Saturday, October 10, 2009


An email from Jon Richfield [] in South Africa re: "Whatever is going on here, it is not science." -- Ross McKitrick

When the first McIntyre-McKitrick report appeared, I had been a climate sceptic for years, not because I am a climatologist (I emphatically am nothing of the sort!) but because the claims that I saw were variously assailable, implausible, and above all, illogical. (Anyway, as I pointed out elsewhere, in my not tediously humble opinion as a qualified non-engineer, to correct the predicted global warming consequences struck me as a minor problem.) When McMc described their statistical work, I was deeply impressed, but it did not make as deep an impression as evidence of a more serious problem:

1: Mann et al had not published their raw data (Bad!)

2: Certain major journals had not followed up and demanded the data (Worse -- Mann might have been just a naughty little lad, but these journals were practically the long-standing gold standard for quality, ethics, and professionalism. It is as shocking an example as I have seen, of what happens when even the proudest standards of smug elites are not policed.)

3: Mann et al, in the face of legitimate requests, had privately and publicly refused to provide the data. They did so on grounds so puerile as to be nauseating. I was wondering whether there must be some misunderstanding. I thought myself pretty unshockable, but...!

4: Those journals did not react when their noses were publicly rubbed in the fact that their own public honour was at stake. They did not insist on release of the data, did not publish any sort of retraction, and in the face of mounting evidence that there was something seriously wrong with the material, something that surely must come to light sooner or later, they tried to sit on the mess and hope that no one important would notice. Other VIPs forgot or jettisoned the Nullius in verba principle, and eagerly joined the party or preached vapidities against denialist treasons. By that time I was seriously beginning to doubt the evidence of my sources or senses.

5: Major international organisations, whose conferences might have required re-steering or loss of prestige, sat determinedly on their own messes. This at least was not shocking; it was politics and self-interest. Honesty and ethics were not at issue and could safely be ignored as irrelevant to anybody's personal greed.

6: Certain persons' "Inconvenient Truth" proved to be such a scientifically vacuous sales job that its popularity led me to despair; if people would swallow *that*, then what was the point of arguing? If no would understand, what did it matter whether anyone would listen?

All this is by now old stuff. But in the light of recent revelations it raises certain points above and beyond the value of the by now widely contemptable peer-review "system":

A: Granting that no human system can be perfect, we have seen repeatedly in recent decades scientific fraud in pursuit of everything from personal prejudice, cronyism, material greed, advancement, and self aggrandisement, to downright malice. Such things may be in the minority, but nowhere far to seek. A particularly revolting corollary has been the degree to which whistle-blowing has amounted to career suicide, seen as treason, worse than the offence in some of the most flagrant cases of professional abuse.

B: The foregoing point, no matter how it may be denied, raises the commonsense observation that undetected abuses many times outnumber those that reach the public awareness. How many of us have seen theses with errors that no one could or wanted to mention? How many bosses have forbidden publication of results embarrassing either to themselves or cronies?

C: There are whole ranges of problems here, and not all of them simple to mitigate. However, to my mind the operative one is the fact that nearly all control of research is voluntary, which works fine until any conflict of interest arises. Then it instantly becomes a matter of personal ethics, in which the ethics of the most senior or esoteric of the dramatis personae generally prevail. People make all sorts of noises about how science sorts itself out sooner or later, but that is missing the point -- a whole bushel and a peck of points. The products of research, including the intangibles (Possibly the intangibles in particular!) are the concern of the community.

D: Increasingly, where communal interests are at stake, there is talk of enforceable communal sanctions. Fastidious persons do not like that idea, and neither do I, but what is the alternative? How many of us would like to be at the mercy of many people who would like to assume the prestige and power of doctors, if there were no enforceable controls? Log into for some ugly object lessons. But the system is leaky and creaky? Certainly! But it is better than nothing. And every time there is a major scandal, either there is a shake-up or the bad eggs become a little more careful for a while. Is that good enough? No. Is it better than nothing? It works in medicine, in law, and a few other fields... partly. In science one party might get slapped on the wrist, but seldom seriously, and usually indirectly, such as for fraud, rather than scientific misconduct.

Insult to the clean-handed workers? Rubbish! I do not live in a froth of indignation because there is a law against my committing burglary, even though I am not a burglar! My lab days are past, but I wouldn't have blinked at the idea that there was a law against misconduct, any more than because there was a law against burglary.

In short, I think that if there were a few dozen or so workers, among the referees, journalists, and research workers, who were at the moment contemplating possible long jail sentences for this global warming fiasco, (whether AGW is a material concern or not) that would be a salutary and salubrious thing. And the same would go for any other field of research.

E: Perhaps worst of all: if youngsters starting their scientific careers see such abuses as routine, then how long before the whole system all collapses into a morass of short-term self interest and corruption? The politics are bad enough already. Surely to avoid that is worth a little control?

More goofery: UN Climate Report Confuses Arctic and Antarctic

Yesterday Anthony Watts pointed out how the hockey stick graph had been removed from the United Nations Climate Report. Now Harold Ambler shows us the document has even more errors

Things get stranger and stranger with the United Nations’ climate change science compendium published two weeks back.

First, it was learned that the graph indicating temperature for the past 1,000 years had been taken from Wikipedia, where it had been deposited by a non-climatologist. Now, it comes to light that the report features a photograph purporting to show Arctic icebergs melting, when the actual image is of Antarctica.

As I looked through the updated report yesterday, in which the Wikipedia graph has been removed, I noticed that an image looked to have been misidentified. Fortunately for me, the UN had purchased the image on, where about an hour’s worth of sleuthing revealed that indeed this was not a picture from the top of the world, but rather from the bottom.

Some will say that it doesn’t matter. I think it does. The United Nations claims to be the steward of the best science on the planet. Wouldn’t one hope that it would have staff capable of differentiating between Antarctica and the Arctic? Of course, global warming alarmists, including those employed at the United Nations, have been using both polar ice caps’ supposed melt as evidence of runaway global warming for years now. Meanwhile, though, Antarctic sea ice has continued to increase in extent throughout the satellite era, and temperatures at the South Pole have slowly fallen.

Nonetheless, the fear-mongers in the media and at the United Nations strive to frighten the credulous into believing that Earth’s southernmost continent is on the verge of catastrophic melt. As for the Arctic misrepresented by the UN’s photograph, how many of the report’s editors even know that sea ice increased in 2009 in the Arctic for the second year in a row? At the United Nations Environment Program, the answer is evidently: none. A map with a list of “climate anomalies” from the last year indicates that 2009 was the second most significant melt in the Arctic. In fact, it was the third lowest melt and may very well represent a turnaround. Only time will tell. Even The New York Times has an article today addressing the seeming good news.

As for that list of “Significant Climate Anomalies from 2008/2009,” the great majority of items listed are weather, rather than climate. An example: the four passages of Tropical Storm Fay across Florida’s coastline. While interesting, Fay’s behavior does not have an apparent, or hidden, relationship to rising co2 levels according to any reputable scientist, nor does it cloak 2008’s quiet Atlantic tropical cyclone season. (For those keeping track at home, 2009’s has been quieter still.)

Another error in the UN report should give any follower of climatology pause: the Mauna Loa co2 record is shown as “Keeling 2009.” While the graph is rightly referred to by climate professionals as the Keeling Curve, Dr. Keeling has been unable to author any new articles of late, as he passed away in 2005. (Like the other misattributed graph in the report, this one has tell-tale signs that it was simply pulled from Wikipedia.)

The last mistake in the UN report that I will delve into today features a photo of the Hawaiian Islands with a menacing caption about sea levels – trouble in paradise! Here is the text from the caption: “In Hawaii, as the ocean continues to rise, flooding occurs in low-lying regions during rains because storm sewers back up with saltwater and coastal erosion accelerates on beaches. Source: L. Carey.”

There are a few problems here. One: “L. Carey” does not exist, at least not according to the author of the caption. That would be Chip Fletcher, director of the Coastal Geography Group at the University of Hawaii. Reached for comment, Fletcher said that he was flattered that the United Nations report had found his statement in an internal department newsletter to be useful. Two: Fletcher also acknowledged that all of the flooding described by his statement takes place in areas of landfill that are subsiding.

Did Fletcher think that it might be a good thing for the United Nations to note the landfill subsidence when using a single image, and a single statement, to convey the reality of “climate change” in the islands? “Listen, the world is a big place,” Fletcher said. “I have other things to worry about than that.” Were there other locations in the islands that saw such flooding? “Parts of Waikiki have,” Fletcher said. Aren’t those parts of Waikiki also landfill, though? “Actually, they are.”



It's hard to be green when you're red-faced all the time. It's easy to be red-faced when your cause is global warming doomsterism.

