Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We just had the hottest year on record – where does that leave climate denial?

Asks dodgy psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky.  I think I have addressed all his points before but a new lucubration from him is too much fun to ignore.  Lewandowski is the very strange social scientist who thinks you can make valid generalizations about a population without at first obtaining a representative sample of that population.  So his venture into climate science was bound to be amusing.

It is difficult to know  where to start but I was amused by this: "satellites don’t actually measure temperature. Instead, they measure the microwave emissions of oxygen molecules in very broad bands of the atmosphere"

One might as well say that thermometers don't measure temperatures either.  All they measure is the volume in a thin column of mercury or alcohol.

And even his most basic point -- embodied in his heading, which I reproduce above -- is amusing:  He condemns cherrypicking, as well he might, but does exactly that himself.  He takes the fact that the keepers of the terrestrial temperature record show a slight warming in 2015.  But he ignores the fact that any 2015 rise is best accounted for as an El Nino effect.  Even Warmist scientists concede a strong El Nino effect in 2015.

And if you adjusted for the El Nino effect, there may well be no warming from other causes at all. Such an adjustment could rather simply be done by using the atypical warming during the 1998 El Nino as a proxy for 2015.  Is Lewandowsky not curious about why no such adjustment has been done by the adjustment kings at NOAA, NASA and elsewhere? Why is that the one adjustment they have not made?  To ask the question is to answer it, I think.

And, in fact Warmist guru Kevin Trenberth does admit the unrepresentativeness of 2015: "My guess is that 2016 may not be warmer than 2015."  Trenberth, a climate change and El Niño expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research thinks the current El Niño may already have begun to peak (or have peaked) and thus that the second half of 2016 may cool down again somewhat.

So Lewandowsky's whole argument is a straw house built on sand.  To answer the question in his article title:  "Alive, well and thriving". Lewandowsky is quite simply an ignoramus.

And his boring and quite silly old claim, that a consensus must  be right, is wrong in two ways.  1). The century-long consensus about the causes of peptic ulcers now stands demolished after the discovery of helicobacter pylori. Why is a consensus about warming more robust than that?  2). There is no consensus.  Even "Mr 97%" John Cook showed that only a minority of climate scientists take any position on anthropogenic global warming.  See here.  Once again, an apparent inability to read in Lewandowsky.

And he really gets hilarious when he compares climate scientist predictions  to stockmaket investor decisions.  Is he unaware of how badly unstuck stockmarket investors came in 2008?  By his own analogy, Warmists are in for big predictive failure too.  Lewandowsky must also be the man without a memory.

I think I will leave it at that. I may already have been too unkind to an obviously very limited man.  And I have twice before (here and here) shown that Warmist aspersions on the satellite data don't hold up

At a news conference announcing that 2015 broke all previous heat records by a wide margin, one journalist started a question with "If this trend continues…" The response by the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, summed up the physics of climate change succinctly: "It’s not a question of if…"

Even if global emissions begin to decline, as now appears possible after the agreement signed in Paris last December, there is no reasonable scientific doubt that the upward trends in global temperature, sea levels, and extreme weather events will continue for quite some time.

Politically and ideologically motivated denial will nonetheless continue for a little while longer, until it ceases to be politically opportune.

So how does one deny that climate change is upon us and that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record? What misinformation will be disseminated to confuse the public?

Research has identified several telltale signs that differentiate denial from scepticism, whether it is denial of the link between smoking and lung cancer or between CO2 emissions and climate change.

One technique of denial involves "cherry-picking", best described as wilfully ignoring a mountain of inconvenient evidence in favour of a small molehill that serves a desired purpose. Cherry-picking is already in full swing in response to the record-breaking temperatures of 2015.

Political operatives such as James Taylor of the Heartland Institute – which once compared acceptance of the science of climate change to the Unabomber in an ill-fated billboard campaign – have already denied 2015 set a record by pointing to satellite data, which ostensibly shows no warming for the last umpteen years and which purportedly relegates 2015 to third place.

So what about the satellite data?

If you cannot remember when you last checked the satellites to decide whether to go for a picnic, that’s probably because the satellites don’t actually measure temperature. Instead, they measure the microwave emissions of oxygen molecules in very broad bands of the atmosphere, for example ranging from the surface to about 18km above the earth. Those microwave soundings are converted into estimates of temperature using highly-complex models. Different teams of researchers use different models and they come up with fairly different answers, although they all agree that there has been ongoing warming since records began in 1979.

There is nothing wrong with using models, such as those required to interpret satellite data, for their intended purpose – namely to detect a trend in temperatures at high altitudes, far away from the surface where we grow our crops and make decisions about picnics.

But to use high-altitude data with its large uncertainties to determine whether 2015 is the hottest year on record is like trying to determine whether it’s safe to cross the road by firmly shutting your eyes and ears and then standing on your head to detect passing vehicles from their seismic vibrations. Yes, a big truck might be detectable that way, but most of us would rather just have a look and see whether it’s safe to cross the road.

And if you just look at the surface-based climate data with your own eyes, then you will see that NASA, the US NOAA, the UK Met Office, the Berkeley Earth group, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and many other researchers around the world, all independently arrived at one consistent and certain end result – namely that 2015 was by far the hottest year globally since records began more than a century ago.

Enter denial strategy two: that if every scientific agency around the world agrees on global warming, they must be engaging in a conspiracy! Far from being an incidental ornament, conspiratorial thinking is central to denial. When a scientific fact has been as thoroughly examined as global warming being caused by greenhouse gases or the link between HIV and AIDS, then no contrary position can claim much intellectual or scholarly respectability because it is so overwhelmingly at odds with the evidence.

That’s why politicians such as Republican Congressman Lamar Smith need to accuse the NOAA of having "altered the [climate] data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda". If the evidence is against you, then it has to be manipulated by mysterious forces in pursuit of a nefarious agenda.

This is like saying that you shouldn’t cross the road by just looking because the several dozen optometrists who have independently attested to your 20/20 vision have manipulated the results because … World Government! Taxation! … and therefore you’d better stand on your head blindfolded with tinfoil.

So do the people who disseminate misinformation about climate actually believe what they are saying?

The question can be answered by considering the stock market. Investors decide on which stock to buy based on their best estimates of a company’s future potential. In other words, investors place an educated bet on a company’s future based on their constant reading of odds that are determined by myriad factors.

Investors put their money where their beliefs are.

Likewise, climate scientists put their money where their knowledge is: physicist Mark Boslough recently offered a $25,000 bet on future temperature increases. It has not been taken up. Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt similarly offered a bet to an Australian "skeptic" on climate change. It was not taken up.

People who deny climate science do not put their money where their mouth is. And when they very occasionally do, they lose.

This is not altogether surprising: in a recent peer-reviewed paper, with James Risbey as first author, we showed that wagering on global surface warming would have won a bet every year since 1970. We therefore suggested that denial may be "… largely posturing on the part of the contrarians. Bets against greenhouse warming are largely hopeless now and that is widely understood."

So the cherry-picking and conspiracy-theorising will continue while it is politically opportune, but the people behind it won’t put their money where their mouth is. They probably know better.


Who needs facts? '2016 Expected to Be the Warmest Year on Record'

The first month of the year isn't even over yet and as people in the Northeast are digging their way out of one of the biggest snowstorms in recorded history, Time magazine has a message for you: "2016 Expected to Be the Warmest Year on Record." Yes, they couldn't even wait for the temperature readings to be evaluated in the months to come to make that prediction. Just as much of the mainstream media have already declared 2014 and 2015 based on highly questionable evidence, they are already declaring 2016 to be even hotter based on absolutely no evidence other than pretending to read future temperatures.

Time was so eager to dive into their "hottest year on record" shtick they couldn't even wait until 2016 started to issue their proclamation. It was actually made on December 17, 2015 as reported by Justin Worland:

    "Next year will likely be the warmest on record thanks to El Niño and ongoing climate change, according to a new report.

    The research, published by the British Met Office, suggests that the average global temperature in 2016 will be between 0.72°C (1.29°F) and 0.96 °C (1.73°F) higher than the average temperature in the second half of the 20th century. Last year was the hottest year ever recorded and meteorologists say that 2015 will beat that record handily barring an unexpected change".

