Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interdict lifted

Well. That didn't take long. This blog was under a Google interdict that forbad me from posting anything new here. But that was lifted within 24 hours so I am posting here at around my normal time. All that hard work that the Warmists did in "flagging" this blog was for naught! Their attempted censorship was a flop!

Original versus "adjusted" temperature data

It sure speaks for itself

As CA readers know, Phil Jones keeps his CRU data secret. Embarrassingly, the UK Met Office relies on this secret data and says that it is unable to provide this supporting data for the most relied upon temperature data set in the world. Their statements in response to FOI requests as to what they actually hold seem contradictory, but most recently they state that they do not hold original data, but only the "value added version" provided to them by Phil Jones. Whether they are entitled to keep the "value added version" secret is something that their FOI officer is presently considering.

Recently, Anthony Watts discovered that the Honolulu Observatory data, which NOAA and NASA lost track of in the 1980s, continued to the present day. Anthony observed the substantial difference between trends at Honolulu airport and at more rural sites.

When I've done previous benchmarking of GISS data, I've usually tried to use relatively isolated stations so that the effect of data inclusions and exclusions could be simplified. Since Hawaii is relatively isolated, it seemed like it would be an interesting exercise to look at the Hawaiian gridcell, to get a preview of whether the "discovery" of a long data set might have an impact at the gridded level.

As so often, when one goes down a climate science rabbit hole, wonderland awaits. First, here's a graphic showing an interesting contrast between the CRUTEM gridded data and the NOAA/GHCN gridded data for the Hawaii gridcell (157.5W, 22.5N). In one of his FOI obstructions, Phil Jones argued that CRUTEM data was already available at GHCN. But as you see, the CRUTEM gridded version for the Hawaii gridcell is remarkably different from the NOAA GHCN version.


One "precautionary policy" that WOULD make sense

by Jonah Goldberg

This vision of the end times came to me on hearing the news that something hit Jupiter in the breadbasket the other week and nobody saw it coming. It left a Jovian scar as "small" as the Pacific Ocean or as big as Earth. An amateur astronomer in Australia saw it first because none of the pros were even looking. Then again, the rock was probably pretty small, between 50 and a few hundred meters wide. That is to say, about the size of John Edwards' house.

Now, I know what you're saying: So what? It's not like we need an early warning system for Jupiter, a "gassy giant." What have the Jovians done for us? When God starts pelting rocks at Earth, or our own gassy giants, like Chris Dodd, then we can worry.

Well, He has been, on a regular basis. In March, a meteor called 2009 DD45 came within a few inches, astronomically speaking, of smashing into Earth (about 45,000 miles). Fortunately, we spotted that one ahead of time -- a mere three days ahead of time. That's just enough warning for Keith Olbermann to knock out several top-notch diatribes on why George Bush is to blame, but not enough time to, you know, keep New York City from being liquefied.

In 1908, a DD45-sized meteor exploded over Siberia with a force 1,000 times the Hiroshima blast. It leveled 80 million trees over an area twice the size of Los Angeles. If it had arrived five hours later, St. Petersburg would have been gone.

Scientists think there are millions of such "small" near-Earth meteors out there, and more than 1,000 that are at least a kilometer wide. Those are the ones that really leave a mark. Just ask the dinosaurs. And we're discovering more every day.

A few years ago, a book titled "The Black Swan" came out. No, it's not about swans singled out by the Cambridge Police Department for breaking into their own roosts, but about sudden, unpredictable events occurring far more often than we'd like to think. There are flocks of black swans out there, but we find it discomfiting to contemplate their existence.

In 2008, science writer Gregg Easterbrook surveyed preparedness for a "space-object strike" for the Atlantic magazine. He found that even though serious experts believe there's as much as a 1-in-10 chance of a significant Earth strike within the next century, NASA doesn't much care.

Things are improving, but it's still a cottage industry. A scientist quoted last month in Maclean's magazine noted that "there are more people working in a single McDonald's than there are trying to save civilization from an asteroid." Meanwhile, the global warming industry -- and it is an industry now -- could fill football stadiums.

It makes you wonder. For all the rush and panic, the truth is, climate change -- if real -- is a very slow-moving catastrophe. Moreover, it happens to align with an ideological and political agenda the left has been pushing for generations: Unregulated economic growth is bad and must be controlled by experts; nature is our master, and we must be her servants. What a convenient truth for environmentalists.

