Sunday, January 25, 2009

Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up

A deeply flawed new report will be cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore

By Christopher Booker in Britain

The measures being proposed to meet what President Obama last week called the need to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet" threaten to land us with the most colossal bill mankind has ever faced. It might therefore seem peculiarly important that we can trust the science on which all the alarm over global warming is based, But nothing has been more disconcerting in this respect than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.

Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the world's coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and co may have wanted to scare us that the continent which contains 90 per cent of all the ice on the planet is heating up, because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.

However, to provide all their pictures of ice-shelves "the size of Texas" calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula - the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year's sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average.

So it predictably made headlines across the world last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. As on similar occasions in the past, all the usual supporters of the cause were called in to whoop up its historic importance. The paper was published in Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers" and "contrarians".

But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.

The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed. In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed - by just one degree Fahrenheit.

One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kenneth Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed "it is hard to make data where none exists". A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."

But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the "hockey stick", the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest of all embarrassments for the believers in man-made global warming was the well-established fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now. "We must get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period," as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like hockey stick, eliminating the mediaeval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.

This instantly became the warmists' chief icon, made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report. But Mann's selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most comprehensively discredited artefact in the history of science.

The fact that Dr Mann is again behind the new study on Antarctica is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore, when he shortly addresses the US Senate and carries on advising President Obama behind the scenes on how to roll back that "spectre of a warming planet". So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians finally wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will continue to roll remorselessly on its way.

Not the least shocking news of the week was the revelation by that admirable body the Taxpayers Alliance that last year the number of "middle managers" in Britain's local authorities rose by a staggering 22 percent. Birmingham City Council alone has more than 1,000 officials earning over œ50,000 a year. All over Britain senior council officials are now earning salaries which 10 years ago would have seemed unthinkable.

Future historians will doubtless find it highly significant that just when Britain's economy was about to collapse, an already hopelessly bloated public sector was expanding faster than ever. One of the more dramatic changes in British life over the past two decades has been how, aided by their counterparts in Whitehall and Brussels, the officials who run our local authorities have become separated from the communities they used to serve. Floating free of political control, they have become a new privileged class, able to dictate their own salaries and extend their own empires, paid for by a public to whom they are no longer accountable.

But if this gulf has already become wide enough, how much more glaring is it going to become now that the private sector is shrinking so fast? Already last year an astonishing 2.5 million people were in court for failing or being unable to pay ever soaring council taxes. Tellingly, the only response of the Local Government Association to these latest revelations was plaintively to point out that as many as "2,700" council jobs have already been lost in the economic downturn. But outside those walls three millon may soon be out of work. Who will then be left to pay for those salaries and pensions that our new privilegentsia have arranged for themselves?

How appropriate that Kenneth Clarke should become "shadow" to Business Secretary Peter Mandelson. As fervent "Europeans", both men know that almost all the policies of the ministry laughably renamed the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform are now decided at "European level". There is therefore hardly any job left for them to do. Mr Clarke will be free to continue advising Centaurus, one of the largest hedge funds in Europe. Lord Mandelson can carry on running the Labour Party, But the last thing either will want to admit is that all the powers they claim or seek to exercise have been handed over to Brussels.

The Government last week announced that in March it is to sell off 25 million "carbon credits". These European Union Allowances permit industry and electricity companies to continue emitting CO2, ultimately paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Last summer, when these permits were trading at 31 euros each, this sale might have raised more than œ500 million pounds, Today, however, thanks to the economic meltdown creating a surplus of credits no longer needed, their value is dropping so fast that Mr Darling will be lucky to get œ100 million. That should help reduce our electricity bills - even though Mr Darling will merely have to extract the cash from us in other ways.


Putting an End to Global Warming Alarmism

Global warming is the most important environmental issue of our time. If those who are sounding the alarm about a possible climate catastrophe are right, then governments must raise energy costs directly, with taxes, or indirectly, with mandates and subsidies, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year in wealth or economic activity will be sucked up and redistributed by governments.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions even modestly is estimated to cost the average household in the U.S. approximately $3,372 per year and would destroy 2.4 million jobs. Electricity prices would double, and manufacturers would move their factories to places such as China and India that have cheaper energy and fewer environmental regulations.

If global warming is indeed a crisis, billions of dollars taken from taxpayers will flow into the coffers of radical environmental groups, giving them the resources and stature to implement other parts of their anti-technology, anti-business agenda. None of that money will go to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This explains the paradox that even though the scientific community is deeply divided over the causes and consequences of global warming, every single environmental advocacy group in the U.S. (and probably the world) believes it is a crisis.

But global warming is not, in fact, a crisis. Here's how we know this:

Since 2007, more than 31,072 American scientists, including 9,021 with Ph.D.s, have signed a petition that says, in part, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

A 2003 international survey of climate scientists (with 530 responding) found only 9.4 percent "strongly agreed" and 25.3 percent "agreed" with the statement "climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes." Some 10.2 percent "strongly disagreed."

A 2006 survey of scientists in the U.S. found 41 percent disagreed that the planet's recent warmth "can be, in large part, attributed to human activity," and 71 percent disagreed that recent hurricane activity is significantly attributable to human activity.

A recent review of 1,117 abstracts of scientific journal articles on "global climate change" found only 13 (1 percent) explicitly endorse the "consensus view" while 34 reject or cast doubt on the view that human activity has been the main driver of warming over the past 50 years.

The mainstream of the scientific community, in other words, does not believe global warming is a crisis.

The mainstream media has spared no expense in hyping the view that global warming is a crisis. Television stations broadcast endless documentaries alleging that global warming is causing everything from the disappearance of butterflies, frogs, and polar bears to the collapse of a bridge in Minnesota. Newspapers run "news" stories that are barely re-written news releases from Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and other environmental advocacy groups.

Despite this media barrage, most people haven't been fooled into believing global warming is a crisis. Fewer than half (47 percent) of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center in 2008 said they believe humans are causing global warming, and a declining number even believe the Earth is experiencing a warming trend.

Another poll conducted in 2008 of 12,000 people in 11 countries, commissioned by the financial institution HSBC and environmental advocacy groups, found fewer than half of those surveyed said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 percent last year; only 37 percent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the effort, an eight-point drop; and only one in five respondents--or 20 percent--said they'd spend extra money to reduce climate change. That's down from 28 percent a year ago.

Except for radical environmentalists--who always have been a small minority of the general public and even a minority within the environmental movement--most people don't " believe" in global warming. They believe--and rightly so--that the science is still undecided and government action is unnecessary.

Unfortunately, politicians respond to the loudest and best-funded interest groups, not to the voices of scientists or the average Joe. So they are in a tizzy about "doing something" to "stop global warming." President-elect Barack Obama, for example, recently proclaimed: "Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security."

There is not a single statement in this brief passage that is true. Lord Christopher Monckton, a British climate skeptic, wrote recently that "on all measures, there has been no increase in global mean surface temperatures since 1995; and, according to the University of Alabama at Huntsville, near-surface temperatures in 2008 will be lower than in 1980, 28 years ago, the first complete year of satellite observations. On all measures, global temperatures have been falling for seven full years since late 2001."

Monckton goes on, in a paper published by the American Thinker on November 26, to dispute, point by point, each of Obama's claims about sea levels, coastlines, drought, famine, and storms. None of Monckton's points is original: The rebuttals have appeared many times in the scientific literature and even occasionally in the mainstream media. One of the most persuasive compilations of this literature is S. Fred Singer's Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, which The Heartland Institute published earlier this year.

Politicians should realize the public doesn't want global warming legislation. Last June, when the 500-page Climate Security Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate, even Democrats fled from the massive costs and bureaucracy it would have entailed. As environmentalists Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger reported at the time, "Democratic leaders finally killed the debate to avert an embarrassing defeat, but by then they had handed Republicans a powerful political club. Republicans have been bludgeoning Democrats with it ever since."

If global warming is not a crisis, what should policymakers do about it? The answer, obviously, is "nothing." This is not a problem that needs to be solved. The case should be marked "closed" and policymakers should move on to other, more important, issues.

Should we reduce emissions "just in case"? Danish environmental expert Bj”rn Lomborg, among many others, demolishes this argument. He points out that "even if every industrialised country, including the United States, had accepted the [Kyoto] Protocol, and everyone had lived up to its requirements for the entire century, it would have had virtually no impact, even a hundred years from now. It would reduce the global temperature increase by an immeasurable 0.15§C by the year 2100." That empty gesture would have cost taxpayers and consumers trillions of dollars.

It is not politically correct simply to dismiss global warming as a "scam." Those who care more about being popular than right--including, alas, the just-quoted Bj”rn Lomborg--therefore call for "dramatically increasing the funding into energy research and development" so that new low-carbon technology will become available faster. How silly this is.

Private industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on research and development on energy efficiency and alternatives to conventional fossil fuels. Governments spend tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars subsidizing solar, wind, and "clean coal" research and commercialization. Foundations offer prizes worth tens of millions of dollars to inventors and entrepreneurs who can reduce our "carbon footprint."

Will more spending by governments make any difference? What is the government's record of encouraging innovation and market successes? How much would be enough? For how many more years? Advocates of more spending on energy research and development technology have no answers to these questions, or at least no answers that support their case. It's all waste at best and fraud at worst. Their appeals should be rejected, firmly and completely. It's time to put an end to global warming alarmism.


