Friday, August 14, 2009


An email from Dr. John Lewis [], Associate Professor, Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, Duke University

I call your attention to a new volume, "Natural Resources, the Environment, and Human Welfare," edited by Ellen Fraenkel Paul, Fred D. Miller Jr. and Jeffrey Paul (Cambridge, 2009). This is the book version of the journal "Social Philosophy and Policy" 26.2 (Summer 2009) dedicated to "The Environment: Philosophy and Policy." This highly regarded publication is aimed at readers in the fields of the social sciences, as well as philosophy, public policy and law. See here

My own article, "History, Politics, and Claims of Man-made Global Warming" challenges readers to consider a broad view of the natural history of the earth, the voices of scientists who do not accept the truth of an imminent climate disaster, and the dangerous political consensus that threatens us with a disaster of our own making. My article follows one by Michael Mann, "Do Global Warming and Climate Change Represent a Serious Threat to Our Welfare and Environment?" Reading the two articles in series offers readers a chance to evaluate the positions of a scientist who agrees with the climate disaster claims and thinks that aggressive political action is required, and a non-scientist who thinks that the political disaster we are creating far outstrips any human impact on the environment.

A sample from my article:

"Among people who are in the position to create and enforce government policies, however, there is a consensus that human responsibility for global warming is a settled issue, and that the task now is to implement the laws required to atone for that responsibility. This political consensus is a dangerous thing, because the remedies being proposed to mitigate the AGW predictions are breathtaking in their scope, and will have negative consequences for billions of people. This conclusion is not a matter of hypothetical computer modeling, conjecture, or percentages on a graph. The governmental actions being planned now are on a scale commensurate with socialist planned economies, and would place the very heart of industrial society-the motive power that keeps its industry beating-under the control of a labyrinthine maze of all-powerful government bureaucracies. Should these proposals be adopted, the people of the industrialized nations will be subjected to controls over minutiae of daily life on a level previously thought intolerable. It behooves policy planners, scientists and citizens alike to grasp the consequences of such policies, while they consider the shaky, disputed scientific grounds on which the calls for action are based. . . .

"The purpose of this essay is to bring into focus two crucial aspects of this issue. The first is to present a basic outline of natural history as an historical context for the AGW claims, along with the evaluations of top-rank scientists who do not accept those claims. The second is to illuminate some of the regulatory proposals that these claims have engendered, as well as the economic, political, and moral meaning of these proposals. The specific focus here will be on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 11, 2008, along with a brief summation of its background in American and international political action. This examination should assist non-scientists in forming judgments about whether claims of man-made global climate disaster are strong enough to warrant these radical, irreversible government actions."


This is extraordinary (and not believable) for a collective academic body -- particularly one that "is widely recognised as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change". Their ducking and weaving amounts to an admission that they have distorted the original data in undefensible ways and they are not going to let anybody correct that. By now they probably HAVE deleted the original data, just to make sure it never comes to light. Just another lot of Greenie crooks! If they were honest, they would have said from the beginning that they had not retained the raw data and that it was just their OPINION about the data that they were promulgating

Steve McIntyre, of ClimateAudit, is a determined individual. While this may be no fun for those who fall under his focus and happen to have something to hide, more sunlight on climate science cannot be a bad thing.

Lately Steve has been spearheading an effort to get the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia to release the data that underlie its analysis of global temperature trends. Such a request should not at all be controversial. Indeed the atmospheric sciences community went to great lengths in the 1990s to ensure that such data would be openly available for research purposes, culminating in World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Resolution 40 on the international exchange of meteorological and related data and products. The Resolution states: "Members should provide to the research and education communities, for their non-commercial activities, free and unrestricted access to all data and products exchanged under the auspices of WMO . . ."

WMO recognized the need to protect commercial activities, but placed no restrictions on the exchange of climate information described as follows: "All reports from the network of stations recommended by the regional associations as necessary to provide a good representation of climate . . ."

Obviously, the ability to do good research depends upon good data with known provenance. At the time WMO Resolution 40 was widely hailed in the atmospheric sciences community as a major step forward in data sharing and availability in support of both operations and research.

Thus it is with some surprise to observe CRU going through bizarre contortions to avoid releasing its climate data to Steve McIntyre. They first told him that he couldn't have it because he was not an academic. I found this to be a petty reason for keeping data out of the hands of someone who clearly wants to examine it for scholarly purposes. So, wanting to test this theory I asked CRU for the data myself, being a "real" academic. I received a letter back from CRU stating that I couldn't have the data because "we do not hold the requested information."

I found that odd. How can they not hold the data when they are showing graphs of global temperatures on their webpage? However, it turns out that CRU has in response to requests for its data put up a new webpage with the following remarkable admission (emphasis added): "We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value. Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data."

Say what?! CRU has lost track of the original data that it uses to create its global temperature record!? Can this be serious? So not only is it now impossible to replicate or reevaluate homogeneity adjustments made in the past -- which might be important to do as new information is learned about the spatial representativeness of siting, land use effects, and so on -- but it is now also impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. CRU is basically saying, "trust us." So much for settling questions and resolving debates with empirical information (i.e., science).

To be absolutely clear, none of what I write here should be taken as implying that actions to decarbonize the global economy or improve adaptation do not make sense -- they do. However, just because climate change is important and because there are opponents to action that will seize upon whatever they can to make their arguments, does not justify overlooking or defending this degree of scientific sloppiness and ineptitude. Implementing successful climate policy will have to overcome the missteps of the climate science community, and this is a big one.


Sunspotless days, cooling and bureaucracy

A comment from the Philippines

As of last Tuesday, August 11, NASA has this tally in sunspotless (ie, zero sunspot) days:

Current Stretch: 32 days
2009 total: 174 days (78%)
Since 2004: 685 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days

Since January 1, 2009 up to August 11, 174 out of 223 days or 78 percent of all days have zero sunspot. That’s very significant. Since 1849 or over the past 160 years, the top 5 years with highest sunspotless days were:

1. 1913, 311 days, 85%
2. 1901, 284 days, 78%
3. 1878, 278 days, 76%
4. 2008, 266 days, 73%
5. 1912, 253 days, 69%

Long number of zero sunspot days means (a) less solar magnetic field, less solar wind, (b) more cosmic rays enter the solar system including the Earth, weak solar wind to push them away, (c) more low-lying clouds are formed, lots of sunlight are blocked, and (d) global cooling results. Such cooling has nothing or very little to do with CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

There are a number of proofs for the current global cooling. For instance, July 2009 was the coldest July or 2nd coldest July on record for at least 10 states in the US, see here, “July’s climate: chilly USA, torrid globe”. See herer

Here in the Philippines, cloudy skies have been the norm since almost the start of the year. The summer months of March-April-May were sidestepped by the prolonged “cold front” that started in late 2008 to April this year. The rainy season came 1 ½ month earlier, in mid-April, instead of the usual July. A number of farms planted to “summer crops” like tomato, onions and water melon were destroyed because of such early onset of the rains.

Meanwhile, the UN IPCC is preparing to produce its 5th Assessment Report (AR5) and the UN FCCC is busy conducting various global meetings prior to the big meeting in Copenhagen this coming December for a “post-Kyoto Protocol” agreements to drastically cut global emission of the “evil” gas, carbon dioxide (CO2).

Until the IPCC and many governments later demonized CO2 as an evil gas, this gas is known in the biological sciences as a very useful gas. It’s the gas that we humans exhale, that our pets and farm animals exhale, and it’s the gas that our vegetables, fruits, flowers and trees need when they produce their own food via photosynthesis. It’s actually plant food.

Now the useful gas is pictured as evil that must be drastically reduced globally. Can environmental bureaucrats and politicians do it? Yes, they think they can. That’s why they invented the Kyoto Protocol, the UN FCCC, the various “anti-climate change” bureaucracies in so many governments, both national and local. And because their grand design is plain environmental regulations, they forget or they overlook the Sun, long-term planetary (changing) orbit around the sun, the cosmic rays, the ocean, and other natural causes. For them, only the evil CO2 matters. And they play the global hero by reducing and demonizing this gas and human economic activities that emit this “evil”.

Since more objective scientists (physicists, geologists, meteorologists, etc.) say that the IPCC was lying, and more scientific data – like more sunspotless days – come out to confirm their statement, who’s the real evil now?


More Cap-and-Trade War

Ten Senators insist on a carbon tariff to avoid job losses

President Obama says his cap-and-trade energy tax won't hurt the economy, but at least 10 Senate Democrats disagree. Last week they sent Mr. Obama a letter demanding that any bill taxing U.S. CO2 emissions must include a carbon tariff "to ensure that manufacturers do not bear the brunt of our climate change policy."

Hmmm. This sure sounds like an explicit admission that cap and tax would add so much to the cost of doing business in the U.S. that it would drive factories and jobs overseas. The 10 mostly liberal Senators come from states like Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia whose economies rely heavily on manufacturing and coal. "We must not engage in a self-defeating effort that displaces greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them and displaces U.S. jobs rather than bolstering them," wrote the Senators.

Thus their demand that "a longer-term border adjustment mechanism"—a euphemism for tariffs—"is a vital part of this package to prevent the relocation of carbon emissions and industries" to countries that aren't as foolish as to impose a similar tax. Those countries include China and India, which have told Obama officials that they have no intention of signing on to the rich world's growth-killing obsessions.

All of which puts the President in an economic policy bind. When the House passed its cap-and-tax bill in June, he warned against a carbon tariff by saying "I think we need to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals." But these 10 Senate Democrats are saying explicitly that protectionism is the price of their support. So Mr. Obama can opt to impose a huge carbon tax and drive jobs overseas, or he can impose the tax along with a tariff, and kick off a trade war. Better to call the whole thing off.



UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has such a low profile on the world stage that he's referred to as "the invisible man". Perhaps in an effort to boost his press coverage he's given a speech in Inchon, South Korea (hat tip: Drudge), that can only be described as a bizarre PR stunt, with the sort of cataclysmic environmental statements doled out in scientifically dodgy disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow or the forthcoming 2012.

