Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Lord Monckton's prophecy

The following email from Lord Monckton was copied to me and many others and I think it deserves to be reproduced in full. The essential point of it is however simple: The Muller project is a red herring. There is little interest in WHETHER there has been warming. The only issue is what caused it -- mankind or nature. And the Muller project does not address cause at all. The Guardian is already trumpeting the Muller work as ENDING the debate about global warming but in fact it does not even BEGIN to test global warming theory.

That is of course no disrespect to Prof. Muller. There seems reason to believe that he will do his work well, despite its limited relevance -- JR

The outcome of Muller's research project into the reliability of the official global temperature record will probably be as follows:

1. The accuracy of the terrestrial global mean surface temperature record for the 31 years since the satellites were watching - or at least a very close and statistically highly-significant correlation between the terrestrial and satellite records - will be confirmed.

2. Warming since the global record began in 1850 (if they decide they can go back that far), or since 1900 if they regard the 19th-century record as insufficiently complete, will be found to have been overstated by0.05-0.1 K.

3. Broadly speaking, and within the statistical error margin, the group's resuts will confirm the accuracy of the Hadley Centre/CRU record, while finding the NOAA/NCDC and GISS records rather exaggerated (but not exaggerated enough to fall outwith the statistical error margin).

4. On grounds of time and cost, the group will not consider the tamperings with the early-20th-century record over time that are most evident in successive changes to the GISS data, and have also been exposed in some of the underlying national datasets, particulaly thoe of Australia and New Zealand.

5. Instead, the group will refer to certain systemic regional inadequacies in the terrestrial temperature record, but will conclude (citing inter alia the near-identical linear global trend generated by the two satellite records and the Hadley/CRU record) that these regional inadequacies are insufficient to alter the global result enough to move it outwith its error-bars.

6. The group will not find that there is any systemic, as opposed to purely regional or intermittent, defect in the record-keeping. They will not - as things now stand - test their own results by using Ross McKitrick's dazzling idea of investigating whether there is a statistically-significant correlation between rates of regional industrial development and rates of warming in the corresponding regions. Two reasons: first, cost and time, and secondly - as the Guardian article revealingly reveals - Ross had not heard of the group's work, from which we may infer that it had not heard of his: for otherwise an honestly-conducted project would have contacted him by now to ask for further and better particulars of the data and methods that underlay his (still unchallenged, as far as I know) paper strongly suggesting that much of the warming in the past century was attributable to the exothermic consequences of growing industrial activity, rather than to greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere. His method remains the most powerful I have come across for independently testing the validity of global-temperature records such as that which the group is compiling. If I were the group, I'd be concerned that my results - which depend upon computer algorithms just as much as the official results, as the Guardian article reveals - might not pass the McKitrick test, and my entire project might be shown to have been valueless. If I were the group, I'd do a McKitrick test on our results before I went public with them - and I'd ask him to help us do it.

Bearing in mind that the findings will probably be as I have described them, how will the usual suspects spin the results? Bob Ferguson is right to be supicious: he has seen it all before, as we all have. The climate extremists are far more desperate to exorcise the ghost of Climategate than they will admit. They know that it was those thousands of emails that established just how politicized climate science had become, just how few scientists were actually driving the scare, just how unscrupulous they were in tampering with results and data of all kinds, just how viciously they maneuvered against scientists whose results countered the extremist position, and just how thoroughly nasty the climate extremist scientists are

I suspect that the Muller project - precisely because it will indeed be properly conducted and will produce results as fair as the group can make them, and precisely because it has obtained funding not only from the ClimateWorks Foundation etc. but also from the Koch Brothers - has been brought into being so that its results, broadly confirming the official record, can be trumpeted as showing how wrong the skeptics are, how pure the IPCC's science is, how clear all the official conclusions are. This is a classic diversionary tactic: for, although Jones and his crooked crew were indeed remiss in trying to withhold and destroy data about the temperature record to prevent other scientists from coming to realize what a mess the record was in, the most revealing aspect of Climategate had nothing to do with the temperature record itself. Instead, what it revealed was that anyone who produced serious data demonstrating low climate sensitivity was being subjected to what can only be described as a hate campaign. David Douglass, the conspirators' prime victim, telephoned me almost in tears, shocked that people in his own profession could have abused and misused him as they did in the 71 Climategate emails that referred to him. Ross McKitrick was another who was unkindly and inappropriately treated.

