Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Damning New Investigation Into Climategate Inquiries

The Global Warming Policy Foundation today publishes a detailed assessment of the Climategate inquiries set up by the University of East Anglia and others which finds that they avoided key questions and failed to probe some of the most serious allegations.

The report The Climategate Inquiries, written by Andrew Montford and with a foreword by Lord (Andrew) Turnbull, finds that the inquiries into the conduct and integrity of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were rushed and seriously inadequate.

In particular, the report finds that:

#none of the Climategate panels mounted an inquiry that was comprehensive within their area of remit

#insufficient consideration in the choice of panel members led to a failure to ensure balance and independence

#none managed to be objective and comprehensive

#none made any serious attempt to consider the views and submissions of well-informed critics

#terms of reference were either vague or non-existent

#none of them performed their work in a way that is likely to restore confidence in the work of CRU.

Andrew Montford, the author of the GWPF report, said:

"The lack of impartiality manifested itself in the different ways the panels treated CRU scientists and their critics. While CRU justifications and explanations were willingly accepted without any serious probing, critics were denied adequate opportunity to respond and to counter demonstrably inaccurate claims."

"All in all, the evidence of the failings of the three UK inquiries is overwhelming. Public confidence in the reliability of climate science will not be restored until a thorough, independent and impartial investigation takes place," Andrew Montford warned.

Lord Turnbull, who wrote the foreword to the GWPF report, said:

"The report by Andrew Montford clearly demonstrates that all three inquiries have serious flaws. The result has been that the three investigations have failed to achieve their objective, ie early and conclusive closure and restoration of confidence."

"The new House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which has rightly reopened the issue, would do well to study Andrew Montford's report and take evidence from him. It needs to satisfy itself as to whether the criticisms made are valid and whether the exoneration claimed is justified."

"Only if the integrity of the science is re-established and the strengths and weaknesses of the main propositions are acknowledged will there be the basis of trust with the public which policymakers need," Lord Turnbull said.

Lord Turnbull also called on the Government to look at the serious criticisms of the IPCC made in the recent InterAcademy Council Report. He said: "The Government should demand that the fundamental reforms recommended by the IAC in the practice, governance and leadership of the IPCC are implemented immediately for its Fifth Assessment."


Climategate whitewashers squirm like maggots on Bishop Hill's pin

Just back from the House of Lords for the launch of the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s report on the failings of the three Climategate inquiries.

The official inquiries, as we know, found nothing untoward in any of the Climategate emails – nor in the behaviour of the scientists responsible for them. But the GWPF’s report, by Andrew “Bishop Hill” Montford, begs to differ. At the conference, one journalist asked Montford to try to summarise the juiciest of his allegations. Montford found this difficult: so many and varied are the failings of the three whitewash inquiries, he simply couldn’t decide which ones to choose.

Here, for example, are just a few criticisms of the Oxburgh whitewash.

* The panel appears to have been deliberately selected to have a majority who would not address the review objectively and to exclude sceptical views entirely.

* UEA appointed Oxburgh as chairman of the panel in the full knowledge that he had conflicts of interest.

* UEA restricted the scope of the Oxburgh inquiry to published papers only, avoiding the serious allegations related to the IPCC activities of CRU staff.

* The scope was further restricted to the conduct of the scientists. UEA had led the Science and Technology Committee members to believe that the quality of CRU’s scientific work would be re-assessed. The committee’s chairman, Phil Willis, felt that the UEA had misled them.

* Lord Oxburgh’s report misled the public by stating that the papers were chosen ‘on the advice of the Royal Society.’

* Lord Rees said that he had consulted with experts about the papers. In fact he had only discussed them with Sir Brian Hoskins, who had said he did not know CRU’s works.

While we’re on Lord Oxburgh, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how entirely unsuited to chairing a supposedly neutral inquiry on AGW this man is. Here’s an interview he gave to Guardian in 2005 in which he reveals why corporate Quislings like himself have so strong an interest in pushing the AGW agenda:
Oxburgh advocates that government uses the controls at its disposal: “Regulate biofuels. Or subsidise. Or tax” – any incentive really, but “what we don’t want to see is in two years’ time the government simply becoming bored with climate change after we’ve invested a lot of our shareholders’ money.”

Perhaps the most shocking new revelation in Andrew Montford’s report is that Sir Muir Russell appears to have been given evidence at the beginning of his inquiry that [paleoclimatologist] Keith Briffa had “taken steps that might be construed as an attempt to block Freedom of Information requests.”

Despite this, the Muir Russell report claimed “we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made.” Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser.


Coral Bleaching

Global warming causes coral bleaching – and there is absolutely no doubt about it, right? Tens of thousands of websites found searching for “Global warming and coral bleaching” seem to agree that when the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and the corals become “bleached.” The heat affects the tiny algae which live symbiotically inside the corals and supply them with food. The heat stress damages the algae and in consequence leads to coral death.

The argument for the global warming/coral bleaching connection is bolstered by the massive El Niño event in 1997 and 1998 that led to unusually warm tropical waters throughout the world’s lower latitudes and coral bleaching in many locations. But, as with so many other topics covered in World Climate Report, the idea that corals are in peril because of global warming turns out to be considerably more complicated than is commonly presented to the public at large.

Three recent articles give us reason to question the alarmists’ claims that coral reefs are in deep trouble due to the buildup of greenhouse gases.

The first piece was published in Marine Environmental Research by M.J.C. Crabbe of the United Kingdom’s University of Bedfordshire (we cannot make this up – this marine scientist has the last name of Crabbe). Crabbe notes “Coral reefs throughout the world are under severe challenge from a variety of environmental factors including overfishing, destructive fishing practices, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, algal blooms, agricultural run-off, coastal and resort development, marine pollution, increasing coral diseases, invasive species, and hurricane/cyclone damage.”

We agree – coral reefs are facing no end of challenges in our modern world!

Crabbe studied reefs in Jamaica, and he notes that “The Jamaican reefs are subject to a number of both acute and chronic stressors, the last including overfishing and continuing coastal development, including the much-publicised development on land adjacent to Pear Tree Bottom reef and the resurfacing of the North Jamaican coastal highway.” Again, there is a lot more to the story of reefs than just global warming.

He studied various reefs from 2000 to 2008, and this period included a mass bleaching event in 2005. Crabbe concluded “Despite the multiple influences on the reef sites over the study period, the size classes of the corals studied showed resilience to change.”

We suspected this all along – the coral reefs have been around for 100’s of millions of years! He states “What is apparent from this study is that despite the chronic and acute disturbances between 2002 and 2008, demographic studies indicate good levels of coral resilience on the fringing reefs around Discovery Bay in Jamaica.”

Crabbe warns that “Unfortunately, previously successful efforts to engage the local fisherman in controlling catches around Discovery Bay have not been maintained, and it may be that the development of a Discovery Bay Marine Park is the only solution.”

We get the message – don’t blame global warming, blame the local fishermen!

Next up comes from two scientists from the University of Exeter’s Marine Spatial Ecology Lab who focused on coral in other Caribbean reefs; Mumby and Harborne noted that “Because the Bahamas was severely disturbed by the 1998 coral bleaching event, and later by hurricane Frances in the summer of 2004, coral cover was low at the beginning of the study, averaging only 7% at reserve and non-reserve sites.”

Corals have been around for eons, they have survived periods much hotter than anything experienced today, they have survived massive El Niño events, and as seen in their study area, the corals can be severely damaged by hurricanes. Delicate corals would have never made it – robust corals would win in the world of natural selection.

In the Caribbean, macroalgae compete vigorously with coral, and macroalgae are controlled to a large extent by herbivorous parrotfishes living within the reef. The parrotfish are more common in reserves than in non-protected areas, and sure enough “The proportional increase in coral cover after 2.5 years was fairly high at reserve sites (mean of 19% per site) and significantly greater than that in non-reserve sites which, on average, exhibited no net recovery.”

They conclude “Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.” An important implication of the research is that the long-term impact of and recovery from coral bleaching events may be largely controlled by herbivore fish – rather than just global warming.

Finally, we looked at a recent article from the scientific journal entitled Coral Reefs written by ten scientists from French Polynesia, France, Florida, and California. Apparently, doing work on the reefs of Moorea (an island in French Polynesia) attracts a crowd?

Adjeroud et al. studied the Tiahura Outer Reef Sector (TORS) in Moorea from 1991-2006 (sign us up for this duty) and they noted that “Coral assemblages in Moorea, French Polynesia, have been impacted by multiple disturbances (one cyclone and four bleaching events between 1991 and 2006).”

Their conclusions include the statement “In addition, our results reveal that corals can recover rapidly following a dramatic decline. Such decadal-scale recovery of coral cover has been documented at some locations, but our results are novel in demonstrating rapid recovery against a backdrop of ongoing, high frequency, and large-scale disturbances.” Enough said!


"Minuscule": Effects of European ETS on CO2 Emissions

The UK NGO Sandbag has released a report (PDF) evaluating the effects of the European Emissions Trading Scheme on the bloc's carbon dioxide emissions. Here is an excerpt from the report:
We are now two years into the second Phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and it is already clear that, like Phase I, Phase I I will fail to deliver significant abatement2. Policymakers set a Phase I I cap sitting just 6% below 2005 allocations3. But as 2005 was actually overallocated by more than 7% meaning Phase I I actually represents a 1% growth cap against 2005 emissions4. Furthermore, this unambitious Phase I I cap was almost immediately blindsided by the recession. In 2009 the recession dragged down production levels by 1 3.85%, reducing emissions by 1 1 .6%5.

Even with an aggressive economic recovery, our projections find it unlikely that the Phase I I cap would constrain emissions by more than 32Mt across the full 5 years of the phase (2008-1 2), a meagre 0.3% of the 1 0.5 billion tonnes we expect covered installations to emit across the period. To put this in context, the current phase of the ETS, which polices more than 12,000 installations, would have been almost twice as effective if it had simply enforced a cap on one of Europe's largest polluters: Drax power station in the UK is likely to face a shortfall of 60Mt across the same period, double the net effect of the entire scheme.

Furthermore, the low cost and high availability of offsets make it is highly unlikely that this meagre 32Mt of abatement will take place in Europe. I t is more probable that European emitters will purchase cheap offsets to give them a carbon space to grow domestic emissions. In fact, despite the promise of much more aggressive Phase I I I caps we find that on-going availability of cheap offsets could allow Europe’s domestic emissions to grow a staggering 34% from current levels by 2016.

In The Climate Fix, I present data suggesting that Europe's rate of decarbonization was essentially unchanged before and after implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, up to the period covered by the Sandbag analysis. The Sandbag analysis suggests that this finding holds to the present. The strong implication is the that EU ETS has not accelerated BAU decarbonization in Europe.

Of note, the European Commission agrees with the Sandbag analysis, but not the implications that they draw:
The European Commission agrees in broad terms with the analysis underlying the Sandbag report, in that supply exceeds demand for allowances in the current trading phase, Maria Kokkonen, spokeswoman for Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, told EurActiv.

"We do not, however, share all the policy conclusions drawn from it. The EU ETS has undergone a fundamental reform as part the climate and energy package and is on course to be even more effective in the future. The priority is to properly implement these fundamental reforms in a timely manner," she said.

This response would seem to suggest that the spell of emissions trading is still working its magic. It will be interesting to see how long this illusion can persist.


Only one Republican Senate Candidate Still Supporting Climate Fascism

I usually don't plug left wing websites, but this blog post from Think Progress is phenomenal. It details the statements of all Republican Senate candidates as it relates to Anthropogenic Global Warming. They note that all of the candidates are at least skeptical of AGW except..... you guessed it, Mike Castle. Here is what Castle writes on his congressional website:

Believing that we must act now to mitigate the impact of global warming pollution, Rep. Castle supports U.S. participation in international agreements and a cap-and-trade program based on the best available science, which will deliver the kind of reform business and industry need to grow the economy, stabilize the climate, and create more diverse and secure sources of energy. Since 2004, Rep. Castle has supported the Climate Stewardship Act. Rep. Castle believes we can achieve 15-20% reductions in global warming pollution by 2020 and reductions on the order of 80% by 2050.

Christine O'Donnell signed the Contract from America which pledges to oppose any climate tax. The choice tomorrow is clear.



DE: “Tea Party” candidate upsets GOP establishment pick for US Senate nod

“Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell, a perennial candidate with no government experience, soundly defeated veteran politician Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware Tuesday — posing a major upset to the political establishment on the last big day of primaries. With all precincts reporting, O’Donnell beat Castle 53-47 percent.”


Another "Green" hit on the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

If the project below were commercially viable, it would not need government funding.

And the route makes no sense. Why send power underwater to Weipa? A route via Thursday Island and Cape York would require only a small fraction of the underwater cabling needed to send it to Weipa. And Weipa is a very small town unlikely to use much of the power itself. Weipa does of course have bauxite so the proposal might make some sense if an alumina smelter were envisaged there -- but you would hear Greenie shrieks from all sides if that were proposed

I guess an overland route via Cape York would involve more Aboriginal "land rights" issues but it would also allow the many towns -- including the city of Cairns -- between Cooktown and Townsville to be supplied. So this whole thing just reeks of crazy Leftist politics

Greenies hate dams anyway so that will probably knock the whole idea on the head

A massive hydro-electric plant in Papua New Guinea will supply power to Townsville via an underwater cable under a multi-billion dollar plan announced this morning. The plant would provide about three times the baseload power of a coal-fired power station.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told parliament Origin Energy and PNG Energy Developments would sign a memorandum of understanding to work toward the green-energy project, which could connect to the north Queensland city by 2020.

The project would use a “running” dam of the Purari River in Papua New Guinea's highlands to generate electricity before transferring it through a pipeline and into the Australian national electricity grid.

Ms Bligh likened the project to the 1940s Snowy River Scheme. “This project would mean our vision for stronger, greener Queensland could take a giant leap forward,” she said. “This proposal could generate 1800MW of renewable baseload electricity travelling via undersea cable to Weipa and could potentially plug directly into Townsville as early as 2020.”

The Queensland government has yet to contribute funding for the project, which has been studied by Origin for two years. A feasibility study, including environmental, sociological and engineering, is expected to be finalised in 2012.

PNG would be able to use the additional baseload power to compete for industrial projects in their resource-rich country. “This project would provide PNG with a reliable source of power for villages and rural communities and transform the economic development prospects of western Papua New Guinea,” Ms Bligh said. “It is clear that this is an idea of national and international significance.

“Like any large project there are many hurdles and requirements to be met and many questions to be answered before it becomes a reality but this is a first step toward making Queensland the renewable energy star of Australia.”

The Queensland government will assist to identify the pipeline corridor and land tenure issues.



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