Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chris Mooney assumes what he has to prove

Mooney is a science popularizer who regularly spins all findings as supportive of the Green/Left.  Logic is not however his strong suit.  He implies below that recent bad weather is due to global warming ("greenhouse gas emissions").  But how can it be when there has been no global warming for 18 years?  It is to be expected that local temperature changes -- as in the Arctic -- will have some effects but a local effect is not a global effect.  I have to put it very simply for the likes of Mooney

Is the rapid melting of the Arctic paying us back for our greenhouse gas emissions by messing with the jet stream — which carries weather through the northern hemisphere? And could that, in turn, explain recent breakouts of extremes all around the northern half of the world — including recent snowfall in the east coast?

That’s what Rutgers University’s Jennifer Francis has argued in a series of papers going back to 2012 — but there has been quite a lot of criticism. Several distinguished climate researchers even wrote to Science magazine in early 2014 contesting the notion, saying that “we we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it as compelling.”

And yet stubbornly, more published research keeps appearing and seeming to add support to the idea that the warming Arctic is changing the jet stream. That statement comes with an exclamation point on Thursday in particular, with a new paper out in Science that confirms many of Francis’s ideas and applies them not just to extreme winter weather but, in some ways even more troubling, to extremes of summer heat.

The new paper, by Dim Coumou and two colleagues at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Potsdam in Germany, finds that the melting Arctic is indeed messing with the jet stream (as well as the broader atmospheric circulation) and our weather. But it also goes further by asserting that there’s a strong effect in the summer in particular. The progress of weather is slowing during the summer, the authors assert, and the result could be a very deadly one — including “more persistent heat waves in recent summers.”

Or as the researchers put it, a weaker jet stream and atmospheric circulation in the summer, caused by a reduced differential in temperature between the equator and the north pole as the Arctic warms faster than the mid-latitudes, “has made weather more persistent and hence favored the occurrence of prolonged heat extremes.”

The study, said Francis — who is familiar with the work but was not involved in the research — not only confirms her broad idea, but does so by examining a new and more detailed mechanism. The Potsdam researchers looked at an atmospheric feature called “eddy kinetic energy,” which, as Francis explained, basically refers to the winds swirling around regions of high and low pressure. Those winds have decreased, the paper finds.

“That’s why they’re saying that it’s more likely to have summer extreme events,” Francis said. “Because the weather just is not changing as much, and the weather systems themselves are just more stagnant and lethargic.”

The new study points in particular to the devastating 2010 summer heat wave in Russia. “By late July and early August, numerous cities witnessed a crescendo of record breaking daily readings near 40ºC, more than +10ºC warmer than what would normally have been experienced at this warmest time of year,” noted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the time. The resulting death toll could have been as high as 55,000.

So how did such an extreme come about? The new paper notes that “the record breaking July temperatures over Moscow were associated with extremely low [eddy kinetic energy].” In other words, there was just not enough circulation of air to bring in cooler temperatures.

“If this whole circulation slows down and there’s less energy in these storms, then basically we get more persistent weather situations, which can lead to some extreme heat waves,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, also a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research but not one of the study’s authors.

So what’s the upshot for the ongoing debate over whether the Arctic is, indeed, messing with weather in the mid-latitudes all over the globe? “I think the balance of evidence is kind of moving towards confirming that there is this influence of the Arctic,” said Rahmstorf.

“It’s making the pile of evidence I think look pretty substantial,” added Francis.

That doesn’t mean the debate is over or clinched. But it does mean that questions over precisely how the rapidly melting Arctic is feeding back into the weather we all experience are getting more pressing and pertinent than ever.


Global warming about to restart?

More prophecy and modelling.  None of their prophecies have come true yet so why should we expect this to be an exception?  And the prophecy is basically a straight-line extrapolation -- and climate does not change in a straight line way.  It goes up and down in largely unpredictable ways

Just when it looked like things might be quiet on the climate change research front for a couple of days in terms of notable findings, there was this: "We find that trends in greenhouse-gas and aerosol emissions are now moving the Earth system into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years."

That's what researchers wrote in a letter published online March 9 in Nature Climate Change. Their work explored the rates of change in global-mean temperatures in 40-year periods extending through 2020, based on past climate records and future projections.

