Monday, March 01, 2010

The Week That Was

Quote of the Week: “In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy A little I can read.” Soothsayer in Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare

As the winter weather continues to rage in much of the Northern Hemisphere in ways not expected, this week we have not witnessed any new, remarkable revelations on ClimateGates we saw over the past few months, but the internal turmoil these revelations created continues. Even the New York Times appears to be resigned that it is unlikely the interested parties will have a grand climate change treaty ready for the December Conference of Parties meeting in Mexico. Three months ago many thought such a treaty was inevitable by then if not before. If only the New York Times will tell its readers exactly why.

The UN chief negotiator for a treaty has resigned, IPCC Chairman R.K. Pachauri is under fire, surface temperature data are being investigated, and exaggerations in the IPCC reports are coming to the fore. Of course IPCC defenders dismiss the issues as exaggerations from a few dissident skeptics or, as US Senator Bernie Sanders claims, Nazi deniers.

The leaders of the UN Environmental Program (EP), made up of delegates from 58 countries, are weathering the storms huddled up in Bali with special interest groups scheming Plan B. Early reports indicate EP is making a major effort to be ready for the 2012 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro which is timed to be the 20th Anniversary of the “Earth Summit” in Rio that led to the Kyoto Protocol which will expire that year. No doubt more news will follow.

The US EPA has thus far responded to the petitions for reconsideration of its finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and welfare as expected: with a resounding NO! “The science is settled.” Or as the headline of one article puts it: “Fifteen Years With No Global Warming Doesn’t Mean There’s No Global Warming, Says EPA Chief.” No doubt this story will also develop further.

One characteristic that is common to the advocates is their scientific certainty and how appalled they act should anyone should question them. Thus, they dismiss any major errors of fact, data, or conclusions as only a few misplaced words in some 3,000 pages of text.

The “News You Can Use” begins with meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo’s [] explanation of the wild winter then continues with three articles on polar ice caps. After this are a collection of articles on current UN IPCC and EP activities as well as EPA issues. Following this are more articles on climate change and other topics.

Several articles deserve special mention. One is the article on the Vermont Senate voting to not extend the operating license of a nuclear power plant that provides one-third of the state’s electricity. The license expires in 2012. The issue is tritium leakage (tritium is an isotope of hydrogen). The second article of special mention is astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s defense of abandoning a mission to the Moon in favor of going to Mars.

More HERE (See the original for links)

ClimateGate (CG) and other ’Gates’ undermine the credibility of the IPCC and of AGW

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

The reports of the UN-IPCC have long provided the basis of the so-called ‘scientific consensus.’ Climate statements of assorted national academies of sciences, including the venerable Royal Society, turned out to be nothing more than rehash of the IPCC conclusions, rather than independent assessments. Similarly, the statements issued by various professional societies simply relied on the IPCC – without adding any analyses of their own.

In turn, this apparent consensus misled not only the media and the public but also the wider scientific community, which had remained largely unaware of the ongoing debate and of the work of the many reputable climate experts who disagreed with the IPCC. Thanks to the e-mails of ClimateGate (CG), we now know of the efforts by a small clique to suppress publication of such dissenting views by subverting the scientific peer-review process – often with the connivance of the editors of leading professional journals.

All this is now changing. The e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia server strongly suggest that the basic temperature data had been manipulated, yielding the reported strong surface warming of the past 30 years. Again, we had long suspected this, because the data from weather satellites showed little warming trend of the atmosphere since 1979. Available proxy data seemed to confirm this result (see “Hot Talk Cold Science” [1997] -- HTCS Fig 16). But according to theory – and every greenhouse climate model -- tropospheric trends should be substantially greater than surface trends.

This disparity between the trends derived from weather station data and from satellite data was already apparent in 1996 (see HTCS Fig 9), and was amply confirmed in a special study of the US National Academy of Sciences [“Reconciling observations of global temperature change” 2000].

The NAS report could not reconcile the disparity and never explained its cause. But it has become evident now that the cause may be a greatly exaggerated surface trend – brought about by the CG cabal. We will learn the details once we unravel just how the data were manipulated.

The ‘manufacture’ of a ‘man-made’ warming trend, when there is none, likely involved (i) selection of stations that showed a trend, and (ii) inadequate correction for purely local warming influences such as the ‘urban heat island’ effect (see HTCS Figs 7 and 8; and the recent extensive publications of Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts).

