Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Warmists now taking skeptics seriously
The prominent British Warmist organization, The Grantham Institute, has deigned to notice the skeptical blogosphere. They treat us as if we were bacilli under a microscope but their conclusions are surprisingly fair:
Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere
By Amelia Sharman et al.
While mainstream scientific knowledge production has been extensively examined in the academic literature, comparatively little is known about alternative networks of scientific knowledge production. Online sources such as blogs are an especially under-investigated site of knowledge contestation. Using degree centrality and node betweenness tests from social network analysis, and thematic content analysis of individual posts, this research identifies and critically examines the climate sceptical blogosphere and investigates whether a focus on particular themes contributes to the positioning of the most central blogs.
A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That. These blogs predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate, providing either a direct scientifically-based challenge to mainstream climate science, or a critique of the conduct of the climate science system, and appear to be less preoccupied with other types of scepticism that are prevalent in the wider public debate such as ideologically or values-motivated scepticism.
It is possible that these central blogs in particular are not only acting as translators between scientific research and lay audiences, but, in their reinterpretation of existing climate science knowledge claims, are filling a void by opening up climate science to those who may have been previously unengaged by the mainstream knowledge process and, importantly, acting themselves as public sites of alternative expertise for a climate sceptical audience.
Utter lies: Warming climate begins to taint Europe's blood supplies
Since there has been no warming for over 15 years, it cannot be tainting anything. Non-existent things don't have effects. If there is something going on it is more likely to be a result of the heavy illegal immigration of recent years
A whole new set of ungovernable pathogens are being loosed on the world's blood supplies. A warming climate has allowed blood-borne tropical diseases to flourish where once they were unheard of, and they're getting around.
The state of blood supplies became worrisome after tennis star Arthur Ashe's death from AIDS 20 years ago in 1993 -- the result of an HIV-tainted transfusion administered during a routine heart bypass operation in the late 1980s.
Hospitals and blood banks now routinely screen potential donors for HIV and hepatitis in order to keep these diseases from accidentally finding their way into patients. But recent outbreaks of diseases such as West Nile fever, dengue fever and malaria -- all carried by mosquitoes -- have posed new problems for the health of European blood banks.
During the summer heat wave of 2010, when global average temperatures reached a 30-year high, an outbreak of West Nile fever erupted in southeastern Europe. The first cases were in Greece, where 261 cases and 32 deaths were reported. Although West Nile virus had been seen in animals, these were the first reported cases in humans.
Additional cases were reported in Romania, Hungary and parts of Russia. In total, there were 900 confirmed cases.
Europe also saw its first case of nonimported dengue fever in 2010, when a local case was reported in southern France. More than 1,000 cases of the disease are brought into Europe every year from areas where it's endemic, usually by migrants or visitors predominantly from urban areas in Asia and South America.
But until 2010 there were no locally originating cases. The patient in question had not been traveling outside Europe and could have contracted the disease only by being bitten in France by a member of the vector species, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).
Since then, the Asian tiger mosquito has been found over a substantial area in Europe. In 2012, colonies were found in 20 European countries, as far north as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as far south as Sicily and as far east as Croatia.
Jan Semenza, researcher at the Unit of Scientific Advice at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, said: "Climate change has introduced several public health issues. For one thing, now there are new pathogens in Europe which have never been seen here before."
Tropical and sub-Saharan vector-borne diseases are seeing an upsurge in Europe, largely because climate conditions have become favorable to carriers, which include mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sand flies and black flies.
Many of the diseases carried by these insects, including West Nile fever, have latency periods sometimes lasting months, when an infected person has no symptoms and is unlikely to be a suspected carrier. For this reason, potential blood donors may unwittingly donate tainted blood.
Although transfusion-transmitted cases of diseases such as West Nile and dengue fever, both carried by mosquitoes, have not been documented in Europe, there have been several cases of transfusion-transmitted leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is normally transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female sand flies.
Endemic to South America, parts of Africa and Asia, the disease doesn't have any symptoms for a large proportion of the carriers. Several cases have been documented resulting from intravenous drug users in Spain sharing infected needles.
Ice, Ice, Baby
By meteorologist Joe Bastardi
Over the years, I have wondered if many of the folks on the other side of the AGW debate actually believed what they were saying. In the warmth of your home it's pretty easy to make bold pronouncements about impending disasters 70 years down the road. But to actually believe it enough to take action? Well, that's admirable in a way—I admire people that take a stand. But believing this enough to try it? I can't go that far.
