Wednesday, November 25, 2009

George Monbiot (the original moonbat) is shaken, not stirred:

It's no use pretending this isn't a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence of attempts to prevent scientific data from being made public.

Worse, some suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by sceptics, or to keep it out of a Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The head of the unit, Phil Jones, should resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

But do these revelations justify the sceptics' claims that this is "the final nail in the coffin" of global warming theory? Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence. To bury man-made climate change, a far wider conspiracy would have to be revealed.

More HERE (Sarcasm follows the excerpt above. Is that the best he can do? No alternative evidence offered for his beliefs??)

A victim of the CRU climate conspirators comments

From Hans von Storch -- Director of Institute for Coastal Research of the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht and Professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, Germany

A hacker has stolen many e-mails (and other files) from the server at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the United Kingdom. For an account refer to New York Times or to Roger Pielke jr.'s weblog. The hacked mails have been published at several sites, and I got through a journalist a full copy. As far as I myself can judge, and according to responses by others, the files are authentic, but not complete.

Going through the files, which due to the sheer size I can do only in a sampling mode, the mails begin in the late 1990s and extend to about today. They are all mails to/from Phil Jones. There are a number of problematic statements, which will be discussed in the media and the blogosphere. I found the style of communication revealing, speaking about other people and their ideas, joining forces to "kill" papers, exchanges of "improving" presentations without explaining.

Also mails from/to Eduardo Zorita and myself are included; also we have been subject of frequent mentioning, usually not in a flattering manner.

Interesting exchanges, and evidences, are contained about efforts to destroy "Climate Research"; that we in the heydays of the hockeystick debate shared our ECHO-G data with our adversaries; and that Mike Mann was successful to exclude me from a review-type meeting on historical reconstructions in Wengen (demonstrating again his problematic but powerful role of acting as a gatekeeper.)

I would assume that more interesting issues will be found in the files, and that a useful debate about the degree of politicization of climate science will emerge. A conclusion could be that the principle, according to which data must be made public, so that also adversaries may check the analysis, must be really enforced. Another conclusion could be that scientists like Mike Mann, Phil Jones and others should no longer participate in the peer-review process or in assessment activities like IPCC.


Is East Antarctica Melting?

By Dr. David Whitehouse

The East Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice on our planet and so its stability and potential contribution to global sea level change is of great interest. It was thought to be relatively stable but new research suggests it may have begun to loose mass, although the true significance of the change is unclear.

Measuring the Antarctic ice sheets is difficult. Over the years estimates of its mass balance has swung between positive and negative values. Radar altimetry observations covering the entire continent between 1992 - 2003 suggested that the ice mass balance was between -5 and + 85 GT/yr, although as usual with ice such estimates have large errors. Another satellite-borne technique, Synthetic Aperture Radar, using observations taken over the past decade, suggested that ice loss exceeded model predictions of snow accumulation. The data also indicated a recent increase in mass loss with 196 +/- 92 GT in 2006.

The latest data uses observations taken monthly between 2002 and 2009 from a pair of satellites flying in formation measuring gravity perturbations. Analysing data from the GRACE satellites is tricky and relating them to ice sheet mass estimates involves several steps and assumptions. The new study - published in Nature Geoscience by J Chen and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas - say the mass loss for the entire continent is - 190 +/- 77 GT/yr averaged over 2002 - 2009. This is much larger than previous estimates (although consistent with the most recent Synthetic Aperture Radar estimates of 196 +/- 92 GT/yr.)

Loss from the West Antarctic ice sheet is 132 +/- 26 GT/yr. East Antarctica, the researchers say, is losing mass at about 57 +/- 52 GT/yr (note large uncertainty - it could be consistent with zero ice loss). Most of the loss appears to be from coastal regions and to stem from increased ice loss after 2006. The finding is significant because the east of the continent has been regarded as the more stable half. It should be stressed however that although these seem large quantities of ice they are tiny in terms of their significance for global sea level changes.

The importance of this research is that it highlights the close scrutiny needed of the region, especially for the East Antarctic ice cap, to see if its rate of loss increases. At present it is not known if the loss is due to climate change or if such losses are in any way exceptional or cyclical. If the changes persist, and accelerate, then, "Antarctica may soon be contributing significantly more to global sea-level rise", the researchers write.

