Friday, December 31, 2010

Global cooling is on the way!

Bob Foster []

A millennium ago, a sage opined “He who foretells the future, lies – even when he tells the truth”. However, with 6 billion mouths to feed, our policy-makers live in vastly different times. Now, they must address the future; and surely, they need guidance from the Geological Society of Australia – because lives depend on getting it right.

Sadly, the recent “Publicity and Media” report (The Australian Geologist of 9/2010, p.5) reveals an opportunity lost. A list of six “attention-grabbing headlines” generated by the Australian Earth Sciences Convention (AESC) lacks the crucial “Global cooling ahead!”

The 300-year warming from ‘quiet Sun’ of the Maunder Minimum to ‘hyperactive Sun’ of the Modern Grand Maximum is over. Strong solar cycles are punctual – averaging only 362 spotless days between cycles during the MGM. In 2004, NASA predicted Solar Cycle 24 would begin in early 2006, peak in 2010, and be extra strong.

I promise I am not making this up: there are now an amazing 813 days without sunspots since 2004, when Cycle 23 began to weaken - including 7-10 October 2010. Late cycles are weak; and indeed, Cycle 24 is very late. Embarrassing for NASA, I know; but will it now tell the world’s policy-makers? A big test for Dr James Hansen!

What lies ahead? As our sage so sagely said, no-one can foretell the future; but every new spot-free day makes it more likely that Earth is entering the Landscheidt Minimum – predicted at its coldest by 2030. In its Little Ice Age look-alike (the fearsome Maunder, 1645-1715) a third the population of Europe died. Planners ready?

Puzzlingly, the AESC list also reveals an opportunity misspent – “Sea levels to rise at double expected rate”. But first, I need to tell you that when Dr Rajendra Pachauri (then head of Tata Energy Research Institute, and now also head of IPCC) was President of the International Association for Energy Economics, I was among his flock.

The Report of November 2009 “The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay” is by Kathleen L. McInnes, Julian O’Grady and Ian Macadam of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. It asserts a dramatic acceleration of sea level rise, totalling a massive 0.82 metres by 2100 - based on the “IPCC 2007 A1FI scenario”.

Unchanged from 2001, “A1” is IPCC’s high-end A1 Marker scenario for projected global economic growth. “FI” is IPCC’s most-fuel-intensive story-line for calculating global CO2 emissions - which IPCC says are the primary cause of people-driven change to a stable and benign pre-industrial climate. (A warmer climate would mean an increasing rate of sea level rise.)

In IPCC’s base-year of 1990, South Africa’s consumption of commercially-traded primary energy (in million tonnes oil-equivalent) was 90.5 MTOE – similar to the 89.0 MTOE in Australia. But a phenomenal 77% of South African primary energy was coal (because of oil-from-coal at SASOL); while in Australia, coal’s share was an unexceptional 44%.

Obviously, South Africa used a very atypical proportion of coal. In 1990, per-capita GDP in South Africa was 2.8 (all GDP numbers are 1990 US$ thousands) compared to 17 for lucky Australia. But by 2100 – according to IPCC’s A1 Marker scenario – fortunes change. South Africa will be blessed to enjoy a GDP of 470, compared to 61 in pathetic Australia. Thus, IPCC’s beneficent projections for South Africa have it going from a per-capita GDP of only x0.16 that of Australia in 1990, to a whopping x7.7 that of ours in 2100.

Put another way, South Africa’s projected real-terms per-capita GDP growth of x168 is vastly better than the utterly pedestrian growth of x3.6 projected for Australia. Might we expect Australian economic refugees sailing to South Africa by 2100?

Surely, this question must be asked – and answered – before CSIRO’s sea-level work can be taken seriously. Why did Australia’s premier scientific body embrace IPCC’s nonsensical – and self-serving - economic projections? Could it be that CSIRO put advocacy above science?


A further six days (18-22 December 2010) show no sunspots visible on the solar disc – there are now an amazing 819 spot-free days in the Cycle 23/24 interregnum. No-one can foretell the future, of course. But the longer it takes Cycle 24 to fully-develop the weaker it will be; and the more likely it becomes that Earth is entering the next - and long-predicted - Little Ice Age cold period. Will it be an in inconvenient Dalton (1800-20), or a killing Maunder, look-alike?

From: The Australian Geologist, Newsletter 157 December 2010, pp. 7, 8

This winter set to be Britain's coldest in 300 YEARS

If you thought last week was as cold as you could bear it, brace yourself. Forecasters say the worst is yet to come, and this winter could be the harshest since the Thames froze over more than three centuries ago. Temperatures for December are the coldest on record, with the average reading close to minus 1c – almost six degrees below normal.

And with forecasters warning that this winter’s ‘mini ice age’ might last until mid-March, this winter could be the worst since 1683-84 when a fair was held on the Thames.

Met Office figures show that the average temperature from December 1, the first day of winter, to December 28 was a bitter minus 0.8c (30.5f). This equals the record December low of 1890.

But, with the mercury traditionally at its lowest in January and February, and more bracing weather on the way, this winter could bring the biggest freeze in 327 years.

Forecaster Brian Gaze of The Weather Outlook said: ‘It’s very unusual to have a sub-zero month - the last one at any time of year was February 1986. ‘January and February are expected to be significantly colder than average, with further snow for most of the country, and it will be no surprise at all if this persists until mid-March. Net weather forecaster Ian Michael Waite said: ‘We expect January to be colder than average – there’s no way we’re moving out of this mini ice age any time soon.’

During 1683-84, the coldest winter on record, average temperatures of minus 1.17c (31.7f) between December and February saw the frozen Thames turn into a winter wonderland of puppet shows, food stalls, horse races and ice bowling.

John Evelyn, a contemporary of Samuel Pepys wrote of the frost fair: ‘Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.’

The figures come from the Central England Temperature record, which contains data for an area enclosed by London, Bristol and Manchester from 1659 to the present day.

Met Office spokesman Dave Britton said: ‘What has been quite unprecedented has been the prolonged nature of the cold. ‘We have had some colder spells in December but what has been quite noticeable about this one is quite how prolonged it was and the amount of snow we had.’

With milder weather forecast for the next few days, we still have some way to go to beat the coldest month on record. In January 1795, temperatures averaged just minus 3.1c (26.4f).


No Correlation Between Arctic Ice And Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent

(From here)

There has been amazing amounts of noise from the climate science community claiming that the extensive snow cover this year is due to a lack of Arctic ice. But as you can see in the graph above, there is no correlation between Arctic ice extent and snow cover. Some years have more snow, some years have less snow. Arctic ice has nothing to do with it.

(From here)


New paper much less alarmist about 21st century

Physicist and Arctic research expert Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the US predicts that the temperature in 2100 will be 0.5C ~ 0.2C higher than today, rather than the 4.0C ~ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC.

Akasofu is an acknowledged climate change sceptic - although he prefers the term critic - and his prediction is based on an attempt to separate out the effects of naturally-driven warming from man-made greenhouse warming. Akasofu states that the warming trend recorded during the nineteenth and twentieth century may be a combination of a natural recovery from the so called Little Ice Age mixed in with greenhouse warming.

Akasofu's paper, "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age", has been published in Natural Science. During the Little Ice Age global temperatures are believed to have been around 1C lower than today. The Little Ice Age is thought to have begun around 1200 and to have ended in the period between 1800 and 1850. Since then, global temperatures have been recovering at a linear rate of around 0.5C per century with the effects of multi-decadal oscillations superposed, according to Akasofu.

Crucially, Akasofu believes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age is still ongoing and is in part responsible for recent warming. He suggests that the effects of multi-decadal oscillations have halted the current warming and were also responsible for a flattening in warming seen between 1940 and 1975.

As much as 0.5C of the 0.6C rise recorded in the last century may be due to the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age, according to Akasofu. He bases this on the fact that there has been an underlying linear warming since the early nineteenth century where as carbon dioxide levels only started to increase significantly from around 1946.

Understanding the relative contribution of man-made changes to global warming is important as it enables climate scientists to accurately assess the sensitivity of the climate to increases in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The accompanying diagram, from the paper, shows that the linear temperature trend between 1880 and 2000 is a continuation of the recovery from the Little Ice Age, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation. It also shows the predicted temperature rise by the IPCC after 2000. It has been suggested by the IPCC that the thick blue line portion was caused mostly by the greenhouse effect, so the future IPCC prediction is a sort of extension of the blue line, according to Akasofu. The diagram assumes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age continues to 2100, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation, which would suggest a further 0.5C warming. This view could explain the apparent halting of the warming after 2000 as a result of the impact of multi-decadal oscillations. The observed temperature in 2008 is shown by a red dot with a green arrow.

The implication is that over the next ten years or so there will be a significant and measurable divergence between the IPCC prediction and the the prediction generated by Akasoku's hypothesis of recovery from the Little Ice Age.

1) The Earth experienced the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1200-1400 and 1800-1850. The temperature during the LIA is expected to be 1C lower than the pre-sent temperature. The solar irradiance was relatively low during the LIA.

2) The gradual recovery from 1800-1850 was ap-proximately linear, the recovery (warming) rate was about 0.5øC/100 years. The same linear change contin-ued from 1800-1850 to 2000. In this period, the solar irradiance began to recover from its low value during the LIA.

3) The recovery from the LIA is still continuing today.

4) The multi-decadal oscillation is superposed on the linear change. The multi-decadal oscillation peaked in about 1940 and also in 2000, causing the temporal halting of the recovery from the LIA.

5) The negative trend after the peak in 1940 and 2000 overwhelmed the linear trend of the recovery, causing the cooling or halting of warming.

