Friday, January 10, 2014
Another blatant Warmist lie
Warmists have at last launched a counter-attack on the claim that in the '70s there was a big fear of global COOLING among scientists. But their counter-attack is pathetic. You can find it here. The essence of the Warmist response is that critics are quoting just one short article by one journalist in the back pages of one magazine.
That is an utter lie. Steve Goddard makes a specialty of collecting climate journalism from the past and he has now put up a huge selection of photocopies showing that the fear of cooling was widely shared and was endorsed by most of the major scientific organizations of the time. There was a "consensus" in the 70s too. Pity it was the opposite of the present pseudo-consensus.
I will not attempt to reproduce here either the Warmist lie or Goddards's response as the whole thing is too graphics-intensive for my patience, but you can follow the links to check for yourself -- JR
Of course fracking doesn't cause your sex to change
By James Delingpole
Rarely have I witnessed such rampant troll activity as I did on my gently snarky recent blogpost Global Warming Devastates America. There's a reason for that, of course. The alarmists are losing the argument and their incoherent ranting is the sign of a movement in its death throes.
Personally, though, I take no comfort in this. That's because, as you know, I have long seen the debate about the "science" of global warming as a distraction from the real issue. Which is to say, as I argue in Watermelons and again in The Little Green Book of Eco Fascism, the so-called "science" is simply being used (or, more accurately, abused) in order to provide an intellectual and pseudo-empirical fig-leaf to justify what, deep down, is an ideological war being waged by the green-liberal-left against Western Industrial Civilisation.
This Hydra has many heads. Remove one - CAGW - and the beast will not die, for a dozen more will spring up in its place. Let me give you an example of what I mean. The other day, there was a rash of ludicrous stories in the media - allegedly based on peer-reviewed science - suggesting that fracking could expose people to sex-change chemicals. I meant to respond to this at the time but it was Christmas and I had better things to do. But what grabbed my attention was that, by coincidence, I had recently been looking into the issue of these "sex-change chemicals" and had experienced a strong sense of deja vu.
The story concerned a weed-killer called Atrazine, widely used in the US since the late Fifties. If you believe some of the reports in left-leaning organs like Mother Jones, Atrazine contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals which can cause frogs to change sex - and is therefore a potential menace to humans. Now this sounds quite scary, until you start looking into the details. Whence does this scare story originate? Well, it turns out to be largely based on the work of a UC Berkeley professor called Tyrone Hayes. Who knows: maybe he's right; maybe these Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals really are the greatest threat to mankind since, gosh, maybe even "global warming" (remember that, anyone?). But here's what gave me that eerie sense of deja vu. It turns out that Dr Hayes has been very reluctant to share his data and working methods with fellow scientists (despite repeated requests) - and that furthermore studies that have attempted to replicate his findings have found Atrazine causes no harmful effects to our little web-footed friends.
Now Atrazine is manufactured by a Swiss company called Syngenta. The same company, funnily enough, that was the victim of yet another environmentalist campaign against another of its products - a neonicotinoid pesticide which allegedly is killing bees.
Look, we're all of us against Evil Big Pharma doing terrible things to nature, in much the same way we're all against Big Fossil Fuel and Big Oil when it devastates land and sea. But surely if we're going to condemn them, it ought to be for environmental crimes they've actually committed, rather than on the basis of pseudo-scientific factoids apparently plucked from the ether and disseminated by activists and sympathetic enviro-journalists?
What fascinated me about the frogs and Atrazine story were the extraordinary parallels with the global warming one. Tenured professor in distinguished seat of learning comes up with plausible sounding scare theory? Check. Refuses to share data or allow his research to be replicated? Check. Swallowed wholesale, nonetheless, by the mainstream media? Check. Scientific method apparently cast aside in favour of political activism? Check. Calls for action to be taken on the "precautionary principle"? Check.
It goes almost without saying that no official body has embraced Endocrine Disruptor Theory with quite as much enthusiasm as the European Union:
"The European Commission, meanwhile, is finalizing laws that could mandate a Europe-wide ban not only on pesticides but also on fruits, vegetables, and grains bearing even the tiniest trace of alleged endocrine-disrupting chemicals."
The potential cost to the US agricultural sector in lost exports has been estimated at $4 billion. Not a problem, of course, if you don't believe in the capitalist system. Arbitrarily, vindictively, mindlessly destructive and utterly inexcusable if you do.
Interesting, by the way, how amphibians - though not as cute, fluffy and photogenic as polar bears - appear to have been co-opted by the environmental movement in order to exaggerate the case for urgent action to BAN EVERYTHING NOW. Here's another example I wrote about in the Spectator recently: in which the disappearance of the Costa Rican Golden Toad was dubiously cited as an example of species extinction due to "climate change" (when the real reason lay elsewhere).
Oh, there's one more fascinating detail about sex-changing frogs which I'm dying to include in this post - but it'll have to wait until I've checked up on it. You know what we climate realists are like: sticklers for those pesky facts.
Britain warned of more droughts caused by climate change and growing population
Just as Britain is in the grip of destructive floods. Dreaming is preferred to reality
Britain faces more severe and more frequent droughts as climate change limits water supplies and demand increases, the European Commission has warned.
Droughts will increase across Europe by the end of this century, risking "considerable impacts on society, the environment and the economy", scientists from the commission's joint research centre and Kessel University found.
"Many river basins, especially in southern parts of Europe, are likely to become more prone to periods of reduced water supply due to climate change," they warned.
"Minimum flow levels of streams and rivers may be reduced by up to 40 per cent, and periods of water deficiency may increase by up to 80 per cent in the Iberian Peninsula, the south of France, Italy and the Balkans."
The scientists said that population and economic growth would also increase demand for water, exacerbating the problem - even in countries such as Britain, which may be less severely affected by the climate change.
"Intensive water use will further aggravate drought conditions by 10 per cent to 30 per cent in the south, west and centre of Europe, and in some parts of the UK," the study found.
The commission said drought was a "major natural disaster" and had cost _100? billion (œ82.5?billion) in Europe over the past three decades.
Luc Feyen, one of the scientists behind the study, told the Telegraph: "We believe the increase in droughts will be strongest in southern Europe but we see also, especially towards the end of the century, the UK will also face more frequent and more prolonged periods of droughts.
"Climate change will probably cause an effect so there will be more periods of reduced water availability.
"If you then combine this with increases in water usage you have a stronger effect. There will be more competition for water due to the reduced availability."
The study was based on an assumption of average global temperatures rising by up to 6.1F (3.4C) by 2100, compared with the 1961-1990 period.
Temperatures have been forecast to increase even further in areas such as Spain and Portugal.
Sorry Dave, storms aren't down to climate change: Met Office rubbishes Cameron's assertions over recent bad weather
The Met office must be pleased that they can speak the truth for once
David Cameron has received a frosty response from the weathermen for his comments on climate change. The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that he suspected global warming was to blame for the recent storms that have battered the country.
But yesterday the Met Office said there was no evidence to support such assertions.Its statement came as forecasters said the relentless rain would ease off this weekend - to be replaced by a cold snap with temperatures falling to -4C (25F) nationwide.
Mr Cameron made his remarks in the Commons when he was asked by a Lib Dem MP whether he believed the gales and torrential rain were `a destructive and inevitable consequence at least in part of climate change'. He replied: `I agree with you that we are seeing more abnormal weather events?.?I very much suspect that it is.'
Climate scientists say no single extreme weather event can be entirely attributed to the changing climate, but the impact of greenhouse gases makes extreme weather - such as floods and droughts - more frequent.
But yesterday the Met Office said that despite December being the stormiest month since 1969, it can be explained by natural variations in the jet stream, the band of fast-moving air which creates winter storms in the US and blows their remnants across the Atlantic.
A spokesman said: `At the moment there's no evidence to suggest that these storms in Britain are more intense because of climate change, but temperature and rainfall extremes have changed around the world, and despite the large variability of our weather, the UK would be expected to share in this trend towards extremes.'
A blog on the Met Office website says the jet stream `has been unusually strong this year due to warm and cold air being squeezed together in the mid-latitudes, where the UK sits. This could be due to nothing more than the natural variability which governs Atlantic weather'.
Owen Paterson at odds with Cameron whether storms caused by climate change
The environment secretary has refused to endorse claims by David Cameron that the recent storms afflicting the UK were linked to climate change. David Cameron said on Wednesday that he "suspected" that climate change was partly responsible for the increased frequency of extreme weather, such as floods and droughts.
But Mr Paterson, who is renowned as a climate-sceptic, declined to answer a question on whether he agreed with Mr Cameron, prompting roars of laughter from the opposition benches.
It comes after a series of controversial comments by Mr Paterson about climate change.
In October, Mr Paterson caused controversy when he suggested that the threat posed by global warming had been overstated, and indicated that in some cases farmers could benefit from the warmer weather.
He said at the time: "People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.
"Remember that, for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer. It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north in some of the colder areas."
Mr Patten yesterday faced further questions about his views on climate change from Phil Wilson, a Labour MP. He asked: "In PMQs yesterday, the Prime Minister said he very much suspects that the recent abnormal weather events are a result of climate change. Do you agree with the Prime Minister."
Mr Paterson replied: "What the Prime Minister said is we should look at the practical measures we're taking, and I entirely endorse his questions."
He added: "And perhaps you will get after your front bench and see if they will endorse the very ambitious spending plans we have for flood defences, which so far, they have been very, very reluctant to do."
On Wednesday Mr Cameron was asked whether he believed climate change was to blame for the wave of severe weather. He said: "Colleagues across the House can argue about whether that is linked to climate change or not. I very much suspect that it is."
His comments put him at odds with a significant number of MPs in his party who are sceptical about the impact of climate change.
The environment secretary also said that "trashing" ancient woodlands to make way for unwanted housing would be "absolute travesty" but admitted they could be bulldozed as a "last resort".
Owen Paterson said he was "personally" offended by the public backlash against him and said his role in planting an arboretum last year helped demonstrate his environmental credentials.
Mr Paterson has been strongly criticised by environmental campaigners after suggesting last week that developers could be allowed to build on centuries-old forests if they plant 100 times as many new trees elsewhere.
Mr Paterson said a form of "offsetting" could be used to enable forests dating back more than 400 years to be flattened for housing or transport projects.
However, yesterday in the Commons Mr Paterson insisted that planning protections for ancient woodlands will remain in place. He conceded, however, that "some assets are too precious" to built on, even as a last resort.
He said: "I am delighted to reassure the honourable lady that the idea that biodiversity offset could be used as a means of imposing unwanted houses on ancient woodland is an absolute travesty. Should we bring in offsetting, all the regulations remain.
"Only at the last moment would we consider offsetting. Some assets are too precious. In Australia there has been an 80 per cent shift of planning applications away from fragile environments. As someone who has just planted an arboretum in the last year the idea that I'm going to trash ancient woodlands is an absolute travesty to me personally."
The proposals have outraged MPs. Barry Sheerman, a Labour MP, said that the 19th century poet John Clare who was a passionate defender of the countryside would have opposed the measures.
He said: "This is the 150th anniversary of the death of one of our greatest poets of the countryside, John Clare. He wrote a great deal about diseased trees. He certainly was a great defender of the English countryside. What does the minister think of giving up our ancient woodland and replacing it with new growth."
Risking Lives to Promote Climate Change Hype
Will global warming alarmists ever set aside their hypotheses, hyperbole, models and ideologies long enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the real world outside their windows? Will they at least do so before setting off on another risky, misguided adventure? Before persuading like-minded or na‹ve people to join them? Before forcing others to risk life and limb to transport - and rescue - them? If history is any guide, the answer is: Not likely.
The absurd misadventures of University of New South Wales climate professor Chris Turney is but the latest example. He and 51 co-believers set out to prove manmade global warming is destroying the East Antarctic ice sheet. Perhaps they'd been reading Dr. Turney's website, which claims "an increasing body of evidence" shows "melting and collapse" across the area. They and the captain and 22 crewmen of the (diesel-powered) Russian charter ship Akademik Shokalskiy should have gotten a second opinion.
Instead of finding open water, they wound up trapped in record volumes of unforgiving ice, from Christmas Eve until January 2 - ensnared by Mother Nature's sense of humor and their own hubris. The 52 climate tourists were finally rescued by a helicopter sent from Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which itself became locked in the ice......
All of this raises serious questions that most media have ignored. How could Tourney put so many lives and vessels at risk - people he persuaded to join this expedition, the ship and crew they hired, the ships and helicopter and crews that came to their rescue? How did he talk the Russian captain into sailing into these dangerous waters? Who will pay for the rescue ships and their fuel and crews? What if one of the ships sinks - or someone dies? What is Tourney's personal liability?
This may be the most glaring example of climate foolishness. But it is hardly the first.
In 2007, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen set off across the Arctic in the dead of winter, "to raise awareness about global warming," by showcasing the wide expanses of open water they were certain they would encounter. Instead, temperatures inside their tent plummeted to -58 F (-50 C), while outside the nighttime air plunged to -103 F (-75 C). Facing frostbite, amputated fingers and toes or even death, the two were airlifted out a bare 18 miles into their 530-mile expedition.
The next winter it was British swimmer and ecologist Lewis Gordon Pugh, who planned to breast-stroke across open Arctic seas. Same story. Then fellow Brit Pen Hadow tried, and failed. In 2010 Aussie Tom Smitheringale set off to demonstrate "the effect that global warming is having on the polar ice caps." He was rescued and flown out, after coming "very close to the grave," he confessed.
Hopefully, all these rescue helicopters were solar-powered. Hardcore climate disaster adventurers should not be relegated to choppers fueled by evil fossil fuels. They may be guilty of believing their own alarmist press releases - but losing digits or ideological purity is a high price to pay.
All these intrepid explorers tried to put the best spin on their failures. "One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability," Bancroft-Arnesen expedition coordinator Anne Atwood insisted. "But global warming is real, and with it can come extreme unpredictable changes in temperature," added Arnesen. "Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That's what we're talking about," Greenpeace activist Stephen Guilbeault chimed in.
It's been said insanity is hitting your thumb repeatedly with a hammer, expecting it won't hurt the next time. It's also believing hype, models and delusions, instead of real world observations. Or thinking taxpayers are happy to pay for all the junk science behind claims that the world faces dangerous manmade global warming. Or that they are delighted that the EPA and IPCC are increasingly regulating our lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans, in the name of preventing climate change.
The fact is, Antarctic ice shelves have broken up many times over the millennia. Arctic ice has rebounded since its latest low ebb around September 2007. Despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, average global temperatures have been stable or declining since 1997. Seas are rising at barely seven inches per century. And periods of warmer or colder global and polar climates are nothing new.
Vikings built homes, grew crops and raised cattle in Greenland between 950 and 1300, before they were frozen out by the Little Ice Age and encroaching pack ice and glaciers. Many warm periods followed, marked by open seas and minimal southward extent of Arctic sea ice, as noted in ships' logs and discussed in scientific papers by Torgny Vinje and other experts. But warm periods of 1690-1710, 1750-1780 and 1918-1940, for instance, were often preceded and followed by colder temperatures, severe ice conditions and maximum southward ice packs, as during 1630-1660 and 1790-1830.
"Not only in the summer, but in the winter the ocean [in the Bering Sea region] was free of ice, sometimes with a wide strip of water up to at least 200 miles away from the shore," Swedish explorer Oscar Nordkvist reported in 1822, in a document rediscovered by astrophysicist Willie Soon.
"We were astonished by the total absence of ice in the Barrow Strait," Francis McClintock, captain of the Fox, wrote in 1860. "I was here at this time in 1854 - still frozen up - and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape."
In 1903, during the first year of his three-year crossing of the Northwest Passage, Roald Amundsen noted that his party "had made headway with ease," because ice conditions had been "unusually favorable."
The 1918-1940 warming also resulted in Atlantic cod increasing in population and expanding their range some 800 miles, to the Upernavik area of Greenland, fisheries biologist Ken Drinkwater has reported.
Climate change is certainly real. It's been real throughout Earth and human history - including the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, Little Ice Age and Dust Bowl, and through countless other cycles of warming and cooling, flood and drought, storm and calm, open polar seas and impassable ice.
Humans clearly influence weather and climate on a local scale - through heat and emissions from cities and cars, our clearing of forests and grasslands, our diversion of rivers. But that is not the issue. Nor is it enough to say - as President Obama has - that the climate is changing and mankind is contributing to it.
The fundamental issue is this: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented, global climate change disasters? And can we prevent those alleged disasters, by drastically curtailing hydrocarbon use, slashing living standards, and imposing government control over industries and people's lives? If you look at actual evidence - instead of computer model forecasts and "scenarios" - the answer is clearly: No.
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
Posted by JR at 8:33 PM