Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We've had Briffa's "One tree" proof of global warming, now we have a "One lake" proof of global warming!

And the one lake could be as atypical as Briffa's solitary Russian tree. But Warmists are great cherry-pickers. Amusing that the front-page lead-in to the article below was: 'Proof' humans cause global warming -- with quotes around "Proof". Even some mainstream journalists are getting skeptical. The whole article is a laugh, however. They have produced possible evidence of warming but NO evidence of what caused the warming. They have not considered variations in solar output as a cause, for instance

SEDIMENT cores from a small Arctic lake in Canada stretching back 200,000 years show unprecedented gains in global warming since 1950, indicating human activity is the likely cause. "The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores,'' University of Colorado glaciologist Yarrow Axford said. "We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on Earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes." Mr Axford is the chief author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For thousands of years, environmental changes in a remote lake on Canada's Baffin Island closely matched natural, cyclical climate changes such as those caused by the Earth's periodic wobble as it swings around the sun, the researchers said. However, lake sediment cores dating from 1950 show that expected climate cooling was overridden by human activity like greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers were able to reconstruct the local climate over the past 200,000 years by analysing algae, insect fossils and geochemical traces in sediment cores extracted from the 40ha lake. The cores stretch back 80,000 years further than existing Greenland ice cores, revealing environmental conditions prevalent during two earlier Ice Ages and three interglacial periods.

Researchers found that several types of mosquito-like midges that for many thousands of years thrived in cold climate surrounding the lake suddenly began declining at around 1950; two midge species adapted to the coldest weather disappeared altogether. And they further discovered that a species diatom that was relatively rare before the 20th Century, has made unprecedented gains in recent decades, possibly due to the thinning ice cover on the lake.

Another study published September in Science magazine that reconstructed 2000 years of Arctic temperatures from ice and lake sediment cores and tree rings, found that the recent global warming trend is overriding a natural cooling trend caused by Earth's periodic wobble.

The Earth is now some 966,000km further from the Sun during the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice than it was at the time of Jesus Christ, causing an overall cooling of the Arctic until recently, explained the researchers.



The IPCC "consensus" is substantially reliant on assumptions that have now been shown to be false in a new study. How amusing it is: "the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible". Sad news for Briffa, Mann and all the other Warmist tree ring devotees. It looks like we have a lake and a stand of trees contradicting one-another! It should be fairly easy to see if the pattern is repeated in other dendrochronologies. Clearly, however, all climate reconstructions based on dendrochronology must now be regarded as suspect. With regard to the apparent contrast between the tree data and the lake data above, one is reminded of Einstein's saying: "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong". We now seem to have that single experiment as far putting any confidence in the dendrochronologists is concerned

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space. Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century. As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.

The study is published in the scientific journal New Phytologist. "We were originally interested in a different topic, the climatological factors influencing forest growth," says Ms Sigrid Dengel a postgraduate researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Edinburgh. To do this, Ms Dengel and University of Edinburgh colleagues Mr Dominik Aeby and Professor John Grace obtained slices of spruce tree trunks. These had been freshly-felled from the Forest of Ae in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, by Forest Research, the research branch of the UK's Forestry Commission. The trees had been planted in 1953 and felled in 2006.

The researchers froze the trunk slices, to prevent the wood shrinking, then scanned them on to a computer and used software to count the number and width of the growth rings. As the trees aged, they showed a usual decline in growth. However, during a number of years, the trees' growth also particularly slowed. These years correlated with periods when a relatively low level of cosmic rays reached the Earth's surface. When the intensity of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface was higher, the rate of tree growth was faster. The effect is not large, but it is statistically significant.

The intensity of cosmic rays also correlates better with the changes in tree growth than any other climatological factor, such as varying levels of temperature or precipitation over the years. "The correlation between growth and cosmic rays was moderately high, but the correlation with the climatological variables was barely visible," Ms Dengel told the BBC.