6)The view presented in this paper predicts the temperature increase in 2100 to be 0.5C ñ 0.2C, rather than 4C ñ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC

"On the recovery from the Little Ice Age" by Syun-Ichi Akasofu. Natural Science Vol.2, No.11, 1211-1224 (2010)


James Hansen 2008: Warm Winters “Clear Sign” of Global Warming

I won’t waste any time or space on a lead-up to this one, it speaks for itself:

"Hansen’s visit to London last week was partly inspired by the decision to approve construction of a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent.

This, Hansen wants to warn us, is a recipe for global warming disaster. The recent warm winters that Britain has experienced are a clear sign that the climate is changing, he says."

And the recent excruciatingly cold winters? No doubt they’re also a sign of global warming.


Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

A new year is around the corner, and some climate scientists and environmental activists say that means we're one step closer to a climate Armageddon. But are we really?

Predicting the weather -- especially a decade or more in advance -- is unbelievably challenging. What's the track record of those most worried about global warming? Decades ago, what did prominent scientists think the environment would be like in 2010? has compiled eight of the most egregiously mistaken predictions, and asked the predictors to reflect on what really happened.

1. Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event." Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

Ten years later, in December 2009, London was hit by the heaviest snowfall seen in 20 years. And just last week, a snowstorm forced Heathrow airport to shut down, stranding thousands of Christmas travelers.

A spokesman for the government-funded British Council, where Viner now works as the lead climate change expert, told that climate science had improved since the prediction was made. "Over the past decade, climate science has moved on considerably and there is now more understanding about the impact climate change will have on weather patterns in the coming years," British Council spokesman Mark Herbert said. "However, Dr Viner believes that his general predictions are still relevant."

Herbert also pointed to another prediction from Viner in the same article, in which Viner predicted that "heavy snow would return occasionally" and that it would "probably cause chaos in 20 years time." Other scientists said "a few years" was simply too short a time frame for kids to forget what snow was. "I'd say at some point, say 50 years from now, it might be right. If he said a few years, that was an unwise prediction," said Michael Oppenheimer, director of Princeton University's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy.

Of course, Oppenheimer himself is known for controversial global warming scenarios.

2. "[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers." Michael Oppenheimer, published in "Dead Heat," St. Martin's Press, 1990.

Oppenheimer told that he was trying to illustrate one possible outcome of failing to curb emissions, not making a specific prediction. He added that the gist of his story had in fact come true, even if the events had not occurred in the U.S.
"On the whole I would stand by these predictions -- not predictions, sorry, scenarios -- as having at least in a general way actually come true," he said. "There's been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that's in drought has increased over that period."

That may be in doubt, however. Data from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that precipitation -- rain and snow -- has increased slightly over the century.

3. "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000." Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1972.

Ice coverage has fallen, though as of last month, the Arctic Ocean had 3.82 million square miles of ice cover -- an area larger than the continental United States -- according to The National Snow and Ice Data Center.

4. "Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010." Associated Press, May 15, 1989.

Status of prediction: According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1989. And U.S. temperature has increased even less over the same period. The group that did the study, Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., said it could not comment in time for this story due to the holidays.

But Oppenheimer said that the difference between an increase of nearly one degree and an increase of two degrees was "definitely within the margin of error... I would think the scientists themselves would be happy with that prediction."

Many scientists, especially in the 1970s, made an error in the other direction by predicting global freezing:

5. "By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half." Life magazine, January 1970.
Life Magazine also noted that some people disagree, "but scientists have solid experimental and historical evidence to support each of the following predictions."

Air quality has actually improved since 1970. Studies find that sunlight reaching the Earth fell by somewhere between 3 and 5 percent over the period in question.

6. "If present trends continue, the world will be ... eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age." Kenneth E.F. Watt, in "Earth Day," 1970.

According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1970.

How could scientists have made such off-base claims? Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of "The Population Bomb" and president of Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology, told that ideas about climate science changed a great deal in the the '70s and '80s.

"Present trends didn't continue," Ehrlich said of Watt's prediction. "There was considerable debate in the climatological community in the '60s about whether there would be cooling or warming … Discoveries in the '70s and '80s showed that the warming was going to be the overwhelming force."

Ehrlich told that the consequences of future warming could be dire. The proverbial excrement is "a lot closer to the fan than it was in 1968," he said. "And every single colleague I have agrees with that."

He added, "Scientists don't live by the opinion of Rush Limbaugh and Palin and George W. They live by the support of their colleagues, and I've had full support of my colleagues continuously."

But Ehrlich admits that several of his own past environmental predictions have not come true:

7. "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

Ehrlich's prediction was taken seriously when he made it, and New Scientist magazine underscored his speech in an editorial titled "In Praise of Prophets."

"When you predict the future, you get things wrong," Ehrlich admitted, but "how wrong is another question. I would have lost if I had had taken the bet. However, if you look closely at England, what can I tell you? They're having all kinds of problems, just like everybody else."

8. "In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970

"Certainly the first part of that was very largely true -- only off in time," Ehrlich told "The second part is, well -- the fish haven't washed up, but there are very large dead zones around the world, and they frequently produce considerable stench."

"Again, not totally accurate, but I never claimed to predict the future with full accuracy," he said.



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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Warmists did NOT foresee the present cooling

Even if they now claim that it fits their theories

The UN's "Nobel Prize Winning" IPCC Report in 2007 predicted "warmer northern winters" for Europe.

As summarized in this UN Press Release of April, 2007, we should expect to see:

"the ongoing thawing of European glaciers and permafrost, the delayed winter freeze of rivers and lakes, the lengthening of growing seasons, the earlier spring arrival of migratory birds... In addition to warmer winters, Europe's northern regions will experience more precipitation and run-off.

The expansion of forests and agricultural productivity will be accompanied by greater flooding, coastal erosion, loss of species and melting of glaciers and permafrost."

A classic case of a "failed prediction." Theories making predictions that fail are called "refuted."

America's "Snowpocalypse"

More travel chaos expected in the US northeast after hundreds of flights were cancelled and the region dug out from what some are calling "Snowpocalypse".

The frustration for travellers remains after one of the biggest blizzards in years, which slammed much of the eastern seaboard from the Carolinas into Canada's Maritime provinces. Piles of snow as deep as 80cm were left by snowfalls and gales, creating more havoc for travellers, especially those flying.

Passengers are accusing airlines of poor customer service after thousands were unable to get through to reservation agents to reschedule or refund flights, and critics are incensed over what they say is the airlines' effort to blame everything on the weather and take themselves off the hook.

Airlines have since resumed limited service, but some 800 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, mostly in the New York area, which was spinning its wheels following the storm that roared up the coast on Sunday and Monday.

Officials expect it will take several days for New York and its all-important transport hubs to be fully back on track following the sixth heaviest snowfall in the city's history. "This storm is not like any other we've had to deal with," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, noting that emergency vehicles were among those stuck in the snow. "Until we can pull out the ambulances, pull out the fire trucks, pull out the buses, pull out the private cars, the plows just can't do anything," he said. "We still have a long way to go."

New York police have removed some 1000 vehicles from just three busily trafficked thoroughfares, a fraction of the stalled vehicles stranded on city roads. Snow plows and salt spreaders struggled in Manhattan, battling through knee-high snow in many streets.

The three major area airports - John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark International in New Jersey - reopened late on Monday, but the cancellations of more than 5000 flights meant a huge backlog and more delays.


Exasperation in Russia

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin rebuked officials Wednesday after bad weather brought air traffic in Moscow to a virtual standstill, telling them to forget about New Year's holidays and stop whining.

The tough-talking prime minister said all the officials in charge of transportation and relevant matters were banned from going on New Year's holidays until the situation got back to normal.

"Instead of proceeding with New Year's celebrations, everyone who is in charge of the situation should have been present on the job from the very beginning," Putin told a government meeting in televised remarks.

"There is no need to whine - everyone needs to work. Entire settlements remain without power, the situation is difficult on the roads and thousands of people are stranded in airports."

A bout of icy weather and freezing rain wreaked havoc in Moscow in recent days, disrupting the holiday plans of thousands of air travelers in Moscow.

Scuffles broke out Tuesday at Moscow's two main airports, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo, as exasperated passengers threatened to sue airlines including Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot - but officials said the situation was getting back to normal Wednesday as flights were beginning to take off in accordance with the schedule.

President Dmitry Medvedev earlier instructed his chief prosecutor to look into the matter.


Coldest Swedish December In 110 Years

Sweden’s English language The Local has the following headline today:

Coldest December in Sweden in 110 years

The last few days of the year look to be very cold throughout Sweden, according to a forecast by the Swedish meteorological agency SMHI.

"This means that several parts of Sweden, including the southern region Götaland and eastern Svealand, will have experienced the coldest December in at least 110 years.”

This reality of course flies in the face of what climate models had predicted earlier. The SMHI (Sweden’s Met Office and devout warmist organisation) keeps archives, and so I thought surely there must be something there that had earlier forecast warmer winters for Sweden. I didn’t have to look very long to find it.

First there’s this report dated 16 September 2010 here: New climate projections indicate more extreme weather. Here are just a couple of excerpts (Warning – you might first want to tie your butt to yourself to keep from laughing it off!):

"New climate projections for severe weather situations in 100 years also show that truly cold days will virtually disappear.”


"The new scenarios show the effects of global warming with more details than before, thanks to more computer power and high geographical resolution.”


"As a whole, the new ensembles are an important foundation for continued climate research. However, they can already be applied to many areas,’ says Grigory Nikulin.”

Does he mean like governments preparing for winters? And finally:

"Truly cold weather, such as -10°C in Spain or -30°C in southern Sweden, is unlikely to occur in future.”

How stupid must they feel now? The assertions made above likely stem in part from an SMHI-published report 2 years ago called: Temperature and precipitation changes in Sweden; a wide range of model-based projections for the 21st century.

The report analyzed the climate change signal for Sweden in scenarios for the 21st century in a large number of coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs), used in the AR4 by the IPCC.