Umm... No. Last year was not the hottest year ever recorded...if you check out the facts from climate scientists who aren't receiving government grants to validate the pre-determined global warming outcome. One such scientist is MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen who makes this observation:

    "Frankly, I feel it is proof of dishonesty to argue about things like small fluctuations in temperature or the sign of a trend. Why lend credibility to this dishonesty?" Lindzen, an emeritus Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, told Climate Depot shortly after the announcements.

    "All that matters is that for almost 40 years, model projections have almost all exceeded observations. Even if all the observed warming were due to greenhouse emissions, it would still point to low sensitivity," Lindzen continued.

    "But, given the ‘pause.’ we know that natural internal variability has to be of the same order as any other process," Lindzen wrote.

    ..."When someone says this is the warmest temperature on record. What are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period," Lindzen said in November 2015.

    Lindzen cautioned: "The most important thing to keep in mind is – when you ask ‘is it warming, is it cooling’, etc. — is that we are talking about something tiny (temperature changes) and that is the crucial point."

    "And the proof that the uncertainty is tenths of a degree are the adjustments that are being made. If you can adjust temperatures to 2/10ths of a degree, it means it wasn’t certain to 2/10ths of a degree," he added.

    – "70% of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing."

    Climatologist Dr. John Christy said it best: "If you want the truth about an issue, would you go to an agency with political appointees? The government is not the final word on the truth."

As to 2014 when NASA scientists were victoriously cited by the MSM for the claim that year was the hottest on record, well, it turned out those same scientists later admitted that there was only a 38% chance that it was true. Oops!

One of the best analyses of the motivation behind the global warming fraud comes from Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That?

    "...Climatology has become a branch of politics. And in politics, particularly in our rambunctious democracy, statements asserted in the name of some political goal are usually believed or at least supported by those who share the goal. It is necessary for global-warming-of-doom to be true in order to attain the government’s goal (of increasing in size and power), so any statement which supports global warming is likely to be touted by government supporters, even mutually incompatible statements".

Exit question: How long before someone in the MSM starts hyping 2017 as the hottest year on record?


'Global cooling' far more devastating than global warming

By geologist EA (Andy) Johnson

It was called "Global Warming" until it was discovered that computer modelers were changing data to yield their desired results. Now it’s "Climate Change." But, Climate Change is a two-sided coin we should truly be concerned about. Global cooling will be far more devastating than global warming.

In my view, climate change is an agenda against burning fossil fuels, but maybe something much greater. The surrogate issue is carbon dioxide (CO2), which animals exhale and plants inhale. However, burning fossil fuels releases twice as much water vapor (H2O) as CO2, and water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas (it’s why cloudy nights are usually warmer). So why target CO2? Maybe it sounds more threatening. Maybe they just don’t like digging coal and drilling for oil and natural gas. Whatever their agenda is, it’s missing two key elements, historical perspective and end-game.

The northern hemisphere has been in an ice age for 8,000,000 years. The best graphic I’ve seen regarding this is in the lower left corner of a fold out for the "Blue Holes of the Bahamas" (National Geographic, August 2010). This graph depicts climate change as fluctuating sea levels for the last 400,000 years. During this time, the northern hemisphere has experienced four cycles, each lasting 100,000 years. Ice accumulation with lowering sea levels averaged about 90,000 years. Interglacial periods, with rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels averaged about 10,000 years. This explains how stalactites and stalagmites in the Blue Holes are 400 feet under water. They didn’t grow under water; sea levels were 400 feet lower. This graph is the result of compilations of thousands of isotope studies and chemical analyses of ice cores, sea bottom cores, and stalactites and stalagmites from underwater caves. This is real science, not computer modeling of possible future climates, which is more like pseudoscience in my view.

Current sea levels are at or near their upper limit of the past four glacial cycles. This begs the question, are we witnessing the end of an 8,000,000 year-long northern hemisphere ice age, or will we soon begin descending into another 100,000 year ice age cycle? To me, the latter is of far greater concern, equal to another eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, another asteroid impact, or another pandemic than sea levels rising a few more feet.

