Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New paper: Increased solar activity caused far more global warming than assumed by the IPCC

More evidence that the slight global warming of the last 150 years was due to the sun

A recent peer-reviewed paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics finds that solar activity has increased since the Little Ice Age by far more than previously assumed by the IPCC. The paper finds that the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) has increased since the end of the Little Ice Age (around 1850) by up to 6 times more than assumed by the IPCC. Thus, much of the global warming observed since 1850 may instead be attributable to the Sun (called "solar forcing"), rather than man-made CO2 as assumed by the IPCC.

Total Solar Irradiance (TSI)

Astronomy & Astrophysics 529, A67 (2011)

A new approach to the long-term reconstruction of the solar irradiance leads to large historical solar forcing

By A. I. Shapiro et al.


Context: The variable Sun is the most likely candidate for the natural forcing of past climate changes on time scales of 50 to 1000 years. Evidence for this understanding is that the terrestrial climate correlates positively with the solar activity.

During the past 10,000 years, the Sun has experienced the substantial variations in activity and there have been numerous attempts to reconstruct solar irradiance. While there is general agreement on how solar forcing varied during the last several hundred years – all reconstructions are proportional to the solar activity – there is scientific controversy on the magnitude of solar forcing.

Aims: We present a reconstruction of the total and spectral solar irradiance covering 130 nm–10 μm from 1610 to the present with an annual resolution and for the Holocene with a 22-year resolution.

Methods: We assume that the minimum state of the quiet Sun in time corresponds to the observed quietest area on the present Sun. Then we use available long-term proxies of the solar activity, which are 10Be isotope concentrations in ice cores and 22-year smoothed neutron monitor data, to interpolate between the present quiet Sun and the minimum state of the quiet Sun. This determines the long-term trend in the solar variability, which is then superposed with the 11-year activity cycle calculated from the sunspot number. The time-dependent solar spectral irradiance from about 7000 BC to the present is then derived using a state-of-the-art radiation code. Results.

We derive a total and spectral solar irradiance that was substantially lower during the Maunder minimum than the one observed today. The difference is remarkably larger than other estimations published in the recent literature. The magnitude of the solar UV variability, which indirectly affects the climate, is also found to exceed previous estimates. We discuss in detail the assumptions that lead us to this conclusion.


Offshore wind farm plans 'are a costly mistake': British climate experts demand rethink on turbines and more nuclear power

Ministers are backing the construction of too many expensive offshore wind farms too quickly, senior advisers on green policy warn today.

In a report into the future of energy, the influential Committee on Climate Change calls on the Government to scale back plans to build thousands of turbines off the coast of Britain.

Instead, the report calls for hundreds more wind turbines to be built onshore at a lower cost over the next eight years.

The committee also says renewable green power should play a central role in Britain’s energy policy and that the UK needs a new generation of wind farms, nuclear power plants and other sources of green energy to keep the lights burning.

The Coalition is planning a massive expansion of wind farms to meet tough EU climate change targets.

By 2020, the UK will have to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, wave and wood burning. Currently it produces only 3 per cent.

Many of the 10,000 new turbines will be built at sea, producing up to 13 gigawatts of electricity. The rest will be built in the countryside.

The Government claims the wind farms are needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and gas-fired power.

But critics say the plan is too expensive, the turbines ugly and that the UK will become over-dependent on the variable power of the wind.

The report says the Government’s plans for offshore wind are too ambitious and that the EU target could be met more cheaply. David Kennedy, the committee’s chief executive, said offshore wind was ‘a very promising technology and one we are keen to support in the UK’.

He added: ‘The renewable energy target is a legally binding one. But within that there are different ways to meet the target and at the moment we are doing a lot of offshore wind. There are other things we could do that are cheaper to meet the 2020 target.’

The Government should consider scaling back offshore farms by up to three gigawatts, he said. Instead of building expensive offshore wind farms, it should encourage more on land and import more renewable energy. The report also says wind will play a crucial role in Britain’s low carbon future.

By 2030 it is calling for 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewables, 40 per cent by nuclear power, 15 per cent from clean coal and gas and less than ten per cent from traditional gas.

To meet those targets, the UK would need another 3,600 giant offshore wind turbines, each one capable of producing five megawatts, or enough power for 1,200 homes. Another 11,000 turbines would be needed onshore. The Government is already committed to building the next generation of seven nuclear power plants. But another three would be needed to meet the low carbon targets, the report says.

It estimates that meeting the 2020 renewable energy targets set by the EU will add £50 to the typical household’s electricity bill. But if homes take advantage of the Coalition’s green deal insulation finance scheme in the next decade, average bills could be cut by 14 per cent, it says.

Lord Turner, chairman of the committee, said: ‘Renewable energy technologies are very promising and have an important role to play in helping to meet the UK’s carbon budgets and 2050 target, alongside other low-carbon technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage.’


Past support for Warmism now poison for GOP Presidential contenders

Unlike Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich makes no apologies about his past advocacy on climate change.

The former House speaker and, beginning Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate, has spent the past three years defending his decision to appear alongside Nancy Pelosi in a commercial for Al Gore's Repower America Campaign.

Gingrich has had plenty of practice responding to complaints about the commercial from the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, who argued on his radio show that the former Georgia congressman had been aiding the "enemy."

"I'd do a commercial with Al Gore," Gingrich said last May in an interview with the website Human Events. "My point is conservatives ought to be prepared to stand on the same stage and offer a conservative solution."

As Gingrich formally enters the presidential nomination battle on Wednesday, he can expect to be peppered with still more questions about his advocacy on an issue that’s unlikely to go over so well with GOP primary voters.

Pawlenty has been on an apology tour for his own work on climate change, which includes signing a law as Minnesota governor to cap the state’s greenhouse gases and for taping a radio ad for the Environmental Defense Fund urging action at the federal level.

During the first GOP presidential debate last week, moderators played the audio of the radio ad. “Do we have to?” Pawlenty joked before giving his now finely tuned response: “I made a mistake. Nobody’s perfect.”

As a longtime GOP power broker, Gingrich brings his own lengthy record on green issues to the presidential campaign. He’s called himself a "green conservative” and co-authored the 2007 book “A Contract with the Earth” about how the political right has a history of being strong environmental stewards.

But Gingrich also has a history of sparring with greens. As speaker of the House in the mid-1990s, Gingrich fought the Clinton administration over a series of anti-environmental riders that Republicans tried to attach to spending bills.

More recently, he’s said he questioned global warming science and slammed Democrats and the Obama administration for pursuing cap-and-trade legislation. And he’s been promoting his plan to replace the EPA with an "Environmental Solutions Agency."

Conservatives continue to wrestle with their GOP presidential field and past advocacy on the climate issue, from Gingrich and Pawlenty to Mike Huckabee’s endorsement of cap-and-trade legislation during the 2008 campaign.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading skeptic on climate science, said last fall that the Republican White House contenders had been soft on the issue and he noted specifically Gingrich’s ad with Pelosi. "I know he'd just assume people forget that, but at that point it appeared that side was going to win," Inhofe said.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told POLITICO on Monday that he won’t single Gingrich out for his work on climate change. "If he was the only guy who walked down the alley with bad people, that shows bad judgment,” he said. But Norquist quickly added, "So many did that."


Climategate: Why Don’t We Know Who Leaked the CRU Emails?

Is that the biggest coverup of all?

Why don’t we know who released the emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)? Is it an attempt by the CRU and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to divert even more attention from their involvement in this scandal? Is it part of the larger cover up apparently orchestrated by the Royal Society? Apparently to divert and control the fallout former CRU Director Phil Jones immediately called in the police, which established the event as a criminal act.

This raises the question of what he had to hide. If there was nothing in the files of consequence then loss of the information had no currency. The British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee perpetuated this idea by referring to the emails as “stolen” in their whitewash investigation of Jones’ behavior. They didn’t even take testimony from scientists qualified to address the problems with the science, yet still concluded the science was solid.

The answer is more likely that the whistleblower will disclose motive and chicanery well beyond what is disclosed in the actual emails. There is a distinct boundary between those who understand the science, and know what the emails say, and those who don’t have the knowledge and claim they are of no consequence. If the latter also have a political bias the tunnel vision is narrowed even more.

From Phil Jones to Paul Hudson

Because of Jones’ actions, the Norfolk police, a regional force, involved the national government through the National Domestic Extremism Unit, which is surely another measure of the seriousness of what was involved in the files. This led to the University turning over all the files related to skeptics and their requests through Freedom of Information (FOI). Apparently the police and subsequent investigations bought the CRU claims that requests for information were politically driven and caused hardship that diverted them from their work. When interrogated by the police, skeptics were asked about their political affiliations.

The idea that politics was the motive only developed because the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had made global warming a purely political issue. Besides, why has motive got anything to do with request for scientific data and process, especially when funded by taxes and used to create potentially devastating policies?

Prior to leaking the emails to the world on November 19th 2009 the person sent them to Paul Hudson, weather and climate change expert with the BBC and former UK Met Office employee. Hudson received them on October 23rd, 2009, five weeks before.

Hudson has not explained why he did not release them, although he did confirm they were identical to the ones released later. Hudson knew the implications of the emails because he had written an article a month earlier titled Whatever happened to global warming. It is likely this article and his access to the world through his position with the BBC explain why he was chosen. It is also likely that previous admonitions about his views from CRU people prevented him from releasing the information.

Hudson blogged that he only received some of the larger set released and could not confirm they were all genuine. However, after he failed to release the information the person sent them to a Russian internet provider. Apparently the trigger was the impending meeting in Copenhagen, which planned to perpetuate devastating and unnecessary energy and climate policies. From there they were picked up and released through the web page Air Vent. That triggered Jones’ claim of a burglary, exposure of what skeptics had suspected for many years and justification for their FOI requests. But what has happened is that the people who requested the FOI are made out to be the problem.

Has the Person Been Silenced?

There is no apparent evidence of where the investigation is concerning who leaked the information. Does Hudson know who sent him the emails? Has he been interrogated? Surely, it is easy to track his emails and determine the source. One can only assume that hiding the identity of the person who released the emails is a necessary part of the whitewash and cover-up. What has happened to the concern that drove the ‘leaker’ in the first place? Was he convinced, as Hudson appears to have been, that silence is a wise choice?


South Carolina Taking Light Bulb Ban into Its Own Hands

Fed up with the federal government’s ban of the traditional incandescent light bulb, state representatives in South Carolina are pushing for the state to produce and use incandescents solely for its state.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state. Other states have floated the idea, and last year Arizona passed a bill that would have done the same thing, but Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation.

Whether the legislation becomes law remains to be seen, and even if it does become law, lawsuits will likely ensue. Regardless, South Carolina’s efforts demonstrate the will to remove the federal government’s ability to restrict individual choice. If the compact florescent light bulb (CFL) is a better choice, consumers will make that choice without the government’s push.

The complaints of CFLs are fairly well known by now. Many consumers prefer the soft yellow lighting of incandescents to the unnatural, office-like white light of fluorescents. Other critics point out that CFLs do not work well in colder temperatures, so they emit less heat, forcing Americans to use their heaters more. Residents in houses with well-and-septic systems use the heat from incandescent bulbs to keep the water above freezing. Furthermore, CFLs do not work well with dimmer switches, and the lifespan of the bulb diminishes when turned off and on frequently.

And they’re more expensive. But that’s all right, says the Department of Energy, because they use less energy than incandescents and last longer. Although, as I mentioned on C-SPAN last week, studies have shown that the energy savings from CFLs aren’t as great as initially purported. California utilities have spent nearly $550 million to subsidize CFL bulbs for its consumers, and these utilities were eager to see what kind of savings they were getting to subsidize bulb purchases. It turned out that the savings weren’t nearly as high as the electric utility PG&E thought they would be.

This does not mean that CFLs won’t save consumers energy in the long run. But be wary of government bureaucrats telling you that you’ll save X dollars or save X amount of energy by buying a more efficient washing machine, air conditioner, vehicle, and other machine with energy-efficiency standards. My colleague David Kreutzer uses a personal example:

[My] 1993 Maytag dishwasher used nine gallons of hot water and took 84 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. The current model Maytag dishwasher uses seven gallons of hot water and takes 120 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. This increase to a two- to three-hour cycle is typical and is the result of efficiency mandates that are met by using fewer gallons of water with much longer cycle times.

The cost of two gallons of hot water is less than a dime. For many people, the additional cycle time of an energy-efficient dishwasher will be an inconvenience greatly exceeding the 10-cent savings. Some people would alter their behavior (sometimes washing their dishes by hand, for example), which could entirely offset these gains. However, the regulator’s calculation of savings ignores these costs. Markets, on the other hand, do not.

Furthermore, government mandates can reduce product performance and, most importantly, ignore the fact that consumers can make intelligent decisions on their own without the government forcing choices upon them.


Learn from Canada about climate policy

A comment from Australia

In Australia it is increasingly common to hear lectures, invariably dressed up as speeches, from European politicians or the European Union itself about climate change and all that. However, Australia's economy has little in common with that of Britain or most of the other western European nations. Rather, our economy most resembles that of Canada - also a mineral-rich, primary producing nation - and to some extent the United States.

In view of this, the likes of Swan and Prime Minister Julia Gillard along with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would be well advised to take a break from the budget preparations and focus, for a while, on last week's election in Canada - assuming that they have not already done so.

In a surprise result Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of the incumbent minority government led by the Conservative Party, has been returned to office with an absolute majority of seats. This was not on the agenda just a few months ago.

There was one key issue that distinguished the Conservatives from their rivals. Harper declared that he was opposed to what he labelled as "the socialists and the separatists" - all of whom supported a cap-and-trade scheme (similar to an emissions trading scheme). The Conservative Party's policy was clear - under Harper's prime ministership, Canada would not introduce climate-change policies before those supported by President Barack Obama's administration and passed by the United States Congress.

In other words, Harper stated the belief that Canada should not go ahead of the field on climate-change policies - when such key nations as the US, China, India and Japan had not signed on to a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Previous administrations in Canada had endorsed the Kyoto agreement but Canada had consistently failed to meet its carbon reduction targets. The Canadian Conservatives campaigned that a cap-and-trade system would lead to an increase in fuel and power prices. It worked.

There were other factors, of course. Despite its minority status, the Harper government had presided over a sound economy and had restrained the growth of spending in responding to the global financial crisis. Even so, the key division between the Conservative Party and the others turned on its opposition to cap and trade.

In budget week, there is something to be learnt by both Gillard and Abbott in the surprise Canadian election result. Labor wants a carbon tax and the opposition advocates direct but expensive measures to reduce carbon emissions. In Canada, the Conservatives are running a line that goes something like this: Canada is a responsible nation and will play its part in reducing carbon emissions but only when the likes of the US, China, India and Japan do likewise.

This line worked for Harper in Canada. There is no obvious reason why such an approach would not also have appeal in Australia.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

Panta Rei said...

RE South Carolina bulb ban repeal..

Good to see the South Carolina action
Also notice now the Canadian Government's recent 2 year delay proposal, to 2014!

How manufacturers and other vested interests have pushed for a ban on the popular but unprofitable simple regular light bulbs, and lobbied for favors
( ceolas.net
with documentation and copies of official communications )