Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bin Laden is a Warmist!

This gets better and better!

Al-QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden blamed industrial nations for global warming and urged a boycott of the US dollar to end "slavery."

The message, in an audiotape attributed to the terrorist leader, was aired by Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera today.

"All industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming," the message went on.

"We should stop using the dollar and get rid of it ... I know that there would be huge repercussions for that, but this would be the only way to free humankind from slavery ... to America and its companies."


Revkin is wobbling

Andrew Revkin in the chief Warmist for the NYT. He is trying to cope with the "discovery" (to Warmists) that atmospheric water vapour is a big influence on the earth's temperature. Excerpt from his article of 29th:

A new study led by Susan Solomon, a federal climate scientist and co-leader of the 2007 science review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is fascinating not only for the revelations, but the underlying lessons, too.

The study, described in an article today in The Times, finds that poorly understood variations in water vapor concentrations in the stratosphere were probably responsible for a substantial wedge of the powerful warming trend in the 1990s and a substantial portion of “the flattening of global average temperatures since 2000″

Here’s the take-home line from the paper: "[S]tratospheric water vapor very likely made substantial contributions to the flattening of the global warming trend since about 2000. Although earlier data are less complete, the observations also suggest that stratospheric water contributed to enhancing the warming observed during 1980–2000."

One lesson, discussed by me for many years, is that short-term variability even on the scale of a decade (in either the hot or not hot direction) is a distraction if one is looking for evidence of human-driven warming or trying to build an argument for or against curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Another, of course, is that the science illuminating the extent of the human influence on climate is not “settled” for many specific, and important, points, even though the basic case for rising risks from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is robust enough to merit a strong response, according to a host of experts (even if you take the intergovernmental panel’s findings with a grain of salt).

More HERE (See the original for links)

Amusing bits: He admits that the science is not "settled"; He admits that people have reason to take the IPCC with a grain of salt; He says that decade-long observations are too short to be used, even though the warming period of the late 20th century that started the whole scare was only about two decades; He then offers an alternative authority to the IPCC as confirming the "threat" of global warming -- an "authority" that was published in 1991! He had to go back to 1991 to prop up his faith!; and that he relies on "authorities" -- rather than any facts -- to prop up his faith is the most pathetic thing of all

The end is nigh

Less than a week after he claimed the IPCC's credibility had increased as a result of its handling of the "Glaciergate" scandal, Pachauri's own personal credibility lies in tatters as The Times accuses him of a direct lie.

This is about when he first became aware of the false claim over the melting glaciers, Pachauri's version on 22 January being that he had only known about it "for a few days" – i.e., after it had appeared in The Sunday Times.

However, Ben Webster writes that a prominent science journalist, Pallava Bagla – who works for the Science journal (and NDTV as its science correspondent) - claims that last November he had informed Pachauri that Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University and a leading glaciologist, had dismissed the 2035 date as being wrong by at least 300 years. Pachauri had replied: "I don't have anything to add on glaciers."

Bagla interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, he asked: "I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?"

Dr Pachauri replied: "Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast."

According to Pachauri, "... within three or four days, we were able to come up with a clear and a very honest and objective assessment of what had happened. So I think this presumption on your part or on the part of any others is totally wrong. We are certainly never — and I can say this categorically — ever going to do anything other than what is truthful and what upholds the veracity of science."

Without even Bagla's input, we know this to be lies. Apart from anything else, there was the crisis meeting under the aegis of UNEP - which we reported on Thursday – which concluded that the 2035 claim "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation".

Separately, we have Syed Hasnain, while stressing that he was not involved in drafting the IPCC report, claiming that he noticed some of the mistakes when he first read the relevant section in 2008.

That was also the year he joined TERI in Delhi, headed by Dr Pachauri and he says he realised that the 2035 prediction was based on an interview he gave to the New Scientist magazine in 1999. But, he claims. he did not tell Dr Pachauri because he was not working for the IPCC and was busy with his own programmes at the time.

"I was keeping quiet as I was working here," he said. "My job is not to point out mistakes. And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?"

However, Hasnain's assertions contrast rather sharply with a video interview given by him to NDTV (see clip above) on 9 November 2009 – the day that the Raina report on glaciers was published, challenging the claims made in the IPCC report. Then, he is seen to be defending the 2035 figure, and allowing himself to be styled as "author of the original IPCC report".

According to The Guardian, V K Raina, formerly deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, has joined calls for Pachauri's resignation.

The Guardian cites India's Economic Times from over a week ago, which criticised the IPCC for damaging its own credibility, noting that "it would now seem that Mr Pachauri's steadfast unwillingness to consider an alternate position could well have given climate sceptics a stronger footing."

But today, the Deccan Herald also weighs in, declaring: "The [glacier] incident reflects poorly on the professionalism and scientific rigour of the IPCC and has done damage to its credibility." The writing is not so much on the wall as obliterating it.

Adding to the graffiti, in yet another development, the popular Indian magazine Open rips apart global warming, labelling it: "The Hottest Hoax in the World." Indian blogger Gurmeet in Liberty News Central thinks this could be the most hard-hitting article in the Indian MSM on AGW fraud ever.

Given what is about to descend upon him on Sunday, by the time the Indian media have absorbed the detail, Pachauri will be history.


Some advice to climate scientists on ethics from a finance professor

by Theo Vermaelen

An accountant sets it all out very clearly below

Climate scientists from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia have come under fire for alleged data manipulation following the release of thousands of emails and documents. As a result of ‘Climategate’, some of the climatologists involved have stepped aside or are under investigation by their university.

Why did the ‘Medieval Warming Period’ disappear?

Most observers agree that the most damaging email is the one sent by Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 1999, to three of his colleagues: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

What ‘decline’ are the scientists apparently trying to hide? A detailed discussion can be found in an article written by Marc Sheppard. I will only provide a brief summary of the arguments for those who have not being paying attention. His article may be useful in continental Europe where the whole controversy is barely discussed in the mainstream press in spite (or perhaps because) of the Copenhagen conference.

The leading authority on climate change is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It provides policy recommendations to government officials. In its first climate change assessment report in 1990, the IPCC published a graph (Figure 1) which showed average global temperature changes during the last millennium. The graph shows a large increase in temperature from 900 to 1300, called the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). This period was followed by the Little Ice Age until 1850, when the current warming period began. Obviously, if temperatures were higher in the MWP than today, global warming is not “man-made”, i.e., it cannot be the result of economic activity but rather a result of external forces we can’t control.

Figure 1: Temperature changes since 900 AD (Source: IPCC 1990 Figure 7c)

In 2001, the IPCC assessment report shows a very different graph (Figure 2) without a MWP but with a gradual decline in temperatures from 1000 to 1850, followed by a strong increase in temperatures, especially in the second half of the 20th century. The graph is based on two papers by Mann et al. (1999), Jones et al. (1999) and Briffa (2000). The graph that fits actual temperatures best from 1900 to 1980 (Mann et al. (1999)) is then shown in Figure 3 (below), which is the figure that is published in the IPCC 2001 Summary for Policy Makers. This graph (also called Mann’s “hockey stick”) has become the poster child of the man-made global warming movement and is regularly published in newspapers (e.g. the International Herald Tribune, December 8, 2009, p6).

Figure 2: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: results from individual studies. (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.21)

So why did the MWP disappear? Because actual measurement of temperatures with thermometers only started in 1850, all temperature data for prior years have to be estimated by proxies such as a lake sediments, ice cores, boreholes and tree rings. These proxies are then combined in complex computer programs. Occasionally proxies are based on tree rings only. For example Keith’s Briffa’s proxy is based on tree ring Polar Ural data.

