Friday, November 20, 2009

Warmist secrecy cracked by hacker

Hadley CRU has apparently been hacked – hundreds of files released. The details on this are still sketchy, we’ll probably never know what went on. But it appears that Hadley Climate Research Unit has been hacked and many many files have been released by the hacker or person unknown. I’m currently traveling and writing this from an aiprort, but here is what I know so far:

An unknown person put postings on some climate skeptic websites that advertised an FTP file on a Russian FTP server, here is the message that was placed on the Air Vent today: "We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents"

The file was large, about 61 megabytes, containing hundreds of files. It contained data, code, and emails from Phil Jones at CRU to and from many people. I’ve seen the file, it appears to be genuine and from CRU. Others who have seen it concur - it appears genuine. There are so many files it appears unlikely that it is a hoax. The effort would be too great.


Galileo silenced again

The American Geophysical Union is sending science back four hundred years

By: Willie Soon and David R. Legates

Four centuries ago, “heretics” who disagreed with religious orthodoxy risked being burned at the stake. Many were the dissenting views that could send offenders to a fiery end. In 1633, the astronomer Galileo Galilei may have come within a singed whisker of the same fate, for insisting that the sun (and not the Earth) was at the center of the solar system. In the end, he agreed to recant his “heresy” (at least publicly) and submit to living under house arrest until the end of his days. Growing evidence ultimately proved Galileo was right, and the controversy dissipated. Theology gave way to nature in determining the truth about nature.

We wish that were the case today. Unfortunately, lessons learned 400 years ago have yet to be adopted where the Church of Anthro-Climatism is involved. Burning dissenters at the stake may no longer be an option – perhaps because it would send prodigious quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, many other ingenious punishments are often meted out, to ensure that dissent is kept within “acceptable” limits, or dissenters no longer dissent.

Just recently, as scientists who specialize in environmental science, climatology, and solar variability, we welcomed the acceptance of our scientific session, Diverse Views from Galileo’s Window: Researching Factors and Processes of Climate Change in the Age of Anthropogenic CO2. The session was to be hosted at the upcoming Fall 2009 Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco.

Our session was to focus on “knowledge that spans an extremely diverse range of expertise” and provides “an integrated assessment of the vast array of disciplines that affect and, in turn, are affected by the Earth’s climate.” Our ultimate goal was to stimulate discussion at this professional meeting, prior to the upcoming UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

We developed this session to honor the great tradition of science and scientific inquiry, as exemplified by Galileo when, 400 years ago this year, he first pointed his telescope at the Earth’s moon and at the moons of Jupiter, analyzed his findings, and subsequently challenged the orthodoxy of a geocentric universe. Our proposed session was accepted by the AGU.

In response to its acceptance, we were joined by a highly distinguished group of scientists – including members of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, France and China, as well as recipients of the AGU’s own William Bowie, Charles Whitten and James MacElwane medals. Our participants faithfully submitted abstracts for the session.

But by late September, several puzzling events left us wondering whether the AGU truly serves science and environmental scientists – or simply reflects, protects and advances the political agendas of those who espouse belief in manmade CO2-induced catastrophic global warming.

On September 14, Dr. Nicola Scafetta of Duke University contacted us, to say the AGU had cancelled his previously-approved 12-paper session on Solar Variability and Its Effect on Climate Change, since it did not have enough papers. He asked if the papers from his session could be merged into our session; since they fit our theme well, we accepted his papers.

The merger was approved by the AGU Planning Committee. Thus our Galileo session now had grown to a total of 27 papers and was approved as a poster session at the Fall Meeting.

However, a few days later, after first approving our session and after we had assigned time slots for these new papers at AGU’s request, the Planning Committee revoked its approval and summarily dissolved our session. Now the committee claimed our session was “thematically divergent,” and divided the papers in our original session among six different sessions.

To cover its tracks, the committee created a new session called Diverse Views from Galileo’s Window: Solar Forcing of Climate Change with 15 papers – including the 12 from Dr. Scafetta’s original session that it had cancelled. That reduced the focus of this session to just solar forcing of climate, and eliminated discussions of the impact of anthropogenic CO2 that we had planned for our original session. The remaining papers from our cancelled session were moved to five other sessions, thereby undermining our original intent: comparing solar variability and manmade carbon dioxide as factors in planetary climate change.

In responding to us, the Planning Committee defended its actions by asserting: “none of [the papers in our session] have to do with the Galilean moons of Saturn [sic], which have to do with climate change or solar activity.” That claim reflects either a poor grasp of our purpose or a failure to read our proposal – and leads the question, Why wasn’t this issue raised when they originally decided to accept our session?

Our session proposal had clearly intended to honor Galileo’s observations of Jupiter’s (not Saturn’s) moons, which had led him to challenge the orthodoxy of the geocentric universe. We wanted to highlight how current research into the climatic effects of anthropogenic CO2 is challenging the supposed “scientific consensus” that humans are causing catastrophic climate change.

This arbitrary dissolution of our original session has serious implications for proper scientific enquiry. Our request that the session be reinstated has gone unheeded, despite the fact that the AGU has reinstated at least one cancelled session in the past. We have repeatedly been told that the decisions of the Planning Committee are final, though it has made clearly contradictory decisions regarding our session.

Reduced sunspot activity and solar energy output, stable or even cooling planetary temperatures, concerns over the high cost of proposed cap-and-trade legislation, political developments in Washington and Copenhagen, and other factors have caused more people to question manmade global warming disaster claims. This has led to consternation among scientists and organizations that have supported those claims.

However, as scientists, we are profoundly concerned by this behavior from a professional society that is supposed to serve science and its members. The AGU certainly had the right to reject our proposed session at the outset or before the solar variability session was merged with it. But given the topic of our session and the good faith approach we have taken in accepting papers from the cancelled solar variability session, it seems odd (at the very least) that our session was summarily dissolved, and that the AGU refuses to discuss the matter.

The AGU action is hardly reasonable. Indeed, it is counter-productive to the scientific method and to promoting open scientific discussions. It smacks of censorship. Something is rotten in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Scientific inquiry has once again been silenced … just as it was 400 years ago. The AGU should be ashamed. Its members should be outraged.


Reader’s Digest responds to boycott by skeptics

Removes its name as supporter of Copenhagen Climate Treaty

Reader's Digest has responded to a boycott initiated by by having its name removed from a list of corporate supporters of the Copenhagen Climate Treaty.

Mr. William Adler, vice president of global communications at Reader's Digest, sent an email to the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition asking that Reader's Digest be removed from a list of 20 organizations that are being boycotted due to their support of the Copenhagen Treaty. Mr. Adler stated Reader's Digest had been incorrectly listed as a supporter of the Copenhagen Treaty at A review of the Web site confirmed that Reader's Digest's name had been removed as a "friend of Hopenhagen."

"Smart organizations like Reader's Digest are starting to realize that lending their brand to radical environmental movements is bad for business," said Jeff Davis, organizer of the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition. "We hope other organizations named in the boycott wake up and recognize this fact as well."

There are a total of 19 remaining organizations targeted by the boycott, including Google, Pepsi, Nike and BP America. The complete list of boycotted companies can be seen at


Revealed: The design flaw in energy saving lightbulbs means they become dimmer over time

Energy-saving lightbulbs being used in millions of homes could lose up to 40 per cent of their brightness over the next few years, engineers warned yesterday. A design flaw in compact florescent bulbs mean they become dimmer as they age, a report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology said. Millions could need replacing long before their advertised lifespan of five or six years is reached.

The Government is phasing out traditional bulbs in order to meet Europe's climate change targets. Although other types of low energy bulb are available - including halogen and LED lights - most households are being encouraged to use compact fluorescent lamps. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says CFLs use a fifth of the energy of traditional bulbs, saving a typical home at least £37 a year and cutting the UK's carbon dioxide emissions by five million tons.

However, independent retailers and critics say many of the low-energy alternatives are ugly, expensive and produce poor quality light. Doctors have warned that CFLs may cause rashes in light-sensitive patients.

A report in Engineering and Technology Magazine now warns that CFLs lose 'a significant amount of brightness' over time. Even a good quality bulb could lose 20 per cent of its light over its 8,000-hour lifespan - while cheaper bulbs could dim even more. The problem is made worse because some manufacturers exaggerate how much light comes from CLFs in the first place, the report says. 'Consumers could end up with a CFL nearing the end of its life that emits just 60 per cent as much light as a supposedly equivalent incandescent bulb,' the report says. That means a CFL that begins life as bright as a traditional 100watt bulb, could become as dim as a 60watt bulbs.

CFLs give off light when a current passes through a gas-filled tube. The gas glows with ultraviolet radiation which lights up a coating of white phosphor on the inside of the tube. Over time, this coating loses some of its ability to light up.

Other low-energy bulbs don't have the same problem. A halogen light - which uses 70 per cent of the energy of a conventional bulb - remains bright throughout its life. LED bulbs - which are beginning to appear in conventional bulb shapes and brightness - are also more reliable.

Editor in chief of Engineering and Technology Dickon Ross said most people were unaware that CFLs eventually lost their brightness. 'Our article goes someway to explaining consumers' dissatisfaction with CFLs and it's interesting that the major manufacturers have switched their focus to the development of LED lighting,' he said.

The Energy Saving Trust, which is funded by the Government, confirmed CFLs did lose brightness but claimed most people would not notice the difference. Trust-approved bulbs should never fall below 76 per cent of their initial brightness, it added.


NZ leader puts his faith in science, not politicians in Copenhagen

John Key is probably not going to Copenhagen or entertaining much hope that other world leaders who do so will come up with a deal on climate change. Not a big, binding and lasting deal. Not one that might be called historic or that locks the United States and China, the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, to solid targets and action.

No, the Prime Minister of New Zealand is ''95 per cent'' sure he'll not be pressing the flesh in Denmark next month, and reckons he will not miss much, even though Greenpeace has offered to pay his fare. ''There is not going to be a deal,'' he told the Herald. ''What you will get out of it, is you'll get a high-level political statement and work program in 2010.''

Mr Key, who marked a year in power yesterday, is no denier or sceptic. He believes the world has a ''moral obligation'' to deal with climate change, and that consumers - more to the point, voters - broadly agree that action is necessary but ''you don't necessarily write a cheque to eastern European countries because they are polluting less''.

The central question is, what do you do? On a political level, Mr Key and his conservative National Party are in the process of a delicate flip. With support of the Maori Party he is rolling back the emissions trading scheme introduced by the previous Labour government. His scheme will be less ambitious and punitive - and is being attacked from within and without New Zealand. The farmers want it scrapped and accuse Mr Key of being ''obsessed'' by carbon emissions.

At stake is the country's reputation for being clean and green. The only time Mr Key loses his smile is when mention is made of a recent opinion piece in Britain's Guardian newspaper which claimed New Zealand had offered ''two fingers to the global community'' for allowing greenhouse gases to rise 22 per cent since signing the Kyoto treaty.

Mr Key calls the article ''bollocks'' and the writer, Fred Pearce, a green activist. The truth is, he says, the growth of emissions has been completely offset by planting 600,000 more trees. But the Prime Minister is acutely aware of the influence of consumers as regulators.

Australia's decision to exempt farmers from the ETS falls has, Mr Key concedes, ''put pressure on us''. Primary production accounts for about 48 per cent of the economy (against about 16 per cent in Australia) and half of all greenhouse emissions come from agriculture.

New Zealand's efforts are being made all the trickier due to two factors: the population is growing, from 3.2 million in 1990 to about 4.4 million now; and about 70 per cent of its energy already comes from renewable sources.

Mr Key is nonetheless optimistic solutions will be found that do not compromise living standards. The answers lie in science, he believes. ''All roads lead to technological solutions.''


A climate scare in Trafalgar Square

Ghost Forest, a new art installation, wants to frighten us into changing our greedy, planet-wrecking ways

A twenty-first century tribute to the Royal Family? A satirical swipe at the Labour government? A mistaken delivery address? At first, it’s difficult to know what to make of the large hunks of dead wood currently cutting a dash in London’s Trafalgar Square.

That is, until you read the info-boards positioned around the installation or encounter the press-released promotional material. At which point Ghost Forest’s meaning, or better still, its message, will become all too clear: all this modern stuff, this industrial development, has come at an environmental cost we’ve been able to ignore for too long. Why? Because it’s always been over there, in Africa, in South America. But not any more. In the form of huge tree stumps it’s been brought close, dumped in our figurative backyard. To quote its creator, the journalist-cum-artist Angela Palmer, it is an awareness-raising, visual expression of the ‘connection between deforestation and climate change’.

Featuring nine huge tree trunks (plus one injured one) which have been dragged across, and then ferried over from the Suhuma forest reserve in western Ghana, Ghost Forest is perhaps not the most appropriate name. With each trunk assigned its own slab on which to lie, a more accurate one would’ve been ‘The Tree Mortuary’. Which is certainly how it feels to walk around it. The trunks are arrayed like a body parts, their angry tangle of roots straining out like the veins and capillaries of gigantic limbs at one end, while at the other end there is just a clean, surgical, lumberjack’s cut. It’s as if you’re being encouraged to look at the results of planetary surgery, to survey the casualities of man’s open-heart conquest of nature. Palmer is clearly not insensible to the effect, judging by her anthropomorphic language. The roots are like ‘nerve-endings’, she says, the rainforests themselves, ‘the world’s “lungs”’.

