Sunday, April 26, 2009


Last weeks' top Antarctic AGW story was: Antarctic ice melting faster than expected

due to CO2, of course. This week the #1 story is: Antarctic ice spreading

but the increase in size is due to "stratospheric ozone depletion" which is of course also caused by man-made gases.

So Antarctic ice is disappearing faster than expected due to man, and it is also expanding in size due to man. Meanwhile, the early autumn temperature in Vostok, Antarctica is a toasty -95F, a nice warm up from the -104F temperatures earlier this week.

Oh, and one minor problem with the ozone hole theory "The ozone hole occurs during the Antarctic spring, from September to early December" - but the positive ice anomaly occurred during the autumn and winter (March through July) as represented by the red line below. And while the ozone hole was present, ice was normal. So the ice excess probably has nothing to do with the ozone hole.



For the next 24 hours, the media will assault us with tales of imminent disaster that always accompany the annual Earth Day Doom & Gloom Extravaganza. Ignore them. They'll be wrong. We're confident in saying that because they've always been wrong. And always will be. Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, spectacularly wrong predictions made on the occasion of Earth Day 1970.

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something." -Kenneth Watt, ecologist

"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." -George Wald, Harvard Biologist

"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation." -Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." -New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." -Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist




The climate change of our planet, which can be observed more frequently in recent years, has become alarming for the public opinion. Various methods to remedy the situation are elaborated on the international level by decision makers, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (operating since 1988) and different ecologic organisations.

Having a part in this significant debate, the Geologic Science Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences wishes to turn to 10 fundamental aspects of the problem closely related to the functioning of geosystem - the complex interdependence of processes occurring in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. The knowledge of these factors should be the foundation for any rational and careful decisions, which could interfere in the geosystem.

1. The climate of the Earth depends on the interaction between the surface and the atmosphere, both of which are heated by solar radiation characterized by a cyclical, variable intensity. The climate is influenced by the Earth's yearly revolution around the Sun, thermics, changes in ocean waters flow, air mass movement, mountain massif position, their uplift and erosion in time perspective as well as changes in the continents' position as a result of their permanent wandering.

2. Geologic research proves irrefutably that the permanent change is the fundamental characteristic of the Earth's climate as throughout its entire history, and the changes occur in cycles of varied length - from several thousand to just a few years. Longer climate cycles are provoked by the extraterrestrial factors of astronomic character as well as by the changes of the Earth's orbital parameters, in brief - by regional and local factors. Not all reasons for climate change or their phenomena are fully known yet.

3. Although in the history of the Earth, a considerably warmer climate than today had dominated, there had been repeated occurrences when the Earth experienced massive global cooling which always resulted in vast ice sheets that sometimes even reached the subtropics. Therefore, reliable forecasts of changes in the Earth's climate (not to mentioned efforts to prevent, shape, or act against them) must take into account the results of its research of the Earth's geological history - a time when humanity (and the industry) were not on our planet.

4. Since twelve thousand years ago, the Earth is in the another phase of cyclical warming and is near the maximum of its intensively. Just in the last 2.5 million years, periods of warming have on several occasions intertwined with ice ages, which have already been well identified.

5. The current warming is accompanied by an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: water vapour is dominant among them, and in smaller quantities there are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and ozone. This has always happened because it is an occurrence that accompanies cyclical warming and cooling. The periodic increase in the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, sometimes a value even several times larger than at present, has accompanied previous warming even before man inhabited the Earth.

6. Over the past 400 thousand years - even without human intervention - the level of CO2 in the air, based on the Antarctic ice cores, has already been similar 4 times, and even higher than the current value. At the end of the last ice age, within a time of a few hundred years, the average annual temperature changed over the globe several times, in total, it has gone up by almost 10 °C in the northern hemisphere, therefore the changes mentioned above were incomparably more dramatic than the changes reported today.

7. After a warm period in the past millennium, by the end of the thirteenth century, a cold period had begun and it lasted up to the mid-nineteenth century, and then a warm period in which we are living had begun. The phenomenon observed today, in particular the temporary rise of global temperature, are the result of the natural rhythm of climate change. Warmer and warmer oceans have a smaller ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and reducing the area of the long term permafrost leads to more rapid decomposition of organic compounds in the soil, and thus to increased emissions of greenhouse gases. For billions of years, Earth's volcanic activity along the lines of lithosphere plate boundaries, hidden mainly beneath the surface of the oceans, has been constantly providing the atmosphere with CO2 with various levels of intensively.

In the geo-system gas is removed from the atmosphere to the biosphere and from the lithosphere through the process of photosynthesis that is bound in the living organisms - including the shell carbonate marine organisms and after their death it is stored in the huge limestone on the bottom of the seas and the oceans, while on land it is bound in various organic sediments.

