Tuesday, December 06, 2011

One false prophecy after another

Remember four years ago, when the Arctic was going to be ice-free by summer 2012? Now it's allegedly going to be "nearly ice-free" by summer 2035. See the two excerpts below

Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

Seth Borenstein in Washington, Associated Press

December 12, 2007

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer—a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point.

One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years ago, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press (AP).

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.


Unusual winter weather may be connected to rapid Arctic climate change

By Andrew Freedman, Washington Post


It’s often said that the Arctic is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” of global warming, an overused expression that applies in this instance, since the profound changes occurring there as a result of the warming climate are a warning sign for the rest of the world. What is not said enough, however, is that the rapid Arctic climate change, with its associated loss of sea ice and other impacts, may already be influencing weather and climate patterns in the Northern Hemisphere....

Scientists are just beginning to understand some of the ramifications of a rapidly changing Arctic. Given computer model projections showing a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2035, it’s possible there will be more instances of this weather pattern, and other unexpected connections emerging between Arctic climate change and areas well outside the Far North.


Amazing scientific discovery - the Arctic did not exist until discovered by satellite!

Andrew Freedman of the Washington Post tells us that the last 5 years have seen the lowest summer ice areas in the SATELLITE ERA ie the last few decades. This ignores completely the retreat of arctic ice in the 1920's and documented accounts of similar melts in the 1800's. He does not explain how the current era differs from previous times. However he does have some really good news in that computer models predict an ice-free arctic by 2035 and given the accuracy of the models so far you can bet the Arctic is perfectly safe! Programmers refer to this as garbage in-garbage out programming and this especially seems to apply to climate models.

Of course in line with the "everything bad is caused by CO2" theory he details the latest kooky theory to explain how global warming is causing all the winter snow in the last years which has become a major embarrassment to the true believers.
The last five years have been the warmest recorded period in the Arctic and climate conditions over the Arctic cannot be ruled out as influencing weather in some sub-Arctic regions, making it relative colder for part of the winter.

More combined observational and modeling studies to understand causes and latitudinal extent of this recent Warm Arctic - Cold Continent pattern are a high priority in Arctic research. In summary, the most we can now say is that loss of sea ice pushes in the right direction to weaken the Polar Vortex and increase the chance for sub-Arctic impacts


Delingpole replies to Mann

At last, I've arrived. Michael Mann, inventor of the Hockey Stick, has written to the Wall Street Journal branding me a "denier" and a "contrarian" and "silly." These are badges of honour I shall wear with pride.

The letter is interesting for lots of reasons, not least its grotesque hypocrisy. "In recent years", he writes, "attacks on climate science have become personal" – as if somehow the real victims of all this are not the innocent taxpayers being screwed to pay for the great green boondoggle, but ordinary decent climate scientists like Mann and his Hockey Team just trying to get on and do their job.
Every snowflake is unique, but attacks on climate science all seem the same. I should know. I've been one of the climate contrarians' preferred targets for years.

Has Mann actually read any of the Climategate and Climategate 2.0 emails, I wonder? A lot of them have his name on them, so he must have done at one time or another. But perhaps with all that data-fudging and decline-hiding his brain has been overtaxed of late. So let us gently jog his memory with some examples.

Here's one from New Zealand. (H/T WUWT) It's 2003 and a Kiwi scientist called Chris de Freitas has published in a journal called Climate Research a meta-analysis by some Harvard astronomers Soon & Baliunas of all the papers that have been written on the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). The conclusion of Soon & Baliunas? That the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed papers on the MWP conclude that it was both geographically widespread (not, as Warmists and their amen corner in Wikipedia like to pretend, a little local anomaly confined to Northern Europe) and significantly warmer than now.

This irritates Michael Mann and his Hockey Team no end, for it contradicts their view that late 20th century warming is both unprecedented and catastrophic. So how do they respond? Do they counter it with new, learned papers demonstrating in closely illustrated detail just where Soon & Baliunas have got it wrong?

Of course they don't! Instead, what they do is gang up to shoot the messenger. They conspire to have Climate Research closed down; to have Chris de Freitas sacked; then, they write to the head of his university in Auckland to see if they can't get de Freitas deprived of his living too. Nice!

Dr Pat Michaels has another good example of this delightful behaviour by members of Mann's "Team."

In Forbes magazine, he writes an open letter to the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describing how one of his "most prestigious employees" Dr Tom Wigley sought to have Michaels deprived of his PhD.

Dr Wigley's evidence for this potentially libellous claim, widely circulated to a large number of his fellow climate "scientists"? None whatsoever.

But hey, as Mann has taught us many times over the years, who needs evidence or facts when you can go straight in for good old character assassination instead.

This, though, is wearisomely familiar stuff to anyone who has been following the Climategate story. What's perhaps more interesting about Mann's WSJ letter is his citation of the lead-in-petrol example from a few years back to try to bolster the credibility of his own brand of climate junk science. As we'll see, he may have cause to regret this.

Here's what he says in the letter:
Climate scientists can also find kinship with Dr. Herbert Needleman, who identified a link between lead contamination and impaired childhood brain development in the 1970s. The lead industry accused him of misconduct. Later, the National Institutes of Health exonerated him.

Hmm. The Needleman affair is covered very thoroughly in Christopher Booker's and Richard North's Scared To Death (Continuum). It does not reflect at all well on the junk science scare industry.

Dr Herbert Needleman was a US child psychologist who generated headlines in 1979 with his research paper showing that lead poisoning was dramatically affecting children's IQs. This "evidence" became a vital plank in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations from 1986 onwards to have almost all lead removed from petrol. Just one problem: Needleman's study was about as reliable as Michael Mann's Hockey Stick.

In the Needleman affair, the McIntyre/McKitrick role was played by another academic child psychologist Dr Claire Ernhart, who worked in the same field as Needleman. She noted that Needleman's research was based on serious methodological flaws. In particular, she claimed that he had not sufficiently allowed for "confounding variables" that might have explained the difference in IQ scores such as poor schools or parental neglect.

When an expert panel from the EPA tried looking into this, however, Needleman proved as reluctant to reveal the basis of his research as Mann did with raw data underpinning his Hockey Stick.

According to Booker/North:
"When in 1983 the panel visited Needleman's laboratory to look at his data, he handed over six books of computer printouts, but said that only two panel members could examine them, and only for two hours."

"Even during this cursory study, the panel found enough evidence to arouse profound doubts about Needleman's research. Although starting with 3,329 children, he had winnowed out so many, often for apparently arbitrary reasons, that he had ended up basing his conclusions first on 270 subjects, then on just 158. 'Exclusion of large numbers of eligible participants' the panel concluded, 'could have resulted in systematic bias'. In other words, it looked to the panel as though he might have selected his evidence to give the results he wanted."

Lone bristlecone pines, anyone?

The expert panel concluded that Needleman's studies "neither support nor refute the hypothesis that low or moderate levels of Pb (lead) exposure lead to cognitive or other behavioural impairments in children." In other words, that his researches were valueless.

But hey, guess what happened then. Pressure was applied. The expert panel – for reasons which were never satisfactorily explained – completely reversed its decision. And the head of the EPA William Ruckelshaus (the same man responsible for the DDT ban which effectively condemned millions in the third world to die of malaria) was able to use Needleman's study as the basis for doing what the EPA and environmental campaigners had been wanting to do anyway: ban lead from petrol.

Unsurprisingly, the EU soon eagerly followed suit. As even the Eu Commission admitted, the new rules would cost consumers an additional £4.8 billion a year, raise the average cost of a car by up to £600 a year and force oil companies into £70 billion-worth of new investment. Oh, and also, EU studies estimated, the switch to unleaded (it being less efficient than leaded) would also result in the creation of 15-17 million tonnes a year more greenhouse gas emissions.

But hey, as Michael Mann and his Team could surely tell us, when you're trying to save the world from non-existent threat no price is too great to pay.

SOURCE (See the original for more links)

Another comment on the Mann article received by email:

He’s a compulsive liar and professional conman. For example, the NRC report did not confirm their conclusions. I was there for all the public meetings of the committee and the final press conference releasing the report. The press release was carefully worded to make reporters think that the report kind of confirmed the hockey stick. But the report itself did not, nor did the chairman, the slippery Gerry North. When asked at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing whether his report had any major disagreements with the Wegman report, he said no, it did not, only differences of emphasis.

Post-normal Science, its Culture and how it Retards Learning in our Universities

by John OSullivan

A post mortem examination of the collapse of the man-made global warming scare points to the cancer of post-normal science that infected two generations of academia and led to the criminal waste of $100 billion in public grants for junk science.

Climatology has held an iron grip on science funding since the late 1980’s. But this infant field of research suffered two hammer blows to its credibility last week.

First, a new paper in Science proves that the planet won’t suffer catastrophic ill health from a global warming ‘fever’ due to human carbon dioxide emissions. [1.]

Secondly, Climategate 2.0 hit the fan: an avalanche of 5,000 freshly leaked emails to prove once again that government grants will sway government scientists to manipulate statistics to say whatever they want.

The Science story shows that when a bandwagon climate scientist like Andreas Schmittner is telling you that the dangers from rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are expected to be less than predicted you can be sure the game is up for global warming alarmism.

But hot on Schmittner’s heels came new revelations about disgraced British climate scientist, Professor Phil Jones (you know, he who escaped jail time on a technicality for letting his dog eat all his data). Jones has been caught admitting privately that he and his climate cronies have no idea from where the official 2° Celsius safe ceiling on global temperature increase trumpeted by President Obama and G8 leaders came. Phil confesses, “I know you don’t know the answer, but I don’t either! I think it is plucked out of thin air.” [2.]

Indeed, right now we see a grotesque illustration of the utter disconnect between what climatologists know to be true, what (dishonest) politicians are saying and what the media is (ineptly) reporting. To coincide with the Durban Climate Conference the International Energy Agency and a compliant mainstream media are this week still screaming pandemonium about this farcical 'official 2° C safe temperature ceiling' that Jones (privately) mocks. Yet not a word from the press about those devasting 5,000 new Climategate emails [3.]

Post-normal Science: Your Ticket to Higher Taxes, Bigger Government

The above perfectly illustrates what ‘post-normal’ science is all about; governments colluding with tax-payer funded universities to cynically invent catastrophic narratives to scare voters into believing new taxes will avert doomsday. It's the only genuinely 'man-made' thing about it – concocting a strong message - all perpetuated with media connivance. The ultimate goal, admitted the President of France: “global governance.”

These post-normal government-funded universities obligingly provide their paymasters with a gamut of scenarios to scare the populace into permitting tax dollars to be channeled towards (government) solutions to (government-created) problems. Thereby the virtuous circle generates new taxes to fund more scientists to address more 'problems' that governments will 'fix' with inexorably higher taxes.

But in addition, the muted media response to Climategate 2.0 further exposes the utter capitulation of mainstream investigative journalism and why a new generation of bloggers must fill that void.

Pointedly, President Dwight D. Eisenhower first warned us of the coming dystopia of post-normal, or bureaucratic science (BS) way back in the 1960's:

“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields... ,” Eisenhower warned. “Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity." –President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address (1961)

Traditional scientists (i.e. untainted by government agenda) have no truck with post-normal science. Ethical researchers test their hypothesis, share data and discuss their findings with colleagues; they openly weigh the pros and cons of their ideas. It’s the old-fashioned skeptical way of doing things.

More HERE. (See the original for links)

Frack, Baby, Frack

I have a slam-dunk plan for creating jobs: Frack baby, frack. Move like Shaq. Let’s beat the buzzer, Shaq-style, and score points for the U.S. economy. Frack Attack!

Like basketball referees, ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch Ratings are signaling they may join Standard and Poor’s in calling a foul on the U.S. economy. The good news is that we can move toward recovery by fracking shale for gas and oil—producing energy and creating jobs simultaneously.

Fracking only recently became a profitable extraction technology. In 2003, a Texas speculator named George Mitchell bucked conventional wisdom. He discovered that he could force impenetrable shale rock thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to give up its methane (natural gas is primarily methane) by combining horizontal drilling with hydrofracturing. In 2007, natural gas company Range Resources perfected Mitchell’s discovery and developed a cost-effective technique to commercialize fracking.

America’s shale-gas cache is the Marcellus Shale Deposit, a 575-mile formation extending through four states, primarily Pennsylvania and New York. Marcellus is arguably the second largest shale-gas field in the world.

Fracking is an economic boon: Pennsylvania landowners who once struggled to make ends meet have signed six-figure leases with shale drilling companies. In addition, landowners earn 12-to-15 percent of the royalties from the gas extracted from their property. Marcellus brought Pennsylvania 18,000 new jobs in the first half of this year alone. Pennsylvania leaseholder Rick Baker told the New York Times: “We need this natural gas to keep functioning. There are still people sitting in bars waiting for the steel mills to reopen.”

States like North Dakota have experienced historic economic growth now that fracking technology has also made it possible to recover oil from shale. North Dakota’s Bakken formation holds over 24 billion barrels of shale oil. The Institute for Energy Research reports that North Dakota’s GDP is now nine percent above the national average while its unemployment rate is far below average.

Fracking is safe. Nevertheless, the EPA and the media claim that shale companies keep the fracking chemicals they use “top secret” and that these chemicals could contaminate groundwater.

Fracking fluid is roughly 99.5 percent water and sand; the remaining 0.5 percent is a combination of three-to-12 chemicals at low concentrations. The New American cites Department of Energy evidence showing that: “the fluids are well known and rigorously regulated.” Furthermore, there is zero scientific evidence confirming that fracking contaminates groundwater. Syracuse University hydrogeologist Don Siegel told TIME Magazine: “I don’t think it’s scientifically plausible to suggest that could happen.”

Certainly, since commercial fracking technology is still new and revolutionary, there are kinks to work out. In particular, Pennsylvania’s unique geography and dense population present challenges for disposing of the fracking wastewater or “flowback” that travels up each Marcellus shale well along with the methane; even the shale-gas industry desires to perfect the disposal phase of the fracking process.

Yet even the flowback disposal “challenge” offers another lucrative opportunity for the U.S. economy because global capitalists are increasingly finding ways to safely and profitably extract minerals, oils, fats, chemicals and nutrients from wastewater. Basically, groundbreaking technology exists to render wastewater both profitable and sustainable.

Water technology venture capitalist David Henderson told the New York Times: “Wastewater is a very bad name because there’s a lot of value in wastewater. [In Singapore, for example] the word ‘wastewater’ doesn’t exist. They call it ‘new water.’ They call their wastewater plants ‘water reclamation plants.’ And I think that’s an interesting shift in mentality.”

Fracking technology was developed by private sector entrepreneurs; I think we should offer the private sector a chance to solve its challenges. Radical EPA regulations will merely repress America’s ability to benefit from fracking, kill job growth and hike energy prices.

An extra-Congressional agency like the EPA is far too capricious to be trusted with regulating fracking technology. In fact, the New York Times has reported that the EPA has repeatedly suppressed and altered its scientific findings on fracking for political reasons.

The EPA is now working on a study to determine the safety of fracking, however the results will not be complete until the end of 2012 and the EPA’s report based on the study will not be finished until 2014. If the EPA is seriously concerned that fracking causes water contamination, why is it taking over two years to release its report? This is a long time to wait and it delays potential controversy until after the 2012 election so that President Obama does not have to fight environmentalists to regain his office.

Let’s frack our way toward creating the jobs and affordable fuel that the economy needs to recover. If we move fast like Shaq—fracking for natural gas and oil—we can beat S&P’s downgrade buzzer.


British Government attacked over green policies

Government plans to increase airline passenger tax are “damaging” and will not benefit the environment in any way, the former boss of British Airways warned yesterday.

Willie Walsh, who runs the International Airlines Group, said the proposals, outlined by Chancellor George Osborne, would make the UK “uncompetitive” and deter business travellers and tourists.

The attack came as leading environmental campaigners accused the coalition of wrongly casting planning regulations and the environment as “enemies to growth”.

In a damning public letter, an alliance of wildlife groups and activists, led by the RSPB, said the Government was showing “stunning disregard” for the value of the natural environment and expressed incredulity at the policies outlined in Mr Osborne's autumn statement.

Mr Walsh said the decision to increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) from next April would put an unfair burden on airlines and that emerging markets such as India and China felt the UK was becoming too expensive.

“The first thing to remember is that it is not a green tax,” he said. “The Government has made that clear. This has nothing to do with the environment. Not a penny of this tax goes to environmental issues.

"Why I believe this is damaging is that it is making the UK uncompetitive. It's making it expensive to do business here, it is deterring tourists from coming to the UK, it is deterring business people from coming to the UK.”

Mr Walsh, speaking to Sky News, also warned that the planned new airport in the Thames estuary could cost £60 billion and suggested that to find such private investment in the current economic climate was “just not a credible proposition."

The criticism followed publication of two letters furiously attacking the policies outlined last week by Mr Osborne in his autumn statement.

Activists including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Wildlife Trusts and Greenpeace joined forces with the RSPB to pour scorn on the Tories’ failure to live up to their own promises, accusing ministers of putting “short term profit ahead of our countryside”.

“It is increasingly clear that society needs a new economic model that accounts properly for our natural capital,” they said.

“Yet with this statement, its ‘red-tape challenge’, sudden cuts to subsidies and its ill-conceived planning reforms, the government is continuing an out-of-date approach that casts regulation and the environment as enemies to growth.”

Mr Osborne’s statement, in which he outlined cuts in solar energy subsidies and tax breaks for energy-intensive industries, “not only flies in the face of popular opinion but goes against everything the Government said in June when it launched two major pieces of environmental policy – the Natural Environment White Paper and the England Biodiversity Strategy”, they added.

A second, equally scathing letter signed by green activists including Tony Juniper, Jonathan Porritt and Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, warned that Osborne’s statement had set the coalition “on a path to become the most environmentally destructive government to hold power in this country since the modern environmental movement was born.”

It said that policies including the “aggressive implementation” of planning reforms favouring development, were “all the more extraordinary” when pitched against David Cameron’s election promises on sustainable growth.

“The Chancellor has proclaimed that protecting the environment is against the public interest – something no senior politician in this country has done in recent history,” the letter said.

Mr Osborne told MPs last week that he was "worried" about the combined impact of green targets on Britain and the EU.

"We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers. All we will be doing is exporting valuable jobs out of Britain," he said.

Several Liberal Democrat ministers were said to be “furious” about the policies outlined in the statement amid claims that Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem energy secretary was not consulted about the comments made on green issues.

The Government’s controversial plans to reduce 1,300 pages of planning guidance to 52 have invoked widespread fury. Campaigners have warned that the presumption in favour of "sustainable development" was so vague it would allow developers to “ride roughshod” over the countryside and have backed the Daily Telegraph’s demands for a review of the proposals.

Labour accused the Tories of undergoing a “retoxification” after abandoning key election pledges.

But the government insisted it was still pursuing its green agenda. Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy and climate committee, told the Observer: "We are getting a change of rhetoric, with more emphasis on the burdens that green projects could put on the economy. But it is out of step with what the government is doing, much of which is radical and forward-looking."

My Yeo has also urged Mr Osborne not to bow to the demands of the airlines by scrapping APD.



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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