Friday, June 22, 2012

The hard life of Warmists

Below is a tale of how Warmist scientists -- particularly Michael Mann -- have "suffered" for their work. The article appears to have been taken down at its original source, probably indicating falsehoods in it.

Be that as it may, however, it is pathetic. It does not mention that Mann's fabled "hockeystick" can be reproduced by feeding random numbers into the computer program he used, not does it indicate that the "threat" to Australian climate scientists has been debunked as non-existent. Nobody could produce any of the alleged "threatening" emails.

And requests for copies of raw data are "onerous"? It is only refusal of those requests that has produced work. If the full raw data used by Mann and others had been promptly supplied -- as the usual scientific custom -- none of the other uproar would have happened. It is only his secrecy that has produced the various enquiries to which he has been subjected

There is much more than the excerpt below but I think enough has been said to indicate the quality of the whole thing. Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth seems to be impossible for Warmists. They are certainly spectacularly bad at it. I have a copy of the full article. The title of the article is "The Battle Over Climate Science" by Tom Clynes and it appeared in "Popular Science"

“Weird” is perhaps the mildest way to describe the growing number of threats and acts of intimidation that climate scientists face. A climate modeler at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory answered a late-night knock to find a dead rat on his doorstep and a yellow Hummer speeding away. An MIT hurricane researcher found his inbox flooded daily for two weeks last January with hate mail and threats directed at him and his wife. And in Australia last year, officials relocated several climatologists to a secure facility after climate-change skeptics unleashed a barrage of vandalism, noose brandishing and threats of sexual attacks on the scientists’ children.

Those crude acts of harassment often come alongside more-sophisticated legal and political attacks. Organizations routinely file nuisance lawsuits and onerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to disrupt the work of climate scientists. In 2005, before dragging Mann and other climate researchers into congressional hearings, Texas congressman Joe Barton ordered the scientists to submit voluminous details of working procedures, computer programs and past funding—essentially demanding that they reproduce and defend their entire life’s work.

In a move that hearkened back to darker times, Oklahoma senator James Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report in 2010 that named 17 prominent climate scientists, including Mann, who, he argued, may have engaged in “potentially criminal behavior.” Inhofe outlined three laws and four regulations that he said the scientists may have violated, including the Federal False Statements Act—which, the report noted, could be punishable with imprisonment of up to five years.

In the late 1990s, Mann developed a graph that demonstrated a recent and dramatic uptick in global mean surface temperatures. The hockey-stick-shaped curve has become emblematic to both sides of the climate debate. To the vast majority of climate scientists, it represents evidence, corroborated by decades of peer-reviewed research, of global warming. To climate-change skeptics, the hockey stick is the most grievous of many illusions fabricated by thousands of conspiring scientists to support an iniquitous political agenda.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) included Mann’s graph in its Third Assessment Report in 2001. Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim then included it in their 2006 climate-change documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The film galvanized both the pro- and contra-climate-science camps, propelling the issue of human-caused global warming into the culture wars—and Mann along with it. “Since then, my life has been crazy,” he says. “People have stolen my e-mails and bought billboards and newspaper ads to denounce me; they’ve staged bogus grassroots protests; they’ve threatened my family. I’ve been through eight investigations by everyone from the National Science Foundation to the British House of Commons. Every time, they find no evidence of fraud or misuse of information. Every time, they conclude that my methods are sound, my data replicable. And every time I’m exonerated, another investigation pops up.”

Mann has been called a “compulsive liar, a con man and an extraordinary psychological case.” Some critics accuse him of masterminding a cabal of scientists that aims to establish a new world order. Still others compare him to Hitler, Stalin and Satan.

At the time of our meeting, Mann was juggling several FOIA requests and two lawsuits—one of which would be resolved the following week, when the Virginia Supreme Court rejected the state attorney general’s demand that the University of Virginia (Mann’s former employer) turn over the researcher’s e-mails and other documents. The university spent nearly $600,000 to argue that releasing personal correspondence would chill academic research. “Yes, there’s been a toll on me and my family,” Mann says. “But it’s bigger than that. Look what it’s doing to science, when others see this and see what happens if they speak up about their research. These efforts to discredit science are well-organized. It’s not just a bunch of crazy people.”


