Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Warmists are still trying to "hide the decline"

Steve McIntryre's blog is in my opinion the most scholarly climate site on the net. I rarely quote from it, however, because it rapidly descends (as it should) into technicalities that are well beyond the lay reader. I am quoting the article below, however, both because it should be within the comprehension of lay readers and because it reveals clearly the low intellectual calibre of Warmist "scientists". Myles Allen is head of the Climate Dynamics group at the University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department but he is either a very poor communicator or is utterly confused.

Myles Allen has written here blaming Bishop Hill for “keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies” like the Hockey Stick:

"My fear is that by keeping the public focussed on irrelevancies, you are excluding them from the discussion of what we should do about climate change"

But it’s not Bishop Hill that Myles Allen should be criticizing; it’s John Houghton who more or less made the Hockey Stick the logo of the IPCC. Mann was told that IPCC higher-ups wanted a visual that didn’t “dilute the message” and they got one: they deleted the last part of the Briffa reconstruction – Hide the Decline.

If, as Allen now says, it’s an “irrelevancy”, then Houghton and IPCC should not have used it so prominently. And they should not have encouraged or condoned sharp practice like Hide the Decline.

In the run-up to AR4, I suggested that, if the topic was “irrelevant”, as some climate scientists have said, then IPCC should exclude it from the then AR4. Far from trying to keep the topic alive in AR4, I suggested that it be deleted altogether. I guess that there was a “consensus” otherwise. If Allen wants to complain, then he should first criticize IPCC.

Bishop Hill links to a presentation by Myles Allen to a 2011 conference on Climategate, which like every other such handwringing introspection by climate “communicators”, notably failed to invite any of the major CRU critics – people who might actually have given them some insight into Climategate.

In his presentation to climate communicators, Allen gave his own version of Hide the Decline. Allen showed the graphic below, sneering that the entire effect of Climategate was 0.02 deg C in the 1870s.

Needless to say, Allen’s graph has nothing to do with Hide the Decline and the Climategate dossier. Allen’s graph shows the CRUTEM temperature index from 1850, not the 1000 year reconstructions in which Hide the Decline occurred.

CRUTEM was only mentioned a couple of times in the Climategate dossier. Climategate was about the Hockey Stick, though this point was misunderstood by Sarah Palin and now, it seems, Myles Allen.

In contrast, here’s a graphic from Richard Muller’s 2011 lecture. Unlike Allen, Muller understood Hide the Decline, which is shown here in one of its manifestations. (This is the WMO graphic; the more important Hide the Decline was in the IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment reports.)

Hide the Decline is not 0.02 deg C in the 1870s; it was Briffa, Mann and Jones deleting the inconvenient portion of the Briffa reconstruction after 1960. And it wasn’t a microscopic difference. This difference is large enough that it might well have “diluted the message” that Houghton and others wanted to convey.

While one would hope and expect that Myles Allen would have had a better factual grasp on Climategate issues than Sarah Palin, it seems that we’ve been disappointed.

Allen’s decision to show temperature data rather than Hockey Stick reconstructions cleverly draws attention away from the problems of those reconstructions. The Climategate emails have a apt phrase for Allen’s technique. Showing an unrelated dispute about a temperature graphic rather than the decreasing Briffa reconstruction is itself just another …. trick to hide the decline.

Update: Lucia responded to Myles ALlen in the comments as follows:
[Myles Allen said]

"I appreciate that people like yourself who have devoted a lot of time to the analysis of paleoclimate data find it irritating when scientists who don’t work in that area dismiss it as uninformative."

First: communication tip: You need to learn to post complete thoughts. Uninformative about what? Everything? Climategate? Or the thermometer record? Or the strength of evidence for AGW?

Depending on how I read your mind, you may be saying something true or utterly false. If you are going to lecture people on communicating science you might want to stop making readers guess which you mean.

Second: It seems to me you are misunderstanding what SteveMc writes. He’s not saying he is irritated that someone thinks paleo data is uninformative. He is saying that you suggest the “whole affair” (i.e. climategate) is an argument about the thermometer record. The fact is: climategate is not merely or even mostly about the thermometer record.

And I stand by the assertion that, thanks to the sloppy coverage the affair received in the media, it wasn’t just Sarah Palin who got the impression that the instrumental temperature record was seriously compromised

I would suggest that the main reason for this “sloppy coverage” was that reporters turned to people trying to rebut those discussing climategate at blogs and in forums. Some people people who (like you) might prefer to discuss the thermometer record rather than misbehavior of scientists or what “hide the decline” meant, diverted the discussion to the thermomeber record.

I strongly suspect the behavior of the scientists who wanted to suppress discussion of climategate succeeded in giving the media the incorrect impression that climategate was about the thermometer record is one of the reasons much of the media, some politicians, and Sarah Palin developed the impression climategate is about the thermometer record.

That you can show they were confused about what people at blogs and forums were posting about merely shows you don’t know what it was about.

I would also suggest the only thing that can come of you continuing to try to convince people it was about the thermometer records is for people to explain that which you do not wish to be discussed: The Hockey Stick, misbehavior or scientists and the various whitewash investigations.

OTOH: If you simply wish to communicate that the topics that are central to climategate are not important to our understanding of climate change- that would be fine. But if you wish to make the case that the hockey stick doesn’t matter, then you need to make that clearly. Unfortunately for you, clear exposition requires discussion of the hockey stick!

A proper exposition might be to

a) Discuss what the hockey stick “is” with a little history.(Accuracy would be useful here. Mention it was used as background at IPCC meetings, and in Gore’s talk.)

b) Discuss why this shape is not important to our understanding of climate change. Show versions with and without the decline– and explain why even if the decline exists we do believe the world is warming. Do this by

c) Explaining the thermometer record.

Don’t try to take the tack of inaccurately claiming that climategate is actually about the thermometer record. If you take that tack, you’ll find yourself trying to defend your position– downgrading much of what you seemed to present rather strongly as your opinion, and burying your arguments in favor of your opinion deep in comments at a blog. (I’d note: I think much of your argument amounts to “changing the subject”– but that’s another matter.)

Moreover, I would like to point out that unless say what paleo is uninformative about your claim that paleo is not important (at all) seems a bit thin. Climate blog addicts can easily see see that on May 26, 2012 you are chiding Bishop Hill for discussing the Hockey Stick and providing lengthy explanations of its lack of importance while Real Climate’s front page is simultaneously running a post on discussing Hockey Sticks (See
Fresh hockey sticks from the Southern Hemisphere, May 22).

It’s quite likely some will suspect that your opinion that the hockey still is uninformative (about something you don’t quite spit out) is maybe not entirely correct.

Third: Returning to “first”. When I watched your talk, I was struck by your tendency toward vagueness. Based on what you write in your defense in comments, I learn that the allusion to “the data” at minute 2:37 likely meant “the thermometer record” and “impact of the whole affair” (i.e. climategate) must have meant “impact of portions of the climategate discussions that relate to the thermometer record”.

Your talk is riddled with these types of vague ambiguities. The consequence is that– on the whole– what your talk appears to communicate is false. If the audience comes away thinking you are suggesting that climategate was not about the paleo records, and that you think the only impact of climategate is a small tweak on the thermometer record, then the fault for their misunderstanding you falls on you for communicating rather badly.

Next time you want to make a presentation telling reporters that they shouldn’t focus on the paleo record but rather the thermometer record, you might be wise not to try to turn that into a talk about how the media got climategate wrong.

Try to bite off less– stick to just discussing the thermoter record and why you think it tells us that the world has warmed and it’s because of man.

If you want to discuss climategate and how scientists failed to communicate their position, you have a hard row to hoe. Much of the reason scientists communicated the issues in climategate badly is they didn’t want to talk about them.

Scientists' mistake was to respond to journalists by trying to change the subject; others with plenty of ink keep talking. All the whining in the world isn’t going to get people to stop discussing the topic.

You can keep trying to do that: it isn’t going to work any better in 2012 than it did from 2009-2011.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

More Coal, More Gas, More Nuclear: German Government May Abandon Green Energy Transition

The German government no longer believes in the green energy transition. Doubts are growing in the ruling coalition government that the ecological project can succeed.

The project, which involves shutting down Germany's nuclear power plants and an increase of the share of renewable energy to 40 percent, was a very ambitious goal, the parliamentary leader of the Free Liberal Party (FDP) Rainer Bruederle told "Welt am Sonntag". "We will have to build a whole range of new gas-and coal-fired power plants - perhaps more than we first thought. It cannot be that we are shutting down our nuclear power plants and then import nuclear electricity from France or the Czech Republic," he said.

The former minister accused the federal states of ignoring the consequence for climate change and energy security instead of focusing on a transition to an ecological energy systems.

Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan (CDU), told the paper that wind and solar energy were the long term goal, but that the target could only be achieved gradually. Along the way, however, gas and coal-fired power plants would have to fill the gaps.

The deputy leader of the parliamentary Conservative Party, Michael Fuchs (CDU), is now considering a delay of the nuclear phase-out. "So far, the green energy transition has been limited to the idea that we switch off our nuclear power plants, but the consequences have not been thought through," he said. "We haven't got the costs under control at all."


Furore in Britain over EU's new 'green' fuel drive that will force 4p a litre rise in petrol [gasoline]

Bureaucrats in Europe could push the price of petrol up in the UK by 4p a litre by dictating 'green' fuel targets to member states.

Under tough energy targets in a Brussels directive, 10 per cent of the energy used in the transport sector across the EU will have to come from biofuels or other 'renewable' energy sources rather than fossil fuel by 2020.

But campaigners argue that the green initiative will just penalise motorists and taxpayers in Britain who are already struggling to keep their head above water in the current economic climate.

Peter Carroll, of the FairFuel UK campaign, said: 'The absolute priority at the moment is getting petrol and diesel to an affordable level and anything that stops that from happening should be resisted.

'Many of our supporters have the environment at heart but before we can concentrate and invest in more environmentally friendly forms of transport, such as electric cars and better public transport, we need a secure economy that is stable and growing.

'Environmentalists do themselves a lot of harm by beating motorists with a stick on price. All this does is harm the hardworking individual without bringing in any realistic form of long-term change.

'How does this help the nurse who needs to dig in to her own pocket to pay for petrol to visit patients in rural areas because her fuel allowance won't cover the cost of the journeys? It's very naive.'

He added that as well as campaigning against the EU directive, FairFuel UK is also calling for the government to scrap the planned 3p price hike in August.

Mr Carroll argued that the level of duty on fuel in the UK should be brought down to the significantly lower level of other European countries - around 26 per cent - before any further costs are landed on motorists.

He added: 'Adding 3p per litre when the economy is on its knees, families are struggling to survive week by week and UK businesses are struggling borders on economic madness.

'A cut of just 2.5p per litre would boost growth by a much needed 0.33 per cent, create 175,000 jobs and crucially not harm Treasury revenues – the tax take on the stimulated economic growth compensates for the loss of Fuel Duty.'

Biofuels come from a range of sources including plants, fermented organic matter, bacteria and bio waste and it is considered to be the most viable way of cutting down greenhouse gas emissions. But the process is also very costly.

A Brussels directive in 2003 first insisted that 5.75 per cent of the energy used in the transport sector across the 27 EU member states should be 'green' by 2010 but it then increased the target again in 2009 to 10 per cent by 2020.

EU officials hope the tough targets will reduce dependency on oil-based fuels and help encourage an increased use of more environmentally friendly fuels. But critics still argue now is not the time to be putting more pressure on EU member states that are trying to revive their economies.

The move was described as 'insanity' by a leading campaigner for cheaper fuel Tory MP Robert Halfon. He told the Daily Express: 'This is insanity. This stupid directive would force the Treasury to put another 3 or 4p on a litre.

'The Government is trying to keep fuel duty down, but now we have these European bureaucrats meddling to force up the price. Frankly, the Government should tell them where to go. 'How can we get our economy moving again when Brussels keeps inventing new taxes to destroy growth and jobs?'


U.S. Senate panel reins in Pentagon on "clean" energy

The Pentagon's investment in green energy requires too much green paper for some in Congress.

A sharply divided Senate Armed Services Committee voted this week to prohibit the military from spending money on alternative fuels if the cost exceeds traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. The move underscores congressional concern about the greater expense of clean energy sources such as biofuels as the Pentagon wrestles with smaller budgets. The committee, in crafting a sweeping defense budget for next year, also voted to block Pentagon construction of a biofuels refinery or any other facility to refine biofuels.

Both efforts passed on 13-12 votes that were disclosed Friday.

"In a tough budget climate for the Defense Department, we need every dollar to protect our troops on the battlefield with energy technologies that reduce fuel demand and save lives," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. "Spending $26 per gallon of biofuel is not consistent with that goal. The committee's action corrects this misplacement of priorities."

The moves by the Senate panel follow even tougher steps in the Republican-controlled House challenging the Pentagon's investment in clean energy. That version of the defense bill would bar the military from buying alternative fuels if the cost exceeds traditional fossil fuels. The bill also exempts the Pentagon from some requirements under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is designed to increase production of clean renewable fuels.

The law stipulates that if a federal department or agency uses alternative fuels, they cannot produce more greenhouse gases than regular petroleum.

In threatening to veto the House bill, the White House said it objected to provisions that would affect the Defense Department's "ability to procure alternative fuels and would further increase American reliance on fossil fuels, thereby contributing to geopolitical instability and endangering our interests aboard."

The department is the nation's largest consumer of energy, spending about $15 billion last year on fuel for tanks, ships, aircraft and other operations. In Afghanistan, the military uses more than 50 million gallons of fuel each month.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said higher fuel costs have hit the Pentagon hard, creating a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion.

The Navy and Air Force have pushed to use more biofuels to operate its aircraft and ships, with military leaders suggesting a greater reliance on alternative sources in the next decade to ease dependence on foreign oil.

The Pentagon is pushing for $1.4 billion in next year's budget for investments in clean energy, including hybrid electric drives for ships, more efficient engines, better generators and solar power.

"As one of the largest landowners and energy consumers in the world, our drive is to be more efficient and environmentally sustainable," Panetta said in a speech earlier this month to the Environmental Defense Fund. "We have to be able to have the potential to transform the nation's approach to the challenges we are facing in the environment and energy security. We've got to look ahead to try to see how we can best achieve that."

Panetta went as far as to suggest that environmental threats stand as threats to national security.

"The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security: Rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," he said.

Days later, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe challenged Panetta's comments.

"Secretary Panetta has a real war to win, and he should not be wasting time perpetrating President Obama's global warming fantasies or his ongoing war on affordable energy," said the Oklahoma lawmaker. "At a time when the defense budget is being significantly reduced and the Pentagon is forced to make every dollar stretch even further, it is ludicrous for the DOD to spend billions of dollars on green energy projects. Instead, they should be using those funds on people, training and equipment."

It was Inhofe and McCain, who successfully pushed for the amendments limiting Pentagon investments in clean energy.


India May Ban European Airlines on EU Emission Rules

China has already hit back by blocking orders for new European aircraft. It takes a lot to get through the thick skulls of Green EU bureaucrats

NEW DELHI – India may ban European carriers from flying into the country if the European Union includes airlines in its emissions control system, a senior Indian government official said Friday.

"We will take retaliatory actions to counter steps taken by [the] EU. If Europe bans our carriers we will ban theirs as well," the official told reporters.

India and 26 other nations have protested against the EU's planned rules requiring all airlines to hold permits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide during any flight landing at or taking off from any airport in the region.

The potentially costly procedure will be an additional burden for Indian carriers, already reeling from huge financial losses. India has already barred its carriers from participating in the EU system.


"Death threats" to Australian climate scientists were all hokum

Scorn is not a death threat

The death threat saga has reached parliament, with questions being asked at a Senate Estimates Committee of Prof Ian Chubb, current Chief Scientist, but Vice Chancellor of the ANU until March 2011. Most amazingly, Chubb confirms there were no death threats until the journalists got hold of the story!

The Australian reports that Liberal senator Scott Ryan questioned Chubb, who responded that, in 2010: "A senior member of his staff came to him with concerns from the institution's climate scientists over emails they had received and said they had also had "a couple of visits from people who had walked in off the street".

The staff member expressed a desire to have the climate scientists moved from their then-location, Professor Chubb said. "We looked at what we could do and we moved them. Senator, we did not make a fanfare, we did not go public. We simply moved them and got on with our business,"

Basically they were given swipe card access. So does this incident refer to the "kangaroo cull" incident, or another? He goes on to confirm he never read the emails: "They were at least abusive but let me be clear . . . I didn't read the emails. I trusted the man who came to me, he was a senior member of the staff and he represented concerns of the staff to me," Professor Chubb said.

Yes, it has been accepted all along that the emails were offensive. However, Chubb saves the best until last: "For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story."

So is this a media beat up? Can we now assume that this means that during Chubb's watch as Vice Chancellor, which ended in March 2011 with the appointment of Ian Young, there were no death threats to climate scientists at ANU? If so, why are the ANU still insisting, through the ABC correction, that they did, in fact, receive such threats?

The window during which such threats must have been received is closing rapidly, and is now restricted to the period March - June 2011. I am still awaiting a response to the questions I sent to the ANU's media office on Friday, seeking clarification.

Time, I think, for the ANU to finally come clean on this mess.



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