Saturday, November 12, 2011

The "Telegraph" has been conned

Attenborough-worship has made them forget to check the historical facts. See my addendum to the excerpt below for the missing history

It’s just one of a host of mind-blowing images in Sir David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet – but it also provides a taste of things to come both in the series and in the white world at large. In the opening minutes of this week’s episode, the camera followed a rushing river of meltwater, carving a curving canyon in an Arctic ice-shelf before plunging off it in just one of a thousand waterfalls.

In itself, of course, this is normal enough: it happens every summer as the sun returns after the long polar night. But, in a sense, the hurrying water carries with it the series’ ultimate message; that the ice is melting not just on a seasonal, but an epochal scale.

For as the 85-year-old Attenborough, like Prospero, sees his “project gather to a head” in what will surely be his last blockbuster series, two largely separate strands of his life – as the father of natural history television, and as a growing voice of environmental concern – are finally coming together.

It is likely to be a persuasive development, for until quite recently the old magician was a global warming sceptic, waiting, as he put it, “until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate”. Now the man who easily topped a poll to find Britain’s most trusted public figure (Peter Mandelson came bottom, so it must have been accurate) says he has “no doubt” that it is “man-made”.

So far the issue has scarcely featured amid the amazing sequences of killer whales washing seals off ice floes, penguins surfing Antarctic waves, or wolves bringing down a bison – all, and so very much more, filmed over four years during a record 2,356 crew days in the field which consumed 598 pairs of thermals. There has been just one reference to icebergs steadily increasing “as the world continues to warm”, though in pieces to camera at the North and South Poles in the opening episode Sir David says we may be seeing their wonders “for the last time”.

But during his next appearance – in the last episode, with something of a personal testimony – there will be no mistaking the message. Standing at the North Pole on ice just a couple of yards thick, he will warn that it is likely that “within the next few decades there will be open water here for the first time in human recorded history”.

The warning may have been a while coming, but Sir David – as he insists, no propagandist – has long campaigned on green issues. As “a very junior squirt” he helped start the World Wildlife Fund 50 years ago and has since supported almost every conceivable conservationist cause, while being particularly vocal on population growth.


ADDENDUM: Was Attenborough ever a skeptic? We read above: "quite recently the old magician was a global warming sceptic" But read a small excerpt from an April 2008 article that is now offline but still in the Google cache:

"In conversation, Attenborough's optimism about the current state of human interest in climate issues can seem at times naive: "In the last five or 10 years global warming has become incontrovertible," he says, seemingly unaware of the huge numbers of people who continue to believe it quite controvertible. "We have to work harder to convince people; over the years your country has changed its view," he says, glossing over the U.S.'s still tenuous relationship with the subject.... Attenborough's focus on population control as a major solution to environmental problems is well-documented"

So he has always been just another Greenie misanthrope.

Peskiest all is that there was NO ICE at the North pole in the year 2000. How does that fit with Attenborough's assertion that "“within the next few decades there will be open water here for the first time in human recorded history”. Did human history begin in 2001?. The man is either a fraud or a fool.

In support of the "fraud" accusation is that he lives in London despite his proclaimed love of natural environments. If he really did think that way he would be living in the Southland of New Zealand -- infinitely more pristine and naturally beautiful than London. And yet they have good internet access there and speak English. And you can definitely drink the water. He might even discover what fresh food tastes like in New Zealand -- JR

Don't Stop Doubting

Just a few weeks ago, a formerly skeptical scientist made news when he changed his mind about global warming. If he looked at the new data a meteorologist has pulled up, he'd change it back again.

Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, said that data from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project convinced him that "global warming is real." "We see no evidence," he said Oct. 21, that global warming has "slowed down."

The alarmists, of course, leveraged Muller's statements to suit their agenda.

But Muller's is not the "consensus" position of the team. Judith Curry, a Georgia Tech climate researcher with more than 30 years experience who was also part of the BEST project, has said "there is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn't stopped." She looked at the same data Muller did and noted it shows global temperatures haven't increased since the late 1990s.

Now comes meteorologist Anthony Watts armed with data showing the continental U.S. has not warmed in the last 10 years, and in fact has grown cooler in the summer and colder in the winter. The numbers aren't a collection of weather forecasts from Watts, who runs the website "Watts Up With That," but data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Granted, the Lower 48 aren't the entire world, only a small slice of it. But it is a large portion of the developed world, a significant contributor of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and full of "heat islands" — big cities — that should be skewing temperature data upward.

Yet, that's not what's happening. The 2001-to-2011 trend shows a cooling of 0.87 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the 1911-2010 average. Backing up the starting date to 1996 doesn't help the alarmists' case, either. Temperatures are flat over that period.

Both the falling and flat temperature trends are coming at a time when man is putting out more emissions of carbon monoxide than ever. Given that, it seems to us that the U.S. should be warming.
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

Unlike Muller, we remain skeptics and would be even if he were right. Because rising temperatures are indicative of only one thing — rising temperatures — it'll take more than an upward trend line to change our minds.


Developing nations are more easily conned

Because of Leftist media monopolies, Leftist political monopolies and lesser education

Climate sceptics have gained a significant foothold in right-leaning U.S. and U.K. print media but are virtually absent in news reports in key developing world nations such as China, India and Brazil, a new Oxford University study shows.

That’s in part because fossil-fuel lobby groups are weaker in many of those countries, and homegrown climate skeptics simply fewer. But it’s also because many developing countries have more first-hand experience with the impacts of climate change, suggests the report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

China’s government, for instance, has “a very clear position, that climate change is real,” said Rebecca Nadin, director of the British Council’s climate change and sustainability programme in China, and one of the authors of the report.

As a result, in a country where the government plays such a powerful rule, “climate change is not contentious, unlike other issues,” she said. [China just does nothing about it]

In Brazil, where hydropower provides 80 percent of electricity, the oil industry was until recently a state monopoly, and many leading newspapers have well-trained teams of science journalists, “climate skepticism is hardly present” in the media, the report said.

And in India, where an array of strong civil society groups are convinced by the science of climate change, the country’s media spend little time questioning climate science, focusing instead on how the need to address climate change might impact development, and who should pay the price, the report said.

That’s in stark contrast to the United States, where a powerful fossil fuel industry funds climate sceptic organizations, and a journalistic culture of seeking “balance” in stories drives reporters to seek opposing views, even if they are less well-founded in science.

That, combined with a failure to differentiate between sceptics who doubt the science of climate change and sceptics who simply disagree with the policy approaches to addressing it, means “most everything gets distilled down to a shouting match between those claiming a hoax and those claiming catastrophe,” noted Andy Revkin, a New York Times opinion writer and author on climate issues, who spoke via phone link at the report launch in London Thursday night.

In the U.K., by comparison, tabloid print media – who depend on controversy to attract readers – have been major outlets for climate sceptic views, the report found.

The political leanings of media also play a key role in whether sceptical voices are included in stories on climate change, noted the study.

A range of right-leaning UK newspapers, including the Sun, Express and Telegraph, and the Wall Street Journal in the United States, regularly featured “non-contested” climate skeptic voices in opinion and news features. The more left-leaning New York Times and UK-based Guardian newspapers, by comparison, never did, the study found.

The absence of right-leaning political parties and media in Brazil, India and France is one reason climate sceptics rarely appear in media reports, the study noted.


US to seek new Keystone route, delaying approval

The United States said on Thursday it will study a new route for the Keystone XL Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying any final approval beyond the U.S. 2012 election and sparing U.S. President Barack Obama a politically risky decision during an election year.

The decision was a victory for environmental groups, who say producing oil sands crude emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. It was a blow to TransCanada Corp, which planned to build and operate the conduit.

The State Department said that based on past experience a study of the new route could be completed as early as the first three months of 2013, well past the November 6 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new study a would examine a route that avoids the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska.

The U.S. State Department had previously said it hoped to make a decision on the $7 billion project by the end of this year.

Analysts have said a long delay could kill the pipeline project because it would cause shippers and refiners to look for alternative routes to get Canadian oil sands crude.

The White House denied that the decision to look into a new route was politically motivated.

While the decision may hurt Obama with industry and could allow Republicans to argue that he has cost the nation jobs, it also may shore up his support from environmentalists, an important constituency for Obama and his fellow Democrats.

"Politically it's an effort to avoid antagonizing either side of the issue," said David Pumphrey, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Energy Department official.

"Both sides are likely to be disappointed, but since it's impossible to calculate the most damaging outcome, better to buy time," Pumphrey said.

National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger called the move a major victory for environmentalists but that they would keep up the fight against oil sands.

"The president should know that nothing that happened today changes our position -- we're unequivocal in our opposition," said Bill McKibben the leader of recent protests at the White House against the pipeline that drew thousands of opponents.

"If this pipeline proposal reemerges from the review process intact we will use every form of nonviolent civil disobedience to keep it from ever being built," he said.

TransCanada shares were down 30 Canadian cents to C$40.28 by midafternoon on the Toronto Stock exchange, in line with the market. Rival Enbridge Inc, which stands to benefit should Keystone XL be canceled as shippers move Canadian oil onto its U.S. pipeline network, fell a similar amount.

Charles Ebinger of the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington said the decision would hurt U.S.-Canadian relations at least temporarily given Canada's strong backing for the pipeline and was probably a mixed bag for Obama politically.

"It will set back our relations with Canada -- not irreparably because, of course, we have so many areas of common interest," he said.

The Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for several decades and was strongly championed by Canadian officials.

While U.S. officials said that politics played no role in its decision, it was clear Republicans were likely to use it against Obama.

"It shows, again, that they are letting environmental ideology trump job creation and economic development," said Republican political consultant Matt Mackowiak, anticipating a likely line of attack against Obama. "He really has demonstrated that he is beholden to the environmental lobby."


Real monsters didn’t disappear after Halloween, say churchmen

Energy-depriving, job-killing, income-squeezing regulations have a frightening impact

By Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. and Reverend Efrain PiƱeda

Halloween is over. The “scary” costumes are packed away. The monster/slasher movie extravaganza has concluded. All that remains are several weeks of sugar highs.

But as winter sets in, America faces real monsters: government regulations that stifle energy production, increase energy prices, kill jobs, squeeze family and business incomes, and threaten living standards and productivity.

Millions of poor, black, Latino and elderly Americans will bear the brunt of rising energy costs. Even middle class families will have to decide whether to heat their homes or buy groceries or medicine.

A recent USA Today story revealed how our sluggish economy has impacted families and communities. “Across the nation, the middle class share of the nation’s income is shrinking,” the article stated. “The vast middle class has less of the pie than it had before,” it continued, quoting Pew Research Center Executive Vice President Paul Taylor.

In Reno, Nevada, the paper noted, unemployment jumped from 4 percent in 2006 to 14 percent last year. Empty storefronts and rows of home-for-sale signs are commonplace.

USA TODAY also mentioned New Bern, North Carolina, where most middle class residents are retirees living on investments and fixed incomes. Plummeting portfolio values have forced many of them to look for work in an market where the trucking and boat and appliance manufacturing base has been battered.

What USA Today did not do was analyze the depressing problem.

In the case of Nevada, it could have observed that the federal government owns 85 percent of the state. Once managed under “multiple use” principles that allow mining, drilling, timber cutting, and even grazing, snowmobiles and vehicles in many areas, it is now ruled with little but environmental preservation in mind. Multiple use activities are highly restricted or banned, and few business and employment opportunities remain.

President Obama didn’t help either state when he said, “When times are tough, you don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas. You don’t go buying a boat.” In the wake of that remark, many singles, families and companies took their vacations and conventions somewhere other than Nevada, further increasing unemployment. Combined with his stated intention to raise taxes on wealthy (boat and appliance buying) families, the President didn’t help New Bern, either.

The ongoing legislative and regulatory binge has kept businesses and investors on the sidelines, stifling economic recovery. Actions on energy have been especially damaging, because reliable, affordable energy is the key to living standards, jobs, and everything we make, ship, eat and do.

Yet, the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency are locking up more oil, gas and coal prospects; delaying or denying onshore and offshore drilling permits; and imposing countless costly regulations on electricity generation that is the backbone of affordable energy for factories, workers and families. Despite the Solyndra, SunPower and Fisker scandals, the Energy Department spent billions more to subsidize expensive, intermittent green energy.

When the Democrat-controlled senate wouldn’t pass cap-tax-and-trade, President Obama said he would go around Congress and impose more rules on his own. EPA then decreed that carbon dioxide is a dangerous, climate altering pollutant. However, CO2 is essential to life on Earth: we exhale it and plants absorb it. The decision will adversely affect factories, power plants, refineries and numerous other facilities, costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

EPA’s ultra-expensive ozone rules could affect 85% of all US counties. Its Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules for power plants, cement kilns and other facilities will cost still more jobs.

EPA insists its rules will improve health and environmental quality. But as a report posted at explains, there is no medical or scientific basis for most of these claims. The agency needs to consider how its policies will affect energy and reliability, business and family energy bills, jobs, and people’s health and welfare.

EPA and other agencies recently postponed some of their most costly regulations. After the 2012 elections, however, many will likely be back. Going down this road will bring to America what “green” energy policies, mandates, taxes and tariffs have inflicted on Britain.

Energy prices in the UK have skyrocketed. One-fifth of all British households are in “fuel poverty,” spending over 10 percent of their total incomes on gasoline and heating. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, or will soon, as energy-intensive companies lay people off, close their doors or outsource operations to China and India. A recent government-commissioned report concluded that 2,700 people will die this winter, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Poor and middle class Americans deserve a better future.

Government must stop transferring money from productive sectors to green theory capitalists – and fostering excessive legislation, taxation, regulation and litigation. It must promulgate sensible laws and regulations, to protect citizens, consumers and our environment from the unscrupulous, while allowing businesses and markets to operate more freely and profitably.

“Going green” must turn the corner from a marketing philosophy that does not carry its own weight, to a process that involves real data and considers the impact on poor and minority families.

That is how we can transform a monstrous “green” government into a facilitator of sustainable jobs, growth and revenue.


In praise of Britain's Global Warming Policy Foundation

In the last few years, many conservatives have sensed a tendency within the media to give scientists, analysts and commentators who believe in global warming theories a free run. In many cases, those pro-global warming voices were unchallenged, and no balance was provided in the programmes on which they appeared.

Pieser Benny DrThe Global Warming Policy Foundation is a think-tank founded in November 2009, directed by Dr Benny Peiser (pictured right), and chaired by Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor. The GWPF describes itself as "open-minded on the contested science of global warming", but "deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated".

The GWPF is a registered educational charity as well as a think-tank, and it boasts cross-party support: its Board of Trustees includes crossbench, Liberal Democrat, and Labour peers, as well as the Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster. The Academic Advisory Council features leading scientists including Professor Freeman Dyson and Dr Matt Ridley.

The GWPF is one of the most important think-tanks in Britain today, because it is helping to provide the balance that has been so sorely lacking in the mainstream of our economic and environmental policy debate for much of the last decade. The GWPF offers reports, lectures and scientific analysis.

Its website includes a section called The Observatory, edited by Dr David Whitehouse, which provides analysis of recent developments. It also includes an opinion section, UK, international, energy and science news sections, and a "best of the blogs" roundup.

Here is a selection of the GWPF's published lectures, essays and scientific analysis:

Dr David Whitehouse analyses new findings by the Best global temperature initiative: "Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more. Almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data. When examined more objectively Best data confirms the global temperature standstill of the past decade."

Dr Whitehouse predicts 2012 will be a cold year - current prediction models are "unable to explain what is going on": "Under the current hypothesis the annual average global temperature must start increasing. One can invoke natural decade cycles to hold it back for so long, but they must eventually give way to greenhouse gas forcing. Eventually the temperature must increase at a faster rate than it would have done to make up for its temporary suppression. The problem is, of course, the data. We are at the stage where theory is becoming unable to explain what is going on. We have had no global temperature increase since the 1998 super El Nino, and now have the prospect of 2011 and 2012 being significantly cooler than the temperature plateau of the past decade."

Andrew McKillop analyses the failure of Silicon Valley's green fuel industry: "The big difference, of course, is that oil & gas spending produces energy. Failed Silicon Valley start ups and the Cleantech hedge funds that go with them do not, time after time. Mortality rates in Cleantech were and are extremely high, but Myrhvold shrugs this aside as venture-capital investing being inherently high-risk. More spectacular examples, like the collapse of Solyndra LLC the solar-cell company and its fallout reaching right up to the White House are reminiscent of the dotcom-telecom crash at the turn of the century, for Myrhvold. For others, they are yet another proof that Silicon Valley-type investing in green energy is the wrong model: incompetently analysed, badly programmed, sloppily managed and born to fail."

For the GWPF's annual lecture, Cardinal George Pell provided highlighted the ever-changing phrases to describe climate change (pdf): "In the 1990s we were warned of the “greenhouse effect”, but in the first decade of the new millennium “global warming” stopped. The next retreat was to the concept of “anthropogenic global warming” or AGW; then we were called to cope with the challenge of “climate change”. Then it became apparent that the climate is changing no more now than it has in the past. Seamlessly, the claim shifted to “anthropogenic climate disruption”. These redefinitions have captured the discourse. Who would want to be denounced and caricatured as a “denier”?"

In a report last month, "The Myth of Green Jobs" (pdf), Professor Gordon Hughes showed how the rise of "green jobs" will ultimately benefit China's manufacturing industry: "It is argued that green energy policies will promote innovation and the development of new industries. Almost every country in the world wants to claim the same benefit, so the numbers do not add up. Total employment in manufacturing wind turbines, solar cells, etc is small when compared with employment in the manufacture of conventional equipment for power generation and transmission.

Some small countries – Denmark or Israel – have gained an initial advantage but this is rapidly disappearing as factors such as skills, transport costs, local demand and existing patterns of specialisation reassert themselves. For the longer term, there is little doubt that the primary beneficiary will be China. That is already apparent from the way the market is developing."

In an essay published in August, "The Truth About Greenhouse Gases" (pdf), Professor William Happer writes that the IPCC "re-wrote" history, by introducing its "hockey stick" theory: "The existence of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period was an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment because it showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning of fossil fuels.

The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record. The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the 50th Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization.

To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick."

As testament to the GWPF's impact on the media this year, Bob Ward of the Guardian's environmental section wrote earlier this month:

"Many parts of the media now feel obliged to include the views of Lawson and other representatives of the foundation in reports about climate change issues in order to "balance" the statements made by mainstream researchers and policymakers."



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


No comments: