Thursday, April 02, 2009


Sent by Peter Lilley [], a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament

You recently slipped out, without notifying Parliament, a massive revision of the estimated costs and benefits of the Climate Change Act. I hope that on consideration, you will agree that changes amounting to nearly £1 trillion require both discussion in, and explanation to, Parliament. This is particularly important given the extraordinary way the government treated its own original estimates of the costs and benefits of the Climate Change Bill during the Bill’s passage through Parliament.

You will recall that your original estimates of costs and benefits of the Climate Change Bill showed that its potential costs (1) at some £205 billion were almost twice the maximum benefits of £110 billion. This was embarrassing for you because the reason governments are required to publish an Impact Assessment giving estimates of costs and benefits of any Bill is to enable Parliament to “determine whether the benefits justify the costs” (2).

In this case, on the basis of your figures, they clearly did not. Moreover, your initial calculations were based on the original target of reducing emissions by 60%, which was increased to 80% during the passage of the Bill. Normally each extra percentage reduction will require increasing marginal costs and generate declining marginal benefits. So the higher target was likely to make the disparity between costs and benefits even worse. You nonetheless ignored your own department’s figures, refused to discuss them and proceeded to drive the Bill through – surely the first time any government has recommended Parliament to vote for a Bill which its own Assessment showed could cost far more than the maximum benefits?

However, you promised to produce revised estimates though, rather bizarrely, not in time for Parliament to consider them but after Royal Assent. Five months have passed since then. Inevitably such a lengthy delay arouses suspicions – aggravated by the scale of the changes – that the figures have had to be heavily massaged to remove the original embarrassment. The new figures for both costs and benefits have indeed been changed dramatically. As so often in the debate on Global Warming – when the facts don’t fit the theory they change the facts.

As recently as your last departmental question time on 5th March your Minister of State, Joan Ruddock, suggested to me that the original estimate of potential costs of up to £205 billion might be too high. She said “We are likely to find that the costs, which covered a very large range, were exaggerated…” Yet despite correcting for any previous downward bias the revised figures you have now published are not lower but substantially higher. The bottom of the new range for costs is in fact £324 billion – nearly 60% higher than the highest figure I have been quoting. And the top of the range is now £404 billion. In other words the government now estimates that the Climate Change Act will cost every household in the country between £16,000 and £20,000 each.

When it comes to your revised estimates of the benefits, however, we enter Alice in Wonderland territory. Even though costs have broadly doubled, the embarrassment of them exceeding your own estimate of the maximum benefits has been eliminated. The benefits have been dramatically increased tenfold from £105 billion to over £1 trillion. I congratulate on finding nearly £1 trillion of benefits which had previously escaped your notice.

But surely such an astounding discovery merits explanation? The one element of the revision which is mentioned appears, of itself, to justify doubling estimates based on the previous methodology. But where did the rest of the newly discovered benefits arise from?

As you know, having studied physics at Cambridge, I do not dispute the existence of a greenhouse effect, though I am sceptical about the model building which seeks to amplify it. I support sensible measures to reduce CO2 emissions, economise on hydrocarbon use and help the poorest countries adapt to adverse climate change whatever it cause – as long as the measures we adopt are sensible and cost effective. But we cannot judge what is sensible and cost effective if we do not have reliable figures, and subject them to proper parliamentary scrutiny.

When the Department slips out figures which it appears to be unable to explain, unwilling to debate and which are so flaky they vary by a factor of ten - it can only provoke scepticism. I should be grateful if you could answer the following questions:

1) When will Parliament be given an opportunity to discuss these new figures?

2) What is the explanation of the huge revisions in costs and, more particularly, benefits?

3) Why has it taken five months to produce these revised figures?

4) What is the purpose of publishing Impact Assessments which are ignored or not available until after Parliament has considered a Bill?

5) Which minister signed off the required declaration that the original Impact Assessment “represented a reasonable view of the likely costs, benefits and impact”?

6) Can you confirm that the costs of the Climate Change Act amount to between £16,000 and £20,000 for every UK household?

7) Can you confirm that the revised cost estimates still exclude transitional costs (which could amount to 1% of GDP up to 2020), ignore the cost of driving British firms overseas, and assume that all businesses identify and immediately apply the most carbon efficient technology available?

8) Can you confirm that although the costs of the Act will fall on UK households the benefits will largely accrue to the rest of the world?

9) Can you confirm that the Climate Change Act binds UK governments to pursue the targets regardless of whether other countries follow our lead (or indeed whether the climate warms or not)?


(1) Cost estimates exclude transitional costs which were put at about 1% of GDP until 2020, omit the cost of driving carbon intensive UK industries abroad which was said to be significantly likely, and assume that businesses will identify and implement immediately the optimum new carbon efficient technologies.

(2) Impact Assessment Guidance - BERR


An email from DuPree Moore []

The legitimate arguments of climate science are very simple, because scientists do not know enough to prove complex arguments. They cannot perform controlled experiments in the atmosphere. They cannot change the configuration of the atmosphere. They cannot repeat the time sequence to measure the effects of various configurations. All they can do is to record climate data as it occurs, and then examine the historical record for correlations. Any well-trained 12-year-old can understand this evidence.

The astute questions raised by your reader show that he understands the debate better than most of the scientists involved in it. For all their incomprehensible equations and computer models, most of those scientists could not ask these basic questions, much less answer them, at least not if we judge by their published gibberish. Because the climate change project arose artificially through political considerations, rather than through the natural evolution of science, no one has ever done the basic physics to test the simplest and most fundamental assumptions of this debate.

To address one of his questions, there is no doubt that an actual glass greenhouse works by blocking convection rather than by trapping radiation. Unlike the case with the atmosphere, we can construct greenhouses with various configurations and take measurements. If we permit convection while continuing to trap radiation, temperature inside the greenhouse equalizes with temperature outside. Already we have expounded more real science than is found in all the publications of the IPCC. This does not necessarily prove that the atmospheric greenhouse theory is wrong; it merely proves that the theory is mis-named. But it does prove that convection is a very important mechanism, perhaps the most important mechanism, for regulating the Earth's temperature.

Greenhouse gases absorb radiation. They have no especial effect on convection and conduction. As I casually read through the experiments with greenhouses, I get the impression that radiation is not a significant factor, which would mean that greenhouse gases are not a significant factor. But the only way to settle the question is to perform experiments and take measurements in the atmosphere, and those experiments are forever beyond our reach.

The only evidence we have or can have is the historical climate record. That record shows no causal correlation between CO2 and temperature. The statement is true on every time scale- millennia, centuries, or decades. For five of the last seven decades, temperature has decreased while CO2 increased. Most of the warming for the 20th century occurred before 1940; most of the increase in CO2 occurred after 1940. A well-trained 12-year-old could win this debate.

There is so much uncertainty and ignorance in climate science that the global warming theory, the global cooling theory, or any other off-the-wall theory could be true regardless of the evidence. But it is insanity to strangle the world's energy supply based on computer models which are contradicted by all the empirical evidence.

The models are not even governed by rigorous mathematics. Run the same data through the same model repeatedly, and you get a wide range of different results. The range of error for a computer climate model has nothing to do with empirical reality. It describes the uncertainty in the mathematics itself. Relative to the actual climate, the range of error of a computer climate model is literally 100%.

As I learn more about the declining quality of science education, I realize that it is plausible that the younger scientists really are this incompetent; but the older ones have no such excuse. We must reluctantly
begin to question their integrity.


PRESS RELEASE from Senator Thune's office below. Contact: Kyle Downey (202) 228-5939 for enquiries. Roger Pielke Jr. remarks that: "The ability of Congressional legislation on cap and trade to result in actual emissions reductions was dealt a serious blow" by the Thune amendment

Thune Offers Cap and Trade Energy Amendment

– Thune Amendment Seeks To Protect Consumers from Increase in Energy Rates –

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator John Thune today offered the first amendment to the Democratic budget that would prohibit the collection of funds from any future cap and trade proposal if that proposal would increase electricity rates and gasoline prices for American households and businesses.

“As American families and businesses are struggling to make ends meet during our current economic downturn, the last thing we should do is arbitrarily increase the cost of energy and basic goods and services,” said Thune. “Cap and trade legislation that results in an increase in energy costs is a tax on every American, young and old, rich and poor. It will result in increased costs for basic goods and services such as food and clothing in addition to energy.”

Last week, a hearing of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission determined that cap and trade would increase the cost of electricity for South Dakotans by a minimum of 41 percent.

A 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of a proposal that is similar to President Obama’s cap and trade framework concluded that every American family would face an increase of up to $3,128 in their utility bills annually by 2015.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle prior to his election, President Obama stated that under his cap and trade plan “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Peter Orszag, the President’s Budget Director, testified before Congress in 2007 that utility providers would ultimately have to pass the costs of cap and trade on to consumers. He says that in addition to electricity, gasoline consumers would face higher prices as well.

In September 2008, Director Orszag testified before the House Committee on Ways and Means that an increase in energy prices would be a larger burden for middle and lower income families.

“As a candidate, President Obama promised not to raise taxes for middle class families. Higher energy prices that will result from cap and trade amount to exactly that: a regressive tax increase at the worst possible time,” added Thune.

Senator Thune’s amendment is especially important because numerous Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have expressed an interest in “fast tracking” a cap and trade plan via the budget reconciliation process. The budget proposal currently before the House of Representatives allows for reconciliation which effectively opens the door for a cap and trade proposal being included as part of any final budget that is put together – despite the fact that the budget currently before the Senate does not include any budget reconciliation language.

Senator Thune and his Republican colleagues will offer a series of amendments to the Democrat budget in an effort to provide alternative solutions that benefit taxpayers and reduce the overall spending and debt contained in the proposal that the Obama Administration is advocating to Congress.

How Low Can It Go? Sun Plunges into the Quietest Solar Minimum in a Century

Below is a mainstream popular science report about the unusually quiet sun. They do of course include a single-sentence obeisance to global warming but ignore the fact that worldwide low temperatures have coincided closely with the period of the quiet sun

The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower. 2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73 percent). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.

Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87 percent). It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees forecaster David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Quiet suns come along every 11 years or so. It's a natural part of the sunspot cycle, discovered by German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe in the mid-1800s. Sunspots are planet-sized islands of magnetism on the surface of the sun, and they are sources of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and intense UV radiation. Plotting sunspot counts, Schwabe saw that peaks of solar activity were always followed by valleys of relative calm—a clockwork pattern that has held true for more than 200 years.

The current solar minimum is part of that pattern. In fact, it's right on time. But is it supposed to be this quiet? Measurements by the Ulysses spacecraft reveal a 20 percent drop in solar wind pressure since the mid-1990s—the lowest point since such measurements began in the 1960s. The solar wind helps keep galactic cosmic rays out of the inner solar system. With the solar wind flagging, more cosmic rays penetrate the solar system, resulting in increased health hazards for astronauts. Weaker solar wind also means fewer geomagnetic storms and auroras on Earth.

Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft have also shown that the sun's brightness has dimmed by 0.02 percent at visible wavelengths and a whopping 6 percent at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. These changes are not enough to reverse global warming, but there are some other, noticeable side-effects.

Earth's upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less "puffed up." Satellites in Earth orbit experience less atmospheric drag, extending their operational lifetimes. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, space junk also remains in orbit longer, posing an increased threat to useful satellites.

Finally, radio telescopes are recording the dimmest "radio sun" since 1955. After World War II, astronomers began keeping records of the sun's brightness at radio wavelengths, particularly 10.7 cm. Some researchers believe that the lessening of radio emissions during this solar minimum is an indication of weakness in the sun's global magnetic field. No one is certain, however, because the source of these long-monitored radio emissions is not fully understood.

All these lows have sparked a debate about whether the ongoing minimum is extreme or just an overdue market correction following a string of unusually intense solar maxima. "Since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high," notes Hathaway. "Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years. We're just not used to this kind of deep calm."

Deep calm was fairly common a hundred years ago. The solar minima of 1901 and 1913, for instance, were even longer than what we're experiencing now. To match those minima in depth and longevity, the current minimum will have to last at least another year.

In a way, the calm is exciting, says Pesnell. "For the first time in history, we're getting to observe a deep solar minimum." A fleet of spacecraft — including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin probes of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), and several other satellites — are all studying the sun and its effects on Earth. Using technology that didn't exist 100 years ago, scientists are measuring solar winds, cosmic rays, irradiance and magnetic fields and finding that solar minimum is much more interesting than anyone expected.

Modern technology cannot, however, predict what comes next. Competing models by dozens of solar physicists disagree, sometimes sharply, on when this solar minimum will end and how big the next solar maximum will be. The great uncertainty stems from one simple fact: No one fully understands the underlying physics of the sunspot cycle.

Pesnell believes sunspot counts should pick up again soon, "possibly by the end of the year," to be followed by a solar maximum of below-average intensity in 2012 or 2013. But like other forecasters, he knows he could be wrong. Bull or bear? Stay tuned for updates.


Earth population 'exceeds limits'

The Leftist eugenicists of the early 20th century are back again. They gave us Uncle Adolf last time. But this little Fascist is in favour of GM crops so it's an ill wind ....

There are already too many people living on Planet Earth, according to one of most influential science advisors in the US government. Nina Fedoroff told the BBC One Planet programme that humans had exceeded the Earth's "limits of sustainability".

Dr Fedoroff has been the science and technology advisor to the US secretary of state since 2007, initially working with Condoleezza Rice. Under the new Obama administration, she now advises Hillary Clinton.

"We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can't support many more people," Dr Fedoroff said, stressing the need for humans to become much better at managing "wild lands", and in particular water supplies.

Pressed on whether she thought the world population was simply too high, Dr Fedoroff replied: "There are probably already too many people on the planet."

A National Medal of Science laureate (America's highest science award), the professor of molecular biology believes part of that better land management must include the use of genetically modified foods. "We have six-and-a-half-billion people on the planet, going rapidly towards seven. "We're going to need a lot of inventiveness about how we use water and grow crops," she told the BBC. "We accept exactly the same technology (as GM food) in medicine, and yet in producing food we want to go back to the 19th Century."

Dr Fedoroff, who wrote a book about GM Foods in 2004, believes critics of genetically modified maize, corn and rice are living in bygone times. "We wouldn't think of going to our doctor and saying 'Treat me the way doctors treated people in the 19th Century', and yet that's what we're demanding in food production."

In a wide ranging interview, Dr Fedoroff was asked if the US accepted its responsibility to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be driving human-induced climate change. "Yes, and going forward, we just have to be more realistic about our contribution and decrease it - and I think you'll see that happening."

And asked if America would sign up to legally binding targets on carbon emissions - something the world's biggest economy has been reluctant to do in the past - the professor was equally clear. "I think we'll have to do that eventually - and the sooner the better."


'Kangaroo-Court' Hearing a One-Sided View of California Drought

Regulations Making Water Shortage Worse

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is holding a one-sided hearing this morning on the California drought that is expected to blame climate change for a critical water shortage while glossing over the role of activist-inspired environmental policies in exacerbating the shortage, according to The National Center for Public Policy Research.

The hearing, entitled "The California Drought: Actions by Federal and State Agencies to Address Impacts on Lands, Fisheries, and Water Users," will be held today, March 31, at 10:30 am in Room 1324, Longworth House Office Building.

Only representatives of government agencies will be permitted to testify at the hearing. Most of the witnesses will be from federal agencies. To draw attention to the biased nature of the proceedings, The National Center for Public Policy Research will send a representative to the hearing best suited for a kangaroo court - a kangaroo.

"At the height of a California drought and during a serious recession with massive unemployment in California's Central Valley, one would hope that the committee cared enough about agricultural workers and minorities to invite as witnesses actual unemployed farm workers from the scores of communities closing down," remarked R.J. Smith, a Senior Fellow at The National Center for Public Policy Research. "Let's have an open Committee hearing and hear real people discussing the impacts on their lives from government regulations and their massive job losses - instead of more government bureaucrats who are only causing the problem."

California - the nation's largest producer of tomatoes, lettuce, almonds, apricots, strawberries and many other crops - risks agricultural losses of over $2 billion for the upcoming season and $3 billion in total economic losses in 2009. According to a University of California at Davis study, 80,000 jobs could be lost in the Central Valley.

