Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Based on Mr Puckerclust’s “physics-trumps-right-wing-ideology”:
“Global warming deniers know as much about climate science as they do about brain surgery. Would you let them tell your doctor what to do about that tumor? Why do I – a professional physicist and lifetime member of the American Physical Society – accept the reality of human-caused global warming? Because I accept the following top-ten list of physics facts, which have never been disputed in the scientific literature. This is also why the American Physical Society of 47,000 physicists says “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring”.”

Before we set the record straight about those ten supposed physics facts, let’s also set the record straight on some preliminary information that Mr Puckerclust would like us to believe.

(a) The APS statement on climate change was not drafted or confirmed by "47,000 physicists" of the APS, but by the APS council.

(b) Many members of the APS have criticized the statement, incl. Harold Lewis who resigned in protest. Lewis' analysis of the motivations behind the APS council position on climate change is better than anything we could come up with.

(c) Even APS editor Jeffrey Marque had to make the public admission ”There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.”

(d) Furthermore, even if there was "consensus" on AGW by APS or any other institution this wouldn't make the theory valid - unless Puckerclust is also willing to accept that the Sun had revolved around the Earth prior to 1543.

(e) The snide title of Puckerclust's essay implies that those on the political left could not possibly dispute his opinions. That alone is far from the truth.

(f) By the way, nobody is denying that global warming occurred during the last decade of the last century, it’s just that the emissions of carbon dioxide have nothing to do with it.

Now for our point by point response, not just one, but all ten.

PHYSICS FACT #1: The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased rapidly since the beginning of the industrial revolution, after being nearly constant for thousands of years.

FACT: If the "beginning of the industrial revolution" is defined as mid-18th century, this is NOT true. There are published measurements of aerial concentration of CO2 above 400 ppmv in the 1800s. A further illustration of the variability of atmospheric carbon dioxide can be learnt from Ernst-Georg Beck’s accurate chemical analysis covering 180 years. A temperature spike is followed by a CO2 increase as ocean temperatures rise and the solubility of CO2 decreases.

See: Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2; March 19, 2004; Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland.

PHYSICS FACT #2: The surplus carbon dioxide has an isotope composition that can only come from fossil fuels. The increase in concentration is not natural; it comes from human activities. Now suddenly the reported increase is a “surplus”?

FACT: The whole idea of a definitive human isotope signal is based on one paper only, the Prentice Study, which was entirely an inside UN IPCC job, not peer-reviewed and containing a fatal error: Prentice wrongly assumed that human emissions of CO2 from burning hydrocarbon fuels are responsible for the claimed isotope depletion.

In fact, all plant carbon is similarly isotope depleted through natural decay, thus adding greatly to the total. As such the purported "human signature" is based upon a false premise and Prentice vastly exaggerated the contribution from humans.

As an aside, all C3-type plant carbon is equally C13-depleted as carbon from fossil fuels and C3-type plants make for 95% of all existing green plants; CO2 from plant decay is a magnitude greater than all human emissions. The "signature" of human emissions is completely lost in the noise of natural CO2 emissions. For further details see Carbon cycle modelling by Tom Segalstad.

As a corollary to the isotope change, the relatively low amount of C13-depleted carbon in the air points to a rather fast natural turnover rate, a residence time in the neighborhood of only 5 years, not the hundreds of years that is commonly supposed. This low-ball estimate of an anthropogenic impact is roughly consistent with IPCC/DOE figures which show a yearly human CO2 contribution of only about 3%, with Nature providing the other 97%.

Combustion alone cannot explain the (reported) 105 ppm increase of CO2 since 1850. The isotope record says different. Further information available upon request.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

The paranoid Style in Climate Politics

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard Hofstadter was written in the 60s as a rather imaginative denunciation of the American far-Right. It was misleading when written but now seem amazingly prophetic -- about Warmists. It would seem that Hofstadter was "projecting", as Leftists often do -- seeing his own thinking and motivations in others

A colleague reminds me of this 1964 essay in Harper's by historian Richard Hofstadter, which I recall having encountered in grad school. The essay was recently invoked by The Weekly Standard and according to Wikipedia, is frequently used in contemporary debates. Perhaps too frequently.

Even so, this excerpt reminded me of a style of argumentation that has become disturbingly prominent in contemporary climate debates:
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date for the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds . . .


Record snowfall at North American resorts will keep the lifts open -- until Fourth of July!‏

Record snowfall at many North American resorts will keep a number hills operational past their usual shutdown dates. Last chair spinning for the 2010-2011 season could be Mammoth Mountain, where Fourth of July fireworks will mark closing day.

"We love people to ride as long as possible," says Mammoth spokesperson Daniel Hansen. "It varies every year, but we have the longest lift-served ski season in the U.S. The exception is Timberline [Ski Area in Oregon]."

