Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry may have backed down on tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, but he’s doubling down on his skepticism of climate-change science.
At a New Hampshire town-hall style meeting, his first of the campaign, the Texas governor sparred Friday evening with a questioner who tried to pin him down on the issue. The man, whom Perry addressed as “Mike,” began by noting a 2011 report from a panel of experts chosen by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that climate change is occurring and “is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities.” The man noted that Perry had ducked—twice--when asked at the Reagan Library debate this month to name the scientists he found most credible on the subject.
“Great,” replied Perry, strolling with a hand-held microphone in front of a crowd at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry, N.H. “I’m ready for you this time.”
Perry said that “just within the last couple of weeks, a renowned Nobel laureate” had said that it was “not correct” to say that there was “incontrovertible” evidence that global warming is man’s fault. “There are scientists all across this country who are saying that,” Perry said, adding to that his own conclusion that climate change science “frankly is not proven.”
The scientist, whom Perry never named, is Norwegian physicist Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel laureate for work involving superconductors. A longtime skeptic of global warming, which he has described as “a new religion,” Giaever resigned recently from the American Physical Society after it issued a policy statement that “evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring."
Giaever told the London Sunday Telegraph, "Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science."
Echoing those words, Perry told the town-hall questioner: “He said there is not incontrovertible evidence, and here’s my point. The climate has been changing … for thousands of years, and for us to take a snapshot in time and say…‘The climate change that is going on is man’s fault, and we need to jeopardize America’s economy [to fix it.]’ I’m a skeptic about that.”
When the questioner followed up, in that vein, by suggesting that the link between smoking and cancer is not incontrovertible, the governor shot back, “I would suggest to you that [it] is pretty settled.”
As for greenhouse emissions, Perry said that Texas had done a much better job than other states in cleaning up its air, lowering ozone and nitrous oxide pollution. But the governor disagreed strongly when the questioner said those gains had come in response to air-quality standards imposed by the federal government, the very "centralized, all-knowing, one-size-fits-all" environmental regulations emanating from Washington that Perry condemns and is promising to halt if he’s elected president.
“No, it wasn’t the EPA regulations,” responded Perry.
During the event, Perry repeated his claim that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and hinted at ways he would consider changing the federal program to make it solvent. Those include raising the retirement age, providing “private options” for younger workers “to decide how [their contribution] is going to be invested, and allowing states to “opt out of Social Security and create their own programs” for government workers and retirees.
Perry indicated that those 55 and older would not be affected by future changes and warned voters not to let anyone “try to scare you” by claiming “this guy,” meaning himself, “is taking your Social Security away.”
Perry, who encouraged the moderator to “turn ‘em loose” at the start of the question-and-answer session, was asked what he would do to help seniors who are on food stamps and welfare and are still finding a hard time making ends meet.
The solution, he responded, was to reduce the cost of energy, including home heating oil that many New Englanders rely upon, by “freeing up” domestic energy production and “removing those onerous regulations” from the EPA “that are job killers.”
When a questioner asked Perry if he has “the stones to take it to” Obama in the 2012 election, the Texan repeated a line from his stump speech, quoting Ronald Reagan, that this is “the time for bright colors, not pale pastels.”
“Let me tell you,” said Perry, “I am that bright color.”
Every Day In 2011 Has Been Cooler Than 2010
There must be less CO2 in the air this year.
Major UN Climate Program “Basically a Farce”
Today’s climate campaign embarrassment comes to us courtesy of Nature magazine once again, which has a story in the current issue about how the UN’s “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM), which was essentially a fig leaf for wealth transfers from industrialized nations to poor developing nations, isn’t working according to plan. The CDM is a prototype for a global cap and trade system, whereby industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions would pay to “offset” their emissions by paying for projects that would reduce the growth of emissions in developing nations like China and India.
