Sunday, August 31, 2014
Myth of Arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now
Another stupid prophecy bites the dust
The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’
Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.
But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.
To put it another way, an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice.
The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.
This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.
Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres.
The satellite images published here are taken from a further authoritative source, the University of Illinois’s Cryosphere project.
They show that as well as becoming more extensive, the ice has grown more concentrated, with the purple areas – denoting regions where the ice pack is most dense – increasing markedly.
Crucially, the ice is also thicker, and therefore more resilient to future melting. Professor Andrew Shepherd, of Leeds University, an expert in climate satellite monitoring, said yesterday: ‘It is clear from the measurements we have collected that the Arctic sea ice has experienced a significant recovery in thickness over the past year.
‘It seems that an unusually cool summer in 2013 allowed more ice to survive through to last winter. This means that the Arctic sea ice pack is thicker and stronger than usual, and this should be taken into account when making predictions of its future extent.’
Yet for years, many have been claiming that the Arctic is in an ‘irrevocable death spiral’, with imminent ice-free summers bound to trigger further disasters. These include gigantic releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen Arctic deposits, and accelerated global warming caused by the fact that heat from the sun will no longer be reflected back by the ice into space.
Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said last night: ‘The Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed.’
Those who just a few years ago were warning of ice-free summers by 2014 included US Secretary of State John Kerry, who made the same bogus prediction in 2009, while Mr Gore has repeated it numerous times – notably in a speech to world leaders at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, in an effort to persuade them to agree a new emissions treaty.
Mr Gore – whose office yesterday failed to respond to a request for comment – insisted then: ‘There is a 75 per cent chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.’
Misleading as such forecasts are, some people continue to make them. Only last month, while giving evidence to a House of Lords Select Committee inquiry on the Arctic, Cambridge University’s Professor Peter Wadhams claimed that although the Arctic is not ice-free this year, it will be by September 2015.
Asked about this yesterday, he said: ‘I still think that it is very likely that by mid-September 2015, the ice area will be less than one million square kilometres – the official designation of ice-free, implying only a fringe of floes around the coastlines. That is where the trend is taking us.’
For that prediction to come true it would require by far the fastest loss of ice in history. It would also fly in the face of a report last year by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated with ‘medium confidence’ that ice levels would ‘likely’ fall below one million square kilometres by 2050.
Politicians such as Al Gore have often insisted that climate science is ‘settled’ and have accused those who question their forecasts of being climate change ‘deniers’.
However, while few scientists doubt that carbon-dioxide emissions cause global warming, and that this has caused Arctic ice to decline, there remains much uncertainty about the speed of melting and how much of it is due to human activity. But outside the scientific community, the more pessimistic views have attracted most attention. For example, Prof Wadhams’s forecasts have been cited widely by newspapers and the BBC. But many reject them.
Yesterday Dr Ed Hawkins, who leads an Arctic ice research team at Reading University, said: ‘Peter Wadhams’s views are quite extreme compared to the views of many other climate scientists, and also compared to what the IPCC report says.’
Dr Hawkins warned against reading too much into ice increase over the past two years on the grounds that 2012 was an ‘extreme low’, triggered by freak weather. ‘I’m uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice has bounced back,’ he said.
However, Dr Hawkins added that the decline seen in recent years was not caused only by global warming. It was, he said, intensified by ‘natural variability’ – shifts in factors such as the temperature of the oceans. This, he said, has happened before, such as in the 1920s and 1930s, when ‘there was likely some sea ice retreat’.
Dr Hawkins said: ‘There is undoubtedly some natural variability on top of the long-term downwards trend caused by the overall warming. This variability has probably contributed somewhat to the post-2000 steep declining trend, although the human-caused component still dominates.’
Like many scientists, Dr Hawkins said these natural processes may be cyclical. If and when they go into reverse, they will cool, not warm, the Arctic, in which case, he said, ‘a decade with no declining trend’ in ice cover would be ‘entirely plausible’.
Peer-reviewed research suggests that at least until 2005, natural variability was responsible for half the ice decline. But exactly how big its influence is remains an open question – and as both Dr Hawkins and Prof Curry agreed, establishing this is critical to making predictions about the Arctic’s future.
Prof Curry said: ‘I suspect that the portion of the decline in the sea ice attributable to natural variability could be even larger than half.
‘I think the natural variability component of Arctic sea ice extent is in the process of bottoming out, with a reversal to start within the next decade. And when it does, the reversal period could last for several decades.’
This led her to believe that the IPCC forecast, like Al Gore’s, was too pessimistic. ‘Ice-free in 2050 is a possible scenario, but I don’t think it is a likely scenario,’ she concluded.
How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen: A Skeptic’s View
by Joe Bast
An essay in the current issue of The Atlantic purports to instruct readers on “How to Talk About Climate So People Will Listen.” The author, Charles C. Mann, is a long-time contributor to the magazine who writes about history, tourism, and energy issues. With this article, he tries to cut a path between the two warring tribes in the global warming debate, the Alarmists and the Skeptics.
He fails, rather spectacularly I think.
The first four paragraphs (out of 45) are good, as are a few paragraphs later on about enviro fruitcake Bill McKibben. But the rest of the article simply accepts the dubious and sometimes outrageous assertions and false narratives that gave rise to alarmism in the first place, the same ones skeptics delight in debunking. Surveys show most people know more about global warming than does Mann. If alarmists use this article as their guide to how to talk about the issue, skeptics once again will win most of the debates in bars and around grills this summer.
A Good Start
Mann starts out strong, reporting how the media turned an obscure modeling exercise about the melt rate of the western Antarctic ice shelf into hysterical headlines about coastal flooding. Had he waited a couple weeks, he could have written much the same about “Russian methane holes.” The lesson in both cases is that the mainstream media are utterly unreliable sources of information on the climate issue. They profit from exaggeration, rely on special interests for advertising revenue, and lack expertise to report on science matters.
Sadly, Mann doesn’t appear to have learned this lesson. In the rest of his article he treats mainstream media accounts of the climate debate as dispository. The public understands this: Surveys show nearly half believe the media exaggerate the climate change problem.
Mann reports, in a single but very nice paragraph, the world’s enormous debt to fossil fuels. The Industrial Revolution, he says, was “driven by the explosive energy of coal, oil, and natural gas, it inaugurated an unprecedented three-century wave of prosperity.” One might quibble with his take on this: The improvement in the human condition started before 1800 and was the result of changes in institutions (the arrival of markets, private property, and limited government) and embrace of new values (the Scottish Enlightenment) as well as the discovery of fossil fuels. Without the first and second discoveries, the third would have done little more than heat some feudal castles and light some cobblestone streets.
An Important Step?
After this promising start, the errors come fast. “In an important step, the Obama administration announced in June its decision to cut power-plant emissions 30 percent by 2030.” There’s a lot wrong with that single sentence.
The Obama administration can’t cut power-plant emissions, except possibly by turning down the heat in the Oval Office in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer. It can only start rule-making processes that would make it illegal for coal-powered plants to continue to operate, and hope the courts and Congress don’t block or repeal the rules. That’s what it did. Time will tell if emissions fall as a result.
The baseline for the administration’s proposed cut of 30% of carbon dioxide emissions is 2005, nearly 10 years ago. Emissions have already fallen by about 15% since then (depending on who is measuring it), or half the goal. Is it unrealistic to expect a “business as usual” scenario would result in emissions in 2030 being 30 percent lower than they were in 2005?
Economists and demographers are converging on forecasts of continued “decarbonization” of the U.S. economy as electrification spreads, the service and digital sectors displace old-style manufacturing, economic growth slows, young people stay home or return home and stay longer than before, and an older population grows more sedentary. If so, how is the Obama administration’s proposal “an important step” to anywhere?
And just to pile on for a moment, even the Obama administration admits a reduction of 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 will have no detectable impact on global temperatures. Global warming alarmists admit this and call for reducing global emissions by 80% or more by 2050. Since there is no chance China, India, Canada, Australia, or Russia will reduce their emissions (voluntarily) between now and 2050, U.S. emissions would need to go to zero or even negative to meet that goal. (Negative? Yes… our economy would need to become a net “carbon sink,” sequestering more carbon dioxide than we emit.) How is Obama’s “business as usual” proposal an “important step” toward that goal?
Those Pesky Economists
Mann correctly scolds alarmists for “rhetorical overreach, moral miscalculation, shouting at cross-purposes…,” a “toxic blend” that damages their cause and fuels the skeptic backlash. But then he miscategorizes their opponents as economists, who he calls “cheerleaders for industrial capitalism.” That line reveals how little Mann knows about public opinion or economics.
Surveys show two-thirds of the American people don’t think global warming is man-made or a serious problem. Are two thirds of the American people economists? Not the last time I checked.
