Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rudy Baum is still out of his tree

("Baum" is German/Yiddish for "tree").

In 2009 the rude one was editor-in-chief for the American Chemical Society (ACS). He wrote an editorial which asserted a consensus in favor of global warming. This caused a derisive uproar from ACS members which actually seemed to shake him a little. It didn't shake him enough, however, as he is now, three years later, pushing the same old barrow in a new editorial. He now prophesies that the year 2012 will be the hottest year on record but offers no estimate of how much hotter it will be. But his reasoning is so woeful one has to wonder if he is now just going through the motions of supporting Warmism --JR

The year 2005 surpassed 1998 as the hottest on record; it’s now clear that 2012 will surpass 2005. Each of the past 11 years (2001–11) is one of the 12 hottest years since instrumental temperature records began in the 19th century. The 20 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1987. These are facts—not speculation, not the result of a climate model—recorded from several thousand meteorological stations around the world.

Even if we concede that the tree-man is perfectly right about all the facts asserted above, it proves nothing. What matters is the trend and there is none. Temperatures are just going up and down from year to year by tiny amounts. All the results he points to are explicable as temperatures having reached a plateau wherein they differ only in hundredths of a degree from year to year. A plateau will produce lots of warm years too. It doesn't need a warming trend -- JR

On Aug. 27, scientists at the University of Colorado’s National Snow & Ice Data Center reported that Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million sq miles, 27,000 sq miles below the record low daily sea ice extent set on Sept. 18, 2007 (C&EN, Sept. 3, page 11). According to a University of Colorado press release, “Since the summer Arctic sea ice minimum normally does not occur until the melt season ends in mid- to late September, the CU-Boulder research team expects the sea ice extent to continue to dwindle for the next two or three weeks.” Again, this is a fact, not speculation or the result of a climate model.

But the Antarctic is not shrinking at all, so clearly there is no GLOBAL warming going on -- JR


It may seem strange that I, as a psychologist, am correcting an eminent chemist in these matters but I DID teach statistics at a major Australian university for a number of years --JR

Whoops Warmists get rainfall wrong

They also seem to overlook that most of the earth's surface is water (oceans and seas) so the NET effect of warming under ANY scenario will be INCREASED rainfall. I have no idea why I have to state such basic truths but: Heated water gives of water vapour and water vapour given off by oceans falls as rain

SOME computer models for global warming may be over-estimating the risk of drought, according to a study published on Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Several key models used in climate research that factor in warming trends suggest that droughts will intensify as world temperatures rise.

This is on the basis that dry soils have less moisture to suck up into the atmosphere, which reduces rainfall and thus causes even greater aridity.

But scientists are worried that these models are too large in scale and lack observational data, especially about what happens locally.

Seeking to plug the knowledge gap, a four-nation team led by Chris Taylor from Britain's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology looked at images from weather satellites which track the development of storm clouds across the globe.

The scientists say they were surprised when they matched where new storms appear alongside images of how wet the ground was.

They found that afternoon storms were likely to occur when soils were parched - not over soils that were moist.

The apparent reason: drier soils create stronger warm winds called thermals, which boost the chance of rain.

"Both heat and moisture are critical ingredients for rain clouds to build up during the afternoon," Taylor explained.

"On sunny days the land heats the air, creating thermals which reach several kilometres (miles) up into the atmosphere. If the soil is dry, the thermals are stronger, and our new research shows that this makes rain more likely."

The data trawl covered six continents, looking at surface soil moisture and rainfall patterns on daily and three-hourly time steps, with a resolution of 50 to 100 kilometres, over a decade.

"It's tempting to assume that moist soils lead to higher evaporation, which in turn stimulates more precipitation," said Wouter Dorigo of the Vienna University of Technology, a co-author.

"This would imply that there is a positive feedback loop: moist soils lead to even more rain, whereas dry regions tend to remain dry... (But) these data show that convective precipitation is more likely over drier soils."


More Warmist "science"

Carbon-free sugar?

The chemical structure of sugar below

So take away the carbon from sugar and you would have just water.


More evidence that we are dealing with cultists, not scientists

Key global warming report was fudged

Peter Lilley, MP in the British Parliament and a former cabinet minister under both Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, is an economist by training. He is not a climate skeptic — indeed, he has accepted the fourth assessment of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "founded on science" and sound.

He is also an advocate of sound, evidence-based, public policy (as opposed to policy-based public policy) — something one might expect from a former chairman of the right-wing think-tank the Bow Group.

Why then is he so upset? He is upset and highly critical of the way in which a certain kind of "voodoo economics" has been worked to develop public policy on climate change and is especially irked by the work of Baron Stern of Brentford, the IG Patel professor of economics and government, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, and 2010 professor of Coll├Ęge de France.

Lilley is not easily irked. What has caught his full ire is his analytic look-back at the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change — a 700-page report released for the British government in October 2006. You can see why in his report What is Wrong with Stern? The Failings of the Stern Review, available from the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

His basic concern is that Stern was, at the time, a government-employed economist who was asked by his government to answer a question which was formulated by government. He gave them the answer they were hoping for.

Put simply, Stern suggested that the benefits of radical action on reducing emissions would be around five times the costs. This is not what most economists were saying at the time and even fewer would say this now. Stern used some voodoo to bend the available data to fit the policy. In other words, policy-based evidence.

Lilley identifies six major failings in the Stern review.

* Comparing a part with the whole. Looking at policies adopted to reduce man-made emissions rather than looking at total CO2 emissions coming from all sources. Stern also just looks at accumulated emissions since the industrial revolution, but ignores known evidence of the ability of the earth to absorb emissions. Lilley suggests that this has a major impact on Stern’s conclusions — he is not dealing with the true state of emissions.

* Describing future centuries as "now." Stern suggests that global warming will cut GDP by five per cent "now and forever." Yet his own analysis shows that the economic losses due to responding to emissions with the kind of measures he envisaged were below the costs of mitigation, at least in this century.

* Inconsistent cost of discounting of costs and benefits. Stern doesn’t reveal the rates of discount he uses for his calculations in the report itself, but several studies have done so since. He effectively uses the normal market rates to discount the costs of decarbonizing the economy. Lilley suggests that doing so understates the costs of the policies for emissions management by around 2.5 to five times. It is a sleight of hand.

* Cherry Picking Unreliable Studies. Throughout, Stern cites just those studies that suit his argument (policy-based evidence) rather than the range of studies which should inform this case. To give just one example, his evidence on damage to property due to increased storms "caused" by climate change is around 100 times too large if you accept the premise that climate change causes such storms, something the IPCC itself is not convinced of.

* Ignoring adaptation. Industry and communities are very adaptable. Stern ignores this unless it suits his argument. Lilley gives a specific example — Stern cites the case of a crop that, at 4C will produce significantly lower yields (around 70 per cent lower). Yet farmers have the option of switching to a similar crop (different varietal) where yields would rise dramatically under these conditions, a fact Stern chooses not to share in his report.

* Strange ethics. Several studies have shown that, even if we do nothing, people will be richer by 2020 than they are today. Yet Stern is of the view that "global warming threats humanity with extinction or immiseration" - something highly implausible by all analysis of the impact of the current small amount of warming, according to Lilley. Stern suggests anyone who opposes his view of the needed course of action is being "unethical" and threatening future generations. Lilley suggests that this is, basically, bullshit.

Stern was very influential throughout the world, but most especially in Europe. He suggested a crash program of action to curb emissions in the name of saving humanity. But humanity, at least according to science, is not under threat and we are dealing with natural variations and some modest but marginal human impacts, according to Lilley.

But using voodoo economics and policy-based evidence, the economies of the world that adopted the Stern approach have lowered their growth and made energy costs so high that many jobs have been exported to other jurisdictions, thereby increasing climate change risk rather than lowering it. The policies suggested by Stern are unaffordable and are not producing the benefits that Stern said they would.

Lilley is upset with Stern and with the governments who blindly followed his advice. What he now suggests is a more moderate approach to emissions reduction, placing greater emphasis on innovation activities which may speed adaptation and a recognition that developing nations need to increase their energy supplies in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Lilley’s analysis is thorough and comprehensive as well as well researched and informed. He is not a climate change skeptic, but a realist and a devotee of evidence-based policies. His critique is worth a read.


Court challenge to EPA secrecy

A potential landmark government transparency court case took shape today as a conservative think tank filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking copies of all emails concerning official policies sent by one of its regional administrators using his private email address.

The suit was filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which bills itself as "dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty."

‘EPA has also stonewalled CEI's administrative appeal, refusing to provide a response and make its arguments on the record for CEI to challenge. --- Competitive Enterprise Institute’

In its suit, CEI said EPA had denied the think tank's request for all emails sent to or by region eight administrator James Martin and the Environmental Defense Fund, including those using his official and any private emails. Prior to joining EPA, Martin was an attorney for the EDF.

In a statement describing its suit, CEI said its FOIA request "was aimed at determining the extent to which policymaking in the Obama Administration is being coordinated with outside environmental pressure groups. CEI expressly extended its request to cover information from Mr. Martin's non-official e-mail accounts, based on his clear history of using such accounts to perform official business."

The think tank accused EPA of stonewalling because it "has refused to produce these e-mails, claiming that records 'sent to a personal email address' are not agency records. EPA has also stonewalled CEI's administrative appeal, refusing to provide a response and make its arguments on the record for CEI to challenge. As such, CEI's suit seeks to compel the release of these records."

Christopher Horner, a CEI senior fellow, argues in a forthcoming book entitled "The Liberal War on Transparency" that EPA officials have often used what he describes as "secret email accounts" to conduct official discussions with outside special interests in the environmental community, as well as "cut-outs" - individuals outside of government who serve as conduits between officials and special interest groups, as a method of circumventing transparency laws like the FOIA.

If the federal court agrees with CEI and orders EPA officials to produce emails to and from Martin's private email acccount, it could pave the way for suits against all federal departments and agencies in which there is evidence or suspicion outside of government that officials have used private email accounts, or government email accounts known to exist by only by a few individuals.


Australia: Trawler ban just Greenie hysteria

A TOP fisheries scientist has slammed the government's 11th-hour move to stop the controversial Abel Tasman super trawler as unscientific and driven by political expediency.

Colin Buxton, the director of the fisheries, aquaculture and coasts centre at the University of Tasmania's institute for marine and antarctic studies, said that the size of the 142-metre Dutch-owned trawler did not mean that it posed any greater environmental risk than several smaller vessels.

"It's just staggering [that] popularism and political expediency is now managing our fisheries," he said. "I think it's incredibly dangerous. It's really sad that the decision has been handed down in this way."

Professor Buxton said the 18,000-tonne fish quota given to Seafish Tasmania was sustainable according to solid science.

He said that an ecosystem model developed by the CSIRO - regarded as the "best ecological model available" - had been used to calculate the total population of fish and any potential impact on the food chain.

Professor Buxton, who stressed he had no connection with any company, industry body or regulator, said that "localised depletion" - the danger of emptying out a part of the ocean if a large ship fished too long in one place - was probably less of a risk with the super trawler.

The advantage of the super trawler, which has its own processing facilities and freezers, was that it could fish over a large area without being tied to ports.

"If you had 10 small trawlers tied to a place like Triabunna [in Tasmania], there would be a much, much higher chance of localised depletion," he said. "These same people who are concerned about the … trawler and [are saying] you could take 10 small boats out there and that's a better idea. Based on what?"

He also rejected claims that not enough scientific research existed.

Professor Buxton said that the net size and catching capacity of the Abel Tasman were "not dissimilar" to net sizes already being used in waters off the west coast of Tasmania.


CSIRO goes off the rails over climate

The CSIRO is supposed to be Australia's premier scientific research organization but hysteria seems to have taken over. The “Planet under Pressure” conference (PUP) in London in March, 2012, is now just a historical curiosity. It was meant to turbocharge the Rio + 20 eco-summit last June but that summit never quite took us to its poverty-ending, green global economy. However, the London warm-up is worth a second look, if only because:

* More than 40 CSIRO people attended.[1] Assuming $6000 per head on fares, hotels etc, that’s a quarter-million dollars

* Another 40 Australian scientists and academics also went along – make that a half-million dollars total.[2] [3] Did any attend the conference session on “Reinforcing sustainable travel behaviour”?

* “Nut-jobs on the internet” claimed the London show pushed for Dr-Evil-style global climate government. I found coded remarks in the conference verbiage but then turned up a press interview by the conference’ co-chair, our CSIRO’s top climateer Mark Stafford-Smith. He called for a “sustainable development council within the United Nations that has the same level of authority as the Security Council.”[4] Not bad from a non-elected CSIRO politician. Pause to reflect that 55% of the 193 UN countries are dictatorships.[5]

* More than 1200 “scientific” papers were showcased, of which only three or four expressed even a tiny doubt about dangerous human-caused warming (AGW). Yet even the IPCC is only 90% sure. Those papers of interest included “solving the cloud problem in climate models” and “solar forcing of winter climate variability”. The other 1197-plus papers went into third-order issues such as “Solving the problem of how to solve problems: planning in a climate of change”.[6] One I particularly liked went:
“To unite scientists and global publics in a climate change Quest, communicators need to attend rigorously to the narrative-dramatic dynamics of stakeholder sensemaking. The depth of fear and despair when fully engaged with the tragic Downfall plot should not be underestimated…We urgently need to develop the skills of reading and leading climate change plots. In so doing, we can build understanding of the social drama of data.”[7]

* Since the purported AGW would change everything in the world, the 1200 papers at London could be multiplied ten-fold or thousand-fold as long as grant-money continues. An example from the conference of the proliferation: “Care and justice: the contribution of feminist and environmental justice approaches to counteract power in environmental governance.”[8]

The CSIRO claims that “almost all” of its 40+ attendees gave papers.[9] Since the conference was four days of 8.30am-5pm, plus a smidgen of slack or “unconference” time before cocktails and dinners, I thought I’d check.

A search elicits 11 CSIRO papers discussed at the conference. The conference also allowed 13 CSIRO people to put up on the wall, literally, a poster about their research, along with the other 1160 contributors’ posters, thus burnishing everyone’s CVs. Worthwhile? Taxpayers, you be the judge.

One CSIRO scientist scored an own goal in his paper on adaptation of Australian agriculture to climate change. Farmers were managing OK, “given that the climate change signal has not yet exceeded the ‘variability noise’ “.[10] Yet a CSIRO colleague had a paper: “Climate change impacts on farmer mental health: emerging connections”.[11] How can our farmers be going mad from AGW if it’s not yet detectable?

But I’m rambling. What about that world-governing conspiracy? Dr Stafford-Smith gave an interview from the conference to AAP on March 29:
Mark Stafford Smith, scientific director of CSIRO's climate adaption flagship, says it's no longer enough for individual nations to try to be sustainable.

Rather a new "planetary stewardship" is needed, he says.

"Something like a sustainable development council ... in the UN system which has the same level of authority as the security council and which can drive a much more integrated approach," Dr Stafford Smith told reporters via a phone hook-up from London...”

There was now a need for a "constitutional moment", like that in the 1940s which saw the establishment of the World Bank and other institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, to drive the new UN council, he said.[12]

When the conference ended, Dr Stafford-Smith co-drafted with a Dr Lidia Brito the conference’s “Declaration”. As one breathless environment reporter from the New York Times introduced it, humanity’s anti-green obtuseness could hurt the earth as badly as “meteoric collisions”.[13] The key tract from the Smith/Brito manifesto is:
“Fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions is required to overcome barriers to progress and to move to effective Earth-system governance…Current understanding supports the creation of a Sustainable Development Council within the UN system to integrate social, economic and environmental policy at the global level.” [14]

Who is Dr Stafford-Smith, this Napoleon-scale environmentalist? He spent 30 years studying desert bushes and bugs, as a good CSIRO scientist should.[15]

But one of the bugs may have infected him with apocalypse fever. In 2009 he published, with CSIRO colleague Julian Cribb, the paperback “Dry Times: Blueprint for a Red Land”, priced at an alarming $49.95.[16] The book concludes,
“Australians use of the country’s resources, their demand for increasing material standard of living and now their contribution to global climate change [what? 1.5% of global emissions?] have wrought profound changes to this once isolated continent. The great cities of Australia are already experiencing water shortages. … In fact, the dry part of Australia is expanding. The entire continent is now subject to some disturbing trends, which are starting to resemble the desert drivers. The climate is moving into realms hitherto unexperienced: unpredictable and out of local control…” (p145)

Hardly had the CSIRO book hit the counter, than a vast sheet of floodwater travelled the length of the Eastern States. The rivers turned Lake Eyre into a bonanza for operators of inland sea scenic flights, which continue to this day. The rains replenished the dams of Brisbane and Sydney and even the parched Melbourne dams are now 77% full.

His co-author Julian Cribb, unabashed, put out another CSIRO paperback ($29.95) in 2010, “The Coming Famine”.[17] As CSIRO’s blurb puts it, “Julian Cribb lays out a vivid picture of an impending planetary crisis – a global food shortage that threatens to hit by mid-century – which, he argues, would dwarf any in our previous experience.” Deserts, floods, famine, whatever. CSIRO loves the dismal.

Dr Stafford-Smith also claims the scientific community is “thinly-stretched”, which seems a bit whiney after $US68 billion in US federal spending alone on climate research and development from 1989-2009.[18] [19]

The patrons for the London conference were the usual UN apparatchiks, activist and industry reps, academics, and a couple of standouts: our own Climate Comedian – sorry, Climate Commissioner - Tim Flannery and Phil Bloomer, director of campaigns and policy for Oxfam, a charity celebrated for its “75-million-climate-refugees” howler concerning Pacific islanders, whose population is only 7 million in the first place.[22]

A Professor Iain Gordon of the UK’s Hutton Institute told the conference that humans had upped the natural extinction rate by 1000 times, “based on reliable data”, and 10%-30% of mammal, bird and amphibian species are at risk of extinction. The “1000 times” factoid was a statistical raving from a tract by the activist International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the “10%-30% extinction” factoid from the 2007 IPCC report was exposed several years ago as a complete crock.[23] [24] How could Professor Williams be so credulous? Well, his previous career was with CSIRO, which is is too inward-focused even to take this clanger off its website:
“Australia has experienced the worst drought in recorded history, and as one consequence many cities and regions have faced severe water supply constraints. These issues have highlighted the reality of global climate change, the massive impacts that it is likely to have on our continent...”[25]

If the drought “highlights the reality of global climate change”, what do our recent floods highlight?

Still, climate conferences wouldn’t be the same without the CSIRO’s helpful inputs.




The graphics problem: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


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