S. Fred Singer
Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California in San Diego, claims to be a science historian. One can readily demonstrate that she is neither a credible scientist nor a credible historian; the best evidence is right there in her recent book, "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming", coauthored with Eric Conway.
Her science is faulty; her historical procedures are thoroughly unprofessional. She is, however, an accomplished polemicist, who has found time for world lecture tours, promoting her book and her ideological views, while being paid by the citizens of California. Her book tries to smear four senior physicists—of whom I am the only surviving one. I view it as my obligation to defend the reputations of my late colleagues and good friends against her libelous charges.
Oreskes is well-known from her 2004 article in Science that claimed a complete scientific consensus about manmade global warming; it launched her career as a polemicist. Her claim was based on examining the abstracts of some 900 published papers. Unfortunately, she missed more than 11,000 papers through an incorrect Internet search. She published a discreet “Correction”; yet she has never retracted her ideologically based claim about consensus. Al Gore still quotes her result, which has been contradicted by several, more competent studies (by Peiser, Schulte, Bray and von Storch; Lemonick in SciAm, etc).
Turning first to the science, her book discusses acidification, as measured by the pH coefficient. She states that a pH of 6.0 denotes neutrality (page 67, MoD). Let’s be charitable and chalk this off to sloppy proofreading.
Elsewhere in the book (page 29), she claims that beryllium is a “heavy metal” and tries to back this up with references. I wonder if she knows that the atomic weight of beryllium is only 9, compared to, say, uranium, which is mostly 238. A comparison of these two numbers should tell anyone which one is the heavy metal.
Her understanding of the Greenhouse Effect is plain comical; she posits that CO2 is “trapped” in the troposphere—and that’s why the stratosphere is cooling. Equally wrong is her understanding of what climate models are capable of; she actually believes that they can predict forest fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and China—nothing but calamities everywhere—and tells climate scientists in a recent lecture: If the predictions of climate models have come true, then why don’t people believe them [see this]? Perhaps because people are not gullible.
But the most amazing science blunder in her book is her hypothesis about how cigarette-smoking causes cancer (page 28). She blames it on oxygen-15, a radioactive isotope of the common oxygen-16. I wonder if she knows that the half-life of O-15 is only 122 seconds. Of course, she does not spell out how O-15 gets into cigarette smoke, whether it is in the paper or in the tobacco itself. If the latter, does she believe that the O-15 is created by the burning of tobacco? If so, this would be a fantastic discovery, worthy of an alchemist. Perhaps someone should make her aware of the difference between radioactive and “reactive” oxygen; the two words do sound similar.
I am sure one would find more examples of scientific ignorance in a careful reading of the rest of the book. But why bother?
Having demonstrated her scientific “expertise,” let’s turn to her historical expertise. Any careful historian would use primary sources and would at least try to interview the scientists she proceeds to smear. There is no trace of that in Oreskes’ book. She has never taken the trouble to interview Dr. Robert Jastrow, founder of the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and later Director of the Mt. Wilson Astronomical Observatory and founding president of the renowned George C Marshall Institute in Washington, DC. I can find no evidence that she ever interviewed Dr. William Nierenberg, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who actually lived in San Diego and was readily accessible. And I doubt if she ever even met Dr. Frederick Seitz, the main target of her venom.
Seitz was the most distinguished of the group of physicists that are attacked in the book. He had served as President of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, and later as President of Rockefeller University. He had been awarded numerous honorary degrees from universities here and abroad, as well as the prestigious National Medal of Science from the White House.
Instead of seeking firsthand information in the tradition of historical research, Oreskes relies on secondary or tertiary sources, quoting people who agree with her ideology. A good example of this is her discussion of acid rain and of the White House panel (under Reagan, in 1982) chaired by Bill Nierenberg, on which I also served. Here she relies on what she was told by Dr. Gene Likens, whose research funding depends on portraying acid rain as a very serious environmental problem. It most definitely is not—and indeed disappeared from view as soon as Congress passed legislation designed to reduce the effect.