Meanwhile, a "deep impact" is a terribly inconvenient threat, partly because it requires making peace with the idea that nature can be conquered. Better to not even think about it.


Africa’s real climate crisis

By an African writer, Fiona Kobusingye

Life in Africa is often nasty, impoverished and short. AIDS kills 2.2 million Africans every year according to WHO (World Health Organization) reports. Lung infections cause 1.4 million deaths, malaria 1 million more, intestinal diseases 700,000. Diseases that could be prevented with simple vaccines kill an additional 600,000 annually, while war, malnutrition and life in filthy slums send countless more parents and children to early graves.

And yet, day after day, Africans are told the biggest threat we face is – global warming. Conferences, news stories, television programs, class lectures and one-sided “dialogues” repeat the claim endlessly. We’re told using oil and petrol, even burning wood and charcoal, will dangerously overheat our planet, melt ice caps, flood coastal cities, and cause storms, droughts, disease and extinctions.

Over 700 climate scientists and 31,000 other scientists say humans and carbon dioxide have minimal effects on Earth’s temperature and climate, and there is no global warming crisis. But their views and studies are never invited or even tolerated in these “climate crisis” forums, especially at “ministerial dialogues” staged with United Nations money. Al Gore refuses to debate any of these experts, or even permit questions that he hasn’t approved ahead of time.

Instead, Africans are told climate change “threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” More than 2.2 million dead Africans every year?

We are warned that it would be “nearly impossible to adapt to the loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet,” which would raise sea levels by “5 to 15 meters.” That certainly would impact our coastal communities. But how likely is it? The average annual temperature in Antarctica is minus 50 degrees F! Summer in its Western Peninsula barely lasts two months and gets maybe 10 degrees above freezing for just a few hours a day. Not even Mr. Gore or UN computer models talk about raising Antarctic temperatures by 85 degrees F year-round. So how is that ice supposed to melt?

Let’s not forget that sea levels have risen 120 meters since the last Ice Age ended. Do the global warming alarmists think cave men fires caused that? Obviously, powerful natural forces caused those ancient glaciers to come and go – and caused the droughts, floods and climate changes that have affected Africa, the Earth and its animals and people for millions of years.

Just consider northern Africa, where green river valleys, hippopotami and happy villages suddenly got turned into the Sahara Desert 4,000 years ago. Scientists don’t know why, but it probably wasn’t Egyptian pharaohs building pyramids and driving chariots.

However, the real problem isn’t questionable or fake science, hysterical claims and worthless computer models that predict global warming disasters. It’s that they’re being used to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s the almost total absence of electricity keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies. It’s that these policies KILL. The average African life span is lower than it was in the United States and Europe 100 years ago. But Africans are being told we shouldn’t develop, or have electricity or cars because, now that those countries are rich beyond anything Africans can imagine, they’re worried about global warming.

Al Gore and UN climate boss Yvo de Boer tell us the world needs to go on an energy diet. Well, I have news for them. Africans are already on an energy diet. We’re starving! Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished. Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside of wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning – or offices, factories and shops to make things and create good jobs.

Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities. Hypothetical global warming a hundred years from now is worse than this?

Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development – except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels – is immoral. It is a crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, China and India are building new coal-fired power plants every week, so that they can lift their people out of poverty. So even if Africa remains impoverished – and the US and Europe switched to windmills and nuclear power – global carbon dioxide levels would continue increasing for decades.

Even worse, the global warming crusaders don’t stop at telling us we can’t have electricity. They also campaign against biotechnology. As American, Brazilian and South African farmers will tell you, biotech seeds increase crop yields, reduce pesticide use, feed more people and help farmers earn more money. New varieties are being developed that can resist droughts – the kind Africa has always experienced, and the ones some claim will increase due to global warming.

Environmental radicals even oppose insecticides and the powerful spatial insect repellant DDT, which Uganda’s Health Ministry is using along with bed nets and modern ACT drugs to eliminate malaria. They claim global warming will make malaria worse. That’s ridiculous, because the disease was once found all over Europe, the United States and even Siberia.

Uganda and Africa need to stop worrying about what the West, the UN and Al Gore say. We need to focus on our own needs, resources and opportunities. We don’t need more aid – especially the kind that goes mostly to corrupt officials who put the money in private bank accounts, hold global warming propaganda conferences and keep their own people poor. We don’t need rich countries promising climate change assistance (maybe, sometime, ten years from now), if we promise not to develop.

