Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Naomi and friends

It sounds like she is as good a politician as she is a poor scholar. And given her associates, her "findings" are no surprise

A key political ally of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders has been on the campaign trail for Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby, who is battling GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray. Jim Waring, who was forced out of his job as Sanders’s land and development planning chief during a scandal over the size of the Sunroad office tower near Montgomery Field, is throwing open his La Jolla home for a Busby fund-raiser on October 11, with ticket prices ranging from $100 to $1000.

The special guest is UCSD history professor Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Event sponsors include investor Murray Galinson and attorney Eugene Iredale…The new “Acting Senior Vice Chancellor—Academic Affairs” at UCSD will be making $350,000 a year, $50,000 more than the previous occupant, thanks to a recent decision by UC regents.


Estimated CO2 Warming Cut By 65%

Any competent researcher involved with the science behind climate change will admit that CO2 is far from the only influence on global climate. It has long been known that short-lived greenhouse gases and black-carbon aerosols have contributed to past climate warming. Though the IPCC and their fellow travelers have tried to place the blame for global warming on human CO2 emissions, decades of lies and erroneous predictions have discredited that notion. For anyone still clinging to the CO2 hypothesis, a short perspective article on the uncertainty surrounding climate change in Nature Geoscience has put paid to that notion. It states that not only did other factors account for 65% of the radiative forcing usually attributed to carbon dioxide, but that it is impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity given the state of climate science.

In “Short-lived uncertainty?” Joyce E. Penner et al. note that several short-lived atmospheric pollutants—such as methane, tropospheric ozone precursors and black-carbon aerosols—contribute to atmospheric warming while others, particularly scattering aerosols, cool the climate. Figuring out exactly how great the impacts of these other forcings are can radically change the way historical climate change is interpreted. So great is the uncertainty that the IPCC's future climate predictions, which are all based on biased assumptions about climate sensitivity, are most certainly untrustworthy. As stated in the article:
It is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) from past records, partly because carbon dioxide and short-lived species have increased together over the industrial era. Warming over the past 100 years is consistent with high climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide combined with a large cooling effect from short-lived aerosol pollutants, but it could equally be attributed to a low climate sensitivity coupled with a small effect from aerosols. These two possibilities lead to very different projections for future climate change.

All truthful climate researchers know these facts, yet publicly the party line is that catastrophic changes are in the offing and CO2 emissions are to blame. The perspective authors argue that only by significantly changing the amounts of these other pollutants and carefully measuring the impact on global climate over a period of several decades will science be able to figure out what is going on. “Following this strategy, we will then be able to disentangle the warming and cooling contributions from carbon dioxide and short-lived pollutants, hence placing much tighter constraints on climate sensitivity, and therefore on future climate projections,” they state.

And they said it was all carbon dioxide's fault.

Most of the factors under discussion have relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere, several less than two months. We do not know how the relative influences of these various substances (referred to by climate scientists as “species”) may change in a warming climate. It is also not clear how to reduce short-lived species under present conditions but the uncertainties in atmospheric chemistry and physics must be resolved if Earth's environmental system is to be understood. Again quoting from the paper:
Of the short-lived species, methane, tropospheric ozone and black carbon are key contributors to global warming, augmenting the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide by 65%. Others—such as sulphate, nitrate and organic aerosols—cause a negative radiative forcing, offsetting a fraction of the warming owing to carbon dioxide. Yet other short-lived species, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, can modify the abundance of both the climate-warming and climate-cooling compounds, and thereby affect climate change.

Quantifying the combined impact of short-lived species on Earth's radiative forcing is complex. Short-lived pollutants—particularly those with an atmospheric lifetime of less than two months—tend to be poorly mixed, and concentrate close to their sources. This uneven distribution, combined with physical and chemical heterogeneities in the atmosphere, means that the impact of short-lived species on radiative forcing can vary by more than a factor of ten with location or time of emission. The situation is further complicated by nonlinear chemical reactions between short-lived species in polluted areas, as well as by the interactions of clouds with aerosols and ozone. These processes add further uncertainty to the estimates of radiative forcing.