Others have expressed surprise at the results. A study in 2005 suggested that the East Antarctic ice sheet was actually gaining mass. What this latest work indicates is the need for more observations, an appreciation of the large uncertainties in individual measurements and the problem of relating them to each other. Overall it would be unwise to draw strong conclusions from this research.


Lawmakers Probe Climate Emails

Congressional Republicans have started investigating climate scientists whose hacked emails suggest they tried to squelch dissenting views about global warming. An aide to Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said investigators are studying the documents, which unknown hackers stole last week from the computer of a prominent British climate-research center.

Investigators are focusing on the correspondence of White House Science Adviser John Holdren, he said. Dr. Holdren, a point man for the Obama administration on climate change, sent one of the hacked emails. In the 2003 email, Dr. Holdren, then at the Woods Hole Research Center in Woods Hole, Mass., defended research by Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, a scientist who believes global warming is man-made and who also sent some of the hacked emails.

On Monday, Dr. Holden said: "I'm happy to stand by my contribution to this exchange. I think anybody who reads what I wrote in its entirety will find it a serious and balanced treatment of the question of 'burden of proof' in situations where science germane to public policy is in dispute."

The aide said investigators are also probing the contributions of dozens of climate scientists to reports published by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Environmental Protection Agency, in its recent move to boost regulation of greenhouse gases, based its conclusions on IPCC reports. The IPCC has said the climate is heating up and humans are almost certainly to blame. Those who disagree that the globe is warming, or on the cause or extent of any warming, complain that their views have been excluded.

The documents, hacked from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University in the U.K., show that some climate researchers declined to share their data with fellow scientists, and sought to keep researchers with dissenting views from publishing in leading scientific journals.

Separately, Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), an outspoken critic of the view that humans are causing global warming, said that in light of the emails, he will call for an investigation into the state of climate science if the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works doesn't act soon.

Amid the furor over the released documents, more than two dozen climate scientists will release a report Tuesday arguing that the effects of man-made global warming have intensified in recent years. One of them is Dr. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State. In a 2003 response to an email complaining about a paper in the journal "Climate Research" which questioned assertions that the 20th century was abnormally warm, Dr. Mann wrote, "I think we have to stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal." Dr. Mann said Monday that he didn't think there was anything wrong in telling his colleagues that "we shouldn't be publishing in a journal that's activist."

Police in the U.K. are continuing to investigate the attack, and the university there said Monday that it is conducting its own review.

Hans von Storch, editor at the time of "Climate Research," had his own objections to the paper mentioned by Dr. Mann, and resigned shortly after it was published, citing a breakdown in the peer-review process. But Dr. von Storch, now at the University of Hamburg's Meteorological Institute, said Monday that the behavior outlined in the hacked emails went too far.

East Anglia researchers "violated a fundamental principle of science," he said, by refusing to share data with other researchers. "They built a group to do gatekeeping, which is also totally unacceptable," he added. "They play science as a power game."


LA Times Changes Its Mind: Science Doesn't Matter On Climate Bill

That thumping sound you hear is the Los Angeles Times moving the goal posts in the global warming debate. On November 22, while responding to the growing scandal about alleged proof that global warming is a hoax, the Times brushed it off with a puzzling claim that science should have no bearing on climate legislation.

What a difference a few leaked e-mail messages could make: just over a month ago, the exact same paper had insisted science was behind the push for regulation. Now with the validity of that science in doubt, the Times was quick to find a different angle. In an article titled "A Climate Change Dust-up," writers Jim Tankersley and Henry Chu began with reassurance that the scandal was nothing to fear because the hacked e-mail messages would not make a difference either way:
Is it a "Warmist Conspiracy," or a case of an email being "taken completely out of context"? Regardless, the latest dust-up over the science of climate change appears unlikely to affect the dynamics of either a pending debate in the Senate or international climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month.

The whole point of the meeting in Copenhagen has been to limit pollution that supposedly destroys the planet based on evidence gathered and purported by researchers specifically involved in the email scandal. If the very premise of global warming has possibly been exposed as a fraud, why would that not be of interest to those who want to legislate global warming?

Because, according to the Times, the fight to stop possibly nonexistent global warming would be about saving the economy:
But advocates of action to curb global warming dismiss those claims, and political leaders and analysts say the Senate bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions will sink or swim based on economics, not science. "The scientists are going to fight about this for decades," said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of several Senate Republicans who say they are open to some form of a climate bill. "We should be doing something to curb our emissions that would not harm the economy, and would in fact boost the economy," he said.

So the Times believed in doing something about emissions whether or not we knew that they were harmful. It was suddenly okay for the science to remain unsettled, and in fact, the Senate was encouraged to limit greenhouse gases even if science was unable to prove a connection between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature.

But if the entire logic of this effort to save the economy was based on the hope that green jobs would put Americans to work, someone should have told the Times that President Obama has already been funding green jobs without a climate bill.

Equally preposterous, nowhere did the article explain exactly how limiting a company's carbon dioxide output would cause it to expand payrolls. Not to worry, for according to global warming activists it would all work with or without the data to back it up.

Most amazingly of all, though, was an explanation about the data offered by Phil Jones, one of the scientists involved in the email scandal. When asked about his use of the word "trick" when presenting data, Jones told the Times it was just clever wording:
In the 1999 e-mail, Jones wrote of using a "trick" to hide an apparent decline in recent global temperatures on a chart being prepared for use by a meteorological organization. But in a statement posted on the university's website Saturday, Jones said that the e-mail had been "taken completely out of context" and that there had been no misrepresentation of the data. "The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward," Jones said.

The hard-hitting journalism force at the Times failed to ask how a trick was taken to mean anything other than a trick. What possible "colloquial" use of the word could have implied a trick that was not really a trick? Thanks to the Times, Jones got away without having to expound.

This whole notion of scientific tricks being irrelevant to a major debate about international climate legislation represented a major change in thinking at the Times. It was just six weeks ago the paper criticized Bush for hiding scientific data that could be used to sway the debate over legislation. Back then, science had everything to do with it:
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a long-suppressed report by George W. Bush administration officials who had concluded -- based on science -- that the government should begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions because global warming posed serious risks to the country. The report, known as an "endangerment finding," was done in 2007. The Bush White House refused to make it public because it opposed new government efforts to regulate the gases most scientists see as the major cause of global warming.

When scientific findings were there to warn that global warming would kill the planet, the Times was quick to support it; when science was later found to be riddled with tricks that tainted its credibility, climate legislation was suddenly all about fixing the economy.

This is one more example in the long list of ways the liberal media has played fast and loose with the global warming agenda. Even when faced with plausible evidence the whole thing might be a fraud, global warming believers simply found a way to assert that evidence was not necessary.



Two current articles below

Emissions Trading Scheme will cost Australian families $1100 a year

KEVIN Rudd's Emissions Trading Scheme will increase the average family's bills by about $1100 a year. Based on the Federal Government's own modelling, by 2012 the ETS will add more than 20 per cent to electricity tariffs - a surge of nearly $300 for typical households already reeling in New South Wales from a similar blow from the state pricing tribunal in July. And industry forecasts predict grocery prices could surge 5 per cent once the estimated price of carbon is imposed, making stocking a home larder $520 more expensive, The Daily Telegraph reports.

For those on lower incomes, overall costs are tipped to rise $630. While lower in dollar terms this represents a bigger slice of their outgoings. They will be compensated by taxpayers - the Government yesterday vowed nine in 10 poorer households would receive more than what the ETS added to their bills but middle-income families won't get the same deal.

The Government's latest changes to the proposed ETS actually reduce consumer compensation by $5.8 billion over the next decade. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the high Australian dollar meant the carbon price would be lower, so less compensation was required.

Experts said that higher-earning households looking to limit the financial impact of the scheme would either need to spend up on going green or cut back on power use.

National Institute of Economic and Industry Research head Dr Peter Brain, author of the most commonly cited study into the cost of the ETS for households, said: "It's carrot and stick. It has to be. Otherwise emissions won't decline by anything like the rate required."

