Friday, May 23, 2014

Fraction of the Globe in Drought: 1982-2012

None of the upsurge constantly asserted by Warmists.  A slight decline in fact

The graph above shows the proportion of the planet in drought, by intensity, 1982-2012. The graph comes from a paper in a new Nature publication called Scientific Data and is open access.


House votes to defund Warmist nonsense

With a mostly party-line vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that seeks to prevent the Department of Defense from using funding to address the national security impacts of climate change.

The full text of McKinley’s amendment reads:

"None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order"

In other words, the House just tried to write climate denial into the Defense Department’s budget. “The McKinley amendment would require the Defense Department to assume that the cost of carbon pollution is zero,” Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) said in a letter to their colleagues before the vote.

The amendment forces the Defense Department to ignore the findings and recommendations of the National Climate Assessment and the IPCC’s latest climate assessment, specifically with regard to the national security impacts of climate change. It would also do the same for the Social Cost of Carbon, which provides a framework for rulemakers to take into account the societal, security, and economic costs associated with emitting more carbon dioxide.

Earlier this month with the release of the National Climate Assessment, 300 leading climate scientists and experts told Americans in no uncertain terms that time is running out to confront the dangerous impacts of climate change.

This week, 16 military experts agreed, telling Americans in a report that climate change is already threatening national security and the economy. The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board authored the report, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”

“Civilian and uniformed leaders of our military know it is increasingly risky to depend on a single fuel source; these leaders are diversifying the military’s sources of power to make our bases more resilient and our forces more effective,” said Vice Admiral Gunn.

The Defense Department is beginning to take action. It recently started work on its largest solar project to date, and has been making progress on its “Net Zero” energy initiative. The goal? For bases to produce as much energy as they consume, and for forward combat operations to not have to rely on oil-heavy supply lines.

The McKinley amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which later passed, 325-98. Only three Republicans (Garrett, Gibson, LoBiondo) voted against the amendment, and four Democrats (Barrow, Cuellar, McIntyre, Rahall) voted for it.

The Senate held first markup of their version of the bill on Wednesday. The NDAA sets out the budget for the Department of Defense, and details the expenditures it can make, though this is different than the budget that actually awards the appropriations. That will happen later this year.

The NDAA is one of the few pieces of legislation that actually work close to normal — the House passes its version, and the Senate passes its version. It remains to be seen if the Senate will take up and pass a similar amendment, but even if it does not, the final decision will come during conference. The two chambers go to conference to iron out the differences before final passage and the president’s signature.


Billions of barrels of oil found below Sussex. Hampshire and Kent: Analysis reveals vast scale of energy reserves underneath the counties

The Greenies will hate this.  Where's "Hubbert's peak" gone?

Billions of barrels of oil have been found beneath the south of England, according to a report due out today.

The official analysis by the British Geological Survey (BGS) revealed the vast scale of energy reserves lying under parts of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.

Last year the first BGS study exceeded even the most optimistic calculations – estimating that there is 1,300trillion cubic feet of gas underground in the north of England.

Today's report is expected to do the same for the south, although it is unclear how much oil could be extracted as some of it is under built-up areas.

But the revelation comes just weeks after the Mail revealed ministers are preparing controversial plans to change the trespass law, giving energy firms the right to frack beneath homes and private land without the owners' permission.

It has been suggested that the Weald Basin, a vast area covering around 3,500 square miles in the south, could contain up to a third of the oil discovered in the North Sea.

This would offer Britain greater energy security and help drive down fuel prices, but extracting it will involve fracking – a controversial drilling technique used to split rocks below ground and release their stores of oil or gas.

Professor Richard Selley, from Imperial College London, said earlier this year that the discovery of oil in the Weald 'should not be a surprise'. There are already a number of oilfields around the North and South Downs which have been known about for decades.

And southern England has Europe's biggest onshore oilfield at Wytch Farm, a forest area in Dorset. However the prospect of oil drilling across a swathe of southern England will heighten tensions over whether fracking can go ahead in the face of local opposition.

The oil-rich area revealed today is thought to include a large swathe of the South Downs National Park and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The National Trust has called for fracking to be banned in national parks. Green protesters say the drilling for gas and oil will harm the Government's commitment to green forms of energy. And local campaigners in the area, which has several Tory MPs, have raised fears about noise, traffic and water contamination

It was also revealed last night that communities which agree to shale wells being sunk are to get more cash – an average of £800,000. A source at the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: 'At the exploration stage … communities will receive £100,000.

'And then if a well site goes ahead, they will receive 1 per cent of gross revenue every single year – around £1million per well over ten years. 'And today we can announce, in addition to this, communities will receive £20,000 for each unique lateral well put in place underground. This is likely to mean an average of £800,000.'


