Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Lomborg does U-turn?

Not at all. He has always been a Greenie and has always said he believes that global warming is real. He has always focused on how to get the biggest bang for your buck and his latest statements continue that. The difference is that he has become a convert to geoengineering. He has always criticized the ineffectiveness and waste of conventional attempts to reduce carbon dioxide levels and continues to do so

Support for geoengineering is rather weird from a Greenie though. They normally want to PRESERVE the natural envirobnent, not change it. But when have Greenies ever been logically consistent?

AN ECONOMIST dubbed the world's most prolific climate change sceptic finally admitted global warming was the biggest threat to the world and called for a $US100 billion fund to fight it.

Bjorn Lomborg previously accused scientists, campaigners and the media of exaggerating the rate of global warming and argued that resources should be spent on more immediate crises such as fighting malaria and Aids.

The Dane said a lot of money is being spent on climate change with very little being achieved.

But in a new book to be published next month he calls for a $US100 billion fund to tackle the problem and admits climate change is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns facing the world today", The Guardian newspaper reported.

Mr Lomborg and his fellow economists recommend pumping money into researching and developing clean energy sources such as wind and wave, solar and nuclear power and more work on climate engineering ideas such as cloud whitening which reflects the sun's heat back into the outer atmosphere.

"The point I've always been making is it's not the end of the world. That's why we should be measuring up to what everybody else says, which is we should be spending money well," said Mr Lomborg, denying he was performing a U-turn. "If the world is going to spend hundreds of millions, where could you get the most bang for your buck?"

Mr Lomborg added that his approach is about examining not just the dominant international policies to cut carbon emissions but also to look at other "solutions" such as investment in technology, climate investment and planting more trees.


UN climate experts 'overstated dangers': Keep your noses out of politics, scientists told

UN climate change experts have been accused of making 'imprecise and vague' statements and over-egging the evidence. A scathing report into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for it to avoid politics and stick instead to predictions based on solid science.

The probe, by representatives of the Royal Society and foreign scientific academies, took a thinly-veiled swipe at Rajendra Pachauri, the panel's chairman for the past eight years.
Exaggerated? Science academies say the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relied on 'vague' predictions in making its reports

It recommended a new leader be appointed to bring a 'fresh approach' with the term of office cut from 12 years to six.

The IPCC is important because its reports are used by governments to set environmental policy.

The review, which focused on the day-to-day running of the panel, rather than its science, was commissioned after the UN body was accused of making glaring mistakes.

These included the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would vanish within 25 years - and that 55 per cent of the Netherlands was prone to flooding because it was below sea level. An email scandal involving experts at the University of East Anglia had already fuelled fears that global warming was being exaggerated.

The report demanded a more rigorous conflict of interest policy and said executives should have formal qualifications.

It said: 'Because the IPCC chair is both the leader and the face of the organisation, he or she must have strong credentials (including high professional standing in an area covered by IPCC assessments), international stature, a broad vision, strong leadership skills, considerable management experience at a senior level, and experience relevant to the assessment task.'

Dr Pachauri has a background in railway engineering rather than science and in recent months has been forced to deny profiting from his role at the IPCC.

When asked yesterday if he would consider resigning, he said he intended to continue working on the panel's next report on climate change but would abide by any decision the IPCC made. 'We've listened to and learnt from our critics,' he said. 'Now that the review has been carried out I believe I have a responsibility to help to implement the changes.

'I see this as a mission that I cannot shirk or walk away from. It's now up to the world's governments to decide when they want to implement the recommendations and which ones they want to implement.'

Roger Piekle Jnr, a University of Colorado professor and frequent critic of the IPCC, said: 'I interpret the review as an indirect call for Dr Pachauri to step down. That is what it says between the lines, whether or not he understands it. 'It is clearly a very, very strong criticism of his management and of him personally.

'The problem is that many in the international community regard him as damaged goods.' The investigation said the IPCC's mandate calls for it to be 'policy relevant' without 'straying into advocacy' which would hurt its credibility. The scientists charged with writing the IPCC assessments were criticised for saying they were 'highly confident' about statements without having the evidence.

One of the summary documents prepared for government use 'contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently by the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly'.

Achim Steiner, head of the UN's environmental programme, said the review of the IPCC 're-affirms the integrity, the importance and validity of the IPCC's work while recognising areas for improvement in a rapidly evolving field'.


Eco-Fascism again: You will lose your job if you question us

A longtime professor at UCLA, told that he would not be rehired because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission" of his department, says he's being fired after 36 years at the prestigious school because his scientific beliefs are "politically incorrect." But UCLA says Dr. James Enstrom's politics have nothing to do with its decision.

Enstrom, an epidemiologist at UCLA's School of Public Health, has a history of running against the grain. In 2003 he wrote a study, published in the British Medical Journal, in which he found no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related death – a conclusion that drew fire both because it was contrary to popular scientific belief and because it was funded by Philip Morris.

Now Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state.

The expected benefits of the new standards have been used to justify their estimated $5.5 billion price tag, which opponents say will cripple the California trucking industry at a time when the state can least afford it. The new standards, the critics warn, also could set the stage for national regulations.

Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits.

He says his views are what have gotten him fired, raising serious concerns not only about the diesel regulations but about academic freedom and scientific research as a whole.

"It's quite unfortunate that it's come to this, considering I've been in this school 36 and three-quarter years," Enstrom said. "… but the reason I'm so passionate about this is because the careers of thousands of California businessmen are on the line."

Enstrom says he is committed to exposing flaws in the science and procedures by which the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a series of regulations on diesel exhaust, the last phase of which will require trucks and buses that enter the state either to be retrofitted or replaced entirely to meet new emission standards.

"The Scientific Review Panel of Toxic Air Contaminates in 1998 declared diesel exhaust a toxic substance based on studying truckers and railroaders from back in the '50s, '60s and '70s, when emissions were much higher," Enstrom told "They never factored in, for example, that a very high percentage of truckers are also smokers when evaluating heath issues they may have had, yet they were using this research to declare that all diesel exhaust is a toxic substance."

Enstrom also expressed concerns that the review panel "is supposed to have term limits of up to three years" to keep the panel from being dominated by one school of thought, yet "many of them had been in their posts for over 20 years."

He said he voiced those concerns in 2008 to CARB, former UC President Robert Dynes, and current UC President Mark Yudof. The UC president is charged with making nominations for the Scientific Review Panel. At least five of the nine panel members have since been replaced.

"Cal EPA had been talking internally for a while just about encouraging some more diversity on the board, in terms of expertise and in terms of opinion, so that's part of the reason for the new appointments," Lindsay VanLaningham, deputy secretary of communications for the California Environmental Protection Agency, told

VanLaningham said she wasn't sure what Enstrom's role was in the panel's recent changes, but she confirmed that some of the replaced members had been on the board past their term limits. "We were under the legal impression that they were permitted to serve if we didn't have a new appointment," she said. "… sometimes it's a lengthy process to find new appointees."

Enstrom also blew the whistle on a CARB staffer, Hien Tran, who authored a report that was central to the legislation – after faking his credentials. "He said he had a Ph.D. from UC Davis. Turns out he had bought his Ph.D. online for $1,000," Enstrom said.

Tran was demoted, but his report was still used to "set the context for the health benefits of reducing diesel emissions" when the board voted on the trucking regulations, CARB spokesman Stanley Young told

What the board didn't take into consideration, Enstrom says, were the many studies, including his own, that contradict its conclusion that diesel soot has caused premature deaths in California.

So in February, he and other scientists presented the board with some of their findings, and in June he co-authored an op-ed for in which he voiced his concerns with the regulations.

Less than a month later he received a letter from UCLA saying his contract would not be renewed because his "research is not aligned with the academic mission of the Department."

Dr. Michael Siegel, professor and associate chairman at Boston University's School of Public Health, says the reasoning raises some red flags. "The mission of the department is to study the impacts of the environment on human health and that's exactly what Enstrom does," Siegel told "…What the department appears to be saying is it's not the nature of his research but the nature of his findings."

Siegel says he doesn't even agree with a lot of Enstrom's findings, but he agrees with his right to relay them without fear of losing his job. "The significance of this is a threat to academic freedom and it's also a threat to academic science," Siegel said. "If scientists have to produce work that meets a certain view to keep their jobs, researchers are going to stop publishing negative findings for fear of being fired."

But UCLA says Enstrom's findings had nothing to do with his dismissal. "The nature of research results, political views or popularity are not appropriate factors and are not considered when evaluating individuals for reappointment," Hilary Godwin, associate dean for academic programs at UCLA's School of Public Health, said in a statement.

She said Enstrom's position at the school was non-tenured and was appointed for fixed terms that are renewable subject to established departmental and university review procedures.

When asked why Enstrom's contract wasn't renewed, UCLA spokeswoman Sarah Anderson said the school was unable to comment further because the issue "is considered a confidential personnel matter."


Seven myths about green jobs

Comment from Britain

Yet more proof that government mandates are not apt at solving problems, be it creating jobs or cutting carbon emissions. A study published today by International Policy Network, titled Seven Myths about Green Jobs reveals the hidden-costs of “green investments”. Resources will be wasted and growth will be slowed, while there is no guarantee that the environment will benefit.

The coalition government has announced a whole range of green measures to both cut emissions and create jobs: from low-carbon business support programmes to a Green Investment Bank. We can expect the initiatives to be cemented in legislation by this autumn, and rolled out through the country by 2012. After all, the Prime Minister pledged to deliver “the greenest government ever”. And best of all, Clegg assures us that he’ll impress us by “quietly getting on with the job”.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.

What we are likely to see are more bureaucratic jobs, more red tape. And yet more resources siphoned away from productive sectors of the economy.

In fact, many green job proposals actively push for resources to be taken away from highly-productive activities. A United Nations report even calls for fruit to be picked by hand, rather than by machine.

As for the cost? Today’s “green investments” will just add to our already colossal national debt. Even the United Nations admits that a full-fledged green transition - the type they dream about – could cost hundreds of billions, maybe trillions of dollars.


Obama’s EPA: School Marms R Us

The Obama Administration’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) are proposing new rules “labeling each passenger car with a government letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The new rules “would be the most substantial changes in 30 years to the familiar price and mileage labels afixed to new cars on sale at dealership,” the article continues. Only in the make-work world of bureaucrats would the addition of the letters A, B, C, or D to product labels be considered “subtantial changes.”

The WSJ goes on to point out the obvious: “Currently the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel costs. Under the rules proposed Monday, new labels would carry a letter grade assigned by regulators.” Electric vehicles and hybrids would get the highest grades while big, heavy, gas-guzzling SUVs would get the lowest grades. “We think a new label is absolutely needed to help consumers make the right decision for their wallets and the environment,” explained Gina McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation.

“Absolutely needed” — as in, we’d be lost without them.

The proposed rules imply two judgments about Americans. One is that we’re too stupid to understand how miles-per-gallon and estimated annual fuel costs affect our wallets. Our math skills are so poor that quantitative information must be supplemented with letter grades labeling “this car good, that car bad.”

The second judgment, closely related to the first, is that Americans are school children and EPA/NHTSA are the Nation’s teachers. The agency folks apparently think that no matter how old we get, we still want to be teacher’s pet.

I propose an alternative rule — a “substantial” change in the titles of both agencies to ”School Marms R Us!”

Am I going to comment on the proposed rule? Maybe I’ll just submit a bumper sticker with the words: “Honk if you’ve outgrown school marms.”


Britain's business bosses to host Climate Change debate

Former government chief scientist Sir David King, in the green corner, to take on arch-sceptic Lord Lawson in public showdown

The most prominent climate sceptic and the most vocal advocate of the cause in the UK are to take part in their first public debate on the subject.

The "clash of the titans" will be between Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative chancellor and chairman of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, and Sir David King, a former government chief scientist who once warned that climate change was "more serious even than the threat of terrorism".

The CBI will host the event at its annual climate change conference in November, and it is likely to inject renewed vigour into a deadlocked debate between two camps that seldom meet face to face and appear to be increasingly entrenched in their positions.

King, head of the Smith school of enterprise and the environment at Oxford University, told the Guardian he had accepted the challenge because he was concerned about a rise in public scepticism about climate change since the affair of the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia last year. These appeared to show that scientists had manipulated data and abused the academic review process, though they were later cleared of these charges.

"It is important to deal with the climate sceptics' arguments and deal with them fairly robustly," said King. "I usually avoid the climate sceptics because I seem to be giving them airtime. [But] Lawson is a well-known speaker, so it is not as though I'm taking somebody lightweight on."

In a written statement, Lawson said: "I have agreed to do this because this is clearly an important issue which needs to be properly debated, and those who promote the conventional wisdom on the issue are usually reluctant to engage in rational debate.

"The cause of reasoned debate on this issue in the UK is not helped, of course, by the fact that there is no difference between the policies of the three political parties so far as global warming is concerned."

Lawson has previously written that he accepts that global warming is happening, although he has also described climate science as "particularly uncertain". In a recent article, he repeated the sceptics' argument: "So far this century there has been no recorded warming at all."

Lawson also claims the impacts on humans have been exaggerated and is critical of current policies to tackle the problem by cutting carbon emissions, writing that the international political pledge to limit warming to 2C above the average before the industrial revolution is "devoid of either scientific basis or the slightest operational significance", and advocating mass spending on adapting to the changes instead.

King said that with 2010 projected to be the hottest year on record, it was a good time publicly to counter the claim that temperatures are not rising: although most years since 1998 had been cooler than that record hot year, they were still among the hottest years on record and above the long-term average.

Emma Wild, the CBI's principal policy adviser for climate change, said: "Both are high-profile figures and passionate advocates for their views. We expect a frank and engaging debate."

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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