We need to stop acting like ignorant savages, who thought solar eclipses meant the gods were angry with them, and asked witch doctors to bring the sun back. We need to stop listening to global warming witch doctors, who get rich telling us to keep living “indigenous,” impoverished lives. We need trade, manufacturing, electricity and transportation fuels to power modern industrial economies. We need to do what China and India are doing – develop – and trade more with them. That is how we will get the jobs, prosperity, health and environmental quality we deserve.


Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Ian Plimer gets a plug in the Vancouver Sun

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him. Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia's best-known and most notorious academic. Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of "anthropogenic global warming" -- man-made climate change to you and me -- and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour -- cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks -- can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth -- Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become. But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth's climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth's evolution. (Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined. So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.


Greenie bird and landscape lovers stymie Greenie warming-haters

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Europe's largest onshore windfarm project has been thrown in severe doubt after the RSPB and official government agencies lodged formal objections to the 150-turbine plan, it emerged today. The setback adds to the problems facing the government's ambition to install 10,000 new turbines across the UK by 2020 as part of its plan to cut the carbon emissions causing climate change.

The proposed 550MW windfarm, sprawling across the centre of Shetland's main island, would add almost 20% to existing onshore wind capacity. But the objectors say the plans could seriously damage breeding sites for endangered birds, including a rare wader, the whimbrel, which was unexpectedly discovered by the windfarm developer's own environmental survey teams. Other species at risk include the red throated diver, golden plover and merlin.

The RSPB heavily criticised the proposal from Viking Energy after initially indicating it could support the scheme. The RSPB also claims now that installation of the turbines could release significant carbon dioxide from the peat bogs affected, undermining the turbines' potential to combat global warming. The group's fears have been endorsed by the government's official conservation advisers, Scottish Natural Heritage, and SNH has also objected to the "magnitude" of the scheme, claiming it could kill many of these birds through collisions with the 145-metre-high structures.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), which oversees pollution and waste laws in Scotland, has also formally objected, making it inevitable the scheme will now go to a full public inquiry and intensifying pressure on the developers to alter the scale of the project.

In a detailed critique of the proposal, Sepa has asked Viking Energy to significantly rethink its plans to cut out and dump up to 1m cubic metres of peat during construction, and asked ministers to impose tough conditions to protect local water quality and freshwater species .

Bill Manson, a director of Viking Energy, the community-owned company which is collaborating with Scottish and Southern Energy on the scheme, said it would be prepared to negotiate. "I believe there's a dialogue to be had, which will assuage their fears, I hope," he said.

A Scottish government consultation on the £800m scheme closed yesterday, with more than 3,600 of Shetland's 21,000 islanders signing a petition calling for the project to be scrapped. The Shetland Amenity Trust, a local heritage and archaeological charity, and one of Scotland's major countryside access organisations, the John Muir Trust, have also objected, arguing that the proposal would have a "hugely damaging detrimental impact" on the treeless, hilly landscape.

The dispute has highlighted the conflicts arising over the siting of major windfarms on land, between the need to exploit the most windy locations and the desire to preserve the rural environment.

The government wants to have an additional 6,000 onshore and 4,000 offshore wind turbines installed by 2020 to meet its legally binding target of generating 15% of all energy from renewable sources . There are currently about 2,400 turbines. Ed Milliband, the energy and climate change secretary, has set out an ambitious plan to transform the UK to a low-carbon economy. But the plans to change the planning system to make windfarm approvals quicker and give priority to renewable projects in granting national grid connections prompted significant criticism on the siting and cost of windfarms.

Within a week, the newly formed National Association of Wind Action Groups pledged to campaign against the harmful impact of wind turbine developments on communities and landscapes. Another blow came from the decision of Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to close the UK's only blade manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight. The company said the UK wind market was not growing fast enough and that projects had been slowed down by planning objections.

Existing windfarms have 3,000MW of capacity, but another 9,600MW is in the planning process. A further 6,000MW has planning permission but no funding and on Monday the government announced a £1bn loan package to try to fill that funding gap. It argues that the UK has the largest potential for wind power in Europe and already has more offshore wind installed than any other country. Miliband has said that climate change poses a greater threat to landscapes than windfarms and that opposing them should be "socially unacceptable".

Scotland is already home to more than half the UK's onshore wind capacity and Shetland is a key location. The islands reputedly experience the highest and most consistent wind speeds of any comparable place on earth. One small turbine at Lerwick, known as Betsy, is believed to be the world's most productive, reaching 59% of its potential output.

The Viking scheme, if approved by ministers, would alone generate a fifth of Scotland's domestic electricity needs and earn up to £37m a year in profits for Shetland. Manson said yesterday that the scheme had to be large-scale for the energy regulator and National Grid to agree to lay the £300m interconnector cable that would carry the electricity to the mainland. A scheme even half its current size would not be commercially viable. But opponents claim that the scheme is far too large and that, with a further 62 miles of access roads, it would significantly affect a fifth of the main island's desolate interior and industrialise the landscape.

"We can't simply build our way out of climate change," said John Hutchison, chairman of the John Muir Trust. "It is both cheaper and less destructive to reduce energy need and waste, rather than cover the wild landscapes that define Scotland and its people with wind turbines."


Germany stymies carbon capture plan

Another Greenie nostrum bites the dust

It was meant to be the world's first demonstration of a technology that could help save the planet from global warming – a project intended to capture emissions from a coal-fired power station and bury them safely underground. But the German carbon capture plan has ended with CO2 being pumped directly into the atmosphere, following local opposition at it being stored underground.

The scheme appears a victim of "numbyism" – not under my backyard. Opposition to the carbon capture plan has contributed to a growing public backlash against renewable energy projects, raising fears that Europe will struggle to meet its low-carbon commitments. Last week, the Danish firm Vestas blamed British "nimbies" opposing wind farms for its decision to close its turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Many countries continue to use coal for generating power as it is the cheapest and most readily available fuel in the world. It will probably power the development of China and India. But coal is also seen as the dirtiest fuel. So, Vattenfall's Schwarze Pumpe project in Spremberg, northern Germany, launched in a blaze of publicity last September, was a beacon of hope, the first scheme to link the three key stages of trapping, transporting and burying the greenhouse gases.

The Swedish company, however, surprised a recent conference when it admitted that the €70m (£60.3m) project was venting the CO2 straight into the atmosphere. "It was supposed to begin injecting by March or April of this year but we don't have a permit. This is a result of the local public having questions about the safety of the project," said Staffan Gortz, head of carbon capture and storage communication at Vattenfall. He said he did not expect to get a permit before next spring: "People are very, very sceptical."

The spread of localised resistance is a force that some fear could sink Europe's attempts to build 10 to 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) by 2015. The plan had been to transport up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the power plant each year and inject it into depleted gas reservoirs at a giant gasfield near the Polish border.

Scientists maintain that public safety fears are groundless: the consequences of escaping CO2 would be to the climate, not to public health. Many big environmental groups support CCS, both off and onshore, as a necessary evil in the battle against climate change. But Jim Footner, a Greenpeace climate campaigner, said the German protests were "a stark warning to those that think CCS is an easy solution to the huge climate problems of coal-fired power stations".

The first wake-up call came in March, when a Dutch council objected to Shell's plans to store CO2 in depleted gas fields under the town of Barendrecht, near Rotterdam. This was despite a successful environmental impact assessment and the enthusiastic backing of the Dutch government, which, in September, must decide whether to give Shell the green light, despite the council's opposition.

Wim van de Wiel, a Shell spokesman, said: "For Shell the only suitable location for the tender was, and still is, Barendrecht, because of the safety and the depleted status of the [gas] field."

Jeff Chapman, chief executive of the the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, said Vattenfall should study the example of Total, which made great efforts to engage the local community when it launched its CCS pilot project in Lacq, southern France.

Stuart Haszeldine, a CCS expert at the University of Edinburgh, warned of the danger of opposition towards CCS snowballing into a "bandwagon of negativity" if too many early projects were rejected. "Once you've screwed up one or two of them, people are going to think 'if they rejected this in Barendrecht, there must be a reason'," he said.

In the UK, CCS is one of the four "pillars" of the government's decarbonisation strategy. A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We plan to store the CO2 from CCS plants offshore, for example in depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea. We are one of the first countries to have legislation … to regulate environmental and safety risks."



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.


1 comment:

Woody said...

"Interdict lifted" - I wish that you would enlighten us more on this, as I would like to share with my friends the desperation and dirty tricks of the global warming alarmists.