Sunday, July 18, 2010
Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause, says Jonathan Kay
I would be more inclined to say that conservatives who believe in Leftist propaganda are a liability to the conservative cause, which is where Jonathan Kay fits in. I don't have the time or inclination to fisk the nonsense below fully but I do add a few comments at the foot of it
Have you heard about the “growing number” of eminent scientists who reject the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing the earth’s temperature? It’s one of those factoids that, for years, has been casually dropped into the opening paragraphs of conservative manifestos against climate-change treaties and legislation. A web site maintained by the office of a U.S. Senator has for years [external link] instructed us that a “growing number of scientists” are becoming climate-change “skeptics.” This year, the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation gave a [external link] speech praising the “growing number of distinguished scientists [who are] challenging the conventional wisdom with alternative theories and peer reviewed research.” In this newspaper, a columnist recently described the “growing skepticism about the theory of man-made climate change.” Surely, the conventional wisdom is on the cusp of being overthrown entirely: Another colleague proclaimed that we are approaching “the church of global warming’s Galileo moment.”
Fine-sounding rhetoric — but all of it nonsense. In a new [external link] article published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, a group of scholars from Stanford University, the University of Toronto and elsewhere provide a statistical breakdown of the opinions of the world’s most prominent climate experts. Their conclusion: The group that is skeptical of the evidence of man-made global warming “comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers in the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200, excluding researchers present in both groups … This result closely agrees with expert surveys, indicating that [about] 97% of self-identified actively publishing climate scientists agree with the tenets of [man-made global warming].”
How has this tiny 2-3% sliver of fringe opinion been reinvented as a perpetually “growing” share of the scientific community? Most climate-change deniers (or “skeptics,” or whatever term one prefers) tend to inhabit militantly right-wing blogs and other Internet echo chambers populated entirely by other deniers. In these electronic enclaves — where a smattering of citations to legitimate scientific authorities typically is larded up with heaps of add-on commentary from pundits, economists and YouTube jesters who haven’t any formal training in climate sciences — it becomes easy to swallow the fallacy that the whole world, including the respected scientific community, is jumping on the denier bandwagon.
This is a phenomenon that should worry not only environmentalists, but also conservatives themselves: The conviction that global warming is some sort of giant intellectual fraud now has become a leading bullet point within mainstream North American conservatism; and so has come to bathe the whole movement in its increasingly crankish, conspiratorial glow.
Conservatives often pride themselves on their hard-headed approach to public-policy — in contradistinction to liberals, who generally are typecast as fuzzy-headed utopians. Yet when it comes to climate change, many conservatives I know will assign credibility to any stray piece of junk science that lands in their inbox … so long as it happens to support their own desired conclusion. (One conservative columnist I know formed her skeptical views on global warming based on testimonials she heard from novelist Michael Crichton.) The result is farcical: Impressionable conservatives who lack the numeracy skills to perform long division or balance their checkbooks feel entitled to spew elaborate proofs purporting to demonstrate how global warming is in fact caused by sunspots or flatulent farm animals. Or they will go on at great length about how “climategate” has exposed the whole global-warming phenomenon as a charade — despite the fact that a subsequent investigation [external link] exculpated research investigators from the charge that they had suppressed temperature data. (In fact, “climategate” was overhyped from the beginning, since the scientific community always had other historical temperature data sets at its disposal — that maintained by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, most notably — entirely independent of the Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, where the controversy emerged.)
Let me be clear: Climate-change denialism does not comprise a conspiracy theory, per se: Those aforementioned 2% of eminent scientists prove as much. I personally know several denialists whom I generally consider to be intelligent and thoughtful. But the most militant denialists do share with conspiracists many of the same habits of mind. Oxford University scholar Steve Clarke and Brian Keeley of Washington University have defined conspiracy theories as those worldviews that trace important events to a secretive, nefarious cabal; and whose proponents consistently respond to contrary facts not by modifying their hypothesis, but instead by insisting on the existence of ever-wider circles of high-level conspirators controlling most or all parts of society. This describes, more or less, how radicalized warming deniers treat the subject of their obsession: They see global warming as a Luddite plot hatched by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Al Gore to destroy industrial society. And whenever some politician, celebrity or international organization expresses support for the all-but-unanimous view of the world’s scientific community, they inevitably will respond with a variation of “Ah, so they’ve gotten to them, too.”
In support of this paranoid approach, the denialists typically will rely on stray bits of discordant information — an incorrect reference in a UN report, a suspicious-seeming “climategate” email, some hypocrisy or other from a bien-pensant NGO type — to argue that the whole theory is an intellectual house of cards. In these cases, one can’t help but be reminded of the folks who point out the fluttering American flag in the moon-landing photos, or the “umbrella man” from the Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination.
In part, blame for all this lies with the Internet, whose blog-from-the-hip ethos has convinced legions of pundits that their view on highly technical matters counts as much as peer-reviewed scientific literature. But there is something deeper at play, too — a basic psychological instinct that public-policy scholars refer to as the “cultural cognition thesis,” described in a recently published academic [external link] paper as the observed principle that “individuals tend to form perceptions of risk that reflect and reinforce one or another idealized vision of how society should be organized … Thus, generally speaking, persons who subscribe to individualistic values tend to dismiss claims of environmental risks, because acceptance of such claims implies the need to regulate markets, commerce and other outlets for individual strivings.”
In simpler words, too many of us treat science as subjective — something we customize to reduce cognitive dissonance between what we think and how we live.
In the case of global warming, this dissonance is especially traumatic for many conservatives, because they have based their whole worldview on the idea that unfettered capitalism — and the asphalt-paved, gas-guzzling consumer culture it has spawned — is synonymous with both personal fulfillment and human advancement. The global-warming hypothesis challenges that fundamental dogma, perhaps fatally.
The appropriate intellectual response to that challenge — finding a way to balance human consumption with responsible environmental stewardship — is complicated and difficult. It will require developing new technologies, balancing carbon-abatement programs against other (more cost-effective) life-saving projects such as disease-prevention, and — yes — possibly increasing the economic cost of carbon-fuel usage through some form of direct or indirect taxation. It is one of the most important debates of our time. Yet many conservatives have made themselves irrelevant in it by simply cupping their hands over their ears and screaming out imprecations against Al Gore.
Rants and slogans may help conservatives deal with the emotional problem of cognitive dissonance. But they aren’t the building blocks of a serious ideological movement. And the impulse toward denialism must be fought if conservatism is to prosper in a century when environmental issues will assume an ever greater profile on this increasingly hot, parched, crowded planet. Otherwise, the movement will come to be defined — and discredited — by its noisiest cranks and conspiracists.
Kay's starting point is that he takes seriously the sloppy and irrelevant propaganda put out by the "group of scholars from Stanford University". He is obviously completely oblivious to the barrage of criticisms that study has attracted. He could start reading here on that. The study concerned in fact echoes the work of the notorious Naomi Oreskes. See here and here for more on that.
Underlying Kay's faith in the Oreskes-type work, however, is a sort of naive trust. He is either completely oblivious of "the madness of crowds" or thinks that scientists are not affected by it. He quite rightly dismisses the idea that the very widespread support for global warming could be a "worldwide conspiracy" but overlooks something even more influential than any conspiracy could be: intellectual fashions.
It would be tedious to attempt a list of intellectual fashions that have been both very influential and yet totally wrong so let me give just one example from a field totally outside climate science: The belief that a low-fat diet is good for you. That belief is even more widespread than belief in global warming. You can hardly pick up a newspaper without being bombarded by it. Yet it is totally wrong. See the sidebar of my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog for much documentation of that.
Just one example: What was meant to be the solid gold proof of the evils of fat attracted $400 million of funding from the U.S. government and the resultant study was indeed done with great care over a long period -- but when the findings were released in 2006, the result was that high or low fat consumption in fact made absolutely no difference to key health outcomes. See e.g. here. Yet the evils of fat are still to this day almost universally accepted both among medical scientists and everyone else. It's a sad comment on the human love of attractive simplifications but it should also undermine the trusting nature of Mr. Kay. Consensus is no proof of anything and Bertrand Russell probably had a point when he said that consensus was more likely to be disproof than proof of whatever it asserted
The Week That Was (to July 17, 2010)
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Although the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act (APA) appears dead, Senator Reid announced he will introduce, yet, another version of cap-and-tax this month by any other name. But both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and EPA have produced studies showing that cap-and-tax will be economically harmful. The CBO report is a solid, prudent review of three studies: Resources for the Future, Brookings Institution, and CRA International. All report that significant declines in total employment will result from APA. Strangely, Brookings makes the unrealistic assumption that all nations, including China, India, and Brazil, will adopt carbon dioxide control measures even if the US does not.
In spite of its harmful consequences, with the worst year-long unemployment rate since 1982, cap-and-tax continues to reappear. To understand why, it is useful to further examine APA to grasp the financial incentives involved. Most macroeconomic studies (economy-wide) do not examine the incidence of the tax (who actually pays the tax) and, correspondingly, the incidence of the subsidy (who reaps the benefits). A study by Chamberlain Economics does:
APA establishes allowances for carbon dioxide emissions which decline every year. Part is sold at auction to establish a controlled range of prices and part is distributed free to favored industries that can be sold or traded, ideally within the controlled range of prices. Using the mean of estimated prices in APA, Chamberlain Economics estimates the value of the of the part distributed free during the 2013 to 2034 life of the program as $2.1 Trillion – about the amount of total Federal revenues in 2009. The largest beneficiary is the electricity industry to the tune of $870 Billion.
Politicians claim the value of the free allowances to the electricity industry will then flow to the consumers of electricity. Chamberlain uses established microeconomic theory backed by empirical studies to show that much of the value will flow to the shareholders of the companies that are generally in the highest income group. Thus, the entire scheme results in a massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle income groups to the wealthy. No wonder Duke Energy declared cap-and-trade will give share holders a $1,000,000,000 (Billion Dollar) profit.
Very interestingly, the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry, basically non-existent with an unproven technology, receives $246 Billion in free allowances – twice the 2009 budget for California. Given the sheer volume of carbon dioxide involved, it is highly unlikely that CCS will ever become viable.
[As a side note, Lord Oxburgh, the chairman of the third “independent” British commission investigating Climategate, is also honorary president of the British Carbon Capture and Storage Association. (See here)]
Using EPA numbers and established models from government agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Economic Statistics, Chamberlain estimates the cap-and-trade decline in employment would be 716,000 by 2020 and 5.1 million by 2050. The estimated decline in wages would be $32 Billion by 2020 and $236 Billion by 2050.
Unlike far too many studies of this type, the authors recognize that these estimates have great uncertainty and can only be considered as orders-of -magnitude approximations rather than precise estimates.
BP has successfully placed a cap on the gushing oil well, stopping the flow of oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling of relief wells to permanently seal the damaged well is proceeding. That is the good news from the Gulf. The disturbing news is the actions of the Federal Government. Various sources report that, due to the heat, the work rules for Gulf clean up are 20 minutes of work followed by a 40 minute break. If correct, this would outrage veterans of Iraq or Vietnam for the lack of a sense of urgency to accomplish the mission.
In spite of being twice thwarted by the courts, the Interior Department has announced yet another moratorium on drilling wells in waters deeper than 500 feet below sea level and reports indicate it is not issuing permits for shallower wells. These actions have economic consequences for the region and the nation. Already two shallow water drilling rigs have left and two deep water drilling rigs are leaving: one for Egypt and the other for the Republic of the Congo. It is sad to think that the owners of the rigs believe that the government of the Republic of Congo is less inclined to interfere with obligations of contract than the government of the United States.
The Number of the Week is 400: The number of wild Canada geese rounded up from Prospect Park in Brooklyn and killed by the Agriculture Department on one day. (See 400 Park Geese Die, below). On day 86 of the BP oil spill, the US Fish and Wildlife reports the total number of birds collected dead with visible oil for the entire period is 746 (8.7 per day) and sea turtles total 14. (Visible oil does not mean cause.)
Book Of The Week: Over the past two weeks TWTW carried a brief review of Roy Spencer’s The Great Global Warming Blunder. Spencer uses a simple computer model and nine years of data from the new CERES satellite instruments to separate the signal showing a feedback (result) caused by warming from a signal showing that a forcing (cause of warming) such as a reduction in cloud cover from natural sources. The IPCC considers clouds are a constant and the disappearance of clouds is a result (feedback) of warming, not a cause of warming. Spencer disagrees and estimates that a 1% change in cloud cover, from natural causes, would explain at least 75% of the observed warming since 1900. He suggests the natural cause for changes in cloud cover is changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
The Chilling Stars, A New Theory of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder offers a different hypothesis for changing cloudiness: the interplay of cosmic rays and solar forces, particularly solar wind and magnetism. (Icon Books, Cambridge, UK, 2007, 230 pages plus 6 pages of notes and scientific references). The book explains in layman’s language the complex relationships that may lead to formation of low lying clouds which cause cooling; and, correspondingly, the lack of which may cause warming.
Over 50 years ago, scientists (including Fred Singer) established that the changing solar wind and magnetism affects the quantity of high energy cosmic rays entering into the earth’s atmosphere. When the sun is active, the solar wind is stronger and fewer high energy cosmic rays enter the earth’s atmosphere. By 1996, Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen hypothesized that high energy cosmic rays hitting atoms in the upper atmosphere produce ions which act as catalysts in the formation of low level clouds. Their work was rejected by journals until Friis-Christensen announced it at conference in Birmingham England which was picked up by Britain’s Royal Society. This resulted in a journal publication that was promptly ignored or criticized except in Demark, the home of Svensmark and Friis-Christensen.
In 2005, a Danish team conducted an experiment, called SKY, in the basement of the Danish National Space Center. The experiment supported the hypothesis that high energy ions emitted by cosmic ray collisions may act as catalysts in the formation of clouds.
The nuclear collisions of high energy cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere also create carbon 14. Caves in Oman and elsewhere show a stunning correlation between carbon 14 and temperature as measured by an isotope of oxygen, indicating a causal relationship.
This book lucidly describes the difficulty scientists who explore possible natural causes of climate change experience in obtaining funding in a world which gives billions to those claiming carbon dioxide causes global warming.
Starting in late 2009, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is conducting experiments testing the hypothesis (CLOUD experiment). Svensmark mentioned to SEPP that he expects papers on results coming out late this year. We look forward to them.
SEPP has joined the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Freedomworks in filing a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington DC Circuit requesting review of the EPA ruling increasing mileage standards for automobiles. This petition is to complete the February petition to review the EPA finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and welfare.
Automobile emissions were cited by the Supreme Court as causing sea level rise. Of course, not mentioned was that sea levels have been rising for 18,000 years over which period they have risen some 400 feet. It would be amusing to have the court demand that EPA separate amount of sea level rise due to automobile emissions from the natural rise.
Why Climate-Realists Are Winning The Argument & The Public
"Reality bites" is the simple answer but Newsweak has a more rambling explanation below. Anything other than global-warming boosterism from Newsweak is however something of a departure. They are getting cautious
Just three years ago the politics of global warming was enjoying its golden moment. The release in 2006 of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, had riveted global audiences with its predictions of New York and Miami under 20 feet of water. Within 12 months, leading politicians with real power were on board.
Germany’s Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor” by her country’s press, arranged a Greenland photo op with a melting iceberg and promised to cut Europe’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called climate change a scourge equal to fascism, offered 60 percent by 2050. In December 2007, the world got its very first green leader. Harnessing the issue of climate change, Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia, ready to take on what he called “the biggest political, economic, and moral challenge of our times.” Now, almost everywhere, green politics has fallen from its lofty heights.
Following two of the harshest winters on record in the Northern Hemisphere—not to mention an epic economic crisis—voters no longer consider global warming a priority. Just 42 percent of Germans now worry about climate change, down from 62 percent in 2006. In Australia, only 53 percent still consider it a pressing issue, down from 75 percent in 2007. Americans rank climate change dead last of 21 problems that concern them most, according to a January Pew poll. Last month Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, blasting climate change as a “sideshow” to global economic issues, canceled the meeting of environment ministers that has preceded the G8 or G20 summit every year but one since 1994. Merkel has slashed green-development aid in the latest round of budget cuts, while in Washington, Barack Obama seems to have cooled on his plan to cap emissions.
In perhaps the most striking momentum reversal for environmental politicians, last month Rudd became the first leader to be destroyed by his green policies. Flip-flopping over planned emissions cuts as the opposition exploited Australian voters’ flagging support for climate measures, he was finally ousted by party rebels.
What has turned the fight against global warming from vote getter to political hot potato in so many places at once? Each country has its own brute politics at play. Rudd was just as much a victim of infighting between factions in Australia’s Labor Party as of shifting public attitudes on global warming. Coming off a battle to push through landmark health-care-reform legislation through Congress, Obama has likely exhausted his political capital for another controversial and far-reaching bill. In Europe, bailouts first of banks and now entire countries have sucked up decision-making bandwidth and given an opening to those who argue that climate legislation is an unaffordable economic burden.
Cynics (and some frustrated environmentalists) say this is all just the usual cycle in media and politics, with the public tiring of the issue and moving on. Yet above all, it is climate politics itself that has turned murky and double-edged. No longer does it lend itself to the easy categories of good and bad that Rudd so successfully exploited in 2007. And controlling the global climate turned out to be a lot more complicated than the advocates of fierce and fast CO2 cuts would have us believe.
Back in 2007, it was easy and popular—and cost nothing—to announce ever-tougher but faraway targets. The snag was that once in place, those lofty goals would require countries to get on with the harsh and costly business of reengineering entire economies, without which the numbers could never be reached.
Rudd was the first green leader to fall because he was the first one to be hit by the tough reality of having to translate goals into practice, says Oliver Geden, a climate-policy expert at SWP, a think tank in Berlin. Not only is Australia the world’s biggest exporter of CO2-spewing coal, but its citizens and businesses also gobble up energy at one of the world’s highest per capita rates. The changes required of Australians would be immense.
Increasingly, the whole concept of radical, top-down global targets is coming under scrutiny as citizens and governments face tougher choices over costs and benefits. Green policies can be popular when they mean subsidizing renewable fuels or going after unpopular power companies, but can quickly hit a wall when they force lifestyle change, such as less driving and fewer swimming pools—fears Rudd’s opponents have exploited.
Policies that push trendy green fuels also cost much more than other options, such as replacing dirty coal with cleaner gas or emissions-free nuclear power. Some schemes, such as America’s corn ethanol and Europe’s biodiesel made from rapeseed, have virtually zero net emissions savings, but any petroleum they displace is quickly bought up by China. Even in the ideal case that the United Nations’ goal of 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 is technologically and politically feasible, economists disagree widely on whether the cost of the current set of policies, such as carbon caps and green-fuel subsidies, is justified by the avoided damage from warmer temperatures.
What’s more, hitting emissions targets remains an elusive quest. The world’s most ambitiously green region, Europe, has already clocked an 11.3 percent decrease in emissions since 1990—except much of it has little to do with climate policy. Instead, a large part of the decrease is attributable to economic forces such as the collapse of communist-era industry in Eastern Europe (much of which has shifted to China), British utilities’ switch from coal to North Sea gas, as well as the recent recession. “It’s hard to believe that we can regulate the global temperature in 2050 when politicians cannot even get a handle on health expenditures next year,” says Geden.
There are other ways green policies have lost their innocence since 2007. In many ways, green projects have become just another flavor of grubby interest politics. Biofuels have become a new label for old-style agricultural subsidies that funnel some $20 billion annually to landowners with little effect on emissions (only Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol produces any significant savings; America’s corn ethanol and Europe’s biodiesel do not).
Germany’s solar subsidies, a signature project in the country’s battle against climate change, are perhaps the most wasteful green scheme on earth, producing a mere 0.25 percent of the country’s energy at a cost to consumers of as much as $125 billion. A leading member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the German Parliament says there is growing unease both in his party and in the Bundestag “about the scary monster we’ve created that is sucking up ever larger amounts of money for a negligible effect.”
On top of all this unease came last November’s “climategate” affair over irregularities in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body whose findings are the basis of all climate policy. Though a review panel has since cleared the researchers of most allegations, the lingering controversy could further undermine the IPCC’s longstanding push for massive CO2 reduction targets as the only viable option to deal with global warming.
With green politics losing its moral high ground, there is a growing realization that climate change is just one policy priority among many that compete for limited resources and attention. That means, first, that climate politics will likely fall off its pedestal of being the Western world’s overarching priority.
Second, the new sobriety could give more space to a third stream of climate politics between those who see warming as an unmitigated catastrophe that must be stopped at any cost, and those who reject global warming as a hoax. A new climate realism would more carefully weigh the costs and benefits of emissions controls, and look at other options beyond the current set of targets. The new debate will be more pragmatic and include a broader mix of policies. That might include a shift of subsidies into research and development, as many climate economists have argued.
It would also include greater efforts to adapt society to a warmer climate, rather than focusing only on stopping the warming process in its tracks.
That idea has so far figured little in the debate, largely because mainstream environmentalists fear it will distract from their push for CO2 cutbacks. Yet adaptation may offer equally valid and much less expensive choices than cutting back on emissions. For example, one of the most-feared effects of warming is rising sea levels—yet mankind has successfully dealt with similar rises for centuries. “As soon as you start talking to Dutch engineers, you realize that sea-level rise is business as usual,” says Geden.
Declining water supplies in some regions of the world, another effect of warmer temperatures, might be more effectively met with efficient water distribution and less water-hungry crops than global temperature targets. Another emerging area of innovation is climate engineering, such as the manipulation of cloud cover and other artificial means of reflecting heat back into space.
In other words, some of the money spent on current policies that often have only limited efficacy might be better spent on other measures, including protection against the worst effects of warming. What’s more, current economic worries are a reminder that every dollar spent on solar cells or biodiesel is a dollar less for education and other budget priorities. If that means climate and environmental policies in the future will be more stringently measured in terms of the tradeoffs involved given finite resources, that would be a lasting benefit that even Kevin Rudd might appreciate.
Killing the green wave
Comment from Canada
Most people understand what an independent public inquiry is -- Except climate scientists and politicians. In a public inquiry, a third party with no interest in the outcome — typically a judge — is appointed by government with a mandate to investigate an issue of public concern.
The inquiry has its own legal counsel, investigators and budget. It has the power to compel witnesses to testify publicly, to cross-examine them, to demand documents and call in outside experts.
By that standard, the three official “inquiries” into “Climategate” — the last of which recently “exonerated” scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) — again were farces. Two were cases of the UEA appointing sympathetic academics to investigate itself.
The third was a one-day hearing before a British parliamentary committee in a country that has been at the forefront of global warming hysteria.
Climategate involved the unsanctioned release of thousands of e-mails and documents by leading climate scientists. The most infamous came from former CRU director Phil Jones about using a “trick” to “hide the decline” in temperatures, plus discussing with colleagues ways to hide data from freedom of information requests under U.K. law.
The latest “inquiry” found what the two previous ones did — the science of climate change is sound (surprise!), but researchers were unprofessionally secretive.
While warmists declared “victory” with each predictable report, and are still fighting skeptics over the credibility of various claims in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which basically described global warming as an existential threat, much of the public has stopped listening.
International polls show concern over climate change dropping — even in countries such as Germany, which has heavily invested in renewable energy — and most significantly in the U.S., the world’s No. 2 greenhouse gas emitter.
With China, the world’s largest emitter, refusing to accept hard emission targets, global negotiations to draft a successor agreement to the (widely ignored) Kyoto accord, which expires in 2012, are stalled.
There’ll be another attempt in Cancun this November after talks all but fell apart in Copenhagen last December, but the effort is losing steam.
One reason is the realization global, centrally-imposed diktats to cut emissions over mandated time frames — mindful of the former Soviet Union’s absurd five-year plans for the production of tin — don’t work.
Another is politicians now have to move from promising to lower emissions, which is easy, to lowering them, which, as the public is discovering, is ruinously expensive, doesn’t work and will lead to power shortages.
Optimists might say, as Newsweek did Monday in an essay, “A Green Retreat: Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner,” that climate change is finally being put into perspective as one of many challenges we face, not necessarily the most significant.
Unfortunately, the global political fight never has been about the environment, but about expanding government power domestically and creating, internationally, a socialist, money-sucking scheme to transfer wealth from the first world to the third. That effort is proceeding.
It’s how Stephen Harper accurately described Kyoto, before he became prime minister and stopped talking about the issue honestly. As for the opposition parties, they’re so uninformed about the devastating economic consequences of what they’re advocating, it’s just scary.
Global Warming Theory: False in Parts, False in Totality
By Tim Ball
There are so many variables ignored, underreported or simply not understood in climate science and especially in the computer models that purport to simulate global climate, that they destroy any pretence we know or understand weather and climate. But don’t take my word for it. Consider the comments from proponents of anthropogenic global warming including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In the 2001 report they said, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate state is not possible.” James Lovelock, Gaia hypothesis speculator said, “It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think that we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.” Kevin Trenberth, IPCC author and CRU associate said, “It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system… This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate, but we don’t.”
Many reports exist on the inadequacy of temperature data. Ross McKitrick asks whether a global temperature exists at all.
Anthony Watts shows the serious problems with the weather stations in the US and these are supposedly the best in the world.
We also know how the record is ‘adjusted’ to support the warming theory.
However, measurement of other variables is worse simply because of the complexity of measurements. Instruments to accurately measure precipitation, especially snowfall, have always been a great challenge. Perhaps the most forgotten variable, yet critical to weather and climate, is wind speed.
Ancient Greeks knew the importance of wind direction and how it determined the pattern of weather in a region. They even built a Tower of the Winds in Athens honoring the eight wind deities (Figure 1). Direction was critical for sailing as well, so mariners developed the ability to read the wind to 32 points of the compass. Speed was a different matter. Early attempts had a flat board on a spring with a pointer attached that was set against a scale. Wind pushed the board and the pointer indicated the force. The big change came with the wind cup or anemometer in 1846. While this provides an accurate measure, recording the information is important because the work the wind does requires detailed almost continuous data.
The atmosphere is heated by air in contact with the ground (conduction) but also by evaporation of moisture that is then released into the atmosphere. In both cases the rate varies with wind speed. Even a small variation in wind speed results in a variation in heat exchange and distribution in the atmosphere.
Wind is created by difference in pressure that is created by difference in temperature. High temperature creates low pressure and wind then blows from the high pressure to redress the imbalance. There are general global wind patterns created by differential heating. If the Earth wasn’t rotating a simple circulation of air rising at the Equator and descending at the Poles would occur, however rotation results in generally easterly winds at the Equator and the Poles with prevailing westerly winds in the middle latitudes. Each region has different land/ water ratios so a shift in these zonal winds will affect the role of the wind in heating the atmosphere.
Figure 2 shows plots of the percentage frequency of south winds at York Factory located on the southwest shore of Hudson Bay for two decades over 100 years apart. In the early decade from 1721 to 1731, which is well within the Little Ice Age (LIA), south winds blow less than 7 percent of the time. In the decade from 1841 to 1851, which is outside of the LIA, south winds are occur over 12 percent of the time with a peak in 1842 of 27 percent.
The 2007 IPCC report acknowledges the shifts in some wind patterns and associated weather systems. Based on a variety of measurements at the surface and in the upper troposphere, it is likely that there has been an increase and a poleward shift in NH (Northern Hemisphere) winter storm-track activity over the second half of the 20th century, but there are still significant uncertainties in the magnitude of the increase due to time-dependent biases in the reanalyses. The word “likely” is defined as greater than 66% chance. The shift is not surprising because the prevailing westerly wind and accompanying storm track would move north as the Earth warms.
They acknowledge the “significant uncertainties” in the validity of increased frequency. They don’t even attempt to discuss the significance for heat transfer or any other impact on global weather. We know wind causes shifts of Arctic ice to create open water or increase pack ice, but how does this affect heat exchange or evaporation? It is even worse in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Analysed decreases in cyclone numbers over the southern extratropics and increases in mean cyclone radius and depth over much of the SH over the last two decades are subject to even larger uncertainties.
The degree to which the IPCC and their supporters have fooled the world is amazing. As Jean-Francois Revel said: “How is it possible for a theory, which is false in its component parts, to be true as a whole.” In the case of ‘official’ climate science he could add that many parts of the whole are simply omitted.
He explained the mentality that has pervaded the AGW supporters when he wrote, “A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence” His book titled, The Flight from Truth: The Reign of deceit in the Age of Information tells it all.
SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
Chinese historians show that warming is good for you
COOLING is destabilizing. Warmer periods were most peaceful and prosperous
Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900
By Zhibin Zhang1 et al.
Recent studies have linked climatic and social instabilities in ancient China; the underlying causal mechanisms have, however, often not been quantitatively assessed. Here, using historical records and palaeoclimatic reconstructions during AD 10–1900, we demonstrate that war frequency, price of rice, locust plague, drought frequency, flood frequency and temperature in China show two predominant periodic bands around 160 and 320 years where they interact significantly with each other. Temperature cooling shows direct positive association with the frequency of external aggression war to the Chinese dynasties mostly from the northern pastoral nomadic societies, and indirect positive association with the frequency of internal war within the Chinese dynasties through drought and locust plagues. The collapses of the agricultural dynasties of the Han, Tang, Song and Ming are more closely associated with low temperature. Our study suggests that food production during the last two millennia has been more unstable during cooler periods, resulting in more social conflicts owing to rebellions within the dynasties or/and southward aggressions from northern pastoral nomadic societies in ancient China.
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Posted by JR at 6:51 PM