Two thirds wrong but still 100% right?

Some typically Warmist reasoning below when they discover that their estimates of rainforest emissions have been vastly over-representated in their "models"

The carbon emissions from cutting down tropical forests may be about one third of the level previously estimated, according to an article in the journal Science.

A team of nine scientists used satellite-imagery data to better measure the effects of global deforestation between 2000 and 2005, said Nancy Harris, lead author of the article. Brazil and Indonesia produced 55 percent of the total emissions, according to the article published today.

“Deforestation is still a very large and significant problem,” Harris, a carbon and land-use specialist at Little Rock, Arkansas-based environmental group Winrock International, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Just because our numbers are lower does not necessarily mean that deforestation is not as bad.”

Cutting down tropical forests accounted for 10 percent of man-made carbon emissions, according to the results tabulated by the team, which included research from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Policy makers, farmers, forestry experts and scientists all will need to work together to reduce worldwide carbon emissions “and the forest plays a critical role in that,” Harris said.

“Regardless of what scale these policy strategies happen at -- project scale, national scale, state levels -- we now have the ability to monitor what happens, so we can evaluate whether policies are actually making a difference,” Harris said.


Top British firms 'must file a greenhouse audit': Latest plan by Liberal zealot Clegg for more red tape

He will have a battle getting it enacted -- only in watered-down form if at all. Making it "voluntary" would be a good wheeze!

A thousand of Britain’s biggest firms will be forced to report all their greenhouse gas emissions under a scheme to ‘benefit the planet’ announced by Nick Clegg yesterday.

All FTSE-listed companies such as BP, Aviva and Tesco will have to comply with the regulations, which will cover their entire UK operations from next April.

It could be extended to all large businesses in Britain within four years as a way to calculate green taxes already imposed on firms.

While some companies are prepared for the move, business analysts expressed concerns about the short timescale and urged the Government to scrap some existing environmental red tape.

There are fears that the requirement could become a burden if imposed on smaller and medium sized firms. At present, the move will apply to 1,049 listed UK-based companies, which will have to report every ton of greenhouse gas they emit and will be placed in a league table for their green performance.

Some large companies, such as Marks & Spencer, already calculate their emissions voluntarily but others are said to be unprepared to meet the regulations.

The Deputy Prime Minister announced the scheme – the most stringent in the world – shortly after jetting in to Rio+20, the UN environment summit which began in the Brazilian capital yesterday.

Mr Clegg said that emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are leading to dangerous global warming, sea level rises, droughts and floods and said the regulations would help businesses save money on energy bills. He added: ‘Counting your business costs while hiding your greenhouse gas emissions is a false economy.

‘British companies need to reduce their harmful emissions for the benefit of the planet, but many back our plans because being energy efficient makes good business sense too. Climate change is one of the gravest threats we face. The UK is leading the urgent action needed at home and abroad.’

The move was backed by the Confederation of British Industry as a way to standardise the way emissions are calculated.

But the CBI called for other green regulations under the Carbon Reduction Commitment to be scrapped as they do little to improve efficiency and damage business competitiveness. Alan McGill, an independent analyst with PwC, said: ‘As a company, measuring carbon means setting targets, reducing cost, increasing margins. For large companies this won’t be seen as a huge burden.

‘There may be fears that extending it to extending it beyond large listed companies, into small or medium sized enterprises could be too much of a burden.’

Mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases every year is seen as a victory for the Liberal Democrats amid claims the Treasury was against the plans.

Manufacturers’ association EEF said the current climate change legislation should have been reviewed first to reduce red tape for businesses.

Nick Clegg is leading a 50-strong UK team at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – the largest in UN history with around 50,000 people attending.


Gross misrepresentation of Russian tree-ring record by Briffa

Climategate, the 2009 exposure of misconduct at the University of East Anglia, was a terrible blow to the reputation of climatology, and indeed to that of British and American science. Although that story hasn’t been in the news in recent months, new evidence of similar scientific wrongdoing continues to emerge, with a new scandal hitting the climate blogosphere just a few days ago.

And central to the newest story is one of the Climategate scientists: Keith Briffa, an expert in reconstructing historical temperature records from tree rings. More particularly, the recent scandal involves a tree-ring record Briffa prepared for a remote area of northern Russia called Yamal.

For many years, scientists have used tree-ring data to try to measure temperatures from the distant past, but the idea is problematic in and of itself. Why? Because tree-ring data reflect many variables besides temperature. Russian tree growth, like that of trees around the world, also reflects changes in humidity, precipitation, soil nutrients, competition for resources from other trees and plants, animal behavior, erosion, cloudiness, and on and on. But let’s pretend, if only for the sake of argument, that we can reliably determine the mean temperature 1,000 years ago or more using tree cores from a remote part of Russia. The central issue that emerges is: How do you choose the trees?

It was the way Briffa picked the trees to include in his analysis that piqued the interest of Steve McIntyre, a maverick amateur climatologist from Canada. The Climategate e-mails make it clear that McIntyre earned the public scorn of the most powerful U.N. climatologists, including James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Phil Jones, while simultaneously earning their fear and respect in private.

McIntyre noticed a few problems with the way Briffa chose the sampling of Russian trees, and he wrote to Briffa requesting the data Briffa used in a published tree-ring paper. Briffa declined. And so began a four-year saga involving multiple peer-reviewed journals, behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Briffa and his closest confidants, and a Freedom of Information Act request on the part of McIntyre that appears to be on the verge of being granted. Even without the final set of data, however, McIntyre has shown beyond the shadow of doubt that Briffa may have committed one of the worst sins, if not the worst, in climatology — that of cherry-picking data — when he assembled his data sample, which his clique of like-minded and very powerful peers have also used in paper after paper.

It was already known that the Yamal series contained a preposterously small amount of data. This by itself raised many questions: Why did Briffa include only half the number of cores covering the balmy interval known as the Medieval Warm Period that another scientist, one with whom he was acquainted, had reported for Yamal? And why were there so few cores in Briffa’s 20th century? By 1988, there were only twelve cores used in a year, an amazingly small number from the period that should have provided the easiest data. By 1990, the count was only ten, and it dropped to just five in 1995. Without an explanation of how the strange sampling of the available data had been performed, the suspicion of cherry-picking became overwhelming, particularly since the sharp 20th-century uptick in the series was almost entirely due to a single tree.

The intrigue deepened when one of the Climategate e-mails revealed that, as far back as 2006, Briffa had prepared a much more broadly based, and therefore more reliable, tree-ring record of the Yamal area. But strangely, he had decided to set this aside in favor of the much narrower record he eventually used.

The question of Yamal had rightly come up when Briffa was questioned by Climategate investigators. He told them that he had never considered including a wider sample than the one he went with in the end, and hadn’t had enough time to include a wider one. However, the specific issue of the suppressed record appears to have largely been passed over by the panel, and Briffa’s explanation, like so many others given to the Climategate inquiries, appears to have been accepted without question.

But the ruse has now been shot to pieces, by the recent decision from the U.K.’s information commissioner that Briffa can no longer withhold the list of sites he used in his suppressed regional record for the Yamal area. The disclosure of these sites has allowed McIntyre to calculate what the broad series would have looked like if Briffa had chosen to publish it. He has shown that it has no hint of the hockey-stick shape that Briffa’s cherry-picked data indicated. Briffa’s decision to publish an alarming but unreliable version of the Yamal series — instead of a more reliable and thoroughly unremarkable one — has been the talk of the climate blogosphere, with many prominent commentators openly speaking of dishonesty.

Two and a half years after the initial revelation of the Climategate e-mails, new controversies, on the part of the scientists and the investigators involved, continue to emerge. Many of the players involved are desperate to sweep the scandal under the rug. However, their machinations have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to their questionable science and ugly behind-the-scenes shenanigans, reigniting hope that more complete and more independent investigations — on both sides of the Atlantic — will yet be performed.


Winds of change among British Conservatives

A government re-think on costly green energy resources is a winning statement of intent

There was a palpable surge in Conservative fortunes when David Cameron said “No” to the euro rescue treaty. The public noticed this simple act of defiance. It shone amid the drab worthiness of most government action. Party members in particular delighted in their leader’s sudden outbreak of decisiveness. That “No” sent a positive charge through British politics. It galvanised the troops, put a spring in their step. If only for a moment, Tory hearts beat stronger and dreamed of what might yet be possible.

The good mood didn’t last long. The omnishambles, the Budget U-turns, the sapping effect of Leveson, and most of all the ever-worsening economic crisis wiped out the gains. Mr Cameron is struggling again. Conservatives yearn for red meat policies to please the voters. They want a political Plan B for a Tory majority in 2015 to replace the one based on the assumption of economic recovery and tax cuts that blew up in George Osborne’s hands last year. MPs wondering how to achieve a victory in today’s darkened circumstances want compelling measures that can be described in a few crisp words on the doorstep.

The Chancellor will shortly give them just that. In a few weeks, as part of the Energy Bill, ministers will announce a reduction of up to a quarter in the value of Renewable Obligation Certificates – or “Rocs”. Yes, I realise that’s hardly a sentence to set the pulse racing. But if one considers that Rocs are the means by which the taxpayer subsidises the wind farm industry, and that the Chancellor proposes to slash that giveaway by 25 per cent, then translated into plain English it means this: onshore wind farms will be killed stone dead.

A simple tweak of the financial incentives will halt the march of the turbines across the British landscape. An issue that has poisoned the relationship between millions of affected voters and the politicians who represent them will be resolved. Conservatives will be able to say: “We did that. We stopped the wind farm madness.” No wonder some optimists on the backbenches speak of a defining moment that will give them something to cheer – and be cheered for.

Of course, nothing can ever be quite as simple. Cabinet negotiations are not complete. The politics of so-called green energy remain painfully complex. The legacy of the last government’s enthusiasm for piling burdens on the taxpayer has not been eliminated. In all probability, the industry is not going to give up easily. There are already 3,000 turbines spinning (or, too often, not) across the landscape, with a further 4,500 planned. It may well be that some will sprout where they already have permission, and if the promoters are prepared to press on without a guaranteed income far higher than the market price of the electricity they produce. And while campaigners hope that those new turbines will now be stayed, there is uncertainty about the fate of those already in existence. Will their operators want to keep them if – as a leaked memo from Oliver Letwin, one of the Government’s greenest Tories, indicated this week – the subsidy is not only cut by a quarter straightaway, but eliminated altogether by 2020?

The Government’s about-face on wind farms is the result of greater forces that may change the dynamic of the second half of this Parliament. The first is Mr Osborne’s political decision to shift the Government off its initial enthusiasm for environmental largesse, which he signalled in his speech to Tory conference in October when he declared that Britain was no longer willing to go faster than other EU states in reducing emissions. His intervention made clear that Mr Cameron’s husky-hugging love of all things green has been set aside in the face of the economic storm. He is also acutely aware of the bottom line: voters who have endured steep climbs in the cost of living have had enough of seeing their energy bills rise. The Government is now anxiously searching for ways to mitigate the anger of voters who don’t see why they should pay more for politically fashionable green energies.

Mr Osborne’s new-found scepticism in turn gave his backbenchers permission to step up their efforts against wind farms. Earlier this year, a letter to Mr Cameron drafted by the MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, and signed by more than 100 Tory MPs put Downing Street on notice that it faced a major rebellion if it failed to address the issue. Cabinet ministers in recent days have fallen over themselves to assure Mr Heaton-Harris that he has won. His well-marshalled campaign has demonstrated the power of the backbenches and in particular the 2010 intake. He has not only improved his prospects of a ministerial job, but he has also demonstrated that in this Government, power lies increasingly with backbenchers. The challenge for both Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne is to sell this as a moment of leadership. Having surrendered on pasties, charities, static caravans, now wind farms and next Lords reform, they cannot afford to be seen to be meekly following their MPs.

It reflects another force at play, too, which may well transform not just our physical landscapes by making wind farms obsolete, but our economic prospects as well. We saw it in yesterday’s fall in inflation: the price of energy is plummeting. With little fanfare, the discovery of vast reserves of accessible shale gas in the United States and elsewhere is rapidly changing the economics of this sector. Contrary to most predictions of barely five years ago, the US may turn out to be self-sufficient in energy. As a result, it is increasingly likely that the developed world’s reliance on Middle East oil is about to end, with untold consequences for the West’s involvement in the region.

It should also transform our economic competitiveness, as effectively unlimited quantities of relatively clean, cheap gas come on to the market, but only if we embrace a politics of cheap energy, too. Suddenly, all those trendy renewable energies whose success was predicated on an assumption that gas prices would rise inexorably, making them relatively affordable, are left looking like unjustifiable luxuries. Even James Lovelock, the nonagenarian green guru who invented the Gaia thesis, in a Guardian interview last week turned on wind farms as “ugly and useless”, renewable energy schemes as “largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant”, and urged Britain to “go mad” for shale.

It is no wonder Mr Osborne wants to get out of his commitments to more expensive renewable energy when he sees around him evidence that the price of traditional fuels are falling through the floor: a Chancellor whose political fate depends on producing growth would be daft to defend rising bills for both households and companies. Cheap money is being thrown at the financial crisis. Cheap energy might be the bonus that gets us going again.

For the Conservatives, there is a political bonanza to be had from this moment. Dismay about wind farms has been particularly acute among the party’s grassroots. It is no surprise that Ukip is making the most of its opposition to turbines. Switching off subsidies for wind farms puts clear blue water between the Tories and the Lib Dems. And if played right, it could put Mr Cameron on the side of a global energy revolution that promises to keep the lights on, lower the cost to voters, and energise his electoral prospects when he most needs it.


British windmills sinking into the sea

They are expensive to maintain at the best of times -- which is why California is littered with abandoned ones

Hundreds of Britain's offshore wind turbines could be sinking into the sea because of a design flaw.

It is believed the concrete used to fix some turbines to their steel foundation can wear away, causing the power generators to drop a few inches.

The fault was first discovered at the Egmond aan Zee wind farm in the Netherlands and affects those with single cylinder foundations.
burbo bank

An Antony Gormley figure and a Tall Ship flank the Burbo Bank windfarm. Dong Energy said it was one of the farms affected by a fault that caused turbines to sink

Energy company engineers are now urgently investigating what extent the turbines have been destabilised. If repairs are necessary then turbines will be shut down one at a time to prevent energy losses.

Experts from Renewables UK, which represents wind farm developers, said it could cost £50million to fix Britain's 336 turbines thought to be at risk.

Peter Madigan from Renewables UK, told The Times: 'A fault has been identified and has been shared with the industry, which has moved to see if there is a larger problem.'

Dong Energy said three of its wind farms were affected, including Gunfleet Sands off the Essex coast and Burbo Bank in Liverpool Bay.

However Centrica, which owns British Gas and Dong Energy, said there were no safety or operational issues.

Offshore farms produce more reliable power because the wind is less intermittent, and they allow firms to avoid getting entangled in the UK's labyrinthine planning regulations.

But they are notoriously expensive, and large firms including BP and Royal Dutch Shell have pulled out of the sector.



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1 comment:

John A said...

Nriffa and Yamal.

I think that for once, "my" side has got it wrong, The data from other areas around Yamal was far from complete when B first published, and he wanted to - but was discouraged from - re-calculate. Too, Btiffa onjected (if mildly) to "hide the decline,"

Contrast these positions with others, notably Hansen, Mann, and Jones.