At the SMHI Rossby Centre, regional climate models were run under different emission scenarios and driven by a few AOGCMs. They used the results of the runs as a basis in climate change in Sweden. What did they find? (Crap, of course, but read it for yourself):

"Projected responses depend on season and geographical region. Largest signals are seen in winter and in northern Sweden, where the mean simulated temperature increase among the AOGCMs (and across the emissions scenarios B1, A1B and A2) is nearly 6°C by the end of the century, and precipitation increases by around 25%. In southern Sweden, corresponding values are around +4°C and +11%."

Okay, it’s still a long way to the end of the 21st century. But as Sweden’s 2010 December-of-the-century shows, the models and calculations seem to have forgotten a few important details. Back to the drawing board!

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Time for global warming lobby to admit they could be wrong, says meteorologist

Here’s something you’ll never hear from the Met Office. Joe Bastardi, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, has laid into the the global warming lobby for making absurd claims, especially their assertion that the cold weather is caused by global warming.

First he told Fox Business Network last week that: “These folks claiming that global warming is causing severe cold – that’s like the kid on the playground who doesn’t get his way and takes his ball home”. In fact, the cold weather “is predictable if you study cycles, if you study climatology… and don’t just say everything is global warming”.

And now he’s continued the offensive on his blog this week, writing that: "My advice is to get ready for more of this [cold weather] in coming decades. And the CO2 people should open their eyes to other sides of the argument, since in 30 years or so when we come out of the cooling cycle, there may be room for your argument being pressed forth… but first we have to watch and see if the naturalists like me (that is my new nickname… nature boy) have a point."

Ozone hole, Ice Age, Y2K, etc, etc, etc. Is it any wonder why this just looks like another in a string of missed ideas that cause needless worry? You know what is the most hideous thing about all this? The money, time and energy wasted on what may be nothing more than a fictional ghost that man has nothing to do with, while tangible societal problems that need attention are given the short end of the stick.

And it’s interesting to see that whether by magic, coincidence, or lord forbid, the actual ideas laid out here a few years ago as to why this [the cooling] is going to start happening again, WHO THE TRUE DENIERS ARE!

This is a big deal, because here we have one of the world’s biggest meteorological firms saying the global warming consensus is probably wrong. Of course, in the world of politics, no one is allowed to say this without being falsely demonised for “denying the science”. Yet the science is irrelevant to a theory that has always been little more than an excuse to expand the state. And that is why – in an increasingly cold climate – the true believers are upset.


EPA Green Priest Jackson: Regulation a ‘Moral Obligation’

People who say: "There is no such thing as right and wrong" are quick to use moral language when it suits them. It's been going on for a long time

From crèches on government property to Christian greetings in the workplace, Americans go to great lengths this religious season to separate Christmas from our public life. Not so the Obama administration and its campaign to tear down the wall separating the Green Church and the state.

In an extraordinary speech before The National Council of Churches in New Orleans this November, Environmental Protection Agency Chief Lisa Jackson — a committed Green and Christian — urged that the U.S. government and religious leaders unite in their “moral obligation” to heal the planet and “build on the religious and moral reasons for being good stewards of our environment.”

“The question now is, ‘What we can do?’” the High Priestess of Green concluded, adding that the effort was blessed by the White House’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership program.

On the Thursday before Christmas, she answered her own question, dictating a controversial cap on industrial emissions that will have profound negative consequences if enacted on jobs and economic growth in Michigan and the Midwest.

The EPA’s creche is in the public square, Mother Earth is in the manger, and Washington’s wise men are bringing gifts of taxpayer money.

“We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans and contributes to climate change,” said Jackson on Dec. 23 in imposing global warming regulations on power plants and refineries.


CARB’s carbon capers

In a nearly unanimous vote, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) just approved a statewide cap-and-trade scheme to limit emissions of CO2 from six hundred major industrial plants, starting in 2012. Proposition 23 on the California ballot, defeated in November, was an attempt to at least delay the state’s Cap-and-Trade law, AB-32, until California’s record unemployment eased.

However, the slanted description appearing on both the official Voter Guide and the ballot, written by then-State Attorney General Jerry Brown and his office, the well-funded “No-on-23” campaign, and some very heavy media bias, had Californians believing that Prop. 23 would thwart efforts to curb air pollution—i.e., smog. So Prop 23 went down in flames, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and perhaps a million.

The “Cooler Heads” blog relates that the adopted regulation is more than three thousand pages long, but most of the details have yet to be worked out. CARB rushed to meet a December 31 deadline set by the 2006 legislation that authorizes CARB to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

In order to protect California businesses from out-of-state competition, CARB will (initially) allocate emissions credits (aka energy-rationing coupons) for free. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is the only precedent for free allocation of carbon credits; it resulted in windfall profits for politically connected industries and higher electricity prices for consumers.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times approves of the scheme: “[AB32] will put the state far ahead of the rest of the country in energy reform.”

The regulations, if they go into effect, will create the largest market for carbon trading in the country. (Ten states including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the New England states are participating in a less extensive system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which covers only electric utilities.)

By the time the CARB program takes effect in 2012, California regulators plan to have created a framework for carbon trading with New Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec—some of its partners in the Western Climate Initiative. But as long as Congress and the Obama administration shun cap and trade, California, instead of being the forerunner of a national movement, will remain part of a far-flung archipelago of states and provinces participating in a small carbon market.

Mary D. Nichols, CARB’s chairwoman, said, “We are well aware that we in California are on a different path from many other states in our willingness to be at the front” of the cap-and-trade movement. An idea of her mindset comes from a speech at the University of Rhode Island in November 2008, where she mentioned California’s efforts on climate change:
We know that the economic crisis we will face from unmitigated climate change could dwarf [sic] anything we have ever seen. That alone is a compelling enough reason to take swift action. But there’s another reason also, which is that developing a new clean energy economy that drives and rewards investment and innovation, creates jobs and serves as the engine for sustainable economic growth is exactly what we need at a time like this.

Transportation and utility industry representatives see Nichols’ push on climate-change regulation in California as evidence of an ingrained pro-regulatory bias.

I recollect Nichols as a former assistant EPA administrator in the Clinton years, under Carol Browner. In testimony to Congress in 2000, on phasing out the chemical fumigant methyl bromide (of great economic importance to agriculture but suspected of causing damage to the ozone layer), she claimed benefits of 32 trillion dollars! And no one questioned how she arrived at this wild number. A more reasonable value, I argued in my opposing testimony, would be zero benefits: There was no evidence of MeBr, with an atmospheric lifetime of only a few months, reaching the stratosphere; no evidence of a bromine-caused ozone depletion; and no evidence from ground-level monitoring stations of any increase in cancer-causing solar UV.

Among the industries immediately affected by the CARB rules will be producers of cement, which requires an industrial process in which the release of carbon dioxide is an integral part. Steve Regis, vice president of CalPortland, said in an interview, “We feel like we’re really exposed because 60 percent of our direct emissions are from the process—nothing we can do about them.” The re-engineering of that process, Regis said, would entail major costs, if it is even possible. He added that some California plants had recently shut down and moved their production out of state.

The midterm elections turned into a sweeping repudiation of the Democrats’ failed status quo—except, that is, in California, says Investor’s Business Daily. With the exception of the governor’s office, California has been a virtual one-party state since the 1960s. Now, thanks to decades of anti-business policies promulgated by a series of left-leaning legislatures, its economy and finances are a mess, and it is hemorrhaging jobs, businesses, and productive entrepreneurs to other states.

How bad has it gotten in the erstwhile Golden State? Consider:

* Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs, making for a 12.4-percent unemployment rate—one of the highest in the country.

* From 2001 to 2010, factory jobs plummeted from 1.87 million to 1.23 million—a loss of 34 percent of the state’s industrial base.

* With just 12 percent of the U.S. population, California has almost a third of the nation’s welfare recipients; meanwhile, 15.3 percent of all Californians live in poverty.

* The state budget gap for 2009–2010 was $45.5 billion, or 53 percent of total state spending—the largest in any state’s history.

* Unfunded pension liabilities for California’s state and public employees may be as much as $500 billion—roughly 17 percent of the nation’s total $3 trillion at the state and local level.

This disaster has been building for decades. In the end, only the voters of California could have changed things. But on Tuesday, November 2, they opted for more of the same governance. Empowering CARB regulation will only make conditions worse.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Warmism is contrary to physics

It relies on an ad hoc and unparsimonious theory by Planck

I've touched on atmospheric backradiation before, back when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to construct my own simple computer simulation model of global warming.

In rough outline, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is supposed to work by short wave solar radiation passing through the Earth's atmosphere and being absorbed at the surface of the Earth, and warming this surface, and being re-radiated back out into space as long wave radiation, some of which is captured by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is warmed, and in turn re-radiates this heat as "backradiation" to the Earth's surface, warming it a little more. This extra warming is AGW. And the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greater is this warming.

But some physicists object that this "backradiation" is unphysical, in that it requires heat to be transferred from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics disallows heat from flowing from cold to warm. From The Science of Doom:

What’s amazing about back-radiation is how many different ways people arrive at the conclusion it doesn’t exist or doesn’t have any effect on the temperature at the earth’s surface.

It seems that this "backradiation" is a feature of quantum physics, whereby energy is supposed to be released in discrete packets called "quanta". The quantum physical view is said to have been developed by Max Planck in about 1900 in an "act of despair" in order to get round the "ultraviolet catastrophe" whereby the classical wave mechanical understanding of radiation embodied in the Rayleigh-Jeans law predicted an infinite (and therefore impossible) energy content of high frequency radiation. Planck's new quantum mechanical understanding did not produce this "ultraviolet catastrophe", and produced a theoretical result much more closely in line with the observed radiation spectrum (see right).

The result has been a somewhat schizophrenic "wave-particle dualism" in physics ever since, with radiation being regarded as made up of waves for some purposes, and as particles or quanta for other purposes.

