some of the state's busiest freeways, stranding thousands of motorists and cutting off several communities. The storm's combination of frigid air, powerful winds and heavy precipitation dropped the snow level to an unusually low 610 metres, with 12.5 centimetres in the hills above Malibu. Forecasters expect the cold to continue as the storm moves out, but another storm is expected to hit the region on Sunday.

Snow and ice shut down three of California's key north-south routes - Interstate 5, Interstate 15 and State Route 14 - along with numerous mountain roads and desert highways. The closures caused traffic nightmares for drivers trying to get in or out of Southern California. The severity of the storm caught many by surprise, leaving them stranded on the side of freeways, at rest stops and trying to stay warm inside their cars along snow-packed roads. Flooded streets were reported in Palm Springs.



The European Parliament voted to approve the EU's climate package today, removing the final hurdle to new laws intended to cut Europe's carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Large majorities of MEPs voted to back the package of four laws, including reform of the emissions trading scheme after 2012, targets to reduce non-industrial emissions ('effort-sharing'), the creation of a legal framework for carbon capture and storage technology and plans to derive 20% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2020. The MEPs also backed laws to reduce emissions from fossil fuels - the fuel-quality directive - and on emissions standards for new passenger cars....

The final deal means that the EU will be able to outsource 50% of its industrial emissions and around 80% of non-industrial emissions (sectors including buildings and agriculture), according to Commission estimates. EU politicians were quick to hail the outcome as historic, but green campaigners criticised the Parliament for failing to reverse decisions taken at the Brussels summit. "The Parliament has marginalised itself by lacking the courage to make even small changes to the compromises negotiated by the EU summit last Friday," said Joris den Blanken, the climate and energy policy director for Greenpeace EU. "Europe promised leadership on climate, but so far it has led us up the garden path."

Heavy-polluting industries said they had mixed feelings about the final agreement. Gordon Moffatt, the director-general of the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer), said they welcomed "the effort of several member states to protect the competitiveness of the European industry", but that "the risk of carbon leakage" - companies moving to less-regulated countries - had not been "entirely lifted".

The Green group accused the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert P”ttering, and the large political groups of 'steamrolling' the climate package through the Parliament with block votes. A majority of Green MEPs voted against the effort-sharing proposal, which enables the EU to meet its targets by buying credits, but it still passed with ease.



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