Although global warming is expected to receive much of the blame for this economic disaster, government regulation is a more significant - and preventable cause - of it, according to The National Center for Public Policy Research.

For example, state and federal water officials have sharply cut agricultural water deliveries in California so that more water can go out to sea as part of an effort to protect the Delta Smelt - a three-inch long fish listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In February, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a "zero allocation" of water from the Central Valley Project, cutting off the massive federal irrigation system that serves numerous California farms. The supply of water from California's State Water Project is 20 percent of normal.

"By demanding that the water flow into the Pacific Ocean, government meddlers have forced farmers to abandon production, threatening both the nation's fresh food supplies and the jobs of farm workers, many of whom are among the nation's poorest minorities," said Mr. Smith. "Ironically, the cut-off of agricultural water has done nothing to help the Delta Smelt. Every year less water is diverted for agriculture, yet the fish population continues to decline."

The state of California also deserves blame for the water shortage because it has failed to build the water infrastructure necessary for the state's growing population.

Donn Zea, President of the Northern California Water Association, wrote in the March 5th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle that although California's population has doubled over the past 40 years, the state has not meaningfully updated its water storage capacity since 1967. "As a result, when drought hits, we have an amount of water suitable for California in 1960 - not 2009," wrote Mr. Zea.

The Resources Committee - which has a history of promoting global warming alarmism - is expected to explore the dubious link between a modest increase in global temperatures and localized weather patterns devastating California.

"If certain members of the House Natural Resources Committee want the world to believe that a regional drought in an arid area of California is further 'proof' of global warming, then let's hope that they apply the same reasoning to the floods that are ravaging eastern and central North Dakota," remarked Dr. Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at The National Center for Public Policy Research. "By the thousands, residents of Fargo and Bismarck are trying to protect their cities from the rising waters of the Red and Missouri Rivers. The blocks of ice on the Missouri River north of Bismarck were so huge that explosives were used to blow them up. Will Chairman Rahall invite Fargo's mayor and other North Dakota officials before his committee to testify on how ordinary citizens spent hours in sub-freezing, snowy weather protecting their homes and businesses from the effects of global cooling?"



THE fifteenth United Nations Climate Conference (COP-15) will be held in Copenhagen in November. While only one official view on the science, that of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is usually put forward at these gatherings, this year the United Nations has agreed to support an alternative and probably rival overall assessment from a team of climate change sceptics.

This decision follows a recommendation from Vaclav Klaus, the well-known climate sceptic who currently holds the European Union Presidency.

The recommendation was first made to President Klaus by David Henderson, a former chief economist at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based on the work of Irving L. Janis on ‘Groupthink’.

According to the late Mr Janis irrespective of the personality characteristics and other predispositions of the members of a policy-making group, when the decision-makers constitute a cohesive group and are under stress from external threats it can lead to illusions of invulnerability and belief in the inherent morality of the group leading to self-censorship, illusions of unanimity and an incomplete consideration of alternatives solutions to the issue at hand.

In order to avoid groupthink the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has accepted the recommendation from President Klaus in particular that the IPCC adopt Janis’ nine principles including that several independent groups work on the same problem, that alternatives be properly examined, and at least one member of every working-group be assigned the role of Devil’s advocate.

The team of sceptics, to be headed by Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth, will be forced to work within the United Nation’s framework, in particular as an independent working-group re-assessing the science in the lead-up to Copenhagen.

Mr Ki-moon said, “They will provide an important counterpoint. We will be making important decision at Copenhagen, decisions that will impact on all the world’s citizens, it is important we discuss and debate the underlying scientific theories, otherwise we could be working from a weak foundation.”

President Klaus commented, “It is certainly not too late for the IPCC to change its decision-making process. This may be the most significant reform that I achieve as President of the EU and, well, I am proud.”


The date on the post above is April 1


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1 comment:

Toronto Real Estate said...

Nice articles, thanks for posting. I love reading about the Global warming/climate change drama. It never gets old. I'm standing on the side with Mr. Klaus here and I do believe that all around the world money is being wasted on pointless "global warming" precautions. Mainly manage to suck out more tax money from people. Very sad.

Take care, Elli