Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Daily Mail" digs deep

The Daily Mail is a popular (print circulation over 2 million) British conservative newspaper that specializes in exposing scandals of all sorts. And in bureaucratic Britain, there is plenty to expose. And below they have got onto the huge and gaping hole in the Warmist story: The demonstrable invalidity of tree-rings as measures of temperature. The coverage below will reach many people and may even inspire better coverage from the rest of the British press

The claim was both simple and terrifying: that temperatures on planet Earth are now ‘likely the highest in at least the past 1,300 years’. As its authors from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) must have expected, it made headlines around the world. Yet some of the scientists who helped to draft it, The Mail on Sunday can reveal, harboured uncomfortable doubts. In the words of one, David Rind from the US space agency Nasa, it ‘looks like there were years around 1000AD that could have been just as warm’.

Keith Briffa from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which plays a key role in forming IPCC assessments, urged caution, warning that when it came to historical climate records, there was no new data, only the ‘same old evidence’ that had been around for years. ‘Let us not try to over-egg the pudding,’ he wrote in an email to an IPCC colleague in September 2006. ‘True, there have been many different techniques used to aggregate and scale data - but the efficacy of these is still far from established.’

But when the ‘warmest for 1,300 years’ claim was published in 2007 in the IPCC’s fourth report, the doubters kept silent. It is only now that their concerns have started to emerge from the thousands of pages of ‘Warmergate’ emails leaked last month from the CRU’s computers, along with references to performing a ‘trick’ to ‘hide’ temperature decline and instructions to resist all efforts by the CRU’s critics to use the Freedom of Information Act to check the unit’s data and conclusions.

Last week, as an official inquiry by the former civil servant Sir Muir Russell began, I tried to assess Warmergate’s wider significance. The CRU’s supporters insisted it was limited. ‘In the long term, it will make very little difference to the scientific consensus, and to the way politicians respond to it,’ Professor Trevor Davies, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor and a former CRU director, told me. ‘I am certain that the science is rock solid.’ He admitted that his CRU colleagues had sometimes used ‘injudicious phrases’, but that was because they kept on being ‘diverted’ from their work by those who wished to scrutinise it. ‘It’s understandable that sometimes people get frustrated,’ he said. The only lesson the affair had for him was that ‘we have got to get better in terms of explanation. Some scientists still find it quite it difficult to communicate with the public.’

Others, however, were less optimistic. Roger Pielke, Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, could in no sense be described as a climate change sceptic, let alone a ‘denier’. ‘Human-caused climate change is real, and I’m a strong advocate for action,’ he said. ‘But I’m also a strong advocate for integrity in science.’

Pielke’s verdict on the scandal is damning. ‘These emails open up the possibility that big scientific questions we’ve regarded as settled may need another look. 'They reveal that some of these scientists saw themselves not as neutral investigators but as warriors engaged in battle with the so-called sceptics. ‘They have lost a lot of credibility and as far as their being leading spokespeople on this issue of huge public importance, there is no going back.’

Climate science is complicated, and often the only way to make sense of raw data is through sophisticated statistical computer programs. The consequence is that most lay individuals - politicians and members of the public alike - have little choice but to take the assurances of scientists such as Davies on trust. He and other ‘global warmists’ often insist that when it comes to the IPCC’s main conclusions - that the Earth is in a period of potentially catastrophic warming and that the main culprit is man-made greenhouse gas emission - no serious scientist dissents from the conventional view. Hence, perhaps, Gordon Brown’s recent comment that those who disagree are ‘behind-the-times, antiscience, flat-Earth climate sceptics’.

In fact, there is a large body of highly-respected academic experts who fiercely contest this thesis: people such as Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a disillusioned former IPCC member, and Dr Tom Segalstad, head of geology at Oslo University, who has stated that ‘most leading geologists throughout the world know that the IPCC’s view of Earth processes are implausible if not impossible’.

These dissenters focus their criticisms on the IPCC’s analysis of the way the atmosphere works and the models it uses to predict the future.

However, Warmergate strikes at something more fundamental - the science that justifies the basic assumption that the present warming really is unprecedented, at least in the past few thousand years. Take the now-notorious email that the CRU’s currently suspended director, Dr Phil Jones, sent to his IPCC colleagues on November 16, 1999, when he wrote he had ‘just completed Mike’s Nature trick’ and had so managed to ‘hide the decline’.

For example, some suggest that the ‘medieval warm period’ was considerably warmer than even 1998. Of course, this is inconvenient to climate change believers because there were no cars or factories pumping out greenhouse gases in 1000AD - yet the Earth still warmed.

The CRU’s supporters have protested bitterly about the attention paid to this message. In the course of an extraordinary BBC interview in which he called an American critic an ‘****hole’ live on air, Jones’s colleague Professor Andrew Watson insisted that the fuss was completely unjustified, because all Jones had been talking about was ‘tweaking a diagram’.

Davies told me that the email had been ‘taken out of context’ adding: ‘One definition of the word “trick” is “the best way of doing something”. What Phil did was standard practice and the facts are out there in the peer-reviewed literature.’

However, the full context of that ‘trick’ email, as shown by a new and until now unreported analysis by the Canadian climate statistician Steve McIntyre, is extremely troubling. Derived from close examination of some of the thousands of other leaked emails, he says it suggests the ‘trick’ undermines not only the CRU but the IPCC.

There is a widespread misconception that the ‘decline’ Jones was referring to is the fall in global temperatures from their peak in 1998, which probably was the hottest year for a long time. In fact, its subject was more technical - and much more significant. It is true that, in Watson’s phrase, in the autumn of 1999 Jones and his colleagues were trying to ‘tweak’ a diagram. But it wasn’t just any old diagram. It was the chart displayed on the first page of the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ of the 2001 IPCC report - the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph that has been endlessly reproduced in everything from newspapers to primary-school textbooks ever since, showing centuries of level or declining temperatures until a dizzying, almost vertical rise in the late 20th Century.

There could be no simpler or more dramatic representation of global warming, and if the origin of worldwide concern over climate change could be traced to a single image, it would be the hockey stick.

Drawing a diagram such as this is far from straightforward. Gabriel Fahrenheit did not invent the mercury thermometer until 1724, so scientists who want to reconstruct earlier climate history have to use ‘proxy data’ - measurements derived from records such as ice cores, tree-rings and growing season dates. However, different proxies give very different results. For example, some suggest that the ‘medieval warm period’, the 350-year era that started around 1000, when red wine grapes flourished in southern England and the Vikings tilled now-frozen farms in Greenland, was considerably warmer than even 1998. Of course, this is inconvenient to climate change believers because there were no cars or factories pumping out greenhouse gases in 1000AD - yet the Earth still warmed.

Some tree-ring data eliminates the medieval warmth altogether, while others reflect it. In September 1999, Jones’s IPCC colleague Michael Mann of Penn State University in America - who is now also the subject of an official investigation --was working with Jones on the hockey stick. As they debated which data to use, they discussed a long tree-ring analysis carried out by Keith Briffa.

Briffa knew exactly why they wanted it, writing in an email on September 22: ‘I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards “apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more”.’ But his conscience was troubled. ‘In reality the situation is not quite so simple - I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1,000 years ago.’

Another British scientist - Chris Folland of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre - wrote the same day that using Briffa’s data might be awkward, because it suggested the past was too warm. This, he lamented, ‘dilutes the message rather significantly’.

Over the next few days, Briffa, Jones, Folland and Mann emailed each other furiously. Mann was fearful that if Briffa’s trees made the IPCC diagram, ‘the sceptics [would] have a field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith [in them] - I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder!’

Finally, Briffa changed the way he computed his data and submitted a revised version. This brought his work into line for earlier centuries, and ‘cooled’ them significantly. But alas, it created another, potentially even more serious, problem. According to his tree rings, the period since 1960 had not seen a steep rise in temperature, as actual temperature readings showed - but a large and steady decline, so calling into question the accuracy of the earlier data derived from tree rings.

This is the context in which, seven weeks later, Jones presented his ‘trick’ - as simple as it was deceptive. All he had to do was cut off Briffa’s inconvenient data at the point where the decline started, in 1961, and replace it with actual temperature readings, which showed an increase. On the hockey stick graph, his line is abruptly terminated - but the end of the line is obscured by the other lines.

‘Any scientist ought to know that you just can’t mix and match proxy and actual data,’ said Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. ‘They’re apples and oranges. Yet that’s exactly what he did.’

Since Warmergate-broke, some of the CRU’s supporters have claimed that Jones and his colleagues made a ‘full disclosure’ of what they did to Briffa’s data in order to produce the hockey stick. But as McIntyre points out, ‘contrary to claims by various climate scientists, the IPCC Third Assessment Report did not disclose the deletion of the post-1960 values’. On the final diagram, the cut off was simply concealed by the other lines.

By 2007, when the IPCC produced its fourth report, McIntyre had become aware of the manipulation of the Briffa data and Briffa himself, as shown at the start of this article, continued to have serious qualms. McIntyre by now was an IPCC ‘reviewer’ and he urged the IPCC not to delete the post-1961 data in its 2007 graph. ‘They refused,’ he said, ‘stating this would be “inappropriate”.’

Yet even this, Pielke told me, may not ultimately be the biggest consequence of Warmergate. Some of the most controversial leaked emails concern attempts by Jones and his colleagues to avoid disclosure of the CRU’s temperature database - its vast library of readings from more than 1,000 weather stations around the world, the ultimate resource that records how temperatures have changed. In one email from 2005, Jones warned Mann not to leave such data lying around on searchable websites, because ‘you never know who is trawling them’.

Critics such as McIntyre had been ‘after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone’.

Yesterday Davies said that, contrary to some reports, none of this data has in fact been deleted. But in the wake of the scandal, its reliability too is up for grabs.

The problem is that, just like tree rings or ice cores, readings from thermometers or electronic ‘thermistors’ are open to interpretation. The sites of weather stations that were once open countryside become built up areas, so trapping heat, and the type of equipment used changes over time. The result is what climate scientists call ‘inhomogeneities’ - anomalies between readings that need to be ‘adjusted’. But can we trust the way such ‘adjustments’ are made?

Last week, an article posted on a popular climate sceptic website analysed the data from the past 130 years in Darwin, Australia. This suggested that average temperatures had risen there by about two degrees Celsius. However, the raw data had been ‘adjusted’ in a series of abrupt upward steps by exactly the same amount: without the adjustment, the Darwin temperature record would have stayed level.

In 2007, McIntyre examined records across America. He found that between 1999 and 2007, the US equivalent of the Met Office had changed the way it adjusted old data. The result was to make the Thirties seem cooler, and the years since 1990 much warmer. Previously, the warmest year since records began in America had been 1934. Now, in line with CRU and IPCC orthodoxy, it was 1998.

At the CRU, said Davies, some stations’ readings were adjusted by unit and in such cases, raw and adjusted data could be compared. But in about 90 per cent of cases, the adjustment was carried out in the countries that collected the data, and the CRU would not know exactly how this had been done. Davies said: ‘All I can say is that the process is careful and considered. To get the details, the best way would be to go the various national meteorological services.’

The consequences of that, Stott said, may be explosive. ‘If you take Darwin, the gap between the two just looks too big. ‘If that applies elsewhere, it’s going to get really interesting. It’s no longer going to be good enough for the Met Office and CRU to put the data out there. ‘To know we can trust it, we’ve got to know what adjustments have been made, and why.’

Last week, at the Copenhagen climate summit, the Met Office said that the Noughties have been the warmest decade in history. Depending on how the data has been adjusted, Stott said, that statement may not be true. Pielke agreed. ‘After Climategate, the surface temperature record is being called into question.’

To experts such as McIntyre and Pielke, perhaps the most baffling thing has been the near-unanimity over global warming in the world’s mainstream media - a unanimity much greater than that found among scientists. In part, this is the result of strongarm tactics. For example, last year the BBC environment reporter Roger Harrabin made substantial changes to an article on the corporation website that asked why global warming seemed to have stalled since 1998 - caving in to direct pressure from a climate change activist, Jo Abbess. ‘Personally, I think it is highly irresponsible to play into the hands of the sceptics who continually promote the idea that “global warming finished in 1998” when that is so patently not true,’ she told him in an email. After a brief exchange, he complied and sent a final note: ‘Have a look in ten minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.’

Afterwards, Abbess boasted on her website: ‘Climate Changers, Remember to challenge any piece of media that seems like it’s been subject to spin or scepticism. Here’s my go for today. The BBC actually changed an article I requested a correction for.’

Last week, Michael Schlesinger, Professor of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Illinois, sent a still cruder threat to Andrew Revkin of the New York Times, accusing him of ‘gutter reportage’, and warning: ‘The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists ... I sense that you are about to experience the “Big Cutoff” from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included.’

But in the wake of Warmergate, such threats - and the readiness to bow to them - may become rarer. ‘A year ago, if a reporter called me, all I got was questions about why I’m trying to deny climate change and am threatening the future of the planet,’ said Professor Ross McKitrick of Guelph University near Toronto, a long-time collaborator with McIntyre. ‘Now, I’m getting questions about how they did the hockey stick and the problems with the data. ‘Maybe the emails have started to open people’s eyes.’


Media deception about Copenhagen

As the world trains its attention on Copenhagen for the United Nations climate change summit, much is being made in the mainstream media about the bold pledges global leaders supposedly are making to combat rampant warming. Not surprisingly, however, the press is bungling the climate change story.

The Los Angeles Times trumpeted that China—the planet’s leading emitter of greenhouse gas emissions—had pledged to cut those emissions an astonishing 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The Washington Post did much the same, with a front-page story headlined: “China Sets Target For Emissions Cuts.” India, meanwhile, was reported by numerous outlets to have made a similar pledge to cut its rapidly rising greenhouse gas output.

And President Obama garnered front page headlines all over the world with an announcement setting a U.S. emissions reduction target of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020.

There’s a big problem with this emerging storyline of a unified international community willing to make the hard choices and sacrifices necessary to save the planet: It’s patently untrue. Despite the evident desire of the mainstream media and the Obama administration to advance the idea that global climate change regulation is inevitable, the facts tell otherwise.

