Monday, November 30, 2015

A moderate Warmist?

They are rather thin on the ground but Times/Guardian journalist Tom Whipple seems to be one.  The original title of his article below was rather immodestly titled "The fact and fiction of climate change" but he does in fact look at both sides of the question to some extent.  He IS a Warmist, however, so he has to do big stretches to make his points.  

His assertions about the recent Philippines cyclone are a bit amusing for instance. Warmists normally date the start of all the badness to the second half of the 20th century.  Not so, our Tom.  He takes us back to "before the industrial revolution" -- i.e 1750 or thereabouts. That's called "shifting the goalposts" -- and on a  spectacular scale.

He also has a coat-trailing reference to the laws of thermodyamics -- an unexplained reference and a most dubious one

As usual, he explains the "pause" as heat hiding in the oceans.  But how come the heat started hiding there only 18 years ago?  Why was it not hiding in the oceans during the glory-days of global warming in the "80s and '90s?

And he speaks of sea-level rise as if that proved something. Tiny rises in average sea level are however very hard to measure and are very much open to dispute.  And on some accounts sea level rise has slowed down rather than speeded up. And sea level expert Nils-Axel Mörner points out that the raw satellite data shows barely any rise.  So Tom asserts as known that which is in fact contentious.

And he refers to the recent claims that 2015 will show a non-negligible global temperature rise.  Even Warmists at NOAA and such places, however, admit that the higher readings are at least in part el Nino at work, a cyclic influence of ocean currents.

And Tom is quite simply wrong when he said that "human civilisation developed in a period with a temperature range that we have just breached".  The truth is the opposite.  At least two of the great flowerings of ancient civilization took place during periods warmer than ours:  The Minoan warm period and the Roman warm period.  And our own medieval warm period saw great advances too.

And in his final paragraph he gives the goalposts a hell of a kick back in time. He makes comparisons with the geological past.  And the past he talks about was in fact a time of cooling!  He tells us what cooling does, not what warming does. Poor Tom.  He knows that Warmism is all bollocks but cannot allow himself to see it

Last year, amid the ordinarily genteel corridors of the Royal Society, a meeting of ice scientists became unexpectedly heated. At issue was a talk by a respected professor who expected the summer collapse of Arctic ice before 2020. The problem, for those listening, was that this same professor had previously given different dates — 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Like a millenarian expecting the apocalypse he kept shifting the criteria and, they argued, made them all look stupid in the process. The arctic is warming fast, and sea ice is declining fast, but the September minimum still covers an area bigger than India. This does not mean we should not worry. The people predicting its eventual disappearance are not just left wing environmentalists, they are oil companies and shipping companies, looking to exploit an ice-free arctic. The best-accepted models predict that time will come at some point before 2050.

Extreme weather is going to get worse

In one sense, the science could not be simpler. Really big storms are caused by hot seas, so if you make the sea hotter you will get more big storms. Even so, climate scientists are wary of making bold predictions about something as uncertain as weather systems.

The problem is the complexities of atmospheric science. Tropical storms may be caused by warmer seas, but they are also disrupted by windier conditions higher in the atmosphere, caused by climate change. Equally, heavier bursts of rain due to hotter air holding more moisture may cause some flooding in some places, but less snow on mountains may also make flooding less likely in spring in others. Some risk factors are undeniable though: among these, sea level rise.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines — less because of the strength of its winds, than its storm surge. Before the industrial revolution a storm of precisely the same scale as Haiyan would have hit with the same speed, but that surge would have been 20cm lower.

There is a “pause” in climate change

The masthead on the web page of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climate sceptic think tank, shows one simple graphic: a graph of the global surface temperature since 2000.

Their point is that it appears to have slowed dramatically. For those who argue that climate change is not happening, or is not worth worrying about, the apparent slowdown in temperature rises this century — as the actual data has slowly crept off the bottom of the computer models’ predictions — has become an increasingly powerful weapon. Among climate scientists — who point out that if temperature rises had actually stopped there might well be problems with the laws of thermodynamics — it has been puzzling.

One possible explanation is that reliable temperature records only exist for the planet’s surface, which compared with the sea stores a tiny proportion of the sun’s energy. And there has indeed been some evidence of the oceans warming, not least their continual rise. In any case though, it may well be moot: 2015 is set, by some distance, to be the hottest year on record. More than one environmentalist is waiting to see what the Global Warming Policy Foundation will do with its masthead.

Climate change will be good for us

CO2, so the argument (or, at least, the more extreme end of it) goes, has been unfairly demonised as a pollutant. So much so that we have forgotten the essential truth about it: it is plant food. With climate change will come better growing conditions, useful land opened up in the Arctic, and — at least at moderate levels — a more productive world.

On the one hand, there are plenty of arguments against this, such as, to give just one example, those who point to the possible effects of extreme weather. On the other hand it is hard to argue against, precisely because of all the uncertainties that remain. What we do know, is that human civilisation developed in a period with a temperature range that we have just breached. What we also know is that ostensibly small changes, of just a few degrees, can have huge long-term effects.

The difference between us today and a Britain that in the geological past had London underwater is a rise of less than two degrees. The difference between Britain today and a Britain beneath a kilometre of ice, meanwhile, is a fall of four degrees. In that context, betting on a positive outcome is quite a high-stakes gamble.


Good riddance to bad rubbish

International communist, Canadian Liberal, resident of China for decades. Rest in the ground Maurice Strong, in whose name the "world community" is trying to drive us into the ditch this week in Paris

Maurice Strong, whose work helped lead to the landmark climate summit that begins in Paris on Monday, has died at 86, the head of the UN's environmental agency said Saturday.

"Strong will forever be remembered for placing the environment on the international agenda and at the heart of development," Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, said in a statement Saturday.

The statement did not provide details of Strong's death.

Manitoba-born Strong, the first UNEP chief, organized the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which led to the launch of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Christiana Figueres, the current head of the UN climate agency, tweeted Saturday that "we thank Maurice Strong for his visionary impetus to our understanding of sustainability. We will miss you."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is in Paris for the climate talks, said Strong will be remembered as a pioneer of sustainable development.

"Mr. Strong was an internationally recognized environmentalist and philanthropist who used his remarkable business acumen, organizational skills and humanity to make the world a better place," said Trudeau in a statement.

In 1976 Mr. Trudeau's father, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, made Strong the first head of the national oil company Petro-Canada.

Steiner said Strong's work helped usher in a new era of international environmental diplomacy at the 1972 Stockholm Conference, which saw the birth of UNEP, the first UN agency to be headquartered in a developing country.


Turkeys we’re not thankful for

The tasty birds are affordable. Government turkeys enrich crony corporatists, but cost us dearly

Paul Driessen

To commemorate Thanksgiving – and garner First Family photo ops – presidents often host Rose Garden ceremonies, where they “pardon” a turkey, before sitting down to dine on one of its cousins. In fact, Americans ate close to 50 million of these tasty birds this year. We roasted our family bird in a Big Green Egg, with bourbon and barbecue sauce on and under the skin. Lip-smacking!

Unlike their wild cousins, today’s domesticated turkeys are bred for hefty portions of white and dark meat, atop legs that barely support their bodyweight. You might say they are big, bloated and unsustainable – like too many government programs that should have gotten the axe long ago.

Washington turkeys are fed by crony capitalism, far-left economic and social engineering, smarter-than-thou top-down initiatives, and a belief that Washington should determine winners and losers. They attack unsuspecting taxpayers, consumers and businesses, pilfering billions of dollars that could be spent on things that really matter – including job creation and preservation, terrorism and national security. Only the few are thankful for them.

The Obama Administration has unleashed some hugely destructive turkeys. Some, like ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, required mostly Democrat congressional connivance. But one of the most foul of fowls, the Clean Power Plan, was devised by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in league with radical environmental groups, to eradicate coal mining and burning, and ensure that electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket,” just as President Obama promised in 2009.

The CPP is justified by the absurd claim that eliminating U.S. coal will save the Earth from “runaway” global warming and climate change. But there has been no measurable warming for 19 years – the opposite of what computer models and White House press releases have claimed – and NOAA appears to have been cooking the books on its temperature data, to find manmade warming where there isn’t any.

Moreover, far from being a “pollutant,” carbon dioxide is vital plant food – essential for all life on Earth – and developing countries continue to increase coal-burning to power their growing economies, bring electricity to 1.3 billion people who still don’t have it, and lift billions out of abject poverty. In fact, China alone has been burning 17% more coal per year than previously reported; just that unreported wedge is 70% of what the United States uses in a year, and more than Germany’s annual coal consumption!

Add what India, Africa, Poland, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and other countries plan to use in the next 30 years, and U.S. coal consumption and CO2 emissions are almost undetectable globally. In Asia alone this year, power companies are building more than 500 coal-fired plants, with 1,000 more on planning boards.

Of course, none of that is relevant to climate ideologues in and out of the Obama Administration. Nor are the CPP’s adverse impacts on jobs, families, businesses, communities, or people’s health and welfare.

