Monday, May 31, 2010

No global warming processes in Antarctic, says Russian expedition head

(Russia maintains several scientific bases in the Antarctic)

Allegations about global warming processes in the Antarctic have nothing to do with real facts, a Russian polar explorer has said. "They are of opportunistic and time-serving character, and have nothing to do with the real weather and climate on the southern continent," Head of Russia's 54th Antarctic expedition Viktor Venderovich told Itar-Tass.

"The past summer on the south pole was cold and windy, and ice floes in the offshore water failed to melt over the entire season.

"The atmospheric air temperature near the Vostok station deep on the continent reached the customary minus 70 degrees Centigrade in the summer, and near the Novolazarevskaya station it never exceeded minus 6-8 degrees," he said after staying at the Novolazarevskaya station for a year.

The previous winter in the Antarctic, he said, "was remarkable for its unusual severity, with blizzards and snowstorms."

The average air temperature was 0.5 degrees lower than usual, and there were too much snow, he said, adding that a "slight warming was registered only on the Antarctic peninsula, while the rest of the continent has not been affected by the global warning and is not going to be."


Background to the Royal Society climbdown

The UK's Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages. They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.

The society's ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document. The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September. It is chaired by physicist John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society. Its deliberations are reviewed by two critical sub-groups, each believed to comprise seven members. Each of these groups contains a number of society Fellows who are doubtful in some way about the received view of the risks of rising CO2 levels.

One panel member told me: "The timetable is very tough - one draft has already been rejected as completely inadequate." The review member said it might not be possible for the document to be agreed at all. "This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates," I was told.

"In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members. "There is very clear evidence that governments are right to be very worried about climate change. But in any society like this there will inevitably be people who disagree about anything - and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue."

Another review member told me: "The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised. It's not clear to me how we are going to get precise agreement on the wording - we are scientists and we're being asked to do a job of public communication that is more like journalism."

But both members said they agreed that some of the previous communications of the organisation in the past were poorly judged.

A Royal Society pamphlet Climate Change Controversies is the main focus of the criticism. A version of it is on the organisation's website. It was written in response to attacks on mainstream science which the Royal Society considered scurrilous.

It reads: "This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change…"

One Fellow who said he was not absolutely convinced of the dangers of CO2 told me: "This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. But in science everything is there to be questioned - that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that.

"I can understand why this has happened - there is so much politically and economically riding on climate science that the society would find it very hard to say 'well, we are still fairly sure that greenhouse gases are changing the climate' but the politicians simply wouldn't accept that level of honest doubt."

Another society protester said he wanted to be called a climate agnostic rather than a sceptic. He said he wanted the society's website to "do more to question the accuracy of the science on climate feedbacks" (in which a warming world is believed to make itself warmer still through natural processes).

"We sent an e-mail round our friends, mainly in physical sciences," he said. "Then when we had got 43 names we approached the council in January asking for the website entry on climate to be re-written. I don't think they were very pleased. I don't think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society. "But we won the day, and the work is underway to re-write it. I am very hopeful that we will find a form of words on which we can agree. "I know it looks like a tiny fraction of the total membership (1,314) but remember we only emailed our friends - we didn't raise a general petition."

He said the agnostics were also demanding a "more even-handed" bibliography.

The first "climate agnostic" also said he was angry at previous comments from the previous president Lord May who declared: "The debate on climate change is over." Lord May was once quoted as saying: "'On one hand, you have the entire scientific community and on the other you have a handful of people, half of them crackpots." One source strongly criticised the remarks.

Lord May's comments were made at a time when world scientists were reaching a consensus (not unanimity) that CO2 had warmed the planet and would probably warm it more - maybe dangerously so.

Lobbyists funded by the fossil fuel industry were fighting to undermine that consensus and science academies were concerned that public doubt might deter governments from taking precautionary action to reduce emissions of CO2.

Climate change doubters among the society's Fellows say that in their anxiety to support government action, the academies failed to distinguish between "hired guns" and genuine scientific agnostics wanting to explore other potential causes of climate change.

The remit of the society panel is to produce a new public-facing document on what scientists know, what they think they know and which aspects they do not fully understand. The task is to make the document strong and robust.

It should answer the complaint that previous communications have failed to properly explain uncertainties in climate science.

At the Heartland Institute climate sceptics conference in Chicago, Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), criticised the current society president Lord Rees for what he described as exaggerating the certainty in a joint public letter with Ralph Cicerone, president of the US National Academy of Sciences.

The letter, published by the Financial Times newspaper, states: "Something unprecedented is now happening. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising and climate change is occurring, both due to human actions…. Uncertainties in the future rate of (temperature) rise, stemming largely from the 'feedback' effects on water vapour and clouds, are topics of current research."

Professor Lindzen says the "unprecedented" statement is misleading because neither the current warming nor the CO2 level are unprecedented. He complains that the statement on uncertainties is also misleading because it does not reveal that uncertainties about future climate projections are, in his view, immense.

A spokesman for the society defended the letter, saying that the rise in man-made CO2 was indeed unprecedented. But Professor Lindzen told me: "This is part of an inflation of a scientific position which has sadly become rather routine for spokesmen for scientific bodies."

The forthcoming Royal Society publication - if it can be agreed by the review panel - will be scrutinised closely because the society carries huge weight in global science. Under Lord May it was prime mover of a joint letter of international academies stating that climate change was a major concern.

The comments from the current president Lord Rees in his first Reith lecture next week are rather carefully measured and couched in the language of risk rather than certainty - but even in this speech, critics are likely to say that in some particulars he does not sufficiently distinguish between what is certain and what is very widely believed.


Australian academy members rejecting global warming too

Australia's former chief scientist, Professor Robin Batterham, is embroiled in a bitter dispute over climate change within one of the nation's elite science academies. As president of the peer-elected Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Professor Batterham faces demands by members to drop plans for the academy to issue a policy statement supporting climate sceptics.

Documents obtained by The Canberra Times show Professor Batterham has indicated support for a statement clarifying the academy's position on climate change.

Professor Batterham is overseas, and could not be contacted. The academy's deputy chief executive Bill Mackey refused to comment on the growing rift within the academy over the contentious wording of the statement. "When we have something to say on this matter, we will say it," he said.

A two-page draft, posted on a password-protected section of the academy's website, said the academy "does not believe the science is settled" regarding climate change. It said many scientists believed "climate changes are nothing unusual, based on past geological records".

An exchange of emails shows the statement has sparked anger and alarm among members. More than 50 of Australia's top agricultural and environmental scientists are among those objecting to the statement. A letter signed by 12 climate scientists has also been circulated to members.

An alternative policy statement, drafted by academy member and Melbourne World Climate Research program director Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, has been emailed to members. It says the academy will "continue to foster open and reasoned debate on all aspects of climate change" but sees "little point in promoting debate based on belief rather than evidence".

In a recent lecture to the University of Western Australia as academy president, Professor Batterham warned of the dangers of a political over-reaction to climate change. He said there was "still much of the science that is uncertain" and used data in an academy-badged slide presentation that claimed investment to create green jobs in Spain had resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs, or 2.2 jobs for every "green job" created.

According to a report of the lecture published in a mining newsletter, Professor Batterham said despite scientific uncertainty, "we need to drastically reduce CO2 or face runaway temperature rise".


Warmists desperate for one of their crooked heroes not to be investigated

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,” insists University of Virginia environmental sciences professor David Carr. “If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this.”

Carr and 809 other Virginia scientists and academics signed a petition launched by the activist Union of Concerned Scientists, protesting Commonwealth Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann. The American Association of University Professors likewise opposes Cuccinelli, who is seeking documents from UVA, to determine whether there are grounds to prosecute Mann for violating the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, by presenting false or misleading information in support of applications for state-funded research.

Carr claims Cuccinelli is attempting to “drown out” scientific debate.” Others have accused the AG of conducting a “witch hunt,” engaging in “McCarthyite” tactics, and “restricting academic freedom.”

It’s time to clear a few things up. Mann is the former UVA professor, whose “hockey stick” temperature chart was used to promote claims that “sudden” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming “threatens” human civilization and Earth itself. The hockey stick was first broken by climatologists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, who demonstrated that a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were clearly reflected in historic data across the globe, but redacted by Mann. Analysts Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick later showed that Mann’s computer program generated hockey-stick patterns regardless of what numbers were fed into it – even random telephone numbers; that explained why the global warming and cooling of the last millennium magically disappeared in Mann’s “temperature reconstruction.”