China, for instance, did not pledge to cut its carbon emissions, but rather its carbon intensity. Those are two very different things. Carbon intensity is the measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP. China is industrializing and modernizing its economy at breakneck speed. As it grows richer and its economy grows more efficient, China’s carbon intensity naturally will decline.

As for China’s presently soaring carbon emissions, those will continue to rise in absolute terms even as carbon intensity drops. China is averaging building one new coal plant every week or so to fuel its economic expansion, and the mandarins in Beijing have made clear they plan to continue along that path for years to come.

Consider these Energy Information Administration (EIA) numbers: In 2006, China’s electric generation amounted to 2,773 billion kilowatt hours, of which 79 percent came from coal. In 2030, the Middle Kingdom’s electric generation is estimated to more than triple, to 8,547 billion KWh.

The EIA figures that coal will account for only 75 percent of China’s electric generation two decades from now. That’s a slightly smaller share of the pie compared to today. But the pie will be vastly bigger in 2030, so China’s greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation could be roughly three times more than they are today. Factor in hundreds of millions of peasants upgrading from bicycles to motor vehicles, and CO2 emissions soar further.

India’s story is much the same. Its diplomats head to Copenhagen not with an official promise to curb carbon emissions but to cut carbon intensity by 24 percent by 2020. Like China, its emissions will keep rising.

The Los Angeles Times was forced to run an embarrassing correction admitting it had had muddled the distinction between carbon emissions and carbon intensity. That confusion, inspired by media cheerleading for another landmark climate change pact, probably explains most of the sloppy journalism on this important issue. But what is its excuse for blowing coverage of the Obama administration’s strategy?

The White House announced that Obama would travel to Copenhagen to personally pledge that the U.S. intends to cut its own emissions by 17 percent over the next decade compared to 2005 levels. The media reported that correctly, and loudly. But what it failed to note is that this is a promise Obama does not have authority to make on his own. For that Obama needs Capitol Hill, but Senate Democrats have made clear they will not pass any cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme this year. The chances of getting the full Congress to pass cap-and-trade in 2010, when the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate face re-election, are no less remote.

Perhaps Obama and his friends in the nation’s newsrooms believe that their brand of global warming reporting is a self-fulfilling prophecy: Publicizing that certain things are happening will cement in the public’s mind that they are, thus making them inevitable. Declaring that China and India are slashing emissions is supposed to guilt American lawmakers into passing a regulatory scheme to cut our absolute emissions.

We have been down this road before. Those agitating for major governmental controls to fight global warming have insisted the argument is over. They hoped that declaring the science to be settled would settle the matter in their favor. But the recent scandal at the Hadley Climate Research Unit in England, which revealed the perfidy of several of the world’s most important advocates of that notion, starkly shows that the science is not settled at all. The arguments for global warming regulation rest too heavily on easily manipulated computer models and data that global warming alarmists admit were massaged to fit their biases.

That outrage is the real news about climate change as Copenhagen gets under way, yet the media has largely ignored it. Instead of investigating the scandal, the press has chased a different story—about nations supposedly united to cut emissions—and gotten it wrong to boot. No wonder the newspaper industry is in such dismal shape, and that increasing numbers of people claim to get their information not from traditional media outlets but from blogs or the Daily Show.


Climate Change and “Climategate”

Bjørn Lomborg

Thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, and environmental activists have arrived in Copenhagen for the COP15 global climate summit with all the bravado – and self-regard – of a group of commandos who are convinced that they are about to save the world. And, although the political differences between them remain huge, delegates are nonetheless congratulating themselves for having the answers to global warming.

The blustery language and ostentatious self-confidence that fill the Bella Center here remind me of a similar scene: Kyoto, 1997. There, world leaders actually signed a legally binding deal to cut carbon emissions – something that will elude the Copenhagen summit-goers. But what did the Kyoto Protocol accomplish? So far, at least, virtually nothing.

To be sure, Europe has made some progress towards reducing its carbon-dioxide emissions. But, of the 15 European Union countries represented at the Kyoto summit, 10 have still not meet the targets agreed there. Neither will Japan or Canada. And the United States never even ratified the agreement. In all, we are likely to achieve barely 5% of the promised Kyoto reduction.

To put it another way, let’s say we index 1990 global emissions at 100. If there were no Kyoto at all, the 2010 level would have been 142.7. With full Kyoto implementation, it would have been 133. In fact, the actual outcome of Kyoto is likely to be a 2010 level of 142.2 – virtually the same as if we had done nothing at all. Given 12 years of continuous talks and praise for Kyoto, this is not much of an accomplishment.

The Kyoto Protocol did not fail because any one nation let the rest of the world down. It failed because making quick, drastic cuts in carbon emissions is extremely expensive. Whether or not Copenhagen is declared a political victory, that inescapable fact of economic life will once again prevail – and grand promises will once again go unfulfilled.

This is why I advocate abandoning the pointless strategy of trying to make governments promise to cut carbon emissions. Instead, the world should be focusing its efforts on making non-polluting energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels. We should be negotiating an international agreement to increase radically spending on green-energy research and development – to a total of 0.2% of global GDP, or $100 billion a year. Without this kind of concerted effort, alternative technologies simply will not be ready to take up the slack from fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the COP15 delegates seem to have little appetite for such realism. On the first day of the conference, United Nations climate change chief Yvo de Boer declared how optimistic he was about continuing the Kyoto approach: “Almost every day, countries announce new targets or plans of action to cut emissions,” he said.

Such statements ignore the fact that most of these promises are almost entirely empty. Either the targets are unachievable or the numbers are fudged. For example, Japan’s pledge of a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 sounds incredible – because it is. There is no way the Japanese could actually deliver on such an ambitious promise.

China, meanwhile, drew plaudits just before the Copenhagen summit by promising to cut its carbon intensity (the amount of CO2 emitted for each dollar of GDP) over the next ten years to just 40-45% of its level in 2005. Based on figures from the International Energy Agency , China was already expected to reduce its carbon intensity by 40% without any new policies. As its economy develops, China will inevitably shift to less carbon-intensive industries. In other words, China took what was universally expected to happen and, with some creative spin, dressed it up as a new and ambitious policy initiative.

Then again, spin always trumps substance at gatherings like this. Consider how quick the Copenhagen delegates were to dismiss the scandal now known as “Climategate” – the outcry over the release of thousands of disturbing emails and other documents hacked from the computers of a prestigious British climate-research center.

It would be a mistake not to learn lessons from this mess. Climategate exposed a side of the scientific community most people never get to see. It was not a pretty picture. What the stolen emails revealed was a group of the world’s most influential climatologists arguing, brainstorming, and plotting together to enforce what amounts to a party line on climate change. Data that didn’t support their assumptions about global warming were fudged. Experts who disagreed with their conclusions were denigrated as “idiots” and “garbage.” Peer-reviewed journals that dared to publish contrarian articles were threatened with boycotts. Dissent was stifled, facts were suppressed, scrutiny was blocked, and the free flow of information was choked off.

Predictably, the text of the more than 3,000 purloined emails have been seized on by skeptics of man-made climate change as “proof” that global warming is nothing more than a hoax cooked up by a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals. And this is the real tragedy of “Climategate.” Global warming is not a hoax, but at a time when opinion polls reveal rising public skepticism about climate change, this unsavory glimpse of scientists trying to cook the data could be just the excuse too many people are waiting for to tune it all out.

What seems to have motivated the scientists involved in Climategate was the arrogant belief that that the way to save the world was to conceal or misrepresent ambiguous and contradictory findings about global warming that might “confuse” the public. But substituting spin for scientific rigor is a terrible strategy.

So, too, is continuing to embrace a response to global warming that has failed for nearly two decades. Instead of papering over the flaws in the Kyoto approach and pretending that grand promises translate into real action, we need to acknowledge that saving the world requires a smarter strategy than the one being pursued so dogmatically in Copenhagen.


Swingin' Copenhagen

This is a light-hearted comment from comedian Dennis Miller but, like the best comedy, it has much truth in it

So it's come to this. If, and I say if only because it isn't, global warming is a man-made desecration of the planet, the head table of that desecration has been set up this week in Copenhagen under the aegis of stopping the man-made desecration of the planet.

Crazy, huh? But there is a darker vibe about the craziness this time around. I used to feel it was funny crazy, UFO-Loch Ness crazy. Now though, it's becoming disturbing crazy.

In the wake of the publishing of the East Anglia e-mails, I'm beginning to see a Roy Cohn-at-Tailgunner-Joe's-side quality in some of the more zealous climatological gurus' incessant bleats. (By the way, how much CO2 does a whiny bleat put out into the atmosphere?)

Some of them are no doubt vaguely cognizant of the fact that they might have way overbet this hand and that there's now something much more important in play than the plight of the planet. And that of course would be their reputations and standing in the herd of man.

You ever come across raccoons in the outdoor trash can at 11:30 or so at night? As soon as they're exposed by the beam of the flashlight (by the way, how much CO2 does the beam of a flashlight put into the atmosphere?), they turn on you with fangs and paws and let you know what follows will be a short conversation with very little talking involved.

Currently, climate scientists are raccoons hip-deep in statistical garbage and you should approach them with caution because they are unarmed (with facts) and dangerous.

In lieu of having the facts (i.e., the thermometer!) bear out their hypothesis, they are now going to have to get creative. They are going to have to press the bet now and steer into the delusional skid, and that sort of desperation makes for a really unsavory individual no matter how much good they are ostensibly doing for their fellow man.

Deniers will be disparaged, data will be fudged and theories will be advanced that are, if possible, even more wing-nuttier than some of the claptrap currently out there. If heretofore depictions of Manhattan under water in the year 2057 were shown to sixth-graders, they're going to have to drop it down to preschoolers in deference to the Gullibility Expansion Joint.

I say we offer them a lifeline right now. Come back little Sheba. Come to Papa. You went a little nuts. We understand. Of course, now that the fever dream has broken, you, too, realize that the ups and downs of temperature are what we call "the weather."

Of course the only truly creepy thing "the weather" could do would be to remain perpetually constant. Now that would be weird!

Prodigal your loony self right back over here! We forgive you and we just thank God that the light bulb of pragmatic inspiration finally switched on for you. (By the way, how much CO2 does the light bulb of pragmatic inspiration finally switching on for you put into the atmosphere?)


The Hitlerettes of “SustainUS”

By Christopher Monckton in Copenhagen -- responding to attacks from ecofascists

Here in Copenhagen, the “global warming” conference is hotting up despite the freezing weather. A couple of nights ago, a peaceful meeting of Americans for Prosperity was broken up by several dozen chanting preppie goons from SustainUS, a Hitlerian environmental pressure-group largely funded by US taxpayers. The thugs and thugettes were determined to exercise their right of free speech at the expense of ours.

These animals’ loutish assault on our meeting, and my conversation about it the next day, have gone viral on the internet as people realize – many for the first time – that, in today’s environmental movement, the intolerance, arrogance, and viciousness of Nazism is back – and this time it is worldwide.

A student at a British university did not like it when the members of our audience – reported by me on German television and subsequently worldwide - gave their opinions that the SustainUS thugs were no better than the Hitler Youth. Here, in full, is his complaint, and my reply.
Dear Lord Monckton, – I write, perhaps as one of many, with the deepest regret for your actions in Copenhagen this week. By resorting to ad hominem attacks on members of SustainUS you have sabotaged your own cause by reducing your credibility. I feel aggrieved that a person who takes such actions as you may still claim the title ‘Lord’.

Previous to your comments I disagreed with you on the issue of climate change but nonetheless followed your views and read your articles as a student of the topic. Now I feel you have crossed the line and shown that your arguments cannot stand alone without resorting to insults and patronising comments to those who wish to civilly discuss with you.

I am a member of the youth of this nation, and perhaps by my actions and opinions you might also call me a member of the ‘Hitler youth’. But make no mistake, the youth are the future and by your actions you have alienated them and inspired many more to oppose you.

Initially the opposition to you was about science. Now the opposition is to you as a person for your hateful remarks. Yours in disappointment, – A student.

Dear Student, – Thank you for taking the trouble to let me know what you think. Perhaps a little background would be helpful. Some 50 robotically-chanting thugs invaded a meeting that some colleagues and I were holding, jostled and intimidated us, and did their best to interfere with our right of free speech for as long as they could get away with it. They showed not the slightest intention of engaging in civil discussion with us.

Three German and one Danish members of our audience were distraught. They said no attempt like this to prevent free speech had ever been seen in Copenhagen since the Nazis had occupied the city during the Second World War. The Hitlerettes had lied in order to get into the meeting, and had clearly been lavishly funded (by taxpayers, mostly, according to our enquiries for the police report) and had also been very carefully briefed. Peaceful protesters would have demonstrated outside, rather than violently breaking up our meeting in the manner all too familiar to those who know the mid-20th-century history of Europe.

I broadcast their remarks on German television and, the next morning, when I was visiting the stands operated by various (again almost exclusively taxpayer-funded) environmental organizations, several of them surrounded me and began saying how displeased they were that I had compared them to the Hitlerjugend. I explained my reasoning, and refused otherwise to have anything to do with any of them.

With my colleagues, I am considering at present whether we should report these gruesome louts to the police, who have been given very wide powers to prevent precisely this sort of violent intrusion into what had been, until they lied and cheated their way in, a peaceful meeting.

On YouTube, where the video these goons shot of my refusal to knuckle under to their intimidating terror tactics is displayed, to their horror the comments on the video are running at well over ten to one in my favour. And, though my comments have been publicly available for two days, you are the first and only person who has written to me as you have. Free speech is a precious commodity, and, whether you like it or not, I intend to speak out for it as clearly as possible while I still can.

For years, we who have been quietly conducting careful scientific research and publishing our counter-consensual results both in and out of the peer-reviewed journals have been subjected to daily accusations in the news media that we are climate “deniers” or “denialists”, with calculated and malevolent overtones of Holocaust denial. In short, we are regularly, and with no justification, subjected to exactly the opprobrium which, with full justification, I heaped upon the Hitlerettes of SustainUS, whose faces, bullying tactics, and incapacity to argue sensibly for their opinions are now rightly notorious round the world.

Therefore, I shall ask you two questions.

First, have you ever, at any time, written to any of those who have described scientific sceptics in these malicious terms to remonstrate with them as you have with me, or are you, perhaps, being selective in targeting me, either through prejudice or because you have simply become so inured to the foul insults that are so routinely hurled at those of us who are, in the words of Al-Haytham, the father of the scientific method, merely “seekers after truth”?

Know this. James Hansen, a paid public official of NASA, has publicly and repeatedly demanded that those of us who dare to question what is now known to be the serially unsound and dishonest pseudo-science of the UN’s climate panel and of the various national scientific institutions that contribute to it, should be put on trial for what he has called “high crimes against humanity”. He knows, and the Administrator of NASA knows, that the penalty for crimes against humanity is death. Hansen is asking for those of us who disagree with him to be tried by the Staatssicherheitsdienst and then killed, and the Administrator of NASA continues to allow him to get away with it.

So my second question is this. Have you ever, at any time, contacted Mr. Hansen or NASA to protest at his – and by implication their – demand that those who have genuine and well-founded doubts as to the magnitude of CO2’s warming effect should be tried and by implication executed, and, if not, why not?


Australia in on the carbon scams too

The best-known of the carbon scams is the way Germany and Russia were allowed under the Kyoto treaty to count the meltdown of their former Communist industries as carbon reduction credits. And Britain was allowed to count the conversion of much of its electricity generation from coal to gas -- which was in fact done to save money. And America counts the relocation of much of its industry to China. And China and India were exempted altogether, of course. So it must be no surprise that Australia's negotiators found a comfortable little loophole too -- comfortable for the government but hard on Australia's farmers. The coverage below is, rather surprisingly, from the Green/Left blog "Crikey". I notice that they are very wobbly about the difference between "effect" and "affect". I think I have corrected most of the bloopers concerned. I have tamed a few excess apostrophes too

Over the coming week Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and be hailed as one of the world leaders on climate change action. The PM attends the meeting with Australia being one of a handful of developed countries to have met their Kyoto Treaty obligations. Australia’s Kyoto commitment was to limit the Nations Carbon Dioxide emissions to 108% of 1990 levels.

The Carbongate “Trick”

The “trick” is how Australia, with a rapidly growing economy over the last two decades, has been able to achieve this. Emissions from energy and transport have increased by 23% over 1990 levels. Australians might wonder how with our rapidly growing population and economy over the last two decades, as a nation we seemed to be in a position to claim that we only increased our total emissions by 9%. Well, we haven’t. Our emissions have increased by 30% but thanks to the “carbongate” swindle we can claim it’s only 9%.

Here is the “trick” and it is not PM Kevin Rudd’s “trick”, it was actually the Liberal / National Coalition Howard Government’s master stoke. At the Kyoto negotiations in November 1997 Senator Ian Campbell was able to negotiate into the agreement what controversially became known at the “Australian clause” . Clive Hamilton documents the trickery of the Coalition’s bargaining that brought about the inclusion of the Australia clause in his book “Scorcher”. Indeed he devotes a whole chapter to it – Chapter 6 Drama at Kyoto. From page 72: “As emissions from land-clearing had decline sharply since 1990, their inclusion in the base year would give us a cushion of ‘free’ emissions reductions. our fossil-fuel emissions would be able to increase to at least 120 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 while still coming in under overall target of 105 to 110% . The Australia clause represented a loophole in the Kyoto Protocol that a couple of Bulldozers with a chain between them could drive through.”

The brilliant “win” for the Federal Government at Kyoto was only the first part of the “trick”. To make it work the Howard Government then had to stop private property owners land-clearing. Not only did they have to stop them but as private property it had to be done at no cost to the Commonwealth. This in the face of the Constitution which states that if the Commonwealth takes a private citizen’s property for its’ benefit it must compensate the citizen on “just terms”.

The Howard Government then set about having the Carr and Beattie State Labor Governments introduce Vegetation Management laws that effectively locked up 109 million hectares of privately owned land into the world’s largest privately owned carbon sink. The “trick’ is with the Native Vegetation laws being passed by State Governments Under the Constitution the State Governments have no obligation to pay private landholders compensation. Brilliant, they’d created the world’s largest carbon sink – at no cost to the Commonwealth.

With the “trick” now in place Australia’s Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 22% when you add back in the 83.7 millions tonnes of CO2 that was not emitted from land that may have been cleared at no cost to the Commonwealth. This and this alone has allowed Australia to meet its Kyoto Protocol Treaty Obligations and in doing so has saved the Commonwealth tens of billions of dollars in compliance penalties by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Australian family farmers have never been compensated for this Kyoto “free kick” that the nation and in particular the energy and transport industries have received.

