Sunday, May 15, 2011

Does global warming theory contravene the laws of physics?

A lot of skeptics, including physicists, think it does. And in the header to this blog I very briefly mention one of the main arguments to that effect.

Oddly, though, any comprehensive defence from Warmists against that view is very hard to find. They seem very much afraid of opening that can of worms. So it is mainly a subgroup of the skeptical community who say that the physics is OK -- even if other things are not.

So it was Jo Nova -- normally a ferocious skeptic --who recently put up an article in defence of the physics of Greenhouse theory.

The comment thread on her article is however long and bracing. The thesis she defends is thoroughly picked apart. Interested readers should read both the original article and the comments but for the assistance of those who do not have time for that, I have picked out just one interesting comment. It is by Alan Siddons. See below:
Joanne’s interpretation is that GHGs inhibit radiational cooling. That’s the blanket theory. In this view, the sun brings the surface to a certain temperature and GHGs act to sustain it, thus increasing the average temperature by limiting how fast the nighttime earth can cool.

The principal problem with this, of course, is that the earth is seen to emit all of the energy it gets from the sun, i.e., there’s no sign of a blanketing effect.

This, of course, is profoundly embarrassing to greenhouse theorists — which is why the actual theory isn’t what Joanne describes. Theorists will admit yes, the earth appears to be naked. But that’s only an illusion, they’ll argue. In fact, the GHG blanket does indeed block the exit of light, cloaking the earth and making it darker as seen from space.

But since this blanket gets warm, it emits infrared back to the earth, the result of which is to heat the planet so much that it radiates the SAME AMOUNT as it would without the blanket.

Ergo, the earth without a greenhouse effect emits about 239 W/m² to space. And the earth WITH a greenhouse effect emits about 239 W/m² to space.

Reminds me of a joke. Gunslinger brags about how fast he can draw and stands still like a statue. Then he asks, “Wanna see it again?”

Anyway, although greenhouse proponents often start with a blanket analogy, they’re soon compelled make it an electric blanket, thereby contradicting their initial premise. Rather than inhibit cooling like passive insulators, their GHGs are active heat sources. These heat sources warm the earth below while simultaneously making it appear that the earth isn’t being warmed at all.

Any introduction to greenhouse theory will prove this. Introductory models have 239 W/m² emitted upwards from the surface and 239 W/m² returning, thus bringing the total to 478, enough to bring the surface temperature to 303 Kelvin. Once this impossible point is conceded, determining the “correct” temperature from back-radiation is only a minor detail. Lindzen, for instance, estimates the average surface temperature from this extra radiation as a blistering 350 K.

But the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is far lower than the surface, and it remains that a cooler body cannot heat a warmer body. Greenhouse theory does violate the 2nd Law. It’s not a matter of semantics.

Hammer’s post is a sad indication that after everybody else has finally abandoned the self-contradictory intricacies of Greenhouse Theory, AGW skeptics will be standing among its last defenders.

Boo hoo! No-one is taking us seriously, say official Warmists

They do however acknowledge that the global temperature rise over the last 100 years was less than one degree Celsius -- and if that is not negligible I would like to know what would be. So their own report shows why their prophecies of doom are absurd. Essentially, nothing has happened so far -- so why should be believe that it will? The doom is just a prophecy and prophecies are a dime a dozen -- and almost invariably wrong

Public misconceptions of climate change have thwarted urgently needed U.S. efforts to reduce emissions blamed for global warming, according to a report from the National Research Council of the National Academies.

The media sometimes present aspects of climate change that are well-established as if they were “matters of serious debate,” according to the report released today in Washington. Groups opposed to policies limiting carbon-dioxide emissions are influencing some reporting, according to the study, which was requested by Congress in 2008 when Democrats were in the majority. It was prepared by a committee of scientists, engineers and economists.

Climate change is happening and is "very likely’’ caused by the burning of fossil fuels, said committee chairman Albert Carnesale, chancellor emeritus and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The U.S. should respond with “aggressive emissions reductions” of greenhouse gases from power plants, factories and transportation, and plan for adapting to effects of global warming, such as rising seas, with a national strategy, the council said.

