My survey of current news and current commentary has been a bit abbreviated today due to Christmas celebrations but I think that there is still some interesting stuff below:
The Copenhagen Crash and Global Cooling
If you're wondering why the national political news focus has been on health care and not on the aftermath of the historic conference in Copenhagen, Denmark which ended less than a week ago...it's because nothing productive happened there. Even worse, more lies have been exposed from the IPCC report, more agendas uncovered about leaders at the United Nations and the "accord" that was supposedly reached at the 11th hour in Denmark is already falling apart. In addition, the planet continues to cool and we'll likely see that cooling accelerate in the coming years. I touch on these topics and more in a podcast interview you can listen to here.
Here are just a few of the stories developing since the Copenhagen conference, which cost the United States millions of dollars in travel and accommodations alone and left a huge carbon footprint from 1,200 limousines and hundreds of private jets.
First, it was fitting that President Obama returned to Washington D.C. in a snowstorm. However, aside from Air Force One, he brought little else back from the conference. Here is a story from the UK Guardian.
The accord is already in trouble and may fall apart soon. Just days after the conference ended we have this story from the Financial Times. For what it's worth, there wasn't much of an agreement anyway since it was all about the United States and other "wealthy" (and cleaner) countries sending billions of dollars to developing (third-world and more polluted) nations. That's it, nothing more. There was no science discussed, no sharing of ideas from both sides and certainly no acknowledgement of reality from the leaders of more than 100 countries. Instead, there was an agreement to transfer our hard-earned money to other countries and to meet again in the near future. I want to personally thank every leader involved for this fantastic failure...the best possible outcome of this conference.
But wait, there is much more. It turns out that the head of the UN's Climate Change panel has some conflicts of interest and stands to make millions of dollars because of the global warming fraud. Here's the story from the UK Telegraph. Apparently, Dr Rajendra Pachauri has vested interests in a number of companies that benefit greatly from carbon trading...and this is the supposedly unbiased head of a panel on climate change, which I have known all along was a fraud consisting of hand-picked scientists (only 50 to 60, not the 2,500 or more you heard about) who support the global warming (GW) religion.
And it continues with revelations that Wikipedia has (or had) an administrator with a warming bias who routinely edited articles to his world view and rejected editing by those who know the truth. You can read more about this huge Wikipedia scam here and here. There is an additional update here.
I also just read a lengthy but interesting article about the abuse of the "peer-review" process in which climate skeptics had research put on the shelf for months before being approved while research that supported global warming was fast-tracked for publication. Read that scary account here.
One journalist who was a big GW believer has now seen the light and discusses it in this article. Remember, all of the above have happened since the end of the Copenhagen conference, and we're not finished yet.
A new study indicates that CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and Cosmic Rays may be the real culprit in any warming and cooling we have seen in recent decades, and you can read that here. No matter what the cause or causes, one thing is clear. We really don't know how or why our climate changes the way it does. This is something that scientists are still trying to figure out...but nothing is "settled" except the fact that we just don't know.
You think that's enough? Well...there's more. The State Climatologist in Texas found a HUGE error in the IPCC's latest report concerning the melting of glaciers. You have been hearing that most glaciers will disappear by 2050, right? Did you know that the original report listed a date that was 200 to 300 years later and that the study quoted by the IPCC was never peer-reviewed? The shocking details here.
Remember that arctic ice which was supposedly melting away? Well, we know Al Gore got that horribly wrong, but since I am highlighting new articles just in the past few days as the Copenhagen conference collapsed, I won't go over that again, but I need to let you know that a new study shows that we had much less ice thousands of years ago and what we're seeing now (ice levels have returned to normal levels) is nothing unusual in earth's history. Read the highlights of that breaking news here.
Finally, the sick scare tactics of the GW alarmists and worshipers continue with this from a company that should fold up its tent and go home...Build-A-Bear. Check out their pathetic attempt to frighten children here.
The party is over for Al Gore and all the corrupt scientists involved in Climate Gate, the IPCC, the Hadley Climatic Research Unit, and in some departments at NASA, NOAA / NCDC and Penn State University. This may be the Merriam-Webster definition of Failure, but I think we can shorten that to: Copenhagen!
