Thursday, January 05, 2012

Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!

S. Fred Singer

In discussing the recent release of some 5,000 Climategate e-mails, blogger Anthony Watts uses the clever headline “They are real—and they’re spectacular.” He credits Jerry Seinfeld as the source. Following his example, I choose the headline “Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!”—also taken from a Seinfeld episode—in discussing the surface temperatures generally reported for the latter part of the 20th century; they form the science basis for prosperity-killing international climate policy.

Here I am using the word “fake” as an adjective, and not as a verb. I mean to say that the scientific conclusions derived from such temperatures are not real, but I don’t imply that the values themselves have been purposefully altered or adjusted. We simply don’t have any information to support such an accusation.

But I do claim that the commonly reported and accepted warming between 1978 and 2000 is based only on thermometers from land surface stations and is not supported by any other evidence that I could find. Specifically, ocean data (from 71% of the earth’s surface) and global atmospheric data (as recorded by satellites and independent balloon-borne radiosondes) do not show such a warming at all. In addition, most proxy data, from non-thermometer sources such as tree rings, ocean sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, etc., show no warming during this same crucial period. (One has to be careful in this analysis since the year 1998 shows a major warming spike caused by a Super-El Niño. But by 1999 and 2000, temperatures had returned to pre-1998 values.)

Now, I am well aware of the fact that the recent release of the temperature data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project does show a warming trend from 1978 to 2000. Many would jump to the conclusion that this represents confirmation of the existence of global warming—or even of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). However, that would be an error in logic.

What the BEST result shows is that surface thermometers from the land area of the globe (about 29% of the earth’s surface) show a warming trend. But this is not global warming. And BEST director Professor Rich Muller explicitly disclaims that his trend results indicate a human cause.

He also correctly points out that many of the weather stations used are badly distributed, mostly in the U.S. and western Europe, and possibly subject to local heating effects, such as urban heat islands. He cautions that a third of his monitoring stations show a cooling, not a warming. And that 70% of the U.S. stations are poorly situated and don’t satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Weather Service. It is likely that stations elsewhere have similar problems.

While we can applaud the fact that the BEST results agree with other analyses of weather station data, we still need to explain why they don’t agree with atmospheric trends that are close to zero, or with ocean data that show no appreciable warming.

As a first step, the BEST data are ideally suited for a number of internal checks. For example, one would like to see if the number of stations changed appreciably between 1970 and 2000, and if their “demographics” changed—which might lead to the formation of artificial trends.

There are many other such tests that can be performed. They might help us discover why land surface data disagree with all other data; thereby, we may get a better handle on whether the planet is really warming. We note here that the BEST results do not show any warming trend in the 21st century—even though carbon dioxide levels have been rising more rapidly than before.

Note again: Professor Muller and his colleagues do not claim that their results indicate a human source for warming—unlike the IPCC, the U.N. Science Panel, which has claimed to be 90-99% sure that the late-20th century warming is anthropogenic. But if there is no warming between 1978 and 2000, then IPCC’s case collapses—and so do all policies built on the IPCC conclusion.

But this whole matter has really moved beyond any academic discussion. Industrialized nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol (including the U.S., which did not ratify) have already wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on policies based on the acceptance of the IPCC claim that greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of oil, gas, and coal) are responsible for a reported warming—which may not even exist.

(By now it should be obvious that [1] the enshrined temperature limit of +2 deg C [beyond which climate disasters are supposed to set in] is based on fiction and has no scientific basis. As an annual global average temperature, so climate models tell us, it would mean warmer winter nights in Siberia and Canada—perhaps -35 degrees instead of -40—and little warming in the tropics. [2] It should also be obvious that even strenuous and economy-killing efforts at mitigation will have little effect on atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, let alone on climate. If a demonstration is needed, just look at the lack of warming since 1998, in spite of rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gases.)

As is evident from the Climategate e-mails, a small group of scientists, mainly in the U.K. and U.S., have managed to freeze out contrary evidence from being published in the scientific literature or in IPCC reports. The self-described “Team” members brazenly discuss strategies and action plans to further “The Cause.” Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded—and continue to influence publications, thanks to some key journalists and editors. In consequence of this evident conspiracy, it is hardly surprising that politicians, the media, and the general public are receiving entirely wrong information about supposedly catastrophic effects of a future warming.

The just-concluded Durban conference, the 17th in an annual series, demonstrates clearly that the whole discussion is no longer about science, but instead is all about money. (1) How to assure continuing government careers for nearly 200 delegations, with annual vacations paid by taxpayers. (2) How to transfer $100 billion a year from industrialized nations to LDCs (or more precisely, to their kleptocratic rulers), using “climate justice” or "climate guilt" (depending on who is doing the talking). (3) How to gain a national advantage by setting differential emission limits of CO2—supposedly to keep the planet from reaching a “dangerous” level of warming.

Durban did succeed in extending Kyoto till 2015—presumably to allow time to fashion a successor protocol to include all nations. But it is a hollow victory. Russia and Japan have already announced that they are not continuing—and Canada is formally withdrawing from Kyoto. In the U.S., the White House has never submitted Kyoto to the Democrat-controlled Senate for ratification. Instead, as promised, Obama is using indirect ways to "skin the cat" and make "electricity prices skyrocket”—relying on EPA regulations to destroy domestic coal as a boiler fuel.

Yet hope springs eternal in the hearts of true warmistas that China, by far the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, will join a future protocol in 2015. In Durban, China’s chief climate negotiator Xie Zhen Hua dropped all kinds of hints that China might be willing to join a second commitment period of emission targets—provided certain conditions are met. Not surprisingly, a number of environmental activists have taken the bait and really believe that China is willing to sacrifice economic growth to satisfy the elusive goal of controlling global warming.

Within the United States, and also elsewhere, global warming scares have become a means of transferring taxpayer money to politically influential cronies. There is now so much “crony capitalism” that it would be difficult to reverse or even stop the ongoing subsidies, outright grants, tax breaks, and other transfers to privileged groups.

Time is becoming short. We’re reaching a tipping point—not of the earth’s climate, but of the financial schemes that permanently divert funds from productive activities into wasteful ones, all in the name of “saving the climate.” The results are evident: higher levels of spending, deficits, or taxes; higher prices for energy and electricity and therefore for all manufactured goods; less productive activity; less employment; and more misery.

It seems odd that all of this is essentially based on a fake—the data that seem to show a (nonexistent) warming. It will be difficult to overturn this notion, but we must keep trying.


Nearly Half a Millennium of Antarctic Temperatures show the same very slow rise as that claimed for the 20th century

Discussing: Thamban, M., Laluraj, C.M., Naik, S.S. and Chaturvedi, A. 2011. "Reconstruction of Antarctic climate change using ice core proxy records from coastal Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica". Journal of the Geological Society of India 78: 19-29.

What was done

Working with an ice core (IND-22/B4) that had been extracted during the austral summer of 2003 from the coastal region of Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica (70°51.3'S, 11°32.2'E) -- which activity was part of the 22nd Indian Antarctic Expedition -- the authors developed 470-year histories of δ18O and δD that "showed similar down core fluctuations with [an] excellent positive relationship (R2 = 0.9; n = 216) between the two." And based on a δ18O vs. surface air temperature (SAT) relationship developed for this region by Naik et al. (2001), they derived the regional temperature history depicted below.

Figure 1. Surface air temperature (SAT) as derived from δ18O data vs. time in years AD. Adapted from Thamban et al. (2011).

What was learned

In the words of the four Indian researchers, "the estimated surface air temperature at the core site revealed a significant warming of 2.7°C with a warming of ~0.6°C per century for the past 470 years."

What it means

Climate alarmists have long predicted that CO2-induced global warming -- which they claim has (1) accelerated significantly over the course of the 20th century and is (2) unprecedented with respect to the past millennium or more -- should be (3) greatly amplified in earth's polar regions. However, Thamban et al.'s results clearly indicate that all three of these climate-alarmist claims are false in regard to this portion of the planet's southern polar region.


Perhaps Britain's Dept. of Energy & Climate Change would like to do their sums again?

There's been various amounts of head scratching around the place as DECC says that renewables will be cheaper than fossil fuels in the future. Even though we know that each of the individual elements that make up the renewables path are more expensive than each individual unit in the fossil fuel path. Which is really very puzzling indeed, that the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Over and above the various problems that I and others have noted elsewhere, there's this that has me confused too:
Natural gas for February delivery settled Friday at $2.989 per million British thermal units, the lowest closing price for the commodity since September 2009. It closed below $3 in the winter for the first time in nearly a decade.

This is the result, of course, of the US practice of fracking for shale gas. And we know that the UK has vast reserves of this, underneath and around Blackpool. Decades at least of supply, if not a century or more.

Now, I've looked around the DECC spreadsheet trying to find the price assumptions they make about natural gas and other fossil fuels. And I'm afraid I just can't find it, just can't find it at all. Cannot see what prices they have assumed, whether they've got a version that deals with the implication of having lots and lots and lots of very cheap natural gas or not.

And I have a very strong feeling that that is one of the possibilities that they should tell us the results of. For they are telling us that whatever we do is going to cost £200 billion or more in the coming years, £5,000 per year per household. And we know that building gas fired power stations is cheaper than almost any other form of energy generation. So if we are floating on that much gas and we can get it for something like the American price, might that not reduce the costs per household?

Don't you think we ought to be told? After all, yes, fracking causes earthquakes, small ones and this might be vaguely detrimental to life as it is lived in Lancashire. But what if it saved us, say, £100 billion?

Well, what is Lancashire worth then?

I can't prove or show anything because I cannot find the crucial assumptions. But I do have a feeling in my water that if we were to rerun these calculations with reasonable assumptions, like, say, that we've as much if not more natural gas than the US does, then we might find that renewables really aren't an option that anyone would go for. Which, if I were cynical enough, might be why that calculation isn't presented to us.


British Minister slams 'environmental Taliban'

Energy & climate change minister Greg Barker has rejected criticism by green campaigners of government efforts on the low-carbon agenda.

Mr Barker said he was “fed up with the environmental Taliban” criticising ministers’ efforts to address legitimate industry concerns.

He told the Financial Times measures such as the £3bn Green Investment Bank, sweeping electricity market reform, a carbon price floor and a “Green Deal” encouraging household insulation were all evidence the government’s enthusiasm for green action was undimmed.

But he acknowledged that there had been a shift in focus in recent months. He said: “There is a change, and that is towards better value for money and greater financial rigour,” he said.

“We recognise that in tough times the green economy doesn’t fit in a silo on its own, as some in the green lobby seem to think it should. It’s entirely right we should be mindful of the impact on consumer bills.”

The comments followed chancellor George Osborne riling green activists in the November autumn statement, when he unveiled a £250m package to help ease the impact of climate policies on heavy electricity-consuming companies, saying “we are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills”.

At the same time, ministers infuriated the solar energy industry by hastily moving to stem a rush on household solar panel installations by halving the subsidies paid for such systems sparking criticism from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace

”I was quite shocked about how some in the environmental lobby were so scathing about [the £250m industry support package],” said Mr Barker.


Britain's Shift In Green Rhetoric Signals End Of Green Consensus

Article from the Financial Times

As the new year begins, imagine how different Britain’s political landscape might be if it had a chancellor talking about “the fierce urgency of now” needed to tackle the “environmental crisis” of climate change.

Or if that same minister censures the Treasury for being “at best indifferent, and at worst obstructive” on green policies, and says it “simply isn’t good enough” for the UK to lag behind every major European country when it comes to using renewable energy such as wind power.

As incredible as this scenario may sound these words are all from a speech George Osborne, now chancellor, made to London’s Imperial College in November 2009, when he was shadow chancellor.

Six months and one election later, Mr Osborne was in what David Cameron, prime minister, said he wanted to be “the greenest government ever”.

It is a measure of how much that government has changed that it is hard to imagine many of its ministers making such a speech today. To the relief of many of the country’s biggest manufacturers and industries, there has been a distinct shift in the government’s tone on green issues.

Even Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s chief policy adviser, and the man credited with coining the phrase “vote blue, go green”, appears to have had some serious second thoughts. Referring to global warming he reportedly told officials a few weeks ago “I’m not sure I believe in it”, a remark he declines to confirm or deny.

The result is a growing debate among employers, investors and environmental groups about whether this adds up to a mere change in rhetoric, or if it presages a more substantial policy shift.

Either way, there are already some signs the government has prompted a change in investor sentiment about renewable energy.

“It has shifted where we are placing the emphasis,” says Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, explaining the group has already reduced its solar investments since the move to reduce subsidies, but was pressing on with ventures in biomass, heat pumps and energy efficiency services.

“There has not been a major policy shift but the change in rhetoric is a sign that we must look at the costs more closely,” Mr Laidlaw said. “Affordability has risen up the agenda.”

At the other end of the debate, David Nussbaum, chief executive of the WWF-UK environmental campaign group, and a former finance director at the Field Group packaging company, argues the shift in tone could put clean energy investment at risk.

He said: “I was talking to a senior business person in a FTSE 100 company who said ‘Our company had to raise between £2bn and £3bn in the last year on international markets for investment in the UK, but since the chancellor’s speech, I don’t know if I could do that now’.”

Several renewable energy investors contacted by the Financial Times said they had not detected a substantial shift in the government’s fundamental environment policy framework. But some said Mr Osborne’s comments in the autumn statement had made them uneasy.

Even investors who agree contentious solar subsidy cuts, announced last year, are necessary question the government’s handling of the issue. “More than anything in recent months, the solar debacle has added to the cost of capital by increasing the risk perception of those investors the government needs to deliver its low carbon vision for the economy,” says Richard Nourse, a former banker at Merrill Lynch who heads Novusmodus, a €200m clean energy venture capital fund.

Precisely what lies ahead is unclear. Pressure is still building among heavy-energy-using companies eager to see the government do more. “The mitigation measures announced in the autumn statement are a good sign that government is now listening to the needs of energy intensive industries, but they are only a start,” says Tom Crotty, director at the Ineos chemicals group, whose Merseyside chlorine plant alone uses nearly as much electricity in a day as the city of Liverpool.

Karl-Ulrich Köhler, head of Tata Steel’s European operations, says uncertainty about who will qualify for the new support package, plus the green policies that prompted it, still “make investment decisions in a long-term industry like steel very difficult and reduce the UK’s attractiveness as an investment destination”.

To some, this means the government is bound to scale back its environmental actions in future. “There is a clear disintegration of the green consensus,” says Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a critic of many climate policies. “We’re still at the stage of rhetoric rather than really strong rollback of policies, but it normally starts with the rhetoric before you start with policies.”


Australia has the coldest autumn since at least 1950

But in its usual Warmist way the BOM is downplaying it

AUSTRALIA did its best for global cooling in 2011 but it had nothing to do with the federal government's carbon tax.

Rather, back-to-back La Nina weather systems that caused widespread flooding and ended the 10-year drought also pushed temperatures below the 30-year average for the first time since 2001, resulting in the coldest autumn since at least 1950.

As with the economy and this year's start to summer, last year's weather was a two-speed affair.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement for 2011, cooler temperatures in Sydney, the sub-tropics and tropics offset above-average conditions in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

And for those looking to the figures to disprove climate change, the Bureau of Meteorology says Australia was the only continent to record cooling and the nation's 10-year temperature average trend was still up.

"In 2011, the La Nina and heavy rainfall acted like an evaporative cooler for Australia," said bureau climate change spokesman David Jones. "The year 2010 was relatively cool in recent historical context and 2011 was cooler again." [But the trend is still up? Balderdash!]

Mr Jones said there was no evidence to link the strong La Nina weather systems with changing global temperatures. "We have had this regular cycle of La Nina and El Nino," he said. "The strongest El Nino on record was in 1997 and we have seen one of the strongest La Ninas on record in 2010-11." [I wonder why? Would the sun have anything to do with it?]

Mr Jones said the climate science was not very clear on what would happen with El Nino and La Nina patterns, particularly at this early stage of global warming. "We have only seen one degree of warming so far but we will see substantially more as we move through the century [He's a prophet!], but it is probably too early to draw any concrete relationship between hotter temperatures and La Nina," he said.

"One simple thing we can say is we know La Nina are historically cooler for Australia but there is a big difference between variability and climate change."

The BOM climate statement said Australia's mean rainfall total for last year was 699mm, which was 234mm above the long-term average of 465mm, making it the third-wettest year since comparable records began in 1900.

The Australian area averaged mean temperature was 0.14C below the 1961-1990 average of 21.81C. Last year, maximum temperatures averaged 0.25C below normal across the country, while minimum temperatures averaged 0.03C below normal.

"Despite the slightly cooler conditions, the country's 10-year average continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures, with 2002-2011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10-year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52C above the long-term average," the bureau said.

"If you are interested in determining whether the planet is warming, you look at the global temperature," Mr Jones said. "Australia follows the global trend closely, but it can vary."



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