Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The Warmists are worried
See the big attack on skeptics published in SciAm below. We skeptics have got Warmists on the defense, a pathetic "ad hominem" defense though it is. The intellectually respectable way to conduct a debate is to present factual evidence on the issue and reasoning based on that evidence. Note that today's offering on this blog contains abstracts from two academic journal articles -- presentations of new facts. That is lightyears away from what Warmists do. They attack persons and ignore the climate facts. Following the article I reproduce some emailed comments from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute -- JR
Before the release this Friday of the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," S. Fred Singer sought the advice of nearly 30 climate skeptics about their chances of halting the movie and whether he should sue Naomi Oreskes, who co-authored the book on which it's based.
"Has she finally gone too far?" asked Singer.
The discussion is outlined in a chain of emails initiated last fall by the 90-year-old physicist, who is featured in the film for his work questioning the amount of influence people have on rising temperatures. His request reached a mix of academics and others who have been mostly antagonistic toward mainstream climate findings. ClimateWire obtained the emails from a source who received them as a forwarded message.
Perhaps the strongest response came from James Enstrom, an epidemiologist who has challenged the science around the health risks of secondhand smoke and particulate air pollution. Enstrom told Singer that he could make "a very strong case" against Oreskes if Singer filed complaints with the universities she's affiliated with.
"I suggest you Attack Oreskes by Filing short Grievances with Harvard and Stanford," Enstrom wrote to Singer on Oct. 21. Oreskes is a professor of scientific history at Harvard University with a doctorate from Stanford University.
"Good thought," Singer responded.
The wider discussion is viewed by some as a window into the network of skeptical scientists, bloggers and conservative think tank scholars who often raise objections to mainstream climate science. The tactics discussed -- like lawsuits and grievances -- reflect previous efforts to constrain critics of Singer and others through legal attacks, or the threat of them, several people involved with the movie say.
"This is part of their intimidation," Oreskes said in an interview. "It's a part about trying to make people frightened that if they do speak up and they do expose what's going on, they'll get attacked. And they will get attacked. I've been attacked."
The documentary is based on her book, "Merchants of Doubt," published in 2010. In it, she outlined the similarities between the political fight around climate change and the earlier debates about whether smoking was dangerous. The effort to fight health problems from smoking was stalled for years. She suggested that a small group of scientists cooperating with think tanks and businesses managed to obscure basic truths about the harms of both. The movie will be released nationally Friday. It's directed by Robert "Robby" Kenner, the creator of the 2008 documentary "Food Inc."
Singer, who cooperated with Kenner to film a scene for the movie, said in an interview with ClimateWire that he has decided not to take legal action against Oreskes or Kenner. It would be too expensive and would require too much of his time, he said. He also ruled out filing grievances against Oreskes with university administrators because "they're just as bad as she is."
Still, Singer has sent mixed signals about his intentions. Last week, he sent a letter to Kenner to raise the possibility of legal action.
"I would prefer to avoid having to go to court; but if we do, we are confident that we will prevail," Singer said in the letter, which suggests that the film treats him maliciously and adds, "it is rather too bad that you got mixed up with Naomi Oreskes."
A 'liar for hire' or an honest skeptic?
The letter was posted on Climate Depot, a website critical of climate science run by Marc Morano, who is featured in the film and was a recipient of Singer's emails last fall.
"I think there's a pattern," Kenner said of Singer's letter in an interview. "It's to come after and try to silence critics and to intimidate. And when [Singer] implies litigation is very expensive, I think it's an attempt to be intimidating."
On the other hand, it might be going too far to suggest that Singer's goal is to stifle his critics if he feels he's been slandered, said Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics.
Singer says he believes the movie refers to him as a "liar for hire," though he hasn't seen it. That's false, he said, noting that he believes genuinely that humans have little effect on climate change. He also rejects the idea that he's being paid by fossil fuel companies, apart from an unsolicited $10,000 donation from an Exxon foundation 12 years ago to the Science & Environmental Policy Project, which he founded.
Singer acknowledged that he has "made a lot of money on oil," but it was decades ago, from fees he charged to financial institutions, major corporations like IBM and some oil companies to predict the price of crude using a computer model he created, Singer said. The money wasn't related to research around climate change, he said.
"I'm real sad about this attack, but it's not unexpected," Singer said of the "liar for hire" phrase.
But does the movie say that?
No, said Kenner, who provided a transcript of the scene with Singer to ClimateWire. He and others say it appears to be a phrase created by a media outlet that reviewed the film.
Besides, lying isn't a common tool of skeptical scientists, Oreskes said. These contrarians are generally successful, and trusted by some, in one field or another.
"This isn't about lying," Oreskes said. "This is something much more terrible, in a way. Much more devious. A kind of what we call doubtmongering."
"I never said that anyone was lying, and I never would say that," she added. "But this is part of the strategy, too. These people put words in other people's mouths, and then they act all outraged about it, and they spread the claim that you said something that you never said. And then they threaten to sue you for it."
Singer supporters slam 'Merchants of Smear'
Oreskes has an example in mind.
Singer filed a libel suit in the early 1990s against Justin Lancaster, a climate researcher at the University of California, San Diego, who claimed that Singer had taken advantage of his mentor and colleague, Roger Revelle, a noted climate scientist, in the months before Revelle's death.
Singer approached Revelle a month before his triple bypass heart surgery to cooperate on a journal article that downplayed the urgency of addressing climate change. It marked a reversal for Revelle, who supported policies to reduce greenhouse gases and was a mentor to former Vice President Al Gore. The paper roiled the climate debate as Gore's opponents highlighted it to raise questions about the certainty of warming.
But Revelle missed the debate. He died in July 1991 and was unable to shed light on Lancaster's assertions that Singer had pressured Revelle into co-authoring the paper in his weakened state after surgery. So Lancaster accused Singer of acting unethically, and Singer sued. Lancaster eventually settled the suit and entered a yearslong gag period.
He would later say the settlement was one of his biggest regrets. And he accused Singer, in even stronger terms, of pressuring Revelle to cooperate.
"It was one of the worst things I ever did, was to give him a retraction," Lancaster said in an interview. "I did it to try to save my marriage."
Singer frequently points to his success with that case. He raised it in his letter to Kenner and in his emails last fall.
"The lawsuit was not filed to intimidate," Singer said in the interview. "It was filed because what Lancaster suggested was that I faked the participation of Roger Revelle as a co-author. That's completely untrue. We have a complete retraction and an apology."
In his October emails, Singer reaches out to some of the most recognizable opponents of mainstream climate science and policies, including Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Anthony Watts, Steven Milloy, Joe Bastardi and Joe Bast.
An English climate change denier, Christopher Monckton, viscount of Brenchley, responded to Singer's request for advice by saying he would "draft the complaint" for a lawsuit, but Singer never followed up.
"In every way, they have bent the science," Monckton said of mainstream scientists and the filmmakers. "And having bent the science and not convinced anybody, not even themselves really, they're not simply resorting to the fallback position which Hitler and Goebbels on the left did, which Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot did, and of course ... Stalin and Lenin did, and that is smear."
"So this film should really be called 'Merchants of Smear,'" he added.
The pre-release controversy around the movie provides more than just a glimpse into the stormy messaging strategies on climate change. It also promotes the film. But does it help convey the facts?
Hoffman, of the University of Michigan, says tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists, despite their relatively small number. He pointed to the recent inquiries undertaken by Democratic members of Congress, who want the identity of donors who help fund skeptical academics, as an advantage for those who challenge climate science.
"Frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics," Hoffman said.
Below are some emailed comments on the article above from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications, The Heartland Institute
This entire article is projection. It's like Bizarro world. Everything is opposite of the truth and actually applicable to the warmists, not skeptics.
It is obvious that Evan Lehman somehow got a very meaty email thread some months ago, and was waiting until the debut of the “Merchants of Doubt” movie to spring it on the world. We should be prepared for this not being the end of “revelations” from our frank and private email exchanges.
And this is for Evan, whom I can only assume will get word of this email: Your headline, subhead, and lead says skeptics are going to fight back by filing lawsuits against Oreskes and the makers of the "Merchants of Doubt" movie. But you wait until Paragraph 10 to reveal the truth: No lawsuits are forthcoming. Nice work. Your MSM credentials are intact.
Aside from that, Evan, you've missed three real scoops:
(1) There is a publicly funded “professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics”? Why doesn't the public know more about this taxpayer-funded professor who wastes so much time studying the “3 percent” of skeptics — especially if the the other “97 percent” consensus has already won the public debate and the “science is settled”? Might want to ask that of Andrew Hoffman, and then do a series of stories about why the “minority” argument is so compelling that a taxpayer-funded professor examines it so closely.
(2) You have Oreskes on the record denying that the entire thesis of her book — and of this movie — is that climate “skeptics” are paid by fossil fuel companies to lie about what is happening to the earth's climate. If so, she needs to put in a call to the marketers of her book, this movie, and everyone she has ever spoken to in the media to run corrections. The entire media push for her book and this movie — and the coordinated attack on Dr. Soon, Dr. Pielke, Dr. Curry, Morano, Heartland, etc. — is that we are all “paid liars.” The truth is that all the money flows to the other side, and the skeptics are the honest ones.
(3) Hoffman claims that, “frankly, this degradation benefits the skeptics.” Why would that be. Evan? Could it be that some alarmist scientists — who believe in their models as faithfully as a Christian believes in prayer — are having second thoughts about starting a Climate Inquisition? Could it be that the science is on the side of the of the “skeptics,” whom Oreskes and the filmmakers are calling liars, i.e. heretics? Could it be that the overreach of leftist priests in Congress — Grijalva, Markey, Boxer, Whitehouse, et. al. — has alerted the public to the fact that the heretics might be on to something, and their presentation of the actual data deserves an honest shake in the mainstream media?
Again, this for Evan: Scoops #1, #2, and #3 deserve your attention. You might lose some esteem among your fellow “mainstream” climate reporters for exploring them, but that should be made up in spades by the warm feeling of journalistic integrity that comes to any honest reporter.
Senator on Climate Change: ‘Put an International Price on Carbon’
LOL! The chances of getting even a national price seem nil, let alone an international price. Australia once had a Left-enacted carbon price but the effects were so unpopular that it brought down the government concerned and was abolished by the incoming conservative government
Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called for an international price on carbon as a way to combat climate change, which he said is the most important issue in need of bipartisan support in Congress.
“The thing that’s going to hit us in the long run is going to be climate change and right now it’s an issue that Republicans just haven’t been able to deal with at all. And I hope that as the public moves and as the evidence builds up that they will find a way to free themselves to deal with it because we badly, badly need to take action. The world is looking to us and the consequences if we get it wrong will not be good for a nation that leads by the power of its example,” said Whitehouse after being recognized at the Friends of National Service Awards reception held by Voices for National Service.
President Obama pledged $3 billion in aid for an international fund to help developing countries fight climate change.
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the U.S. must do more to get other nations to act.
“I think that the best solution and the most economically effective solution is to put an international price on carbon so that the markets can work correctly and there’s not this huge built-in subsidy to the polluting fuels. Getting there is going to require U.S. leadership and I hope a general agreement can be reached this winter in Paris,” he said.
Whitehouse was asked if a price on carbon could hurt the economy in any way.
“Well, if the money were just mailed away to Mars, yeah, that would probably hurt the economy. But if you put the money straight back into the economy through lower tax rates particularly, then the economy has the same amount of money and I think what you would find is the tax reductions spurred activity and the money that went back to regular workers was spent in the economy more quickly than extra returns to these big multinational corporations,” he responded.
“So, I would think that a proper, what they call revenue-neutral carbon fee, would actually kick up economic activity and be a net plus and there’s a fair amount of, even very conservative economic analysis, to support that view.”
New paper finds large calculation errors of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in climate models
A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters finds astonishingly large errors in the most widely used 'state of the art' climate models due to incorrect calculation of solar radiation and the solar zenith angle at the top of the atmosphere.
According to the authors:
"Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results."
The alleged radiative forcing from all man-made CO2 generated since 1750 is claimed by the IPCC to be 1.68 W/m2. By way of comparison, the up to 30 W/m2 of "spurious variations" from incorrect calculation of solar zenith angle discovered by the authors is up to 18 times larger than the total alleged CO2 forcing since 1750.
Why wasn't this astonishing, large error of basic astrophysical calculations caught billions of dollars ago, and how much has this error affected the results of all modeling studies in the past?
The paper adds to hundreds of others demonstrating major errors of basic physics inherent in the so-called 'state of the art' climate models, including violations of the second law of thermodynamics. In addition, even if the "parameterizations" (a fancy word for fudge factors) in the models were correct (and they are not), the grid size resolution of the models would have to be 1mm or less to properly simulate turbulent interactions and climate (the IPCC uses grid sizes of 50-100 kilometers, 6 orders of magnitude larger). As Dr. Chris Essex points out, a supercomputer would require longer than the age of the universe to run a single 10 year climate simulation at the required 1mm grid scale necessary to properly model the physics of climate.
On the Incident Solar Radiation in CMIP5 Models
Linjiong Zhou et al.
Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results. This oscillation is also found in the Community Earth System Model (CESM). We show that this feature is caused by temporal sampling errors in the calculation of the solar zenith angle. The sampling error can cause zonal oscillations of surface clear-sky net shortwave radiation of about 3 W/m2 when an hourly radiation time step is used, and 24 W/m2 when a 3-hour radiation time step is used.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Bad health effects of wind turbines
An interesting research report below. The researchers even felt the bad effects personally
Wind Turbine Acoustic Investigation: Infrasound and Low-Frequency Noise—A Case Study
By Stephen E. Ambrose et al.
Wind turbines produce sound that is capable of disturbing local residents and is reported to cause annoyance, sleep disturbance, and other health-related impacts. An acoustical study was conducted to investigate the presence of infrasonic and low-frequency noise emissions from wind turbines located in Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA. During the study, the investigating acousticians experienced adverse health effects consistent with those reported by some Falmouth residents. The authors conclude that wind turbine acoustic energy was found to be greater than or uniquely distinguishable from the ambient background levels and capable of exceeding human detection thresholds. The authors emphasize the need for epidemiological and laboratory research by health professionals and acousticians concerned with public health and well-being to develop effective and precautionary setback distances for industrial wind turbines that protect residents from wind turbine sound.
Solar Power Propaganda vs. The Real World
When a former “senior communications official at the White House” writes a blog post for U.S. News and World Report, you should be able to trust it. But when the author states that the Keystone pipeline would create only 19 weeks of temporary jobs, everything else he says must be suspect—including the claim that our “energy infrastructure will be 100 percent solar by 2030.”
Both a union representative and one from TransCanada—the company behind the Keystone pipeline—affirmed that the 19-week timeframe was total fantasy. The portion of the Keystone pipeline that remains to be built is 1179 miles long. Construction should take two years.
The premise of the blog post is that we shouldn’t look at Keystone as a jobs creator. Instead, the author claims, the jobs are in “solar energy disruption.” He is frustrated that “GOP leaders almost universally ignore or disdain this emerging energy economy.”
He states: “A third of all new electric generation in 2014 came from solar.”
This may be true but, as you’ll see, it belies several important details. Plenty of cause exists for Republican lawmakers to “disdain” the growth in renewable energy.
First, efficient and effective coal-fueled electricity that has provided the bulk of America’s power is being prematurely shut down by regulations promulgated by the Obama administration. It is virtually impossible to get a new coal-fueled power plant permitted in the U.S. Even natural gas-powered plants meet with resistance. And, of course, just try to build a nuclear power plant and all the fear-mongers come out.
What’s left? Renewables, such as wind and solar, receive favorable treatment through a combination of mandates and subsidies.
The brand new report, Solar Power in the U.S. (SPUS), presents a comprehensive look at the impacts of solar power on the nation’s consumers.
We’ve seen companies, such as Solyndra, Abound Solar, and Evergreen Solar, go bankrupt even with millions of dollars in state and federal (taxpayer) assistance. I’ve written extensively on these stories and that of Abengoa—which received the largest federal loan guarantee ($2.8 billion) and has resorted to questionable business practices to keep the doors open.
SPUS shows that without the subsidies and mandates these renewable projects would do dark. For example, in Australia, sales of solar systems “fell as soon as the incentives were cut back.” Since the Australian government announced that it was reconsidering its Renewable Energy Targets, “investments have started to dry up.”
Knowing the importance of the “incentives,” the solar industry has now become a major campaign donor, providing political pressure and money to candidates, who will bring on more mandates, subsidies, and tax credits. Those candidates are generally Democrats, as one of the key differences between the two parties is that Democrats tend to support government involvement. By contrast, Republicans lean toward limited government and the free market. The GOP doesn’t “disdain” solar, but they know it only survives because of government mandates that require a certain percentage of renewables, and specifically solar, in the energy mix, plus the subsidies and tax credits that make it attractive. Therefore, they can’t get excited about the jobs being created as a result of taxpayers’ involuntary investment, nor higher energy costs. There is a big difference between disdaining solar power and disdaining the government involvement that gives it an unfair advantage in the marketplace.
The blog post compares the “solar energy disruption” to what “occurred when direcTV and Dish started to compete with cable television. More choices emerged and a whole lot of new jobs were created.” However, those jobs were created through private investment and the free market—a fact that, along with solar’s dependence on incentives, he never mentions.
SPUS draws upon the example of Germany, which has led the way globally in renewables. Over time the campaign has contributed to residential electricity prices more than doubling. Renewables receive favored status, called “priority dispatch,” which means that, when renewable electricity becomes available, the utilities must dispatch it first, thereby changing the merit order for thermal plants. Now, many modern power plants couldn’t operate profitably and, as a result, some were shut down, while others were provided “capacity payments” in order to stay online as back-up—maintaining system stability. In Germany’s push for 80 percent renewable energy by 2050, it has found that despite the high penetration of renewables, given their inherent intermittency, a large amount of redundancy of coal- and natural-gas-fueled electricity (nuclear being decommissioned) is necessary to maintain the reliability of the grid.
As the German experience makes clear, without a major technological breakthrough to store electricity generated through solar systems, “100 percent solar by 2030” is just one more fantasy.
The blog post ends with this: “the GOP congressional leadership ignores these new jobs … in favor of a vanishingly small number of mythical Keystone ‘jobs’ that may never materialize. It makes you wonder. Why?”
The answers can be found in SPUS, which addresses the policy, regulatory, and consumer protection issues that have manifested themselves through the rapid rise of solar power and deals with many more elements than covered here. It concludes: “Solar is an important part of our energy future, but there must be forethought, taking into account future costs, jobs, energy reliability and the overall energy infrastructure already in place. This technology must come online with the needs of the taxpayer, consumer and ratepayer in mind instead of giving the solar industry priority.”
Retired professor turns whistleblower on climate change
While much of the debate over climate change surrounds whether or not it is occurring, one glaciologist and retired professor says the real issue is that the topic is being used as a political pawn to siphon money and votes.
Dr. Terry Hughes, in an interview with The College Fix, said researchers want to keep federal funding for climate change alive, and politicians want to earn environmentalist votes, and both predict global pandemonium to that end.
Hughes, a professor emeritus of earth sciences and climate change at the University of Maine, said for years his colleagues urged him to be in lockstep with former Vice President Al Gore – “the drum major in the parade denouncing global warming as an unmitigated disaster,” he told The College Fix.
But Hughes – who believes global warming is actually a good thing because more carbon dioxide is good for the environment in many ways – said he does not want to march to that beat.
“Too many (the majority) of climate research scientists are quite willing to prostitute their science by giving these politicians what they want,” he said.
Hughes – who worked for 35 years at the Department of Earth Sciences and the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine – said climate cycles overlap with election cycles, which helps politicians “get electoral visibility by pounding the panic drums.”
But what he wants people to understand is that climate change researchers and politicians collude to create fear of a disaster that will never happen.
“You will never read or hear any of this from the scientific and political establishments,” he said. “I’m now retired, so I have no scientific career to protect by spreading lies.”
Among Hughes’ theories, he said he believes the desire to continue the climate change arguments has a “racist” component to it. His evidence? A 1974 National Security Study Memorandum written by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
“NSSM 200 states that American economic supremacy can be maintained only if U.S. foreign policy is aimed at reducing the non-white population worldwide,” he said. “We need their natural resources to maintain our standard of living.”
Hughes said the U.S. has carried out that policy successfully by supporting the one-child policy in China, and also accuses the government of “targeting aborting baby girls using ultrasound technology that is rampant in both China and India, the two countries producing the most atmospheric carbon dioxide by far.”
Hughes, who is now retired, does not fear backlash.
Hughes told The College Fix that he has sent copies of his arguments to his former colleagues at the University of Maine and at NASA. Most of them “probably disagree,” he said, but added that they all receive funding for climate research.
According to a retirement announcement from the University of Maine’s human resources department, “Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field. Not least of these is the current understanding of how massive ice sheets collapse and how important future collapse of portions of the Antarctic ice sheet will be to future sea level rise – a concept now commonly referred to as ‘the soft weak underbelly’ of Antarctica.”
Ironically, the notice goes on to state that “many of his most ‘outlandish’ scientific contributions may not even be appreciated for years to come.”
His reasons for why global warming is a good thing, Hughes told the Capital Journal, is that “atmospheric CO2 would greatly increase agricultural production,” “thawing permafrost would increase by one-seventh Earth’s landmass open to extensive human habitation,” and “if the sea level did rise, there would be a global economic boom,” among other arguments.
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 1:42 AM