But according to Claes Johnson, a Swedish professor of mathematics, the classical wave mechanical view of radiation, which Planck had abandoned in order to circumvent the "ultraviolet catastrophe", can actually be used to get round the problem, by using finite precision mathematics.

A black body is regarded a vibrating string, with a number of harmonics, but with a cut-off minimum wavelength, representing the smallest wavelength the string can carry. Incoming waves excite the string harmonics, and these harmonics are re-radiated. High-frequency waves, with a shorter wavelength than the cut-off, are absorbed as incoherent high frequency vibrations which take the form of heat.

The net result is that a warm blackbody can heat a colder blackbody, through incoming frequencies above cut-off. But a cold blackbody cannot heat a warmer, because incoming frequencies below cut-off will be re-emitted without heating effect.

Since "backradiation" refers to the latter case, the model indicates that "backradiation" is not physical.

And if "backradiation" is unphysical, then it can't be happening. And if that can't be happening, neither can Anthropogenic Global Warming. And then AGW will prove to have been the product of the misdirection of physics by Max Planck in 1900 in his attempt to circumvent the problem of the "ultraviolet catastrophe". It may well turn out that the AGW problem has been a consequence of an unfortunate dualism within physics that has grown up over the past 100 years.

AGW devotees may then be seen as being followers of Max Planck ("Planckists?"), and of the orthodox quantum physics of the past century. AGW sceptics such as Johnson may be seen as followers of the older classical wave mechanical view of radiation ("Maxwellians?"). A dispute within physics has spilled out into a high-stakes political conflict.

If so, it will only be physicists - and not politicians or anybody else - who will ultimately be able to resolve the dispute. Either that, or the actual behaviour of the Earth's climate will prove or disprove one party or the other. Since more or less everyone agrees that the Earth has been warming over the past century or so, during which period carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising, the Planckists have a fairly good case that the Earth's climate is following Planckist directions. However the fact that it doesn't seem to have warmed at all over the past 13 years suggests that the climate is perhaps more Maxwellian than Planckist.

By no means all AGW sceptics deny the existence of "backradiation". Most sceptics are as Planckist (and orthodox) as AGW believers. Their scepticism is not about the fundamental physics so much as the scale of its effects and the nature of other feedback mechanisms.

This month, however, in the wake of the publication of Slaying The Sky Dragon, of which he is a co-author, Claes Johnson has been subjected to censorship by Swedish university authorities:

The highly-experienced and respected professor has been banned by his bosses from teaching any “part of course material in the course Numerical Methods II.” The material is also found in his ebook, ‘BodyandSoul.’

Dr. Johnson laments, “the course, has been “stopped” by the President of the Royal Technological Institute KTH, because the book contains a mathematical analysis of some models related to climate simulation.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

ABC's Harris: Climate Scientists `Embattled' by `Controversial' Skeptics `Despite Compelling Evidence' of Global Warming

On the Wednesday, December 22, Nightline on ABC, inspired by recent extreme weather, correspondent Dan Harris filed a report on global warming in which he gave attention to the views of a proponent of global warming theory, while giving a lesser amount of attention to two skeptics, one of whom he labeled "controversial."

Harris related that, "despite all that compelling evidence" of global warming, climate scientists "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right." He even went so far as to highlight examples of reported harassment of climate scientists, including anti-Semitic insults.

Harris also concluded his report passing on a warning from scientists that there will be more "extremely deadly weather" in the future "if the world doesn’t act very quickly":
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year’s extreme and extremely deadly weather, you’ll likely get much more if the world doesn’t act very quickly.

After beginning the report with a look at weather forecaster Piers Corbyn - calling his methods "unorthodox" because he uses magnetic fields to predict weather - Harris moved to global warming theory proponent Professor Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University:
That’s Princeton scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who says climate change is like loading the dice or tilting a pinball machine, making it more likely that we'll have heat waves, intense rainstorms and higher sea levels. It’s not a pretty picture.

The ABC correspondent passed on complaints by climate scientists that they "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right":
It might feel cold outside of your house tonight, but 2010 may well turn out to be the hottest year on record. And, in fact, the last decade was definitely the hottest on record. Despite all that compelling evidence, climate scientists say they now feel more embattled than ever. And some of their biggest opponents, they say, are politicians on the right.

Harris tried to embarrass global warming skeptics by including clips of two public figures - incoming House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Congressman John Shimkus - who expressed doubts that were either flawed or not based on scientific reasoning, before sympathetically returning to Oppenheimer to make his case, even highlighting examples of reported harassment toward global warming theory proponents. Harris:
Meanwhile, the FBI tells us it has seen a spike in threatening e-mails to climate scientists, and a white supremacist Web site recently ran pictures of scientists with the word "Jew" next to them. Michael Oppenheimer says he’s sure this interview will result in angry e-mails.

After a clip of Oppenheimer complaining about a "disinformation campaign" funded by industry, Harris got to global warming skeptic Dr. Fred Singer, whom the ABC correspondent called "controversial," only giving a couple of brief soundbites for the University of Virginia professor emeritus to say that global warming theory proponents are "wrong." Introducing Singer, Harris related:
Their foe, they say, is a well-funded campaign to confuse. Led by people like Dr Fred Singer, a controversial scientific skeptic with whom I conducted this combative interview several years ago, which was heavily criticized by many in the skeptics community.

After noting that Corbyn is also a global warming skeptic, Harris got to his conclusion which dismissed doubters and passed on the call for action, presumably meaning more government regulatoins. Harris:
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year's extreme and extremely deadly weather, you'll likely get much more if the world doesn't act very quickly.


GOP all set to wimp out on EPA?

A key Republican is already laying the groundwork for the 112th Congress’ surrender on the EPA’s climate rules. More surprising is the complicity of a tea party group.

Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman-designate of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, co-authored an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal with the promising title, “How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab.”

Now that we face the prospect of flagrantly illegal, arbitrary, expensive and pointless regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA, I was eager to read how the new Congress was going to, say, slash the EPA’s budget to prevent it from implementing the climate rules or perhaps shutdown the federal government if the Obama administration proceeded with its plan to dictate energy policy in order to control the economy.

Instead, Upton offered a mere two sentences of action that are better described pusillanimity rather than pugnacity:

The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules.

Earth to Upton, it will be impossible to overturn or delay the EPA rules because there will likey be more than 40 Democrat senators to filibuster any effort to overturn or delay the rules.

Even if a bill to overturn/delay the rules managed to get out of Congress, President Obama would veto it — and it’s unlikely that Republicans could muster the two-thirds majorities needed to overturn the veto.

The wimpiness, here is breathtaking. Aside from the total ineffectiveness of the plan, Upton fails to support his preferred solution (overturning the rules) with a more aggressive, less-palatable-to-Democrats alternative (defunding the EPA or shutting down the government). Instead, Upton’s alternative course is weaker (delaying the rules) and is offered from the position of a supplicant (“at least” do the “sensible, bipartisan compromise” — pretty please?).

I hope EPA administrator Lisa Jackson doesn’t hurt herself rolling on the floor.

Upton expresses high hopes, if not expectations, that ongoing litigation will curb the EPA. But an appellate court recently held that the EPA can wreak its havoc on our economy while the litigation is ongoing. And who knows how long it will take to get a final ruling from the Supreme Court? Keep in mind that the current Court is philosophically unchanged from the one ruling in 2007 that EPA could regulate greenhouse gases.

Moreover, while the portion of the EPA’s climate rules that is flagrantly illegal is likely to be overturned (i.e., the so-called “tailoring rule” under which EPA unilaterally amended the Clean Air Act to limit regulation of greenhouse gases from 100-ton emitters to 75,000-ton emitters), it is unlikely that the Court will overturn the EPA’s so-called “endangerment funding” (which declares that greenhouse gases are a threat to the public welfare). Under the 1984 Supreme Court case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, it is extremely difficult to show that an agency has acted arbitrarily and capriciousily in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

No profile in courage, Upton is wishing for a litigation miracle so that he doesn’t have to get down in the mud and wrestle with the Obama administration.

Also of note is Upton’s co-author, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) — a nationwide conservative grassroots group that has tried to blend in with the tea party movement. But AFP may be risking its tea party credentials by signing on to Upton’s exercise in bipartisan futility — where liberal/socialist Democrats get what they want and the rest of us get the shaft. That may be standard Washington, DC fare, but it is not what tea partiers voted for in November.

I’m not surprised by Upton’s wimpiness — that’s why conservatives wanted Joe Barton (R-TX) to be chairman of Energy and Commerce, not the light-bulb-banning Upton — but I am surprised by AFP’s. Shame on them.

Here’s the bottom line. Since the new Congress will not rubber stamp Obama’s socialist legislative agenda, the President will seek to socialize us via regulation — regardless of legality. The EPA’s climate regulation plan is unconstitutional on its face (only Congress, not federal agencies, can change laws). Another example of the coming socialization-by-regulation is the Federal Communications Commission’s recent party-line vote to implement net neutrality rules despite the a federal appellate court ruling that it lacks the statutory authority to do so.

“Every battle is won before it is fought,” said Sun Tzu. Upton, according to his op-ed, has already surrendered to Obama. Oh well, at least election night was fun.


Lowest temperatures in 30 years in Korea

A cold wave has swept through Korea. The temperature in Seoul plunged to minus 16 degrees Celsius over Christmas weekend, the lowest since minus 16.2 degrees on Dec. 29, 1980. This winter, the Northern Hemisphere has suffered record-low temperatures and heavy snow since November. Britain had 25 centimeters of snow, the worst in 17 years, and saw the temperature fall to minus 18 degrees, the lowest for November. China also suffered temperatures of minus 10 to 45 degrees and heavy snow. Though the mercury in Korea will begin to go back up Monday afternoon, two or three more cold waves are forecast next month. Since the country began meteorological observation, the lowest recorded temperature was minus 32.6 degrees in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 5, 1981.