That is how the Liberal National Coalition government effectively “stole’ what has amounted to 83.7 million tonnes of Carbon Credits from private individual landholders and is the sole reason that todays Labor Prime Minister can be heralded as a true warrior of climate change with Australia having met its Kyoto obligation – cost free.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong being interviewed in Copenhagen on the ABC 7.30 report admitted that the only reason Australia was able to claim it had met its’ Kyoto commitments was thanks to the blanket ban on broad scale land clearing. “I think what you’re referring to is the way we account for emissions from land clearing, which was agreed at the Kyoto Protocol. And Australia did respond to that. We did reduce our land clearing. We took active steps, particularly in Queensland, and Queensland is to be congratulated for fact that the reduction in land clearing in that state and also NSW has reduced Australia’s national emissions.”

The affected Australian family farmers are not celebrating their contribution. The impact on the relatively few citizens who have been asked to bear this enormous burden should outrage each and every fair minded citizen of this country.

The lock-up of their land has caused great hardship and driven many devastated landholders to desperate measures including suicides. A symbol of the despair and desperation felt by those carrying the Nation’s entire Kyoto burden is New South Wales farmer Peter Spencer who is in the 20th day of a hunger strike on a two metre platform high up a 300 foot tower on his property just outside of Canberra. See Video ACA interview with Peter Wednesday 9th – Dec – day 18 of Peters Hunger Strike.

Peter says that Federal Government has declared his 5,385 hectare property a carbon Sink without compensating him. Peter had never wanted to clear his land, but under the vegetation management act the entire property is rendered off limits to any form of development.

These affected Australian farmers have been responsible for virtually the entire burden of the Nation’s greenhouse gas emission reductions but their efforts worth billions of dollars have not been recognized or financially rewarded.

These farming families have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 million tonnes since 1990 and by 2010 the saving will be about 83.7million tonnes. To put that into context that is equivalent to eliminating the entire annual emissions of New Zealand or Ireland. Over that same period of time emissions from energy and transport have continued to skyrocket.

Hide the takings

Peter’s hunger strike has gathered support from grassroots people from Australia, the US, UK, Pakistan and Malaysia. On the Peter Spencer Hunger Strike causes site over 150 people have been lobbying frantically to get the mainstream media to cover the story and for politicians to intervene on Peter’s behalf.

Peter’s supporters have been bombarding State and Federal Labor, Liberal and National Party Politicians and the mainstream media to bring attention to his cause. But Peter’s story is being stonewalled by the mainstream media and Politicians of all colours and creeds. So far they have managed to have Peter’s story covered by 2GB’s Alan Jones with a live interview with Peter Spencer and his barrister Peter King by mobile phone on Tuesday morning and one with Alastair McRobert who is at the property with Peter on Thursday morning and a 5 minute spot on Channel 9’s A Current affair on Thursday night (the video above).

Fairfax Media, News Corporation and the ABC have steadfastly refused to run the story except for The Telegraph which ran a small piece last Sunday on page 42 titled He’s the Darryl Kerrigan of Climate Change. There has been a small amount of coverage in regional media - see a full list here. The group knows that the mainstream media is stonewalling the story because a journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald was due at the property Tuesday – but the story was pulled without any reason offered by the papers editor.

Peter’s supporters have contacted by phone or email or in many cases both, Andrew Bolt, Laurie Oaks, Miranda Devine, Paul Kelly, Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones and every major metropolitan TV, Radio and Newspaper with no result. You can read all of there efforts on the Peter Spencer Hunger Strike group wall.

The response from politicians is equally frustrating. Liberal and National politicians for obvious reasons are ducking for cover, not wanting to get involved and saying it is a matter for the Rudd Government to sort out. The Prime Minister has referred Peter’s letter to him to the Federal Police. That is the extent of his response and Labor politicians State and Federal everywhere want nothing to do with the issue.

To his great credit one Federal Liberal Politician Alex Hawke the member for Mitchell was one of the earliest people to join and show his support.

Peter Spencer’s peaceful protest has the potential to embarrass a great number of politicians from all sides of politics , State and Federal, who have been complicit in the “Carbongate” great Carbon Credit theft. They are all keen to “hide the takings”.

How is it that they can all condone the taking of billions of dollars of benefit for the nation from private citizens, yet look at paying the huge polluters billions of dollars of compensation to cut carbon emissions through the Rudd Government’s proposed CPRS? “Carbongate” – is truly an incredible blight on our democracy and an embarrassment to our nation.

Peter's supporters, the majority of whom are from urban areas and from all walks of life, are desperate as time runs out for Peter.



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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