Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Week That Was (to May 15, 2010)
By S. Fred Singer
We live in an Orwellian world where myth and propaganda have replaced science and reason even at the highest levels of discourse. As reproduced in TWTW last week, Science ran a letter signed by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences attacking Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for requesting documents relating to the work of Michael Mann while at the University of Virginia. The letter contained numerous spurious assertions as if they were scientific fact, including that carbon dioxide emissions are making the oceans more acidic. As expressed below, if anything, emissions are making the oceans less alkaline.
This week, Nature ran an editorial attacking Ken Cuccinelli and in the process labeled those who dare question Mr. Mann’s science as climate change deniers. That is, those who recognize that for the past million years the dominate climate has been ice ages interrupted by brief warm periods, that for the past 10,000 years the earth has been warmer and colder than today, and that there was a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age deny climate change?
On Wednesday of this week, Senators Kerry and Lieberman released their long anticipated cap and tax bill with the Orwellian title of the American Power Act. Among other claims, supposedly, the American Power Act will reduce American dependence on oil; but, the principal target is the coal industry. On May 5, the Congressional Budget Office reported that that coal industry will suffer the greatest job loss from such a bill. The US has massive reserves of coal and most coal burned in the US is used to generate electricity.
Electricity is the miracle of the late 19th and the 20th Centuries. Prosperity grows with it and depends upon it. In his book Power Hungry, Robert Bryce gives a table ranking nations according to Gross Domestic Product and electricity generation. The relationship is unmistakable. Those countries that generate the most electricity have the greatest GNP. This has long been known by anyone who has studied the issue: electricity helps create prosperity.
In the US, coal is the major source of affordable, reliable electric power, generating about 50% of US electric power; oil generates about 1%. Contrary to claims, the American Power Act has little to do with reducing oil dependency and everything to do with destroying coal generation of electric power. Of course, the bill has great allowances for selected industries, called “crony capitalism,” and great subsidies to “alternative energy and green jobs.”
However, even the poster child of “alternative energy and green jobs,” Spain, has backed off. It has found “alternative energy and green jobs” are luxury goods too expensive for the nation and is now attempting to renegotiate prior “deals.”
Yet, during a severe and prolonged recession, our Senators would have us believe that government can create prosperity by requiring Americans to replace affordable and dependable electricity from coal with expensive and unreliable electricity from solar and wind. They might as well declare that families undergoing financial hardship will become more prosperous by replacing their dependable car or SUV with a notoriously expensive and temperamental sports car.
To fully comprehend the perverse nature of the American Power Act one only needs to go to the web site of Senator Kerry and review the summary of the bill presented there:
“First: Consumers will come out on top. The American Power Act sends two-thirds of all revenues not dedicated to reducing our nation’s deficit back to consumers from day one. The rest is spent ensuring a smooth transition for American businesses and investing in projects and technologies to reduce emissions and advance our energy security. In the later years of the program, every penny not spent to reduce the deficit will go directly back to consumers.”
All Federal budget projections show a great black hole of Federal deficits as far as calculations are made. Except for earmarks, all revenues will go to reducing the deficit and the average consumer will never see a penny. This is a tax bill by another name. Few Wall Street “sharpies” would be as blatant with “bait and switch” as this.
The American Power Act is a pernicious tax bill that is highly regressive, hitting lower income groups the hardest. It seeks to destroy the very commodity our prosperity depends upon – reliable, affordable electricity.
If passed, the American Power Act may become as destructive to the American economy as the infamous “Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill” of 1930 which contributed mightily in turning the severe recession of 1929-30 into the Great Depression.
Also this week, EPA continued its march on carbon dioxide by announcing its new emissions standards while declaring how lenient it is. In addition, public comment on EPA claims that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide causes “ocean acidification” will closes on May 21. Those considering submitting comments may consider the testimony by John Everett, an excerpt of which is reproduced under “Articles” with the full testimony referenced. The claim that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is acidifying the oceans by reducing the pH of the oceans from about 8.0 to 7.9 is Orwellian at best. But the highly questionable, scanty evidence behind the EPA claim is stunning.
In experiments, some researchers added hydrochloric acid into an aquarium to attempt to duplicate what increased dissolved carbon dioxide would do. Perhaps unknown to these researchers, hydrochloric acid kills life and carbon dioxide promotes it. All green plants, whether in the oceans or on the land, require carbon dioxide. The oceans themselves suggest that life is increases where surface carbon dioxide is richest.