In a sense then, the other ‘Gates’ discovered since CG – GlacierGate and all the rest – are a distraction from the main story. They were all found in IPCC Volume 2, which deals with climate impacts, i.e. with the consequences of global warming. They indicate a general sloppiness and make a mockery of the much touted IPCC standards and procedures. They have severely shaken the public’s and the media’s faith in the IPCC. But the main story is still CG – because it impacts directly on IPCC Volume 1, which deals with climate science and the causes of climate change rather than with climate impacts. To sum up: CG demonstrates just how the IPCC [2007] arrived at its erroneous conclusion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the latter half of the 20th century. They used bad data. It’s no surprise then that none of the evidence the IPCC put forth in support of AGW can stand up to scrutiny – as already shown in the reports of the NIPCC (“Nature, not human activity, rules the climate” and “Climate change reconsidered”) [2008 and 2009].

Science editorial #7-2010 (Feb 27, 2010)

Al Gore's Nine Lies

The godfather of climate hysteria is in hiding as another of his wild claims unravels — this one about global warming causing seas to swallow us up. We've not seen or heard much of the former vice president, Oscar winner and Nobel Prize recipient recently as the case for disastrous man-made climate change collapses.

Perhaps he's off reading how scientists were forced to withdraw a study on a projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding two "technical" mistakes that undermined the findings. The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, allegedly confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sea levels would rise due to climate change. The IPCC put the rise at 59 centimeters by 2100. The Nature Geoscience study put it at up to 82 centimeters.

Many considered the study and the IPCC's estimates too conservative in their warnings. After all, Al Gore, in his award-winning opus, "An Inconvenient Truth," laughingly called a documentary, foretold an apocalyptic vision of the devastation caused by a 20-foot rise in sea levels due to melting polar ice caps "in the near future."

Now Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at England's University of Bristol, has formally retracted the study. "One mistake was a miscalculation; the other was not to allow fully for temperature change over the past 2,000 years," he said. According to Siddall, "People make mistakes, and mistakes happen in science." They seem to be happening a lot lately, and more than just mistakes. We are talking about outright fraud, the deliberate manipulation and destruction of data.

Last November, Al Gore was hailed by Newsweek as "The Thinking Man's Thinking Man." Since then we and he have been given much to think about, starting with the damning e-mails from researchers associated with the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. The e-mails revealed an organized attempt to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, to manipulate data to fit preconceived conclusions, and to discredit and shun reputable skeptics.

A key finding of the IPCC, which along with Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, was revealed last month to be utterly bogus. The IPCC claimed glaciers in the Himalayas would likely disappear by 2035. The only thing they had to back it up was a 1999 non-peer reviewed article in an Indian mass-market science magazine.

It's been revealed that researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been systematically eliminating weather stations, with a clear bias toward removing colder latitude and altitude locations. The number of reporting stations in Canada dropped from 600 to 35, with only one station used by the NOAA as a temperature gauge for Canadian territory above the Arctic Circle.

The past is prologue. Two years ago, Justice Michael Burton of London's High Court ruled Gore's film could be shown in British schools only if material explaining its errors were included in the curriculum. Burton documented nine significant errors in Gore's film and wrote that some of Gore's claims arose from "alarmism and exaggeration."

The first error Gore made, according to Burton, was in his apocalyptic vision of the devastation caused by a rise in sea levels caused by melting polar ice caps. Burton wrote that Gore's predicted 20-foot rise could occur "only after, and over, millennia" and to suggest otherwise "is not in line with the scientific consensus."

One by one, Gore's prophecies of doom and those of the climate charlatans he inspired are being exposed as the work of con artists. From the CRU to the IPCC, the climate dominoes are falling one by one. His silence speaks volumes.


Skating on thin ice for climate change

Energy Secretary Steven Chu didn't reach the pinnacle of his profession by treading the well-worn path of modern group-think. It's regrettable that the Nobel Prize-winning physicist is stuck in that rut now. Mr. Chu took great pains in a Feb. 19 speech to a Denver energy summit in arguing the case for human-induced climate change. "We have to convince all of America that this is a nonpartisan issue. ... This is our economic future," he said.

You have to feel for a man of science trying to make the jump to politics. In science, facts speak for themselves. In politics, facts are often run to ground by baloney. As energy secretary, Mr. Chu has traded fact for fiction and now spends his days selling President Obama's discredited climate-change policy.

Surely, Mr. Chu must be aware that the case for human-induced climate change, the cause that he has embraced as the paramount mission of his secretariat, has been exposed as fraught with fraud. Two weeks ago, Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' pre-eminent climate-change official, announced his resignation amid a groundswell of derision over his failure to confront the global-warming hoax. Evidence of falsified data, errors in the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and biased ground-based temperature data are all part of the body of bogus science that has become known as Climategate.

On Wednesday, when Mr. Chu toured the site of Abu Dhabi's Masdar City - touted as "the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city" - he felt compelled to voice climate-change-equals-jobs rhetoric similar to that which he delivered in Denver. When completed, the sparkling 6-square-kilometer model city will be equipped with the world's priciest energy technologies, including solar, hydrogen and geothermal power plants - energy toys that a few opulent oil sheiks can afford to play with, but a country the size of America cannot. What he saw there will not be "our economic future," at least not anytime soon.