8. A detailed monitoring of climate parameters has been carried out for slightly over 200 years; it only regards parts of continents, which constitute only 28% of the world. Some of the older measuring stations established - as a result of progressive urbanization, in the peripheries of the cities, are now within them. This factor, among other things, is the reason for the rise of the measured values of temperature. The research of the vast areas of the oceans has only been launched 40 years ago. Measurements taken for this kind of short periods of time can not be considered as a firm basis for creating fully reliable models of thermal changes on the surface of the Earth, and their accuracy is difficult to verify. That is why far-reaching restraint needs to be kept regarding blaming, or even giving the biggest credit to man for the increased level of emissions of greenhouse gases, for such a theory has not been proven.

9. There is no doubt that a certain part of the rise of the level of greenhouse gases, specifically CO2, is associated with human activity therefore, steps should be taken to reduce the amount on the basis of the principles of sustainable development, a cease of extensive deforestation, particularly in tropical regions. It is equally important to take up and pursuit appropriate adapting actions that will mitigate the effects of the current warming trend.

10. Experiments in natural science show that one-sided observations, those that take no account of the multiplicity of factors determining certain processes in the geo-system, lead to unwarranted simplifications and wrong conclusions when trying to explain natural phenomena. Thus, politicians who rely on incomplete data may take wrong decisions. It makes room for politically correct lobbying, especially on the side of business marketing of exceptionally expensive, so called eco-friendly, energy technologies or those offering CO2 storage (sequestration) in exploited deposits. It has little to do with what is objective in nature. Taking radical and expensive economic measures aiming at implementing the emission only of few greenhouse gases, with no multi-sided research into climate change, may turn out counterproductive.

The PAN Committee of Geological Sciences believes it necessary to start an interdisciplinary research based on comprehensive monitoring and modelling of the impact of other factors -not just the level of CO2 - on the climate. Only this kind of approach will bring us closer to identifying the causes of climate change

Geological Science Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences

NOTE: The original document (in Polish) is available here


Emissions trading will burden German energy companies considerably while its competition in France will be able to attract industrial consumers with lower energy prices as a result of rules adopted by the EU. The relocation of German industries could be the result. This is the result of calculations by the consulting firm Energy Environment Forecast Analysis (EEFA).

At the end of last year, the EU member states agreed on the rules for emissions trading from 2013 to 2020. One of the benchmarks agreed: from 2013 onwards, the operators of CO2-emitting power plants will be forced to buy all their emission allowances through auctions. Exceptions from this rule only apply to nine eastern European member states.

From the start, German electricity producers had warned about the consequences of this decision and calculated billion-dollar benefits for competing countries. The consultant firm EEFA has now quantified these benefits. "By 2020, French energy suppliers will rake in additional profits of 9.5 billion euros as a direct result of the auctioning of carbon allowances," said EEFA's Elmar Hillebrand. Among EU countries, there are clear winners and losers of the new emissions trading rules. "Countries with a high proportion of nuclear power or hydroelectric power, such as France and Sweden, are among the winners. Germany, because of the structure of its power generation, is among the losers, also because of the exit from nuclear energy, "says Hillebrand.

Hillebrand expects serious consequences for industrial production in Germany. So far, the issue at the centre at the debate has been whether German industry, due to the ETS's effects on the price of electricity, would have to relocate outside the EU. What has been ignored, however, is the effect of the emissions trading scheme on competition within Europe. "This aspect should not be underestimated. It might be of interest for energy-intensive businesses to relocate their production from Germany to France," Hillebrand warned. This could mean that "the wealth creation chain in Germany would be disrupted." [transl. BJP]

More HERE (in German)

$8 gas and the green agenda

by Jeff Jacoby

TESTIFYING BEFORE the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked about something he said in September. "Somehow," the Nobel laureate had told The Wall Street Journal, "we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." At the time, gasoline in Europe was going for around $8 a gallon. Did the secretary, Florida Representative Cliff Stearns inquired, still want to see US gas prices rise that high?

"In today's economic climate," Chu quickly replied, "it would be completely unwise to want to increase the price of gasoline. And so we are looking forward to reducing the price of transportation in the American family . . . by encouraging fuel-efficient cars (and) developing alternative forms of fuel." The congressman couldn't resist giving the knife a twist. "Your statement, 'Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe' -- doesn't that sound a little bit silly in retrospect?" Stearns asked.

Chu: "Yes."

Stearns didn't ask why Chu had stopped being "silly," but it doesn't take a Ph.D. in political science to know that a craving for higher gas prices is one of those things you quit talking about after you join a presidential administration -- assuming you want the president to be reelected.

Yet Chu is hardly the first person to have called for making gasoline more expensive. As far back as his first US Senate campaign in 1984, for example, John Kerry advocated a 50-cent-per-gallon increase in gas taxes. Many environmental activists, climate alarmists, and mass-transit fetishists want to see fuel costs rise -- even as high as, yes, $8 a gallon. The steeper the price at the pump, they reason, the fewer miles Americans will drive, the less petroleum they will consume, and the greener their lifestyles will become.

"I hope gas prices go as high as they have to go to get the rest of these morons off the road in these big Hummers," CNN's Jack Cafferty has said, while Freakonomics author Steven Levitt wrote in 2007 -- in an essay headlined "Hurray for High Gas Prices!" -- that "rather than bemoaning the high price of gas, we should be celebrating it." Last year, The New York Times's Thomas Friedman sang the praises of $4-a-gallon gasoline, and wished "Washington would declare that it would never let the price fall below that level." Even Barack Obama, asked on the campaign trail whether sky-high gas prices might actually be a good thing, objected only to the speed with which they had climbed. "I think I would have preferred a gradual adjustment," he told CNBC.

Those are fringe opinions, of course. Most Americans don't regard automobiles as a blight and don't blame human activity for global warming, so it goes without saying that most of them don't want fuel prices to rise. For those who do believe that cars are a curse and climate change is caused by people, however, it makes perfect sense to call for more expensive gasoline.

Raise the price of something high enough and you invariably lower the demand for it. That's why last year's sharp spike in gas prices resulted in fewer cars on the highways and a plunge in miles driven. If your goal is fewer SUVs, less solo driving, and lower carbon-dioxide emissions, inflicting European-level gasoline prices on American motorists is a pretty good strategy. Conversely, it is hypocritical -- or at least illogical -- "to say you care deeply about global warming and advocate for the price of gas to go down," as AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told Newsweek last year. "Those are mutually exclusive concepts."

And yet advocating for the price of gas to go down is essentially what environmentalists are doing when they clamor for higher-mileage cars. All other things being equal, raising fuel efficiency lowers the cost of driving. As Secretary Chu correctly told the House committee last week, "encouraging fuel-efficient cars" is one means of "reducing the price of transportation." But cheaper driving means more driving, and more driving means more energy use, more cars on the road, more demand for highways, more drilling for oil -- all things environmentalists abhor.

If greens and global-warmists really want the US automotive fleet to use less energy, they should be clamoring for cars that get lower mileage. Crazy, you say? Surely no crazier than $8-a-gallon gas.


Pressure to censor global warming skepticism

In a series of articles on climate change the villain is gradually being identified as, you should have guessed it, freedom of thought! One Jon Gertner of The New York Times Magazine wrote the other day that

"What makes CRED's work [the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions] especially relevant ... is that various human attitudes and responses--How can there be global warming when we had a frigid January? What's in it for me if I change the way I live?--can make the climate problem worse by leaving it unacknowledged or unaddressed. Apathetic and hostile responses to climate change, in other words, produce a feedback loop and reinforce the process of global warming"

The idea that thought and speech are major obstacles to doing what is right isn't new at all. As recently as the 1980s the one liberty that liberal statists could be counted on defending, at least in the United States of America, is the one spelled out in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Alas, this was challenged some time ago by Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon of the University of Michigan school of law, in her short but prominently published book, Only Words (Harvard University Press, 1983). In it the good professor argued that words do not deserve the legal protection afforded them by the Constitution since insults and put downs, including jokes, can injure people good and hard. And such injuries should not be protected. The victims would have to pay too high a price for the fact that the law treats such injuries as "only words."

We have heard a good deal lately about how President Barack Obama is a pragmatist, how he eschews ideology. The most sensible rendition of this sound bite is that he refuses to be bound by principles and when it comes to something as vital as containing climate change, why not toss the First Amendment and censor those who show skepticism?

Professor MacKinnon wasn't recommending tossing the principle underlying the First Amendment, only suggesting that we should not be ideological about our embrace of it. Maybe the same should be expected from President Obama when it comes to a central elements of his political agenda, namely, to contain pollution.

This pragmatism isn't across the board for Mr. Obama, of course. As with all loyal pragmatists he, too, is willing to stick to a select few principles and refuse to give them up even in times of emergency. Consider, for example, that according the Obama & Co. there is never any excuse for using torture!

I will not speculate on why in that instance pragmatism is inadequate--various suggestions present themselves and some of them aren't pretty at all. Suffice it to note that Mr. Obama seems to be perfectly willing to toss jettison the principles of the free market--the right to private property, the right to enter into binding contracts, the right to due process.

And here we have evidence that like minded folks, too, appear not to be very worried about banning certain kinds of inconvenient conduct such as speaking out against the doctrine--the ideology?--of climate change. We should be prepared, I believe, for some movement in this direction. Apathy toward climate change isn't tolerable, nor is skepticism. Leaving the climate problem unacknowledged or unaddressed would also count as something we ought not to tolerate--so if I speak out against recycling, for example, maybe I ought to be muzzled since not doing so will "produce a feedback loop and reinforce the process of global warming."

Just as Professor MacKinnon's abandoning of the First Amendment seemed to her fully justified, given how that Amendment made it possible to insult and intimidate women, so it should come as no big surprise to anyone that laws will be passed that prohibit global warming skepticism. Such dangerous conduct on the part of citizens must be arrested, or so some of the climate change fanatics could well believe now, quite seriously.



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.


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