The climate sensitivity question - in the present context, how much of the obseved warming since pre-industrial times is fairly attributable to greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere - is where the true debate lies. So, when the group's broadly confirmatory results are published, the group itself will draw no political conclusions from it, because that is not the plan. It will be the Climategate clique that will crow. Newspapers like The Guardian will proclaim that a major blow has been dealt to the skeptics, that there is no longer any doubt about the seriousness of "global warming", that there is no longer any doubt about the fact that it is all our fault, that the economies of the West must be closed down, that the US, whose House of Representatives has dared to defund the IPCC, should be isolated and punished among the international community, etc., etc. The intention will be to conceal the fact that the group's results will say little or nothing about climate sensitivity, and - insofar as they merely confirm the present temperature record - will only be of marginal importance in its eventual determination.

How, then, should scientists genuinely concerned with the truth respond to the group's results? The following points might be made:

1. The group is to be congratulated for having published all of its data, algorithms, code, methods and results. That is how Phil Jones and his crew should have behaved from the outset.

2. The group's results are unsurprising, and are much as anyone reasonably familiar with the global temperature record would have expected. [Indeed, it is precisely because the results are and were always expected broadly to confirm the global record that the project was conceived in the first place].

3. Most serious scientists did not consider the global temperature record to have been too far from the published results.

4. However, legitimate concerns remain about the extent to which the terrestrial and even the satellite results have been contributed to by the direct heat emitted by the rapid industrialization of the 20th century.

5. Accordingly, the group's results tell us nothing - repeat, nothing - about what caused the warming that has occurred. The extent to which Man was responsible for the warming over the period is debatable, and it is here that the true scientific debate resides.

6. A similar group should now be formed, precisely to consider the climate sensitivity question independently of the defective IPCC process. That group should do what the IPCC and too many of its contributing scientists have conspicuously failed to do: it should make its data, methods and results fully available for proper scrutiny by other scientists.

7. Until the climate sensitivity question has been subjected to the same intellectual rigor and academic openness as the group has demonstrated in verifying the official temperature record, that verification in itself changes the central debate on climate sensitivity hardly at all.

The most urgent step that should now be taken is to put Ross McKitrick in touch with the group, so that he can work with them on testing their own results against regional variations in the rate of economic development. Or, even if the group does not welcome this approach, he should at least be ready to take their data and, as rapidly as possible, apply to it the same test that he applied in demonstrating the statistically significant - and perhaps to some extent causative - correlation between regional rates of economic development and regional rates of warming. To this end, I am copying this email to him. His conclusions, of course, do not in any way undermine those of the group itself as to the accuracy of the temperature measurements themselves: but they do raise serious questions about the extent to which greenhouse-gas enrichment is to blame.

The climate extremists, with nearly all of the news media on their side, will do their best massively to disseminate and spin the Muller group's results, particulary in the days and weeks immediately following their publication. It would be worthwhile to prepare the minds of some key world leaders for this onslaught, so that it will be to some extent discounted. Therefore, I am copying this email to parties in high places who will find it of interest.

And we should perhap try to brief one or two key journalists who are willing to print both sides of the argument. They can do much to defuse the effect of the coming campaign by discounting it in advance. Again, I am copying some of them in.

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie, Rannoch, Scotland, PH17 2QJ

The false promise of green jobs

Bjorn Lomborg

POLITICAL rhetoric has shifted from the need to respond to the "generational challenge" of climate change.

Investment in alternative energy technologies such as solar and wind is no longer peddled on environmental grounds. Instead we are being told of the purported economic payoffs, above all the promise of so-called "green jobs". Unfortunately, that does not measure up to economic reality.

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre asked Gurcan Gulen, a senior energy economist at the Centre for Energy Economics, Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, to assess the "state of the science" in defining, measuring and predicting the creation of green jobs.

