Friday, December 17, 2010

False prophet: What the original moonbat and Britain's chief climate screamer said in 2005

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 14th February 2005

It is now mid-February, and already I have sown eleven species of vegetable. I know, though the seed packets tell me otherwise, that they will flourish. Everything in this country - daffodils, primroses, almond trees, bumblebees, nesting birds - is a month ahead of schedule. And it feels wonderful. Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are - unless the Gulf Stream stops - unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.

And this is surely one of the reasons why we find it so hard to accept what the climatologists are now telling us. In our mythologies, an early spring is a reward for virtue. “For, lo, the winter is past,” Solomon, the beloved of God, exults. “The rain is over and gone;/The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come”.(1) How can something which feels so good result from something so bad?


More errors by the IPCC

A recent independent review, by H. Douglas Lightfoot, of a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (AR4), appears in the December 2010 (vol. 21.7) issue of Energy & Environment (Multi-Science Publishing).

H. Douglas Lightfoot's recent paper, "Nomenclature, radiative forcing and temperature projections in IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (AR4)", identifies significant inconsistencies and problems in the crucial IPCC AR4 report.
Three main problems are identified:

Firstly, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration units have been confused. Measurement units of “parts per million by volume” (ppmv), meticulously specified by Charles Keeling for measurements of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, were replaced by “parts per million” (ppm), a measurement by weight without sufficient notification. For carbon dioxide, 1 ppmv is equal to 1.52 ppm, a significant difference.

“This confusion has escaped to the scientific community at large,” explains author H. Douglas Lightfoot, “and has potential to cause serious problems. One has only to remember the Gimli Glider, an Air Canada flight, which ran out of fuel in mid-air over confusion between gallons and litres, to recognize potential hazards in confusing units.”

Secondly, the most frequently quoted estimate of the warming effect of carbon dioxide appears to be overestimated by 2 to 10 times. There is a large discrepancy in the warming contribution of carbon dioxide between pre-industrial times and the present era. Before 1750, carbon dioxide was estimated to contribute approximately 11% of the warming effect, whereas between 1750 and 2005 the IPCC report states the effect at close to 100% of total warming. The paper suggests the large discrepancy in values is unsubstantiated, casting doubt on the validity of the IPCCs reported contribution of carbon dioxide to current global warming.

Finally, the paper explains that there is simply no evidence to support the upper range of projected increases in atmospheric temperature to 2100 of between 2.9 and 6.4C, stated in the AR4 report. Using only information presented in the AR4 report, calculations show that required levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are two to four times more than is possible for the scenario estimates of world energy demand in the year 2100.
Identified inconsistencies in the AR4 report are evidence that there are no trustworthy temperature projections in AR4 for the purpose of policymaking.

“A reasonable recommendation is that the IPCC issue a warning about the problems in AR4,” Mr. Lightfoot explained, “followed by a schedule for completing necessary corrections. This would minimize damage to the credibility of the IPCC and that of its scientists, many of whom have done good work and are not associated with the temperature change projections.”

“An investigation into how these problems passed through unnoticed would be a welcome further step,” Mr. Lightfoot explained. “It is imperative that a body of engineers and scientists independent of the IPCC verify the results of the re-assessment. I support the 2010 Interacademy Council review of the IPCC’s procedures. Their recommendations are an important step towards preventing the types of problems identified in the IPCC’s AR4 report.”

“We currently have a debate in the climate sciences,” Mr. Lightfoot explained. “It is possible that several of the existing inconsistencies identified in my recent paper are contributing to this debate. It is my hope that the process for correcting these problems can change the debate to a useful and beneficial dialogue.”

A more detailed explanation of this paper’s findings is available by contacting The Lightfoot Institute. See also here.


New paper "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age" is published in Natural Science, Vol.2, No.11,1211-1224 (2010)


A number of published papers and openly available data on sea level changes, glacier retreat, freezing/break-up dates of rivers, sea ice retreat, tree-ring observations, ice cores and changes of the cosmic-ray intensity, from the year 1000 to the present, are studied to examine how the Earth has recovered from the Little Ice Age (LIA).

We learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner, from 1800-1850 to the present. The rate of the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming.

It is suggested on the basis of a much longer period data that the Earth is still in the process of recovery from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the end of the recovery before 1900. Cosmic-ray intensity data show that solar activity was related to both the LIA and its recovery. The multi-decadal oscillation of a period of 50 to 60 years was superposed on the linear change; it peaked in 1940 and 2000, causing the halting of warming temporarily after 2000.

These changes are natural changes, and in order to determine the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect, there is an urgent need to identify them correctly and accurately and remove them from the present global warming/cooling trend.


Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time

Today, the George C. Marshall Institute released a new paper examining the viability of electric cars. Authored by the Institute's CEO, William O'Keefe, Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time, considers whether public subsidization of electric vehicles is worthwhile, concluding: "Like many of the solutions to national problems that are invented in Washington DC, there is less to the electric car movement than the public has been led to believe. The image created for electric cars does not match today's reality."

O'Keefe reviews the arguments used to justify public investment and finds that there generally are more efficient and effective ways to achieve the same ends.

After reviewing the costs of electric vehicles and the associated technical and infrastructure requirements, O'Keefe concludes that: "Without subsidies and political pressure, it is doubtful that there would be much demand, except by the wealthy early adopters who want to make an environmental statement."

Furthermore, he notes that government has a poor record of successfully teasing commercial viability out of its preferred technologies.

"O'Keefe's piece is a call for caution in the rush to spend taxpayer resources on a boutique technology for which there is little need and even littler public demand," Jeff Kueter, the Institute's President remarked.

Press release above. See here for the paper referred to

The Dems' Lame-Duck Land Grab

Environmentalists hate sprawl -- except when it comes to the size of their expansive pet legislation on Capitol Hill.

In a last-ditch lame duck push, eco-lobbyists have been furiously pressuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to pass a monstrous 327-page omnibus government lands bill crammed with more than 120 separate measures to lock up vast swaths of wilderness areas. Despite the time crunch, Senate Democrats in search of 60 votes are working behind the scenes to buy off green Republicans. House Democrats would then need a two-thirds majority to fast-track the bill to the White House before the GOP takes over on Jan. 5.

Yes, the hurdles are high. But with Reid and company now vowing to work straight through Christmas into the new year (when politicians know Americans are preoccupied with the holidays), anything is possible. The Constitution is no obstacle to these power grabbers. Neither is a ticking clock.

The Democrats' brazen serial abuse of the lame-duck session is as damning as the green job-killing agenda enshrined in the overstuffed public lands package. Earlier this month, Reid assigned worker bees on three Senate committees -- Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce, and Environment and Public Works -- to draw up their public lands wish list. All behind closed doors, of course. House Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., rightly dubbed it a "Frankenstein omnibus of bills" and pointed out that the legislation "includes dozens of bills that have never passed a single committee, either chamber of Congress, or even been the subject of a hearing."

The sweeping bill bundles up scores of controversial proposals, including:

-- A stalled land transfer and gravel mining ban in Reid's home state of Nevada.

-- The designation of the Devil's Staircase Wilderness in Oregon as a federally protected wilderness where logging and road development would be prohibited.

-- Multiple watershed and scenic river designations that limit economic activity and threaten private property rights.

-- The creation of massive new national monument boundaries and wilderness areas along the southern border opposed by ranchers, farmers, local officials and citizens.

One New Mexico activist, Marita Noon, said the federal plans to usurp nearly a half-million acres in her state would result in an "illegal immigrant superhighway" off-limits to border security enforcement. Security analyst Dana Joel Gattuso pointed to a recent General Accounting Office report on how environmental permitting rules and land-use regulations have hampered policing efforts at all but three stations along the border.

This jumbo green goodie bag would be a threat to financial security for untold numbers of workers in the demonized mining, logging and construction industries already reeling from economic hardship. Vigilant GOP Sen. James Inhofe has also called attention to how the Democrats' ambitious water protection schemes would enhance the "broad, and unprecedented, scope of authority it grants EPA over state permitting programs." In addition, restrictions on public access to newly expanded wilderness areas would hit hunters, fishermen and others in the recreation and tourism businesses.

The eco-job-killers' timing couldn't be worse. The Obama administration's de facto and de jure drilling moratoria have left Gulf Coast workers in crisis. Mom-and-pop fishing operations in New England are reeling from increased regulatory burdens. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and energy czar Carol Browner's War on the West has resulted in precipitous declines in new oil and natural gas leases on public lands. And Salazar's recent expansion of the National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) -- by administrative fiat -- will severely curtail energy development and tourism across more than 27 million acres of federally designated wilderness, conservation areas, rivers and monuments managed and protected by the BLM.

The extreme preservationists have run amok. It's time to fence them in.


Political interference will cripple climate debate

Some good points below from Michael Asten, a professorial fellow in the school of geosciences, Monash University, Australia

THE Cancun climate change conference has come and gone. As expected, it began with a statement from climate scientists on the magnitude of the threat: a predicted sea-level rise of 0.5m to 2m by 2100.

Australia's Climate Change Minister Greg Combet spoke of Australia's commitment to spend $599 million on regional adaptation programs on climate change for poor countries. This may be a wise move since, based on the conference outcomes, few could be optimistic that the global community would succeed in reversing climate change by agreement on decreasing carbon emissions.

Less wise are the Gillard government's promises to introduce a price on Australian carbon emissions next year; we are entitled to ask first whether the government has learned from past mistakes, in particular its failure to countenance and consider a breadth of points of view on which mechanism, and indeed which scientific prediction we should believe.

The recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report, which advocates putting a price on carbon, is notable in its absence of endorsement of Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme over a carbon tax or vice versa.

The preferred mechanism for a price on carbon was a matter of some debate - and bureaucratic abuse of process - last year when Clive Spash, then of the CSIRO, wrote a journal article advocating a response to climate change via changes in economic structure, institutions and behaviour, rather than by the introduction of an ETS.

The Spash paper should have been welcomed as an example of the CSIRO fulfilling its six-point charter, which includes agreement for open communication, encouragement of debate on research issues of public interest, the contestability of ideas and demonstration of independence and integrity. Unfortunately, the CSIRO failed both its employee and its employer (the nation). The author was subject to intense pressure from his employer to modify his conclusions after they had been accepted by external peer review, to align them with the policy of the government of the day.

In what will be seen by historians as an outstanding example of political interference in the academic process, Spash resisted the demands for alteration, had his professional reputation traduced by ill-considered claims by Science Minister Kim Carr and eventually resigned his position.

His paper appeared this year in the June issue of the journal New Political Economy, and it is relevant to the present debate in that it questions the cost-effectiveness of an ETS and warns of the "potential for manipulation to achieve financial gain while showing little regard for environmental or social consequences".

A particular irony of this case is that Spash accepts the scientific evidence for anthropogenic global warming but differed from the 2009 government views on the nature of economic management of such change. Spash now holds a professorial position in Norway, and his work has renewed credibility as the OECD and our parliament consider options for a carbon-pricing alternative or some other mechanism for managing climate change.

Has the government learned from its mistakes of last year? Probably not. The supposedly multi-party Climate Change Committee set up by Combet includes a proviso that members must commit to a carbon price; the opposition has understandably declined to participate under such loaded terms of reference.

I also fear that the quality of scientific advice to the government is likewise loaded so that ongoing studies on scientific parameters vital to the climate debate such as the magnitude of the CO2 and water vapour-related feedbacks in atmospheric warming, the role of solar-magnetic and cosmic influences on climate, and the geological-historical records of cyclic climate change are starved of funding in Australia relative to the munificence of grants available for Combet's regional adaptation programs, or various green energy projects.

And if scientists involved in the foregoing topics arrive at a conclusion inconvenient to government policy, Spash's experience gives us no confidence that they will receive a fair hearing.

Political interference against scientific objectivity is insidious and may ultimately deliver hideous outcomes. It is common in climate change debate for lesser intellects to label those who dare to question present climate science orthodoxy as deniers, making the implicit association between climate sceptics and Holocaust deniers.

Such accusers probably are unaware of the savage irony in this epithet, in that German academics and scientists compliant with government policy were intimately involved in the formulation and development of Nazi racial policy, and, as historians have commented, the Nazi regime brought boom-time conditions for scientists from racial anthropologists, biologists and economists who were able to contribute to this aspect of the regime's policies. Those academics who were outspoken were removed by the Gestapo.

I do not offer these thoughts as being analogous to present climate debate but by way of caution to politicians who may be unwilling to allow debate, and scientists who may be unduly influenced by funding sources.

As a geophysicist my reading and writing leads me to question the level of influence of human-related CO2 emissions on present versus past climate change, and it is of huge concern to our nation's future if we commit to a price on carbon without a parallel high-priority, objective and ongoing scientific effort to quantify uncertainties and natural factors also affecting climate change.

The Cancun predictions on sea-level rises contrast with recent satellite observations on the rate of sea-level change and provide a timely example on the need for scientific objectivity.

A recent peer-reviewed paper by Svetlana Jevrejeva from Britain's National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, provides a calculation of 0.6m-1.6m by 2100 using a range of climate models. However, these models also show predicted sea-level change rates of 4.2mm-5.4mm a year for the first decade of the 21st century.

I contrast these predictions with just published observations by Riccardo Riva from Delft in The Netherlands and international colleagues who use satellite technology to measure actual global sea level rise in this same decade to be in the order of 1mm a year, which happens to be about the rate of sea-level increase that has been observed during the past century. In other words, the observational data suggests the problem as modelled may be overstated by a factor of five.

Did scientists from the no-longer independent CSIRO (or other competent body in Australia) brief minister Combet and his team at Cancun on this discrepancy and its implications? Are they permitted to make such comment publicly? And how will such observations affect the targeting of our funds on offer for regional adaptation programs?

Until we have confidence scientists can address such issues without censorship or denigration, we cannot have confidence that a price on carbon will be scientifically justified or wisely spent.



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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