In his address to the Global Environment Forum this week (read talking shop for unelected, overpaid bureaucrats), Ban warned of impending "droughts, floods and other natural disasters", as well as mass social unrest and violence - "the human suffering will be incalculable" - if the world's leaders did not "seal a deal" on climate change at a summit in Copenhagen in December. In the Secretary General's ominous words: "We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet."

In reality, the United Nations can't even maintain its own headquarters, manage its own books and keep its tens of thousands of peacekeepers under control, let alone save the world. The UN is an extraordinarily badly run institution, rife with corruption and mismanagement, that shields some of the most odious tyrants on the face of the earth. Surely it should be focusing on implementing some much-needed management reform, cracking down on rampant corruption within its ranks, and preventing its peacekeeping troops from raping refugees in war-torn places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and southern Sudan.

If Ban Ki-moon really wants to make a bigger impact on the world stage he should condemn North Korea's barbaric enslavement of millions of its own people in forced labour camps, speak out against Iran's nuclear weapons program, fraudulent elections and mass violations of human rights, and stand up to tyrannical regimes from Pyongyang to Khartoum. He should also call for reform of the UN's ludicrous human rights organization, the Human Rights Council, which is no improvement at all over its disastrous predecessor the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The main threat to humanity at present is posed not by climate change but by dangerous madmen like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading rogue regimes hell-bent on wiping their neighbours off the map. Not to mention the rise of militant Islam and a global terrorist network that seeks the destruction of the free world. As long as UN officials stick their head in the sand and ignore the world's real problems the body will remain an irrelevance.


Some Australian consumer reports on "twisty" lightbulbs

Reports from different contributors to a consumer reports site below. Note that New Zealand has reversed its ban on incandescent globes

* They claim that the energy saving light bulbs lasts 10000 hours, if the one in my son's bedroom is on about 3 hours a day, it should last 9.1 years, well it lasted about 2 years, I have 4 of those light bulbs in my house and all are used around 3 to 5 hours a day and none last more then 2 years.

* From my experience the compact fluorescent lamps are very sensitive to heat and reqire good ventilation. They do not last long in enclosed light fittings. The spiral type tubes are less prone to trap a build up of dead moths and insects and are giving me much better service. I bought a six pack of 'Nelson' brand from Bunnings and the first two didn't last two nights so I returned them and got my money back. Perhaps you get what you pay for.

* Frequent switching on and off also reduces their lifespan. Fluorescent lighting (either compact or standard) generally works best in areas where the lights are switched on and off once or twice a day. If you're going to be out of the room for less than 5-10 minutes, you're better off leaving the light on the time you are out.

* Also, you get what you pay for, and the dearer ones tend to be better quality and last longer, much like everything else. Having said that I bought two Nelson ones at Bunnings a few years ago because they were on clearance (both had different covers on them). One lasted less than 6 months, the other one is still working fine as the main living room light. Most of the packaging will only say'up to 10,000 hours', or 8 times as long as an incandescent globe, as the 10,000 hours is pretty rare.

* So it's a bit of a scam then. "you get what you pay for". Actually I got them for free -- they were giving them away at the shopping center and I got quite a few. the point is, I like the old style light bulbs better, they cost 75 cents and last long enough.

* Not so much a scam, they use about 80% less electricity than the old incandescent light globes, but they do cost more. The basic style (either prongs or twist) are around $3.00-$3.50 each for a reasonable brand (I normally use Phillips, although I have a stash of free GE ones). So even if they only last the same time as incandescent globes, they work out cheaper in the long run due to their lower consumption. But for lights that are left on for reasonable periods of time such as living rooms, or bedrooms where children play, they should last considerably longer than incandescent globes.

There is also the possibility it was just a bad batch. I had some old incandescent globes once that lasted less than 3 months. Their replacements (same brand and type) lasted much much longer.

* "They use about 80% less electricity", well that's what we're told but do they??? My electricity bill didn't come down since I started using these bulbs; anyway I didn't notice it> What we do know for sure is that we have to pay 5 to 6 times more just to buy the bulb, and the old style bulbs are being phased out, so we don't have a choice, is it all for the sake of stopping this climate change?


Greenie objects to mayor supporting his own city

The hot-selling 2010 Chevy Camaro is made in Oshawa, Canada. The mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, drives a spanking new red Camaro SS with a white racing stripe, just like the one that introduced the bowtie muscle car to the Middle East back in June. Supporting locally made products sounds like a shrewd move for any politician, especially when the city is footing the bill for your ride. A free Camaro is a great job perk, but one Oshawa resident – Bill Steele – doesn't agree.

Steele says the mayor is "flaunting this gas-guzzling vehicle all around town... and I don't like that I'm paying for part of a sports car that gets 17 miles to the gallon." Steele serves up the city's high tax rates as a reason why the mayor shouldn't be driving a Camaro. Of course, without over 400 Camaros being built in Oshawa per day, there would likely be thousands fewer tax payers to help pay those already high taxes. Mayor Gray knows there are a few citizens who don't like his pricey, thirsty pony car, but that thankfully isn't stopping him from driving it.



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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