All three graphs in figure 2 show a strong correlation between the proxies used in the papers and the actual temperatures from 1900 until 1960, which is not surprising as it appears from the source files (revealed together with the e-mails) that proxies that did not fit well with actual temperatures were purposely ignored. The problem is that these proxies are not really correlated with temperatures outside this estimation period. For example, while real temperatures rose after 1960, Keith Briffa’s proxy shows a decline in temperature. The same decline must have happened with the Mann and Jones papers after 1980, which now makes it clear what Jones meant in his e-mail. The “trick” consists of “hiding the decline” by replacing the proxy with the real temperatures after 1961 for Briffa’s paper, and after 1980 for the Jones and Mann papers. That explains the puzzling fact that in all figures the reconstructed data stop in 1980 and are replaced by instrumental data. Moreover, although instrumental data are available from 1850 to 1900, these data are not used in figure 3. One possible reason is that, as with the post-1980 data, the pre-1900 data don’t match with the reconstructed data.

Figure 3: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: pooled results (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.20)

But this of course means that the proxies in the reconstructed data are wrong, as the quality of a proxy depends on its ability to forecast outside the estimation period. This makes the whole pre-1850 period analysis irrelevant. In other words, the research does not prove that there was no MWP, which is the necessary condition for claiming that warming is driven by human activity. This is why it is not surprising that the scientists are being blamed for having manipulated the data to hide the MWP.

Lessons from finance: I strongly recommend the “best practices” of finance academics to the climate science community:

Data should be made publicly available at a reasonable cost

While climate scientists try to explain temperatures, finance professors try to explain stock prices. In the early sixties, the University of Chicago set up the Centre for Research in Security Prices to collect historical data on stock prices and other financial information. This information is made available to all academic institutions for a fee. Climate researchers should do the same. Moreover, as they use proxies for temperatures in the pre-1850 period, they should disclose how and why these proxies were chosen and how they are combined in computer algorithms. This is an important issue, as the one of the most common sources for estimating pre-1850 temperatures is tree rings. But considering that the number of trees is infinite, it seems to me that you can always find a tree that gets you the desired result. This is, I believe, the basic difference with finance: we don’t try to estimate stock prices if there is no organised stock exchange with verifiable records. This significantly reduces the potential for cherry-picking and data manipulation.

Data should be respected, theories not

The quality of a theory depends on its ability to explain the facts. So when the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory should be changed, not the facts.

For example, one of the leading Nobel Prize-winning financial models is the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). When it was first tested using data prior to 1970, it was found to be roughly consistent with the facts and became for a while the holy grail of finance. However, as time went by, anomalies were discovered, the model was rejected and alternatives were proposed. Some of these alternatives were proposed by the same researchers who provided the original empirical support for the CAPM. So there is nothing embarrassing about changing your mind after seeing new evidence.

This way of operating is quite different from the climate scientist practices revealed in an e-mail exchange of October 2009. In particular, one of the scientists says: “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”

He was referring to the fact that, since the prediction of increased global warming in 1998, global temperatures have actually declined. The e-mail was a result of the fact that Paul Hudson, the BBC’s reporter on climate change, had pointed this out. Rather than calling this a ‘travesty’ the scientists should have welcomed this as an interesting development and a call for remodelling. Perhaps we are at the beginning of a period of global cooling, as some scientists suggest. So let’s hold on to the SUV for the moment.

Don’t create institutions that decide whether an academic debate is closed

The academic finance area does not have an institution such as the IPCC that assesses periodically whether a specific theory should be accepted as absolute truth. In January 2001 the IPCC stated that “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” All main national and international science academies subsequently endorsed this opinion. For finance academics such unanimity is unusual. Academic debates in finance rarely are declared “closed.” For example, one of the debates in finance that has gone on for as long as I can remember, and will never be settled, is whether the stock market is informationally efficient. It would be unthinkable that, once in a while, there would be an official organisation declaring the state of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and deciding which papers are relevant and which ones are not. The danger is that such organisations would be dominated by academics who want to push their particular point of view and declare the academic debate closed.

Evidence consistent with such behaviour at the IPCC can be readily inferred from the fact that none of authors of the 2001 report questioned figure 3. Indeed, I find it most disturbing that none of the scientists (or policy makers, or other science academies and scientific societies that have endorsed the IPCC 2001 opinion) insisted on seeing the reconstructed data from 1980-2000, to check whether the proxies were relevant. It is as if I would use stock price data from 1900 to 1980 to design a trading rule, publish it in 2001 and then the referee would not ask me to check whether the rule works from 1981 to 2000! The only explanation for the lack of curiosity of scientists and policy makers must be that they liked the “hockey stick” picture which showed that warming in the 20th century was unprecedented. So, if climate scientists want to regain credibility, I recommend that they close down the IPCC. Alternatively, the IPCC should transform itself in a lobby group for man-made global warming, but should not pretend to be an objective assessor of climate change research.

Don’t become captive to a political movement or an industry

Although many of us are funded by financial institutions, we don’t refrain from criticising those who feed us. For example, there are numerous papers advocating the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which claims that active portfolio managers create no value and that the optimal investment strategy is to invest in an index fund. Others have shown that acquisitions destroy value for bidders, often blaming the success fees of investment bankers as well as the use of earnings multiples in valuation. This critique has not prevented finance professors from being endowed with chairs financed by asset management firms and investment banks. The reason, I believe, is that whatever we say or write does not have a major impact on the real world. Indeed, there are numerous successful active portfolio managers and bankers still use multiples when valuing companies.

Climate scientists, on the other hand, are being taken very seriously by politicians, environmentalists and business people. For example, alternative energy producers can only survive thanks to government subsidies, regulation and taxes on their competitors in the ‘non-alternative’ energy sector. These government policies will only be implemented if the public is convinced that global warming is a man-made serious problem. Hence, climate scientists may be more reluctant to revise their theories if so many people’s fortunes depend on the acceptance of these theories. So this should perhaps be another message: don’t take yourself too seriously so that others won’t take you too seriously either.


Now its Greenpeace being cited as an authority by the IPCC

The pretence that the IPCC is a scientific body is now no longer tenable

Donna Laframboise, who gave us the list of World Wildlife Fund non peer reviewed studies cited in the IPCC AR4 continues to make lists. Here’s her latest list. Those calm, rational, thoughtful folks at Greenpeace seem to have had a significant hand in the IPCC climate bible. She writes:
Considered the climate Bible by governments around the world, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is meant to be a scientific analysis of the most authoritative research.

Instead, it references literature generated by Greenpeace – an organization known more for headline-grabbing publicity stunts than sober-minded analysis. (Eight IPCC-cited Greenpeace publications are listed at the bottom of this post.)

In one section of this Nobel-winning report, climate change is linked to coral reef degradation. The sole source for this claim? A Greenpeace report titled “Pacific in Peril” (see Hoegh-Guldberg below). Here the report relies on a Greenpeace document to establish the lower-end of an estimate involving solar power plants (Aringhoff).

Read more at her blog here. In the meantime, here’s the list:


* Aringhoff, R., C. Aubrey, G. Brakmann, and S. Teske, 2003: Solar thermal power 2020, Greenpeace International/European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association, Netherlands

* ESTIA, 2004: Exploiting the heat from the sun to combat climate change. European Solar Thermal Industry Association and Greenpeace, Solar Thermal Power 2020, UK

* Greenpeace, 2004: accessed 05/06/07

* Greenpeace, 2006: Solar generation. K. McDonald (ed.), Greenpeace International, Amsterdam

* GWEC, 2006: Global wind energy outlook. Global Wind Energy Council, Bruxelles and Greenpeace, Amsterdam, September, 56 pp., accessed 05/06/07

* Hoegh-Guldberg, O., H. Hoegh-Guldberg, H. Cesar and A. Timmerman, 2000: Pacific in peril: biological, economic and social impacts of climate change on Pacific coral reefs. Greenpeace, 72 pp.

* Lazarus, M., L. Greber, J. Hall, C. Bartels, S. Bernow, E. Hansen, P. Raskin, and D. Von Hippel, 1993: Towards a fossil free energy future: the next energy transition. Stockholm Environment Institute, Boston Center, Boston. Greenpeace International, Amsterdam.

* Wind Force 12, 2005: Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace,, accessed 03/07/07


(I should perhaps point out that Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is in fact a Professor at the University of Queensland with expertise in coral reef matters. But his academic writings are much more sober than his Greenie pronouncements. See here -- JR)


Three current articles below

Save the planet! Stink out the homes and spread the gastro

The extremists who now infest local government would rather give you the trots if that’s what it takes to turn you green:
Residents in Penrith are furious after their council cut rubbish collections to once a fortnight. And to make matters worse they have cut the size of their bins at the same time.

Mothers with babies have been forced to store 14 days worth of dirty nappies, while residents have found maggots and some have complained to the local health service…

Penrith took action after the NSW Department of Environment began supporting the cut from weekly to fortnightly services two years ago in a bid to force more people to recycle. So far four councils across NSW have reduced collections and others are set to follow.

But a leading public health expert said thousands of residents were at risk of salmonella and gastro.

Why are our green fuhrers so happy to hurt humans to “save” an inanimate planet? Or is it just the power to bully that gives them their kicks? Cutting the sizes of people’s bins is just the kind of vindictiveness that appeals to the inner totalitarian.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate sceptic warmly received during debate

LORD Christopher Monckton, imperious and articulate, won yesterday's climate change debate in straight sets. Forget facts and fictions, numbers and statistics, this British high priest of climate change sceptics is a polished performer, even against the most committed of scientists.

Aided by Adelaide's Professor Ian Plimer, Lord Monckton cruised to victory before a partisan crowd of suits and ties, movers and shakers. Hundreds of them were there for the sell-out, $130-a-head Brisbane Institute lunch – and scepticism was applauded.

Climate change scientist Professor Barry Brook and teammate Graham Readfearn, The Courier-Mail's environment blogger, were stoic in argument (even if Mr Readfearn may have foot-faulted once or twice and had to be pulled into line by moderator Ray Weeks).

But Lord Monckton is a seasoned campaigner, if not a scientist, reviled and ridiculed as he is in some quarters for his view that many are too alarmist about global warming. "As every risk manager knows, you can't just evaluate the risk of whatever it is you're frightened of, you also have to evaluate the risks inherent in the precautions you take to prevent whatever you're frightened of," Lord Monckton said.

Professor Brook argued that even if projected rates of climate change were wrong, the issue would force the world to take a big step towards a more sustainable future. "We know that the climate is changing but we don't know how much . . . If the rates are wrong we will foreshorten the period society has to go through from an old, Victorian, model of industrialisation to a more modern model," he said. Mr Readfearn urged caution in buying climate change science from non-scientists.

SOURCE (Video at link)

Australian green scheme 'close to collapse'

ONE of the Rudd Government's key climate change initiatives is close to collapse amid claims of widespread rorting [fraud] and mismanagement. Just six months after its launch, the $70 million Green Loans scheme to get Australians to install energy-efficient products will be lucky to survive past March without millions more in taxpayer funding.

Similarities are already being drawn between Green Loans and the Government's bungled $3.2 billion home insulation subsidy scheme. A Senate inquiry into the insulation rebate scheme is probing accusations of malpractice, rorting and mismanagement.

The much-vaunted Green Loans program was supposed to run for three years but is being bled dry by a flurry of unregistered operators. So far, there have been just 1000 subsidised loans approved for solar power and water-saving and energy-efficient products. Now thousands of people who paid $3000 each to become Green Loans assessors will be thrown on the unemployment scrapheap if the scheme collapses.

Instead of using only registered training organisations, unregistered groups were allowed to conduct audit training courses, with one earning $300,000 in one weekend by packing 200 people in a class at $1500 a head.

The Opposition's environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, yesterday called for a "full-scale investigation", claiming the program had been a fiasco. But the Federal Government yesterday defended the scheme, with a spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett saying it had "stimulated significant growth in the market for household sustainability assessors". He said the scheme's future would be considered "in the context of Budget deliberations".

Brisbane's Gillian Steele said she thought the project had "a lot of merit" when she paid $3000 for herself and her daughter to be trained as Green Loans assessors. "I'm frustrated and disappointed," she said yesterday.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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