So here we are, the summer of 2013.
Remember this quote from Senator John Kerry in 2009? “[T]he Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013.”
In defense of the former senator, he was simply reciting what some in the scientific community told him. But I have a question for him and our policy makers who claim that climate change is the biggest threat to civilization today: Have you taken a look at what is actually going on? Let's see how things turned out. Here's a look at the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area:
Is ice coverage below normal? Yes, but it's much higher than last year and at the highest level in several years. Certainly not gone.
Lost in all this is the Southern Hemisphere ice cap which grew to record levels in July. It's closer to the top of the heap now than the Arctic ice cap is to the bottom.
I am still stumped trying to figure out how many of the AGW proponents actually believe this nonsense. I wonder if anyone will ask John Kerry why the ice cap is still there. Not only is it still there, but it's still behaving the way nature dictates. It's darn cold, and you have to be pretty naïve to believe it's going to melt away.
If the agenda was based on man-caused global cooling, then you can be sure the Antarctic ice cap would be in the news every day.
Why we really do want to abolish solar power subsidies
Long time readers will recognise the skeleton of this argument: that solar power is becoming ever cheaper really very quickly. Whichis exactly why we should immediately abolish all and any subsidies for it.
That solar power is becoming cheaper very quickly is obviously true: but it's also true that the general engineering opinion is that it's goint to continue to do so and that it will soon be cheaper than coal produced 'leccie from the grid:
"He says the key to making solar panels competitive — whether in the United States, China, or elsewhere — is to bring the cost of installed panels to a level competitive with the current cost of electricity from the grid, without subsidies or tax benefits. Once that goal is achieved — which the researchers estimate will likely occur by the end of the decade — then much larger PV factories will become economically viable worldwide. “This common goal, which can benefit all nations, is an opportunity for international cooperation that harnesses our complementary strengths,” Buonassisi says. Improvements under way in every step of the PV manufacturing process — from thinner silicon wafers to greater cell efficiency to better ways of mounting the cells in a panel — could end up making them highly competitive with other sources of power, Buonassisi says. “Today’s technology is not quite there yet,” he says, but adds, “We could be hitting grid-competitive costs … within the next few years,” which could lead to a surge in installations."
That's just excellent, of course. Cheaper power for all is something to be desired not rejected simply because the current supporters of the technology are ageing hippies. Admittedly, it's a close run thing but that cheaper power does outweigh the hippies thing.
At which point the hippies leap up and shout that it's the subsidies that make solar cheaper so we must continue them. Something which fails on two grounds. The first being that I'm afraid industry doesn't work like that, it doesn't turn on a thruppeny bit. The solar industry has built up a sufficient head of steam that it's going to get there whatever the current level of subsidy: thus we don't need to pay it any more to get to the desired goal.
But the much more important point is that the existence of price efficient solar cells is rather like a public good. Assume that it does become gloriously cheap: no one is not going to sell it to us here in England just because we're English or anything. Quite the contrary, they'll be falling over themselves in order to take our money. Which means that we, the English, can simply stop subsidising solar power in England. We'll wait thanks, wait for that decade or less, then we'll buy the cheap and efficient cells and install them.
Normally we think of the public goods problem as being one of preventing free riders. My suggestion here is the opposite of course: that given the similarity to a public good we should position ourselves to be those free riders. Abolish the subsidies now, wait until the prices comes down some more then install them when they are cost effective without subsidy.
What's not to like about this plan?
The 44th Pacific Island Forum, Majuro, September 3-5. 2013
Commentary by Nils-Axel Mörner, Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 44th Pacific Island Forum was held in Majuro, the Marshall Islands, on September 3-5. Before the meeting, the European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard declared that the Pacific region could count on Europe’s help (obviously with money), if the Pacific helped EU in their efforts to bring about “an ambitious future climate regime to be finalized in 2015”. In other words: we pay if you deliver what we need.
And, indeed, not even in Europe is easy to convince people that temperature is rising when it has been stable for 15 years, and that sea level is rapidly rising when it has been stable or only moderately rising. Hence, the Europe Commission need support and they are willing to pay for it.
The Forum Communiqué describes the outcome of the meeting on 9 pages. Very little, if anything is said about climate change, temperature and sea level. Subject like fishery, trading, education, gender, regional assistance, security and radioactive contaminations are discussed. These non-climatic issues were probably important in the regional context.
Added to the notes of the meeting is a “Declaration for Climate Leadership” (2 pages) written in a very different style and devoted to the well-known IPCC dialectics. The declaration is said to be “a platform for an upward spiral of action to urgently reduce and phase down greenhouse gas pollution”. Obviously, we here have what the commissioner needed in order to continue the European economical assistance (as stated before the meeting).
In conclusion, the meeting contributed absolutely nothing (zero) to the scientific discussion on climate, sea level and global changes. All the talk in the Resolution about “consensus”, “escalating greenhouse gas”, “carbon dioxide threshold and new danger”, “4oC or more” temperature rise and the necessity of “urgent actions” to be taken, is nothing but a repetition of old disinformation that doesn’t become better just because it is repeated. We can happily turn our backs to it; the same old politicised stuff.
Later (PINA, PACNEWS, Sept. 10) at a “Post-Forum Dialogue”, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, stated that the Obama administration will sign onto the Majuro declaration. The reason she gave for this is quite remarkable, however.
“Climate change is going to have wide ranging impacts all over our globe and that’s something that we are already seeing, particularly here as I flew into the airport and saw the sandbags from the last time the water inundated the runway (in Majuro).”
The fact is that the Majuro tide gauge has recorded stable sea level conditions over the last 20 years. The inundation the secretary talked about was just an extreme storm event, which all coastal sites occasionally may experience. It has absolutely nothing to do with any sea level rise or climate change.
The Majuro tide gauge record indicating no rising trend in sea level over the last 20 years
Lack of hurricanes helps climate change skeptics
"Rick Perry leaves a trail of death." So reads the headline in a fake weather report, part of a new campaign to name hurricanes after noted climate change skeptics. The group, 350.org, hopes that associating politicians with destructive storms will make them more willing to enact restrictions on carbon emissions as a means of fighting global warming.
The campaign is tasteless, but it helps to highlight an otherwise largely overlooked fact: Hurricanes have been largely absent this year.
For the first time in 11 years, August came and went without a single hurricane forming in the Atlantic. The last intense hurricane (Category 3 or above) to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma, in 2005. According to Phil Klotzbach, head of Colorado State University's seasonal hurricane forecast, accumulated cyclone energy is 70 percent below normal this year.
Hurricanes have become a major part of the public relations campaign for radical action on climate change. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard last fall, the left quickly dubbed it a "Frankenstorm," and nearly fell over itself attempting to claim that the intensity of the storm was a result of greenhouse gas emissions.
That's not so surprising. Despite decades of effort, the environmental movement has largely failed to persuade the American public to accept the draconian restrictions that stopping climate change would entail, and linking hurricanes to climate change may be their best chance to change all that.
A look at the science, however, tells a somewhat different story. While the overall number of recorded hurricanes has increased since 1878 (when existing records begin), this is at least partly due to an improved ability to observe storms rather than an increase in the number of storms.
As Thomas Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted recently, "the rising trend in Atlantic tropical storm counts is almost entirely due to increases in short-duration (less than 2-day) storms alone [which were] particularly likely to have been overlooked in the earlier parts of the record, as they would have had less opportunity for chance encounters with ship traffic." As such, "the historical Atlantic hurricane record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming induced long-term increase."
Similarly, the increase in damages from storms over time has less to do with their increased frequency or intensity than with the fact that we have gotten richer. Had Hurricane Sandy swept through New Jersey 100 years ago, it would have done far less damage simply because, back then, there was less of value to destroy. These days Americans are not only wealthier, but we are more inclined to build closer to the water, due to subsidized flood insurance. When University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke looked at the numbers, he found that correcting for these factors completely eliminated the supposed increase in hurricane damage.
Unsurprisingly, then, a leaked draft of the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (due to be released later this month) downgraded the likelihood of a connection between past temperature rises and extreme weather events. According to the report, there is "low confidence" in any association between climate change and hurricane frequency or intensity.
The U.N. panel could, of course, be wrong. Congress recently held hearings examining the science behind climate change claims, and should continue to do so. In this case, however, the attempts to slander climate change skeptics by linking them to today's storms is scientifically flawed to say the least.
Whenever a climate change conference is greeted by a record snowfall or cold snap, environmentalists are quick to point out that weather is not the same as climate. Yet when it comes to storms, many have been willing to fall into exactly the same trap.
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Posted by JR at 8:26 PM