Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Paper: Compelling Evidence of Cosmic Ray-Climate Relationship

A paper published today in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds "perhaps the most compelling evidence presented thus far of a GCR [Galactic Cosmic Ray]-climate relationship." The galactic cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al explains how small changes in the solar magnetic field during solar cycles can be amplified via effects on galactic cosmic rays, which in turn seed cloud formation to affect global climate.

Dr. Roy Spencer illustrates the magnitude of poorly-understood cloud effects on climate in his new book, "The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling."

As also noted in a paper presented earlier this year by physicist Dr. Horst Borchert, satellite measurements show that global warming between about 1980 to 2008 was "not anthropogenic but caused by natural activities of the Sun’s surface" via the GCR-climate relationship.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 10941-10948, 2010

Cosmic rays linked to rapid mid-latitude cloud changes

B. A. Laken et al.


The effect of the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux on Earth's climate is highly uncertain. Using a novel sampling approach based around observing periods of significant cloud changes, a statistically robust relationship is identified between short-term GCR flux changes and the most rapid mid-latitude (60°–30° N/S) cloud decreases operating over daily timescales; this signal is verified in surface level air temperature (SLAT) reanalysis data.
A General Circulation Model (GCM) experiment is used to test the causal relationship of the observed cloud changes to the detected SLAT anomalies.

Results indicate that the anomalous cloud changes were responsible for producing the observed SLAT changes, implying that if there is a causal relationship between significant decreases in the rate of GCR flux (~0.79 GU, where GU denotes a change of 1% of the 11-year solar cycle amplitude in four days) and decreases in cloud cover (~1.9 CU, where CU denotes a change of 1% cloud cover in four days), an increase in SLAT (~0.05 KU, where KU denotes a temperature change of 1 K in four days) can be expected.

The influence of GCRs is clearly distinguishable from changes in solar irradiance and the interplanetary magnetic field. However, the results of the GCM experiment are found to be somewhat limited by the ability of the model to successfully reproduce observed cloud cover.

These results provide perhaps the most compelling evidence presented thus far of a GCR-climate relationship. From this analysis we conclude that a GCR-climate relationship is governed by both short-term GCR changes and internal atmospheric precursor conditions.


Game Over In The Carbon War?

While the next climate summit in Cancun, Mexico at the end of this month will make a show of sifting the geopolitical wreckage from last December’s climate summit, any real prospect for coordinated international action is, post-Copenhagen, dead in the political water. As if that were not enough, the bĂȘte noire of climate alarmists, King Coal, is, once again, reigning supreme.

All of which begs the question: with all hopes for a global CO2 impact blown away, why are politicians tenaciously clinging to the fiction that regionalised carbon trading schemes – like the Western Climate Initiative – can succeed where national and international ones have failed?

Speaking to Energy Tribune, Dalibor Rohac, Research Fellow at London’s Legatum Institute which produces the annual Legatum Global Prosperity Index, explains, “If you believe that CO2 emissions are a major factor driving climate change you need to reduce emissions globally. Cutting emissions unilaterally through, say, increasing the price of carbon in one country or group of countries, leads to carbon leakage as carbon-intensive industries will move to jurisdictions where emissions are not restricted.”

Without international and national binding agreements the reluctance of industry to participate is already reflected in the slow death of carbon trading initiatives.

CCX closing – ECX next?

By the end of the year, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only U.S. national carbon market which trades all six greenhouse gases, will quietly close its doors to its carbon credits business – the main purpose for which it was set up. Not that this major turning point warranted much coverage in the mainstream media which has made a new genre out of the war on CO2. While the Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange only purchased the CCX last April, its voluntary but legally binding system has reportedly ground to a halt in the absence of a federally-enacted cap and trade scheme.

Meanwhile, across the water the European Climate Exchange (ECX), the leading platform for the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, is still trading. But when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 with its requirement for mandatory carbon caps, it is widely expected to go the way of its Chicago sister – and a new British report makes clear why.

According to the report by Sandbag, a group calling for even tighter greenhouse controls, the entire five-year period of the EU’s ETS is set to deliver miniscule carbon savings of less than one third of 1 per cent of total emissions. The world’s oldest carbon trading scheme has simply failed to make any serious impact on global carbon emissions, the purpose for which all such schemes exist.

In June 2010, Japan put on hold plans to introduce emission trading laws. Australia has delayed any decision on a carbon trading scheme until 2013 at the earliest and at the Copenhagen conference India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh stated flatly, “India will not accept any emission reduction target – period.”