“We’re talking about a challenge that is a matter of decades and indeed where some of the consequences are quiet, delayed, and so public understanding and support is essential,” Carnesale said in an interview.

Informing Decision-makers

The National Research Council, based in Washington, provides information for government decision-makers under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

The Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past 100 years, with about one degree occurring over the past three decades, according to the report. A “preponderance” of scientific evidence shows that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases is the “most likely” cause of most warming during the past 50 years, the report found.

Melting ice, rising average sea levels and reduced snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere can be linked in part to warming, the report said. In the U.S., temperatures have increased by more than two degrees during the past 50 years. Extreme weather, such as drought and heavy downpours, is more frequent and intense.


NYT lying through its teeth again

The New York Times outdid itself in media bias on Friday the 13th. It reported that “the nation’s scientific establishment” as represented by the National Research Council has reaffirmed that “global warming is real” and that “its effects are already becoming serious.” The NYT warns that we must act now because “adverse changes in the climate system…may be impossible to undo.”

The NYT regrets that “the answer comes at a time when efforts to adopt a climate-change policy have stalled in Washington, with many of the Republicans who control the House expressing open skepticism about the science of climate change. Other legislators, including some Democrats, worry that any new law would translate into higher energy prices and hurt the economy.”

For those few and uninformed skeptics, the NYT assures us that “Not only is the science behind the climate-change forecast solid, but the risks to future generations from further inaction are profound.” Already, “the sea level is rising in many American towns” and the average United States air temperature has increased by two degrees in the last 50 years.

The only skeptic cited is Texas Representative Joe Barton, who “swiftly dismissed the council’s findings.” But pay no attention to Barton. We are informed he is “leading the charge against further regulating carbon emissions,” presumably a stooge for Texas’s “Big Oil.” (A photo of a scowling Barton is attached to the article).

According to the NYT, the committee itself “is an unusual combination of climate scientists, businessmen and politicians,” and even includes “non scientist, Jim Geringer, a conservative Republican.” Such a committee would clearly bend over backwards to be fair.

The report ends on an unsurprising note. America’s greatest scientists recommend that the federal government spend a gazillion dollars on scientific and engineering research before it is too late.

Well, anyone can read the summary of the Research Council’s report on line, which I did. Here is what I found in a few minutes of research:

1) On the Committee:

Of the first eight names, only one appears to be a climate scientist. The others are engineers, lawyers, and public policy types. There are other names, but I did not want to waste my time. I presume the pattern holds. No top climate change skeptic, like MIT’s Richard Lindzen, is included. This report was not written by climate scientists but by public policy wonks.

2) On the certainty of the science:

The report tells us, contrary to the NYT account, that the science is far from certain. I quote: “How will the climate system respond to increased greenhouse gases? The exact value of ‘climate sensitivity’—that is, how much temperature rise will occur for a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration—is uncertain due to incomplete understanding of some elements of the earth’s climate system.” Note the wobbly use of language, such as “exact” or “some elements,” to signal that the science is “almost certain.” I can imagine the illustrious committee members searching for appropriate qualifiers that would not let the cat out of the bag.

3) If the science is uncertain, why act now?

The report, which is not a study of climate science but of risk management, argues that the potential environmental damage from temperature increases (which the committee admits we really do not understand) is so large that we cannot afford to wait until we understand the science. (With this argument, we should wipe North Korean and Iran off the map now because of the future risk of their future nuclear weapons).

4) How about the NYT’s claim of “rising sea levels in many American towns?”

Not surprisingly, I could not find this is in the report (perhaps it is hidden somewhere). There is only a general reference to risks to coastal areas from future rises in sea levels. The NYT’s claim is puzzling. How can sea levels be higher in one coastal town and lower in another nearby town? I’d like the NYT writer (Leslie Kaufman) to explain that one. (I do recall an earlier NYT report with “Rising Sea Levels and Global Warming” in the headline, but it turned out to be subsidence. The earth was inconveniently dropping not the sea level rising).

