Sunday, September 19, 2010


A new academic paper by Roy Clark


The long term trends in monthly minimum temperature from 34 California weather stations have been analyzed. These trends can be explained using a variable linear urban heat island effect superimposed on a baseline trend from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The majority of the prevailing California weather systems originate in the N. Pacific Ocean. The average minimum monthly temperature is a measure of the surface air temperature of these weather systems. Changes in minimum surface temperature are an indicator of changes in the temperature of the tropospheric air column, not the ground surface temperature. The PDO provides a baseline minimum temperature trend that defines the California climate variation. This allows urban heat island effects and other possible anomalous temperature measurement effects to be identified and investigated. Some of the rural weather stations showed no urban heat island effects. Stations located in urban areas showed heat island effects ranging from 0.01 to over 0.04 C.yr-1. The analysis of minimum temperature data using the PDO as a reference baseline has been demonstrated as a powerful technique for climate trend evaluation. This technique may be extended to other regions using the appropriate local ocean surface temperature reference. The analysis found no evidence for CO2 induced warming trends in the California data. This confirms prior ‘Null Hypothesis’ work that it is impossible for a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration to cause any climate change.


Environmental tyranny

Post recycled from "Brutally Honest"

A week ago I vacationed in the area covered in the following piece... I saw the signs and didn't understand them all, didn't understand the driving forces behind them... I do now... and I'm enraged... you will be enraged... you need to watch the whole damned thing... you need to watch those impacted by environmental thuggery... then you need to pass this on... this needs to go viral... do your part:

Piping Mad: Fair People at the Mercy of a Government Gone Fowl from Kevin Hicks on Vimeo.


Naive climatology: what chance have the teachers when the Government Science Advisor holds such views?

Naive climatology in high places. Sir John Beddington, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science, has produced some web pages to elaborate his position. His covering letter begins thus:
'The science of climate change

'Few areas of science have such profound implications for public policy and society as the study of climate change.

As one consequence, scientists who may have begun their careers in relative backwaters of research now find themselves thrown into the limelight.

Scientific points, and occasional errors, have become the subject of emotive debate and strong media interest. Frequently this has generated more heat than light, with polarised and ill-informed debates across the blogosphere - and indeed at times in the mainstream media.

My aim in developing these web pages is to set out what I believe to be key aspects of the scientific evidence on climate change. In a field so broad the material is necessarily selective, but I hope it presents in a clear and scientific manner an overview of some of the most important areas of study.

The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening, that human activities are the major driver for this and that the future risks are substantial. This evidence includes wide-ranging, long term and robust observations of changes that are taking place, and projections of possible future changes that are based on basic physical laws.'

I want to examine the last paragraph quoted, phrase by phrase:

'The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening'

Agreed. The climate has never stopped changing. Ever. This is a platitude, used I suspect to deploy the phrase 'the evidence is compelling' in the hope that the naive reader will assume that applies to human influence as well. Only the artificially contrived hockey-stick temperature plot showed little change (in temperature) until the 20th century, but it has now been exposed as an artefact due to peculiar choices in a particular statistical analysis of a noisy and complex set of data (1).

'that human activities are the major driver for this'

No. There is no compelling evidence for this - it is a theoretical speculation, enshrined as an added effect in computer models of climate, and that is all. Of course human activities affect both climate and weather - the debate is about how much and in which direction. Nothing extraordinary has been seen recently in any of the climate measures such as temperatures, ice extents, storm frequencies and intensities, rainfall, sea levels, etc. The climate remains within bounds, but within these bounds there is a great deal of variation.

Attempts to match CO2 levels with climate measurements have been particularly disappointing for those alarmed by this possibility. The warming and cooling cycles of the past 150 years or so, superimposed on a slowly rising (beneficially so, I would add) global temperatures (as 'averaged' in various ways - none of which are immune from problems) do not link convincingly to the rising CO2 level as a cause.

The last ten years or so have seen another break in this long-term rise in global 'average' temperature, and it is quite plausible that we are now in a cooling cycle that could last at least another 20 years. With regard to CO2, there are massive natural fluxes in and out of the air, such that the human-caused emissions (whose magnitude is only crudely guestimated) amount to a few percent (some say c. 3%). That alone makes the qualifier 'major' subject to doubt. Distinguished scientists are on record with their strong reservations e.g. (2), (3).

'and that the future risks are substantial'

Of course. Another platitude given that we are probably near the end of a mild inter-glacial period, and if so, a return of permanent ice cover to the UK and elsewhere is inevitable. There are substantial challenges from cooling, arguably far more challenging than from the more credible end of the range of warming projections promoted by the IPCC.

The response by some to the threat of warming has been to call for a crippling of our primary sources of reliable energy - coal, gas, oil, and even nuclear, and for a burden of new taxes to be added to other industries. This kind of self-harm does not seem a sensible thing to do when in fact more energy means more scope for dealing with climate challenges, as does more economic growth, not least in the poorer countries.

'This evidence includes wide-ranging, long term and robust observations of changes that are taking place,'

This is presumably referring to rising CO2 levels. Or is it another attempt to piggy-back on ordinary climate variation in order to bolster a weak case? There is evidence that rising temperatures cause increases in atmospheric CO2 on short and on geological timescales, the very reverse of the IPCC position, e.g. (4).

'and projections of possible future changes that are based on basic physical laws.'

Not exactly. This would have been more accurate: 'based on deliberately set parameters in global climate models whose own developers admit are not fit for making predictions'. Hence the term 'projections'.

The physical laws bit deserves further elucidation. I think the alarmists have now conceded that the optical properties of glass (specifically the ability to transmit visible light far more readily than infra-red) are not important for real greenhouses getting hot - their high temperatures are due to the dramatic reduction in mixing with outside air, and not from any 'trapping of infra-red'. How many school textbooks recognise this? It was established by experiment about 100 years ago.

The idea that just adding more CO2 must mean higher temperatures is also naive. Physicists, notably in Germany (5) (6), and from Hungary (7) and Russia (8), are arguing that if anything, it could lead to a small cooling (due to slightly increasing the density of air, and due to increasing the radiation of infrared into space higher up in the atmosphere).

There are other arguments, in particular the saturation effect, the logarithmic rather than linear response of the radiative effect of CO2 in a chamber of gas - so providing less thermal impact for each additional ppm of CO2 (9), and a broad one of negative feedback stability that is, I think, a bit more plausible than any positive feedback.

Core features of the 'greenhouse effect' modeling in the atmosphere have also been challenged (10), (11). Here is an example of a scientifically sceptical overview of the alarmist approach to climate science: (12).

The statements and position adopted by Professor Beddington are surely going to be influential. Any education authority or teacher wishing to take a broader, dare I say 'more inclusive', view of climate has to be ready to challenge such authority, and its ex-cathedra announcements. What are the chances of that happening soon? Low I guess, although I am convinced that it will happen eventually, as and when sound science, observation, and reasoning push speculative computer models back to where they belong - which is hidden away from the public gaze and from vulnerable and/or opportunistic politicians and environment campaigners.

SOURCE (See the original for links and references)

California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

The article below is from the NYT so don't expect any evidence for their assertions about "out-of-state oil companies".

A big leap for them however is that they do now acknowledge that Green policies have economic costs

A ballot initiative to suspend a milestone California law curbing greenhouse gas emissions is drawing a wave of contributions from out-of-state oil companies, raising concerns among conservationists as it emerges as a test of public support for potentially costly environmental measures during tough economic times.

A ballot intiative seeks to suspend a law that would force the power industry in California to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles and David Koch, the billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement, donated $1 million to the campaign to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed four years ago, and signaled that they were prepared to invest more in the cause. With their contribution, proponents of the proposition have raised $8.2 million, with $7.9 million coming from energy companies, most of them out of state.

This latest embrace by the Koch brothers of a conservative cause jolted environmental leaders who are worried that a vote against the law in this state — with its long history of environmental activism — would amount to a powerful setback for emission control efforts in Washington and statehouses across the country.

“It would have big implications,” said George P. Shultz, the former secretary of state, who is a chairman of a campaign to defeat the ballot initiative. “That is one reason why these outside companies are pouring money in to try to derail the same thing. At the same time, the reverse is true: they put this fat in the fire and if we win, that also sends a message.”

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, who has been traveling California to rally support against the proposition, called it “by far the single most important ballot measure to date testing public support for continuing to move to a clean energy economy.”

The campaign against California’s greenhouse gas law comes as business groups have invested heavily across the country in trying to defeat members of Congress who voted for a cap-and-trade bill that also mandated emission reductions; the bill passed the House but failed in the Senate in the face of strong opposition from lawmakers in industrial states.

Traditionally, public support for environmental measures suffers during tough economic times. Here in California, backers of the initiative have seized on that anxiety — which is particularly acute in this state, with its 12.3 percent unemployment rate — in search of a victory.

“I believe the battle over cap and trade in America is taking place in California on Nov. 2 of this year,” said Dan Logue, a Republican assemblyman from north-central California who wrote the ballot initiative. He added: “What we’re saying is, this is not the time for political correctness. This is a time for putting America back to work; let the experiments happen later.”

The law in question, known as A.B. 32, mandates slashing carbon and other greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, by forcing power companies and industries to cap their emissions and by slashing carbon in gasoline. Some oil industry leaders said it would force them to invest millions of dollars to comply, and asserted that it would force companies to cut jobs and raise the price of gas at the pumps.

Although the vast majority of the money being contributed to fight the law is coming from oil companies, the oil industry is clearly not united in opposition: some major California oil refineries, including Chevron, have notably stayed out of the battle so far.

The ballot initiative, known as Proposition 23, would suspend the law from going into effect as scheduled in 2012 until state unemployment falls to 5.5 percent or lower for at least four consecutive quarters. That has happened only three times over the last 40 years, state officials said; thus, the proposition could have the practical effect of killing the law.

“The company believes that implementing A.B. 32 will cause significant job losses and higher energy costs in California,” said Katie Stavinoha, a spokesman for Flint Hills Resources, the petroleum company in Wichita, Kan., owned by the Koch brothers. “What’s more, the company thinks it sets a bad precedent for other state and federal governments to do the same thing.”

That said, the issue hardly breaks cleanly along business lines, reflecting in part the diverse business environment in California, which has always had a strong research and development sector, powered by venture capitalists ready to finance cutting-edge technology. Many business groups have opposed the drive to suspend the greenhouse law, and the list of contributors backing the measure is notable for the absence of venture capitalists.

“There is a huge clean energy revolution going on: this is going to happen,” said Thomas F. Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management, a hedge fund in San Francisco, and a co-chairman with Mr. Shultz of the campaign to defeat the proposition. “If we’re not careful, it’s just not going to happen in the United States.”

Mr. Steyer has contributed $2.5 million to the effort to defeat the initiative and said he was prepared to contribute an additional $2.5 million.

Mr. Schultz said that since the passage of the law, “a whole industry is developing here, and I might say a lot of jobs are connected with it.”

“There’s been a virtual eruption of research and development activities of all kinds on alternate ways to produce and use energy,” he said.

In most years, this should not be a worrisome battleground for environmentalists. The greenhouse gas law enjoyed strong support from the public when it passed four years ago, according to polls. The roster of opponents to Proposition 23 includes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, who views the law as a defining accomplishment of his career here.

Early polling suggests that voters who know about the measure are evenly split.

Yet supporters said they were concerned that the proposition could slip through at a time when Democratic spirits are low. More significant is the question of how much more supporters of Prop 23 can raise to finance their campaign. Of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation; both corporations are based in San Antonio.

“We have every reason to believe that they are going to put the money in to run a big television campaign in the most expensive media market in the country,” said Annie Notthoff, the California advocacy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “We certainly are expecting to have a fight on our hands.”

Supporters of the law, if nervous about the proposition, remain optimistic than they can beat it back at the polls in November, and hope that such an outcome would have the opposite effect nationally that opponents of the bill are seeking. “If the proposition loses, the lesson is going to be there’s no going back,” said Wesley P. Warren, director of programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Top Obama Advisor John Holdren Wants to "De-develop" America

Before you accuse the radicals surrounding Obama of being communists, bear in mind that Science Czar John Holdren wants to "use the free market" to "de-develop the United States."
"A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States," Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne H. Ehrlich in the "recommendations" concluding their 1973 book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.

The economic effects of "de-developing" America are about what we've been seeing for the past two years. Maybe Obama has some clue what he's doing after all.

Holdren's scheme isn't all about suppressing economic activity. As always with environmentalism, wealth redistribution comes into play:
"Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries," Holdren and his co-authors wrote. "This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being."

I've been to a country with a low-consumption economy and an "equitable distribution of wealth." It doesn't exist anymore, but it used to be called the Soviet Union.

The wild-eyed Malthusian Paul Ehrlich was totally discredited when his predictions that we would run out of most major resources by 1980 or so failed to come true — but not among his fellow antihuman lunatics. Holdren and friends still sing the same evil tune of radical population control and a drastically reduced standard of living. recently asked Holdren what he meant by de-developing America:
Holdren responded: "What we meant by that was stopping the kinds of activities that are destroying the environment and replacing them with activities that would produce both prosperity and environmental quality. Thanks a lot." then asked: "And how do you plan on implementing that?"

"Through the free market economy," Holdren said.

You see? He believes in the free market. Obama's advisors aren't communists after all.


Warmism a lucrative business

THE global climate change industry is now worth more than $528bn, powered by China's rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues.

As the debate on setting a price on carbon in Australia continues, HSBC Global Research issued a report on climate change that showed the sector had proved resilient to the global slowdown, seeing less than a 0.9 per cent decline in revenues in 2009, as companies push ahead with plans despite political uncertainty over green policies.

"Despite concerns over the risks that governments may retreat from their pledges to deliver emission reductions and continuing uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of regulatory incentives in key markets, global climate revenues have held up remarkably well and in 2009 stood at $US530bn for listed companies," the report says.

The headline figure is greater than the global wireless telecoms services sector and comparable to the GDP of Switzerland, the report says.

The research also shows that private sector climate-related investment in China, which had grown thirtyfold since 2004, coupled with focused climate stimulus spend, is set to propel China to the forefront of developments in the emerging low-carbon economy.

HSBC says this will ultimately feed into the future growth of China's economy. "In terms of climate stimulus spend, China leads the pack, having already disbursed over 70 per cent of the funds it pledged two years ago," the report says.

The climate change debate in Australia was reignited this week when BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers called for the nation to lead the way and introduce a carbon tax before any international agreement.

John Atkinson, the managing director of White Energy, which focuses on clean coal technology, said he did not believe that businesses needed certainty on carbon tax today. "Other countries would be surprised if Australia took the lead on the issue," he said. "I would've thought that the more sensible approach is for the major emitters to agree on the issue and then implement what they agree."

But Mr Atkinson said it was good to have the debate, because the industry was not deterred by the political uncertainty and initiatives were being implemented on a global basis.

Just this week, White Energy announced that the US state of Kentucky had sought out the company to address an emissions problem around sulphur, offering White Energy accelerated permits and funding for low-sulphur fuel for the state's coal-fired power generating companies. "When people are faced with real problems, they look hard at trying to show they are doing something positive that can assist the situation long term," he said.

The HSBC report reveals that over the past year, despite a number of key countries wavering on their commitments to addressing the issues of climate change, the number of companies engaged in providing climate-related goods, products and services grew to 367, a 140 per cent rise since 2004.

The research also highlights that firms in key industries, which HSBC identified as being critical to the emerging low-carbon economy, continue to focus on growing climate revenues, relative to their other businesses.

Vijay Sumon, an index specialist at HSBC Global Research, said in the climate change sector, energy efficiency and energy management remained key areas. "Not only has this sub-sector performed well, but we predict that it is likely to continue to do so next year, as a beneficiary of further stimulus spend," he said. "We see it as a no-regrets option, as it makes sense for businesses regardless of climate change."



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