Cosmic rays are actually energetic particles, mainly protons, as well as electrons and the nuclei of helium atoms, that stream through space before hitting the Earth's atmosphere. The levels of cosmic rays reaching the Earth go up and down according to the activity of the Sun, which follows an 11-year cycle. Every 11 years or so, the Sun becomes more active, producing a peak of sunspots. These sunspots carry a magnetic field that blocks and slows the path of energetic particles.

When the researchers looked at their data, they found that tree growth was highest during periods of low sunspot activity, when most cosmic rays reached Earth. But growth slowed during the four periods of cosmic ray-blocking high sunspot activity, which have occurred between 1965 and 2005. "We tried to correlate the width of the rings, i.e. the growth rate, to climatological factors like temperature. We also thought it would be interesting to look for patterns related to solar activity, as a few people previously have suggested such a link," explains Ms Dengel. "We found them. And the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than it was to any of the climatological factors we had looked at. We were quite hesitant at first, as solar cycles have been a controversial topic in climatology." "As for the mechanism, we are puzzled." ....


It’s raining, you’re snoring

In his book "The Audacity of Hope," Barack Obama acknowledged that "sometimes there are facts that cannot be spun, just as an argument about whether it's raining can usually be settled by stepping outside." Checking the conditions outside is precisely what The Washington Times failed to do before conveying, without balance or rebuttal, the claim by Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council that "there is no doubt that global temperatures are increasing" ("Maverick geologist lauds greenhouse gas," Plugged in, Tuesday).

It was bad enough to enable the NRDC spokesman's ritual claim of just how gauche it is to challenge science that has been declared "settled" without calling on him to enlighten readers as to when it was settled or what settled it. Even worse, the temperatures, like the rain, are easily accessible thanks to satellites placed in service in the late 1970s in response to the panic over supposed man-made global cooling. These satellites reveal that there has been no statistically significant warming for the past 13 years, a rapid cooling for the past eight years and otherwise plenty of doubt that global temperatures are increasing.

It is the job of the media to challenge, not perpetuate, such claims, particularly when the taxpayer spends many millions of dollars each year for the privilege of obtaining information that is proclaimed critically important and yet officially ignored in the rush to adopt a desired agenda.


E.ON condemns overambitious British government targets for green energy

Government plans to generate 30 per cent of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are doomed to failure, according to the chief executive of one of the world’s biggest utility companies.

Wulf Bernotat, chief executive of E.ON, said that British politicians needed to stop misleading the public about what was achievable. He said that British plans to build 33 gigawatts of offshore wind power, up from 0.6 gigawatts at present, was impossible, given the necessary investment and relatively short timeframe. “Politicians need to be more realistic,” he said. “If you just set out these targets without really taking the effort to square it with industry, then you end up with the dilemma of it not being achievable.”

E.ON, which reported 2008 revenues of €87 billion (£79 billion), more than any of its peers, plans to spend €10 billion a year globally on new power-generating equipment, including nuclear power plants, wind farms, gas and coal plants. It has invested about £930 million in Britain this year and is a key partner in London Array, a £3 billion project to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Bernotat said that there was a bigger mismatch between government targets and what was achievable in Britain than in E.ON’s other key European markets, including its home market. “Germany started earlier and there is a bigger base to build on,” he said. “It’s not a question of willingness. Targets have to be ambitious but the expectation level should be realistic.” E.ON, which employs 88,000 people, has eight million customers in Britain through its UK subsidiary. Its ten coal, gas and oil-fired power stations generate about 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “We must clean up our energy supplies to meet our climate change goals and that will mean a massive expansion of renewable energy. Our target is ambitious but we have a strategy to meet it by 2020.”



India's environment and forest ministry and its space agency will jointly set up an institute in Bangalore for climate research and build homegrown capabilities and data on climate change to counter Western claims on the impact of India's greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Institute of Climate and Environment, or NICE, with a 100-member team of scientists, will begin work by March, said Jairam Ramesh, Union minister of state for environment and forests. "Studies about Himalayan glaciers on climate change and its impact on India comes from Western countries. Many of the Western sources are biased," said Ramesh. For instance, a 1990 US study that projected 38 million tonnes of methane gas emissions a year due to wet paddy cultivation in India was later countered by a top Indian climate scientist, A.P. Mitra, Ramesh said. Mitra proved it to between 2 and 6 million tonnes, which now has been accepted internationally.

Most studies by Western scientists on Himalayan glaciers are done using the arctic glaciers as a base, Ramesh said, although they are structurally different. "There has been no proper monitoring that has been done in India," he said. The environment ministry and the Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, have launched two programmes-one to study the impact of the melting of Himalayan glaciers on climate change and on the forest cover of the country.

Isro will launch two satellites-one for atmospheric change and another to study the methane and carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, crucial for climate change study by 2011, chairman G. Madhavan Nair said. Isro has satellite data for over 40 years of the Himalayan regions and the forest cover in the country, he said.

The space agency has an expert team that has published around 150 papers on climate change in international journals. This expertise will be used and an Isro scientist will be part of the Indian team for negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in Copenhagen 7-18 December, Ramesh said.



Lots of big talk and destructive policies forthcoming but no significant reductions in CO2 emissions

By Roger Pielke, Jr.

For those reading the tea leaves to understand the actions of various countries preparing for the international climate negotiations later this year in Copenhagen, the broad outlines of the ultimate deal are starting to come into view. The picture being revealed is not a pretty one for anyone actually interested in reducing future emissions to very low levels.

To understand the international climate debate, it is necessary to understand the underlying dynamics that shape the behavior of governments around the world. It is crucial to understand that many elected officials and governments now in power achieved their position, at least in part, through very ambitious promises to take aggressive action to reduce future emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

For example, in the United Kingdom, both the governing Labor party and the (perhaps soon-to-be-governing) Conservatives strongly supported legislation that passed last December promising to reduce emissions to at least 34% below 1990 levels by 2022. Similarly grandiose promises on climate policy have been a mainstay of governments across Europe for over a decade. In Australia, the Labor government of Kevin Rudd made climate policy a defining position in the campaign that swept him into office in 2007; his stand culminated in a standing ovation from representatives of governments around the world when he appeared at the international climate negotiations in Bali that December, promising that Australia would lead on climate. In the coming months, the Australian legislature faces the prospect of a rare "double dissolution" forced election if the Senate refuses for a second time to approve Rudd's emissions-trading legislation that promises to cut emissions to as much as 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Japan's remarkable election brought the Democratic Party of Japan into power. Prime Minister Hatoyama has asserted that his government will dramatically strengthen the emissions-reduction targets of the previous government, to an incredible 25% reduction by 2020. And of course US President Barack Obama promised in his inauguration speech that his administration would mark the time when the "rise of the oceans began to slow," by making climate policy a top priority after years of neglect by the Bush Administration. The US legislation that passed the House of Representatives last June promised to reduce US emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, and is now being considered in the Senate.

The problem with all these promises to achieve deep and rapid cuts in emissions is that no one knows how these cuts are going to happen, and most simply cannot happen as promised. So these countries have turned to designing very complex policies full of accounting tricks, political pork, and policy misdirection. Not surprisingly, these sorts of policies have run into considerable opposition among policy makers and the public, have been hijacked by political interests, and appear to fall well short of what has been promised. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought to weaken the effects of European climate policies on the German automobile industry; and in France, President Nicolas Sarkozy saw his proposal for a new carbon tax strongly criticized as unfair and regressive by his former (and perhaps future) presidential rival and Socialist Party figure, Ségolène Royal. Australian Prime Minister Rudd and US President Obama face the threat of outright revolt by conservative minority parties looking to secure political advantage by opposing proposed emissions-trading programs.

Even with all the policy complexity and political noise, it has not been difficult for anyone paying attention to realize that climate policies are in deep trouble. So what has been the primary response of governments? The tried-and-true strategy is to identify an enemy and focus attention on anything but the failing climate policies. In this case, the enemies identified by the rich, Western countries are India and China, with their huge populations, rapid economic growth, and increasing carbon footprints to match. Repeating a refrain heard in 1997 during negotiations that resulted in the largely ineffectual Kyoto Protocol, we again hear that without action from India and China, the climate policies of the developed countries will all be for naught.