Gulen concluded job creation "cannot be defended as another benefit" of well-meaning green policies. In fact, the number of jobs these policies create is likely to be offset - or worse - by the number of jobs they destroy.

On the face of it, green job creation seems straightforward. Deploying more wind turbines and solar panels creates a need for more builders, technicians, tradespeople and specialist employees. Voila: simply by investing in green policies, we have not only helped the climate, but also lowered unemployment.

Indeed, this is the essence of many studies that politicians are eagerly citing. So what did those analyses get wrong?

In some cases, Gulen finds proponents of green jobs have not distinguished between construction jobs (building the wind turbines), which are temporary, and longer-term operational jobs (keeping the wind turbines going), which are more permanent. Moreover, sometimes advocates have assumed, without justification, that the new jobs would pay more than careers in conventional energy.

In other cases, the definition of a green job is so fuzzy that it becomes virtually useless. If a sustainability adviser quits a concrete factory and goes to work instead for a renewable energy project, can we really conclude the number of green jobs has increased?

More disturbing is Gulen's finding that some claims of job creation have rested on assumptions of green energy production that go far beyond reputable estimates. Of course, if you assume vast swaths of the countryside will be covered in wind turbines and solar panels you will inevitably predict that a large number of construction jobs will be required.

But the biggest problem in these analyses is that they often fail to recognise the higher costs or job losses that these policies will cause.

Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind create significantly more expensive fuel and electricity than traditional energy sources. Increasing the cost of electricity and fuel will hurt productivity, reduce overall employment and cut the amount of disposable income that people have. Yet many studies used by advocates of green jobs have not addressed these costs at all, overlooking both the cost of investment and the price hikes to be faced by end users.

The companies calling for political intervention to create green jobs tend to be those that stand to gain from subsidies and tariffs. But, because these policies increase the cost of fuel and electricity, they imply layoffs elsewhere, across many different economic sectors.

Once these effects are taken into account, the purported increase in jobs is typically wiped out, and some economic models show lower overall employment. Despite a significant outlay, government efforts to create green jobs could end up resulting in net job losses.

Even if that is true, proponents might argue, investment in green jobs is nonetheless a good way to stimulate a sluggish economy. But Gulen shows there are many other economic sectors, such as health care, that could create more jobs for the same amount of government investment.

In addition to job creation, some researchers have blithely claimed all sorts of other economic benefits will accrue from investment in alternative energy, including increased productivity, higher disposable incomes and lower operating costs for businesses. Here, too, Gulen concludes the assertions are "not backed up by any evidence and are inconsistent with the realities of green technologies and energy markets".

The fundamental problem is that green-energy technologies are still very inefficient and expensive compared with fossil fuels. Deploying less efficient, more expensive alternative energy sources will hurt businesses and consumers, not help them.

In order for the whole planet to make a sustainable shift from fossil fuels, we need to make low-carbon energy both cheaper and more efficient.

That requires a substantial increase in research and development into next generation green energy alternatives.

Today's research budgets are tiny, and that desperately needs to change. In the meantime, the public should be cautious of politicians' claims that deploying today's inefficient, expensive technology will result in windfall benefits at no cost.


British study says green sector costs more jobs than it creates

Government support for the renewable sector in Scotland is costing more jobs than it creates, a report has claimed.

A study by consultants Verso Economics found there was a negative impact from the policy to promote the industry. It said 3.7 jobs were lost for every one created in the UK as a whole and that political leaders needed to engage in "honest debate" about the issue.

The Scottish government called the study "misleading" and said 60,000 jobs could be created by the sector by 2020.

The report, called Worth the Candle? The economic impact of renewable energy policy in Scotland and the UK, said the industry in Scotland benefited from an annual transfer of about £330m from taxpayers and consumers elsewhere in the UK.

It said politicians needed to recognise the economic and environmental costs of support for the sector and focus more on the scientific and technical issues that arose.

Richard Marsh, research director of Verso Economics and co-author of the report, said: "There's a big emphasis in Scotland on the economic opportunity of investing in renewable energy. "Whatever the environmental merits, we have shown that the case for green jobs just doesn't stack up."

Co-author Tom Miers added: "The Scottish renewables sector is very reliant on subsidies from the rest of the UK. "Without this UK-wide framework, it would be very difficult to sustain the main policy tools used to promote this industry."

A spokesman for the Scottish government said other studies had shown Scotland's natural resources and low carbon opportunities could bring "significant" economic benefits. He said: "This report is misleading. "Investment in energy by the private sector, which is ultimately paid for by consumers, has absolutely no impact on public services or public sector budgets - in fact, it is likely that investment leads to increased tax revenue.

"We are in no doubt about the positive impact that investment in low carbon technologies can have and nor are major international companies like Mitsubishi that are investing £100m in offshore wind in Scotland or domestic companies like Scottish and Southern Energy who are investing £100m in sustainable energy in Glasgow."

He denied the suggestion that UK consumers subsidised Scotland. He added: "Our abundant renewable resources assist all UK suppliers with their obligation to source a percentage of their sales from renewable generation - without this, the costs to deliver renewable ambitions and obligations across the UK and Europe would be significantly higher."


Reuters' Warmist deception

An excerpt from Reuters immediately below

Climate change could put trillions of investment dollars at risk over the next 20 years, a global study released on Wednesday said, calling for pension funds and other investors to overhaul how they allocate funds.

Risks from more extreme weather, continued delay in climate policy by governments and uncertainty over the shape of a new global climate pact were major concerns, while renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure could be opportunities.

The study, led by global investment consultancy Mercer, describes climate change as systemic risk because it challenges the conventional allocation of assets and requires new ways of assessing climate policy and change risks.

For example, global warming-related policy changes could boost the cost of carbon emissions for power generators, aluminum smelters, transport and other sectors by $8 trillion by 2030, said the report.


But what does the source report cited by Reuters actually say?

Unlike Reuters’ misrepresentation of the issue of risk due to “climate change”, the actual report is about risk due to “climate policy”. In other words, climate change is not causing a risk, government policies trying to respond to the issue are the real risk.

Governments create risk, Reuters creates alarm.


Barack Obama may be forced to delay US climate action

Barack Obama may be forced to order a two-year delay in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action on climate change to try to avoid a complete government shutdown, an environmental conference has been warned.

President Obama faces the prospect of a government shutdown by 4 March, with a funding gap leading to federal employees being sent home and government services temporarily closing down, unless he can reach a deal with Congress Republicans who are demanding a crippling $61bn (£38bn) in budget cuts. The house will begin debate on the spending bill on Tuesday following efforts at the weekend to avoid a government shutdown, with news reports suggesting Republicans might compromise on some of the cuts.

The Republican plan would destroy Obama's capacity to pursue his green agenda, cutting the budget of the EPA by 30%, and stripping funds for projects he has championed such as clean energy research and high-speed rail.

Obama may be forced to sacrifice the EPA's efforts to take the first steps this year towards regulating greenhouse gas emissions if it means he can continue funding the federal government for the next seven months.

"If I was predicting, I would say that he might sign a delay provision, to delay the EPA effort for two years or something like that. It probably depends on the particular circumstances," Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, told a conference at the Georgetown Climate Centre. "I would bet that if it was a delay, and it was part of a money bill that was really important, he would sign it," she said.

The Obama administration committed to cut emissions by 17% from 2005 levels at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009. The EPA took the first steps to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions on 1 January 2011.

The White House has said repeatedly that it would veto isolated measures to strip the EPA of its legal authority and funds to act on climate change. But officials have pointedly not offered the same assurances on whether the White House would be willing to risk a shutdown of the entire federal government to protect the agency and its green agenda.

Some have suggested that a freeze on the EPA, is among the least damaging options available to the adminstration, which is facing a wholesale assault on Obama's green-tinged "win the future" agenda.

Buried among the $61bn in Republican budget cuts are a series of measures that would strip the overall budget of the EPA by 30%. The cuts are aimed at restricting the EPA's legal authority and financial capacity to act on climate change, but they would also stop the agency from regulating broader concerns such as mountaintop mining removal and coal ash.

Bob Perciasepe, the deputy head of the EPA, called the cuts "reckless", and suggested they were motivated by Republicans' opposition to government regulation. "They are not concerned so much with fiscal policy but really with disabling part of the EPA's capacity to do its job," he told the Georgetown climate conference.

The Republican bill would specifically bar the Obama administration from funding programmes regulating greenhouse gas emissions, or connected to climate science and international negotiations for a deal to end global warming.

It cuts funds for the post of White House climate adviser, Carol Browner, who has announced her resignation, and the State Department climate envoy, Todd Stern. It de-funds the UN climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UN body for climate talks, the UNFCCC.

The White House and Democrats in Congress have called the proposals extreme.

The EPA faces other challenges to its authority in Congress, aside from those in the spending bill. One proposal, which has Democratic as well as Republican support, would delay the EPA's efforts to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions this year.

Maryam Brown, chief counsel to the house subcommittee on energy and power, told the conference Republicans were united in their opposition to the EPA regulating greenhouse gas emissions. "All of those members agree that the Clean Air Act because of its structure is not the right tool for executing those policies," she said.


Stock Tomato Seeds! Global Warming Is Coming!

It must be a joke. The punchline is surely coming. Ha, ha! Hoarding tomato seeds! Bars on his basement windows! Hilarious! This guy really nails nuttiness. He’ll shame a few zealots, boy. But…wait a minute…I’m awfully close to the the end. When is this guy going to toss in the zinger, the gotcha!, the line which says it’s all a spoof? It never came! He was serious!

Thus was my shock when I finished Mike Tidwell’s “A climate-change activist prepares for the worst” in the Washington Post.

Tidwell tells us that he has long cared for the environment, that he did his part. But caring wasn’t enough, it was an emotion disproportionate to his soul-searing commitment. One can imagine Tidwell asking himself, “What other emotional states besides caring are available to me, such that I can show my dedication to the environment? Satisfaction? Clearly not. Worry? Too tepid. Concern? Insufficient. How about paranoia?”

“That’s it!” he must have shouted to himself. For what other emotion best explains his buying “a new set of deadbolt locks on all my doors”, a (presumably gas powered) generator, and a (yes) “starter kit to raise tomatoes and lettuce behind barred basement windows.”

Pause and re-read that. Did you notice the bars on his basement windows? Now, either he has purchased mutant tomato seeds from the Little Shop of Horrors or he has frightened himself into believing that crazed climate deniers will lay siege to his electrically powered fortress and its stock of juicy vegetables.

I’m know what you’re thinking, but Tidwell denies being a nut. He claims that he has taken his drastic actions because “we’re running out of time.” He says, “The proof is everywhere.”

When I re-read Tidwell, I felt like the weary cop listening to yet another citizen reporting a UFO. In the movies, the citizen senses the cop’s skepticism and, with clasped hands, pleads, “Don’t you believe me?” The cop always says, “I believe that you believe it.” The “UFO” turns out to be the porch light glinting off the wings of a moth. The citizen, if he has not believed in his mistake too long, laughs shyly and melts away.

But if he has cherished his sighting, no amount of evidence will convince him of his error. He will instead strain every possible strand of evidence to prove his UFO real. It is only a matter of time before he begins attending MUFON conferences where discussants agree that the only possible explanation for the lack of tangible evidence is (of course) conspiracy. It is a pathetic thing to see.

Tidwell saw a storm instead of a UFO, but he is certain sure that that storm, which knocked his power out for a few hours and prematurely thawed his meat, was sent by them. The pathos is evident: "After the August storm, I made the financially painful decision to buy the Honda generator. My solar panels, by themselves, can’t power my home. I spent $1,000 on the generator, money that would have gone into my 13-year-old son’s college fund. I’ve expanded my definition of how best to plan for his future".

Would it do any good to tell Tidwell that if the apocalypse comes his gas-powered generator, after giving glow to a light bulb or two for a week, will be useless for lack of fuel? Could he be convinced that his meager store of sun-starved tomatoes (they don’t grow well in dark basements) will not be the envy of climate refugees?

I am glad Tidwell has taken up skeet shooting for the good of his “immediate loved ones” because we could always use more advocates for Second Amendment rights. But if I were his mailman, I’d steer clear of his porch whenever there is a heat wave.



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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