Monday, June 15, 2009

The Climate Caper and the RAT Scheme

Another book written by a senior Australian Scientist, Garth Paltridge, is about to published by the same people who published Ian Plimer’s best seller “Heaven and Earth”. This is what the publisher has to say:

“So you think the theory of disastrous climate change has been proved! You believe that scientists are united in their efforts to force the nations of the world to reduce their carbon emissions! You imagine perhaps that scientists are far too professional to overstate their case!

“Maybe we should all think again. In his book The Climate Caper, with a light touch and nicely readable manner, Professor Paltridge shows that the case for action against climate change is not nearly so certain as is presented to politicians and the public. He leads us through the massive uncertainties which are inherently part of the ‘climate modelling process’; he examines the even greater uncertainties associated with economic forecasts of climatic doom; and he discusses in detail the conscious and sub-conscious forces operating to ensure that scepticism within the scientific community is kept from the public eye.

I have not yet read The Climate Caper” but Ray Evans has, and had this to say:

“Having read the manuscript I can endorse this book without reservation. It is written by a scientist who was at the top of the scientific establishment in Australia, and who saw at first hand the intellectual corruption which went hand in hand with government funding of science "research". “The book is written in a whimsical style, reminiscent of P G Wodehouse, and is difficult to put down.”

About the author:

Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge is an atmospheric physicist and was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in Tasmania as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies and CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre.

His research ranged from the optimum design of plants to the economics of climate forecasting. He is best known internationally for work on atmospheric radiation and the theoretical basis of climate. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

He was in industry for a while as Director of the Environmental Executive of the Institute of Petroleum. He spent various separate years overseas in postings concerned with research or research administration - in the UK, Geneva, New Mexico, Colorado and Washington D.C. In Geneva he was involved in the early development of the World Climate Program. In Washington he was with the US National Climate Program Office at the time of the establishment of the IPCC.

To order the book, go here

The above is a press release from Viv Forbes [] of the Carbon Sense Coalition

Tennessee Burger King Defends Its "Global Warming Is Baloney" Sign

The Burger King in Tennesse that says "Global Warming Is Baloney" went on the record to defend itself with Leo Hickman of the Guardian. What followed was "one of the more memorable calls" Hickman's ever had as a journalist.

The franchise remains defiant, saying, "We're not sheeple around here, and while Barack Obama would like to have you believe that no one is entitled to have a view other than his, if someone wants to stand up and say "Global Warming is Baloney", then I'm all for it."

If you missed this story, here's a catch-up. Chris Davis, a reporter for the Memphis Flyer, spotted a Burger King blaring "Global Warming Is Baloney" on its sign early last week. When he called the franchise to ask about the sign, the franchise played dumb, saying "I don't see that sir." The reporter told them he had photos of the sign. The franchise didn't know what to say to that, and told him to call Burger King's corporated HQ. Here's the full transcript.

The absurd story gained traction across the web, moving from the Memphis Flyer to the Guardian to HuffPo, eventually landing on Keith Olbermann's show, where Olbermann included the Burger King franchise, in his "Worst Person Ever" schtick.

Yet, the parent company of the local franchise, Mirabile Investment Corporation (MIC), wasn't willing to talk with reporters until yesterday, when Leo Hickman of the Guardian got J.J. McNelis, MIC's marketing president, on the phone and asked about the sign.

Here's an excerpt:
GUARDIAN: Me: BK Corp issued a statement saying that 'global warming is baloney' wasn't their view and that they had asked you to take them down. Is that your understanding of it?

McNelis: I can't speak for them. I would think they would run from any form of controversy kinda like cockroaches when the lights get turned on. I'm not aware of any direction that they gave the franchisee and I don't think they have the authority to do it. The franchisee can put on a sign whatever he wants.

Me: They're saying that within the terms of the franchisee contract it says something along the lines that signs outside a restaurant can't be used to express any political or religious views.

McNelis: Well, it maybe a religious belief for some folks, but it's certainly not for the franchisee here and I don't think that it's necessarily political either. But I have to tell you that I don't read the franchise agreement with regularity or else I would have a bad case of insomnia.

...Me: BK Corp are saying that they've demanded that these signs get taken down and that they have now been taken down...

McNelis: Burger King can tell me to use my left hand when I scratch my nose instead of my right but that doesn't mean I'm going to use my right. They can say whatever they want. The management team can put the message up there if they want to. It is private property and over here in the US we do have some rights, not withstanding a franchise agreement that I could load a Brinks vehicle with I've got so many of them. By the time the BK lawyers work out how to make that stick we'd be in the year 2020. I don't think the franchisees are particularly concerned about that. BK can bluster all they want about what they can tell the franchisee to do but we have free speech rights in this country so I don't think there's any concerns. Don't come away from this conversation with the impression that the franchisee did anything because the BK Corporation told him he had to. They're only printed words on paper. The contract is only as strong as the ability to enforce it. Some things can be enforced, other things can't. I know BK would like to have you believe they have the authority and the willingness to make us do all kinds of different things, but that's not how the world works.


Scared silly about global warming

Exaggerating the dangers of climate change does more harm than good

By Bjorn Lomborg

The continuous presentation of scary stories about global warming in the popular media makes us unnecessarily frightened. Even worse, it terrifies our kids.

Former US vice president Al Gore famously depicted how a sea-level rise of 6m would almost completely flood Florida, New York, Holland, Bangladesh and Shanghai, even though the UN estimates that sea levels will rise 20 times less than that, and do no such thing.

When confronted with these exaggerations, some of us say that they are for a good cause and surely there is no harm done if the result is that we focus even more on tackling climate change. A similar argument was used when former US president George W. Bush’s administration overstated the terror threat from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

But this argument is astonishingly wrong. Such exaggerations do plenty of harm. Worrying excessively about global warming means that we worry less about other things, where we could do so much more good. We focus, for example, on global warming’s impact on malaria — which will be to put slightly more people at risk in 100 years — instead of tackling the half-billion people suffering from malaria today with prevention and treatment policies that are much cheaper and dramatically more effective than carbon reduction would be.

‘Nowhere is this deliberate fearmongering more obvious than in Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, a film that was marketed as ‘by far the most terrifying film you will ever see.’’

Exaggeration also wears out the public’s willingness to tackle global warming. If the planet is doomed, people wonder, why do anything? A record 54 percent of US voters now believe the news media make global warming appear worse than it really is. A majority of people now believe — incorrectly — that global warming is not even caused by humans. In the UK, 40 percent believe that global warming is exaggerated and 60 percent doubt that it is man-made.

But the worst cost of exaggeration, I believe, is the unnecessary alarm that it causes — particularly among children. Recently, I discussed climate change with a group of Danish teenagers. One of them worried that global warming would cause the planet to “explode” — and all the others had similar fears. In the US, the ABC TV network recently reported that psychologists were starting to see more neuroses in people anxious about climate change. An article in the Washington Post cited nine-year-old Alyssa, who cries about the possibility of mass animal extinctions from global warming.

In her words: “I don’t like global warming because it kills animals, and I like animals.” From a child who is yet to lose all her baby teeth: “I worry about [global warming] because I don’t want to die.”

The newspaper also reported that parents were searching for “productive” outlets for their eight-year-olds’ obsessions with dying polar bears. They might be better off educating them and letting them know that, contrary to common belief, the global polar bear population has doubled and perhaps even quadrupled over the past half-century, to about 22,000. Despite diminishing — and eventually disappearing — summer Arctic ice, polar bears will not become extinct. After all, in the first part of the current interglacial period, glaciers were almost entirely absent in the northern hemisphere, and the Arctic was probably ice-free for 1,000 years, yet polar bears are still with us.

Another nine-year old showed the Washington Post his drawing of a global warming timeline. “That’s the Earth now,” Alex says, pointing to a dark shape at the bottom. “And then it’s just starting to fade away.” Looking up to make sure his mother was following along, he tapped the end of the drawing: “In 20 years, there’s no oxygen.” Then, to dramatize the point, he collapsed, “dead,” to the floor.

And these are not just two freak stories. In a new survey of 500 US pre-teens, it was found that one in three children between the ages of six and 11 feared that the Earth would not exist when they reach adulthood because of global warming and other environmental threats. An unbelievable one-third of our children believe that they don’t have a future because of scary global warming stories.

We see the same pattern in the UK, where a survey showed that half of young children between the ages of seven and 11 were anxious about the effects of global warming, often losing sleep because of their concern. This is grotesquely harmful.

And let us be honest. This scare was intended. Children believe that global warming will destroy the planet before they grow up because adults are telling them that .

When every prediction about global warming is scarier than the last one, and the scariest predictions — often not backed up by peer-reviewed science — get the most airtime, it is little wonder that children are worried.

Nowhere is this deliberate fearmongering more obvious than in Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, a film that was marketed as “by far the most terrifying film you will ever see.”

Take a look at the trailer for this movie on YouTube. Notice the imagery of chilling, larger-than-life forces evaporating our future. The commentary tells us that this film has “shocked audiences everywhere,” and that “nothing is scarier” than what Gore is about to tell us. Notice how the trailer even includes a nuclear explosion.

The current debate about global warming is clearly harmful. I believe that it is time we demanded that the media stop scaring us and our kids silly. We deserve a more reasoned, more constructive and less frightening dialogue.


The year without a summer

Is this where we are heading now? With the way the sun is going, a major volcano could just push us into it

The year 1816 is still known to scientists and historians as "eighteen hundred and froze to death" or the "year without a summer." It was the locus of a period of natural ecological destruction not soon to be forgotten. During that year, the Northern Hemisphere was slammed with the effects of at least two abnormal but natural phenomena. These events were mysterious at the time, and even today they are not well understood.

First, 1816 marked the midpoint of one of the Sun's extended periods of low magnetic activity, called the Dalton Minimum. This particular minimum lasted from about 1795 to the 1820s. It resembled the earlier Maunder Minimum (about 1645-1715) that was responsible for at least 70 years of abnormally cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Maunder Minimum interval is sandwiched within an even better known cool period known as the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about the 14th through 19th centuries.

But the event that most severely shaped 1816's cold phenomena was the catastrophic eruption the previous year of Tambora on the island of Sumbawa, in modern-day Indonesia. The ash clouds and sulfur aerosols spewed by this volcano were widespread, chilling the climate of the Northern Hemisphere by blocking sunlight with gases and particles.

A third factor also could have played a role. During both the Dalton and the Maunder minima, the Sun shifted its place in the solar system - something it does every 178 to 180 years. During this cycle, the Sun moves its position around the solar system's center of mass. This particular trick of gravity is known as "inertial solar motion." Scientists have not yet confirmed whether or not inertial solar motion affects Earth's climate directly, but it remains a possibility.

The combined influences of the Sun's changes in magnetism, a major volcanic eruption, and possibly even the wobbling of the Sun's position were responsible for famine, drought, and destructive snows and rains in the Northern Hemisphere in 1816. Diary entries and newspaper accounts abound of the unusual spring and summer cold. People even noted the sky's abnormal color, the large sizes of sunspots, and other curiosities. Because most people in the Northern Hemisphere were subsistence farmers, crop failure meant not only hardship, but often death. Crop yields in parts of America and Europe sank dangerously low for a year, causing eyes to focus on a blotchy Sun and an angry God - or both.

A Miserable Summer

The people who survived the drought and cold would long after refer to 1816 as "eighteen hundred and froze to death." Sleet fell in the Northeast United States, and snowdrifts remained 2 feet deep in late spring. In Franconia, New Hampshire, 88- year-old physician Edward Holyoke, an amateur astronomer and meteorologist who kept detailed weather records for 80 years, wrote on June 7: "exceeding[ly] cold. Ground frozen hard, and squalls of snow through the day. Icicles 12 inches long in the shade at noon day."

Nobody could recall such a cold spring. Sheep froze in meadows and small birds were "easily caught by reason of the cold" or were found dead in fields. Massachusetts physician William Bentley wrote on June 12: "in few seasons have we heard more bitter complaints against cold weather than since June has come in."

Others recorded killer droughts and a strange, tepid dryness wafting on northwest winds. A vivid impression of that summer in the Northeast United States appeared in verse:

The trees were all leafless, the mountains were brown

The face of the country was scathed with a frown

And bleak were the hills, and the foliage sere

As had never been seen at that time of the year.

A certain degree of normalcy returned for part of the summer. In some coastal areas, the weather was "bland and agreeable, if humid." Spurting vegetable growth could fool anyone: even astute long-time weather observers like Holyoke described June 17 to August 17 as "uniformly fine."He wrote in a confident hand that the crop outlook was better "than could have been anticipated."

But then the cold struck again. On August 21, Holyoke wrote in a tenser hand, recording the frosts and snows that killed off the meager bean and corn crop. The difference between August 17 and 21 was like summer compared with winter. The fields were "as empty and white as October." This particular damaging frost affected areas from southern Canada to North Carolina. Cold struck again on September 11, and people tended fields as if dressed for December. In an age characterized by backbreaking labor, the "poverty year," as 1816 was called by some, was a harrowing ordeal.

The bad weather wasn't confined to North America. The summer weather in parts of Europe was so bad that it reminded people of November. On June 16, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley noted that the weather at Lake Geneva turned abruptly from dry and beautiful to lashing rain, with howling winds and vicious lightning storms. Shelley was spending the "cold and rainy" summer in Switzerland with various literati. Most were confined indoors on stormy June 22, where rounds of ghost stories ensued. They pledged to record these fables on paper, and Mary Shelley was the first to prevail (by 1818). As a fruit of her labors, we have the Gothic chiller Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus.

A Strange Solar Max

First, let's focus on how the Sun made 1816 a bad year. The Dalton and Maunder minima were extended periods of very weak solar activity, spanning about 25 years and 70 years, respectively. Records from these periods show far fewer sunspots than normal, meaning the Sun's magnetic activity was very weak during those years. Even though the Sun is covered by relatively few dark sunspots when it is not magnetically active, it also has fewer bright regions, known as plages and faculae. Sustained periods of weak magnetic activity make the Sun slightly dimmer, so Earth receives less solar light energy.

Scientists have recently reconstructed this weak magnetic activity by measuring various chemical isotopes in tree rings, for example, and matching them to weather and temperature oddities. Cosmic rays transmute nitrogen-14 in Earth's upper atmosphere, creating the radioactive isotope carbon-14. In the 1970s, solar astronomer John Eddy of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado showed that carbon-14 concentration in annual tree growth rings is higher when fewer sunspots blemish the Sun's surface.

There's an astronomical explanation for this linkage. Strong magnetic activity on the Sun is passed on to the solar wind - a stream of protons and helium nuclei flowing outward from the Sun at high speed. A strong magnetic field in the solar wind shields Earth from cosmic rays. Because fewer cosmic rays collide with Earth, less carbon-14 forms in the atmosphere. But when solar magnetism is weak, more galactic cosmic rays can reach Earth and make more carbon-14. The carbon-14 in turn combines with oxygen molecules in the atmosphere to make the heavy version of carbon dioxide that will ultimately be incorporated into the cellulose of growth rings of living trees.

Suspicious 19th-century eyes turned upward at an angry God, and at the Sun. Fingers pointed to a spotty Sun as the culprit for the strange and unpredictable weather. In 1816 sunspots were so large that they could be seen without telescopes. One report notes the presence of particularly large sunspots from May 3 to 10, and again on June 11, when a dry fog due to Tambora's effects reddened and dimmed the disk of the Sun. This reddened condition acted as a solar filter and made the large sunspots stand out easily, even to unaided eyes.

The sunspots made quite an impact on the average person, who "at the time believed that the large spots appearing on the Sun's disk lessened the number of rays of light and consequently the earth was to that extent cooler than usual," wrote Sidney Perley in the 1891 book Historic Storms of New England. The dark spots certainly dimmed sunlight, but the spots alone couldn't explain the unseasonable cold and snow. If sunspots were the only culprit, the cooling effects from the reduced sunlight should have come and gone through each 27-day solar rotation. In addition, large sunspots seldom last longer than a month, which would otherwise be necessary to explain the extended period of cooling.

Ironically, 1816 occurred around the maximum of the Sun's 11-year sunspot cycle. But the sunspot groups counted in 1816 amounted to a mere 35, as opposed to about 100 for a normal year around solar maximum. This is about the lowest sunspot maximum ever recorded, so astronomers call it a "weak solar maximum."


Greenie versus Greenie

Conservation and animal protection groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to halt the ongoing construction of a Greenbrier County wind farm, saying the project will kill the endangered Indiana bat.

The Animal Welfare Project and Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy believe they are the first organizations in the nation to challenge a wind energy project on environmental grounds in federal court.

The lawsuit, brought under the Endangered Species Act, and filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland, alleges the 124-turbine project will injure and kill scores of Indiana bats that live in caves near the wind farm.

"Wind power may be part of the solution for climate change, but locations such as the Beech Ridge project site are entirely inappropriate for industrial wind facilities," said D.J. Schubert, wildlife biologist with the Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute. "We cannot allow a new ecological crisis to be created in the name of solving an existing one."



The German-language version of the pro-business Financial Times urged its readers on Thursday to vote for the Green party in the forthcoming European elections.

"Whoever wants to bring meaningful change with his vote should this time tick the Green box. They are the only party putting forward real ideas for Europe," the paper said in an editorial on its famous pink pages.



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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