Monday, January 19, 2009


An email from Tom V. Segalstad [] -- Head, and Associate Professor of Resource- and Environmental Geology Geological Museum, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

A recent peer-reviewed study in the international scientific journal "Geology" by two Danish geologists supports the Svensmark Climate Theory. They have found that there is a correlation between the intensity of the geomagnetic field and the precipitation in the Tropics. The only way this can be explained, the authors say, is by the same mechanism as in the Svensmark Climate Theory; that solar modulation of galactic ray particles has an influence on condensation nuclei for clouds, which in turn will modulate the insolation and the surface temperature on the Earth. A similar mechanism as in the well-known Wilson's Fog Chamber

The paper: Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager: "Is there a link between Earth's magnetic field and low-latitude precipitation?" Geology; January 2009; v. 37; no. 1; p. 71-74

References to some of Svensmark's recent scientific papers:

"Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions" by Svensmark, Henrik ; Pedersen, Jens Olaf Pepke ; Marsh, N.D. ; Enghoff, Martin Andreas Bodker ; Uggerhoj, U.I. in journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society A-mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences (ISSN: 1364-5021) , vol: 463, issue: 2078, pages: 385-396, 2007, Royal Society, 2007


"Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges" by Svensmark, Henrik in journal: Astronomy & Geophysics (ISSN: 1366-8781), vol: 48, issue: 1, pages: 18-24, 2007, Blackwell Publishing.


A published letter below from James A. Marusek [] -- Nuclear Physicist & Engineer. U.S. Department of the Navy, retired.

Each morning I turn on my computer and check to see how the sun is doing today. For much of 2008, I was greeted with the message "The sun is blank - no sunspots." We are at the verge of the next solar cycle, solar cycle 24. How intense will this cycle be? Why is this question important? Because the sun is a major force controlling natural climate change on Earth.

The sun has gone very quite as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. There were 266 spotless days (days without sunspots) in 2008. This breaks all standing records back to the year 1913, which had 311 spotless days.

The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. Anthony Watts (meteorologist) referred to it as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. This solar minimum is smashing these records. The lowest monthly Ap index recorded since measurements began in January 1932 is "4". This low occurred on three occasions: December 1997, November & December 2008. This current solar minimum has smashed the lower records for Ap index for any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 consecutive month period and then some.

The most likely outcome is that the current solar minimum will produce around 1,000 cumulative spotless days and that solar cycle 24 is making a state change reverting back to the old cycles (solar cycles 10-15, years 1856 to 1923). For much of the past century (solar cycles 16-23), the solar minimums produced significantly fewer spotless days. The average was 362.

But there is always the possibility that the sun's magnetic field could weaken even further ushering in a grand minima such as the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) or the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830). If that happens, then Earth's temperature would nosedive dropping to mini Ice Age conditions. Ice skating on the Ohio River anyone! A grand minima would also likely increase the frequency of Caribbean and Atlantic hurricanes. The British Navy recorded more than twice as many major land-falling Caribbean hurricanes in the last part of the Little Ice Age (1700-1850) than during the much-warmer last half of the 20th century.

So, Stay Tuned!


Questions for Obama's science guy

by Jeff Jacoby

IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy -- the position known informally as White House science adviser -- President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one "with a resume longer than your arm," as Newsweek's Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books. He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years -- and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.

The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren's nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:

1. You were long associated with population alarmist Paul Ehrlich, and joined him in predicting disasters that never came to pass. For example, you and Ehrlich wrote in 1969: "It cannot be emphasized enough that if . . . population control measures are not initiated immediately and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come." In 1971, the two of you were adamant that "some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the century." In the 1980s, Ehrlich quoted your expectation that "carbon dioxide-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020." What have you learned from the failure of these prophecies to come true?

2. You have advocated the "long-term desirability of zero population growth" for the United States. In 1973, you pronounced the US population of 210 million as "too many" and warned that "280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many." The US population today is 304 million. Are there too many Americans?

3. You opposed the Reagan administration's military buildup in the 1980s for fear it might "increase the belligerency of the Soviet government." You pooh-poohed any notion that "the strain of an accelerated arms race will do more damage to the Soviet economy than to our own," or that "damaging the Soviet economy would benefit the US." But that is exactly what happened, and President Reagan's defense buildup helped win the Cold War. Did that outcome alter your thinking on military questions?

4. You argued that "a massive campaign must be launched ... to de-develop the United States" in order to conserve energy; you also recommended the "de-development" of modern industrialized nations in order to facilitate growth in underdeveloped countries. Yet elsewhere you observed: "Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others." Which is it?

5. In Scientific American, you recently wrote: "The ongoing disruption of the Earth's climate by man-made greenhouse gases is already well beyond dangerous and is careening toward completely unmanageable." An interview you gave to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was headlined "The Sky Is Falling." Given your record with forecasting calamity, shouldn't policymakers view your alarm with a degree of skepticism?

6. In 2006, according to the London Times, you suggested that global sea levels could rise 13 feet by the end of this century. But the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that sea levels are likely to have risen only 13 inches by 2100. Can you explain the discrepancy between your estimate and the IPCC's?

7. "Variability has been the hallmark of climate over the millennia," you wrote in 1977. "The one statement about future climate that can be made with complete assurance is that it will be variable." If true, should we not be wary of ascribing too much importance to human influence on climate change?

8. You are withering in your contempt for researchers who are unconvinced that human activity is responsible for global warming, or that global warming is an onrushing disaster. You have written that such ideas are "dangerous," that those who hold them "infest" the public discourse, and that paying any attention to their views is "a menace." You contributed to a published assault on Bjorn Lomborg's notable 2001 book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" -- an attack the Economist described as "strong on contempt and sneering, but weak on substance." In light of President-elect Obama's insistence that "promoting science" means "protecting free and open inquiry," will you work to soften your hostility toward scholars who disagree with you?


Red, Green and Browner

Conservative pundits and talk radio hosts have had a field day citing Carol Browner's ties to the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which is part of the Socialist International. Browner, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, has been named by Barack Obama to be his Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change (or "Climate Czar"). This new and undefined office could give her broad influence over economic policy. The San Francisco Chronicle reported January 14th that "some on Capitol Hill predict that energy policy will be driven not by [Energy Secretary-Designate Steven] Chu, but by Carol Browner."

In its coverage of Browner, the American Spectator was correct to note, "There's a tendency of conservatives to carelessly toss about the `S' word." Indeed, the term "socialism" was so overused (and misused) n the last days of the presidential campaign, and during the debate on rescuing the banks and auto industry, that it may have lost all credence with the public. But in the case of Browner, it is accurate, and the ideology is dangerous because it now hides behind the environmental movement it created decades ago.

Where there is Green, there is Red. The environmental movement was an offshoot of the New Left. The first Earth Day was held in the United States on April 22, 1970, the idea having been conceived the previous September at a conference in Seattle, Washington. 1969 was also the year that San Francisco made the first Earth Day Proclamation. The New Left is associated in the public mind mainly with the antiwar movement, which hit its peak in 1970 with campus riots against the U.S. raids into communist base camps in Cambodia. The desire to see the United States lose in Vietnam and retreat from world affairs in disgrace was only part of the larger vision of a completely transformed American society. A radically new kind of society was advocated that would abandon the culture of growth and affluence which underpinned an "imperialist" foreign policy.

In 1973 appeared E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered which quickly became required reading on the Left. Schumacher argued "The optimal pattern of consumption, producing a high degree of human satisfaction by means of a relatively low rate of consumption, allows people to live without great pressure and strain....people satisfying their needs by means of a modest means of a modest use of resources are obviously less likely to be at each other's throats than people depending on a high rate of use."

A survey of the new "radical political economics" appeared in 1974 in the left-wing Journal of Economic Issues, which was itself only founded in 1967. Authors Raymond S. Franklin and William K. Tabb wrote, "Radical economists go beyond mere modification of the growth preoccupation; they see further growth of the kind that presently characterizes U.S. society as detrimental to the well-being of the American people." The antipathy to growth predates any theory about climate change, rather, environmental issues were conjured up to serve the ideological program of the Left.

The Green movement was necessary to solve the problem that socialism could not, expanding output to raise living standards. Capitalism is an unmatched engine of growth. The commercial and industrial revolutions it powered built the Western world and gave it the global dominance the hatred of which has become the central organizing tenet of the Left. Socialist central planning and state enterprises have never been able to outperform the system of private production for profit. And most serious socialist thinkers know this. The idea has always been for the socialists to seize control of an already developed capitalist economy and then simply redistribute the wealth it had created in a more "equitable" manner. Creating new wealth after the revolution was known to be problematic.