Timberline's Palmer Glacier snowfield brings in skiers and riders throughout the summer, and is a traditional site of ski race and ski and snowboard freestyle camps. But at Mammoth, extending the season means prolonging the spring break atmosphere.


Michael Mann may have something to hide

Over the weekend on “The Score” radio show, we followed-up on the story of how Chris Horner, working with the American Tradition Institute, had filed a freedom of information request with the University of Virginia for emails and materials former UVA Prof. Michael Mann generated during his time at the school. What we learned from our interview with Horner is jaw-dropping.

When what Horner termed “a gaggle of pressure groups” got wind of people lurking around Mann’s emails, they descended on UVA stating, in effect “don’t you dare co-operate with law enforcement to release the records the taxpayer paid for in a fraud pre-investigation under a statute that passed unanimously [in the Virginia General Assembly],” that nowhere provides an exemption for academics.

Horner says that once these groups made their displeasure known, UVA “reversed course” and decided to fight, spending “$500,000 with [former U.S. Senator] John Warner’s law firm in Washington, D.C. to keep the taxpayer from seeing the records.”

He recounts how he discovered UVA had a FOIA compliance officer – the same office that was eager to turn over the emails of former university climate scientist Pat Michaels to Greenpeace (once the group paid the appropriate fee) – and decided to file his own FOIA request for Mann’s emails.

But we know all this. UVA and the interest groups have been in Mann’s corner, fighting Ken Cuccinelli’s request for documents for months. But it was that Greenpeace request of UVA for Pat Michaels’ work product that has legs. The environmental group filed similar requests with other institutions seeking the records of climate skeptics, and in a couple of cases, mounted campaigns to have those skeptics fired from their positions. Where were the voices of academic freedom of expression during those campaigns? Sitting on their hands.

Now, though, they have sprung into action because Michael Mann, who shares their climate change beliefs, is under what they deem to be attack. Horner says these groups are “a little bit late to the party,” because, as noted above, UVA has already said it’s willing to release an academic’s emails, “so long as he’s a climate skeptic.”

Horner noted that the first of several installments of Mann’s records were supposed to be delivered by now. But he is concerned that this latest intervention by Mann’s supporters will convince UVA’s leadership to decline to provide them. He views this as a disturbing possibility.

So why are they fighting so hard? Horner said, referring to UVA’s legal bill. “they’ve given us half a million reasons to believe there’s something [in Mann’s emails] to hide.” Horner has been told that Mann’s own lawyer has contacted UVA asking whether the school intended to release the records, indicating that he is worried about what they may reveal if they are made public.

We may know soon enough.


BMW North America CEO: Electric vehicles "won't work for most people"

Starting this fall, German automaker BMW will lease approximately 700 of its 1 Series-based ActiveE electric coupes for $499 a month. The lease is for 24 months, with $2,250 due at signing, and will be available in six markets in the U.S.: the New York metropolitan area, Boston, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. Reservations for the battery-powered Bimmer kick off this summer.

Despite that, BMW North America chairman and chief executive officer, Jim O'Donnell, told the Detroit News that he's "far more optimistic" about diesel vehicles boosting the automaker's U.S. market share than electric vehicles (EVs) and added that the U.S. government should cancel its $7,500 tax credit for electrified autos:
I believe in a free economy. I think we should abolish all tax credits. What they are doing is putting a bet on technology, which is not appropriate. As a taxpayer, I am not sure this is the right way to go.
But that's not all that O'Donnell had to say. The CEO continued on, reportedly telling the Detroit News that:
[EVs] won't work for most people. For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, [an EV] won't work [at the current battery range].
Ouch. Harsh words for sure. Does this mean that the i3, BMW's upcoming electric vehicle, is being set up to fail?


Australia: Carbon tax 'will clean out workers' wallets'

LABOR'S carbon tax will not clean up the environment but it will clean out workers' wallets, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Speaking from Whyalla in South Australia, Mr Abbott said 4000 local jobs dependent on the steel industry would be at risk under a carbon price. "It's very important that workers right around Australian understand that this carbon tax won't clean up the environment but it will clean out their wallets and it will wipe out jobs big time," the Liberal leader told the ABC.

Today is the first anniversary of former prime minister Kevin Rudd's decision to shelve his carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Mr Abbott said that course of action was backed by current Prime Minister Julia Gillard who was now saying a carbon tax was needed to save the world. "Kevin Rudd couldn't trust her then and the public can't trust her now," he said. "Australia should not try to save the world on its own."

But Mr Abbott went on to claim "all of us want to do the right thing by the environment". "The coalition has a strong and effective policy to reduce emissions by planting more trees, getting better soil and using smarter technology."



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