Monday, May 09, 2016

The crook Cook again

John Cook is a bald-faced liar and I would be delighted if he sues me for saying so.  He trots out below the old 97% myth when his own research showed that two thirds (66.4%) of climate scientists TOOK NO POSITION on global warming, which is what any skeptic would do in the present climate of censuring and censoring dissent.  The only 97% consensus was among the one third who DID take a position.

Check it for yourself. The abstract of his paper says:  "We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW". Anybody who can read can see what a crook Cook is  -- just from his own writings

Cook does however make an interesting admission below.  He says that discussing the climate facts is unlikely to persuade people of global warming, which is right.  There are NO scientific facts which unambiguously support global warming.  It's only a focus on that bogus 97% that might win people over

I live only about 15 minutes drive away from where John Cook works so I challenged him to meet me and discuss global warming in person.  He agreed.  But when I asked if he minded me recording our conversation, I heard no more from him. He knows that his claims cannot stand the light of uncensored publicity

Communicating climate change is hard. Debunking climate myths is even harder.

Take it from me, I’ve spent the last decade researching climate communication and the psychology of misinformation. So let me express my expert opinion on a Jimmy Kimmel comedy segment on climate change.

It’s one of the better pieces of climate communication I’ve encountered.

Not everyone agrees. Scientist/filmmaker Randy Olsen has criticised Kimmel for giving free attention to climate denialist Marc Morano. Olsen does have a point. Morano scores a win by getting mainstream TV attention. But there’s a bigger picture here. The main winner on the night is public perception of scientific consensus.

The average person has no idea just how strong the scientific agreement on climate change is. Multiple studies have found 97% agreement among climate scientists that humans are causing global warming. In contrast, only 12% of Americans are aware that the consensus is over 90%.

Why the huge gap between public perception of consensus and the 97% reality? Part of the answer goes back nearly two decades. In the late 1990s, a Republican pollster Frank Luntz wrote a now infamous memo, advising Republicans to maintain doubt about the level of scientific agreement on climate change. Luntz’s market research had identified that what people thought about expert opinion affected other views on climate change.

It turns out Luntz was ahead of his time in identifying the psychological importance of perceived consensus. Scientific studies from 2011, 2013 and 2015 have identified perceived consensus as a “gateway belief”, influencing a range of attitudes about climate change including support for climate policy.

As a result, social scientists have urged climate scientists to set the record straight on scientific consensus. As far as climate communication messages go, this one is relatively straightforward. You don’t need to explain the mechanism of the greenhouse effect or the nuances of the carbon cycle (although those are good to explain if you get the opportunity). To effectively communicate the reality of climate change, you just need to mention that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.

So Kimmel nails it. His approach is entirely consistent with the advice of communication experts. My guess is this is probably due to his instincts as a professional comedian rather than a thorough familiarity with the psychological literature on consensus messaging.

Either way, along with President Obama, John Oliver, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Bernie Sanders, Kimmel has provided another valuable contribution to closing the consensus gap.


The world's children are already suffering from Climate Change

This crap hardly needs a reply but here goes:  COLD days are a much bigger killer than hot ones so a warmer world should be healthier for young and old.  Some harm can be done by heat but that is more than balanced out by the effects of cold

People urging more aggressive action on climate change often use children in their rhetoric: “we need to leave a better planet for our children,” “we owe it to the next generation to act,” etc. Earlier this year, two dozen children went so far as to sue the U.S. government for failing to act. “This is an intergenerational issue,” said James Hansen, a former NASA scientist supporting the lawsuit. “Our actions will affect our grandchildren and their children.”

The latest issue of the journal The Future of Children, a joint publication of Brookings and Princeton University, goes beyond the usual rhetoric and provides a detailed analysis of the impact of climate change on children’s wellbeing.

Extreme heat is associated with a rise in infant deaths, physical birth defects, delayed brain development, and nervous system problems, suggest Joshua Graff Zivin and Jeffrey Shrader in their contribution to the new volume. Excess heat can also reduce human capital development by damaging learning.

The direct effects of heat are just one way climate change can have an impact on children. Contributors to the volume examine a range of risks, including:

"the effect of extreme weather on political conflict and violence
greater pollution leading to increased asthma rates

the effects of more powerful and more frequent natural disasters on children’s nutrition and physical health

greater pollution—specifically fine particulates—affecting academic test scores

The priority for public policy should be to slow temperature rises by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.


Some big effects of NATURAL climate change

You won’t find it in history textbooks, but the Roman Empire’s rise to dominance in Egypt and the Middle East may have been influenced by a series of volcanic eruptions that reduced rainfall.

These eruptions could have contributed to the sabotage and destruction of the Ptolemaic Kingdom on the Nile, paving the way for the rise of Cleopatra and the Roman Empire – and, ultimately, the modern Western world.

The Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled Egypt and North Africa in the final three centuries BC, known as the Hellenistic period. Now, teamwork between volcanologists and historians has revealed a close match in timing between volcanic eruptions and domestic unrest, revolts and uprisings that led to the kingdom’s downfall.

“So far, Hellenistic history has never had any climate component,” says Joseph Manning, a historian at Yale University. Bringing in the impact of climate shocks on the unfolding of history is important, he says.

“There were revolts and social unrest from 245 BC onwards, down to the mid-first century BC,” Manning told the meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Austria, last week. “One involved the entire river valley along the Nile for 20 years.”

At the heart of the unrest were starvation and famine in the Ptolemaic Kingdom, where grain harvests were critically dependent on annual flooding of fertile plains by the East African monsoon.

Rain drops

Fallout from major eruptions that affected global climate would have cut the annual rains in the highlands of Ethiopia that drained into the Blue Nile and ultimately irrigated the kingdom’s crops.

“Aerosols from volcanoes reduce evaporation and cool the temperature, leading to fewer clouds,” says Francis Ludlow of Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, and the team’s climate historian.

Volcanic fallout is known from more recent times to interfere with an equatorial belt of air called the Intertropical Convergence Zone that seasonally shifts up and down around the world, bringing monsoon rains either north or south depending on the time of year.

“You must have rain in the Ethiopian highlands to irrigate the Nile valley, so if monsoon rains are disrupted, the usual floods would have been lost,” says Ludlow.

Matching times

Ludlow, Manning and their colleagues have now found almost exact matches between the timing of uprisings in the kingdom and new eruptions they identified. The latter were deduced from spikes in sulphate contamination in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica, while dating of the uprisings came from historical accounts.

The researchers found that eight out of nine documented revolts against the Ptolemaic rulers began within two years of eruption dates.

Further historical investigations showed that the revolts severely disrupted attempts by Ptolemaic armies to seize new territory in Mesopotamia through at least nine major wars with their main rivals, the Seleucid Empire that straddled parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, between 274 and 96 BC.

Manning has now tied previously unexplained retreats from battle by the Ptolemaic rulers to the need to deal with insurrections on home territory. Unable to retain new territory on the battlefield, the kingdom eventually shrank,  giving way to rivals.

The misery caused by eruptions was also linked to significant decrees issued by Ptolemaic rulers. For instance, the priests’ decree of Canopus in 238 BC reports moves by Egypt to import grain in huge amounts from overseas, underscoring the severity of the domestic famine.

“Now, we can see it’s all lining up,” says Manning. “The last four centuries BC were very active volcanically and as a result saw this incredible instability, which ultimately paved the way for the kingdom to fall and for the rise of the Roman Empire.

Modern origins

In the grand scheme of things, Manning says, the weakening of the Ptolemaic Kingdom led to the forces of Cleopatra and Antony being defeated by Octavian’s Roman army. And without Rome as we know it, Europe would have looked very different, too.

“This is the beginning of the modern world, around the second century BC,” he says, and had the Ptolemaic kingdom not fallen, the world could have looked very different.

“I find it to be a very intriguing study,” says Matthew Toohey, of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. He cites more recent eruptions, particularly those of Laki, Iceland, in 1783 and Novarupta, Alaska, in 1912, that we know affected the levels of the Nile river.

“There is an emerging understanding of the physical mechanisms behind changes in the monsoons and tropical rainfall after such eruptions,” says Toohey. “It’s not hard to imagine that eruptions of the more distant past had similar effects on the Nile.”

The authors have presented “fascinating” correlations between well-dated records of climate change, Nile-flood reduction and societal unrest, says Brian Dermody, who studies the impact of climate on the Roman Empire at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “The coincidence in dating indicates that there is likely a link between these environmental changes and societal unrest within the Ptolemaic Kingdom.”

However, he says that Nile floods were highly variable throughout history – so it would be interesting to explore why some societies, such as those of the Ptolemaic period, seemingly had lower resilience to fluctuations in Nile floods than those at other times.


Climate fraud in Canada

“Eco-freaks” wrong about Fort Mac wildfires. Here’s what DID cause them

Fort McMurray is devastated by wildfires, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and have lost their homes and possessions but that didn’t stop people from blaming climate change for the catastrophe.

The eco-crazies were out in full force on social media, rejoicing as the town went up in flames -- even Elizabeth May stopped just short of blaming Alberta for bringing the catastrophe on. And who could forget the tweet from former NDP candidate Tom Moffat, who called the fires “karmic” and used the hash tag “Feel the Bern” to mock the town.

I know this is going to come as a shock but wildfires like the Miramichi fire that happened in New Brunswick and the Peshtigo fire in 1871 have occurred throughout history.

Scientists that specialize in climate say global average temperatures have risen only one degree and that if human activity is the culprit in rising temperatures, it would have only been significant starting from 1960. A degree in temperature increase is not “catastrophic” and the argument that climate change causes wildfires is flawed simply based on the fact that there have been more catastrophic events throughout time.

So, what did cause the fires?

It all started with El Nino, the appearance of unusually warm water off of Peru and Ecuador that causes complex changes in climate. It meant winter ended a month earlier in Alberta, causing higher than average temperatures. This in turn caused dry conditions that have provided ample fuel in the form of tinder dry forest fires.

A report released in 2012 also found that our forests are aging and much drier than 50 years ago. For Fort McMurray, it was one of those times where the elements for a wildfire were present – dry fuel, low humidity and high winds.

El Nino and aging forests aren’t a result of climate change, or human activity, so when are the politicians and eco-freaks going to stop misleading people and just have some compassion for the people of Fort McMurray?


Al Gore: Solving ‘Climate Crisis’ Will ‘Save the Future of Civilization’

A man with VISION!

Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that solving what he called the “climate crisis” would not only help the U.S. and global economy but could save civilization itself.

Speaking at the Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, D.C., Gore said the “Number One threat to the global economy is the climate crisis,” which also threatens the U.S. economy, and that turning that around requires investment in the right kind of infrastructure here and abroad.

In the United States, Gore called for “physical stimulus in a coordinated way aimed at infrastructure that the country needs, which means de-carbonization, renewable energy, batteries, energy storage, sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture.”

“This is the opportunity to save the economy and a side benefit would be to save the future of civilization,” Gore said.

Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, also spoke at the event and called climate change an “urgent issue.”

She said leaders should look to communities that are tackling climate change, such as New Orleans, which is losing “a football field” of land on an hourly basis.

“So often we find the best solutions, the truly breakthrough – kind of groundbreaking innovations – are already at work in some communities somewhere in the world,” Rodin said.

“For example, the city of New Orleans is working to restore their bayous, their wetlands triangle, which are very vulnerable by rebuilding critical areas of the coast that are subject to coastal erosion and reducing economic activity, as well as the well-being of their population,” Rodin said.

“This is an urgent issue,” she said. “Think about this.”


Al Gore's Inconvenient Reality

May 24 will mark 10 years since Al Gore’s climate horror flick “An Inconvenient Truth” made its debut. The fact we’re able to write about it now is good news, because obviously the world, contrary to the film’s prognostications, hasn’t imploded (not in regards to the climate, anyway). But scientists and wannabe political superstars rarely grade their own work. Thankfully, third-party investigators do, and reporter Michael Bastasch re-watched the film to vet the claims Gore made in his farcical Nobel Prize-winning project. A decade later, here’s the reality:

“Kilimanjaro Still Has Snow”
“Gore Left Out The 15-Year ‘Hiatus’ In Warming”
“The Weather Hasn’t Gotten Worse”
“The North Pole Still Has Ice”
“A ‘Day After Tomorrow’-Style Ice Age Is Still A Day Away”

You can rummage the thorough details here. Complimenting Bastasch’s work, Steven Hayward adds, “Gore made much of Greenland’s ice sheet melting so rapidly you’d think the continent was a grilled cheese sandwich in a pizza oven. Science magazine reports this week that the interior of Greenland’s enormous ice mass appears to be … completely stable.” On Wednesday, a headline posted by the University of Illinois read, “Study finds ice isn’t being lost from Greenland’s interior.” This is Al Gore’s genuine inconvenient reality.



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