Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Warmists need an absurd theory to account for the temperature standstill of the past 10-15 years

David Whitehouse

It seems probable that 2010 will be in terms of global annual average temperature statistically identical to the annual temperatures of the past decade. Some eminent climatologists, such as Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, suggest the global annual average temperatures haven’t changed for the past 15 years. We are reaching the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the major feature of the recent global warm period that began in 1980. In brief, the global temperature has remained constant for longer than it has increased. Perhaps this should not be surprising as in the seven decades since 1940 the world has gotten warmer in only two of them, and if one considers each decade individually the increase in temperature in each has barely been statistically significant. Only when the warming in the 1980’s is added to that of the first half of the 1990’s does the change exceed the noise in the system.

But what does this 10-15 year temperature standstill mean?

For some it means nothing. Ten to fifteen years is too short a time period to say anything about climate they would argue pointing out that at least thirty years is needed to see significant changes. They also point out that this decade is warmer than the 1990’s and the 1990’s were warmer than the 1980’s and that is a clear demonstration of global warming.

I know few who would argue that we don’t live in the warmest decade for probably a millennium and there are now few who would argue that the period of warming ended about a decade ago leaving us with a plateau of annual temperatures. However, there is information in the decadal structure of the present warming spell that can say something about what is happening.

All would agree that the global climate is changing constantly within certain limits due to the combination of anthropogenic and natural factors. The manmade factors are postulated to be responsible for climate change whereas the natural factors are taken to be agents of climate variability. The additional greenhouse effect caused by mankind’s emissions is a unique climatic forcing factor in that it operates in one direction only, that of increasing the temperature. If that is the case then something has been cooling the planet. We can say something about what is cooling the earth. The key point about the greenhouse effect in this context is that it depends upon one factor – the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

In the past decade the atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from 370 ppm to 390 ppm and using those figure the IPCC once estimated that the world should have warmed by at least 0.2 deg C. The fact that the world has not warmed at all means that all the other climatic factors have had a net effect of producing 0.2 deg C of cooling.

But there is more. The counterbalancing climatic factors have not only compensated for the postulated AGW at the end of the decade they have kept the global annual average temperature constant throughout the past 10-15 years when the AGW effect wants to increase it. The key point that makes this constancy fascinating is that for every value of CO2 there is an equilibrium temperature that is higher the greater the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, the higher CO2 concentration at the end of the decade exerts a stronger climate forcing than at the beginning of the decade.

Mirror Image

This makes what has happened in the past decade all the more remarkable. Because the greenhouse effect wants to force the temperature up which in the absence of a cooling influence is what would have happened, the fact that the temperature has remained constant indicates that whatever has been cooling the planet has had to increase in strength at precisely the same rate as the CO2 warming in order to keep the temperature a constant straight line.

This means that for 10-15 years the combined effect of all the Earth’s climate variability factors have increased in such a way as to exactly compensate for the rise in temperature that the increased CO2 would have given us. It is not a question of the earth’s decadal climate cycles adding up to produce a constant cooling effect, they must produce an increasing cooling effect that increases in strength at exactly the same rate as the enhanced greenhouse effect so as to keep the earth’s temperature constant.

Can it really be the case that over the past 15 years the sum total of all the earth’s natural climatic variables such as changes in solar irradiance, volcanoes, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Arctic Oscillation, all of which can change from cooling to warming over decadal timescales, have behaved in such as way as to produce a cooling effect that is the mirror image of the warming postulated by the anthropogenic climate forcings from CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, from the changing water vapour, from tropospheric ozone, and from a clearing aerosol burden?

Am I alone in thinking that in the dynamically changing global climate this looks like a contrived, indeed scientifically suspicious, situation?

Is it a coincidence that the human and natural factors balance out this way? I am reminded of a line written by Agatha Christie: “Any coincidence”, said Miss Marple to herself, “is always worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.”


Why do alarmists fear global warming hearings?

One of the most troubling developments likely to result from last Tuesday’s elections, according to the dinosaur media, is a desire among newly empowered House Republicans to hold hearings on global warming claims and the misconduct and fraud perpetrated during the Climategate scandal.

It is quite curious that global warming alarmists are in a panic about potentially getting an opportunity to testify in front of Congress. They have been complaining for years that Congress and the American public won’t listen to them, but as soon as they get the opportunity to testify in front of Congress, they cry “Witch Hunt!” This begs the question, what are they so afraid of? There are hundreds of skeptical scientists who would love to have the opportunity to explain their research to Congress, in either the Republican-controlled House or the Democratic Senate. Yet why are the alarmists so afraid of answering questions from anyone other than a fully sympathetic audience? Have they been hanging around Al Gore too long?

The same alarmists who are organizing outraged resistance to congressional hearings are the same alarmists who petition the federal government for billions of dollars each year to produce their controversial findings. People who ask for and accept taxpayer dollars shouldn’t get all bent out of shape about being asked to account for their use of those funds. The national budget deficit is spiraling out of control, while the federal government is handing out billions of dollars each year in research grants to global warming alarmists – many of whom are unabashed activists who have apparently been cooking the books and engaging in scientific misconduct. Why shouldn’t Congress want to make sure that taxpayer money is being well-spent? And why are the alarmists so afraid to explain themselves?


Ethanol to 15% = harm to the environment

The ethanol industry has told us for years that using ethanol is good for the environment because it cuts down on gasoline usage while doing nothing to harm small engines. The truth is quite different from the claims.

Ever wonder why you have so much trouble starting your lawn mower, particularly if it doesn't have a choke? You're not alone.

The recent announcement by the EPA that it is increasing the allowable amount of ethanol in gasoline is bad news for anyone who operates a lawn mower, snow blower, string trimmer, boat motor, jet ski, chain saw, leaf blower, electricity backup generator, or any of the other small, gasoline engines available today.

I shot a 9-minute video yesterday which illustrates the real facts and placed it on YouTube. It features a small engine mechanic doing a show-and-tell presentation on what ethanol mixed into gasoline does to small engines. You'll be dismayed by what he has to show you. Take a look:

As you can see in the video, even 10% ethanol is systematically destroying our small engines. As Ken Francis, the small engine mechanic featured in the short video clearly demonstrates, ethanol ruins hoses, gums up diaphrams in carburetors, eats away at hoses, puts large amounts of water into gas tanks, and forces owners to start up their machines during the winter at least once every three weeks or thereabouts, just to insure that they'll start up without problems the following spring.

All the damage done by ethanol is great for Ken's small engine repair business, but lousy for the rest of us.

Particularly alarming was his report that some gasoline service stations have been caught with gasoline containing levels of ethanol up to 37% of the total product. When you see the evidence of the damage done that Ken shows you, it makes you wonder just when the EPA and Congress are going to wake up to the tremendous amounts of damage they have wrought on unsuspecting Americans everywhere.

Now, with the EPA allowing an increase to 15% ethanol in gasoline, there's no doubt whose side they're on: the Republican-backed corporate farming interests in Iowa and throughout the Midwest wherever corn is grown in huge quantities for turning into ethanol.


"Renewable" energy loses clout

Michael Polsky’s wind farm company was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions for his effort to light up America with clean electricity. But two years later, Mr. Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell.

His company, Invenergy, had a contract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels. “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent.

Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers’ electricity bills. Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia. By the end of the third quarter, year-to-date installations of new wind power dropped 72 percent from 2009 levels, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group.

Electricity generated from wind or sun still generally costs more — and sometimes a lot more — than the power squeezed from coal or natural gas. Prices for fossil fuels have dropped in part because the recession has reduced demand. In the case of natural gas, newer drilling techniques have opened the possibility of vast new supplies for years to come.

The gap in price can pit regulators, who see their job as protecting consumers from unreasonable rates, against renewable energy developers and utility companies, many of which are willing to pay higher prices now to ensure a broader energy portfolio in the future.

In April, for example, the state public utilities commission in Rhode Island rejected a power-purchase deal for an offshore wind project that would have cost 24.4 cents a kilowatt-hour. The utility now pays about 9.5 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity from fossil fuels. The state legislature responded by passing a bill allowing the regulators to consider factors other than price. The commission then approved an agreement to buy electricity from a smaller wind farm, although that decision is being challenged in the courts.

Similarly, in Kentucky this year, the public service commission voted down a contract for a local utility, Kentucky Power, to buy electricity from NextEra Energy Resources in Illinois. According to the commission, Kentucky Power argued that the contract would position the utility “to better meet growing environmental requirements and impending government portfolio mandates for renewable energy” and that it would benefit customers.

But Kentucky’s attorney general, Jack Conway, joined by business and industrial electricity users, opposed the deal, contending that it would have increased a typical residential customer’s rates by about 0.7 percent and was “a discretionary expense” that the utility’s customers could ill afford. Commissioner James W. Gardner, the lone dissenting commissioner, protested that “there is a necessity for this power” and said that “there are great pressures nationally and in Kentucky to increase renewables.”