But when the states drag the CPP turkey into court, the EPA might stop its strutting. Obama mentor and legal scholar Lawrence Tribe says the CPP likely violates the Constitution, by illegally commandeering state government functions and “treating states more like marionettes, dancing to the tune of the federal puppeteer,” in violation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves important powers to the states.

Thus far, the rule of law has been merely a minor burr under the Administration’s saddle, as it rides roughshod over Congress, the will of the people, and the overall public interest. Executive orders, influence-peddling, and campaign contributions for subsidies and preferential treatment are standard operating procedure for a president determined to build a legacy – not on Benghazi, ObamaCare and terrorism failures, but on climate change, which he insists is the “greatest threat to future generations.”

Many world leaders have embraced Obama’s vision of looming climatic cataclysms, but are fast regretting their decisions. European Union air quality measures are forcing the closure of numerous older coal-fired power plants. But the supposed replacements, mostly wind and solar, are heavily subsidized, intermittent producers of electricity that is so unreliable and expensive that it kills industries, jobs and people. They are already hastening the demise of Britain’s entire steel industry and 6,000 more UK jobs.

Early this November, well before winter cold set in, the United Kingdom’s National Grid already had to use an emergency order to prevent widespread blackouts. Unexpected power plant shutdowns and a near absence of bird-butchering wind power forced the government to offer up to 40 times normal electricity rates (up to $3765 per kilowatt-hour!) to get factories and other major power consumers to switch off their electricity. The UK is now rolling back many of its “green” energy programs.

In Germany, power companies have been ordered to buy wind, solar and other “green” energy, regardless of the price. Its biggest electric power provider lost €7.8 billion ($8.3 billion) just in the third quarter of 2015. Even worse, Ms. Merkel’s market meddling has created an oversupply of expensive green electricity, when it’s least needed, and German electricity rates are expected to hit record highs next year. By the end of 2016, average European households will have to pay some €540 ($575) more per year for electricity.

By forcing power companies to buy green energy, EU countries also encourage fraud. Companies actually made money by connecting diesel-powered generators to their solar arrays or shining coal- or nuclear-powered arc lights on their solar panels, to generate electricity on cloudy days or in the dead of night.

All this is where the U.S. is heading under Obama dictates, which distort the marketplace to benefit favored industries or groups. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires blending ethanol into motor fuels, which among many other failings creates an ethanol credit trading system that crooks use to steal millions of dollars. No wonder even ultra-green California voters increasingly oppose costly ethanol mandates.

Unfortunately, the RFS, CPP and other Washington turkeys are as hard to kill as Freddy Krueger. Congress lacks the will to chase them down with a hatchet, and the administration feeds them for its own political reasons. Having corn farmer and ethanol producer support during the Iowa caucuses is also a winning political strategy – unprincipled but effective, costly to the majority but beneficial to the few.

Indeed, every taxpayer and consumer pays for these turkeys, not just those in Iowa or California. A new study shows that the RFS will cost the New England economy some $20 billion between 2005 and 2024, reduce labor income by $7.3 billion, and destroy 7,050 jobs per year.

The CPP and broader War on Coal are hammering Midwest red states far harder than New England and West Coast blue states. By the end of 2023, 600,000 jobs will be lost and average American households will lose $1,200 in income per year, as electricity rates and the cost of goods and services continue to rise.

Obama’s War on Coal is most devastating to families in coal-producing states, where nearly 50,000 coal miners have lost their jobs and incomes – as have tens of thousands in power plants, restaurants, shops and other businesses. Hillary Clinton’s “solution” (and strategy to increase her odds of winning the Democrat presidential nomination) is spending $30 billion in OPM (other people’s money) to “retrain” coal miners and other workers for life in her new utopian-energy economy. Now President Obama is leading an ideological entourage to Paris, to rope the United States into a draconian climate treaty.

Once again, government will get to decide which industries, companies, workers and families win – and which one lose. We just get to pay. Wasting good money on bad projects – and on unaccountable, unelected, overpaid ruling elite bureaucrats – is enough to ruin a Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced nap.

Benjamin Franklin may have preferred the turkey over the eagle as America’s national symbol, because it is “more respectable.” Brave and wily wild turkeys truly are a challenge for experienced hunters.

But wily government turkeys, which preen in public and exist only to feather the nests of bureaucrats and campaign donors, have no redeeming qualities. It’s time to put them on the chopping block.

Via email

Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming

The most important fact about climate science, often overlooked, is that scientists disagree about the environmental impacts of the combustion of fossil fuels on the global climate. There is no survey or study showing “consensus” on the most important scientific issues, despite frequent claims by advocates to the contrary.

Scientists disagree about the causes and consequences of climate for several reasons. Climate is an interdisciplinary subject requiring insights from many fields. Very few scholars have mastery of more than one or two of these disciplines. Fundamental uncertainties arise from insufficient observational evidence, disagreements over how to interpret data, and how to set the parameters of models. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), created to find and disseminate research finding a human impact on global climate, is not a credible source. It is agenda-driven, a political rather than scientific body, and some allege it is corrupt. Finally, climate scientists, like all humans, can be biased. Origins of bias include careerism, grant-seeking, political views, and confirmation bias.

Probably the only “consensus” among climate scientists is that human activities can have an effect on local climate and that the sum of such local effects could hypothetically rise to the level of an observable global signal. The key questions to be answered, however, are whether the human global signal is large enough to be measured and if it is, does it represent, or is it likely to become, a dangerous change outside the range of natural variability? On these questions, an energetic scientific debate is taking place on the pages of peer-reviewed science journals.

In contradiction of the scientific method, IPCC assumes its implicit hypothesis – that dangerous global warming is resulting, or will result, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions -- is correct and that its only duty is to collect evidence and make plausible arguments in the hypothesis’s favor. It simply ignores the alternative and null hypothesis, amply supported by empirical research, that currently observed changes in global climate indices and the physical environment are the result of natural variability.

The results of the global climate models (GCMs) relied on by IPCC are only as reliable as the data and theories “fed” into them. Most climate scientists agree those data are seriously deficient and IPCC’s estimate for climate sensitivity to CO2 is too high. We estimate a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels (from 280 to 560 ppm) would likely produce a temperature forcing of 3.7 Wm-2 in the lower atmosphere, for about ~1°C of prima facie warming. The recently quiet Sun and extrapolation of solar cycle patterns into the future suggest a planetary cooling may occur over the next few decades.

In a similar fashion, all five of IPCC’s postulates, or assumptions, are readily refuted by real-world observations, and all five of IPCC’s claims relying on circumstantial evidence are refutable. For example, in contrast to IPCC’s alarmism, we find neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lay outside normal natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history. In any case, such evidence cannot be invoked to “prove” a hypothesis, but only to disprove one. IPCC has failed to refute the null hypothesis that currently observed changes in global climate indices and the physical environment are the result of natural variability.

Rather than rely exclusively on IPCC for scientific advice, policymakers should seek out advice from independent, nongovernment organizations and scientists who are free of financial and political conflicts of interest. NIPCC’s conclusion, drawn from its extensive review of the scientific evidence, is that any human global climate impact is within the background variability of the natural climate system and is not dangerous.

In the face of such facts, the most prudent climate policy is to prepare for and adapt to extreme climate events and changes regardless of their origin. Adaptive planning for future hazardous climate events and change should be tailored to provide responses to the known rates, magnitudes, and risks of natural change. Once in place, these same plans will provide an adequate response to any human-caused change that may or may not emerge.

Policymakers should resist pressure from lobby groups to silence scientists who question the authority of IPCC to claim to speak for “climate science.” The distinguished British biologist Conrad Waddington wrote in 1941 (Waddington, C.H. 1941. The Scientific Attitude. London, UK: Penguin Books),

It is … important that scientists must be ready for their pet theories to turn out to be wrong. Science as a whole certainly cannot allow its judgment about facts to be distorted by ideas of what ought to be true, or what one may hope to be true (Waddington, 1941).

This prescient statement merits careful examination by those who continue to assert the fashionable belief, in the face of strong empirical evidence to the contrary, that human CO2 emissions are going to cause dangerous global warming.


So much for global warming! As winter weather sweeps in, 'snow lover' reveals there's MORE of the white stuff left on Scottish mountains than there has been in 21 years

There were bumper levels of snow on Scottish mountains over the last 12 months, according to one enthusiast.

Amateur snow researcher Iain Cameron, 42, uses his free time to count the number of snow patches left on mountaintops from the previous winter.

His data is compiled and published in the prestigious Royal Meteorological Journal.

Mr Cameron, an environmental manager for an aerospace company, said he has recorded an average of between six to 12 patches of snow since his records started in 1994.

But this year Mr Cameron, who works with a team of volunteers, noted 73 spots had survived from winter 2014.

The team tallied 33 individual patches across the Ben Nevis range, 17 across the Cairngorms, 12 in the north-west Highlands, three on Ben Alder, and eight near Loch Laggan.

And in the Grey Corries range in the far north, a sole surviving patch was recorded on Stob Coire an Laoigh.

Mr Cameron said: 'This year we counted 73 remaining patches across the whole of Scotland. It's the most we've seen since 1994, 21 years ago, which was quite an exceptional year.

'The only year which came near this year's figure was in 2000 where we totalled 41 surviving patches, but that's still far, far fewer than we recorded this year.

'Normally we're looking at between six to 12 patches - last year was a good year with 21, but this has exceeded that.

'There was also a good covering of snow last year, but the average temperature in May was two degrees lower than we would normally expect and the summer was cool, which is why there are so many left.'

Mr Cameron, a self-proclaimed 'chinophile' - the Greek term for 'snow lover' - said he believed an overcast spring and cool summer combined with heavy snowfall has led to the above-average findings.


Italian restaurant falls foul of global warming

Even in far Shetland, which could do with a bit more warmth

Plans for an Italian restaurant between Voe and Brae have failed to impress the council’s planners, but local businessman Henry MacColl is still hoping his dream venture will come off.

Mr MacColl, whose mother is Italian, wanted to build a 24-seat restaurant opposite his home at Parkgate, overlooking Olnafirth.

The restaurant was to be called Enrico’s Cucina di Napoli, after his mother’s hometown, and he planned to have a special clay pizza oven installed and import ingredients direct from Italy. His plan also included ancillary buildings and a car park.

But planning officials were not in favour, saying the location, midway between Brae and Voe, was not part of an existing settlement. In addition, it was not accessible except by car and would therefore contribute to climate change.

Planners said these factors made it contrary to the local development plan for the area, which became council policy after public consultation.

According to local policies, any new development should be “sustainable and accessible” and encouraged “within existing settlements” that have “basic services and infrastructure”. This would “maintain the vitality and vibrancy of that settlement… and the development [would be] more sustainably located to existing services, bus routes, etc.”

As the location is one and a half miles from Voe, and access would be by vehicle, planners said the proposal was “not sustainably located”, and against council policy of “sustainable development”.

Eateries should ideally be accessible by walking or cycling, as well as by car, making for “good placemaking”.

Additionally, planners said the development would not maintain or enhance the character of the area.

However, Mr MacColl, who runs Isometric Engineering at Sella Ness, refuted all these points. He said that many other eateries, including the Braewick Cafe in Eshaness, Busta House and the burger van by the Voe toilets, were also only accessible by car and were not part of existing settlements.

He said: “This policy is contrary to many restaurants. Who walks to any restaurant, or gets dressed up and goes on a bike?”

He also objected to the planners’ statement that the development would “neither maintain nor respect the existing character of the area”. The local plan states that “any new development should make a positive contribution to maintaining the identity and character of an area and ensure ease of movement and access for all.”

Mr MacColl said: “There is plenty of access and parking and excellent views.” His plan would incorporate parking for the proposed eatery, situated on a loop road, formerly the main road, in a raised hillside location commanding wide views.

Planning official John Holden said the application was still in the process of consideration. He said: “The applicant has been made aware of the concerns and we are in the process of receiving comments.

“It is against the local development plan which is council policy, and we have to act in accordance with the plan. It’s now open to the applicant to say why the policy should be departed from.”

Mr MacColl, whose middle name is Francesco, loves cooking and the idea of catering for the public came from his twin daughters, Francesca and Chiara. He said: “I’ve been making pizza for years and the restaurant would be all-Italian, we would make our own pasta and my daughters would cook pastries, it would all be handmade.

“It would be romantic dining, something we don’t have here.”

His plan would incorporate a specialist igloo-shaped pizza oven to cook 12 pizzas in a minute and a half at high temperatures, the heat coming from above and below to ensure a crispy base. Certain ingredients such as cheese, prosciutto and spiced sausage would be imported, but other food would be local.

If his vision of a terracotta-tiled restaurant took off, he said, he would start a delivery service in the local area, and eventually employ six or more people.

He added: “Why is everything in Lerwick, why shouldn’t there be something in the country?”

The restaurant venture has had 660 likes on Facebook in three days, and Mr MacColl is going to press on with his application, hoping for a much support as possible. He has spoken to MSP Tavish Scott and local councillor Alastair Cooper, who he said were in “full support”, and has a lot of local backing.

Brae resident Aimee Manson said: “I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s just amazing and morale-boosting for the community. It’s encouraging that we wouldn’t have to go to Lerwick. We don’t live in an inner city and we have to rely on our own transport, like we do when Chinese nights are held at local halls.

“It [the proposed restaurant] would be different and authentic, not the British version of what Italian food should be like, and it wouldn’t be encroaching on any other business.”

Voe resident John Taylor said: “I’m all for it. It’s a good idea and another variety of food, and if it’s authentic, brilliant. If I want to go for a meal anywhere I have to go by car.”

Council officials expect to make a decision on the planning application after Friday 4th December



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


No comments: