Monday, November 11, 2013

Lewandowski proves himself a liar and a cheat

He knew that his work was unethical so deceived his university to get past its ethical restrictions.  Such dishonesty nullifies the work of any scientist.  Are his research findings lies too?  Lewandowski's findings about what skeptics think were always dodgy on sampling grounds alone.  Now we have to ask if his oddly chosen interviewees even said what he claims they said.

The now-withdrawn Lewandowsky Fury paper (link) is possibly one of the egregious examples of ethically compromised research encountered. Delve into the paper, the first thing crossing one’s mind is: how did the university ethics committee approve this project? This was the study protocol - Lewandowsky’s associates would carry out real-time surveillance on people criticizing his paper, prod and provoke them, record their responses and perform ‘analysis’. How did they say yes?

Lewandowsky’s correspondence with University of Western Australia (UWA) officials has been released (link). Amidst a storm of emails on this previous work, he writes to the secretary of the ethics committee (10 Sep 2012) of his intention to start another project:

This is just to inform you of the fact that I will be writing a follow-up paper to the one that just caused this enormous stir. The follow-up paper will analyze the response to my first paper …

Lewandowsky states there will be no interaction with his subjects: none of the research “will involve experimentation, surveys, questionnaires or a direct approach of participants of any sort"

What would the research be? According to Lewandowsky, his team would “analyz[e] “Google trends” and other indicators of content that are already in the public domain (e.g. blog posts, newspapers, comments on blogs, that type of thing)”. The research would “basically just summarize and provide a timeline of the public’s response.”

The email is a remarkably misleading and limited description of the project he and his associates conducted.

The ethics office response is further divorced from reality. The approval was granted as a “follow-up” study to the ‘Moon’ paper. The ‘Moon Hoax’ paper was itself was approved under an application for “Understanding Statistical Trends”. As recounted here, “Understanding Statistical Trends” was a study where Lewandowsky’s associates showed a graph to shopping mall visitors and asked questions (link pdf). This application was modified to add the ‘Moon hoax’ questions on the day the original paper was accepted for publication. The same application was modified for the ‘Recursive Fury’ paper. Each modification introduced ethical considerations not present in the previous step. Nevertheless, three unrelated research projects were allowed to be stacked on to a single ethics approval by the university board. In this way, Lewandowsky was able to carry out covert observational activities on members of the general public, as they reacted to his own work, with no human research ethical oversight.

Lewandowsky pitches his study proposal as non-intrusive, observational and retrospective in design: there is “no human participation”, the “content is already in the public domain”, and “irrespective of whether we then summarize that activity”. What he implied was there was minimal concern for more elaborate safeguards and vetting usually put in place when working with human subjects.

Yet during the period of study, Lewandowsky was in direct conversation with his study subjects (even as he ostensibly observed them). On a posting spree, he wrote 9 articles at between Sept 3 – 19, 2012. About half of these were written after he approached the ethics office on the 10th. All but two were written after he announced that he was already collecting data, to the university deputy vice chancellor on the 5th. Among individuals named in the paper as harboring conspiracist ideas, three posted detailed comments with multiple questions responding to these posts, on his website. The subjects wrote numerous posts at their own blogs on Lewandowsky’s actions in the same interval. The flow of comments, appearance and final content were influenced by the second author, John Cook. A team headed by Cook operated as moderators at, deleting parts, or whole comments offered by the subjects in the same interval. The elicited comments and posts were harvested as data for the paper.

The study was thus not an examination of archived material on blogs. As the authors themselves describe, they recorded subject comments and blog-posts in “real-time”, responses occurring to events set in motion by themselves. It cannot be considered a observational study either as authors interacted with the purported subjects during the period of study.

In her reply, the ethics secretary directs Lewandowsky to the UWA Human Subjects research web page (link). The page contains a ‘risk assessment checklist’ to guide researchers to whether a planned study would need ethics approval. It has these questions:

Active concealment of information from participants and/or planned deception of participants

Will participants be quoted or be identifiable, either directly or indirectly, in reporting of the research?

Will data that can identify an individual (or be used to re-identify an individual) be obtained from databanks, databases, tissue banks or other similar data sources?

Might the research procedures cause participants psychological or emotional distress?

Does the research involve covert observation?

The answer is a ‘Yes’ to many of these questions.  ’Participants’ declared to be conspiratorial by Lewandowsky are directly identified by name in the paper. The element of covert observation is undeniable.

The possibility of ethical breaches with internet-based research are well-understood. Clare Madge (2007) observed ethically questionable research could come to be carried out “under the radar screens of ethics committees” simply owing to the ease and speed of internet-based research resulting in ‘shoddy cowboy research’ and proliferation of ethical misconduct. The study design and conduct of the Lewandowsky et al 2013 ‘Recursive Fury’ contains numerous ethical failures. Lewandowsky’s email characterized his work in terms which turned out to be their opposite. There was no formal application and there was no review and consequently the prospective,non-observational nature of his project went unscrutinized.


So Much For Germany’s Green Economy (Welcome, Dirty Coal)

A new outbreak of irrationality in Germany.  Has ecofascism replaced National Socialism?  It would not be a big leap.  The NSDAP was the first "Green" political party to win power

Not only do solar and wind raise costs, they also reduce stability. The rising and setting of the sun can be predicted to seconds, but the intensity of light and KWhrs of power are less reliable. Wind is even worse, leaving generating capacity idle during peak demand one day but contributing the next. Under such circumstances, most countries ensure a base load of supply by maintaining low-cost always-on power sources such as nuclear or coal.

The drive to renewables in Germany should run counter to maintaining a high dependency on coal, but (and some may say hypocritically) Germany has five new coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of around 4 GW going through their “first fire” trials this summer. Although generators are at pains to stress how very efficient these new plants are, much of Germany’s coal-fired power production uses lignite, the dirtiest form of coal. Overall, Germany’s coal-fired power plants (including lignite) contributed more than 50% to the nation’s electricity demand in the first half of this year, with more coal-fired capacity likely to be commissioned before the first nuclear plant is taken out of service in 2015, Platts tells us.

But if lowering total emissions is the objective of the government’s potentially ruinous investment in renewables, their decision in May 2011 to immediately shut down eight of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors, with the remainder to close before 2022, is bizarre. The decision was taken, so we are told, in response to the Fukushima tsunami, perhaps on the basis that Germany’s reactors could experience the same catastrophe.

Before the shutdown of the eight reactors is taken into account, Germany relies on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production. Coal will partially replace that nuclear base load– but at the cost of CO2 emissions, which can presumably only be countered by further renewable investment. According to another Platts article, power generation from natural gas fired plants actually decreased this year to under 10%.

So what does the future hold for Germany’s industrial model? Just as the US is benefiting from an era of low power costs, a promise that has already encouraged significant investment in the petrochemicals, steel, and fertilizers, Germany will be entering an era of ever higher power costs.


Renowned Warmist Scientist Peter Lemke: Antarctic Sea Ice “More Extensive, Thicker, And More Densely Packed” Than In 1992!

Polar scientist Dr. Peter Lemke of Germany’s renowned Alfred Wegener Institute was interviewed here about climate change, its affect on the Earth’s polar regions and about his recent winter expedition to Antarctica.

In the Arctic part of the interview, Lemke repeats the usual man-is-melting-the-Arctic narrative that you often hear from many state-funded alarmist climate scientists. No surprise here.

But as always, when it comes to sea ice, eventually warmist polar scientists get tripped up by Antarctica. And sure enough, Lemke trips and stumbles when Antarctic sea ice gets brought up. Before too long he is forced to concede he is stumped and has to admit that sea ice at the South Pole has grown and that he has no real explanation.

Peter Lemke has been on several expeditions to Antarctica: in 1989, 1992, 2006, and now 2013. And each time they collected data. Today, after comparing the preliminary results of the 2013 to those of 1992, here’s what Lemke says:

“…from our early results, it looks like that the sea ice mass around Antarctica has increased slightly. Our measurements showed that the sea ice was more extensive, thicker and more densely packed as compared to our 1992 expedition, which was on the same track during the same season.”

Increased slightly? In the following chart I’ve highlighted the winter of the years 1992 and 2013 to show what Lemke means by “increased slightly“:

It’s obvious that Lemke is attempting to seriously downplay the Antarctic sea ice growth that has occurred since 1992. Indeed the above chart shows that sea ice has grown by more than 1.5 million square kilometers. That’s not increasing “slightly”.  We suppose that if the trend had been the other way around, we’d be hearing terms like considerable reduction or even possibly dramatic reduction.

What’s more, Lemke also confirms that this extra 1.5 million square kilometers is “thicker” and “more compact”, meaning there’s much more ice mass.

So why is the ice growing? This goes against all the claims of global warming. Here, typical of warmist scientists who are confronted with inconvenient data, Lemke acts like he has the answer…before admitting he really has no clue (my emphasis):

One explanation is that in the Southern Hemisphere the westerly winds are increasing, and through friction this drives the ice towards lower latitudes and the extent is getting a bit bigger.  When the ice expands there is open water between ice floes, and it’s still cold enough in winter that ice freezes in the open patches.

There are other physical processes that may be involved, such as the heavy snow cover that blankets the Antarctic sea ice. Sometimes the heavy snow load submerges the ice floe underwater so that the interface of ice and snow is actually below sea level, and seawater drains into the snow and freezes. That may be one process, but there are others that are not really resolved yet.

We don’t yet have the answers to these questions, because there are very few measurements and you cannot deduce snow from satellite remote sensing data, yet. To find out, you have to go there and make measurements yourself. But winter expeditions are very rare. There are very few icebreakers that can actually go into the Antarctic winter into the sea ice.”

The science is settled, except for the majority that isn’t.

Never trust a climate scientist who acts like he’s sure. It’s a dead give away that he hasn’t got a clue about what’s really going on.


Scientists Blast Obama’s Global Warming Myth: You’re Basing Politics on Faulty Computer Models Rather than Science

On Friday, Obama signed an executive order that instructs federal agencies to work with state and local governments to boost preparations for the impact of global warming. Obama’s war on coal has threatened one sixth of America’s electrical output by placing 150 coal-burning power plants on the chopping block – all due to global warming. Citing global warming has already having an effect on communities and public health across the nation, Obama directed infrastructure projects to take into consideration future climate conditions which naturally could result in a higher price tag for new projects or repairs to already existing structures. However, new scientific evidence has surfaced that “the solar activity is decreasing at the fastest rate as anytime in the last 10,000 years”.

Environmentalist Lawrence Solomon wrote in the Financial Post, “Now an increasing number of scientists are swinging back to the thinking of the 1960s and 1970s. The global cooling hypothesis may have been right after all, they say Earth may be entering a new Little Ice Age.”

The Daily Caller reported:

    Solomon adds that Columbia University’s George Kukla – who warned the US government about the dangers of global cooling in 1972 – postulated that “global warming always precedes an ice age … The warming we saw in the 1980s and 1990s, in other words, was expected all along, much as the calm before the storm.”

    Recently, scientists have been looking to solar activity as a predictor of world climate. Low solar activity has been connected with cold periods in human history, while high levels of solar activity have been connected with warming periods, like the one from the 1950s to 1998.

    The United Nation’s climate authority has tried to downplay the influence of solar activity on the Earth’s climate, but climate scientists have been more assertive that the sun plays a role in affecting global temperatures.

According to Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, the public debate is moving away from the 15-17 year pause and toward the cooling since 2002.

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies at the University of Western Australia indicates a correlation between sunspots and climate change. Prof. Ollier postulated earlier this year that the sun was the major controller of the climate.

According to Ollier, “Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling. Many think that political decisions about climate are based on scientific predictions, but what politicians get are projections based on computer models.”

Scientists from Russia and the UK are also positing global cooling based on Solar Cycle 24. Habibullo Abdussamatov of the Russian Academy of Science expects global cooling to begin as early as 2014 with another “Little Ice Age” in 2055. Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University predicts a “Little Ice Age” for Northern Europe because of the decline in solar activity.
Prof. Lockwood bases his postulation on the examination of certain isotopes contained in ice core samples, indicating how active the sun has been over the last thousands of years. Lockwood believes the sun is declining in activity “more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.”

The last Little Ice Age occurred in the 1600s and coincided with an inactive sun, called the Maunder solar minimum. According to Don Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology as Western Washington University, the earth has been thawing out for the last 400 years.Bogus

Easterbrook states, “So the warming we saw, which lasted only from 1978 to 1998, is something that is predictable and expectable. When the ocean changed temperatures, global cooling is almost a slam dunk. You can expect to find about 25 to 30 years yet ahead of us before it starts to warm up again. It might be even more than that.”

So, scientists studying solar activity and the sun along with isotopes from ice core samples have identified a cycle correlating warming and cooling periods of the earth with the solar cycle. These correlations are based on actual observation and study, not a computer model whose predictions are based on information supplied by scientists who cannot identify all variables to enter into the equation. The computer model information then becomes faulty, inaccurate and cannot satisfy the requirements for the scientific method. Model prediction versus observational, data gathering analysis is a no win scenario for model prediction.

Since Obama has declared “global warming/climate change” a dire threat to the US – a threat that must be acted on immediately – all other scientific data opposing the big myth of global warming is ignored. It is ignored because it does not meet the political agenda.

The identification of solar cycles leading to periods of warming and cooling flies in the face of Obama’s agenda to cripple the United States. If these postulations are correct, instead of destroying one sixth of America’s electrical output, measures should be taken to secure electrical output. America should sustain dependable energy sources instead of chasing the pipe dream of “renewable energy.” America should be working to increase its security from invasion, shore up its economy and stimulate job growth and independence of its people. This is not done by expanding federal government, but holding it to its constitutional limits with the possibility of dismantling unconstitutional agencies and declaring null and void strangling regulations based on controlling businesses and the citizenry.

This administration and Congress would rather cripple this nation’s resources, by stalling a pipeline project and destroying the coal industry, to make Americans more dependent on the government – the more people that are dependent on the government, the easier they are to control. If the government controls resources, such as water and electricity, an entire community could be deprived of resources to bring it in line with the government agenda. The theoretical myth of global warming accomplishes this whereas the cyclical climate trend of the earth caused by solar activity does not.

By ignoring these scientific facts on solar activity and ice core samples, Obama is demonstrating hard headed, stubborn, narcissistic and dictatorial behavior. He supports a lie instead of the truth. It isn’t a far stretch to see that last statement as fact. Every time he opens his mouth to speak, an entire repertoire of lies is forthcoming; Obama lives a lie. To him, a lie is truth as long as you can hide the facts, berate others who bring forth the facts, and hypnotize a population of low intellect individuals. A lie benefits an agenda to where the end justifies the means.

As I learned as a child, if you tell one lie, you have to tell another to prop it up; then, you have to keep telling lies to prop up all the previous ones. At that point, you have built a house of cards that comes tumbling down at the slightest of disturbances. Lies end up catching up to the liar as it is harder to remember what lies you have told than it is to tell the truth; truth does not change. The point eventually comes when there are no more lies to tell and the house of cards cannot stand; the lies then become the card that topples the house.


Hopes for strong 2015 climate deal fade

World governments are likely to recoil from plans for an ambitious 2015 climate change deal at talks next week, concern over economic growth at least partially eclipsing scientists' warnings of rising temperatures and water levels.

"We are in the eye of a storm," said Yvo de Boer, United Nations climate chief in 2009 when a summit in Copenhagen ended without agreement. After Copenhagen, nations targeted a 2015 deal to enter into force from 2020 with the goal of averting more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

The outline of a more modest 2015 deal, to be discussed at annual U.N. climate talks in Warsaw on November11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years.

Since 2009, scientists' warnings have become more strident and new factors have emerged, sometimes dampening the impact of their message that human activity is driving warming.

The U.S. shale boom helped push U.S. carbon emissions to an 18-year low last year, for instance; but it also shifted cheap coal into Europe where it was used in power stations.

Despite repeated promises to tackle the problem, developed nations have been preoccupied with spurring sluggish growth. And recession has itself braked emissions from factories, power plants and cars, a phenomenon that may prove short-lived.

Emerging economies such as China and India, heavily reliant on cheap, high-polluting coal to end poverty, are reluctant to take the lead despite rising emissions and pollution that are choking cities.

"Our concern is urgency" in tackling climate change, said Marlene Moses of Nauru, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States whose members fear they will be swamped by rising sea levels. "Vague promises will no longer suffice."

She wants progress when senior officials and environment ministers from almost 200 nations meet in Warsaw to discuss the 2015 deal, as well as climate aid to poor nations and ways to compensate them for loss and damage from global warming.

Yet many governments, especially in Europe, are concerned that climate policies, such as generous support schemes for solar energy, push up consumer energy bills.

Some want to emulate the success of the United States in bringing down energy prices via shale gas - a fossil fuel that can help cut greenhouse emissions if it replaces coal but at the same time can divert investments from cleaner energy.

Many Warsaw delegates say the 2015 accord looks likely to be a patchwork of national pledges for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, anchored in domestic legislation, after Copenhagen failed to agree a sweeping treaty built on international law.

The less ambitious model is a shift from the existing Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997. That set a central target for emissions cuts by industrialized countries and then shared them out among about 40 nations.

But Kyoto has not worked well, partly because the United States did not join, objecting that the treaty would cost U.S. jobs and set no targets for big emerging nations. Russia, Canada and Japan have since dropped out.

A more flexible approach for 2015, championed by the United States, raises risks that many nations will simply set themselves weak goals, hoping others will take up the slack.

But it may have a better chance of ratification by national parliaments. The idea is that negotiators will find a way to compare the ambition of promises and develop a mechanism to ratchet the weak ones up in coming years.


Australia snubs global climate talks, as Environment Minister  stays home to repeal carbon tax

AUSTRALIA will be represented by a diplomat rather than a senior minister at international climate talks in Poland next week aimed at securing an agreement to cut global carbon emissions.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt won't attend annual United Nations climate change talks in Warsaw, saying he'll be busy repealing the carbon tax in the first fortnight of parliament.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will also not attend. Neither her parliamentary secretary Brett Mason nor Mr Hunt's deputy, Simon Birmingham, have been delegated to attend.

Instead, Australia will be represented by Australia's Climate Change Ambassador Justin Lee, who is based in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Hunt said through a spokesman that he would be “fully engaged in repealing the carbon tax” while the conference was underway.

The Environment Minister, who'd been expected to attend the talks, yesterday cancelled scheduled briefings on the Warsaw talks with business representatives, lobby groups and foreign diplomats.

Asked about the decision, Mr Hunt's spokesman said the talks were a foreign affairs issue.

Australia's stance at the upcoming meeting was due to be considered by federal cabinet on Monday.

Lobby groups said other nations were anxious to see what role Australia would play in global climate change negotiations under a Coalition government.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Hunt said Australian delegates to the UN climate summit in Poland will seek a “deep, strong international agreement”.  “The first part of the delegation leaves today for Warsaw and I think there'll be plenty of engagement with business and community over the coming weeks,” he also told ABC radio.

But the government's move not to send a minister to Poland has raised eyebrows.  “It's highly unusual,” the Climate Institute's John Connor said.  “Australia's heft is significantly undermined by not having one of its senior elected representatives there.”

A government minister had attended the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks since Ian Campbell headed the delegation under John Howard's first government in 1997.

Labor sent climate change ministers Penny Wong and Greg Combet from 2007, except last year when the Gillard government's parliamentary secretary on climate change Mark Dreyfus stood in for Mr Combet.

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler said the move was unprecedented and sent a bad signal. “The political statement that's being made is all negative,” he told Sky News.  “Other countries are going to read into it at best with confusion and at worst that the Abbott government is walking away from global action on climate change.”

While no major decisions will be made at Warsaw, it's expected the meeting will build momentum in the lead-up to major negotiations for a global agreement on cutting greenhouse gases in Paris in 2015.

Mr Connor said other countries were “nervous” about the direction the Australian government was heading on climate change, and they'd have to reinforce their commitment to global action.

Mr Hunt said Dr Lee's delegation would stand by Australia's target of at least a five per cent emissions cut by 2020 and seek a “deep, strong international agreement”.

“In my case, we've got parliament over the next two weeks and I'm dealing with the legislation for repeal of the carbon tax,” he told ABC radio.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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