The Climategate emails revealed another deliberate “trick” that Mann used to generate a late twentieth-century temperature jump: he replaced tree ring data with thermometer measurements at the point in his timeline when the tree data no longer fit his climate disaster thesis. During his UVA tenure, he employed other sly statistical tricks to generate a purported, and truly unprecedented, CO2-driven warming of 2-4.5 degrees F per decade (1-2.5 degrees C). That extrapolates to as much as 45 degrees F per century!

Not surprisingly, he refused to share his data, computer codes and methodologies with skeptical scientists. Perhaps worse, Climategate emails indicate that Mann and others conspired to co-opt and corrupt the very scientific process that Carr asserts will ultimately condemn or vindicate them.

This behavior certainly gives Cuccinelli “probable cause” for launching an investigation. As the AG notes, “The same legal standards for fraud apply to the academic setting that apply elsewhere. The same rule of law, the same objective fact-finding process, will take place.” Some witch hunt.

There is simply no room in science, academia or public policy for manipulation, falsification or fraud. Academic freedom does not confer a right to engage in such practices, and both attorneys general and research institutions have a duty to root them out, especially in the case of climate change research.

Work by Mann and other alarmist scientists is not merely some theoretical exercise that can be permitted to “play itself out” over many years, if and when the “academic arena” gets around to it. These assertions of climate crisis are being used right now by Congress, states, courts and the Environmental Protection Agency to justify draconian restrictions on energy use and greenhouse emissions. They would shackle our freedoms and civil rights and hammer our jobs, economy, health, welfare and living standards.

If the science is wrong – or far worse, if it is manipulated, fabricated, fraudulent and covered up – then grave damage will be done to our nation, liberties and families, before the truth gets its boots on.

As to “scientific debate” over global warming, there has been virtually none in the academic arena. The science is viewed as “settled,” debate has been squelched, and those who seek to initiate debate are attacked, vilified, harassed and shipped off to academic Siberia.

Dr. Patrick Michaels, another former UVA climate researcher, was fired as Virginia State Climatologist by then-Governor Tim Kaine for raising inconvenient questions and facts on climate science. When Greenpeace demanded access to Michaels’ emails, UVA promptly acceded – before contesting AG Cuccinelli’s request for Mann’s.

The 810 protesters and their UCS and AAUP consorts were silent. Their principles and objections do not seem to apply to shrill activist groups infringing on the academic and scientific freedom of “politically incorrect” researchers, even when there is no suggestion of dishonesty. Other “skeptical” climate researchers have met with similar fates. The pungent scent of hypocrisy fills the air.

No surprise there. The massive US government climate change research gravy train alone totaled some $9 billion in grants during 2009, courtesy of hardworking taxpayers. IPCC, EU & Company climate grants – plus billions more for renewable energy research – fatten the larder still further. Now that money, prestige and power are threatened.

Climategate and other revelations about the lack of evidence for the “manmade climate disaster” thesis have sent belief in AlGorean gloom and doom plummeting. Global warming consistently comes in dead last on any list of environmental concerns. Three-fourths of Americans are unwilling to spend more than $100 a year to prevent climate change. China, India and other developing nations properly refuse to sign a carbon-cutting economic suicide pact.

The public is rightly concerned that in-house investigations by Penn State University (Mann’s current institution), East Anglia University (home of Phil Jones and the Climategate emails) and the IPCC have the patina of a Tom Sawyer whitewash. Independent investigations like Cuccinelli’s are absolutely essential, to ferret out fraud and misconduct – which may be rare but must be dealt with when it happens.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield falsified studies to create a connection between autism and trace mercury in vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella. Britain stripped him of his right to practice medicine. But meanwhile, a lingering stench remains over double standards; World Wildlife Fund press releases and rank speculation masquerading as peer-reviewed science; computer models enshrined as “proof” of looming climate disasters; and billions being squandered on research purporting to link global warming to nearly every malady and phenomenon known to man.

We the taxpayers are paying for this work. We the people will pay the price – in soaring energy bills, fewer jobs, lower living standards and lost freedoms – for draconian energy and emission laws enacted in the name of saving the planet.

We have a right to insist that the research be honest and aboveboard. That the work products stay in the public domain, available for scrutiny. That researchers share their data, computer codes and analytical methodologies, and engage in robust debate with skeptics and critics. That those who violate these fundamental precepts forfeit their access to future grants. And that our tax dollars no longer fund bogus acne-and-climate-change studies and alarmist propaganda. (Talk about budget cutting opportunities!)

It’s certainly understandable that scientists, academics, eco-activists and the AAUP and UVA would line up behind Mann and against Cuccinelli. There’s a lot of power, prestige and cash on the line. But it is essential that the attorney general and law-abiding citizens insist on transparency, integrity, credibility and accountability in the climate change arena.

We should support what Ken Cuccinelli is doing – and demand that Eric Holder and other state AGs take similar action.


Unhealthy cycling

CYCLING to work may seem the healthy option, but a study has shown that people riding in cities inhale tens of millions of toxic nanoparticles with every breath, at least five times more than drivers or pedestrians.

The research involved fitting cyclists with devices that could count the particles, mostly emitted by car exhausts, in the air they were breathing. It showed that urban concentrations of nanoparticles, which measure just a few millionths of a millimetre, could reach several hundred thousand in a cubic centimetre of air. The particles, when inhaled, have been linked to heart disease and respiratory problems.

Because they are exerting themselves, cyclists breathe harder and faster than other road users. The study found that they suck in about 1,000 cubic cm with each breath, meaning they may inhale tens of millions of the particles each time they fill their lungs, and billions during a whole journey.

“This is the first time anyone has counted the particles while also measuring people’s breathing during city commuting. It showed that cyclists can inhale an astonishing number of pollutant particles in one journey,” said Luc Int Panis of the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study.

For the research, just published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, Int Panis and his colleagues asked cyclists to pedal while wearing a mask fitted with instruments that could measure and count the particulates, as such particles are known. All are invisible even in severely polluted air. The researchers found that in Brussels the cyclists inhaled 5.58m nanoparticles for every metre cycled, dropping to about 1.1m when they tried the experiment in Mol, a much smaller town in Belgium.

They also found the cyclists inhaled four to five times more particles than a car passenger driven along the same route.

Int Panis said: “The air pollution figures in a big city like London or Birmingham are the same as or greater than in Brussels so British city cyclists will experience similar effects.”

For cyclists and other road users, the key question is what the health impact might be of inhaling so many particles. This has been one of the hardest questions to answer because the time lag between exposure to pollutants and developing an illness is usually long.

Earlier researchers had the same difficulty when studying whether smoking was linked to lung cancer, and it took decades to confirm the connection.

New techniques for gathering and analysing data mean, however, that the health problems caused by particulates are emerging much more quickly. A study carried out in London, to be published soon in the journal Epidemiology, is expected to show that exposures to high concentrations of nanoparticles are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. It will also show an association between larger particulates and respiratory health.

Other studies have shown that exposure to particulate pollution can have rapid short-term effects too — such as provoking asthma attacks. In a 2007 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Imperial College London asked 60 people with mild or moderate asthma to walk along the western end of the busy Oxford Street in central London, where only diesel-powered taxis and buses, plus cyclists, are permitted. The volunteers suffered asthma symptoms such as reduced breathing capacity and lung inflammation. Diesel vehicles emit far higher levels of pollutant nanoparticles than petrol engines.

What alarms health researchers is that such particles are so small that they penetrate the lungs and circulate in the blood. They are then thought to accumulate in organs such as the heart and brain and cause inflammatory reactions. Wearing a mask offers little protection as the particles are so small that they pass straight through any shield.

Earlier this year, such fears prompted the House of Commons environmental audit select committee to publish a report warning that air pollution caused about 50,000 premature deaths a year in Britain.

Int Panis’s research has already annoyed cycling groups. He has decided not to attend Velo-city 2010, a conference on cycling to be held in Copenhagen next month, because of the hostility he faced when announcing preliminary results of his research.

Int Panis and his colleagues point out that cycling still brings many health benefits and hope that it may be healthier than driving a car. Int Panis said: “I am a cyclist and the idea that riding a bike might be less healthy than driving is not pleasant, but I am also a scientist, so I have to look at the data.”


"Clarification" from British energy minister over nukes

Chris Huhne said rising gas and oil prices would make nuclear power more attractive

CHRIS HUHNE, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, last night signalled a softening of his opposition to nuclear power, insisting he was no “ideological ayatollah”. Huhne, who once described nuclear power as a “failed” technology, claimed that plants would be built despite the government’s refusal to subsidise the industry.

“It is very clear from the coalition agreement that there will be a new generation of nuclear power,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Times. Last year the government identified 10 sites where nuclear reactors could be built.

The arrival of Huhne, the most radical of the five Lib Dem cabinet ministers, at the Department of Energy and Climate Change had sparked concern that the entire civil nuclear programme might be put on hold. But he insisted that despite budgetary restrictions there was an appetite to build plants. “The investors who are most interested in this issue accept the situation where there will be no subsidy,” he said.

He said the likely rise in gas and oil prices over the next few years would make nuclear more attractive to private finance. “They are looking at the likely rise in the carbon price. That will provide an incentive to all low-carbon and zero-carbon forms of energy.”

Huhne, who worked in the City before entering politics, added: “I am not an ideological ayatollah against nuclear power per se. “I am simply a sceptical economist about the record of nuclear power on delivering on time and to budget in a way that can make returns for investors.” ...

While the coalition has been described as an “austerity” or “hairshirt” government, the climate change secretary insisted nobody needed to cancel their bank holiday mini-breaks.

He said that the planned shift in aviation taxation to a “greener” per plane levy would not prompt the demise of the budget airlines. “My guess is airlines like Flybe, Ryanair and easyJet will have relatively little to fear,” he said.

However, he warned that other airlines, such as British Airways, which fly emptier jets, would be hard hit. “The flights which are frankly going to be hit hardest are the ones on scheduled routes which have very low load factors,” he said.

Huhne, although a committed environmentalist, insisted that motorists should not be alarmed by the new government. “We are in a time of transition,” he said. “We will be moving to an economy where pretty much everything you and I enjoy doing — even everything that Jeremy Clarkson enjoys doing — will still be able to be done but can be done in a different way. “Look at the Tesla which is an electric car that does 0-60mph in four seconds.” [But needs a recharge shortly thereafter]

Chris Huhne revealed how his quest to cut his carbon footprint was frequently thwarted by his wife Vicky Pryce. The energy secretary said his Greek-born spouse resisted his attempts to turn down the central heating in their draughty five-storey Georgian house in south London. “Since my wife has Mediterranean blood, our tolerance for cold is slightly different,” he said. “Our London home is more difficult to heat than our Eastleigh home. It is problematic from the point of view of English Heritage, since it is a listed building.”

Huhne cycles into his Whitehall office some days, but he insisted: “I don’t have a car with a red box following me.”



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


Sunday, May 30, 2010

ClimateGate Reconsidered

An Open Letter to Prof Edward Acton, Vice Chancellor, University of East Anglia, UK from S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Dear Prof. Acton

After careful study, I have reached the conclusion that the CRU temperature trends published by Prof. Phil Jones of UEA (and used by the IPCC) are spurious and should be corrected. Instead of the major warming that’s been claimed between 1979 and 1996 (the crucial period), the actual warming seems to be minor or even close to zero.

This matter is of extreme importance since international policies concerning climate change are based on the Jones analysis –and equivalent analyses in the US.

I base my conclusion on the following evidence:

**Weather satellites are the most reliable source of global temperature observations, with all data analysis and corrections fully transparent. They show essentially a zero rise in atmospheric temperatures during most of the crucial period (1979-1996). And basic atmospheric physics tells us that the temperature trends at the earth’s surface must be less, roughly only half of the atmospheric trends.

**Furthermore, all proxy data I have seen show no significant temperature rise during this same period. Recall that Michael Mann’s multi-proxy analysis suddenly stops in 1979.

As a scientist, I am mainly concerned with the truth of the data and the consequences for future climate change. Of course, as a member of the public, I cannot ignore the policy consequences – nor should any citizen/voter.

It seems to me that it is your responsibility to investigate whether and to what extent Dr. Jones’ judgment in the selection and in the correction of the raw data was influenced by any desire to see a particular outcome – namely, a strong warming.

In other words, the selection process (i.e., which data to use and which to reject) involved setting explicit or implicit criteria, based on “judgment.” Similarly, deciding on the type and degree of correction (for example, for urban heat island effects or other kinds of contamination) involved setting certain criteria based on the judgment of the analyst.

[Analysts can make different choices in the complex process of choosing input data, adjusting raw station data for known inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects, changes in instrumentation, site location, and observation time), and gridding procedures.]

On this matter, I confess to certain sympathies for Dr Jones, who has devoted his lifetime career to this important task. Yet the search for scientific truth must be paramount.

I hope you will enlist credible experts to help you and I wish you much success as you undertake this daunting task.


S. Fred Singer (Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; Former Director of the US Weather Satellite Service)

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #17-2010 (May 29, 2010)

Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination

A legal analysis by Jason Scott Johnston, University of Pennsylvania - Law School


Legal scholarship has come to accept as true the various pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientists who have been active in the movement for greenhouse gas (ghg) emission reductions to combat global warming. The only criticism that legal scholars have had of the story told by this group of activist scientists - what may be called the climate establishment - is that it is too conservative in not paying enough attention to possible catastrophic harm from potentially very high temperature increases.

This paper departs from such faith in the climate establishment by comparing the picture of climate science presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other global warming scientist advocates with the peer-edited scientific literature on climate change. A review of the peer-edited literature reveals a systematic tendency of the climate establishment to engage in a variety of stylized rhetorical techniques that seem to oversell what is actually known about climate change while concealing fundamental uncertainties and open questions regarding many of the key processes involved in climate change.

Fundamental open questions include not only the size but the direction of feedback effects that are responsible for the bulk of the temperature increase predicted to result from atmospheric greenhouse gas increases: while climate models all presume that such feedback effects are on balance strongly positive, more and more peer-edited scientific papers seem to suggest that feedback effects may be small or even negative.

The cross-examination conducted in this paper reveals many additional areas where the peer-edited literature seems to conflict with the picture painted by establishment climate science, ranging from the magnitude of 20th century surface temperature increases and their relation to past temperatures; the possibility that inherent variability in the earth’s non-linear climate system, and not increases in CO2, may explain observed late 20th century warming; the ability of climate models to actually explain past temperatures; and, finally, substantial doubt about the methodological validity of models used to make highly publicized predictions of global warming impacts such as species loss.

Insofar as establishment climate science has glossed over and minimized such fundamental questions and uncertainties in climate science, it has created widespread misimpressions that have serious consequences for optimal policy design. Such misimpressions uniformly tend to support the case for rapid and costly decarbonization of the American economy, yet they characterize the work of even the most rigorous legal scholars.

A more balanced and nuanced view of the existing state of climate science supports much more gradual and easily reversible policies regarding greenhouse gas emission reduction, and also urges a redirection in public funding of climate science away from the continued subsidization of refinements of computer models and toward increased spending on the development of standardized observational datasets against which existing climate models can be tested.


The Week That Was (May 29, 2010)

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

EPA has carefully prepared a trap, but will it trap itself? It has played hard ball in its Endangerment Finding that carbon dioxide emissions “endanger human health and welfare.” But faced with the hard reality that Copenhagen was a failure, public enthusiasm for carbon dioxide controls is falling, and that the Kerry-Lieberman cap and tax bill may not pass, EPA came out with a “tailoring rule” to slowly implement carbon dioxide regulation. First, only those emitting 50,000 tons per year will be regulated. Then the regulations will gradually apply to others. But EPA has no legal authority to make this rule because the law states emissions as low as 250 tons (every large building) must be regulated. Thus, EPA is inventing law.

Scores of environmental lawyers stand ready to collect massive legal fees, courtesy of the taxpayer by suing EPA for not fully enforcing the law. No doubt, EPA will do what it usually does, show some resistance and then roll in favor of the environmental lawyers. Herein is the danger to EPA. If cap and tax is not passed, and EPA enforces stringent regulations, the politicians who support EPA may soon be out of their jobs.

Senator Murkowski has proposed a simple, eight line bill that will remove from EPA the responsibility of regulating carbon dioxide. Under the Murkowski bill the responsibility of regulating carbon dioxide emissions will fall on the peoples’ representatives in Congress – where it should be.


Those representing scientific organizations defending Michael Mann continue to misstate the meaning of “hide the decline.” The issue is how well do tree ring measurement techniques approximate temperature measurements by instruments? Is there a solid correspondence between the results of tree ring techniques and the results of instrument measurements? If the correspondence is solid, than tree ring techniques can be used (with caution) to estimate temperatures when no instrument measurements are available. If the correspondence is poor, then the technique is not valid.

