Saturday, June 13, 2009


An email from S. Fred Singer []

It is clear that Lambeck doesn't understand the limitations of climate models. There is no credible theory at all for sea-level rise. The so-called "semi-empirical theory" of Rahmstorf is sheer fantasy.

Experts on actual sea level data (Trupin and Wahr, Bruce Douglas, Holgate) agree that there has been no acceleration of the rate of rise during the past century. How do Lambeck and Rahmstorf explain the absence of positive acceleration during the strong global warming interval of 1920-40? They cannot, and ignore it.

Green-Growth Hype

"Study: Jobs in Fledgling Green Sector Growing," reads the headline of an Associated Press dispatch. The characterization is sort of accurate--but only sort of:
The fledgling renewable energy industry has grown steadily over much of the past decade, adding jobs at more than twice the national rate, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study released Wednesday. Solar and wind-power companies, energy-efficient light bulb makers, environmental engineering firms and others expanded their work force by 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2007, the latest year available, according to Pew. The average job growth in all industries was 3.7 percent during the same period.

The entire energy sector has experienced growth in recent years as well, according to the Bureau of Labor. Bureau data shows coal mining jobs jumped 16 percent from 2003 to 2009. Oil and gas extraction jobs jumped 28 percent.

It's rather tendentious to tout the growth of "green energy" jobs when energy jobs of other colors have grown considerably faster, and (although the AP does not mention this) from a higher base.

This misleading framing of the data did not originate with the AP; the Pew press release is titled "Pew Finds Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth." But this points to a way in which media bias often operates. Rarely do news reporters merely rewrite a press release touting a study that comes from a conservative or free-market group. Instead, they take a more critical approach in order to compensate for the group's bias. There's nothing wrong with that; the fault lies in journalists' failing to apply a similar skepticism to liberal groups.


To Hell with Earth Day; Long Live Arbor Day!

Once upon a time in America, schoolchildren celebrated a lovely little holiday called Arbor Day. The young scholars would sing songs about Johnny Appleseed, recite Joyce Kilmer into the ground, learn the difference between an oak and a maple, and bundle up against the spring chill to go outside and plant an actual tree. The planting, like Arbor Day itself, was both symbolic and practical, and a nice lesson in the ways in which conservation and renewal begin at home. Fittingly, Grant Wood, rooted in Iowa, made Arbor Day the subject of one of his best paintings.

But that was then, and this is now. Beyond its hometown of Nebraska City, Nebraska, Arbor Day has faded into obscurity; its historic date, April 22, will be given over this year to that dreary shower of corporate agit-prop known as Earth Day. The difference between Arbor Day and Earth Day is the difference between planting a tree in your backyard and e-mailing a machine-written plea for a global warming treaty to your UN representative.

The date of Arbor Day has always varied from state to state, usually depending on the planting season. Its very lack of fixity was part of its charm. California observes it on March 7, Luther Burbank’s birthday, but before its most recent transplantation to the last Friday in April (this year the 24th), most states declared it to be April 22, the birthdate of J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, the father of Arbor Day.

Morton was a newspaper editor and member of the Nebraska Board of Agriculture. Desirous of windbreaks, shade, lumber, and the simple aesthetic pleasure of that woody wonder that only God can make, Morton proposed a statewide tree-planting festival. He got his wish: on April 10, 1872, more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska, and over the next sixteen years 350 million new trees brought a sylvan touch to the prairie state. Other states picked up on the idea, and by 1882, schoolkids around the country celebrated Arbor Day with parades, ceremonial plantings to honor the dead, and the introduction of seeds to soil, which begins the miracle.

But perhaps, in its reliance on the public school system, Arbor Day contained the seeds of its own destruction. States, and later the federal government, could not resist tweaking Arbor Day. It became Arbor and Bird Day in some places, which was harmless enough, but before long it was hijacked by the highwaymen of the Good Roads movement—the apostles of Progress who would go on to pave America with your ancestors’ tax dollars.

Thus by the teens the U.S. Bureau of Education was flooding the nation’s schools with bulletins promoting the bizarre hybrid “Good Roads Arbor Day.” You see, “If a people have no roads, they are savages,” as bureau propaganda put it. Properly instructed on Good Roads Arbor Day, American striplings might grow up “to relieve our country of this stigma of having the worst roads of all civilized nations.” Which they did: Who says public education doesn’t work?

(Piling yet another progressive cause atop the faltering branch of Arbor Day, the organizers of the West Virginia Arbor and Bird Day cheeped, “We can have a good system of consolidated schools only where we have good roads.”)

Nevertheless, Arbor Day survived, frequently observed in hamlets and parks and neighborhood schools—until it was clear-cut by Earth Day.

Earth Day was not of ignoble birth. It was the legislative child of Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), a thoughtful liberal, who envisioned it as a national teach-in on the environment. The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, was a hectoring mix of street theater, corporate p.r., and speeches by such paragons of restraint as Senators Ted Kennedy and Bob Packwood. Funding came, in part, from Dow Chemical and the Ford Motor Company. (The most prominent public opponents of the first Earth Day were the Daughters of the American Revolution, who had also fought vainly against the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, which spawned the commerce trumps tradition three-day weekend.)

In the four decades since, Earth Day has become a bloodless holiday for pallid urbanites, the sort of technology-dependent yuppies whose rare encounters with the unregulated outdoors usually end in paralyzing fears of Lyme disease. Earth Day is about as green as a $100 bill. So on April 22 this year, when the networks and the schools and the politicians are droning on about the oppressive bore that is Earth Day, commit a simple act of resistance and patriotism: Plant a tree.


The UN’s Climate of Futility

Climate bureaucrats from 180 countries came together in Bonn, Germany, to craft yet another proposal to replace the UN’s failed Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Whatever comes out of the meeting will be up for formal adoption at an even bigger meeting in Copenhagen next December.

Remember Kyoto? It would have required us to reduce our national emissions of carbon dioxide to 7 percent below 1990 levels. Europe, Canada, and pretty much the rest of the developed world had similar “obligations.” Kyoto failed because, simply put, it was too costly, both politically and economically. It would have had no detectable effect on global warming, anyway — “preventing” about seven-hundredths of a degree Celsius by 2050. The Earth’s surface temperature bounces around about twice that amount naturally from year-to-year, so it would have been impossible to determine Kyoto’s “benefit.”

What’s the response of the U.N. and the Obama administration to this failure? The meeting in Bonn proposes even more drastic cuts in emissions. The legislation currently being discussed in the House of Representatives, and supported by the president, would reduce U.S. emissions to 83 percent below 2005 levels. If implemented, this would allow the average American in 2050 to emit only as much carbon dioxide as the average American emitted in 1867. That target is right in the middle of the range being discussed in Bonn.

No one has any idea how this would be accomplished. The president supports the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill — aptly renamed the Obama Energy Tax in this space, since it would amount to the largest tax increase ever instituted by any government in history. Entities that emit carbon dioxide — power plants, GM (Government Motors), you when you drive your car — will be required to reduce emissions by 83 percent over the next 40 years. Those who can’t do this will have to purchase a permit from someone or something that did.

This will make anything using, produced from, or transported via fossil fuels prohibitively expensive. How costly? The last time gas went up to $4 a gallon, the nation’s consumption dropped by about 4 percent. What does the price have to be to cut it by 83 percent? No one really knows, but it will surely be extremely high.

All this will have minimal effect on global warming. Using standard scientific models (such as they are), we can estimate that, if every nation in the world that has obligations under the current Kyoto Protocol begins to reduce emissions soon and reaches the 83 percent target by 2050, the amount of warming prevented by then is a mere 0.08 degrees Celsius by 2050 and 0.22 degrees by 2100, compared with what the United Nations calls “business-as-usual.”

Business not “as usual” won’t be very much business at all, at least in the U.S., where the average per capita emissions would have to drop to where they were after the Civil War. In response, businesses will migrate to where cheap energy is available, such as India and China. Both countries have made it quite clear that they simply will not go along with the emissions reductions being talked about in Bonn and Washington. The political pressure to develop their economies is orders of magnitude stronger than any pressure to hinder that development with artificially expensive energy.

Nor are China and India reluctant to exploit the new administration’s frequently stated desire to “work with the international community” (read: the U.N.) on climate change. So, Beijing and New Delhi are ratcheting up the stakes even farther. China, for example, may agree “in principle” to some vague reductions in emissions at some future time, but only if the developed nations of the world agree to send a check for 1 percent of their GDP annually as payment.

For all its new internationalist intentions, even the many environmental radicals in the Obama administration will recognize the perils of a policy that would lead to another round of de-industrialization in the U.S. while paying competitors to bury our economy. And they have one escape hatch: the U.S. Senate.

Absent some extreme climatic change, there is no way that the Senate is going to go along with the House or with Obama on the issue of drastic cuts in emissions. Consequently, negotiators in Bonn will say that everything that the U.S. does is contingent upon what the Senate will do.

The smartest policy for the new “internationalist” administration would be to support the massive emissions reductions proposed in the House legislation, and to delay consideration by the Senate until after the Copenhagen meeting, where it is sure to die. Obama can burnish his international environmental credentials, please those within his own administration, and avoid further destruction of the economy.


Meteorologist: Climate change reconsidered. Reasons to question beliefs‏

By MICHAEL MOGIL (Mogil is a certified consulting meteorologist, retired National Weather Service employee and a longtime weather educator)

Proponents of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change have ruled the roost for years. Following the release of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” book and movie, the media focused on “impending doom,” shunning skeptics. Only recently have several thousand credible scientists offered organized evidence, research and persuasion that explain how forces far greater than those of mortals are effecting climate change. Their data and explanations indicate that the incredible, soon-to-be-spent megamillions, will have little effect on lowering human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions. On June 2, “Climate Change Reconsidered — The Report of the Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)” (See here), documenting this scientific evidence, was unveiled at the Third International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C.

We are in a warming period now, but there is no consensus on human causation. Although temperatures have risen over the past five centuries, manifestations of our Industrial Revolution have only been at work for about 200 years. Thus, more than half of the current warming period occurred before humans started overproducing carbon dioxide.

Warming and cooling periods have happened many times over geologic time (about 4.5 billion years). In fact, past temperatures have been warmer than they are today.

Since we are talking geologic time, notice how most climate change pronouncements key on “warmest in 30 years” and “strongest hurricane ever.” Yet, true weather records date back only about 60 years for hurricanes and tornadoes. This is due to technological advances like satellites, radars and enhanced communications. For other weather variables, the period of record is usually far less than 100 years. A 30-year period, which defines daily average temperatures, is equivalent to one second now compared to five years geologically.

What drives such changes if humans don’t? Solar output is not constant. We are now in a solar minimum with lower global and regional temperatures. This year, parts of the northern Rockies have experienced late-season snowfalls. The northern tier has had frost risks even into early June.

Back in 1816, New England missed summer. Its coldness was linked to volcanic eruptions.

Other contributors to climate change include changes in the Earth’s rotation, slight variances in the tilt of its axis, continental movement, advances and retreats of glaciers (which has happened throughout geologic time), shifts in ecosystem distribution and changes in ocean levels and circulation patterns. In fact, we incorrectly believe that climate is fixed; rather, it is always changing. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington showcases such changes over eons. You can also learn about the exhibit here.

While large numbers of record daily high temperatures are still being reported, meteorologist Anthony Watts has questioned the reliability of U.S. temperature records (See here). By photographing and visually inspecting some 850 stations in the U.S. (but extrapolating their findings globally), Watts noted that 89 percent failed to meet even the National Weather Service’s own locating requirements. Many of the stations were “located next to the exhaust fans of air-conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat.”

Thus, contrary to claims by the anthropogenic climate change community, there is stark evidence that we are not the culprit. And before we spend “anything that it takes” to solve this now unproven problem, we may want to reassess public opinion. In fact, given that large parts of the world won’t make the changes that the U.S. and Europe are considering, it seems folly to have some nations air condition themselves while others leave the “barn doors open.”

Nonetheless, we must be better stewards of Planet Earth. For any action we take, individuals and families, governments (at all levels) and businesses (large and small) need to look at cost-benefit-risk aspects. Everything needs to be on the table as possible solutions. For decreasing oil usage, I think it is presumptuous to take half of our options off the table while touting only costly-to-produce (but possibly viable) solar, wind and ethanol.

Understanding is crucial if we are to make intelligent choices. Thus, I urge all readers not to blindly accept what I state here. Rather, I hope that you will question your beliefs, statements you may have heard and other aspects of this issue to arrive at your own conclusions. In doing so, you will demonstrate what graces the masthead on these editorial pages, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”


Climate cops for Australia?

FRONTLINE police will be forced to become "carbon cops" under the Government's blueprint to cut greenhouse emissions. The Herald Sun can reveal Australian Federal Police agents will have to prosecute a new range of climate offences. But they are yet to be offered extra resources, stretching the thin blue line to breaking point.

"The Government is effectively saying to us, 'Ignore other crime types'," Australian Federal Police Association chief Jim Torr said. The group had been trying for months, without success, to discuss the issue with Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, he said.

Interpol has warned the carbon market will be irresistible to criminal gangs because of the vast amounts of cash to be made. Possible rorts include under-reporting of carbon emissions by firms and bogus carbon offset schemes. "If someone is rorting it by even 1 per cent a year, we're talking about many, many millions of dollars," Mr Torr said.

Ms Wong's office said AFP agents would be expected to enter premises and request paperwork to monitor firms' emissions reductions. They would act on the 30-strong Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority's orders. It said the authority could appoint staff members or police as inspectors. She said the Department of Climate Change had spoken to the AFPA and the parties would talk again. Carbon trading involves carbon emissions rights buying and selling. Businesses can offset emissions by investing in climate-friendly projects, or carbon credits. Ms Wong's office said provisions had been made to ensure compliance. "Inspectors may enter premises and exercise other monitoring powers," she said. "The inspectors may ask questions and seek the production of documents. There is provision for the issue of monitoring warrants by magistrates."

The AFP's 2855 sworn agents are involved in law enforcement in Australia and overseas, investigating terrorist threats, drug syndicates, people trafficking, fraud and threats against children.

Mr Torr said breaking carbon trading laws would be like breaking other laws. "These offences will constitute another federal crime type, along with narcotics importing, people smuggling and all the rest of it, that the AFP will be expected to police," he said. "I can see very complex, covert investigations . . . a lot of scientific expertise required."

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is facing Senate defeat unless it can secure the support of key cross-benchers or the Opposition. Opposition climate change spokesman Andrew Robb said the scheme was problematic.



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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