Saturday, January 31, 2009

Antarctic change dependent on the period chosen

This is very much the point I made in my original post on this matter. If you go back far enough, you can find an early period of warming but there has been no warming in the last 30 years. Excerpt only below. Lots of illustrative graphs in the original

We have reported on many occasions about the climate history of Antarctica, basically concluding that the frozen continent was not warming up during the most recent couple of decades, despite expectations that it should have been.

At first glance, a new paper by the University of Washington's Eric Steig and colleagues, published in last week's Nature magazine and featured as its cover story, may seem to challenge our understanding-at least that is how it was spun to the press (see here and here, for example).

But a closer look at what the paper really says-as opposed to what is said about the paper-shows that there is not much in need of changing with the current understanding of Antarctica's temperature history. We'll show you why.....

Over the long-term, that is, since 1957 when the first continuous temperature records from Antarctica began, all three records show that there is a warming tendency (the magnitude of the warming differs between the three papers, with the Steig et al. derivation showing the most). Also notice that over the most recent several decades (since the early 1970s) all three show that there has been little net change-basically the vast majority of the long-term warming in Antarctica took place from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.

This is hardly news. In fact, in our very first World Climate-type publication, released back in 1995, in an article titled "Antarctic Warming: New Old News" we discussed the day's hot news that Antarctica was warming -and put the warming in perspective-all of it occurring prior to the early 1970s.

Clearly, not much as changed in the past 14 years-it still makes headlines that "Antarctica is warming!" when in fact, the temperature averaged over the entire continent (using whichever methodology you prefer) hasn't changed much in more than three decades.

If you are interested in why this latest pronouncement has gained so much attention (from both sides of the debate), very interesting articles can be found at RealClimate, MasterResource, and Prometheus. Each provides a unique take on the situation.


Another Horrible Week for Global Warming Industry

The GDP might have contracted 5.4 percent annualized in 4Q08, but the AGW industry contracted about 50 percent in one week:

Hansen's Boss: James Hansen, AGW's Father of Lies, received an insulting, public rebuke from his old boss at NASA. In essence, Dr. John Theon of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, accused of Hansen of violating basic scientific principles, NASA's scientific methodologies and policies, and of embarrassing the agency with his anti-scientific screeds on global warming. Theon's emails portray Hansen has a fraudulent liar. (Where have you heard that before?")

More Scientists Turn Skeptics: The parade of scientists who doubt Hansen, Gore, and the whole AGW theory never ends. This week the world's foremost authority on scientific forecasting, Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, declared that the IPCC's global warming documents have no basis in science and violate 72 specific principle of scientific forecasting. As the founder of the largest forecaster certification body, Armstrong effectively pronounced the IPCC invalid.

Arctic Gulls in Massachusetts: Arctic gulls returned to Massachusetts for the first time in over 100 years, validating AGW-monger fears that climate change would alter the migratory patterns of animals. Unfortunately for the AGW people, this migration change came about because the earth is getting cold, fast.

Gore Effect: Al Gore testified before the Senate in Washington. The weather cooperated. Snow and ice and record low temperatures blanketed the Eastern half of the United States.

The job of conservatism is not to attempt science, but to look for political bias in purportedly scientific claims. The AGW hysterics are based exclusively on political goals: the elimination of human freedom. Don't let them win. Don't be afraid to challenge your friends and co-workers to repeat the lies they hear from James Hansen and Al Gore and Michael Mann. Your friends might not have the educational advantages you've had-perhaps advanced degrees in prestigious universities destroyed their critical thinking skills. It's up to us to help them.


Al Gore's Climate of Extremes

Ho-hum. On January 28, in the midst of a pelting sleet storm, Al Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the end is nigh from global warming. He told the Senate that "some scientists" predict up to 11 degrees of warming in the next 91 years (while failing to note that the last 12 have seen exactly none), and that this would "bring a screeching halt to human civilization and threaten the fiber of life everywhere on earth". Hey folks, this is serious!

Besides having a remarkable knack for scheduling big speeches on remarkably cold or snowy days (it's known as the "Gore Effect" in journalistic circles), Gore has been incredibly ineffective in bringing his message home. According to the New York Times, Gore told the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last November, "I feel, in a sense, I've failed badly. . . . [T]here is not anything anywhere close to an appropriate sense of urgency [about global warming]. This is an existential threat."

And fail he has. The Pew Foundation recently asked Americans to choose which of 20 prominent issues is of most importance. They included the economy, crime, education, and, of course, global warming, which came in dead last.

Gore's failure is his own fault. He gained a reputation for exaggeration during his 2000 campaign, and he's unable to shake it-because he's proud of it, saying that it's just fine to emphasize extreme global warming scenarios because they get people's attention. Telling people you're exaggerating isn't exactly the way to get street cred. In Washington on January 28, his campaign continued.

The fact is that the "fiber of life" can be found on this planet over a range of 140øF, from Antarctica to the Death Valley. People actually live in these places. The average temperature of the planet is about 61ø, a temperature at which Homo sapiens au naturel will die from hypothermia. So ask yourself if raising the temperature 11 (impossible) degrees will indeed bring civilization to a "screeching halt."

It's not like the press is very vigilant, either. A couple of years ago, he got a free pass on Larry King Live (May 22, 2007) after making at least seven exaggerations or outright misstatements on climate change in less than a minute. Gore fielded a call asking "what issues caused by climate change globally are likely to affect the United States security during the next ten years?" He responded, "you know, even a one-meter increase, even a three-foot increase in sea level would cause tens of millions of climate refugees."

In ten years? The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), hardly an apolitical body (the IPCC's "lead authors" are all appointed by their governments), gives an average sea-level rise of 1.25 inches in the next ten years for its "midrange" temperature scenario. Never mind that it hasn't warmed since 1997 and that sea-level rise is clearly slowing as a result.

Gore went on: "Today, 49 percent of America is in conditions of drought or near-drought", and that "the odds of serious droughts increase when the average temperatures go up." That's a testable hypothesis. The history of U.S. drought back to 1895 is readily available from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, as is the history of global temperature. Although surface temperatures have risen about 1.4 degrees since 1900 (with maybe half of that a result of emissions of carbon dioxide), there's no similar trend in U.S. drought. Gore had to know that.

In the same minute, he droned on about how in a hotter world, "agriculture in the United States would be greatly affected." Thanks, Al, for another assertion subject to analysis. The slight rise in surface temperature was accompanied by a 500 percent increase in United States yield of corn (that's the amount we produce per acre). How could any possible warming in ten years put a dent in that? The IPCC projects about 0.3 degrees of warming per decade now, or about a fifth of the total warming of the last 100 years. That's going to "greatly affect" agriculture?

People notice these exaggerations. They see that food is still on the table (despite the government's attempt to burn it up as ethanol). They know the country isn't particularly dry, nor particularly wet. They can go to the beach and see that the ocean isn't notably higher than it was before. In other words, Gore's lack of penetration is a result his own exaggerations. He's created a climate of extremes that people are simply tired of, which is why his issue ranks dead last. He's right. He's failed.


Still no Warmist ethics evident

Well, the "Second Public Review Draft of the Unified Synthesis Product Global Climate Change in the United States" has been published for comment (due February 27), and we see how they decided to deal with the embarrassment posed by their insistence on calling co-lead author "Dr." Tom Karl: they dropped such honorifics from . . . everyone. How. Pathetic. That must've been a fun one to sit through.

Of course, a quick search for his name to confirm this also manages to remind us how the drafting team has chosen to plow ahead with their highly questionable practice of citing their own and each other's work to support their supposed independent assessment.

So the answer, Dr. Wegman, is that no, these people did not learn from your assessment, e.g., this passage slamming the same community and practice in the process of debunking the "Hockey Stick":
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus `independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface. This committee does not believe that web logs are an appropriate forum for the scientific debate on this issue.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.