Fred Singer said in reply to the Nature editorial:
Your editorial ('Science subpoenaed' May 13) about Attorney-General Cuccinelli of Virginia (my home state) demanding documents and e-mails relating to Prof. Michael Mann from the University of Virginia (my university) has raised my interest. I note first of all your choice of words. You refer to Michael Mann as 'internationally respected'. I would use more neutral language, like 'prominently mentioned in the EAU e-mails, aka a Climategate.'
You state, correctly, that 'no evidence was given of wrongdoing [by Mann].' But isn't that the purpose of the investigation; certainly the references in the UEA e-mails to 'Mike [Mann]'s Nature trick' in order to 'hide the decline [of temperature]' might lead one to think that there has been some skullduggery. It even suggests that you might have a conflict of interest, which has produced a certain amount of bias. Of course, I would never accuse you of that, Heaven forefend.
You then identify Mann with the 'famous' hockeystick graph [Nature 1998], which did away with the Medieval Warm Period and also the Little Ice Age, from which the global climate is just now recovering. It may have escaped your notice that Mann has now discovered the existence of the MWP and LIA (PNAS 2008], which has bent the shaft of the hockeystick all out of shape. Well, who says that the age of miracles has passed'
Fortunately, the blade of the Hockeystick is still there, showing rapidly rising temperatures in the past 30 years, thanks to the valiant efforts of Prof. Phil Jones. We are breathlessly waiting for expert scrutiny of his methods of selecting data from thousands of weather stations to arrive at a single number for 'global temperature.' Perhaps he will reveal the algorithms he devised to 'adjust and correct' the raw data. But unfortunately, he did not save the original temperature records; as the saying goes: 'The dog ate them.'
You then state that the UEA e-mails were 'stolen.' Perhaps they were; but until you have evidence you may be accusing an unknown whistleblower who resented what was being done to the climate data ' and to science. I won't even mention what the resulting climate scares are doing to the economies of nations and the living standards of their populations. We will soon become more aware of these consequences.
I was wondering just how long it would take the editorial to suggest a parallel between climate skepticism and the tobacco lobby. Well done! It's too bad that global warming cannot be shown to cause lung cancer ' not yet, at any rate. But more research money may yet uncover such a connection. There's still hope.
S. Fred Singer, Prof Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Kerry's Powerless America Act
Call it cap-and-trade or bait-and-switch, but John Kerry and Joe Lieberman continue to tilt at windmills with a bill to restrain energy growth in the name of saving the planet.
The bill introduced Wednesday and sponsored by the two senators is called the American Power Act, an Orwellian phrase if ever there was one. Like President Obama's offshore drilling program, for every "incentive" there is a restriction. It's as if Hamlet were to be appointed Secretary of Energy.
The legislation has little to do with developing America's vast domestic energy supply. It's cap-and-trade meets pork-barrel spending. It's about regulations, restrictions and research. It does not deal with exploiting America's vast energy reserves but with finding ways to mitigate their alleged harmful effect.
To that end, the bill creates some 60 new agencies and projects to eat up our tax dollars and buy support (see list alongside).
According to a leaked draft summary, there is "$7 billion annually to improve our transportation infrastructure and efficiency" to be paid for by a gas tax that is not called a tax but a "linked fee." There is "$2 billion per year for researching and developing effective carbon capture and sequestration methods and devices." There is even "a new multibillion-dollar revenue stream for agriculture through a domestic offset program." Tilling the soil releases carbon dioxide, don't you know?
Ironically, the draft summary acknowledges the bill will cause energy prices to necessarily skyrocket by promising to "provide assistance to those Americans who may be disproportionately affected by potential increases in energy prices." How about lowering prices and creating jobs by increasing domestic supply?
Somewhere Sen. Lindsey Graham fell off the wagon, disillusioned perhaps by the politics of shifting priorities, and possibly not impressed, as we are not, by the bill's promise to expedite licensing for nuclear reactors "in a way that is guided by sound science and engineering while remaining fully mindful of safety and environmental concerns." That's liberal-speak for study forever, build never.
After coal-mine disasters and oil rig explosions, one would think nuclear power would be celebrated as a non-polluting power source whose casualty rate is zero. According to the Energy Information Administration, electricity from nukes eliminated 26 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2009. Split atoms, baby, split atoms. Enough already with the research.
The proposed legislation mandates reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels via a cap-and-trade system for power plants and, eventually, factories — with strict curbs on the types of trading that could be done. It would require oil companies, for example, to obtain emission permits at a set price not determined by the trading market.
While allegedly providing some incentives to domestic energy development, it would also allow California to implement its draconian energy efficiency standards and other provisions of its signature global warming law, AB 32. "We will not undermine California," Kerry said. Oh, good.
"This bill is a compilation of just about every bad idea that has emerged in the energy debate," said Patrick Creighton, spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research, a free-market think tank. "Two things are certain if this bill becomes law: Energy prices will skyrocket, and jobs will be shipped overseas."
It is a scam built upon a scam, introduced just as the mercury in Chicopee, Mass., dropped to 26 degrees at about 5 a.m., beating the previous record for the chilliest May 11 set back in 1962.
In testimony before Congress on May 6, Britain's Lord Christopher Monckton, a global warming expert, noted that "neither global mean surface temperature nor its rates of change in recent decades have been exceptional, unusual, inexplicable or unprecedented."
Monckton also advised: "There are many urgent priorities that need the attention of Congress, and it is not for me as an invited guest in your country to say what they are. Yet I can say this much: on any view, 'global warming' is not one of them."
We agree. Jobs, energy development and economic growth come first.
A few questions for climate alarmists
The new Kerry-Lieberman climate bill mandates a 17% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It first targets power plants that provide reliable, affordable electricity for American homes, schools, hospitals, offices and factories. Six years later, it further hobbles the manufacturing sector itself.
Like the House-passed climate bill, Kerry-Lieberman also requires an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Once population growth and transportation, communication and electrification technologies are taken into account, this translates into requiring US emission levels last seen around 1870!
House Speaker Pelosi says “every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory,” to ensure that America achieves these emission mandates. This means replacing what is left of our free-market economy with an intrusive Green Nanny State, compelling us to switch to unreliable wind and solar power, and imposing skyrocketing energy costs on every company and citizen.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing its own draconian energy restrictions, in case Congress does not enact punitive legislation.
It’s time to ask these politicians some fundamental questions.
1) Even slashing carbon dioxide emissions to 80% below 2005 levels would reduce projected global average temperatures in 2050 by barely 0.2 degrees F, according to a study that used the UN’s own climate models. That’s because China, India and other developing countries are building new coal-fired power plants every week, even as the United States and Europe shackle their economies and send more jobs overseas. How do you justify such destructive, punitive, meaningless legislation?
2) Reflecting agreement with thousands of scientists, most Americans now say climate change is natural, not manmade. Fully 75% are unwilling to spend more than $100 per year in higher energy bills to “stabilize” Earth’s unpredictable climate. What provision of the Constitution, your oath of office or your duty to the overall health and welfare of this nation permits you to ignore the will of the people, the mounting evidence that “climate disasters” are the product of computer models, manipulated data and falsified UN reports, and the job-killing impacts of the laws and regulations you seek to impose?
3) If carbon dioxide is causing “runaway global warming,” why have average global temperatures not risen since 1995, and why have they been COOLING for the past five years – even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise to levels unprecedented in the modern era?
4) What properties does manmade carbon dioxide have that enable it to replace the complex natural forces that clearly caused the Ice Ages, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, Dust Bowl, ice-free Arctic seas in 1822 and 1922, Alaska’s 100 degree F temperature record in 1915, and all the other climate and weather changes and anomalies, blessings and disasters that our planet has experienced during its long geologic and recorded history?
5) What physical or chemical properties does manmade carbon dioxide have that would enable it to overturn the laws of thermodynamics – and cause temperatures in Antarctica to rise 85 degrees F, from an average of minus 50 F to plus 35 F year-round (or 48 degrees C, from -46 C to +2 C), to melt that continent’s vast ice masses, raise sea levels 20 feet or more, and flood coastal cities?
6) Precisely what chemical, physical and thermodynamic processes would drastic carbon dioxide reductions alter, and how? Precisely what weather and climate improvements would those reductions achieve? Precisely how will CO2 reductions stabilize planetary temperature, climate and weather systems that have been turbulent, unpredictable and anything but stable throughout Earth’s history?
7) Is there ANY direct physical observation or evidence that would falsify your climate crisis thesis, and cause you to admit human greenhouse gas emissions are not causing a planetary climate disaster? Or do you think everything that happens confirms your climate disaster hypothesis: warmer or colder, wetter or drier, more snow and ice or less, more hurricanes and tornadoes or cyclical periods with few such storms?
8) Replacing hydrocarbons with unreliable, subsidized “green” energy will require millions of acres of land for wind turbines, solar panels and transmission lines – plus hundreds of millions of tons of steel, copper, concrete, fiberglass and rare earth minerals for all those facilities.
Do you support delaying wind, solar and transmission projects for years, to protect the rights and property of local communities and private landowners? Or do you favor regulatory edicts and eminent domain actions, so that government can seize people’s property and expedite construction of these projects?
Do you support opening US public lands for renewed exploration and development, so that we can produce these raw materials and create American jobs? Or do you intend to keep US lands off limits, and force us to depend on imports for renewable energy, too?
Do you support relaxing environmental study, endangered species and other laws, to fast-track approval of these projects, despite their obvious impacts on wildlife and habitats? Or do you want them subjected to the same rules that have stymied thousands of other energy projects, so that renewable energy projects cannot be built, either – and we have massive blackouts?
9) Over 1.5 billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America still do not have electricity, for even a light bulb or tiny refrigerator. Millions die every year from diseases that would be largely eradicated with electricity for refrigeration, sanitation, modern hospitals, and industries that generate greater health and prosperity. How can you justify using taxpayer money to finance UN and environmental activist programs that claim global warming is the biggest threat they face, and they need to get by on wind and solar power, and give up their dreams of better lives, because YOU are worried about global warming? Doesn’t that violate their most basic human rights to improved living standards, and even life itself?
10) If you’re so sure about your data and conclusions – and intend to use climate disaster claims to justify sending our energy costs skyrocketing, killing millions of factory jobs, controlling our lives, and totally overhauling our energy, economic and social structure – why do you refuse to allow fair, open and balanced congressional hearings and debates on climate science and economics? Why do you refuse to debate skeptical experts in a public forum, or even answer questions that challenge your alarmist thinking? Why do you refuse to require that scientists who get taxpayer money for their research must share and discuss climate data, computer codes, methodologies and analyses?
11) How much money and campaign help have you gotten from companies and activist groups that benefit from renewable energy mandates and subsidies, carbon offset and trading schemes, coal mining and oil leasing bans, and other provisions of climate and energy legislation?
12) What if you vote for these job-killing, anti-growth, anti-poor, anti-human-rights “climate disaster prevention” laws – and it turns our you are WRONG on the science or economics? What will you do? Give up your congressional seat, home, pension and worldly wealth – and pledge yourself and your children to an austere life of service to the people you have harmed? Or just say, “Oh I’m so sorry,” and then pass more intrusive, oppressive laws, before retiring to collect a nice government pension – while millions freeze jobless in the dark?
13) If you can’t or won’t answer these questions, then why do you think you have a right to tell anyone on this planet that we have a “climate crisis,” and dictate how they must live their lives – especially when you’ve done so little to slash your own taxpayer-funded air travel, staff, and home and office energy use?
IPCC Cites an Unpublished Journal 39 Times
We read a lot of magazines in our house. Occasionally, an issue arrives in which nearly every article is engaging and (in the case of cooking magazines) every recipe sounds amazing. In short, the issue is a keeper.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had an experience like that. It was so impressed by one edition of the academic journal Climatic Change that it cited 16 of the 21 papers published that month. The journal editors should take a bow. When three-quarters of a single issue of your publication is relied on by a Nobel-winning report, you're doing something right.
Except for one small problem. The issue in question - May 2007 - didn't exist yet when the IPCC wrote its report. Moreover, none of the research papers eventually published in that issue had been finalized prior to the IPCC's cutoff date.
As the IPCC chairman recently reminded us, that organization's 2007 report: "...was based on scientific studies completed before January 2006, and did not include later studies..."
That's what the rules say. And that's what was supposed to have happened. But according to the online abstracts for each of the 16 papers cited by the IPCC and published in the May 2007 issue of Climatic Change (see my working notes here):
* 15 of them weren't accepted by the journal until Oct. 17, 2006
* the other wasn't accepted until May 18, 2006
The first date is highly significant. As the second box on this page makes clear, the IPCC expert review period ended on June 2, 2006 for Working Group 1 and on July 21, 2006 for Working Group 2. This means the expert reviewers had offered their comments on the second draft and had already exited the stage. It means the IPCC had reached the utmost end of a process that represented years of collective labour.
So how could 16 papers, accounting for 39 new citations across fours chapters and two working groups, have made it into this twice vetted, next-to-finalized IPCC report? Those citations don't reference research papers the wider scientific community had already digested. They don't even reference papers that were hot off the press. Instead, in 15 of 16 cases, no expert reviewer could possibly have evaluated these papers since they hadn't yet been accepted for publication by the journal itself.
Where do these 39 citations of the May 2007 issue of Climatic Change turn up in the IPCC report? [working notes here]
* Chapt. 11 by Working Group 1 references ten papers (20 citations in total)
* Chapt. 12 by Working Group 2 references nine papers (15 citations in total)
* Chapt. 2 by Working Group 2 references two papers (2 citations in total)
* Chapt. 3 by Working Group 2 references two papers (2 citations in total)
Among the 10 papers cited in Chapter 11 three were co-authored by Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen. I'm sure it's sheer coincidence that this gentleman served as one of two coordinating lead authors for that chapter.
* see the first abstract here (cited twice as Jacob et al. 2007 on this page of the IPCC report)
* second abstract is here (cited as Déqué et al. 2007 on this page)
* third abstract is here (cited as Christensen et al. 2007 on this page)
I'm equally certain there's no connection whatsoever between the fact that Jørgen E. Olesen was a lead author for the IPCC's Chapter 12 and that a paper he co-authored in the May 2007 issue of Climatic Change got cited four times in that chapter. (That abstract is here. Cited as Olesen et al., 2007 four times on this page.)
Welcome to the strange world of the IPCC. Whenever one turns over a new rock there's something shady beneath.
Coming soon: the research paper that wasn't accepted for publication until May 2008, yet got cited seven times in the IPCC's 2007 report
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Germany's version of James Hansen says that climate skeptics are anti-science
The oily Hans Joachim Schellnhuber again. The article below is a valiant attempt by some German skeptics to communicate the Warmist claims being made in Germany. They speak English a lot better than I do German but I understand German pretty well so I have edited the article a bit for sake of greater clarity
Things have really gotten desperate for the Warmists here in Germany also. That’s what a little Climategate and Germany’s coldest winter in 46 years can do to a junk-science theory.
Dirk Maxeiner brings up a piece appearing in the German online Frankfurter Rundschau titled: Campaign of Lies McCarthy Style.
The piece describes how more than 250 scientists, among them 11 Nobel Prize recipients, have expressed their outrage in a letter published in Science claiming they’ve been the targets of McCarthy-like attacks. The Frankfurter Rundschau says the attacks are coming from “Konservative Think-Tanks” and “Republikaner”, among them the Heartland Institute, and James Inhofe, all designed to “torpedo urgently needed climate protection measures”, and blah blah blah.
The tone of the piece of course is that sceptics are bad and the warmists are good. The piece also heavily bemoans the rapidly eroding public concerns of AGW as an issue, and asks: Who’s behind all that irresponsible scepticism?
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber explains it for them. Here’s the text in German, then followed by the translation in English:
Der Potsdamer Klimaforscher Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, Mitunterzeichner des Science-Briefs, hält den Einfluss der Skeptiker in Deutschland für geringer als in den USA. Es handele sich dabei um sehr unterschiedliche Gruppen, sagte der Präsident des Instituts für Klimafolgen-Forschung der FR. Die meisten operierten ’aus der sicheren Anonymität des Internets heraus. Sie versuchen erst gar nicht, bei einer sachlichen Debatte erfolgreich zu sein, sondern vielmehr grundsätzliche Zweifel an der Wissenschaft als Instrument der Wirklichkeitserklärung zu säen.” Damit fänden sie große Sympathie ”bei vielen antiaufklärerischen Kräften’.
Potsdam climate researcher Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, a signatory of the scientists' letter, thinks the sceptics in Germany have less influence than in the USA. They involve very different groups, the Director of the Institute for Climate Impact Research told the Frankfurter Rundschau. Most of them ‘operate from the safety of anonymity in the internet. They don’t try at all to do it successfully through a factual debate; rather they attempt to sow scepticism about science being an instrument for explaining reality.’ This is how they gain much sympathy ‘from the many forces of anti-science’.
In Schellnhuber’s world, scepticism is anti-science. And if you doubt their science, then you are anti-science.
Oh, by the way, let’s not forget that reality and science for them are doctored up iStock polar bear photos and manipulated temperature curves. And who are the ones who keep running and hiding from debate?
One would have thought that skepticism is the essence of science. Schellnhuber however is attempting to equate climate skeptics with mystics and the like -- which is just the sort of dishonesty one expects from him. Any reading of the skeptical literature will find it full of well-supported statistics and no mention of spirits and the like at all
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Posted by JR at 4:12 PM