Friday, January 07, 2011

Hansen aims at the youth

Below are some excerpts from an absurdly adulatory article about Greenie bigmouth James Hansen. Calling his predictions about warming "prescient" after three exceptionally cold winters in a row shows how divorced from reality the writer is

Let me suggest some words for a song that Hansen could use to inspire the youth:

Onward! Onward!
Clearly sound the fanfares,
Onwards! Onward!
Youth doesn't know any fear.
Is that goal too high, yet
Youth will force it through.
Our banner is the New Time.

You can find the original of the song here

Dr. James Hansen, the visionary academic and NASA scientist whose prescient predictions of global warming in the 1980s were allegedly censored and watered down by both the Bush (I and II) and Clinton administrations, was in Westport on Wednesday, appealing to the young to rise up to defend the planet.

“I want to hear questions from the young, not the old,” Hansen told the standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 assembled in the Westport Public Library.

Hansen came to Westport to talk about his book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our last Chance to Save Humanity, published in 2009 by Bloomsbury USA.

The book, dedicated to his grandchildren Sophie, Connor and Jake, is a provocative call for direct action to address climate change, a course since taken dramatically by the self-described “slow-paced taciturn scientist from the Midwest.”

Frustration with the Obama Administration over its decision to allow mountaintop removal to capture coal was the last straw that turned Hansen into a fearless activist addressing rallies and getting himself arrested with others in acts of civil disobedience.

Alongside former Congressman Ken Hechler, then 94, and actress Darryl Hannah and 26 others, Hansen was arrested on June 23, 2009 by the West Virginia State Police on trespass charges after they entered property of a coal company dedicated to removal of mountaintops in the Coal River Valley.

“The science is clear. Mountaintop removal destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust,” he told the rally, according to Climate Science Watch, a division of the private Government Accountability Project. “Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished.”

“We have to phase out coal,” he said deliberately, illustrating his call to action with slides of graphs showing how carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere at every-increasing rates. [It sure is -- but the temperasture is not moving with it]

“We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades,” he said, predicting the impact from rising sea levels will devastate coastal communities worldwide. [The average temperature of the Antarctic is minus 40 degrees. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. Yet no IPCC scenario goes anywhere near predicting a temperature rise of 40 degrees. So Hansen is simply being a con-man here]

He maintained that radical expansion of nuclear power holds promise as a panacea, perhaps unaware of Westport's sensitivity to nuclear power. (Westport said "no" to nuclear in the 1970s and took the radical step of purchasing Cockenoe Island from United Illuminating, which had plans to site a nuclear power plant off Westport's shoreline.)


UN group warns of potential “food price shock”

When American motorists are made to drive around with poor people's food in the fuel tank of their motor vehicle, this is to be expected. Corn made into ethanol will feed no-one

The Food and Agricultural Organization said Wednesday that the world faces a "food price shock" after the agency's benchmark index of farm commodities prices shot up last month, exceeding the levels of the 2007-08 food crisis.

The warning from the U.N. body comes as inflation is becoming an increasing economic and political challenge in developing countries, including China and India, and is starting to emerge as a potential problem in developed nations.

Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO in Rome, said that the increase was "alarming" but that the situation was not yet a crisis similar to 2007-08, when food riots affected more than 30 poor countries, including Haiti, Bangladesh and Egypt. "The world faces a food price shock," he said, adding that a prolonged spike could lead to a food crisis.

The FAO said that its food price index - a basket tracking the wholesale cost of commodities such as wheat, corn, rice, vegetable oils, dairy products, sugar and meat - jumped to 214.7 points, exceeding the peak of 213.5 set in June 2008.

Abbassian said that agricultural commodities prices would probably rise further. "It will be foolish to assume this is the peak," he said.

But the FAO and food aid agencies noted the relatively stable prices for rice, one of the two most important agricultural commodities for global food security.

But the cost of wheat, the other critical staple, is rising quickly after poor harvests last year in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere. Corn, meat and poultry prices are also increasing.

Agricultural officials and traders are worried that agricultural commodities prices could rise further as the weather phenomenon la Nina intensifies. The pattern usually brings dryness to key growing areas of the United States, Argentina and Brazil.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that the current la Nina system would last at least three more months. Neil Plummer, a climatologist for the bureau in Melbourne, said that the latest phenomenon looked set to be the most powerful since the mid-1970s, when droughts ravaged crops and pushed the world into the most extreme food crisis since World War II.


More climate assertions that cannot stand sunlight upon them

Only secret data (i.e. non-science) can support Warmism

Phil Jones and his coauthors in the recent multiproxy study (Neukom et al 2010, (Climate Dynamics) Multiproxy summer and winter surface air temperature field reconstructions for southern South America covering the past centuries) did not archive proxy data in the Supplementary Information. Many proxy series used in the study are not otherwise publicly archived.

I wrote to lead author Raphael Neukom as follows:
Dear Dr Neukom, I notice that your recent multiproxy article uses a number of proxies that aren’t publicly archived. Do you plan to provide an archive of the data as used in your study? If not, could you please send me a copy of the data as used. Thanks for your attention, Regards, Steve McIntyre

I received the following answer refusing the data:
Dear Steve, Thanks for your interest in our work. Most of the non-publicly available records were provided to us for use within the PAGES LOTRED-SA initiative only and I am not authorized to further distribute them. You would need to directly contact the authors. I am sorry for that. If you are interested in a particular record, let me know and I can provide the contact details. Cheers, Raphael

Every inquiry into paleoclimate controversies, no matter how much whitewash was applied, concluded that climate scientists should archive data. If Neukom, Jones and their coauthors publish a multiproxy article, that means the multiproxy data, not just the output. If the contributing authors are not willing to archive their data, then it shouldn’t be used in a study in a climate journal. End of story.

Nor is it sufficient for the author to provide the addresses of the various contributors and force an interested reader to obtain data from each of them individually. There’s no guarantee that they will cooperate. The obligation rests with the publishing authors.

Making matters even worse in the present case is that many of the unarchived series were published by named Neukom coauthors. If they aren’t prepared to have their data see the light of day, don’t sign on as a coauthor and don’t allow Neukom to use your data.

While Phil Jones was not lead author of the study, he was a coauthor. As someone with recent adverse experience in data archiving issues, Jones should have insisted that the Neukom coauthors provide an exemplary data archive and, if they were unwilling to do so, Jones should have withdrawn as a coauthor.

Similarly, the University of East Anglia should have adopted policies that require its authors to ensure that proper data archiving practices are mandatory in publications in which UEA employees are coauthors. Either UEA has failed to adopt such a policy or, if they have, Jones has ignored it.

PAGES, the organization that has sponsored or acquiesced in this latest secrecy, has the following mission: "PAGES is a core project of IGBP [International Geosphere=Biosphere Program] and is funded by the U.S. and Swiss National Science Foundations and NOAA"

Climate scientists, rather than learning anything from Climategate, have, if anything, become more stubborn than ever. That international programs sponsored by funds from the Swiss NSF, US NSF and NOAA should sponsor and/or acquiesce in non-archiving was bad enough before Climategate, but totally unacceptable after Climategate.

The sending of Swiss and/or US federal funds to climate institutions and programs which do not adhere to data archiving policies seems a practical and useful topic for an oversight committee and I hope that one of them takes up the issue. If nothing else will change the archiving practices of climate scientists, maybe the funding agencies can.

And by the way, as I’ve said on many occasions, I don’t believe that new data policies are needed. If policies enunciated in the 1990s were applied to paleoclimate by NSF, I believe that that would deal with 95% of the problem in paleoclimate. However, in my opinion, NSF (paleoclimate) has become a cheerleader for the small paleoclimate industry and abdicated its obligations to ensure compliance with US federal data archiving policies.

I replied to Neukom as follows: "Thank you for your reply, which, unfortunately I do not accept. If you publish a multiproxy article using non-archived proxy data, you should obtain the consent of the contributors for archiving the data when the study is published or otherwise not use this data. It is your responsibility to obtain these consents, not the responsibility of the interested reader to try to obtain the data from potentially uncooperative contributors after the fact. I’ve posted on this incident at Climate Audit and if you wish to present your side of the story, please feel free to do so, Regards, Steve McIntyre


Destroying the Credibility of Science

By Alan Caruba

Back in 1990 when I founded The National Anxiety Center as a clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy, I was mainly concerned about the torrent of lies about global warming.