There has been rampant fraud in this program since the beginning, which is a feature rather than a bug for the UN of course. Naturally the UN wants to expand this program and increase the amount of money rich nations send to poor nations, since, as one leading German climate diplomat, Ottmar Edenhoffer, put it indelicately last fall: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”
The most fun aspect of this story is that the damaging information comes courtesy of the Wikileaks folks. Obviously they didn’t get the memo that they’re only supposed to serve leftist causes. The Nature article may be behind a subscriber firewall, so here are the relevant passages:
[The CDM] allows rich countries to offset some of their carbon emissions by investing in climate-friendly projects, such as hydroelectric power and wind farms, in developing countries. Verified projects earn certified emission reductions (CERs) — carbon credits that can be bought and sold, and count towards meeting rich nations’ carbon-reduction targets.
But a diplomatic cable published last month by the WikiLeaks website reveals that most of the CDM projects in India should not have been certified because they did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been achieved without foreign investment. Indian officials have apparently known about the problem for at least two years.
“What has leaked just confirms our view that in its present form the CDM is basically a farce,” says Eva Filzmoser, programme director of CDM Watch, a Brussels-based watchdog organization. The revelations imply that millions of tonnes of claimed reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are mere phantoms, she says, and potentially cast doubt over the principle of carbon trading. “In the face of these comments it is no wonder that the United States has backed away from emission trading,” Filzmoser says.
Solar Energy School Propaganda 101
The Obama administration's crony green subsidy scandal is erupting like a solar flare in Washington. But do you know what your kids are learning in their environmental education classes about this red-hot taxpayer eco-scam? Chances are: not much.
Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Democratic apparatchiks at the National Education Association are disseminating solar power propaganda masquerading as math and science curricula.
Titled "Solar Power and Me: The Inherent Advantages," the lesson plan for middle-school and high-school students directs them to "take note of how solar energy is incorporated into the infrastructure of various cities nationwide and write a short essay about how they would encourage solar energy use in their own town."
A worksheet labeled "All About Solar!" makes the blanket assertion that solar technologies are "a sound economical choice as they can reduce or eliminate exposure to rising electricity rates, or even eliminate one's need to pay an electrical bill! In addition, solar panels can be a smart long-term investment, with many solar vendors offering 20-30 year warranties on their products."
The only warranties worth anything from bankrupt, half-billion-dollar solar company Solyndra Inc. are the warranties on the Disney whistling robots and saunas that adorned its Taj Mahal headquarters. But I digress.
Another worksheet cheerleads the "financial savings" of "solar power and me" and coaches students to "imagine you live in amazing and sunny Anaheim, CA, where the combination of local and federal rebates covers 74 percent of your total cost of a solar panel system!" The exercise then entices the student to take out a 20-year loan on a new solar panel system to produce even greater illusory savings.
Yet another question-and-answer key reads: "How would switching to solar energy affect energy use at your home and school?" Answer: "In general, switching to solar energy would lower your home's electrical costs and reduce your emissions, thus saving money and improving the environment."
But as Brian McGraw of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute points out: "There might be a small niche market, but solar energy is still largely incapable of producing reliable electricity at rates that are even in the ballpark of cost competitiveness compared to coal or natural gas." Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the force behind billions of dollars' worth of rushed green energy loans overseen by deep-pocketed Obama bundlers, himself acknowledged that solar tech will need to improve five-fold before it even begins to have a cost-competitive shot.
After examining decades' worth of failed subsidized solar efforts at home and around the world, the Institute for Energy Research concludes: "Although stand-alone solar power has a certain free-market niche and does not need government favor, using solar power for grid electricity has been and will be an economic loser for ratepayers and a burden to taxpayers."
The DOE/NEA curriculum encourages students to pressure politicians to pour more money into supposedly underfunded green energy schemes. But the House Budget Committee reported last week: "The president's stimulus law alone included tens of billions in new government subsidies for politically favored renewable-energy interests: $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy investments; $17 billion for the Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs; $2 billion for energy-efficient battery manufacturing; and billions more on other 'clean-energy' programs for a total of $80 billion. Two years later, the president's promise of millions of jobs stands in stark contrast with reality."
A more useful homework assignment would be to have these future taxpayers calculate how much their moms and dads are spending to prop up Obama's green jobs industry and its elite Democratic campaign finance donors/investors. The White House projected 65,000 new jobs from nearly $40 billion in green job stimulus spending. Instead, fewer than 3,600 jobs were created. Get out your calculators, kids: That's $4.85 million per job. Investor's Business Daily crunches the numbers further on the taxpayers' return on its DOE green loan guarantee "investments" and finds that the program will cost a whopping $23 million per job.
A separate NEA solar energy lesson plan marketed with Dow Corning teaches 5th- through 8th-graders "how solar panels work." A more apt, real-world lesson would teach them how they don't work. The myth that this alternative energy source "pays for itself" is busted with just a cursory glance at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.
President Obama staged a photo-op on the facility's solar panel roof in 2009 when he signed the green jobs goodie-stuffed stimulus law. The museum refused to disclose electric bills before and after installation of the solar array. But after digging into the lavishly taxpayer-funded project, the Colorado-based Independence Institute discovered that the panels -- which only last 25 years -- wouldn't "pay for themselves" until the year 2118, more than a century from now.
It's elementary. The government shouldn't be in the business of picking any eco-winners or losers. "Too Green To Fail" redistributes wealth from viable private projects to pipe dreams, forces higher taxes and energy costs on everyone, and rewards partisan funders at public expense. Teach your children well. They're inheriting the bill.
If Albert Einstein was wrong, what about Albert Gore?
Recently, scientists at the CERN labratory stumbled upon something so simply remarkable that they had to test, double check, and retest themselves. When they realized it was happening, they opened up their findings to the world:
You can go faster than the speed of light.
Researchers were sending Neutrinos - sub-atomic particles - on a 730+km ride from Geneva to the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy. They noticed that the neutrinos were arriving ahead of schedule. It was only fractions of a second, but this is the world of physics! Every nano-second counts. This is Einstein's world - Albert Einstein - who theorized over 100 years ago that nothing could travely faster than light in a vacuum: a speed of 186,282 miles per hour....
If one Albert can be wrong, why not two? For years now, former US Vice President Al Gore has been pushing the thesis of anthroprogenic (man-made) global warning. He has made movies about his thesis - An Inconvenient Truth. It won an Oscar. His thoughts on global warming have won him a Nobel Prize (for Peace, not science.)
Gore's thesis has not been a part of American thought for a century...it's existed for about 10 years (figuring he wasn't aggressive about his ideas until after he was out of elected office.) Yet many scientists took to it as if it was oxygen. It was a must-have. It was conclusive. At a 2009 conference presented by the Wall Street Journal, when confronted by environmental skeptic Bjorn Lomberg about the validity of global warming, Gore stated clearly:
The scientific community has gone through this chapter and verse. We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ issue...It’s not a matter of theory or conjecture, for goodness sake.
Neither was the Theory of Relativity, until a mid September day when a neutrino did what was supposed to be - quite literally - impossible. The science of global warming is already in huge dispute. The emails discovered from East Anglia University were so damning that the controversy was renamed Climategate. Those emails, according to the article's author James Delingpole "...suggest Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."
Yet, those who argue the existing science, or even argue that the scientific community hasn't gone through this "chapter and verse," are vilified in the press, by the United Nations, by the ever-violent environmental movement. The Discovery Building in Silver Spring, MD was taken hostage by a man who wanted more content covering global warming (he also referred to human babies as "parasitic!") Green organization 1010global.org, in a slickly produced video on YouTube asked school kids to lower their carbon footprint by 10 percent. Those that chose not to were blown up in the video!
I'm not a scientist, yet I understand that scientists pride themselves on pushing the envelope. Science doesn't have politics, it has an answer. And that answer is only good until someone comes along with a better answer. Einstein has reigned supreme for over 100 years, and only now is there the possibility of a more complete understanding of the universe. Gore is no Einstein, and no one will ever proudly proclaim that their child is a "little Gore." The discovery in CERN and Gran Sasso only continues to prove that Gore, and his fundamentalist cronies in the Church of Environmentalism, don't care about science, its methods or its realities.
Climate change consensus? Only if you ask the believers
On the one hand, if you read the mainstream press, there is certainly general agreement in most published stories that the scientific issue is settled. What's more, the formal scientific establishment doesn't dispute it and, indeed, asserts the claim in even more incontestable terms.
To be sure, according to a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, at least 97 percent of published climate scientists believe in anthropogenically induced climate change.
That's consensus, right?
Again, it depends on what a consensus is. To wit, critics of manmade global warming say the scientific establishment is biased toward the theory, and, as a closed community, that establishment mostly publishes those scientists who agree with it.
They are a consensus in their own minds, in this view.
Then, too, when talking absolute numbers rather than percentages of published authors, critics point to thousands of reputable scientists who reject the significance of manmade global warming, and who point to findings by NASA and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) that open the door to other causes, in addition to fossil fuel emissions, and to some experiments that - gasp - actually suggest the Earth is barreling toward a period of global cooling.
If that's a consensus, it's a consensus built on quicksand. Virtually everyone believes fossil fuel emissions play a role in warming the Earth, but there is considerable dissension about how significant that role is compared to other factors, and about whether manmade warming even compensates for natural cooling factors.
Cracks in the consensus
In fact, more than 1,000 reputable scientists have dissented from the prevailing theory since 2007. About 400 originally did so in a U.S. Senate report that year, and the list has been growing steadily.
The Senate report, produced by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of GOP ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), offered the detailed viewpoints of the scientists. The report challenged the 2007 findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which heaped the blame on carbon emissions.
By December 2010, when the website Climate Depot updated the Senate report, more than 1,000 scientists had joined in the thrashing, if anything revealing a mounting consensus in the other direction.
Only 52 scientists in fact participated in the IPCC Summary, the 2007 Senate report observed.
"The notion of 'hundreds' or 'thousands' of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny," the report stated. "Recent research by Australian climate data analyst John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired."
Indeed, in a paper critical of the IPCC, "Prejudiced Authors, Prejudiced Findings," McLean subscribed to the closed-community establishment argument, saying the IPCC's selection of its chapter authors appeared so biased toward a predetermined outcome that it rendered its scientific assessment of the climate suspect and its conclusions inappropriate for policy making.
"The IPCC is a single-interest organisation, whose charter presumes a widespread human influence on climate, rather than consideration of whether such influence may be negligible or missing altogether," he wrote. "Though the IPCC's principles also state that a wide range of views is to be sought when selecting lead authors and contributing authors, this rule has been honored more in the breach than in the observance."
Many of the IPCC authors were climate modelers, or associated with laboratories committed to modeling, he pointed out.
"More than two-thirds of all authors of the (critical climate change assessment chapter) were part of a clique whose members have co-authored papers with each other and, we can surmise, very possibly at times acted as peer-reviewers for each other's work," McLean wrote. "Of the 44 contributing authors, more than half have co-authored papers with the lead authors or coordinating lead authors of (the chapter on understanding climate change)."
Of course, the IPCC had its defenders in the global warming community, too, and they had a ready defense: Taken in the context of a massive 3,000-page document, the exposed mistakes and wayward conclusions were minor overall and did not affect the findings. The conclusions still represented sound evidence-based science and not dogma, they retorted.
All of which would have made for a scientific standoff - and a moral public relations victory for global warming supporters - but for the intervention of the InterAcademy Council (IAC), a high-level group of the world's leading scientists whose board is composed of the presidents of 15 academies of science and equivalent organizations representing Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus the African Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.
The United Nations did not consider the errors minor overall, apparently, and asked the IAC to undertake a review of the assessment in the wake of the revelations. It all reached its zenith in August 2010 when the IAC released its review of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment.
Put simply, the IAC rendered a blunt if not scathing conclusion that validated the critics' charges.
For one thing, the review found, there was little evidence-based science to support many of IPCC's conclusions about climate change.
"The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers has been criticized for various errors and for emphasizing the negative impacts of climate change," the review stated. " . . . Authors were urged to consider the amount of evidence and level of agreement about all conclusions and to apply subjective probabilities of confidence to conclusions when there was high agreement and much evidence."
But they didn't do that, the IAC reported.
"However, authors reported high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence," the review continued. "Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach 'high confidence' to the statements. The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or not expressed clearly."
The African crop predictions served as a quintessential illustration, the review authors wrote.
"For example, authors reported high confidence in statements for which there is little evidence, such as the widely-quoted statement that agricultural yields in Africa might decline by up to 50 percent by 2020," the review stated. "Moreover, the guidance was often applied to statements that are so vague they cannot be falsified."
What's more, the IAC concluded, the IPCC fumbled the ball once the factual errors were uncovered.
"IPCC's slow and inadequate response to revelations of errors in the last assessment, as well as complaints that its leaders have gone beyond IPCC's mandate to be 'policy relevant, not policy prescriptive' in their public comments, have made communications a critical issue," the IAC concluded.
In addition, the IAC echoed McLean about the authorial selection process and savaged the documentation the body used as evidence for many of its scientific conclusions.
"From extensive oral and written input gathered by the Committee, it is clear that several stages of the assessment process are poorly understood, even to many scientists and government representatives who participate in the process," the report stated. "Most important are the absence of criteria for selecting key participants in the assessment process and the lack of documentation for selecting what scientific and technical information is assessed."
If all this wasn't enough for the reeling global-warming community, on the heels of the IPCC debacle came Climategate. In November 2009, hackers gained access to thousands of emails from climate scientists in the global warming camp, and climate skeptics immediately seized on language they said revealed the manipulation of climate data.
In the end, Climategate was more politically embarrassing than anything else, but the IPCC belly flop along with the scientifically sensational emails emboldened some to defect the camp altogether and others, like Judith Curry, the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to aggressively challenge aspects of the IPCC consensus and to confront what she called the vilification of dissenters such as herself. She had opened her mind, she said, and was surprised at what she found.
"It is my sad conclusion that opening your mind on this subject sends you down the slippery slope of challenging many aspects of the IPCC consensus," she wrote on her blog.
The fiascos also emboldened others to come out into the open - many had been skeptical but had feared professional retribution - but, the truth is, many scientists had become skeptical of the global warming consensus before Climategate and even before the Fourth Assessment.
One former global warming advocate, geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, an author of more than 100 scientific articles and 11 books, became a skeptic in 2006. According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works minority report, Allegre, one of the first scientists to sound the global warming alarm a score of years ago, said the cause of climate change was "unknown" and accused proponents of manmade global warming of being motivated by money, saying "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people."
Allegre pointed out that snowfall in the Antarctic had been stable for 30 years and the continent was actually gaining ice, the Senate Committee minority reported. While much of the Antarctic Peninsula and western coast have been melting - that's what the mainstream media puts in its headlines - eastern Antarctica, which is four times as large, has been cooling and gaining sea ice, especially over the past five years.
Then there's mathematician and engineer Dr. David Evans, who conducted carbon accounting for the Australian government. The Senate Committee minority report also recounted his conversion to a skeptic.
"I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry," Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007, blog. "When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical."
In a 2008 article, Evans was more adamant. "There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming," he wrote.
Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change as well, the Senate minority report stated.
"Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming," the report quoted Shaviv as saying in February 2007. "But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye."
And so the consensus is coming apart, if it ever existed
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