Thursday, March 26, 2009

St. Andrews University: Global Warming Loses in Formal Debate

AGW supporters could not argue facts, had to insult instead -- as usual

By Richard Courtney

I write to report on a debate that defeated the motion "This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis" during a meeting of the St Andrews University Debating Society. It is difficult to arrange a debate of anthropogenic (that is, man-made) global warming (AGW) because few proponents of AGW are willing to face such debate. They know from past experience that they always lose such debates because there is no evidence that AGW exists and much evidence that it does not.

However, on Wednesday 4 March 2009, the St Andrews University Debating Society held their debate of the motion, "This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis" in the Old Parliament Building, St Andrews. The debate was organized and presided over with exemplary efficiency and professionalism by the Speaker of the Society, Ms Jessica Siegel. It was conducted with all the pomp and ceremony that could be expected of an ancient society of so ancient and prestigious a university.

And the debate was lively, informative and entertaining. It got emotional at times. Some of the contributions from the floor were of exceptionally high quality. But, it was somewhat spoiled by the weakness of the proponents of the motion. (I have good reason to suspect this weakness is because stronger speakers could not be obtained to propose the motion. If so, then it is yet another example of leading proponents of AGW fearing to face their critics in open debate).

The proponents of the motion were Ross Finnie MSP, former Scottish Government Minister for Environment and Rural Development; Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland; Gregory Norminton, Novelist `Serious Things', Environmental Activist, Founder of `Alliance against Urban 4x4s'

The motion was opposed by myself, and Nils-Axel Morner, Leader of the Maldives International Sea-Level Project who was awarded the `Golden Contrite of Merits' by Algarve University, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Former advisor to then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and now an Investigator of Scientific Frauds.

Each speaker was given a strict maximum of 7 minutes to speak. The speakers would alternate between proponents and opponents of the motion until all 6 had spoken. No speaker was allowed to speak more than once except to raise a point of information, order, or etc.

The proponents had clearly not prepared. They were not co-ordinated in their presentations, they each lacked any significant knowledge of the science of AGW, and they each assumed that AGW is a fact. None of them made a substantial presentation of arguments supporting the motion, and they all (including the politician!) lacked adequate skills at public speaking. The opponents of the motion were a sharp contrast to that. They each have significant expertise in their subject, and they had agreed the case they were to put and how they were to put it. Also, they are all very competent public speakers and their very different styles made their presentation much better than the sum of its parts.

Finnie spoke first. He argued that AGW is a fact because the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) that says the IPCC is "90% certain" that AGW exists. From this he claimed there is a "crisis" because governments are failing to give the matter sufficient importance. It is necessary for governments to decide a treaty that would follow-on from the Kyoto Ptotocol that intends to constrain emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) but ends in 2012. The decision needs to be made at a meeting later this year.

I replied by outlining the case for the opposition. My speech is copied here. It asserts that governments do need to have policies on climate change but empirical evidence denies the existence of AGW and so there is no need to constrain fossil fuel emissions. Indeed, the harm caused by the emission constraints would be greater than any harm that AGW could induce if it were to exist.

Robinson's response was very angry. He seemed to think attacking the opposition speakers would provide a victory for the motion. Almost his entire speech was attempted defamation of the opposition speakers. Within seconds of starting to speak he had accused them of being "like supporters of the Nazis in 1930s Germany" (my family lost everything in the blitz so I did not take kindly to that). The speakers on the opposition side "could not get anything published in peer-reviewed journals" (Morner and I each shouted out that we have and we do). And much of the same. He said people and governments must act to stop global warming (but he did not say how they should act) because - according to him - if a person had an elevated temperature of 2 degrees then he would die so we cannot let the Earth get 2 degrees hotter in case that kills the Earth.

Morner then gave a witty, entertaining and informative lecture on sea level change. The major potential threat from AGW is severe sea-level change. He interacted with the audience and selected one individual to jape with (his skill at this selection was later demonstrated when that individual stood and gave a speech that won the prize - of a Society neck-tie - for best speech from the floor). Morner presented data that showed sea level is not rising as a result of AGW at a detectable rate anywhere.

