Monday, October 04, 2010

Four related murderers

The real Warmist motivation revealed

A parody of this, of course. So if you think it's a bit nasty, blame the original authors. What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Sea Level Falling In 2010

We are constantly being told that 2010 is the hottest year ever, and that the polar ice caps are melting down at a record rate. Dr. Hansen tells us to expect 3-6+ metres of sea level rise this century. That would be a minimum of 30 mm/year.

Given Dr. Hansen’s record heat, the oceans must be heating and expanding, and the polar ice sheets must be melting and pouring into the sea. Sea level must be rising like crazy!

Hansen’s completely bogus graph below shows Greenland blowing away their previous record high annual temperature. They must be having a flood of melting ice up there.

Only problem is, since the start of the hottest year ever, sea level has fallen 10 mm. The most recent data from The University Of Colorado is shown below.

We can conclude that the oceans are neither heating nor are the polar ice caps melting at a rapid rate. As usual, Hansen’s theory does not match observations on the ground.

Hansen is so last millenium. He already used up all of his best temperature adjustments and is running out of time to get some real warming going.



Senile dementia?

Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the environmental activist group, The David Suzuki Foundation, is now touring Canada promoting his new book, "The Legacy - An elder's Vision for our Sustainable Future". The speech he gave this evening in Ottawa at the Dominion Chalmers Church was essentially a summary of the book, with much of the book's text used verbatim in the presentation.

The book, and to a considerable extent the presentation, is a strange combination of environmental mysticism, science and folklore that leaves one wondering what is real and what is simply David Suzuki’s imagination. While both the book and his presentation are superb works of communication, they contain far too much native environmental spirituality, and significant science mistakes, to be of much use to most western readers who need a serious, rational basis for the important decisions about the environment and society that we must make today.

First, his focus on the "sacredness" of nature is foreign to most people. He promotes the concept that the air, the soil, the water and fire are all sacred. Suzuki writes, “biodiversity, the web of life itself, should be considered a sacred element, in addition to the other four elements.” It is unclear whether or not he actually believes this or simply says this to try to get people to care for natural things more. Perhaps it is both. Regardless, it may very well originate with his father who, Suzuki writes, "found great strength in the Japanese tradition of nature worship.”

Some of the The Legacy delves into what one may consider environmental mysticism. Saying that, because air is in and around us, we are air and since we all share that air, then “I am you”. Because plants and animals ultimately come from the soil and we eat plants and animals, then “we are earth.” In referring to animals and plants, Suzuki says, “All life on Earth is our kin. And in an act of generosity [a strange concept to attribute to species other than humans], our relatives create the four sacred elements for us.”

There are many science mistakes in the book too numerous to list here but one alone is all that is needed to demonstrate how far Suzuki has strayed from a rational assessment of main stream science (p. 17):

"We have become a force of nature ... Not long ago, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, forest fires, even earthquakes and volcanic explosions were accepted as "natural disasters or "acts of God." But now, we have joined God, powerful enough to influence these events." He said essentially the same thing in tonight's presentation.

During the presentation tonight, Suzuki also strongly, even angrily, promoted the human-caused climate catastrophe hypothesis - no one dared contest him in the question period.

Due to his prominence in society, Suzuki has the opportunity to be a unifying force in Canada between those of different approaches and across the political spectrum. He could help bring us together to work sensibly on our real environmental problems. Instead, by taking a dogmatic, anti-intellectual point of view on many issues and demonizing those who disagree with him (though not much in this particular book), he has become a polarizing force, taking us further from the crucial compromises that are needed to pave the way to real environmental progress in a democracy. His absolute “I am right, period” approach may work in the sort of environmentalist dictatorship described by science-fiction writer Larry Niven in his book Fallen Angels, but it will never gain traction with enough of our population to move us forward to a worthwhile plan of action.

Unless, David Suzuki can engage in a more balanced, scientific approach, working with his intellectual opponents instead of trying to beat them up, then he needs to leave the public stage.

Dr. Suzuki has accomplished a good deal in the form of environmental consciousness raising over the years but his recent aggressive and now mystical approach is simply alienating more and more Canadians.


How Big Brother Is Using the National Parks and Other Agencies to Promote His Climate Religion Using Your Tax Dollars

Alan Carlin

(See the original for links and graphics)

The Obama Administration has made many efforts to support its climate religion (climatism). Since this viewpoint has no basis in the scientific method, it is not science and would seem best characterized as religion. For a list of what the Administration believes they have done see page 27 here. The first item listed is $80 billion (with a “b”) for “clean and efficient energy in ARRA” (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly called the stimulus bill). Since most of this expenditure will not stimulate anything except the income of politically favored alternative energy providers and their suppliers and future higher cost energy for rate-payers, it is highly unlikely to be very stimulative for the economy as a whole.
The Administration Has Also Embarked on an Extensive Propaganda Campaign in Behalf of Climatism

Although not mentioned in the list of Administration efforts linked above but perhaps at least as worrisome, the Administration appears to have embarked on an extensive propaganda campaign to promote its climate religion to the general public at taxpayers’ expense. They have gone well beyond trying to defend their proposed greenhouse gas regulations by the US Environmental Protection Agency and are attempting to use other EPA programs and other agencies under their control to promote their viewpoint on this subject without the approval of and perhaps even the knowledge of Congress.

Recent news reports are that EPA is now proposing to require that information on greenhouse gas emissions by new automobiles be added to the mileage labels required on all new cars. Such Federal “educational” efforts are not limited to EPA, however. A recent news item reports that AmeriCorps is funding interns in Marin County Schools in California to assist with a climate change education program also designed to motivate students and their families to take voluntary energy efficiency actions to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Department of Education’s Plans for an “Education” Program

Even more recently, the Secretary of Education announced that his Department plans to “help advance the sustainability movement through education” through Federally subsidized school programs beginning as early as kindergarten that teach children about climate change and prepare them “to contribute to the workforce through green jobs.” His intention is that the Department’s efforts will “explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet.”

My comment is that one of the reasons that the Federal Government does not have primary responsibility for education is to avoid the possibility that it could directly inculcate the viewpoints of those currently in power on students throughout the country. But when funds for education at the state and local level are short, the Federal Government may believe that it has found a way around this restriction.

Most of this post, however, will deal with the expansion to the National Park Service (NPS), which may not have been so widely publicized but appears to be further along in its implementation so that it is easier to visualize what the “educational” efforts by other departments may look like when fully implemented. Because the Park Service is often viewed as an impartial source of objective information on natural history subjects, the NPS effort may carry added weight with citizens who view it, although the attempts to teach climatism to children as early as kindergarten may also be viewed as likely to be unusually “effective” by those desiring such an outcome.

On a recent visit to the Visitor Center for North Cascades National Park near Newhalem, Washington, I encountered a large “traveling” exhibit panel entitled “Arrange for Change” with NPS and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) symbols indicating sponsorship. Rangers at the Visitor Center reported that it had been there for about a month and had come from Lewis and Clark National Historic Park and would soon move to another park. It was apparently intended as a temporary exhibit since the more permanent exhibit it replaced was still partially visible behind the large new exhibit in front of it. There were no handouts or other written material provided with the exhibit or available from those rangers asked so visitors would necessarily have to go by the exact contents of the exhibit in formulating their views on the subjects raised.

Briefly, the exhibit attempts to summarize the case for climatism with an emphasis on evidence from and impacts on national parks and ends by stating in the fourth of four sections (in the lower right of the written area of the exhibit and in the photograph above) that:

“Perhaps one of the best strategies for coping with change is for each person to become ‘carbon neutral’ in their daily lives. This can be accomplished by reducing energy use and investing in practices and alternate technologies that offset carbon emissons we are generating.”

Although the exhibit adheres closely to the standard climatism religion, and is therefore subject to the many general criticisms (see, for example, here and here) of it, I do have a number of questions and concerns about particular points made in the exhibit. First of all, the recommended strategy assumes a degree of altruism rarely seen in the real world since anyone who adopted the advice would have to engage in less energy-using activities and/or pay others to reduce their emissions through buying offsets. This is the reason that most advocates want mandatory standards so that everyone would have to endure similar losses whether they are altruistic or not.

The rationale for all this may be a little hard to understand by those not familiar with the climatism viewpoint. The first of the four sections in the exhibit states that:

“The scientific consensus is that global temperature in now rising at a rate unprecedented in the experience of modern human society (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004). Scientists also say most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”

Accompanying these words is the Mona Loa CO2 level chart showing steady increases over the years 1960 to about 2004.

