Monday, December 22, 2014
Exposed: The Merchants of Smear, Climate Edition
by Russell Cook (Not John Cook)
A low probability scientific speculation has become "settled science"
For about two decades we’ve been told the science behind human-caused global warming is settled, and to ignore skeptic scientists because they’ve been paid by industry to manufacture doubt about the issue. The truth, however, has every appearance of being exactly the opposite: A clumsy effort to manufacture doubt about the credibility of skeptical climate scientists arose in 1991 with roots in Al Gore’s Senate office.
The Merchants of Smear, such as Al Gore, gained effectiveness and media traction after Ozone Action took over the effort and drew attention to the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” memo phrase (which they never showed in its full context). The effort achieved its highest success after being heavily promoted by the “Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter” Ross Gelbspan, who never won a Pulitzer, never displayed any investigative prowess in this matter, and never proved that any skeptic climate scientist had ever knowingly lied as a result of being paid illicit money.
These efforts to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt are swamped with additional credibility problems, far more than can be described in this Policy Brief. Plain presentations of science studies contradicting reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have no chance of vindicating skeptic scientists in the face of such viral anti-skeptic rhetoric, as long as the mainstream media and majority of Internet sites remain gatekeepers preventing the release of accurate science information.
This gatekeeping indicates a much larger problem concerning the issue: The evidence presented in this Policy Brief is something any unqualified, disinterested bystander could find and ask about. Indeed, believers in the theory of human-caused global warming could have explored the problems presented in my brief with each other in order to find out whether their accusation about industry corruption of skeptics survives serious scrutiny.
Instead, this accusation has been unquestioningly accepted since 1991 by the mainstream news media and by officials who want to implement greenhouse gas mitigation regulations. During this time, skeptic scientists and other well-informed experts have revealed devastating problems with IPCC climate assessments. It has been shown time and again that the corruption accusation was riddled with obvious holes from the start. No matter.
The main pillar of support for the notion that humans are causing a dangerous warming of the climate has been the notion of “settled science.” That notion has long been questioned by skeptic scientists. The secondary pillar of support for the alarmist global warming theory has been the notion that industry-corrupted skeptics are unworthy of public consideration. This accusation could easily have been investigated and refuted long ago. That never happened, because of the third pillar: Journalists should not give equal time to skeptic scientists.
We are overdue for the biggest ideology collapse in history, begging for an investigation into why the mainstream media and influential politicians apparently never checked the veracity of claims about “settled science” and “corrupt skeptics.”
Lima climate talks: it's all about the process
Annual holidays in luxury for self-important people
The twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP20) climate talks in Lima, which finished well into extra time last weekend, produced a deal which has been dismissed by green NGOs and climate activists as utterly inadequate. Sam Smith, chief of climate policy for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said: ‘The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed.’
Pretty much all the big issues have been kicked down the road to the climate talks in Paris next year, when a new, binding global deal is supposed to be finalised. However, the outcome in Paris is likely to be, essentially, a list of countries with voluntary promises to reduce emissions and a fund for climate-change adaptation in the developing world which falls far below the demands of poorer countries. As one environment reporter, the Guardian‘s John Vidal, concluded: ‘Countries may technically still be on track to negotiate a final agreement in Paris next year, but the gaps between them are growing rather than closing and the stakes are getting higher every month.’
But greens should actually be quite pleased about the deal. That’s because the narrative of catastrophic climate change, and the general agreement that a global agreement is needed to tackle it, has survived. The politics of climate change provides a way of allowing Western leaders to display their moral credentials on the world stage - a much needed sense of purpose at a time when politicians are held in low regard back home.
Given the uncertainties in the science, the economic problems in the developed world and the fundamental difference in material interests between the developed world (which can afford to push for emissions reductions) and fast-developing countries like China and India (which need to expand their energy use to drag their people out of poverty), keeping the show on the road has become more important than cutting a single tonne of CO2.
Barring a complete failure of diplomacy, a deal will be struck in Paris next year. It will almost certainly be a fairly meaningless one, even more practically useless than the Kyoto Protocol, which did little or nothing to reduce emissions, let alone temperatures. A new deadline will be agreed, more summits will be held, and the bandwagon will just keep rolling on. Genuine agreement is irrelevant – the process is everything.
Hot 2014 Doesn’t Prove Manmade Global Warming Hysteria Right
The data may show Earth experienced its hottest year on record in 2014, but that would not be proof humans are causing global warming. It wouldn’t even prove the year was the hottest on record, or even particularly hot.
As early as September, global warming alarmists were claiming 2014 would set the record for highest average global temperature.
While cities and regions in the United States have been breaking record after record for cold temperatures and snowfall, most of the rest of the globe, including the oceans that make up most of Earth’s surface, has been warmer than average. Looking only at the badly flawed land-based temperature measurements, 2014 may be the “hottest year on record.”
But it may not be, since much more accurate satellite temperature measurements indicate 2014 will be a year with only slightly above average temperatures at best.
Assuming for the sake of argument the satellite measurements are wrong, record high temperatures in 2014 would be consistent with climate models, but any good scientist will point out a single record-setting year, just as a single climate catastrophe like a bad hurricane or an anomalous drought, cannot be definitively linked to human activities.
Indeed, when climate realists like myself point out the fact that Earth experienced below-average temperatures during the 1940s through the 1970s, alarmists regularly respond, “two or three decades is too short a time to make general claims about climate.” If three decades of records is too short a time period to leap to conclusions about human-caused climate change, a single year, even a record-setting year, provides far too little data to come to any firm conclusions.
To believe humans are causing global warming, one must blindly embrace admittedly incomplete climate models to the exclusion of all evidence to the contrary.
Climate model temperature projections have consistently been much higher than actual temperatures, and each year the gap between model temperature predictions and actual measured temperatures grows. In addition, whereas climate models have projected steadily rising temperatures over the past two decades, global temperatures have in fact stagnated for 18 years despite a significant increase in greenhouse gases.
Some climate scientists, citing the models, claim we should be experiencing more severe hurricanes, but only one of the top ten deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history has occurred since 1957, with eight of the ten deadliest hurricanes having hit the United States before 1935. In fact, although greenhouse gas levels have risen dramatically since the 1950s, the average number of hurricanes and the number of strong hurricanes have declined substantially.
Biologists have predicted species will go extinct due to human-induced global warming, yet they can’t point to a single species that has. The iconic polar bear, the poster child for species endangered by a warming planet, is thriving. At more than 25,000 bears, the polar bear population increased substantially during the warming of the past half-century. In fact, polar bears numbers are growing in regions of their habitat experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures and lower-than-average sea ice thickness and extent.
Speaking of sea ice, the Arctic experienced dramatic declines in sea ice over the past decade, declines projected by climate models. In the past couple of years, however, Arctic ice has recovered to its average levels for the past decade; the decline has frozen (pardon the pun), as have global temperatures.
In addition, contrary to model projections, Antarctic sea ice has been growing to record levels year after year, setting new records multiple times in 2014 alone. Even climate modelers admit they can’t explain why Antarctica has been growing. Once again, the facts confound the models.
Climate models indicate global warming should be causing more and more-prolonged droughts and increased episodes of extreme rainfall, yet studies show recent droughts fall well within the historical average for frequency, length, and severity, and frequency of flooding events has not increased.
Despite the reported recent warming, deaths related to temperatures or extreme weather events have declined dramatically during the past century, a trend that shows no indication of abating.
The real bugaboo raised by environmental radicals is that sea levels are rising and will rise even more dramatically if global warming is not halted or at least slowed. Sea levels are rising, as they always do between ice ages, but the current rate of rise is well below the average for the past 18,000 years. The rate of rise has not increased over the past two centuries, and a recent study found the rate of sea-level rise has slowed 31 percent since 2002, and by 44 percent since 2004. At this pace, scientists expect sea-level rise of less than seven inches per century.
Whereas none of the climate disaster scenarios spun out by environmental alarmists and faithfully publicized by the mainstream media is being borne out in reality, one significant climate benefit is proving true. Globally, Earth is greening, as increased CO2 levels have proved to be a powerful steroid enhancing plant growth. Farmland and farm yields are both increasing.
How would climate alarmists have world leaders respond to all this good news? By killing fossil fuels.
As author Alex Epstein argues, instead of taking a safe climate and making it dangerous through the use of fossil fuels, we have been transforming a dangerous climate into a safer, more manageable one for human flourishing. This has particular benefits for people in developing countries, for whom additional fossil fuel energy is an economic godsend.
Humans have long fought a war with climate, and to the extent we’ve won, it has been through the use of technology, most recently including fossil fuels. I say let’s keep taking the battle to the climate on behalf of the millions of people still living in poverty.
Things to remember in January
The Lima Climate Change Conference hosted by the power-hungry United Nations came to a close Sunday, but not before burning through a whopping 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the organization’s dirtiest carbon footprint to date. The dismissal capped a two-week ordeal that laid the groundwork for a pivotal meeting in Paris late next year, where delegates from across the globe will attempt to hash out a universal blockbuster deal targeting fossil fuels. That event, dubbed COP21, will mark the 21st anniversary of the Conference of the Parties – ironically a few short years older than the global warming hiatus that alarmists have swept under the rug.
The UN assembly preceded what is expected to be a major announcement next month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Should current trends continue, that announcement will effectively crank up the alarm dial right when ecofascists need it most. What is this big news, you ask? Pending the outcome of December’s temperature anomaly, alarmists are drooling over the likelihood of 2014 going down as the world’s “hottest” year yet, providing a nice garnish to policymakers' narrative going into next year’s symposium.
According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, “The first 11 months of 2014 was the warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.22°F (0.68°C) above the 20th century average of 57.0°F (13.9°C), surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.02°F (0.01°C). The margin of error is ±0.18°F (0.10°C). 2014 is currently on track to be the warmest year on record if the December global temperature is at least 0.76°F (0.42°C) above its 20th century average.”
Aside from the obvious disclaimer – the sample size is puny given our relatively brief history of record keeping – there are two important questions that arise. First, is NOAA’s assertion correct? Second, if so, doesn’t that stand in stark contrast to some of the other claims floating around the conservative world?
To answer the first question, we must first determine what methods NOAA uses to compile data. The agency uses two tools: The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN-Monthly), defined as a “data base [that] contains historical temperature, precipitation, and pressure data for thousands of land stations worldwide,” and The Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST), “a global monthly sea surface temperature analysis derived from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Dataset with missing data filled in by statistical methods.”
Simply stated, the government’s standard heavily relies on land-based instruments that are vulnerable to discrepancies, the most axiomatic of which is the heat island effect among metroplexes. Consequently, those measurements are skewed. And even if they weren’t, NOAA’s report cannot be considered complete. Case in point: The year-to-date temperature departure graph included in the research depicts globs of red ink (heat) intermingled with considerably less blue (cold), but there’s another color that takes up a lot of real estate – gray – which represents the areas that did not have data and were therefore excluded. That would include all of Antarctica and a large portion of the North Pole.
Apparently, publishing a report that omits data from the coldest places on earth – and, importantly, areas where ice is rapidly expanding and rebounding – doesn’t warrant a giant asterisk.
Back to the original question, determining if NOAA is right depends on how you construe data – or, in this case, refuse to consider it. And obfuscating your findings is generally not a good way to build trust. Moreover, this malfeasance extends to the manipulation of pre-satellite records to fit the narrative. WeatherBell Analytics meteorologist Joe Bastardi wrote in an email to The Patriot Post, “The current methods [used by NOAA] involve ‘normalizing’ temperatures in the pre-satellite era, in many cases cooling previous warm periods, making today look warmer.”
And here we thought science was “settled.”
The government does not use one method considered superior by many, and it tells a different story. Remote System Satellite (RSS) measurements reveal that this year doesn’t even rank among the top five warmest. The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch says, “2014 is nowhere near the warmest year on record, so far only ranking as the seventh warmest on record.”
That’s important because WeatherBell’s Bastardi considers satellite measurements the most objective way to accurately record global temperatures. Added Bastardi: “[W]hat we can know is what we see today – and that is the leveling off and eventual downturn in global temperatures as measured objectively. This eliminates any of the ‘fox guarding the henhouse’ arguments, as many people on my side of the argument believe is going on here.”
As for the global warming pause, that was also discovered via RSS. No wonder policymakers discard it too – objectivity has no place among ideologically driven political leaders. Is it really any wonder what the United Nations would have to say about RSS measurements if its findings happened to fit the narrative?
During the Lima Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales delivered an accurate description of the UN’s core motivating philosophy. “The deep causes of global warming,” he complained, “are not being dealt with here. The origin of global warming lies in capitalism. If we could end capitalism then we would have a solution.” His honesty is somewhat refreshing, if disconcerting all the same.
This war that’s being orchestrated by alarmists is not against fossil-fuel-emitting power plants, the greenhouse gas effect or rising sea levels; it’s against the free-market enterprise that springs from the foundation of Liberty. The ones who declare the debate over because Science™ says so are the same ones trashing other reputable scientific findings for their own political gain. Remember that in January when they claim, falsely, that 2014 was “the hottest year ever.”
Forget your gas cooker – we’re headed for 'zero carbon’ Britain
How many people realise what the government is up to with its energy policy, asks Christopher Booker
As we look back over the past 12 months and forward to the next, I regret that there is one story I reported two months ago to which I didn’t begin to do justice. It’s one that, when the penny finally drops, will be blazoned in shocked headlines across every newspaper in the land. How many people realise that, within a few years, our government is planning to phase out all use of gas for cooking or heating our homes?
We shall be forced to rely for this and much else, including powering our cars, on a vastly expanded electricity supply, generated almost entirely by tens of thousands of hopelessly inefficient windmills; by new nuclear power stations we are unlikely to see built; and by power stations fitted with a technology that does not yet exist, and is unlikely ever to work.
Forget last week’s reports that, by 2020, our energy bills are likely to rise by another £250 a year. The far bigger story is hidden away in a 244-page report in which the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) sets out how it hopes to meet our legal commitment under the Climate Change Act to cut Britain’s emissions of CO2 by four fifths within 35 years.
Decc’s “2050 Pathways Analysis” envisages a future in which, within five years, we shall be embarking on a wholesale switch away from gas and other fossil fuels to electricity. Out will go all cooking and heating by gas, and using petrol or diesel to power our transport. Instead Decc hopes that, by the 2040s, we will have more than doubled our electricity supply, by building up to 40,000 offshore and up to 20,000 land-based wind turbines; having a new fleet of “zero carbon” nuclear reactors; and only allowing gas or coal-fired power stations if they are fitted with “carbon capture and storage” (CCS), to bury their CO2 in holes in the ground.
As a telling passage in Decc’s report frankly puts it: “Demand for electricity would double by 2050, as a result of electrification of much of industry, heating and transport. Decarbonisation would mean that all of the UK’s electricity would come from low-carbon sources by the 2040s, making significant use of the UK’s wind resource”. It further assumes that we can build a “new nuclear plant at a rate of 1.2 gigawatts a year”, and that CCS can be “rolled out at a rate of 1.5GW a year after 2030”.
Apart from the prospect that millions of us will have to ditch our gas cookers and central-heating systems and buy electric cars, none of these idle dreams can be successfully realised. When we have so far only built 5,500 giant wind turbines, there is no way we can build another 55,000 by 2040, at an estimated cost of more than £500 billion.
When we are unlikely to get even one new nuclear plant within 10 years, to produce just 3.2 GW of incredibly costly power at a cost of £24 billion, there is no chance we could build 20 or 30 more by 2040. It is equally unthinkable that we could all be forced to switch to inefficient and ludicrously expensive electric vehicles, or that CCS is any more than another fantasy, when, even if it could be made to work on a commercial scale, it would more than double the cost of its electricity.
Yet this is the nearest thing the Government has yet given us as to how it hopes to meet our statutory target under the Climate Change Act. The only real question is when people will cotton on to this, provoking such disbelieving national outrage that the Act will have to be repealed – and whether this happens before it does our country such damage that we will be rapidly heading to join the Third World.
Will 2015 be the year when we finally wake up to the scale of the insanity that has possessed all those who rule over us?
Crooks & Corruption Rule: What is it with the Wind Industry?
Some comments from Australia
The wind industry seems to attract a particular class of bloke, in much the same way that the Prohibition era drew lots of heavy-set Italians to the Mob.
Maybe that seemingly endless stream of massive subsidies filched from taxpayers and power consumers generates the same allure as festering dung does for swarms of flies?
Whatever it is, the whiff that surrounds the wind industry has attracted (and continues to attract) a class that has no hesitation lying, cheating, stealing and even bonking their way to the easy loot on offer.
The Italian Mob were in on the wind power fraud from the get-go: applying their considerable (and perfectly applicable) skills – leading the European wind power fraud, with what economists call “first-mover-advantage” (see our post here).
We’ve reported on just how rotten the wind industry is – from top to bottom – and whether it’s bribery and fraud; vote rigging scandals; tax fraud; investor fraud or REC fraud – wind weasels set a uniform standard that would make most businessman blush.
The crooks involved – and the corruption, lies thuggery and deceit that follow them – are uniform across the globe.
Wind power outfits in Taiwan – faced with a pesky community backlash – sent the muscle in and beat the protesters to a bloody pulp (see our posts here and here).
The Thais aren’t much better.
In Australia, Thai outfit RATCH has been lying to, bullying and threatening communities far and wide for years (see our posts here and here and here).
In previous posts we’ve looked at how the goons that work for RATCH didn’t hesitate to invent a character – Frank Bestic – in a half-cunning attempt to infiltrate their opponents at Collector and elsewhere – see our posts here and here and here.
RATCH also teamed up with one of Queensland’s “white-shoe-brigade“, John Morris – in a joint plan to destroy the Atherton Tablelands by spearing 60 odd turbines into a patch of pristine wilderness on top of Mt Emerald – a move, quite rightly, opposed by 92% of locals (see our post here).
Morris – a five-star resort owner who has generously wined, dined and otherwise accommodated his mate, LNP pollie, David Kempton (who holds a rabid interest in the project getting approved, despite the fact that his own electorate is miles away) – has pulled out all stops to smooth the way to development approval (see our post here).
Faced with the inevitable community backlash to yet another pointless economic, environmental and public health disaster, the Queensland Planning Minister, Jeff Seeney has called “time-out”; declining to approve the project, as demanded by RATCH and Morris.
Morris – facing the uncharacteristic prospect of defeat – has turned to bullying and threatening the Planning Minister to ensure a speedy decision in his and RATCH’s favour: demanding that the Planning Minister make a decision no later than tomorrow (ie 19 December 2014) (see this article).
RATCH and Morris have shown all the care and restraint we’ve come to expect from the wind industry and its parasites: an “industry” that has absolutely no interest in producing meaningful power or “saving” the planet. Take away the promise of $50 billion in subsidies from the REC Tax on power consumers (see our post here) and this lot would will disappear in a heartbeat (see our post here).
RATCH shares its Thai roots with another Thai wind power outfit that owes its existence to the Thai Military Junta – “Wind Energy Holdings”.
Wind Energy Holdings has hit the news recently, as its hitherto-hot-shot head, Nopporn Suppipat has been caught with his fingers in the till. Having been caught – he’s acted with all the honour we’ve come to expect from wind weasels, wherever they ply their trade: he’s bolted!
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 1:48 AM