Thursday, January 28, 2010

Temperature and CO2 feedback loop 'weaker than thought'

Warmist scientists know that CO2 has been rising for many years now with no correlated rise in temperatures, and they are scratching to explain it. So they turn to their usual proxies to generate an explanation. But tree-ring proxies for temperature are garbage -- even the CRU would not use them from 1960 on -- because they DON'T correlate with temperature. So this is just a measured retreat. They say that CO2 is a weaker influence than thought but are not yet ready to go the whole hog and say that there is NO effect of CO2 on temperatures

The most alarming forecasts of natural systems amplifying the human-induced greenhouse effect may be too high, according to a new report. The study in Nature confirms that as the planet warms, oceans and forests will absorb proportionally less CO2. It says this will increase the effects of man-made warming - but much less than recent research has suggested.

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises. Further, they say their concern about man-made climate change remains high.

The research, from a team of scientists in Switzerland and Germany, attempts to settle one of the great debates in climate science about exactly how the Earth's natural carbon cycle will exacerbate any man-made warming. Some climate sceptics have argued that a warmer world will increase the land available for vegetation, which will in turn absorb CO2 and temper further warming. This is known as a negative feedback loop - the Earth acting to keep itself in balance. But the Nature research concludes that any negative feedback will be swamped by positive feedback in which extra CO2 is released from the oceans and from already-forested areas.

The oceans are the world's great store of CO2, but the warmer they become, the less CO2 they can absorb. And forests dried out by increased temperatures tend to decay and release CO2 from their trees and soils.

Commenting in Nature on the new research, Hugues Goosse from the Universit√© Catholique de Louvain in Belgium said: "In a warmer climate, we should not expect pleasant surprises in the form of more efficient uptake of carbon by oceans and land… that would limit the amplitude of future climate change".

The IPCC's fourth assessment report had a broad range of estimates as to how far natural systems would contribute to a spiral of warming. The Nature paper narrows that range to the lower end of previous estimates.

The report's lead author, David Frank from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, told BBC News that many of the calculations for the IPCC assessment report did not include an integrated carbon cycle. He said that if the results his paper were widely accepted, the overall effect on climate projections would be neutral. "It might lead to a downward mean revision of those (climate) models which already include the carbon cycle, but an upward revision in those which do not include the carbon cycle. "That'll probably even itself out to signify no real change in the temperature projections overall," he said.

The team's calculations are based on a probabilistic analysis of climate variation between the years 1050 and 1800 - that is, before the Industrial Revolution introduced fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Using 200,000 data points, the study - believed by Nature to be the most comprehensive of its kind so far - compared the Antarctic ice core record of trapped CO2 bubbles with so-called proxy data like tree rings, which are used to estimate temperature changes.

The most likely value among their estimates suggests that for every degree Celsius of warming, natural ecosystems tend to release an extra 7.7 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere (the full range of their estimate was between 1.7 and 21.4 parts per million). This stands in sharp contrast to the recent estimates of positive feedback models, which suggest a release of 40 parts per million per degree; the team say with 95% certainty that value is an overestimate.

The paper will surely not be the last word in this difficult area of research, with multiple uncertainties over data sources. "I think that the magnitude of the warming amplification given by the carbon cycle is a live issue that will not suddenly be sorted by another paper trying to fit to palaeo-data," Professor Brian Hoskins, a climate expert from Imperial College London, told BBC News.

Professor Tim Lenton from the University of East Anglia said: "It looks intriguing and comforting if they are right. The immediate problem I can see is that past variations in CO2 and temperature over the last millennium were very small, and this group are assuming that the relationship they derive from these very small variations can be extrapolated to the much larger variations in temperature we expect this century. "We have plenty of reason to believe that the shape of the relationship may change (be nonlinear) when we 'hit the system harder'. So, I don't think they can rule out that the positive feedback from the carbon cycle could become stronger in a significantly warmer climate."


The latest NASA deception

Nasa’s latest press release on climate change says: “Nasa researcher finds last decade was warmest on record, 2009 was one of warmest years.”

The statement is worth looking at in detail not only because of the scientific data it uses but also because of the way it portrays it. It also reveals a major difference of opinion amongst the most prominent climate researchers. The Nasa researcher referred to is Jim Hansen of the Goddard Spaceflight Centre. The press release was based on a report he wrote a little earlier.

It continues: “A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880. In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year on record.”

As is often the case, one has to take claims like this with reservation. It is not a new analysis and everyone knows already that the last decade has been the warmest. The press release then proceeds to dilute its headline message with some more facts by adding, “The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.” In reality this makes the claim that 2009 was the second warmest year specious.

“There’s always interest in the annual temperature numbers and a given year’s ranking, but the ranking often misses the point,” Jim Hansen is quoted as saying, “There’s substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Nino-La Nina cycle. When we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

But it’s not like that. Ranking of years is the very point and when done reveals that there is no upward trend in the temperature data. If anything the GISS global temperature data set, and the HadCRUT3 one as well, shows that there is not a substantial year-to-year variability. A look at the figures shows that when the errors are taken into consideration there is not much variability as the scatter of means lies within well those errors. Also, despite La Nina – El Nino activity, the data since the two cooler years following the very strong 1998 El Nino shows am impeccable straight line

Gavin Schmidt is also quoted in the press release saying, “The difference between the second and sixth warmest years is trivial because the known uncertainty in the temperature measurement is larger than some of the differences between the warmest years.” This is a statement of the obvious.

Nasa adds, “January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s. In the past three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.36 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) per decade. In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) since 1880.”

It is, in my view, misleading to mix the overall warming seen since the Victorian period with the warming seen since 1980 without any qualification. They are highly likely to be due to different causes and one does not support or confirm the other.

Then there is the question about the perceived lack of warming seen in the past ten years.

Jim Hansen writes: Frequently heard fallacies are that “global warming stopped in 1998” or “the world has been getting cooler over the past decade”. These statements appear to be wishful thinking – it would be nice if true, but that is not what the data show. True, the 1998 global temperature jumped far above the previous warmest year in the instrumental record, largely because 1998 was affected by the strongest El Nino of the century. Thus for the following several years the global temperature was lower than in 1998, as expected.

However, the 5-year and 11-year running mean global temperatures have continued to increase at nearly the same rate as in the past three decades. There is a slight downward tick at the end of the record, but even that may disappear if 2010 is a warm year. Indeed, given the continued growth of greenhouse gases and the underlying global warming trend there is a high likelihood, I would say greater than 50 percent, that 2010 will be the warmest year in the period of instrumental data.

This is an example of how simple averaging can obscure something that is obvious in the data. Most scientists see this. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science says, “There can be no argument about that. We have to face the fact.” Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Plank Institute for Meteorology adds, “We really don’t know why this stagnation is taking place at the moment.” “I hardly know a colleague who would deny that it hasn’t got warmer in recent years.”

There are some that agree with Jim Hansen. Phil Jones in the notorious leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit says, “those idiots saying global warming has stopped.” Although elsewhere in the leaked emails Kevin Trenberth says, “The fact is, we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

In summary, it would be fair to say that we live in a warm decade as a result of warming in the 1980’s and 1990’s but it is now incontrovertible that it hasn’t become any warmer in the past decade. I’m surprised there is still debate about this and about the lack of clarity in the Nasa press release.


And now for Amazongate

The IPCC also made false predictions on the Amazon rain forests, referenced to a non peer-reviewed paper produced by an advocacy group working with the WWF. This time though, the claim made is not even supported by the report and seems to be a complete fabrication

Thus, following on from "Glaciergate", where the IPCC grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on Himalayan glaciers – backed by a reference to a WWF report - we now have "Amazongate", where the IPCC has grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rain forest.

This is to be found in Chapter 13 of the Working Group II report, the same part of the IPCC fourth assessment report in which the "Glaciergate" claims are made. There, is the startling claim that:

At first sight, the reference looks kosher enough but, following it through, one sees:

This, then appears to be another WWF report, carried out in conjunction with the IUCN - The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The link given is no longer active, but the report is on the IUCN website here. Furthermore, the IUCN along with WWF is another advocacy group and the report is not peer-reviewed. According to IPCC rules, it should not have been used as a primary source.

