Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peter Hitchens joins the fray

Like his brother Christopher, he doesn't mince words. He is referring below to a news report that a wind turbine was attacked and damaged by a UFO:

If visitors from another galaxy really are going round destroying wind turbines, then it is the proof we have been waiting for that aliens are more intelligent than we are. The swivel-eyed, intolerant cult, which endlessly shrieks - without proof - that global warming is man-made, has produced many sad effects. The collapse of proper education has made two whole generations vulnerable to rubbishy fads.

But the disfiguring of the country with useless windmills, and the insane plan to ban proper light bulbs, are supreme triumphs of this dimwit pseudo-religion. Both schemes override facts and logic. During the current cold spell, observant persons will have noticed that there has been very little wind, a rather common combination. Thus, at a time of great need for power, wind turbines would be almost entirely useless for producing electricity. They're pretty feeble anyway. Even when they are working, sensible power stations have to be kept spinning, so that they can be flung into gear at short notice if the wind drops.

Yet, over the objections of reasonable protesters fearing for the ruined landscape, or dreading the annoying whine and whirr, the authorities have marched over the once-lovely hills and moors of Britain, planting grotesque and futile engines. In intervals between erecting these daft objects, the Government (influenced by the awful EU) has also colluded in a plan to stop the sale of traditional light bulbs.

This is even though the supposed replacements are expensive, don't reduce electricity use anything like as much as claimed, won't fit many existing lamps, won't work with dimmers, in many cases give off a light as cheery and bright as the baleful glow emitted by a decomposing dingo, won't work in fridges, don't last as long as claimed, and when they do go phut, must be disposed of with tongs because they contain deadly mercury vapour. This is the price we pay for fanaticism, and for a low-grade political class without the courage to stand up against it.

True, it takes a little nerve to oppose this lobby. But if you don't have that sort of nerve, you shouldn't be in politics in the first place.


Some politically Left Scientists Now Rejecting Climate Fears

Excerpt from Speech Delivered on U.S. Senate Floor January 8, 2009 by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) - Ranking Member, Environment and Public Works Committee

I have given over 12 floor speeches on the science of global warming. Today, I want to update my colleagues on some of the latest science that has not been reported in the mainstream media. ... Many politically left-of-center scientists and environmental activists are now realizing that the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming is not holding up. It is becoming increasingly clear that skepticism about man-made global warming fear is not a partisan left vs. right issue. In fact, many scientists and activists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" or "hijacked" the green movement.

The left-wing blog Huffington Post surprised many by featuring an article on January 3, 2009, by Harold Ambler, demanding an apology from Gore for promoting unfounded global warming fears. The Huffington Post article accused Gore of telling "the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind" because he claimed the science was settled on global warming. The Huffington Post article titled "Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted" adds, "It is Mr. Gore and his brethren who are flat-Earthers," not the skeptics. Again, it is not Jim Inhofe calling Gore a "flat-Earther," it is the left-wing blog Huffington Post calling him these things.

The Huffington Post article continues, "Let us neither cripple our own economy by mislabeling carbon dioxide a pollutant nor discourage development in the Third World, where suffering continues unabated, day after day."

UK atmospheric scientist Richard Courtney, a left-of-political center socialist, is another dissenter of man-made climate fears. Courtney, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant, is a self-described socialist who also happens to reject man-made climate fears. Courtney declared in 2008 that there is "no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHG (greenhouse gases) and global temperature."

Joining Courtney are many other progressive environmentalist scientists: Former Greenpeace member and Finnish scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a lecturer of environmental technology and a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland who has authored 200 scientific publications, is also skeptical of man-made climate doom. Ahlbeck wrote in 2008, "Contrary to common belief, there has been no or little global warming since 1995 and this is shown by two completely independent datasets. But so far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming."