The same condition plagues this product. We noted this in our original comments, and will again. All previously commenting parties should check this thing out and weigh in as appropriate.


Anthropogenic Global Warming: The Greatest Fraud in History?

The credibility of science may never recover

Like famished swine shoving each other aside to get to the trough, self-proclaimed scientists and real politicians are again launching headline upon headline to claim yet another disaster in the name of utterly unproven global warming. Did you know that the flock of geese that flew into US Airways jet engines this month in New York City were put there by global warming? And that London fogs, or rather their absence, are making global warming worse?

Yep. It's right there in the paper, Maud. As scientific skeptics are finally discovering the courage to speak out, the hype machine is faltering just a little.

But President Obama just appointed a True Believer to be science czar in the White House. So we can expect the politicians to keep hammering on this little piggy bank until the last golden coin drops out. You'll be paying for the biggest false alarm in history for years to come.

But what worries me most is that the credibility of science may never recover - and perhaps it shouldn't. Credibility has to be earned, and once it's squandered may never be recovered. By now far too many scientists have knowingly colluded in an historic fraud, one that would put Bernie Madoff to shame. We are seeing political larceny here on a truly planetary scale. Why should scientists who've gambled their own reputations on this fakery ever be trusted again? They shouldn't. Would you entrust your life savings to Bernie Madoff? Right.

I'm not a climatologist. Like most scientists I rarely judge what others do in their fields. And yet it's been flamingly obvious for years now that the hypothesis of human-caused global warming violates all the basic rules and safeguards that protect the integrity of normal, healthy science. That's why AGW (anthropogenic global warming) looks like a massive fraud, the biggest fraud ever in the history of science.

If that's true, anybody who cares about science should be outraged. Even if you don't care about that ask yourself if you want your next medical exam to be honest. Or the next time you drive across a traffic bridge, do you want the engineering tests to be falsified? If scientific corruption becomes endemic, we risk losing one of the great jewels of our culture.

So here are some fundamental violations of scientific integrity that any thoughtful person should recognize. I'm not going to touch on climatology - the case against the warming hypothesis has already been made very well by experts. I just want to talk scientific common sense.

Threatening the skeptics.

Scientists get seduced by enticing ideas and bits of evidence all the time. That's why every scientist I've ever known is a thorough-going skeptic, even about his or her own data. Especially about one's own data, because one's career is on the line if it doesn't check out. So we need skepticism in ourselves and others. Good science honors the rational skeptic. Which is why it's beyond outrageous that AGW believers are publicly attacking thoughtful skeptics - not on the facts, but on their sheer temerity in doubting their precious orthodoxy. According to the Guardian:
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

That is Stalinism; it is never, ever done in real science. Stalin shot real scientists and promoted scientific frauds who helped to kill Soviet food production. Right there we know we're looking at political corruption and not real science.

More here

What happened to the "loss" of rainforest that Greenies are always moaning about?

It's long been known -- to those who see fit to enquire -- that the land covered by forest INCREASED in the USA in the 20th century -- but now it's happening elsewhere too --- for much the same reason: The efficiency of modern agriculture with all its wicked fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides -- not to mention "fuel guzzling" tractors

The land where Marta Ortega de Wing raised hundreds of pigs until 10 years ago is being overtaken by galloping jungle - palms, lizards and ants. Instead of farming, she now shops at the supermarket and her grown children and grandchildren live in places like Panama City and New York. Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing's - and much larger swaths of farmland - are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings.

These new "secondary" forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest - an iconic environmental cause - may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster. "There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago," said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants.

The new forests, the scientists argue, could blunt the effects of rain forest destruction by absorbing carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, one crucial role that rain forests play. They could also, to a lesser extent, provide habitat for endangered species.

The idea has stirred outrage among environmentalists who believe that vigorous efforts to protect native rain forest should remain a top priority. But the notion has gained currency in mainstream organizations like the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations, which in 2005 concluded that new forests were "increasing dramatically" and "undervalued" for their environmental benefits. The United Nations is undertaking the first global catalog of the new forests, which vary greatly in their stage of growth. "Biologists were ignoring these huge population trends and acting as if only original forest has conservation value, and that's just wrong," said Joe Wright, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here, who set off a firestorm two years ago by suggesting that the new forests could substantially compensate for rain forest destruction.

"Is this a real rain forest?" Dr. Wright asked, walking the land of a former American cacao plantation that was abandoned about 50 years ago, and pointing to fig trees and vast webs of community spiders and howler monkeys. "A botanist can look at the trees here and know this is regrowth," he said. "But the temperature and humidity are right. Look at the number of birds! It works. This is a suitable habitat."

Dr. Wright and others say the overzealous protection of rain forests not only prevents poor local people from profiting from the rain forests on their land but also robs financing and attention from other approaches to fighting global warming, like eliminating coal plants.

But other scientists, including some of Dr. Wright's closest colleagues, disagree, saying that forceful protection of rain forests is especially important in the face of threats from industrialized farming and logging.

The issue has also set off a debate over the true definition of a rain forest. How do old forests compare with new ones in their environmental value? Is every rain forest sacred? "Yes, there are forests growing back, but not all forests are equal," said Bill Laurance, another senior scientist at the Smithsonian, who has worked extensively in the Amazon. He scoffed as he viewed Ms. Ortega de Wing's overgrown land: "This is a caricature of a rain forest!" he said. "There's no canopy, there's too much light, there are only a few species. There is a lot of change all around here whittling away at the forest, from highways to development." While new forests may absorb carbon emissions, he says, they are unlikely to save most endangered rain-forest species, which have no way to reach them.

Everyone, including Dr. Wright, agrees that large-scale rain-forest destruction in the Amazon or Indonesia should be limited or managed. Rain forests are the world's great carbon sinks, absorbing the emissions that humans send into the atmosphere, and providing havens for biodiversity. At issue is how to tally the costs and benefits of forests, at a time when increasing attention is being paid to global climate management and carbon accounting.

More here


Such has been the fear of Greenland's melting glaciers that well known Australian science journalist Robyn Williams has claimed sea levels could rise by 100 metres within the next 100 years. Mr Williams, and other journalists, have been quick to report on what has become known as the "Greenland Ice Armageddon".

Last Friday there was an article in one of the most read science journals, Science, entitled "Galloping Glaciers of Greenland have Reined Themselves In" by Richard A. Kerr.

Yes, as the title suggests, the article explains that a wide-ranging survey of glacier conditions across south eastern Greenland, indicates that glacier melt has slowed significantly and that it would be wrong to attribute the higher rates of melt prior to 2005 to global warming or to extrapolate the higher melt rates of a few years ago into the future.

Mr Kerr was reporting on a presentation by glaciologist Tavi Murray at the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco last December. The paper by Dr Murray was co-authored by many other members of the group at Swansea University in the UK, a team often quoted by Al Gore and others.

When I read the article last Friday I wondered how Robyn "100 metres" Williams and other journalists in the mainstream media (MSM) might report the story. To my amazement they have simply ignored it.

It seems that the mainstream media is a shameless exaggerator of global warming, and unable to report anything really significant that contradicts the established storyline.

Perhaps I should not be surprised, as a lecturer in journalism explained to me some time ago: journalists only add to narratives, as one might add to a large tapestry. [5] Yep, so, the mainstream media's news has to all fit together like a picture. What is reported tomorrow is expected to accord with what was reported yesterday. But the real world is so much more complicated.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, January 30, 2009


An email from Nicholas Sault [] in New Zealand

Here indeed is what AGW sceptics are up against, especially here in New Zealand. The following is taken from a debate that was set up by the Avenues magazine of Christchurch. The debate featured Dr Gerrit van der Lingen as the AGW sceptic and Professor Bryan Storey as the AGW advocate. Their opposing arguments were then judged by a retired high court judge, Justice John Hansen, who claimed to be an unbiased observer.

In Dr van der Lingen's argument, he made the observation that Al Gore refuses to debate the points in his film, An Inconvenient Truth. In Professor Storey's response he said, quote:
"Our professional bodies recommend that we do not publicly engage in debates over climate change as it gives a platform for the vocal minority to express their views, often scientifically incorrect or carefully selected to distort a longer term trend. This will undoubtedly be the advice that the former US Vice President Al Gore will have received, influencing his decision not to engage in televised debates."

If this is not totally unscientific I do not know what is. The statement unequivocally precludes discussing the issues with anybody, scientists included. It is not as if the TV people would make the mistake of putting a layman up against Gore, and even if they did, he could then be excused for refusing to debate (even though he is a layman himself). Also it makes nonsense of the judge's claim of being unbiased, since if New Zealand scientists are told not to debate the issue, the evidence against AGW is going to go unheard by the supposedly unbiased public, to which the retired judge belongs.

At first I thought Dr Lingen's comparison of the one-sided reporting of climate change issues with Nazi propaganda a little strong, but if peer debate about climate change is not going to be conducted, the whole issue is an attempt at a scientific whitewash by the AGW proponents.

For a full transcript of the debate, see here

A John Kerry foot shot

An email from Dr. Henry Geraedts []


I noted with interest in Steven Power's article [US tells Europe No unilateral cuts in Copenhagen, WSJ, January 27, 2009] the statement by Senator John Kerry that "there is scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are increasing at four times the rate they were in the 1990s".

The article does not tell us what "scientific evidence" Senator Kerry is referring to. What we do know however, is that all reliable temperature metrics available to us [such as satellite sea surface and land surface, satellite deep ocean and lower troposphere data] provide hard-to-argue-with and to some, inconvenient, evidence that global temperatures have been falling for the better part of the past decade. Basic scientific principles tell us that if GHGs are growing four times faster than before but that temperatures are falling, the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is falsifying at an accelerating rate, four tines faster than before, in fact.

Climate realist gets a day in court

A global warming sceptic has claimed wind farms have no environmental benefits because carbon emissions are a good thing, a New Zealand court was told. Christopher de Freitas, an Auckland University climate scientist, was giving evidence in New Zealand's Environment Court against Meridian Energy's consent bid for Project Hayes, a $NZ2 billion, 176-turbine, wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago, NZ media reported.

"Climate is not responding to greenhouse gases in the way we thought it might," Professor de Freitas told the court. "If increasing carbon dioxide is in fact increasing climate change, its impact is smaller than natural variation. "People are being misled by people making money out of this."

Mild warming of the climate was beneficial, especially in New Zealand, which had a prominent agricultural industry, he suggested. "There is no data to show benefits in terms of mitigating potential dangerous changes in climate by offsetting carbon dioxide."

De Freitas has previously argued against wind energy in New Zealand and urged the Government to consider "clean coal". Meridian has said that Project Hayes will contribute to a new renewable power suppply meeting New Zealand's obligation to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.



Lord Turner of Ecchinswell is to investigate the collapse of funding for renewable energy projects in Britain after the recent exit of a string of companies, including BP and Shell.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and of the Government's Committee on Climate Change, said that the study was a response to mounting scepticism over the Government's plans for a huge expansion of wind and tidal power.

He said he was concerned that a number of key projects had been thrown into jeopardy, including London Array, a œ3 billion scheme to build the world's largest offshore wind park in the Thames Estuary. "We have to make sure that the present climate does not set back our plans," he said.

Doubts have surfaced over the Government's commitment to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 per cent by 2020 as falling oil prices and the global credit crisis have triggered a funding crisis. Last week E.ON, the German utility group, and Masdar, a fund controlled by Abu Dhabi, said that they were reconsidering the viability of the London Array.

More here


The European Union made its opening gambit in negotiations for a global framework on climate change on Wednesday with proposals that developing nations curb the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rich countries, including those in the EU as well as the US, are adamant that poor countries must take on such obligations if negotiations this year on a successor to the Kyoto protocol - the main provisions of which expire in 2012 - are to be successful.

The proposal, tabled by the European Commission, said developing countries should curb emissions by 15-30 per cent of their projected growth by 2020. The proposed target would not require developing countries actually to cut their emissions, but would oblige them to make efforts to increase energy efficiency.

Yvo de Boer, the United Nations official charged with bringing this year's talks to a successful conclusion in Copenhagen in December, warned that developing countries were ready to fight a hard battle. "I don't think developing countries will accept binding targets," he said. A "very robust financing mechanism" would need to be agreed to ensure the finance flows to the developing world.

The Commission said developed countries should take on the lion's share of cuts. It estimated that meeting the targets would require $231bn in additional investment by 2020 for new technology, energy efficiency projects and other measures, with roughly 100bn euros of that destined for the developing world. It also predicted that up to 54bn would be required annually by 2030 to help poorer countries cope with even modest warming.

Development groups believe rich countries should contribute far more. Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International's EU office, said: "Unless developing countries see hard cash on the table, there is a real danger they will simply walk away."


The Greenie menace at work in Australia: Water tanks help spread of dengue fever

Because Greenies go ballistic at plans to build dams, politicians are very slow to build them. So we have water shortages. And the very expensive "solution" to that -- promoted by the government -- is for each house to have its own rainwater tank. Talk about "drought" below is a coverup. It rains every couple of days where I live -- which must be the world's strangest "drought" -- but we still have severe restrictions on water usage and subsidies for people to buy household tanks. But the cost of the tanks is not the only problem:

Backyard water tanks, a key weapon for Australian households in the battle against drought and climate change, may prove a double-edged sword if they help the mosquito that spreads dengue fever to penetrate deep into southern and inland Australia. Melbourne researchers who set out to measure how much further the dengue mosquito might spread as the climate heats up discovered that water hoarding by households was likely to prove a much bigger help to the insect. The species responsible for spreading dengue in Australia, Aedes aegypti, is largely confined to Townsville, Cairns and Queensland's far north, where two outbreaks of dengue are continuing to worsen.

There have now been 198 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Cairns and 21 in Townsville, according to figures released last night. The Townsville outbreak is particularly alarming because two of the four types of dengue are circulating simultaneously, raising the risk that someone will suffer a potentially fatal second infection.

Scientists from Melbourne University say climate change and evolutionary adaptation are making more of Australia habitable for the insect, but human behaviours may be smoothing the mosquito's path even more. "While we predict that climate change will directly increase habitat suitability throughout much of Australia, the potential indirect impact of changed water storage practices by humans in response to drought may have a greater effect," the authors write.

Lead researcher and zoology lecturer Michael Kearney said there had been a "dramatic increase" in domestic rainwater storage in response to drought. "Water tanks and other water storage vessels, such as modified wheelie bins, are potential breeding sites for this disease-bearing mosquito," Dr Kearney said. "Without due water-storage hygiene, this indirect effect of climate change via human adaptation could dramatically re-expand the mosquito's range." Dr Kearney said the findings did not mean water tanks should be avoided. Instead, it was important for householders to realise the tanks should be properly sealed to prevent mosquito access, which meant avoiding improvised or badly made tanks and opting for versions that met Australian standards. "Australian-standard water tanks have brass mesh protecting the inlet and outlet valves, which are less likely to degrade," he said.

About 100 years ago, Aedes aegypti was more widespread, being found in Darwin and Broome, along the east coast as far south as Sydney, inland to Bourke and even in Perth. Its range diminished through the last decades of the 20th century for reasons not well understood, but Dr Kearney said his team's work suggested the removal of old galvanised water tanks and installation of town water supplies may have helped.

The invention of insecticides and even lawnmowers may also have played a part by encouraging householders to keep gardens under better control and to clear away discarded pots and other receptacles that could provide the mosquito with a place to lay eggs.

Queensland Institute of Medical Research's Tim Hurst has studied water storage in Brisbane households and how this might affect mosquito breeding. "About 50 per cent of the houses we surveyed have rainwater tanks, but about 30 per cent of those are collecting water in other containers -- such as buckets and wheelie bins," he said. [You would do that too if you were forbidden by law to water your garden]



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some Greenie foot-shooting

A good comment below from Taranto:

Although America in 2000 passed up an opportunity to elect the man who invented global warming, eight years later we handed a decisive presidential victory to an avowed global warmist. And while the message of Barack Obama's candidacy on this subject was a bit muddled--he was for "change," while global warmists say they want to stop "climate" change--there is a widespread belief that the voters handed President Obama a mandate to "do something" about global warming. A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center, however, calls this into question. In the New York Times's "Dot Earth" blog, Andrew Revkin described the findings:
According to the survey of 1,503 adults, global warming, on its own, ranks last out of 20 surveyed issues. . . . Although the more general issue of protecting the environment ranked higher than climate (named by 41 percent of the poll subjects) that figure was 15 percentage points lower than in the same poll a year ago.

Revkin also links to a Rasmussen survey that finds Americans increasingly skeptical about the science behind global warmism:
Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity. . . . In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.

Why have global warmists lost ground with the public? One obvious reason is the recession. "The economy" and "jobs" top the Pew list of top priorities, and both have increased sharply over the past couple of years. People who are afraid of something real--losing their jobs or the value of their assets--have little energy left for esoteric and hypothetical terrors.

Another reason is that it is really cold out. Past Pew surveys were also taken in January, so that the figures can be construed as seasonally adjusted, but this has been an especially harsh winter, which seems to provide experiential evidence against the claims of global warmism.

Of course, this feeling is illusory: Weather is different from climate, and it is possible to have cold winters even amid a long-term trend toward hotter weather--just as, for example, the stock market has down days during a bull market.

Global warmists, however, have squandered their credibility in making this point, because they never fail to seize on a hurricane or a sweltering summer day as "evidence" to make their case. In fact, so cynical is the public about the claims of global warmists that the clich‚d response to a pleasant winter day is, "If this is global warming, bring it on."

An additional problem is that whereas global warmists are emotionally consistent--in a constant state of alarm, accompanied by contempt, even hatred, for those who dare ask questions--their claims are filled with logical inconsistencies. A reader spotted a hilarious example in this Los Angeles Times article:
Even if by some miracle of environmental activism global carbon dioxide levels reverted to pre-industrial levels, it still would take 1,000 years or longer for the climate changes already triggered to be reversed, scientists said Monday. The gas that is already there and the heat that has been absorbed by the ocean will exert their effects for centuries, according to the analysis, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Over the long haul, the warming will melt the polar icecaps more than previously had been estimated, raising ocean levels substantially, the report said. And changes in rainfall patterns will bring droughts comparable to those that caused the 1930s Dust Bowl to the American Southwest, southern Europe, northern Africa and western Australia.

"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide, the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years," lead author Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a telephone news conference. "That's not true." . . .

Solomon said in a statement that absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans and release of heat from the oceans - the one process acting to cool the Earth and the other to warm it--will "work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than 1,000 years."

Is it absolutely crucial to the planet's future that we curtail greenhouse gases this instant, or would it not make any difference anyway? If the latter, what sense does it make to be alarmed? And that last quote by Solomon is a classic head-scratcher. We're supposed to worry that temperatures will be "almost constant for more than 1,000 years"? That's what they mean by global warming? Weather forecast for the year 3009: Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

More Greenie foot-shooting -- this time from Australia

Imported biofuel a threat to trees and wildlife. Just about all Greenie policies these days are destructive in one way or another.

AUSTRALIA is contributing directly to the widespread destruction of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia by importing millions of tonnes of taxpayer-subsidised biodiesel made from palm oil. Imports of the fuel are rising, undermining the Rudd Government's $200 million commitment to reduce deforestation in the region - a problem that globally contributes to 20 per cent of the world's carbon emissions. The bulldozing of rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations is also putting further pressure on orangutans and other endangered wildlife throughout Southeast Asia. And the Australian biofuels industry says it is struggling to compete with the cheap imports from Asia, which are touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel.

Without action, the problem will only get worse, with demand for biodiesel imports likely to rise sharply when NSW legislates to introduce Australia's first biodiesel mandate - 2 per cent this year, rising to 5 per cent when sufficient supplies become available. But the Rudd Government is likely to come under pressure to follow the lead of other Western nations in banning imports of palm oil-based biodiesel. Biodiesel manufacturers in Australia use primarily tallow from abattoirs and recycled cooking oil.

Caltex, the biggest biodiesel customer in Australia, refuses to use palm oil-based fuel on environmental grounds, but it is being imported by independent operators. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, who is conducting a review of government assistance to the biofuels industry, declined to comment on whether he was aware of the Asian biodiesel imports.

Unlike imported ethanol, imported biodiesel is not subject to the 38.14c-a-litre fuel excise, so the biodiesel imports from Asia are effectively subsidised by Australian taxpayers. Rex Wallace, the chief financial officer of the Adelaide-based Environmentally Friendly Fuels, said his company had purchased five million litres of palm oil-based biodiesel in recent years. "We would not need to import it if people could produce a quality product on a regular basis in Australia," he said. "We would love to buy more local produce but it's just not there." Mr Wallace said his company imported from certified plantations in Malaysia that had been developed on land cleared historically for other purposes such as rubber plantations.

Australian Biodiesel Group chief executive Bevan Dooley said the industry estimated that 10million litres of palm oil-based biodiesel was imported a year. "Europe and the US are closing the gates on this product, but Australian taxpayers are subsidising its import," Mr Dooley said. He said it was difficult to establish if certified plantations were environmentally friendly, and Australian imports were helping to fuel demand worldwide for "environmentally destructive" biodiesel from Malaysia and Indonesia. "These imports are causing many Australian producers to suffer losses and are detrimental to the establishment of a biodiesel industry in Australia," Mr Dooley said. "Australia is seen as a dumping ground for palm oil-based biodiesel as there is no requirement for the fuel to be derived from sustainable resources." He said there was ample capacity in Australia to meet demand.

The Australian industry produces about 50million litres of biodiesel a year, but has the capacity to produce much more. About 80 million litres will be needed annually to meet a 2 per cent mandate in NSW. Indonesia has about 6 million hectares of palm oil plantation and Malaysia 4.5 million ha. Indonesia plans to double palm oil production by 2025 and is developing a plantation of 1.8 million ha in east Kalimantan. To make way for the plantation, the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest in Kalimantan is being bulldozed, with the loss of habitat for orangutans, clouded leopards and other rare animals.


Climate policy crash

Climate change remains at the top of President Obama's agenda, current economic woes notwithstanding. Obama recently inveighed against energy sources that "threaten our planet," and several of his early appointments-including Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, science adviser John Holdren, and White House energy czar Carol Browner-signal the importance of climate-change policy to this administration. During the campaign, Obama endorsed an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hopes to move climate-change legislation before the end of the year. California Representative Henry Waxman's successful coup against longtime Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell of Michigan makes congressional action more likely

Even were Congress to have second thoughts, the climate-policy die is cast. In April 2007, the Supreme Court held, in Massachusetts v. EPA, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Thus no new legislation is required for the Obama EPA to begin crafting rules to control the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases from automobile tailpipes, power plants, boilers, and more. Like it or not, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and her team have ample authority to impose controls on the most ubiquitous by-product of modern industrial civilization.

Indeed, they may not have a choice. Justice Stevens's majority opinion in Massachusetts did not command the EPA to begin regulating, but that is the practical effect of the Court's decision. At issue was Section 202 of the Clean Air Act, which requires the EPA to impose emission standards on new motor vehicles for any air pollutants which in the EPA's "judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." The Court decided that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants," and so the EPA must set standards if it believes climate change "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

The EPA would have a hard time claiming not to believe that, even if the Obama administration were so inclined: In numerous documents and statements, the agency has reiterated its belief that climate change is a significant concern, and that a gradual warming could have deleterious effects on health and welfare. Even during the Bush administration, the EPA endorsed federal action to "reduce the risk" of global warming. The EPA has done everything short of publishing a formal statement that climate change "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare," and no court would readily let it off the hook. Thus, Massachusetts effectively requires the imposition of carbon-dioxide controls on new cars and trucks.

But that's not the only regulation affected by the Court's conclusion that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the act. Section 111 of the act, for instance, requires the agency to set standards for some stationary sources of emissions "which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." So if the EPA must regulate automotive emissions under Section 202, it must regulate emissions from power plants and factories under Section 111 as well.

And there's more. The act requires the issuance of permits and the imposition of technological controls on facilities that emit more than 250 tons of regulated pollutants annually. For traditional pollutants, such as sulfur oxides, these provisions capture only the really big emitters-large power plants and the like. Applied to carbon dioxide, however, the 250-ton standard could encompass many commercial and residential buildings, increasing the number of regulated facilities tenfold, if not more.

A plain reading of the Clean Air Act would also seem to require that the EPA set a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon dioxide, and then force state pollution-control agencies to develop plans to ensure that metropolitan areas comply. This is a fool's errand. There is simply no way for state and local regulators to ensure that individual cities, or even larger regions, meet an air-quality standard for a globally dispersed atmospheric pollutant. Local emissions could be reduced to zero, and a given city could still violate the NAAQS because of emissions elsewhere. It would be a pointless regulatory exercise, but after Massachusetts v. EPA it is the law.

The regulatory train thus set in motion by the Supreme Court will move apace unless Congress stops it through legislative action. What should such legislation look like? Some who would prefer to replace existing Clean Air Act rules with a cap-and-trade emissions-control regime have labored under the delusion that such a regime could be adopted by administrative fiat. Unlikely. Last year a federal court struck down the Bush administration's effort to create a regional cap-and-trade system for traditional air pollutants. If the Clean Air Interstate Rule was invalid under the Clean Air Act, there is little hope for implementing a greenhouse-gas trading system.

More here


President Obama is moving quickly to act on the environmental promises that were a centerpiece of his campaign. But tackling global warming will be far more difficult - and more costly - than the new emissions standards for automobiles he ordered with the stroke of a pen on Monday. Already, the Congressional Democrats Mr. Obama will need to carry out his mandate are feuding with one another.

By coincidence or design, most of the policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the administration charged with shaping legislation to address global warming come from California or the East Coast, regions that lead the country in environmental regulation and the push for renewable energy sources. That is a problem, says a group of Democratic lawmakers from the Midwest and Plains States, which are heavily dependent on coal and manufacturing. The lawmakers have banded together to fight legislation they think might further damage their economies.

"There's a bias in our Congress and government against manufacturing, or at least indifference to us, especially on the coasts," said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. "It's up to those of us in the Midwest to show how important manufacturing is. If we pass a climate bill the wrong way, it will hurt American jobs and the American economy, as more and more production jobs go to places like China, where it's cheaper."

This brown state-green state clash is likely to encumber any effort to set a mandatory ceiling on the carbon dioxide emissions blamed as the biggest contributor to global warming, something Mr. Obama has declared to be one of his highest priorities. Mr. Obama has said he intends to press ahead on such an initiative, despite opposition within his own party in Congress and divisions among some of his advisers over the timing, scope and cost of legislation to curb carbon emissions.

The centrist Democrats who urge a slower-paced approach represent states that are crucial electoral battlegrounds and that stand to lose the most from such regulation. They say they believe that global warming is a serious threat and they will support legislation to address the problem - but not at the expense of their already-strained workers and industries.

More here


Car industry groups are gearing up for a long fight and the likelihood of legal action against proposals by President Barack Obama to allow California and other states to set their own regulations on greenhouse gas emission from vehicles. Though none are yet committing to fight the plans in court, the US Chamber of Commerce said it was "100 per cent sure" that a challenge would be launched if the Environmental Protection Agency gives the go-ahead to California.

Bill Kovacs, vice-president for environment and regulatory affairs, said the Chamber was "likely" to sue the EPA itself if lobbying and persuasion failed. "There will be continuing controversy over this. This is not going to go away," he said. "We will argue that this is a dangerous course of action."

A memorandum signed by Mr Obama on Monday directed the EPA to reconsider granting California and 13 other states waivers to set their own emission standards, after the Bush administration had denied permission. The move was given a rapturous welcome by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California, and by environmental groups, who assume that the EPA will grant the waiver when its decision is announced in a few months.

Industry groups will endeavour to find a compromise with the new administration, which is putting cleaner energy at the heart of its agenda. However they claim that the waivers would lead to a patchwork of regulations that will drive up costs for the industry and ultimately the consumer in what is already a depressed market. Estimates have said that between $1,500 and $3,000 would be added to the cost of passenger car. Industry groups will argue that the president should stick to a strong national emissions standard of 35 miles to the gallon by 2020 that has already been agreed to.

"We are concerned that if states take off on their own then the economy will be Balkanized into regulatory fiefdoms," said Hank Cox, vice president of communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. "The car industry is on the ropes right now. This would be economic folly of the first order."

More here


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said Tuesday that it was "not critical" for the U.S. to begin regulating power-plant emissions in advance of renewed talks toward a global climate-change treaty. The Massachusetts Democrat will be an influential player in efforts to forge such a treaty and reshape U.S. policy on climate issues.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Kerry said that an $825 billion economic-stimulus bill making its way through Congress should include more money for low-carbon technologies and less for "nontargeted tax cuts" that would, he said, do little to create jobs quickly. "We're staring at an incredible economic opportunity," he said of the stimulus bill, "let's spend it on the right things."

Some environmental activists have said that the U.S. can't credibly participate in the climate-change talks scheduled for December in Copenhagen unless it takes new steps to reduce its own emissions, such as using the Environmental Protection Agency's authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate power-plant greenhouse-gas emissions. But taking that step would risk a confrontation between the Obama administration and major industries, as well as fellow Democrats from coal-rich states.

Sen. Kerry said he thought it would be "great" if the EPA regulated power companies' greenhouse-gas emissions before the Copenhagen meetings, but that such a step was not critical. He cited President Obama's recent directive to the EPA to consider letting states regulate automobile greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as decisions by some states, cities and businesses to enact voluntary emissions-reduction programs, as evidence that the U.S. is "moving forward" on such matters. "People have to get beyond the Bush mentality and realize it's a very different ball game" under Mr. Obama, he said. Mr. Bush resisted committing the U.S. to economywide curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions, whereas Mr. Obama has called for legislation to cut U.S. emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Sen. Kerry planned to brief Senate Democrats Tuesday on new scientific evidence that global greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing at four times the rate they were in the 1990s. "It's critical we begin now" to forge consensus on climate-change policy, he said. "There's a great deal of evidence that we're behind the curve on where we should be" in controlling emissions.

Sen. Kerry plans to hold a hearing Wednesday where former Vice President Al Gore is expected to testify on the status of United Nations-led global-warming talks. Sen. Kerry's committee, which oversees the State Department, gives him a platform from which to influence the U.S. negotiating position in the Copenhagen talks, which are aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that requires many industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.

The outcome of the talks is expected to hinge on whether developing nations such as China and India can be persuaded to commit to binding cuts in their own emissions. The countries' refusal to do so has been a major reason why the U.S. has not committed to similar binding cuts.

A spokesman for the Sierra Club, John Coequyt, said Sen. Kerry appeared to be trying to lower expectations ahead of Copenhagen, so that "if we can't get one of these things out of EPA, we can still go ... and make a solid claim that we're acting."



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Now Greenies don't like tidal power, either

It might upset the fish, you know. So: Coal, nuclear and hydroelectic are positively EVIL; windmills are no good; tidal power is no good. There's just no such thing as a happy Greenie

Whichever, if any, tidal scheme is built on the Severn, it is sure to anger some environmentalists. Being a renewable source of electricity, tidal generators might be assumed to be popular with the green lobby. Yet there are serious reservations over the environmental costs of a barrage or lagoon in the estuary - and they have split the environmentalist movement.

On the one hand there is the appeal of doing something positive about climate change by turning to a renewable, rather than burnable, source of energy. Environmental activists have been urging governments, power companies and the public to embrace renewable energy because it is cleaner than fossil fuels and nuclear power. On the other hand, thousands of hectares of shoreline will be destroyed as a feeding ground for birds - an internationally important feeding ground, no less. There are also deep concerns about the impact on the fish and invertebrates in the Severn. Barrages and, to a lesser extent, lagoons form a physical barrier to species such as salmon and eels as they migrate. The dilemma is balancing the potential damage to habitat against the gains made in combating climate change.

If measures such as the Cardiff-Weston barrage are not taken, how much of the river will be claimed anyway by sea-level rises from melting ice caps and how many creatures will be forced to find somewhere else to live because temperatures have become unbearable?

Some of the projects that missed the shortlist are regarded as having less of an impact on the environment but they are the most unproven schemes and, however attractive their merits, their effectiveness is questionable. When coming to their decision on tidal schemes for the Severn - and perhaps one day the Mersey, the Wyre and the Thames - ministers will have plenty of factors to weigh up. There will be the jobs created - the bigger the scheme the bigger the job creation prospects - and there will be the economic damage caused by limiting navigation of the Severn and access to upstream ports. There will be the attraction of plumping for a huge barrage that will be a monument to their tenure in office, to be set against the affordability of constructing such an edifice.

But most of all they will have to judge whether the wider environment will best be served by sacrifice or preservation.


James Hansen's Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic

Says Hansen `Embarrassed NASA' & `Was Never Muzzled'

NASA warming scientist James Hansen, one of former Vice-President Al Gore's closest allies in the promotion of man-made global warming fears, is being publicly rebuked by his former supervisor at NASA. Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA's vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen "embarrassed NASA" with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was "was never muzzled." Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

"I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made," Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. "I was, in effect, Hansen's supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results," Theon, the former Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program at NASA Headquarters and former Chief of the Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch explained.

"Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA's official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind's effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress," Theon wrote.

Theon declared "climate models are useless." "My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit," Theon explained. "Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy," he added.

"As Chief of several of NASA Headquarters' programs (1982-94), an SES position, I was responsible for all weather and climate research in the entire agency, including the research work by James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred other scientists at NASA field centers, in academia, and in the private sector who worked on climate research," Theon wrote of his career. "This required a thorough understanding of the state of the science. I have kept up with climate science since retiring by reading books and journal articles," Theon added.

More here

No Joke! Study predicts sea level rise for year 3000 A.D.! Get your 1000 year forecast!

Their climate models have never predicted anything of substance yet so they must have improved dramatically in recent times. I wonder if the study authors do 1000 year stock market predictions as well? The study would seem to be a classic instance of where faulty assumptions can lead you. It is all based on the CO2 theory of warming with no mention of the sun. But whichever way you look at it, the hubris is amazing

A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there's no going back. The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. The findings appear during the week of January 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our study convinced us that current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet," said Solomon, who is based at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

"It has long been known that some of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years," Solomon said. "But the new study advances the understanding of how this affects the climate system." The study examines the consequences of allowing CO2 to build up to several different peak levels beyond present-day concentrations of 385 parts per million and then completely halting the emissions after the peak. The authors found that the scientific evidence is strong enough to quantify some irreversible climate impacts, including rainfall changes in certain key regions, and global sea level rise. If CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.....

The scientists emphasize that increases in CO2 that occur in this century "lock in" sea level rise that would slowly follow in the next 1,000 years. Considering just the expansion of warming ocean waters-without melting glaciers and polar ice sheets-the authors find that the irreversible global average sea level rise by the year 3000 would be at least 1.3-3.2 feet (0.4-1.0 meter) if CO2 peaks at 600 parts per million, and double that amount if CO2 peaks at 1,000 parts per million....

More here

Romm's rants

Maybe Joe Romm’s employers over at the Center for American Progress have a vision for how his tantrums and fits serve their interests on advancing climate policy. I certainly can’t see how his antics do anything more than paint the CAP as a hotbed for intolerance and ignorance. In Joe’s latest rant he calls the NYTs Andy Revkin a climate denier, or I think he does, as Joe speaks a language unto himself. Here is an excerpt (emphasis added):
Andy asserts:

I've been the most prominent communicator out there saying the most established aspects of the issue of human-driven climate change lie between the poles of catastrophe and hoax.

Following that shockingly un-scientific statement, he includes the link to his 2007 piece, "A New Middle Stance Emerges in Debate over Climate," that touts the views of Roger A. Pielke Jr., of all people! The "middle stance" is apparently just the old denier do-nothing stance with a smile, a token nod to science, and a $5 a ton CO2 tax [which is why I call them denier-eq's]

Joe’s strategy of tarring those who hold reasonable views as deniers is re-enforced when he takes Revkin to task for having the gall to discuss climate politics in his reporting:

Uhh, Andy, you're the science reporter, not the political reporter.

Joe’s strategy is one that I explain in The Honest Broker: by collapsing political debates onto science one can then try to impeach the political views in terms of science. This explains Joe’s constant use of the term “denier” which is usually a term used to impeach via Holocaust symbolism those who don’t accept the consensus views on climate science.

Of course the problem for Joe is that Revkin (as well as me) have always accepted the consensus views on science. More than anyone else Revkin is probably responsible for broadly disseminating those views via his reporting, and has been routinely criticized by those skeptical for not taking a more skeptical view himself.

So Romm’s attacks collapse in a heap of intellectual incoherence. A “denier” is thus anyone whose views on the science differ from Joe’s views (whose views on climate science are indeed unique) and thus because his opponent’s views on science are wrong, he can then dismiss their political views with the sweeping contempt of “denier.” Thus, because Revkin works from the scientific consensus on climate change he is thus a “denier” or in Joe’s special language a “denier-eq.” Thus, Joe can them proceed to impeach Andy’s identification of a wide-ranging debate on climate policy among people who want action. Joe would prefer that no views other than his own receive attention, thus the frequent juvenile blog tantrums and fits.

So if the Center for American Progress envisions Joe painting their organization into a small corner where nuance, debate, and above all a range of views of climate policy are not allowed, then they are succeeding beyond wildest expectations, and Romm is not only marginalizing himself, but the institution that pays his salary.


No global warming in Canada

Ice in Canada's St. Lawrence River traps ships carrying 500, including icebreaker

Ice in the St. Lawrence River has trapped three ships carrying a total of about 500 passengers - including an icebreaker sent in to unblock the waterway. A cruise ship with about 300 people on board is among the three stuck since Monday at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River near Matane, Quebec.

Leonard Arsenault, a spokesman for the cruise ship CTMA-Vacancier, says passengers were being transported to the Gaspe Peninsula from Montreal for a week-long ski trip in the Chic-Choc mountains.

A coast guard icebreaker was sent to free the cruise ship and a freighter that was also trapped, but it got stuck in the ice. There are about 500 people aboard the three vessels, says Arsenault.


Australian university Dismisses Climate Change Sceptic

You see why most academics fear to identify themselves as climate realists

It is common for Australian academics to publicly express an opinion on climate change including in our newspapers; think Tim Flannery, Ian Lowe and more recently Barry Brook. A couple of weeks ago Jon Jenkins, an Adjunct Professor at Bond University, had an opinion piece published by The Australian newspaper. The piece was critical of the accepted dogma on anthropogenic global warming with a focus on how global temperatures are recorded and ended with a comment on sustainable development:
"Science is only about certainty and facts. The real question is in acknowledging the end of fossil fuels within the next 200 years or so: how do we spend our research time and dollars? Do we spend it on ideologically green-inspired publicity campaigns such as emissions-trading schemes based on the fraud of the IPCC, or do we spend it on basic science that could lead us to energy self-sufficiency based on some combination of solar, geothermal, nuclear and renewable sources? The alternative is to go back to the stone age."

Interestingly Bond University has a new name for its business and IT faculties, The Faculty of Business, Technology & Sustainable Development, but apparently didn't like Professor Jenkins' very public opinion on the subject of sustainable development. For his opinion, Professor Jenkins received an official reprimand from the Bond University Registrar and then was informed last Friday that his adjunct status had been revoked. No doubt he has contravened some rule or other at the University and no doubt this would have gone unnoticed if Professor Jenkins had a more popular opinion on these most politically charged subjects.



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 is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Eager to take the lead on climate change, the European Union aims to pile pressure on the United States and big emerging countries to sign up to an ambitious strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Last month European leaders approved an ambitious climate change action plan which the 27-nation bloc hopes will become a model for international negotiations in Copenhagen in December. "We will do everything to make (Copehagen) a success," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters on Friday. "The problem is to know whether the others are ready to do what we have been doing."

The European Commission is to unveil on Wednesday a strategy for gradually ramping up investments aimed at tackling climate change to a target of 175 billion euros per year by 2020, including 30 billion euros to help poor countries. Developed countries would be expected to contribute 95 billion euros to the plan. Among the sources of finance, the commission recommends making polluters pay for each tonne of carbon dioxide that they emit. With a price starting at one euro per tonne rising gradually to three euros, the plan would generate about 13 billion euros in 2013 if used in the main developed countries, rising to 28 billion euros by 2020.

In the same strategy paper, obtained by AFP, the commission lays out 200 actions that are not expected to bear a prohibitive cost for reducing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The measures, which target the energy, agriculture and forestry sectors, would save 39 billion tonnes of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere by 2020 at a cost of between four to 10 euros per tonne.

EU leaders committed last month to a climate-energy package that would decrease the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, make 20 percent energy savings and bring renewable energy sources up to 20 percent of total energy use. With four billion tonnes of CO2 a year, the EU generates 14 percent of the 27 billion tonnes that escape into the atmosphere each year. The United States is the biggest polluter with 5.8 billion tonnes, followed by China with 5.1 billion tonnes. The EU hopes that it can rally other major polluters behind its approach. "I think the most important issue for Copenhagen in terms of preparation is to have the Americans on board and afterwards the biggest emerging economies China, India, and Brazil," Barroso said.


The climate change safari park

Do we care more about one dead elephant than we do for a hundred black children?

By Bjorn Lomborg

Barack Obama in his inaugural speech promised to "roll back the spectre of a warming planet." In this context, it is worth contemplating a passage from his book Dreams from My Father. It reveals a lot about the way we view the world's problems.

Obama is in Kenya and wants to go on a safari. His Kenyan sister Auma chides him for behaving like a neo-colonialist. "Why should all that land be set aside for tourists when it could be used for farming? These wazungu care more about one dead elephant than they do for a hundred black children."

Although he ends up going on safari, Obama has no answer to her question. That anecdote has parallels with the current preoccupation with global warming. Many people - including America's new President - believe that global warming is the pre-eminent issue of our time, and that cutting CO2 emissions is one of the most virtuous things we can do. To stretch the metaphor a little, this seems like building ever-larger safari parks instead of creating more farms to feed the hungry.

Make no mistake: global warming is real, and it is caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The problem is that even global, draconian, and hugely costly CO2 reductions will have virtually no impact on the temperature by mid-century.

Instead of ineffective and costly cuts, we should focus much more of our good climate intentions on dramatic increases in R&D for zero-carbon energy, which would fix the climate towards mid-century at low cost. But, more importantly for most of the planet's citizens, global warming simply exacerbates existing problems.

Consider malaria. Models shows global warming will increase the incidence of malaria by about 3% by the end of the century, because mosquitoes are more likely to survive when the world gets hotter. But malaria is much more strongly related to health infrastructure and general wealth than it is to temperature. Rich people rarely contract malaria or die from it; poor people do. Strong carbon cuts could avert about 0.2% of the malaria incidence in a hundred years. The other option is simply to prioritise eradication of malaria today. It would be relatively cheap and simple, involving expanded distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, more preventive treatment for pregnant women, increased use of the maligned pesticide DDT, and support for poor nations that cannot afford the best new therapies.

Tackling nearly 100% of today's malaria problem would cost just one-sixtieth of the price of the Kyoto Protocol. Put another way, for each person saved from malaria by cutting CO2 emissions, direct malaria policies could have saved 36,000. Of course, carbon cuts are not designed only to tackle malaria. But, for every problem that global warming will exacerbate - hurricanes, hunger, flooding - we could achieve tremendously more through cheaper, direct policies today.

For example, adequately maintained levees and better evacuation services, not lower carbon emissions, would have minimised the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.

During the 2004 hurricane season, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both occupying the same island, provided a powerful lesson. In the Dominican Republic, which has invested in hurricane shelters and emergency evacuation networks, the death toll was fewer than ten. In Haiti, which lacks such policies, 2,000 died. Haitians were a hundred times more likely to die in an equivalent storm than Dominicans.

Obama's election has raised hopes for a massive commitment to carbon cuts and vast spending on renewable energy to save the world - especially developing nations. As Obama's Kenyan sister might attest, this could be an expensive indulgence. Some believe Obama should follow the lead of the European Union, which has committed itself to the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 20% below 1990 levels within 12 years by using renewable energy. This alone will probably cost more than 1% of GDP. Even if the entire world followed suit, the net effect would be to reduce global temperatures by one-twentieth of one degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century. The cost could be a staggering $10 trillion.

Most economic models show that the total damage imposed by global warming by the end of the century will be about 3% of GDP. This is not trivial, but nor is it the end of the world. By the end of the century, the United Nations expects the average person to be 1,400% richer than today. An African safari trip once confronted America's new president with a question he could not answer: why the rich world prized elephants over African children. Today's version of that question is: why will richer nations spend obscene amounts of money on climate change, achieving next to nothing in 100 years, when we could do so much good for mankind today for much less money? The world will be watching to hear Obama's answer.



On Thursday, German economy minister Michael Glos was expressing "serious misgivings" about the EU's emissions trading scheme, complaining that it could cost jobs if it went ahead in its current form. His own scientific advisory board is urging the repeal of strict limits for CO2 emissions, and an easing of the system in order to stabilise the price of permits.

This may or may not be connected with an announcement yesterday that the German energy giant RWE has decided to build no more new power plants in western Europe, as the EU's emissions trading scheme has rendered new projects "unprofitable". "We will go ahead with power-plants which we are already planning or which are already under construction," said Johannes Lambertz, chief executive of RWE's power unit. "Further projects are on hold until they become economical."

Lambertz adds that, "The current framework leads to a situation where it can be more economical to continue operating old power plants than to build new ones and then having to bear the costs for the construction and the emission certificates."

Connection or not, it looks like the Germans are set for a confrontation with the EU over "climate change", a dust-up which is potentially even more attractive than the one pictured. I tell you, its obsession with "climate change" is going to be the undoing of the EU. The electricity riots of 2015 are going to make this look like a Sunday school outing.



The state of California and the automobile industry are pressing the Obama administration to decide whether states may impose their own limits on autos' greenhouse-gas emissions, an issue that pits President Barack Obama's allies in the labor and environmental movements against one another. On Wednesday, Mr. Obama's first full day in office, California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally asked the president to let California enforce a 2002 state law that its officials estimate would require that vehicles achieve the equivalent of 35 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2017 -- three years earlier than a 2007 federal law would require.

The California standard doesn't set a mileage target, but rather a target for auto makers to cut new vehicles' greenhouse-gas emissions by 30% from 2002 levels. Gearing up to fight California's request is the National Automobile Dealers Association, which is holding its annual convention this weekend in New Orleans, an event expected to draw 25,000 attendees and feature appearances by former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The group has prepared a report warning that the California law would impose "a costly and unnecessary burden on an industry already reeling" from the worst year of U.S. vehicle sales in more than a decade.

Mr. Obama expressed support during his campaign for California's bid to regulate auto greenhouse-gas emissions, so called because they trap the sun's heat in the earth's atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. But he has avoided saying publicly how quickly his administration intends to act on the state's request. In addition to the question of whether to let states regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, Mr. Obama's administration is bound by a 2007 Supreme Court decision to determine whether greenhouse-gas emissions "endanger" public health or welfare, the legal trigger for regulating them under the federal Clean Air Act.

Technically, both decisions will fall to the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson. Ms. Jackson supported an effort to adopt an emissions law modeled on California's when she headed New Jersey's environmental agency from 2006 until 2008. In confirmation hearings for the EPA post, Ms. Jackson avoided making a commitment to grant California's latest request. At a Senate hearing last week, however, she promised to immediately revisit a decision made in December 2007 by the agency's previous chief, Stephen Johnson, that blocked California from implementing its law. She said she would base her final decision on "science and the rule of law" and advice from EPA staffers, many of whom privately counseled Mr. Johnson to grant the request. "We think they [EPA officials] ought to be able to get it done in four months," Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Thursday when asked how quickly she expected a decision on California's request.

A decision in favor of the request would clear the way for more than a dozen other states to enforce laws they modeled on California's. But it also would risk antagonizing the United Auto Workers, which has complained that the law unfairly discriminates against companies whose product mix is skewed toward pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans -- which guzzle a lot of gas. A spokesman for the union, which helped Mr. Obama clinch Ohio and Michigan in last fall's presidential contest, didn't respond to requests for comment on California's request.

"Even if there's a will to reverse course quickly, the reality is that taking the time to [get] the process right will be critical to whether any reversal is defensible in court," said Roger Martella, who was the EPA's general counsel during the Bush administration. Ms. Nichols, the California regulator, said her agency supports allowing public comment on the issue. "We feel strongly that under its new leadership, EPA will recognize that the decision made by the former administrator ... was flawed, factually and legally, in fundamental ways," she said.



by Fred Singer

THE recent report in the journal Nature of an unexpected Antarctic warming trend has created a certain amount of skepticism - even among supporters of AGW. [1] But in an AP news story, two of its authors (one is 'hockey-stick' inventor Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is "consistent with" greenhouse warming. Of course, as Roger Pielke, Jr, points out, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was 'consistent with' greenhouse warming and thus the skeptics were wrong: " So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both 'consistent with' model projections of global warming.

Our foray into the tortured logic of 'consistent with' in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?" The results are based on very few isolated data from weather stations, plus data from research satellites. And here is the rub: these are not data from microwave sounding units (MSU), such as are regularly published by Christy and Spencer, but data from infrared sensors that are supposed to measure the temperature of the surface (rather than of the overlaying atmosphere, as weather stations do).

But the IR emission depends not only on temperature of the surface, but also on surface emissivity - and is further modified by absorption of clouds and haze. These are all difficult points. Emissivity of snow depends on its porosity and size of snow crystals. Blowing snow likely has a different emissivity than snow that has been tamped down; so surface winds could have a strong influence. The emissivity of ice is again different and will depend on whether there is a thin melt layer of water on top of the ice, temporarily produced by solar radiation.

Finally, we have temperature inversions that can trap haze which is essentially undetectable by optical methods from satellites. The proof of the pudding, of course, is the MSU data, which show a continuous cooling trend, are little affected by surface conditions and are unaffected by haze and clouds. They are therefore more reliable.

Bottom line: As it looks to me right now, the Antarctic Continent is cooling not warming.



In this week's Science magazine, science writer Richard Kerr reports on some of the goings-on at this past December's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. While he didn't cover our presentation at the meeting in which we described our efforts at creating a reconstruction of ice melt across Greenland dating back into the late 1700s (we found that the greatest period of ice melt occurred in the decades around the 1930s), Kerr did cover some other recent findings concerning the workings of Greenland's cryosphere in his article titled "Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In". Here is how Kerr starts things off:

"Things were looking bad around southeast Greenland a few years ago. There, the streams of ice flowing from the great ice sheet into the sea had begun speeding up in the late 1990s. Then, two of the biggest Greenland outlet glaciers really took off, and losses from the ice to the sea eventually doubled. Some climatologists speculated that global warming might have pushed Greenland past a tipping point into a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level."

And some non-climatologists speculated disaster from rapidly rising seas as well. During his An Inconvenient Truth tour, Gore was fond of spinning the following tale:

"[E]arlier this year [2006], yet another team of scientists reported that the previous twelve months saw 32 glacial earthquakes on Greenland between 4.6 and 5.1 on the Richter scale - a disturbing sign that a massive destabilization may now be underway deep within the second largest accumulation of ice on the planet, enough ice to raise sea level 20 feet worldwide if it broke up and slipped into the sea. Each passing day brings yet more evidence that we are now facing a planetary emergency - a climate crisis that demands immediate action to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in order to turn down the earth's thermostat and avert catastrophe."

Oh how things have changed in the past 2 years. For one, the "team of scientists" that reported on the Greenland earthquakes now think that the earthquakes were the result of processes involved with glacial calving, rather than something "underway deep within the second largest accumulation of ice on the planet" (Nettles et al., 2008). For another, Gore's "massive destabilization" mechanism for which the earthquakes were a supposed bellwether (meltwater lubrication of the flow channel) has been shown to be ineffective at producing long-term changes in glacier flow rate (e.g. (Joughin et al., 2008; van de Wal et al., 2008). And for still another, the recent speed-up of Greenland's glaciers has even more recently slowed down. Here is how Kerr describes the situation:

"So much for Greenland ice's Armageddon. "It has come to an end," glaciologist Tavi Murray of Swansea University in the United Kingdom said during a session at the meeting. "There seems to have been a synchronous switch-off" of the speed-up, she said. Nearly everywhere around southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000. An increasingly warmer climate will no doubt eat away at the Greenland ice sheet for centuries, glaciologists say, but no one should be extrapolating the ice's recent wild behavior into the future."

The last point is driven home by new results published last week (and described in our last WCR and in our piece over at MasterResource) by researchers Faezeh Nick and colleagues. They modeled the flow of one of Greenland's largest glaciers and determined that while glaciers were quite sensitive to changing conditions at their calving terminus, that they responded rather quickly to them and the increase in flow rate was rather short lived. Nick et al. included these words of warning: "Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland's outlet glaciers are transient and should not be extrapolated into the future."

All told, it is looking more like the IPCC's estimates of a few inches of sea level rise from Greenland during the 21st century aren't going to be that far off-despite loud protestations to the contrary from high profile alarm pullers. Maybe Gore will go back and remove the 12 pages worth of picture and maps from his book showing what high profile places of the world will look like with a 20-foot sea level rise ("The site of the World Trade Center Memorial would be underwater"). But then again, probably not-after all the point is not to be truthful in the sense of reflecting a likely possibility, but to scare you into a particular course of action.



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