Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Claim that 'climate change is the cholera of our era' ridiculed as 'load of garbage' by renowned disease expert

A May 25, 2009 article in the UK Times warning that "climate change is the cholera of our era" has raised the ire of an internationally known disease expert formerly of the UN IPCC.

"The article is a rehash of a similar load of garbage unloaded in 1996, plus (identical wording) other writings of the past, including, I suspect, IPCC," Dr. Paul Reiter told Climate Depot.

Reiter is a malaria expert formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and professor of entomology and tropical disease with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and a member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Committee on Vector Biology and Control.

The UK Times article, by Professor Sir Muir Gray is Public Health Director of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare, alleges that man-made global warming is a greater threat to mankind than the scourge of cholera -- an acute diarrheal illness-- which killed an nearly 3000 people in Zimbabwe alone earlier this year. A May 26, 2009 article from VOA reveals cholera cases are expected to reach 100,000 in Zimbabwe alone.

Muir wrote in the UK Times: "In the 19th century, cholera outbreaks that escaped from the slums to kill rich and poor alike caused the great Victorian revolution in public health. Fear of cholera ensured that vast sums were spent on building sewers and ensuring that everyone had clean water. Climate change is the cholera of our era — fear of the havoc that climate change will wreak should stimulate a new public health revolution." "Smoking, Aids, swine flu? They all pale into insignificance compared to climate change's threat to health," Muir added.

But Reiter, was blunt in his rebuttal to Muir's article in the UK Times. "They have cherry picked without remorse. I have huge response to my article in Malaria Journal. Yet these peddlers of garbage quote a 1998 model by two activists whose work is ridiculed by those of us who work in this field," Reiter continued. "What the hell can we do? I am flabbergasted that this can go on, and on, and on," Reiter, who is featured in the U.S. Senate Report of more than 700 dissenting scientists of man-made global warming, concluded.

Reiter was also formerly with the UN IPCC and was so appalled at UN IPCC process that he threatened legal action to get his name removed from the reports.


Obama's energy chief wants to paint the world white to fight climate change

As unrealistic as Warmism generally. Another product of "modelling". Still, it would be a lot less harmful than other Warmist proposals

AS a weapon against global warming, it sounds so simple and low-tech that it could not possibly work. But the idea of using millions of buckets of whitewash to avert climate catastrophe has won the backing of one of the world's most influential scientists. Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by US President Barack Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white.

A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more of the Sun's light and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday. Speaking at the opening of the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium in London, for which The Times is media partner, Professor Chu said that this approach could have a vast impact.

By lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the colour of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world's cars off the roads for 11 years, he said. Building regulations should insist that all flat roofs were painted white, and visible tilted roofs could be painted with "cool-coloured" paints that looked normal, but which absorbed much less heat than conventional dark surfaces.

Roads could be lightened to a concrete colour so they would not dazzle drivers in bright sunlight. "I think with flat-type roofs you can't even see, yes, I think you should regulate," Professor Chu said.

Pale surfaces reflect up to 80 per cent of the sunlight that falls on them, compared with about 20 per cent for dark ones, which is why roofs and walls in hot countries are often whitewashed. An increase in pale surfaces would help to contain climate change both by reflecting more solar radiation into space and by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep buildings cool by air-conditioning.

Professor Chu said his thinking had been influenced by Art Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission who drove through tough new building rules in the state. Since 2005 California has required all flat roofs on commercial buildings to be white; the measure is being expanded to require cool colours on all residential and pitched roofs.

Dr Rosenfeld is also a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, of which Professor Chu was director. Last year Dr Rosenfeld and two colleagues from the laboratory, Hashem Akbari and Surabi Menon, calculated that changing surface colours in 100 of the world's largest cities could save the equivalent of 44billion tonnes of carbon dioxide - about as much as global carbon emissions are expected to rise by over the next decade.

Professor Chu said: "There's a friend of mine, a colleague of mine, Art Rosenfeld, who's pushing very hard for a geo-engineering we all believe will be completely benign, and that's when you have a flat-top roof building, make it white.

"Now, you smile, but he's done a calculation, and if you take all the buildings and make their roofs white and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of colour rather than a black type of colour, and you do this uniformly ... it's the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years."

The US needed to increase its investment in clean energy research, he said, citing high-tech industries that spent 10 to 20 per cent of their income on research. The US was spending $US1trillion on generating electricity, but "nothing like" the $US 100billion to $US200 billion on research that would meet that standard, he said.


Why I am a Climate Realist

By Dr Willem de Lange, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand -- specialising in coastal oceanography.

In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Second Assessment Report was released, and I was listed as one of approximately 3000 “scientists” who agreed that there was a discernable human influence on climate.

I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations. In keeping with IPCC procedures, the chapter was written and reviewed in isolation from the rest of the report, and I had no input into the process after my review of the chapter draft. I was not asked if I supported the view expressed in my name, and my understanding at the time was that no evidence of a discernable human influence on global climate existed.

The chapter I reviewed dealt primarily with the economic consequences of an assumed sea level rise of 1 m causing extensive inundation. My response was that I could not comment on the economic analysis, however, I disagreed with the initial assumptions, particularly the assumed sea level rise in the stated time period. Further, there was good evidence at the time that sea level rise would not necessarily result in flooding of small island nations, because natural processes on coral atolls were likely to raise island levels.

The IPCC Second Assessment Report assessed sea level rise by AD 2100 as being in the range 0.20-0.86 m, with a most likely value of 0.49 m (less than half the rate assumed for the economic analysis). Subsequent research has demonstrated that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase in elevation as sea level rises. Hence, the assumptions were invalid, and I was convinced that IPCC projections were unrealistic and exaggerated the problem.

Following the release of IPCC Second Assessment Report I also co-authored the sea level rise section of the New Zealand impact report, and same section for a revised report following the release of IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). The third report followed the trend of decreasing sea level rise projections evident in sea level rise literature, with a most likely projection of 0.44 m. However, some extreme scenarios were added at a late stage of the review process to give a wider range of projections from 0.09-0.88 m. There was little support in the literature for these extremes, and my view was that a range of 0.31-0.49 m was more reasonable. I also expected future projections to be lower.

For the New Zealand 2001 report, I was asked to state that sea level rise was accelerating, or at least could be accelerating. However, my own research and published literature shows that sea level fluctuates at decadal time scales. Therefore, although there was an increase in the rate of sea level rise around 1998, I expected sea level rise to slow and reverse early in the 21st Century. The underlying long-term trend, however, was likely to decrease, and there were some tide gauge data to indicate that it had started to do so. In the 1980s, the New Zealand rate was 1.8 mm per year. By 1990, it was 1.7 mm per year, and by 2001 it was 1.6 mm per year. These changes are small, and were not enough to prove that sea level rise was slowing. However, they clearly did not show that sea level rise was accelerating.

After 2001, published studies continued to project lower global sea level rises over the 21st Century, and several reported a slowing of the rate of rise during the 20th Century. Shortly before the IPCC Assessment Report 4 was published I undertook a literature review of all sea level studies, which: projected lower levels than the IPCC Third Assessment Report review; indicated a slowing of the rate of sea level rise; emphasised the role of decadal scale fluctuations; and there was concern about the discrepancy between satellite and tide gauge sea level measurements. It was recognised that, although satellite sensing gives a better overall measurement of global sea level, satellites reported twice the rate of sea level rise being measured at the coast. It was evident that satellite data could not be combined with tide gauge data.

The IPCC Assessment Report 4 report emphasises a single paper, which was not available when I conducted my review, which spliced the satellite data onto the tide gauge data to “find” acceleration in sea level rise over the period of satellite measurement. This is being used to imply that global sea level rise is accelerating due to global warming (now renamed Climate Change). The satellite data only covered the period of increasing sea level associated with decadal cycles, and the known discrepancy between satellite trends and tide gauge trends was not corrected for. This is poor science comparable to the splicing of proxy and instrument data in the infamous Hockey Stick graph, and the splicing of ice core and instrumental CO2 measurements to exaggerate the changes.

Despite therefore finding accelerating sea level rise, the latest IPCC assessment projects lower sea level rises than the previous ones. The methodology used to report the projections was changed to make comparisons harder, but the range of 0.18-0.59 m equates to a most likely rise of around 0.39 m. The IPCC Assessment Report 4 also included an extra 0.20 m allowance for uncertainties associated with destabilisation of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Caps. Various groups have speculated that the collapse of these Ice Caps could produce a much higher additional sea level rise. In contrast, published studies that have specifically studied this contribution have concluded that given the worst possible scenarios, the maximum extra contribution is 0.18 m. Hence, the IPCC Assessment Report 4 allowance is a very conservative upper bound.

What has sea level actually done so far this century? There have been large regional variations, but the global rate has slowed and is currently negative, consistent with measured ocean cooling. Claims to the contrary are exaggerations and not realistic.

So, given my understanding of oceanography, what do I believe about climate change? Firstly climate change is real, and has occurred on Earth for at least 4 billion years – as long as an atmosphere and oceans have existed. Climate change occurs in cycles at various time scales, with the shorter time scales known as weather (by convention the distinction is 35 years). Trying to stop or control climate change is akin to stopping ocean tides. Secondly, I believe human activities affect climate, otherwise why would I bother with a mortgage. The climate inside my house is different to the climate that would exist if my house were gone.

There are many ways human activities affect climate on a small scale. Interestingly the concentration of CO2 is not one of them (CO2 are often elevated inside buildings). As the size of the area considered increases, the impact of human activities decreases. As the latest IPCC report notes, there is no convincing evidence of the impact of CO2 (or any other human influence on climate) at a continental scale. Yet, they say that the impact of a CO2 (and other gases treated as effective CO2) is the dominant driver of climate at a global scale and will have catastrophic consequences. This conclusion I strongly disagree with. Why?

It is frequently pointed out that the Earth is approximately 32°C warmer than it would be without an atmosphere due to the Greenhouse Effect. This is misleading, as the climate system responsible for this extra warmth includes many components. Important ones omitted in most discussions are clouds and oceans. About 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, which absorbs sunlight and warms up. The oceans retain heat better than land, and, while slow to warm up, they cool slowly and warm the surroundings (a maritime climate).

Considering the available data, it is clear that the oceans warmed over the 20th Century by about the same amount as the atmosphere. This agreement should not be entirely surprising as 70 percent of the mean global air temperature comes from over oceans. The inconvenient truth that is generally ignored, is that the atmosphere is not capable of warming the oceans to any significant degree – 99.9 percent of ocean heat is derived from sunlight at wavelengths less than 3 microns. The balance is mostly from heat leaking from the interior of the Earth. The Greenhouse Effect involves a delay in the loss of infra-red radiation at wavelengths greater than 5 microns.

What does this mean for climate change? It means that variations in the amount of sunlight reaching the oceans will control the rate at which the oceans warm. This is influenced at long time scales by changes in the Earth’s orbit. At short time scales there are changes in the amount of sunlight associated with the sunspot cycle. These changes are small, but due to the ability of the oceans to store heat it may be possible to have a cumulative effect as sunspot cycles wax and wane. However, the main control is the amount of cloud and ice cover. Clouds and sea ice reflect sunlight before it can be absorbed by the oceans, and is referred to as albedo. Albedo changes have a greater influence on climate than the Greenhouse Effect, and are usually invoked to produce the catastrophic consequences of “Climate Change” (aka Accelerated Global Warming).

Oceans lose heat through evaporation (53 percent), infra-red radiation (41 percent) and conduction (6 percent). The Greenhouse Effect can slow the loss of the infra-red radiation, thereby warming the atmosphere but not the oceans. However, evaporation accounts for more than half the heat loss. Evaporation produces clouds, and hence there is a feedback loop – warming the oceans results in more evaporation, producing more clouds, which increases albedo, which cools the oceans. This is exactly what was observed during The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) that was set up to investigate the Pacific Warm Pool – the warmest ocean water in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean. COARE also found that rainfall would cool the ocean surface, so increased evaporation producing rain is another feedback loop.

What does this have to do with the 20th Century? Well the observed climate change is consistent with variations in albedo and associated ocean warming and cooling, suggesting that it is just a natural cycle. This pattern of behaviour is evident in palaeoclimate data for most of the last 10,000 years. None of this is simulated in climate models. Instead they focus on the 20th Century increase in CO2, CH4 and a few other greenhouse gases. The increasing concentrations correlate well with global temperature. This is taken as proof that the greenhouse effect is driving temperature.

However, it is also correct that changing ocean temperatures affect the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere. At annual and 2-7 year time scales it is clear that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is strongly driven by the ocean. At longer time scales it is also clear that the concentration of greenhouse gases lags behind, and therefore is driven by, temperature. Once again the oceans are the likely control on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The IPCC position requires that for 50-100 year periods everything works in reverse, which still showing an oceanic influence at shorter time periods. It is more likely that the warming of the oceans since the Little Ice Age is a major contributor to the observed increase in CO2. Carbon isotopic ratios indicate that while there is a contribution from the burning of fossil fuels, it is of the order 1-5 percent of the increase.

So, I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans, and the consequences this has for the rest of the Earth’s climate system. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis runaway catastrophic climate change due to human activities.


Feds plan $4 billion for “green jobs”

That good ol' generous American taxpayer again

Some $4 billion from President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan that was budgeted to renovate public housing will be spent to create so-called "green jobs" by making the dwellings more energy efficient. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was making the announcement Tuesday in Denver at a meeting of Obama's Middle Class Task Force.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, another task force member, also will announce that $500 million from the stimulus is becoming available to train workers for these jobs. That sum includes $50 million for communities battered by job losses and restructuring in the auto industry.

Both Donovan and Solis also were announcing that their departments are working together to make it easier for public housing residents to find training programs or a green job.

The task force, which includes several other Cabinet secretaries, has been working since January to highlight policies and practices to help improve the standard of living of the middle class, an income group that suffered as the economy faltered.

The meeting at the Denver Science Museum, where Obama signed the stimulus plan into law three months ago, was being held to outline different ways government departments are working together to steer the middle class toward green jobs.

These jobs, broadly defined as related to helping the environment, pay up to 20% more than other jobs, are more likely to be union jobs and are more likely to be held by men, less so by minorities and people who live in cities, according to a report the task force issued in February. These jobs also are ones that cannot be easily transferred overseas.

Obama has pushed greening the economy — reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, developing domestic alternatives and easing the effects of climate change — as ways to help pull the economy out of its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Donovan said Monday that the investment in public housing will help meet several goals: improving the quality of public housing, reducing energy costs for residents and the government, and creating jobs for people who live in the units and in the surrounding community. "A whole set of things can repay investments in a short period of time," Donovan said in an interview. Replacing windows, insulation, appliances and even light bulbs are among the possible renovations.

Jared Bernstein, the task force executive director, said the panel's agenda complements Obama's. "By boosting the green economy, you're promoting green energy and clean production at the same time that you're generating green jobs," Bernstein, who is also Vice President Joe Biden's chief economist, said Monday in an interview. Biden is in charge of the task force.

The energy, education and labor secretaries also were set to announce a partnership to help link the unemployed with jobs, training and education opportunities.



Three current articles below

"Prodos", global warming and the CIS

"Prodos" is a flamboyant Melbourne libertarian of Greek extraction who has done some good work in publicizing libertarian ideas but who is in my view a bit too sensationalist for me to take much notice of. For that reason, I don't think I have ever linked to any of his writings. On his occasional blog, however, he has recently put up an attack on Greg Lindsay, head of the Sydney-based "Centre for Independent Studies" claiming that Greg is a supporter of global warming. Greg is an old friend of mine and I was one of the first donors to CIS so when Gerry Jackson of Brookes News sent me a link to the Prodos article, I immediately emailed Greg expressing amazement that he had fallen for such humbug.

Greg emailed back noting that he has NEVER personally taken any position at all on global warming but referred me to a post on the subject by John Humphreys, which in turn links to his CIS monograph on the subject.

The work of CIS is to offer scholarly contributions to public policy debates from a free-market viewpoint and CIS publications often get respectful mentions in the press. And on this occasion, Humphreys took as a starting point the apparent intention of both major Australian political parties to implement global warming laws of some sort. From that point he set out to argue for the least harmful set of laws that could be adopted.

And that is what Prodos objects to. He thinks that CIS should just oppose all global warming laws and thus have no influence on what laws are adopted. I think Prodos's ego has run away with him. He thinks that his own approach is the only defensible one, whereas it is my view that you are more likely to defeat the enemy if you attack him from all sides. And the currently-proposed Warmist laws would certainly be a major enemy of Australia's prosperity. So I welcome the CIS approach and deplore the narrow-minded hostility of Prodos towards an organization that is much more influential than he is. And putting a picture of Greg Lindsay at the top of his post when Greg has never said a word in public about the subject is just plain dishonest.