An amazing discovery: I found that Oreskes gives me credit (or blames me) for inventing “cap-and-trade,” the trading of emission rights under a fixed cap of total emissions (see pp. 91-93). I had never claimed such a priority because I honestly don’t know if this idea had been published anywhere. It seemed like the natural thing to suggest in order to reduce total cost—once an emission cap had been set.
My example involved smelters that emit SO2 copiously versus electric utilities that burn coal containing some sulfur. I even constructed what amounts to a “supply curve” in which the bulk of the emission control is borne initially by the lowest-cost units. Of course, Likens and some others on the panel, antagonistic to coal-burning electric utilities, objected to having my discussion included in the panel report. Nierenberg solved the problem neatly by putting my contribution into a signed Appendix, thereby satisfying some panel members who did not want be responsible for a proposal that might let some electric utilities off the hook.
We have established so far that Oreskes is neither a scientist of any sort nor a careful professional historian. She is, however, a “pop-psychologist.” It seems she has figured out what motivates the four senior physicists she libels in her book; it is “anti-communism.” Really! This is not only stated explicitly but she also identifies them throughout as “Cold Warriors.”
Well, now we know at least where Oreskes stands in the political spectrum.
The Corruption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: A National Peril
As time passes the global warming fiasco becomes more and more understandable, and more incredible, more unbelievable. Hard-nosed physical evidence of man-made global warming has yet to be provided by the promoters of warming, even after a nominal $80 billion dollars have been spent in the attempt to do so. Since some of the ideas for mitigating man-made global warming (yet to be demonstrated) involve trillion dollar measures, it is crucially important that we get the science right. If we don’t get the science right, we’ll never get the policy right.
Some of the measures being considered and employed are to limit the amount of fossil fuels being used for the production of electricity and for transportation. The United States derives about 50% of its electrical energy from coal and another 20% from natural gas. Crippling these energy sources obviously will cripple the United States economy and millions of jobs in those companies using the electricity. We learned in World War 2 that a nation can be crippled or destroyed by crippling or destroying their energy production infrastructures.
We are also learning that international powers have organized into the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is part of the United Nations for the purpose of limiting or abolishing the production of CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels. While the US is clearly targeted for these crippling measures other members of the UN other developing nations simply will not be implementing with these suicidal measures. The IPCC is also the brainchild of Maurice Strong, a billionaire socialist working closely with the UN. At the Rio conference of the IPCC in 1992 Maurice Strong made this statement to thousands of supporting fans and international leaders:
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations. (http://www.whale.to/a/strong_h.html).
This horrendous statement reminds one of the recent statement by Barack Obama calling for the limiting fossil fuels and the resulting skyrocketing costs of US energy costs. (http://tinyurl.com/5pbzrd).
Many nations have recognized the importance of electrical energy is the development of their economies and the advancement of prosperity in their nations. China builds a large new coal plant per week, and now has some 20 nuclear power plants under construction. It has also recently completed the largest hydro facility in the world at the 3 Gorges site. Other nations have recognized the importance of large supplies of affordable energy in that some 67 new nuclear plants are currently under construction around the world and that many more are in final design.
So who are these international leaders and energy experts with so much contempt seeking to oppose reliable sources of low cost energy in the US? Who are these leaders in the UN, the IPCC, the EPA, the White House, and elsewhere so hell-bent on crippling the US economy and much of the developed world? The answers are emerging. Why the deceit and deceptions about climate evidence?
Lorne Gunter writes in the National Post (http://preview.tinyurl.com/3mjl3ce) about the IPCC using environmental groups’ literature to bolsters its major publications. For example, in 2009 and 2010 it was shown that the UN’s (IPCC) had included questionable data on Himalayan glacier melt in its major 2007 climate assessment report and that it had done so deliberately to provoke government leaders to speed up environmental legislation.
The IPCC scientist in charge of the Himalayan glacier discussions conceded he was aware at the time that the melt prediction had not been peer-reviewed, but included it anyway because “we thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”
In other words good science be damned, what the IPCC wanted was the science fiction of glaciers melts, not sound science.
By the end of March 2010 evidence had shown that at least 16 claims of impending climate doom in the IPCC’s vaunted 2007 report had been based on work done by environmental activists, most of which had not received independent reviews before being swallowed whole by the UN climate body.
For instance, the IPCC’s insistence that up to 40% of the Amazon rain forest was under imminent threat came from a World Wildlife Fund-International Union for the Conservation of Nature joint report written by a scientist-consultant and a freelance environmental journalist.
These processes have nothing to do with science; they have nothing to do with honesty, nothing to do with sound defensible science policy. They have a lot to do with low-grade uninformed environmental advocacy being involved with international energy policy.
More recently Christopher Booker of the Telegraph (http://preview.tinyurl.com/6xrkeha) learned more of the poor science coming from the IPCC. A very large climate report was released recently by the IPCC which was filled with outlandish claims regarding green energy.
What only came to light when the full report was published last week was the peculiar source of some of the extraordinarily ambitious claims. It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar.
The chief author of the Greenpeace paper, Sven Teske, was also a lead author on Chapter 10 of the IPCC report, which means that the report’s headline message came from a full-time environmental activist, supported by a lobby group representing those industries that stand most to benefit financially from its findings.
Greenpeace adds nothing to the serious debate of future energy supplies or climate change yet here we have the IPCC letting Greenpeace have complete access to its reports. In fact the presence of Greenpeace advice in these IPCC pages diminishes and destroys the credibility of the IPCC. See for example, this link (http://tinyurl.com/68xohrf). Let us examine some of the words of the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore.
Too few Americans and far too few media people know anything about the environmental movement and its transformation over the past 40 years into something vastly different. In Moore’s words they have become far more extreme and whose politics is little more than neo-Marxism in green garb. Moore was quite specific and pointed out some of the characteristics of the environmental movement today:
Tend strongly to be anti-human
Anti-science and technology
Anti-trade and anti-capitalism
Greenpeace can hardly be considered expert in science let alone in energy policy. As Patrick Moore told me, they aren’t very interested in humans either. They are environmental hacks with financial interests in generating and spreading their nonsense with the full force and support of the IPCC, UN, and US agencies.
In a recent report Dennis Ambler describes in detail many of the personnel relationships between the IPCC, the EPA, and many of the contractors shared by each of them (http://tinyurl.com/3qm8lew). Ambler also provides some of the academic credentials of many of the people involved. Many do not have serious scientific credentials let alone in the highly specialized science of the new discipline of climate. This is not the place for looking for solid scientists or science literature and expertise. Who are these people?
David Lundgren has recently written (http://tinyurl.com/25cpeat) that American leaders such as NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco still regard the IPCC as the “gold standard” for climate science. American leadership, both state and federal, seems incapable of separating sound science from political hearsay. They threaten the future economy of the US, our liberties, our freedoms, and national security. As a result our nation remains in great peril.
Greenie Weenie Alarmists Need Mental Therapy And AA
Who knew that trying to get Other People to Do Something could be so stressful?
Let's face it: If you care about the environment, you've got a lot of reasons to be bummed out. Is the sorry state of the planet dragging you into the dumps? John Fraser, a psychologist, architect, and educator with the Institute for Learning Innovation, is one of a small group of psychologists interested in the mental health of conservationists themselves -- how professional activists, environmental educators, and conservation-oriented researchers handle the daily evidence of environmental destruction.
Environmentalists, Fraser says, often aren't aware of the emotional toll of their work. "Talking to environmentalists can be like talking to a bunch of macho cowboys," he says. "A lot of people will say, ‘I'm fine, I'm fine,' and I'll say, ‘I don't know how to tell you this, but you're really not looking healthy.'" The result, he says, is that many environmentalists unconsciously express their stress in meetings or classrooms -- sometimes sabotaging their own mission.
Maybe if they ate a more balanced diet, and stopped sniffing all the paint while making their protest signs.
Fraser's varied research interests include U.S. attitudes toward bison conservation, training programs for teachers living in Central American jaguar habitat, and the effect of literature and poetry on conservation thinking. He spoke with Grist about the under-recognized emotional trauma of environmental work -- and how environmentalists can and should recapture their sense of humor.
Did I miss the part about him actually Doing Something to protect the environment? Getting outside and protecting bison, instead of looking at attitudes? Anyhow, here we go
I was at a high-level conservation conference recently, and someone who was transferring into the field looked at me and said, "Boy, people here drink a lot." I said, "Yeah, they do." That's a symptom of what's going on -- it's a way of escaping, but it's not a healthful way of escaping. I'm not saying environmentalists shouldn't drink liquor. What I'm suggesting is that within the community, there's probably a higher level of self-medication than is really helpful.
Wait, booze is "bad for the environment", especially beer, which releases lots of CO2. And all that water used to make booze, the degradation of soil to grow grapes for wine, the exploitation of minority/immigrant workers....Prozac should work better and be less damaging to Gaia.
Leading German Meteorologist: Michael Mann’s Sea Level Story Is “Quackery”
What follows is a summary version of a piece appearing at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) based in Germany, written by retired meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls
PIK report: “Sea level rising fastest in 2000 years” turns out to be quackery! Data shows no change!
Sea levels are now rising faster than at any time in the last 2000 years claims a new hockey stick manufactured by Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf. But that claim has already turned out to be bogus.
As nobody cares much about so-called climate change anymore, the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK) had to come up with another scare story: rapidly rising sea levels. That claim is supported by a whopping 2 (cherry-picked) North Carolina coastal sediment cores, which the authors claim reflect sea level behavior for the entire globe. Other scientists have already poured cold water on the paper, like Jens Schröter of the Alfred Wegener Institute, who says Mann’s and Rahmstorf’s paper is “unsuitable for making predictions”.
The new predictions of catastrophe are not based on actual MEASUREMENTS. Actual measurements made by coastal tide gauges and satellites show the opposite is likely happening, i.e. sea level rise is actually decelerating. Presented are 7 datasets that contradict the latest Mannian hockey-stick fantasy.
More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
Greenie parasites ripping off Cambodians
Among the more prominent (and best-paying) NGOs in Cambodia are the mainstream green organizations. They are also among the most powerful because government ministries dealing with environmental issues are typically underbudgeted and understaffed, so NGOs effectively fund and manage key agencies.
During recent years, the Cambodian government has sold off vast swaths of land, some publicly owned, including protected areas, and some seized from the urban and rural poor. In the process, hundreds of thousands of people have been forcibly evicted from their homes. These deals have been a goldmine for Cambodian oligarchs and foreign investors, who have bought up some of the country's most beautiful areas and prime urban real estate.
You'd expect that international green groups might have a lot to say about this tragedy. You'd be wrong. "The major environmental organizations have kept a near absolute silence over the ongoing land crisis, both in terms of human impact and impact on the protected areas they are working in," says a longtime consultant in Cambodia.
Conservation International lauds the Cambodian government on its website for "invest[ing] in research and monitoring of protected areas." The site also highlights a 2007 mission during which CI helicoptered a team of scientists into Virachey National Park, where they spent 15 days merrily traipsing about while cataloging species of ants and katydids. This was about the same time that Hun Sen's regime was awarding an Australian mining company exploratory rights to more than half of the park, one of Cambodia's two ASEAN Heritage Parks. Earlier this year, the government awarded another chunk of the park to a private company for a rubber plantation.
In February, the government awarded a big concession in an environmentally sensitive area of Koh Kong province to a private company exploring for titanium. "Realistically, if it's economically really valuable, we should support it and make it happen in the best way possible," David Emmett, CI's regional director, told the local press about the deal.
Wildlife Alliance also works closely with the government. In 2004, Hun Sen bestowed a gold medal on its CEO, Suwanna Gauntlett, for her devotion to endangered species and biodiversity.
WA says on its website that it works with villagers who "once were forced to roam the forest as hunters and loggers, diminishing Cambodia's environmental heritage, [and who] now have legal jobs as guides and operators of sustainable trekking, mountain-biking, and river boat tours."
In other words, people who once lived in the forest now hold low-paid jobs serving at the beck and call of foreign tourists who float down waterways and hike in woods that the villagers have long called home. "The wholesale destruction of Cambodia's environment is an important issue, but hunting and poaching by people eking out an existence in the forest isn't the problem," says a Western expatriate with extensive experience in land issues. "The primary causes are the government issuing massive land concessions to developers and wide-scale logging." (According to Global Witness, the country's most powerful logging syndicate is led by relatives of Hun Sen and other senior officials.)
Another WA mission involves protecting the rain forest of the Southern Cardamom Mountain Range. As part of that effort, the group's staffers have swooped in by helicopter with Forestry Administration officials who kick out destitute peasants living in the woods and in some cases dismantle and burn their homes, according to the Phnom Penh Post. "They are not people-friendly," the longtime consultant says of WA, "but the trees and animals are all safe."
WA has herded peasants into community agriculture projects linked to its ecotourism ventures. Peasants at one community called Sovanna Baitong benefited with access to education and health care, but some told the Post they felt "trapped in a state of indentured servitude" and had been threatened with expulsion if they refused to work on plots they had been allocated. "I experienced three years and eight months of the Khmer Rouge regime, and this is similar because they ordered us to work like we are in a totalitarian state," said one. "It is really miserable to live there."
"There is a percentage of families that are not very keen on agriculture," Gauntlett acknowledged to the Post. "You can bring the cow to water, but you can't drink for it."
WA has protested development projects that have had a direct impact on its programs in Cambodia, including the above-mentioned titanium project in Koh Kong, which Hun Sen canceled two months ago. Gauntlett issued a statement hailing the prime minister for having "looked so deeply into this proposed titanium mine and taken the effort to weigh the consequences that this project would have on the rainforest and the local people."
Gauntlett declined to comment for this story, but WA provided a general response: "The blame game doesn't work for groups like us inside Cambodia. We have to be careful and build alliances that are sometimes uncomfortable. It's delicate because the government can shut down an NGO whenever it wants. But we work on the inside, quietly, and get things done. We've been able to get things done and reverse concessions by working quietly inside the government and reminding it of its own legal obligations."
I spent two days in Sihanoukville, a seedy but gorgeous coastal town whose beaches and islands have been sold off by the government to developers allegedly planning eco-friendly luxury hotel and condominium projects. "Those who lived or worked there were turfed out—some jailed, others beaten, virtually all denied meaningful compensation," said a 2008 story in the Guardian. The newspaper quoted a British property developer, Marty Kaye, who said, "Nowhere else in the world could you create your own kingdom from scratch. … It's fantastically exciting, the opportunity to zone [a] whole island, to see where the luxury exclusive villa plots will be, for the Brad Pitts, etc."
The developers need green consultants to navigate the local scene and to write environmental-impact assessments that are supposed to ensure that their projects are eco-friendly. International NGOs have been happy to oblige, among them Fauna and Flora International, which has "built strong relationships" with the Cambodian government. FFI's website says that its activities have served to protect the environment "whilst building good governance and alleviating poverty."
In 2008, a Hong Kong-based investment company called Lime Tree Capital was awarded a 99-year lease on an island near Sihanoukville called Koh Rung Sangleum, which it plans to fully develop with resorts and hotels. The only problem was that the island was home to a fishing village with 92 families, which was a nuisance for Lime Tree.
Lime Tree hired FFI as its eco-consultant, and the NGO dispatched several staffers to the island (where they spent a large part of their time snorkeling with a local diving company, sources told me). FFI apparently provided Lime Tree with a development-friendly report, because the company subsequently filed a master plan saying there was little biodiversity on the island and hence not much to conserve. According to a story in the Phnom Penh Post, FFI staffers made a later trip to the island and told villagers they would be restricted to a tiny 12.3-hectare piece of land and ordered them to immediately stop cutting down trees and constructing any new buildings.
Villagers complained to the local government about Lime Tree's plans, leading the company to rethink its initial proposal and offer a better deal to local people. Eighty villagers signed a document (with their thumbprints) demanding the removal of FFI's lead staffer on the project, saying he had lied to them about how much forest and village land would be conserved under Lime Tree's proposal.
Ally Catterick of FFI said in an email that her group takes "a practical approach to engagement and work with a diverse range of organisations, including some sectors and companies that have traditionally had a significant impact on biodiversity but have committed to improving." She said FFI's objective in the island project was "to conserve the biodiversity" and "assist local communities to use the natural resources of the ecosystems sustainably." Catterick declined to disclose how much FFI was paid by Lime Tree, saying it "cannot disclose contractual remuneration for our services without the agreement of the contractor."
The complicity of the greens is matched by NGOs operating in other areas, including anti-poverty outfits. "The NGOs desperately want access and the basic equation is that the government grants it to them in exchange for their silence about corruption or anything else remotely controversial," says the Western expatriate who has worked on land issues. "At a certain point you have to ask yourself, 'Where is this going, and what are we accomplishing?' "
GOP rips plan for climate office
‘Propaganda,’ a lawmaker says
House Republicans charged Wednesday that the Obama administration is aiming to establish a “propaganda office” for Democratic initiatives on global warming through a proposal to consolidate operations in a new “climate service” office within the Commerce Department
Tensions boiled over at a congressional hearing as officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defended the consolidation plan contained in President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget and denied having any ulterior motive.
NOAA hopes to move more than 50 percent of its resources into the new climate service department, which it says will serve as the central clearinghouse for farmers, local governments, the military and academics seeking information on climate trends.
But a number of GOP lawmakers, who have staunchly opposed the administration’s climate and energy policies in the past, challenged NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco at a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
“[The climate service office] sounds a lot like a propaganda office to me. This seems to be an unneeded distraction that has nothing to do with science,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun, Georgia Republican. “This just seems like a politically motivated advocacy office that this administration is trying to stand up.”
Ms. Lubchenco called the proposal a “good government” reform and rejected Mr. Broun’s accusations and similar concerns from other Republicans on the committee.
“NOAA is proposing to more efficiently use the resources we receive to advance our science and improve our delivery of services to the public,” she said, adding that the reorganization, if approved by Congress, would be budget-neutral and would not require additional funding.
The hearing came on a day when former Vice President Al Gore, a leading Democratic voice on the environment, chided Mr. Obama for failing to deliver the change he promised on climate change, and criticized congressional Democrats for giving up on the controversial “cap-and-trade” energy plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Gore, in a lengthy essay for Rolling Stone posted on the magazine’s website Wednesday, criticized both the administration and congressional Republicans for not doing enough to address what he says is the global crisis of climate change.
Republicans fear NOAA’s proposed climate service office would serve as a vehicle to resurrect the cap-and-trade proposal and masquerade as an impartial scientific data center while providing political cover to far-reaching environmental legislation.
“Our proposed reorganization has nothing to do with cap and trade,” Ms. Lubchenco told skeptical Republicans. “There is no advocacy in what we are proposing.”
Robert Winokur, deputy oceanographer for the Navy, said he and fellow researchers currently must navigate a variety of offices at NOAA, depending on what they need.
“We would like, frankly, a simple and easy entry point into the organization,” he said, adding that a “single data portal” would help the Navy and other branches of the military make long-term plans.
Committee Democrats voiced support for the reorganization proposal and said they hoped a reorganized NOAA, by coordinating and targeting its analysis, could better predict droughts, floods or storms.
“Why would we not want to give people the tools and information needed to anticipate what is to come?” asked Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
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