Monday, February 27, 2006


Report from The Wall Street Journal, 10 February 2006

Seeking to resolve a scientific dispute that has taken on a rancorous political edge, the National Academy of Sciences said it had agreed to a request from Congress to assess how well researchers understand the history of temperatures on earth. The study by the academy, an independent advisory body based in Washington, will focus on the "hockey stick," a chart of past temperatures that critics say is inaccurate. The graph gets its name because of the sudden, blade-like rise of recent temperatures compared with past epochs.

The controversy took a sharp political turn in July when Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, launched a probe into the work of three climate specialists who generated the graph, including Michael Mann, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Barton's inquiry drew a rebuke from several scientific societies as well as fellow Republican Sherwood Boehlert of New York, chairman of the House Committee on Science, who called it a blatant effort to intimidate global-warming researchers. After Mr. Barton didn't respond to an offer to jointly bring the issue to the National Academy, Mr. Boehlert independently asked for a review in November, science committee chief of staff David Goldston said. "It appeared that the issue was not going to go away by itself. We thought this was an appropriate way to get an assessment of the science," Mr. Goldston said in an interview.

Larry Neal, deputy staff director for Mr. Barton's committee, said in a statement that because "combating climate change is a breathtakingly expensive prospect," it deserved closer study, and that the academy was "unlikely" to address all of Mr. Barton's concerns. Mr. Barton has already sought a separate analysis of the hockey stick led by statistician Edward Wegman of George Mason University, people familiar with the matter said. Dr. Wegman couldn't be reached yesterday.

Using records stored in ice, tree rings, and coral reefs, scientists including Dr. Mann have estimated that current air temperatures exceed any in the past 1,000 years. Such findings are not only evidence for man-made global warming, but also underlie predictions of future temperature rises. An 11-member academy panel will now study the accuracy and importance of such research, in particular the work of Dr. Mann, whose hockey-stick graph was included in a report issued by the United Nations in 2001. An academy spokesman said the report would be completed in about four months.

Dr. Mann's critics, including two amateur Canadian climate researchers, say his work contains serious inaccuracies. Dr. Mann has denied that, but the debate has prompted several climate researchers to take a fresh look at temperature reconstructions. While some recent publications have found fault with the hockey stick and similar studies, others have sought to rebut critics.


Excerpt from a letter by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, 17 February 2006

We are writing to protest three of the appointments to the Panel because of bias, lack of objectivity and/or conflict of interest and to protest the failure of the Panel as presently constituted to meet policies of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) regarding committee composition and balance. We have suggested several alternatives whose appointment would at least partly mitigate these problems.

Dr. Otto-Bliesner

The "Policy on Committee Composition and Balance and Conflicts of Interest for Committees Used in the Development of Reports", a policy statement of the National Academy of Science (NAS) issued in compliance with section 15 of the federal Advisory Committee Act, provides explicit statements about the issues of bias, lack of objectivity and conflict of interest. It states, with respect to conflict of interest:

It is essential that the work of committees of the institution used in the development of reports not be compromised by any significant conflict of interest. For this purpose, the term "conflict of interest" means any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual because it (1) could significantly impair the individual's objectivity or (2) could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization. Except for those situations in which the institution determines that a conflict of interest is unavoidable and promptly and publicly discloses the conflict of interest, no individual can be appointed to serve (or continue to serve) on a committee of the institution used in the development of reports if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed. [bold in original]

and, with respect to bias and lack of objectivity:

Finally, it is essential that the work of committees that are used by the institution in the development of reports not be compromised by issues of bias and lack of objectivity. . Questions of lack of objectivity and bias ordinarily relate to views stated or positions taken that are largely intellectually motivated or that arise from the close identification or association of an individual with a particular point of view or the positions or perspectives of a particular group

The Panel is obviously going to have to consider our various criticisms of Mann et al. and will undoubtedly hear reference to a national Media Advisory by UCAR in May 2005 declaring that UCAR employee Caspar Ammann had shown that our various criticisms were "unfounded". This press release has been relied upon in material presented to the U.S. Congress by Sir John Houghton of IPCC, by Dr Mann and by the European Geophysical Union. Ammann has advised one of us that he has used these two unpublished articles in his annual employment review at UCAR.

One of the proposed panellists, Dr Otto-Bliesner, has not only been a frequent coauthor and presenter with Ammann, but is Ammann's immediate supervisor at UCAR (see As such, she has presumably considered Ammann's articles on our work in the course of carrying out Ammann's annual review. We presume that she would have been involved in preparing and/or approving the UCAR press release on Ammann's work last May. In addition, last year, she co-authored an article with Bradley (of Mann, Bradley and Hughes) and served on a committee with him. It appears to us that her association with Ammann rises to a conflict of interest within NAS policy, but, in the alternative, her associations with Ammann and Bradley certainly rise to bias and lack of objectivity. While she is undoubtedly a meritorious person, the field of candidates is not so limited that her participation in the panel is necessary to its functioning and indeed her continued participation might well diminish the actual and/or perceived ability of the panel to provide objective advice. For example, *** would be an equally competent alternate without the accompanying problems of bias, lack of objectivity and conflict of interest.

Dr. Nychka

Another proposed panellist, Dr Nychka, also a UCAR employee, is listed at Ammann's webpage as presently collaborating not only with Ammann, but with Mann (see This ongoing collaboration certainly creates the appearance of a "close identification or association of an individual with a particular point of view or the positions or perspectives of a particular group". Again, while Nychka is undoubtedly a meritorious person, the field of candidates is not so limited that he is irreplaceable on the panel and indeed his continued participation might well diminish both the actual ability and the perceived ability of the panel to provide objective advice.

Dr. Cuffey

We are also concerned about apparent bias and lack of objectivity in a third proposed panellist, Dr Cuffey, who in a newspaper op-ed recently wrote:

Mounting evidence has forced an end to any serious scientific debate on whether humans are causing global warming. This is an event of historical significance, but one obscured from public view by the arcane technical literature and the noise generated by perpetual partisans. (see )

The panel is being asked to consider the "historical significance" of present climate change. A panellist who has a priori dismissed questions on the matter, some of which are necessarily quite technical, as being "arcane" and "noise generated by perpetual partisans" can be "reasonably perceived to be unwilling, to consider other perspectives or relevant evidence to the contrary" as defined in NAS policy.


UK industry will face increased costs of around 350 million pounds ($614 million) after the European Commission's decision to reject the UK's amended emissions plan, according to business leaders. On Wednesday, the Commission announced it was rejecting "on the grounds of late submission" the UK's national allocation plan (NAP) for the first phase (2005-07) of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). It would have increased the UK's overall allocation for the three years by the equivalent of 20 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide, to 756Mt. The Commission had been legally bound to consider the amendment it lost a court case against the UK government in November 2005.

"This is very disappointing. It does nothing to reduce carbon emissions. It simply increases costs to UK Plc by about o350 million," said David Porter, chief executive of the UK's Association of Electricity Producers. "We shall be seeking talks with the government to see what more can be done," he added. "The 350 million pound costs of covering this misguided shortfall in the UK's carbon emissions allowance is unaffordable," said Matthew Farrow, head of environment for the Confederation of British Industry. "We will urge the government to pursue the case further," he added.

The government also expressed its disappointment at the decision. "We are considering our position, which includes possible further legal action," said a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The government has two months to appeal against the Commission's decision. The NAP sets out the number of allowances - effectively, the emissions targets - for installations in the five industry sectors covered by the EU ETS (power generation, iron and steel, pulp and paper, mineral oil refineries and building materials).

The Commission said it took note of the obligation to consider amendments "as long as these are notified prior to the deadline by which member states must take the final allocation decision. For the first trading period, the relevant deadline was 30 September 2004." The UK submitted its amendment to the Commission in October 2004.


Greenies take on the bottled water nonsense

Drinking water must be one of the most harmless things people can do so I think the Greenies should be aiming their fire elsewhere (at soil erosion and uneconomic farming, for instance) but I do think they have got a point about what a lot of nonsense bottled water is

Australians' love affair with bottled water may be making healthy-living advocates happy but environmentalists say it's taking a heavy toll on the planet. With 65 per cent of plastic drink bottles ending up in landfill, environmentalists are calling for better recycling services to stop an increasingly popular healthy drinking habit from wreaking further damage. The popularity of buying water from a shop fridge is rising at a rate of 10 per cent a year as consumers become increasingly aware that staying well-hydrated is healthy. About 550 million litres of bottled water were consumed in 2004-05, the Australian Beverage Council said. Most purchases were in addition to consuming soft drinks rather than replacing them, it said. But the plastic containers are becoming a big environmental hazard because they use valuable fuels to manufacture and create mountains of rubbish when thrown away, environmentalists say.

Environmental scientist Tim Grant said it was "counterintuitive" that bottled water was such a successful product. "People pay $2.50 for something that's [otherwise] free," Mr Grant said. A recent report by the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute found that the global consumption of bottled water had risen by 57 per cent since 1999 to 154 billion litres in 2004. Much of the growth came from countries such as Australia, where most tap water was as high quality as any water that could be bought. The report's author Emily Arnold said bottled water worldwide required 2.7 million tonnes of plastic each year for its packaging. She said the manufacture of plastic water bottles used 1.5 million barrels of crude oil in the United States alone. "In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels."

More here


Leftist elitists often deride the "Cookie-Cutter" houses of America's suburbs and exurbs. Well, below is what socialism gives you. The picture is taken from a helicopter so looks a bit unreal but I am assured that it has not been retouched.

The picture shows about 300 out of a total of about 10,000 "low income homes" in in Ixtapaluca, Mexico (near Mexico City). Socialism gives you REAL cookie-cutter houses.



A reader writes:

"I saw your link to the housing project in Mexico. I also thought it had been computer generated or digitally enhanced until I blew it up and found minute differences to each dwelling. They use a moving slipform style of concrete construction and say they can build a house in 31 days" (Big PDF).


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.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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