Famous false prophet dreams up a new scare

A controversial Stanford professor has claimed overpopulation could lead to humanity having to eat the bodies of the dead.

Paul Ehrlich, best known for his prediction of human 'oblivion' 46 years ago, says that current population trends are on a course that could leave cannibalism as one of the only options.

Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture.

Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture.

'We will soon be asking is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?,' he told HuffPost live host Josh Zepps.

He added that humanity is 'moving in that direction with a ridiculous speed.  'In other words between now and 45 years from now, 2.5 billion people will be added to the planet.  'We are moving towards resource wars.

Ehrlich is widely known for his 1968 publication of 'The Population Bomb' which called for 'population control' to prevent global crises from overpopulation.

'In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines - hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death,' he predicted.

'our children will inherit a totally different world, a world in which the standards, politics, and economics of the 1960’s are dead.'

Ehrlich claims that the dangers of overpopulation are once again growing, blaming Republicans and the media for failing to take action.

'We all have to eat, and it's very destructive.

The ethical issues around the way we raise cattle are important, but relatively trivial compared to the wrecking of our life support systems. 'I can much more about people, because I'm a person.'

In his new book, called 'Hope On Earth,' Ehrlich worked with Michael Tobias.  'There's a tremendous amount of optimism in the book,' said Tobais.  'I really think we have  a capacity to come to the aid of individuals.'

Tobias believes that young investors could hold the key to solving the problem, by investing in technologies to solve the problem.


The Fascist nature of Warmism is becoming more and more obvious

But historical Fascism was actually popular!

by Mark Steyn

My compatriot David Suzuki, CC, OBC, was on PBS with Bill Moyers the other day and re-iterated for Americans his previously stated position in Canada that climate-denying politicians should be jailed:

"Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness!" he asserted. "If we are in a position of being able to act, and we see something going on and we refuse to acknowledge the threat or act on it, we can be taken to court for willful blindness."

Suzuki seems to be willfully blind to his own ignorance: after his spectacular know-nothing performance on the ABC's Q&A Down Under last year, I'm amazed his minders still let him do TV, even with tongue-bath interrogators like Moyers. As I said a couple of days ago, a lot of these guys are a planet wide and an inch deep - especially those at the eco-totalitarian end. (Ezra Levant and I discussed the Suzuki beclowning about halfway through this show.) I suppose we should be grateful the ayatollah of alarmism only wants deniers "thrown in the slammer" rather than, as Professor Richard Parncutt favors, executed.

The climate mullahs don't seem to grasp that this is why they're going nowhere. As James Delingpole points out, "climate change" is the biggest PR flopperoo of all time:

"It was once conservatively estimated (by blogger Richard North) that the cost of propping up the global warming industry since 1989 was equivalent in real terms to five Manhattan Projects. But that was back in 2010, since when spending on green boondoggles (eg the Obama 'stimulus') has risen exponentially, so we're likely looking at ten Manhattan Projects now.

A good chunk of that spending has, of course, gone towards "educating" the public.

This "education" takes many forms: from blatant propaganda, like the UK government's £6 million "drowning puppy" ad campaign, the Obama administration's recent Climate Assessment Report and the one released by a group of compliant senior US military figures calling themselves CNA Military Advisory Board, to more subtle brainwashing ranging from school trips to wind farms and ice cream containers with pictures of wind farms on the side and oil company adverts illustrated with wind farms (to show they're not just "all about oil") to, well, pretty much everything these days from supermarket delivery vehicles boasting about how much biofuel they use to Greenpeace campaign ads involving polar bears to Roger Harrabin's reporting for the BBC to Showtime's Years Of Living Dangerously...."

I happen to be writing this in a rather attractive hotel room disfigured by signs everywhere about how the hotel is "committed" to "going green" and "saving the planet" by not changing my sheets and towels unless I arrange them in a designated fashion in the bathtub (presumably the internationally agreed symbol for a towel-change denialist, and possibly on page 734 of the Kyoto Treaty).

And yet, as James says, no one's interested. The numbers of people seriously worried about "climate change" are as flat as the handle of Mann's hockey stick, and the numbers who are worried enough to do anything more about it than suffer the same smelly, damp towel for their fortnight's vacation are even smaller.

The way to get those numbers up is through persuasion and argument, and seeking common ground with partial allies. Instead, the cultists demand 100 per cent ideological purity, and blacklist, sue or call for the imprisonment and execution of anyone who fails the test. You can bully Lennart Bengtsson, you can sue me, maybe one day you'll be able to jail and hang us. But you'll be as far away as ever from persuading the millions of ordinary citizens desensitized by two decades of shrieking hysteria.

Michael E Mann, liar, cheat, falsifier and fraud, is at the very center of this ever more witless thuggery. I'd been saving this Shakespearean headline for an upcoming piece on the fake Nobel Laureate, but The Prussian beat me to it: "What A Piece Of Work Is Mann." It's well worth a read, not least for its at-a-glance guide to some of the many versions of Mann's "hockey stick"*. But, as a scientist who thinks that anthropogenic global warming is real, The Prussian is less concerned with Mann's science (which seems to take up very little of his time) than with his general conduct:

"This behaviour isn't that of someone trying to gain rational agreement but of one enforcing a faith-based creed.

I'm really, really not surprised that there's so much denialism around, if this is the public face of climate science...

There's no such thing as specific censorship. You can't just hold down one thing, you always end up holding down the things next to it. If you, for example:

- Accept that global warming is real, but disagree about its extent, or

- Agree about the extent, but disagree about the rate, or

- Agree about the rate and the extent, but disagree about the effects or

- Agree about the rate, extent and effects, but disagree about how to deal with it, or

- Agree about all the foregoing, but disagree how to get those solutions done…

Mann's goonshow tactics will be trained on you. Why do I say that? For the simple reason that that is what is already happening. We will need the best ideas we can get to deal with this issue, and the only way to get those is to have the freest possible marketplace of ideas."

But in the marketplace of ideas Mann's idea is to sue you, and Suzuki's idea is to jail you, and Parncutt's idea is to execute you.

As for the latest goonshow hockey-sticking, Dr Judith Curry put it to him very directly on Twitter:

.@MichaelEMann Were you one of the U.S. scientists that pressured Bengtsson to resign from the GWPF?

Dr Mann seems to be in no hurry to respond.


Nostalgia for the absolute

by Mark Steyn

Yale law professor Stephen Carter has written an imaginary address to America's Class of 2014, which is currently busy disinviting truckloads of distinguished speakers from their graduation ceremonies. In the course of his remarks, Professor Carter observes:

"The literary critic George Steiner, in a wonderful little book titled "Nostalgia for the Absolute," long ago predicted this moment. We have an attraction, he contended, to higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance. We like systems that can explain everything. Intellectuals in the West are nostalgic for the tight grip religion once held on the Western imagination. They are attracted to modes of thought that are as comprehensive and authoritarian as the medieval church."

Oddly enough, Professor Carter doesn't so much as mention "climate change", but "Nostalgia for the Absolute" fits, doesn't it? "Higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance"? If you sweep them away as thoroughly as climate absolutist Michael E Mann, you find yourself sitting across the table from an interviewer who believes that, if it's 10 Celsius today and 15 Celsius tomorrow, that means it's 50 per cent warmer. And you don't mind the company you're keeping, because when it comes to your "higher truth" this guy believes, he believes absolutely - which is all that matters.

Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson, on the other hand, tried to wiggle free of "the tight grip". The story of what happened when the Clime Syndicate had to jump him in the alley and hockey-stick him back into line has received big play in Fleet Street, including the front page of yesterday's Times.I confess I don't quite know what to make of Professor Bengtsson. As far as I can tell, he's not a warmist-turned-denier so much as a warmist who thought he might benefit from a wider range of acquaintances. So he joined the advisory board of Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, which he has now been forced to unjoin. Where he goes next is unclear. So put him to one side. And also set aside the responses of Lord Lawson and his GWPF colleagues, which are uniformly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, deeply regret his decision but understand the enormous pressures, etc, etc.

Instead, consider the self-proclaimed side of virtue in this debate: the Conclave of Settled Scientists. Bishop Hill has a couple of their reactions. First up, atmospheric scientist Bart Verheggen on Bengtsson's charge of "climate McCarthyism":

Would it be McCarthyism if evolutionary biologists expressed dismay about a colleague joining the Creationist Institute?

Next up, Peter Gleick, the American Geophysical Union's "scientific ethics" chairman whose scientific ethics include using a false name to acquire confidential documents from the Heartland Institute. Gleick on Bengtsson:

Sailor joins flat earth society; doesn't understand why shipmates won't sail with him?

"Nostalgia for the Absolute" runs rampant through the Settled Science reactions. As Bishop Hill says, the only "scientific difference" between Gleick and Verheggen, on the one hand, and the GWPF, on the other, is really on the question of climate variability, a murky and imprecise topic. A round earth and a flat earth are two stark, mutually incompatible choices: one side is going to be 100 per cent right, and the other 100 per cent wrong. As the 17-year warming "pause" suggests, in climate science nobody's 100 per cent right; it's a field of "complexity and nuance", and somewhere in the grey blur people pick different points to pitch their tents. There is no Team Round and Team Flat. Steve McIntyre doesn't talk this way, nor does Nigel Lawson, nor does Richard Tol nor Judith Curry. Only the Settled Science enforcers do.

Bishop Hill calls this "the bigotry of the consensus". As one might expect, the worst reaction from among the Warmanos, in both its shallowness and repulsiveness, was that of Michael Mann. Yesterday morning, apropos the Times front page on Bengtsson, he Tweeted approvingly:

REAL story via @NafeezAhmed "Murdoch-owned media hypes lone meteorologist's #climate junk science"

So to Michael Mann Lennart Bengtsson is now "junk science"? For a decade, he was director of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology. For another decade, he was Director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. He's won the Descartes Prize, and a World Meteorological Organization prize for groundbreaking research in numerical weather prediction. Over the years, he and Michael Mann have collaborated on scientific conferences. But a half-century of distinguished service to climate science - the directorships, the prizes, all the peer-reviewed papers, the shared platforms with the great Dr Mann - is swept into the garbage can of history, and Bengtsson is now just another "denialist" peddling "junk science."

What a sad dead husk of a human being Michael Mann is to do such a thing to a professional colleague.

And who is this Nafeez Ahmed whose "REAL story" on Bengtsson's "junk science" Mann enthusiastically promotes to his groupies? As with the Irish Percentage Boy above, Mann's insistence on complete ideological fealty leads him to keep some very odd company. Nafeez Ahmed is, in the late Christopher Hitchens' summation, "a risible individual wedded to half-baked conspiracy-mongering" last heard from promoting the theory that climate change is responsible for kidnapping the Nigerian schoolgirls. Mr Ahmed believes that al-Qaeda is "an instrument of Western statecraft, a covert operations tool". He argues that ten of the named 9/11 hijackers are still alive and on the big day had their identities usurped by men trained by the US military and the CIA.

When you enforce the ideological purity tests that Mann does, and wind up casting Lennart Bengtsson, John Christy, Mike Hulme et al overboard, eventually you find yourself in an echo chamber with only a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and a man who thinks the temperature is going to increase by 25 per cent in the next 30 years for company. A Nostalgia for the Absolute has led Michael Mann to consort with absolute loons.

But the damage he does to science and scientists is very real. Dr Judith Curry writes:

"As a result of smearings by Romm, Mann, et al., I am excluded from serious consideration for administrative positions at universities, offices in professional societies, consideration for awards from professional societies, a number of people won't collaborate with me, and anyone who wants to invite me to be a keynote speaker has to justify this in light of all the cr*p that shows up if you google 'Judith Curry'. Does any of this really 'matter'? I've convinced myself that it doesn't (well not as much as my own conscience and integrity), but I suspect that such things would matter to most scientists."

Joe Romm engaging in such practices is reprehensible, but it is an issue of much greater concern when other scientists do it (notably Michael Mann).

Indeed it is. And a person who does it on the scale that Mann does is not, either principally or temperamentally, a scientist at all. He's operating out there on the same fringes as his buddy Nafeez Ahmed, peddling "systems that can explain everything", from Antarctic ice to Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, Dr Nicola Gulley, the editorial director at the Institute of Physics, purports to give us the real reason why Environmental Research Letters declined to publish Lennart Bengtsson's latest paper. Don't believe all that stuff from Bengtsson about it being rejected because it was too "helpful" to "climate sceptics". Oh, no, Dr Gulley eighty-sixed Bengtsson because his paper "contained errors, in our view did not provide a significant advancement in the field, and therefore could not be published in the journal".

So what were these "errors"? The anonymous peer-review Dr Gulley appends to her statement identifies only one: Professor Bengtsson's paper is about the way reality refuses to agree with the climate models, and the reviewer says this is a "false" comparison because "no consistency was to be expected in the first place".


As Steve McIntyre concludes his analysis:

"Given the failure of the publisher to show any "error" other than the expectation that models be consistent with observations, I think that readers are entirely justified in concluding that the article was rejected not because it "contained errors", but for the reason stated in the reviewers' summary: because it was perceived to be "harmful… and worse from the climate sceptics' media side".

The only "error" here was Bengtsson's careless assumption that the "higher truth" of Mann et al was subject to the same tests as real science.

This was not a good week for the climate cultists. The Climategate intimidation was done in the back rooms, sotto voce. This time they did it out in the open, to an eminent 79-year old scientist. The ugly truth about Mann's climate of fear is harder and harder to avoid.



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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