Disappearing sunspots may signal end to global warming
Oh, where, oh where have all the sunspots gone? The fiery orange ball overhead has quieted during the past three years. Quiet in the sense that there have been very few sunspots – those black blotches on the sun’s surface caused by intense magnetic activity. But just how quiet is quiet? Well, so far during the recent solar minimum (a period of low activity during the sun’s typical 11-year solar cycle), we’ve seen 183 sun-spotless days in 2007, 266 in 2008 and 259 in 2009 (as of Dec. 16 2009). Earth hasn’t witnessed a similar three-year stretch (1911, 192, 1913) of sun-spotless days since the early 1900s.
The blank sun has not gone unnoticed by the experts. "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
So why are sunspots under the spotlight? Because, according to solar scientists, their declining numbers, significant even by solar-minimum standards, could be the harbinger of colder temperatures ahead. If so, it won’t be the first time the earth shivered as sunspots numbers declined. In the 17th century, the sun experienced a sunspot drought, dubbed the Maunder Minimum, which lasted 70 years – from 1645 until 1715. Astronomers at the time counted only a few dozen sunspots per year, thousands fewer than usual.
As sunspots vanished temperatures fell. The River Thames in London froze, sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice floes blocked many harbors. Agricultural production nose-dived as growing seasons grew shorter, leading to lower crop yields, food shortages and famine.
Canadian author and National Post environmental columnist Lawrence Solomon describes the period: “Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finland’s population fell by one-third, Iceland’s by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland [yes, it was once green, with forests and pastureland] were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities. The cold in North America spread so far south that, in the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.”
Is mankind headed for another cool-down or big freeze? Based on recent scientific findings, it might be a possibility. A Danish research team led by Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen, has discovered a strong correlation between sunspot activity, galactic cosmic rays and variations in the earth’s climate, a theory (supported by experiments) that challenges the prevailing concept of human-induced climate change, popularly known as anthropogenic global warming.
Henrik and his team have discovered that increased solar activity in the form of sunspots, flares and other disturbances generate solar winds that strengthen the magnetic fields surrounding earth, creating a bubble that suppresses cosmic ray penetration, inhibiting cloud formation and causing warming.
Conversely, when solar activity diminishes, the protective magnetic bubble weakens and more cosmic rays penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. The high-energy particles serve as host nuclei around which water vapor can condense and form droplets, resulting in more cloud cover and precipitation. Temperatures begin to fall as the clouds reflect more sunlight back into space.
“Galactic cosmic rays carry with them radiation from other parts of our galaxy,” says Ed Smith, NASA’s Ulysses project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “With the solar wind at an all-time low, there is an excellent chance the heliosphere [earth’s protective bubble] will diminish in size and strength. If that occurs, more galactic cosmic rays will make it into the inner part of our solar system.”
If Svensmark and other climate scientists are correct, the decline in solar activity may be responsible for the recent fall in global temperatures. In 1998, global temperatures at the earth’s surface began leveling off and have actually declined slightly since 2001, despite an increase in CO2 levels, calling into question the accuracy of climate models that predict catastrophic global warming.
The decade-long cool-down is clearly visible in satellite temperature measurements, which are widely viewed as more accurate than land-based temperatures readings, according to Dr. David Evans, who was a researcher with the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1995 to 2005. Such readings, he says, are often skewed by what is called the “urban heat island” effect, which articially elevates temperatures.
“NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling,” says Evans. “The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.”
As Svensmark observes: “In fact, global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the [global warming] projections of future climate are unreliable.”
If what Svensmark and other researchers say is true, it is very likely that when the heated debate between global warmers and global-warming skeptics finally ends, cooler heads may ultimately prevail.
Why the Global Warming Hoax?
The major unanswered question are the motives behind all the lies, exaggerations, cover-ups, and suppression of opposing views. The scientists’ actions can be understood in part because of all the fame, luxury meetings, and millions of dollars of government money they received to promote their agenda—namely, (1) that the world was warming and (2) that human beings were responsible. If sunspots were responsible for the warming cycles, then there would be little justification for government money to subsidize the scientists to find ways to stop it.
Similarly, many big corporations saw billions in government “carbon” subsidies for windmills, research, and such, so they supported the theories as well. They could sucker the taxpayers while making for themselves an image of concerned citizens helping to “save the world.” (See Climate Money–$79 Billion So Far and Trillions To Come from the Science and Public Policy Institute.) For comparison, think also of the way many businesses supported the lies about ethanol saving energy–with billions of dollars in subsidies for ethanol production. The whole hype was another hoax. Historians one day will write in awe of America’s unbelievable waste of money and resources during the Bush-Obama years.
The crazy big-media hype was mainly for the same old reason newsboys used to shout “FIRE!” or “MURDER!” The “end of the world” is always a good topic to pique readers’ and TV viewers’ interest. Circulation and money drive big media. Everyone would pay to learn about coming disasters. Remember how, a little while ago, they were telling us that more and stronger hurricanes would be coming every year.
However, there were some real brains with other motives for promoting the lies. Extreme environmentalism has become the new socialism, an excuse for dictatorial rule to limit consumption and justify highly centralized government power “to save humanity.” Below is a list of quotes from leading leftists. There were brains behind it all, the old socialists looking for a new justification for government takeover of the economy, for a “planned” economy which they would plan and manage. Man-made global warming became the substitute agenda for Leftists who had been discredited by Reaganomics and the collapse of communism.
The following quotes were first circulated by Ralph Voss, editor of the Unterrified Democrat published in Linn, Mo. They well explain the agenda. They provide much hard evidence about the hoax.
“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” Timothy Wirth, President of the U.N. Foundation and former Democratic U.S. senator from Colorado.
“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” Christine Stewart, former Canadian minister of the environment who led that country’s delegation to Kyoto.
“A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States,” John Holdren (Obama’s Science Czar) wrote in a 1973 book he co-authored with Paul R. Ehrlch and Anne H. Ehrlich. “De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.” See also John Holdren and the Anti-Growth Malthusians for interesting links and quotations.
“The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.” Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton professor and member of Environmental Defense Fund.
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” Maurice Strong, a native of Canada considered by some to be one of the leading environmentalists in the world. He is an official at the U.N.
“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” Paul Watson, co-founder of the environmental group Greenpeace.
“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.” Dave Foreman, U.S. environmentalist and co-founder of radical environmental group Earth First.
Don’t confuse environmentalism with science
Truth is not determined by majority vote. Any talk of a "consensus" in science is best not taken as the final word. As Somerset Maugham once put it, "If 40 million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie."
Climatology is a science, not to be confused with environmentalism. The heart of environmentalism is not to be found in the natural sciences. It is ideology and nothing more. That is why it ends in "-ism."
Environmentalism is itself not a monolith, but its dominant strand is distinctly statist in character. As such, its main nemesis is the science of economics, not climatology or any of the other natural sciences.
A sound understanding of economics is all that is needed to discredit the emerging interventionist social agenda of the environmental movement. The methods that they recommend cannot deliver the results that they promise.
It is common to hear accusations of "junk science" hurled against environmentalists, particularly those touting the dangers of climate change.
These accusations might be well taken and, if so, would be sufficient to derail the CO2 "Cap and Trade" juggernaut. But the real objective of the environmental movement appears to be in the social realm. That means the control of people, with environmental controls serving merely as the instrument.
We have had considerable domestic and international experience with governments that micromanage the lives of their residents. The more governments interfere in our lives, the more things go wrong. The people are poorer, less healthy and less able to adapt to the vagaries of nature and of other men. If ever a science were settled, this would be it.
It should be obvious that each individual's actions affect the rest of us to some greater or lesser extent. The same is true with respect to the environment around us. Complex interactions present us with great regularities, as well as many unexpected events. It has always been so; and we can expect it to remain so.
The environmental activists of Copenhagen need to mature a bit and come to understand that we have less to fear from CO2 than from bad ideas.
Instead of sucking the oxygen out of the debate, they should admit that they know far less than their claims would suggest. They need to learn humility, an essential ingredient in anyone who would speak of science.
We need not con ourselves that we know enough to predict the Earth's temperature 100, or even 20 years from now. Even less certain should we be that we have the power to control it.
What we can control is our readiness to face whatever comes. But to follow the advice of the Copenhagen activists, or those who voted for the Waxman-Markey bill, is the path of fools.
It is the path of weakness and dissipation.
We know better, and we have done better. It is free societies that have done the best in meeting economic and environmental challenges. It is free societies that have led the way in developing new energy sources and making them incrementally more efficient.
If we, as consumers, really feel that burning coal for energy is too dirty, we don't even need to put a tax on it. All we need to do is stop wasting money on subsidies to low-yield, low-reliability sources, such as wind and solar and remove the irrational and crushing regulatory burdens from more promising energy sources, such as nuclear. We don't need to subsidize any energy source.
The technology has already advanced sufficiently that private competition to serve customers would result in a systematic replacement of old energy sources by cheaper and cleaner sources.
If governments would stick to their job of protecting us from aggression, rather than blocking us from progress, we would now be wealthier, healthier, safer and cleaner.
A green, sustainable future that doesn't work
In the high desert of central Arizona, more than five thousand miles from the global-warming summit in Copenhagen, sits an aging and unfinished vision of the enviro-friendly, sustainable life that some climate change activists foresee for us all. It's called Arcosanti, created in 1970 by the Italian architect Paolo Soleri, and it is the prototype of a green community of the future. The only problem is, it doesn't work. And it never did.
Arcosanti is an "arcology," a word Soleri coined by combining "architecture" and "ecology." In Soleri's vision, an arcology is a self-contained city in which hundreds of thousands of people live in a small space, their needs met by green energy sources, recycled and sustainable products, and carefully planned social and cultural events. There are -- God forbid -- no cars.
In a Soleri design, masses of people are packed into the small-footprint arcology so that the land surrounding the community can remain pristine, unpolluted by human touch. It was an idea much in fashion a few decades back. "As urban architecture, Arcosanti is probably the most important experiment undertaken in our lifetime," wrote Newsweek in 1976.
Soleri designed models of many futuristic communities, guided by his intense dislike of U.S.-style development. "The 'American Dream,' as physically embodied in the single-family house," he once wrote, "has to be scrapped and reinvented in terms which are coherent with the human and biospheric reality." Despite his many designs, the only community Soleri ever attempted to build is here, on the edge of the Agua Fria River canyon about 70 miles north of Phoenix.
Arcosanti was never intended as a full-scale arcology. Rather, it was to be a small model, eventually becoming home to 5,000 people. It would include a common area, composed of an open-air theater, shops, offices, and parks under a soaring, 25-story half-dome. The half-dome would have a hivelike structure in which residents would live in little honeycomb-style apartments. The whole thing would take up no more than 25 acres, surrounded by thousands of acres of empty Arizona landscape.
But today, after nearly 40 years, just a few buildings of the common space have been built, and those are gray, leaky and crumbling. On the chilly December day when I visited recently, there were maybe 50 people there, and there are never, even in good weather, more than 100 or 150 inhabitants, mostly students who come to learn about Soleri's radical environmental and architectural ideas.
In one of the common areas, there were piles of empty cardboard boxes, an empty Mountain Dew carton, a couple of children's bikes with training wheels, and pools of water from the previous day's rain. When I took a look at the "Sky Suite," a spare and minimally furnished apartment with a lovely view of the canyon, the man staying there had put a towel under the door in an attempt to keep the water out. It didn't work; on the floor was a soaked towel and a little pool of water. Everyone was cold, despite Arcosanti's vaunted solar heating system.
There's no half-dome, no honeycomb of apartments, no nothing. Soleri never had enough money to build his dream, and the project never made sense to any investors who could have made it happen. Instead, Arcosanti supports itself largely from the sale of bronze and ceramic wind chimes, made here, and from the student tuition. It's enough to keep a bare-bones operation going, but nowhere near what would be needed to construct an arcology, even a tiny, prototype arcology.
Soleri is still around, now 90 years old. His reputation faded as Arcosanti struggled, but now that has changed. "As the world wakes up to the grim realities of climate change, peak oil and sustainability," a recent account in the Guardian observes, "[Soleri] is now something of a guru: in demand on the lecture circuit and, recently, offering sage advice in Leonardo DiCaprio's 'How can we save the world?' documentary The 11th Hour."
Soleri's vision -- of Earth's population confined to high-density communities -- is shared by some of the more extreme elements of the environmental movement now gathered in Copenhagen. There's even a new, Soleri-inspired project starting in Abu Dhabi. But it's hard to imagine many Americans ever living in an arcology, except perhaps at gunpoint. If you want to see why, just pay a visit to Arcosanti.
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