Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Green soul declares enough is enough. It’s a question of conscience

Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt is a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa (as green as they come), and has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement. He runs a radio show, and speaks with many activists and NGO’s around the world. He claims that the “activists in the developing world, who need to directly defend their own neighborhoods, they understand that this global warming thing is an invention.”

Climate Depot has released a video of Dr. Rancourt: Man-made global warming is nothing more than a “corrupt social phenomenon.” “It is as much psychological and social phenomenon as anything else” .
“I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized,” Rancourt said.

“Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass,” he stated.

Rancourt is scathing of universities (and rightly so):
“They are all virtually all service intellectuals. They will not truly critique, in a way that could threaten the power interests that keep them in their jobs. The tenure track is just a process to make docile and obedient intellectuals that will then train other intellectuals,” Rancourt said.

“You have this army of university scientists and they have to pretend like they are doing important research without ever criticizing the powerful interests in a real way. So what do they look for, they look for elusive sanitized things like acid rain, global warming,” he added. This entire process “helps to neutralize any kind of dissent,” according to Rancourt.

“When you do find something bad, you quickly learn and are told you better toe the line on this — your career depends on it,” Rancourt said.

Rancourt's article is here Some Big Lies of Science – June 2010

Climate Depot has choice excerpts and a list of other greens who have jumped ship.
In August 2009, the science of global warming was so tenuous that even activists at green festivals were expressing doubts over man-made climate fears. “One college professor, confided to me in private conversation that, ‘I’m not sure climate change is real,’” according to a report from the New York Green Festival.

The left-wing blog Huffington Post surprised many by featuring an article on January 3, 2009, by Harold Ambler, demanding an apology from Gore for promoting unfounded global warming fears.

UK atmospheric scientist Richard Courtney, a left-of-political center socialist, is another dissenter of man-made climate fears. Courtney, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant, is a self-described socialist who also happens to reject man-made climate fears. Courtney declared in 2008 that there is “no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHG (greenhouse gases) and global temperature.”

Alexander Cockburn, a maverick journalist who leans left on most topics, lambasted the alleged global-warming consensus on the political Web site CounterPunch.org, arguing that there’s no evidence yet that humans are causing the rise in global temperature. After publicly speaking to reject man-made warming fears, Cockburn wrote on February 22, 2008 “I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy.”

Former Greenpeace member and Finnish scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a lecturer of environmental technology and a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland who has authored 200 scientific publications..

Life-long liberal Democrat Dr. Martin Hertzberg, a retired Navy meteorologist with a PhD in physical chemistry, also declared his dissent of warming fears in 2008….

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University, and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, converted from believer to a skeptic about global warming.


Desperate days for the warmists

Warmists may be winning the big grants, but they're not winning the argument, says Christopher Booker

Ever more risibly desperate become the efforts of the believers in global warming to hold the line for their religion, after the battering it was given last winter by all those scandals surrounding the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

One familiar technique they use is to attribute to global warming almost any unusual weather event anywhere in the world. Last week, for instance, it was reported that Russia has recently been experiencing its hottest temperatures and longest drought for 130 years. The head of the Russian branch of WWF, the environmental pressure group, was inevitably quick to cite this as evidence of climate change, claiming that in future "such climate abnormalities will only become more frequent". He didn't explain what might have caused the similar hot weather 130 years ago.

Meanwhile, notably little attention has been paid to the disastrous chill which has been sweeping South America thanks to an inrush of air from the Antarctic, killing hundreds in the continent's coldest winter for years.

In America, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been trumpeting that, according to its much-quoted worldwide temperature data, the first six months of this year were the hottest ever recorded. But expert analysis on Watts Up With That, the US science blog, shows that NOAA's claimed warming appears to be strangely concentrated in those parts of the world where it has fewest weather stations. In Greenland, for instance, two of the hottest spots, showing a startling five-degree rise in temperatures, have no weather stations at all.

A second technique the warmists have used lately to keep their spirits up has been to repeat incessantly that the official inquiries into the "Climategate" scandal have cleared the top IPCC scientists involved of any wrongdoing, and that their science has been "vindicated". But, as has been pointed out by critics like Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, this is hardly surprising, since the inquiries were careful not to interview any experts, such as himself, who could have explained just why the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were so horribly damaging.

The perfunctory report of the Science Appraisal Panel, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, examined only 11 papers produced by the CRU, none of them remotely connected to what the fuss was all about. Last week Andrew Montford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science, revealed on his blog (Bishop Hill – bishophill.squarespace.com) that the choice of these papers was approved for the inquiry by Sir Brian Hoskins, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, and by Phil Jones, the CRU's former director – an appraisal of whose work was meant to be the purpose of the inquiry.

A third technique, most familiar of all, has been to fall back on the dog-eared claim that leading sceptics only question warmist orthodoxy because they have been funded by "Big Oil" and the "fossil fuel industry". Particularly bizarre was a story last week covering the front page and an inside page of one newspaper, headed "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate sceptics".

The essence of this tale was that Exxon Mobil, the oil giant that is the world's third biggest company, last year gave "almost £1 million" to four US think-tanks. These had gone on to dismiss the Climategate inquiries as "whitewashes".

It was hardly necessary to be given money by Exxon to see what was dubious about those inquiries. Not one of the knowledgeable sceptics who have torn them apart has received a cent from Big Oil. But what made this particularly laughable was that the penny-packets given to think-tanks that have been largely irrelevant to the debate are utterly dwarfed by the colossal sums poured into the army of groups and organisations on the other side of the argument.

Even the big oil companies have long been putting their real money into projects dedicated to showing how they are in favour of a "low-carbon economy". In 2002 Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford University to fund research into energy sources needed to fight global warming. BP, which rebranded itself in 2004 as "Beyond Petroleum", gave $500 million to fund similar research.

The Grantham Institute provides another example. It was set up at the LSE and Imperial College with £24 million from Jeremy Grantham, an investment fund billionaire, to advise governments and firms on how to promote and invest in ways to "fight climate change", now one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative businesses in the world.

Compare the funding received by a handful of think-tanks to the hundreds of billions of dollars lavished on those who speak for the other side by governments, foundations, multinational corporations, even Big Oil, and the warmists are winning hands down. But only financially: they are not winning the argument.


Global Warming Isn’t Proved by Summer Heat or Disproved by Winter Snow

But an NYT economist seems to think it is

Last winter, when the Northeast was buried under record snowfalls, some political activists had a little fun at the expense of global-warming alarmists by quipping that it was going to keep snowing until Al Gore said “uncle.” Those who peddle environmental hysteria denounced this argument, which was obviously tongue-in-cheek, as the sort of know-nothing idiocy that you can expect from all those who refuse to accept the true religion of global warming.

Flash forward to what is proving a hot summer in the Northeast and, amazingly, we find the New York Times’s economic columnist Dave Leonhardt using the same sort of logic as that of the pranksters who built an igloo on Capitol Hill last February and dubbed it Al Gore’s new home. The only difference is that the Grey Lady’s economic wise man is putting forward his case without irony or apology.

The lede of Leonhardt’s column on Tuesday used the current heat wave as the opener for his complaint against members of Congress who refuse to pass President Obama’s energy bill, which would inaugurate a system of massive tax increases on business under the guise of a “cap-and-trade” system that would supposedly decrease carbon usage. Increasing numbers of Americans are skeptical about the theories that assume human responsibility for any climate change, in part because the Climategate scandal showed the lack of integrity on the part of the scientists who have hyped alarmist scenarios rather than sober science. But Leonhardt repeats, again without irony, the talk about the Himalayan Glaciers melting, without noting that his own newspaper reported that the much-ballyhooed assertion that the glaciers would melt by 2030 was a fraud based on bogus science.

Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme won’t pass, despite the laments of both Leonhardt and his fellow Times-man Tom Friedman, largely because most Americans are appalled at the idea of such a massive power grab by the government and know that imposing these sort of punitive taxes at a time of deep recession is a prescription for an economic disaster.

But the point here is that Leonhardt’s effort to whip up support for global-warming legislation because of a heat wave in the middle of summer is as silly as anyone who claimed that the fact that it snowed in the winter meant the opposite about global warming.

The problem with global-warming science is the manipulation of data to prove a preordained conclusion, such as the now discredited “hockey stick” diagram, which “proved” global warming. Leonhardt’s arguments in favor of his statist solutions to the possibility of climate change are weak. But his attempt, based on the current temperature spikes, to shame members of Congress who wisely want no part of this fiscal catastrophe in the making shows a lack of intellectual integrity that strips his advocacy of any credibility.


A very strange scare attempt

IS IT just me? A report says that nasty global warming is to blame for. . . wait for it. . . making yellow-bellied marmots bigger. Seeing as these critters live in America, I'm surprised it's not all BP's fault.

According to Dr Arpat Ozgul, a biologist at London's Imperial College, the wee furry beasts are larger because extra hot weather means they've more time to grow.

That's all very well, except I remember that, only last year, we were warned that Scottish sheep on remote St Kilda were getting smaller. Because of global warming.

In a report written by... good grief... Dr Arpat Ozgul of Imperial College, London!

Hmmm. It makes you wonder what other catastrophes global warming is unleashing. Are baboons' bottoms going redder? Maybe polar bears are getting BO?

This bloke appears to have had a couple of holidays and returned with the earth-shattering news that a rodent with big teeth has gone up a dress size and lamb chops on uninhabited islands don't go as far these days.

And what happens if temperatures keep rising? New York will be stalked by 100ft-tall marmot-zillas, swatting fighter jets out of the sky and picking their teeth with oak trees. While here in Scotland we'll be keeping flocks of sheep in matchboxes.

But this is the power of the white coat isn't it? Put one on and folk will believe any old guff.

This week, we've been warned that beach umbrellas won't keep you safe from the sun. Rogue rays supposedly ricochet off the sand which means you could still get slightly burnt over the space of many long hours. So do take care, folks, if you're thinking of sunbathing well into the night.

Meanwhile, a "supercomputer" shared by Warwick and Sheffield Universities has spent months reaching the stunning conclusion that eggs come from chickens. Fancy that!

But the real astonishing scientific achievement here is how these geeks have managed the impossible... alchemy in reverse. They have taken heaps of taxpayers' gold and magically transformed it into a bucket of pish.

Here's the point: We haven't two farthings to rub together. So the "science" community could perhaps stop moaning about proposed cuts to their £4BILLION annual budget.

Maybe, until the nation gets back on its feet, they could go easy on weighing chipmunks, measuring sheep or lounging about on beaches trying to get sunburnt very slowly.

When we finally emerge from the wreckage of this recession, we can all get back to normal. Us lot can go back to work to pay tax. And scientists can spend it checking if beagles smoke faster while playing online poker.

That is, of course, unless the world has been overrun by sun-crazed mega-squirrels.


Now the climate modellers are having fun with immigration

You can get anything you like out of a climate model. It is just a patchwork of guesses and leaves out lots of influential factors. Just alter one assumption (e.g. the effect of clouds) and the answers can change dramatically

According a new computer model, a total of nearly seven million additional Mexicans could emigrate to the U.S. by 2080 as a result of reduced crop yields brought about by a hotter, drier climate—assuming other factors influencing immigration remain unchanged.

"The model shows that climate-driven refugees could be a big deal in the future," said study co-author Michael Oppenheimer, an atmospheric scientist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Using data on Mexican emigration as well as climate and crop yields in 30 Mexican states between 1995 and 2005, Oppenheimer and colleagues created the computer model to predict the effect of climate change on the rate of people crossing the border.

In that ten-year period, 2 percent of the Mexican population emigrated to the U.S. for every 10 percent reduction in crop yield.

Using the model to extrapolate this real-world figure over the next 70 years, the researchers calculated that 1.4 to 6.7 million adult Mexicans—a number roughly equal to 10 percent of Mexico's current adult population—could migrate to the U.S. by 2080.

The research is one of the first attempts by scientists to put hard numbers on how climate change can affect human migration patterns.

"Our study is the first to build a model that can be used for projecting the effects on migration of future climate change," Oppenheimer said.

Global Warming Study "a Simplification"

Though the new global warming study is "original and very interesting," it shouldn't be interpreted as a forecast of what will happen, economist Ian Goldin, who wasn't involved in the project, said via email.

"The [end of the] time range—2080—is a very long time off, and there are many other factors [besides climate change] which may lead to a very different outcome," said Goldin, director of the University of Oxford's James Martin 21st Century School.

Barry Smit, a climate-impact scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada, agreed.

"I wouldn't take these numbers to the bank," said Smit, who also wasn't involved in the research, which is published in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To reach their conclusions, the authors had to make some "heroic assumptions," Smit said, such as that the current economic and political situations of the U.S. and Mexico won't change for decades.

Study co-author Oppenheimer acknowledged there are many uncertainties in his team's model. But it's important for scientists to investigate climate change-induced migration quantitatively, he said.

"This is the first time anybody's built a model to do this," Oppenheimer said. "It's a simplification, and there are a lot of assumptions, but it's the start of a learning process. As we learn more, the model will improve, and the numbers will get more reliable."


Just When You Thought New Orleans Schools Were Improving…

…you see something like this piece in the Huffington Post and you lose all your optimism.

It’s an article about a group of left-wing propagandists hard at work in the public schools in Orleans Parish who are using the middle-schoolers in their charge as fodder to spread sheer insanity. And of course, the adults responsible for managing those schools think it’s actually a good idea.
But when these 12- to 14-year-old judges delivered their verdict, the party they held chiefly responsible was the American people. And as members of a student-based school reform group called the Rethinkers, these young people now have a recommendation for New Orleans schools: Move toward becoming oil-free by 2015, the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“If we want to prevent another oil spill, we need to start weaning ourselves off this product and begin searching for new ideas,” says ninth-grader Danny Do, whose father is a shrimper. “Now is the perfect time to get moving, and schools are a great place to start!”

This may sound about as plausible as “the dog ate my homework,” and the Rethinkers acknowledge that their vision is an ambitious one. But they have both the track record and the supporters to suggest that they are not a bunch of naïve kids who can be easily dismissed.

The press conference they held last week to announce this and other recommendations for school reform in New Orleans attracted The Times-Picayune, ABC News, and other media outlets as well as community and education leaders–notably, Paul Vallas, whose work as CEO of Chicago Public Schools was praised by President Clinton and is now superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, which is focused on transforming underperforming schools into successful ones.

“Paul is obsessed with the Rethinkers and wants Rethinkers clubs in all schools,” says Siona LaFrance, Vallas’s chief of staff. “He likes that the kids are thinking and challenging authority, and that all of their suggestions are based on a lot of consideration. And he likes that this is a continuing effort.”

The article goes on to describe a withering array of psychobabble and lunacy being foisted on Orleans school kids by these “Rethinkers,” including a campaign to do away with sporks in school cafeterias, replacing metal detectors with “mood detectors,” namely, student hall monitors who assess kids as they come to school to see if they’re dangerous and getting more toilet paper into schools (as though kids can’t come up with all kinds of uses for toilet paper beyond what schools buy it for).

There’s even a quote from the founder of this movement which might cause an aneurism among our more susceptible readers…
“I say to the kids, ‘You live in a country where people don’t respect kids. If we’re trying to give dignity to your voice, we have to give you something to talk about where you are the stone-cold expert. There is no one on Earth who can say you’re not an expert on schools.’”

So it’s hardly a surprise when one of these child abusers, who learned her craft at Middlebury College in Vermont and describes herself as a “community organizer,” decides to leverage the oil spill into an assault on the industry in South Louisiana which offers perhaps the most lucrative employment opportunities available to kids in Orleans schools. Meet Mallory Falk…
“We know “oil-free schools” sounds easy to dismiss because it’s such a big vision,” notes Mallory Falk, a recent Middlebury College graduate and community organizer who came to New Orleans to work with the Rethinkers. “That is why our focus over the coming year is to come up with realistic, practical ways for schools to move toward being oil-free.”

This year, for example, they have offered four simple suggestions: Start measuring energy waste (including air conditioners set too high and lights left on unnecessarily), form student green teams to identify ways to reduce waste and convince other kids to get with the program, eliminate the use of incandescent light bulbs, and recycle.

A simple beginning, but stay tuned. The Rethinkers plan to meet throughout the new school year to develop more specifics. And they have already received a grant from the U.S. Green Building Council to film a documentary about their experience.

It’s bad enough that these people are sinking their hooks into school kids in the first place. What’s worse – unforgiveably so – is that the brains they’re poisoning with the ridiculous and poisonous ideas they’re pushing are Orleans public school kids. These are overwhelmingly at-risk students; Orleans is beginning to see a renaissance in education thanks to the advent of school choice and competition since Katrina, but dropout rates are still high and test scores are still low. And Orleans public school kids are still very economically disadvantaged, still in desperate need of marketable skills and still disproportionately lacking in strong parental guidance.

In other words, while it would be bad enough if kids in Montgomery County, Maryland or Beverly Hills were subjected to left-wing pablum like the Rethinkers push, they’re doing this to some of the most vulnerable children in America.

These kids are 12, 13 and 14 years old. Before attempting to turn them into environmentalist freaks, has this cabal insured that they read at grade level? Can they certify their charges in basic math? Can these kids find Omaha on a map? Do they know the difference between a federalist and an anti-federalist?

Didn’t think so.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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