What they found, as mentioned in the quote above, is that rates of global warming are set to accelerate at a pace not seen for thousands of years.

Climate data for the past millennium show that global temperatures have fluctuated by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit each decade. In the past 40 years, the trend's ramped up, angling toward 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade but remaining roughly within historical boundaries.

However, the researchers project that will change in the next five years (2020), with warming rates surpassing what's been seen in the past 1,000 years -- and perhaps even the past 2,000. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels, rates will keep rising to hit 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The researchers expect the warming rates to continue to be that high through 2100.

World regions that can expect to be the first to experience these accelerated warming trends will be the Arctic, North America and Europe.

And in using a timescale of 40 years, the researchers put the results into a context relevant to "the lifetime of much of human infrastructure," they wrote. And in terms of human socio-economic infrastructure, the implication is time is of the essence for Arctic dwellers, North Americans and Europeans to start thinking about adaptation planning.


"Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy"

Eminent legal scholar Laurence Tribe reported as under to Congress on EPA CO2 rules -- summary only. Full report at link

The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” would command every State by the year 2016 to develop a package of EPA-approved laws requiring coal-fired power plants to shut down or reduce operations, consumers and businesses to use less electricity and pay more for it, and utilities to shift from coal to other energy sources - a total overhaul of each State’s way of life.

Noncomplying States would face sanctions, including the potential loss of federal highway funds, and the takeover of their energy sectors by an inflexible federal plan of uncertain scope that would inflict significant economic damage.

EPA lacks the statutory and constitutional authority to adopt its plan. The obscure section of the Clean Air Act that EPA invokes to support its breathtaking exercise of power in fact authorizes only regulating individual plants and, far from giving EPA the green light it claims, actually forbids what it seeks to do.

Even if the Act could be stretched to usurp state sovereignty and confiscate business investments the EPA had previously encouraged and in some cases mandated, as this plan does, the duty to avoid clashing with the Tenth and Fifth Amendments would prohibit such stretching.

EPA possesses only the authority granted to it by Congress. It lacks “implied” or “inherent” powers. Its gambit here raises serious questions under the separation of powers, Article I, and Article III, because EPA is attempting to exercise lawmaking power that belongs to Congress and judicial power that belongs to the federal courts.

The absence of EPA legal authority in this case makes the Clean Power Plan, quite literally, a “power grab.” EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts - all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.


A bishop of Global Warming delivers a sermon to sinners

Britain’s former top climate envoy has delivered a scathing review of the climate outlook of the fossil fuel industry, in general, and of oil giant Shell, in particular, whose global warming strategy he described as narcissistic, paranoid, and psychopathic in an open letter to the Dutch company’s CEO, Ben Van Beurden.

John Ashton, who served as Special Representative for Climate Change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2006 to 2012, delivered the withering missive last week, in response to a speech by Van Beurden that called on his peers to be “less aloof” and “more assertive” on climate change.

But Ashton, who is the founding CEO of Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G), said the Shell boss’s speech was characterised by a cognitive dissonance that said more about the state of mind of the fossil fuel industry than the external conditions that prompted the Shell CEO to speak out.

He said that while oil giants like Shell accepted the “moral obligation” to respond to climate change, it was not considered to be a threat to the industry’s march of progress, which was expected to continue indefinitely.

“It is in truth not your fault that climate change is a hard problem,” Ashton wrote. “Though your industry must bear some responsibility for our failure so far to face it, that is not exclusively your fault either.

“But the choices of your generation of CEOs will be decisive, not only for you as corporations but for the eventual success or failure of our response to climate change.

“That is why you will be held relentlessly to account for those choices; why what you said last month invites forensic scrutiny.”

Ashton’s long and extraordinary letter is well worth reading in its entirety, but we’ve excerpted some of the best bits below, in case you need convincing…

“As we stride forward, a golden thread of growth links the size of the economy, demand for energy, and demand for oil and gas. This should continue indefinitely. Yours will remain “an industry that truly powers economies”, as “the world’s energy needs will underpin the use of fossil fuels for decades to come”.

“You do not, it appears, see climate change as a threat to the steady march. But you fear we might be overzealous. Excessive concern for the climate might lead us to break the golden thread by constraining the combustion of your products.”

“Your response is that we should ease off on climate. We can have a transition but it cannot transform. The aim, in any meaningful timeframe, should not be an energy system that is carbon neutral nor even low carbon.

Instead we must settle for “lower-carbon”, whatever that means, to allow us the “higher energy” that “makes the difference between poverty and prosperity”.”

“That is the story of your mask: a manifesto for the oil and gas status quo, justified by the unsupported claim that the economic and moral cost of departing from it would exceed the benefit in climate change avoided.

Beneath the mask is the face. Its story is encoded in language and tone, and it does not match the mask.

Climate change is a mirror in which we will all come to see the best and the worst of ourselves.  In that mirror you seem to see the energy system you have done so much to build and to find it so intoxicating that you cannot contemplate the need now to build a different one.

There is a touch of narcissism in the story of your face.

The paranoiac fears conspiracies that do not exist. You fear a non-existent conspiracy to bring about your sudden death.

There is a touch of paranoia in the story of your face.

The psychopath displays inflated self-appraisal, lack of empathy, and a tendency to squash those who block the way.”

I do not know what the new business model looks like. You won’t begin to know yourselves until you accept that as an instrument of the common good the old one is already dead........


Settled Science Scam

A systematic rebuttal by Steve Moore

National Geographic’s latest cover story generated lots of attention for comparing climate change skeptics to those who fear vaccinations, disbelieve NASA’s moon landing, and oppose water fluoridation.

The author bemoans the fact that only 40% of Americans (according to Pew Research Center) “accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming,” asking how so many “reasonable people doubt science.” Dubbing climate change one of the “precepts of science,” the author opines that climate change skepticism is “dispiriting” for anyone considered a “rationalist.” How could so many dismiss “settled science”?

Actually, there’s a healthy reason that the public has come to distrust government warnings and the scientific experts: they are often wrong.

Ironically, National Geographic’s sermon on settled science could have hardly come at a more inopportune time. In recent months, leading scientists have reversed themselves and have admitted their expert findings and advice were wrong on eating fat. After decades of telling us not to do so, we now learn that fat can be good for your diet and for weight loss. What we all thought to be true based on the expert testimonies, turned out to be precisely the opposite of the truth. Oops.

This kind of reversal happens all the time in the pursuit of scientific truths. Forty years ago the experts warned of a coming ice age, now they are absolutely certain the earth is warming – and some of the same “experts” were on board both scares. National Geographic even acknowledges this inconvenient fact, but explains that even though the climatologists were all wrong several decades ago, this somehow actually helps make the case for global warming.

Wait, for a scientific fact to be true, it has testable and refutable. But if any weather pattern confirms “climate change,” then by definition it is neither refutable nor is it testable. That’s convenient.

Here is how the magazine derisively describes one reason why there is such widespread skepticism on climate change: “Many people in the United States—a far greater percentage than in other countries—retain doubts about that consensus [of global warming] or believe that climate activists are using the threat of global warming to attack the free market and industrial society generally.”

Wait. It is an irrefutable truth that many climate change activists ARE using the climate change issue as a means of attacking free market capitalism. This past summer major environmental groups gathered in Venezuela to solve leading environmental problems like global warming, concluding in the Margarita Declaration “The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system.” In fact, the statement itself included the motto, “Changing the system, not the climate.”

So how is it delusional paranoia to believe that the climate change industry wants to shut down capitalism when the movement plainly states that this is their objective? And how can a movement be driven by science when its very agenda violates basic laws of economics? I am no scientist, but I am first in line in questioning the wisdom and motivation of a movement whose purpose is to steer the U.S. economy off a cliff toward financial ruin.

Americans are also naturally skeptical that government can do anything to achieve the grandiose task of changing the weather of the planet – because the U.S. government can’t even do simple things like balance its budget, deliver the mail, or run a health care website. If global warming ever becomes a planetary threat, it will undoubtedly be solved by technological progress – not repressive government action – and this is dependent on the very free enterprise system the left wants to tear down.

As for the future of our “industrial society,” the global warming agenda of shifting away from cheap and abundant fossil fuels and forcing nations to adopt much more expensive and less reliable wind and solar powered energy is a frontal assault against industrialization. One of the surest ways of reducing industrial output and moving hundreds of millions of people into poverty is to make energy more expensive. Now we are told that in order to save the planet, we must do just that. The left is promoting the obvious fairy tale that we can somehow power our $18 trillion industrial economy in America with windmills. Europe tried the green energy route and it was an economic fiasco.

One other point on the issue: if there were no ulterior motive of the greens and their only agenda was to stop the rise of the oceans by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then most honest and rational people would say the solution is for America to build perhaps 40 nuclear power plants over the next decade. In 2013, coal provided just under 1.6 million gigawatts of electricity. One nuclear power plant (such as South Korea’s 6 reactor Yonggwang plant) can provide 50,000 gigawatts annually. So production from just 40 of these plants would equal the entire amount of electricity produced from coal. This would provide cheap and abundant electric power with almost no greenhouse emissions and would not slow industrial progress. But most in the climate change crowd hate nuclear power.

Moving on, National Geographic next makes this claim: “Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the most powerful Republican voices on environmental matters, has long declared global warming a hoax. The idea that hundreds of scientists from all over the world would collaborate on such a vast hoax is laughable.”

Laughable? The entire history of the green movement is full of grand hoaxes and even catastrophic advice, dating back to the modern-day birth of this movement with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. This was the green anthem which played a big part in the banning of DDT around the world – a move which contributed to millions of Africans losing their lives from malaria. The lesson of the false DDT scare is that there are very real dangers to false scares and faulty science.

As for the claim that scientists would never “collaborate on a hoax,” what about the scandal of climategate, which the left to this day pretends didn’t happen? Shouldn’t the fact that some the leading climate change researchers were caught red-handed manufacturing evidence and suppressing data even cause some degree of skepticism by the media and the scientific community as to the validity of the “science”?

Then there is the reality that nearly every environmental scare of the 1970s and backed by hundreds of scientists as well as media like National Geographic, was proven to be a hoax? In the 1970s we were told that the world was overpopulated, running out of energy, food, water, minerals, getting more polluted, and that the end result would be massive poverty famine and global collapse. Every aspect of this collective scientific wisdom was spectacularly wrong.

In 1980, a “collaboration” of hundreds of the top scientists in the United States government issued a report called The Global 2000 Report to the President which was a primal scream that in every way life on earth would be worse by 2000 because the world would run out of oil, gas, food, farmland, and so on. Just a few brave souls like Julian Simon and Herman Kahn dared to contradict this conventional wisdom. They were disparaged then – just as climate change skeptics are today – as dangerous lunatics.

Yet on every score these iconoclasts were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong. What was the cost? Start with the fact that hundreds of millions of Chinese – mostly girls – are demographically missing today because of the barbaric one child policy, which the greens all supported as a way to save the planet.

False scares lead to a massive misallocation of resources as governments chase nonexistent goblins, which leaves less money for solving real societal ills. For one-tenth of the cost of the global warming crusade, if the world concentrated on bringing clean water, cheap energy, and schools to desperately poor areas of the world, child mortality would fall dramatically and living standards would rise.

The final insult by the National Geographic article is this: “It’s very clear, however, that organizations funded in part by the fossil fuel industry have deliberately tried to undermine the public’s understanding of the scientific consensus by promoting a few skeptics.” So everyone who dares question the climate change theology has been bought off by industry polluters, but the climate change research brigades are pure as snow. Really?

In 2010, Climate Depot identified more than 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists, who voiced skepticism about the climate change consensus and the IPCC – a consensus which National Geographic seems to think is the gospel of global warming. Are 1,000 scientists “a few,” and are they all bought off by the Koch brothers?

No doubt industry funds some of these skeptics, but it is also true that the U.S. government and private foundations are providing billions of dollars of funding – Obama wants $8 billion this year – for climate change research and activities. Needless to say, the best way to get defunded and to go unnoticed is to conclude global warming isn’t happening. Would anyone want to fund the green-industrial complex if the earth’s temperature weren’t on a catastrophic path of warming or cooling?

National Geographic concludes by saying the debate is over on climate change. Period. What is clear is that this “settled science” argument isn’t meant to advance scientific inquiry and understanding, but to shut it down. What is the left so afraid of that they want to cut off all debate and disparage all who question the consensus. Once liberals believed in “questioning authority,” now they insist on universal allegiance to every conventional wisdom.

Once when I was at The Wall Street Journal, I wrote a column about the myth of disappearing polar bears. (Here we have yet another example of how the left simply manufactures false crises to advance an ideological agenda). After I spoke with one of the few experts in Alaska who is involved in the population counts of the polar bears and he reported to me that the population is up not down, he called me after the article ran in a panic and said his job was in jeopardy for reporting the politically incorrect facts. This is the real tragedy of science today: political correctness now has invaded the research facilities.

Scientific truth is the first casualty in ideological crusades like that of climate change. I am in no position to know whether it is happening or not, but as with half of Americans I question this settled science, if only because of the Stalinist approach which commands everyone to believe. The tolerance movement refuses to tolerate a minority opinion. By pounding skeptics as imbeciles, stooges of industry, and right wing republican ideologues, National Geographic has managed to set back science, not advance it.


Royal Society Lets The Dogma Out: Global Warming Think Tank Brings Balance to Climate Science Debate

The Royal Society has misrepresented current thinking on climate change by presenting new theories as established facts and leaving out evidence that doesn’t support man made global warming dogma, a group of climate scientists has claimed.

In December, the Royal Society published a Short Guide to Climate Science, which it presented as a definitive guide to all things climate science. It asks and answers 20 questions, some of which display clear bias within the phrasing of the question, such as “How do scientists know that recent climate change is largely caused by human activities?” and “Climate is always changing. Why is climate change of concern now?”

In response, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has produced The Small Print – What the Royal Society Left Out, in order to bring balance to the evidence base. It takes the Royal Society’s original 20 questions in turn and present a “fuller picture” on each.

For example, in response to the question “What role has the Sun played in climate change in recent decades?”, The Royal Society says “The Sun has not played a major role in recent climate change. The Sun provides the primary source of energy driving Earth’s climate system and variations in the energy emitted by the Sun affect Earth’s climate. However, satellite measurements since the late 1970s show no overall increase in the energy emitted by the Sun, while the climate system has warmed.”

But the GWPF refutes this answer as too simplistic, saying: “It is frequently claimed that the Sun has not played a major role in recent climate change because the overall energy emitted by the sun has changed little. This is simplistic. There is significant evidence that the Sun has played an important role in climate change, and over the 20th century in particular.

“Quantifications of these changes suggest forcing comparable to anthropogenic forcing. While variability of total solar irradiance may be small, variability of specific components of solar output can be large, and some of these are believed to affect the climate through mechanisms other than direct heating, for example by influencing cloud formation. These effects are a matter of current inquiry.”

The contents of the Royal Society’s report is not the only criticism that the GWPF has of the document. “The authors who wrote the guide were not identified. Nor were the members of the Royal Society asked whether they endorsed it or not. […] We have no way of knowing how many Royal Society Fellows actually agree with it,”  Prof Ross McKitrick, the chairman of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council said. By contrast, the GWPF lists all thirteen authors of its report, all of whom endorse the contents.

This weekend, a fellow of the Royal Society confirmed that the organisation, which enjoys a presitigious history stretching back over 350 years, displayed “selectivity” when presenting evidence on the climate change debate.

“I produced a paper that urged the Society’s council to distance itself from the levels of certainty being expressed about future warming,” Prof Michael Kelly said. “I said it ought at least to have a ‘plan B’ if the pause should last much longer, so calling the models into still more serious question. I got a polite brush-off.”

Prof McKitrick said “many commentators were concerned that the [Royal Society’s] guide was profoundly misleading, misrepresenting major points while overlooking some of the key issues and question marks over the science, glossing over them as if they were of little consequence.

“In a time of universal overconfidence, to be willing to state what is not known is an essential, albeit controversial, duty of scientists.

“[Our] report attempts to give a more accurate picture of climate science and to add in the caveats and to explain the gaps in our knowledge over which the Royal Society guide drew a veil.

“The Royal Society, quite properly, does not draw policy conclusions from the meager science they present (and misrepresent), but they, most assuredly, know that others will.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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