In the national (and global) debate over global warming, economists aren’t prominent, despite some attempts and wishes it were otherwise. The skeptics’ strongest weapon isn’t economics, it’s common sense. Temperatures aren’t rising even though carbon dioxide levels are. Reducing our emissions won’t affect climate so long as other nations keep increasing theirs. Some continued warming would produce more benefits than harms. Future generations will be far wealthier than us despite a small increase in temperatures. Each of these common-sense (and true) observations are deadly to the alarmists’ cause.
Everybody knows we reap tremendous benefits from affordable fossil fuels today. You don’t need to be an economist to know that those benefits vastly exceed the benefits, two centuries from now, of slowing the advance of man-made climate change by one degree or two, assuming the alarmists’ dubious predictions are correct.
Mann’s appreciation for fossil fuels, so eloquently expressed in paragraph three, is missing now. He dismisses cost-benefit analysis as having “moral problems” due to the way it handles small risks and long time horizons. That will come as news to all the experts who made careers of conducting cost-benefit analyses on a wide range of programs and challenges. Why is global warming any different?
Politics and Environmental Protection
Mann says global warming legislation no longer wins congressional approval due to a polarization in views over the value of environmental protection that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. In Mann’s telling of the story, concern for the environment began as a conservative movement, and then businesses “realized that environmental issues had a price tag. Increasingly, they balked. Reflexively, the anticorporate left pivoted; Earth Day, erstwhile snow job, became an opportunity to denounce capitalist greed.”
Some of us who were part of the environmental movement in the 1970s and 1980s saw something different taking place. The great environmental protection legislation of the 1970s passed with nearly unanimous support because the problems were real and begged for national solutions. After early major successes, an iron triangle of bureaucrats, grandstanding politicians, and yellow journalists started a drum-beat for pursuing ever-more stringent emission reductions regardless of their negligible benefits and soaring costs. The consensus that had produced lop-sided votes in favor of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts disappeared, not because of some kind of “political stasis in the ‘90s,” but because the biggest environmental problems had been solved and further legislation wasn’t needed.
It was at this point, during the 1980s, that liberals (or “progressives”) saw the opportunity and the need to take over the environmental movement and use its members as shock troops in its war on “capitalism.” It was easy, since conservatives and libertarians were stepping down and moving on to organizations created to solve real problems. Many histories of the left’s takeover of the environmental movement have been written. A partial list appears in Jay Lehr’s recent Heartland Policy Brief on “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Once in charge of the environmental movement, the left turned its erstwhile members into conscripts much like the others in its army: organized labor, feminists, African Americans, trial lawyers, and gays and lesbians. Donors to the environmental movement – solar and wind entrepreneurs, ethanol producers, lawyers, and billionaire financiers like Tom Steyer – are dunned for contributions to the Democratic Party and its affiliates. Propaganda replaces factual information, hysterical warnings of threats to rights and privileges lead to calls to action and “remember to vote on Tuesday.”
The politicization of the movement is made explicit by the League of Conservation Voters’ annual scorecards, which invariably reward Democrats and punish Republicans. The 2013 National Environmental Scorecard, which it says “represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations,” includes this nice tribute to bipartisanship: “The Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to be controlled by Tea Party climate change deniers with an insatiable appetite for attacks on the environment and public health.”
More False Narratives
Mann says “a cap-and-trade mechanism… reduced acid rain at a fraction of the predicted cost; electric bills were barely affected.” Actually, research by energy economist Jim Johnston and others shows the cap-and-trade mechanism played only a minor role in reducing emissions. What drove the reductions while allowing prices to stay low was the opening of inexpensive low-sulfur coal mines in western states.
Mann says, “I remember winters as being colder in my childhood….” The 1970s saw some of the coldest winters in the twentieth century, so it’s no surprise many of us remember them that way. But the 1930s and 1940s were warmer than today … and human carbon dioxide emissions couldn’t have been responsible for that warm period. This past winter was the coldest, longest, and snowiest in my life (I live in Illinois and part-time in Wisconsin), and recent summers have been among the coolest I can recall. This morning it was 51 degrees when I walked to my train… on August 15. I don’t remember having to wear coats in August, do you?
Mann says “a few critics argue that for the past 17 years warming has mostly stopped. Still, most scientists believe that in the past century the Earth’s average temperature has gone up by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.” This is wrong on a couple counts.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Mann and alarmists generally hold out as the gold standard of climate research, admitted there’s been no warming for the past 15 years in its “final draft” Summary for Policymakers, before politicians and environmental activists made them take it out. Is that “a few critics”? And skeptics don’t deny a warming of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit occurred “in the past century.” Much of the increase occurred before it could have been attributed to the human presence. Why this peculiar and misleading phrasing?
Swallowing the Left’s Rhetoric
By now, most readers will have figured out that Mann isn’t the impartial observer of the global warming debate he pretends to be. I wasn’t surprised to read, “rising temperatures per se are not the primary concern,” which is the alarmists’ pat answer when confronted by the fact that global warming stopped 17 years ago. But here’s the problem with that: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the alarmists’ computer models “rule out” a zero trends for 15 years or more, meaning an observed absence of warming of this duration invalidates the models… and the alarmists’ theory.
(Here’s the source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2009. Knight, J. et al., Comment in Peterson, T. C., and M. O. Baringer, Eds., “State of the Climate in 2008,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 90, p. S23.)
When data rise up and refute a theory, good scientists don’t reject the data, they reject the theory. Global warming alarmists just say “never mind” and move to the next bit of pseudoscience. Like this: “Note, too, that this policy comes with a public-health bonus: reining in coal pollution could ultimately avoid as many as 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 children’s asthma attacks per year in the United States alone.”
Really, it doesn’t get much sillier than this. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, invisible, colorless gas. It doesn’t cause “premature deaths” or “asthma attacks.” Shutting down all the coal plants in the U.S. would reduce emissions of real pollutants, which is the basis for Mann’s claim, but those emissions already are too low to be associated with human health effects, and asthma attacks have been rising in frequency even as those emissions have dropped. The dramatically higher energy bills caused by shutting down coal plants, however, would cause morepremature deaths, and since asthma is correlated with family income, would cause moreasthma attacks.
It All Leads Up to This?
After a few paragraphs of criticism of easy-target Bill McKibben, presumably to throw skeptical readers off his alarmist scent, Mann delivers what those readers who haven’t given up already might think is the best talking point: “Let’s assume that rising carbon-dioxide levels will become a problem of some magnitude at some time and that we will want to do something practical about it.”
Yes, really, this is what 40 or so paragraphs have led up to: Let’s just assume it’s a big problem (or will be) and we should all just pitch in and try to solve it. This is where Uncle Jack leans over and says “Um, how about we not make a series of such dumb-ass assumptions and in the process save billions (even trillions) of dollars and millions (maybe billions) of human lives?”
This is the crux of the problem, both with Mann’s attempt to find a middle ground in the global warming debate and with the left’s obsession with the issue. Global warming alarmism rests on assumptions, not facts, logic, or reason. It’s got no game.
“Let’s just assume there’s a reason for government to take over a quarter of the nation’s economy and fix it, just like Obamacare will fix health care. Let’s simply assume the missing science exists, that the warming will be big enough to notice, that it will happen before mankind has found a substitute for fossil fuels or is colonizing other planets, and that the benefits of stopping or slowing climate change would be worth the expense.”
Anyone who stops and thinks about this, even for a moment, realizes it’s nonsense. Why would you make these assumptions? Why would you give up the benefits of affordable fossil fuels? “We may not be scientists,” says Uncle Jack, “but we’re not stupid.”
This is why alarmists always lose debates against skeptics. It’s why alarmists will look and act like fools this summer at countless cook-outs and family parties, while skeptics will sound thoughtful and reasonable. It’s not because, as Mann insists, people are too stupid to understand graphs. It’s because alarmists are wrong and skeptics are right. It’s just common sense.
And that, my friends, is how to talk about climate change so people will listen.
Academics Must Take Skeptics Seriously
by Joe Bast
A review and comment on: Ferenc Jankó, Norbert Móricz, Judit Papp Vancsó, “Reviewing the climate change reviewers: Exploring controversy through report references and citations,” Geoforum, Volume 56, September 2014, pages 17–34.
An article published in the September, 2014 issue of Geoforum, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Elsevier, reports 90.79% of source citations in Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) were to peer-reviewed journals, a higher percentage than was the case with the United Nations’ IPCC Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. The authors found “the scientific background of the NIPCC report is quite similar to the IPCC report,” and concluded, “when we take the contrarian arguments seriously, there is a chance to bring together the differing views and knowledge claims of the disputing ‘interpretive communities’ (Lahsen, 2013b).”