In recent months, China and India have responded to this finger-pointing by presenting projections of their future emissions that show, rather incredibly, that both China and India have already transformed their economies to support rapid economic growth with very low carbon dioxide emission. Adopting binding emissions targets, they argue, will be unnecessary. Those hoping to see action in Copenhagen have welcomed these fantastic claims to argue that China, in particular, is becoming a leader in responding to climate change as a prod to the United States in particular. Chief UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boaer said of China's claims, "This suite of policies will take China to be the world leader on addressing climate change. It will be quite ironic to hear that tomorrow, expressed in a country (the United States) that is firmly convinced that China is doing nothing to address climate change." India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh recently commented with apparent envy and skepticism on China's public-relations success: "China has raced way ahead of us, both in terms of emissions and in conveying the impression they are doing a lot on climate change."

Following China's lead, India has sought to change the way it is perceived in the international debate. India now says that it has already transformed its economy to one that is rapidly decarbonizing - it promises upwards of 8% annual growth in its GDP with an emissions growth of only about 2% per year for the next two decades, without the need for any new policies including those focused on emissions reductions. China has taken a very similar approach. China's carbon dioxide emissions increased by 12.2% per year from 2000 to 2007 but it now says that, based on its policies in place today, it expects its greenhouse gas emissions to increase only 2.5% per year until 2030, while maintaining a GDP growth of 9% per year. These numbers imply decarbonization of the Indian and Chinese economies at a rate of about 6% per year, which is far-fetched even under scenarios with aggressive new policies (which are not these scenarios), and preposterous under scenarios of business as usual. The fastest decarbonization rate of any large economy I know of occurred in the early 1980s, when Japan's economy achieved a decarbonization rate of about 4.4% per year due to aggressive energy efficiency policies as well as major changes in the Japanese economy. Even then, the rapid decarbonization of the Japanese economy slowed considerably by the mid-1980s, and has averaged about 1% per year since then.

India's Ramesh is so confident in the hand that his government has played that he has dared the developed countries to "call India's bluff." He knows full well that the developed countries cannot acknowledge the fictional nature of the Indian and Chinese emissions policies, because it would be only a short step from making such a claim to a broader recognition that climate policies of the developed world are built on similar foundations of sand. Ramesh is so confident that he has already declared the troubled bill now in the US Senate to be insufficient, even if it is somehow passed into law. "The bill . . . talks about a 20% cut on 2005 levels, which is really only a measly 5% reduction on 1990 levels." Such tough talk seems to make developed countries step back. Consider David Miliband, minister for Climate Change in the UK, who asserted that the Indian proposals might just get them off the hook of signing binding commitments at Copenhagen, because they have now demonstrated that they "took climate change seriously." Don't expect any governments in other developed countries to call Minister Ramesh's bluff either.

So where does this leave international climate policy? The good news for international negotiators and politicians who have promised action is that the stage is set for a global agreement of some sort but, we are told, perhaps not with I's dotted and t's crossed. This means that government claims to be taking action can be backed up with evidence of some sort of an agreement at Copenhagen, while at the same time ineffectual domestic actions can be sustained. If the negotiators are really clever, they will find a way to package the ineffectual domestic policies as a sort of patched-together global agreement.

However, for those who care about emissions reductions, especially leading environmental groups and activists in the science community, the joke will be on them - they will get just about everything they campaigned for, except any prospect for actual reductions in future emissions. Meanwhile, India and China will be able to continue their current round of securing oil, gas, and coal from sources around the world to fuel their booming economic growth.

Similarly, as we march toward Copenhagen, the Obama Administration has quietly set forth plans to build a pipeline from Canada to exploit carbon-intensive oil locked in tar sands. The United Kingdom and other EU countries are considering building new coal and gas plants to meet growing needs for power. As long as leaders of the climate movement continue to pretend that progress is being made, the climate policy charade will go on for a while longer, while business proceeds as usual.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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