It was assumed by Karl Marx and his successors that the first socialist revolution would occur in Germany, the most advanced European economy with the most wealth to spread around. When the revolution came in relatively backward Russia, Vladimir Lenin attempted his New Economic Policy to allow private growth to take place until it reached a point where the socialists could intervene. As Lenin said when he announced the NEP in 1921, "highly developed capitalist countries where wage-workers in industry and agriculture make up the vast majority....Only in countries where this class is sufficiently developed is it possible to pass directly from capitalism to socialism." Neither Lenin nor Josef Stalin was able to build an advanced economy on a par with the rival capitalist states. And despite Nikita Khrushchev's claim that socialism would "bury" capitalism, the American Cold War containment strategy was based on the inherent inability of socialism to prosper. The Soviet Union cracked when it was unable to muster the resources needed to meet the challenge posed by President Ronald Reagan.

But what if a socialist economy did not need to grow? What if the basic economic problem, how to meet the insatiable wants of the public for an ever higher standard of living, could be tossed aside? This would be the concept of Full Communism laid out by Professor Emeritus P. J. D. Wiles of the University of London in the Marxian Economics volume of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (1990). Under Full Communism, "productivity is higher than wants and everyone can help himself in the warehouses (not shops!)." This perfect state is "only possible because wants have been reduced to needs." It is not output that has grown, but desires that have been scaled back State authority "must be conducting the propaganda that persuades people to internalize the new value system."

For 40 years, the Left has been propagandizing the public to do without, but without success. The history of humanity has been the pursuit of a better life, which does not mean shivering in the winter when one can turn up the heat, or walking when one can ride (or fly). So where the joys of the simple life fail to persuade, the wrath of the gods will be summoned. First, it was the "limits to growth." There simply wasn't enough to go around, the planet had a set "carrying capacity." Since growth was impossible, redistribution of what was available called forth socialism. Technological advances tossed the idea of limits out the window. Perhaps not all wants can be satisfied for all people, but clearly more can be done to advance civilization and improve the lives of billions. Growth is still possible and its fruits highly desirable.

So the socialists had to up the stakes. Further growth would kill us all, they proclaimed. The resources might be available, but to exploit them would destroy the planet. Already, we have come too far. Global warming (or now climate change, since the latest warming phase may be waning) makes growth undesirable, and if there is to be no more growth, what is allowed to be produced must be rationed by socialist planners on an equitable basis. This is the practical meaning of sustainable.

Green is essential to Red. Environmentalism will be pushed regardless of the state of scientific knowledge because socialism requires it. It is a sin not to believe that Nature commands limits on human civilization, justifying enforcement by socialist vicars.

Browner's appointment to the presidential staff does not require Senate confirmation. It is a reward to the far Left who backed Obama in the primaries. Yet, the new president must know that the public expects him to pull the country out of the recession and return to a path of economic growth. If he fails to revive the economy, he will not be re-elected.

Yet, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s would only be a down payment on the reduction in living standards the Greens would impose on America to reach their goal of rationed scarcity and a global redistribution of wealth. Browner as Climate Czar can be expected to threaten floods, storms and pestilence as holy vengeance against America's love of progress and innovation. But this is one secular "church" that really does need to be separated from the state, as its dogma is horribly false.


Climate change sidelines democracy in Britain

THE GOVERNMENT has quietly adopted powers enabling it to introduce national pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes of up to œ100 without a vote in parliament. The move, which was confirmed this weekend by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will allow councils across the country to impose extra charges on householders who leave out too much non-recyclable waste.

The fact that ministers have adopted powers to impose the taxes on millions of households without a vote in the Commons will shock MPs. They always believed they would be able to veto the unpopular move following trials in five pilot areas. Last week the government also sidelined parliament to move ahead with plans to introduce a controversial third runway at Heathrow airport.

The Tories discovered the bin tax measure in a little-noticed clause of the Climate Change Act. "New taxes are being imposed by arrogant and out-of-touch rulers, showing contempt for the democratic process. The imposition of extra-parliamentary taxation is a constitutional outrage," said Eric Pickles, shadow communities and local government secretary."

Internal Whitehall documents released last year showed the government is planning for at least two-thirds of all homes to be hit by the bin taxes. Under one option discussed by ministers, households would have to pay for special bin bags. Rubbish not placed in these bags would remain uncollected. Households would be charged for the size of their bins; families requiring a bigger bin will pay the most. Those requiring a weekly rubbish collection would also have to pay an extra charge.



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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