Mr. Chu's official government biography crows that he has "devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to our energy challenges and stopping global climate change - a mission he continues with even greater urgency as secretary of energy."

The Cabinet secretary could learn from the example of the wise Viking King Canute. Legend has it that when His Majesty learned that his flattering courtiers were claiming he was "so great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back," he had his throne carried to the seashore. When the tide rose, he commanded the waves to halt. When his command had no effect, he pointed out to all that though the deeds of kings might appear great to men, they were nothing compared to the forces of nature.

Likewise, the energy secretary would be smart to apprehend the limits of his power. Climate will change - or cease changing - but not by his leave. The real challenge of helping Americans develop clean, affordable and plentiful energy sources should be enough to occupy his days in office.


Skeptics condemned by a Left-wing extremist

A definite badge of honour for skeptics. Sanders calls himself a socialist but so did Stalin

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is comparing climate change skeptics to those who disregarded the Nazi threat to America in the 1930s, adding a strident rhetorical shot to the already volatile debate over climate change. "It reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s," said Sanders, perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate, during a Senate hearing Tuesday. "During that period of Nazism and fascism's growth-a real danger to the United States and democratic countries around the world- there were people in this country and in the British parliament who said 'don't worry! Hitler's not real! It'll disappear!"

Sanders’ reference to the Nazi threat is sure to enrage Republicans who are already skeptical of the science behind climate change. But Sanders wasn't the only one throwing bombs at a hearing that was ostensibly about the EPA's fiscal 2011 budget. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has called global warming a "hoax," is asking for an investigation into the science used in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the governing body on climate science.

Earlier in the hearing, Inhofe had chided Sanders: "I know the senator from Vermont wants so badly to believe that the science on climate change is settled but it's not."

The heated exchanges came as EPA administrator Lisa Jackson sparred with lawmakers over her agency's decision to regulate greenhouse gases, something that Senate Republicans — and some Democrats — have opposed. "How can you justify doing something administratively that was overwhelmingly rejected by the United States Senate and say defiantly 'we don't care what you say, Congress, we're going to go ahead and do it under the clean air act," Inhofe asked.

Jackson said her agency was in its right to regulate carbon. "The supreme court said the EPA must make the determination whether or not greenhouse gases are harmful to the public welfare. Rather than ignore that obligation I chose as a public administrator to make the order," Jackson replied.

On Monday, Jackson told lawmakers that the EPA would delay regulation of most greenhouse gas producers until 2016. Her announcement came in the wake of a letter from eight coal state Democrats, who, like Republicans, fear the effect of the regulations will have on the economy.

That was little comfort for Republicans. "Some would say it's merely a cynical ploy to delay job killing," said Senator Kit Bond.

As the rhetoric escalates, a handful of senators are actually negotiating on a climate bill. Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced that Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (D-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were "getting close to getting the 60 votes we need" for bipartisan energy legislation. But Inhofe countered that they were nowhere near close enough for cap and trade legislation.


Australia: Millions wasted on Greenie schemes

Tens of millions of dollars is being funnelled into the State Government's energy efficiency programs with little or no evidence to prove they are an effective use of taxpayers' money. A report tabled in State Parliament has revealed none of the power-saving schemes were independently evaluated and the outcomes were "difficult to isolate". The bipartisan committee's report also found few of the state's 1.39 million households or 390,000 businesses were participating in the green initiatives, despite generous rebates.

The poor take-up of power-saving schemes comes as Queensland grapples with its status as the most energy intensive state in the country.

The report highlights the "enormous task ahead" to attract households and businesses to power-saving programs It found one in 780, or a fraction of 1 per cent of businesses, were taking part in the ecoBiz program, which encourages eco-efficient practices in the workplace. Just one in five households have signed up for the much touted $60 million Climate Smart Home Service scheme. The program is worth $450 per house, with a $400 government subsidy and includes 15 free energy-saving light bulbs plus water-saving shower heads.

Committee member and Opposition energy spokesman Jeff Seeney said despite costing millions of taxpayer dollars, there was no evidence the Climate Smart Home Service achieved its energy-efficiency goals. "We have grave reservations about the expenditure of such amounts of public money with no attempt to quantify the outcomes achieved," Mr Seeney said.

Other key concerns were that green initiatives were duplicated across government levels and that the large number of programs, guides, rebates and incentives was confusing and unnecessarily complex. There were also questions about a lack of co-ordination across government levels and between agencies.

Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said he would respond to the report's recommendations "in due time".



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1 comment:

John A said...

Prof. Jones digs a little deeper into that hole:
"Prof Jones today said it was not 'standard practice' in climate science to release data and methodology for scientific findings so that other scientists could check and challenge the research."
No explanation of why climate science is different from any other science.