So, what is the "Climate Changers" end game? How will they deal with either future warming or cooling? And how, after squandering $21 trillion on the "Great Society" and now being another $20 trillion in debt, how will we ever pay for it? What will replace fossil fuels? If global cooling is next, how will we stop ice from accumulating a mile thick at the Canadian border? Humongous amounts of energy will be needed. Forget more wind farms. With a capacity factor averaging only 33 percent, they could be stacked 10 high and still remain insufficient. Solar at 25 percent CF is barely an honorable mention.

Burning more fossil fuels would help by releasing more water vapor and CO2, but really, in my view, the only power source with sufficient potential is nuclear. Sadly, that option was taken from us by the Democrats, throttled by President Carter in 1979 and finished off by President Clinton and John Kerry (then a Senator) in 1994.

It was an epiphany for aging anti-nuclear protestors, depicted in the CNN sponsored documentary "Pandora’s Promise," when they realized that their nuclear power protesting after Three Mile Island only made us more dependent on fossil fuels, which the present crop of protestors rant about now. Fortunately, we can resurrect nuclear power, in spades, using Integral Fast Reactor technology.

But surely, all of this is known by those attending the recent Paris "Climate Change" conference. Were there any discussions on climate change history and nuclear power? What is their real agenda? Is it that we are facing another world crisis that only a world government by technocrat elitists can solve, as they did with Obamacare. Now that is truly a disturbing thought.


Greenwashing folly

A Greenie sees through some Greenie nonsense

Greenwashed toys only the rich can afford, which will do nothing to reduce global warming, are predicted to cause non-rich people to do other things that will reduce global warming.  Two examples come to mind: Tesla and the California High Speed Rail project.


A $70,000 Tesla Model S produces carbon similar to a 31 mile-per-gallon gasonline-powered car. A $24,000 Toyota Prius get 50 miles per gallon.

So mile-for-mile, a Tesla does almost twice the environmental damage as a Prius. And that is without considering the huge difference in price between the two cars.

The $46,000 price difference, if spent on carbon offset credits, could get rid of the carbon the Prius would emit in ONE THOUSAND YEARS of typical daily driving.

The numbers are a lot worse if a Tesla and a Prius are each driven for 20 years before being scrapped. The waste of the $46,000 that could have paid for carbon offset credits makes the Tesla's carbon footprint about the same as a 1 mile-per-gallon gasoline-powered car.

Yet people who call themselves environmentalists claim that Teslas are good for the planet. That rich people driving around in expensive and evironment-destroying luxury cars will somehow convince average Americans to conserve energy.

California High-Speed Rail

The California High Speed Rail project is the most expensive public-works project in the history of the United States. It is estimated to cost up to $100 billion by the time it is finished. And yet, careful analysis by the Department of Civil and Evironmental Engineering at UC Berkeley has shown that this project might produce NO EVNIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AT ALL.

In 2010, Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath summed up this research in a paper: "Life-cycle assessment of high-speed rail: the case in California". And in 2012, they were interviewed for an article in Berkeley News: "Future of California high-speed rail looks green".

From the Berkeley News article:

"The greenhouse gas emission-equivalent for a typical airplane carrying 116 passengers would be a train carrying 130-280 passengers." and "this is not the answer to the state’s greenhouse gas goals. This is a tiny piece of the puzzle."

In other words, a CHSR train might emit between 12 percent and 141 perent MORE carbon than an airliner carrying the same people.

So California is throwing away $100,000,000,000.00 that could have been used to really help the environment. That much money would put solar panels on 5 million homes. Or do equally good things like build wind turbines or save parts of the Earth's rainforests.

Again, this is somehow supposed to convince Americans to stop driving their cars and ride a bus or train that won't take them from where they live to where they work or back again.

The Tragedy of All This

- Wealthy people with a profit motive, and misguided would-be environmentalists with big public relations budgets, make false claims about how green their projects are.

- The media parrots these falsehoods without even bothering to do any fact-checking.

- Honest Americans who want to save the planet are bombarded with this misinformation until it becomes accepted as fact.

- Government pays for foolish projects that won't help anything.

- Developers kick some of that money back to the elected officials.

- The cycle repeats over and over again.


Scientist Bob Carter, Who Led Fight Against Global Warming Alarmism, Passes Away

Australians and New Zealanders are known as no-nonsense straight shooters, people who come to your aid without complaint in times of distress. On September 3, 1939, in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Australia and New Zealand were among the first countries to enter World War II. The countries’ soldiers have had an enviable reputation as first-class fighters since at least 1915. In World War I & II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, elite Anzac troops distinguished themselves as valued comrades in arms in the defense of freedom.

So it is perhaps not surprising that no one has made a greater contribution to the worldwide fight against climate extremism than Australasian scientist Professor Robert (Bob) M. Carter, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74.

Born in England, Dr. Carter was raised in New Zealand. He gained his first degree at Otago University, received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand before his final tenure at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Although other climate realists may be better known in their home countries, none have had Carter’s international impact.

Carter was everywhere. He acted as an expert witness on climate change before the U.S. Senate Committee of Environment & Public Works, the Australian and New Zealand parliamentary Select Committees into emissions trading, and in a meeting in parliament house, Stockholm. Carter was the primary science witness in the UK High Court case of Dimmock v. H.M.'s Secretary of State for Education, the 2007 judgment which identified nine major scientific errors in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth.

He was a regular presenter at The Heartland Institute’s ten International Climate Change Conferences (ICCC), and he even toured Canada to speak, at no charge, at Canadian universities. Carter was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th ICCC in Washington, D.C. last June.

Joe Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, said:  "Bob never failed to answer the call to defend climate science, getting on planes to make the long flight from Australia to the U.S., to Paris, and to other lands without complaints or excuses"

Besides his own advanced science research (including over 100 published papers) and regular media appearances across the world, Carter was a lead author of reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change that cite thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the world’s leading science journals that counter climate alarmism.

He was the author of Climate: The Counter Consensus (2010), Taxing Air: Facts and Fallacies about Climate Change (2013), and coauthor of several more books. His understandable, down-to-earth speaking style, uncommon among accomplished researchers, attracted readers and followers in droves.

Carter was a regular participant in climate realist films such as Climate Hustle, which premiered last month with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) in Paris. He acted as an advisor to many climate realist groups: he was a founding member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition; an emeritus fellow and science policy advisor at Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs; a science advisor at CFACT as well as the Washington D.C.-based Science and Public Policy Institute; the chief science advisor for the International Climate Science Coalition; and a science advisor to Heartland.

Unlike many in the climate debate, Carter never lost his humility or resorted to the sort of attacks we see every day in the climate fight. Professor Chris de Freitas of the School of Environment at the University of Auckland comments: "Bob Carter was a scholar of the highest order and a committed, indefatigable defender of honest science reporting in the climate change debate. He was a true gentleman who never descended to ad hominem attacks on those who disagreed with him"

The next U.S. president must follow Carter’s advice if America is to avoid dangerous and useless climate change policies that cause skyrocketing energy prices and massive unemployment. In his first book, Carter summed up the situation well:

    "To say that human-caused global warming is proven to be a dangerous problem is untrue, and to introduce futile policies aimed at "stopping climate change" is both vainglorious and hugely expensive. Nonetheless, and despite the failure of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming, all studies of ancient climate indicate that a very real climate problem does exist. It is the risk associated with natural climatic phenomena, including short-term events such as floods and cyclones, intermediate scale events such as drought, and longer term warming and cooling trends".

On hearing of Professor Carter’s passing, British journalist, James Delingpole responded: "We all loved Bob; we’re all going to miss him. What a hero! What a friend! Just the kind of guy you want in the foxhole next to you!"

Viscount Christopher Monckton said: "    We will remember him. He was our clearest voice of truth"

Rest in peace, Bob Carter. You are indeed a hero for the ages.

The funeral service for Professor Carter will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday at Morleys Funerals, 2 Martinez Avenue at the Lakes in Townsville, Australia. The family has indicated that donations to the Heart Foundation in Bob's name would be most appreciated.


How is this not fraud?

I'm not a great one for shouting fraud, but I can't see that there is any other conclusion that one can draw. Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a film about Kiribati, the coral atoll that all BH readers know is not getting smaller.

Yet the promoters of this film are saying it is:  That to me looks distinctly like a false statement being used to raise money. A fraud, in other words.



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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