Friday, January 28, 2005


An article that the pro-Greenie publication "Nature" would not print is now accepted into the scientific literature

A science article that appears today in Geophysical Research Letters casts serious doubt on the oft-cited claim that global temperatures are warmer now than they have been anytime in the last 1,000 years.

Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick examined the methodology that led Mann et al. (1998) to publish in the popular science journal Nature the famous "hockey stick" shaped temperature curve, which was a centerpiece of the Third Assessment Report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001. The hockey stick curve showed a gradual cooling since around 1400 A.D. (the hockey stick handle) then a sharp warming since about 1900 (the blade of the stick). This was taken as proof that the major climatic event of the last 1,000 years was the influence of humans in the 20th century.

As you might imagine, it's a little difficult to construct a temperature history for a period of record that, for the most part, had no reliable thermometer measurements. Since good thermometer measurements extend back to only around the mid-1800's, "proxy" measurements, primarily tree ring data, have been used to extend the temperature record back additional centuries.

McIntyre & McKitrick found that the Mann et al. methodology included a data pre-processing step, one which was not reported in the original study, that essentially guaranteed that a hockey stick curve would result from their analysis. They demonstrated this by applying the same methodology to many synthetic temperature records that were constructed with random noise. In almost every case, a hockey stick curve resulted. The claim of unprecedented warmth and the hockey stick shape appear to hinge on the treatment of one species of tree, the bristlecone pine, from North America in the 1400's. Further statistical tests showed that this critical signal in the early 15th century lacked statistical significance. This suggests that the results of Mann et al. were simply a statistical fluke, which greatly exaggerated a characteristic of the bristlecone pines, which may or may not be related to global temperatures.

The new article, like so much published science, simply points out errors in previously published science, which is the way science should work. So why should there be so much fuss this time? Because the original Mann et al. article has had huge repercussions. The hockey stick, along with the "warmest in 1,000 years" argument, has become a central theme of debates over the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, in governments around the world. The question begging to be answered is: Why did the IPCC so quickly and uncritically accept the Mann et al hockey stick analysis when it first appeared? I cannot help but conclude that it's because they wanted to believe it.

More here


The post below was lifted from Spear Shaker. See the original for links

This blog has been critical of the Global Warming lobby, and skeptical of both the case and the proposed remedy for the perceived climate crisis.

This post isn't going to address the relative merits of the proponents vs. the skeptics. But I do want to point out that there seems to be a momentum shift away from the Global Warming Orthodoxy, and not just because Crichton published his book.

How can you tell? By the increasingly ominous rhetoric and doomsday scenarios that are being released into the media:

From the UK's Independent - A joint Australia, UK, and US report sponsored by the Center for American Progress (a liberal thinktank chaired by John Podesta, Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff), and the Australia Institute (an advocacy group which argues for communal rights over private property rights as it relates to environmental concerns), gives us ten years before the "point of no return" is reached in Global Warming - i.e., two degrees above the average temperature in the year 1750 - which the report says will be reached within the decade. The consequences, according to the report, will be dire:

These could include widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests - with the added possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.

Fixing a date and precise temperature trigger to the onset of environmental cataclysm is not the sign of a self-assured movement that is confident in its data and policy prescriptions. By ratcheting up the fear factor, these groups are attempting to stall the counter-momentum that is being felt as adoption of Kyoto guidelines loom and skeptics challenge the policy prescriptions; Canada is having serious second thoughts, the E.U. is threatening many of its members for dragging its feet, Japan is going squishy, and Blair is desperately trying to fashion a Kyoto-lite that doesn't include CO2 caps.

The fever pitch of the hysteria, and The Day After Tomorrow media scenarios suggest that, instead of a concerned citizenry recognizing a real threat, thinking people are looking at all the evidence and determining that reasonable environmental limits, investments in technology, and the underlying principles of economic growth are the appropriate path forward. After Global Cooling, Nuclear Winter, the Population Explosion, and Acid Rain, people hear "ten years until catastrophe" and just step on the gas.


Greenies hate big cities but big cities use the least resources per head

My wife and I were married straight out of college, in 1978. We were young and naive and unashamedly idealistic, and we decided to make our first home in a utopian environmentalist community in New York State. For seven years we lived quite contentedly in circumstances that would strike most Americans as austere in the extreme: our living space measured just 65 square metres, and we didn't have a dishwasher, garbage disposal, a lawn or a car. We did our grocery shopping on foot, and when we needed to travel longer distances we used public transport. Because space at home was scarce, we seldom acquired new possessions of significant size. Our electricity bills worked out to about a (US) dollar a day.

The utopian community was Manhattan. Most Americans, including most New Yorkers, think of New York City as an ecological nightmare, a wasteland of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams, but in comparison with the rest of America it is a model of environmental responsibility. By the most significant measures, New York is the greenest community in the US, and one of the greenest cities in the world. The most devastating damage humans have done to the environment has arisen from the heedless burning of fossil fuels, a category in which New Yorkers are practically prehistoric. The average Manhattanite consumes petrol at a rate that the country as a whole hasn't matched since the mid-1920s, when the most widely owned car in the US was the Ford Model T. Eighty-two per cent of Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. That's 10 times the rate for Americans in general, and eight times the rate for residents of Los Angeles County. New York City is more populous than all but 11 states; if it were granted statehood, it would rank 51st in per-capita energy use.

