Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Not much doubt what it will be, though. Politics trumps science -- an email from F. James Cripwell [] below explains. (F. James Cripwell now lives in Ottawa, Canada but started his scientific career working in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge under Sir Gordon Sutherland, the UK's if not the world's leading expert in infra red spectroscopy and the various interactions between infra red (heat) radiation and other substances)

I downloaded an unofficial, not to be quoted, copy of the scientific papers for the IPCC AR4. In Chapter 2, subparagraph 7, there appears the following statement;

"Empirical associations have been reported between globally averaged low-level cloud cover and cosmic ray fluxes during 1984-1990 (Marsh and Svensmark, 2000a, 2000b). Hypothesized to result from changing ionization of the atmosphere from solar-modulated cosmic ray fluxes, this empirical association of cloud cover variations and the solar cycle remains controversial because of uncertainties about the reality of the decadal signal itself, the phasing or anti-phasing with solar activity, and its separate dependence for low, mid and high clouds, and alternative explanations such as ENSO. In particular, the cosmic ray time series does not correspond to global total cloud cover after 1991 or to global low-level cloud cover after 1994 (Kristjansson and Kristiansen, 2000; Sun and Bradley, 2002). Furthermore, the correlation is significant with low-level cloud cover based only on infrared (not visible) detection. Nor do multidecadal(1952-1997) time series of cloud cover from ship synoptic reports exhibit a relationship to cosmic ray flux. But cloud cover anomalies from 1900-1987 over the United States do have a signal at 11-years that is in phase (rather than anit-phased, as the GCRs are) with solar variability (Udelhofen and Cess, 2001). In this case the cloud variations are hypothesized to result from modulation of the atmospheric circulation by variations of the solar-UV-ozone-induced heating of the atmosphere."

When this was written, prior to October 2006, it, arguably, represented the science with respect to the effect of cosmic rays on climate change. However, in October 2006, Henrik Svensmark published his paper on the effect of cosmic rays on the earth's climate in Proceeding of the Royal Society A, and subsequently, with Nigel Calder, his book, The Chilling Stars. What I would suggest is that the current paragraph about cosmic rays in AR4, quoted above, is totally out of date, and scientifically incomplete. It might have passed a peer review process in September 2006 , but surely any proper peer review process done in February 2007 could not possibly agree with it's contents. By it's peculiar process, the IPCC first gets it's Summary for Policy Makers approved; a purely political document. This occurred on 2 Feb 2007. It then ensures that the so-called "scientific" document agrees with the conclusions that the politicians came to. So the "scientific" document of AR4 will not be published until May 2007.

It seems to me that the true scientists on the IPCC have a decision to make. Are they going to publish the sort of paragraph which I have quoted above, and which is clearly scientifically incorrect and out of date? Or are they going to update the scientific content of their AR4, and publish something that has scientific credibility, but does not agree with what the politicians agreed?

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”

Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average. But a as a member of the elite he is "entitled" to, of course. It is only the saps who listen to him who have to cut back. And being a hypocrite doesn't bother Leftists anyway

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home. The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson. In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.


Virginia lawmaker wants U.S. to start using liquid fuel from coal

This makes slightly more sense than ethanol from corn so the Greenies will hate it. Coal=evil, for a start.

Rep. Rick Boucher believes liquid fuel derived from coal can help the U.S. break its dependence on foreign oil, and as the new chairman of a House Energy subcommittee he hopes to jump-start the process. Boucher is renewing legislation he first introduced last year that would provide price guarantees to investors to encourage construction of coal-to-liquids conversion plants. "The greatest challenge that we face in terms of a national energy policy is defining a strategy to move the country away from petroleum as the primary fuel," the southwest Virginia Democrat said in a telephone interview. An energy policy that reduces dependence on oil is necessary, he said, "both for economic and national security reasons."

Other nations, such as China and South Africa, use motor fuel derived from coal, but so far there are no coal-to-liquids plants in the U.S. More than a dozen are in the planning stages, according to information provided by Michael Karmis, director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. Boucher, whose 9th District includes Virginia's coal region, noted that the nation has the largest coal reserves of any in the world.

The technology to convert coal into diesel fuel or gasoline has existed for decades. The Germans used liquefied coal during World War II after the Allies bombed their oil refineries. Nearly 30 percent of South Africa's fuel today is extracted from coal, but the conversion process is expensive. It can cost up $1 billion to get a coal-to-liquids plant up and running, Karmis said....

A study last year by the Southern States Energy Board called for coal-to-liquids to supply the greatest share - 29 percent - of alternative fuels needed to erase the nation's dependence on foreign oil by 2030. Alternative fuels would have to supply 60 percent of the fuel that now comes from imported oil. A greater amount of fuel could be produced from the high-quality coal mined in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky than the mineral found in other parts of the country, Karmis said. So far, the only conversion plant planned in the region is in Mingo County, W.Va.



Some of the effects of global warming will be positive, says Sean Thomas

Belief in global warming is nowadays almost universal, and for a good reason. The evidence exists. But there is another widespread belief which is less justifiable: that global warming will have only negative effects. Consider the distant past. Two hundred million years ago the earth was much warmer than it is now: dinosaurs roamed the Antarctic, which was then lush and tropical. No one claims that this warming was terrible for velociraptors. So why is a warmer earth seen as a disaster for man?

Of course, we all know global warming is going to cause dislocation. Increased storminess, desertification, and inundation from raised sea-levels are serious and understandable fears. There will inevitably be major costs as we adapt to our new environment.

But maybe there will be swift and enormous gains as well. One look at a world map shows that vast tracts of land - in Siberia and Canada, in Tibet and elsewhere - are at present too cold for widespread cultivation and settlement. With global warming these regions of the earth will, presumably, become fruitful. But you wouldn't know it by listening to the doomsayers of climate change. The way some people speak about global warming, and the damage it will wreak on the status quo, it's almost as if tundra and glaciers are intrinsically good things.

These global warming benefits might stretch further south. In Britain, areas that are now windy and cold - highland Scotland, the Pennines, Dartmoor - should become more hospitable. Intriguingly, Dartmoor was once fertile and widely settled, so this won't be the first time. Farmers will probably have longer growing periods, British summers will be drier and brighter, and so forth.

We are also told that many species will die out because of global warming. But can we know this for sure? It is arguable that many species will adapt, and previously threatened species may thrive. That, after all, is the theory of evolution. What is bad for snowgeese could be great for hummingbirds. Such claims may sound like wishful thinking. But many experts are ready to think along similar lines.

One of the most prominent is Thomas Moore, an economist at Stanford University. He's studied the potential impact of global warning and shown that death rates might actually decrease - as bronchitis, influenza, and other cold-weather ailments decline.

A warmer world will also need less fuel for heating. And crop failures might become a thing of the past at higher latitudes. Likewise, Bjorn Lomberg has talked about the upside, when those vast northerly areas (Canada and Siberia, etc) become cultivatable.

Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University, takes an even broader perspective: "From a purely evolutionary point of view, warm periods have been exceptionally good to mankind. Cold periods have been the troublesome ages."

The Arctic Council is another authority seeing benefits in a warmer planet. Oil and gas deposits hidden under ice will become accessible. Previously frozen sea lanes will open up: it is estimated that the sea-journey from Tokyo to London will be reduced by twelve days. The fabled Northwest passage, over the top of Canada, will finally be a reality. Grass has already started growing in the Antarctic, for the first time in many thousands of years.

There's more. Storms may become more widespread, but extra rainfall could benefit drought-stricken areas. In other regions, marshes will dry out and become lucrative farmland. As for the threatened spread of malaria, and other diseases, this may be an overblown problem. Singapore is in the tropics yet has low malaria rates: it's all about hygiene and sanitation, says Moore. Will global warming ultimately be good or bad? The truthful answer is: no one knows. But 'The end of the world is nigh' makes a much better headline


The train drain

The Brookings Institution is America's oldest public policy think tank. Based in Washington, DC, it is well-respected and generally considered to be moderate-liberal in orientation. As American Enterprise Institute is informally considered a place for Republican office-holders to reside when out of power, so Brookings is regarded for Democratic icons.

One of Brookings Institution's leading transportation policy experts is Clifford Winston, a well-respected economist and author of numerous books and papers dealing with transportation issues. His most recent paper is "On the Social Desirability of Urban Rail Systems," co-authored with Vikram Maheshri, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. It appears in the Journal of Urban Economics and is available online at

The purpose of the paper is to estimate the contribution of U.S. urban rail systems to social welfare. The authors define the net benefit of a rail transit system as the difference between its benefits, broadly measured, and its net cost to taxpayers. If this difference is positive, it means that the dollar value of the rail system's benefits is greater than its net cost to taxpayers (i.e., the difference between what the rail system's customers pay as fares and the total cost to build, operate, and maintain the rail system).

On average, rail transit systems cover about 40 percent of their operating costs from farebox revenues and none of their capital costs, according to figures in the National Transit Database. That means their net taxpayer subsidy is large.

Winston and Maheshri construct an elaborate econometric model to estimate the "consumer surplus" of 25 rail transit systems. This is economists' term for the benefits to users, over and above the fares they pay. The large systems (New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco's BART, etc.) all produce significant consumer surpluses. But most of the smaller ones do not.

Next, the authors compare the consumer surplus of each system with its net taxpayer cost. On this measure, every single one of the 25 systems has negative net benefits—i.e., the annual value of the benefits to users is much less than the annual cost to taxpayers. Surprisingly, this is true even for the massive New York City rail transit system, which by itself accounts for two-thirds of the nation's rail transit passenger miles.

But what about larger benefits to the metro area? Rail systems are advocated not just to benefit their riders, but because they are expected to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, save energy, etc. So the final step in Winston and Maheshri's analysis was to estimate the value of these "externality" benefits.

They first conclude that the only one of these purported benefits large enough to make any difference is congestion relief. Adding the congestion savings to road users to the consumer surplus gives the total benefits of rail transit. When this total is compared with the net taxpayer costs, only San Francisco's BART produces net social benefits. Each year the system improves social welfare by an estimated $36 million. All 23 other U.S. rail transit systems are net losers. This means that each of those urban areas is made poorer by many millions of dollars each year.

Winston and Maheshri anticipate that some advocates of rail transit will protest that these systems offer other benefits that are not accounted for in their calculations. For example, rail supposedly stimulates development around rail stations: "But case studies have yet to show that after their construction transit systems have had a significant effect on employment or land use close to stations and that such benefits greatly exceed the benefits from commercial development that would have occurred elsewhere in the absence of rail construction."

And there is also the claim that rail systems increase the mobility of low-income residents. But the authors point out that the median annual income of rail users in 2001 exceeded $50,000, which was greater than the median income of the general population in that year. So rail's primary market is not the poor (unlike bus transit).

Overall, then, the authors conclude that rail transit is erroneously believed by the public to be socially desirable, because "supporters have sold [rail systems] as an antidote to the social costs associated with automobile travel, in spite of strong evidence to the contrary." They conclude that, in fact, rail transit is "an increasing drain on social welfare."



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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Greenies and the media love to attribute extreme temperatures to global warming and say that global warming is steadily getting worse. But when have extreme temperatures mostly occurred? Recently? The graph above shows U.S. extreme temperatures as far back as records stretch. I think it speaks for itself. Temperatures were in fact unusually high in the depressed 1930s! See Hall of Record for the details.

Mon Dieu! Le Hornet! Le Global Warming!

Post lifted from Cheat-seeking Missiles

Asian hornets are spreading through Europe and have already killed off more than half of France's honeybees, which reportedly waved tiny white flags before succumbing to the new Yellow Peril.

The hornets arrived in a shipment of ceramic pots from China so we could blame globalization -- but how passe is that? No, let's pin it on global warming instead!

It's true -- the pinning part at least. The latest manefestation of Warmie hysterics is the Great Asian Hornet Invasion, so we're adding "habitat change" to "climate change" in the global vernacular. Here's the explain-o from the UK Telegraph:

"There's no doubt that these hornets are heading north and will probably find their way to Britain at some point," said Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Information Service at London's Natural History Museum.

"Climate change certainly means they can cope with European summers. However, they would still have difficulty coping with our winter frosts."

It's bunk, of course. Europe's summers may be warmer than a few years ago (disputable), but they're still 10 degrees F colder than Beijing's, with mean August temps of 67 degrees in Paris and 77 degrees in Beijing. Relative to climate change increases in the hundreths of degrees, 10 degrees F is positively cataclysmic.

In the winter, Beijing is colder, 31 degrees mean to 40 degrees, so the idea that the hornets will have trouble surviving the European winters is climatological poppycock, as is so much of Warmie hysterics.

The climate differences between Beijing and Paris are naturally much, much greater than any changes brought by climate change, so let's attribute this to survivability, not SUVs. Hornets have survived the millenia through global cold spells and global hot spells more severe than what we're experiencing today ... but how many newspapers will that sell?

The theory that anything but sloppy customs checks is to blame for the spread of Asian hornets in Europe can be disproved in about two minutes on the Internet ... but apparently the crack reporters in the mainstream media are content to be spoon fed Warmie fantasies, so they can regurgitate them all over their readers.

Inconvenient Truths: Gore's science fiction on global warming

This Sunday, Al Gore will probably win an Academy Award for his global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a riveting work of science fiction.

The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland's 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.

Where's the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker's Summary from the United Nations' much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore's film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Even 17 inches is likely to be high, because it assumes that the concentration of methane, an important greenhouse gas, is growing rapidly. Atmospheric methane concentration hasn't changed appreciably for seven years, and Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland recently pronounced the IPCC's methane emissions scenarios as "quite unlikely."

Nonetheless, the top end of the U.N.'s new projection is about 30-percent lower than it was in its last report in 2001. "The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica for the rates observed since 1993," according to the IPCC, "but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future."

According to satellite data published in Science in November 2005, Greenland was losing about 25 cubic miles of ice per year. Dividing that by 630,000 yields the annual percentage of ice loss, which, when multiplied by 100, shows that Greenland was shedding ice at 0.4 percent per century.

"Was" is the operative word. In early February, Science published another paper showing that the recent acceleration of Greenland's ice loss from its huge glaciers has suddenly reversed.

Nowhere in the traditionally refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore's hypothesis. Instead, there's an unrefereed editorial by NASA climate firebrand James E. Hansen, in the journal Climate Change - edited by Steven Schneider, of Stanford University, who said in 1989 that scientists had to choose "the right balance between being effective and honest" about global warming - and a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was only reviewed by one person, chosen by the author, again Dr. Hansen.

These are the sources for the notion that we have only ten years to "do" something immediately to prevent an institutionalized tsunami. And given that Gore only conceived of his movie about two years ago, the real clock must be down to eight years!

It would be nice if my colleagues would actually level with politicians about various "solutions" for climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, if fulfilled by every signatory, would reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century. That's too small to measure, because the earth's temperature varies by more than that from year to year.

The Bingaman-Domenici bill in the Senate does less than Kyoto - i.e., less than nothing - for decades, before mandating larger cuts, which themselves will have only a minor effect out past somewhere around 2075. (Imagine, as a thought experiment, if the Senate of 1925 were to dictate our energy policy for today).

Mendacity on global warming is bipartisan. President Bush proposes that we replace 20 percent of our current gasoline consumption with ethanol over the next decade. But it's well-known that even if we turned every kernel of American corn into ethanol, it would displace only 12 percent of our annual gasoline consumption. The effect on global warming, like Kyoto, would be too small to measure, though the U.S. would become the first nation in history to burn up its food supply to please a political mob.

And even if we figured out how to process cellulose into ethanol efficiently, only one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Even the Pollyannish 20-percent displacement of gasoline would only reduce our total emissions by 7-percent below present levels - resulting in emissions about 20-percent higher than Kyoto allows.

And there's other legislation out there, mandating, variously, emissions reductions of 50, 66, and 80 percent by 2050. How do we get there if we can't even do Kyoto?

When it comes to global warming, apparently the truth is inconvenient. And it's not just Gore's movie that's fiction. It's the rhetoric of the Congress and the chief executive, too.



Last month the National Environment Research Council invited those sceptical of the science underpinning man's effect on the climate to challenge NERC's panel of experts in a web-based Climate Change Challenge. Alan Thorpe, NERC's chief executive, told contributors: "We are confident about the greenhouse effect. We are confident that warming is going on. We are confident that human activity is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The onus is now on those who deny this to say why that additional greenhouse effect is not responsible for warming the planet."

Although the perception is often of a polarised debate within the scientific community between a majority who endorse the IPCC viewpoint and a minority who attribute change to natural factors, this oversimplifies a discussion with many different facets and a diversity of views. Some scientists do believe that natural factors can explain climate change. In the book The chilling stars, to be published next month, Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder, the former editor of New Scientist, will point the finger at cosmic rays. Calder, writing in The Sunday Times last weekend, said: "More cosmic rays [equals] more clouds. The sun's magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world... We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle the book 'A new theory of climate change'."

Climate scientist Roger Pielke Snr of the University of Colorado, Boulder believes the IPCC and policy-makers generally are too focused on CO2 emissions. "Humans are significantly altering the global climate but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide," says Pielke, a former co-chief editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Science, on his Climate Science weblog.

He praises the analysis in the US National Research Council's 2005 report Radiative Forcing of Climate Change, which concluded that changes in land-use and industry emissions (aerosols) have much larger regional climate impacts than revealed in the way the IPCC calculates radiative forcing. Pielke says the spatial concentration of aerosol emissions and land-use changes means that they present a greater threat of bringing about 'threshold' changes to the climate system than rising global CO2 concentrations. "As a simple example of this, we find a greater impact of sunlight on a piece of paper when we focus it with a lens," he told LTT.

He says the emphasis on cutting CO2 to control temperature is "scientifically flawed", estimating that man's CO2 emissions have accounted for about 30% of warming up to the present - substantially lower than the IPCC estimates. Pielke (who is a co-author of the book Human impacts on weather and climate, the second edition of which is to be published by Cambridge University Press this month) also disputes many of the observational records that underpin the IPCC analysis, such as global surface land surface temperature, glacier retreat and ocean temperature. "The reported 'warming' from the Hadley Centre/University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit data [the source of the IPCC's 0.7C warming estimate] has a warm bias of significant value (certainly tenths of a degree) in its construction," he says.

On glacier evidence he says recent peer reviewed research shows that "the general message that glaciers are receding almost everywhere is clearly not accurate when the data is evaluated in detail".

Climate physicist Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US disagrees vehemently with alarming global warming predictions. Lindzen, who was a lead author for the IPCC's third assessment report, says there is broad agreement that the world warmed in the 20th century, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that man has been responsible for recent increases in CO2. But he says the temperature change of a few tenths of a degree recorded in the late 20th century is so small that it could be explained by nothing more than "natural, internal, unforced variability".

Lindzen says climate models vastly overestimate temperature changes resulting from increases in CO2. All other things being equal, Lindzen says a doubling of CO2 should result in a global mean warming of just 1C. "Alarming predictions all require that water vapour and clouds act so as to greatly amplify the impact of CO2," he (and fellow critics) say in a recent critique of the Stern Review published in World Economics. "But it is freely acknowledged, including by the IPCC, that water vapour and especially clouds are poorly modelled, while the underlying physics for determining their behaviour is missing or even unknown."

Pielke believes many scientists, policy-makers, journalists and other commentators place too much confidence in climate model results. "The overselling of regional and global models as robust projections rather than as sensitivity simulations, adds to the existing politicisation of climate science and provides justifiable criticism of the [IPCC] assessment reports," he says.



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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, February 26, 2007


An email from Robert D. Brinsmead []

One of the great achievements of the US Constitution was the separation of church and state, religion and politics. We take this for granted so much that we often fail to see the truly revolutionary nature of the American Revolution and its great contribution to the world. This revolution went way beyond anything that was achieved by the Protestant movement in its break from Rome. It is much easier to see now, in hindsight, how this mingling of "iron and clay" corrupted both religion and politics. In our time, the same thing has happened with science. In the whole global warming debate, science has become politicized. Scientists have become advocates for certain agendas - they have become believers and crusaders, forgetting that science moves forward and makes progress by skepticism rather than by the preservation of some status quo or some consensus position.

Politics by its very nature has to be cognizant of majority opinion and must be amendable to consensus. Real science pays no attention to such things as consensus, political correctness or orthodoxy - as exhibited by the church's opposition to Galileo or Darwin. All the evils of the failure to separate church from state are now being exhibited in this very corrupt mingling of science and politics. This has corrupted science in the same way as a similar union corrupted the Christian religion.

A few years ago Paul Gross (University of Virginia) and Norman Levitt (Rutgers University) wrote Higher Supersition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Among other things it contained a very insightful chapter on environmentalism. The book was almost prophetic. If updated, it could be subtitled, The Academic Left and its Capture of Science. My remarks here are not intended as an attack on the academic Left. Science in the grip of conservatism or the academic Right is just as evil. Galileo and Darwin are proof of that. It will take the same kind of vigilance to keep science separate from politics as it has historically taken to keep religion out of politics.


A letter to "Nature" magazine from Mike Hulme, Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. He was awarded, jointly, the Hugh Robert Mill Prize in 1995 by the Royal Meteorological Society


Your coverage of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group included some exemplary Editorial and News headlines: "Light at the end of the tunnel", "What we don't know about climate change" and "From words to action" (Nature 445, 567 & 578-583; 2007). These convey the message about knowledge, ignorance and action that would be expected from a leading journal writing for a scientific readership.

Communicating science to wider, public audiences, however - in this case on matters of important public policy - is an art that requires careful message management and tone setting. It seems that confident and salient science, as presented by the IPCC, may be received by the public in non-productive ways, depending on the intervening media. With this in mind, I examined the coverage of the IPCC report in the ten main national UK newspapers for Saturday 3 February, the day after the report was released.

Only one newspaper failed to run at least one story on the report (one newspaper ran seven stories), but what was most striking was the tone. The four UK 'quality' newspapers all ran front-page headlines conveying a message of rising anxiety: "Final warning", "Worse than we thought", "New fears on climate raise heat on leaders" and "Only man can stop climate disaster". And all nine newspapers introduced one or more of the adjectives "catastrophic", "shocking", "terrifying" or "devastating" in their various qualifications of climate change.

Yet none of these words exist in the report, nor were they used in the scientists' presentations in Paris. Added to the front-page vocabulary of "final", "fears", "worse" and "disaster", they offer an insight into the likely response of the 20 million Britons who read these newspapers.

In contrast, an online search of some leading newspapers in the United States suggests a different media discourse. Thus, on the same day, one finds these headlines: "UN climate panel says warming is man-made", "New tack on global warming", "Warming report builds support for action" and "The basics: ever firmer statements on global warming". This suggests a more neutral representation in the United States of the IPCC's key message, and a tone that facilitates a less loaded or frenzied debate about options for action.

Campaigners, media and some scientists seem to be appealing to fear in order to generate a sense of urgency. If they want to engage the public in responding to climate change, this is unreliable at best and counter-productive at worst. As Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling point out in Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), such appeals often lead to denial, paralysis, apathy or even perverse reactive behaviour.

The journey from producing confident assessments of scientific knowledge to a destination of induced social change is a tortuous one, fraught with dangers and many blind alleys. The challenging policy choices that lie ahead will not be well served by the type of loaded reporting of science seen in the UK media described above.

Right warning, wrong crisis

According to the renowned climatologist Al Gore, the world is facing a crisis. Unless that crisis is resolved, the world is in serious trouble. The crisis, of course, is "global warming," and solving the crisis is simple. All it will take is the destruction of the United States, or at least the liberty and the technology that have made the United States what it is. "Never before," Gore recently intoned on the subject, "has all of civilization been threatened. We have everything we need to save it, with the possible exception of political will. But political will is a renewable resource."

There are, unfortunately, a few flaws in Gore's pseudo-logic. Despite the best efforts of the socialists who are using global warming as the latest means of stifling dissent and establishing their version of benign totalitarianism, there are an increasing number of legitimate scientists and climatologists who are not only questioning the entire premise of Gore and his accolytes, but who are presenting evidence to the contrary, that natural forces, like the sun, have a far greater impact on climate than anything man does.

In which case, the political will Gore speaks of is nothing more than incredible hubris. Despite all the technological advances that have been made in the last half-century, mankind remains as helpless in the face of the forces of nature, whether it be a hurricane or a tornado, an earthquake or a volcano, a blizzard or a heat wave, than did his prehistoric ancestors. The only difference now is that thanks to the technological advances, mankind is better able to adapt, and if the "political will" Gore speaks of can successfully implement the totalitarianism he and his ilk seek, further advances will be limited.

It is worth remembering, after all, that Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, was also a Gore accolyte, and had in his cabin a copy of what he deemed his bible, Gore's book "Earth in the Balance."

But as the global warming debate, despite the best efforts of its advocates to end all debate on the subject, continues to heat up (pun intended), it is pushing from discussion a very real, and more imminent, threat. That threat is international terrorism and the foremost purveyors of that threat, Islamofascists.

A threat to civilization? Although the Islamofascists seeking to impose Sharia law on the world, to establish a new Caliphate, don't look at it that way, their method of imposing that law is a threat. After all, under Sharia, women have only limited rights. Those who do not accept Islam must accept dhimmi, second class citizenship, and be willingly subject to Islamic regulations designed to make them feel "subdued." For those who accept Islam, there can be no turning back. Conversion from Islam means death.

Considering than Iran, or at least the Iranian leadership personified by Mahoud Ahmadinejad, is determined to build a nuclear device, it would seem that the greater threat to civilization would be the detonation of such a device in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, London or Paris, or New York or Los Angeles. The Iranians are not alone in their desire to destroy Western civilization. That has been the stated goal of virtually every Islamic organization, from Hamas to al-Qaeda to Hezbollah to the PLO.

More frightening has been the tacit acceptance of such aims by the politically correct. Recently, the Democratic National Committee, at its winter meetings, invited Husham Al-Husainy to deliver an invocation. Although the invitation may have been made in the name of politically correct diversity, there was nothing politically correct, nor diverse, is Al-Husainy's invocation.

An unabashed supporter of Hezbollah, even to the point of leading demonstrations against Israel's fight against the terrorist organization in Lebanon last summer, Al-Husainy essentially offered a prayer of conversion to the assembled Democrats, asking for guidance "to the right path. The path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom." The former are those who follow Islam; the latter include non-Muslims, particularly Jews.

The only "crisis" stemming from the perceived global warming threat is how far the socialist totalitarians will be able to advance their agenda. The real threat is that in not aggressively confronting Islamofascism, civilization, particularly Western civilization, is going to find itself coping with a nuclear attack and jihadist terrorism.


Reincarnation of the Reds

Primitive man worshipped nature and imbued inanimate things with human qualities. So do environmentalists. James Lovelock, one of the movement's godheads, and the godfather of the Gaia hypothesis, imbued the earth with mystical powers. The Lovelock-inspired concept of "planetary consciousness" is really a philosophical excrescence of Animism, "the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls."

Nature worship is a form of this Fetishism. Primitives worshipped idols and amulets, but also conferred divine honor on the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, trees, and animals; air, fire, and water. Environmental animists … la Lovelock believe that to tamper with one aspect of the interlocking system of "organisms, surface rocks, oceans and atmosphere" is to tempt fate. To quote Lovelock's adoring acolytes at the New York Review of Books, this balance is now being disrupted by "our brief binge of fossil fuel consumption." Reduce ocean levels of algae and "teeming billions will perish," or so they say.

Most of Lovelock's earlier gloomy predictions have not panned out, but this has done nothing to cool the reverence he receives from media. They, like Lovelock and his ilk, aim not to "save" man, but to subjugate him to Mother Earth. Indeed, major media have had a good reason for pushing apocalyptic climate-change theories for over a century. "A global central planning authority is implicit in all potential international efforts to combat alleged global problems," explains economist George Reisman. Environmentalism is socialism revived; the Greens are the Reds reincarnated.

More here

Greenies, want to save the world? Stay home

Australian columnist Caroline Overington wishes Greenies would do as they say

If we are to believe the opinion polls - and I suppose we must - then we in the West have descended into a state of near total panic about the impact our lives have on the planet. We know that we are using an incredible amount of the world's resources and we feel quite guilty about it. But what to do?

None of us really wants to give up our luxurious lives (by which I mean having a car instead of a horse, a house instead of a cave, a mobile telephone that is not an empty can on the end of some string). On the other hand, we do want to protect the environment. As it happens, you can apparently do both. Last week, I was asked to write a story about the ways in which Westerners could continue to live like kings but not feel so guilty about it. All one needs to do is buy what are known as carbon credits, which then can be used to offset the damage your lifestyle is doing to the planet.

If that's not entirely clear, let me explain it further: you can keep your four-wheel-drive and your babies can get about in disposable nappies, you can have a big house and travel by aeroplane, but you must accept that in doing so you are damaging the environment. Enter carbon credit companies. They come to your house, estimate the size of your "climate footprint" (that is, how much damage your lifestyle is doing to the planet) and put a price on it. For the average family, let's say it's $600 a year. You give that amount to any one of these companies and they will use the money to install energy-saving light bulbs in other people's homes. You haven't reduced your emissions but someone has, and therefore you can live a little less guiltily.

Under a similar program, you can offset your mother's farts or even your cat's farts (flatulence contains methane and therefore heats the planet) by paying money to green companies that will spend it on water-saving shower heads or planting trees to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Now, when the story about cat farts and carbon credits appeared on the front page of this paper last week, I got quite a few emails, one of which said: "If you really want to end the damage done when your cat farts, wouldn't it be easier to put a sword through the cat." That's not very kind, is it? Another said people should keep their money and just learn to hang clothes on the line instead of using the dryer all the time.

The point they were making, I think, was that if global warming is a problem - we know it is happening, we know it's man-made, but the jury is still out on how much of a problem it's going to be - we in the West need to do more than pay green companies to offset foul smells made by our domestic pets. As any greenie will tell you, we would need to radically change our lifestyle.

The problem with this, however, is that a sudden, radical change to our lifestyles would destroy the economy. Any action we take would not necessarily save the lives of people who don't yet exist - that is, our children's grandchildren - but it would certainly kill real people right now in parts of Asia and Africa who depend on Western decadence for their incomes and their survival.

Also, I'm not sure that even the most committed greenie actually wants to make radical changes to their lifestyle. An example: I live in the Sydney beachside suburb of Bondi. In summer, the streets are flooded with backpackers, most of whom would claim to be travellers, not tourists, and would also claim, I'm sure, to be very concerned about the planet. Yet most of them arrive by plane. They travel across Australia in the cheapest, dirtiest VW vans they can find (most fuelled with leadedpetrol).

Sometimes they park these vans on the streets outside our home and, rather than pay $20 to stay in a backpacker lodge, they sleep in them. On hot nights, they keep the engines - and the airconditioning - running. Fumes pour out the exhaust, choking local cats. In the morning, they get up and pee and poop in the gutters.

Then they head down to the local internet cafe, where they use computers manufactured by enormous corporations, with operating systems made by Microsoft, and they send emails back home to their folks, doubtless complaining about the gap between the rich and the poor. All of this is OK, I suppose. But how come almost every single one of these Kombi vans have stickers on them that say things like: "Save the Planet"?

To the backpacker, that would mean: no more travelling to Thailand, Vietnam or Burma, or whatever is the fashionable place to be. It would mean no more driving in Kombi vans across the desert; no more jet boats out to the Barrier Reef; no more drinking mass-produced beer straight from the can, which is all the Bondi backpackers do all day.

The other sticker you often see on Kombi vans is: "Magic Happens." But it doesn't. It just seems that way. You flick a switch on the wall and the lights come on. You press a button on the toilet and your waste gets flushed away. You get a job, you save money, you get to travel places on planes and drive around in Kombi vans. It's not magic. It's progress. And it's bought to you by capitalism.



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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, February 25, 2007


In a sad world first, the Australian government has decided to burnish its Green credentials by banning ordinary light globes. In 3 years time, Australians will be able to buy compact fluorescents only. The idea is that the fluoros use electricity more efficiently. That much is true. But the drawbacks of the fluoros are many.

A major one is that they tend to blow up if you use them in conjunction with dimmer switches. That little detail aside, here is a full list (so far) of the problems:

1. Compact fluorescent bulbs are almost always Edison (screw) type, whereas most Australian lighting uses bayonet fittings. This could no doubt change but may push up costs because the lights would have to be made for just the Australian market.

2. They are often physically larger than the incandescent bulbs they replace and simply may not fit the lamp or fixture conveniently or at all. People often have very fancy light-fittings that cost hundreds of dollars. Millions of those may have to be abandoned.

3. The funny elongated or circular shape may result in a less optimal lighting pattern.

4. Many models have light output claims that are only achieved at the optimum operating temperature and/or in some optimum burning position that achieves an optimum internal temperature. Many light output claims are outright exaggerated, often by about 15 percent and in a few extreme cases by 25 percent.

5. Compact fluorescent lamps usually do not produce full light output until they warm up for a minute or two. A few models require about three minutes to fully warm up and produce as little as 20-25 percent of their full light output when first started.

6. Some types may produce an annoying 120 Hz (or 100 Hz) flicker.

7. There are many small incandescent lamps (e.g. in refrigerators) that could not conceivably be replaced by the bulky fluoros we have today. Technology MAY be able to solve that but the costs will probably be large. The compacts we have today are already the endpoint of a big effort at downsizing.

8. May produce Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).

9. The up-front cost is substantial (unless there is a large rebate): $10 to $20 for a compact fluorescent to replace a 60W incandescent bulb that costs 40 to 70c.

10. Due to the high up-front cost, the pay-back period may approach infinity.

11. While their life may be 20,000 hours, a wayward ball will break one of these $10 to $20 bulbs as easily as a 40 cent incandescent.

12. Few commonly available compact fluorescent lamps designed to fit into 240 volt ordinary light bulb sockets match or exceed the light output of a 100 watt standard incandescent lamp.

13. Lots of people just don't like the type of light they get from fluoros -- to glary, too white, too flickery etc.

What Wal-Mart have done in the USA -- make compact fluoros cheaper -- is all that reasonably should be done to promote energy savings from lighting. The new Australian policy is a classical example of how Green "alternatives" are generally very poor alternatives to what they replace.

For most of the info above I have drawn on this post. And Gust of hot air has some satirical comments on the matter.


A reader adds:

"The untold story here is that it is a tax grab by the gubmin. There are approx 7.4 million households in Australia and I would guesstimate there are on average 10 light bulbs per household. With the average cost of the fluoro replacement being $15.00 this generates $1.50 GST per unit fluoro to the gubmin x 10 x 7.4 million = $111 million tax grab. Added to this is the number in all other locations likely doubling the number of light bulbs. Since these fluoros are manufactured mainly overseas you can most likely double the tax take due to import tarrifs. We are looking at a half Billion Dollar rip-off by the gubmin."

Climate preoccupation unethical

On a scale of human misery, poverty is a bigger threat than climate change -- says Mirko Bagaric from Australia

How worried do you reckon people in developing nations -- who are dying from hunger and other causes at the rate of 30,000 a day -- are about global warming? It seems like a stupid question because the answer is so obvious. But the answer is all important. It demonstrates why the supposed No.1 ethical concern of our generation (global warming) is in the main misguided self-interest dressed up as a moral crusade.

Hundreds of millions of people are already living in environmental conditions that are far worse than anything that will occur as a result of greenhouse warming, even according to the grimmest projections by green groups. And our response? As a nation, we are now obsessed with fussing about speculative future harm while failing to come anywhere close to meeting the international benchmark of donating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to the developing world.

This gross distortion in our ethical priorities is so acute that it can't simply be explained as a judgment problem, something that will be corrected as we become more enlightened. It goes deeper than that. It highlights the overwhelmingly self-interested nature of the human species, which is exactly the reason, if climate warming projections are right, why we managed to mess up the planet. Scientists, social commentators and politicians are increasingly engaged in the complex process of sifting through the conflicting climate data to ascertain how much environmental degradation will occur in the foreseeable future.

The report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that increased temperatures will result in more storms, heatwaves and rises in the sea level. This might lead to geographical dislocation as millions of people move inland, and of course require a more expansive summer wardrobe.

The likes of Australian of the Year Tim Flannery are talking down the supposedly conservative nature of the UN report. But the debate is piffle. Will the sea level go up 18cm, 43cm or even 59cm? Is it going to get 1.1C hotter or up to 6.4C? From the perspective of net human suffering, the answers are close to immaterial.

Take the most catastrophic global warming outcome possible, and on a scale of human misery it is negligible compared with the abject destitution that hundreds of millions of (albeit distant) people are experiencing. Their environment is already largely incapable of supporting human life. Flannery says that climate change is the most pressing issue confronting humanity. That might be so for affluent misguided Australians, but the reaches of moral concern don't stop at the territorial seas of the Australian coastline.

There are lots of ethical theories doing the rounds of philosophy departments. Some ethicists prefer theories based on abstract notions such as rights; others, such as myself, are only concerned about maximising good consequences, even if it means trumping the occasional right.

Irrespective of which theory one endorses, there is one incontestable ethical truth: the interests of each person count equally. There is no logical or normative basis for ranking the interests of one person higher than those of another. An argument along the lines of "I am more important than you" is inherently discriminatory and morally vacuous. Moreover, it is incontestable that certain harm carries more weight than speculative harm in any moral calculus. These universal moral truths, coupled with the fact that present-day preventable suffering grossly exceeds the direst predictions of climatologists stemming from global warming, exposes the intractable ethical shortcomings of the environmental movement.

The predictable response to my argument is that we should multi-task and fix both: world poverty and the environment. This is code for moral nihilism. It is a sure-fire way of continuing to consign more people to early unmarked graves because of readily preventable causes. Concern for others, like economic resources, is finite. We have to be very strategic in how we empty our sympathy gland.

The history of humankind shows this. To avoid charges of moral bankruptcy, the green movement has to do more than make the glib statement that we should fix everything. To underpin its principal cause, it needs to spell out in definite terms the argument that will move self-obsessed Westerners to take seriously the pitiable plight of distant people so that the 1 per cent of gross domestic product that the Stern report stated was necessary to fix the environment is more than matched by money flowing to hungry parts of Africa.



"What is global warming?", asks Samuel Mauthike, a small scale vegetable farmer in Kirinyaga, Kenya's central province, as he crouches down compressing the moist soil around his green bean plants. "Is it something caused by us in Africa?" Mr Mauthike, 32, like so many of the two million Kenyans who rely on the western world to import their flowers, fruit and vegetables for their livelihoods, has never heard of a carbon footprint either. He points to the simple gravitational water irrigation system that flows through his smallholding, admitting he has never been in a plane, rarely travels by bus and uses nothing but his hands to grow, fertilise and harvest his top quality green beans, which then appear on a supermarket shelf in Europe.

Yet he and his fellow Kenyan farmers, whose lifelong carbon emissions are negligible compared with their counterparts in the West, are fast becoming the victims of a green campaign that could threaten their livelihoods. A recent bold statement by UK supermarket Tesco ushering in "carbon friendly" measures - such as restricting the imports of air freighted goods by half and the introduction of "carbon counting" labelling - has had environmentalists dancing in the fresh produce aisles, but has left African horticulturists confused and concerned.

Fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables make up 65% of all exports from Kenya to the European Union (EU), according to the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK). Half of this produce goes to the UK's supermarkets, generating at least 100 million pounds per year for this developing country. The dependence on the UK market cannot be underestimated, says Stephen Mbithi Mwikya, chief executive of FPEAK. For Kenya, horticulture is the country's second biggest foreign exchange earner after tourism. "This announcement from Tesco is devastating", says Mr Mbithi. "I think if things continue in this one-sided sensationalist way, purely targeting air freight, labelling our produce with aeroplanes and not looking at other aspects of production, it will cripple Kenya, it will cripple the economy," he says.



I read in the newspapers that the new Democratic Congress is going to hold hearings, call in oil company executives, and yell at them. I've testified before congressional committees (the hardest part is waiting for a bathroom break), and I used to write a lot of speeches. And I'm totally in love with the oil companies because they power my great cars and cool my house in the desert and get me where I want to be. So, completely unbidden, here's what I would say if I were the head of a giant oil company called to testify:

"Hello, honorable ladies and gentlemen. I am the chairman of Brigid Oil, a large, publicly held oil and gas producer, refiner, and distributor. I am here to talk a bit about our business. "Perhaps the easiest way to get into this subject is by noting that a beautiful environmentalist woman, who shall remain nameless, recently compared other oil executives and me to the heads of the tobacco companies back in the days when those folks denied tobacco was addictive or a threat to health."

"Nothing could be a more farfetched comparison, with all due respect to a conscientious woman like my critic. If the world suddenly lost all tobacco products tomorrow, we would have some very irritable people for a few weeks. After that, the world would work much better with less lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. "If we lost all oil and gas products tomorrow, however, the world would simply collapse. There would be an immense depression beyond anything we saw in the 1930s -- the economy would go back to a primitive state. There would simply not be a functioning society. It would be as if there had been nuclear war, minus the casualties from blast and radiation.

"In a word, we cannot as a modern society or even a modestly industrial society live without oil and gas. That is, we do not supply a luxury or a narcotic. We supply a basic necessity of life, as basic as almost any commodity there is."

"Not only is oil a vital commodity, but it's supplied with extreme efficiency and without the slightest serious hint of price-fixing. We buy the raw material at a world market price, refine it, and sell it at a market price. This is not the days of the Rockefellers. No one is sitting in a smoke-filled room fixing the price at monopoly levels far above the cost of production.

"When market forces move our way, we make money. When market forces move against us, or when political forces move against us, we lose money or make less money. "We at Brigid Oil and as an industry go to very considerable trouble and risk to bring oil to this country and to the world. We do our exploration and production in areas that are often dangerous in regards to climate and environment and politics and crime. Real people, real Americans who may be related to you and certainly live in your districts, put their lives on the line to bring you the oil you burn in your cars and your furnaces and your factories.

"We go to considerable economic risk to bring you oil. We need to -- and do -- invest vast amounts to explore for oil underwater and in hostile areas climatically and politically. When it works, we are paid for it, and when it doesn't -- when hostile political forces stymie us -- we lose money."

"There is little doubt that burning as much carbon-based product as is burned has some effect on the environment. We do not object to people saying it. But we believe that there are perfectly intelligent, open-minded people who question how much effect this burning has, whether it is all bad, and what the smartest way to deal with the problem is.

"We note that while there is something like a scientific consensus on carbon burning causing global climate change, there was once a lot of opinion that we were heading toward a new ice age -- and this was only within the past 40 years or so. We would like to be allowed to express our views about the whole subject, just as the environmentalist is allowed to express her views.

"If curbs on carbon are to be the law of the land, and if they are discussed and debated and enacted after full thoughtful consideration, of course we will obey them. We are citizens and bound to obey the law. We would just like free speech for us, as there is free speech for our critics."

"Two final points. Years ago, under the Clinton administration, we were given incentives to drill for oil and gas in very deep water in federally owned areas. Today, some say we were erroneously given more incentives than was originally intended. Specifically, such critics say that these incentives should have stopped if oil reached a certain price on world markets.

"We do not know if this was a mistake or not. We do know that it's the law, and we're following it as it was laid down to us. If some are now proposing that we be punished for obeying the law as the government dictated it, that is a Bill of Attainder pure and simple, and barred by the Constitution. We do not feel we have to give back money beyond what the law requires. Few taxpayers pay extra taxes, and we do not feel we have the right to do that with our stockholders' money.

"Finally, the oil business is a big business. For some of us, lately it has been a good business after many lean years. But we are not princes of heredity and blood. Anyone who wants to can go to work at an oil company. We have serious labor shortages and we welcome you. "More important, anyone who wants can buy stock in us can be an oil company owner. This business is open to anyone. If you think we make obscene profits, buy our stock. You'll soon find that our profits are not only not obscene, but far from certain or predictable."

"In conclusion, we sell a vital product within the law, at prices determined in the open market. We insist upon our rights of free speech and due process, and we welcome any of our critics to become our owners. And we ask you to consider what just one day without the stuff we sell would be like before you damn us for all eternity. "We also ask that you ask yourselves whether it is us or our critics -- the oil companies or the Sierra Club (of which I am a member) -- that gets you where you need to go each day, powers your furnace when it's cold, and cools your apartment when it's hot. "We all want a future that works, and together we can have it. Or we can just yell at each other and accomplish nothing. Thank you."



February has been a tough month for Global Warming doomsayers. First, their cataclysmic worst-case scenarios were debunked by the IPCC, which cut its own 2001 projections for temperature increase by a third and sea level rise completely in half. Then, just five days later, they learned that the environmentally irresponsible U.S was actually doing a better job of cutting CO2 emissions than their Kyoto-signing European Union heroes. And to top it off, attendees of a February 16th DC meeting of GLOBE nations agreed to abandon their adored Kyoto's economy-killing, energy-rationing, short-range, mandatory CO2 targets in favor of more realistic long-term goals.

The Valentine's week gathering of policy-makers from around the world was primarily the initiative of Britain's Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). And, coming just 2 weeks after the announcement of a proposed EU carbon tax on non-Kyoto aligned nations from that French prince of pomposity, Jacques Chirac, it was a breath of lukewarm fresh air. After all, the nations meeting at the Washington Legislators Forum on Climate Change, the so called G8 Plus Five, were discussing an early retirement for the flawed and failed Kyoto protocols.

Ultimately, the group signed a declaration which established a long-term goal of stabilizing "greenhouse gas" (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level of between 450 and 550 parts per million (ppm). Most GHG advocates promote this as the range necessary to maintain their dream of a 2 degree Celsius maximum variance with pre-industrial temperatures. Of course, as the new goals conform more or less to Kyoto, fans of one should eagerly welcome the other, right? Not quite.

There's resistance brewing over this proposed post-Kyoto approach, which calls for a policy of measurable milestones addressing climate change over not the next 15 years, but rather the next century. Additionally, in the opposite corner, there remain many who disagree with the need for any action whatsoever and see the new plan as a design to bait otherwise unconvinced nations into nebulous indentures.

Superficially then, this month's revelations wouldn't appear to have brought conflicting sides of this ostensibly endless debate any closer to harmony. Yet, beneath the reputedly industrially polluted surface, hope glimmers. You see, while non-binding, this new agreement will form the foundation of an upcoming June G8 summit on the subject and, likely, a new accord. Granted, its aspirations are based upon the still unsettled science of anthropogenic Global Warming. Still, there are many benefits to the projected pragmatic 2009 alternative to a 2012 Kyoto renewal for lucid believers and skeptics alike. As to alarmists - the plan has something to offer them too - a long overdue reality check.



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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

It had to happen

Now climate change "deniers" are not only evil Nazi types but are also psychologically inadequate. Not a shred of research evidence for any of the assertions is offered, of course. Has the author below or anybody he quotes ever interviewed a single "denier"? There is no evidence of it. It is just armchair theorizing -- which can be used to justify anything. But the author is Dick Meyer, editorial director of, so I guess that makes it authoritative:

So what is it that makes some human brains dismiss or ignore global warming and others, far fewer, feel worried, threatened and called to action? Answering this question properly is probably far more important to future behavior and policy than endless arguments about how hot it will be in Cincinnati in 2077.

Charles Darwin explains a lot of this. Global warming simply does not present the kinds of stimuli that the human nervous system evolved to respond to in order to survive threats from bears, lightning, rolling boulders and mean cavemen. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist who wrote "Stumbling on Happiness," summed up evolutionary psychology's perspective by noting how global warming lacked four traits "the human brain evolved to respond to."

First, the threat is not human and we "social mammals" are especially sensitive to dangers from other humans - and dangers that are intentional (terrorism) rather than accidental (floods). Similarly, homo sapiens respond with greater instinctive power to threats that violate group sensibilities or "moral emotions;" global warming doesn't spawn visceral feelings (for most) of something "indecent, impious or repulsive."

Third and most obvious, the threat of global warming is far, far away, not immediate, not something that makes you duck or twitch. In fact, a person really has to use the analytic brain hunks to get in a global warming lather, not the affective or emotional mechanisms that detect common threats and risks. As another scholar said, "risk is a feeling." Statistics and reports don't enter the brain through feeling portals. So after Hurricane Katrina, polling found concern about global warming ticked up.

Similarly, climate change is gradual. Indeed it is invisible; there are no "affective" sights and sounds to switch on the neurological special alert system - no infernos, poxes, pests and plagues.

The problem with the Darwinian angle here is that it doesn't explain why some human brains do feel threatened and worried by global warming and some don't. The biggest variable here is probably simple anthropology: as social mammals, we use the group to survive and thus tend to share the beliefs of our own group.

In modern society, groups are intangible and amorphous; they aren't discrete tribes gathering walnuts and spearing bison. Group ties are as often emotional or even ideological as geographic or even familial. You may identify, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, as a Catholic, a Green, a Jew, a small businessman, an African-American, a geek, a recovering alcoholic, a Republican, a liberal, a lesbian, an Italian-American, a Blue Blood, a Texan, an artist or a stamp collector. Most people cross-pollinate.

But these group affiliations are likely to be a strong determinant of your feelings about global warming (feelings you will call a "position"). Do you think global warming is an urgent problem because you are a Democrat or are you a Democrat because you think global warming is an urgent problem? Some variant of the former is most likely, I'm sorry to report.

Scandinavians and Germans have been the most alarmed and politically active about global warming. Why? Diet? Too much existentialism?

Compared to other countries, Americans display an unusually large disconnect in describing themselves as environmentalists by being broadly unwilling to support voluntary restraints and vigorous laws and regulations. (This comes from a paper called "The American Paradox" by Dale Jamieson of New York University, part of a fascinating collection of papers on "Global Warming: The Psychology of Long-Term Risk" in the July 2006 edition of a journal called, "Climactic Change.")

Group identification not only orients specific positions but what might be called the distribution of alarm. Elke Weber, also writing in "Climactic Change," notes that societies have a "finite pool of worry." Neither a group nor an individual can stay at red alert about terrorism, salmonella, bird flu, identity theft and global warming. We don't prioritize threats and risks rationally; we do it emotionally and through the genius or dumbness of crowds.

On top of all this very cool psycho-babble are some common-sense factors that keep global warming from triggering our inner worry monkeys. It's a hard problem to solve; OK, the world is warming, but it's not like you can go out and buy a Glock, duct tape or Cipro and do anything. Global warming is also the classic other guys' problem: leave it for the next generation; let the Chinese cut their pollution then we'll talk. It is also susceptible to optimism: American ingenuity will fix it.

"Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it fails to trip the brain's alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed," Daniel Gilbert wrote.

Scientists, economists and "ists" of all sorts have probably done all they can do to trigger our humanoid alarm systems. American politicians will probably hurt, not help. Bizarre and inconvenient as it sounds, effective and affective warnings and information about global warming will likely come from novelists, moviemakers and comedians.



Patriot Post are taking action. See below:

Please join fellow Patriots and sign this petition to Stop Albert Gore and Reject the UN's Global Warming Treaty (see text below). Gore is reenergizing the movement advocating Kyoto compliance. We urge you to sign this petition today, and reject Gore's advocacy for UN control of the U.S. economy.

In order to encourage serious consideration of this issue by the Bush administration and Congress, we must collect over 100,000 signatures. Please sign and then forward this invitation to all of your family members, friends and associates.

To sign this petition online, go here.

If you don't have Web access, you can sign this petition by sending a blank e-mail to: sign-stopgore@PatriotPetitions.US

Petition Text:

To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

We urge the United States Senate to reject the 1997 United Nations Kyoto Protocols Treaty purporting to address global warming by constraining economic growth in the United States while allowing unmitigated growth in 129 other nations, included two of the largest world economies in China and India.

The Senate overwhelmingly rejected this Treaty (95-0) by way of the Byrd-Hagel Senate resolution in 1997, which objected to the lack of any "specific scheduled commitments" in regard to the CO2 output of "developing" countries."

We reject the Orwellian solutions proposed by Albert Arnold Gore and others who claim that the Kyoto Protocols must be adopted to stop global warming. The science of climate change is very imprecise, and current trends in climate change may have little or nothing to do with production of so-called "greenhouse gasses" such as carbon dioxide.

Albert Gore's solutions will only impede the advancement of scientific and technological innovation, and would impoverish hundreds of millions of people around the world.


A lot of Americans would LOVE a bit of global warming at the moment

This week-perhaps emboldened by the groundhog predicting an early spring-Old Man Winter came roaring back, blanketing much of the nation with a sheet of ice. In fact, a number of residents of the Midwest and Northeast felt as if they were living in a new Ice Age, thanks to a thick coat of ice that brought vehicular traffic to a standstill.

As they shivered amid wind-chill levels well below zero, it must have come as a comfort that Al "Global Warming" Gore is once again at work, trying to free the world from the tyranny of temperatures above the freezing mark.

Gore announced plans this week for a series of musical concerts designed to, in Gore's words, "solve the climate crisis." His accomplices in this mission of misguided mercy include musical artists ranging from the rapper Snoop Dogg to American Idol star Kelly Clarkson.

Venues for the "Live Earth" concerts include Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, and yet-to-be-determined cities in Japan, Brazil, and the U.S. The campaign behind this effort is ironically titled, "Save Our Selves."

Gore was quoted as saying, "We are launching SOS and Live Earth to begin a process of communication that will mobilize people all over the world to take action. The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement. We hope to jump-start that movement right here, right now, and take it to a new level on July 7, 2007."

Earth to Gore: It's 12 degrees outside. Are we really suffering from global warming-or just a liberal propaganda campaign that's now gone musical?

It's heart-warming to see musical artists come together for a good cause-after all, what would Labor Day be without the Jerry Lewis Telethon? But fighting muscular dystrophy is one thing-fighting Mother Nature is quite another.

By trying to cast Mother Nature as an extremist, environmentalists such as Gore are trying to hide their own extremism. Their solution to the earth's problems is to regulate businesses out of existence. They'd sacrifice American jobs to save a single tree, and they often put animals on a pedestal above human beings. It's a world view that's positively frightening but, unfortunately, there are no rock concert promoters around who are willing to stage a musical extravaganza to combat environmental extremism.

Since when does a failed Presidential candidate have such pull with the music industry? I don't hear of Ross Perot getting the Black Eyed Peas to sing for his pet projects.

When the worlds of music and politics embrace, it is often a scary proposition for us all. Look at how many folk groups credited themselves with ending the Vietnam War. Forget military strategy and political acumen, to their way of thinking, it's four-part harmonies that determine victory or defeat on the battlefield.

I can only hope that, when the SOS concerts roll around, this week's deep freeze will be fresh in the memories of Americans who might otherwise be hoodwinked by the global warming crowd.



Buying organic food grown locally may sometimes be more damaging to the environment than nipping down to the supermarket for produce that has been driven hundreds of miles across the country, a new study suggests. Research looking at the environmental impact of food from farm to the plate and beyond suggests that locally-grown food may not be as environmentally friendly as it's said to be. Similarly, long-distance transportation may not deserve the demonisation it has received for the emissions of carbon dioxide it generates. However, scientists questioned the growing use of aircraft to carry foods around the world.

The findings, from a study commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to guide policy on which types of food production and consumption to encourage, prompted a furious response from the Soil Association, which promotes and certifies organic food.

The report concludes that so little is known about the overall environmental impact of any food produce that it is impossible to say which are the most environmentally friendly. But while the merits of some organic products were recognised by the study, researchers pointed out that others cause more damage than non-organic items.

Academics from the Manchester Business School, at the University of Manchester, carried out an assessment of 150 of the best-selling foods for the survey, dubbed the Shopping Trolley Report. "There is no clear-cut answer as to whether purchasing an organic or a conventional trolley of goods has more or less impact environmentally," they said. "For many foods the environmental impacts of organic agriculture are lower than for conventionally-grown food. "However, the evidence suggests that for some environmental themes organic agriculture has higher impacts than non-organic."

They said that calculations of every aspect of a food product's environmental impact - a life-cycle analysis - needs to be carried out to decide which forms of production are best. Factors would include uses of land, water, fertiliser, transportation, packaging and refrigeration. The impact of organic milk was singled out for doubts about its environmental-friendliness because, while having higher levels of nutrients and needing less fertiliser, its production generates more carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, it takes up 80 per cent more land.

Neither, said the researchers, was buying locally produced food a guarantee of being environmentally-friendly when considering the transportation system, particularly bulk haulage. They suggested that the best thing consumers could do to reduce the carbon footprint of food production and consumption was to leave their cars at home and walk or get public transport to the supermarket. "The available data suggests that, looking at UK food transportation as a whole, the environmental impacts of car-based shopping are greater than those of transport within the distribution system itself," the report said. "The environmental impact of aviation are important for air-freighted products but such products are a very small proportion of food consumed."

Professor Ken Green, who led the study, said: "If you are concerned about the carbon footprint of foods, there can be a good case for importing some of them even if they can be grown in the UK. The evidence available so far shows that local is not always the best option for the environment."

The Soil Association criticised the authors for ignoring many of the benefits of organic production, such as improving biodiversity, and accused them of relying on an inapproporaite study which looked at a type of organic farming that is not used in Britain. It said: "Organic farming is much better for the environment than industrial methods."


Windmill idiocy: "The problem with wind energy is that it is always fluctuating. The physics of windmills make it worse because output varies with the cube of the velocity. A 20 percent increase in wind speed will double output in a few minutes. Under these circumstances, large numbers of windmills are viewed by grid operators more as a liability than an asset. Unfortunately, where the wind is predictable, it doesn't co-ordinate very well [with] demand. The wind blows strongest at night and in the spring and fall. Electrical demand peaks in the daytime and summer and winter. This is why claims about wind's installed capacity have to be met with a grain of salt. At best, windmills produce electricity less than one-third of the time. Over the last ten years, California's 1500 MW have averaged only 25 percent of their 'nameplate' capacity. During peak summer demand it was only 9 percent. Germany has found its windmills producing only 6 percent of their nameplate capacity during hot summer days.... Still, as long as those windmills are turning, they must be producing some electricity, right? Unfortunately, even this may not be true. Because wind power is so unpredictable, fossil fuel plants must be kept running all the time anyway for backup."


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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, February 23, 2007


Once you look past the hype, the latest IPCC report on climate change is actually rather unfavorable to the Greenies -- something many of them have been squealing loudly about. The scientific findings just don't show what the Greenies want them to show.

Solution? Alter the data! Fudge the facts. In plain English: Lie.

Three major repositories of climate facts and figures are the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in England, The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA. The remarkably restrained Steve McIntyre has been looking at some of the data they put out. And guess what? It has changed recently! They have revised the past. The figures they now give for temperatures during the 20th century have been changed! And you don't need to guess the direction of the change. They are now representing the late 20th century as being warmer than what they once said it was and the early 20th century as being cooler than what they once said it was.

And how do we know that? After all, they have expunged from the record all their earlier data and replaced it with their new "edited" versions. We know it because of that pesky internet! Steve McIntyre was able to find on the net a copy of the earlier data. He comments:

The effect of the adjustments since 2000 has been to bring the USHCN history more in line with the CRU version. One wonders exactly what adjustments have been performed by CRU and others and the recent admission by Brohan et al 2006 that original versions of many series have been lost (or never even collated by CRU in the first place) leaving only the adjusted versions at CRU (with the nature of some or all of the adjustments undocumented and unknown) is extremely disquieting.

Science has gone out the window when this sort of thing happens. It is a given in scientific discourse that you don't question the other guy's data. You just look for different explanations of it or misinterpretations of it. In climate "science", alas, that courtesy is no longer automatically possible. The pro-warming side of climate "science" must now be regarded as one big whirlpool of fraud. One can now safely accept nothing that they say. They are driven people, but respect for truth is no part of that drive.

Prof. Brignell also has some astringent comments on McIntyre's findings.

David Friedman writes:

I've recently been involved in an exchange with Mike Huben in the comments section of an earlier post to this blog, having to do with global warming, hurricanes, and Chris Landsea's pulling out of the IPCC-the group that does the "official" reports on world climate-a few years ago. Interested people may want to look at our exchange and at the web pages cited.

There is a more general issue that such disputes raise: How, in controversies where most of us do not know enough to form independent opinions, one should decide who to believe. One way is to look at the incentives various people have to express the views they do. Let me start with the case of nanotech-specifically, whether it presents dangers that call for government regulation. I've been involved, at least peripherally, for a long time and know some of the people at the Foresight Institute, the group that pushed the idea of nanotech for many years before it became suddenly fashionable.

One thing I know about them is that that their general political biases are libertarian. Hence when I observe them expressing serious concerns about the dangers of unregulated nanotech, I am inclined to take it seriously. They may be wrong, but they aren't believing it because they want to believe it.

Mike Huben, if I understand him correctly, wants to view criticism of evidence for global warming as the work of sinister interest groups, in particular energy companies. I suspect that to some degree he is right; clearly that are industries that will be injured if countries adopt the sorts of policies recommended by those concerned with the threat of global warming, and I expect such industries do their best to push arguments that it is in their interest to push.

On the other hand, a scientist such as Landsea, who apparently wrote a good deal of the relevant part of the previous IPCC report, has no such incentive-unless Mike can point to evidence that he is being secretly funded by the oil companies, which nobody seems to be claiming. It's hard to see any likely reason for his actions other than the belief that the scientific work of himself and others was being misrepresented in order to push a political agenda.

And the followup articles-the ones Mike found and pointed out to the rest of us-suggest that in fact Landsea's view of the subject was correct and that his protest was one factor in pushing the IPCC, in its most recent report, to give a mostly accurate account of the current consensus. Their summary account reported that there was no clear evidence of a trend to more hurricanes. One of the authors of the relevant part of the report, decrying misrepresentations in the media, wrote that: "We concluded that the question of whether there was a greenhouse-cyclone link was pretty much a toss of a coin at the present state of the science, with just a slight leaning towards the likelihood of such a link."

My current conclusion, looking over what I can see of the opinions of people who don't have an obvious axe to grind in either direction, is that global warming is probably real, is probably but not certainly anthropogenic, is probably not going to have large effects on size and frequency of hurricanes and is probably not going to have large effects on sea level. It is a real problem but not, on current evidence, an impending catastrophe.

Mike, and many other people, see it as a much bigger problem than I do. My reason for distrusting their conclusions is the same as Mike's reason for distrusting the conclusions of global warming sceptics: On the whole and with, I am sure, some exceptions, they appear to me to be believing what they want to believe. I see it that way because:

1. Governments, and people in government, seek power for obvious reasons. Over the past fifty years the intellectual justification for the large expansion in government power from about 1930-1970 has largely collapsed. The belief that capitalism is inherently unstable and inefficient and must be fixed with large elements of governmental intervention and central planning is no longer taken very seriously by either the general public or economists. Environmentalism in general and global warming in particular provide new arguments for expanded government power, new taxes, and the like.

That does not mean, of course, that those arguments are wrong, but it does mean that there are a lot of people who have an incentive to support them whether wrong or right. That seems to me consistent with what I observe-what is probably a real problem being extensively exaggerated for political reasons, with a predicted sea level rise of up to 80 cm over 93 years being reported in terms of massive flooding around the world, converting the World Trade Center Site into an aquarium in the piece I commented on in my earlier post.

2. Global warming provides arguments for things that a lot of people, mostly left of center, want to do anyway-shift lifestyles away from automobiles towards mass transit, reduce consumption of depletable resources, and the like. Environmentalism is in part a real argument, in part a religion, in part an aesthetic; the second and third parts make people too willing to accept the first.

Which gets me to Mike's various queries about why I choose to align myself with the forces of evil and ignorance by expressing skepticism about the horrors likely to arise from global warming. Simply put, I am skeptical of conclusions that appear to go well beyond the scientific evidence, pushed by people who have reasons to want other people to believe them.



When coastal engineers decide whether to dredge sand and pump it onto an eroded beach, they use mathematical models to predict how much sand they will need, when and where they must apply it, the rate it will move and how long the project will survive in the face of coastal storms and erosion. Orrin H. Pilkey, a coastal geologist and emeritus professor at Duke, recommends another approach: just dredge up a lot of sand and dump it on the beach willy-nilly. This "kamikaze engineering" might not last very long, he says, but projects built according to models do not usually last very long either, and at least his approach would not lull anyone into false mathematical certitude.

Now Dr. Pilkey and his daughter Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, a geologist in the Washington State Department of Geology, have expanded this view into an overall attack on the use of computer programs to model nature. Nature is too complex, they say, and depends on too many processes that are poorly understood or little monitored - whether the process is the feedback effects of cloud cover on global warming or the movement of grains of sand on a beach.

Their book, "Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future," originated in a seminar Dr. Pilkey organized at Duke to look into the performance of mathematical models used in coastal geology. Among other things, participants concluded that beach modelers applied too many fixed values to phenomena that actually change quite a lot. For example, "assumed average wave height," a variable crucial for many models, assumes that all waves hit the beach in the same way, that they are all the same height and that their patterns will not change over time. But, the authors say, that's not the way things work.

Also, modelers' formulas may include coefficients (the authors call them "fudge factors") to ensure that they come out right. And the modelers may not check to see whether projects performed as predicted. Eventually, the seminar participants widened the project, concluding that erroneous assumptions, fudge factors and the reluctance to check predictions against unruly natural outcomes produce models with, as the authors put it, "no demonstrable basis in nature."

Among other problems, they cite much-modeled but nevertheless collapsed North Atlantic fishing stocks, poisonous pools unexpectedly produced by open pit mining, and invasive plants and animals that routinely outflank their modelers. Two issues, the authors say, illustrate other problems with modeling.

One is climate change, in which, they say, experts' justifiable caution about model uncertainties can encourage them to ignore accumulating evidence from the real world. The other is the movement of nuclear waste through an underground storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, not because it has failed - it has yet to be built - but because they say it is unreasonable to expect accurate predictions of what will happen far into the future - in this extreme case, tens or even hundreds of thousands of years from now.

Along the way, Dr. Pilkey and Ms. Pilkey-Jarvis describe and explain a host of modeling terms, including quantitative and qualitative models (models that seek to answer precise questions with more or less precise numbers, as against models that seek to discern environmental trends). They also discuss concepts like model sensitivity - the analysis of parameters included in a model to see which ones, if changed, are most likely to change model results.

But, the authors say it is important to remember that model sensitivity assesses the parameter's importance in the model, not necessarily in nature. If a model itself is "a poor representation of reality," they write, "determining the sensitivity of an individual parameter in the model is a meaningless pursuit."

Given the problems with models, should we abandon them altogether? Perhaps, the authors say. Their favored alternative seems to be adaptive management, in which policymakers may start with a model of how a given ecosystem works, but make constant observations in the field, altering their policies as conditions change. But that approach has drawbacks, among them requirements for assiduous monitoring, flexible planning and a willingness to change courses in midstream. For practical and political reasons, all are hard to achieve. Besides, they acknowledge, people seem to have such a powerful desire to defend policies with formulas (or "fig leaves," as the authors call them), that managers keep applying them, long after their utility has been called into question.

So the authors offer some suggestions for using models better. We could, for example, pay more attention to nature, monitoring our streams, beaches, forests or fields to accumulate information on how living things and their environments interact. That kind of data is crucial for models. Modeling should be transparent. That is, any interested person should be able to see and understand how the model works - what factors it weighs heaviest, what coefficients it includes, what phenomena it leaves out, and so on.

Also, modelers should say explicitly what assumptions they make. And instead of demanding to know exactly how high seas will rise or how many fish will be left in them or what the average global temperature will be in 20 years, they argue, we should seek to discern simply whether seas are rising, fish stocks are falling and average temperatures are increasing.

And we should couple these models with observations from the field. Models should be regarded as producing "ballpark figures," they write, not accurate impact forecasts. "If we wish to stay within the bounds of reality we must look to a more qualitative future," the authors write, "a future where there will be no certain answers to many of the important questions we have about the future of human interactions with the earth."

Source. More information about the new book can be found here.


Some pretty unsettling science. Is this why there is some warming at our North pole but none at our South pole? The fact that the same pattern is seen on Mars makes it thought-provoking

One pole of the sun is cooler than the other. That's the surprising conclusion announced today by scientists who have been analyzing data from the ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft. Ulysses is the only ship in the NASA or European fleet capable of flying over the sun's poles, a result of the spacecraft's uniquely-tilted orbit. Its ability to study the sun's unexplored polar regions is prized by solar physicists. Ulysses' first polar flybys in 1994 and 1995 revealed the asymmetry-"a 7 to 8 percent difference in temperature," says Ulysses science team member George Gloeckler of the University of Maryland. The measurement was both mysterious and a little hard to believe. What would make the sun lopsided in this way? There's still no definitive answer to that question, but now at least researchers know the effect is real. Ulysses has returned to the sun's South Pole in 2007 and "recent observations show that the average temperature ... is virtually identical to what we saw 12 years ago," says Gloeckler.

Taking the sun's temperature is tricky business. The spacecraft can't descend to the surface and insert a thermometer. Instead, Ulysses samples the solar wind at a safe remove of 300 million km. "We measure the abundance of two oxygen ions found in the solar wind. The ratio O6+/O7+ tells us the temperature of the gas," explains Gloeckler. He is the principal investigator of the instrument onboard Ulysses that does this, the Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer or "SWICS." According to SWICS, the average temperature of the sun's polar wind is about one million degrees C. But over one pole the wind is about 80,000 degrees cooler than over the other pole. Researchers believe the solar wind at Ulysses is telling them something about polar conditions close to the surface of the sun. "The solar wind comes from the poles," explains Arik Posner, Ulysses Program Scientist at NASA headquarters. "The sun's magnetic field opens up over the poles and allows some of the sun's atmosphere to escape." These openings are called "coronal holes," and the hot atmosphere that rushes out is the solar wind.

Back to the original question: What does the temperature difference mean? "Perhaps the structure of the sun's atmosphere over the two poles is different," he speculates. We have an analogy here on Earth. The stratosphere over the South Pole is colder, on average, than the stratosphere over the North Pole. The reason has to do with the uneven distribution of land on Earth (most land is in the north) plus complex atmospheric circulation patterns.

In the case of the sun, the difference is not land but magnetism. Apparently, something about the sun's north magnetic pole keeps the solar atmosphere above it a trifle cooler. Proof: The "cool spot" follows the north magnetic pole when the sun's poles flip. "The sun's magnetic poles have reversed polarity since the 1994 flyby-an effect of the 11-year sunspot cycle," notes Posner. Lo and behold, "the temperature asymmetry has also reversed. So it appears to be a magnetic phenomenon."



By His Eminence, Dr. George Pell, Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney

Global warming doomsdayers were out and about in a big way recently, but the rain came in Central Queensland and then here in Sydney. January also was unusually cool. We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters as some zealots have been painting extreme scenarios to frighten us. They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, that there could be the occasional tsunami as high as an eight story building, the Amazon basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic and in Greenland melts. An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics while a U.S.A. television correspondent compared skeptics to "holocaust deniers".

A local newspaper editorial's complaint about the doomsdayers' religious enthusiasm is unfair to mainstream Christianity. Christians don't go against reason although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace probabilities. What we were seeing from the doomsdayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria, semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.

I am deeply skeptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence. I would be surprised if industrial pollution, and carbon emissions, had no ill effect at all. But enough is enough. A few fixed points might provide some light.

We know that enormous climate changes have occurred in world history, e.g. the Ice Ages and Noah's flood, where human causation could only be negligible. Neither should it be too surprising to learn that the media during the last 100 years has alternated between promoting fears of a coming Ice Age and fear of global warming! Terrible droughts are not infrequent in Australian history, sometimes lasting seven or eight years, as with the Federation Drought and in the 1930s. One drought lasted fourteen years.

We all know that a cool January does not mean much in the long run, but neither does evidence from a few years only. Scaremongers have used temperature fluctuations in limited periods and places to misrepresent longer patterns. The evidence on warming is mixed, often exaggerated, but often reassuring. Global warming has been increasing constantly since 1975 at the rate of less than one fifth of a degree centigrade per decade.

The concentration of carbon dioxide increased surface temperatures more in winter than in summer and especially in mid and high latitudes over land, while there was a global cooling of the stratosphere. The East Anglia university climate research unit found that global temperatures did not increase between 1998 - 2005 and a recent NASA satellite found that the Southern Hemisphere has not warmed in the past 25 years. Is mild global warming a Northern phenomenon?

While we might have been alarmed by the sighting of an iceberg off Dunedin as large as an aircraft carrier we should be consoled by the news that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing there. The science is more complicated than the propaganda!



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 generally 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

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.