Friday, April 09, 2010

IPCC lead author “Dealing a Mortal Blow” to the MWP

"Getting rid of" facts and data is the antithesis of science and "dealing them a mortal blow" is no better

There has been a considerable amount of speculation over the past few years about which “leading” climate scientist told David Deming that we have to “get rid of” the Medieval Warm Period, including speculation (e.g. ukweatherworld) that it was Jonathan Overpeck (recently one of two Coordinating Lead Authors of AR4 chapter 6).

While the identity of Deming’s correspondent remains uncertain, a Climategate letter from January 13. 2005, written as an instruction from Overpeck as Coordinating Lead Author to IPCC Lead Authors Briffa and Osborn (cc Jansen, Masson-Delmotte), states that Overpeck wants to “deal a mortal blow” to the MWP (and Holocene Optimum) “myths” (480. 1105670738.txt).
Subject: the new “warm period myths” box

Hi Keith and Tim -

… In reading Valerie [Masson-Delmotte]’s Holocene section, I get the sense that I’m not the only one who would like to deal a mortal blow to the misuse of supposed warm period terms and myths in the literature. The sceptics and uninformed love to cite these periods as natural analogs for current warming too – pure rubbish.

So, pls DO try hard to follow up on my advice provided in previous email. No need to go into details on any but the MWP, but good to mention the others in the same dismissive effort. “Holocene Thermal Maximum” is another one that should only be used with care, and with the explicit knowledge that it was a time-transgressive event totally unlike the recent global warming.

Thanks for doing this on – if you have a cool figure idea, include it.

Best, peck

Oddly, given Overpeck’s commitment to “dealing a mortal blow” to the “misuse” of the MWP, in another Climategate letter, he didn’t like speculation about him being the one who wanted to “get rid of” the MWP (see 868. 1206628118.txt in March 2008.)


Global warming's unscientific method

Science is undermined by scaremongers' abuse of peer-review process. The sort of thing described below is familiar to me. Most of my papers questioned the conventional academic wisdom and they were routinely rejected by relevant journals for specious reasons. Fortunately, there were a few independent-minded editors who allowed me to breach the dam -- JR

The prophets of global warming continue to lament as their carefully crafted yarn unravels before their eyes. Ross McKitrick, an intrepid economics professor from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, has tugged apart the thin mathematical threads that once held together the story of climate change.

Recent attempts to silence Mr. McKitrick illuminate the extent to which the alarmists have abandoned proper scientific method in their pursuit of political goals.

Mr. McKitrick has spent the past two years attempting to publish a scientific paper that documents a fundamental error in the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. This U.N. document serves as the sole authority upon which the Environmental Protection Agency based its December "endangerment finding" that will allow unelected bureaucrats to impose cap-and-trade-style regulations without a vote of Congress. The cost to the public in higher gas and energy prices will run in the billions.

One might think that the scientific community would be extra diligent in double-checking the conclusions of a report carrying such weighty real-world consequences. In fact, the opposite happened. Seven scientific journals circled the wagons to block publication of Mr. McKitrick's explosive findings.

The IPCC report argued that temperatures rose one degree Celsius over the course of a century as a direct result of man-made carbon-dioxide emissions. This tiny change in temperature was calculated through the use of an "adjusted" set of global surface-temperature readings.

Mr. McKitrick found that factors unrelated to global climate contaminated this data set, resulting in a higher temperature reading. He showed a statistically significant correlation between the change in temperature readings and socioeconomic indicators. It makes sense, for example, that replacing trees and forests with concrete and glass skyscrapers might contribute to the .01 degree annual increase in local temperature readings. This "urban heat island" effect would not be present in readings taken outside the asphalt jungle.

Scientific journals evaluate arguments of this sort using a peer-review process by which purportedly impartial experts in the relevant field verify the paper's accuracy and suitability for publication. By addressing issues raised by reviewers, researchers are able to present an improved and refined final product. In Mr. McKitrick's case, the process appears to have been abused to stifle dissent.

The leading journals Science and Nature both rejected the paper as too specialized and lacking in novelty. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society did not respond. Reasons given for refusing the paper in other outlets frequently contradicted one another.

One of the famous leaked e-mails from the former head of the Climatic Research Unit at Britain's University of East Anglia sheds light on what really happens behind the scenes. "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report," professor Phil Jones wrote in reference to a 2004 journal article by Mr. McKitrick. "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

Mr. McKitrick's views were indeed excluded from the IPCC report, but his paper will now be published in a forthcoming edition of Statistics, Politics and Policy. One of that journal's editors told The Washington Times that the submission was treated as "fairly routine." That is to say, they treated it as scientists should.

The soundness of a statistical analysis does not change simply because the numbers point to a truth inconvenient for those seeking to manipulate science to advance political policy. Thanks to the exposure of East Anglia's unscientific method, the public can peer behind the curtains and see that the emperors of warming have no clothes.


Cows off the hook yet again

In the past environmentalists, from Lord Stern to Sir Paul McCartney, have urged people to stop eating meat because the methane produced by cattle causes global warming. However a new study found that cattle grazed on the grasslands of China actually reduce another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.

Authors of the paper, published in Nature, say the research does not mean that producing livestock to eat is good for the environment in all countries. However in certain circumstances, it can be better for global warming to let animals graze on grassland.

The research will reignite the argument over whether to eat red meat after other studies suggested that grass fed cattle in the UK and US can also be good for the environment as long as the animals are free range.

Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, carried out the study in Inner Mongolia in China. He found that grassland produced more nitrous oxide during the spring thaw when sheep or cattle have not been grazing. This is because the greenhouse gas, also known as laughing gas, is released by microbes in the soil.

When the grass is long snow settles keeping the microbes warm and providing water, however when the grass is cut short by animals the ground freezes and the microbes die.

Dr Butterbach-Bahl said the study overturned assumptions about grazing goats and cattle. "It's been generally assumed that if you increase livestock numbers you get a rise in emissions of nitrous oxide. This is not the case," he said.

Estimated nitrous oxide emissions from temperate grasslands in places like Inner Mongolia as well as vast swatches of the United States, Canada, Russia and China account for up a third of the total amount of the greenhouse gas produced every year. Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane.

But Dr Butterbach-Bahl pointed out that the study did not take into account the methane produced by the livestock or the carbon dioxide produced if soil erodes. He also pointed out that much of the red meat eaten in the western world if from intensively farmed animals in southern countries.

He said the study does not overturn the case for cutting down on red meat but shows grazing livestock is not always bad for global warming.


Computer Models Predicting Species' Range Shift Due To Global Warming Fail Spectacularly In Bird Test

Read here. Climate alarmists state that most species will be forced to move substantial distances from their present territories because of global warming. The climate alarmist scientists developed models to predict just how far a species would move due to the increased warmth. Researchers compared the outcome of the models to the actual empirical evidence of birds shifting their territories in the Italian Alps. Surprise! As is most often the case, the computer models were wrong.

"In light of their findings, as well as those of others they cite, Popy et al. conclude that "until a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms is achieved, predictions based only on 'climate envelope' models should be either validated or considered cautiously," which in our view is a pretty generous conclusion. We would suggest that such poorly-performing models not be used at all."


Sorry, your Chinese-made iPad won’t save the planet

Apple’s new iPad, like the iPhone, MacBook, and iPod, derives part of its value as a “signaling” device: When you bust it out next to your latte at Busboys & Poets or scroll through your playlist while waiting for the Metro at the U St./Cardozo stop, you wordlessly broadcast something about yourself to those nearby: you’re hip, you’re educated, you’re not as old as you look.

The Apple clientele is not homogenous -- it’s got a few different species of hip. But watch closely the current iPad commercial and you’ll see Apple’s beau ideal: a New York Times reader who goes kayaking, buys Ted Kennedy’s memoirs, and visits Paris. OK, there’s also nerd stuff in there — “Star Trek” and “Dawn of the Dead” — but the urban, hip, cosmopolitan is a huge target audience for this device, which helps explain Apple’s effort to green itself.

But the greening of Apple has been a matter less of reducing a carbon footprint than of increasing a lobbying footprint.

In the modern Church of Environmentalism, a company is justified not through its works, but through its lobbying efforts. It’s pretty simple in the eyes of the media opinion makers: You’re bad if you oppose cap-and-trade schemes that purportedly cut greenhouse gas emissions and thus slow global warming. You’re good if you support such policies.

While Apple is happy to lobby for energy constraints and carbon caps in the U.S., laboring under them is another question entirely. You do know your iPad was made in China, right?

Apple last October loudly quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the chamber has lobbied against many federal cap-and-trade schemes.

This public breakup, executed on a letterhead featuring a large green apple and accompanied by press releases and fanfare, can be understood largely as an act of branding and little else.

The greenhouse-gas regulations the chamber opposes are effectively energy taxes. The chamber objects that current proposals would put the U.S. at a disadvantage because they restrict our emissions while leaving other manufacturing countries — such as China — free to emit without cost. Apple, however, has not publicly called on the Chinese or Taiwanese government to institute a cap-and-trade energy tax.

So if Apple’s lobbying effort is successful, American companies will pay for their carbon emissions, but no such carbon costs will fall on Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, which made your iPad.

Under cap-and-trade, Apple company would pay for the 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by its U.S. buildings and domestic operations, and also for the 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted by shipping its products. But the 3.8 million tons of CO2 emitted by its manufacturing — 81 percent of the company’s total — would be exempt from a carbon tax because the emissions would be in China.

Many of the companies who take the Chamber’s side against cap-and-trade schemes are in a different position from Apple. These companies actually make stuff here, and so they would actually pay the energy tax that is cap and trade.

So Apple is loudly and self-righteously lobbying for “green” taxes that it intends to continue avoiding. This may sound bad, but it’s actually fairly moderate on the spectrum of climate hypocrisy.

There’s Nike, which exempts itself from the carbon tax it advocates by making its shoes and golf clubs in Malaysia and Indonesia. By backing cap-and-trade Nike is knee-capping its smaller competitor New Balance, which makes shoes in New England.

Power company AES also lobbies for cap and trade. Why? For one thing, it would drive businesses to the greenhouse-gas-dealing company AES has started with General Electric. AES, meanwhile, is opening new coal-fired power plants in the developing world.

Apple, by contrast, would actually endure — indirectly — some of the economic shelling induced by the green policies it endorses. More precisely, Apple’s customers would shoulder the burden: To its credit, when Apple conducted a study of its carbon footprint, the company included the emissions caused by people running their iMacs and charging and their iPhones. Apple use causes an estimated 5 million tons of CO2 per year, which is more than all of the CO2 emitted by all of Apple’s manufacturing, shipping, and operations.

So Apple doesn’t avoid the costs of cap and trade entirely. The policy would make an iPad slightly less desirable by making it more expensive to recharge by making electricity more expensive in the U.S. -- which doesn’t matter, I suppose, when you’re at a cafe in Paris.


Australia: Greenie scheme burns down houses

As stupid as most Greenie schemes but more visibly so

A YOUNG Malvern East family is the latest face of the roof insulation debacle as figures show insulation was the cause of eight fires a month in Victoria this year. The Opposition has now called for all 1.1 million homes to be inspected as the toll from the government's botched rebate scheme continues to mount.

Father-of-two Kemal Brkic, 35, is counting his blessings after awaking suddenly around 4.30am to the smell of burning electrical wires at his Waverley Rd, Malvern East home. He said he checked the roof when he noticed marks appearing on his ceiling and was confronted by flames leaping one to two feet in the air. He managed to douse the blaze with a fire extinguisher but said it could have been much worse.

Commander Ian Hunter, the head of the MFB fire investigation unit, said the fire in the Waverley Rd home had started after insulation over downlights caught fire. He said the old blow-in insulation had recently been removed from the ceiling and replaced with batts. But he said not all the old insulation had been removed properly and had gathered against downlights. The new batts were placed directly over the lights and they overheated, he said.

Mr Brkic’s new insulation was installed about six weeks ago under the Federal Government’s scheme. "Another five or ten minutes and the whole roof would have gone," Mr Brkic said. "To have woken up at that time, and had a fire extinguisher in the house... we were pretty lucky." He urged anyone who had insulation installed recently to have it checked, especially if they also have downlights. "I'm so grateful all the family was safe. I had my mum and dad in the house and my two young kids. "It was pretty scary.'

Figures show huge increase in the number of house fires caused by insulation in the past 12 months. The MFB attended 31 ceiling fires involving insulation from July to December in Victoria last year, compared to just seven in the first six months. "Coincidentally that's about the time the home owners insulation program commenced," he said.

Fire investigators also looked into a second fire overnight at Glenda Rd, Doncaster, where insulation was installed as part of the rebate scheme in November last year. But it turned out to be caused by a faulty light bulb fitting - not incorrectly installed insulation. However with all the publicity over the debacle the incident had homeowner Wilma Garland, who is in her 80s, worried that she was yet another victim.

The government said last week the number of fires linked to the scheme was 105. It axed the $2.45 billion rebate scheme after it was linked to the deaths of four installers, house fires, and safety and quality problems potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of homes.

It will start a scaled-back scheme on June 1. [They're slow learners]


Enquiries are still ongoing but the house in an overnight fire that killed two people was also "insulated" recently and we may therefore have another result of this "know-all" Greenie scheme


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