Sunday, March 29, 2009

Joe Romm: Chief Warmist censor -- attacks Freeman Dyson

As usual with the Green/Left, Romm substitutes abuse for rational argument. He has to. It would in fact be amusing to see him debate the facts with Freeman Dyson. He wouldn't last 5 minutes. Dyson has forgotten more science than Romm ever knew -- making the whole attack rather amusing, on the whole: The midget attacks the mountain. Many critics of Warmism are in fact eminent scientists -- against whom mere propagandists like Romm and Al Gore make a sorry contrast. As far as I can see, Romm has NO scientific achievements to his credit. His life after graduating has been wholly political

A profile of Freeman Dyson has attracted the wrath of Joe Romm. Follow the bolded words below to see what passes for intelligent discourse on Climate Progress, Joe Romm’s allegedly “indispensable blog” (as Tom Friedman inexplicably put it several weeks back):
Shame on the New York Times Magazine for publishing an extended, largely favorable profile of Freeman Dyson, a true climate crackpot …”

Shame on them for printing his scientifically unjustifiable slanders of the country’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen …”

“And shame on the NYT’s top climate science reporter, Andy Revkin for promoting this piece on his blog with not a single criticism of Dyson’s numerous anti-scientific statements and smears . . . I call on Revkin to retract his absurdly indefensible assertion that, ‘On climate, Mr. Dyson may be right . . . (see full quote at end)’”

Romm betrays himself with the editing of Revkin’s sentence; more about that in a minute. But first… Romm aims his wrath at the New York Times for publishing a profile of Freeman Dyson in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and, of course, at one of his favorite whipping boys, Andy Revkin, for writing about the profile dispassionately in his DotEarth blog.

In Joe Romm’s logic, anyone who disagrees with him is guilty of “smears” and “slander,” as opposed to simply offering an opinion, which, well, may be right or wrong. It’s not good enough for Romm to argue passionately against a point of view. For anyone with the chutzpah to advance an argument he disagrees with, Romm seems compelled to use taunts and epithets. He also frequently ties this tactic with the demand that a writer or publication “retract” what they’ve published. One gets the sense that honest debate is not Romm’s goal, but quite the opposite: the shutting down of free expression. And in my opinion, this makes him the entirely dispensable censor.

Romm reveals just how dispensable his blog really is with his editing of Revkin’s sentence — editing that was clearly intended to twist Andy’s original meaning to leave his readers with a false impression. Here is the full sentence, minus Romm’s excisions: “On climate, Mr. Dyson may be right or wrong, and pretty much admits that.”

Yes, Romm did direct his readers to Revkin’s blog to see the “full quote at end.” But how many will actually take the extra steps to do that? Not many. If Romm really was interested in truth he would have have included the six extra words in that sentence.

I suspect that something other than a pursuit of the truth and healthy debate is at work here. What might that be? Let’s string together the strong words from his post, one after the other: shame; slanders; shame; shame; smears; absurdly indefensible; loopy; famous crackpot camp; outlandish; crackpot; rant and rave; loopiness; slander-fest; uncivil, unjustified ravings; crackpots. (Did I catch them all?)

And then this: “Shame on the NYT, shame on the reporter, Nicholas Dawidoff, for publishing this crackpot’s crap for millions to read and possibly think is credible”

I believe psychologists have a word for Romm’s unseemly behavior: “projection.” (Or possibly ”transference“?)


Some scientists are cool to the warming idea

For some people the global warming debate has gone as cold as these late March days; there isn’t one anymore. But for two scientists scheduled to speak in Racine next week, it might as well be the heat of August. Willie Soon, a physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and David Legates, an associate professor of climatology at the University of Delaware, don’t buy into the prevailing hypothesis that all the carbon dioxide we’re adding to the atmosphere will in just a few decades warm the earth and cause drastic changes in the weather.

For the first 14 of his 19 years in science, Soon said he conducted research on the sun without thinking about the role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, quietly publishing scientific papers that opposed mainstream thought on global warming. In the last five years, he said, his conscience drove him to start speaking out. His work has led him to the conclusion that solar radiation, the sun shining on the earth, is the driving force in what other scientists believe is global warming. He suggests that the waxing and waning of the sun’s power, as reflected in sunspot cycles, can account for changes in the global climate history.

Legates’ objection to human-caused global warming lies with the lack of warming in the last decade. That suggests that some other force is acting on the climate, he said. He is troubled by the computer models which don’t reflect the real world, and he said that some of those predictive models assume extraordinary amounts of carbon dioxide because that’s the only way the model will produce a trend.

Soon and Legates also take issue with the current scientific system. No one will truly engage him in discussion of the science, Soon said; everything descends into personal attacks. “They’re not willing to criticize my work and point out the errors. That’s the problem. I don’t know what is wrong with my argument,” he said.

Legates said many scientists who don’t necessarily agree with human-caused warming remain silent because it keeps research money flowing and because most want quiet lives. Both suggested there is a problem of group-think in climate science. As the editor of a journal, Legates said, he could publish just about anything by picking the reviewers carefully. “You can’t simply can’t declare the debate’s over,” Legates said. “We’re not anywhere close to that point.”

“I think that skepticism is healthy in the scientific process,” said Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist for climatic research at the Gaylord Nelson Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I think it would be very dangerous if everyone had the same view and didn’t question each other.”

Although not an expert in solar radiation, he said he does keep up on the field and everything he’s read discounts the sun as a force in global warming. Computer climate models are necessarily simplifications, and the large amounts of carbon dioxide used in them are not to find a trend but to account for all the other greenhouse gases, Vavrus said. As to recent ups and downs, he said, there is always natural variability in the climate system.

If one just reads the science in the reports from the International Panel on Climate Change, he said, it’s overwhelming. Likewise there are few naysayers at conferences because most scientists have come to the conclusion that carbon dioxide generated by humans is the major factor in global warming, he said.

What Soon describes as personal attacks are unfortunate, Vavrus said. “You know, I’d be interested in getting together with the two of them and having a beer and chatting about some of these things if we could keep it from getting personal, because I’m interested in their experiences in sticking their necks out and being such skeptics because I know it’s such a tough road for them.”

“On the other hand, scientists love to prove each other wrong,” he said. That is so ingrained in scientists that it serves as a check on pressures to conform, he said.


Indiana governor critical of new environmental laws

Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a Friday morning stop in Linton that he is proud that the state has stepped up and passed historic coal legislation that he says is good news for the economy in Greene, Sullivan and other southern Indiana communities. Daniels signed a bill into law Tuesday that allows the state's finance authority to negotiate long-term contracts to buy and sell synthetic natural gas from a planned southern Indiana coal-gasification plant.

The governor said the law will save Indiana's natural gas users billions of dollars by ensuring a steady supply of synthetic natural gas free of the price fluctuations of the natural gas market.... Much of the coal will come from the new Peabody Coal Company Bear Pit surface mine that will open later this year south of Dugger....

"These plants will deliver savings to rate payers over time because the long-term cost of coal will be less than the long term cost of natural gas. So what do you get -- a ton of jobs and we pay ourselves instead of someone else for the coal. It's essentially as clean as nuclear and wind power and all of these other things and it's savings to rate payers. It's a really good deal. I've been working on this for three years, so if I sound fired up, I am."

The governor urged Hoosiers to pay attention to a federal movement originating with the current administration in Washington D.C. of what is being suggested in the name of "climate controls" is what he called a "horrible threat to Greene County (and) to all of Indiana."

"The way it is being suggested is this carbon tax will be paid on your utility bills and would more than double utility bills in this state," Daniels said, and pointed out this would hurt the state's ability to attract new business and hinder jobs creation.

"What this is beginning to smell like is a plan that will tax the living day lights out of the Midwest so they can spend money on whatever (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi has in mind in California," Daniels stressed. "I'm hoping that this whole climate change freight train is slowing down a little bit. They (the administration) is determined to do this thing. I've talked to (Senators) Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar about this and I think they are aware of the dangers."

The governor pointed out that jobs and the economy continue to be a concern. He noted that the state is among the leaders in the Midwest in creating new jobs, but are losing far too many other manufacturing jobs as the recession tightens.


Texas education board's global warming standards irk Green Fascists

Must not question them! Textbook requirements question whether AGW exists but also push students to explore its implications

The State Board of Education on Friday adopted standards on the teaching of global warming that appear to both question its existence and prod students to explore its implications.

Language that instructed students to "analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming," which had been offered as an amendment and was adopted unanimously in an initial vote Thursday, led to outrage among environmental groups. "In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science," said Ramon Alvarez, a senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund.

The chairman of the state board, Don McLeroy, called the standards "perfectly good." "Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey," McLeroy said.

But the state board approved standards that engage some of the underlying causes and effects of global warming, including one that calls on students to "analyze the empirical relationship between the emissions of carbon dioxide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and the average global temperature trends over the past 150 years" and another to "describe the effect of pollution on global warming, glacial and ice cap melting, greenhouse effect, ozone layer, and aquatic viability."

The current standards, which were adopted about a decade ago, barely touch on climate change.

"Asking students to independently discover the relationship between ice melting and global warming is important," said James Canup, executive director of the Texas League of Conservation Voters. "But the main message coming out of there is that Texas is setting a bad standard by putting question marks next to global warming in the textbooks."


Alaska: Drowning in the snows of Kotzebue

It's March now, how March should be-blue and sunny, twenty to thirty below in the morning with daytime highs rising to zero. Winter is slipping into memory, but we still have the drifts around Kotzebue to remind us.

January brought a longer-than-usual stretch of 30 and 40 below weather. We got restless, on the verge of cabin fever. We thought we deserved a break. Then the storms came, blizzards after blizzard--so often that we might as well have painted our windows white. Not that the paint would have stayed on.

Kotzebue is supposed to be stormy, but this year was more like drowning-we'd get a blow, and if we were lucky have a day to come up for air and shovel out, and then get hit with it again.

Much more HERE

Australia: 'Extinct' possums back from the dead

There are MILLIONS of possums in Australia and New Zealand. "Brushtail" possums commonly live in the roof spaces of older houses in Brisbane, where they make a considerable racket. It is hard to imagine how noisy such small animals can be. They sound like a thundering herd of elephants when they run about on my ceiling at times. Visitors from South are often greatly alarmed by the noise they make there and look dubious when you tell them that it is "just possums". Most Brisbane people are used to them, however. Nonetheless possum removal experts do a good trade. The fact that the slightly different species described below is so rare almost certainly indicates that it has been out-competed by the more adaptable common "brushtail" species and was headed for extinction anyway.

Although they are only about the size of a small cat, Australia's possums (a different but related species to the American opossum) are remarkably fearless of humans, which is rather endearing and gives rise to the Australia expression of "Stir the possum". If you disturb them they will often snap back rather than run away. That fearlessness is probably bad for them in New Zealand, however. New Zealanders hate them and do all they can to kill them. The fact that there are probably more possums in New Zealand than there are people might have something to do with that. But I certainly enjoy it when I am having an evening meal on my verandah and a possum comes strolling past along the telecoms cable that runs above the street in front of my house. They are remarkably confident little animals and seem to do a high wire act with total ease

And I can vouch for the fact that Australia's "brushtail" possums are marsupials. I got quite a clear view of the marsupium of a female possum while sitting at my dinner table recently. There is a mulberry tree that abuts onto my verandah and possums often leap about in it quite unconcerned about the nearby human presence. It is always a great pleasure to see them there. And I live in an old inner-city area, not in any kind of rural setting. But Australian inner city areas tend to be pleasant, leafy places. I also see wild turkeys about the place a lot

A POSSUM population believed to have been wiped out by climate change is in fact clinging to survival, scientists say. Researchers say they have discovered three living brown lemuroid ringtail possums in the Daintree National Park, on Cape York, although the Daintree possums were believed to have been killed off during a heat wave in 2005.

No white lemuroid possums - which once accounted for 40 per cent of the lemuroid possum population in the area - have been located so far.

But Associate Professor Steve Williams of James Cook University said there was no reason to believe they wouldn't have survived alongside their brown relatives. "I don't think there is any reason to believe the white ones are harder hit than the brown ones," he said.

Lemuroid ringtail possums are found in just two locations, at the Carbine Tablelands in the Daintree and in the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns, though white lemuroids are extremely rare in the latter location.

Prof Williams said the Daintree possums had not been spotted since an extended heatwave in 2005, leading to the belief that they had been pushed to extinction by climate change. He said the species could not cope with extended periods of temperatures over 27 degrees.

"Over the last 50 years, the number of days where you get that temperature has been steadily increasing, to the point that in 2005 there were 27 consecutive days where the temperature went above that threshold," he said. "That seems to have really knocked them down."

Prof Williams said the species still hadn't been found in locations where they had been common and his research team would try to identify why they had survived in the current location.

He said the possums remained extremely vulnerable and another heatwave could wipe them out. "I don't think they are out of danger in any shape or form. It is very clear that these heatwaves are steadily increasing," he said. [And where is the evidence for that? It is just a creed he is uttering]



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: