Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Advance warning

Nature magazine have put out announcement of a new paper using new proxies that PROVES that a CO2 rise preceded a deglaciation. Ice core proxies all show that the warming came first, FOLLOWED by a CO2 rise. The announcement is embargoed until tomorrow to give journalists preparation time to make a big splash with it.

But skeptical scientists have already begun to look at it and find lots of holes in it. So a few counterblasts should appear on skeptical sites at roughly the same time. Hopefully some of the counterblasts will come my way so I can put them up here.

American Meteorological Society survey -- what a laugh!

They wanted to show that most of their members were Warmists -- but look at the question they asked:

"In this survey, global warming was defined as “the premise that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.”

Using that definition even I would be a Warmist -- because all sorts of things MAY happen. If they had any confidence in getting their desired findings, they would have said WILL instead of MAY.


U Oregon retreats from Stalinist statement

I noted this matter yesterday. The university press release initially began: "Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change."

The Stalinism in that was widely noted so the words "and treated" have now gone from the University's press statement, which you will find here. The opening sentence now reads:

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change."

Lord Monckton was one of those who piled on the pressure

He wrote to Ms Norgaard as follows

"My attention has been drawn to what is said to be a press statement by the University of Oregon saying that you have prepared a paper saying, inter alia, that what you describe as "cultural resistance" at "individual level" to the notion of spending large sums on attempting to prevent global warming is something that "must be recognized and treated".

Yet I invite you to understand that those of us who are doubters have good scientific and economic reason for our doubts.

First, there is good evidence that the principal conclusions of all four IPCC assessment reports are erroneous, and that two of these conclusions may be fraudulent.

Secondly, the IPCC's predictions first made a generation ago have proven to be considerable exaggerations. What you have described as a "massive threat" appears to be non-existent. What was predicted is not happening at anything like the predicted rate.

Thirdly, the IPCC's very high climate sensitivity estimates depend upon the assumption that temperature feedbacks that cannot be either measured or distinguished from direct forcings will triple those forcings, whereas the remarkable homeostasis of temperatures over at least the last 64 million years suggests either that feedbacks are net-negative or that the feedback-amplification equation (taken from electronic circuitry) is inapplicable to the climate, in which event equilibrium warming at CO2 doubling will be 1 Celsius degree, which is harmless and beneficial, and 21st-century warming from this cause will be little more than half the equilibrium warming.

Fourthly, the peer-reviewed economic journals are near-unanimous in finding that the cost of attempting to prevent global warming will greatly exceed the cost of doing nothing now and instead adapting in a focused way to any climate-related damage that may occur as a result of future global warming. My own calculations indicate that the cost of action now is likely to exceed the cost of focused adaptation later by one or two orders of magnitude.

I am uneasy that you should have recommended what the University of Oregon's press notice is said to describe as "treatment" for those with whom you disagree. In Europe, within living memory, there were two totalitarian regimes that subjected legitimate scientific dissenters to "treatment". You will forgive me for saying that humanity should surely not sink to those cruel and fatal depths of government-mandated unreason ever again.

I hope you will be able either to assure me either that the report I have read is inaccurate or that you are withdrawing or at least amending the paper"

Monckton has not of course received a reply. Featherbrain Norgaard probably did not even understand most of it

Climate Denial And Slavery

By Wm. Briggs, statistician -- pointing out the wider context of the Norgaard mentality

A common trope among academic philosophers, academic sociologists and the like—people without training in physics, that is—is to compare skepticism of the most shocking climate prognostications with belief in, and sympathy for, slavery.

Yes; if you express concern that, for instance, our certainty in high-level cloud feedback climate model parameterizations is too high, and that models would produce better, more accurate forecasts were they to take parameterization uncertainty into account, if you doubt whether (say) the number of ambulance trips in Australia really will skyrocket if the global average temperature increases by a tenth of a degree, these academics say that you probably would like to own slaves.

Several years ago, University of Amsterdam academic philosopher Marc Davidson penned “Parallels in reactionary argumentation in the US congressional debates on the abolition of slavery and the Kyoto Protocol.” Davidson said that Republicans “tend to rationalise fossil fuel use despite climate risks to future generations just as Southern congressmen rationalised slavery despite ideals of equality.”

Andrew Hoffman Holder of the Holcim chair at the University of Michigan has regular fun dropping allusions to slavery, carbon dioxide and abolition in his voluminous works.

And now comes University of Oregon’s Kari Norgaard, who wants to treat people not on board with her conception of climate chaos. In a press release of her paper at the “Planet Under Pressure” conference, it was announced

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change…"

“Climate change poses a massive threat to our present social, economic and political order. From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected,” she said. “People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. This habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed at the individual, cultural and societal level — how we think the world works and how we think it should work.”

She went on to say that there is reluctance to disruptive and immediate action and that “‘This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat,’ she said. The discussion, she said, is comparable to what happened with challenges to racism or slavery in the U.S. South.”

What about her lack of understanding of climatology, physics, statistics, etc. and thus her failure to comprehend the arguments skeptics offer? Cue the crickets. Actually, according to The Register, cue Issac Asmiov, for Norgaard would like to invent for real his fictional Psychohistory a science which enables one “to predict” and to “alter the behaviour of large populations*” [emphasis mine].

Lewis Page, the author of that story, saw fit to point that asterisk to the remark, “*Admittedly Psychohistory only worked on huge galactic civilisations, and then only if the people being manipulated for their own good were unaware that the science of Psychohistory existed – neither of which are the case here.” True, brother, true.

The amusing thing about all this is that each academic offering the slavery-skepticism argument is that each creates some version of the Sky Is Falling which is worse than that which is offered by most climatologists. That is, they seem to accept that all is worst than we had feared because doing so is consonant with their desires or world views.

For example, on her web page Norgaard lists among her specialties “environmental justice”, “gender and race and environment”, “climate change denial.” She has written such works as “The Social Organization of Climate Denial: Emotions, Culture and Political Economy”, and “Climate Denial and the Construction of Innocence: Reproducing Transnational Privilege in the Face of Climate Change.”

Now if the skeptics are right—accept this for the sake of argument—that the outlook for our future climate and environment is if not rosy then at least unproblematic, then Norgaard has lost her living. She would have to find something else with which to occupy her time. So might—I say might—it be true that she (and similar academics) tends to exaggerate her level of belief in catastrophic climate scenarios? Confirmation bias is always for thee and not for me.

If skeptics are wrong, then it would best if she (and they) offered argument to show why these skeptics are wrong and not just label skeptics “deniers.” For doing that is not only historically offensive, it is a dodge, a failure to play by the rules of ordinary scientific discourse.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

No Global Warming For 15 Years

HADCRUT is a temperature dataset compiled as a joint effort between the British Met Office and the University of East Anglia

Analysis by the GWPF of the newly released HadCRUT4 global temperature database shows that there has been no global warming in the past 15 years - a timescale that challenges current models of global warming.

The graph shows the global annual average temperature since 1997. No statistically significant trend can be discerned from the data. The only statistically acceptable conclusion to be drawn from the HadCRUT4 data is that between 1997 – 2011 it has remained constant, with a global temperature of 14.44 +/- 0.16 deg C (2 standard deviations.)

The important question is whether 15 years is a sufficient length of time from which to draw climatic conclusions that are usually considered over 30 years, as well as its implications for climate projections.

The IPCC states that anthropogenic influences on the climate dominated natural ones sometime between 1960 – 80.The recent episode of global warming that occurred after that transition began in 1980. The world has warmed by about 0.4 deg C in this time. Whilst we live in the warmest decade of the instrumental era of global temperature measurement (post-1880), and the 90s were warmer than the 80s, the world has not got any warmer in the last 15 years.

In 2001 and 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (and here) estimated that the world would warm at a rate of 0.2 deg C per decade in the future due to greenhouse gas forcing. Since those predictions were made it has become clear that the world has not been warming at that rate. Some scientists retrospectively revised their forecasts saying that the 0.2 deg C figure is an average one. Larger or smaller rates of warming are possible as short-term variations.

Global warming simulations, some carried out by the UK Met Office (here, here and here), have been able to reproduce “standstills” in global warming of a decade or so while still maintaining the long-term 0.2 deg C per decade average. These decadal standstills occur about once every eight decades. However, such climate simulations have not been able to reproduce a 15-year standstill:

“Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate" (NOAA 2008).

We also note a comment in an email sent by Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit: “Bottom line – the no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.”

Whether the global temperature standstill of the past 15 years continues or is replaced by warming, as the IPCC predicts, only future data will tell. In the meantime the length of the standstill means that the challenge it offers for models of future climate prediction, and explanations for past warming, cannot be ignored.

Dr David Whitehouse, science editor of the GWPF, said: “We are at the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the dominant feature of the post-1980 warming, and as such cannot be dismissed as being unimportant even when viewed over 30 years.”

“It is time that the scientific community in general and the IPCC in particular acknowledged the reality of the global temperature standstill and the very real challenge it implies for our understanding of climate change and estimates of its future effects.”

“It is a demonstration that the science is not settled, and that there are great uncertainties in our understanding of the real-world greenhouse effect when combined with anthropogenic and natural factors.”

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

The Most Expensive Federal Bureaucracy of All

The U.S. Department of Defense budget was $680 billion in the year to September 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency’s budget was only $17 billion. Yet when you compare the cost to the U.S. and global economy of the two departments, the comparison reverses. With modern rules of engagement and care for civilian populations, and politicians’ reluctance to use wholehearted military force, the non-taxpayer economic costs of the Defense Department (mostly imposed on countries with limited material possessions) are no more than $10-20 billion at most. Conversely, the EPA’s economic depredations, imposed mostly on the U.S. economy, run annually easily into the trillions.

Consider first the EPA order released last week, which effectively banned coal fired power plants because of their carbon emissions. It set a limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission per megawatt hour, a limit that is met by gas fired power stations, which at their most efficient emit around 800 pounds per megawatt-hour, but cannot be met by new coal-fired stations, which emit 1600-1900 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. By this ruling, therefore, expansion of the power source that provides around 40% of U.S. electricity has been cut off.

Even if the hotly disputed theory of global warming is accepted (the planet has not warmed at all for more than a decade) there is a much cheaper way to cut down carbon emissions, though a carbon tax. With such a mechanism, coal-fired power stations can bear what society believes (rightly or wrongly) to be the cost of their greater carbon dioxide emissions, and if coal-fired power stations still prove potentially profitable, they will be built. The tax receipts will make at least a modest dent in the federal budget deficit.

In today’s market, the EPA’s effective coal ban does not matter much. The improvement in techniques of horizontal fracturing of oil and gas shale deposits has vastly increased potential natural gas supplies, and caused the gas price to decline sharply even as oil and commodity prices have been inexorably rising. However in the long run this ruling, by closing off an important power source alternative, is likely to condemn American power consumers to periodic brownouts and escalation of prices.

Already in 2011 the cost of electricity has soared to 11.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for domestic use, compared to 9.45 cents in 2005, a 64% faster rate of increase than prices generally at a time when electricity usage has barely grown. Yes oil prices rose faster during this period, but very little of the United States’ power generation capacity relies on oil. Thus even before the new rules come into effect, the excess increase in electricity prices over prices generally can mostly be put down to increasingly stringent EPA regulations. Since U.S. annual electricity usage is $380 billion, you can charge the EPA with $39.1 billion annually from power generation regulations alone, before adding in the much larger future cost of banning coal-fired stations.

President Richard Nixon is a much maligned and to some extent underrated President. Certainly the attempted Bill Clinton impeachment in 1998 has reinforced the view of the fair-minded, that neither the Watergate burglary/wiretapping nor the Monica Lewinsky affair constituted adequate grounds for impeachment. However his creation of the EPA, proposing legislation to Congress in July 1970, and signing the final bill in December of that year, should have given his detractors a much more solid case for drastic action.

The EPA is a classic creation of the first phase of environmentalism, in which preventing Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River from catching fire (as it did in 1969) was a moral crusade and costs were considered irrelevant. It operates through a “command and control” mechanism similar to that of the old Soviet economy, in which decrees are issued and the market forced to adapt to them, rather than through any serious attempt to calculate the true externalities of an environmental problem and use the price mechanism to reduce them.

A classic example of EPA rule is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, first imposed by Congress in 1975 and intended to regulate the mean fuel economy of each auto manufacturer’s fleet. Operated jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (two bodies whose interests in this area are structurally in conflict) they have been responsible for a series of perverse and expensive changes to the U.S. automobile market.

A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study of the CAFE standards estimated that without them, fuel consumption would have been about 14% higher in 2002, but that the cost of this reduction was an annual 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities. In terms of the automobile industry’s structure, the CAFE standards pushed automobile buyers artificially towards the small cars made by Japanese and other Asian manufacturers, who consequently gained market share at the expense of GM, Ford and Chrysler. The CAFE standards thus bear much of the responsibility for the 2009 bankruptcies of the latter two companies. In addition, in order to survive Detroit found a loophole in the regulations, by which “sports utility vehicles” and minivans built on a truck chassis, were subject to less demanding fuel economy standards – the CAFE standards are thus responsible for the decline of the saloon car.

The cost of CAFE standards is now being immeasurably increased by two successive regulations tightening them, the first signed by President Bush in 2007 and the second by President Obama in 2011. In their latest form, CAFE standards mandate fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year, introduced in late 2024. The automobile industry agreed to these, not surprisingly since two of the three U.S. manufacturers were controlled by the government, while the foreign manufacturers no doubt reflected that Obama would be out of office well before 2024, and that if Obama-esque economic and environmental policies were pursued by his successors, then 2025’s U.S. automobile market wouldn’t be worth a damn anyway.

The 2025 standards cannot be met by hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius; they will require an admixture of fully electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt. Given the cost and spectacular lack of market penetration of that expensive toy, the CAFE standards may by 2025 require the unfortunate U.S. public to buy cars costing $50,000 in today’s money. As well as expensive automobiles, the new standards will also further increase traffic fatalities, as commuters buzz around the highways in 70mph golf carts.

Without the EPA, the environmental gains of the CAFE standards could easily have been achieved by an increase in the price of gasoline, through a tax that would have produced money for the federal exchequer rather than costing it money. Assuming even a very low 20% price elasticity of gasoline consumption, the 14% decline produced by the 1986 CAFE standards would have required a 70% increase in 2002’s price of gasoline – to $2.30 a gallon from the $1.35 at which it actually stood in that year. Much of that saving would have come from lower mileage driven by motorists, as they adapted their lifestyles to higher gas prices. In this respect, Europe has been far more market-oriented than the United States; with gas prices at $8 per gallon cars and lifestyles have already adapted to a lower fuel-consumption world, without the costs in either individual liberty or economic disruption of the U.S. command-and-control approach.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the EPA intrudes aggressively into almost all business decisions, even at the individual level. This was demonstrated last week by a unanimous Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, in which the Court declared “There is no reason to think the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review.” The Sackett family had attempted to build a house on a plot of land which the EPA post-facto declared to be “wetland” – a catch-all term used to justify endless EPA meddling – and the EPA had denied them a hearing and ordered them to pull down their property or face fines of $75,000 a day.

The total cost of EPA depredations can only be estimated, but there is one very significant measure of the EPA’s potential damage to the U.S. economy. U.S. productivity growth averaged 2.8% annually in the quarter century before 1973, the economic cycle peak immediately after the EPA’s formation. In 1973-2011 U.S. productivity growth averaged 1.8%. Had productivity continued at the pre-1973 pace, the U.S. economy would today be 45% larger, a matter of some $7 trillion in annual GDP. With pre-1973 productivity growth continuing to today, the impoverishment of the U.S. middle class would never have occurred, as median incomes today would be 45% higher.

Sure, the EPA probably is only partially responsible for that productivity slowdown. However economists have puzzled since 1980 or so for an explanation of the slowdown, and so far have failed to come up with a cause of sufficient importance. Given the EPA’s universality and Soviet approach to regulation, the impartial observer must conclude that a substantial part of the slowdown must have been caused by the EPA’s diversion of the U.S. economy from free-market patterns. If even a third of the slowdown was caused by the EPA and its tenticular, market-defying web of regulations, that’s $2.3 billion in lost annual output for which the EPA must be held responsible.

As I said, the EPA is far more expensive than the Defense Department. And it’s about time that the squeezed U.S. middle class knew where the blame for their impoverishment truly lies.



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



sepepp said...

When the theories that you've built your entire academic or professional career upon are proven to be a HOAX, then naturally you're gonna lash out at those doing the disproving (Monckton et.al.). Norgaard's suggestion that "deniers" have a mental disease and thus need treatment for it, is nothing more that that: the hysterical lashing out by someone who indeed suffers from a TRUE mental disease known as PROGRESSIVISM.

slktac said...

It is interesting that "scientists" use the word "may" very frequently now. "May" is NOT a scientific term.
Even in my philosophy classes, "may" was recognized as basically followed by a statement that lacked any provable truth value. Science requires bare minimum a "p" coefficient showing the outcome is more probably than random chance--without using fudge factors. Philosophy required the admission one was writing unprovable flights of fancy when using the term.
Also, if humans are not part of nature, as Ms. Norgaard claims in several writings, then evolution is incorrect, and assuming she does not believe in God and we are "special creatures", that only leaves extra-terrestrials as the our heritage.

Anonymous said...

It is a small step from believing that reality is controlled by your thoughts to the idea that the thoughts of others must also be controlled by your thoughts. If the thoughts of others were not to be so controlled, then it would be their thoughts that control reality and not your own. Hence, the urgency of treating all who don't think the correct thoughts. If you can't do it by persuasion, you think you can do it by force of arms.

There is one small problem with this world view: it doesn't work. Every past dictator and wannabe dictator has walked this path. It has and always will end in disaster for the dictator and those whom he believes he controls.

Reality is what it is and it doesn't give a damn what you or anybody else thinks it is.

Anonymous said...

"Nature magazine have put out announcement of a new paper using new proxies that PROVES that a CO2 rise preceded a deglaciation."

I knew this was coming. Seems like almost every hole we point out in AGW gets plugged at some point.

Ph.D. said...

Love this site. I am a Dr. theoretical Physics. It is heart warming and re-assuring to find that it is mainly bright young people that are launching a massive counter offensive to the complete GARBAGE coming from the Left in the USA (I am from Australia). It is also interesting that if credentials of the warmists are looked at, they are nearly always SOFT sciences.