Monday, May 05, 2014
The Warmist strategy: If the facts don't suit you, make up them up
There's no such thing as an honest Warmist and Michael Mann is a model of that.
He starts out below with an implication that a CO2 level of 450ppm would be dangerous but blithely ignores the fact that for many years Warmists said 400 ppm was the danger point. But 400 ppm has been reached and nothing happened. So how do we know that any other ppm figure is not just another figure plucked out of the air? It is exactly that of course
Then he goes on to a real whopper: "the earth’s temperature has ticked up just as expected". Even people like IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri and NASA's Jim Hansen have admitted that global warming has been halted for the last 17 years but Mann makes no mention of that
He ends up however admitting that the predictions are uncertain and even implies that they are of very low probablity -- so the truth is gradually getting to him
On April 30, a research professor at the center of the so-called “climate wars” came to Fordham to talk about rising carbon dioxide emissions and the science that shows they need to be curtailed.
The speaker was Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, whose research helped the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change secure a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and who has authored two books on the topic. Mann has been the target of climate change deniers, who hacked into his e-mail account in an attempt to discredit him.
He spoke at the Rose Hill campus and was introduced by Stephen Holler, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics.
Mann started with a basic description of greenhouse effect, caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide that “traps” part of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth. The resulting warming is amplified by feedback mechanisms such as increased evaporation, which boosts the amount of airborne water vapor that, in turn, acts as a greenhouse gas as well, he said.
In 2013, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time, he said. If there’s no change in the burning of fossil fuels, levels will reach 450 parts per million in a matter of just decades. By the mid-21st century, it will be be double the level that existed in preindustrial times. Meanwhile, he said, the earth’s temperature has ticked up just as expected.
“Everything I told you thus far wasn't based on climate models; it was based on simple physics that we've known about for two centuries—irrefutable measurements that tell us we're changing the composition of the atmosphere in an unprecedented manner and that the Earth is warming up as we expect it to,” he said.
“Scientists around the world would be completely stumped … if the Earth were not warming up,” he said.
Mann discussed climate change projections based on computer models, saying that one of the more benign projections—that the Earth will experience an increase in global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius, compared to preindustrial times, if nothing is done—“puts us firmly into the danger zone.”
“You start to see bad things happen when you talk about human health, water resources, food, national security, our economy, biodiversity, and across the board,” he said.
Such an increase could be three degrees higher, he said—“the difference between a problem that would be moderate, and which we could adapt to, and a problem that would be catastrophic.”
“Some people say, ‘Well, it's uncertain—maybe we'll be lucky,’” he said. “It’s true, maybe we'll get lucky. But maybe we'll get unlucky.”
Invoking the example of a cost-benefit analysis, he said, “we buy fire insurance not because we think our homes are going to burn down, but because if they did burn down it would be catastrophic. It's a very low-probability event with an effectively infinite cost to us [because] it ruins our lives if it happens.”
“I would argue that reducing greenhouse gas emission is a planetary insurance policy” because of the possibility that the worst projections could come true, he said.
Are pets bad for the environment?
The author's subheading below reveals the emptiness of his case. His basic assumption is wrong. He implies that the world's resources are running out. But they are not. Our entire history for the last few centuries is one of increasing resources. Mankind is always inventing new ones, with fracking being the latest example. The stone age did not end because people ran out of stone. It ended because human ingenuity converted more and more physical "things" into resources. Bauxite pebbles did not become a resource untill Hall & Heroult figured out how to convert it into aluminium. We in fact face a future of ever-increasing resources and affluence. Fracking is the great resource upsurge of recent times but all history tells us that there is more to come
With the world's resources under increasing pressure, Erik Assadourian argues that pet ownership needs a drastic rethink
Early last month the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition launched an update for its Pet Industry Sustainability Toolkit (yes, it's called PIST). Touting a partner like Natural Capital Solutions, this toolkit, in theory, should offer some bold ways the industry could become sustainable – such as promoting small dog ownership (as they eat less) – but instead it offers remedial advice like how to reduce packaging waste, make buildings more efficient, and remove toxic chemicals from supply chains.
Meanwhile, less than two weeks later, hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs convened in Orlando for the 10th annual Global Pet Expo to sell more useless stuff to pet owners – everything from remote video camera treat dispensing systems (for the guilty pet owner who spends all day at the office) to designer pet clothes, toys, even burial caskets – helping to stoke the annual $55.7bn pet industry in the US.
As our pets increasingly adopt the consumer habits of their owners, it's clear that no matter how "green" this industry becomes, it will never become sustainable. But even if we severely restrict what pet products can be sold, and even if we stop overfeeding our increasingly overweight pet populations – 53% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight or obese in the US, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention – can pets be part of a sustainable future?
The short, if unpopular, answer is probably not. Two German Shepherds use more resources just for their annual food needs than the average Bangladeshi uses each year in total. And while pet owners may disagree that Bangladeshis have more right to exist than their precious Schnookums, the truth is that pets serve little more societal purpose than keeping us company in an increasingly individualistic and socially isolated consumer society.
So fast forward to a climate disrupted future, which the new IPCC report suggests is coming faster than we thought. Where do pets fit in? When climate change disrupts grain supplies, shoots food prices through the roof and also eviscerates the global consumer economy, pets may be abandoned in droves, as families suddenly can no longer afford their upkeep. We've seen this happen in times of economic crises, hence the large feral dog population in Detroit today. But perhaps at that point the pet issue will solve itself – as these packs of dogs become a bridge food for the hungry unemployed masses.
In other words, as we prepare for the contracting future ahead, a low-hanging fruit is to change the culture around pet ownership. Not just by putting the above barriers in place to discourage overall ownership, but to help shift the norms around what pet ownership means.
North American Natural Gas Seeks Markets Overseas
A slew of multibillion-dollar coastal projects compete to ship super-chilled LNG to Asia and Europe
North America's natural gas boom is now so big that the industry and its supporters believe it should not be contained to just one continent.
They argue this new bounty should be shared—especially with hungry markets in Asia and Europe willing to pay a high price for the fuel. But long-distance transport of natural gas is one of the world's most expensive engineering feats, and it will require government approvals, community support, and billions of dollars in capital to take North American gas overseas.
Despite the challenges, proposals are now moving forward to make the Chesapeake Bay waterfront community of Cove Point, Maryland, into a global gateway for Pennsylvania shale gas, and to turn the remote British Columbia coastal village of Kitimat into an international energy hub.
In all, some 40 new export projects have been proposed in the United States and Canada, giant multibillion-dollar facilities to superchill natural gas into liquid form at -260°F (-162°C) so it can be shipped by refrigerated tanker. This liquefied natural gas, or LNG, takes 600 times less space, making it economical to move by vessel.
The LNG business has been around for decades; Japan, the world's largest importer, relies on such shipments for all of its natural gas. But as the distance between the world natural gas supply and demand centers becomes more clear, price disparities have grown. The International Energy Agency noted last fall that the price of natural gas in the European Union has been running at roughly triple the price in the United States, while Japan has been paying nearly five times as much.
As a result, there is a frenzy of building and planning to build and expand LNG terminals, not only in North America, but in other energy-rich locations such as Australia, the Middle East, and Russia.
Chris Holmes, senior director of global gas and LNG at the consulting firm IHS Energy, said proposed new and expanded international export facilities, a dozen of of which are already under construction, would nearly triple the amount of liquefied natural gas on the market. The increase would likely meet global demand for decades, he said.
"You have a wide [price] spread there and that's the attraction," Holmes said.
Yet industry analysts say many of the proposed export facilities might not get beyond the planning stage because of high costs and stiff international competition. Exporting natural gas by ship requires building massive facilities to supercool the gas. Holmes said these liquefaction facilities cost as much as $10 billion, only part of a $30 billion investment to build a new export facility.
"This is a very challenging business," Holmes said, adding that it can take more than a decade to turn a profit.
A Gas Wedge Against Putin?
The financial realities mean that North American natural gas will not be hitting the high seas anytime soon. That means U.S. energy supplies made bountiful by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are not likely to be a useful lever in the short term against the world's other natural gas powerhouse, Russia, in the current crisis over Crimea and Ukraine, experts say.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has suggested that the lack of U.S. natural gas ports amounts to a "de facto ban on exports," and he has called for President Barack Obama's administration to dramatically expand natural gas production and speed export facilities in order to supplant Russia as Europe's natural gas supplier.
The Netherlands opened its first import terminal for LNG, a facility on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, in 2011.
However, IHS said the Ukrainian crisis "may promote a shift to simplifying (and expediting)" the U.S. government's export approval process.
Caruba: Science, Free Speech, and the Courts
By Alan Caruba
The public, after decades of global warming advocacy, now called “climate change”, has begun to conclude that claims of a massive warming trend were dubious and that real climate change is the natural response of the planet to forces well beyond any impact of the human race.
The fact is that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for some 17 years based on lower rates of solar radiation as the Sun undergoes one of its natural cycles, a reduction in the number of sunspots or magnetic storms on its surface.
The May 5th edition of the National Review devotes its cover story to “The Case Against Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick and Free Speech” by Charles C.W. Cooke because the creator of the “hockey stick” graph purporting a massive warming is suing the magazine, commentator Mark Steyn, along with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Rand Simberg. In his suit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court, Mann asserts that “in making the defamatory statement” they acted intentionally, maliciously, willfully, and with the intent to injure Dr. Mann, or to benefit (National Review) and Steyn.”
Mann is asserting a “narrow form of libel that American law prohibits” said Cooke. “As a seminal Supreme Court case, New York Times v. Sullivan, outlined in 1964, using the law of libel, to drag journalists into court for expressing their sincere views on matters of major public importance is entirely inconsistent with our ‘national commitment to principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open.’”
Mann’s feelings are hurt and he believes that any criticism of the questionable science he applied to the creation of his now-famous global warming graph is libel. I believe the court will conclude that using the charge of libel to silence his critics is wrong. That’s what makes the case important, in particular for a basic principle of science, and in general for the public understanding that global warming and/or climate change depends on vigorous debate.
Science depends on being able to reproduce the results of an assertion by other scientists. Suffice to say that Mann’s graph has been extensively disputed and found lacking in the methods used to produce it.
As Cooke reports, the graph “purports to depict global temperature trends between the years A.D. 1000 and 2000” and takes its name from “a mostly flat line of temperature data from the year 1000 until about 1900 (the handled of the hockey stick), followed by a sharp uptick over the 20th century (the blade).” The graph was published in the 2001 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since then the IPCC has been retreating from its vehement claim that global warming posed a major threat to life on Earth.
In 2009, the leak of many emails between members of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Center and others engaging in the global warming claims revealed that “Mann and his colleagues have processed their data in a way that makes global warming appear more severe than the evidence suggests on its own.” Most damning was Mann’s use of tree ring data and the way other data was ignored in order to make his claims about global warming appear to be valid. “The leaked emails suggest that some members of the IPCC were well aware of these inconsistencies—and even may have sought to conceal them,” notes Cooke.
Aside from the dubious science cited, the issue before the court is whether publicly questioning Mann can or should be deemed libelous. If it concludes that it is, then the most fundamental principle of science will be destroyed and the courts will fill up with similar cases whose purpose would be to censor and silence the debate that is the life blood of science.
Mann has claimed to have been a Nobel Prize laureate, but Cooke notes that the Nobel Committee “explicitly said that he is not.” He has claimed that the National Academy of Sciences and that the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit investigations into his conduct and his work “have fully vindicated him “when they in fact have done no such thing.”
Worldwide, people have been subjected to the greatest hoax of the modern era and 17 years of cooling demonstrates that carbon dioxide, a “greenhouse gas” plays no role in heating the Earth. All of the claims about global warming are demonstrably wrong, along with all of the computer models and other “proof” inaccurate to the point of being purposefully deceptive.
At the heart of the case against the National Review is whether a scientist can silence his critics and one can only hope for the sake of science, free speech, freedom of the press, and the truth that Mann loses.
Editor’s note: The testimony of climate scientist Dr. John R. Christy of the University of Alabama before a 2011 U.S. House hearing on climate change addresses how and why Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” became such a prominent part of the IPCC Third Assessment Report in 2011. It is available here (PDF)
Fracking: EU red tape threat to British energy boom
Britain will be told to get fracking faster for shale gas when the House of Lords economy committee publishes its report this week
Britain’s fracking industry is being held back by environmental regulations drawn up in Brussels, a senior committee of the House of Lords is expected to say this week.
In a major report, the Lords are expected to call for permits to be granted more quickly to drilling companies to allow them to test the potential of newly drilled shale gas wells.
Government experts believe that Britain’s shale gas and oil reserves, buried deep underground, could generate billions of pounds worth of fuel in future.
Ministers hope that exploiting the shale gas and oil reserves, through the controversial process of fracking, could help secure a home-grown energy supply and reduce household gas and electricity bills in future.
David Cameron has said the Ukraine crisis should act as a spur to encourage Britain and the rest of the European Union to embrace fracking and reduce its reliance on imported gas from Russia.
But the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whose members include the former Conservative chancellor, Lord Lawson of Blaby, is expected to conclude that it is impossible to know what the UK’s shale reserves will be worth without more widespread fracking.
The Lords committee has been investigating the potential impact of shale gas and oil on the UK economy and energy policy since October 2013.
They are expected to conclude that the potential benefits to Britain from fracking are huge but that progress in the exploration of new wells, and testing the "flow rate" of gas and oil from these wells, should be accelerated.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into shale rock deep underground, which then fractures, releasing its reserves of gas and oil.
Environmental concerns have been raised over the potential risks to drinking water supplies from contamination by fracking waste chemicals and water, and the danger of causing earth tremors.
Cuadrilla, the shale gas exploration company, has written to the committee warning that progress has so far been slow due to the “very lengthy” process of agreeing permits to frack with the Environment Agency, the state regulator.
The company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, told the Lords committee that the past two years had seen “a huge amount of debate and development of environmental permit requirements for shale, not least in respect of the application of various European Union Directives”.
The company will submit fresh applications for fracking permits to the Environment Agency, including proposals to develop several new sites, “in the near future”, he said, adding that he hoped the regulator’s response would be “speedy”.
Industry groups warned the committee that Britain’s onshore oil and gas businesses were governed by 14 separate EU directives, ranging from water directives to minor waste regulations.
British ministers, including Mr Cameron and the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, have been fighting attempts to impose new EU directives on the fracking industry across Europe.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Mr Cameron warned Europe against imposing “burdensome” new red tape on the fracking industry.
He said businesses wanting to relocate in Europe needed “cheap and predictable sources of energy”.
“If the European Union or its member states impose burdensome, unjustified or premature regulatory burdens on shale gas exploration in Europe, investors will quickly head elsewhere,” he said.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, has said that shale gas could bring “thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of business investment, and lower energy bills”.
However, only a relatively small proportion of Britain – about 7,300 sq miles – has so far been licensed for oil and gas drilling. This includes parts of Sussex, where drilling for oil at Balcombe by Cuadrilla caused fierce protests.
Last year, ministers commissioned consultants to identify which other areas are suitable for drilling. Greenpeace, which opposes fracking, says the areas being assessed cover some 32,000 sq miles.
A government report is expected to be published soon setting out the next wave of potential fracking opportunities in southern England.
The Committee, chaired by Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, a Cabinet minister in the governments of Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, will publish its report on the economic impact of shale gas on Thursday.
The peers have heard evidence from witnesses including academic experts, government officials, companies involved in the extraction of shale gas and oil, and anti-fracking campaigners.
Ministers have announced measures to ensure the safety of fracking after concerns that the process can trigger earthquakes.
Seismic activity during fracking will be closely monitored and any significant changes will result in the process being slowed or stopped.
Australia: Climate scientists in audit commission's crosshairs
And are they squealing!
The nation’s climate and weather predicting capacity and the jobs of dozens of scientists are at risk if the Abbott government accepts a recommendation of the National Commission of Audit to axe a key program, researchers said.
The Australian Climate Change Science Program’s four-year funding of $31.6 million, mostly to the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, duplicates work by those and other agencies and “should be returned to the budget or allocated to priority areas”, the commission said in its report.
But scientists, including Michael Raupach, formerly of the CSIRO and now at the Australian National University, said the program supported a “great deal of critical scientific work” that helps refine climate models which are also used for weather forecasting.
“The future course of climate change matters hugely for Australia, and continued observation and modelling of climate is absolutely vital,” said Dr Raupach, whose research over more than three decades for CSIRO also included funding from the program. “The ACCSP is an important component of our national effort, and the whole effort would be much reduced without this program.”
“The government is currently considering the commission of audit,” said a spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt, declining to elaborate.
While the bulk of the commission’s recommendations – ranging from cutting the minimum wage to raising the cost of doctor visits – are not expected to feature in the federal budget on Tuesday week, the dismissal of the threat from global warming by senior Abbott government members has scientists nervous about their future.
One scientist said the $4 million or so provided to the CSIRO by the ACCSP per year was the reason the institution “was still in the game". Another said 30 to 35 climate scientists would lose their jobs directly if the program ceased and probably a similar number indirectly.
Despite the increasing heatwaves, rising sea levels and ocean acidification - which scientists link to rising greenhouse gas levels - the Abbott government has downplayed the risks from climate change, said Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler.
“This is a government that has shown a disdain for scientific research,” Mr Butler said. “From the Prime Minister down, it has regularly denigrated the work of scientists here in Australia and internationally around the area of climate change.”
Last week Treasury launched a Productivity Commission inquiry into disaster relief funding with its terms of reference omitting any mention of climate change, noting only that "the impacts and costs of extreme weather events can be expected to increase in the future with population growth and the expanding urbanisation of coast lines and mountain districts near our cities".
Axing the ACCSP may also put at risk Australia’s ability to receive information from other agencies. Australia's area of expertise includes the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, information the program shares with international bodies, receiving access to their work in turn on other regions also important to Australia’s climate.
“Climate change has not gone away,” said Dr Raupach. “The best scientific assessments indicate that Australia could be subject to warming over the 21st century that could range from less than two to more than five degrees.”
“The high end of this range would be catastrophic,” he said.
The potential for cuts to climate modelling comes as odds increase for an El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific. Recent signals include a significant weakening of the tradewinds and the warm pool of water now extending east of the international dateline.
El Nino years tend to be drier and hotter than average in Australia, with increased risk of droughts and bushfires.
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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 8:21 PM