Their beginning is usually dated to an appearance by James E. Hansen before a congressional committee in 1988 in which he claimed that global warming would destroy the earth. To this day Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has held that position since 1981. There is no rational reason why he continues to be employed by the U.S. government.

Global warming has been widely discredited thanks to the November 2009 release of thousands of emails between UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “scientists” that revealed their collusion to rig the data that supported the fraud.

GLOBAL WARMING. Climate alarmists are already worrying that the public has grown so tired of their idiotic claims that huge blizzards are caused by “warming” they are beginning to pour money into the education of a new generation of “environmental journalists” to ensure that more such lies make it to the front page of your daily newspaper or via other media.

Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer’s dollars have been flushed down the federal government rat hole to fund “research” guaranteed to support the hoax. It gets worse. Despite the defeat of the Cap-and-Trade bill based on the Big Lie that carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases cause global warming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is attempting an end-run around Congress to impose limits on the carbon dioxide emissions of utilities and every form of manufacturing and business in America.

The EPA is engaged in a perversion of science, but what else is new? Americans have been ill-served by the alphabet soup of government agencies supposedly in place to protect the food we eat, medicines we take, the air and the water. In the process they are just as often stripping Americans of the protection afforded by pharmaceuticals and beneficial chemicals.

VACCINES v. AUTISM. A case in point is an article in the British Medical Journal that “accused a disgraced British doctor of committing an ‘elaborate fraud’ by faking data in his studies linking vaccines with autism.”

The result of that fraud was to convince thousands, if not millions, of parents that vaccines to protect their children against measles and mumps were a threat to their health. The ancillary question is why Andrew Wakefield’s paper was published in 1998. Science journals are expected to peer review such papers and determine if the data presented is valid. If it cannot be reproduced, it fails that test.

DDT. Starting in 1972, an EPA ban essentially ended its use anywhere in the nation and other nations followed suit. A year later a court upheld the EPA and that is an object lesson in what happens when matters of science are decided by men and women, lawyers, with no training or background in science. The DDT hoax continues to cause malaria deaths, particularly in Africa and mostly affecting women and children.

The U.S. is experiencing an outbreak of the bed bug population, eliminated decades ago, because the EPA has banned or limited the use of virtually every pesticide to exterminate them.

ALAR. Recall, too, the fraud perpetrated by environmental groups against Alar, a chemical that was widely used by apple growers to ensure that the crop would ripen in a fashion that permitted an efficient harvest. The Alar hoax cost American apple growers millions in lost revenue until it became known that Alar posed no health threat whatever.

SACCHARINE. Though cleared of charges dating from the 1980s that saccharin was a cancer-causing substance, it took until the 1990s to get it removed from the 9th edition of the “Report on Carcinogens” and it took until mid-December 2010 for the EPA to finally admit what everyone knew by then. You can thank “consumer” groups for foisting this fraud on everyone and agencies of the U.S. government for maintaining it until they no longer could.

BPA. A similar campaign exists to ban BPA, bisphenol-A, a chemical used to line plastic bottles and containers. It is literally a worldwide effort and it too is without any scientific merit. In the same way the claim that linked vaccines and autism, BPA is under attack, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. I have written about this in the past and intend to follow this to demonstrate how these “scientific” frauds debase all science in the process.

Aside from the fact that these claims always begin with a dubious “scientific” study and then escalate as other “scientists” climb on the funding bandwagon, the other element is always the role that the mainstream media plays in keeping the fraud alive until the sheer weight of evidence makes it impossible to do so.

Ultimately, this destroys the trust we normally accord to legitimate scientists, exhausting our ability and willingness to embrace the science that has prolonged and protected the lives of millions.


A Steady Dose of Atmospheric Detergent

Excerpt from a scientifically illiterate NYT writer below. He wishes for a "detergent" that would wipe out CO2. If that did happen all plant life would die -- starving us and all animals to death as well

To start the new year on a hopeful note, here is a piece of good news about the environment. A new study suggests that the level of a substance that acts as a kind of detergent in the atmosphere is a lot steadier than previously believed.

That may not sound like a big deal, but it is: it means that future pollution levels can be predicted with some confidence from current and projected emissions, and that the study therefore provides a firmer scientific basis for regulations and other efforts aimed at controlling those emissions. The affected pollutants include many of those that come from burning fossil fuels, as well as some gases that contribute to global warming, notably methane.

Scientists have long been uncertain about the variability of the detergent-like substance, known as the hydroxyl radical. It is formed in the atmosphere when ultraviolet light from the sun reacts with gases there, causing an atom of oxygen to link with an atom of hydrogen. The resulting substance is so chemically reactive that it disappears in less than a second by combining with another compound — often a pollutant, initiating the breakdown of that pollutant into simpler, less dangerous chemicals.

Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.


Australia's huge floods undermine Greenie panic

It feels like we're getting half the Pacific dumped on us where I am in Australia at the moment -- JR

Warren Truss

AS I sit surrounded by flooding, I wonder what difference the present weather will make to Australia's water policy.

During the years of drought, climate change zealots have been declaring every hot day proof of global warming and a catastrophic future. These extreme statements were always nonsense; just as it would be foolish to claim that recent cooler temperatures and widespread flooding is proof the climate is not changing.

Nature has delivered in a few days what a thousand years of international climate change conferences, carbon pollution reduction schemes, carbon taxes and Murray-Darling water plans will never achieve.

What December's record rainfall through much of inland eastern Australia and now Queensland's widespread flooding shows beyond doubt is that the Murray-Darling Basin food bowl is not going to become an ecological disaster area anytime soon. With imaginative management and wise use of the available water, the Murray-Darling Basin can indefinitely maintain its rich biodiversity while continuing to support productive agriculture and vibrant communities.

There is a better way than spending billions of dollars buying water licences and laying waste to richly productive irrigation farms. There is no need to close the food processing industry and to depopulate basin towns.

There will be more droughts and they will be followed by more flood events, just as has happened though the centuries. The past few weeks prove there is enough water; we just need to use it better.

The recent flood events strengthen the arguments of those who say more water storage can relieve the pressures of the next dry phase. The strategy of harvesting water only in flood times, such as at Cubbie Station, looks increasingly credible. On the other hand, the routine watering of wetlands in drought is seen to be futile.

The science underpinning the Murray-Darling Basin draft plan is left looking despairingly threadbare. The scientific base for the plan resembled the Greens' doomsday view that the basin would never see flooding again on the scale we see today, and that base was peer-reviewed by students of the same school.

Radical conservationists and the Greens will always demand more. The Regional Forest Agreements were supposed to settle for all time the areas of native forests that could be sustainably logged and those that were to be preserved in their present state. But before the ink was dry on the new RFAs, the Greens were demanding more and more. Today most of the native timber industry is gone and Australia is importing from countries where conservation practices are not so demanding.

The same is true of our fishing industry as key fishing areas are progressively closed, often as a result of Labor-Greens preference deals.

The environmental flow requirements of the Murray-Darling Basin are next in line. I was chairman of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council when the Living Murray initiative was agreed. The Living Murray initiative showed that with proper management of water for the environment, big environmental benefits could be delivered without the need to buy water from irrigators.

At that time the scientists told us that 1500 gigalitres was required to water the basin's key environmental sites. The draft Murray-Darling Basin plan now says the required figure is at least 3000GL. The Australian Conservation Council and the Greens support an upper end figure of 7600GL, three-quarters of all the water used for irrigation. No wonder farmers say the Greens will never be satisfied while there is one person left producing food in the Murray-Darling Basin.

But the present rains must give everyone of goodwill confidence that a permanent and genuine solution to water sharing in the basin is within grasp. The former Coalition government left Labor a $5.8 billion program to re-plumb and re-engineer the basin, which included new efficient water management, reducing seepage and evaporation. This delivers the ultimate win-win, with farmers retaining water otherwise lost and the rivers prospering with increased flows.



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


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