The Korea Meteorological Administration blames this year’s cold spell to weaker Arctic oscillation caused by higher temperatures in the North Pole. The Arctic oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases. Such phenomena has weakened due to global warming, so cold air in the North Pole has been pushed by warm air to middle latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. An official at the weather agency said, “We cannot jump to the conclusion that the latest cold wave resulted from climate change. Over the long term, however, it can be seen as a phenomenon of climate change.”

Korea has suffered many weather anomalies this year. On Jan. 4, the central region had 25.8 centimeters of snow, the most since 1937. In spring, the number of rainy days hit 34.7, the highest since 1973, and that of sunshine hours was just 77 percent the usual level. Summer also saw record hot weather. In fall, 259.9 millimeters of torrential rain paralyzed the center of Seoul on Sept. 21. The annual average temperature on the Korean Peninsula has risen 1.5 degrees over the last 100 years, and certain experts predict a rise of another 4 degrees. Are climate changes bringing about a catastrophe?


University Study Confirms Renewable Energy Isn’t Economically Feasible

Colorado State University recently completed a study on the economic feasibility of increasing the usage of renewable energy. The results of this study were published in the world-renowned science periodical, The Coloradoan. Another stimulus-funded study of the obvious? No, what we have here is simply a heavy dose of reality for academicians who aren’t willing to match their rhetoric with their pocketbook. Some of the quotes in this article are quite humorous.
Fort Collins campus President Tony Frank acknowledges that the 2008 plan to “rapidly” become carbon-neutral won’t be a reality for decades because the university can’t afford to make major changes right now.

It took them two years to figure this out? Business owners have been saying for much longer that forcing draconian cuts in emissions would harm their bottom line. Apparently it’s acceptable for businesses to absorb the increased costs, but not a university.
One major challenge for CSU is that its emissions have actually been going up in recent years. In fiscal year 2006, CSU emitted 217,070 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Those emissions rose 7 per-cent by 2009.

An expanding business generates more emissions. Who knew?
For us, you’d have to really jack up tuition and put it toward plans like that.

Really? You mean mandating a huge reduction in emissions would require a business to pass on those costs to its customers?
We could save a lot of energy by sending the students home, sending the researchers home. But that’s not what we do here.

Colorado State University learned more about basic economics here than they ever could have from a government-funded study. While I’d love to believe that this knowledge will be passed on to the greater academic community, I just can’t imagine that it will. The irony of their own comments are completely lost on them.


Pressure on Australia as Japan stalls plans for Warmist laws

JAPAN'S decision to postpone its plans for an ETS by 2013 has increased pressure on Julia Gillard over her goal of pricing carbon next year. The postponement has also set back efforts for a global market to cut global carbon pollution.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt called on the Prime Minister to rule out an emissions trading scheme by New Year's Day in the wake of the Japanese move.

The decision by the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter and Australia's second-largest trading partner to postpone the scheme for a year comes after the US also stepped back from a national emissions trading scheme and as international firms remain concerned about lax pollution controls in China, which has no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Labor and Greens-backed climate change committee is looking at ways to cut carbon emissions and the Productivity Commission is examining carbon reduction regimes around the world.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has repeatedly argued that Australia is "locking our economy into failure" without a carbon price. Two weeks ago, he defended the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, dumped by the former prime minister. He said it had included an emissions trading scheme that would have "provided the greatest certainty that Australia would meet its emissions reductions targets".

But, Mr Hunt said, the government's plans were "now in tatters". "First Canada, second the US and now Japan have all determined that there is a better way to cut emissions than a massive electricity tax. "The Prime Minister should drop this electricity tax before New Year's Day."

The government should look at the Coalition's approach of market-based incentives for emissions abatement, he said. "The choice for Australia is now a massive new tax or emissions reductions by focusing on our strengths."

Mr Combet has repeatedly argued that a price on carbon is an essential economic reform that will create an incentive to reduce pollution, stimulate investment in low-emission technology and provide greater certainty for business investment.

"It will also enhance our ability to influence the direction of the international climate change negotiations and provide encouragement for a binding agreement including all major emitters," Mr Combet told the Investor Group on Climate Change this month.

"We either grasp this opportunity for an orderly, planned and gradual transition, or face the later prospect of economic adjustment at greater cost and dislocation - in circumstances where other countries have taken the lead and the competitive advantage."

The Japanese government move came after pressure from business, which was concerned an ETS would add to costs and limit their ability to compete against rivals in China and India who would not face the same restrictions.

The Japanese government remains committed to levying a tax on CO2 emissions from fuel in October next year and to the expansion of a pilot plan for renewable sources of electricity.

At the global climate change meetings in Cancun, Mexico, Japan opposed extension of the Kyoto Protocol, calling it unfair because it did not include 70 per cent of the world's emissions, with top polluters China and the US absent.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government had planned to launch an ETS, under which companies would essentially buy and sell licences to pollute, in the fiscal year beginning April 2013 but had postponed it until at least 2014. The environment and other ministers decided to postpone the plan, saying the country would first "carefully consider it".

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the pollutants companies can emit and then requires heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less, creating financial incentives to cut emissions



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prostituting medicine to climate politics

By Michael Keane, a bioethicist, consultant anaesthetist and lecturer in public health

Medicine and science connote objectivity and the public may innocently assume contributions from the medical profession are dispassionate facts that lack political and ideological intrusion.

However, the medical profession, like every other human endeavour, operates within the realm of the human condition. In this context it is wholly expected there will be a natural tendency for the opinion and political agendas of doctors to be communicated as if they were based on science and research.

To coincide with the recent climate change meeting in Cancun, Mexico, The Lancet medical journal is promoting the Climate and Health Council, "established to enable health professionals around the world to take personal and collective action against the causes of climate change, and to insist that global health is central in climate change negotiations".

Implicit is an appeal that based on "evidence" and research doctors have an obligation, if not moral duty, to support, among various actions, carbon emission reduction strategies. However, is it ethical for doctors to be promoting such strategies under the guise of public health? The strategies to reduce carbon emissions must, necessarily, force some people to adopt behaviour against their will for the benefit of others.

This defines an ethical dilemma, trading the welfare of present versus future generations. In modern ethics the principle of autonomy reigns supreme. However, autonomy is legitimately overruled when there is a compelling argument under the ethical principle of justice. Is there a compelling case?

Many, including The Lancet, still unquestionably reference Britain's Stern review to justify the benefits of action now, despite significant controversy over the review's extraordinarily pessimistic assumptions. To be sure, within economist Nicholas Stern's review the supposed health effects have been factored into the costs of global warming along with non-market factors.

Yet many economists, including Indur Goklany, demonstrate that even if we were to accept Stern's questionable assumptions, tomorrow's generations will still be far better off than we are today, even if we do nothing about global warming. For instance, inaction on climate change will mean those living 100 years from now will be only three to 7.5 times better off than we are today, instead of 3.2 to eight times. If we do nothing, descendants of those living in the present developing world will be only 10 to 60 instead of 11 to 65 times better off.

The developing world is where children still die for want of food, millions of women will leak faeces and urine for the rest of their lives for want of basic medical care at birth and where millions die from easily preventable diseases that are almost unheard of in developed countries. There exists the real potential that many in the developing world will be sacrificed on the altar of politically correct ideology. In even the most pessimistic analysis, the potential health effects of climate change are dwarfed by those caused by lack of economic development.

Furthermore, is it ethical to justify action now to protect the welfare of future generations based on the following preposterous assumptions? Zero technological advances; future generations will make no attempt to adapt to climate change; no ways to better people's lives will be discovered including no cures for cancer and chronic diseases and no development of social institutions to foster peace and freedom; and Stern's use of a near zero discount rate which many incorrectly believe represents ethical parity between generations but in fact values those in the future more than those now.

Common sense dictates that there is a relationship between the degree to which a system is complex and the opportunity for ideology to influence the reporting of the science.

In clinical medicine debate can rage for decades over the effect of a single drug used in a single situation. Despite the fact trials can be done and empiric data collected, there are always factors and elements that can be disputed. Consider, then, the difficulty in trying to predict the health effects of changing climates hundreds of years down the track in a world in which we cannot fathom the available technology and economic development.

In this context, to whatever the degree the climate science is "settled", the evidence now available to analyse the health effects of climate change is contemptuously feeble.

Many of the supposed health consequences such as food and water scarcity, infectious diseases and exposure to heat relate to the developing world and are easily remedied by measures already available to those in developed nations.

Much of that evidence conforms to anti-West ideology that ignores the elephant in the room concerning economic development. Much of the data relating to the potential effects on the developed world is already obsolete subsequent to the implementation of simple public health measures. Overall, is the health of those in the developed world severely worse than that of our ancestors 150 years ago because the world has warmed 1.5 degrees?

The Chaser would do well to set up a stall in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows and ask people on the street to reduce their economic welfare so those in Toorak can avoid the catastrophe of being a mere 10 times better off than Broadmeadows residents instead of 10.5 times.

If we're considering such an important issue as people's health why do we rely on the analyses of single, politically appointed economists with no significant history in climate economics such as Stern and Ross Garnaut? A group of economists seasoned in many aspects of climate change economics (Copenhagen Consensus) have performed a far more compelling analysis that places carbon reduction as one the most inefficient ways to improve health and welfare.

Revealingly, the CHC declares on its "about" page: "Thirty years ago, health professionals from the USA and the former Soviet Union crossed borders to found the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War movement, an international body of health professionals dedicated to action against nuclear war. Today we will initiate an equally global movement of health professionals to tackle climate change." (There is nothing wrong with the prevention of nuclear war; it is a noble goal, but it is not related to the health effects of global warming.)

In summary, it is legitimate to hold a political opinion regarding action on global warming. But from a public health perspective it would be equally valid to argue for as many coal-fired power plants to be built in Africa, India and China as is humanly possible.


