Sunday, October 20, 2013

Climatology Sees One Of The Greatest Scientific Reversals Of All Time – The Rise And Fall Of The Hockey Stick Charts

An examination of the five IPCC reports published thus far reveals a remarkable scientific reversal. What follows is the evolution of the 1000-year temperature curve: from double hump (1990) - to hockey stick 2001) – and back again to double hump (2013).

1st Assessment Report, 1990, Fig. 1

In Figure 1 we see that the period of the 11th to 13th century, the Medieval Warm Period, was considerably warmer than today. The above graphic appears to be based on the publication from LAMB from 1965, H. H. LAMB, 1965, THE EARLY MEDIEVAL WARM EPOCH AND ITS SEQUEL Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. The climate data were taken from Central England and extend up to 1970.

Figure 3: Hockey Stick chart from the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

In a single stroke the Medieval Warm Period gets deleted altogether. The chart shows a relatively stable climate all the way up to 1900 with an overall slight cooling tendency. This then gets followed by a dramatic temperature increase. It became known worldwide as the “Hockey Stick chart”. It was cited endlessly, often times without the gray zone of uncertainty - for example in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie.

However, the chart became highly criticized because of the methodology employed by lead author Michael Mann. The methodology produced a hockey stick no matter what data were input. Even today Mann refuses to fully disclose the method he employed. Moreover, it was determined that the tree-ring data methodology suppressed the climate jumps of the past. Furthermore the reconstructed data was simply truncated at 1980 and replaced by the instrumental data. This was done because the data derived from the tree-rings did not deliver the desired temperature rise at the end of the data series.

5th Assessment Report, 2013

The Fifth Assessment Report has been just released. In it the IPCC now shows the following Figure 5.7 climate curve, a new spaghetti chart:

Figure 5: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Figure 5.7.

Here we now clearly see that Michael Mann’s hockey stick curve of 1999 has disappeared altogether. The new temperature reconstructions once again show a very pronounced Medieval Warm Period, thus rehabilitating the MWP of the First Assessment Report from 23 years ago. Today’s warming, it turns out, is nowhere near as dramatic as it was claimed for a long time.

The IPCC has gone from a double hump curve – to hockey stick – and again back to double hump curve. This is a remarkable scientific reversal over the course of 23 years.

Hide the decline

Michael Mann’s hockey stick curve of 1999 is not the only climate curve that has disappeared from the 5th Assessment Report. Also Keith Briffa’s curve from 2000 and 2001 have disappeared. The following may be the reason they have disappeared.

Without the work of the “climate skeptics”, one of the greatest scientific reversals of the last century very likely would have never taken place.


The IPCC projections of CO2 increase are derived from economic, not climatological models/b>

Use of circular arguments is standard operating procedures for the IPCC. For example, they assume a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. They then create a model with that assumption and when the model output shows a temperature increase with a CO2 increase they claim it proves their assumption.

They double down on this by combining an economic model that projects a CO2 increase with their climate model projection. To make it look more accurate and reasonable they create scenarios based on their estimates of future developments. It creates what they want, namely that CO2 will increase and temperature will increase catastrophically unless we shut down fossil fuel based economies very quickly.

All their projections failed, even the lowest as, according to them, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise and global temperatures declined. As usual, instead of admitting their work and assumptions were wrong, they scramble to blur, obfuscate and counterattack.

One part of the obfuscation is to keep the focus on climate science. Most think the IPCC is purely about climate science, they don’t know about the economics connection. They don’t know that the IPCC projects CO2 increase on economic models that presume to know the future. Chances of knowing that are virtually zero as history shows.

The IPCC claim 95 percent certainty about their climate science and presumably about their predictions. The problem is all were wrong from the start. As early as the 1995 Report they had switched to projections. They gave a range of projections or scenarios from low to high, but even the lowest was incorrect. Roger Pielke Jr et al explained the assumptions for the scenarios were unrealistic, especially about technological progress in energy use and supply.

Most people assume the projections are solely a function of the climate science and climate models, but that is not the case. The climate science is wrong and that contributes to the failed projections because it is the basic assumption of the AGW hypothesis that an increase in CO2 causes a temperature increase. However, the three projections also vary from high to low because of different assumptions about the future society and economy. These estimates of the future primarily determine the amount of CO2 increase that will occur under different economic scenarios. As Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology said in an interview with James Glassman that the 2001 IPCC Report “was very much a children’s exercise of what might possibly happen” prepared by a “peculiar group” with “no technical competence.” Maybe, but it achieved their political objective of isolating and demonizing CO2.

After release of the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) two papers by Ian Castles and David Henderson (C&H) were published drawing attention to the problems with the emission scenarios used to produce the three projections.1 Castles explained the concerns as follows;

“During the past three years I and a co-author (David Henderson, former Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics at OECD) have criticised the IPCC’s treatment of economic issues.

Our main single criticism has been the Panel’s use of exchange rate converters to put the GDPs of different countries onto a common basis for purposes of estimating and projecting output, income, energy intensity, etc. This is not permissible under the internationally-agreed System of National Accounts which was unanimously approved by the UN Statistical Commission in 1993, and published later that year by the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD and the Commission of the European Communities, under cover of a Foreword which was personally signed by the Heads of the five organisations.”

As one commentator noted,

“These two economists have shown that the calculations carried out by the IPCC concerning per capita income, economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions in different regions are fundamentally flawed, and substantially overstate the likely growth in developing countries. The results are therefore unsuitable as a starting point for the next IPCC assessment report, which is due to be published in 2007. Unfortunately, this is precisely how the IPCC now intends to use it submissions projections.”


Censorship of letters to the editor

The Sydney Morning Herald comments

Letters editors rarely make the news. This month the Los Angeles Times letters editor, Paul Thornton, did just that with a story on letters from climate-change deniers. He said he would not print letters that asserted "there is no sign humans have caused climate change" because "it was not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy". This attracted headlines declaring "Los Angeles Times riles climate-change sceptics by banning letters". Unsurprisingly, we've been asked how we treat letters from climate change deniers.

Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir recently reiterated the paper's stance on global warming. "The Herald believes unequivocally in human-induced climate change," he told an audience at David Suzuki's City Talk. "It is an established fact. What we are much more interested in is not the sideshow over whether this phenomenon exists or not, but on how it should be tackled."

We do not ban writers whose views suggest they are climate change deniers or sceptics. We consider their letters and arguments. But we believe the argument over whether climate change is happening and whether it is man-made has been thrashed out extensively by leading scientists and on our pages and that the main debate now is about its effects, severity, and what society does about it.

Climate change deniers or sceptics are free to express opinions and political views on our page but not to misrepresent facts. This applies to all our contributors on any subject. On that basis, a letter that says, "there is no sign humans have caused climate change" would not make the grade for our page.


Fuel hikes to push British families over edge

CRIPPLING energy price hikes could see nearly two thirds of households struggle to adequately heat their homes this winter, experts say.

If the five other big energy suppliers follow the lead of SSE and raise their gas and electricity prices by a similar amount, it is predicted that the average dual fuel bill would rocket to just under £1,500 a year from £1,353.

Last week, SSE said that annual dual fuel bills would go up by an average of 8.2 per cent from mid-November.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: "This is dangerously close to the tipping point of £1,500, beyond which 59 per cent of households will be going without adequate heating and 36 per cent will be forced to turn their heating off entirely."

The SSE price increase announcement came as the warm weather gave way last week to colder temperatures.

It sparked fears that consumers suffering from static wages and rising prices will have to choose between heating their homes and paying other bills.

The energy supplier blamed the hike on higher prices in the wholesale market, tax rises and higher costs involved in transporting power to homes. Energy Helpline estimates that the average dual fuel bill this winter will rise to £593, if SSE's competitors introduce similar price hikes.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at price comparison website, believes people must take action quickly and switch to fixed tariffs before the price hikes come into effect or the best deals are withdrawn.

She said: "The bill hike from SSE will affect a massive proportion of households. We need to see a change in consumer behaviour when it comes to energy prices.

"The news could make the colder months even more miserable unless consumers take action right away and move to a fixed tariff."

The prospect of higher winter energy bills follows the hit that millions of consumers took earlier this year when water tariffs were raised.


British Tories plan to cut green taxes

Senior Tories are drawing up a secret plan to cut green taxes as part of a radical overhaul of the energy industry designed to reduce customers’ bills.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers are locked in a battle over whether to reduce the green levies which energy firms say are contributing to the sharp rises in gas and electricity bills this winter.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, is said to be “furious” that the Conservatives want to renegotiate the Coalition’s fragile truce on energy policy, which saw last year's Energy Bill delayed by Coalition infighting.

However, David Cameron and George Osborne are understood to have resolved to act in response to the public outcry at soaring energy costs, after British Gas and SSE announced sharp increases in household gas and electricity bills.

British Gas disclosed last week that it is to increase the average household gas and electricity bill by 9.2 per cent next month. The rise followed the announcement from Scottish & Southern Energy of an 8.2 per cent rise this winter.

On Saturday night the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that the latest wave of rises appeared "inexplicable".

The Most Rev Justin Weby, a former oil executive, told the Mail on Sunday that firms to be "conscious of their social obligations", saying they had to to "behave with generosity and not merely to maximise opportunity".

Energy firms blame the environmental and social obligations placed on them by ministers for the increase in bills.

The industry claims that these green levies add £110 to a typical household bill, money which is then used to pay for loft insulation schemes and subsidies for renewable energy projects, under the Coalition’s rules.

The two governing parties know that they are running out of time to offer a rival policy to Ed Miliband’s populist pledge to freeze energy bills for 20 months if Labour wins the next election.

A senior Tory said the Conservatives were now “on the back foot” as a result of Mr Miliband’s gambit and must act soon.

The Telegraph can disclose that a three-point plan has already been drawn up by Tories inside the government. Under the plan:

* The completion of the Energy Companies Obligation, which involves fitting insulation and energy saving measures into the homes of vulnerable customers, such as pensioners on low incomes, would be delayed by two years to 2017.

Energy companies would be given more time to meet their targets for cutting carbon emissions under the ECO scheme, under the plan. The energy companies would be required to promise to pass on the cut to their customers in the form of lower bills.

The framework for the ECO programme would also be re-written to encourage smaller energy companies to take part, increasing competition in the market beyond the “big six” firms, which include British Gas and SSE.

* Ministers would review the Carbon Price Floor, a tax on fossil fuels used to generate electricity, which the power companies say will add £26 to household bills.

* Cutting the cost of distribution of gas and electricity, which is organised through smaller regional monopolies. Government sources say Ofgem, the energy regulator, has failed to be tough enough on bringing down the costs of distribution on the gas and electricity networks, which represent about 20 per cent of household bills.

Michael Fallon, the Conservative Energy Minister, told The Telegraph that all of the green taxes would be assessed to identify cases where the costs they imposed on customers were too high.

“We have to look at the seven green taxes and see where the burden is too high,” he said. “And when network costs account for a fifth of bills then Ofgem must bear down harder on distribution monopolies.”

The green schemes which Mr Fallon has identified for examination are the ECO, the Carbon Price Floor, the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariffs, the EU Emissions Trading System, the Warm Homes Discount, and smart metering initiatives.

Ministers are now looking in detail at the reforms. However, some senior figures inside the government want to go further and “get rid of” green taxes entirely, sources said, despite likely resistance from Mr Davey and the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg.

A senior Liberal Democrat source denied that there was any government “review” of green energy policies under way.

“There isn’t a government review into green subsidies,” the source said. “There isn’t a government review into ECO. It’s not happening.”

A source at the Department for Energy and Climate Change played down the impression of a split in the Coalition over the impact of green levies on power bills.

“As you would expect, you look at energy bills regularly and think, 'is there anything we can do?'” the source said. “That’s the day job.”

However, these discussions, which are now taking place across government departments, do not mean that green subsidies are in line for the axe, the Lib Dem figure said. Green subsidies represent “the smallest bit of the bill” for customers, the source added.

The Coalition tensions over energy policy came as:

* Mr Miliband prepared to step up his campaign against the energy giants by attacking the profits they have made in recent years while bills have risen.

Labour will publicise figures this week showing that SSE and Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, have increased their dividend payments to shareholders by 20 per cent since 2010. At the same time, bills have risen on average by £300. Labour’s shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, said the figures were evidence that the energy market was “broken”.

“Bills are going up year on year, investment is shrinking and these energy bosses are prioritising payments to shareholder,” she said. “David Cameron needs to get a grip of this. His failure to reform Britain’s broken energy market is leaving hard-pressed bill-payers massively out of pocket.”

* Ministers prepare to announce that billions of pounds in Treasury “guarantees” have been earmarked for major new energy infrastructure projects including power plants, gas projects and fuelling stations.

A total of 40 energy, road and rail schemes worth £17 billion have been given “pre-approval” for the infrastructure guarantees, ministers will say.

Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the government guarantees would help companies that want to borrow money in order to invest in new projects. The government will effectively under-write the loans that banks provide to companies using the scheme.

* Ministers close in on a deal for the future of Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. An announcement is expected within days on the minimum price for electricity from the plant which the government will guarantee the French energy giant EDF.

The market price of power — currently about £50 — will be “topped up” with subsidies, paid for by levies on all UK energy consumers’ bills. This potentially commits bill-payers to tens of billions of pounds in subsidies over the lifetime of the plant.


Australian conservatives pretty right about household savings from axing the carbon tax

Below is an excerpt from some "fact checking" by Australia's main public broadcaster

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced he will introduce legislation next month to scrap the carbon tax from July 2014.   "When this bill is passed, Australian households will be better off to the tune of $550 a year," he promised in a press conference on October 15.

Minutes later, Environment Minister Greg Hunt echoed that figure, but was more precise about when it applied.  "The legislation will also bring in to being, as the Prime Minister said, a saving of $550 on average next financial year, as opposed to the current situation," he said.  "On average, it's a saving of $3,000 per family over the next six years."

The verdict:

Based on Treasury modelling, households will be better off by around $550 in 2014-15 if the current legislation is scrapped. However the following year, when the legislation moves to a floating price, the estimated impact on households drops to $280.

Mr Abbott was overstating the case to say households would be better off to the tune of $550 a year, but Mr Hunt reasonably said the legislation would mean "a saving of $550 on average next financial year, as opposed to the current situation".

Mr Hunt's claim of a $3,000 benefit to households stretches to 2020. But it is impossible to make a reliable estimate of the impact of a carbon tax on households that far beyond the forward estimates.

Mr Abbott and Mr Hunt are in the ballpark.



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