In North America, however, local politicians still insist that regional initiatives, including the Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the east of the United States and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) in the west and Canada, could prosper. The WCI, for instance, is a partnership of seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. The WCI wants to establish a cap and trade system by January 2012 that, ultimately, aims to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

“This is simply puzzling,” says Rohac. “Regional initiatives are unlikely to have any effect whatsoever on global emissions and therefore on climate change.”

Coal’s renaissance

Far from being over the age of coal is experiencing a renaissance. Just as in the West, coal is driving growing economic prosperity of China, India, Brazil and other fast-industrializing nations.

Rohac told Energy Tribune, “Cheap coal and the wide availability of shale gas make decarbonisation in the near future very unlikely. Even if developed countries committed to switch to renewables, this would be offset by the rising emissions in China.”

As our former colleague Robert Bryce recently pointed out, such is the current and prospective growth in coal use that investment bankers, like Tudor Pickering & Co in the U.S., are once again advising there’s plenty of money to be made in buying coal stocks. In 2009, U.S. coal consumption averaged 10 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day – a 52.3 per cent increase over 1973 levels. Over the same period, natural gas consumption increased by just 3.8 per cent and oil by just 3 per cent. The importance of coal to the U.S. economy cannot be overstated. Globally too, coal consumption currently totals around 66 million boe per day, a 107 per cent increase since 1973.

In today’s global commodities market King Coal still reigns supreme. The International Energy Agency projects global coal consumption will increase by more than 50 per cent by 2030. 97 per cent of that increased coal consumption will be in Asia. China is currently opening one coal-fired power station every week, a process set to continue for years to come.

The World Bank meanwhile has been severely criticised for continuing to support investment in coal-fired power stations in places like India and South Africa; in the latter case the electricity produced also serves surrounding countries. The simple fact is that coal is cheap and accessible and a coal-fired power station can be up to eight times more efficient in electricity generation than renewable energy projects.

As the World Bank maintains, it is hard to fight poverty for people without any electricity. Put bluntly, when it comes to the developing world, investment in efficient poverty-eradicating electricity projects ranks morally higher than fighting a war against carbon that is based on a speculative theory, and which is, as the statistics make abundantly clear, already lost.

As Rohac puts it, “Decarbonisation has never been in the interest of developing countries.” But given that the fast-industrialization of the developing nations will continue to eclipse all Western carbon initiatives, it is hard to disagree with Rohac’s assessment that “Western carbon-cutting efforts are mostly a waste of effort and resources.”


Scaring for money

John Stossel

If you’re a scientist working for private industry, it helps to invent something useful. But if you’re a scientist trying to get funding from the government, you’re better off telling the world how horrible things are. And once people are scared, they pay attention. They may even demand the government give you more money to solve the problem.

Usually the horrible disaster never happens. Chaos from Y2K. An epidemic of deaths from SARS or mad cow disease. Cancer from Three Mile Island. We quickly forget. We move on to the next warnings.

This is the story of a looming disaster that never became an actual disaster — because the science that led to the terror was never sound science at all.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the media used a few small studies of babies born of cocaine-addicted mothers to convince America that thousands of children were permanently damaged. Dr. Ira Chasnoff, of the National Association for Perinatal Addiction Research and Education, after studying only 23 babies, reported that mothers were delivering babies who “could not respond to them emotionally.” He told People magazine the infants “couldn’t respond to a human voice.” This led to a frenzy of stories on “crack babies.” Many people still believe “crack babies” are handicapped for life.

It isn’t true. It turns out there is no proof that crack babies do worse than anyone else. In fact, they do better, on average, than children born of alcoholic mothers.

Nevertheless, Rolling Stone told us these children were “like no others.” They were “automatons,” “oblivious to affection,” and “the damage doesn’t go away.” Education magazines warned that soon these children would reach the schools, which would be unable to control them. It was terrifying news — thousands of children likely to grow up wild and dangerous.

It wasn’t until several years later that the myth started to unravel. Emory University psychologist Claire Coles had her graduate students spend hours observing “crack babies” and normal babies. Her students did not see what Chasnoff had seen. In fact, they couldn’t tell which children had been exposed to cocaine.

Coles told me, “They couldn’t really tell whether they were looking at the effects of cocaine or the effects of alcohol or the effects of poverty, and everybody ignored that. They just said, ‘This is cocaine.’”

How could that happen? “Well,” Coles said,” they wanted to get published.” It is easier to get your work published, and, more importantly, funded by the taxpayers, if you find something dramatic. Coles said, “If you go to an agency and say, ‘I don’t think there’s a big problem here, I’d like you to give me $1 million,’ the probability for getting the money is very low.”

