Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The climate crew, alienating potential allies and worshipping false idols

Featuring the brainless DiCaprio

So last night was the Oscars and, as expected, Leo DiCaprio won the best actor award and, as expected, he took time during his acceptance speech to discuss climate change. Now Canadians are aware of how knowledgeable Leo is on weather-related topic following his laughable outburst last year when he informed the world that a run-of-the-mill winter Chinook was something that had never happened before. Last night was no exception when he exclaimed “our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.”

 For folks not familiar with Alberta weather, a Chinook is a warm wind that can roll in from the west and change the temperature by up to 30 degrees Celsius in four hours. Winter Chinooks are common with written records of them going back as far as 1877.

Now anyone familiar with the climate statistics for southern Alberta  (let’s use Calgary as an example) will notice a trend in Alberta weather. Alberta winters tend to be pretty darn cold and can be pretty darn dry. In particular, come late January and into February the precipitation goes way down. So if it is late January and you have just had a Chinook run through that melted your snow, you may go for several weeks until a storm system comes through to give you new snow. It is still cold as hell, but there simply isn’t any precipitation. Thus, when a “dramatic” event melted the snow that late January, it probably made a lot of sense to head somewhere else since apparently the production company was unwilling to wait until the late season snows of March and April returned the conditions to a white backdrop suitable for filming.

Now Albertans understand this and so when Dr. Michael Mann posted a comment about the Oscars:

One of the few people not blocked by Dr. Mann, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Andrew Leach, had the temerity to point out that Mr. DiCaprio was mistaken and that the weather after that year’s Chinook was actually quite cold.

Needless to say Dr. Mann decided to Mannsplain  Dr. Leach and then insult him

and then, not surprisingly, he decided to block Dr. Leach.

When it was pointed out to Dr. Mann who he had blocked Dr. Mann, the person who had just called the man a “troll”, subsequently complained that Dr. Leach was often “irritating/rude on social media”.

Pot meet kettle.

Now many folks have been blocked by Dr. Mann, (myself included) , that is not a big deal. What is a big deal is that Dr. Mann managed to alienate a potential ally. You see, Dr. Leach isn’t just another anonymous commenter on Twitter, Dr. Leach was the Chair of the Province of Alberta’s Climate Change Advisory Panel.

Dr. Leach and his panel produced the Climate Leadership Report (caution large .pdf file) that served as the basis for the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan. Dr. Leach and his panel spent three months of their lives travelling the province doing the consultation necessary to build up the technical support and political and social goodwill necessary to enact the policy.

Besides Premier Notley, Dr. Leach is likely the most important reason Alberta is creating a program to put a price on carbon to fight climate change. Can you imagine a more important ally if you are trying to build a consensus for a change in climate policy across North America than the man who helped convince Alberta that it needed to control its carbon emissions?

Turning Dr. Leach into your friend should be a no-brainer for climate activists and a couple polite words is all it would have taken to smooth the waters. Instead, out comes the insults and then the block and another potential ally is stomped. Gotta love the climate crew, they pull out their shotguns at the drop of a hat; proceed to point them directly at their own feet; and then let go with both barrels.

Going back to Leo for a moment, I really don’t understand why so many in the climate change community lionize the man? Here is a man whose opulent lifestyle, love of private jets  and carbon profligacy should get him scorned by these same activists. Instead he says the right things every now and again and he is cast as their champion?

This morning I had a fascinating exchange with Vox writer David Roberts on the topic. Mr. Roberts is a solid writer who, along with Brad Plumer, have written some of the smartest, data-driven pieces on climate change to appear in the mainstream media but on the topic of Leo he has a huge blind-spot and this morning he was taking on all comers:

As you can see, the basis for his support of Mr. DiCaprio appears to be that as long as he says the right things in interviews and speeches, then everything he does in his private life should be ignored. I, of course, disagree because unlike most of us Leo flaunts his “private life” for all to see and what we have seen shows his behaviour to be at odds with his words. Our exchange was brief with Mr. Roberts ending with a drive-by insult and then he was off.

What was more interesting was watching Mr. Roberts explaining to climate change activists in Alberta why they should ignore both what Mr. DiCaprio has said and done because only a handful of people would notice the error.

