Thursday, September 22, 2011

Got a problem? Invent a new "model". No facts needed

A study from the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) claims to have found all that missing heat from global warming’s “lost decade:” It’s lurking in Davy Jones’s locker.

According to official science, global temperatures were meant to rise this century in line with increasing levels of man-made carbon dioxide, but didn’t. Now the puzzle has allegedly been solved: the heat is more than 300 metres below the world’s oceans, where it appears conveniently safe from physical verification.

According to the study’s official press release, “deep oceans may absorb enough heat at times to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade — even in the midst of longer-term warming.”

Note “may” and “at times.” Note also how “periods as long as a decade” matches nicely with the (most recent) period of no warming that has to be explained (away).

The report, which claims that we should be prepared for several similar periods of non-warming in the coming century, “even as the trend toward overall warming continues,” is revealing on several counts. It amounts to a reluctant admission that global temperatures have indeed stalled. This fact has so far either been denied, ignored or buried beneath the claim that the past decade was still the hottest in the past 100 years (even if not by much).

Also, this newly identified mechanism, or at least hypothesis — by which greater depths heat up faster than the ocean surface — should, whatever its merits, confirm that climate science is far from “settled.” This comes on top of recent intense debate over the role of the Sun and clouds in Earth’s climate.

Meanwhile the suspicion that politics continues to rule science is aroused by the identity of one of the authors of the NCAR study, Kevin Trenberth. Followers of the Climategate scandal — in which a series of internal emails to and from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia clearly demonstrated that research results had been falsified and peer-review perverted — may remember Dr. Trenberth’s 2009 lament that: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.… Our observing system is inadequate.”

Note that Dr. Trenberth doesn’t seem to countenance the possibility that the whole anthropogenic thesis — that the climate is driven by man-made industrial emissions — might be wrong. It is the absence of the real world to follow the models that is the alleged “travesty.”

Dr. Trenberth, it seems, has now found the explanation he needs in the NCAR study, but it doesn’t come from advances in the “observing system.” There is major controversy over measurement of surface temperatures — with monitoring stations being found near heat ducts and on hot tarmac — so you can imagine how difficult it would be to track ocean temperatures below 300 meters. The conclusion that the heat has been deep-sixed comes entirely from computer models.

According to the report, “simulations … indicated that temperatures would rise by several degrees during this century. But each simulation also showed periods in which temperatures would stabilize for about a decade before climbing again.” Apparently, the claim that the deep ocean is warming faster than the upper ocean is explained by the fact that “surface waters converge to push heat into deeper oceanic layers.”

Interesting hypothesis, but it should be remembered that there is another aspect of Dr. Trenberth’s record that casts an even longer shadow not just over his objectivity but that of all official climate science. That revolves around the resignation from the IPCC in 2005 of hurricane expert Chris Landsea. Dr. Landsea quit because of flagrant misrepresentation of hurricane science by Dr. Trenberth, with the apparent backing of the IPCC’s highest authorities.

Dr. Landsea had been asked by Dr. Trenberth, an IPCC “Lead Author,” to write a section on Atlantic hurricanes for the Fourth Assessment Report. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Landsea was “perplexed” to see that Dr. Trenberth was to participate in a press conference to peddle the notion that global warming was “likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity.” Dr. Landsea noted that none of those participating were hurricane experts. Moreover, their alarmist conclusions — which were widely reported — clashed with the fact that no reliable, long-term upward trend in hurricane activity had been identified. Nor did Dr. Landsea and other experts project that global warming’s impact on hurricane activity would be significant.

When Dr. Landsea took his concerns to the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, Mr. Pachauri tried to brush him off by suggesting that Dr. Trenberth was somehow speaking in a personal capacity, and/or that he had been misquoted by the media. Neither claim was true. Dr. Landsea wrote in his letter of resignation, “It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming.” The perception that Dr. Trenberth was speaking for the IPCC could, in Dr. Landsea’s view, only undermine the institution’s credibility. Dr. Landsea concluded that “Because of Dr. Trenberth’s pronouncements, the IPCC process … has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost.”

Dr. Landsea’s complaints were swamped by Hurricane Katrina.

This latest study may thus have resolved Dr. Trenberth’s “travesty,” at least to his own satisfaction, but the travesty of the IPCC process — and the economic policy destruction for which it provides the justification — remains outstanding.


Global warming and the twisting of British children's minds

The Times Atlas Of The World, regularly updated since the Victorian age, proudly presents itself as ‘the most authoritative atlas in the world’. But its latest hefty edition, published at the eye-watering price of £150, has become the focus of a bizarre climate change row.

The new atlas shows the ice in Greenland — the northern hemisphere’s largest ice cap — to be melting so fast that, since 1999, nearly a sixth of it has vanished. An area the size of Britain and Ireland combined, once covered in ice and snow, has now become ‘green and ice free’.

The U.S. climate-change sceptic science blog Watts Up With That pointed out that one reason why satellite images might have shown such a huge ice-loss was that a lot of Greenland’s coastal ice sheet has been blackened by soot and volcanic ash, so that it no longer shows up white on photographs from space.

Richard Betts, head of Climate Impact at the UK Met Office — who actually wrote the part of the Times Atlas text which covers climate change — then insisted on another blog that he had not been responsible for ‘any of that Greenland rubbish’.

Britain’s leading polar ice experts at the Scott Polar Research Institute said recent satellite images of Greenland made clear that there are numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of land. ‘There is to our knowledge no support for this claim in the published scientific literature,’ they said.

So one of the world’s most respected reference books, it seems, has been caught out perpetrating what amounts to yet more propaganda for the belief in global warming.

One of the most disturbing features of this is that copies of the new atlas may soon be found in school libraries, where it will be cited by teachers as yet more evidence that climate change is now dramatically changing the world we live in.

With active encouragement from the Government, whole generations of school-children have now had the apocalyptic threat of climate change pushed down their throats — not just in science classes, but in almost any subject you can think of (questions on the need to fight global warming have even cropped up in English GCSE papers).

In geography, the present curriculum no longer concentrates on countries, continents, rivers, mountains or cities. Instead, it insists that pupils should learn about global warming and climate change and the likely effects of rising sea levels.

The propaganda is all-encompassing. The Climate Change Schools Project, an outfit that exists in partnership with the Environment Agency and other government-funded bodies, promises on its website ‘to put global warming at the heart of the national curriculum ...... We want schools to become the “hub” of excellence in climate change teaching, learning and positive action in their local communities.’

When David Miliband was Labour’s education minister, he ordered that copies of Al Gore’s propaganda film An Inconvenient Truth should be sent to every school in the country. A High Court judge decided that the ‘apocalyptic vision’ of global warming presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change. Mr Justice Barton ruled that the film contained nine errors so serious that the schools must be issued with corrections.

The Government’s response was to compile a 77-page document so long that scarcely a single school in the country used it and no pupil was any the wiser.

And now the new Times Atlas can be added to the approved propaganda list, to ensure that once again school students are being fed with the right-on, politically correct message — even though in this case it has been so damningly challenged by real scientific experts.

In a wider perspective, this embarrassing blunder by a commercial publishing house might not seem anything like so significant as all those grievous errors identified last year in the latest report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body that once prided itself as being the most prestigious source of authority on global warming in the world.

Few predictions of the IPCC’s 2007 report drew more attention, for instance, than its claims that, thanks to global warming, most of the Himalayan glaciers would have disappeared within 30 years; 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest would similarly have vanished; while Africa could expect mass-famine as its crop yields were halved.

All these claims were eventually revealed as not to have been based on science at all. Like many others in that IPCC report, they were no more than reckless scare stories, dreamed up by environmental activists and pressure groups.

But the fact that responsible scientists who are by no means climate sceptics should have been so anxious to point out the errors in the Times Atlas is perhaps an indication that some of the lessons of those blunders by the IPCC have struck home.

The more responsible members of the ‘warmist’ scientific community seem now rather more on their guard than they were against the peddling of baseless scare stories to promote the case for global warming.

When so much now hangs on whether or not there is genuinely reliable evidence for man-made climate change, it is more vital than ever that the claims made to support that change are grounded in proper science.

The Climate Change Act passed by the Labour government in 2008 threatens to become the most expensive piece of legislation in history as we try to reduce our carbon emissions by 80 per cent, building all-but-useless windmills and trying to find carbon-free energy sources at an unimaginable cost of £18bn every year for the next 50 years.

Our politicians still believe this is the best way to fight the warming threat. But too much evidence has come to light in recent years to suggest that much of their belief in global warming may be little more than a vastly over-blown scare.

If there is cheer to be derived from this story of the Times Atlas error, it might be that the people quickest to knock it on the head were scientists who still believe in proper scientific evidence before trying to scare the world witless. We’re going to need much more of that if the world — and our schoolchildren — are going to be returned to sanity on the matter of climate change.


High Costs of Green Jobs

We are now beginning to grasp the definition and the scope of the words "new world order," an expression inserted into the U.S. political vocabulary by the first President Bush. He never defined it, leaving that task to his successors, and President Barack Obama is only too glad to expand its meaning.

Before Bush Sr. left the White House, however, he attended the 1992 United Nations meeting in Rio de Janeiro, signed the UN Climate Change Treaty and rammed it through the Senate for ratification. It's now available for Obama to use as one engine in his plan to "fundamentally transform the United States."

Of course, the climate changes. Many changes are due to factors over which humans have no control, such as winds, ocean currents and sun activity.

But the liberals want us to believe that climate change is also caused by gases expelled when humans burn so-called fossil fuels. The UN created an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to push the UN's political agenda wrapped up in climate-change ideology.

The first UN Earth Summit was held in Stockholm in 1972. At the second UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the dominant figure was Canadian Maurice Strong, a good friend of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Strong called for social justice, saying, "Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class, involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable." Sustainable development became the buzzword to require government approval for almost every activity by almost every individual, business and organization.

While President Bush Jr. was more focused on building a North American Union without borders between countries, during his two terms, the two Democratic presidential candidates he defeated, Al Gore and John Kerry, became key players in the UN's climate change politics. It soon became obvious that UN climate change was an attack on the American standard of living as well as on our sovereignty.

Gore and Kerry attended several UN climate change meetings. Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change advocacy. Kerry used his wife's mega-wealth to wine and dine university and school officials to get them to skew academic curriculum. This was supposed to make students believe that climate change is a terrible threat, and that we must abandon our current energy sources.

By the time Barack Obama became president, it also became obvious that UN climate change politics are not only a vehicle to serve his goal of "fundamentally transforming the United States," but also his goal of spreading the wealth. Obama seeks to spread the wealth not only from taxpaying to non-taxpaying Americans, but also from America to Third World countries.

Government's entry into the field of trying to control climate by regulations, taxes and handouts is a convenient cover not only for deliberately lowering our U.S. standard of living, but also for imposing socialism on America. So most of the $800 billion Obama stimulus was dedicated to exchanging America's dependable energy sources from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear to less efficient, less dependable and more expensive green energies such as wind and solar.

A case in point is the scandal of Solyndra Inc. This California-based company is a very politically correct green firm making solar panels.

So Obama, a true believer in green energy, as well as in socialism's fantasy that government can and should pick winners and losers in the economy, gave $535 million dollars of stimulus money to Solyndra. It didn't hurt Solyndra's application that some of its investors were donors to Obama's political campaign.

The trouble with green energy is that it simply can't exist without government subsidies. And Solyndra can't exist, even with this massive government grant.

Just as soon as it received the stimulus money, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy. How could any business think it could survive when it cost Solyndra $4 for every watt of power it produced and China produces panels at 75 cents per watt?

Meanwhile, Obama is working with the UN to fundamentally transform America with a new global tax. His appointee Marisa Lago is attending UN meetings to design a proposed global tax to build a "Green Climate Fund."

This fund is designed to pay for greening the global economy, estimated to cost $1.9 trillion annually for the next 40 years, or $76 trillion.

Initially, it is expected to raise at least $100 billion a year, but if the UN's tax design is approved in December at a UN meeting in Durban, South Africa, it could increase exponentially from $100 billion to $1.9 trillion annually, or more. It will be an indirect tax, making it impossible to opt out, although the UN is planning to reimburse Third World countries in another underhanded device to transfer U.S. wealth to Third World countries.


The Broken Planet Fallacy

When Solyndra went belly up last month, less than a year after it started making solar arrays in Fremont, Calif., an Energy Department spokesman insisted that the $535 million the federal government had loaned the company was well spent. "The project that we supported succeeded," he said. "The facility was producing the product it said it would produce."

That rather short-sighted definition of success exemplifies the loopy logic of President Obama's "green jobs" agenda, which justifies subsidies based on good intentions and employment opportunities rather than profitability or cost-effectiveness.

This policy is rooted in the broken planet fallacy, which treats global warming not as an environmental threat to be handled as expeditiously as possible but as an economic opportunity to be milked for all the jobs it can provide.

When he took office in January 2009, Obama promised to "help create 5 million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future." The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which he signed the following month, included a down payment on that plan, described by Vice President Joseph Biden as "more than $20 billion for investment in a cleaner, greener economy," aimed at showing "how investing in green jobs will help build a strong middle class."

A month later, Obama put the figure at "$59 billion invested in clean energy and in tax incentives to promote clean energy." By that fall, the number had expanded to "about $80 billion" for "projects related to energy and the environment."

Administration officials may not have been sure how much they were spending on green jobs, but they all agreed it was totally worth it. In fact, according to presidential adviser Van Jones, the administration's designated "green jobs visionary," it was "the most fiscally conservative part" of the stimulus package," since "every dollar spent on green jobs is going to be out there working double time, triple time."

To understand how this works in practice, consider the $5 billion allocated to the Weatherization Assistance Program, which was supposed to create jobs while helping people make their homes more energy-efficient, thereby cutting their utility bills and reducing their "carbon footprint."

The administration was so excited about this program's economy-stimulating potential that in October 2009 it issued a report titled "Recovery Through Retrofit." Explaining why the government needs to subsidize weatherization, the report noted that "homeowners face high upfront costs" for "retrofits that pay off over long periods of time," and they worry about "recouping the value of their investment if they choose to sell." According to (which promotes retrofitting and therefore has an interest in making it seem worthwhile), spending $25,000 to make a pre-1977 home more energy-efficient might save $1,000 a year in fuel costs, meaning it would take a quarter of a century to recover the investment.

Is it any wonder that homeowners are not leaping at this sort of opportunity? While it's true their calculations may not include the environmental impact of the energy they consume, the Obama administration considers that factor in only the most cursory way. Since it makes no effort to weigh the environmental benefit of retrofitting a home against the cost, it has no way of saying whether the investment makes sense, even taking carbon emissions and global warming into account.

To tip the balance in favor of retrofitting, the administration cites the jobs created by such projects. But if work is not worth doing -- whether it's weatherizing homes or making newfangled solar arrays that prove to be uncompetitive -- the money paid for it is an unjustified cost, not an economy-boosting bonus.

Obama, who bragged about the 3,000 workers who built Solyndra's factory and the 1,000 who were employed there, ignores the possibility of alternative, more productive uses for resources squandered on bad government-subsidized investments. Those uses would create jobs, too, although not ones for which he could take credit.


Would You Be Shocked That “Climate Funds” Have Been Abused?

William Teach

Would you be further shocked that the Huffington Post exposes the abuse?
If the World Bank and an Indian power utility have their way, the Rampur hydropower project in Northern India will increase global CO2 emissions by 15 million tons, at a cost of $164 million to unsuspecting energy consumers in Sweden. The project is a textbook example of how hydropower companies and other investors, with support from the World Bank, are gaming the system of climate finance.

Rampur is a 412-megawatts hydropower project on the Satluj River in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN), an Indian hydropower company originally created by the World Bank, signed an agreement with the local government to implement the project back in 2004. The Indian Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2005. The World Bank approved a loan of $400 million for Rampur in 2007. Throughout this process, the hydropower company SJVN assured the public and its lenders that the scheme was a "least cost" project and would remain financially viable even under adverse hydrological conditions. At no time did it indicate that the project depended on carbon credits to go forward.

Several years into project construction, the board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is now considering an application to award 15 million carbon credits for the Rampur project for the 2012-2022 period. If approved, these credits would currently have a value of $164 million.

The Swedish Energy Agency has offered to buy the credits in a deal that was arranged by the World Bank. Carbon credits from the CDM allow Northern polluters who are obliged to reduce their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol to keep polluting if they fund emission reductions in the global South. A key condition of the CDM is that carbon credits are only awarded if a project would not go forward without them, so that continued pollution in the North is balanced by reduced emissions in the South.

This simply highlights that the whole carbon credits issue is a scam. Oh, and that so-called "green" projects are anything but. It seems that most, if not all, of the green energy projects are actually just as bad for the notion of anthropogenic global warming as oil and coal. So many of the forms of ethanol are worse. Solar creates toxic pollution. Wind turbines need toxic lubricants and massive concrete bases (which puts out CO2). Now we have hydro-electric being shown to be huge producers of CO2. Plus, you end up with environmental destruction in the short term.

This is certainly not the first time there has been fraud and abuse in the carbon credits markets. We see it all the time. And here we see dupes in Sweden paying to offset an Indian project. Of course, those Swedes will, like most Warmists, never change their behavior in the first place and reduce their carbon footprints, meaning we are just shifting money around (and someone is surely getting a cut) and pretending to Do Something about reducing CO2.

And many of the Warmists are simply giving up, such as Simon Kuper at the Financial Times. Not that they ever actually did anything, they simply thought about doing something. Which is why Al Gore's 24 Hours of Climate Reality was an abject failure: the science is ginned up, it's based more on computer models (garbage in, garbage out) than real world data, and relies more on non-scientific consensus than on the scientific method. It's pure politics, and few of the Believers practice what they preach (I've run out of ways to say that.)

PS: I have no problem with hydroelectric dams. I think they are a great way to create energy, and create a nice lake for fishing and recreation.


"Extreme weather" in Australia?

Greenies claim that warming is global and that one of its effects is more extreme weather. So shouldn't we expect all that in Australia too?

Discussing: "Li, F., Roncevich, L., Bicknell, C., Lowry, R. and Ilich, K. 2011. "Interannual variability and trends of storminess, Perth, 1994-2008". Journal of Coastal Research 27: 738-745.


Among the highly publicized changes in weather phenomena that are predicted to attend global warming are increases in the frequency and severity of various types of storms. Storms are a concern of the residents of any coastal city, as high winds, water surges and high-energy waves carry the potential for damage via flooding and erosion.

What was done

Citing "unprecedented public concern" with respect to the impacts of climate change, Li et al. (2011) set out to examine the variability and trends of storminess for the region of the Perth metropolitan coast of Australia. To do so, they conducted an extensive set of analyses using observations of wave, wind, air pressure, and water level over the period 1994-2008. The results of their analysis, in their view, should serve "to validate or invalidate the climate change hypothesis" that rising CO2 concentrations are increasing the frequency and severity of storms.

What was learned

As shown in the figure below, all storm indices showed significant interannual variability over the period of record, but "no evidence of increasing (decreasing) trends in extreme storm power was identified to validate the wave climate change hypotheses for the Perth region."

Annual storm trends defined by (a) stormy hours and (b) number of storm events, as determined by wind speed, significant wave height, non-tidal residual water level, and mean sea level pressure. Adapted from Li et al. (2011).

What it means

As the earth experienced what the IPCC has characterized as unprecedented warming over the past two decades, Perth has not experienced an increase in storm trends. Thus, the results of this study lean toward invalidating the hypothesis of a CO2-induced influence.



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