Unfortunately, climate models neither accurately deal with local effects of these pollutants nor are the complex interactions among these substances understood. That not withstanding, the report is clear—CO2 does not account for even a majority of the warming seen over the past century. If other species accounted for 65% of historical warming that leaves only 35% for carbon dioxide. This, strangely enough, is in line with calculations based strictly on known atmospheric physics, calculations not biased by the IPCC's hypothetical and bastardized “feedbacks.”

Of course, the real reason for the feedbacks was to allow almost all global warming to be attributed to CO2. This, in turn, would open the door for radical social and economic policies, allowing them to be enacted in the name of saving the world from global warming. The plain truth is that even climate scientists know that the IPCC case was a political witch's brew concocted by UN bureaucrats, NGOs, grant money hungry scientists and fringe activists.

Now, after three decades of sturm und drang over climate policy, the truth has emerged—scientists have no idea of how Earth's climate will change in the future because they don't know why it changed in the past. Furthermore, it will take decades of additional study to gain a useful understand climate change. To do this, climate scientists will need further funding. Too bad the climate science community squandered any public trust it may have had by trying to frighten people with a lie.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

JPL Acknowledges That The Basis Of Hansen’s Sea Level Numbers Is Wrong

Antarctic temperatures are far below freezing all year.

During June, I explained on WUWT that the University of Texas GRACE interpretations were wrong due to glacial rebound (isostasy.) Later in the summer they acknowledged that my explanation was correct.
a new study published in the September issue of Nature Geoscience suggests that the true melt rate might be much slower than that. (Access a PDF of the study here.) A joint team of American and Dutch scientists took another look at the GRACE data and found that Greenland and West Antarctica may be melting just half as fast the earlier studies estimated. As researcher Bert Vermeersen, a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, told the AFP, the earlier estimates failed to account for glacial isostatic adjustment—the rebounding of the Earth’s crust after the end of the last Ice Age:

Hansen’s “non-linear” theory was ridiculous to begin with, and was undermined by the JPL study.
Under BAU [business as usual] forcing in the 21st century, the sea level rise surely will be dominated by a third term: (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on the gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005–15 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. That time constant yields a sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century.

His doubling has been halved. That means ice loss rates have not changed, which was obvious from sea level data. Temperatures in Antarctica are cold and getting colder.

How does this crap get through peer review? Ice doesn’t melt in summer temperatures of -10C, and Antarctica is getting colder.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

German Warmists getting even more arrogant

Some arrogant German socialism in the middle of the last cebtury did not end up very well, I seem to recollect -- JR

Schellnhuber Admits: “Climate Science” Would Not Stand A Chance In A Public Debate. That’s the amazing thing warmist and alarmist Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has recently admitted, according to Der Spiegel here (read the last paragraph).

And again they assert that the public is just too stupid to have a say in this important public issue.

Schellnhuber is even so arrogant that he compares himself, his fellow “climate scientists” and climate science to Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity (read below).

Two days ago Der Spiegel came out with one of the nastiest hit pieces I’ve seen in a long time called: Crusade Against Science – The Charlatans of Climate Science. (Note they’ve softened the title in English). The title I translated was the one used here, scroll down.

After reading the Der Spiegel piece, the first thing that popped into my head was: Wow! No wonder Fred Singer left Germany in 1940!

Der Spiegel singled out Fred Singer and attacked every aspect about him, rehashing all the old tobacco and merchant-of-doubt stuff. Naomi Oreskes’s fingerprints were everywhere here. Face it, she’s hopelessly infatuated with Fred Singer.

Der Spiegel calls Singer “one of the most influential climate deniers worldwide” and a lead denier in the NIPCC, which it describes: "Sounds impressive, but is actually just a collection of like-minded scientists that have gathered around him. Also one German is in it: Gerd Weber. a meteorologist who for 25 years was at the service of the German coal industry."

Der Spiegel also goes after Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell, writing that spreading doubt in USA has been easier than in Europe, but that Singer and the “deniers” are working on that too, and have teamed up with the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). Der Spiegel: "Behind the impressively sounding name is hardly anything more than a post office box in Jena. President Holger Thuss is a local CDU politician [conservative party]."

Indeed it is so. There is simply no funding for them and so this small but committed group is forced to operate on a shoestring. EIKE is not showered with tens of millions of euros like activist groups and warmists are. Yet, notice how fearful Der Spiegel and the Science Establishment in Germany are. Even Der Spiegel feels it has to mobilise and slap down the EIKE shoestring operation.

Der Spiegel writes that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has nothing against having a discussion with serious scientists, but refuses to debate with whom he considers “amateurs”. Der Spiegel: "In the end, the science has gotten so complex that the large part of the population is not able to follow it. The climate sceptics, on the other hand, are satisfying “a need for simple truths”." And that’s precisely where Schellnhuber sees the sceptic’s secret to success. Unfortunately a public debate would not help: “Imagine if Einstein had to defend his theory of relativity on talkshow Maybritt Illner. He wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.”

What Schellnhuber is saying here is amazing. He’s saying that his climate science would not stand a chance in a public debate. How right you are Herr Schellnhuber. But here it is so because your science is light-years away from Einstein’s when it comes to quality, and not because the people in the land of poets and thinkers are unable to understand it.

And so that’s why he accepts having a discussion only with people who agree with him.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

Amid Britons’ protests, UK pushes wind farms

Reg Thompson, a retired computer manager, loves the view from his rear bedroom window over the beech trees and across the lush green fields of Norfolk in the east of England. But if E.ON, a German power company, has its way, that view would soon include five wind turbines about 15 times the height of his house.

The view is not the only thing that worries Thompson, 62. In April, he dressed up in a bird’s costume with pink Wellington boots to protest the turbines and their danger to the rare pink-footed goose the region is famous for. There are 250,000 of them left, and Thompson fears that wind turbines could slash that number. “We were blessed with these rare animals, and the danger is they would either get chopped up by the turbine blades or would be driven off their feeding ground,’’ Thompson said.

The local council is due to decide on E.ON’s planning application later this year.

Despite growing opposition from citizens, nature conservation trusts, and local lawmakers, the government continues to push for more wind farms across the country. Time is ticking toward a deadline in 2020 set by the European Union by which Britain would have to increase the amount of power it generates from renewable sources to 15 percent, from 3 percent now.

Britain is among Europe’s laggards in expanding the renewable share of its energy mix, ranking in the bottom three of the European Union league table just above Luxembourg and Malta. Many industry experts question whether the government can meet the target within a decade, especially when money is tight.

The coalition government was expected to announce drastic cuts in public spending recently as part of a plan to reduce a record public deficit. And even though Prime Minister David Cameron had said renewable energy would remain one of his priorities, it is not clear how much he will be able to spend on such projects as the government cuts social benefits.

In a giant leap toward meeting the European Union target, Britain recently opened the world’s largest offshore wind turbine farm in the North Sea off Thanet, at the southeast tip of England. Operated by Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, it has 100 turbines spreading over 13.5 square miles, with a capacity to power more than 200,000 homes.

Vattenfall’s turbines raised Britain’s wind-power-generating capacity to five gigawatts, enough to power every home in Scotland, the government said. Chris Huhne, Britain’s energy secretary, said the country was “in a unique position to become a world leader in this industry.’’ “We are an island nation, and I firmly believe we should be harnessing our wind, wave, and tidal resources to the maximum,’’ Huhne said.

Indeed, despite the renewable sector’s lowly ranking in percentage terms, Britain now generates more energy from offshore wind turbines than any other European country, according to the government.

With a height of 377 feet, or 115 meters, Vattenfall’s turbines are visible from the coast in Kent. Unlike onshore wind farms, however, they have attracted few objections from local villagers. As a result, the government has recently started to focus more on offshore than onshore wind farms, even though they tend to be more expensive to build.


The overpopulation myth

The idea that growing human numbers will destroy the planet is nonsense, says an environmentalist

Many of today’s most-respected thinkers, from Stephen Hawking to David Attenborough, argue that our efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will all fail unless we “do something” about population growth. In the Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking declares that, “in the last 200 years, population growth has become exponential… The world population doubles every forty years.”

But this is nonsense. For a start, there is no exponential growth. In fact, population growth is slowing. For more than three decades now, the average number of babies being born to women in most of the world has been in decline. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better.

Here are the numbers. Forty years ago, the average woman had between five and six kids. Now she has 2.6. This is getting close to the replacement level which, allowing for girls who don’t make it to adulthood, is around 2.3. As I show in my new book, Peoplequake, half the world already has a fertility rate below the long-term replacement level. That includes all of Europe, much of the Caribbean and the far east from Japan to Vietnam and Thailand, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia.