This first section has a few problems. It relies almost exclusively on the authority of largely unspecified “scientists.” Since there is some evidence that temperatures rose at a similar rate in the 1920-30s, and, in fact for similar periods in the gradually rising 60 year cycles exhibited by global temperatures since the Little Ice Age (see here and my Comments, which can be downloaded from here), it is difficult to understand how the authors of the exhibit believe that global temperatures are “rising at a rate unprecedented in the experience of modern human society.” Perhaps more important is the lack of a citation (such as perhaps various IPCC reports) for the even more doubtful statement that most warming over the last 50 years is due to human activities. The implication of the Mona Loa chart would seem to be that the increasing levels of CO2 are due to human activities, although this is certainly not stated and highly doubtful. Finally, no mention is made of the alternative hypothesis that the rise in CO2 levels is an effect of rising ocean temperatures sometime in the past rather than anything humans may have done since rising ocean temperatures mean that the oceans cannot hold as much CO2.

Exhibit Says Wildland Fires Have Increased–But Is This a Result of a Policy Change?

The lower left section is entitled “Changes Disrupt Park Use.” The text states that:

“Higher temperatures in spring and summer and earlier melting of the snow pack in recent years have contributed to an increase in the frequency and duration of wildland fires. This increase in wildfires often causes park facilities to close. The 2006 fire season set a 45-year-high in the number of acres burned. 2006 was also the hottest January through July on record in America’s parks. In many parks, wintry weather is beginning later and ending earlier. Although this makes for a longer season of hiking and camping it reduces opportunities for recreational skiing and other winter sports due to inadequate snow cover. These impacts have economic implications.”

This section also has pictures of a plume from a forest fire and a cross-country skier.

No source is given for the temperature statement; it does seem odd that the period January through July was chosen rather than a full year, which would seem to be slightly more relevant (but hardly conclusive for assessing whether there really has been climatic change). Presumably most fires occur in the late summer or early fall, which is excluded from the period referenced. Also, I thought that the Park Service had changed its views concerning the role of fires in parks and now regards naturally-originated fires as good rather than a target for suppression. In some cases it even carries out controlled burns. Could it be that the increase in the number of acres burned was the result of this change in policy rather than climate change? The exhibit does not explain. It should also be pointed out that attempts to control carbon emissions also have economic impacts–and quite likely little, if any, impact.

The upper right section is entitled “Climate Change Is Happening.” It shows two pictures labelled Northwestern Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, 1909 and 2005, respectively. The former appers to show a much larger glacier and more mountain snow than the latter. No month or day of the year is provided for either photograph. The text states:

“Warmer winters and longer, more intense periods of melting have increased the rate of glacial retreat in many parks, as demonstrated by the Northwestern Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is estimated by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey that by 2030, many of the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park will be completely gone. In Yosemite, the pike population is endanger of extinction as warming temperatures are shifting their cool habitat higher and higher on the mountainsides.”

A picture of a pika is provided.

There is undoubtedly some climate change occurring on Earth, just as there has been for billions of years, but this section of the presentation does not make a case for climate change due to human activity as opposed to natural forces. And unless there is change due to human activity, there is no basis for “solving” the “problem” by modifying human behavior. With regard to the claim in the exhibit that there has been climate change in the parks, since no month is given when the two photographs were taken it is not possible to say whether the change in mountain snow levels between them is due to differences in time of year or in climate.

Such is not the case, however, for the extent of the glacier since that is much less dependent on time of the year but is greatly dependent on the amount of precipitation in the form of snow. It is important to note that the year 1909 is at or near the low point in the 60 year natural climate cycle while 2005 is near the top of this natural cycle (see my Comments downloadable from here), so some or even all of the differences in the extent of the glacier may be explainable by the natural 60 year climate cycle or changes in snow precipitation rather than any change in human emissions. If so, there may be climate change, but not necessarily human-induced climate change.
Some Questions About the Appropriateness of Using Public Funds to Directly Influence Public Opinion on a Highly Partisan Issue

In addition to the substantive issues raised above concerning the statements in the exhibit, it is very important to question the appropriateness of having the exhibit in a national park, paying Americorps interns to teach climatism to students, or using Federal subsidies to teach climatism in the schools. The effort appears to be widespread enough in the Federal Government so that it may have been directed from the White House, but it is possible that these various efforts are the result of individual departments attempting to curry favor with the Administration by supporting known Administration viewpoints. It would be interesting, however, to learn just how widespread these efforts are in the Executive Branch and how much is being spent on them.

The critical question, it seems to me, is whether taxpayers should pay for trying to influence the opinions of park visitors or students concerning a highly partisan issue which has split the Democrats in Congress and united the Republicans in the Senate in opposition. The highly questionable views (see my Comments downloadable here) attributed to “scientists” presented by the exhibit make no effort to present a balanced viewpoint by the many scientists who have presented differing views on the subject. And if such attempts are made to influence public opinion is it not the Park Service’s and each school’s responsibility to present all viewpoints in a balanced way, which is presumably what they try to do with their many other presentations to the public/students? Have the Park Service and Americorps and the Department of Education become mere propaganda arms for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government? Since climatism is currently a highly partisan debate in Congress and some state legislatures, should these agencies use taxpayer funds to support one side of the debate with no mention of the opposing viewpoints?

I think the answer to these questions should be for Federal agencies to get out of the climate change education business. Big Brother should not be attempting to sell his religious views to students or park visitors. Since the Administration appears unlikely to do this on its own, probably the easiest way to implement such restrictions is to prohibit the expenditure of Federal funds for the purpose of promoting climatism to the public.


Climate change linked to quakes?

European research claiming global warming might spark earthquakes and tsunamis is being treated cautiously by New Zealand scientists.

Vulcanologists, seismologists, glaciologists, climatologists and landslide experts met in London this month to discuss geological hazards related to climate upheaval.

Professor Bill McGuire, of University College London, the organiser of the three-day conference, said when land-based ice shelves melted, the Earth's crust bounced back up, triggering earthquakes which sparked submarine landslides and tsunamis.

"Climate change doesn't just affect the atmosphere and the oceans but the Earth's crust as well. The whole Earth is an interactive system," he told Reuters.

Victoria University professor Martha Savage, a seismology expert, said she had seen one published paper on the topic.

Global warming might cause a small increase in earthquakes, she said. "I think it's really tiny – it [global warming] has a much stronger effect on creating more tornadoes and hurricanes than creating more earthquakes."

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal climate scientist James Renwick said the theory was reasonable because major ice sheets put huge weight on the Earth's crust. The processes of ice sheet melting and the geological response happened slowly. "I wouldn't see it as terrifically relevant day-by-day or year-by-year to what's happening here right now."



Two reports below

Labor fights 'old Europe' over trade

CRAIG Emerson has declared the Gillard government will not bow to the Greens on trade policy. Mr Emerson said the government would fight European threats to erect trade barriers around countries not imposing carbon pricing, dismissing them as "old protectionism".

The Trade Minister said Labor's alliance with the Greens would not alter its free trade agenda, even as Regional Development Minister Simon Crean conceded that the Greens' rise was behind Julia Gillard's decision to put a carbon tax on the table for consideration by the government's multi-party climate committee.

As the Prime Minister prepares for a round of meetings with world leaders in Brussels this week, Dr Emerson attacked European threats to impose trade retaliation against countries not prepared to price carbon as protectionism designed to shield European industries from international competition.

"We won't cop governments cloaking protectionism in this sort of green cloak of respectability, where it's just old protectionism," Dr Emerson told Australian Agenda on Sky News.

Last year in the US, then prime minister Kevin Rudd warned that France was leading a movement to restrict trade from countries without a carbon emissions trading scheme and warned of potential trade imposts on Australia.

But Dr Emerson said Australia would use the World Trade Organisation rules "to rail against this". "Of course we are committed to putting a price on carbon, but let's not believe that this is all about climate change. There is a very clear European old protectionist instinct under this green cloak of respectability and we won't cop it," he said.

But Dr Emerson said a recommendation from the climate change committee to put a price on carbon "would help us somewhat in the international arena in terms of this sort of green protectionism".

However, his comments about fighting environmental protectionism were seized on by opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella, who said the government's green car innovation fund was what Dr Emerson had accused other governments of doing -- protectionism under a so-called green label. "The poorly targeted $35 million for the hybrid Camry was an expensive photo opportunity . . . Even the government has admitted the fund is a dog by cutting $400m from it," Ms Mirabella said.

Dr Emerson also sympathised with US moves to pressure China to revalue its exchange rate, saying if China wanted to present itself as having market economy status, "let's have a few market forces applying to the exchange rate".

He said the government would not be swayed by its alliance with the Greens by bowing to their policies to insert environmental and labour standards into trade deals. He specifically declared he was against including labour standards in trade agreements. "I think what'll happen is that the Greens will articulate a Greens platform. Labor will articulate a Labor platform," he said. "On some matters, we may agree with the Greens. On other matters, we won't agree with the Greens. And that is understood."

Dr Emerson said the government would look at good policy proposals from the Greens, "but we will not be in a position obviously where the Greens say, 'This is what we want', and then Labor says, 'Because you want it, we'll implement it' ". "They understand that, we understand that," he said.

The Greens have previously warned that Australia may face trade sanctions unless it takes action to price carbon but have mainly campaigned on biosecurity issues on Australian trade policy as well as inserting human rights clauses into trade deals.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne campaigned strongly against allowing apple imports from countries with the disease Fireblight and has also opposed beef imports from countries with BSE.

Senator Milne said Dr Emerson was quite right -- the Greens' and Labor's trade policy differed "to the extent that the Greens want fair trade considerations, including environmental standards and human rights conditions, taken into account in negotiating trade deals".

Regional Development Minister Simon Crean defended Ms Gillard's backflip on consideration of a carbon tax. He said her pre-election position of ruling out a carbon tax was because the government had come to the conclusion the most efficient way forward on pricing carbon to address emissions was through a market mechanism.

"Because a tax doesn't actually deliver you the reduction in the greenhouse emission," Mr Crean said, adding that the Greens would now hold the balance of power in the Senate after July next year and it was important for the climate change committee to meet to identity the best way to price carbon.


Carbon tax not a done deal: Crean

A SENIOR federal government MP has insisted that a carbon tax is by no means a done deal - a shift that could threaten the alliance between Labor and the Australian Greens.

Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean says the decision to put a carbon tax back on the table does not mean Australia will go down that path in response to climate change.

In the days before the August 21 election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard twice ruled out a carbon tax.

But she has since changed course on the issue after the Greens found an unlikely ally in BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers, who called for it to be considered as part of Australia's answer to climate change.

Mr Crean on Sunday defended the change in direction, saying the political landscape had altered since the failed Copenhagen summit. "At the time we, along with the rest of the world, had come to the conclusion the most efficient way forward was to do it through a market mechanism," he said, referring to Labor under Kevin Rudd and the failed attempt to introduce an emissions trading scheme.

He said that "simplistically put", the point could be made that placing a carbon tax back on the table amounted to a policy reversal, but added that the prime minister had also consistently stated that a price on carbon was needed.

Mr Crean said that while the political landscape had changed since the election, it was wrong to suggest the prime minister had "caved in" to the Greens on climate change, saying they would not necessarily get their way on a carbon tax. "She hasn't caved in. She hasn't said she's supporting a carbon tax. What she has said is we will have a carbon tax on the agenda," he said.

Mr Crean's comments were echoed by Trade Minister Craig Emerson, an indication Labor is attempting to put a little distance between itself and the Greens. "We will not be in a position where the Greens say this is what we want and then Labor says because you want it we will implement it," Mr Emerson said.

The caution from two senior Labor ministers that the government is not wedded to a carbon tax despite the alliance with the Greens could put a strain on the relationship between the two parties. Labor needs the support of the Greens in the lower house to preserve its one-vote buffer.

Mr Crean also conceded the government, under Mr Rudd, had failed to effectively explain its climate change policy. The former Labor leader, however, backed Ms Gillard to be able to manage the difficult policy area, as well as the issue of asylum seekers. "We've got to develop more effectively the message," he said.

"Trying to achieve (progress) in the context of an election campaign was difficult. Now that she's negotiated the basis of the government going forward, I think you will see progress on these areas. "I think that she is a conviction politician. She's clearly a skilled negotiator, which is going to be pretty important over the course of the next three years."

Mr Crean said the economy would also remain a chief focus for the government. "You need a robust economy. Without strong economic growth you can't resource the things that are needed." "You also need productivity in that economy because without lifting productivity you can't lift real wages."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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