Firming up the WWF link, the second of the two authors, Dr P F Moore, is cited as the coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Conservation Union (IUCN) Project FireFight South-East, Asia, Bogor, Indonesia. He works for both organisations.

His reported comments on the Amazonian rain forests are interesting, as he is by no means an Amazon specialist – or even a climate specialist. His cv tells us: "My background and experience around the world has required and developed high-level policy and analytical skills. I have a strong understanding of government administration, legislative review, analysis and inquiries generated through involvement in or management of the Australian Regional Forest Agreement process, Parliamentary and Government inquiries, Coronial inquiries and public submissions on water pricing, access and use rights and native vegetation legislation in Australia and fire and natural resources laws, regulations and policies in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia."

Perhaps, then, the lead author, Rowell A, is a more experience academic, with direct knowledge of the Amazon basin? Sadly, he is not. Andy Rowell, is an investigative freelance journalist and a green activist who writes occasionally for The Guardian and The Independent....

Thus, the IPCC is relying for its assertions that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation" on a free-lance journalist/activist and a specialist in policy and analysis relating to forest fires in Australia, Asia and South Africa.

Much more HERE

Axe the tax if you want to go green

Bjorn Lomborg is a Warmist, perhaps as a tactic, but he points out the vast irrationality of conventional political responses to the "problem". The following was written for an Australian audience

POLITICIANS are trying hard to pretend that the Copenhagen climate summit was not a complete failure. After raising expectations that they would broker a significant, binding treaty on carbon emission reductions, they are now telling us we should view Copenhagen's empty, non-binding agreement as a small but important "first step" on the journey towards solving global warming. We have heard this one before. When politicians from wealthy countries met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and promised to cut emissions by 2000, the French diplomat chairing the negotiations declared, "It's just a first step."

When leaders met again in Kyoto in 1997 and promised stricter reductions, president Bill Clinton told us that the treaty was a "huge first step" that "opened the way" to further action. Neither of these "first steps" actually took us anywhere: wealthy countries failed to meet their promises and global carbon emissions have continued to climb.

So what now? After 17 years of wasted effort, we can ill afford to squander more precious time continuing on this pointless road to nowhere. Climate change needs addressing smartly. We can only hope that December's failure will be the jolt we need to once and for all drop the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen approach and start tackling this challenge effectively.

If it wants to, Australia is certainly well positioned to demonstrate global leadership. Kevin Rudd could start the ball rolling by ditching plans to reintroduce the proposed emissions trading scheme legislation. On one level, the problem with this legislation is that emissions trading schemes disguise the true costs of reducing carbon emissions and offer an almost irresistible opportunity to spend the billions of dollars of revenue on ineffective subsidies and sweeteners. But there is a bigger reason for the Prime Minister to change course: carbon cuts are a hugely expensive, extraordinarily impractical response to global warming.

All the major climate economic models show that using carbon cuts to achieve the widely discussed goal of keeping temperature rises under 2C would require a global tax on carbon emissions starting at $110 a ton (or about 26ca litre of petrol) and increasing to $4300 a ton (or $10 a litre of petrol) by the end of the century. In all, this would cost a phenomenal $43 trillion a year. And this is an optimistic estimate based on the unlikely assumption that politicians everywhere across the globe would make the most effective choices possible (such as choosing more efficient carbon taxes over emissions-trading schemes). The ultimate price tag could actually be 10 or 100 times higher. What we know for certain is that, according to most mainstream calculations, the cost of this solution would be many, many times greater than the climate damage it seeks to prevent.

For nearly two decades now, world leaders concerned about global warming have focused single-mindedly on cutting fossil fuel use by promising to cut carbon emissions. At the same time, they have failed to invest anywhere enough money into ensuring that alternative technologies are ready to take up the slack. As a result, green energy technologies are far from competitive, scalable or effective and in many cases still require very basic research and development. In research for the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, Isabel Galiana and Chris Green examined rates of development of alternative energy sources and concluded that by 2050, green energy will be capable of producing less than half of the power needed to stabilise carbon emissions.

