Sunday, October 17, 2010

The latest Warmist emission

Jim Hansen's crew at NASA/GISS have just put out a desperate piece of "research" in support of Warmism which is nothing more than just another run of their magical "models". Only this time they ran an even more unrealistic simulation that LEFT OUT even more factors than they usually do. And they describe their results as an "experiment"! -- an experiment that manipulated nothing in the real world at all! The text is below but the comments (see the original) are the most interesting part. There are the usual sneers from Warmists and the usual appeal to the facts from skeptics!

Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

The study, conducted by Andrew Lacis and colleagues at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, examined the nature of Earth's greenhouse effect and clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. Notably, the team identified non-condensing greenhouse gases -- such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons -- as providing the core support for the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

Without non-condensing greenhouse gases, water vapor and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. The study's results will be published Friday, Oct. 15 in Science.

A companion study led by GISS co-author Gavin Schmidt that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that carbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and aerosols make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth's greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth's greenhouse effect.

The climate forcing experiment described in Science was simple in design and concept -- all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases and aerosols were zeroed out, and the global climate model was run forward in time to see what would happen to the greenhouse effect.

Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth's greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state -- a clear demonstration that water vapor, although contributing 50 percent of the total greenhouse warming, acts as a feedback process, and as such, cannot by itself uphold the Earth's greenhouse effect.

"Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics of Earth's greenhouse effect, and enabled us to demonstrate the direct relationship that exists between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global temperature," Lacis said.

The study ties in to the geologic record in which carbon dioxide levels have oscillated between approximately 180 parts per million during ice ages, and about 280 parts per million during warmer interglacial periods. To provide perspective to the nearly 1 C (1.8 F) increase in global temperature over the past century, it is estimated that the global mean temperature difference between the extremes of the ice age and interglacial periods is only about 5 C (9 F).

"When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City," said co-author David Rind, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "Today we are in uncharted territory as carbon dioxide approaches 390 parts per million in what has been referred to as the 'superinterglacial.'"

"The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth," Lacis said. "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has fully documented the fact that industrial activity is responsible for the rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is not surprising then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general."


Now it's avalanches

For a while it was "extreme weather events" that were suppposedly increasing. Now that that scare has been debunked, the Warmists have thought up a new scare. It's already a pretty weak scare though, because the events they quote are only "in high mountain ranges". Bad for hermits and gurus, I guess, but not many other people live in such places

EARTH is starting to crumble under the strain of climate change. Over the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods (see "Early signs"). The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together.

Worse may be to come. Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure.

For Earth this phenomenon is nothing new, but the last time it happened, few humans were around to witness it. Several studies have shown that around 10,000 years ago, as the planet came out of the last ice age, vast portions of volcanic summit cones collapsed, leading to enormous landslides.

To assess the risk of this happening again, Daniel Tormey of ENTRIX, an environmental consultancy based in Los Angeles, studied a huge landslide that occurred 11,000 years ago on Planchón-Peteroa. He focused on this glaciated volcano in Chile because its altitude and latitude make it likely to feel the effects of climate change before others.

"Around one-third of the volcanic cone collapsed," Tormey says. Ten billion cubic metres of rock crashed down the mountain and smothered 370 square kilometres of land, travelling 95 kilometres in total (Global and Planetary Change, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.08.003). Studies have suggested that intense rain cannot provide the lubrication needed for this to happen, so Tormey concludes that glacier melt must have been to blame.

With global temperatures on a steady rise, Tormey is concerned that history will repeat itself on volcanoes all over the world. He thinks that many volcanoes in temperate zones could be at risk, including in the Ring of Fire - the horseshoe of volcanoes that surrounds the Pacific Ocean (see map). "There are far more human settlements and activities near the slopes of glaciated active volcanoes today than there were 10,000 years ago, so the effects could be catastrophic," he says.

The first volcanoes to go will most likely be in the Andes, where temperatures are rising fastest as a result of global warming. Any movement here could be an early sign of trouble to come elsewhere. David Pyle, a volcanologist at the University of Oxford, agrees. "This is a real risk and a particularly serious hazard along the Andes," he says.

Meanwhile, ongoing studies by Bill McGuire of University College London and Rachel Lowe at the University of Exeter, UK, are showing that non-glaciated volcanoes could also be at greater risk of catastrophic collapse if climate change increases rainfall.

"We have found that 39 cities with populations greater than 100,000 are situated within 100 kilometres of a volcano that has collapsed in the past and which may, therefore, be capable of collapsing in the future," says McGuire.


Global warming not worth the fight says MIT Warmist

The United States would gain little in trying to forestall climate change says Keith Yost

Global warming is real. It is predominantly anthropogenic. Left unchecked, it will likely warm the earth by 3-7 C by the end of the century. What should the United States do about it? Very little, if anything at all.

As economists, we are inclined to take the vantage point of the benevolent dictator, that omnific individual with his hands upon all of the policy levers available to the state. When placed in such a position, the question of how to respond to global warming is answered by performing a simple comparison: does x, the cost of optimally mitigating carbon emissions, exceed y, the benefit of that carbon mitigation? Where the answer is yes, the global carbon mitigation effort remains rightfully nascent, where the answer is no, it springs up and becomes law with a just and sudden force.

H.L. Mencken once wrote, “Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an well-known solution to every human problem ­— neat, plausible, and wrong.” Such is the economist’s explanation of climate change.

Global warming is a tragedy of the commons, carbon emissions are a negative externality, and reducing CO2 in the atmosphere is a global public good. These types of problems have been well-studied by economists, and solutions to them are known. Unfortunately, these solutions require a sovereign power to enact them, and in this world there is no global power to enforce economically optimal solutions, no benevolent dictator, no organ of international government capable of superceding national sovereignty and its attendant self-interest. The international system is not cooperative — it is best defined as anarchic and follows the Thucydidean maxim: the strong do as they can... the weak suffer as they must.

Instead of thinking as economists, we should think as international relations realists. In the realist school of thought, a man comports with another’s will only in proportion to the cudgel wielded over his head. We will not, solely through moral suasion, convince others to act against their own national interests.

Countless man-hours of scientists and economists have gone into trying to estimate the costs and benefits of climate change mitigation. Yet the real question is not whether y is greater than x, but rather whether it is greater than x + z, where z is the cost of enforcing an agreed upon reduction in carbon emissions. This is the minimum threshold that must be passed before any action is possible, and the chances of passing it in the near future are slim: not in least part because we lack the technology to monitor the emissions of other countries. But even if we did have the technology, the nature of the problem makes the challenge nearly impossible. Suppose two nations Alpha and Beta, agree to limit their emissions, and suppose further that it is cheaper for Alpha to reduce its emissions in the present while it is cheaper for Beta to limit its emissions in the future. What prevents Beta from reneging on its agreement after Alpha has already committed to a reduction? The act of punishing a defector, whether it comes in the form of a trade sanction or other action, is itself a public good that carries some cost to the punisher.

The sound and the fury that has characterized the public discourse on global warming often obscures a basic economic fact: we are in the situation we are in because it requires fewer resources to generate electricity with coal or propel automobiles with petroleum than it does to accomplish those same goals with solar cells and biofuels. The “green economy” our politicians have placed on a pedestal is not an improvement over our existing one — there is no gain to be had in producing with the effort of three men what we previously accomplished with two. We should tolerate this inefficiency only insofar as it helps us avoid some other, greater harm.

There are many who would have us act unilaterally, who claim we will gain some sort of “competitive edge” over China and the rest of the world by pursuing national policies of innovation or economic re-engineering. Through the magic of innovation, we will improve our economy, gain power relative to the rest of the world, and save the environment all in one stroke. This is nonsense.

Firstly, it misunderstands international trade. Our economic well-being is independent of Chinese productivity. The idea that other nations will “steal our jobs” or otherwise capitalize off of our unwillingness to go green is a fallacy. The belief that another country’s rise or fall impacts our economic well-being in any appreciable way is unsupported by economic theory and disproven by empirical evidence (ignoring, for simplicity, the prospect of military confrontation, where relative strength does indeed matter). There is no race or contest being played out; the U.S. and China are not Pepsi and Coca Cola writ large.

Secondly, it misunderstands the nature of public goods problems, in which players benefit by avoiding the costs of providing the good rather than leaping headlong into them. When we offer to reduce our carbon emissions, pay for green research, or otherwise make some sacrifice for the global environment, we are merely generating a benefit for the rest of the world to free-ride off of, bearing the weight of having three men do the work of two so that others will not have to make the same effort.

Lastly, it misunderstands the nature of innovation. The word is tossed around like a magic wand, but it is merely a means to an end. National policies to subsidize innovation have no more a successful track record than national policies that subsidize capital formation. The policies themselves (usually large, government spending boondoggles like the Synthetic Fuels Corporation), are economic distortions — they place incidences on some and make beneficiaries out of others, but on the net, society as a whole loses. Innovation is doubly worse as a public policy — not only is it a distortion, but information creation is yet another global public good. Take, for example, the tale of solar power. U.S. companies, at considerable cost to the taxpayer, have made advances in solar cells, making them at lower cost and with greater efficiency. Their inventors have reaped considerable reward for the sale of their intellectual property. But nearly all of the productivity gains from those technological developments have gone to countries like China and Malaysia, the places where it makes economic sense to manufacture solar cells.

It is not in our national self-interest to try and bear the costs of global warming by ourselves. For a wealthy, cold, non-agrarian, stable country such as ours, it is unclear whether we even stand that much to lose from a rise in temperatures. There have been several studies that suggest the costs of mitigating climate change exceed the benefits in a country such as the United States — work by William Nordhaus and Robert Mendelsohn of Yale, Richard Tol of Carnegie Mellon, Melissa Dell and Benjamin Olken of MIT, and others, suggest this outcome is likely.

But even if we take the estimates provided by the advocates of aggressive action, the math comes up short. For example, the National Resource Defense Council estimates that if left unchecked, global warming will cost the U.S. 1.8 percent of its GDP by the year 2100. Meanwhile the Stern Review estimates the cost of carbon mitigation to total 2 percent of world GDP by the year 2100. It appears that the hot areas of the world should be bribing us to take action, not the other way around.

More to the point, unilateral action will not mitigate climate change. The U.S. is only a small fraction of total emissions. Even if all of the Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol agreed to binding constraints, they would account for less than half of the world’s total emissions, and a far smaller fraction of the expected growth in emissions between now and 2100. To act unilaterally, or even in conjunction with the rest of the developed world, would mean paying the full measure of mitigating climate change while receiving only a fraction of its benefit.

It is tempting to play the crusader, to make some moral, if futile stand in defense of our current thermostat setting. But we must be realistic. There is little hope of creating an enforceable global carbon constraint, and without the existence of such a regime, there is little point in surrendering our national economy to green adventures.


Censorship of scientists by government

The latest evidence that scientific integrity is a bipartisan policy issue comes from Nature in a story just out. It details a number of remarkably familiar and troubling instances of the suppression of scientists in the federal agencies under the Obama Administration. Here is an excerpt that details several instances in USDA and NOAA:
In May this year, Steven Naranjo, a research leader at the ARS office in Maricopa, Arizona, ran up against a wall when he received an interview request from National Public Radio to comment on a paper published in Science. The paper discussed the emergence of 'non-target' pests in areas where genetically engineered insect-resistant crops are grown. Naranjo had reviewed the paper for Science and wanted to do the interview. But when he asked for permission from the ARS information staff, the request was passed up to the communications office of the USDA, and ultimately denied, he says. "They decided it was too controversial," says Naranjo. "It was a little frustrating, but not a big deal."

The process is more than a little frustrating for one ARS researcher, who says he is so fed up with the system that he has simply stopped asking for permission. For years, this scientist has been writing columns for regional newspapers and speaking to journalists without reporting it to the information staff. "I don't want them changing my words," this scientist said, under the condition of anonymity. "Getting permission is one more hoop and it's a pain in the neck."

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) encountered problems when they started talking about the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA employees are allowed to speak to the press without getting permission from the press office as long as they are talking about science, according to policies set in 2007. But Mark Powell, a hurricane expert at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, says that after the oil spill, a team of NOAA experts was assembled and 'cleared' to talk to the media. As Powell understood it, no one else was allowed to speak publicly. "I decided to turn down a local TV interview because I had not yet been cleared," he says.

Communication staff at NOAA say that they used the term cleared to identify subject experts who had been put through some quick media training after the explosion. "This effort did not preclude anyone from speaking to the media or public, as per the NOAA policy," says Justin Kenney, director of communications for NOAA. But Powell wasn't the only one with the impression that communications rules had been tightened. "I did feel early on that I would make people a lot happier if I worked with media relations," says Michelle Wood, director of the ocean chemistry division in the same lab as Powell, a process that she says was "maddeningly slow" and often sent journalists to experts outside of NOAA. Wood says it was a great relief to later learn that it was coordination with external groups working on the spill that was delaying NOAA's responses to the media, rather than NOAA itself, and that communication lines eventually opened up.

Nature explains that the Obama Administration promised guidelines on communication for science agencies that were due more than a year ago and have yet to be delivered. Neal Lane, science advisor to Bill Clinton, sums up the situation quite well:
"If this is a priority of our president's, the [cabinet members] are going to go back to their agencies and ask that the message be sent all the way down through the organization. They don't want to read in Nature that one of their scientists was prevented from talking after the president has just told them that he's serious about this."

Too late for that.


Warmist fanatic wants a new Hitler Youth -- but with green shirts of course

Hitler exploited the gullibility of young people too and this guy's claim: "this is an urgent situation. We must act" sounds just like early Fascism in Italy. Note for instance the prominent references to action in Mussolini's summary of Fascism. See also here

"What we need more than anything else is a mass movement of young people," Peter Goldmark, director of EDF's Climate and Air Program, who recently announced his retirement at the end of the year. "In American culture, it is youth that sets the agenda. It's always been this way. Think who was driving change in the anti-Vietnam war movement, in the civil rights era. They have to mobilize, now, and demand action against global warming."
The wheel of change is turning in spite of our government's inactivity

"My generation has failed," he says flatly. "We are handing over the problem to our children. They—and their children—will live with the worst consequences of climate change. Make no mistake, global warming is happening right now. It is only going to get worse."

But the world, Goldmark added, was failing that challenge: "We all—citizens, governments, and foundations—face in common the imperative to respond constructively to the crises of our times. And we are not responding. We are drifting."

What Goldmark—along with all leading authorities on climate change—fears most is that we still do not understand the urgency of the problem. "When I think about how I would address a group of young people, my message is not a gentle one," he says. "This is the hardest, most terrible, thing to say to a young person, but we have no choice: it is five minutes before midnight. Time is running out."

That means we no longer have the luxury of polite, time-consuming public debate on the issue. "We have to be much more aggressive about pinpointing our enemies, and doing it early—showing how and where they are spending their money to undermine our efforts," he says. "We need to learn how to inflict pain on the opposition."

The need for global solutions is another reason Goldmark is now putting his hope into a youth movement. "Young people are already transnational thinkers. This is one of the great gifts of the Internet culture. Fifteen to 35 year-olds are used to thinking globally. They are the ones who are going to insist that the United States get on board with international solutions."

"It has got to be said, over and over again," Goldmark says, "this is an urgent situation. We must act."


Africa demands reparation for climate change

They can't be blamed for seeing $$$$s in the crap they hear from Western governments. More golden bedsteads for dictators coming up!

Participants at the on going Seventh African Development Forum in Addis Ababa have accused developed nations of paying lip service to funding Africa’s efforts at combating climate change.

Speaker after speaker noted that while Africa contributes barely four per cent of carbon emissions, the continent bears the brunt while those whose actions endangered the planet remain reluctant at financing the process that will mitigate the disaster.

Jose Endundo, the minister of environment, nature conservation and tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo who spoke on the theme: Africa and international climate change negotiations, said previous commitments contained in the Kyoto protocol and at the Conpenhagen conference must be met immediately.

“Africa will no longer tolerate the alibi of using governance issues like transparency and legitimacy as a pretext to efforts at checking the consequences of climate change in Africa,” he said.

Mr. Endundo warned that if the parties concerned do not deploy the required funding to check the menace of global warming, the number of ecological migrants would swell to 200 million in the next three decades.

“Common sense show that we can no longer have the rich on one hand and the poor on another.”

Mr Endundo said historical facts, and fairness require that the advanced nations provide the technology, the capacity and the funds needed to ensure sustainable development in Africa in the face of climate change.

In his contribution, Peter Ekweozoh, an assistant director in the federal ministry of finance in Nigeria, said as a member of the negotiating team to the climate conference, he disagrees with the notion that Africa lacks the capacity to fight climate change.

He noted that for decades Africa has come to negotiations expecting the European and American partners to provide critical help on issues, but such help hardly comes.

Mr Ekweozoh said the only way out is for the continent to acquire the requisite technology that will ensure that Africa consumes its quota on emissions.

“The technology to grow is in the public domain. We must use it to build industries and provide jobs for our people.”

However, Ako Amadi, the executive director of Nigeria’s Community Conservation and Development initiative, told NEXT that he is disappointed at Mr Ekweozoh’s submission that Africa has the capacity which is domiciled outside the continent.

A retired marine biologist from the Institute of Oceanography, Lagos, Mr Amadi said Mr Ekweozoh failed to consider the fact that capacity is an institutional matter, and research institutions have been destroyed, at least in Nigeria.



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