Mr Rudd said the latest version of the ETS would ensure that Australia could "achieve its ambitious unconditional target" of a 5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 when compared with 2000 levels and its conditional target of 15-25 per cent.

Energy price comparison service GoSwitch CEO Ben Freund said: "What the Government wants people to do is shift from cheaper sources of power to more expensive sources like wind and solar. "How do you make people do that? By making the expensive sources of energy more compelling. And you do that by making the cheaper sources of energy more expensive."

Professor Joshua Gans from the Melbourne Business School said the other way middle - and higher - income families could limit the impact was to cut power usage. "The idea of the CPRS is not to cause people to spend more on electricity. It is to change their behaviour so they don't spend more on electricity," Professor Gans said.

Small business owners James and Kylie White, of Botany, said they were worried about how much the ETS was going to cost them. "It's obviously a concern, coupled with the interest rates heading back up," Mr White, 34, said. "Over the last 12 months we have been seeing less and less income and the bills increasing. This is going to make it a little bit tougher."


Infamy, insanity, inanity in Australia's proposed climate laws

We had a prime minister who declared economic war on his own country. And an opposition leader who spent the rest of the day trying desperately to make it unanimous. Finally, succeeding. Or, perhaps not.

As I wrote yesterday this is one case where the devil is not in the detail. So making the detail of the Emissions Trading Scheme seemingly 'better' is without the slightest merit. And indeed is worse even in its own distorted terms. The ETS remains a direct, if slightly diverted attack against our national interest, against the very foundation not just of our economy but of our society. And it is completely incompatible with the government's population growth 'policy,' for want of a better word.

Yes, the extra 'assistance' to the power industry would probably help - literally - to keep the lights on in the short term. But only in the short term, and only if the debts of Victoria's power stations are guaranteed by the federal government, whether directly or indirectly.

There still wouldn't be another coal-fired power station built anywhere in Australia while this insanity prevails - while dozens are built in China and India.

And with nuclear also prohibited, we would face an 'interesting' intersection point between population, power and permits some time around 2015. Not, obviously, that nuclear could have 'saved us' in just five years anyway. That's when a bigger population demands more power; there isn't any; and all that 'generous assistance' is reaching its use-by date and then we face the prospect of the existing power stations going broke or breaking down.

This is when the reality of prime ministerial insanity catches up with Australia. Not even in 'distant 2020' but a few years before that. Because all that so-called assistance doesn't alter the basic reality of the ETS and the government's overall Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

What's in a name? Digressing, one really wonders how Kevin Rudd and his co-destroyer Penny Wong can literally live with themselves, as they spread the same 'pollution' every breath of their lives. As Rudd said yesterday, seemingly proudly, certainly totally unaware of his own stupidity: "the deal will ensure that Australia can achieve its ambitious unconditional target of 5 per cent (reduction in CO2 emissions), conditional target of up to 15 per cent and top-end target of 25 per cent off 2000 levels by 2020." This is the bottom line that isn't altered by all the extra so-called assistance. That once the ETS is in place, we are legislatively committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 5 per cent by 2020, whatever - the nothing - that the rest of the world does.

So if coal-fired power stations emit more as a consequence of their extra assistance, the cuts have to come from somewhere else. Or we pay foreigners for the right to over-emit. Doesn't sound too tough? Just 5 per cent? But factor in our roaring population growth and we have to cut by closer to 33 per cent per person. And do it in just 10 years!

Now committing to something like this this would be bad enough coming from any leader of any country. Directly attacking the wellbeing of its citizens. Especially when that leader knows, and I mean knows, that it is utterly pointless, even in his own misconceived terms, as no-one of major emitting substance is going to follow.

Coming from the leader of a country whose entire economy is built on carbon-based energy and the export of carbon-based products, it is criminally - there really are no other words for it - insane. In the context of my opening reference, it is as if Rudd himself had launched the planes on our Pearl Harbor, our economy.

In this case, double apologies are due to the author of the original quote, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The usual apology for amendment. The additional one for associating it with something and someone so grubby.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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