The NYT is again trying to tell us that the science is certain and that anyone who disagrees is a stooge or an idiot. If global warming alarmism is so scientifically proven, why is it that respected top scientists at institutions such as M.I.T., Princeton, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin say there is no scientific evidence to support it? Has the Times ever tried to answer this question? Global warming alarmism should not be taken seriously until and unless the question is satisfactorily answered.

Why should a layman give global warming alarmism any credence if these scientists do not?


Shale Gas Wars: A Tale of Two Studies

“A lie gets halfway around the world before truth has a chance to get is pants on”. It seems Winston Churchill’s dictum could be applied to some “comprehensive” studies into the global shale gas phenomenon too.

Since April, the findings of a shale gas study by Robert Howarth’s team at Cornell University, widely debunked for its “assumptions and inaccuracies” and, even though its authors admit it is based on “lousy” data, have been covered by eagerly awaiting media. The BBC’s “Shale gas ‘worse than coal’ for climate” is a classic example.

The same cannot be said for The Shale Gas Shock report written by Dr Matt Ridley on behalf of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) which attracted a mere handful of journalists to its publication on May 4. While Howarth and co’s scientific ineptitude, as we shall see, makes fear-mongering headlines, the GWPF finding – at the opposite pole – finds shale gas to be “ubiquitous, cheap and environmentally benign”.

The Shale Gas Shock

For Ridley’s GWPF study, shale gas is not only proving to be “a revolution in the world energy industry”, but it promises to transform “world trade, geopolitics and climate policy”. Setting out an erudite history of shale gas and how it offers the world several more centuries of natural gas, point 22 of the report gets to the crux of the matter. “The key question about shale gas is not therefore whether it exists in huge quantities” (it demonstrably does), it is “whether it can be exploited on a large scale at a reasonable price”.

Ridley continues by scotching Berman’s opinion that only around 10 percent of each shale gas field will prove recoverable, and that the current excitement merely amounts to another “speculative bubble”. Berman concludes that US shale gas, for instance, may thus only last for seven years and not the 100 years+ widely projected. Ridley points out that Berman’s audience “is investors, not consumers” and while he concedes Berman may have a point that some investors in shale gas firms may get their fingers burnt, this will largely be because “their very success drives gas prices down” and/or because “volumes of gas are high”. In other words, the highs and lows of shale gas production would mirror that of any other extraction industry.

While we can expect “a shale gas boom in China”, with Russia being an “impediment” to development and not welcoming competition from shale gas, Ridley identifies Europe as particularly susceptible to exploitation opposition from “entrenched and powerful interests in the environmental pressure groups”. In the end however, “it will be a matter of whether over-borrowed European governments, businesses and people will be able to resist such a hefty source of new revenue and a clean energy source requiring no subsidy”.

Ridley deals well with the issues of “environmental impacts” as industry becomes “more transparent” about the chemicals in its fracking fluid thus allaying public suspicion; not least as the public is made aware that most are common to domestic usage. He further observes how it is “not in the company’s interest to allow” leakage of either gas or hydraulic fracking fluids. The study deals too with the “flaming faucets” image peddled by the anti-shale gas flick Gasland and used widely to induce public fear.

Ridley points out that “natural gas in well water is a phenomenon known for many decades before shale gas drilling began” with scientists elsewhere exposing the phenomenon by “igniting methane that escapes through holes made in the ice on Arctic lakes”. Ridley makes the case too that treatment of waste water in the shale gas process is “no different from the treatment of waste water in any other industrial process”.

At point 55, he explains that “all technologies have environmental risks”, asserting that “Press coverage that talks about ‘toxic’, ‘carcinogenic’ and ‘radioactive’ chemicals is meaningless.” “Vitamin A is toxic”, says Ridley and “a single cup of coffee contains more carcinogens than the average American ingests from pesticide residuals in a whole year. Bananas are radioactive.” And pertinently: “The question that needs to be posed is always: how toxic, how carcinogenic, how radioactive?”

Concerns over the environmental impact and footprint of shale extraction sites are also greatly exaggerated according to The Shale Gas Shock. Ridley even visited and includes a photograph of a site in the Marcellus Shale region of Western Pennsylvania where a New York Times report had claimed exploitation had had a “major impact” on the landscape and habitat. The GWPF report however found that shale gas extraction had “far more limited impact than other forms of energy”.

But Ridley rolls out the really big guns when he turns to how shale gas can impact global prices and best energy alternative competitors when it comes to the vital issue of the like-for-like cost of electricity generation. As regards the former, he includes the Institute of Energy Research’s table of relative costs per electricity generation source as they are projected to be in dollars per MW hour by 2016

The 60 percent heat-to-electricity conversion ratio – which through thermal efficiency capture (co-generation) can rise to 80 percent – literally blows away competing alternatives, especially renewables. Against wind as a generation source, Ridley maintains “gas from up to 12 wells” (the output from a single shale gas drilling derrick with a footprint of 6 acres) equals “the output of about 47 giant 2.5MW wind turbines” (each having a total “footprint of 4 acres”). More than that, while gas output can be achieved within just 30 days, Ridley claims, it would take the turbines 25 years to match it.

Finally, Ridley turns to the issue of greenhouse gas emissions currently doing the media headline rounds as a result of Howarth’s Cornell study. Ridley convincingly picks apart Howarth’s grasp of the science concerning emissions, which is demonstrated to be remiss in its key assertion over methane leakage from shale gas wells. Ridley notes how Howarth’s figures inflate even the alarmist figures used in IPCC predictions and quotes Geoffrey Styles’ critique of the Cornell Study: “Practically every paragraph includes an assumption, simplification or choice by the authors that tends to increase the calculated environmental impact of natural gas. Whether that’s the result of bias or merely judgment calls, it undermines confidence in the final conclusions at the same time it amplifies them.”

Though Ridley does not mention it, we can justifiably add another key criticism. As Energy-in-Depth’s helpful Five Things to Know about the Cornell Study points out, Professor Howarth was forced to withdraw an earlier abstract of his forthcoming study – after attracting international headlines– when it was pointed out that Howarth’s paper contained “basic errors”. In fearing for methane emissions from shale gas extraction, it turns out that the professor did not even know that methane emissions also occur during the production of coal. As EID pithily remark: “Pretty big mistake in a paper that’s supposed to be comparing emissions from coal to those from natural gas, isn’t it?”

In the foreword to GWPF’s The Shale Gas Shock, Astrophysicist Professor Freeman Dyson “emphatically” agrees with the author’s conclusions. But Dyson goes further providing a paradigm understanding of how the shale gas phenomenon warrants impacting the consciousness of us all. “While the price of oil goes up and up, the price of gas goes down,” says Dyson; a fact that has had a global impact via the U.S. shale gas revolution. Without specifically referring to the Cornell Study, Dyson concludes, “The environmental costs of shale gas are much smaller than the environmental costs of coal.” While “it is not a perfect solution to our economic and environmental problems” shale gas, ultimately, is “here when it is needed, and it makes an enormous difference to the human condition.”

Reading these two studies side-by-side, it is only too clear in which articulate, fact-based, good derivative reason resides. Above all, Matt Ridley’s GWPF study suggests the shale gas phenomenon as the paradigm-shifting positive energy story of the century so far. Not that we should expect an MSM with a preference for fact-bereft sensationalism a la the Cornell Study to run with it.


Global Warming Fraud Creates Third World Food Crisis

John O'Sullivan

How saving the planet causes famine: the climate crisis melts away but global food shortage is legacy of the foolish rush to biofuels

Evidence for dangerous, human-caused global warming was always slim, now it lies cruelly exposed both by a cruel blowback and it’s not just coming from within the science.

A far more devastating catastrophe is unfolding and it is entirely the product of the mad rush to biofuels: third world famine. Today a whopping 6.5 percent of the world’s grain has been stripped from the global food supply. That’s the kind of catastrophic cut in food supply that triggers a tipping point so that Third World hunger explodes into mass starvation. Why did it happen?

Kyoto Protocol: The Trigger to Mass Starvation

What mechanism prompted mankind to instigate this genocide of the world’s poor? The Kyoto Protocol. International governments signed up to the idea that biofuels were going to be the better, cleaner, greener source for mankind’s energy needs in a new utopia predicted for us by ‘expert’s inside the United Nations.

Canadian Geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch is as concerned as many independent scientists at the alarming rate at which this international food crisis is now escalating.

Kalmanovitch is semi-retired now and not in fear of having his scientific career tarnished by blowback from speaking out. He argues that the facts easily demonstrate that the Kyoto Protocol is based entirely on fraudulent science.

Misguided Climate Scientist Primed the Politicians

Honest scientific inquiry serves the single purpose of advancing human knowledge and understanding free of any bias or ulterior motivation and it is clear that promoting “human caused global warming” a full nine years after the world had already started cooling serves no such lofty purpose.

Kalmanovitch accuses a small clique of self-serving climate researchers for violating the fundamental ethics of science protocol and propagating the false science that made the Kyoto Accord the international vehicle for crimes against humanity. Listening to his arguments you cannot help but see he has a point.

So what was the root catalyst for this cataclysm? Astonishingly, you can pin a lot of it on one well-intentioned but misguided do-gooder. His name: Professor James Hansen. Hansen was NASA’s bright-eyed scientist back in 1988. The eager climate modeler appeared before a Congressional Committee and prophesized that mankind would kill the planet if it continued to burn coal and gasoline at modern industrial rates.

Kalmanovich explains, “When you look closely at the climate change issue it is remarkable that the only actual evidence ever cited for a relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming is climate models.”

Hansen made unfounded and highly alarmist claims based on his computer forecasts. He predicted doomsday scenarios that panicked Congress and that wave of fear stampeded the world into believing in a non-existent crisis. Global temperatures have never rocketed as Hansen forecast. In fact all five global temperature datasets show zero net global warming over the past decade in spite of record increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (climate scientists have now grudgingly conceded no statistically significant rise in temperatures has occurred since 1998 from their doomsaying). But once the stampede was launched it caused a rush to biofuels that stripped millions of crop acreage from the world’s food basket.

But more sickening is that many have made sizeable fortunes from trumpeting a short period of warming that lasted from (1975-1998); a vast international array of speculators in wind, solar, wave and biofuels alternatives are onboard the great global warming gravy train.

Hansen’s friends in the infant science of climatology have also fed well off government grants where the ‘climate change’ industry generates tens of billions annually in this self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that symbiotically melded the interests of speculators with climate researchers.

In effect, those great riches and shining scientific careers were together built upon exploiting a 0.6 C rise in temperatures that all but vanished in the first decade of the 21st Century.


Greenpeace Loses Charity Status in Court Ruling

John O'Sullivan

In a landmark court ruling in New Zealand that will send tremors around the world, the once respected Greenpeace is stripped of its charity status.

High Court Judge, Justice Paul Heath made the groundbreaking decision today after overwhelming evidence was presented that proved that the organization's illegal activities were motivated by zealous political advocacy and crossed the line of what charities are permitted to do.

In a story making headlines in the New Zealand Herald (May 10, 2011) climate skeptics around the world will now be consulting lawyers in their respective countries to assess whether similar legal challenges may be made against the disgraced former charity. Dr. Tim Ball, who is currently facing court proceedings from Greenpeace supporters in Canada, urged skeptics to “pursue this globally.”

Climate Courtroom Worm Has Turned

In the U.S and Britain environmentalist activists have for decades sought to influence policymakers by a swath of unlawful protests often involving criminal damage and trespass. Several prominent UN climatologists have long aligned themselves with and been apologists for the radical and unlawful acts of these environmentalists.

As a consequence of the shock New Zealand ruling Greenpeace’s political activities mean it will be de-registered as a charity and thus lose the prestige and tax advantages associated with that status.

Judge Rules Greenpeace Acted Illegally

Justice Paul Heath’s decision was as the result of an appeal launched by Greenpeace after a 2010 ruling by the Charities Commission which found its promotion of "disarmament and peace" was political rather than educational. Greenpeace members were ruled to have acted illegally.

Justice Paul Heath pronounced:

"Non-violent, but potentially illegal activities (such as trespass), designed to put (in the eyes of Greenpeace) objectionable activities into the public spotlight were an independent object disqualifying it from registration as a charitable entity."



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