Global Cooling Under-reported, Says SPPI

The Earth has shown an under-reported cooling trend for eight straight years, raising serious questions about the accuracy of the UN's climate projections, since not one of the computer models on which it relies had predicted so long and steep a cooling, says a new review paper -- Temperature Change and CO2 Change - A Scientific Briefing --from the Science and Public Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

The paper posits that "The chief reason for scepticism at the official position on "global warming" is the overwhelming weight of evidence that the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, prodigiously exaggerates both the supposed causes and the imagined consequences of anthropogenic "global warming"; that too many of the exaggerations can be demonstrated to have been deliberate; and that the IPCC and other official sources have continued to rely even upon those exaggerations that have been definitively demonstrated in the literature to have been deliberate.

"In short," writes Monckton, "science is being artfully manipulated to the point of what are in essence political and not scientific conclusions - a conclusion that is congenial to powerful factions whose ambition is not to identify scientific truth but rather to advance the special vested interests with which they identify themselves.

The paper demonstrates that if CO2 concentration continues to rise more slowly than the IPCC had predicted, and if climate sensitivity to CO2 concentration is in any event well below the IPCC's projected range, the likelihood of any "global warming" >2 øC/century to 2100 is vanishingly small.

Monckton also demonstrates that official sources have:

relied upon questionable and occasionally downright dishonest methods to inflate the observed rate of temperature increase

created the false impression that the rate of increase is itself rising when an identical argument can be used to demonstrate that it is falling

diminished earlier and warmer temperatures in this century

abolished the mediaeval warm period

diverted attention away from the fact that throughout almost all of the Holocene, and throughout all four previous interglacial periods, surface temperatures were considerably warmer than they are today.

Says SPPI president, Robert Ferguson, "When the climate science is wrong, the policies are wrong, and then both people and the environment are harmed. It is past time that the media and elected officials stop treating "man-made global warming" as a religion and started asking some serious and pointed questions. This paper lays the ground work for that."


The Plain Truth about Glorious Carbon Dioxide

Okay, children, let’s all sit up straight at our desks. We are going to begin 2009 with a lesson about carbon dioxide (CO2). Why do we need to know about CO2? Because the President-elect, several of his choices for environmental and energy agencies, the Supreme Court and much of the U.S. Congress has no idea what they are talking about and, worse, want to pass legislation and regulations that will further bankrupt the United States of America. Do I have your attention now?

For the purpose of the lesson, I will be borrowing heavily from a paper on CO2 written by Robert A. Ashworth. It requires some understanding of science, but anyone with a reasonable education and common sense should be able to read it on their own. Ashworth is a chemical engineer.

Suffice it to say that if any of the nitwits babbling about CO2 and global warming ever went to any of the several dozen excellent websites that provide accurate scientific data and analysis, they would cease from their abusive manipulation of the public and perhaps find honest work.

To begin at the beginning; at the heart of the global warming hoax is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. While it purports to represent the views of thousands of scientists, it does not. As Ashworth notes, “Most scientists do not agree with the CO2 global warming premise. In the United States 31,072 scientists, including the author, have signed a petition rejecting the Kyoto global warming agreement.” An additional 1,000 scientists are being verified to be added to the list. Thousands more exist who find the assertion the CO2 will destroy the Earth totally absurd.

Here’s what you need to know; if an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) is directly related, i.e. causes changes in the Earth’s temperature, there would be a direct correlation between the two. As CO2 rose, we would see a comparable rise in the Earth’s temperature. This correlation does not exist.

Global warming liars, however, insist that CO2 builds up on the atmosphere over a 50 to 250 year period, but this is untrue. “Every year around April, increased CO2 absorption by plants in the Northern Hemisphere starts reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere,” notes Ashworth, “and the reduction continues until around mid-to-late August when plants start to go dormant.”

“It is clear that nature reacts very fast in its consumption of carbon dioxide.” Farmers call this the growing season, followed by the harvest season, followed by snow and cold during which nothing grows. Modern civilization, beginning about 5,000 years ago, is predicated on the ability to provide food to both humans and livestock, all based on these obvious seasonal cycles.

The ancient Egyptians and Mayans understood the seasons, but they are apparently too difficult a concept for today’s many ex-politicians, some PhD’s, United Nation’s flunkies, and high school teachers.

Warming and cooling cycles are well known throughout human history, reaching back to the days of ancient Rome. There were Viking settlements in Greenland because they arrived in warmer times. By 1410 the place froze up. Shakespeare lived during a Little Ice Age when the Thames would freeze too. The man-made emissions of CO2 had nothing, zero, to do with these climate events.

The IPCC, however, with its agenda to tax and control energy use that produces CO2, is not based on either the obvious or more complex science involved. Its “data” is the invention of computer models that are deliberately manipulated to produce false results which, in turn, can be announced and repeated worldwide.

In March 2008, The Heartland Institute brought together more than 500 climatologists, meteorologists, economists, and others for two days of seminars and addresses that totally destroyed the IPCC’s lies. It will do so again for a second time, March 8-10 of this year in New York City. Suffice it to say that the mainstream media did it best to ridicule or ignore the event and will no doubt do so again.

Here, then, is a fundamental fact about CO2 you need to commit to memory. “Nature absorbs 98.5% of the CO2 that is emitted by nature and man.” Nature is a totally self-regulating mechanism that dwarfs any mindless effort to “control” the amount of CO2 produced by coal-fired utilities, steel manufacturers, autos and trucks, and gasoline fueled lawn mowers, not to forget fireplaces where logs glow or just about any human activity you can name, including exhaling two pounds of the stuff every day!

“Further,” says Ashworth, “no regulation by man is necessary because CO2 is not a pollutant; it is part of the animal-plant life cycle. Without it, life would not exist on Earth. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere increases plant growth, which is a very good thing during a period of world population growth and an increasing demand for food.”

“Taxing carbon,” Ashworth adds, “would do absolutely nothing to improve the climate but would be devastating hardship to the people of the world.” For example, U.S. Representative John Dingell’s plan to tax carbon would add 13% to the cost of electricity and 32% to the cost of gasoline; just what we need during a Recession that threatens to become a Depression.

Dr. Tim Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, recently asked, “How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant.”

It is time to rebuke everyone attempting to foist the global warming hoax and carbon taxes on the United States and the rest of the world. It is time let Congress and the White House know that Americans will not be ruled by laws that have no scientific merit.


A voice of sanity in California

By Dan Logue, 3rd District assemblyman.

As a new member of the California State Assembly, I have introduced my first bill to suspend AB32 - the so-called California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In 2006, on a party-line vote, legislative Democrats passed AB32 over the objections of Republicans. Authored by then-Assembly Speaker Fabien N£¤ez, ostensibly to combat the effects of global warming, AB32 forces businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Appealing to the politically correct crowd of 2006, AB32 was hailed far and wide by left-leaning political elites. They could not have envisioned our economic downturn or the devastating effects of AB32 on California's economy and it's environment - or could they?

There have been economic slumps in past decades and subsequent recoveries. But there are major differences between then and now. The military build-up of the Regan administration and California's extensive military and defense industry infrastructure fueled the economic rebound of the 1980s. In the 1990s, the housing boom spurred economic growth even in the face of the Gray Davis deficit and the Legislature's out-of-control spending. The difference today is that California no longer enjoys a robust military and defense industry economy and California's housing industry is in shambles.

It gets worse. Compounded by California's hostile regulatory environment, businesses are now expected to try to compete in a global economy. Sacramento liberals may say, "let them eat cake" but the global economy, by definition, means global competition - for states too.

California's implementation of AB32 has crippled our ability to compete in the global economy. Our prosperity is not just impacted by neighboring states, but by other nations. Competitors like India and China cheer our environmental regulations. Meanwhile, China is experiencing an industrial revolution the world has never seen. They are creating wealth and prosperity while we move money around. China and India are also building 600 coal-fire power plants over the next few years, which, when in operation, will negate any gains achieved by AB32 in a matter of days.

In response to this, the left claims, "We will create green jobs, like solar panels." Unfortunately, we are now importing solar panels from China and those panels are being produced by plants powered by coal-fired plants (carbon emissions) and shipped to America.

Because of our high land costs, environmental fees, impact fees, and over-regulation of business, we will end up buying the green technology and products from Nevada, Texas, Mexico and China. The growing chorus in business is A.B.C. . Anywhere But California.

In the last year alone, California lost 95,000 private sector jobs and our manufacturing base has been devastated. An independent economist stated AB32 is a threat to our remaining 1.5 million manufacturing jobs.

AB32 will hurt our environment. AB32 is a job killer - businesses can't comply and remain competitive, so they are leaving. This has resulted in less tax revenue for environmental mitigation, bringing a halt to many programs that keep our public safe from toxic waste and limit our ability to provide safe, clean, water. As of now, there are thousands of toxic sites in California and no money to mitigate.

Given the current state of our economy, AB32 must be suspended before it suspends our funding for schools, law enforcement, parks, water storage, and any hope of economic recovery. At its most basic analysis --- no private sector jobs, no economy, no tax revenues for the state for anything. We will be broke. But we will be politically correct and Hollywood will love us!



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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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