Monday, June 08, 2009

Skeptics From Around the Globe: ITALY

Quote below from Dr. Franco Battaglia, professor of Environmental Chemistry University of Modena:

"It follows that scientists worldwide have not only failed to understand anything, but are hoaxers and dreamers: the anthropogenic global warming is the most colossal forgery of the century....the biggest sham of the last 15 years...the conjecture of anthropogenic global warming should be regarded as pure speculation today- physically disproved by the real facts"


Note also that Dr Battaglia was one of those who advised the American Physical Society to change its policy statement from this:
Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

to this
Greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, accompany human industrial and agricultural activity. While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th -21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today. In addition, there is an extensive scientific literature that examines beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide for both plants and animals.

Studies of a variety of natural processes, including ocean cycles and solar variability, indicate that they can account for variations in the Earth’s climate on the time scale of decades and centuries. Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate.

The APS supports an objective scientific effort to understand the effects of all processes – natural and human -- on the Earth’s climate and the biosphere’s response to climate change, and promotes technological options for meeting challenges of future climate changes, regardless of cause.

See here

Note: The above advice was not accepted

Weather Malarkey

By Alan Caruba

I have never been able to figure out why people who know that the forecast for the local weather is likely to be wrong by the afternoon of the same day or within 48 hours still believe that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change can accurately predict what it will be ten, twenty or fifty years from now.

At the third Conference on Climate Change held last week in Washington, DC., an event sponsored by the non-profit, free market think tank, The Heartland Institute, “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC) was announced. It offers a very different picture from the endless scare campaigns of the leading environmental organizations or, for that matter, from the White House and Congress.

Edited by Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer, two climatologists, it runs a whopping 900 pages that includes 35 contributors and reviewers of climate data. Its final 200 pages are mostly appendices, including a directory of all scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition that, in March, numbered 31,478 of them.

The Petition urged the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. One of those proposals is a nation-destroying epic “climate” bill intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, with an absurd “cap-and-trade” program that is little more than a huge tax on all use of energy by Americans.

Suffice it to say that the original Kyoto Protocols were rejected unanimously by a former Senate when they were first announced and, since they are allegedly directed at saving the Earth from “global warming”, the threat of this calamity ended around 1998 when the Earth began to cool. It has been in a cooling cycle ever since.

Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable?

Neither the protocols, nor the current “climate” bill have any merit whatever. Both are based on falsified “scientific” data courtesy of the UN Panel. Bad, inaccurate weather information seems to be the stock-in-trade of environmental organizations and thanks to Anthony Watts, a meteorologist with some 25 years in the forecasting business and chief meteorologist for KPAY-AM radio, a publication, “Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable?” is available from The Heartland Institute ($12.99 per copy for 1-10 copies.)

As Watts points out, “The official record of temperatures in the continental United States comes from a network of 1,221 climate-monitoring stations overseen by the National Weather Service, a department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”

Until now, however, “no one had ever conducted a comprehensive review of the quality of the measurement environment of those stations.” Watts recruited 650 volunteers and their findings are astounding and disturbing.

“We found stations 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. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.”

The report found that 89 percent of the stations, nearly 9 out of 10, failed to meet the National Weather Service’s own requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.

So, based on these monitoring stations, very little of the temperatures reported by the U.S. Weather Service are accurate and, more importantly, provide false data which has been used to underwrite the “global warming” hoax.

Filled with photos of the stations and charts of the data they produce, the conclusion is inescapable: “The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.”

When one considers that during the course of a single day and night, the temperature anywhere can vary widely, the notion that anyone can determine the nation’s or entire Earth’s average temperature based on such stations around the world is literally impossible.

Weather satellites provide a better gauge and, as noted, they have been reporting a cooling Earth since 1998.

The Greens aren’t the only ones who can make predictions, albeit for the purpose of scaring people into believing the bogus “global warming” hoax, I can do that too. I predict that the Greens will unleash an unholy attack on The Heartland Institute’s NIPCC report in order to discredit it.

Now, who are you going to believe? The thermometer your home or apartment uses to determine the temperature outside or the Greens? As for your local weather report, it is useful for perhaps a day, maybe two. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For more information, visit


NASA's James Hansen summarized

It's been more than 20 years since James Hansen first warned America of impending doom. On a hot summer day in June 1988, Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, came to Washington to announce before a Senate committee that "the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now."

The greenhouse effect would have looked obvious enough to anyone watching on television. The senators conducting the hearing, including Al Gore, had turned the committee room into an oven. That day it was a balmy 98 degrees, and as former Colorado senator Timothy Wirth later revealed, the committee members "went in the night before and opened all the windows. And so when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and [high ratings], but it was really hot."

Hansen has been a star ever since. On the 20th anniversary of his testimony to Congress and still serving in the same role at NASA, Hansen was invited back for an encore performance where he warned that time was running out. He also conducted a media tour that included calling for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, to be put on trial for "high crimes against humanity and nature."

If you hear the echo of Nuremberg in those trials, it's because Hansen doesn't shy away from Holocaust metaphors to make his point. In 2007, Hansen testified before the Iowa Utilities Board not in his capacity as a government employee but "as private citizen, a resident of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the planet, of life on Earth, including all species." Hansen told the board that "if we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains--no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species."

More recently, but presumably still in his capacity as a private citizen and defender of the Earth, Hansen wrote an op-ed for the Guardian in which he described coal-fired power plants as "factories of death." This on the heels of testifying in a British court on behalf of six Greenpeace activists on trial for causing $60,000 in criminal damage to a coal-fired power station in England. The Greenpeace activists had offered climate change as a "lawful excuse" for their actions and with Hansen's helpful testimony were acquitted of all charges. Less than six months later, Hansen--a federal employee--would call for "the largest display of civil disobedience against global warming in U.S. history" as part of a protest at the Capitol power plant in Washington.

Hansen, by his own count, has conducted more than 1,400 interviews in recent years. Yet Hansen would also insist, in a speech just days before the 2004 presidential election, that the Bush administration had "muzzled" him because of his global warming activism. When asked about this contradiction in 2007, Hansen told Rep. Darrell Issa that "for the sake of the taxpayers, they should be availed of my expertise. I shouldn't be required to parrot some company line."

But Hansen has never parroted the company line. As the head of NASA's Weather and Climate Research Program from 1982 to 1994, John Theon was James Hansen's supervisor. Theon says that Hansen's testimony in 1988 was "a huge embarrassment" to NASA, and he remains skeptical of Hansen's predictions. "I don't have much faith in the models," Theon says, pointing to the "huge uncertainty in the role clouds play." Theon describes Hansen as a "nice, likeable fellow," but worries "he's been overcome by his belief--almost religious--that he's going to save the world."

William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, also describes Hansen's belief in a man-made global-warming catastrophe as "almost religious" and says he "never understood how [Hansen] got such a strong voice" in the debate. Gray's efforts to predict hurricanes also lead him to question Hansen's computer models. "He doesn't have the clouds in right, and he doesn't have the deep ocean circulation," Gray says. "It's a giant scam in my view."

Yet Hansen has been well rewarded by the scientific community for his efforts, winning the American Meteorological Society's highest award for atmospheric science earlier this year. Gray says he was "appalled at that," particularly in light of the fact that Hansen wasn't even trained as a -meteorologist. Gray distributed a paper describing the choice as a "hijacking" of the AMS: "By presenting Hansen with its highest award, the AMS implies it agrees with his faulty global temperature projections and irresponsible alarmist rhetoric," Gray wrote.

Indeed, Roy Spencer, who served as the senior scientist for climate studies at NASA's Marshall Center, puts Hansen "at the extreme end of global warming alarmism." Spencer doesn't know of anyone "who thinks it's a bigger problem than [Hansen] does." Spencer, a meteorologist by training and a skeptic of man-made global warming, was genuinely muzzled during the Clinton administration. "I would get the message down through the NASA chain [of command] of what I could and couldn't say in testimony."

Spencer left NASA with little fuss for a job at the University of Alabama in 2001, but he still seems in awe of Hansen's ability to do as he pleases. "For many years Hansen got away with going around NASA rules, and they looked the other way because it helped sell Mission to Planet Earth," the NASA research program studying human effects on climate. Spencer figures that "at some point, someone in the Bush administration said 'why don't you start enforcing your rules?' "

Gray says that Hansen's "testimony is not working out" anyway. There's been a "slight cooling since 2001. .  .  . They're scrambling," he says. And indeed Hansen got caught with his hand in the cookie jar in 2007, when Stephen McIntyre, the man who debunked the infamous "hockey stick" graph showing stable Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures for most of the last millennia before a sharp upturn, found a flaw in Hansen's numbers. McIntyre analyzed NASA's temperature records for the last century and found that, contrary to Hansen's charts, 1998 was not the hottest year on record. That honor belongs to 1934, and five of the ten hottest years on record are now found prior to World War II.

Theon says the same kind of models that now predict runaway warming were predicting runaway cooling prior to 1975, when the popular fear was not melting ice caps but a new ice age, and "not one model predicted the cooling we've had since 1998." Spencer insists "it's all make believe--if you took one look at the assumptions that go into this, you'd laugh." But none of that seems to matter too much.

"Gore was in his corner and now the president is in his corner," Theon says. "They don't understand what the hell is going on."


The Littlest Totalitarian


‘Helping Dad become a better man: priceless.” That’s the closing line of a new MasterCard commercial. You know those commercials; they’ve been out for nearly a decade. A typical one goes something like this: “Bric-a-brac: 17 dollars. White elephant: 28 dollars. Getting your wife to remove the restraining order: priceless.”

Only this one has a little boy tailing his father — a man who looks like a perpetually adolescent extra from the old sitcom Friends — through a home-improvement store pointing out ways the carbon-profligate old man can reduce his footprint. The boy replaces the usual narrator as well. “Energy-saving bulb: four dollars,” quoth the child. “Reusable bag: two dollars. Helping Dad become a better man: priceless.”

There are two kinds of folks in this world: those who find this sort of thing creepy, and pod people. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too strong. But how anyone could fail to find this commercial one of the more disturbing convergences of corporate power, advertising, and progressive groupthink is beyond me.

If you can’t see why, maybe it will help to look a few spaces ahead of where we are. In Britain, an electric utility launched a website for kids that teaches them how to become “climate cops.” Their duty is to keep a “watchful eye” and monitor the “energy crimes” of their family and neighbors, with the ultimate goal of building a “climate-crime case file.” Beware that Johnson kid with the clipboard going through your recyclables.

If you still can’t see why this kiddie Gestapo stuff is offensive, change the issue from environmentalism to eating habits (you know that’s coming, by the way), or religion, or just about any subject where you don’t think a six-year-old should be scolding you for weakness of character or informing on you to the authorities.

Now, it’s not that I think kids shouldn’t be encouraged to be civic-minded. And while I find today’s climate obsessions to be suffused with religious hysteria, I don’t see anything terrible in encouraging kids, or anyone else, to conserve resources. But that’s not the issue here. Nor is environmentalism per se. It’s the kids.

There is something evil about recruiting children to lobby their parents on political causes. Okay, it’s not always evil; sometimes it can be funny, like the time in 1965 when Soupy Sales told the children watching his TV show to sneak into their parents’ bedrooms and take the “green pieces of paper” from their wallets and send them to him.

Sales apologized for cracking a joke that a few kids took seriously. But no apologies are forthcoming from MasterCard for broadcasting something in earnest that in a healthy society would be seen as a joke. The idea of enlisting children to the Cause is as fashionable today as it was under Robespierre. To crack the bunker walls of the family and seduce the children has always been a top priority of totalitarians, hard and soft. Progressives love to elevate the sagacity of children — Hillary Clinton says some of the best theologians she’s ever met have been five-year-olds — because doing so gives children all the more authority when they parrot the talking points of the latest progressive fad.

James Lileks asks about the MasterCard ad: “If the kid didn’t learn these steps to righteousness at home, where did he get them?” Precisely. It’s not as if normal, uncoached six-year-olds talk about making their fathers “better men.”

If the man in the ad were a better father, he would have scolded his kid for the disrespect and demanded to know who was teaching him such crap.


Sea Ice Extent Now Normal in the Arctic

NOTHING seems to be going to plan for those who believe in anthropogenic global warming and an imminent climate crisis. According to thermometer and satellite data global surface temperatures are not increasing, the oceans aren’t warming, and now it seems not even the Arctic is melting.

The latest satellite data on Arctic sea ice extent suggests that there is now a normal amount of sea ice in the Arctic – normal is defined as about average for the period 1979 - 2007.

And when all is said and done, if the climate system is not accumulating heat, the AGW hypothesis is invalid.

The graph is from ‘Daily Updated Time series of Arctic sea ice area and extent derived from SSMI data provided by NANSEN’, See here

More discussion at WUWT on sea ice extent, here


Fortune Tellers and Planners, Public and Private

This is about predictions generally, with particular reference to financial and business predictions, but its application to Warmism should also be obvious

Throughout history, as far back as we have records, there have been fortune tellers and magicians. That is, there have been people who claimed to have a means of knowing the future and others who purported to know how to manipulate or control the course of events by rituals or other means. All kinds of methods were used to divine the future, from the flight of birds to the shape of the livers of sacrificed oxen.

It would seem that thinking of this kind has a deep appeal to human beings, that we may even be hardwired by evolution to be attracted to it. Seemingly the idea of a future that is somehow knowable and determinable eases anxiety and makes the world seem safer and tamer. (This also explains the persisting appeal of conspiracy-based theories of history and current affairs. Apparently many people would rather believe that the world is run by incredibly cunning and evil people than admit that no one is “in charge.”)

No One Knows

The claim to be able to predict or direct the future is wrong, and to the extent we believe it, we will do incredibly dangerous things. In some ways we can make predictions about what will happen—if we couldn’t, life would simply be impossible. Thus on the basis of what has happened already, we can predict fairly confidently that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. We can be almost as confident that the Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series—or can we? The problem with the second kind of prediction is that it works on the basis of past regularities or statistical aggregates involving human interaction. Most of the time these predictions pan out, but not always.

One major problem is unforeseen and (more importantly) unforeseeable events, which completely change what can reasonably be anticipated and make nonsense of what looked like sound expectations. Another problem is that people will change their behavior on the basis of what they confidently expect to happen. Sometimes this makes the anticipated event even more likely, but occasionally it has the opposite effect and confounds all the confident prognostications. In reality, while we can guess at bits of it and have reasonable expectations in some areas, the human future is ultimately radically unknowable merely on the basis of past experience, on both a micro and a macro level.

It is also true that all of us seek to influence the course of future events. Simply by living and acting we have an influence to some degree. This, however, is largely not a matter of definite purpose on our part. We influence the future in ways we do not anticipate or intend. Beyond that we often consciously try by acting in certain ways to make particular outcomes more likely and others less so. In other words, we make plans assuming that our actions will have the results we anticipate and desire. Sometimes things work out, but often they do not. The more elaborate and longer-term the plans, the greater the likelihood that things will not work out as expected. This applies to both individual and collective action.

All of this has an obvious bearing on economic thinking and on what we can reasonably expect from public policy. Essentially, we should have modest and humble expectations of what it can achieve. We should be prepared to accept that most policies will fail; that is, they will not bring about their anticipated outcomes. We should also expect that in many cases public policy will have consequences that were not only unforeseen by those advocating them, but could not have been foreseen—even by critics.

Above all, this means that the idea of using political power to plan or guide the course of events is ultimately a fantasy, one that can only end in disappointment. Sometimes government policies will work out the way they were intended to, but more often something will derail them or they will produce unexpected and often unwelcome results. This is of course one of the central arguments made against government planning by the Austrian school of economists, most notably Mises and Hayek. The solution for them is to use the outcome of the interactions of individuals in markets and other social institutions to generate signals, such as prices, that correct errors and provide some degree of guidance as to what course of action one should follow to achieve a desired result. One of the most important aspects of this process is insurance, essentially a series of transactions (bets, effectively) that provide a rough guide to the chances of certain undesirable events happening.

The Austrian analysis, moreover, does not only apply to government. It also applies to private institutions. Thus much of the planning by large private firms or churches or charities fails in the same way that government planning does. It is less dangerous or apparent because firms and other private organizations, while organized on a nonmarket basis internally, are embedded in a wider system of market relations that swiftly reveal when plans are not working out. Therefore they are corrected more swiftly.

However, this self-correcting mechanism can break down. One problem is the one I touched on in a previous column (“The Recurring Crisis,” the distorting effects of the government monopoly of money. As money is the medium in which prices are expressed, distortion of its supply will have systemic effects and delay corrections from taking place, making the problems more severe than they need be. This is exacerbated by another phenomenon that is purely private in origin and reflects the human weakness for certainty alluded to earlier. Just like the Romans, our own society has its class of augurs and fortune tellers, but now they appear as economic forecasters and academics. Individuals who take their omens and prophecies seriously will believe that they can know and control the future and act on that basis. This is bad enough, but it’s made worse by another flaw in human psychology: our propensity for crowd manias. The combination of these traits with the government monopoly of money is what has produced a global financial crisis.

In the last ten to fifteen years a curious form of intellectual hubris came to possess the professions of economics and finance. Many participants came to believe that complicated mathematical modeling made it possible to estimate risks so accurately that the future was truly knowable in the sense that any possible outcome was somehow taken account of. The result was a misplaced confidence that led people to make highly risky bets on the basis of an assumed knowledge of the future returns on investment and growth in the value of various classes of assets. When combined with the mistaken monetary policy of the Fed, the result was disaster once things did not work out as expected.

What should we take from this? Mainly that we need to be more humble and aware of the limitations of human knowledge. Above all we should remember that government is no wiser and in many ways less well informed than private actors.



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.



Mr Collins said...

Hi John!

You published the wrong graph there. All it does is show a small dip and a regaining of ice in a small area. The total loss is here:

JR said...

link seems incomplete