This week, the doomsters were embarrassed to learn, once again, that the planet was not in grave peril. Antarctica, their greatest candidate for catastrophe, was not melting at an ever-faster rate, according to a report in Geophysical Research Letters, but at the slowest rate in 30 years. To add to their frustration, they couldn't even lash out at the lead author, Marco Tedesco of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department of City College of New York - the doomsters had praised his previous reports showing high rates of Antarctic melt.

The latest news from the Arctic - delivered daily via satellite - is no better. Two years ago with the Arctic ice in rapid retreat, the doomsters, convinced of the coming of an ice-free Arctic, could scarcely contain themselves. Now, with the Arctic ice in rapid return, their anticipation of disaster seems more a cruel hoax of Nature. The doomsters now dread to track the satellite data beamed down to us courtesy of the International Arctic Research Center and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency - you can see why they cringe each day by going to the satellite website and following the red line: See here.

The red faces aren't all caused by Nature's refusal to cooperate in Earth's demise. The clean carbon folks have recently discovered that they've been in bed with organized crime. Scotland Yard and Europol, among numerous other law enforcement agencies across Europe, are hot on the trail of scam artists believed to have made off with £1-billion by illicitly trading carbon credits. In Australia, authorities are investigating claims that a supplier to Carbon Planet, a carbon trading business, has been using fake carbon trading certificates to persuade forest dwellers in Papua New Guinea to sign over the rights to their forests under a UN scheme called REDD, for "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.'' Australia's REDD-faced Climate Change Minister Penny Wong may now be unable to tout Carbon Planet - about to list on the Australian stock exchange on the promise of A$100-million in REDD assets - at the upcoming climate change meetings in Copenhagen. Other dodgy carbon dealings led to the suspension of the UK branch of SGS, one of the world's largest clean energy auditors, and of the Norwegian certification company DNV.

If universities could blush, Stanford would be setting the skies ablaze with its latest embarrassment, an attempt to censor a global warming documentary about to be released that had filmed one of its professors, global warming catastrophist Stephen Schneider. "You are prohibited from using any of the Stanford footage you shot, including your interview of Professor Stephen Schneider," Stanford demanded in a letter. "Professor Schneider likewise has requested that I inform you that he has withdrawn any permission for you to use his name, likeness or interview in connection with any film project you may undertake."

What caused Stanford and Schneider to go ballistic over the release of the documentary, Not Evil Just Wrong, by independent Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer? He asked Schneider about his many predictions of global cooling catastrophe in the 1970s.

Why did the filmmaker back down, even though he had obtained permission for the interview? In legal proceedings, a well-heeled bully has no difficulty beating up a poor guy with only right on his side. Not that the filmmaker lacked either spine or recourse. He then documented the bad behaviour of Stanford and Schneider by having an actor read Schneider`s words before a blank screen. After its release, on Oct. 18, the sky over Stanford will turn an even deeper hue of red.

This week of embarrassment for the global warmists does not look all that different from most weeks. Overzealous scientists and their enablers have a habit of selecting the data they like and setting the rest aside. Some - Schneider among them - have even justified exaggerating the dangers in the cause of making the public take note. When they get caught they often resort to obfuscations and cover-ups.

And red faces become the norm.


British Warmists getting desperate

Climate change doubters to be targeted by government advertisement in prime-time. This is great news. People are very skeptical of government propaganda and will suspect an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes

Climate change sceptics are to be targeted in a hard-hitting government advertising campaign that will be the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth.

The £6 million campaign, which begins tonight in the prime ITV1 slot during Coronation Street, is a direct response to government research showing that more than half the population think that climate change will have no effect on them.

Ministers sanctioned the campaign because of concern that scepticism about climate change was making it harder to introduce carbon-reducing policies such as higher energy bills.

The advertisement attempts to make adults feel guilty about their legacy to their children. It features a father telling his daughter a bedtime story of “a very very strange” world with “horrible consequences” for today’s children. The storybook shows a British town deep under water, with people and animals drowning.

Carbon dioxide is depicted as rising in clouds of black soot from cars and homes, including from a woman’s hairdryer. The soot gathers into a jagged-toothed monster menacing the town.

The daughter asks her father if the story has a happy ending and a voiceover cuts in, saying: “It’s up to us how the story ends” and directs viewers to the Government’s Act on CO2 website.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change publishes research today showing that 52 per cent of people think climate change will not significantly affect them. Only 33 per cent think that it will and 15 per cent do not know.

Fourteen per cent of people think that climate change will have no effect on Britain, even in their grandchildren’s lifetime. Twenty-six per cent said they could think of no action they could take that would help to reduce climate change.

When asked how they would react if they knew climate change were going to have a serious effect on their children’s lives, 74 per cent said that they would be willing to change their lifestyle. Fifteen per cent said that they would not make any changes.

The Met Office has predicted that the 2003 heatwave, which resulted in 2,000 premature deaths in Britain, could happen every other year from the 2040s.

Joan Ruddock, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: “The survey results show that people don’t realise that climate change is already under way and could have severe consequences. With over 40 per cent of the UK’s C02 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions.”

But Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London and a critic of the Government’s plan to cut CO2, said the advert was an attempt to manipulate people with alarmist language and apocalyptic imagery. “It is straight out of Orwell’s 1984: an attempt to control with images of a perpetual war against something, in this case climate change.”



Less than half of Britons believe climate change will affect them during their lifetime and fewer than a fifth think it will disturb their children, a government survey showed Friday.

In the YouGov poll for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 69 percent of respondents said flooding would be the most likely consequence in Britain, but only 26 percent believed the country was already feeling the impact of climate change. "Recent research shows the public are unclear on what causes climate change and what the effects are," the department said.

Scientists say rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by burning fossil fuels through greater energy usage, mass deforestation and increased transportation, will lead not only to flooding, but widespread drought, famine and disease, especially in poor countries. People displaced by climate change, or 'climate refugees', was another consequence of a warmer world, and could weigh on Britain's economy and social services.

"The survey results show that people don't realise that climate change is already under way and could have very severe consequences for their children's lives," UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said in a statement. "With over 40 percent of the UK's CO2 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions."

To raise public awareness, the department is launching its first ever advertising campaign Friday "confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin."

To see the DECC television adverts, click here



The science of climate change is too doubtful to dramatically change Australia's national defence plans, according to a key adviser on the Australian Defence Force's recent White Paper. While the white paper acknowledges for the first time climate change is a potential security risk, it says large-scale strategic consequences of climate change are not likely to be felt before 2030.

A key adviser on the white paper, Professor Ross Babbage, says he is not convinced that climate change exists at all. "The data on what's really happening in climate change was looked at pretty closely and the main judgment reached was that it was pretty uncertain - it wasn't clear exactly what was going on," he said. "When you look at that data, it really does suggest that there hasn't been a major change in the last decade or so and certainly no major increase. So the sort of judgments that were required have to be fairly open at this stage."

However Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has frequently put forward the opposite view, and other security analysts believe Defence should not be debating the basic science of global warming. Anthony Bergin, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the ADF's judgement goes against most scientific conclusions. "There was no supporting evidence presented in the Defence White Paper for the judgement that there would be no strategic impacts of climate change for 30 years," he said. "It seems to run counter to most of the scientific judgements that are now concluding that impact of climate change is indeed faster and more severe than previous estimates."

In the US and the UK, security agencies and the military are providing resources to prepare for potential new climate conflicts over water, food and refugees as well as increasingly frequent natural disasters. They are also moving to ensure defence equipment will function in more extreme weather conditions. Sydney University's Professor Alan Dupont says the CIA in the US had the right approach. "They accepted the scientific forecasts of the IPCC as their starting point because they thought they were not qualified to contest the scientific issues. And I would have thought the same applied to our own defence department."

At the internationally respected Royal United Services Institute in London, Dr Tobias Feakin, the director of national security says the Australian white paper is out of step. "Climate change is already happening, so to press pause on considering it as a strategic issue, I think, could be a mistake," he said. "The time cycles for buying equipment rotate in about 20-year cycles so you need to begin to make the decisions now to purchase the kinds of equipment that you'll need for climate change world. "So to not actually acknowledge the kind of changes that we will be seeing then, I think will be quite short-sighted."

Because of long lead times and high expense, Professor Babbage says Defence moves cautiously when it comes to adopting new planning scenarios. "At this stage there isn't really the case to fundamentally change the direction of the Defence Force as a consequence of what we are so far seeing in terms of climate change, given the uncertainties that we still see in the data sets. Professor Babbage says Defence considered a variety of climate scenarios and judged Australia's current defence capabilities and force structure would cope.

He points out that Prime Minister Rudd, as chairman of the National Security Council, signed off on the white paper's conclusions.


NOTE: The Australian Government's Defence White Paper is available here


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