Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Excitement! The draft of the next IPCC report fell off the back of a truck in front of the BBC's Richard Black

He advises that it is a lot more cautious than their previous efforts

On the one hand, it says it is "very likely" that the incidence of cold days and nights has gone down and the incidence of warm days and nights has risen globally. And the human and financial toll of extreme weather events has risen.

But when you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain.

There is "low confidence" that tropical cyclones have become more frequent, "limited-to-medium evidence available" to assess whether climatic factors have changed the frequency of floods, and "low confidence" on a global scale even on whether the frequency has risen or fallen.

In terms of attribution of trends to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, the uncertainties continue.

While it is "likely" that anthropogenic influences are behind the changes in cold days and warm days, there is only "medium confidence" that they are behind changes in extreme rainfall events, and "low confidence" in attributing any changes in tropical cyclone activity to greenhouse gas emissions or anything else humanity has done.

(These terms have specific meanings in IPCC-speak, with "very likely" meaning 90-100% and "likely" 66-100%, for example.)

And for the future, the draft gives even less succour to those seeking here a new mandate for urgent action on greenhouse gas emissions, declaring: "Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability".

It's also explicit in laying out that the rise in impacts we've seen from extreme weather events cannot be laid at the door of greenhouse gas emissions: "Increasing exposure of people and economic assets is the major cause of the long-term changes in economic disaster losses (high confidence).

The succour only lasts for so long, however.

If the century progresses without restraints on greenhouse gas emissions, their impacts will come to dominate, it forecasts:

"It is very likely that the length, frequency and/or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will continue to increase over most land areas...

"It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st Century over many areas of the globe...

"Mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase...

"There is medium confidence that droughts will intensify in the 21st Century in some seasons and areas...

"Low-probability high-impact changes associated with the crossing of poorly understood thresholds cannot be excluded, given the transient and complex nature of the climate system."

The draft report makes clear that lack of evidence or lack of confidence on a particular impact doesn't mean it won't occur; just that it's hard to tell.

It's impossible to read the draft without coming away with the impression that with or without anthropogenic climate change, extreme weather impacts are going to be felt more and more, simply because there are more and more people on planet Earth - particularly in the swelling "megacities" of the developing world that overwhelmingly lie on the coast or on big rivers close to the coast.


Why I want Mike Mann’s Emails

What is he hiding? He is certainly doing a good job of underlining the shiftiness of Warmists

By Dr. David Schnare (Dr. Schnare is the lead attorney in the UVA-Mann email case)

This week Nature Magazine published an editorial suggesting that “access to personal correspondence is a freedom too far” and that Michael Mann, whom they favorably compare to Galileo, should have his emails, written and received while he was a young professor at the University of Virginia, protected from public release on the core basis that to do otherwise would “chill” the work of scientists and academics. I note Galileo was forced to keep his work private. Had he the opportunity, he would have published it far and wide. Mann is quite the opposite. He wants to keep secrets and let no one know what he did and how he did it.

Nature, unfamiliar with the facts, law and both academic and university policy as applies in this case, conflates too many issues and misunderstands the transparency questions we raise.

The facts of the case include that these emails are more than five years old; that they contain none of the email attachments, no computer code, no data, no draft papers, no draft reports; that the university has already released over 2,000 of them, some academic and some not; that when they were written Mann knew there was no expectation of privacy; that all emails sent or received by a federal addressee are subject to the federal FOIA, and many have already been released; and that nearly 200 of the emails the University refuses to release were released by a whistleblower in England.

That latter group of emails, part of the “Climategate” release, do more than merely suggest Mann engaged in academic improprieties. They show he was a willing participant in efforts to “discriminate against or harass colleagues” and a failure to “respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own.” Other emails document Mann’s communications were not “conducted professionally and with civility.”

Thus, emails already available to the public demonstrate that Michael Mann failed to comply with the University of Virginia Code of Ethics and the American Association of University Professors Statement on Professional Ethics.

A question, not mine, but asked by many who are interested in the history of this period, is not whether Mann failed to live up to the professional code expected of him. It is to what degree he failed to do so and to what lengths the university will go to hide this misbehavior. If we merely sought to expose Mann’s failure to display full academic professionalism, we would not need these emails. Those already in the public eye are more than sufficient for any such purposes.

I want those emails for a very different reason. Our law center seeks to defend good science and proper governmental behavior, and conversely to expose the converse. Without access to those kinds of emails, and, notably, research records themselves, it is not possible for anyone to adequately credit good behavior and expose bad behavior. This is one of two reasons we prosecute this case. It is the core purpose of a freedom of information act. Because the public paid for this work and owns this university, it has not merely a right to determine whether the faculty are doing their jobs properly; it has a duty to do so. This is not about peer review; it is about citizens’ acting as the sovereign and taking any appropriate step necessary to ensure those given stewardship over an arm of the Commonwealth are faithfully performing.

The second reason we bring this case is to defend science and the scientific process. Anyone who has taken a high school science laboratory course knows that the research or experimental process begins with recording what was done and what was observed. As UVA explains in its Research Policy RES-002, “The retention of accurately recorded and retrievable results is of the utmost importance in the conduct of research.” Why? “To enable an investigator to reproduce the steps taken.”

Currently public emails show Mann was unable to provide even his close colleagues data he used in some of his papers and could not remember which data sets he used. A query to UVA shows the university, who owns “the data and notebooks resulting from sponsored research,” had no copy of Mann’s logbooks and never gave him permission to take them with him when he left UVA. The university refused to inquire within Mann’s department as to whether anyone there knew whether he even kept a research logbook, so it’s impossible for me to know whether he stole the logbook or just never prepared one in the first place.

The emails ATI seeks are all that appears to be left of a history of what he did and how. Absent access to those emails, anyone seeking to duplicate his work, using the exact same data and methods, has no way to do so. That is in direct conflict with both good science and the UVA research policy.

Nor should access to these kind of emails “chill” the academic process.

As a former academic scientist, I understand the need and desire to keep close the research work while it is underway. Both I and the university have a proprietary interest in that work, while it is ongoing. Once completed, however, I have a duty to share not only the data and methods with the academic community, I also have a duty to share the mistakes, the blind alleys, the bad guesses and the work and theories abandoned.

Science advances knowledge by demonstrating that a theory is wrong. All the mistakes, blind alleys and bad guesses are valuable, not just to the scientist himself, but to his colleagues. By knowing what did not work, one does more than simply save time. One gains direction. One mistake revealed often opens a vista of other ideas and opportunities. The communications between scientists during a period of research are the grist for the next generation of work. Ask any doctoral candidate or post-doc how important being part of the process is on the direction of their future research. They will tell you that these unpublished communications are as much an important scientific contribution as the final papers themselves. Anyone who wishes to hide those thoughtful discussions hides knowledge.

If anything is “chilling” it is the thought that a neo-Galileo is hiding knowledge.


The work of Zbigniew Jaworowski M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc

by Dr. Tim Ball

I was saddened to learn that Dr. Jaworowski has passed away. He had a distinguished career as a first class scientist. He was Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former Chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82) he was lead investigator on four research projects of the International Atomic Energy Agency and three projects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He held posts with the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo, the Norwegian Polar Research Institute, the Centre d’Etude Nucleaires, Paris, and the Biophysical Group of the Institute of Physics, University of Oslo.

I became aware of his work as early as 1992 as he published, wrote, and spoke about the problems with the ice core records and determination of CO2 levels. He was one of few who dared to challenge head on a critical piece of the global warming propaganda, the Antarctic Ice Core record. An early appearance was in 1987 with a 160,000 Vostok record by Baronial et al., which was followed by Jouzel et. al., in 1990. It was seized on as evidence of CO2 driving temperature increase. This occurred despite warnings about rushing to judgment. These warnings were confirmed in 2003 when the real, inverse relationship was disclosed.

Jaworowski was skeptical about the ice core record from the start. Here is what he wrote in 2007.
The basic assumption behind the CO2 glaciology is a tacit view that air inclusions in ice are a closed system, which permanently preserves the original chemical and isotopic composition of gas, and thus that the inclusions are a suitable matrix for reliable reconstruction of the pre-industrial and ancient atmosphere. This assumption is in conflict with ample evidence from numerous earlier CO2 studies, indicating the opposite (see review in Jaworowski et al. 1992b).

Proxy determinations of the atmospheric CO2 level by analysis of ice cores, reported since 1985, have been generally lower than the levels measured recently in the atmosphere. But, before 1985, the ice cores were showing values much higher than the current atmospheric concentrations (Jaworowski et al. 1992b). These recent proxy ice core values remained low during the entire past 650,000 years (Siegenthaler et al. 2005)—even during the six former inter-glacial warm periods, when the global temperature was as much as 5°C warmer than in our current interglacial! This means that either atmospheric CO2 levels have no discernible influence on climate (which is true), or that the proxy ice core reconstructions of the chemical composition of the ancient atmosphere are false (which is also true, as shown below).

He was especially critical of what was going on within the ice and the bubble over time claiming the CO2 record is not a measure of the annual atmospheric CO2 level, but reflects structural changes within the ice as it becomes part of lower layers and then is further compromised during extraction with the coring process.

There is a war going over climate science and as Aeschylus said truth is the first casualty. Propaganda is an effective and devastating vehicle of war so a measure of the effectiveness of a person and their science is the level of propaganda their work engenders. Few were attacked as much as Zbigniew. One reason for nasty personal attacks is when someone is qualified. Here are his remarks to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology in 2004.
“For the past 40 years I was involved in glacier studies, using snow and ice as a matrix for reconstruction of history of man-made pollution of the global atmosphere. A part of these studies was related to the climatic issues. Ice core records of CO2 have been widely used as a proof that, due to man’s activity the current atmospheric level of CO2 is about 25% higher than in the pre-industrial period. These records became the basic input parameters in the models of the global carbon cycle and a cornerstone of the man-made climatic warming hypothesis. These records do not represent the atmospheric reality, as I will try to demonstrate in my statement.”

I had another connection with Zbigniew through the work of Ernst Georg Beck, another person whose contributions are measured by the nastiness of attacks on him and his work. Zbigniew recognized the valuable work Beck produced with atmospheric CO2 levels an incorporated it into his work. He also understood the corruption of the records Beck exposed. These were used to ‘prove’ a pre-industrial level of 270 ppm necessary to support the claim that it was human industrial activity that was responsible for the increase.

It is time for people to become familiar with or revisit Zbigniew’s work.Three important papers, available at Warwick Hughes’ web site, provide a good over view here, here and here. In this day of corruption of climate science on a global scale we must be grateful for people like Zbigniew. He was a true scientist because he questioned everything. He was a great citizen because he wasn’t afraid to stand up. I know what he did was a great inspiration for me.


Raging debate inside Richard Muller's head: “we’re getting very steep warming” and "we don't know that it's warming"

Is he schizophrenic, manic or what?

Quote 1:

"...today he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe today that “we’re getting very steep warming” and that because “we are dumping enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that we’re working in a dangerous realm, I realm where I think, we may really have trouble in the next coming decades.”

Quote 2:

"Right now," he says of the earth as a whole, "we don't know that it's warming. It may be constant, we don't know."

The quotes both come after the release of his findings but the latter was to a more sophisticated audience. He certainly does his bit to underline the shiftiness of Warmists

More HERE (See the original for links)

Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects

Solyndra, the solar-panel maker that received more than half a billion dollars in federal loans from the Obama administration only to go bankrupt this fall, isn’t the first dud for U.S. government officials trying to play venture capitalist in the energy industry.

The Clinch River Breeder Reactor. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation. The hydrogen car. Clean coal. These are but a few examples spanning several decades — a graveyard of costly and failed projects.

Not a single one of these much-ballyhooed initiatives is producing or saving a drop or a watt or a whiff of energy, but they have managed to burn through far more more taxpayer money than the ill-fated Solyndra. An Energy Department report in 2008 estimated that the federal government had spent $172 billion since 1961 on basic research and the development of advanced energy technologies.

What does Washington have to show for these investments? And should the government even be in the business of promoting particular energy technologies?

Some economists, executives and financiers — as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu — argue that the government must play a role because certain technologies have non-financial benefits, such as producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions or easing U.S. reliance on foreign oil. The semiconductor industry is often held up as a model of how government money can help build a new type of economy.

But others argue that the history of government attempts to reach for the holy grail of new energy technology — a history that features both political parties — is not inspiring. “We’re making very large bets, and the decisions seem to be more grounded in politics and geography than in engineering and science,” said Michael Graetz, a professor at Columbia Law School and the author of “The End of Energy.”

Consider the saga of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon set a goal of building an experimental nuclear power plant. The Clinch River reactor was supposed to be a sort of perpetual motion machine, producing power as well as plutonium that could be used in other plants.

Private utilities agreed to kick in $175 million, less than half of the $400 million that the Atomic Energy Commission estimated it would cost to build. As expenses ballooned, the government covered all the overruns. The project was criticized by activists and scientists worried about the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. Cheap uranium undercut it.

After President Ronald Reagan was elected, Clinch River survived the first round of his spending cuts, in part out of deference to Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), a strong supporter of the reactor, which was in his home state. But finally, in 1983, with the Congressional Budget Office saying the cost might exceed $4 billion, Congress terminated the program. Blueprints had been drawn up, modeling done, components ordered and some ground cleared, but the reactor was never built. The price tag for the federal government: $1.7 billion ($3.9 billion in today’s dollars).

Much more HERE

Green kickbacks

80% of DOE Green Energy Loans Went to Obama Backers

A new book by Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer details the startling extent of the cronyism that has pervaded President Obama’s “green jobs” push. According to Schweizer, 4 out of every 5 renewable energy companies backed by the Energy Department was “run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers.”

Those companies’ “political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy,” Schweizer explains. “It brought them returns many times over.”

Such is the inevitable consequence of large government interventions in private markets. Leaving aside the losses associated with transfers of funds from self-sustaining industries to ones that rely on government support, such interventions also encourage unproductive business activities by making “subsidy suckling” far more profitable than run-of-the-mill business expansions or product improvements.

Doug Ross spotted the relevant excerpt of Schweizer’s book (h/t Ben Domenech’s Transom):
When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy… After he was sworn in as president, he proclaimed that taxpayer money would assuredly not be doled out to political friends…

…But an examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies…

…In the 1705 government-backed-loan program [alone], for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.

…The Government Accountability Office has been highly critical of the way guaranteed loans and grants were doled out by the Department of Energy, complaining that the process appears “arbitrary” and lacks transparency. In March 2011, for example, the GAO examined the first 18 loans that were approved and found that none were properly documented. It also noted that officials “did not always record the results of analysis” of these applications. A loan program for electric cars, for example, “lacks performance measures.” No notes were kept during the review process, so it is difficult to determine how loan decisions were made. The GAO further declared that the Department of Energy “had treated applicants inconsistently in the application review process, favoring some applicants and disadvantaging others.” The Department of Energy’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, … has testified that contracts have been steered to “friends and family.”

…These programs might be the greatest—and most expensive—example of crony capitalism in American history. Tens of billions of dollars went to firms controlled or owned by fundraisers, bundlers, and political allies, many of whom—surprise!—are now raising money for Obama again.



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


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