Sunday, December 11, 2011

An amusing conversation

I am of course on Marc Morano's mailing list and Marc's mailouts are exuberant. He sends out anything that MIGHT be of interest to us climate atheists. In a recent mailout he sent a copy of an email conversation he had with a Warmist. I reproduce the conversation below and then add a few comments of my own after it -- JR:

From: Anna Haynes []
Sent: Sat Dec 10 20:19:58 GMT+01:00 2011
Subject: Mr. Morano, your climate science expertise?

Greetings Mr. Morano -

I'm just now editing your SourceWatch page, adding that you have no evident climate science expertise, because I recall searching (&asking) several years ago & finding & hearing nothing. If I'm mistaken, and you do have a climate science background, please do let me know what courses you've taken or papers you've published, so I can add this information to your SourceWatch page.

Anna Haynes

Disclosure: I have no background in climate science that would equip me to second-guess the findings of the field. See: Gutting's On experts and global warming ( ) and Peter Watts ("science is alchemy..." - )

Hi Anna,

I remember you from Dot Earth comment section a few years back. We had some entertaining back and forth. You always signed you name noting you had a phd. You must be so proud.

My background is in political science, which is highly suited to analyzing man-made global warming claims. The 'science' you bitterly cling to is, after all, political at its core.

My bio is published at Climate Depot for all to see under the about page.

Thanks and enjoy the the sub-prime science you seem to believe in a religious fashion. My bio at Source Watch is not at all that different from my bio at Climate Depot. I look forward to your updating my entry at Source Watch.


Marc's reply is a good one but he could have had a laugh by looking up the authorities on climate science that she gives. One is a soi disant "philosopher" who makes the ludicrous claim that what "authorities" say should always be accepted. And the second reference is to what could reasonably be described as a hate-filled Leftist rave! If those are her idea of climate authorities she is much to be pitied and is certainly undeserving of her Ph.D.

As Marc says, Warmism truly is a religion -- a particularly mind-warping religion in fact. Perhaps "sect" would be a better word for it. Festinger's classic work of social psychology "When Prophecy Fails" seems more applicable to them every day.

The second link she gives did not work when I first tried it so the full URL is here -- JR

U.N. Floats Global 'Climate Court' to Enforce Emissions Rules

United Nations climate envoys have proposed the creation of a global "climate court" that would be responsible for enforcing a sprawling set of rules requiring developed countries to cut emissions while compensating poorer countries in order to pay off a "historical climate debt."

The proposals are contained in a draft document pieced together for the climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Representatives at the conference are struggling to come up with a compromise that negotiators from 194 nations can agree on.

But the draft document, one of many floating around the conference, gives a glimpse into the long-term vision some nations hold for the creation of an international legal framework on climate change.

In the bowels of the document is a provision calling for "an international climate court of justice."

The proposal is meant to "guarantee the compliance of Annex I Parties with all the provisions of this decision."

Annex I countries are mostly developed countries, covering the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and much of Europe -- including countries that are struggling financially such as Greece and Portugal.

The rules of the road the court would presumably enforce are based on the view that these developed countries owe developing countries a "debt" over climate change, and must provide financial aid in addition to taking major steps toward cutting emissions.

In one section, the document calls for developed countries to help poorer countries with "finance, technology and capacity building" so they can "adapt to and mitigate climate change" while helping eliminate poverty. Another section provides that developing countries should receive an amount of money equal to the amount "developed countries spend on defense, security and warfare."

Yet the document also calls for a guaranteed end to warfare altogether -- for the sake of curbing climate change.

One section, noting that "conflict-related activities emit significant greenhouse gas emissions," calls on all parties to "cease destructive activities" like warfare -- and then channel the money that would have been spent on war and other defense projects toward "a common enemy: climate change."

The document also asserts the "rights of mother earth," a concept that environmental activists have been pushing for.

The draft report, which strings together proposals from various working groups, quickly raised alarm among climate change skeptics.

Marc Morano, a former aide to U.N. agitator and Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, told the document shows the climate talks are intended to create more "taxing and regulatory authority."

"This is the true U.N. agenda unmasked in this draft report," he said. Morano now runs the ClimateDepot blog, which also reported on the draft document.

However, the idea of a climate court anytime soon -- particularly one that the United States and other big carbon emitters would agree to -- may be far-fetched. One environmental law expert, professor Jonathan Verschuuren at The Netherlands' Tilburg University, wrote in an online column that the court "will certainly not materialize."

Instead, representatives at the Durban conference reportedly are still trying to figure out how and whether to extend the Kyoto protocol, whose emission requirements expire next year. Some industrial nations want a new agreement that would ask more of developing countries.

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. and India have backed down a bit on their objections, while China continues to put up resistance.


Debate denied


Dissent on global warming has been shut down from the start

The odd thing about the great debate on global warming is that there never really was a debate. As soon as the global warming scare exploded on the world in 1988, to its promoters there could be no argument about it. The scientists who that year set up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were already convinced beyond doubt that ‘human-induced climate change’ was a reality. Al Gore was soon already pronouncing ‘the science is settled’. In 1992 Dr Richard Lindzen of MIT, the eminent atmospheric physicist who has been a prominent ‘sceptic’ ever since, wrote a paper discussing the peculiar need of the ‘climate establishment’ to insist that their new orthodoxy was supported by a ‘consensus’ of the world’s scientists, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

A corollary of this, as Lindzen showed, was the extraordinary intolerance they displayed towards anyone questioning the orthodoxy. When one respected professor of economics told a US Senate Committee that the issue was still ‘controversial’, Senator Gore expostulated that anyone who said such a thing clearly didn’t know what he was talking about, and the professor was asked to leave the room.

Thus, right from the start, this remarkable hostility towards anyone daring to question the orthodoxy became established as a central feature of the story, Those who dissented, such as Professor Fred Singer, who wrote a sceptical paper with Dr Roger Revelle, the eminent oceanographer who had first alerted Gore to the possibility that rising CO2 levels might lead to rising temperatures, were publicly vilified, with claims that they could only hold such views because they were being paid by Big Oil.

For more than a decade, as CO2 levels rose and temperatures seemed to be following suit, the orthodoxy carried all before it, In 2001, Michael Mann’s famous ‘hockey stick’ graph, completely rewriting climate history by purporting to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and showing that temperatures had soared in the late 20th century to their highest level in 1,000 years, was the centrepiece of the IPCC’s third report. But in 2003, serious questions began to be asked about the ‘hockey stick’, first by two Harvard astrophysicists, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, then, quite devastatingly, by two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who expertly demonstrated that the graph was no more than a product of computer trickery.

Instead of attempting to engage with these criticisms, the response of the ‘climate establishment’ — as we see confirmed by the recent ‘Climategate 2.0’ emails — was just to dismiss them as ‘tosh’, heaping the critics with abuse, even trying to get the editor of the journal which published Soon and Baliunas removed from his post, So, in essence, the ‘non-debate’ between the two sides has remained ever since. In recent years, the orthodoxy has increasingly come under every kind of fire, from the failure of its computer models to predict what has actually been happening to global temperatures to revelations that nearly a third of the citations on which the IPCC’s latest 2007 report were based were not to proper scientific papers but simply to claims made by environmental activists. The response of the orthodoxy’s defenders has too often been simply to step up their intolerance even further, dismissing the critics as ‘deniers’, ‘flat-earthers’, ‘idiots’ and of course ‘shills for the fossil-fuel industry’.

Not the least interesting revelation of the latest Climategate emails, exchanged between the small group of scientists at the heart of the IPCC establishment, has been to see how uncertain some of them have privately been about the strength of their own case. Perhaps the Medieval Warm Period did exist? Why have temperatures not continued to rise as their models predicted? But, publicly, what they tellingly called ‘the cause’ had to be defended at all costs. Similarly at all costs, the ‘deniers’ had to be rubbished, painted as ‘cranks’ and ‘loonies’ talking ‘drivel’. No one has reflected this attitude better than the BBC which in 2006, as I describe in a report just published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, held a ‘high-level seminar’ at which Lord May, as ex-President of the Royal Society, persuaded the BBC’s top policymakers that ‘the debate on climate change was over’ and that they must ‘stop reporting the views of climate sceptics’.

In 2007 considerable attention was drawn to a Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle precisely because it featured many of those eminent scientists who dissented from the orthodoxy. Typically, the establishment’s response was to shower Ofcom with complaints, furious that such a programme could have been allowed (scarcely any were upheld). Among the organisers of those complaints was Bob Ward, a tireless advocate for the orthodoxy, who inevitably was at the forefront of those leading a howl of outrage against last week’s Spectator for its cover story by Nils-Axel Mörner, the admittedly slightly eccentric expert who, on the basis of studying the physical evidence, has long questioned the computer models the IPCC uses to promote alarm over rising sea levels.

In 2009, an article of my own about Mörner provoked Ward to take me to the Press Complaints Commission (he has more than once called on the Sunday Telegraph to fire me). I cited a peer-reviewed 2001 paper based on satellite data, which quite independently confirmed Mörner’s finding that sea levels were not rising around Tuvalu. Ward sent the PCC a black-and-white version of the paper’s colour chart, claiming that this disproved my case. I replied with the original colour version, which clearly showed by its colour coding that sea levels around Tuvalu had actually fallen. Quite unabashed, Ward told the PCC that the authors of the 2001 paper had in 2006 published another withdrawing their earlier finding. The 2006 paper made no mention of Tuvalu. As I say, so little are the orthodoxy’s defenders interested in serious debate that they will stop at nothing to discredit any dissent — even as their ‘cause’ continues to crumble around them.


How the IPCC Reports Mislead the Public, Exaggerate the Negative Impacts of Climate Change and Ignore the Benefits of Economic Growth

Study finds climate change panel ignores its own findings and pushes plans that will prolong poverty for developing nations

It is frequently asserted that climate change could have devastating consequences for poor countries. Indeed, this assertion is used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other organizations as one of the primary justifications for imposing restrictions on human emissions of greenhouse gases.

But there is an internal contradiction in the IPCC’s own claims. Indeed, the same highly influential report from the IPCC claims both that poor countries will fare terribly and that they will be much better off than they are today. So, which is it? The apparent contradiction arises because of inconsistencies in the way the IPCC assesses impacts. The process begins with various scenarios of future emissions.

These scenarios are themselves predicated on certain assumptions about the rate of economic growth and related technological change. Under the IPCC’s highest growth scenario, by 2100 GDP per capita in poor countries will be double the U.S.’s 2006 level, even taking into account any negative impact of climate change. (By 2200, it will be triple.) Yet that very same scenario is also the one that leads to the greatest rise in temperature—and is the one that has been used to justify all sorts of scare stories about the impact of climate change on the poor. Under this highest growth scenario (known as A1FI), the poor will logically have adopted, adapted and innovated all manner of new technololgies, making them far better able to adapt to the future climate. But these improvements in adaptive capacity are virtually ignored by most global warming impact assessments. Consequently, the IPCC’s “impacts” assessments systematically overestimate the negative impact of global warming, while underestimating the positive impact. Moreover, in these “impacts” assessments, global warming is not expected for the most part to create new problems; rather, it is expected to exacerbate some existing problems of poverty (in particular, hunger, disease, extreme events), while relieving others (such as habitat loss and water shortages in some places).

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which would reduce every warming impact regardless of whether it is good or bad, is but one approach to dealing with the consequences of warming. And it would likely be very costly. In fact, reducing emissions is unlikely to help poorer countries deal with most of the problems they face either today or in the future. With respect to mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events, for example, global warming is estimated to contribute to only 13% of the problem in 2085.

Another approach to reducing the impact of global warming would be to reduce the climatesensitive problems of poverty through “focused adaptation.” This might involve, for example, major investments in early warning systems, the development of new crop varieties, and public health interventions. Focused adaptation would allow society to capture the benefits of global warming while allowing it to reduce climate-sensitive problems that global warming might worsen. For instance, emission reductions would at most reduce mortality from hunger, malaria and extreme events by only 13%, whereas focused adaptation could essentially eliminate these causes of mortality.

A third approach would be to fix the root cause of why developing countries are deemed to be most at-risk, namely, poverty. Sustained economic growth would, as is evident from the experience of developed countries, address virtually all problems of poverty, not just that portion exacerbated by global warming. It is far more certain that sustainable economic growth will provide greater benefits than emission reductions: while there is no doubt that poverty leads to disease and death, there is substantial doubt regarding the reality and magnitude of the negative impact of global warming. This is especially true as assessments often ignore improvements in adaptive capacity. Of these three approaches, human well-being in poorer countries is likely to be advanced most effectively by sustained economic development and least by emission reductions. In addition, because of the inertia of the climate system, economic development is likely to bear fruit faster than any emission reductions.

For richer countries, too, net GDP per capita in the future is expected to be much higher than it is today despite any climate change. Thus, all countries should focus on generating sustained economic development. This approach would not only address all of the current problems that might get worse in the future but would also enable humanity to address more effectively any other future problems it encounters, whether climate-related or otherwise.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems poor countries to be at greater risk from global warming (GW) than rich countries because they are less able to mobilize the resources required to use technologies needed to cope with the impact of GW. That is, their “adaptive capacity” is low.

The IPCC also claims that GW will exacerbate many problems—such as malaria and other vector-borne diseases, hunger, water shortages, vulnerability to extreme weather events and flooding—that the poor currently face and with which they have difficulty coping. Yet aren’t these both basically the same thing and both caused by an underlying lack of economic development?

Building on the notion that the current adaptive capacity of poor countries is low, the IPCC, among others, claims that global warming could also hinder their sustainable development. Others argue that the impact of global warming could overwhelm weak or poor governments, leading to economic and political instability, which, in turn, could breed terrorism and conflict, and precipitate mass migration to richer countries.

This paper seeks to assess whether these assertions are justified. It begins with a discussion that sheds light on the main factors that affect the trends in climate-sensitive indicators of human wellbeing. The discussion recognizes the role of fossil fuels in powering economic and technological development.

Next, it examines the notion—implicit in the view that poor countries will be swamped by the future impact of GW—that their adaptive capacity will remain low in the future. It specifically examines whether this view is justified in light of the economic assumptions built into the IPCC scenarios.

These economic assumptions are among the primary drivers of the IPCC’s climate change projections, which are then used to estimate the likely future impact (including specific damages) from GW. They are, thus, fundamental to estimates of the magnitude and direction of the future impact of GW. The paper then considers the proposition that while higher rates of economic development would lead to greater climate-related impact from GW, it would also result in higher adaptive capacity. This raises the question as to whether or not the economic development and associated technological change assumed by the IPCC scenarios will increase the damage from GW faster than the increases in adaptive capacity and, consequently, hinder sustainable development. Likewise, it raises the question as to whether insufficient economic and technological development would hinder the ability to cope with future GW.

The answers to these questions are crucial in determining which policy is best suited to addressing GW resulting from human activity. Finally, based on the foregoing analysis, the paper outlines policies to help advance human wellbeing in poor countries while enhancing their ability to cope with GW.


It's Time To Drastically Slim Down Bias-Ridden BBC

Sir Antony Jay

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a duty of impartiality, as we all know. But what exactly does ‘impartiality’ mean? If it simply means giving equal time to Labour and Conservative politicians on matters of party contention, the BBC fulfils its duty fairly well. But if it means not having, or at least never revealing, any views of its own on any subject of public debate, well, that is quite another matter.

Anyone familiar with large organisations knows that over the years they develop and perpetuate their own ethos, their own value system, their own corporate beliefs and standards. The police, the Army, the National Health Service, the Civil Service – they all subscribe to their own central orthodoxy, even if not every member accepts every item of it. Connoisseurs of Whitehall are aware that different Ministries have different and even conflicting attitudes – the conservatism of the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Trade and Industry contrasts with the liberalism of the Departments of Education, Health and Social Services and the Department of Environment, though they are united in their belief in a large and well remunerated Civil Service. Those at the top of the tree are the custodians of corporate orthodoxy; they recruit applicants in their own image, and the applicants are steadily indoctrinated with the organisation’s principles and practices. Heretics tend to leave fairly early in their careers.

It would be astonishing if the BBC did not have its own orthodoxy. It has been around for 85 years, recruiting bright graduates, mostly with arts degrees, and deeply involved in current affairs issues and news reporting. And of course for all that time it has been supported by public money. One result of this has been an implicit belief in government funding and government regulation. Another is a remarkable lack of interest in industry and a deep hostility to business and commerce.

At this point I have to declare an interest, or at least admit to previous. I joined BBC television, my first job after university and National Service, in 1955, six months before the start of commercial television, and stayed for nine years as trainee, producer, editor and finally head of a production department. I absorbed and expressed all the accepted BBC attitudes: hostility to, or at least suspicion of, America, monarchy, government, capitalism, empire, banking and the defence establishment, and in favour of the Health Service, state welfare, the social sciences, the environment and state education. But perhaps our most powerful antagonism was directed at advertising. This is not surprising; commercial television was the biggest threat the BBC had ever had to face. The idea that television should be financed by businessmen promoting their products for profit created in us an almost spiritual revulsion.

And when our colleagues, who we had thought were good BBC men, left to join commercial broadcasters, they became pariahs. We could hardly bring ourselves to speak to them again. They had not just gone to join a rival company; they had sinned against the true faith, they were traitors, deserters, heretics.

This deep hostility to people and organisations who made and sold things was not of course exclusive to the BBC. It permeated a lot of upper middle class English society (and has not vanished yet). But it was wider and deeper in the BBC than anywhere else, and it is still very much a part of the BBC ethos. Very few of the BBC producers and executives have any real experience of the business world, and as so often happens, this ignorance, far from giving rise to doubt, increases their certainty.

We were masters of the techniques of promoting our point of view under the cloak of impartiality. The simplest was to hold a discussion between a fluent and persuasive proponent of the view you favoured, and a humourless bigot representing the other side. With a big story, like shale gas for example, you would choose the aspect where your case was strongest: the dangers of subsidence and water pollution, say, rather than the transformation of Britain’s energy supplies and the abandonment of wind farms and nuclear power stations. And you could have a ‘balanced’ summary with the view you favoured coming last: not “the opposition claim that this will just make the rich richer, but the government point out that it will create 10,000 new jobs” but “the government claim it will create 10,000 new jobs, but the opposition point out that it will just make the rich richer.” It is the last thought that stays in the mind. It is curiously satisfying to find all these techniques still being regularly used forty seven years after I left the BBC.

The issue of man-made global warming could have been designed for the BBC. On the one side are the industrialists, the businessmen, the giant corporations and the bankers (or at least those who are not receiving generous grants, subsidies and contracts from their government for climate-related projects such as wind farms or electric cars), on the other the environmentalists, the opponents of commercial expansion and industrial growth. Guessing which side the BBC will be on is a no-brainer, but no one has documented it in such meticulous detail as Christopher Booker. His case is unanswerable. The costs to Britain of trying to combat global warming are horrifying, and the BBC’s role in promoting the alarmist cause is, quite simply, shameful.

So what do we do about the BBC? One course of action that would be doomed from the start is to try and change its ethos, its social attitudes and its political slant. They have been unchanged for over half a century and just about all the influential and creative people involved in political programme commissioning and production are thoroughly indoctrinated. So do we abolish the BBC? After all, we do not have any newspapers or magazines that are subsidised with nearly four billion pounds of taxpayers’ money; why should broadcasting be different? If broadcasting were to start now, with all the benefits of cable and satellite technology, I cannot see anyone suggesting a system devised for the era of restricted wavelengths in which the BBC was born in the 1920s.

Of course no government would actually face up to the problem of privatising the BBC. And there are strong arguments for keeping it: some of its production units are among the best in the world. There is also a case for leaving its news and current affairs operation alone; it may have a built-in liberal/statist bias, but there are lots of other news channels which are commercially funded, so there is no great damage done if one of them is run by the middle class liberal elite.

No, what really needs changing is the size of the BBC. All we need from it is one television channel and one speech radio station – Radio 4, in effect. All its other mass of activities – publishing, websites, orchestras, digital channels, music and local radio stations – could be disposed of without any noticeable loss to the cultural life of the country, and the licence fee could probably be cut by two-thirds.

Could it happen? As the economic squeeze tightens, the case for a drastic slimming down of the BBC gets stronger every day. Cash-strapped households might be glad of the extra £100 a year, even at the expense of repeats, movies, imported programmes, quiz show and panel games – not to mention the sporting events we would see on other channels if the BBC hadn’t outbid them - that the BBC currently uses to fill out its schedules. But in some ways, the strongest case of all is made by Christopher Booker: if the BBC is to be paid to propagate the opinions of a liberal elite minority, it should not be allowed to dominate the national airwaves as it does today. Its voice should be heard, but it should not be allowed to drown out the others.


CO2 . . . The World's Savior?

Well this is interesting. It turns out that pushing CO2 into our atmosphere could well be the key to feeding our growing population.

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Botany by Fereres, Orgaz, and Gonzalez-Dugo looks at the effect of CO2 on food production in a world increasing in population even as water is becoming increasingly scarce. So what major efficiencies need to be introduced to allow food production to match population growth in this scenario?

The authors posit that our world has become much more efficient in food production in large measure because of the release of carbon dioxide - i.e., plant food - into the air since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
It has significantly increased the leaf photosynthetic rates of our crops, while it has significantly reduced their transpiration rates, which has led to significant increases in leaf water use efficiency, or the amount of biomass produced per unit of water transpired in the process.

The experiments conducted by Fereres, Orgaz and Dugo ultimately verified that CO2 has a significant positive effect on crop production, while showing that theories of negative effects on world crop production from CO2 did not manifest in "real world" tests. So what does this mean?
Mankind's CO2 emissions may ultimately prove a godsend to humanity, as they just might make the difference between our being able to adequately [feed] . . . our expanding population in the very near future or our failing to do so in a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

Apparently, we need more coal plants for the good of the environment. Al Gore's head set to explode in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Actually, I have been waiting for years for some scientists to confirm this hypothesis, as there had been some limited research a few years ago that showed higher agricultural yields in the presence of increased CO2 concentrations. In a world without the politicized science of Anthropogenic Global Warming, this study would be the impetus for a great deal more research to disprove or prove and extend the findings of the above study. But what I suspect will happen is that this study will be at best ignored, or at worst suppressed, and that we will learn of a conspiracy to delegitimize this study in a decade when the Climategate 7.0 e-mails are released.



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



Anna Haynes said...

JR, could you please remove my email address from your Dec. 11 post? It was intended to be private.

JR said...

If you can provide a good answer to the header on my blog I will do so