Sunday, January 29, 2012

A record of failed predictions

The acid test of any scientific theory is its ability to generate accurate predictions. David Evans shows below that Warmism has a comprehensive record of failed predictions. The Warmist predictions for the future must also therefore be expected to be wrong. Excerpt only below

There are literally thousands of feedbacks, each of which either reinforces or opposes the direct warming effect of the extra CO2. Almost every long-lived system is governed by net feedback that dampens its response to a perturbation. If a system instead reacts to a perturbation by amplifying it, the system is likely to reach a tipping point and become unstable (like the electronic squeal that erupts when a microphone gets too close to its speakers). The earth’s climate is long-lived and stable— it has never gone into runaway greenhouse, unlike Venus — which strongly suggests that the feedbacks dampen temperature perturbations such as that from extra CO2.

What the Data Says

The climate models have been essentially the same for 30 years now, maintaining roughly the same sensitivity to extra CO2 even while they got more detailed with more computer power.

How well have the climate models predicted the temperature? Does the data better support the climate models or the skeptic’s view?

Air Temperatures

One of the earliest and most important predictions was presented to the US Congress in 1988 by Dr James Hansen, the “father of global warming”:

Figure 3: Hansen’s predictions [6] to the US Congress in 1988, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites [7]

Hansen’s climate model clearly exaggerated future temperature rises. In particular, his climate model predicted that if human CO2 emissions were cut back drastically starting in 1988, such that by year 2000 the CO2 level was not rising at all, we would get his scenario C. But in reality the temperature did not even rise this much, even though our CO2 emissions strongly increased – which suggests that the climate models greatly overestimate the effect of CO2 emissions.

A more considered prediction by the climate models was made in 1990 in the IPCC’s First Assessment Report:[8]

Figure 4: Predictions of the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites

It’s 20 years now, and the average rate of increase in reality is below the lowest trend in the range predicted by the IPCC.

Ocean Temperatures

The oceans hold the vast bulk of the heat in the climate system. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since mid-2003, when the Argo system became operational.[9][10] In Argo, a buoy duck dives down to a depth of 2,000 meters, measures temperatures as it very slowly ascends, then radios the results back to headquarters via satellite. Over three thousand Argo buoys constantly patrol all the oceans of the world.

Figure 5: Climate model predictions [11] of ocean temperature, versus the measurements by Argo [12]. The unit of the vertical axis is 1022 Joules (about 0.01°C).

The ocean temperature has been basically flat since we started measuring it properly, and not warming as quickly as the climate models predict.

Atmospheric Hotspot

The climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming; the most prominent change they predict is a warming in the tropics about 10 km up, the “hotspot”.

The hotspot is the sign of the amplification in their theory (see Figure 1). The theory says the hotspot is caused by extra evaporation, and by extra water vapor pushing the warmer wetter lower troposphere up into volume previously occupied by cool dry air. The presence of a hotspot would indicate amplification is occurring, and vice versa.

We have been measuring atmospheric temperatures with weather balloons since the 1960s. Millions of weather balloons have built up a good picture of atmospheric temperatures over the last few decades, including the warming period from the late 70’s to the late 90s. This important and pivotal data was not released publicly by the climate establishment until 2006, and then in an obscure place. [13] Here it is:

Figure 6: On the left is the data collected by millions of weather balloons. [14] On the right is what the climate models say was happening.[15] The theory (as per the climate models) is incompatible with the observations. In both diagrams the horizontal axis shows latitude, and the right vertical axis shows height in kilometers.

In reality there was no hotspot, not even a small one. So in reality there is no amplification – the amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.[16]

Outgoing Radiation

The climate models predict that when the surface of the earth warms, less heat is radiated from the earth into space (on a weekly or monthly time scale). This is because, according to the theory, the warmer surface causes more evaporation and thus there is more heat-trapping water vapor. This is the heat-trapping mechanism that is responsible for the assumed amplification in Figure 1.

Satellites have been measuring the radiation emitted from the earth for the last two decades. A major study has linked the changes in temperature on the earth’s surface with the changes in the outgoing radiation. Here are the results:

Figure 7: Outgoing radiation from earth (vertical axis) against sea surface temperature (horizontal), as measured by the ERBE satellites (upper left graph) and as “predicted” by 11 climate models (the other graphs).[17] Notice that the slope of the graphs for the climate models are opposite to the slope of the graph for the observed data

This shows that in reality the earth gives off more heat when its surface is warmer. This is the opposite of what the climate models predict. This shows that the climate models trap heat too aggressively, and that their assumed amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.


Plimer challenges the climate scaremongers with answers to 101 questions

The second print run of Ian Plimer’s How to Get Expelled From School is now shipping, the publisher, Connor Court, told Australian Conservative. The first print run sold out before Christmas.

Professor Plimer penned the best-selling Heaven and Earth in 2009. His new book continues to examine the issues surrounding the massive climate change scare-up and brings historical perspective to the issue. Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne and arguably Australia’s best-known geologist.

Professor Plimer says that past natural climate changes have been larger and more rapid than the worst case predictions, yet humans adapted. Is human-induced global warming the biggest financial and scientific scam in history? If it is, we will pay dearly, he says:
Life [today] is far better than 100 years ago. We eat better, live longer, have better housing and have a richer life. Environmental ideologies are attractive and form part of personal growth. But, an ideology embraced without analysis of practical aspects is vacuous. Global warming is a fad. Once there are consequences that affect a comfortable life, then another issue will be found. And embraced again with passion. What is the next scare campaign? Ocean acidification? Biodiversity?

Climate change has been with us for the 4,500 million year history of planet Earth. This is what climate does. It always changes. Changes in our lifetime may be natural.

If you have wondered if pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change, this book provides an opportunity to find out.

In one section of the book, Professor Plimer lists 101 simple questions to ask teachers, activists, journalists and politicians – and provides you with answers. Here’s just one of them:
If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?

During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease. As a child, you might have been on the menu. It was certainly not an ideal temperature then. However, a clever teacher would put you in your place and may suggest that the ideal temperature for an Eskimo is not the ideal temperature for someone living in the jungles of Borneo. You could then come back and suggest that this shows that humans can adapt to a great range of temperature so why worry about a warmer world.

The Galileo Movement is promoting the book to schoolteachers and school librarians, with an offer of a free copy. Full details of the offer are available at Connor Court.


"Smart" meter cock-up in Britain

Millions of green energy meters may have to be replaced because the technology is not working properly. Homes and businesses which have already installed the digital devices have had problems switching to cheap deals and are even being hit with extra fees. Many meters could have to be stripped out altogether and reinstalled with a Government-approved model.

A Daily Mail investigation has revealed how some small businesses are being charged 20p a day simply to have a smart meter while many homeowners are being asked to give readings to energy firms because the technology is not transmitting their data properly.

The latest green energy fiasco is the result of suppliers pressing ahead with installing their own smart meters before the Government has decided on a standard model.

Every home and small business is due by 2019 to get a smart device, which is designed to show people how much energy they are using by the minute, so encouraging them to cut back to save money and energy.

However, even though installing the meters does not officially begin until 2014, many energy companies, including E.ON and Npower, are already doing so. This is because they will need to replace around 30million old electricity meters and 23million gas meters by the 2019 deadline.

Energy regulator Ofgem estimates four million smart meters are likely to be installed before 2014, while British Gas confirmed it has put in 400,000 so far.

However, because details of how the smart meters will work are not expected to be announced by the Government until March, many of the current devices may not be compatible and could have to be replaced in the future.

The scheme is due to cost energy companies £11.7billion, which they plan to pass on to consumers by hiking prices. Smart meters are expected to add £6 to the average annual bill by 2015.

In a letter to suppliers, energy watchdog Ofgem said it was also concerned that suppliers may not be able to read meters installed by a rival company. This renders the new technology useless if customers want to switch deals – in effect, the smart meter would work like the old types of ‘dumb’ meters currently in homes.

A spokesman said: ‘The meters being installed at present are not built to a common technical specification. As such, when a customer changes supplier, the new supplier may not be able to utilise the advanced functionality. ‘Furthermore, if the meter is not a compliant smart meter then it will have to be replaced by the end of the rollout.’

Consumer groups have also warned the green scheme is fast becoming a costly disaster. Zoe McLeod, of Consumer Focus, said: ‘We have repeatedly raised concerns about the cost and installation of smart meters. Customers – who will ultimately foot the bill – need to be confident that they will see tangible benefits.’

Last year, Money Mail revealed concerns that energy companies would try to sell expensive products to homeowners when installing smart meters.

Consumer groups have also warned that the devices will allow suppliers to cut off energy at the ‘flick of a switch’ without even having to enter people’s homes.


How the Friends of the Earth lost their focus

Their critics complain that the environmental activists came to represent 'Interminable meetings, not action'.

"Good gracious” exclaimed the newly retired ambassador, surveying my bald pate. “It’s Geoff Lean, isn’t it? We last saw each other when we exposed the illegal selling of a tiger skin in 1979.”

Thursday evening was that kind of an occasion. Friends of the Earth – which I have been covering since its formation in 1970 – was, rather belatedly, celebrating its 40th anniversary in a fashionable but forbidding London nightclub, and hundreds of its former campaigners were staging noisy mini-reunions with each other and with a few long-standing outsiders, like me.

And for once the pressure group, long past its youthful best, had something to celebrate besides longevity. The day before, it had scored its first significant victory for many moons when the Appeal Court ruled illegal a Government attempt to cut the feed-in tariff for solar power before the end of a consultation on the move. And there are signs that it may be beginning to revive itself after years of decline.

But the conversations – over hairily organic canapes made from food due to go to waste – were about the past, not the future. John Denham, the former Labour cabinet minister, even bumped into the man who had given him his first job, as an energy efficiency advisor for the organisation in 1977.

He, and many others from that time, reminisced about the cramped, cluttered, two-room offices in Soho’s Poland Street, where most of FoE’s – to give it its deliberately aggressive acronym – best campaigns were born. The group burst to national attention in 1971 when Schweppes stopped making its bottles returnable: on a sunny Saturday a procession of friends took 1,500 non-returnable ones back to the company’s headquarters, under the slogan: “Don’t let them Schh... on Britain.”

The demonstration’s lightheartedness – contrasting with the often ugly confrontations of the time – caught the public imagination, and over the next weeks local groups sprang up across the country. FoE went on, within three years, to win famous victories in stopping Rio Tinto Zinc from digging a vast copper mine in the Snowdonia National Park, preventing the Scottish hamlet of Drumbuie being turned into a site for building oil rigs, and persuading the government to ban the import of whale products and leopard and tiger skins.

More important, it kick-started still-continuing debates on whaling, nuclear power, renewables, transport policy, food wastage, and energy efficiency. It introduced then-revolutionary, but now commonplace, concepts, such as that building roads rarely solves congestion because it increases traffic, or that human error is the main cause of nuclear accidents and is hard to eliminate.

At the time, it seemed that FoE’s feisty group of young campaigners would rise to the top of British public life, but none, apart from Denham, did so. My ambassador, Tim Clarke (who represented the EU in Tanzania), and its most effective executive director, Tom Burke (who became a key advisor to three consecutive Conservative environment ministers before ending up at his former adversary Rio Tinto), achieved some prominence, while another early campaigner, Amory Lovins, became an alternative energy guru in America. Most, impressively, continued to pursue their concerns in academia or other pressure groups.

David Green, who gave Denham his job, spent many years in the unglamorous business of promoting combined heat and power generation. Early wildlife campaigners Sue Clifford and Angela King set up Common Ground, which has fought to save Britain’s orchards. And Fiona Weir, perhaps its best air pollution campaigner, now runs the single parent charity Gingerbead.

Meanwhile FoE grew in size, and shrank in effectiveness. Campaigners increasingly became over-specialised and over-concerned with trying to affect government policy behind the scenes, confusing access with influence, activity with achievement. Like many other green pressure groups it became increasingly seduced by the establishment it once challenged. And despite a few big successes – such as securing the 2008 Climate Change Act – it had relatively little impact.

Last year, a former executive director, Charles Secrett, accurately accused it and other green groups of being “out of touch, ineffective and bureaucratic”, adding: “Interminable meetings, not action, are the order of most days.”

FoE’s present leadership, however, does recognise the problem, and is finally trying to tackle it, starting with a long-overdue restructuring. The campaign team is being shaken up and new issues, which concern a broader public than just environmentalists, are being taken on. One such project on energy bill increases – mainly caused by the rising cost of fossil fuels – has already started, another on saving collapsing bee populations starts in April.

“There are finally some good signs, even if they are so far more organisational than operational”, says Tom Burke. The pressure group must hope that, for it, life can begin again at 40.


Australia: Ethanol critics push to overturn NSW fuel rule

OPPONENTS of a state government plan to ban regular unleaded petrol from July 1 are expecting to force a debate in Parliament and increase pressure on the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, to abandon the move.

Under a convention introduced by Mr O'Farrell, a petition of 10,000 signatures will trigger a debate if it is sponsored by an MP.

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association wrote to 1200 petrol station owners last month asking them to display a petition opposing the plan under which petrol stations will be forced to replace regular unleaded with an ethanol blend, E10.

About 6000 people have signed the petition since January 5, the association's general manager, Nic Moulis, said. Mr Moulis said he had already been discussing sponsorship of the debate with MPs, whom he declined to name, and was optimistic that one of them would agree.

The petition calls for an indefinite suspension of the switch to E10 and a "full independent review" of the Biofuels Act, under which the change is scheduled to occur.

The association argues the switch will be costly for service station owners due to the need to modify their petrol supply infrastructure. It says it will particularly hit those retailers who do not sell E10, many of which are in regional areas.

On Monday, leaked cabinet documents revealed the government had pushed ahead with the ban despite advice from several agencies that it would increase petrol prices and may be unconstitutional.

The same day the Herald revealed research that suggested up to 750,000 motorists would pay more than $150 a year extra as they would be forced to use premium unleaded because their cars were not compatible with E10.

As part of its campaign the petroleum marketers association is encouraging station owners to display a flyer saying: "Want to pay over 10 cents per litre more for your fuel?"


Wind power very disruptive in poor countries

Wind's biggest impact may be in the developing world – indeed, according to the Global Wind Energy Consortium, 2011 was the first year the developing world installed more wind power facilities than the developed world. India is now fifth in wind power production. China, the global wind leader, installed more wind power in 2009 than existed on the planet prior to 2003. Morocco recently finished its first wind farm (200 megawatts) and, with plans to grow its capacity 10-fold by 2020, expects to export electricity to Europe.

For all the hope that wind energy offers a world eager to move away from costlier, more environmentally disruptive forms of electric power production, the industry is barreling into some of the same controversies and conflicts that its predecessors in natural resource exploitation faced, particularly in the developing world.

On one hand, says Paul Veers, chief engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: "The wind business is doing something no new electricity source has done in almost half a century – it's beginning to make an impact."

On the other hand, says Dan Kammen, a University of California, Berkeley, renewable energy scholar working on leave at the World Bank: "The conflicts that come up [with wind] are exactly the same ones that come up in basically every other land-based activity. We have done this in the past over Manifest Destiny and national security. The issue of the moment happens to be green energy, but there has been a history of this."

Towering turbines, often with blades as long as 30 yards, are installed in huge groups – wind farms – and require large tracts of land. Acquisition of that land has been a sometimes violent flash point in the new "wind rush.

The growth of wind power is driven partly by demand: China's electric power demand has doubled in just a decade, and India's peak demand is 12 percent higher than its available supply.

But also, national and international subsidies and incentives – such as carbon offsets that allow companies to invest in clean energy to "offset" carbon emissions in their dirtier businesses – have driven wind industry growth. Critics of the incentives say that every new turbine represents a blank check to pollute elsewhere. Supporters say it's a market-based solution meant to ease business into clean energy.

For Kyoto signatory nations it has meant a global rush to acquire land for wind turbines. Wind projects have been successful – notably, in Tamil Nadu, India, which experts like Ms. Shukla and Mr. Kammen cite as a model of responsiveness to local need and manageable scale.

Indeed, wind energy projects do generally inject economic benefits wherever they're built, but the development process often sparks anger, especially among poor landowners.

"What we see in many places, if not most places around the world, is very much what I would describe as the colonial model, where Europeans would go to Africa and other places and they say 'OK, we are going to develop this,' " says James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. "And the deal that is being offered, in the end, is not a good one."

In 2001, Mr. Anaya won a landmark case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that involved logging rights in Nicaragua and established that indigenous people have exclusive right to their lands. He says that too often a government or business acquires land through unequal negotiations, in which indigenous people aren't given all the information or options.

Negotiating any wind contract is complex. Often in the developing world, communities are poorly educated or largely illiterate and don't understand the implications of a contract. They may simply have no access to legal and technical advice and they may be powerless to negotiate. And because parcels are small, they can be destroyed by turbine construction.

Kammen, a strong supporter of wind power, says that by comparison, biofuels have a far worse record than wind development for land grabs. Rampant abuses in Tanzania, he says, recently led to a ban there on all new biofuel investment. He says that most conflicts involving wind energy deal with land occupied ­– but not owned – by indigenous groups, such as in the Kutch District of India, where a case pitting local herders against Indian wind giant Suzlon Energy Ltd. went to the high court there. He worries about such conflicts arising with Morocco's nomadic herders.

In 2010, the Monitor documented a case in Dhule, India, where 2,000 adivasi – or tribesmen – were forced to accept hundreds of wind turbines on their traditional lands. They'd lived on the land for generations but had dubious title. The government gave the land to Suzlon, which, in some cases, bought out owners.

However, ownership doesn't guarantee fair treatment. In Honduras a wind energy company recently forced indigenous Lenca people who did have land title to take on a wind farm, paying each farmer as little as $80 per year to lease the land. In many cases, the owners were barred from their land.

Cases like this, in which landowners are either coerced into a contract or don't understand what they are signing, are beginning to worry indigenous rights activists.

"You are talking about land that is the basis for the existence and survival of cultures – of entire social-culture dynamics that define a people," says Anaya. "You are talking about the cultural survival of these people."

Elsewhere, it's not clear what effect the wind boom is having on civil rights. China has doubled production capacity in each of the past five years. It has a history of driving people from land for hydropower, but wind experts say China's grip on information makes it hard to know if the same goes for wind projects.

Asked about the conflicts cited here, Shukla says her industry organization is unaware of any wind development projects that have caused poor landowners any strife.

In the Great Plains of the United States, many native American communities have joined a movement to direct all development on their lands. "The tribes were no longer satisfied with business as usual ... other people coming in, building some economic development project, owning it, taking the profits out, and leaving the tribe with it at the end of its life," says Robert Gough, a consultant with the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, which represents 10 Great Plains tribes.

Many tribal communities there say they pay high electricity costs or have no electricity at all. So the council decided no wind farms will be built on tribal land unless the tribe has controlling interest.

Mr. Gough says the tribes have struggled to find partners because of these demands and because federal investment incentives are designed for businesses, not municipalities or reservations.

But communal bargaining is catching on. In southern Wyoming, 2,000 owners have pooled 2 million acres in "wind associations."

Many countries are trying to start domestic wind industries. For example, 15 years ago, foreigners built China's turbines; now Chinese corporations do it.

"At the end of the day, developing countries are energy deficient. And they do need power," says Shukla. "You want to be able to give them energy that is cleaner than what we have been providing across the world."



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