Life-long liberal Democrat Dr. Martin Hertzberg, a retired Navy meteorologist with a PhD in physical chemistry, also declared his dissent of warming fears in 2008. "As a scientist and life-long liberal Democrat, I find the constant regurgitation of the anecdotal, fear mongering clap-trap about human-caused global warming to be a disservice to science," Hertzberg wrote. "The global warming alarmists don't even bother with data! All they have are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality and have already been proven to be false," Hertzberg added.

Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, the former chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, publicly announced he voted for Gore in 2000 and said he would do so again. But Giegengack does not agree with Gore's science views and states that global warming does not even qualify as one of the top ten ENVIRONMENTAL problems facing the world, let alone one of the top problems. "In terms of [global warming's] capacity to cause the human species harm, I don't think it makes it into the top 10," Giegengack said in an interview in the May/June 2007 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Other liberal environmental scientists and activists are now joining Giegengack. Alexander Cockburn, a maverick journalist who leans left on most topics, lambasted the alleged global-warming consensus on the political Web site, arguing that there's no evidence yet that humans are causing the rise in global temperature. After publicly speaking to reject man-made warming fears, Cockburn wrote on February 22, 2008, "I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy." Cockburn harshly critiqued the political left for embracing climate alarmism. "This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left's optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political program. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice," Cockburn wrote. [See: A July 2007 and a March 2008 report detail how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation]

CNN - not exactly a bastion of conservatism - had yet another of its meteorologists dissent from warming fears. Chad Myers, a meteorologist for 22 years and certified by the American Meteorological Society, spoke out against anthropogenic climate claims on CNN in December. "You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant," Myers said during "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on December 18, 2008. "Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big - I think we're going to die from a lack of fresh water or we're going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure," Myers explained. Myers joins fellow CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano, who compared Gore's film to `fiction' in 2007, and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs who just said of global warming fear promotion on January 5, "It's almost a religion without any question."

Denis G. Rancourt, professor of physics and an environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, believes the global warming campaign does a disservice to the environmental movement. Rancourt wrote on February 27, 2007, "Promoting the global warming myth trains people to accept unverified, remote, and abstract dangers in the place of true problems that they can discover for themselves by becoming directly engaged in their workplace and by doing their own research and observations." Rancourt wrote, "I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized." "Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class," Rancourt added.

Perhaps the biggest shock to the global warming debate was the recent conversion of renowned French geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre from being a believer in dangerous man-made warming fears to being a skeptic. Allegre, a former French Socialist Party leader and a member of both the French and U.S. Academies of Science, was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, but he now says the cause of climate change is "unknown." He ridiculed what he termed the "prophets of doom of global warming" in a September 2006 article. Allegre has authored more than 100 scientific articles, written 11 books, and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States. He now believes the global warming hysteria is motivated by money. "The ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" he explained.

Left-wing Professor David Noble of Canada's York University has joined the growing chorus of disenchanted liberal activists. Noble now believes that the movement has "hyped the global climate issue into an obsession." Noble wrote a May 8, 2007, essay entitled "The Corporate Climate Coup" which details how global warming has "hijacked" the environmental left and created a "corporate climate campaign," "divert[ing] attention from the radical challenges of the global justice movement."

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University, and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, converted from believer to a skeptic about global warming. Bellamy, a committed environmentalist, now says that shift cost him his career at the BBC. Bellamy said in 2008, "My opinion is that there is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide has anything to do with any impending catastrophe. The science has, quite simply, gone awry. In fact, it's not even science any more, it's anti-science. There's no proof, it's just projections and if you look at the models people such as Gore use, you can see they cherry pick the ones that support their beliefs."

Geologist Peter Sciaky echoes this growing backlash of left-wing activists about global warming. Sciaky, who describes himself as a "liberal and a leftist" wrote on June 9, 2007, "I do not know a single geologist who believes that [global warming] is a man-made phenomenon."

Ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace founding member, has also joined the ranks of the dissenters. "It is clear the contention that human-induced CO2 emissions and rising CO2 levels in the global atmosphere are the cause of the present global warming trend is a hypothesis that has not yet been elevated to the level of a proven theory. Causation has not been demonstrated in any conclusive way," Moore, the chief scientist for Greenspirit, wrote in 2006.

Again, to repeat, it is becoming increasingly clear that skepticism about man-made global warming fear is not a partisan left vs. right issue. It is a scientific question and the promoters of global warming fears now realize they have significantly overreached.

More here (See the original for links)


American astronaut Dr. Jack Schmitt - the last living man to walk on the moon - is the latest scientist to be added to the roster of more than 70 skeptics who will confront the subject of global warming at the second annual International Conference on Climate Change in New York City March 8-10, 2009.

The conference expects to draw 1,000 attendees including private-sector business people, state and federal legislators and officials, policy analysts, media, and students.

Schmitt, who earned a PhD from Harvard in geology, resigned in November from the Planetary Society, an international non-profit organization devoted to inspiring "the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere." He is the twelfth person to walk on the Moon; as of 2008, of the nine living moonwalkers, he and his crewmate Eugene Cernan were the last two to walk there.

"As a geologist, I love Earth observations," Schmitt wrote, "But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a 'consensus' that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. 'Consensus,' as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making..."

Schmitt will be joined by more than 70 other economists, public officials, legal experts, and climate specialists calling attention to new research that contradicts claims that Earth's moderate warming during the 20th Century primarily was man-made and has reached crisis proportions.

Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, producer of the event along with more than 30 co-sponsors, explained, "At the first conference last March, we proved that the skeptics in the debate over global warming constitute the center or mainstream of the scientific community while alarmists are on the fringe.

"Now in the past nine months, the science has grown even more convincing that global warming is not a crisis. Also suggesting this 'crisis' is over are opinion polls in the U.S. and around the globe and political events, including the decisive defeat of 'cap-and-trade' legislation in the U.S. Senate last spring. The crisis has been cancelled by sound science and common-sense."

More here

Not So Fast the Electric Cars, Buried Study Says

Contrary to popular belief, all useful information does not emanate exclusively from the United States. Likewise, governments other than ours can, on occasion, be as guilty as ours in suppressing useful information that is inconvenient for governments, not to mention advocates of and special pleaders for suspicious causes. Thus it was that while Americans were busy holidaying, the Financial Times (FT) reported that the government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy was busily burying an inconvenient study - analyzing options for cleaner and more efficient mass-market cars -- commissioned by that very same government.

The study was conducted by Jean Syrota, a former French energy industry regulator. According to Paul Betts and Song Jung-a of FT, the study "concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted development of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr [105 mph]....

"Overall, the Syrota report says that adapting and improving conventional engines could enhance their efficiency by an average of 50 per cent. It also argues that new-generation hybrid cars combining conventional engines with electric propulsion could provide an interesting future alternative. "By combining electric batteries with conventional fuel-driven engines, cars could run on clean electricity for short urban trips while switching over to fuel on motorways. This would resolve one of the biggest problems facing all electric cars - the need to install costly battery recharging infrastructures. The report warns that the overall cost of an all-electric car remains unviable at around double that of a conventional vehicle."

A single, buried French report cannot and should not curtail the development of electric cars. But it should be a cautionary note to all governments (California among them) rushing to embrace, with taxpayer money, the automobile panacea that could in reality never amount to more than a niche product with negligible impact on energy or transportation needs and considerable impact on consumer and taxpayer cost.

Not a week after FT reported on the buried French study, other news reports indicated that 14 U.S. companies had formed a coalition to seek $1 billion in U.S. government funding to develop batteries for electric cars. (You may have read that all free-market principles having now being discredited, the government will be responsible for all venture capital.) That's your money, as the ad slogan says. Call and let us know how far it gets your electric car across Route 66.


Greenie elitism and contempt for ordinary people

Comment from Britain

Some years ago, walking a stretch of the Pennine Way, I received the first of many lessons in the politics of the great outdoors. High on the Northumberland moors, not having seen a soul all morning, we met a countryside ranger. As we greeted each other, he said, with a kind of practised, jovial menace: "Don't drop any litter now, will you." In an instant he ruined our day. His words provoked in our mild-mannered souls a teeth-gnashing rage. Spoken to like rebellious fourth-formers, we had a burning desire to behave like them: to shred our crisp packets and scatter them to the winds, to drop our drinks bottle and leave a trail of silver wrapper; purely to thwart this insensitive jobsworth.

We didn't, of course, but a sense of his deep discourtesy remained. Subsequently I have met others like him, and have come to realise that our ranger was not some unfortunate one-off, but a type: the voice of a particular constituency in green places. Welcome to the world of Woolly-hat Man; the elitist of open spaces. Woolly-hat Man has spiritual ownership, and no one else. Even in the most solitary parts of these crowded islands, he will not trust you to leave only footprints. And, like the worst kind of opera snob, Woolly-hat Man can barely tolerate the people whom he knows to be incapable of appreciating the show properly.

It all came back to me this week, when the argument against charity challenges reared its head. The authorities that oversee Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, declared that charity climbs were "destroying" the landscape. Hundreds of thousands of people now climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon every year, with visitor figures for 2008 among the highest yet, but land managers singled out for special criticism the 60,000 or so annually who attempt the Three Peaks Challenge, climbing all three mountains within 24 hours.

This challenge is a nebulous, unorganised thing. People undertake it in the same individualistic way that they trek from Lands End to John o' Groats. And because participants race on public roads through Scotland, England and Wales to beat the clock, the challenge has a fairly subterranean culture. Which, of course, only adds to its appeal. Now in all probability, Three Peakers are slightly mad. But that is not the issue. What is at stake is their right to be mad. Most do it to raise money for good causes, some do it for personal satisfaction and everyone does it because they are entitled to do it: they use public roads and climb hills that belong to the nation.

But in the eyes of at least one guardian of Ben Nevis, the groups of fit young men who take on the challenge "can turn the mountain into Billy Smart's circus". As opposed to what? Glyndebourne? The Highland Council is to hold talks with the Institute of Fundraising this month to draw up a new code of conduct that will strike a compromise, it is said, between charity and conservation. The intention, plainly, is to end what are called "unsustainable" group challenges on all three of Britain's highest peaks. Two powerful forces - snobbery and an obsession with regulation - are inevitably leading to a situation where the authorities will pick and choose who can climb the mountains; and when.

Now I don't run up mountains for a hobby, but I would always, in that good old libertarian sense, defend the rights of others to do so. These runners should be as free to do what they do as others are to take part in the London Marathon: unless, of course, we intend to start charging joggers for eroding the pavements, or taxing cyclists who mount their bikes at Land's End. The argument is essentially the same.

The truth is that the very same outdoor aristocracy that preaches diversity and equal access for all, that produces a countryside safety guide and probably translates the damn thing into Urdu and Arabic; that draws up health strategies to resist obesity - these people secretly detest the end results. Deep down, they hate the charity challenges, the mountain bikers, the long-distance footpath followers - the unstoppable invasion of their green space.

For them, it is dumbing-down: not just the arrival of the great unwashed in hopeless trainers, but the threatening hordes of fit Bear Gryllses, who can handle the outdoors but just aren't respectful enough.

Double standards rule, I'm afraid. The woolly-hat brigade, free spirits to a man, would not tolerate being regulated themselves. Tell them that they could not climb a mountain when they wanted to, or must pay an entry fee, and they would revolt. But they are perfectly happy to stop others.

It is one of the great ironies of the present elitism that the original outdoor movement had working-class roots, founded largely by men desperate to escape from the toil of heavy industry at the weekends. Access to green spaces has therefore always been a great socialist cause; the kernel of the great class war over land ownership. Funny, isn't it, how poachers always turn gamekeepers in the end?



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.


No comments: