More on yesterday's climate "report"
The Obama administration today released its third National Climate Assessment (NCA) predicting a series of calamities and urging action on the president’s climate agenda.
“This laughably misleading report is the predictable result when hard-core environmental activists are chosen to write up a climate assessment for, and subject to the approval and revisions of, the Obama administration. It is like the punch line to a bad joke: ‘How many environmental activists does it take to put together an alarmist global warming report?’
“Leading authors of this report include staffers for activist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, Planet Forward, The Nature Conservancy, and Second Nature. Few objective climate experts will take this report seriously. Even those scientists who are not overtly affiliated with environmental activist groups were almost uniformly on the record as global warming alarmists before being chosen to write this report. The only real surprise in the report is it didn’t take the opportunity to trumpet the Union of Concerned Scientists’ call for U.S. unilateral nuclear disarmament.
“It would take a whole squadron of environmental activists years to come up with the whoppers told in this report. The report falsely asserts that global warming is causing more extreme weather events, more droughts, more record high temperatures, more wildfires, warmer winters, etc., when each and every one of these false assertions is contradicted by objective, verifiable evidence. It reads like a press release from The Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists – probably because it essentially is a press release from The Nature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists.”
Nature CAN cope with climate change: Unusual behaviour of plants and animals suggests we've underestimated their ability to adapt, claim studies
Responses to local warming episodes are instructive
As the planet warms, animals and plants are learning to adapt to their new environment by either migrating or evolving, new research has revealed.
Many scientists believe the rate of climate change is too rapid for various species to keep up. But two new studies have offered some hope that experts may have underestimated their abilities.
The first study reveals how a species of butterfly named the quino checkerspot has defied expectations of extinction by moving to cooler climes and changing its diet.
The quino checkerspot, found in Mexico and California, moved to higher altitudes to avoid extinction, according to research presented at the Butterfly Conservation's symposium in Southampton.
Its rapid adaption offers some hope to scientists that other insects could be able to change their environment and survive a warmer climate.
Separate research led by Stanford University scientist Steve Palumbi found how some corals can quickly switch on or off certain genes in order to survive in warmer-than-average tidal waters.
The research team discovered corals can adjust their internal functions to tolerate hot water 50 times faster than they would adapt through evolutionary change alone.
‘The temperature of coral reefs is variable, so it stands to reason that corals should have some capacity to respond to different heat levels,’ Professor Palumbi said.
‘These results tell us that both nature and nurture play a role in deciding how heat-tolerant a coral colony is.
‘Nurture, the effect of environment, can change heat tolerance much more quickly - within the lifetime of one coral rather than over many generations.’
It’s not just butterflies and corals that are adapting. From chipmunks to Mediterranean spiders, scientists are increasingly tracking how animals are evolving to cope with the effects of hotter temperatures.
‘Most of the models that ecologists are putting out are assuming that there's no adaptive capacity. And that's silly,’ Ary Hoffmann, a geneticist at the University of Melbourne told National Geographic. ‘Organisms are not static.’
Writing for Pacific Standard, systems biologist Michael White said scientists tracking the movements of animals have repeatedly found that plants and animals have altered their behaviour in response to earlier springs and milder temperatures.
Dr White cited the work of a team of scientists at the University of California-Berkeley as an example of how creatures are adapting to warmer temperatures.
The scientists studied alpine chipmunks living in Yosemite National Park and found that over 100 years the animals have moved to higher altitudes as the average temperature of the park has risen by 3°C.
DNA evidence also suggests the European wasp spider is evolving and have colonised new areas as they seek cooler climates.
The spiders primarily lived in Mediterranean regions until the 1930s but have gradually crept northwards to colonise Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic region.
Interestingly while scientists thought they were trying to find new places to live that were the same temperature as the Mediterranean before temperatures have risen, the spiders have actually moved into regions that are cooler than their original homes.
The reason for their behaviour is they have been mating with spiders that like the cold, to create an invading species that can survive freezing temperatures that would kill its Mediterranean relatives, researchers from Germany's Max Plank Institute told Dr White.
A 2011 review of data on hundreds of moving species found a average shift to higher altitudes of 36 feet (11 metres) per decade and a average shift to higher latitudes of about 10.5 miles (17 km) per decade.
‘I think we should feel impressed by the impact that we have, that we can change the course of evolution around us by the way we change the environment,’ Menno Schilthuizen, from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, Netherlands told National Geographic.
‘Our impact is much further and deeper than we tend to think.’
DAVID BELLAMY OBE -- GLOBAL WARMING VICTIM
It's funny that those who stress the scientific credentials of the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGWT) use very unscientific and indeed political ways and means to silence all contradictory -- or even skeptical -- views about it.
For example, AGWT activists, scientists and even some MPs have written to the BBC begging it not to give “airtime” to AGWT skeptics or critics. This is a kind of (non)scientific version of the British Leftists' “no platform” policy; which is similarly used to silence literally all the people who dare to have nonconformist views about various and many political subjects.
Indeed individuals in America have even argued that AGWT skeptics should be prosecuted or criminalized -- quite literally!
Will there now be a Gulag built for those who dare to question the complete and total truth of the AGWT? Are all AGW skeptics, by definition, “flat-earthers”, “knuckle-draggers” or the paid agents of Big Business?
So it's clear that these AGW totalitarians don't want to give any “oxygen of publicity” -- to use Margaret Thatcher's phrase about terrorists - to skeptics or critics. Yet we're not talking about terrorists here! We're talking, in many cases, about scientists and those who simply question many -- or simply some -- aspects of what is supposed to be a scientific theory. Aren't questioning and criticism part of the very essence of science? And doesn't all this AGW evangelism show that the theory may in fact be more political than scientific after all?
David Bellamy OBE (Order of the British Empire) himself called the AGWT “poppycock”.
Mr. Bellamy was once a very well-known British TV presenter. He's also a scientist (a botanist). For over two decades, he was almost the face (after Sir David Attenborough) of science -- or at least of natural history -- on British television. He made and presented countless TV programs, wrote over 45 books and even had a top 40 hit called 'Brontosaurus, Will You Wait For Me?' He also set up many charities and, at one point in time, was the patron of more than 400 of them.
However, it was his character -- often parodied by comedians -- which proved to be the most endearing to British people,
David Bellamy first rejected the AGWT in 2004. What happened then? According to David Bellamy himself, this:
“From that moment, I really wasn’t welcome at the BBC. They froze me out, because I don’t believe in global warming. My career dried up. I was thrown out of my own conservation groups and I got spat at in London.”
Now it's not clear from that whether or not the BBC “froze out” Bellamy because it feared he would articulate his skepticism about the AGWT on air; or that it simply froze him out because of what he believed.
Things got worse for Mr. Bellamy.
He was then dropped, in 2005, by The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. (He was the president of that organization at the time.) The RSWT said: “We are not happy with his line of climate change.”
In response, Bellamy said:
“I worked with the Wildlife Trusts for 52 years. And when they dropped me, they didn’t even tell me.”
Later, in October 2006, the New Zealand Herald reported that Bellamy had joined the AGWT-skeptic New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. Following that, in May 2007, Bellamy and Jack Barrett wrote a paper -- in the Civil Engineering journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers -- called 'Climate stability: an inconvenient proof'.
(One claim in that article is that the predicted doubling of carbon dioxide levels from natural, pre-industrial levels was not only unlikely but would also amount to less than 1 degree C of global warming.)
As for Bellamy's evidence against the AGWT, he once said the following:
“For the last 16 years, temperatures have been going down and the carbon dioxide has been going up and the crops have got greener and grow quicker. We’ve done plenty to smash up the planet, but there’s been no global warming caused by man.”
Now that evidence alone is of course far from conclusive. And I don't think that Bellamy himself, as a scientist, would see it as being conclusive. (No single “bit” -- or bits -- of evidence are ever conclusive in science.) In other words, those simple facts don't disprove the AGWT. But that's primarily because proof and disproof are not notions that are used in science in the first place: they are exclusively, strictly speaking, mathematical and logical notions.
In addition, Bellamy's facts (which may well be facts) are simply not enough to even discredit -- never mind disprove -- the AGWT. However, he wouldn't claim, I hope, that they do that. Nonetheless, the facts he cites -- as well as the innumerable other counter-AGWT facts -- do give us at least some grounds for skepticism. Indeed many people argue that they give us grounds for intense skepticism.
This isn't a matter of whether or not the AGWT is true or not. In fact the AGWT can be neither true nor false. (Let's forget here about the fact many philosophers of science, and some scientists also, have a problem with the very notion of truth -- as applied to scientific theories -- in the first place.) Only single statements or propositions can be true or false. More relevantly, the AGWT is so broad, and contains so many variables, that it's difficult to decipher what people are actually saying when they make general statements about it. The AGWT can, at most, only be true or false in part.
So this is in fact a matter of the tactics and opinions of those who zealously and piously uphold the theory in the rather Stalinist manner they do. Indeed the very political nature of this intolerance of different views (as well the scientific fundamentalism of the believers) leads one to think that these things occur precisely because the AGWT itself is essentially political in nature. That is, the obvious political underpinnings of the AGWT (which the believers don't deny) are quite naturally leading to the very political methods and means which are used to create a 'no platform' policy for all those who dare to question it. Indeed it can even be said that anthropogenicglobalwarmingism (as it were) is the Lysenkoism of our time and that the United Nations -- or at least the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- is a contemporary version of the Soviet Union's Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences.
A FRESH LOOK AT CLIMATE CHANGE - THE CONNOLLY PERSPECTIVE
Independent science shows that C.20 global warming has been greatly overestimated
The Connolly Scientific Research Group is a family-run independent entity based in Ireland and has provided fascinating new research and analysis on the global warming controversy.
Below Ronan Connolly has set out the group's complete body of work and invites full open peer review in the spirit that PSI endorses.
Dr Connolly reports:
I have uploaded datasets for all of our papers to the Figshare website (http://figshare.com/authors/Ronan_Connolly/532073), and provided links to the datasets on the corresponding article pages at http://oprj.net/
In total, we have written eight articles on climate science/atmospheric science.
We believe that science thrives through openness, and so we have decided to use a fully open peer review system for the peer review process, i.e., our new Open Peer Review Journal. As a trial run for this system, we are using our own research. But, if the system is successful, we hope to expand the journal to accept submissions from other researchers.
We are also providing open access to the data for all our papers so that people can check and/or use our analysis.
We are very interested in feedback from the scientific community on our research, whether positive or negative. So, if any of your readers are interested in posting a technical comment or review on one (or more) of articles, they are more than welcome to do so. Instructions are provided on the OPRJ website: http://oprj.net/how-to-submit-a-review
I have provided brief summaries and links to our eight articles below:
In three of the articles we revisit the urbanization bias problem and argue that this has led to a substantial overestimation of "global warming" trends:
R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias I. Is it a negligible problem for global temperature estimates?, Open Peer Rev. J., 28 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/28
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1005090
R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias II. An assessment of the NASA GISS urbanization adjustment method, Open Peer Rev. J., 31 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/31
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.977967
R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Urbanization bias III. Estimating the extent of bias in the Historical Climatology Network datasets, Open Peer Rev. J., 34 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/34
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1004125
In another three articles we develop a new approach for describing and explaining the temperature and energy profiles of the atmosphere. Our findings suggest to us that the physics used by the current climate models is wholly inadequate, and as a result their results are unrealistic:
M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere I. Phase change associated with tropopause, Open Peer Rev. J., 19 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.971150
M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere II. Multimerization of atmospheric gases above the troposphere, Open Peer Rev. J., 22 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/22
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.971140
M. Connolly, and R. Connolly (2014). The physics of the Earth’s atmosphere III. Pervective power, Open Peer Rev. J., 25 (Atm. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/25
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.971041
In another article we reviewed the various temperature proxy estimates of global temperature trends of the last 1000 years.Unlike previous reviews, technical analyses presented via internet blogs were considered as well as the conventional peer-reviewed literature.
R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Global temperature changes of the last millennium, Open Peer Rev. J., 16 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/16
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.977937
For the eight article we revisited the poor station siting problem associated with weather station records. Using the results of Anthony Watts et al.’s Surface stations project, we find that poor station siting has introduced a substantial warming bias into U.S. temperature trends. It is likely that similar biases also occur for global temperature trends.
R. Connolly, and M. Connolly (2014). Has poor station quality biased U.S. temperature trend estimates?, Open Peer Rev. J., 11 (Clim. Sci.), ver. 0.1 (non peer reviewed draft).
Article URL: http://oprj.net/articles/climate-science/11
SI dataset: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1004025
More Greenie job-killing
In 2009 — the immediately preceding time four council seats contested last year in Whatcom County, Wash., were open — candidates spent less than $7,000 on their campaigns. But during the 2013 election cycle, spending skyrocketed, with outside groups forking over as much as $148,000 to campaign for a single council seat.
There’s one man primarily responsible for this precipitous spending hike: Tom Steyer, an environmental enthusiast, hedge-fund manager, California billionaire, and emerging Democratic kingmaker.
Steyer’s interest in these four obscure local races is simple. The Whatcom county council will ultimately decide the fate of a proposed coal-export facility on the West Coast. If it receives approval, it would be the largest such American facility on the West Coast, but Steyer and his green allies fervently oppose the use of coal, so they spent heavily to support council candidates likely to vote against the export facility. Their efforts were ultimately successful, with candidates perceived as green winning all four contested seats.
“I wouldn’t say [Steyer] was decisive, but he definitely moved the needle [in] the environmental candidates’ favor,” says Todd Donovan, a political-science professor at Western Washington University, which is located in Whatcom County. “He provided an unprecedented amount of money spent on behalf of the environmental candidates, and they all won — and they were fighting an uphill battle. . . . We’ve never seen anything like it.”
Steyer’s political action committee, NextGen Climate, gave $275,000 to the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, which in turn spent at least $210,000 on the Whatcom county-council elections. But it’s impossible to get an exact figure for how much Steyer money was spent in Whatcom County.
Randy Pepple, a Republican political strategist in Washington State, says Steyer’s lack of transparency was particularly alarming.
“Instead of Tom Steyer for NextGen PAC writing the checks, instead he wrote them to other organizations that were spending money, particularly the Conservation Voters,” he says. “He hid it. For all his challenges on Politico to be transparent, up here, he laundered money through political committees, so it was not entirely clear where he put all his money.”
Outside cash may have played an instrumental role in the Whatcom county-council elections, but that’s not the only development bothering some of its residents. In particular, union members in Whatcom County are concerned that, if the coal-export facility fails to garner council approval, there will be a huge economic cost.
The proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal would export up to 54 million metric tons each year, the majority of which would be coal extracted in Wyoming and Montana being shipped to buyers as far away as China. The export terminal would also pay more than $92 million in state and local taxes in the two-year construction period alone, and then contribute $11.2 million a year to the government’s coffers after the project’s completion.
Approval would result in nearly 4,500 construction jobs, as well as 1,250 permanent jobs in Whatcom County — no small matter in a region where unemployment in February 2014 was 7.4 percent. And many of the jobs the Gateway Pacific Terminal would provide are unionized, a fact that hasn’t escaped the notice of local labor leaders like Mike Elliott, a spokesman and lobbyist for the Washington State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
“These are the types of jobs we want to create,” Elliott tells National Review Online. “We weren’t going to get on board with these projects unless they would use union construction people and union longshoremen to run the thing. But opponents brought in this billionaire environmentalist from California, and not just him — they’ve come up with a whole lot of money. They’ve got more resources than we will ever have, and it makes all the difference in the world. You shouldn’t be able to come in with a wheelbarrow full of money and influence the electoral process. I just think that’s wrong.”
In Whatcom County, Steyer’s big donations helped Democrat-affiliated groups outspend their Republican counterparts two-to-one. But he may well have created an interesting dilemma for Democrats during future elections. Steyer’s spending in Whatcom County pitted environmental groups against organized labor, creating a deep division among two of the Democrats’ key constituent groups.
Steyer’s spending may have a similarly divisive effect on the national stage. In February, he pledged to donate more than $100 million in support of environmentalist Democratic candidates. Just two months later, the Obama administration announced it would opportunely delay its decision on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project as reviled by environmental groups as it is beloved of Big Labor.
Ken Oplinger, a self-identified “business Democrat” who served as head of the Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce for a decade, tells NRO that while intra-party divisions may not be enough to win labor over to Republicans, they may well split the vote between Democratic candidates.
“In Whatcom County, because the coal terminal was such an all-encompassing issue, it really did play a role because it was the key issue for labor,” he says. “In places where economic development and jobs [are pitted against environmental concerns], you’ll see that happen, and it’s going to be on a case-by-case level. The blue-green connection is still there, and it’s still strong. But they’re going to disagree on some key issues, and when [they do], it may play a role in those races as it did in Whatcom County.”
Australian government plan to strip Tasmania forest of World Heritage status was made without external review
Greenies don't like miners having a say in mining decisions, so why should Greenies have a say in environmental decisions?
The federal government's unprecedented bid to strip Tasmanian forests of World Heritage status was put together without any external advice, a Senate committee has heard.
The original case to list 170,000 hectares of mainly forested land as World Heritage emerged as part of the most comprehensive regional forests review ever undertaken in Australia, the committee was told.
The extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area gained the backing of the World Conservation Union and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and was unanimously approved by the World Heritage Committee in 2013.
A push by the Abbott government to excise 74,000 hectares of forest from that extension "flies in the face" of the findings of an expert Independent Verification Group set up to decide the fate of Tasmanian forests, IVG member Professor Brendan Mackey said.
"Regarding the 74,000 hectares, 90 per cent has not been industrially logged, only four per cent is heavily disturbed, 35 per cent is actually mapped as old growth, " said Professor Mackey, of Griffith University.
The Senate committee inquiring into the de-listing attempt heard the case for it was prepared by the Environment Department to meet a Coalition election commitment to wind back the listing.
The department's internal experts on world heritage were consulted, as was the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and its ministerial offices, Greens leader Christine Milne was told.
"We had a number of discussions with the minister [for Environment, Greg Hunt] about the options being produced and the merits and demerits of the options," said departmental deputy secretary Kimberley Dripps.
"Was there any peer review, any verification from outside at all?" Senator Milne said. "No," Dr Dripps replied.
The government argues in its submission to the World Heritage Committee that the removal would enhance the overall standing of the 1.6 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness WHA.
"... It's unusual, if not unprecedented, for it to be achieved in the reduction of the property unless there is a corresponding increase elsewhere," said Dr Dripps.
She will lead the Australian delegation to the World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha next month, where she said one of four options would be on the table.
The 21 nation World Heritage Committee could choose to accept the wind-back; reject it outright; refer it back for additional information; or defer it for a more substantial submission in 2016.
A former Environment Department staffer who worked on World Heritage issues, Peter Matthews, told the Senate committee that once an area was on the list, the World Heritage Committee had never agreed to a wind-back as a principle.
"It actually has to be demonstrated that it has lost its outstanding universal value," Mr Matthews said.
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