As blizzards batter the US East coast, even some "Guardian" readers are becoming skeptical about Warmism

Excerpts below from both the "Guardian" article and comments from its readers:

The East coast of the US was today recovering from a blizzard that brought air travel to a standstill in New York and other cities, paralysed rail services and hit a dozen states.

More than 3,000 flights were cancelled, mostly from New York's three main airports, stranding tens of thousands of people returning home and to work after the Christmas holiday on some of the busiest travel days of the year.

Planes were grounded in New York through most of Sunday and much of today, while airports along the east coast grappled with cancellations and long delays that were expected to continue for several days.

Six states, from North Carolina to New Jersey, declared snow emergencies, including Virginia. South Carolina and Georgia had their first Christmas snow in more than a century.

New York's central park was buried under about 50cm of snow, and parts of New Jersey recorded 75cm in a few hours. Strong winds, gusting up to 55mph, helped create drifts more than one metre deep.

Hundreds of passengers were stuck on at least three New York subway trains through the night because of the snow. Although some were theoretically able to leave the trains, officials said there was nowhere for them to go. Others were trapped between stations for hours.

The city's emergency services asked people not to call for an ambulance unless absolutely necessary after many became stuck in snow.


Some of the comments:

Well this wasn't what they were predicting a few years ago is it?

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, October 4, 2006 (ENS) - Global warming will cause major changes to the climate of the U.S. Northeast if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, scientists said today. Warmer annual temperatures, less snow, more frequent droughts and more extreme rainstorms are expected if current warming trends continue, the scientists said in a new study, and time is running out for action to avoid such changes to the climate.

The Northeast's climate is already changing, the report said, as spring is arriving sooner, summers are hotter and winters are warmer and less snowy.

The report was released by the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA), a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of independent scientists from universities across the Northeast and the nation.


That's the climate science view (as of four years ago).


One Arctic Tern does not a winter make, so to speak.

But that cuts both ways. The run of mild winters was a relatively short one, and yet we had the Union of Concerned Scientists telling us that:

"Across the globe, and here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities"


Well which is it? Can we detect anthropogenic forcing from winter weather or can't we? I'm guessing the answer is yes, but over longer time scales. I think 30 years is the usual period stated.

So why do they rush out a report after a run of only five or six mild winters claiming it as validation of their climate models? Where was the caveat that global warming could lead to snowier, colder winters in that report?


You may well be right, although I haven't been able to find a peer-reviewed article stating that 2010 was the warmest year ever globally. Perhaps you could direct me to one in a reputable academic journal?

But here's something to consider: the world has been warming gradually since the end of what's colloquially known as "the little ice age" around 1850. So you would expect each year to be a little warmer than the preceding year, broadly speaking.

The IPCC states that anthropogenic forcing can only be considered detectable after 1970, as Co2 emission prior to that were not large enough to affect the climate.

So, the question is not whether the globe is getting warmer - temperature change of some kind is always happening - but whether that warming is anomalous and if it is, whether it can be conclusively tied to Co2 emissions.

Simply stating that any given year was warmer than the year before does not prove anthropogenic forcing. But I'm sure you knew that.


Climate Scientists 2006: winters in US “becoming warmer, less snowy”

“Listen to the climate scientists” – that’s the refrain you always get from the warmists. Their argument is that we simply don’t know enough about “the science” to make our own judgments, and must bow down before superior wisdom.

But the problem is, if we did that, we’d be changing our minds with the weather – literally. Case in point: only a few years ago in 2006 a report was released by a body called ‘The northeast Climate Impacts Assessment’. Press releases informed us that this body was a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of independent scientists from universities across the Northeast and the nation.

Heavyweight stuff. The full report is (for the moment) available online here.

The Union of Concerned Scientists published the results of the study on its climatechoices website and summarized them thus:

"Across the globe, and here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities

Again we see the same claim – warmer, milder winters are entirely consistent with global warming. No mention of global warming causing extreme cold and heavy snow. No predictions of colder weather to come. But why bother with all that when you can simply issue another press release when it gets colder and claim you predicted this all along?


The destructive EPA

Not even Ebenezer Scrooge had the stomach to fire people during the holidays. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, plans to move full speed ahead with new regulations on January 2 that will likely cost many Americans their jobs before the New Year’s Eve party hats have even been put away.

In a nutshell, the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule will treat emissions from renewable biomass energy the same as emissions from the use of fossil fuels, despite the fact that both policymakers and scientists have long considered biomass emissions to be carbon-neutral due to the life cycle of the forests from which biomass is produced.

This new rule and regulatory uncertainty could spell the end of the biomass energy industry by removing the carbon-neutral status of biomass and, consequently, the biggest incentive to continue investing in it. Recent estimates have shown that biomass generated from forest byproducts could supply as much as 15 percent of the nation’s renewable energy by 2021, yet this will likely never be realized if biomass producers are forced to comply with arbitrary, unfair and unnecessary regulations like those in the Tailoring Rule.

Unfortunately, the Tailoring Rule won’t just disincentivize the use of renewable biomass energy. It will also have widespread effects on our energy options, as well as jobs and the economy.

Forisk Consulting recently released a new study on the economic impact of the Tailoring Rule, which found that the regulations on biomass will result in the loss of over 134 renewable energy projects, up to 26,000 jobs, and $18 billion in capital investment. According to the study’s authors, 23 biomass energy projects have already been placed in limbo due to regulatory uncertainty. In Wisconsin, for example, Xcel Energy Inc. halted plans for a biomass energy plant that would have brought over 100 jobs to Ashland, Wisc., as well as a needed source of domestic power for the entire area. Xcel Energy cited the expected cost increases and regulatory uncertainty as reasons for canceling plans for the plant—and they are likely to be one of many energy companies doing the same.

The negative economic impact will be especially felt in Appalachia and rural parts of the South, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast, where biomass energy shows great promise as a source for domestic clean energy and innovative new jobs.

In addition to harming domestic renewable energy development and the economy, the EPA commits a crime that Mr. Scrooge would never commit: wasting money. In President Obama's “stimulus” program alone, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy have collectively spent more than $100 million of taxpayer money to promote biomass power production.

The new study by Forisk Consulting only further confirms what bipartisan governors, U.S. Senators, and U.S. Representatives, state and local lawmakers, scientists, and forestry industry insiders have been saying all along—that the Tailoring Rule will hurt energy development, jobs, and the economy at a time when we need all three to be thriving.

Even Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN), the outgoing Chair of the House Agriculture, said before the election, “[The EPA is] screwing things up. They’re raising costs for people, they’re raising the price of food, and I don’t think they’re accomplishing anything.”

The intransigent EPA isn’t yet listening to the bipartisan, nationwide outcry against the Tailoring Rule. Perhaps they will finally begin to pay attention to this latest round of hard facts about the impact of their regulations before it’s too late.


Obama's regulators kowtow to Big Green, imperil economy

Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts.

Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation.

Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she got a green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve "cap-and-trade" legislation sought by Obama. Cap and trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat.

Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of Big Green activists angered over congressional rejection of cap and trade. She promises to issue a draft rule next year and a final rule in 2012 that will establish new "performance standards" for power plants and refineries. These standards will drive up the cost of energy, especially the electricity that lights our homes and powers our computers and the gas that keeps our cars and trucks running.

Not to be outdone, Salazar countered toward the end of the week with an audacious end-around play of his own. The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the wilderness areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by Interior only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so. Big Green environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar's predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized Interior's public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a "Wild Lands" designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah and chairman of the Western Caucus in the House of Representatives, said Salazar's "decision will seriously hinder domestic energy development and further contributes to the uncertainty and economic distress that continues to prevent the creation of new jobs in a region that has unduly suffered from this administration's radical policies. This is little more than an early Christmas present to the far left extremists who oppose the multiple use of our nation's public lands."

If these White House-sanctioned bureaucratic coups against congressional authority are allowed to stand, the tombstone on the U.S. economy should read: "Here's lies the most powerful engine of prosperity the world has ever seen. Strangled by Barack Obama, Lisa Jackson and Ken Salazar."


What If the Energy Isn't "Green"?

It’s an extraordinary thing when an American President says he wants to “bankrupt” an American industry. And while it’s difficult to know the implications of such a thing – we may be in the process of finding out.

Back in January of 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama sat for an interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. In that discussion, our future President was quizzed aggressively about his “green energy” agenda, and how he would usher in an era of “green jobs.” He was also asked how, as President, he would curtail the manufacture, sale, and consumption of more traditional energy forms that are regarded as environmentally hazardous.

Responding to these questions, a fatigued and hoarse-voiced Senator Obama stated, in part:
“Let me describe my overall policy. What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in to place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gasses that is emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market, and the ratcheted-down caps that are proposed every year. So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re gonna be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted…”

From there, Mr. Obama went on to further explain that the revenues generated by “charging polluters” for their emissions, would be utilized to create wind and solar power plants. Thus, the candidate reasoned, America would begin a new era of “clean energy.”

For a variety of different reasons, these were some extraordinary remarks from a presidential candidate. For one, they presupposed that things always go according to plans, when the government is running the show. Take money away from the coal industry and give it to the “solar” and “wind” industries , so Mr. Obama reasoned, and everything would be fine – his idyllic vision of “green energy” would necessarily come to pass, simply because he said so. History shows that governmental endeavors are never this simplistic (even the fairly recent history of our government’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina demonstrate this), but politicians of Mr. Obama’s ilk don’t like to be bound by the lessons of history.

The candidate’s remarks were also extraordinary for their callousness. People like Barack Obama who lack an adequate understanding of free market economics, often fail to understand the human dimensions of economic activity. They envision some sort of arbitrarily defined “collective good” in their policies – in this case it was Obama’s dream of “clean energy” – but they fail to understand that unless one first seeks to ensure the wellbeing of human individuals, then there will never be any “collective” wellbeing at all.