Norminton then spoke to conclude the case for the proponents of the motion. Like Finnie he seemed to be extremely nervous: both were shaking during their presentations. Norminton's hand was shaking so much he put it into his pocket. (I know others interpret this to be nervousness, but I think it was extreme anger: Norminton had not expected any opposition to the motion, and the assertion of clear evidence that AGW does not exist was - to him - an outrage too hard to accept.) Also, like Finnie, he did not address the motion. He said he was not a scientist so he had to accept the word of scientists about global warming and scientists agree that global warming is real and man-made. He said, the speakers on the opposition side were "not scientists". Lord Monckton interjected that "Courtney and Morner are". And Norminton replied, "So was Mengele." Monckton raised a Point of Order demanding withdrawal of the remark. Norminton lacked the wit to withdraw and move on, so he refused to withdraw. Monckton persisted pressing the Point of Order and Norminton continued to refuse to withdraw. Only moments before Morner had made himself the lecturer the students would most like to have, and support for Norminton drained away as he insisted that Morner was akin to a murderer operating in a Nazi concentration camp. Norminton continued by saying the threat of global warming was real, and it was killing polar bears, but it is not clear that anybody was listening to him.

Monckton then summated the case for the opposition. He had not prepared a speech but took notes of the proponents' speeches with a view to refuting arguments of the proponents that Morner and myself had not covered, and by defending the opposition case against rebuttals of its arguments. This was a deliberate use by our side of Monckton's debating skills. But he had a problem because the proponents of the motion had not made a case and they had not addressed any of our arguments. Instead, they had made personal attacks on the opposition speakers, and they had asserted - with no evidence or argument - that the IPCC is right. So, Monckton's summarizing speech consisted of evidence that the proponents of the motion had merely provided errors of logic and fact but they had not a case. He pointed out that polar bears had quadrupled their number in recent decades and this was not a sign that their species is threatened. And he cited and named each of the logical fallacies utilized by the proponents of the motion.

The debate then opened to the floor. Four persons each spoke well. One gave a balanced presentation and the other three spoke in favour of the motion. But by then the debate had been settled. Prior to the debate the opponents of the motion had expected to lose the vote because the students have been exposed to a lifetime (i.e. their short lifetime) of pro-AGW propaganda. We consoled ourselves with the certainty that we would win the arguments because opponents of AGW have all the facts on our side. But in the event we won both. The motion was defeated when put to the vote.


El Nino study challenges global warming intensity link

Research showing an El Nino event in 1918 was far stronger than previously thought is challenging the notion climate change is making El Nino episodes more intense, a U.S. scientist said on Tuesday. El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modelling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation. The outcome of the research was valuable for several reasons, Giese told Reuters from Perth in Western Australia. "It questions the notion that El Ninos have been getting stronger because of global warming," he said ahead of a presentation of his team's research at a major climate change conference in Perth.

The 1918 event also co-incided with one of India's worst droughts of the 20th century. "We know that El Ninos and drought in India are often related to each other," he said.

El Nino is an abnormal warming of the surface waters in the eastern Pacific off South America that causes the normally rainy weather in the western Pacific to shift further to the east. This causes drought in parts of Australia, Southeast Asia and India as well as flooding in Chile and Peru, colder and wetter winters in the southern United States and fewer Atlantic hurricanes.

The droughts in Australia of 1982-83 and 1997-98 rank among the worst in the nation's modern history. Drought also occurred in eastern Australia from 1918-20.

Giese said his team ran a complex ocean computer model that, for the first time, used the results of a separate atmospheric model produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The result was a simulation of ocean temperatures, currents and other measures from 1908 to 1958. For 1918, the simulation produced a strong abnormal surface warming in the central Pacific and weaker warming nearer the South American coast.

There were very few measurements of the tropical Pacific during 1918, the last year of World War One, and ship-based measurements along the South American coast suggested only a weak El Nino. This, Giese said, reinforced the point that there is limited data about El Ninos prior to the 1950s and that computer models were one way to get a clearer picture of the past.

"We cannot rely on what El Nino looks like today to try to understand what El Nino patterns looked like in the past." "It makes it a challenge to talk about El Nino and global warming because we simply don't have a detailed record," he added.


An interesting question and answer below about the study above:

Q. Out of curiosity, as this study uses computer models, what makes its conclusion any more reliable than those by the alarmists which use such models? As we contend that much of the AGW theory is based on unproven computer models, I want to make sure we're not using computer models to refute conclusions ascertained FROM computer models. What makes Giese's models or methodology more reliable than those employed by studies supporting AGW?

A. The Giese computer studies examined real-world events to compare them. What was compared? We have heard it said, “the 1998 El Nino event was particularly severe. This event wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t have AGW. We haven’t seen any El Nino events like this in the past.”

Giese compared the 1998 El Nino event with the 1918 El Nino event, and examined changes that occurred because of the warming effects of the El Nino’s. The studies showed, that all other things being equal, and even removing supposed differences that arose because of AGW, the there is no basis to say, “the El Nino of 1998 was made worse by AGW.”

So in the Giese study, computers were used to analyze data – not to make projections. On the other hand, the Generalized Circulation Models GCM used by the IPCC to make projections of future climate use information they know or assume to be “forcing” the climate, they order these forcing, and they project what the future climate will be like. In doing so, the modelers add their own bias about the potential effects of AGW, which pretty much turn out to outstrip everything else (so they claim) – thus, this is not an objective use of computer modeling.

In the one case – we have somebody’s bias included for what the computer studies purports to show (or predict); and in the other case, we don’t.

New Report Predicts "New Global Ice Age" has announced the addition of Unit Economics' new report "The New Global Ice Age," to their collection of Energy/Environment market reports. For more information, visit here.

Abstract of Unit Economics' Report: "New Global Ice Age"

"At first glance, a research piece predicting significantly colder weather seems rather bold. In reality, we're very confident about this report. That's because we are not so much predicting colder weather, but are instead observing it. More important, we're attempting to coax our readers to view recent weather data and trends with a neutral perspective -- unbiased by the constant barrage of misinformation about global warming. We assure you, based on the accuracy of climatologists' long-term (and short-term!) forecasts, you would not even hire them!

"For example, in 1923 a Chicago Tribune headline proclaimed: 'Scientist says arctic ice will wipe out Canada.' By 1952, the New York Times declared 'Melting glaciers are the trump card of global warming.' In 1974, Time Magazine ran a feature article predicting 'Another Ice Age,' echoed in a Newsweek article the following year. Clearly, the recent history of climate prediction inspires little confidence -- despite its shrillness. Why, then, accept the global warming thesis at face value? Merely because it is so pervasive?

"Unfettered by the Gore-Tex straitjacket of global warming dogma, one might ask some obvious questions. Why, in 2008, did Toronto, the Midwest United States, India, China, the United Kingdom and several areas of Europe all break summer rainfall records? Why was South Africa converted into a 'winter wonderland' this past September? Why did Alaska record its coldest summer this year -- cold enough for ice packs and glaciers to grow for the first time in measured history? Why has sea ice achieved record levels in recent months? Lastly, why did a rare October snow fall on London, on the 29th, as British Parliament debated -- appropriately enough -- a climate bill? If you don't believe that 2008 has been particularly wet and cold, you've most likely contracted typhoid or you haven't been paying attention.

"The reality is that there are forces at work, already affecting the weather for the past two years, that will make the next twelve years significantly cooler than anything we have seen in past decades. This report explores these forces and provides a roadmap of what to expect as the new ice age unfolds."


People still being sacrificed to climate god

Back in 1500, we learn from a Princeton professor, the Aztecs figured the climate debate was over, and that if you wanted rain or sunshine, it was simple enough what you had to do - sacrifice 20,000 lives a year to the right gods. In 2009, it's an equally sure thing in the minds of some that carbon in the air is going to fry us unless we put the welfare of millions on the line, and here is the latest on President Obama's plan - it could cost industry $2 trillion over eight years.

That hefty sum to be paid out to a cap-and-trade carbon tax would snatch money from consumers far more than rising oil prices did, hinder economic growth and in still other ways generate human misery, and all in the name of what? Computer models that can't get anything right, that's what.

Scientists feed tons of data into these simulating computers, and - given the doomsday theory animating the enterprise - it shouldn't surprise anyone that catastrophic warming is a calculation that then emerges. The problem is that all kinds of stuff is left out because there is a lot we do not know. "Over the past 10 years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling," physicist William Happer recently told the Senate. "This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models," he said, referring to the conclusions of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on=2 0Climate Change.

Happer does not deny that the earth is warming, that increased amounts of carbon dioxide are being pumped into the atmosphere, that there is in fact something you can call a greenhouse effect or that the leveling temperatures of the past decade are still high. He doubts, however, that there's a scientific consensus on a disastrous outcome or that carbon dioxide is the villain it's made out to be.

A professor at Princeton, Happer said "90 percent of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor," and that the issue is whether the carbon dioxide will "substantially increase water's contribution" to causing something awful. The evidence is that it won't, said Happer, pointing out that "the current warming period began about 1800, at the end of the little ice age," when there wasn't a big increase in carbon dioxide.

It wasn't fossil fuels that did the warming deed - a good deed, by the way - and a war against these energy-producing, societal benefactors would therefore be as futile in controlling climate as slicing open bodies and ripping out hearts.

But what if skeptics like Happer are wrong? If there is a possibility of error, some argue, we should err on the side of safety, and that might be true if a carbon tax was not itself a peril and if it was not clear by now that we are putting global-warming garbage into computers, getting garbage out of them and that some are then treating that garbage like a god.


Global Warming Alarmists Propose Limiting Population ... to the Point of Extinction

In a statistical study entitled "Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals," published in Global Environmental Change by Murtaugh and Shlax of Oregon State University, and again published here , the authors propose that the potential savings from reduced reproduction rates among humans are some 20 times more effective than the savings wrought by life style changes.

It is clear that the authors follow the Liberal mantra of the ends justify the means. If we can reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of children, then we should do it, they gloat. It appears that carbon reductions trump even "life" itself. They summarize:

Much attention has been paid to the ways that people's home energy use, travel, food choices and other routine activities affect their emissions of carbon dioxide and, ultimately, their contributions to global warming. However, the reproductive choices of an individual are rarely incorporated into calculations of his personal impact on the environment. Here we estimate the extra emissions of fossil carbon dioxide that an average individual causes when he or she chooses to have children. The summed emissions of a person's descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions produced by the original parent. Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions. A person's reproductive choices must be considered along with his day-to-day activities when assessing his ultimate impact on the global environment.

The following very compelling video analysis explains the study in some detail:

By the authors' desires, if we would limit every couple to having only one child, we would solve the Global Warming problem for every one. Again, humanity itself is the cause of all the woe, and the best thing for us to do is just stop procreating -- or just drop dead. Living human beings are bad for the planet.

Indeed, the authors purposely fail to mention that their proposal puts humanity on a fast-tack extinction curve, as reproduction rates fall below population replacement rates. Surely, as statisticians they know this well. Within a few generations, there wouldn't be any one around to measure, least wise care, about carbon emissions. We would all be dead.

But golly, we would save the planet! Just goes to show you, Liberals are all about death and destruction. They absolutely live for it!

I've got a thought, why not have liberals first show us how it's done.. Go ahead liberals -- take the lead in this thing. Limit your own population first, and the rest of us might, "maybe," consider what you have to say.


California to reduce carbon emissions by... banning black cars?!?

Henry Ford would be horrified!

In a move that will likely get California's consumers in a huff, impending legislation may soon restrict the paint color options for Golden State residents looking for their next new vehicle. The specific colors that are currently on the chopping block are all dark hues, with the worst offender seemingly the most innocuous color you could think of: Black. What could California possibly have against these colors, you ask? Apparently, the California Air Resources Board figures that the climate control systems of dark colored cars need to work harder than their lighter siblings - especially after sitting in the sun for a few hours. Anyone living in a hot, sunny climate will tell you that this assumption is accurate, of course. In fact, legislation already exists for buildings that has proven successful at reducing the energy consumption of skyscrapers.

So, what's the crux of the problem... can't paint suppliers just come up with new, less heat-absorbent dark paints? According to Ward's, suppliers have reportedly been testing their pigments and processes to see if it's possible to meet CARB's proposed mandate of 20% solar reflectivity by 2016 with a phase-in period starting in 2012, and things aren't looking good. Apparently, when the proper pigments and chemicals are added to black paint, the resulting color is currently being referred to as "mud-puddle brown." That doesn't sound very attractive, now does it? Windshields, backlights and sunroofs are also slated to get reflective coatings starting in 2012.

When we first heard of this issue, an internal debate immediately began as to whether this might be an elaborate early April Fool's joke, but it isn't. Read through CARB's complete Cool Cars Standards and Test Procedures here (PDF link) for more



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1 comment:

matt zx said...

The posts on this site just keep getting better, wish i could have been at the st andrews debate !