The “Nature trick” to “hide the decline” was not to hide temperature measurements by instruments which showed a rise in temperatures. The trick was to hide the divergence between tree ring techniques and instrument measurements after 1979 by removing “unsuitable” tree ring data. The tree rings indicated a no warming while the instruments showed a warming. Had the data been fully presented, then the validity of tree rings as a proxy for instrument measurements would have been questioned. The issue is not, as expressed by the Washington Post and others, allowing the public to better understand the research. The issue is misleading the public.


Students of The Great War (WW I) have long wondered what mania compelled leaders of the great nations of Europe, the most prosperous on earth, to such a disastrous, destructive war. What mania compelled generals who repeatedly witnessed that well prepared defenses annihilated troops in a frontal assault, to order their demoralized, depleted armies to another frontal assault -- One. Last. Time.

Perhaps we are witnessing that mania in the leadership of the European Union.

Many nations of Europe are still suffering from a prolonged recession. Many are experiencing a financial crisis brought on by fiscal irresponsibility, in part from pursuit of prosperity from green jobs which disappear when subsidies stop.

The leaders of the European Union have noticed that due to the recession, resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions, some nations are too close to achieving their goals of a 20% reduction by 2020. Apparently this is too easy, so the goal must be raised to 30% by 2020 to lead others on to victory. Depression anyone? Into the breach, men! One. Last. Time.


Another report from Heartland-4

by Bob Carter

The Chicago Heartland-4 International Conference on Climate Change

The 4th Heartland International Conference on Climate Change was held between May 16-18 last week in the Heartland Institute’s home city of Chicago. Previous meetings have been held in New York and Washington, and all have been highly successful. But as conference participant and Euro-MP Roger Helmer pointed out, the Heartland-4 conference marks a turning point, because of the emergence at the meeting of a rapidly maturing counter-consensus on the still topical (if increasingly tiresome to voters) issue of alarmist global warming....

Sure, carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas, and, sure again, a gentle warming occurred over the last part of the 20th century. But hey, climate change happens naturally, both warmings and coolings; second, there is no substantive evidence that the late 20th century warming had a human causation; third, there has been no substantial further warming since 1998 despite a 5% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide; and, fourth, there is increasingly strong evidence that negative (cooling) feedbacks are a dominant response of the climate system to increased greenhouse gas, as elaborated in papers at Heartland-4 by Dick Lindzen, Roy Spencer and Willis Eschenbach amongst others.

The four Heartland conferences have had a number of features in common, of which perhaps the most surprising has been the general failure of the mainstream press to attend and report on the matters discussed, and this despite the pedigree academic credentials of many of the persons presenting papers. But don’t take my word for the capabilities of the scientists and social scientists concerned: rather, check for yourself by watching some of the plenary and other addresses that have been filmed and made readily available by Pajamas TV.

One interesting exception to the press boycott was the BBC, who sent along their senior environmental reporter, Roger Harrabin. In contrast, nary a glimpse was sighted of any reporters from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and I am informed that the conference has passed almost entirely unnoticed in the Australian press. Given the Labor government’s repeated attempts to introduce carbon dioxide taxation in pursuit of the goal of “stopping global warming” (a policy now deferred until 2013), it is surprising indeed that the Australian media exhibited no interest in a major international conference at which copious evidence was provided that global warming is no longer a threat (if ever it was), and that global cooling may well be underway. Robyn Williams, Tony Jones and the Kerry O’Brien team, where were you?

One explanation for this determined lack of media interest may be the relentless politicisation to which the science of climate change has been subjected. Despite a prevailing conservative atmosphere, it is a matter of fact that attendees at Heartland-4 included persons from the far left to the far right of the political spectrum, with many doubtless representative of the swinging middle also. One might comment that, similarly, attendees at the many regular IPCC-related conferences throughout the world exude an air of left-wing rat-baggery, despite which the world media queue up to give them clamorous coverage. Thus in many people’s minds the IPCC angels and their media supporters are seen as left wing zealots floating on fluffy clouds, whereas the rationalist, independent scientists who are critical of IPCC policy advice appear as right wing deniers who represent the forces of darkness. That such shallow and inaccurate demonisations are prevalent in the public debate is perhaps the major reason why sensible calls for an alternative, prudent, adaptive approach to climate change (part of what Roger Helmer has called the “counter consensus”) – have yet to be heeded.

In contrast to IPCC events, then, and probably because the Heartland Institute makes no secret of being a libertarian organization, the Chicago conference appears to have been dismissed in advance by many media outlets as representing the views of a few, extreme, right-wing “climate deniers”. This is so to the degree that some scientists (and especially those many supporters of the IPCC view who were invited to participate) are reported to have declined to attend the conference because to do so would have resulted in their reputations being tainted by association. Those many independent scientists who did participate in the presentations and vigorous discussions at Heartland-4 were doubtless amused by this silly notion. Indeed, it can be laid to rest by noting the comments of one of the rare scientists present who acknowledged his sympathy to the views of the IPCC, namely Scott Denning from Colorado State University; Dr Denning commented at the closing plenary session that:

I want to thank you very much for inviting me to this conference. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot here. It was very gracious of [Heartland Institute Senior Fellow] James [Taylor] and of the organizers to bring me here. And I actually feel that it’s really too bad that more of my colleagues from the [IPCC] scientific community didn’t attend and haven’t in the past, and I hope that we can remedy that in the future.

One of the most concerning things about the global warming debate, which came up time and again in informal discussions at the Heartland-4 conference, is the degree to which young people today are being given a misleading and unbalanced education in environmental matters in general, and on climate change in particular. The following comment, which was posted as part of a recent online discussion of climate change books at Amazon UK, provides an all too typical example:

Recently, I attended a meeting at York University on this subject, and was interested to see that several students there, when confronted by the overwhelming scientific case for CO2 not being responsible for global warming, simply said "I cannot accept that." When asked why not, they replied along the lines that the newspapers and politicians all agree, so what have scientists to do with it. I was astounded!

It is therefore pleasant to be able to close this article by reporting on the active and intelligent involvement of two quite different groups of young people in the Heartland-4 conference. The first group comprised some lucky senior secondary school pupils from Wisconsin (The Potter’s School) who had been brought along by their energetic teacher Adele Weeks to be exposed to the wide range of views on climate change that were on show. At the same time, and while at the conference, Adele taught an external chemistry class over the internet, thereby setting two stellar examples of good teaching that other teachers should be encouraged to emulate.

The second group of young persons were to be found on the pavement of busy Michigan Avenue, outside the conference hotel’s front door. There, attached to various banners and signs, they were chanting vociferous slogans against the conference demons that their imaginations told them were inside the hotel - all the while being goaded or organized by two busy, older cameramen from major environmental organisations. Not, at first sight, promising material for rational discourse. Happily, however, and as is generally the case for most young people, when approached politely and firmly, and engaged in discussion, they became almost eager participants in their own de-propagandization.

One day soon, the majority of the world’s young people are going to wake up too to the way that they have been deceived about climate change, and come to understand that the high extra taxes and charges that they are going to contribute towards “stopping global warming” will result in precisely no climatic effect and no environmental benefit. Those who hosted and attended the Heartland-4 climate conference should be proud of the part that they are playing in alerting all citizens, the young included, to the need for prudence, caution and balance in the climate debate – all of which are needed in advance of any further large public expenditure on this environmental cause célèbre.


Government Physicist's Book Condemns Global Warming Hype

John O'Sullivan reviews a book briefly referred to on this blog yesterday

New book by long-standing physicist, John M. Quinn disproves carbon dioxide drives Earth's climate; solar forces shown to be the key to climate change

In ‘Global Warming: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory’ John M. Quinn a 40-year career physicist serving on a variety of national and international committees, disputes that radiative forcing associated with the greenhouse gas effect has any significant role in man-made global warming.

Quinn’s book is a masterly study that traces our planet’s recent heating episodes to determine a climate forcing signal that might be called mini-Milankovitch events. In other words, solar energy is proven to be the key driver of climate change.

Solar Forces and Earth’s Core Motion the Key

Tying together evidence from a wide range of solar-terrestrial phenomena, including the sun’s magnetic storms, the fluctuating solar wind as well as Earth’s core motions, Quinn’s conclusions are most compelling.

Of considerable interest to some analysts will be Quinn’s view of the core motion effect which is supported by the discovery in 2008 of a second inner core to the Earth which climate theorist, Joseph E. Olson has affirmed as another fascinating new line of enquiry in the field of climatology.

Quinn defines clear one-to-one correspondence among these parameters and the Global Temperature Anomaly on three separate time scales.

It appears highly likely that changes in the Sun’s and our planet’s magnetic fields, changes in the Earth’s orientation and rotation rate, as well as the gravitational effects associated with the relative barri-center motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and other planets, all play key roles.

Conventional Global Warming Wisdom Disputed

The Colorado physicist’s conclusions are added to a growing weight of dissenting scientific opinion debunking the accepted views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a small clique of discredited government climate scientists who have sought to pin the blame of modest warming in the late 20th century on made-made emissions of carbon dioxide.

The author, from Lakewood, Colorado, holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and has worked for 32 years with the Federal Government.

Quinn’s celestial analysis broadly fits with that of Dr. Tom Segalstad whose work on residence time also has a distinct sun-oriented perspective on the fluctuations in climate.

Indeed, there is much here to support climate scientists once portrayed as mavericks on this matter, such as eminent MIT professor, Richard Lindzen, an IPCC author and Sweden’s Henrik Svensmark who also hold that the Sun is the prime forcer in climate change.

However, even a study of IPCC's own conventionally accepted numbers by Dr. Jeffrey Glassman has now become compelling evidence that the Sun and not greenhouse gases, are the root cause of recent global warming.

Global Interest Aroused in Climate Expert

Aside from this fascinating book, John Quinn has also published several technical reports and articles in scientific journals. In fact, he is held in such high regard that he has given numerous lectures and presentations to scientific and other groups around the world.

Shedding new light on a fascinating subject, the Colorado climate analyst’s new publication is aimed at scientists and non-scientists alike. With a wealth of informative graphics to assist the reader Quinn’s analysis will be readily understood by a broad spectrum of interested groups from politicians, teachers and students right through to the lay public as well.

There is little doubt that Mr. Quinn has added an invaluable contribution to the lively debate as climate science earnestly searches for the true causes of global warming.

SOURCE (See original for references)

Eskimos say that polar bears not at risk

The Nunavut government does not think the polar bear should be classified as a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act, says territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk. Shewchuk said there is no clear evidence to support assigning that status to the polar bear despite recommendations to the contrary by Environment Canada and a federal scientific panel.

"We live in polar bear country," Shewchuk told reporters in Iqaluit on Friday afternoon. "We understand the polar bears, and we do actually think our polar bear population is very very healthy, with the exception of a couple of populations that we are taking action on."

The polar bear was most recently designated a species of special concern in 2002. "Of special concern" is the least serious "at risk" designation — one level below "threatened" and two levels below "endangered." Currently, the special-concern designation has been suspended while the government reviews the polar bear's status and decides whether to renew the classification or change it.

An arm's length scientific panel, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), reviewed the polar bear's status in 2008 and recommended that it remain in the special-concern category.

Change of position

The recommendation has initiated a long process of hearings and consultations, including a round of hearings in Nunavut in April. Environment Canada is expected to decide in a couple of months whether to renew the special concern status.

Shewchuk said while the Nunavut government originally agreed with the special-concern listing, it changed its position after consulting with Inuit hunters and others on a recent community tour. "Through direct consultation, they are unanimous in their belief that polar bears have not declined," Shewchuk said.

Scientists on the committee have argued that although Canada's polar bear population has improved over the last 50 years, the future of the species could be threatened by climate change and receding sea ice.

"Certainly, we recognize that the Arctic may experience substantial impacts from climate change," Shewchuk said. "But listing polar bears now, based on predicted but unknown future impacts, is not reasonable. "Based on hunter observations, polar bears are presently still healthy and abundant across Nunavut — and for that reason, not a species of special concern."

At-risk designation requires management plan

Being listed as a species of special concern means polar bears must be protected by a management plan that would address the habitat and survival of the species.

But Shewchuk said the Nunavut government already has an "excellent track record" in terms of collaborative wildlife management, using a combination of the best scientific data and Inuit traditional knowledge.

He said appropriate steps are already being taken to conserve two polar bear subpopulations — in western Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay — that have been of most concern to federal authorities.

Those subpopulations have been of concern to scientists who said their numbers are declining. Inuit in those areas have disputed the scientific claims, saying they have seen more bears.

Shewchuk said his new decision has already been sent to federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice. "I'm aware that I will be under tremendous pressure externally for no longer supporting the special-concern proposal," he said. "However, I'm being responsive and listening to Nunavummiut, especially hunters and elders, who have lived all their lives in the North, who have extensive and professional knowledge of the environment and our wildlife in Nunavut," he said.



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


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Royal Society 'to re-examine climate message'

Britain's national academy of science is to review its messages on climate change after complaints from its Fellows that the publicised views were oversimplified, according to reports

The Royal Society is to create a panel to put together a consensus statement after the assertion by 43 Fellows that its messages failed to draw a line between fact and conjecture, the BBC claimed.

The panel, chaired by John Pethica, vice-president of the Society, will publish the document in September after reviews by two subgroups, who are said to have questions about the popular view of the threat posed by increasing quantities of C02 in the atmosphere.

A panel member told BBC News: "The timetable is very tough – one draft has already been rejected as completely inadequate. "This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates. In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members."

The member reportedly said it may not even be possible for the panel to agree upon a consensus view and added they thought some of the society's public messages had been badly thought out.

Criticism is principally centred on Climate Change Controversies, a document which defends mainstream science from accusations thought by the Society to be improper. It says: "This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change ..."

One Fellow reportedly said: "This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. But in science everything is there to be questioned – that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that."

A spokesman from the Royal Society declined to respond, saying: "We will be issuing a release about this later on. It will be based on fact rather than speculation." [Now THAT'S a departure!]


Uncertain Science

Even Newsweak is executing a slow turn. The heading above is theirs and their subheading is: "Bickering and defensive, climate researchers have lost the public’s trust"

Blame economic worries, another freezing winter, or the cascade of scandals emerging from the world’s leading climate-research body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But concern over global warming has cooled down dramatically. In über-green Germany, only 42 percent of citizens worry about global warming now, down from 62 percent in 2006. In Britain, just 26 percent believe climate change is man-made, down from 41 percent as recently as November 2009. And Americans rank global warming dead last in a list of 21 problems that concern them, according to a January Pew poll.

The shift has left many once celebrated climate researchers feeling like the used-car salesmen of the science world. In Britain, one leading scientist told an interviewer he is taking anti-anxiety pills and considered suicide following the leak of thousands of IPCC-related e-mails and documents suggesting that researchers cherry-picked data and suppressed rival studies to play up global warming. In the U.S., another researcher is under investigation for allegedly using exaggerated climate data to obtain public funds. In an open letter published in the May issue of Science magazine, 255 American climate researchers decry “political assaults” on their work by “deniers” and followers of “dogma” and “special interests.”

This is no dispute between objective scientists and crazed flat-earthers. The lines cut through the profession itself. Very few scientists dispute a link between man-made CO2 and global warming. Where it gets fuzzy is the extent and time frame of the effect. One crucial point of contention is climate “sensitivity”—the mathematical formula that translates changes in CO2 production to changes in temperature. In addition, scientists are not sure how to explain a slowdown in the rise of global temperatures that began about a decade ago.

The backlash against climate science is also about the way in which leading scientists allied themselves with politicians and activists to promote their cause. Some of the IPCC’s most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports—including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies.

Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments. When other researchers aired doubt about the IPCC’s prediction that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035, the IPCC’s powerful chief, Rajendra Pachauri, trashed their work as “voodoo science.” Even today, after dozens of IPCC exaggerations have surfaced, leading climate officials like U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research head Joachim Schellnhuber continue to tar-brush critics as “anti-Enlightenment” and engaging in “witch hunts.”

None of this means we should burn fossil fuels with abandon. There are excellent reasons to limit emissions and switch to cleaner fuels—including an estimated 750,000 annual pollution deaths in China, the potential to create jobs at home instead of enriching nasty regimes sitting on oil wells, the need to provide cheap sources of power to the world’s poorest regions, and the still-probable threat that global warming is underway. At the moment, however, certainty about how fast—and how much—global warming changes the earth’s climate does not appear to be one of those reasons.


Where has the Magic Gone?

James Taranto

This lead paragraph from the New York Times is just priceless:
Last month hundreds of environmental activists crammed into an auditorium here to ponder an anguished question: If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed, why have so many people turned away from the idea that human activity is warming the planet?

Imagine popular children's fables retold by Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal: Anguished weavers gathered to ponder the sudden shift in fashion by subjects who only recently thought the emperor was wearing a splendid suit of clothes. If the boy still says there is a wolf, why have so many farmers turned away from the idea that the sheep are in danger?

Rosenthal reports from London, because the "shift in public opinion" has been especially "striking" in Britain, where "climate change" was once a "popular priority":
But since then, the country has evolved into a home base for a thriving group of climate skeptics who have dominated news reports in recent months, apparently convincing many that the threat of warming is vastly exaggerated.

The Times story could be titled "What's the Matter With Many?" Not only do opinion polls in Britain and elsewhere show a significant drop in public credulity about climate alarmism, but newly elected Prime Minister David Cameron "was 'strangely muted' on the issue in a recent pre-election debate, as The Daily Telegraph put it, though it had previously been one of his passions." And then there's this:
London's Science Museum recently announced that a permanent exhibit scheduled to open later this year would be called the Climate Science Gallery--not the Climate Change Gallery as had previously been planned.

That last bit is just an example of the euphemism treadmill at work. We're old enough to remember the "greenhouse effect," which became "global warming," which became "climate change," which now apparently has become "climate science." Just as "retarded" was a clinical term until it developed connotations of mockery and insult, so each term for greenhouseeffectglobalwarmingclimatechangeclimatescience comes to connote dishonest alarmism--because that is what GEGWCCCS is all about.

Savor the plaintive condescension of this passage:
Here in Britain, the change has been driven by the news media's intensive coverage of a series of climate science controversies unearthed and highlighted by skeptics since November. These include the unauthorized release of e-mail messages from prominent British climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that skeptics cited as evidence that researchers were overstating the evidence for global warming and the discovery of errors in a United Nations climate report.

Two independent reviews later found no evidence that the East Anglia researchers had actively distorted climate data, but heavy press coverage had already left an impression that the scientists had schemed to repress data. Then there was the unusually cold winter in Northern Europe and the United States, which may have reinforced a perception that the Earth was not warming.

Skepticism, the Times implies, is a sign that people are foolish and easily misled. But the opposite interpretation is closer to the truth: Those who refuse to accept outlandish claims based merely on an appeal to authority are exercising intelligence and common sense.

Walter Russell Mead, blogging for The American Interest, notes in addition that most of the information in the Times story is old news. The lead, after all, concerns a conference held last month, even though it was almost next month by the time the Times published its report. Mead continues:
It turns out, however, that by Times standards a report on a conference from last month is a late breaking newsflash. The main evidence that ace reporter Elizabeth [sic] Rosenthal has tracked down for her story about changing public sentiment comes from a BBC opinion poll from February.

The last I looked, we were approaching the end of May. This is deliberative journalism at its best: only ninety swift days between a BBC poll and the time that the New York Times thinks you are ready to hear about it.

Mead notes that Rosenthal also cites a German poll from March and a survey of Conservative British political candidates from January. With just a touch of sarcasm, he adds: "Give thanks that you live in the information age, when the news of the day, properly vetted and screened by layers of professional news editors, will be delivered to you as soon as it's safely matured. . . . Stories this big and this rich need to be properly aged."

Oh well, it could be worse. The Associated Press bureau in Katmandu is even further behind the news than the Times is, as evidenced by this dispatch:
A Nepalese Sherpa who climbed Mount Everest for a record 20th time said Tuesday that the melting of glacier ice along its slopes due to global warming is making it increasingly difficult to climb the peak.

Right. Because climbing the world's highest mountain is supposed to get easier as you get older!


Why I keep banging on and on about Global bloody Warming

By James Delingpole

“Can’t you find something else to talk about?” someone (a nice, sympathetic person, not one of my house herd of festering libtard trolls) commented below one of my previous blogs.

So let me explain, briefly, why I rarely can – with reference to the ludicrous story which was given the front page of today’s Times (formerly a newspaper of some note).

The story, enthusiastically headlined EU SETS TOUGHEST TARGETS TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING goes like this:
Europe will introduce a surprise new plan today to combat global warming, committing Britain and the rest of the EU to the most ambitious targets in the world. The plan proposes a massive increase in the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in this decade.

The European Commission is determined to press ahead with the cuts despite the financial turmoil gripping the bloc, even though it would require Britain and other EU member states to impose far tougher financial penalties on their industries than are being considered by other large economies.

The plan, to cut emissions by 30 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, would cost the EU an extra £33 billion a year by 2020, according to a draft of the Commission’s communication leaked to The Times.

The existing target of a 20 per cent cut is already due to cost £48 billion. The Commission will argue that the lower target has become much easier to meet because of the recession, which resulted in the EU’s emissions falling more than 10 per cent last year as thousands of factories closed or cut production. Emissions last year were already 14 per cent below 1990 levels.

Can you see what’s wrong with this story? Clearly the Environment Correspondent author couldn’t, nor his news editors. If they had they would have reported it in an entirely different way – not, as a largely sensible proposal to deal with a real and serious problem which might nonetheless likely to run into various local difficulties. But as one of the most scandalous outbreaks of hysteria, credulousness and stupidity in the entire history of the human race.

Here’s the problem: the global economy has gone tits up. We are doomed. And nowhere is more doomed than Europe whose Monopoly-money currency is going the way of the Zimbabwe dollar and the Reichsmark, and whose constituent economies are so overburdened by sclerotic regulation and so mired in corruption, waste and the kind of institutionalised socialism which might work just about when the going’s good but definitely not now sir now sirree.

And what, pray, is the European Union’s solution to this REAL problem which has already led to riots and death in one country and which could well lead to many more in the horror years to come? Why, to impose on its already hamstrung, over-regulated, over-taxed businesses yet further arbitrary CO2 emissions reductions targets, which will make not the blindest difference to the health of the planet, but which will most certainly slow down economic recovery and make life harder and more miserable for everybody.

In Britain, David Cameron is wedded to the same suicidal policy – on the one hand brandishing £6.5 billion cuts in government spending as though this were a sign of his maturity and his commitment to reducing Britain’s deficit, while on the other remaining committed to a “low carbon” economy set to destroy what’s left of our industry and cost the taxpayer at least £18 billion (yep – almost THREE times as much as the pathetic cuts announced so far by his pathetic chancellor) a year.

Around the world, in the greatest financial crisis we have faced since the 1930s, our leaders are behaving like imbeciles. And nowhere is this imbecility more painfully manifest than in their approach to the non-existent problem they now call Climate Change.

That’s why I keep banging on about Climate Change. It is, unfortunately, the Key to all Mythologies.


Global Warming Brought to Book

I have just checked on Amazon UK: out of the top five most popular books about ‘global warming’, no fewer than four are by sceptical authors.

And, it is surely about to get even more interesting as four new, highly-critical works hit the virtual and bookshop ‘shelves’ this May:

First, there is a new masterpiece from Matt Ridley, one of our finest exponents of popular science writing, a volume which I predict will become a blockbuster [although embargoed until May 27, it is already 164th in Amazon UK’s best-seller list]: The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves(Fourth Estate: ISBN-10: 0007267118; ISBN-13: 978-0007267118). This will be released tomorrow, and it will be available both online and from all good bookshops, such as Waterstones.

Here is Dominic Lawson’s review for you to savour: “Ridley’s deft demolition of the scaremongering of the organic movement is merely part of a book breathtaking in its sweep and scope. His furious onslaught on the renewable-energy scams, the grotesquely subsidised governmental response to the great global-warming scare, is even more telling.” And here is the official web site for The Rational Optimist. It is a devastating critique of our dystopian Age.

Then, today at lunchtime, Stacey International releases two highly-significant books on the science and the economics of ‘global warming’ in its ‘Independent Minds’ Series.

These are Climate: the Great Delusion by Christian Gerondeau (translated from the French original: ISBN-10: 1906768412; ISBN-13: 9781906768416) and Climate: the Counter Consensus by Professor Robert Carter (ISBN-10: 1906768293; ISBN-13: 9781906768294). Gerondeau’s book has already sold thousands of copies in France, under the title, CO2 Un Mythe Planétaire. He demonstrates sharply the absurdity of the climate measures to which the G8 countries are currently committed. He further observes that these complex and formidably expensive efforts will be nullified by the actions of China and India, where such restrictions are economically and politically unfeasible; will have no discernible effect on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and climate change; make no sense in the light of the impending exhaustion of hydro-carbon sources within the coming century; and, will come to be viewed as a scarcely-credible response to a global delusion amid harmless shifts in climate. The book is endorsed by two heavy-weight former politicians, Nigel Lawson and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

Meanwhile, Carter takes a scalpel to the so-called facts of ‘global warming’ that are churned out and unquestioningly accepted, while the scientific and media establishments stifle or deride any legitimate expression of an opposing viewpoint. In doing so, Carter’s book typifies the mission of the ‘Independent Minds’ Series, namely to replace political correctness and received wisdom with common sense and more rational analysis. Both of these books are recommended, and they are available directly from Stacey International and elsewhere.

Finally, there is Melanie Phillip’s challenging, and unquestionably brave, new book, The World Turned Upside Down: the Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, which was released in the UK on May 6 (Encounter Books: ISBN-10: 1594033757; ISBN-13: 978-1594033759). In this mighty essay, Melanie launches a searing attack on how the West has willfully abandoned all sense of reason: “The loss of religious belief has meant the West has replaced reason and truth with ideology and prejudice, which it enforces in the manner of a secular inquisition. The result has been a kind of mass derangement, as truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. In medieval-style witch-hunts, scientists who are skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts; Israel is ferociously demonized; and the United States is vilified over the war on terror - all on the basis of falsehoods and propaganda that are believed as truth.”

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has written of the book: “With ferocious courage, Melanie Phillips challenges a series of myths and irrationalities that have achieved canonical status in the contemporary world. If civilization depends on the ability to give dissenting voices a hearing, then The World Turned Upside Downmay well be one of the most important tests of Western civilization in our time.”

Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT, comments: "One is disturbed each day by verifiably untrue statements touted as incontrovertible facts about hot-button issues. With cold, perceptive, exhaustive and persistent passion, Melanie Phillips dissects the phenomenon among disparate movements, to reach disturbing but compelling conclusions about the erosion of modern liberal society by ideologies whose surprising interconnections are meticulously identified. One can only hope that her book will penetrate the information cocoon into which many of our intelligentsia have sealed themselves."

I believe the intellectual pendulum is at last starting to swing. It is time that some of our more right-on media and UK politicians [witness the fatuous ‘exclusive’ on The Times front page today - why did The Times waste its front page on this non-story?] woke up to the fact that ‘global warming’ is increasingly an intellectually-discredited, postmodernist trope, but worse, a dangerous economic irrelevancy. Indeed, irrational political belief in ‘global warming’ may be yet another threat to the survival of the UK and the EU as significant economic world powers.

Well, there is your summer beach reading, as author after author brings ‘global warming’ to book. Enjoy them all with your Pimm’s - though even these may not last out an Andy Murray five-setter. “Cheers, indeed!”


Yet another book that dismisses man-made warming

It's called "Global Warming: Geophysical Counterpoints to the Enhanced Greenhouse Theory" and is by John M. Quinn. The following is from the publisher:

"Global Warming" explains why CO2 and other greenhouse gases, either of natural or of anthropogenic origin, cannot be the cause, let alone the primary cause, of global warming. Evidence indicates that global warming is closely related to a wide range of solar-terrestrial phenomenon, from the sun’s magnetic storms and fluctuating solar wind all the way to the Earth’s core motions. Changes in the Solar and Earth magnetic fields, changes in the Earth’s orientation and rotation rate, as well as the gravitational effects associated with the relative barri-center motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and other planets, all play key roles. Clear one-to-one correspondence exists among these parameters and the Global Temperature Anomaly on three separate time scales.

This book sheds new light on a fascinating subject. It is intended to be read by scientists and non-scientists alike, including interested politicians, teachers, and students. Taking the view that a picture is worth a thousand words, there are many graphics to assist the reader. Non-scientists as well as uncommitted scientists should come away with an understanding of why, despite claims to the contrary by some environments and political interlopers, there is still honest scientific debate as to the cause of global warming.
About the Author

A physicist and geophysicist from Lakewood, Colorado, John M. Quinn has a B.S. in physics from the University of Virginia and a M.S. from the University of Colorado. John’s 40-year career includes 32 years with the Federal Government. He has also served on a variety of national and international committees. He enjoys gardening raising tropical fish, classic fifties rock-‘n-roll, spy thrillers, and action movies. Mr. Quinn has also published several technical reports and articles in scientific journals and has given numerous lectures and presentations to scientific and other groups around the world.



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


Friday, May 28, 2010

Cave data show that temperatures have been systematically FALLING in the last 5,000 years

Excerpt (minus the algebra) only below -- from work by Willis Eschenbach

In my usual peripatetic wandering around the web, I came across an interesting paper called “Millennial- and orbital-scale changes in the East Asian monsoon over the past 224,000 years”, in Nature Magazine (subscription required), 28 Feb. 2008 , with Supplementary Online Information.

The paper uses “speleothems” to estimate past climate conditions. Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits formed in caves. Stalactites and stalgmites are speleothems, and they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

What can we learn from the speleothems? The authors used the speleothem data from two caves in China to investigate the climate changes over the last two glacial periods, a quarter million years or so. Being more interested in the recent past, and noticing that one of the datasets extended up to the year 1490, I decided to see what speleothems could tell us about the temperature changes in more recent times. So I got a large group of speleothem records from the NOAA Paleoclimatology web site.

I wasn’t interested in what happened thousands and thousands of years ago, so I got all of the long records that covered all or part of the period from the end of the last ice age to the present. This gave me 20 records.

The speleothems give us a record of what is called the “delta oxygen 18″. This value is related to the temperature. The paper does not give the associated temperature values, so I converted them

So, what does all this mean? Heck, I don’t know, I’m investigating, not drawing conclusions. A few comments, in no particular order:

• As is shown in the Greenland ice core records, we are currently at the cold end of the Holocene (the current interglacial).

• Recent phenomena (Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period, Current Warm Period) are scarcely visible at this scale. So much for the “uprecedented” nature of the recent rise.

• The polar bears are not in any danger from the recent rise.

• What’s up with the big jump and drop about 12 000 years ago? A number of people have pointed out that this is almost certainly the “Younger Dryas” event. I hadn’t noticed it in the Vostok record, but a closeup of that record shows it.


Climategate and the scientific elite

The news that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who popularized the idea of a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism, has been struck off the register of general practitioners in the United Kingdom testifies to the fact that, in many scientific fields, objectivity still reigns. Britain’s General Medical Council found that Wakefield had used unethical and dishonest research methods and that when his conclusions became common knowledge, the result was that far more children were exposed to the risk of those diseases than would have been the case otherwise. Unfortunately, in other areas, some scientists have been getting away with blatant disregard for the scientific method.

The most prominent example, “Climategate,” highlights how dangerous the politicization of science can be. The public reaction to Climategate should motivate politicians to curb such abuses in the future. Yet it was politicians who facilitated this politicization of science in the first place.

The economic historians Terence Kealey (The Economic Laws of Scientific Research) and Joel Mokyr (The Gifts of Athena) help us understand just how science progresses. Their central insight involves the recursive nature of the scientific process. In Mokyr’s terms, propositional knowledge (what politicians term “basic” science) can inform prescriptive knowledge (“applied” science). However, the reverse happens just as often.

This understanding contradicts the linear model of scientific research, which became prevalent in America in the 1940s and ’50s, following the model of the great scientist Vannevar Bush. Under this model, we must invest in propositional knowledge as a public good, because that’s where our prescriptive knowledge comes from. Yet even as Bush’s model was taking hold, President Eisenhower warned against it. In his farewell address, just after the famous remarks about the military-industrial complex, he said:

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

What Ike warned about has now come to pass. The scientific elite, with the help of its allies in Congress, increasingly dictates public policy and thereby secures the continued flow of research funding. Time and again, scientists have told me how they have to tie their work to global warming in order to obtain funding, and time and again — bar a few brave souls, who are immediately tagged as “deniers” — they tell me it would be career suicide to speak out openly about this.

Moreover, by consciously reinforcing the link between politics and science, the scientific elite is diminishing the role of private innovation, where prescriptive knowledge informed by market demand drives propositional knowledge. Thus, they are driving the market out of the marketplace of ideas.

For that reason, we must challenge the linear model of science. One way to do this is to break the link between political patronage and scientific funding. For example, we could fund basic science by awarding prizes for excellent research results instead of grants before the event. With their patronage powers curtailed, politicians might become less interested in scientific funding, allowing private money to fill the void.

That’s the good news about Climategate. It starkly revealed to the public how many global-warming scientists speak and act like politicians. To those scientists, the message trumped the science. Few members of the public have accepted the findings of the inquiries exonerating the scientists; most dismiss them as whitewashes. This is to the good, for it reinforces awareness of the scientific elite President Eisenhower warned about.

If politicians realize that the public regards them as corrupting science rather than encouraging it, they might become less inclined to continue funding the scientific-political complex. Then scientists would be free to deal with the Andrew Wakefields among them as needed, rather than worry about their funding.


Greenies are up against a "conspiracy of physics"

by John Stossel

I ride my bike to work. It seems so pure. We're constantly urged to "go green" -- use less energy, shrink our carbon footprint, save the Earth. How? We should drive less, use ethanol, recycle plastic and buy things with the government's Energy Star label.

But what if much of going green is just bunk? Al Gore's group, Repower America, claims we can replace all our dirty energy with clean, carbon-free renewables. Gore says we can do it within 10 years.

"It's simply not possible," says Robert Bryce, author of "Power Hungry: The Myths of 'Green' Energy." "Nine out of 10 units of power that we consume are produced by hydrocarbons -- coal, oil and natural gas. Any transition away from those sources is going to be a decades-long, maybe even a century-long process. ... The world consumes 200 million barrels of oil equivalent in hydrocarbons per day. We would have to find the energy equivalent of 23 Saudi Arabias."

Bryce used to be a left-liberal, but then: "I educated myself about math and physics. I'm a liberal who was mugged by the laws of thermodynamics."

Bryce mocked the "green" value of my riding my bike to work: "Let's assume you saved a gallon of oil in your commute (a generous assumption!). Global daily energy consumption is 9.5 billion gallons of oil equivalent. ... So by biking to work, you save the equivalent of one drop in 10 gasoline tanker trucks. Put another way, it's one pinch of salt in a 100-pound bag of potato chips."

How about wind power? "Wind does not replace oil. This is one of the great fallacies, and it's one that the wind energy business continues to promote," Bryce said.

The problem is that windmills cannot provide a constant source of electricity. Wind turbines only achieve 10 percent to 20 percent of their maximum capacity because sometimes the wind doesn't blow. "That means you have to keep conventional power plants up and running. You have to ramp them up to replace the power that disappears from wind turbines and ramp them down when power reappears."

Yet the media rave about Denmark, which gets some power from wind. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says, "If only we could be as energy smart as Denmark."

"Friedman doesn't fundamentally understand what he's talking about," Bryce said. Bryce's book shows that Denmark uses eight times more coal and 25 times more oil than wind.

If wind and solar power were practical, entrepreneurs would invest in it. There would be no need for government to take money from taxpayers and give it to people pushing green products.

Even with subsidies, "renewable" energy today barely makes a dent on our energy needs. Bryce points out that energy production from every solar panel and windmill in America is less than the production from one coal mine and much less than natural gas production from Oklahoma alone.

But what if we build more windmills? "One nuclear power plant in Texas covers about 19 square miles, an area slightly smaller than Manhattan. To produce the same amount of power from wind turbines would require an area the size of Rhode Island. This is energy sprawl." To produce the same amount of energy with ethanol, another "green" fuel, it would take 24 Rhode Islands to grow enough corn.

Maybe the electric car is the next big thing? "Electric cars are the next big thing, and they always will be."

There have been impressive headlines about electric cars from my brilliant colleagues in the media. The Washington Post said, "Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they're within reach of the average family."

That was in 1915.

In 1959, The New York Times said, "Electric is the car of the tomorrow."

In 1979, The Washington Post said, "GM has an electric car breakthrough in batteries, now makes them commercially practical."

I'm still waiting.

"The problem is very simple," Bryce said. "It's not political will. It's simple physics. Gasoline has 80 times the energy density of the best lithium ion batteries. There's no conspiracy here of big oil or big auto. It's a conspiracy of physics."


NASA accused of 'Climategate' stalling

The man battling NASA for access to potential "Climategate" e-mails says the agency is still withholding documents and that NASA may be trying to stall long enough to avoid hurting an upcoming Senate debate on global warming.

Nearly three years after his first Freedom of Information Act request, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said he will file a lawsuit Thursday to force NASA to turn over documents the agency has promised but has never delivered.

Mr. Horner said he expects the documents, primarily e-mails from scientists involved with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), will be yet another blow to the science behind global warming, which has come under fire in recent months after e-mails from a leading British research unit indicated scientists had manipulated some data.

"What we've got is the third leg of the stool here, which is the U.S.-led, NASA-run effort to defend what proved to be indefensible, and that was a manufactured record of aberrant warming," Mr. Horner said. "We assume that we will also see through these e-mails, as we've seen through others, organized efforts to subvert transparency laws like FOIA."

He said with a global warming debate looming in the Senate, NASA may be trying to avoid having embarrassing documents come out at this time, but eventually the e-mails will be released.

"They know time is our friend," said Mr. Horner, author of "Power Grab: How Obama's Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America."

Mark S. Hess, a spokesman for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which overseas the climate program, said the agency is working as fast as it can, and that Mr. Horner should expect some answers any day. "It looks like the response to his appeal is probably going to happen very soon. I can't tell you it's going to be tomorrow or the next day, but it's just a matter of days," Mr. Hess said.

He said he hasn't seen the response, and doesn't know whether it will authorize any more information to be released.


Erratic and uncertain rise in ocean heat content

The steady rise in atmospheric CO2 has not produced any warming on land in the last decade or so nor has it produced a similar steady rise in ocean heat content.

It is indisputable that the world has warmed in the past 150 years but how that warming relates to man’s activities is debatable given the irregularity of that warming and the influence of natural cycles. The post 2000 global temperature standstill is particularly problematic. It is said by some that a more robust demonstration of global warming will come from the oceans with increasing heat content and sea- levels rise (though see a previous post for a discussion on sea-level changes.)

It is difficult to measure how the heat content of the ocean changes. The problems are everywhere; only in the past few years have we had anything approaching adequate data and coverage, different systems measure different things in different ways, how to select data, how to process it and indentify sources of errors. In reality the scientists concerned select ‘valid’ data and then decide what cyclical periods should be removed so as to smooth out annual variations, how to map data taking into account under and oversampled regions of the ocean and how to harmonise data from different observing systems. It is not surprising then that different teams working on ocean heat changes have produced very different results.

Lyman et al seek to overcome these difficulties by looking at a range of results about the ocean heat content since about 1994. They find, once individual absolute results are removed, that the general shape of the post 1994 ocean heat curves are roughly similar with no change up to 2001, then an increase for two years, followed by another stable period until 2009. See fig 1 and note that the errors are large.

Lyman et al suggest that from 1997 to 1998 – the time of a strong El Nino – that some of the curves show cooling. In fact, only one of them does and that is a very marginal effect given the error bars and the large interannual variability. Lyman also suggests some curves show warming over this period, which is also difficult to justify looking at the data. Overall it is difficult to make any significant conclusions about differences among these curves.

Curiously, Lyman et al point out that ocean temperatures have been statistically constant since about 2000 even though one of the most important features in fig 1 is the 2001 – 2003 rise. They note that during this standstill sea levels have continued to rise which they attribute to melting ice however they comment that it takes less energy to melt ice than to warm the ocean for an equivalent rise in sea level. No great conclusions there.

It is interesting that the flattening of the ocean heat content curve occurs around 2004 which was the time that the Argo array of ocean sensors became the main source of ocean heat data. This is a situation reminiscent to the introduction of satellite-based sea level measurements introduced in the early 1990’s that also resulted in a (as yet unexplained) discontinuity of the data with the previously used tidal gauges. The Argos data is universally regarded as heralding a revolution in monitoring the state of the oceans, but the possibility remains that this abrupt change is due to an as yet unrecognized problem causing a bias in the observing system....


Australia: Official climate "experts" can't even spell

A waiver is the voluntary surrender of some right or privilege. Does the big brain below mean "waver"? Spellcheckers are no substitute for knowledge
DSE invites members of the Victorian Public Service to a presentation on: Dealing with climate change denialism with Paul Holper, CSIRO

Popular opinion on climate change often waivers, particularly when the media focus on denialist views and encourage “debates” with climate change scientists. The Victorian Government, along with other governments in Australia and across the world, rely on the scientific community for advice on climate change and its likely impacts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is recognised as the international authority on climate change science and denialist views often lack rigor and credibility in comparison. Paul Holper (CSIRO) will present on ways to approach climate change denialism in a Victorian context.

Paul Holper Paul manages the CSIRO’s involvement in the Australian Climate Change Science Program, a $15 million program supported by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. This program undertakes observations of the atmosphere, oceans and terrestrial systems, as well as climate model development, and projections of Australia’s likely future climate. Paul coordinated the most recent climate change projections for Australia (based on IPCC models), announced by BoM and CSIRO in 2007.


Note that Public servants only are invited. Secret knowledge? I'd love to go and ask some awkward questions but I don't have that much time to waste anyway.

It would be fascinating to see a transcript of Mr Holper's lecture but I'm betting that he won't have the balls to release it. He would know that to do so would expose him to ridicule and refutation.


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