It’s also easier to get funded if what you conclude feeds someone’s political agenda. The idea of crack babies was perfect. It met the needs of liberals and conservatives. Conservatives wanted to demonize cocaine users. Liberals wanted more money for social programs.

When Dr. Coles dared suggest that crack babies were not permanently damaged, she was attacked by politicians, called incompetent, accused of making data up or advocating drug abuse. Dr. Chasnoff, who helped start the scare, did not receive similar criticism. After his scare was shown to have been exaggerated, he denied that he had pushed any agenda: “Neither I nor any of my colleagues were ever pushing junk science. Is everything we thought then — do we know that every bit of that is correct now? Well, obviously, the answer is no. But that’s the process of science.”

He said People and Rolling Stone exaggerated the implications of his research — took him “out of context.” Perhaps. Journalists hype risks constantly. But Chasnoff didn’t ask the magazines to correct or clarify their reports. So people continued expecting the crack babies — the real human beings who had to grow up with that label — to be walking disasters.

Next time you hear dire “scientific” warnings — and demands to surrender more control over your life to the government in order to avert disaster — remember the crack babies. The only disaster coming may be an activist-induced panic. Think about that when you hear dire predictions about global warming.



Four current articles below

Cars, Cattle and Ethanol

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused climate alarmists of scientific incompetence in promoting ethanol as an offset to animal emissions.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, was responding to claims by Mr Combet that agriculture (mainly cattle and sheep) “made up 23% of Australia’s emissions”.

“Why are emissions from cattle eating grain classed as bad whereas emissions from cars burning grain ethanol are good?

“Consider a paddock of corn. Most of the carbon in the growing plant comes from carbon dioxide in the air and is converted to plant material using solar energy via the magic of photosynthesis. Some comes from the atmosphere via microbes in the soil. “This plant material, either biomass or grain, can be fed to cattle or made into ethanol for motor fuel.

“Both cattle and cars then use an internal digestion/combustion process to extract the energy stored in the plant material.

“Both processes produce gaseous emissions. In cars, virtually every atom of ethanol carbon burnt produces one molecule of carbon dioxide. In cattle, some of the plant’s carbon is stored for a while in flesh and bones, and the rest is emitted as the natural gases carbon dioxide and methane. This methane is soon oxidised in the atmosphere to produce carbon dioxide.

“Over the life of a car or a cow, they both produce the same carbon emissions. Every atom of carbon extracted from the air by the green plant eventually returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the plant food. This is the cycle of life.

“It is therefore scientific incompetence or deliberate fraud by government climate alarmists to claim that consuming ethanol in cars is good and should be subsidised but consuming the same plant material in cows must be rationed and taxed.

“An ethanol industry propped up by subsidies and mandates is not sustainable. This industry damages taxpayers and pushes up the cost of grains, beef, pork, eggs, milk and cereals.

“Subsidising ethanol brings no environmental benefits and is the enemy of the poor and hungry of the world. Its special privileges should be immediately removed.”

Received by email from Viv Forbes []

A reply to ABC smears

In their usual way, Australia's national broadcasters have unleashed another attack on people who are not true believers in Global warming -- along the way showing their usual inability to set out a scientific case for their addled belief system.

The stalwarts of the ABC show were sloppy American Green/Left "historian" Naomi Oreskes and journalist Graham Readfearn. Jo Nova below has some comments on their effusions

The battle cry: the “skeptics” are shills of big oil, has become an own goal. The PR team for the catastrophic theory have no new evidence of Big Oil funding and thousands of people now point out that the UNskeptics were paid 3500 times as much (at least). So they are moving on…

the religiously devout believers can’t admit they were wrong, and nor can they look at the evidence, so what’s left? Post hoc random over-analysis of the irrelevant. Before, skeptics were paid hacks… and now they’re wrong because they … are ideologically against big government and regulation. From one ad hom to another.

And again, the ABC uses our taxes to promote the smear campaign, support neolithic reasoning, and does everything it can to stop people talking about scientific evidence (by spreading misinformation or slurs about all the characters on one side).

Oreskes and freelance writer Graham Readfearn can’t discuss the evidence (or lack of) for their favourite faith, but they spend a lot of time digging up irrelevant details instead.

Are man-made emissions a problem? How would we find the answer? Look not at sedimentary rocks but at stationery and submissions. As if the answer to tropical convective processes might be hidden on IPA letterhead, or in subliminal messages coded in the number of peer reviewed reports. It’s tea-leaves and rune-stones stuff, and people kid themselves that Blackberries or Androids make us modern, but the writing of people like Oreskes and Readfearn reminds us that human brains still carry software from the paleolithic.

They simply can’t string a reasoned scientific argument together, but instead reflexively resort to discussing motivations, character, ideology or just gossip about “who their friends are”.

Here’s Oreskes. She “knows” she’s right, she just has to figure why other people haven’t seen the light too:

“It’s part of this whole ideological program of challenging any science that could lead to government regulation, because it’s part of an ideological conviction that all regulation is bad, that any time the government steps in to ‘protect’ us from harm, that we’re on the slippery slope to socialism, and this is the ideology that you see underlying a kind of almost paranoid anti-communism. So even after the Cold War is over, these people are seeing reds under the bed.”

Ponder the inanity of “paranoid anti-communism?”

The Death Toll from far-left governments has been tagged at more than 100 million which is about three times higher than the current known death toll from AIDS. You can see how meaningless the Oreskes line-of-wordsmithing becomes. What’s the difference: paranoid anti-communism, or paranoid anti-AIDSism? The difference is, Oreskes won’t be trying to inanely badge or label the AIDS workers.

What is a rational fear if being afraid of mass murder is “paranoid”?

The double fallacy: When the ad hom isn’t even correct: Evidence matters so little to the smear campaigners that Readfearn doesn’t even bother to research his ad hominem targets:

"You can’t help but think that Roskam must have been chuckling to himself as he wrote that statement, given the paucity of actual peer-reviewed scientific research on climate change amongst the book’s contributors, which included Ian Plimer, Richard Lindzen, Nigel Lawson, William Kininmonth, Willie Soon, Christopher Monckton, Garth Paltridge plus the IPA’s own Alan Moran and Roskam himself".

Thus, hundreds of peer reviewed papers are described as a paucity. Richard Lindzen: 235 peer reviewed papers. Garth Paltridge: scores (in journals like Nature, J. Geophys. Res., J. Atmos. Sci., Q. J. Roy.Meteor. Soc), Willie Soon: dozens (Like Climate Research, Energy & Environment, and The Astrophysical Journal).

Ten minutes to google and Readfearn couldn’t be bothered. He apparently wants everyone to think that only people with peer reviewed climate papers should be listened to, but while he thinks climate scientists with hundreds of papers are worth mocking, he’s proud of his own climate science record. His opinions on the climate are worth televising… (According to him, and, of course, the ABC):

"Earlier this year, Lord Monckton was featured heavily in newspaper coverage when he conducted a speaking tour in towns and cities across the country, including a debate in Brisbane which was televised by the ABC (featuring yours truly). Monckton, like the majority of sceptics, has no science training and while he is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile sceptics, he has never had a peer-reviewed climate science paper published".

And Readfearn of course has not published a peer reviewed paper either. But he’s a journalist. Again, one of the anointed for whom the laws of logic part like the Red Sea.

On the plus side though, Readfearn is flexible – it’s not just ad hominem attacks and argument from authority — he can do other logical fallacies too. When he needs to, he can confuse cause and effect:

"At one point or another, pretty much every one of these climate sceptics (or sceptics of the need for action) have also been hosted by one or more of the US-based free-market think-tanks".

He think the “links” are meaningful as if correlation was causation.

The free market think tanks — shock me — approach people who have also come to similar conclusions. And passionate scientists not-so-surprisingly seek out groups and conferences of like-minded people.

Though as it happens the dastardly think tanks also approached Al Gore. The only difference is that Al was too scared to speak at one of the free market think tank events, even if they paid him. He knows he can’t answer their questions.

Oreskes and Readfearn’s ability to reason is so confused they can’t think their way out of a paragraph. You know you’ve found another taxpayer funded cesspit of reason when the writers can’t even pass their own flawed “tests”.


Green/Left attacking Australia's fishing indusrty

THE days of being able to buy fresh, local prawns are under threat from Federal and State Labor following the release of plans to prohibit prawn trawling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park, Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker said.

The NSW Government yesterday announced a proposed new plan of management to expand the sanctuary zone from 12 to 20 per cent and to totally prohibit prawn trawling in the park within two years.

“The extreme actions of the NSW Government follow the Rudd Government’s announcement to further assess an area up to 80 kilometres off shore in order to establish a new Commonwealth Marine Reserve," mr Hartsuyker said. “The local commercial fishing industry understandably feels very threatened by both Federal and State Labor. “The NSW Government has now made it very clear that they want the commercial fishers gone. There is nothing balanced about this approach.

"Both Federal and State Labor want to rip the heart and soul out of the local commercial fishing industry. “If Labor gets its ways we will no longer be able to catch local prawns and consumers will have no choice but to purchase imported seafood."

Mr Hartsuyker said it would not only cost jobs, but would also be a boon for the seafood black market.

“Today’s announcement also highlights why the local fishing and tourism industries are so concerned about the process to establish commonwealth marine reserves," he said. “There are serious concerns that Federal Minister Peter Garrett will be guided by the extreme ideology in his department. "Those concerns are now well based given what the NSW Government has now announced.

“The flow on effect to commonwealth waters is scary. "Sustainable fishing is vital, but I believe it is wrong to blanket ban prawn trawling over the complete area.”

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has slammed the decision by NSW Minister Frank Sartor to place further restrictions on the Solitary Island Marine Park.

Mr Fraser said it was obvious this decision was being made in an order to garner Green preference in Labor-held marginal seats in Sydney such as Balmain and Marrickville. “The decision to ban prawn trawling in the marine reserve cannot be supported by any scientific evidence as prawn trawling is done in areas where there are no reefs, because reefs will damage fishing nets worth thousands of dollars," Mr Fraser said.

“I believe recreational fishers will also be severely impacted with sanctuary zones being increased from 12 per cent to 20 per cent as sanctuary zones are only the reef areas and the vast majority of reefs and islands are already sanctuary zones.

“This will mean that fishing competitions such as the Easter Classic could disappear altogether because if you can’t fish where the fish are, you can’t catch any fish and therefore, you can’t have a competition.”

Mr Fraser is urging Coffs Coast residents to make a submission objecting the proposal. “I totally agree with Mr Sartor when he says 87% of people favour the marine park, but if he locks it up to the extent that is being planned he will find that people’s support of the marine park will disappear," Mr Fraser said. “All sensitive areas are currently protected and commercial and recreational fishing can take place without damaging the Marine Park.

"My message to Mr Sartor is to stop destroying a recreational and commercial fishing industry in Coffs Harbour in order to gain preferences from the Greens in Sydney’s marginal seats.

“If the prawn and fisheries close we will have increasing imports, and industry sources have advised me that black market reef fish will be purchased by restaurants as they won’t be able to buy it locally.”


Coal: Realism trumps Warmism

The Australian State of Queensland to increase coal production by 80 per cent over next two decades

DESPITE global concern over climate change and carbon emissions, Queensland will increase coal production by almost 80 per cent over the next two decades, Premier Anna Bligh says.

Making her annual address to the Queensland Resources Council before an audience of 900 miners and business people from related industries today, Ms Bligh announced the Government's new coal plan. "The coal plan estimates that over the next 20 years, the Queensland coal industry has the potential to significantly increase its production of saleable coal from approximately 190 million tonnes per annum up to 340 million tonnes per annum," Ms Bligh said. "That is an increase of almost 80 per cent."

Ms Bligh said the plan outlined how demand for coal will outstrip all other fuels in absolute terms. "But 97 per cent of projected growth is expected to come from non-OECD countries like China and India," she said. "Developed countries on the other hand, like South Korea, are looking to reduce their reliance on coal."

She said South Korea will use Queensland gas to meet its growing energy demands. "I think it speaks volumes about the diversification of the Queensland resource industry and about Queensland as a mines and energy powerhouse of Australia and the region," Ms Bligh said.

Ms Bligh, responding to a "Lock the Gate" campaign launched by farmers in southern Queensland earlier this week, said the state's Strategic Cropping Land policy had been released for public discussion. She said there was a need to provide certainty for miners and farmers. "Government has an obligation to prevent the permanent alienation of the best of the best food producing country in Queensland."

Outside the QRC luncheon in Brisbane, Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said the Government had gone a long way to meeting the concerns of landholders who are objecting to the activities of coal and gas explorers on their land.

Mr Robertson said the Government had redressed the lack of balance, which had favoured miners. "New laws have been put in place to recognise the rights of landholders," he said. "I don't like to see people involved in this type of (protest) action when government has clearly demonstrated a preparedness to listen to their concerns and act on those concerns, and that's what we've done," Mr Robertson said.

The QRC also launched a website it says details the contribution mining makes to the Queensland economy, and it quickly drew fire from the Queensland Conservation Council. Toby Hutcheon, executive director of the QCC, said fossil fuel exports have a questionable future.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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


No comments: