Friday, August 17, 2007

MAJOR NEW THEORY PROPOSED TO EXPLAIN WARMING: Carbon-dioxide out; "synchronized chaos" in

"Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt"
--Washington Post headline, November 2, 1922.

If there was any doubt that fear-mongering has long been cherished by the media, the above headline should put the question to bed. But that 80-year old news story also illustrates two of the great problems for the global warming theory -- its inability to explain sudden climate shifts in the Earth's past, and to explain why the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are so unequally affected by warming.

A team of mathematicians have come forth with a startling new theory that solves both these problems. Led by Dr. Anastasios Tsonis, their model says the known cycles of the Earth's oceans -- the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino (Southern Oscillation) and the North Pacific Oscillation -- all tend to try to synchronize with each other.

The theory is based on a branch of mathematics known as Sychronized Chaos. The math predicts the degree of coupling to increase over time, causing the solution to "bifurcate," or split. Then, the synchronization vanishes. The result is a climate shift. Eventually the cycles begin to sync up again, causing a repeating pattern of warming and cooling, along with sudden changes in the frequency and strength of El Nino events.

Better yet, their theory has predictive power. The model predicts past shifts in the year 1913 (explaining the strong warming of the 20s and 30s), 1942 (resolving the post-WW2 cooling trend) and 1978 (covering our current warming). The model predicts another shift to occur around the year 2033.

Most shocking of all is their prediction for the year 2100 to be slightly cooler than present day, despite the assumption of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels. Eye-popping indeed. Is carbon-dioxide really so ineffective at warming? A new study by Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute seems to think so. Its conclusion is that, while CO2 does have some effect, that "it can never play the decisive role attributed to it" in global warming, and that its effects have been grossly overstated.



A leading scientist with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has warned that "doing nothing is better than offsetting" on the grounds that there is a serious risk that the practice is leading to increased emissions. Dr Kevin Anderson, an academic at the University of Manchester and energy programme leader for the Tyndall Centre, said that the failure by many offset firms to look at the wider implications of investing in carbon reduction projects in developing economies meant that they were guilty of inadvertently increasing carbon emissions. "Many of these schemes are not accounting for the economic multiplier effect of the offset investments," he said.

"For example, if you take one popular offset project in the form of donating low energy bulbs to a Jamaican hotel you have to ask, what is the full impact of that investment? Electricity in Jamaica is expensive, so what does the hotelier do with the money he saves? He may use it to pay for a flight for himself or he may invest in extending the hotel, both of which could cancel out the initial emission reductions." Anderson argued that there is no way that offset providers can guarantee that their investments will not spark significant multiplier effects that would ultimately lead to increased emissions.



By Jeff Jacoby

Introducing Newsweek's Aug. 13 cover story on global warming "denial," editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine's past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting. Meacham concedes that "those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be." But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham shrugs it off. "On global cooling," he writes, "there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases."

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were "almost unanimous" in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that "the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Moreover, it said, "the evidence in support of these predictions" -- everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover to record-setting tornado outbreaks -- had "begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it." Yet Meacham, quoting none of this, simply brushes aside the 1975 report as "alarmist" and "discredited." Today, he assures his readers, Newsweek's climate-change anxieties rest "on the safest of scientific ground."

Do they? Then why is the tone of Sharon Begley's cover story -- nine pages in which anyone skeptical of the claim that human activity is causing global warming is painted as a bought-and-paid-for lackey of the coal and oil industries -- so strident and censorious? Why the relentless labeling of those who point out weaknesses in the global-warming models as "deniers," or agents of the "denial machine," or deceptive practitioners of "denialism?" Wouldn't it be more effective to answer the challengers, some of whom are highly credentialed climate scientists in their own right, with scientific data and arguments, instead of snide insinuations of venality and deceit? Do Newsweek and Begley really believe that everyone who dissents from the global-warming doomsaying does so in bad faith?

Anthropogenic global warming is a scientific hypothesis, not an article of religious or ideological dogma. Skepticism and doubt are entirely appropriate in the realm of science, in which truth is determined by evidence, experimentation, and observation, not by consensus or revelation. Yet when it comes to global warming, dissent is treated as heresy -- as a pernicious belief whose exponents must be shamed, shunned, or silenced.

Newsweek is hardly the only offender. At the Live Earth concert in New Jersey last month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. denounced climate-change skeptics as "corporate toadies" for "villainous" enemies of America and the human race. "This is treason," he shouted, "and we need to start treating them now as traitors." Some environmentalists and commentators have suggested that global-warming "denial" be made a crime, much as Holocaust denial is in some countries. Others have proposed that climate-change dissidents be prosecuted in Nuremberg-style trials. The Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen has suggested that television meteorologists be stripped of their American Meteorological Society certification if they dare to question predictions of catastrophic global warming.

A few weeks ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis published an article opposing mandatory limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, arguing that Congress should not impose caps until the technology exists to produce energy that doesn't depend on carbon dioxide. In response to Lewis's reasonable piece, the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart, issued a threat: "Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America."

This is the zealotry and intolerance of the auto-da-fe [Inquisition]. The last place it belongs is in public-policy debate. The interesting and complicated phenomenon of climate change is still being figured out, and as much as those determined to turn it into a crusade of good vs. evil may insist otherwise, the issue of global warming isn't a closed book. Smearing those who buck the "scientific consensus" as traitors, toadies, or enemies of humankind may be emotionally satisfying and even professionally lucrative. It is also indefensible, hyperbolic bullying. That the bullies are sure they are doing the right thing is not a point in their defense. For as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote long ago, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."


The biggest emissions-cutting projects under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming have directly contributed to an increase in the production of gases that destroy the ozone layer, a senior U.N. official says. In addition, evidence suggests that the same projects, in developing countries, have deliberately raised their emissions of greenhouse gases only to destroy these and therefore claim more carbon credits, said Stanford University's Michael Wara.

Kyoto is meant to curb emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but is undermining a separate pact called the Montreal Protocol, meant to phase out gases which harm the earth's ozone layer. That layer in the atmosphere shields the planet from damaging ultra-violet rays that can cause skin cancer.

At the heart of the clash is a carbon trading scheme under Kyoto, worth $5 billion last year, whereby rich countries pay poorer ones to cut greenhouse gas emissions on their behalf, called the clean development mechanism (CDM). The most popular type of project has been to destroy a potent greenhouse gas known as HFC 23, one of a family of so-called hydrofluorocarbons, in China and India. The problem is that HFC 23 is a waste product in the manufacture of a refrigerant gas which damages the ozone layer, called HCFC 22, and chemical plants have used their CDM profits to ramp up production.

"This is certainly one of the major drivers now in the increase in production of HCFC 22," Rajendra Shende, director of ozone issues at the United Nations Environment Programme, which administers the Montreal Protocol, said on Monday. HCFC 22 now risked undoing recent repair to the ozone layer, Shende said in an interview.



A global shift toward renewable energy could jack up food prices by up to 80 percent as crops and farmland are diverted to producing biofuels, an international agricultural think tank warned yesterday. Joachim von Braun, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute, said further crop yield improvements and increased efficiency of these alternative fuels were required if a global price shock were to be avoided.

Unless governments invest to improve farm productivity "so that we can cope with the increased demand for biofuels, the [food] prices may come up between 40 and 80 percent on top of what you can see," he told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture and poverty conference in Manila. "If it's well managed and we have more investment in research and technology to bring up yield levels in the crops and improve the efficiency of biofuels, these price effects may only be between 5 and 15 percent. So it depends on government policy," he said.

Von Braun said that "globally, many countries have plans to scale up biofuel production in the order of covering 10, 20 percent of their transport fuel," chiefly ethanol and biodiesel. Brazil has committed to 25 percent while Europe plans to use biofuels for 10 percent of the countries' needs by 2020, he said. In Asia, he said the picture was mixed, which China having announced plans to shut down some of its ethanol plants "because of the concern for using too much grain for them." On the other hand, India has moved rapidly into ethanol production, Japan wants to import more biomass and Malaysia and Indonesia both want to be major suppliers of biodiesels based on palm oil.



The Orang-utans of Borneo are facing an unprecedented threat as their habitat is destroyed to satisfy increasing global demands for bio-fuel. As jungles are rapidly replaced by palm oil plantations, the great apes starve and are hunted, mutilated, burnt and snared by workers protecting their crops.

At a rehabilitation centre run by the charity Borneo Orang-utan Survival, there are more than 600, mostly orphaned babies. Lone Nielsen, the centre's director, estimates that for each of the 227 animals they rescued last year, five more were killed in central Borneo alone. "There are broken bones, cracked skulls, burns, internal injuries," said Miss Nielsen. "The plantation workers beat them because they want to catch them and the only way you can catch an orang-utan is to knock it unconscious."

Each orphan must be raised to the age of eight by a human "mother" who teaches it to be afraid of rubber snakes and other hazards before it can be released on to an island. The "children" engage in amusingly human antics - one of them walking with a stick like an old man. In Indonesian "orang-utan" means "forest people" and after humans they are the most intelligent primate.

In 2004 there were 37,000 living on Borneo and the only other wild population is around 7,000 on the neighbouring island of Sumatra. The palm oil crisis struck central Borneo in 2003, shortly after the Indonesian government declared it wanted to become the world's biggest producer. In 2004 a "master plan" was unveiled to create 40,000 square miles of plantations by 2010. Campaigners say 70 per cent of the plantations will replace existing forests.

As the plan is put into effect, each year provides more orang-utan casualties than the last for Miss Nielsen's centre. With the world desperate for "green" fuels, demand for palm oil, which is used in bio-diesel, is guaranteed to increase. According to European legislation two per cent of all diesel must be vegetable oil, rising to 5.7 per cent in 2010 and 10 per cent by 2020.

But in the areas where palm oil is produced, environmental concerns barely register with government authorities or the companies they licence. Global prices are rising and there is big money at stake. A common tactic, campaigners say, is for plantation firms to first burn the forest then buy up the degraded land for a pittance. Moses Nicodemus, the provincial government's chief environmental official, said: "The basis of palm oil development is sensitivity to community and environment." He denied that plantation companies were responsible for killing orang-utans.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

Woody said...

I love your site! It's so logical and it exposes the left for its absolute silliness. They act like they are in high school popularity contests and do eveything to seem smarter and more popular than others. I would just say "grow up," but there's too much money at stake to pay for their games.