In the process, this dangerous kind of thinking reduces economic decision making down to only considering inanimate things – in this case for Mr. Obama, it was all about “coal,” “wind,” “pollution” and “dollars” -while the actual lives of people employed in the coal industry weren’t even considered.

Yet Mr. Obama’s remarks, in as much as he confidently stated that his policies would “bankrupt” the coal industry, did have real implications for real individual human lives. Why would anyone – least of all a future President of the United States – want to “bankrupt” an industry, and put people out of work? One would have thought that these remarks may have had struck a note of concern for voters in coal producing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana or Ohio.

But now, less than two years into his presidency, some real human beings who are employed in the coal industry are suffering.

Last week in the coal mining town of Logan, West Virginia, residents there convened the first of several prayer vigils for the saving of their coal businesses. Members of the clergy joined the broader community to offer spiritual assistance as people suffer the loss of jobs, and to pray that their industry will be sustained and reinvigorated.

At least one participant in the event noted that part of the coal industry’s struggle may very well be a matter of bad public relations, and that there may very well be some people who don’t want the industry to exist. There are those, noted Jim Frye of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, who are seeking to “severely limit our industry,” and there are also those “who would argue to destroy our industry…”

These concerns should not come as a surprise, given President Obama’s campaign pledge. Granted, his glorious “cap and trade” vision has not happened yet, but more stringent regulations on the coal industry have, with more “crack downs” from the E.P.A. are on the way in 2011. And it is a sad day in America when Americans must pray for protection from their own government.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Monday, December 27, 2010

A changed tune

What the WWF said just two years ago: "Global warming means milder winters and less snowfall" Ergo: We are not seeing any global warming

“From the European Alps to the Asian Himalayas, the US Rockies and the Central American Andes, global warming means milder winters and less snowfall”, the petition said. “Ice and snow are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, and as avid skiers and snowboarders we see our beloved sports endangered.”


It's Britain's coldest Christmas Day ever as mercury plummets to MINUS 18C: UK set for biggest December freeze since 1890

Britons awoke yesterday to the coldest Christmas Day on record. In parts of the country, the mercury touched minus 18C and few places saw temperatures rise above freezing. At 8am in Shawbury, Shropshire, it was minus 15.9C and in Altnaharra, in the Highlands of Scotland, minus 18.2C.

Forecasters predict this December is likely to be the coldest on record. The previous coldest was in 1890, when the average temperature for the whole month for England was minus 0.8C.

The average temperature for all of Britain up to Christmas Eve this year was also minus 0.8C, though forecasters said the weather would improve from Wednesday.

The Arctic snap brought travel chaos in the run-up to Christmas, with thousands of passengers having to sleep in terminal buildings after their flights were delayed by snow and ice.

Their spirits will hardly have been lifted by the revelation that airports throughout Europe and America have put Britain to shame with military-style weather-busting operations. European airport bosses were often able to call on many times more snowploughs, snowblowers and de-icing vehicles than the UK’s busiest airport, which boasts just 46 specialist vehicles. As our pictures show, foreign airports often deployed more than half-a-dozen machines, side by side to clear runways while Heathrow appeared to use just two at a time.

During the chaos at Heathrow, which is run by Spanish-owned BAA, some stranded passengers spent three nights sleeping on the floor and on luggage trolleys. British airline bosses accused BAA’s £1million-a-year chief executive Colin Matthews of ‘blowing it big-time’ as foreign rivals managed to get most of their flights to take off and land.

Unlike BAA, which spent just £500,000 on new snow-clearing equipment in the past year – the equivalent of half Mr Matthews’s pay – continental competitors spent tens of millions to ensure airports would stay open in such conditions.

Similarly, Gatwick, which is owned by a group of international investment funds, has more vehicles than Heathrow, with the first of two new snowploughs delivered last weekend. Gatwick is spending £9 million on new vehicles.

On the Continent, airport emergency plans swung into action to keep passengers moving. At Schiphol in Amsterdam, 98 snowploughs and snowblowers were in action. Although the airport was shut for periods last week, it maintained the best record of flight clearances in Europe.

Arlanda airport in Stockholm has never closed since it opened in 1962. It boasts the world’s fastest snow-clearing team who use a fleet of 17 Plough, Sweep and Blow (PSB) machines specially built by Volvo. Nine of the machines were being driven alongside each other, meaning that two mile-long runways, each 150ft wide, were cleared in less than ten minutes. There was also a fleet of 30 other snowploughs and snowblowers and 20 de-icing machines.

North American airports lead the way when it comes to coping in wintry conditions. Giant snow-melting machines nicknamed ‘snowzillas’ are operated by almost all of the larger airports, including New York and Toronto, where BAA boss Mr Matthews was born.

New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare and Toronto’s Pearson international airports each run 200 to 300 pieces of heavy snow-moving equipment. And Chicago has 225 machines. One senior airline executive said last night: ‘BAA and their chief executive blew it big-time last week. ‘They were shambolic and all over the place. There was poor planning and little communication both internally in BAA or with the airlines.’


"The country is grinding to a halt NOW, and they are still prattling about global warming in the period 2030 to 2100?"

Coldest Day Ever Recorded in Ireland

On Tuesday this week, the high temperature in Ballyhaise, County Cavan, clocked in at 16 degrees Fahrenheit. As Head forecaster Gerald Fleming told the Irish Times, "That's the lowest daily maximum ever recorded in Ireland, which makes it the coldest day ever recorded in Ireland."

This new low did not shock the Irish. They have been getting used to sub-freezing temperatures. This is the coldest December on record in Ireland and throughout much of Northern Europe. It is likely the snowiest as well. The weather has thoroughly disrupted European travel and is starting to damage the economy.

Not all winters are like this. I saw no snow the year I lived in Ireland in the early 1990s, and in the early 1980s, during the winter I spent in France-Nancy to be precise-the temperature never dropped below freezing, even at night.

For old time's sake, I have been tracking the weather reports out of Europe. Yet in all that I have read in the mainstream European press, I have seen no attempt to reconcile the present cold with the promised heat, not even to chalk the flagrant disparity up to "climate change." It is as if the reader is not supposed to notice.

But many do. The blogs and editorial letters boil over with outrage. Writes one not atypical letter writer in the UK, "Snowfall, ice, Arctic-level cold and all the rest have caused major disruption to the UK infrastructure in the last few weeks, not least because our gilded civil servants have been looking in the wrong direction. And they still are. . . . The country is grinding to a halt NOW, and they are still prattling about global warming in the period 2030 to 2100? These people are truly off their trolleys. They are seriously mentally ill."

The Europeans are learning what we have always known, as Michael Savage might put it, "Liberalism is a mental disorder."


The reference above is to a recent heading and subheading in The Guardian, which reads:

"UK's infrastructure will struggle to cope with climate change, report warns. Floods, rising temperatures and higher sea levels threaten the UK's road, rail, water and energy networks between 2030 and 2100"

The freeze hits Moskva

A freeze that reaches from the USA, through Britain, through Western Europe, through central Europe and into Eastern Europe is no mere "local" event, as the Warmists claim

Icy rain shut down Moscow's largest airport for nearly 15 hours on Sunday, coated roads with ice and left more than 200,000 people and 14 hospitals without electricity.

The rain struck the city on Saturday night. Workers were scrambling to restore the power supply after heavy ice snapped power lines, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Moscow's major airport Domodedovo shut down on Sunday morning after the power supply was cut off. No planes were allowed to land or take off for about 15 hours before the airport allowed outbound flights, opening check-in for two dozen domestic destinations. The full power supply had not yet been restored.

Moscow's other two major airports, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo, remained open but experienced delays.

Russia's chief sanitary offical urged Moscow residents not to risk walking on the icy streets and to stay indoors.

Unlike the rest of Europe, Moscow had no airport delays or major road accidents last week due to winter weather.


A Blizzard of Lies in The New York Times

By Alan Caruba

Comment on: “Bundle Up. It’s Global Warming” – December 26, 2010, New York Times opinion article by Judah Cohen

It’s Orwellian when cold is declared warmth. It’s deceitful and insulting when it occurs in the midst of a huge blizzard shutting down much of the northeast.

I would not even trust the date on the front page of The New York Times because the newspaper long ago lost touch with reality, with sanity, and, one can only assume, readers fleeing to other sources for the news.

When the oft-called “newspaper of record” chooses a day on which Mother Nature is demonstrating what tons of snow and chill air can do to a huge swath of the nation’s northeast with effects reaching Tallahassee, they are either trying to see just how stupid their readers are or doubling down on the global warming hoax they have disseminated since Jim Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute declared we’re all doomed back in 1988.

If you want a lesson in Orwell’s “doublethink”, the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts or ideas at the same time, you need only read the first line of Cohen’s article: “The earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside.” In other words, who are you going to believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?

Judah Cohen is identified as “the director of seasonal forecasting at an atmospheric and environmental research firm.” No further details are offered such as the name of the firm or Cohen’s academic credentials. Is he a meteorologist? If so, he is one of the worst I have ever encountered.

It happens that I know quite a few meteorologists and climate scientists. One of them is Joseph D’Aleo, an American Meteorological Society Fellow, and editor of a science-based Internet site, Ice Cap. Suffice to say, D’Aleo has been one of a hardy band of skeptics that have countered the global warming hoax with hard science, frequently dissecting the bogus “science” put forth by government agencies including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and other such sources.

In an article titled “Why We Need a New Global Data Set”, D’Aleo wrote the following:

“As I showed in the first analysis, the long term global temperature trends in their data bases have been shown by numerous peer review papers to be exaggerated by 30% to 50% and in some cases much more by issues such as uncorrected urbanization (urban heat island), land use changes, bad siting, bad instrumentation, and ocean measurement techniques that changed over time.”

“NOAA made matters worse by removing the satellite ocean temperature measurement which provide more complete coverage and was not subject to the local issues except near the coastlines and islands.”

‘The result has been the absurd and bogus claims by NOAA and the alarmists that we are in the warmest decade in 100 or even a 1000 years or more and our oceans are warmest ever.”

While Cohen is parroting the World Meteorological Organization’s latest claim that “2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record” in England, the Daily Mail was reporting on December 5 that “Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.”

This parallels the weather occurring now in the U.S. where new low temperature records are being set while cities like Columbia, S.C., had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887!

Suffice to say that Cohen’s article repeats the usual blather about melting Artic sea ice while waiting until the very end to admit that “the Eastern United States, North Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinary snowy and cold winters since the turn of the century.”

A word to all who did not study meteorology; the World Meteorological Organization, a creature of the United Nations is also the mother ship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC, responsible for the Kyoto Protocols that called for limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, was totally discredited in 2009 when the exchange of thousands of emails revealed its chief perpetrators of the global warming hoax were manipulating the climate data it reported.

To trust the WMO or IPCC at this point in time is futile and dangerous. To trust the garbage coming out of NOAA, GISS and other government entities purporting to predict the climate is also to trust the Environmental Protection Agency that will announce in January 2011 its plans to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, claiming they are “causing” a global warming that is not happening.

Americans are being deliberately misled by rogue government agencies with no scientific justification for their continued existence.

As for The New York Times, it is unfit to line the bottom of a canary’s birdcage.


A "Concerned scientist" does not know when she is being sent up

Brenda Ekwurzel, Ph.D., Climate scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists replies in grade-school prose to a mocker. It's a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I read her first sentence or else my keyboard would have been a mess. Note also that she is one of those who claim that a freeze covering most of the Northern hemisphere is just a "local" event. What a chump poor Brenda is!

Dear Brenda,

I know our fingerprints are all over global climate change. I know the science is clear that it's happening now and that it's caused by all the human activities that emit heat-trapping gases. And I know that people, countries, and natural systems are at risk from global warming. But I don't know what to say to friends, family, or colleagues who question the existence of climate change when cold weather sets in.

I admit that sometimes, when my ears are freezing as I walk to the subway, I grumble to myself, "Where's global warming when you need it!" When it's cold, I just don't know how to explain to people that Earth has a fever. Just the other day I was talking to someone at a holiday party who said the blizzards we had last winter disproved global warming.

I'm not the kind of person who always has to set people straight even when I know they're wrong. I usually let people have their say, but I'm really appalled at the lack of understanding of basic science. If you have any suggestions, especially when it comes to winter weather, could you let me know? What can I say to people who pooh-pooh global warming? And why do they hold their tongues in summer when we're wilting in a record-high heat wave?

Cold in Winter

* * *

Dear Cold in Winter,

The hallmark of winter is cold, at least in North America. Even with climate change, you're still going to wake up on a January morning and see snow falling. I walk to the bus stop, too, so I know about cold ears and fingers. As a climate scientist, I have plenty of compelling facts at hand about global warming, and trust me, it's hard to explain the overwhelming evidence of climate change when people are feeling winter's wind in their faces. I understand the problem you describe, for sure.

You may want to remind your friends that weather is different from climate. The day-to-day weather -- even a cold snap or a heat wave -- doesn't prove or disprove climate change. Climate is the prevailing condition--temperature, precipitation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure -- of a region over a long period of time. For example, in Wisconsin you expect cold, snowy winters. In Mexico you expect mild, sunny winter weather....

It's also helpful to put our local conditions into perspective. If you look only at our country, you're seeing only 2 percent of Earth's surface. That's like watching a football game and seeing only what's going on between the 48-yard line and the 50-yard line. Well-documented measurements all across the world over the past several decades show that Earth is definitely warming. Science takes a whole-world view, just like watching the football game in high definition on a wide-screen television.

At least, don't shy away from telling people it's winter. You just might need to remind them when winter comes next year.

Your friend,


The Cancun Climate Con

As conference delegates shivered in Cancun during its coldest weather in 100 years, power-hungry elitists labored behind the scenes to implement the real goal of this “global warming” summit, this sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16), this clever political con job.

That the Cancun summit was never a climate conference at all has become increasingly obvious. Even before it began, IPCC Working Group III co-chair Ottmar Edenhofer said, COP-16 is actually “one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.” In fact, it has “almost nothing to do with the environmental policy.” Its real purpose “is redistributing the world's wealth and natural resources.”

A few days later, IPCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told conference attendees, “The world is looking for new answers to the political, economic and social challenges which all countries face.” That the “new answers” focused primarily on how much more money and technology developed nations “owe” poor countries further affirmed the proceedings’ true nature.

As Viscount Christopher Monckton has accurately noted, the entire UN IPCC process is a “monstrous transfer of power from once-proud, once-sovereign, once-democratic nations” … to the corrupt, unelected Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The grand design – built on the model of the European Union – is to give the Secretariat power to compel once-independent nations to compile and submit vast quantities of information to the UN, pay ever-increasing taxes to unelected internationalists, and do the bureaucrats’ bidding on a host of issues. They are especially keen to compel the replacement of affordable, reliable hydrocarbon energy with “eco-friendly,” “sustainable” wind, solar and biofuel power.

Claims that “the science is settled” and there is “scientific consensus” on manmade climate disasters have already been demolished. The ClimateGate emails, revelations that numerous “peer-reviewed” IPCC “studies” were actually environmentalist press releases and student papers, and admissions by alarmists themselves took care of that. “There has been no statistically significant warming” since 1995, Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit admitted to the BBC in February 2010.

“No kidding,” his fellow Brits would tell him now, amid one of the UK’s coldest winters in a century.

In fact, there is not now and never has been a “consensus” on manmade global warming. A new report by Marc Morano, of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and, lists more than 1,000 scientists who have openly challenged the IPCC and claims that humans, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide are causing a climate crisis. One of them, Swedish climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, accused the alarmist community of relying on inadequate computer models to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming, to generate funding, gain attention and influence public policy.

“If this is what ‘science’ has become,” he added, “I as a scientist am ashamed.”

However, these cold realities have done little to chasten the alarmists or temper their tone. Far too much money, power and prestige are at stake. Confronted in Cancun with Dr. Jones’ admission, a startled IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri pointed to the discredited Fourth Assessment Report (of which Edenhofer was a lead author) as his sole source for “scientific” information – and refused even to say whether he agreed that warming had stopped 15 years ago.

During the widely covered CFACT press conference in Cancun, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer addressed some of the reasons so many scientists dissent from IPCC orthodoxy. Many of the scary scenarios and predictions of imminent crisis, he explained, are based on computerized climate models that assume carbon dioxide drives climate change, but are deficient or erroneous in reflecting major climate mechanisms. For example, clouds cause negative feedback (cooling effects), and not just the positive feedbacks (heat trapping effects and warming) assumed by nearly all climate models.

Dr. Spencer also challenged a recent paper that continues to insist that clouds only trap heat and warm the planet. This paper defies science and common sense, he noted, and is “one more reason the public is increasingly distrustful of the scientific community, when it comes to research having enormous policy implications” for energy use, jobs, economic growth, and human health and welfare.

In short, debunking alarmist climate science is relatively easy. The much harder job has always been to expose the true intentions of the UN climate cabal. CFACT and others did this in Cancun, by demanding an end to “energy poverty,” condemning phony “climate change” obstacles to affordable energy, and insisting that poor countries be encouraged and helped to achieve the health, prosperity and modern living standards that only hydrocarbons can ensure and sustain.

When billionaires Ted Turner and Richard Branson tried to discuss ways to profit from global warming hype, “renewable” energy and CO2 emissions trading, a team of CFACT college students exposed their hypocrisy and anti-people climate profiteering. Wind, solar and biofuel companies are “producing products people don’t want and can't afford,” the students pointed out. Even more immorally, they are conspiring to keep poor families impoverished and afflicted by malaria, lung infections, dysentery and other diseases of poverty.

Meanwhile, champions of “climate ethics” and “environmental justice” in dozens of rich countries are all too happy to provide what Lord Monckton called “bailout bucks for bedwetting big businesses,” to ensure their continued cooperation with the wealth redistribution scheme. He also slammed the notion of giving kleptocratic governments $100 billion a year – which will do little except perhaps keep poor families from starving. If they are to achieve their hopes and dreams, they need abundant, reliable, affordable energy: ie, fossil fuels.

Climate alarmists say poor families will be devastated by global warming, unless we slash carbon dioxide emissions. No. The world’s poor are being devastated right now by climate alarmism. US Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) and others who say poor countries must live “sustainably” and rely on “renewable” energy are rich, callous hypocrites, Canadian policy analyst Redmond Weissenberger said. They would never live that way themselves, but they want Earth’s poorest people to forego “the energy, wealth, health, clean water, safety and longer lives we enjoy, thanks to fossil fuels.”

A CFACT-organized bus tour drove this fact home. Delegates and journalists visited a village whose residents work at lavish Cancun hotels, but whose own houses are built of cardboard, plywood, rope and sticks – and lack electricity, running water, sanitation, trash pickup or even a functional public school.

“It is wrong to erect obstacles to progress for communities like this,” CFACT President David Rothbard told tour participants. “And yet, global warming campaigners are in Cancun, proposing treaty provisions that would permanently trap these families in energy poverty, while doing nothing to stabilize the Earth’s constantly and naturally changing climate.”

“The UN has always been about the politics of [climate science],” Morano told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto. “They produce the best science that politics can manufacture, and their goal has always been global governance. They openly admit it and are using climate scares to achieve it.”

Decent people everywhere must help ensure this does not happen. The battle will continue through COP-17 in Durban, South Africa and COP-18 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, during the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit that launched this power grab. We hope you will join us on the ramparts.



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