Sunday, April 21, 2013

The prophet  -- a new Ezekiel raging at the world

Controversial scientist Dr James Hansen has issued his direst warning yet for humanity as he quit his job at Nasa to concentrate on raising awareness of climate change.

Hansen wrote that he decided to step down 'so that I can spend full time on science, drawing attention to the implications for young people, and making clear what science says needs to be done.'

He also published a paper outlining what he calls 'Venus syndrome' - where global warming becomes so bad Earth can no longer sustain human life.
Dr James Hansen and a climate change day of action: He has warned a failure to deal with climate change could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free'

Dr James Hansen and a climate change day of action: He has warned a failure to deal with climate change could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free'

'It it is not an exaggeration to suggest, based on best available scientific evidence, that burning all fossil fuels could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free,' he claims.

'If we burn all the fossil fuels it is certain that sea level would eventually rise by tens of meters,' he claims.

'The only argument is how soon the rise of several meters needed to destroy habitability of all coastal cities would occur.

'It is also possible that burning all fossil fuels would eventually set off a hyperthermal event, a mini-runaway.'

According to a new paper which Hansen posted on the Columbia University website, the 'runaway' effect of climate change could cause Earth to become like Venus

'Earth can 'achieve' Venus-like conditions, in the sense of ~90 bar surface pressure, only after first getting rid of its ocean via escape of hydrogen to space,' he writes.

'This is conceivable if the atmosphere warms enough that the troposphere expands into the present stratosphere.'

According to the New York Times, Hansen will step down from his $180,000 a year position to join a number of lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments for their failure to police industry over man’s effect on the climate, the New York Times reported.

'As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,' he said.


Analysis finds planetary harmonics control solar activity and subsequent climate change

A new post at by Carlo Tosti demonstrates that  the global temperature record since 1880 is highly correlated to solar activity, and that solar activity is in turn highly correlated to the harmonics of planetary motion.

These correlations and accumulating evidence of an amplified solar effect on Earth's climate would tend to suggest a "unified theory" of climate change, whereby gravitational effects from planetary motions cause small changes in solar activity, which are then amplified via cosmic rays/clouds [Svensmark's theory of cosmoclimatology], ozone, and ocean oscillations to cause large changes in Earth's climate.

Blue = global temperature; red = solar activity


History trumps climate scientists

Climate alarmist claims are at odds with reality

Many blame the public’s confusion over global warming on a widespread ignorance of science. A scientific grounding wouldn’t hurt but it also wouldn’t help much — few laymen, no matter how well informed, could be expected to follow the arcane climate change calculations that specialized scientists wield.

The much better explanation for the public’s confusion lies in a widespread ignorance of history, not least by scientists. Any child can understand that the Romans conquered the world when temperatures were warmer than today, that the Dutch invented the ice skates during the Little Ice Age five hundred years ago, and that melting glaciers off Newfoundland a century ago produced the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. Each of these well documented periods shreds speculations from climate alarmists, such as their assertion that the Arctic is only now warming, or that temperatures had been relative stable over the past one or two thousand years, and only in the last century climbed dramatically.

This week’s scary climate change news, courtesy of an article in Nature Geoscience, claims that temperatures in the Antarctic peninsula are the hottest they’ve been in the last 1000 years. This claim follows a “reconstruction” of the climate using a boatload of assumptions.

Another article on the Antarctic in the same issue of Nature Geoscience is less scary, in part because it employs history to buttress scientific conclusions. “If we could look back at this region of Antarctica in the 1940s and 1830s, we would find that the regional climate would look a lot like it does today, and I think we also would find the glaciers retreating much as they are today,” said lead author Eric Steig of the University of Washington. Steig’s study made use of actual temperature records taken by sailors, explorers and scientists over the past two centuries in the tropics and beyond.

The vast Antarctic, of course, has been mostly inaccessible, but numerous expeditions to the region, beginning with James Cook’s voyage in the 1770s, provide actual, rather than scientifically surmised or reconstructed, data. The explorers from Australia, Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden and Switzerland tell us, for example, that the contours of the continent continually changed. Antarctica’s Bay of Whales, used by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1911 and Richard Byrd expeditions in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, changed so often and became so unstable that in the 1950s it became unusable as a port and in the 1980s, after a 99-mile-long iceberg broke off it, the bay disappeared entirely.

Those unaware of this history would be easily taken in by dramatic media footage over the last decade of icebergs breaking off Antarctic glaciers, accompanied by breathless prose warning that global warming had unleashed unprecedented changes. Those unaware of more recent history would not know that since the mid 1950s the U.S. has maintained a continual base at the south pole. The temperatures it recorded – actual, not reconstructed readings – show the south pole to be colder today than when it was established more than 50 years ago.

History has similar tales to tell at the north pole and environs. “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated,” wrote the president of London’s Royal Society to the British Admiralty in 1817. In urging an expedition, he stated “new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”

Many expeditions were in fact made, by the British and others, and the Northwest Passage would be several times traversed, first by the same Amundsen who had earlier explored the Antarctic. History shows us that the Arctic has oftentimes warmed, making a mockery of claims that the modest recent warming is in any way extraordinary.

A newspaper report this week from the Alaska Dispatch recalls that Alaska’s all-time high temperature – 100 degrees Fahrenheit – occurred in 1915. A newspaper headline from Australia during World War II asks: “The North Pole, Is It Warming?” The answer: “From soundings and meteorological tests taken by the Soviet explorers who returned this week to Murmansk, Russia’s-sole Ice-free Arctic port, it was concluded that near Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen [a Norwegian explorer] 40 years ago.”

The rich historical evidence from the Arctic is as nothing compared to those from heavily populated Europe and Asia, where written accounts describe how changes in temperature affected what crops could be grown and where people could live. We learn that in the warmer-than-today period a thousand years ago – the Medieval Warm Period — grapes grew in Britain and Scandinavians farmed Greenland. We learn that during the warmer-still period two thousand years ago – the Roman Warm Period – olives grew in Germany and citrus trees in Britain.

We learn that history trumps science when the science is speculative, politicized, and at odds with reality.


Consensus undermines credibility

Einstein’s special theory of relativity, unlike quantum mechanics, makes sense to me as a layman. It seems unarguable, as one explanation I read put it, that a light beam travelling from the ceiling of a moving train takes longer to reach the floor from the point of view of an observer on the platform than for someone on the train; and correspondingly that the train traveller on his return will have aged less than the observer. No more need be said; end of story. Hold on, that’s not at all scientific.

Science accepts nothing at face value. Planes were sent speeding around the globe replete with atomic clocks to check the theory. It was not falsified. If it had been, then however convincing was the theory it would have been proved wrong. As Gopnik so well puts it: the approach of modern science “is simply the perpetual assertion of experience over authority, and of debate over dogma”.

A friend of mine accepts the truth of serious man-made global warming because he maintains that the majority of climate scientists believe it to be so. Leaving aside the validly or otherwise of his premise; his is a layman’s appeal to authority, which is reasonable enough it seems to me.

The overwhelming majority of us have no way of determining whether CO2 emissions will cause runaway global warming. We must, perforce, rely upon the scientific community. But, and it’s a big but, we are entitled as laymen to understand that scientists are forever foraging away trying to disprove the global warming theory.

It would be unsettling if scientists started describing the global warming theory as “settled” or of giving that impression to impressionable commentators. That is a layman’s term properly reserved for describing things like the coincident landing of two cannon balls of different weight dropped from the same height at the same place at the same time.

What I want to know is that climate scientists are, figuratively speaking, scaling the heights of the Tower of Pisa cannon balls in hand. Nothing that I read or hear gives me confidence that this is happening with any conviction. Is this simply a communications problem? Has every country got a Tim Flannery front-man inadvertently queering the pitch and putting science in a bad light? Or, is there really something rotten in the state of climate science?


Australia:  Green laws set to jeopardise mining work

MAJOR mining and resource projects could be delayed indefinitely and existing projects seriously impacted if Federal Government environmental laws were passed by Parliament, leading businesses have claimed.

The Federal Government has announced changes to the laws, which will allow it to intervene in developments where there is a significant impact on groundwater like the Great Artesian Basin.

But resource companies complained that the laws were so prohibitive that if they were in force today, they would still be waiting for approvals that were granted for the LNG projects in Gladstone and were approved in 2010.

In a submission to a Senate committee investigating the changes, QGC said the amendments could mean its existing project could be radically amended by future approvals.

It said the changes could even mean the currently lawful exploration for gas could become unlawful and the environmental impact statement process could be delayed by another two years.

It would also mean an "ongoing and unlimited information loop".

"Even though the QCLNG project has already been referred to the Federal Environment Minister and approved, any amendments to the project and any complementary project required to feed the already approved LNG trains will be caught by the Bill," QGC said.

"The Bill does nothing to protect proponents from the risk that conditions may be imposed in the context of an amended approval, which might necessitate changes to how existing production activities are carried out," QGC said.

"Supply planning will now need to factor in the likelihood of substantial delays in approval and the impact of a change from adaptive management."

BHP Billiton said the changes could also impact its existing operations.

"Given the large number of approvals, licences and permits that relate to mining operations and the frequency that these are renewed, amended or extended, the practical outcome will be that current operations will very quickly no longer qualify for prior authorisation exemption," the company said.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said if the resource companies believed that the current processes had captured community confidence "then they have been living under a rock".

"Australia's water resources are among our most vital natural resources and it is important that we ensure they are protected," Mr Burke said.

"The proposed amendments will ensure that coal seam gas and large coal mining developments must be assessed and approved under national environment law, if they are likely to have a significant impact on a water resource.

"Realistically, whenever I have made a decision on coal seam gas, the Australian public would expect that we are taking into account all the impacts on our precious water resources."


One crazy religion is not enough for Pakistan -- now they are getting Warmism too

Latest from the WWF: Eco-Indoctrination of Slum Kids.  In Pakistan, the WWF is enlisting university students to develop an “environmental conscience” among the poorest of the poor

Multiple news sources in Pakistan are reporting that Bahria University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Wildlife Fund (see here, here, and here).

The university – which says it “plays a major role in grooming future leaders” of that country – has campuses in both Islamabad and Karachi. The WWF will “provide Internships and Community service to 147 students.”  What will those internships involve? Here’s a direct quote:

"The programme aims to provide the students with environmental education and facilitate in their professional development.  Through this programme the students will be exposed to the real environmental challenges faced by Pakistan. They will closely work with the slum schools and after getting trained by WWF-Pakistan’s trainers, they will provide the same education to those poor children. WWF-Pakistan and Bahria University Islamabad want to develop the environmental conscience of students and inculcate a sense of individual responsibility towards nature conservation."

Wow. 21st-century environmentalism, as practiced by groups such as the WWF, is characterized by religious fervour mixed with a particular political perspective. People who work for the WWF embrace an anti-capitalist, leftist worldview. (Nature is fragile. Humans are sinners. Consumerism is bad. Industry is rapacious.)

Would it be a good thing if a university arranged for 147 impressionable future leaders to complete internships with the Church of Scientology? Would it be OK if, as part of those internships, they spent time in slum schools spreading this same Church of Scientology gospel to poor kids?

Don’t children who live in slums have more pressing issues? Don’t they face enough challenges without being subjected to WWF-sponsored eco-indoctrination sessions? Does the WWF have nothing better to do than prey on some of the world’s most vulnerable souls?

Developing an “environmental conscience” and a “sense of individual responsibility toward nature” is something that comes naturally to people – after they’ve moved into decent housing with proper sanitation, electricity, and access to medical services.

According to two of the news stories mentioned above, the WWF is:
the world’s largest independent conservation organisation with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects.

This claim of being “independent” almost certainly appeared in a press release and was directly cut-and-pasted. Too bad it’s absolute rubbish. The truth of the matter is that the WWF runs an entire bureau devoted to helping its various chapters access European Union funding. As it says on the WWF website:

"The European Commission is an important donor for the WWF network and funds several projects every year."

If you take money from governments you are not independent. If you rely on a steady stream of it, year after year, you are assuredly not standing on your own two feet, beholden to none.

If I hadn’t seen the above announcement regarding Bahria University I would have had no idea that the WWF runs offices in 11 different Pakistan communities. Eleven.

This is in a country in which – for every live 100,000 births – 260 women die of pregnancy-related complications. (By comparison, the maternal mortality rate in Canada and the UK is 12 women per 100,000.)

Twenty-one times as many women are dying unnecessarily in Pakistan – and the WWF is funding 11 offices aimed at saving the environment.




Preserving the graphics:  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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