In Europe, many national governments have guaranteed prices for energy from sun or wind. As a result, renewable advocates say, many countries are on track to meet the European Union’s goal of 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The United States has relied on a combination of state renewable energy mandates and federal tax credits to encourage greater reliance on energy from renewable sources. Legislation that would have set a price on carbon-dioxide emissions and included a standard for increasing the share of clean energy in the nation’s electricity portfolio failed in Congress this year.

“Our investors tell us they’re nervous about all the uncertainty,” said John Cusack, the president of Gifford Park Associates, a sustainability management and investment consulting firm in Eastchester, N.Y. “They don’t know what’s going to happen.”

To be sure, a lot of renewable power development is still going forward. The American Wind Energy Association estimates that wind farms capable of producing 6,300 megawatts of wind power are under construction, and that a busy second half of 2010 would leave installations about 50 percent behind last year. Solar power is becoming less expensive, and its use is expanding rapidly. But it still accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, providing enough to serve about 350,000 homes.

Renewable energy supporters argue that higher fossil fuel prices will eventually make renewable energy more competitive — and at times over the last two decades, when the price for natural gas has spiked, wind power in particular has been a relative bargain. Advocates also argue that while the costs might be higher now, as the technology matures and supply chains and manufacturing bases take root, clean sources of power will become more attractive.


Britain's garbage tyranny

Around two-thirds of local authorities now only empty the bins once a fortnight. This is despite the fact that the ­Conservatives came to power promising to restore weekly collections.

Town Halls (many of them Tory-­controlled) have simply ignored ministers and pressed on regardless. LARAC ­actually claims that there have been ‘high levels of satisfaction’ among ­householders in areas where weekly rounds have been withdrawn.

The fact that we pay ever higher taxes for an ever decreasing level of service is seen as a cause for celebration. These people regard themselves not as a public servants, but as environmental warriors.

The tone for this awards ceremony was set by WRAP, the recycling quango responsible for the increasingly ­draconian and bizarre rules governing refuse ­collection. WRAP published an absurd glossy ­magazine depicting its senior ­officials as comic book super­heroes. The chief ­executive was done up as Wonder Woman.

They were billed as ‘The Hot 100 agents of change’. The accompanying text read: ‘Ever wanted to find out who’s got superhuman powers, who can see through walls of legislation, or has the strength to zap excess packaging into oblivion.’ Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s the dustman.

Far from experiencing ‘high ­levels of satisfaction’ most people are furious that the simple business of emptying the dustbins has been turned into a cross between a political crusade and a protection racket, complete with an exciting array of fines and punishments.

For instance, Gateshead was up for a gong for introducing a new range of blue bins, designed to encourage ‘behavioural change’.North London Waste Authority was nominated for publishing a Food Lovers’ Cookbook, containing recipes for left-overs. Slop bucket stew, anyone? We pay them to empty the bins, not to play Delia Smith.

Strongly fancied for next year’s Lonnie Donegan Memorial Award is East Renfrewshire, which has reduced its recycling collection service to just once a month.

Most of the new rules are ­introduced simply to save money and show us who’s boss, as well as making the mundane business of emptying the dustbins more interesting.

Sentimental nonsense about the polar bears is used to justify harsh penalties for anyone putting out their rubbish on the wrong day or accidentally ‘contaminating’ a box earmarked for plastic with a stray envelope.


Leftist Australian PM still hot to trot on a carbon tax

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to put a price on carbon even if the United States scraps plans to address climate change.

The opposition has called for the federal government to renege on a carbon tax after US President Barack Obama was dealt a serious blow in the US mid-term elections last week.

A Republican majority in the US House of Representatives is likely to curtail the plans of President Obama, a Democrat, for a cap and trade system to curb emissions.

But Ms Gillard said Australia would persist with plans to put a price on carbon even if the US, the world's biggest economy, didn't.

"On climate change, President Obama is obviously defining the strategy for his country, in circumstances where the Congress has been difficult for President Obama to deliver his reform agenda on climate change, and post the mid-term elections, it is going to be increasingly difficult," she told the Nine Network.

"We are great friends and allies of America, but we are not an American State. We are our own country, we will determine our own strategy."

Ms Gillard said she looked forward to meeting President Obama at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama this week.



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


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