Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For readers in England

Press release below:

Modern Movement has organised a demonstration in favour of more flights for all:

Support Airport Expansion: Thursday 19 February, 17.30 -19.30 on Parliament Square, East Footway, London. For more details, see: Modern Movement

"The extension of flying to millions of people has been a liberation. Most of us can now afford to go on holiday and welcome the cheapening of air travel allowing us to fly abroad. The development of aviation infrastructure is crucial to allow ever more people to fly."

Join us in front of Parliament to argue for guilt-free travel, for ever-cheaper flights and for freedom of movement. Facebook event page: here

Come along and feel free to forward this information to colleagues/members and friends.


An email from Tim Curtin []

In response to items on Chris Field of Stanford claiming to be a climate scientist, here is my letter to Chris re that misleading interview he gave to the world's media.
Dear Dr Field

You were widely reported yesterday and today by Reuters and AFP as claiming that "The climate is heating up far faster than scientists had predicted, spurred by sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries like China and India. The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously, the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious [than any of the IPCC's climate predictions] We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,"

If correctly reported you are guilty of severe economy with the truth. Whilst you are right right that emissions grew rapidly from 2000 until 2007, you have been seriously misleading by failing to mention first, that anthropogenic global warming is dependent first and foremost on the atmospheric concentration of CO2, and not on the level of emissions per se, as despite 3 percent growth of emissions from January 2008 to January 2009, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide grew by less than 0.4 percent, that being the average rate of growth of CO2 since 1958, which means that despite the inferences you wished the world to draw, there has been NO sustained increase in the rate of growth of CO2 since 1958 despite ongoing growth in emissions of as much as 3% p.a.

Secondly, you wilfully failed to mention that absorption of those emissions by the oceanic and terrestrial biospheres grew about as fast as the emissions. Ironically, your own co-authors in some of your most recent papers (Canadell, Raupach) have assembled data that show how absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide doubled from an annual average of 2.45 billion tonnes of carbon a year from 1958 to 1963, to over 5 GtC from 2003 to 2007.

As a result, from 1958 to 2007 over 56 percent of total emissions over that period of 331 billion tonnes was absorbed by our biospheres, in the form of the carbohydrates that are the basic feedstock for humanity, as embodied in fish, cereals, livestock, fruit, coffee, grapes, and other tree crops (eg palm oil). Without CO2 there would be no food, and reducing its present atmospheric level has been frequently proven to result in lower yields of all that feedstock (that being the corollary of the well-attested, in thousands of papers, fertilization effect of enhanced CO2).

Your exaggeration (by over 700 percent) of the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide relative to the growth of emissions, combined with your wilful disregard of the positive side of the annual global carbon budget through your focus only on emissions, amounts to gross academic and scientific misconduct since your own work in the IPCC AR4 WG1 gives the lie to your present claims. I and some of my colleagues intend to make appropriate representations to the authorities of the University of Stanford, Reuters, AFP, and the IPCC unless we see an immediate retraction of your misleading claims reported by Reuters/AFP.

Kind regards

Tim Curtin, Spence ACT 2615, Australia,


Supported by The Heartland Institute

The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change will take place in New York City on March 8-10, 2009 (Sunday - Tuesday), at the Marriott New York Marquis Times Square Hotel, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY. There will be four tracks of panel discussions:

1. Paleoclimatology

2. Climatology

3. Impact of Climate Change

4. Economics and Politics

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Sunday, March 8

5:00 - 11:00 pm Exhibit hall open

5:00 - 7:00 pm Registration and reception

6:30 - 9:00 pm Opening dinner with keynote speakers


Warmism leads to vegetarianism

"Give up the steak and burgers, you fat Fascist bastards" seems to be the message

When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say. Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week. That's because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.

Pelletier is one of a growing number of scientists studying the environmental costs of food from field to plate. By looking at everything from how much grain a cow eats before it is ready for slaughter to the emissions released by manure, they are getting a clearer idea of the true costs of food.

The livestock sector is estimated to account for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and beef is the biggest culprit. Even though beef only accounts for 30 percent of meat consumption in the developed world it's responsible for 78 percent of the emissions, Pelletier said Sunday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That's because a single kilogram of beef produces 16 kilograms carbon dioxide equivalent emissions: four times higher than pork and more than ten times as much as a kilogram of poultry, Pelletier said.

If people were to simply switch from beef to chicken, emissions would be cut by 70 percent, Pelletier said.

Another part of the problem is people are eating far more meat than they need to. "Meat once was a luxury in our diet," Pelletier said. "We used to eat it once a week. Now we eat it every day." If meat consumption in the developed world was cut from the current level of about 90 kilograms a year to the recommended level of 53 kilograms a year, livestock related emissions would fall by 44 percent. "Given the projected doubling of (global) meat production by 2050, we're going to have to cut our emissions by half just to maintain current levels," Pelletier said. "Technical improvements are not going to get us there."

That's why changing the kinds of food people eat is so important, said Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Food is the third largest contributor to the average US household's carbon footprint after driving and utilities, and in Europe - where people drive less and have smaller homes - it has an even greater impact. "Food is of particular importance to a consumer's impact because it's a daily choice that is, at least in theory, easy to change," Weber said. "You make your choice every day about what to eat, but once you have a house and a car you're locked into that for a while."

The average US household contributes about five tons of carbon dioxide a year by driving and about 3.5 tons of equivalent emissions with what they eat, he said. "Switching to no red meat and no dairy products is the equivalent of (cutting out) 8,100 miles driven in a car ... that gets 25 miles to the gallon," Weber said in an interview following the symposium.

Buying local meat and produce will not have nearly the same effect, he cautioned. That's because only five percent of the emissions related to food come from transporting food to market. "You can have a much bigger impact by shifting just one day a week from meat and dairy to anything else than going local every day of the year," Weber said.

For more information on how to eat a low carbon diet, visit



Academic journals, as a general rule, are pretty staid affairs. But the debate over global warming's impact on hurricane activity has grown heated during recent years, with hurricane scientist Greg Holland emerging as one of the lightning rods. Holland, for his part, has no reservations about declaring the link between increased hurricane activity and climate change as incontrovertible. Take, for example, a paper he co-authored last year that was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (see .pdf). In the abstract he and Peter Webster wrote:

"While there is no trend in the proportion of major hurricanes, the increasing cyclone numbers has lead to a distinct trend in the number of major hurricanes and one that is clearly associated with greenhouse warming."

The paper, from 2007, essentially concludes that Atlantic hurricane activity during the last century has exhibited three distinct regimes, with each regime having 50 percent more tropical storms and hurricanes than the previous one.

In other words, twice during the last century, around the years 1930 and 1995, the average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic jumped by 50 percent. Pretty bold claim, right? Apparently Sim Aberson, of NOAA, thought so. His response was published in January's Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

The paper's not your usual staid, academic affair. While I can't decipher all of the statistical arguments in the paper, I think I get the general gist of it. Aberson is basically saying that the statistics underlying Holland's arguments in the 2007 paper are off. Way off.

So bad, in fact, that the way in which Holland draws his conclusions about the relationship between Atlantic sea surface temperatures and hurricane activity could also be used to conclude there's a meaningful relationship between Atlantic sea surface temperatures and five-year running means of:

* The number of Republican Party members in the U.S. House

* The number of years since the crowning of a new pope

* The number of games the New York Yankees won in the current season

* A random number between zero and one

If that weren't bad enough, Aberson concludes his paper with the following lecture: "The clear need for timely scientific results should not be a reason for shortcuts in the scientific process; correct statistical analyses must be performed to determined the likelihood that the hypothesis tested is valid".

In other words, he's saying something like "Hey Greg: Stop drawing preconceived conclusions about an important issue based upon an incomplete dataset." It's almost as if Aberson's channeling Voltaire in that passage.


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