Thursday, October 25, 2007

The California fires are OF COURSE being blamed on global warming

Newsbusters has a good record of the media coverage. We do however get a brief glimpse of what is really going on in the following segnent of the interview they record:

PELLEY: It was 20 years ago that firefighters got their first glimpse of what was to come. This is Yellowstone in 1988, when a third of the national park burned. Since then, fires have broken records in nine states. Several mega-fires, like this one in Arizona, have burned over half a million acres each. Why are there more of these fires? It turns out that the Forest Service is partly to blame, with a policy that it started 100 years ago.

UNKNOWN MAN E: The forest fire firefighter service stops fires, forest, bush and grass fires.

PELLEY: The policy was to try to putout all fires immediately.

BOATNER: Because we so successfully fought fire and eliminated fire from this ecosystem for 100 years, because we thought that was the right thing to do, we've allowed a huge buildup of fuel in these woods. So now, when the fires get going, there's a lot more to burn than historically you would've seen in a forest like this.

What is not mentioned is that Greenie pressure has largely halted the Forest Service practice of controlled winter burnoffs. These burnoffs safely reduce the amount of combustible materials and prevent fires at later times from becoming as big. The present unusually severe fires are a direct result of Greenie meddling with forest management

More on the AP Story on "Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Increasing"

Post below lifted from Icecap. See the original for links

As reported by the AP, “Carbon dioxide emissions were 35 percent higher in 2006 than in 1990, a much faster growth rate than anticipated, researchers led by Josep G. Canadell, of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The changes “characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing,” the researchers report." Alan Robock, associate director of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers University, added: “What is really shocking is the reduction of the oceanic CO2 sink,” meaning the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere. The researchers blamed that reduction on changes in wind circulation, but Robock said he also thinks rising ocean temperatures reduce the ability to take in the gas.”

As we showed in an earlier blog, though estimates of man's output of carbon dioxide have increased in the last two decades, the rate of increase in the atmosphere has not increased, implying the opposite, a "missing sink" or underestimated ability of nature, primarily the oceans, to remove the excess carbon dioxide, the exact opposite of what Robock at Rutgers and the alarmists at CSIRO are implying.  Never mind they are ignoring the fact that there has been no warming globally in the last 9 years.

See in this blog the real story about carbon dioxide increases, how they relate to El Nino and La Nina and volcanic activity, that the oceans are cooling not warming and why with a moderate La Nina underway, the rate of increase this year will drop dramatically.


The joint award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former US vice-president Al Gore has been greeted positively by commentators internationally. Where there has been criticism, it has been directed at the decision to give Gore a share of the award. But what about the IPCC? .....

I would argue that the way in which the IPCC is being turned into a body beyond criticism, whose pronouncements cannot be challenged without critics facing accusations of `global warming denial', is a far greater threat to democratic debate and good decision-making than Gore's self-evident alarmism. The IPCC is treated as a priestly body that rises above what is seen as the petty squabbling of politicians and individuals too selfish to reduce their carbon footprint; as the sole repository of truth, given by the `scientific consensus'. It is time to start asking some tough questions of the IPCC and the role it plays before we continue along these lines.

The emphasis that the IPCC places upon consensus would be one good place to start. For example, John Zillman, president of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) from 1995 to 2003 (one of the IPCC's two sponsoring bodies), and someone very much involved in the establishment of the IPCC, wrote a candid article in August 1997 titled `The IPCC: a view from the inside' (3). In the article, Zillman notes that `although there were already mechanisms in place' for taking stock of the state of knowledge of greenhouse gases, `the WMO Congress decided that a more broadly representative mechanism was needed to prepare the authoritative advice needed by governments'. As is now well known, this mechanism involves scientists and government officials from participating countries agreeing, line by line, the wording of key summary documents for policymakers of periodic Assessment Reports authored by scientists. Whilst pointing out his overall support for the scientific integrity of the work of the IPCC, Zillman's paper drew particular attention to the problems and pressures of this consensus approach:

`[T]here has been unusually intense pressure for consensus to be achieved even when many individual participants clearly felt extremely uncomfortable with signing on to the "consensus" language. These pressures became extreme in some of the late night meetings when the time for achievement of consensus was running out, delegations were exhausted and dissenting individuals were subject to considerable peer pressure to agree in order to avoid the stigma of being seen to have prevented the IPCC from achieving a consensus report.' (4)

The pressure to achieve consensus remains very much a part of the IPCC today - a fact made obvious by the press reports of the late night meetings proceeding the publication of the three summary reports of the IPCC's work this year. And in the run-up to the publication of its final report - Fourth Assessment: The Synthesis Report - to be finalised at a conference in mid-November, the IPCC is pushing the significance of this consensus strongly. For example, take the following advert for the forthcoming Synthesis Report on the IPCC's website home page:

Who could possibly argue with such an array of international expertise all in agreement with one another? But in many ways, these figures are misleading. The expertise of those contributing to IPCC processes is unsurprisingly hugely varied, necessarily covering a vast array of disciplines and fields of research. So in reality, the `one report' brings together distinct and discrete areas of expertise addressing often related but distinct questions - the experts on cloud formation, for example, will have little expert opinion to input into the discussion of the impact of global warming on biodiversity.

The contrast between the impression of thousands of scientists acting as one and the reality of the IPCC process was highlighted in an analysis recently conducted by John McLean, titled Peer Review, What Peer Review? and published by the Science and Public Policy Institute. Analysing information secured from the IPCC under a US Freedom of Information request, McLean examines the level of review activity associated with the IPCC's key Working Group 1 (WG1) report that assesses `The Physical Science Basis' of climate change.

Looking at the comments made by the scientific reviewers for the Second Revision of the Draft WG1 report, McLean found that a total of 308 reviewers commented on the Second Revision, which was the penultimate draft. According to McLean `only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and just five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters'. There were 143 reviewers (46 per cent) who commented on just one chapter and 71 reviewers (23 per cent) who commented on two chapters.

Such a tally does not itself demonstrate a faulty peer review process. However, McLean certainly seems to have a point when he draws attention to the gap between the perception the IPCC wishes to create of thousands of scientists in unity in one report, and the reality of a report comprised of many distinct parts, each contributed to and commented on by a far smaller number of scientists with knowledge of a specific field. For example, McLean finds that for chapter nine, a chapter that he describes as `the key science chapter' where `the IPCC concludes that "it is very highly likely that greenhouse gas forcing has been the dominant cause of the observed global warming over the last 50 years"', only 62 reviewers provided any comments on the chapter at all.

McLean argues that `simple corrections, requests for clarifications or refinements to the text which did not challenge the IPCC's conclusions are generally treated favourably, but comments which dispute the IPCC's claims or their certainty are treated with far less indulgence'. He concludes that `the notion of hundreds of experts diligently poring over all chapters of the report and providing extensive feedback by way of peer review to the editing teams is here demonstrated to be an illusion'.

It may turn out to be the case that most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years has been man-made. This may, in turn, imply the need for some action on the part of society. However, there is much to be debated - both in terms of the complexities of what is and is not known scientifically about climate change, and in terms of political discussion about how we wish to respond to this knowledge. Yet increasingly, the IPCC is not a positive mechanism for throwing light on the situation and allowing perspectives to be worked through. Instead, those who wish to conduct such debates - unless on the extremely narrow terms laid down by the IPCC - are being portrayed as beyond the pale. Democratic debate is being stifled rather than encouraged for fear that people will come to the wrong opinions and make the wrong choices.

The IPCC, with its hyping of the `scientific consensus', is an important expression of the way in which `expertise' is being used to supplant full and open debate. As such it needs to be critiqued, not placed on a pedestal, if we are to have any chance of making good decisions and benefiting from democratic debate in the future.


All Climatologists Aren't Scientists

Real scientists don't expect to have their explanations automatically accepted. They expect to have to prove what they say is valid by conducting experiments and providing evidence. They accept the existence of physcial "laws" which control and limit physical phenomena. They accept concepts like those in quantum physics even if they don't seem to make sense if there is evidence that they do. Niels Bohr "And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it."

Some climatologists aren't acting like empirical scientists. For example, they claim the existence of things like greenhouse gases that are not consistent with established physics such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (see the previous post). Religious figures sometimes claim that physical laws can be ignored, but they typicallly suggest that a diety can perform supernatural feats.

Scientists recognize that concepts come and go. Physicists have been debating whether light is a wave or a particle for two centuries. Each side has dominated at one time or another. They may think that those who disagree with them are misguided, but they don't call the members of the other side names like "denier" or "contrarian" like the believers in greenhouse gases do. These people who use such terms use them in the same manner religious figures use the terms 'heretic" and "infidel".

The greenhouse gas believers believe that consensus is more important than evidence. Real scientists recognize that everyone can be wrong as 19th Century scientists were when they believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter . Scientists don't vote on which explanation is the best. They develop evidence through experimentation and observation. Real scientists recognize that mathematical explanations are often complex and that throwing a bunch of numbers together and averaging them isn't likely to produce any meaningful result. Greenhouse gas believers think they can average global temperatures and get an exact explanation of the climate of every place on earth.

The climatologists who claim to believe in greenhouse gases do not behave like scientists and thus are not scientists. A real scientist wouldn't provide vague explanations like "global warming is going to cause this or that". A real scientist would give specific explanations for climate in each area of the globe. The greenhouse gas believers use the term "global warming" as if it were some type of deity. If the weather is colder or warmer than usual the answer is the same "global warming did it."


Brits beginning to face facts

Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain's pledges to combat climate change that "effectively abolishes" its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces "severe practical difficulties".

According to the papers, John Hutton, the secretary of state for business, will tell Mr Brown that Britain should work with Poland and other governments sceptical about climate change to "help persuade" German chancellor Angela Merkel and others to set lower renewable targets, before binding commitments are framed in December. It admits that allowing member states to fall short of their renewable targets will be "very hard to negotiate ... and will be very controversial". "The commission, some member states and the European parliament will not want the target to be diluted, though others may be allies for a change," says a draft copy of Mr Hutton's Energy Policy Presentation to the Prime Minister, marked "restricted - policy".

The revelations came as scientists announced that carbon emissions were accumulating in the atmosphere far more quickly than predicted. The sharp increase found by the Global Carbon Project is attributed mainly to Chinese coal-burning and a weakening of the ability of oceans and forests to soak up carbon dioxide.

The leaked papers admit to "a potentially significant cost in terms of reduced climate change leadership" if Mr Brown is seen to be driving a plan to let European member states fall short of their renewables targets. They also reveal different priorities across government departments about how to get renewables to 20% of the electricity mix. Although Germany has increased its renewable energy share to 9% in six years, Britain's share is only 2%, with its greenhouse gas emissions rising.

Last night campaigners expressed alarm at the new direction of government policy. "Gordon Brown is now in danger of surrendering any claim to international leadership on climate change and would rather support nuclear power and scupper the European renewable energy target," said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace.

Mr Hutton will tell Mr Brown that there are severe practical difficulties about meeting the 20% target. These include persuading the Ministry of Defence and the shipping industry to accept more offshore wind power, as well as increased research and development costs for marine and tidal power. One of the main objections of government to meeting the renewables target set by Mr Blair is that it will undermine the role of the European emission trading scheme. This scheme was devised by the Treasury under Mr Brown and allows wealthy governments to pay others to reduce emissions. "[Meeting the 20% renewables target] crucially undermines the scheme's credibility ... and reduces the incentives to invest in other carbon technologies like nuclear power", say the papers.

The government is clearly worried about its ambition to introduce more nuclear power as soon as possible. Mr Hutton will tell Mr Brown that he expects a second legal challenge by Greenpeace. "[It is] most likely to be on the basis of pre-judgement, concerns about waste, a flawed consultation process or inaccuracies."

Analysis by Mr Hutton's department suggests it could cost the UK 4bn pounds a year to achieve a 9% share of renewable energy by 2020. The shift in stance is due to be discussed at full cabinet next week. Last night a spokesman for the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: "We don't comment on ministerial meetings with the PM.



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.


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