By 2100, the situation will be even worse.

Putting a high price on carbon and hoping that alternative technology will catch up is not a sound policy. Quite the contrary. Until the technology is there, carbon taxes will simply bleed the economy, while providing no real benefit to the climate. So if we are serious about reducing fossil fuel use without crippling the world economy, we need to radically ramp up green technologies.

To get the required technological revolution started, we need to act now. Devoting just 0.2 per cent of global gross domestic product - about $100bn a year in global spending - to green energy research and development would produce the kind of game-changing breakthroughs needed to fuel a carbon-free future for the entire planet. Not only would this be a much less expensive and less politically fraught fix than trying to cut carbon emissions, it would also ultimately reduce global warming much more.

In this regard, Australia has an opportunity to lead the world, and to do well by doing good. Creating a policy response to global warming based around the development of a research and development fund would not only be good for the planet, it would also open new avenues for Australian ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

But whatever role Australia decides to play, it is vital that we understand what happened in Copenhagen last month. Pretending that the climate summit was anything other than a failure would deny us the important lesson we should learn from it. The negotiations fell apart because the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen road is a dead end. Carbon cut promises have not worked. It is time to stop stumbling around taking one "first step" after another, and to get started on meaningful action against climate change.


Any global warming is unlikely to be a big problem amid technological advance

By Ziggy Switkowski, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

IS it possible that global warming might be the first example of irreversible large-scale environmental change caused by humankind? Certainly over the centuries we've been responsible for wars, chemical and nuclear accidents, the spread of disease, depletion of resources, habitat and species destruction as well as experiencing the full range of natural hazards, humanitarian disasters and pandemics that have had shocking and permanent effects.

Yet from a historical and global perspective, a reversion to a positive trend occurs, albeit over generations, wherein new technologies and improved social and political processes combine to produce continuing improvements in average global standards of living, and futures unconstrained by the past.

Climate model forecasts, however, suggest that runaway climate change might defy this history and so demands urgent and costly preventive measures. What is runaway climate change? Fundamentally, a process once started - such as global warming or melting of Greenland ice - continues, perhaps even accelerates, under the influence of positive feedback, with irreversible consequences for the environment and life as we know it.

An example of positive feedback is when large white ice sheets melt, reducing the reflection of incoming sunlight and increasing solar energy absorption by the darker underlying surface, exposed rock or sea, further increasing temperatures, which leads to more melting, and so on. A textbook example of irreversible climate change is the planet Venus, which started its warming journey three to four billion years ago and evolved from a water-bearing environment to a toxic inferno. But is the threat of a billion-year transition what alarms us today?

Self evidently, there has been no consequential runaway event in the 15,000 years of modern man since the last ice age, or even in the million-year span of human existence. Climate and environment appear to have followed patterns understandable to us today. Certainly, strong climate cycles have shaped the earth's history, but concerns about runaway effects arise from complex climate models whose predictions are sometimes disputed.

But the industrial era has produced two forces that seem capable of triggering runaway-like effects on our environment: population growth and associated energy production.

Global population has increased from one billion people after the start of the Industrial Revolution about 1800 to nearly seven billion today, with a four-fold increase in the past 100 years alone. This looks like a runaway trend. But the world's population is now confidently forecast to level out near 10 billion people during the second half of this century.

Energy production and consumption loosely follow population growth but accelerate as the standards of living in the developing nations catch up to the West. As a result, global energy output will increase two or three times by the century's end.

But the combination of slowing population growth, closing the lifestyle gap with the West and the arrival of new clean energy systems supplying more efficient products and processes could stabilise greenhouse effects by century end. Along the way, adapting to climate changes is a matter of resources and resolve - barriers can be built to withstand sea-level rises, emergency services can be improved, property and personnel can be better protected, and so on.

But the legacy of generations of excessive emissions remains: our climate and environment will be highly stressed and may yet be locked into a runaway warming trajectory.

A key headline claim is that the 200-year industrial era has brought the planet to within 100 years of irreversible climate catastrophe and that the responsibility lies with today's generation to prevent such a cataclysmic situation. This conclusion rests on the assumption that the risk of climate catastrophe is growing faster than the rate at which technology can be developed to mitigate this risk. Is this a reasonable assumption?

The US National Academy of Engineering recently produced a list of the most significant technical advances of the 20th century. The top 10 included: electrification, automobiles, airplanes, water supply and distribution, electronics, radio and television, agricultural mechanisation, computers, telephony, air conditioning and refrigeration (the early internet appeared at No. 13).

Might the 21st century of innovation produce an even more influential list that, if appropriately prioritised, includes the tools to address global warming before runaway effects occur? Today even seemingly permanent damage such as species extinction appears addressable with emerging gene technology. Tomorrow, geo-engineering (extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), soil sequestration and non-fossil fuel systems may give us all the answers.

Is it a modern vanity to presume we must solve technological challenges today that will seem trivial to society next century, especially if our history of technical innovation continues? (As Jesse Ausubel writes in New Scientist, "At the start of the 20th century there was widespread concern that horse manure and chimney smoke would bury or choke cities.)

This reasoning does not suggest global inaction but emphasises the key role that public policy, innovation, research and development must play. Climate change should be a global priority that leads to collaborative focused research efforts to find solutions. Australia's leadership in carbon capture and storage technology is one good example of this. Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the required long-term investments in R&D. In any policy choice between economic growth and more conservative, restricted lifestyles, go for growth and wealth creation supporting a culture of innovation every time.



Three articles below

Official Australian climate alarmist retreats a little

Most of the remarks by Britain's John Beddington below are as alluded to yesterday in a post sourced from Andrew Bolt. But at that time Penelope Sackit had only alarmist things to say. In the report below we see that she has moved closer to Beddington's more responsible position. Beddington is a biologist and Sackit is an astronomer. Neither sounds like a plausible expert on climate science but Penny is probably the one who is most aware of that deficiency -- so she sticks to dogma for fear of making a mistake. I am beginning to think that my qualifications in social science make me as good an "expert" on climate matters as many of the so-called experts

THE impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the British government's chief scientific adviser. John Beddington said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

Australia's chief scientist, Penny Sackett, told The Australian last night she shared Professor Beddington's concerns. Professor Sackett said climate change was a scientific reality but there was a need for absolute openness and rigour in the presentation of evidence, including recognition of which aspects of climate change science were imprecise and required further research.

Professor Beddington said public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly disputed issues. He said: "I don't think it's healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can't be changed."

He said the false claim in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way some evidence was presented. "Certain unqualified statements have been unfortunate. We have a problem in communicating uncertainty. There's definitely an issue there. If there wasn't, there wouldn't be the level of scepticism. "All of these predictions have to be caveated by saying, `There's a level of uncertainty about that'."

Professor Beddington said particular caution was needed when communicating predictions about climate change made with the help of computer models. "It's unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change. "When you get into large-scale climate modelling, there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves."

He said it was wrong for scientists to refuse to disclose their data to their critics: "I think, wherever possible, we should try to ensure there is openness and that source material is available for the whole scientific community." He added: "There is a danger that people can manipulate the data, but the benefits from being open far outweigh that danger."

Professor Sackett said there was no real dispute within the scientific community about the reality of climate change but she wanted non-scientists to have greater access to the evidence to help inform the necessary public debate about crafting policy responses to the problem. "The public must be provided with the best possible advice," Professor Sackett said. "It must have available to it some understanding or the ability to develop an understanding about which issues the science is quite clear on and where there is less precision in our understanding." For example, Professor Sackett said, while the reality of climate change was clearly understood, there was less certainty about its effects on rainfall patterns in Australia. More research was required before conclusions could be drawn with any scientific confidence.

She said the work of Australian climate change scientists had been "quite good" and that people should not assume that because some British research had been questioned there was a doubt over the existence of the phenomenon.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the scientists were correct, and he accused Kevin Rudd of taking a "McCarthyist" approach to anyone who disagreed with his views on climate change. "While I happen to believe the balance of science is that there is climate change, unlike the Prime Minister I believe it is a breach of democratic responsibility to demonise scientists and the three million Australians who disagree with me," Mr Hunt said.

Phil Jones, the director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to the IPCC's reports, has been forced to stand down while an investigation takes place into leaked emails allegedly showing that he attempted to conceal data. In response to one request for data, Professor Jones wrote: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Professor Beddington said that uncertainty about some aspects of climate science should not be used as an excuse for inaction. "Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem," he said."But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of crashing?"

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, said: "Climate scientists get kudos from working on an issue in the public eye, but with that kudos comes responsibility. Being open with data is part of that responsibility." He criticised Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, for his dismissive response last November to research suggesting that the UN body had overstated the threat to the glaciers. Mr Pachauri described it as "voodoo science". Professor Hulme said: "Pachauri's choice of words has not been good. The question of whether he is the right person to lead the IPCC is for the 193 countries who make up its governing body. It's a political decision."


Climategate gives lord of the sceptics plenty of ammunition

The visit to Australia this week of Lord Christopher Monckton - the world's most effective global warming sceptic - couldn't have been better timed. Hot on the heels of the "Climategate" email leak, which called into question the "tricks" used to sex up the case for the war against global warming, have come back-to-back revelations tarnishing the reputation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

First domino down last week was the claim in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 - the one that won it a Nobel Prize - that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. As one of the most dire climate change outcomes, this claim received enormous publicity and was often cited by politicians. But, it turns out, the evidence was based not on credible peer-review science, but on an unsubstantiated report by the environmental group World Wildlife Fund for Nature. It stemmed from a 1999 beat-up in the popular journal New Scientist that featured an interview with an obscure Indian scientist, Syed Hasnain, who has since admitted his glacier prediction was "speculation". Hasnain now works for the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi, whose director-general, Rajendra Pachauri, is also head of the IPCC.

Even murkier is the fact the glacier furphy reportedly netted lots of grant money for the institute. "My job is not to point out mistakes," Hasnain told The Times of London. "And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?" Yes, what about them indeed. Are scientists just cowardly? The mendacity of the IPCC came to light when the Indian Government fact-checked its glacier claim. Belated scrutiny of the 2007 report has uncovered other bogus claims, and at least 16 WWF references.

The next domino to fall was the IPCC's assertion that global warming was to blame for weather disasters such as hurricane and drought. The Sunday Times in London reported this was based on an unpublished scientific paper that had not been peer reviewed, and that, when it was published in 2008, had found no link.

The latest revelation is that an IPCC claim about the Amazon rainforest was also drawn from a WWF report. The IPCC says it is simply a "human mistake" to parrot WWF press releases, as if they are credible science and not green propaganda, and no one bats an eyelid.

Well, except Monckton, who has been batting his considerable eyelids (large because of a thyroid ailment) for years over bogus claims. He even succeeded in having a table in the 2007 report corrected after he pointed out that it overstated sea-level rises tenfold.

Having been singled out for vilification last year by Kevin Rudd in an extraordinary speech, Monckton finds the times suit him well. Rudd's vehemence attracted the attention of semi-retired engineer John Smeed, who splits his time between Lane Cove and Noosa. He and another engineer, Case Smit invited Monckton to Australia, footing the $100,000 bill for his eight-city tour from their own pockets, offset by donations.

I was invited to a small lunch for Monckton this week, hosted by Smeed and a Newcastle engineer, Jeff McCloy. In person, Monckton is taller and more serious than he appears on screen. Being a mathematician he has a logical mind, as well as irrepressible self-confidence, which makes him a formidable opponent for climate alarmists.

Andy Pitman, a co-director of the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre, complained on ABC radio this week that climate sceptics are so "well funded, so well organised [and] have nothing else to do . . . They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, State and Federal Government." Huh? How can climate alarmists pitch themselves as the underdog when they have had on their side the full force of government (and opposition until lately), media (apart from a few individual holdouts) and big business?

Public opinion has changed as the credibility of the IPCC ebbs, the crippling cost of climate change measures becomes apparent and the array of rentseekers and phonies grows. Monckton is a man whose time has come because he owes nothing to anybody and he has the capacity to interpret the science to a public looking for answers.

As an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, he learnt that when you make policy about an issue that is outside your expertise, you must distill it down to one proposition. In this case, how much will a given increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause warming? The answer determines whether or not you spend trillions of taxpayer dollars "and wreck the economies of the West". Monckton pored over scientific papers on climate sensitivity and concluded the IPCC exaggerated climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide at least sixfold, so we have time cautiously to decide whether or not to attempt to change global temperature.

In any case, he says, what if every nation agreed to cut emissions by 30 per cent in the next 10 years? The "warming forestalled would be 0.02 celsius degrees, at a cost of trillions. There's no point doing it."

The last refuge of alarmists is the precautionary principle, in which we "give the planet the benefit of the doubt". But Monckton says bad policy guided by the precautionary principle has already led to the death of millions of people as the transfer of farmland to grow biofuels meant less food, higher prices, food riots and starvation. He cites the United Nations special rapporteur Jean Ziegler, who said growing biofuels instead of food when the poor were starving was a "crime against humanity".

Monckton says public opinion is "galloping" in his direction, which bodes ill for Rudd as he prepares to push through his emissions trading scheme next month.


Perils of population growth

Australia has a problem of immigration quality -- large numbers of unskilled, welfare dependant and crime-prone "refugees" are being let in -- but it has no problem with population quantity. Australia is roughly the size of the continental USA yet has only 14% of America's population. The map below should be instructive too. But accomodating more people would mean clearing more trees; building on more grasslands; building more dams and building more roads -- all of which are of course a horror to any Greenie

DO you get the feeling your back yard is getting smaller? Or that the patch of turf you laid last year has disappeared to be replaced by a slab of concrete? It’s one of Australia’s most pressing issues, yet political leaders refuse to do anything to stop it. I am referring to Australia’s surging population growth. Recent projections that Australia will have to accommodate 35 million people by 2050 - up from 22 million at present - is a worrying prospect.

In the post-World War II years, the rallying call in this country was to populate or perish - a response to the fear of military invasion from a powerful northern neighbour. This gave us the Baby Boomer generation, which is now nearing retirement and creating imminent pressures of an aging population.

The greying of the nation has prompted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to espouse a new call for a “big Australia”, propelled by a higher birth rate and increased immigration. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. What will happen in another 50 years? Will another prime minister call for an even bigger population boom to replace the generation reaching retirement then?

The population debate has been hijacked until now by economic greed and rationalism. The argument has been that the higher the population growth, the greater consumption will be and therefore economic prosperity and profit - at least for the wealthy few in society. Little or no attention has been paid to the limited availability of natural resources, the dire effect on the environment and loss of quality of life as more people compete for living space in our cities.

It is good to see that questions are finally being raised about Australia’s sustainable population. This week enterpreneur-adventurer Dick Smith became the latest in a string of forward thinkers who criticised Government plans to encourage population growth, saying Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. He also urged slashing immigration and discouraging women from having more than two babies, thereby allowing population growth to be contained.

Just because people in many other countries have to live in cramped high-rises in concrete urban jungles does not make it a lifestyle model Australians should aspire to.

In 1798, the Rev Robert Thomas Malthus published his Principles of Population in which he stated: “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”. He predicted that endless population growth would block progress towards a utopian society. As an Anglican minister, Malthus, believed that God had created an inexorable tendency to human population growth for a moral purpose, with the threat of poverty and starvation designed to teach the virtues of hard work and virtuous behaviour.

We carry a responsiblity to make the world a better place for the generations that will follow. Australia is well placed to embark on a journey to a more sustainable future. The future of the country may depend on it.



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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