This is dramatic vindication for the lead authors (Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer), 35 contributors and reviewers, and coeditors (Diane Carol Bast and me) of the 2009 NIPCC report. On a shoe-string budget and tight time-line, we produced a report that is just as credible as those produced by an international bureaucracy involving thousands of scientists, activists, and politicians, spending many millions of dollars, and taking several years to produce.
Since 2009, NIPCC has produced three more volumes – an interim report in 2011 containing chiefly reviews of new research, and two hefty volumes in 2013 and earlier this year focusing on the physical science and biological impacts of climate change. Those volumes are even more comprehensive and authoritative than the 2009 report.
The Geoforum article is not the first time NIPCC has been recognized as a major contributor to the global warming debate. The volumes have been cited more than 100 times in peer-reviewed journal articles and by a long list of prominent climate scientists. In 2013, the Information Center for Global Change Studies, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, translated and published an abridged edition of the 2009 and 2011 NIPCC reports in a single volume, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences organized a NIPCC Workshop in Beijing to allow the NIPCC principal authors to present summaries of their conclusions.
When the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post reported on the release of the IPCC’s latest report, in late 2013, their news articles also commented on the latest NIPCC report, noting that NIPCC reached the opposite conclusions, indicating that a legitimate scientific debate over the causes and consequences of climate change continued.
The Geoforum article contains statements and information worth noting. Regarding the NIPCC report’s use of peer-reviewed literature, the authors say, “The peer-reviewed material was 90.5% of the IPCC report (and 84% of the IPCC TAR WGI Report – Bjurström and Polk, 2011a) and 90.79% of the material used by the NIPCC.” The authors write that they had “assumed that the reference list of the NIPCC report would differ markedly” from that of IPCC reports due to the alarmist bias of the editors of mainstream science journals and the “malpractice” revealed during the Climategate scandal. “In fact,” they write, “considering the most cited journals (Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Nature, Science), it seems that the scientific background of the NIPCC report is quite similar to the IPCC report.”
The authors found the 2009 NIPCC report apparently has 1,466 references, of which 1,331 were peer-reviewed. We never counted them ourselves, so we thank them for this hard work.
The penultimate paragraphs of the Geoforum article call out some findings, but are couched in language that obscures the points made above and reduces the findings to some rather arcane observations. Reviewing the same body of literature and coming to opposite conclusions is evidence that “the assessment process [is] flexible,” another way of saying disagreement can be honest and not due to fakery. Then the author write,
"What are the implications for science? There is a real concern that the controversy has so far had a negative effect on the reputation of science. From the perspective of an idealised public view of science (Lahsen, 2013a), such a polarised debate about ‘truths’ may be confusing. Thus, social science with science studies in the forefront has a mission to change this obsolete view of science. Saying ‘yes’ to our first question we might have a somewhat ‘naive’ implication for the IPCC; improving and widening the reviewing process may be a possible answer to the contrarian criticisms. But when we take the contrarian arguments seriously, there is a chance to bring together the differing views and knowledge claims of the disputing ‘interpretive communities’ (Lahsen, 2013b)."
The final paragraph reads as follows:
"More broadly, we should consider that both reports purport to be based on the ideal of pure, value-free science, where the prevailing scientific practices may not lead to the end of the debate because citations are not solid bricks on which to build statements, conclusions and political decisions later on (cf. Sarewitz, 2004). Scientific reports should be viewed not only as a second level of peer review and canonization of scientific facts but also as a means of politicization of science. Our paper’s final conclusion, claiming a more constructive and iterative science-policy relation, is well echoed in the literature (e.g. Demeritt, 2006; Pielke, 2007; Hulme, 2009; van der Sluijs et al., 2010b; Latour, 2011). However, there will be hope for better science for the public and for policy, for better constructions of the problem only when we fully understand the knowledge controversy around climate change."
This is a little perplexing until you realize they are assuming, but don’t say, that NIPCC is comparable and just as credible (or not) as the IPCC report. Both studies, they say, demonstrate that survey reports like IPCC and NIPCC are not “pure, value-free science” nor are they sufficiently credible to serve as the basis for “statements, conclusions and political decisions later on.” Rather, such studies are “a second level of peer review and canonization of scientific facts but also … a means of politicization of science.”
I take this as an effort to poison a victory by global warming skeptics. NIPCC is just as good, just as credible or reliable, as the IPCC, and this message ought to be shouted from rooftops. But having achieved this despite lack of resources, editorial bias, and outright academic fraud, the significance of our victory is trivialized by saying it hardly matters because neither NIPCC nor IPCC is credible or reliable.
Such criticism of the IPCC is rare in the peer-reviewed literature, and if the price of getting “mainstream” academics to say it is to have our credibility disparaged as well, I suppose it is worth paying. Regardless, it is now clear that mainstream academics must take global warming skeptics seriously.
Australian weatherman’s records reveal warming fraud
AS a child, Ian Cole would watch his father Neville take meticulous readings from the Bureau of Meteorology thermometer at the old post office in the western NSW town of Bourke and send the results through by teleprinter.
The temperature was recorded every three hours, including at night when the mercury sometimes plunged to freezing, and the data was logged in handwritten journals that included special notes to help explain the results.
That all changed in 1996 when the Stevenson Screen, the official measuring equipment, was replaced with an automatic station and moved to an airport site.
The Stevenson Screen went to the dump and, but for fate, the handwritten notes could have gone there too. But without instruction, the records were kept and are now under lock and key, held as physical evidence of what the weather was really doing in the mid-20th century.
These Bourke records have assumed a new significance in light of concerns about how historic data is being treated at many sites around the country. The records are also important in an ongoing row that frustrates Mr Cole.
The Bourke cotton farmer may be managing director of the local radio station 2WEB but Mr Cole can only broadcast temperature records that date back to 2000 because the Bureau of Meteorology won’t supply historic records to service provider Weatherzone.
As a result “hottest day on record” doesn’t really mean what it seems. “We keep on being told about records that are not actually records and averages that are not quite right,” Mr Cole said.
Worse still there are concerns about what has happened to the precision of those handwritten records in the earlier years. Bourke now forms part of a network of weather stations used to make up the national record known as ACORN-SAT. The raw temperature records are “homogenised”, a method BOM says has been peer-reviewed as world’s best practice and is used by equivalent meteorological organisations across the world.
Independent research, the results of which have not been disputed by BOM, has shown that, after homogenisation, a 0.53C warming in the minimum temperature trend has been increased to a 1.64C warming trend. A 1.7C cooling trend in the maximum temperature series in the raw data for Bourke has been changed to a slight warming.
BOM has rejected any suggestion that it has tampered inappropriately with the numbers. It says the major adjustment to Bourke temperatures relate to “site moves in 1994, 1999 and 1938 as well as 1950s in homogeneities that were detected by neighbour comparison which, based on station photos before and after, may relate to changes in vegetation around the site”.
Queensland researcher Jennifer Marohasy, who has analysed the Bourke records, says BOM’s analysis is all very well but the largest adjustments, both to maximum temperature series, occurred in the period 1911 and 1915 with a stepdown of about 0.7C, followed by a step-up between 1951 and 1953 of about 0.45C. Of greater concern to Dr Marohasy is that historic high temperatures, such as the record 51.7C recorded on January 3, 1909, were removed from the record on the assumption it was a clerical error. In fact, all the data for Bourke for 40 years before 1910 has been discarded from the official record. If it were there, says Dr Marohasy, the record would show that temperatures were particularly hot during that period.
For Mr Cole it is a simple matter of trusting the care and attention of his father. “Why should you change manually created records?” Mr Cole said. “At the moment they (BOM) are saying we have a warming climate but if the old figures are used we have a cooling climate.”
It’s about the money, not the climate
By Alan Caruba
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the Irish poet and dramatist, wrote “Pray don’t talk to me about the weather. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”
These days, when some world leader or politician speaks of the climate — the weather is what is happening right now wherever you are — they are not talking about sunshine or rain. They are talking about a devilishly obscene way of raising money by claiming that it is humans that are threatening the climate with everything they do, from turning on the lights to driving anywhere.
That’s why “global warming” was invented in the late 1980s as an immense threat to the Earth and to mankind. Never mind that Earth has routinely passed through warmer and cooler cycles for billions of years; much of which occurred before mankind emerged. And never mind that the Earth has been a distinct cooling cycle for the past seventeen years and likely to stay in it for a while. If the history of ice ages is any guide, we could literally be on the cusp of a new one.
If, however, a government can tax the use of energy, it stands to make a lot of money. That is why carbon taxes have been introduced in some nations and why the nearly useless “clean energy” options of wind and solar have been introduced even though they both require the backup of traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear energy plants because they cannot produce electricity if the wind isn’t blowing and the sun is obscured by clouds.
Taxing energy use means taxing “greenhouse gas” emissions; primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) so that every ton of it added to the atmosphere by a power plant and any other commercial activity becomes a source of income for the nation. The Australians went through this and rapidly discovered it drove up their cost of electricity and negatively affected their economy so much that they rid themselves of a prime minister and the tax within the past year.
Fortunately, every effort to introduce a carbon tax has been defeated by the U.S. Congress, but that it has shelled out billions for “climate research” over the years. That doesn’t mean, however, that 41 members of the House of Representatives haven’t gotten together in a “Safe Climate Caucus” led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman. The Washington Post reported that when it was launched in February 2013, the members promised to talk every day on the House floor about “the urgent need to address climate change.”
Check out the caucus and, if your Representative is a member, vote to replace him or her with someone less idiotic.
When you hear the President or a member of Congress talk about the climate, they are really talking about the scheme to generate revenue from it through taxation or to raise money from those who will personally benefit from any scheme related to the climate such as “clean energy.”
The need of governments to frighten their citizens about the climate in order to raise money is international in scope. A United States that has a $17 trillion debt is a prime example, much of it due to a government grown so large it wastes taxpayer’s money in the millions with every passing day whether it is sunny or rainy, warm or cold.
In late July, Reuters reported that Christine Lagarde, the chair of theInternational Monetary Fund, (IMF) opined in her new book that “energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use.”
Please pay no attention to the billions of dollars that coal, oil and natural gas already generate for the nations in which they are found. Nations such as India and China are building coal-fired plants as fast as possible to provide the electricity every modern nation needs to expand its economy, provide more employment, and improve their citizen’s lives in every way imaginable.
“For the first time,” Reuters reported, “the IMF laid out exactly what it views as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel in 156 countries to factor in the fuel’s overall costs, which include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents.” The problem with this is that the costs cited are bogus.
“Nations,” said Lagarde, “are now working on a United Nations deal for late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, but progress has been slow as nations fret about the impact any measures may have on economic growth.” As in bad impacts!
Ignore the claims that carbon dioxide affects the climate. Its role is so small it can barely be measured because CO2 represents 380 parts per million. When our primate ancestors began to climb down out of the trees, CO2 levels were about 1,000 parts per million. More CO2 means more crops, healthy growing forests, and all the other benefits that every form of vegetation provides. The breath we humans exhale contains about 4% of CO2.
The fact is that the United States and other nations are being run by politicians who are incapable of reducing spending or borrowing more in order to spend more. Venezuela just defaulted again on the payment of bonds it issued to raise money. They did this in 2001 and one must wonder why any financial institution purchases them.
There are eleven other nations whose credit ratings are flirting with big trouble. They include Greece, Ukraine, Pakistan, Cypress, and in the Americas Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Belize. Borrowing by such nations is very expensive. A U.S. Treasury Note pays an annual coupon of just 2.5%, but the yields on 10-year bonds issue by Greece reached 29% in early 2012, just before it defaulted.
Adding to problems in the U.S. is the Obama agenda being acted upon by the Environmental Protection Agency whose “war on coal” has shuttered several hundred plants that produce the electricity needed to maintain the economy. In coal producing states this is playing havoc and it is driving up the cost of electricity in others.
The growth of oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is almost entirely on privately owned land as opposed to that controlled by the government. Supporting the attack on energy are the multi-million dollar environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.
The world has not warmed since the nineties and many factors influence the climate other than CO2, the Sun, the oceans, clouds, and volcanic activity. Nothing any government does, here and worldwide, has any meaningful impact on it, but if nations can demonize the use of energy and tax the CO2 it produces, they can generate more money to spend and waste.
The lies that governments, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund tell about the climate are about the money they can extract from citizens who must be kept frightened enough to pay taxes on their use of energy.
The Trouble With Obama's Non-Binding UN Climate Plan?
It has already been tried, and it failed
‘I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot,” Abigail Borah, a youth delegate to the 2011 Durban climate negotiations, yelled from the conference floor. “I am scared for my future,” she cried, silencing Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s chief climate negotiator. “We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty.”
Now the Obama administration is signaling that there will be not be a new climate treaty. According to a report in Wednesday’s New York Times, the path to a treaty has come to an end, 14 months before the Paris talks scheduled for next year. Instead, the best deal on offer is a non-binding accord. This is big news.
Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reheating the rhetoric from its fifth assessment report, doing what it always does: produce the right mood music ahead of crunch-time climate talks. Trouble is, it’s all sounding more than a little dated. In that report, the first installment of which was released last September, the IPCC ducked the big question unsettling climate science. What are the possible causes and implications of the pause — or hiatus, as the IPCC prefers to call it — in the rise in average global temperatures? The pause is already more than a decade old. With 39 explanations and counting, and some climate scientists now arguing that it might last yet another decade, the IPCC has sidelined itself in irrelevance until it has something serious to say about the pause and has reflected on whether its alarmism is justified, given its reliance on computer models that predicted temperature rises that have not occurred.
While the IPCC plays yesterday’s tired hits, it appears that next year’s climate-change negotiations will bring forth a mouse. In retrospect, the Durban climate conference turned out to be the high point for expectations that climate negotiations would produce a binding treaty. It was also the high point for the European Union’s climate-change strategy, knocking the U.S. on its heels. After the acrimonious collapse of attempts to agree to a climate treaty at Copenhagen in 2009, American and European climate negotiators drew diametrically different conclusions about what to do next.
The Obama administration reckoned that climate-change diplomacy had to be based on the recognition that opposition from China and India put a climate-change treaty beyond the realm of the realizable. The Senate was not going to ratify a treaty that did not include all the major emitters, and, as a matter of arithmetic, all the major emitters had to sign the treaty if it were to have any chance of tackling global warming.
It was the same logic that had led President George W. Bush not to send the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification. Instead, his administration developed a strategy aimed at including the major emerging economies. That strategy was adopted by President Obama. Success required overcoming the division between developed and developing nations that was enshrined in the 1992 U.N. climate-change convention. It is why the Senate adopted, 95–0, the Byrd-Hagel resolution shortly before Kyoto. Speaking with one voice, the Senate said that the U.S. should not ratify any climate-change treaty unless it included specific, timetabled commitments from developing nations.
By contrast, after Copenhagen, the Europeans clung to the hope of a binding treaty embracing all major emitters. Their strategy was to use the annual cycle of U.N. climate-change negotiations to fragment the coalition of developing nations through promises of billions of dollars of climate aid. Finding themselves isolated, the Indians and the Chinese would buckle under international pressure and sign on to a comprehensive treaty.
At Durban, the Europeans had an apparent trump card that encapsulated the delusory nature of the enterprise. All the other developed nations had decided to join the U.S. and effectively exit the Kyoto Protocol at the end of its first commitment period; Canada went further and formally withdrew. Without “hard, bankable” commitments from large nations on a roadmap to a binding treaty, the EU would pull the plug on Kyoto. So threatened Chris Huhne, the U.K. climate secretary who subsequently had to resign and serve time at Her Majesty’s pleasure, for perjury.
The EU’s hard line appeared to move the needle decisively toward a treaty. China indicated a softening in its position. The conference agreed to launch a process that aimed to deliver, at the very least, an agreed outcome with “legal force” applicable to developed and developing nations alike. Even Todd Stern was impressed, calling the Durban outcome “very significant.” The drive toward a comprehensive climate treaty, culminating at the Paris climate conference in 2015, was on.
Now that plan has collapsed. For the Obama administration, this means reverting to its pre-Durban Plan A: no legally binding commitments but voluntary pledges, notified under the auspices of the 1992 convention and underpinned by a regime of “naming and shaming” those who don’t live up to them. There is a big problem with this. It has already been tried, and it failed.
Out of the ashes of Copenhagen came the Copenhagen Accord, under which nations would notify the U.N. climate-change secretariat of their commitments to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions. In January 2010, Japan notified the convention secretariat of its pledge to cut its 1990-level emissions 25 percent by 2020. Last November, the government of Shinzo Abe tore this up, replacing it with a new target that implied a 3.8 percent increase. It caused hardly a ripple. Clearly, an international regime of emissions cuts enforced by naming and shaming has no credibility.
Worse still are the terrible optics of the Obama administration’s handling of the non-treaty. The partisan spin is that this route enables the climate-change negotiations to bypass recalcitrant Republicans in the Senate. The unanimous vote in favor of the Byrd-Hagel resolution in 1997— the current secretaries of state and defense both voted for it — showed bipartisan opposition to any climate-change treaty that does not cover all the world’s major emitters. Blaming Republicans might be smart electoral politics, but it shifts international attention from the opposition of India and China to any treaty that binds them. Playing into the hands of the blame-America crowd is never good politics for an American president.
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Posted by JR at 6:38 PM