"Any place that has such tall buildings and heavy traffic is obviously an environmental disaster - except that it isn't," says John Holtzclaw, a transportation consultant for the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defence Council. "If New Yorkers lived at the typical American sprawl density of three households per residential acre [0.4 hectares], they would require many times as much land. They'd be driving cars, and they'd have huge lawns and be using pesticides and fertilisers on them, and then they'd be overwatering their lawns, so that runoff would go into streams." The key to New York's relative environmental benignity is its extreme compactness. Manhattan's population density is more than 800 times that of the nation as a whole. Placing 1.5 million people on a 60-square kilometre island sharply reduces their opportunities to be wasteful, and forces the majority to live in some of the most inherently energy-efficient residential structures: apartment buildings. It also frees huge tracts of land for the rest of America to sprawl into.....

When most Americans think about environmentalism, they picture wild, unspoiled landscapes - the earth before it was transmogrified by human habitation. New York City is one of the most thoroughly altered landscapes imaginable, an almost wholly artificial environment, in which the terrain's primeval contours have long since been obliterated and most of the parts that resemble nature (the trees on side streets, the rocks in Central Park) are essentially decorations. Ecology-minded discussions of New York City often have a hopeless tone, and focus on ways in which the city might be made to seem somewhat less oppressively man-made: by increasing the area devoted to parks and greenery, by incorporating vegetation into buildings themselves, by reducing traffic congestion, by easing the intensity of development, by creating open space around structures. But most such changes would actually undermine the city's extraordinary energy efficiency, which arises from the characteristics that make it surreally synthetic.

Because densely populated urban centres concentrate human activity, we think of them as pollution crisis zones. Calculated by the square metre, New York City generates more greenhouse gases, uses more energy and produces more solid waste than most other American regions of comparable size. On a map depicting negative environmental impacts in relation to surface area, therefore, Manhattan would look like an intense hot spot, surrounded, at varying distances, by belts of deepening green.

If you plotted the same negative impacts by resident or by household, however, the colour scheme would be reversed. My little town has about 4000 residents, spread over 100 thickly wooded square kilometres, and there are many places within our town limits from which no sign of settlement is visible in any direction. But if you moved 8 million people like us, along with our dwellings and possessions and rates of energy use, into a space the size of New York City, our profligacy would be impossible to miss, because you would have to stack our houses and cars and garages and lawn tractors and swimming pools and septic tanks higher than skyscrapers. (Conversely, if you made all 8 million New Yorkers live at the density of my town, they would require a space equivalent to the land area of the six New England states plus Delaware and New Jersey.) Spreading people out increases the damage they do to the environment, while making the problems harder to see and to address.

Environmentalists have tended to treat big buildings as intrinsically wasteful, because large amounts of energy are expended in their construction, and because the buildings place intensely localised stresses on sewers, power lines and water systems. But density can create the same kinds of ecological benefits in individual structures that it does in entire communities. Tall buildings have much less exposed exterior surface per square metre of interior space than smaller buildings do, and that means they present relatively less of themselves to the elements, their small roofs absorb less heat from the sun during cooling season and radiate less heat from inside during heating season. (The beneficial effects are greater still in Manhattan, where one building often directly abuts another.) A study by Michael Phillips and Robert Gnaizda, published in CoEvolution Quarterly in 1980, found that an ordinary apartment in a typical building near downtown San Francisco used just a fifth as much heating fuel as a new tract house in Davis, a little more than 100 kilometres away. Occupants of tall buildings also do a significant part of their daily coming and going in elevators, which, because they are counterweighted and thus require less motor horsepower, are among the most energy-efficient passenger vehicles in the world.....

When I told a friend recently that I thought New York City should be considered the greenest community in America, she looked puzzled, then asked, "Is it because they've started recycling again?" Her question reflected a central failure of the American environmental movement: that too many of us have been made to believe that the most important thing we can do to save the earth and ourselves is to remember each week to set our cans and bottles and newspapers on the curb. Recycling is popular because it enables people to relieve their gathering anxieties about the future without altering the way they live. But most recycling has, at best, a neutral effect on the environment, and much of it is demonstrably harmful. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart point out in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, most of the materials we place on our curbs are merely "downcycled" - converted to a lower use, providing a pause in their inevitable journey to a landfill or an incinerator - often with a release of toxins and a net loss of fuel, among other undesirable effects.

By far the worst damage we Americans do to the planet arises not from the newspapers we throw away but from the 3.2billion or so litres of oil we consume every day. We all know this at some level, yet we live like alcoholics in denial. How else can we explain that our cars have grown bigger, heavier and less fuel-efficient at the same time that scientists have become more certain and more specific about the consequences of our addiction to gasoline?

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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