The funny thing is this was all derived from a CBC article on the topic.

I’m not sure how familiar Mr. Roberts is with Canadian politics but when you are a progressive and you lose the CBC you have lost whatever battle you were trying to fight. Moreover, as Mr. Turner was trying to explain, Alberta activists tend to care when Leo spews his ignorance on one topic because it has a way of tainting his arguments on every other topic. How can anyone take seriously an activist who, a year after being corrected on the topic of Chinooks, is still making the same ridiculous statements? For activists in Alberta Leo is simply poisoning the well and will make their lives immeasurably harder.

I don’t want to go on too long tonight, but I simply wanted to ask the activists out there a simple question:

Why are you making it so hard on yourselves?

Outside of your progressive enclaves there are a lot of people who still need to be convinced about the importance of action and you are not making it easier. How hard would it have been for Dr. Mann to simply have been be civil to an esteemed colleague? A colleague with a lot more green cred than Dr. Mann himself in much of Canada.

Regarding Mr. DiCaprio, why are so many activists lionizing a man who’s carbon footprint really does make him a one-percenter in the field? Sure he has said some nice things but his actions don’t appear to back up his words. There are so many really deserving people out there to carry the flag and instead you rely on celebrities and celebrity-scientists? That is probably why in a recent major study only 44% of Canadians believed that humans were the primary cause of climate change?  You guys have had 25 years doing this and you can’t even convince half of Canadians that humans as the primary cause of climate change? Why do you never learn from your mistakes because, as the polls clearly indicate, your opponents certainly do.


Some cold facts on global warming

Climate change alarmists ignore data that contradict their agenda

Yesterday it was still February, but the high temperature hit 64 degrees here in Washington, with snow drifts still melting from last month’s massive East Coast blizzard. So what are we to make of the weather and the climate change controversy? Is it getting warmer or colder?

It’s not even a question worth asking, as far as the analysts at NASA are concerned. Before the blizzard hit, they had already announced that 2015 was the hottest year on record. Not that this is anything new for most Americans. We hear dire global warming proclamations on a near-daily basis, and it’s always just been the hottest day, week, month or year — no matter what the weather’s like outside.

Yet, as climate expert David Kreutzer recently pointed out, NASA is fairly selective about which information you’re supposed to believe. The agency’s own satellite data shows that while last year was indeed warm, it wasn’t as warm as 2010 or 1998.

But wait, some may say. You can chalk up this discrepancy to the difference between what the satellite data says and what the surface temperatures are (which NASA gathers from thousands of sites worldwide, with a few “adjustments” thrown in). But it doesn’t matter. Neither data set supports the wild predictions being bandied about by global warming alarmists.

Search all the data for evidence of the accelerated warming projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and you come up empty-handed. Sometimes temperatures go up, but not always. There’s no constant warming. Indeed, the data show a significant moderation of the warming trend. At times it appears to have leveled off or even cooled a bit.

Should we be surprised? Not really. When you throw in variables such as measurement errors, as well as El Nino and La Nina, it makes sense that the average temperature for some years will be higher even if the overall trend is flat.

“Will the trend stay flat? Probably not,” Mr. Kreutzer writes. “The Earth has been recovering from the Little Ice Age for a couple of centuries and recovering from a real ice age for thousands of years. So there is a reasonable chance that we will revert to an overall warming trend, but there is no guarantee. Who knows? We might even be headed into another ice age (as was predicted in the 1970s).”

None of this is to say that human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions haven’t contributed to some warming. They likely have. But the bottom line is that, one way or the other, there’s no reason to believe that the sky is falling. Or, to be more exact, that the earth beneath it is warming up to levels that should frighten us.

No data points to catastrophic warming, hysterical predications aside. And, it should be noted, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that there have been no upward trends in hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts.

Small wonder then, that liberal groups who are vested in global warming alarmism often ignore data that contradict their agenda. They tell us repeatedly that the debate is over, as if there is an expiration date on free speech. Unfortunately, too many in the media comply. Some outlets, such as the Los Angeles Times, won’t even accept letters to the editor that question the gospel of man-made climate change.

Hence we get very selective reporting. “For example, the national media hyped NASA’s finding that 2014 was the hottest year on record,” writes Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. “Ignored was the footnote that revealed that NASA was only 38 percent certain this was accurate. Less than fifty-fifty. Americans would have been better served by a coin toss.”

There’s a lot of hot air circulating, all right. Fortunately, it’s more political than scientific. Leonardo DiCaprio may have been taken in, but the rest of us can ignore the overheated rhetoric.


Climate activists threaten to shut down world's major coal sites

Reclaim the Power says it will use direct action at a dozen international sites in May, including the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales

The dozen international sites facing civil disobedience from the Break Free 2016 campaign span the globe from the US to Australia and South Africa to Indonesia.

The Ffos-y-fran opencast mine, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, is about halfway through extracting 11m tonnes of coal. Ellie Groves, from the Reclaim the Power network, said: “The only way we can stop catastrophic climate change is taking action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

“The local community have battled Ffos-­y-­fran for nearly a decade and now face the threat of a new mine next door at Nant Llesg,” said Groves. “Enough is enough. We need a ban on opencast coal mining across Wales, and the rest of the UK.”

Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and scientists estimate that 80% of current reserves must remain in the ground in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The UK government intends to phase out coal burning by 2025 but the International Energy Agency still forecasts growth in the global demand for coal.

A statement from Reclaim the Power said: “Hundreds are expected to set up camp nearby and take part in a mass action to close the mine. The action will take place a few days before the Welsh assembly elections on May 5.”

The Reclaim the Power network has held annual camps since 2013 and has conducted a series of direct actions, including blockading a World Coal Association conference and a fracking company. Ffos-y-fran supplies the Aberthaw power station, whose illegally high levels of pollution have led the EU to take the UK to court. Miller Argent, the company running Ffos-y-fran, and the local Labour MP Gerald Jones both declined to comment on the planned protests.

Campaign group, which had led the fossil fuel divestment movement, is helping to coordinate the international actions. “We’re mobilising to shut down the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects and support the most ambitious climate solutions,” says the Break Free 2016 website.

“We want to ensure there continues to be momentum to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to confront fossil fuel companies,” said Will Bates, global campaigns director for

Bates emphasised that, while involving civil disobedience, the protests would be peaceful. “Our actions must reflect the scale and urgency of this crisis,” says the website. The protests are likely to emulate a protest in Germany in August 2015 which shut down the large Garzweiler opencast coal mine for a day.

“We need to be disrupting business as usual if governments will not put in place the policies that will get the job done,” said Bates. “It is what is necessary. We think it is in everybody’s best interest.”



In the early days of global warming hysteria, the alarmists understandably warned that warmer temperatures would cause, among other things, less snow. Jim Steele reminds us:

"[Kevin] Trenberth’s 1999 paper framing the effects of global warming on extreme precipitation declared, “With higher average temperatures in winter expected, more precipitation is likely to fall in the form of rain rather than snow, which will increase both soil moisture and run off, as noted by the IPCC (1996) and found in many models.” The 2001 IPCC 3rd Assessment repeated those expectations stating, “Northern Hemisphere snow cover, permafrost, and sea-ice extent are projected to decrease further.” Soon climate scientists like Dr. Viner proffered alarming scenarios that “children would no longer know what snow was”. Similarly in 2008 politicians like RFK Jr. warned DC children would be deprived of the fun of sledding due to global warming."

It all sounded plausible, but nature refused to cooperate:

"But our climate naturally oscillates and by early February of 2010 Snowmageddon was blanketing the USA’s eastern seaboard with record snows, making global warming predictions the butt of many jokes. The heavy snows didn’t disprove CO2 had caused any warming, but it definitely highlighted failed predictions."

If the alarmists were scientists, they would acknowledge that a theory that generates false predictions is wrong. But they aren’t doing science, they are doing politics. So they retrospectively revised their predictions. Any port in a storm:

"In 2011 Chris Mooney writing for the DeSmog blog noted heavy snowfall had become a “communications nightmare” for global warming theory and urged, “We need to move the public to a place where drawing a warming-snowstorm connection isn’t so challenging”.

Good luck with that.

"Kevin Trenberth was already on point. Just two weeks after the 2010 Snowmageddon, Trenberth appeared in a NPR interview flip-flopping to a new climate change framework in which a “Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow”. Now he argued, “The fact that the oceans are warmer now than they were, say, 30 years ago means there’s about on average 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was, say, in the 1970s”. Thus “you can get dumped on with more snow partly as a consequence of global warming,” A year later the Union of Concerned Scientists held a press conference asserting global warming was no longer causing less snow, but causing heavier snow. And now, every year as heavy snowstorms approach, Trenberth and his well-groomed media outlets bombard the public, urging them not to be misled by their senses, but trust that cold and snowy days have worsened due to global warming"

The alarmists’ new, improved global warming theory was that warmer temperatures caused the atmosphere to be able to hold more moisture. Therefore the total precipitable water vapor increases with CO2, and–presto!–more water vapor means more snow. All earlier predictions were conveniently forgotten.

There are several problems with this theory, including the fact that total precipitable water vapor has not increased in parallel with atmospheric CO2:

It is true that warmer temperatures allow the air to hold more water, so the lack of any significant increase in TPW implies that the Earth hasn’t been warming as required by the alarmists’ theories. Needless to say, this isn’t the conclusion they draw. But as we all know, consistency is not their strong point. Trenberth is famous for writing privately to his political allies: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

The point of this amusing story is that for the alarmists, almost everything is negotiable. More snow? Less snow? No problem! No matter what happens, they tweak their models and pretend that they saw it coming all along. There is only one constant, one fixed star amid the models’ constant fluidity: the need for government control over the world’s economies. This is why governments pay billions to the climate alarmists, and are utterly indifferent to their laughable record of failed predictions. Climate alarmism has nothing to do with science.


Again:  Warming may bring cooling!

The British Met office is having it both ways

Our atmospheric scientists are predicting a dramatic change in high altitude winds 50km above the ground and the imminent occurrence of an event known as a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) in early March.

Professor Adam Scaife, Head of Monthly to Decadal Prediction explains: “Sudden stratospheric warming events occur high up in the atmosphere and involve a complete reversal of the high altitude polar jet stream – they can even affect weather at the surface, and for the UK a sudden stratospheric warming increases the risk of wintry weather.”

The phenomenon begins with a wave-like disturbance which travels up into the high-altitude jet stream. Scaife said: “This disturbance can grow to a point where it turns over and breaks, just like a wave on a beach.”

Normally the jet stream flows from west to east with some north and south oscillation, but the force from this high altitude disturbance pushes against the jet stream until the winds actually reverse and flow from east to west instead. Air then falls into the Arctic and is compressed so that it starts to warm: the temperature can rise by as much as 50C in just a few days.

Professor Scaife added: “This reversal of high altitude winds can also burrow down into the lower stratosphere. Once it is within reach of weather systems in the lower atmosphere the Atlantic jet stream often weakens and moves south. This allows cold air from the east into northern Europe and the UK.”

Sudden stratospheric warming events occur on average every couple of years and our long-range forecasts have consistently suggested an increased risk of sudden stratospheric warming towards the end of this winter. The last big event was in early 2013 and was followed by a cold end to winter. Although the impact of the current event is unlikely to be as severe, it increases the risk of cold north easterlies and wintry weather for the UK over the next few weeks.


7 Reasons the Dimock Water Case Is Looking Very, Very Shaky as the Trial Enters Its Second Week

The Ely and Hubert families in Dimock, Pennsylvania are suing Cabot Oil & Gas alleging they have polluted their water. In various court filings and in countless documentaries and comments to journalists, the Ely family have claimed fracking/drilling has destroyed their life, damaged their health, and caused their children to be ill--serious allegations. They attracted international publicity with anti-fracking activists describing Dimock as the “ground zero” of fracking pollution. But after eight years of allegations and one week of the trial, here are seven reasons the the case looks very, very shaky.

1. Testing the Truth
The plaintiffs’ case was collapsing long before they entered the court in Scranton. Their original complaint contained alarming allegations that Cabot and fracking caused neurological, gastrointestinal, and dermatological damage to the plaintiffs and their children. They also claimed that a blood study showed results consistent with toxic exposure to..heavy metals. But in the run up to the hearing, they failed to produce ANY evidence to back up these claims. No doctor’s report, no blood test, nothing. The evidence was so lacking that the judge prevented them from even raising the possibility in the court that their health was affected.

2. Legal Eagle
The plaintiffs’ lawyer is truly awful. Leslie Lewis is so bad that it’s possible that she’s looking for a sympathy verdict from the jury. She is disorganized, doesn't seem to understand the science, and constantly tries to put words in witnesses’ mouths when she doesn't get the answer she wants. She also has the habit of blurting out statements that damage her clients’ case. It was Ms. Lewis who early in the case memorably and unnecessarily told the jury that the central allegation of anti-fracking activists across the planet had no scientific basis. There was absolutely no evidence that fracking fluids had ever contaminated Dimock's water. “We don't have proof of that. This is not about fracking fluid appearing in the water. Hydraulic fracturing materials, we don't have proof of that,” she told the jury.
But don't take my word for it. Ms. Lewis hasn't impressed the judge, either. Judge Martin Carlson criticized her, stating that her attempts to introduce an enormous amount of “evidence” at the last minute was “extraordinary, unprecedented, unexplained and [a] profoundly troubling development.”

3. McMansion
And her clients aren’t much better. It's difficult to know if the Ely family are bad parents or bad liars or both. Despite claiming that they and their children were suffering from a raft of medical conditions after being poisoned by fracking fluids and other chemicals, the Elys never, ever took their children to a doctor to discuss the illnesses--not once. And the Elys are not unsophisticated people who would not have had access to medical experts. Monica Ely is a dentist who would have friends and colleagues who could help her access the best tests and best experts available. But they didn't even bother having their children tested--despite the fact that the Elys kept telling their children and the world's media that they had been poisoned. In fact, the Elys were so unconcerned with the state of their water on the property that after they claimed it was poisoned they went ahead and built a $1 million mansion on the property.

4. Superhuman
Scott Ely was a shifty and very unimpressive witness. But perhaps the lowest moment was when he tried to fix a problematic timeline (that he set up) but fatally undermined his credibility. Scott had told three different people--a doctor, a hydrologist, and in a handwritten statement to his own lawyer--that the water problems started in August 2008. However, his lawyer has also told the court that they all accept drilling did not start on nearby gas wells until late September/October 2008. So on the witness stand, Scott suddenly remembered--eight years after the case started--that in June/July 2008 he remembered a massive gas leak at a gas well that he was claiming must have affected his water.

“I pulled up on that location. The location was shut down. Gas was spewing out of ground....It stunk like crazy everybody was evacuated from the location....You can see the gas up around the rig,” he told the jury. Except that he was then forced to admit that natural gas is invisible and odorless. So the jury will have to believe Scott Ely has superhuman powers, or they will have to assume that he is a dishonest witness.

5. Mother of the Year
 Monica Ely has been shown to be an extremely dodgy witness also. Apart from neglecting to bring her children to the doctor--even though she thought they had been poisoned by fracking--Ms Ely also portrayed herself as someone who tried to shield her children from the politicking and contentious debate around fracking. She testified that she tried “not to involve our kids with this.” Then the Cabot lawyers pointed out and produced photos (see above) that showed far from sheltering her children Ms Ely had in fact “brought them to press conferences, rallies with people like [actor] Mark Ruffalo, taken them to the Tribeca Film festival,” and had allowed them to be featured in the highly contentious documentary Gasland. Monica Ely: no time to take her children to the doctor even though she thought they were poisoned but plenty of time to take them to rallies with actors and activists.  
6. Expert Witness
The the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses are pretty awful also. Hydrologist Paul Rudin gave evidence on Friday where, after posing as a neutral scientist, admitted that he had “come into this case with a bias against non-renewable energy exploration.” That’s right. The first expert witness the plaintiffs were able to produce admitted he was biased against fossil fuels and fossil fuel companies. Science at its purest, obviously.

7. Outsourcing
And Paul Rudin’s methodology is unorthodox to say the least. Despite wanting to find out if Scott Ely's property was affected by gas drilling, he did no tests on the property, but instead went to a quarry 2,700 ft away and concluded that was sufficient examination of the property's geology. And in breach of every acceptable international standard, he allowed Scott Ely to collect the water supplies that he analyzed with no checks or attempts to ensure that the water was collected properly.



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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