It also includes China, where the state decides how many children couples can have. This is brutal and repulsive. But the odd thing is that it may not make much difference any more: Chinese communities around the world have gone the same way without any compulsion—Taiwan, Singapore, and even Hong Kong. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, it had the lowest fertility rate in the world: below one child per woman.

So why is this happening? Demographers used to say that women only started having fewer children when they got educated and the economy got rich, as in Europe. But tell that to the women of Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest nations, where girls are among the least educated in the world, and mostly marry in their mid-teens. They have just three children now, less than half the number their mothers had. India is even lower, at 2.8. Tell that also to the women of Brazil. In this hotbed of Catholicism, women have two children on average—and this is falling. Nothing the priests say can stop it.

Women are doing this because, for the first time in history, they can. Better healthcare and sanitation mean that most babies now live to grow up. It is no longer necessary to have five or six children to ensure the next generation—so they don’t.

There are holdouts, of course. In parts of rural Africa, women still have five or more children. But even here they are being rational. Women mostly run the farms, and they need the kids to mind the animals and work in the fields.

Then there is the middle east, where traditional patriarchy still rules. In remote villages in Yemen, girls as young as 11 are forced into marriage. They still have six babies on average. But even the middle east is changing. Take Iran. In the past 20 years, Iranian women have gone from having eight children to less than two—1.7 in fact—whatever the mullahs say.

The big story here is that rich or poor, socialist or capitalist, Muslim or Catholic, secular or devout, with or without tough government birth control policies in place, most countries tell the same tale of a reproductive revolution.

That doesn’t mean population growth has ceased. The world’s population is still rising by 70m a year. This is because there is a time lag: the huge numbers of young women born during the earlier baby boom may only have had two children each. That is still a lot of children. But within a generation, the world’s population will almost certainly be stable, and is very likely to be falling by mid-century. In the US they are calling my new book “The Coming Population Crash.”

Is this good news for the environment and for the planet’s resources? Clearly, other things being equal, fewer people will do less damage to the planet. But it won’t on its own do a lot to solve the world’s environmental problems, because the second myth about population growth is that it is the driving force behind our wrecking of the planet.

In fact, rising consumption today far outstrips the rising headcount as a threat to the planet. And most of the extra consumption has been in rich countries that have long since given up adding substantial numbers to their population, while most of the remaining population growth is in countries with a very small impact on the planet. By almost any measure you choose, a small proportion of the world’s people take the majority of the world’s resources and produce the majority of its pollution....

Economists predict the world’s economy will grow by 400 per cent by 2050. If this does indeed happen, less than a tenth of that growth will be due to rising human numbers. True, some of those extra poor people might one day become rich. And if they do—and I hope they do—their impact on the planet will be greater. But it is the height of arrogance for us in the rich world to downplay the importance of our own environmental footprint because future generations of poor people might one day have the temerity to get as rich and destructive as us. How dare we?

Some green activists need to take a long hard look at themselves. We all like to think of ourselves as progressives. But Robert Malthus, the man who first warned 200 years ago that population growth would produce demographic armageddon, was in his time a favourite of capitalist mill owners. He opposed Victorian charities because he said they were only making matters worse for the poor, encouraging them to breed. He said the workhouses were too lenient. Progressives of the day hated him. Charles Dickens attacked him in several books: when Oliver Twist asked for more gruel in the workhouse, for instance, that was a satire on a newly introduced get-tough law on workhouses, known popularly as Malthus’s Law. In Hard Times, the headmaster obsessed with facts, Thomas Gradgrind, had a son called Malthus. In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge was also widely seen at the time as a caricature of Malthus.

Malthus, it should be remembered, spent many years teaching British colonial administrators before they went out to run the empire. They adopted his ideas that famine and disease were the result of overbreeding, so the victims should be allowed to die. It was Malthusian thinking that led to the huge and unnecessary death toll in the Irish potato famine.

We must not follow the lure of Malthus, and blame the world’s poor for the environmental damaged caused overwhelmingly by us: the rich. The truth is that the population bomb is being defused round the world. But the consumption bomb is still primed and ever more dangerous.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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