This isn’t to say unsuspecting visitors were entirely clear as to what the stumps mean. Speaking on Monday, Palmer seemed unconcerned: ‘Many observers will see the stumps as beautiful sculptural objects; others will perhaps see the installation as a scene of devastation, others may see the tree stumps posited in the no-man’s land between the past and the future. For others the installation may represent an overt piece of political activism – a call to arms. I am equally comfortable with all responses.’ Beautiful sculptural objects? A no-man’s land between the past and the future? The most common response, from what I could see, was to stand next to the planet’s ripped-out lungs, and grin for the camera. After all, it’s not everyday some kindly artist leaves nine three-metre wide trunks around central London.

This surely missed Palmer’s point. Because whatever Palmer says, there was a point, a big, blunt change-your-ways point to Ghost Forest. Little wonder those reporting its opening on Monday were in no doubt as to what Ghost Forest was saying. In the words of Art Daily, ‘Ghost Forest’ is ‘a powerful visual statement about climate change’. ‘[A]s a microcosm of planetary overconsumption of expendable resources’, concluded the Londonist, ‘it’s a powerful statement’. Hence this Sunday it will leave London and head to Thorvaldsens Plads in Copenhagen to ‘raise awareness’ before the start of the UN climate change summit in December.

The reviewers had clearly read the promotional material. And this was the problem with Ghost Forest as art. In clued-up reports, in interviews on the Ghost Forest website, and on the 300-word-long, on-site info boards, the meaning of Ghost Forest was all too articulated. If the installation itself was ambiguous, a selection of barely worked-up Ghanaian tree stumps, its message was clear and overwrought. In fact the message could have done without its truncated embodiment in the wooden sculptures – the content here had no need of its form.

Overtly didactic art is nothing new, but what marks a project like the Ghost Forest out is the extent to which the hectoring content is liberated from the material in which it was to be represented. Little wonder that the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change, John Ashworth, was able to praise it before it actually existed as an installation – after all it was the message, not its formal realisation, that was valuable. ‘We need to reach people in other ways as well’, he told Palmer. ‘Since the crisis we face is about who we are before it is about what we should do, the role of art will be critical. So I applaud what you are doing, and wish it success. You will in effect be confronting some of those who pass through Trafalgar Square with the consequence of their choices.’

Confront people with the consequence of their choices? This is art as behaviour-changing device. As Palmer explains on her website: ‘Its location in Trafalgar Square is key: it is one of the world’s most visited tourist sites and the epicentre of Western industrialisation over the past 200 years.’ In other words, for didactic purposes, plonking it in the centre of London allows it to tell as many people off as possible, from tourists to Christmas shoppers. It’s tricky to avoid The Message if you have to walk the long way round it.

Then there’s the element of juxtaposition, of bringing the distant near, of shoving the natural in the face of the social. In the midst of a developed society, ‘an epicentre of industrialisation’, the mortified tree stumps, symbols of the underside of industrial progress, exist to discomfit, to unsettle. They are signs that something is wrong. This is a gesture premised on the perceived complacency of the public, their selfish behaviour. And as if the distaste for the lives of modern citizens wasn’t writ large enough, Palmer is prepared to take her fetish for the primitive and animistic one step further: tomorrow, an Amazonian chief is going to bless the trees in a special ceremony.

Which does make you wonder. Perhaps Palmer is actually being subversive. After all, like Mark McGowan’s attempt to ‘raise awareness’ about water wastage by leaving the tap running in his London gallery, it took Palmer a large ship, and several tonnes of heavy haulage, to drag a symbol of excessive energy consumption to its current resting place. Add to that the power expended by the electricity generators to keep the lights blazing through the night, and Palmer’s carbon footprint must be at least the size of ten large Ghanaian trees. This must surely be one giant environmentalist wheeze, a satire of sanctimony, right?

Perhaps not: ‘The artist considered carefully the carbon footprint which would be incurred in the project’, the info-board tells us, ‘but felt its potential message to millions of people on the impacts of deforestation would outweigh the carbon “spend”. The carbon cost of “Ghost Forest” will be calculated and offset on a ClimateCare project which has introduced more energy efficient cooking stoves to Ghana, meaning fewer trees are needed to provide cooking fuel.’

This is straight-faced contemporary art all right. It is art for those who know the carbon price of everything and the value of nothing. And art without value is not really art at all.



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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