Global Warming Pauses

By His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

The tide on climate change is starting to turn. The Australian government is becoming more cautious. It is rare to read a new book likely to make a huge difference to public opinion. Professor Ian Plimer's 500 page book with 2300 footnotes "Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science" is such a book. 30,000 copies were sold in its first month.

Plimer is not a climate change denier, because history shows the planet is dynamic and the climate is always changing, sometimes drastically. Ice Ages have come and gone and we don't know why. History has seen glaciers at the equator and at one time Scandinavia was under 5 kilometres of ice. Sea levels have been 130 metres lower than today. Some consolation comes from the fact that ice sheets predominated for only 20 per cent of the earth's history.

Plimer demonstrates that a considerable amount of scientific evidence has been produced to counter the still predominant view that human activity, especially through industry, has polluted the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which will produce disastrous climate changes including a rise in temperature, a melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels.

Contrary evidence is already changing the debate. Australia, with its tiny economy, is no longer aiming to lead the world. The threat of massive job losses and increasing awareness of new evidence will provoke even greater caution in the future.

Originally we were warned about the "greenhouse effect"; then it was "global warming", followed in turn by "climate change". Now we talk about reducing the "carbon footprint". The light is dawning and 30 per cent of scientists are sceptics or deniers.

Non-scientists should not blindly follow expert opinion and this includes Plimer. To the extent we can, we should examine their evidence. While it is still early days in the debate, Plimer's critics have been heavy with the abuse and short on counter evidence.

We should also look back at history for more accurate information and ignore computer models of the long-term future. Climate models making claims for decades into the future cannot work, because we do not know enough about many factors which influence weather, such as the level of activity of the sun, the earth's orbit and wobbles, the level of cloud cover, volcanoes.

One basic claim of Plimer is that an increase of carbon dioxide does not cause temperature rises, but might follow such rises. What do we make of these facts? The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise, but the world's temperature has not risen since 1998. In Roman times and in the Medieval Warming (900 - 1300 A.D.) temperatures were higher than today by five and six degrees Celsius. No industries then! In different Ice Ages the earth's atmosphere contained five and ten times the amount of carbon dioxide today.

Evidence shows the wheels are falling from the climate catastrophe bandwagon.


New election needed to pass Warmist laws

VOTERS are closer to an early election after every federal political party yesterday manoeuvred to ensure the defeat of the emissions trading scheme. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull raised the stakes yesterday by proposing the Government defer the vote of its ETS legislation until after global climate change talks in December. But he failed to secure numbers in the Senate, which means the legislation will be brought on in June and defeated.

With the gun now half-cocked and the Bill set for defeat, the second and final trigger for a double dissolution will be sounded if the legislation is re-introduced within three months and voted down again. The election is due in November next year but can be held as late as April 2011. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mr Turnbull and all the cross-benchers have lined up for a game of chicken, warning they would be willing to go to an early election if they cannot get what they want on climate change.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, who wants the Bill defeated in exchange for greater mitigation, said the Government's policy stance was untenable and she was ready for an early election. "If the Coalition and the Independent Senators have a three-month delay or a six-month delay, it is dead as far as the Government is concerned . . . (and) let's bring it (an election) on," she said.

Mr Turnbull said he would give Mr Rudd a bi-partisan mandate to take to the meeting in Copenhagen so he could argue for targets of 5-25 per cent and urged him to wait for the advancing US legislation next year. But he said he would not vote for it in its current form. He also outlined a plan to set up a Government-authorised voluntary carbon market from January so business could start banking carbon credits.

Despite knowing the Bill is set for defeat, Mr Rudd has refused to delay it and accused Mr Turnbull of being at the mercy of climate change sceptics within his own party. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will not support the Coalition's ploy to delay the Bill and wants the vote in August or September, but he has no support. He also plans to defeat it in its current form. Family First's Steve Fielding, who does want the Bill delayed, will vote against the "dog of a policy" when it is introduced in the week beginning June 15.

At the heart of Mr Turnbull's position of trying to delay the Bill until after Copenhagen is his untenable position of trying to unite his party.



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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