Monday, November 19, 2007

Some more Greenie deception?

The NOAA website has a Caribou chart showing a big reduction in the herd birth rate. But if you click on the source link you will see a chart showing a rebound of the birth rate to near record levels in 2007. The question is, did NOAA just not update their site for two years or did they end in 2005 to hype fears? The Taiga net link explains that ups and downs in Caribou births are a natural fluctuation.

Comment on the latest IPCC scare

Post below lifted from Paul Biggs. See the original for links

The fourth and final part of the of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report has been published. The Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report is available here or direct from the IPCC website.

The IPCC claim at least 90 per cent confidence in flawed computer modelled climate projections and that most of the warming in the past 50 years is due to human activity. Calls will be made for deep, damaging and costly cuts in CO2 emissions by developed nations, further underpinning the suspicion that the UN IPCC is more about wealth redistribution than climate change. The warnings from the likes of Prins and Rayner that the Kyoto Protocol was the wrong policy in the past, and is the wrong policy for the future, will go unheeded. Adaptation to inevitable, natural climate change and the development of secure energy sources is the only cost effective way forward in my view.

The highest solar activity for over 1000 years is already coming to an end and the next 11-year solar cycle is running late. The scene is set for a significant period of global cooling by 2020-30, yet our policymakers heed the false alarm call of continued warming by an IPCC that admits to a 'low' or 'very low' level of scientific understanding (LOSU) of the link between solar factors and climate.

The UK Government has published a very foolish, unilateral climate change bill which aims to cut the UK's 2 per cent contribution to global man-made CO2 emissions by 60 per cent. King Canute must be turning in his grave.

Green hero slammed as climate heretic

Prof. David Bellamy is Great Britain's best-known environmentalist, and has been for most of the last four decades. He has written and presented some 400 television programs on environmental issues, written 45 books, and published more than 80 scientific papers, in addition to holding down teaching posts in botany at two universities. He has founded or been president of prominent national organizations such as The Conservation Foundation, The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Population Concern, Plantlife International, British Naturalists' Association, and Galapagos Conservation Trust, in addition to numerous grassroots bodies operating at the local level. Among his many honours has been the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Award, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award for Underwater Research, Diver of the Year Award and the Order of the British Empire.

No mere academic and establishment man, this larger-than-life figure also has a striking record as an activist campaigner for green causes, starting with the 1967 Torrey Canyon supertanker disaster off the coast of England. He has led high-profile protests against needless road building and the loss of moors, and has been jailed for blockading the construction of a hydro dam that would have destroyed a Tasmanian rainforest.

But Prof. Bellamy is not green enough for much of Britain's environmental establishment, not since July 9, 2004, the day a full-page article by him appeared in London's Daily Mail, disputing the conventional wisdom on global warming. Prof. Bellamy has since been stripped of some of his prominent positions and become an environmental pariah to many. The article, entitled "What a load of poppycock!," was written in Prof. Bellamy's characteristic no-holds-barred style: "Whatever the experts say about the howling gales, thunder and lightning we've had over the past two days, of one thing we can be certain. Someone, somewhere -- and there is every chance it will be a politician or an environmentalist -- will blame the weather on global warming," his article began. "But they will be 100% wrong. Global warming -- at least the modern nightmare version -- is a myth."

Prof. Bellamy challenged the very premise behind global-warming concern, writing that "carbon dioxide is not the dreaded killer greenhouse gas that the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol five years later cracked it up to be. It is, in fact, the most important airborne fertilizer in the world, and without it there would be no green plants at all. ... "Increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, double it even, and this would produce a rise in plant productivity. Call me a biased old plant lover but that doesn't sound like much of a killer gas to me. Hooray for global warming is what I say, and so do a lot of my fellow scientists."

The reaction to Prof. Bellamy's decision to challenge orthodoxy -- a quality in him that environmentalists had until then admired -- was harsh. Plantlife International, the United Kingdom's leading charity dedicated to protecting wild plants, announced it "would be wrong to ask him to continue" as president, a post Prof. Bellamy had held for 15 years. The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, which manages 2,500 nature reserves across the United Kingdom, likewise announced it would not renew his presidency. As The Sunday Times headlined it, "Wildlife groups axe Bellamy as global warming 'heretic.' "

Individual environmentalists were often less respectful in abandoning him, suggesting he had become mentally incompetent, or in the pay of the oil industry. The derision from the environmental camp has not ended with the passage of time. "Looney IPCC debunker," "climate-change denying shill" and "the very sad and deluded David Bellamy," is how the Carbon Trust referred to him earlier this year, when Prof. Bellamy participated in a London protest of a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), which was releasing climate-change recommendations to the world's governments.

Prof. Bellamy, a passionate socialist as well as environmentalist, opposes government action to curb global warming because of the grave harm such actions cause. He fears that billions or even trillions of dollars could be diverted to "a problem that doesn't exist -- money that could be used in umpteen better ways: fighting world hunger, providing clean water, developing alternative energy sources, improving our environment, creating jobs." Ill-advised climate-change policies also lead to the dedication of vast amounts of land to inefficient wind farms, he adds, mindlessly marring the beauty of the British countryside.

David Bellamy has come full circle in his four-decade-long career as an environmental activist. In the 1960s, before the era of environmental activism, his was a lonely voice decrying environmental damage by an official establishment insensitive to any view but its own, and dedicated to the conventional wisdom of the times.

He then became an exemplar of the establishment, and helped make the environment a feature of the establishment as well. Now his is a lonely voice once more, again on the outs with an insensitive officialdom. The one constant throughout the decades: Prof. Bellamy's relentlessness in his fight for what he believes to be right.


David Bellamy, a botanist, is Special Professor of Geography at the University of Nottingham and Honorary Professor of the University of Central Queensland. His most recent paper, 'Climate stability: an inconvenient proof' in the refereed Civil Engineering journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers in May 2007, demonstrates that, in the unlikely event that the widely prophesied doubling of carbon dioxide levels from natural, pre-industrial levels occurs, the warming would amount to less than one degree C of global warming. He received his doctorate from the University of London.


Kentucky Democrats cool to hearing on warming

The reporter who wrote this seems mystified that the Democrats do not want to exile the skeptical lawmaker for daring to question climate orthodoxy

Kentucky's Democratic leaders are distancing themselves from a legislative hearing on Wednesday held by a Democratic lawmaker who tried to debunk global warming by inviting only skeptics and avoiding scientific testimony. [But Hollywood stars and politicians would have been fine, of course] "I didn't like it very well," House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said yesterday. "We all do acknowledge -- or a great bulk of us do acknowledge -- global warming and the problems there."

But, despite the grumbling of some rank-and-file lawmakers, Democrats said, they don't plan to remove Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence, as chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, where he has defended the coal industry and stopped environmental reforms for years. Gooch, 56, and his brother own West Kentucky Steel Construction Co., which sells mining equipment to Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and other coal companies.

Gooch, who consistently wins re-election in his district with about 75 percent of the vote, has taken at least $11,750 in coal-related donations for his modest campaigns since 1998.Environmentalists said Gooch habitually blocks their attempts to limit destruction caused by coal mining, refusing to hear bills that would establish waterway protections or restrict mountaintop removal mining. In fairness, they added, Gooch is only the latest coal-connected chairman chosen and supported by House Democratic leaders to head the environmental committee.The committee's current Democratic vice chairman, Keith Hall of Phelps, also owns a business tied to coal, Benetech Mining Materials.

"Historically, that committee has been chaired by individuals who have strong ties to the coal industry," said Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council. "The coal industry prefers to have an ally in charge of that committee, and the House leadership does what it can to appease them."

Yesterday, Gooch denied any suggestion that he favors coal interests over ecological concerns. "I care as much about our environment as anybody," he said. "I'm a tree lover. Not a tree hugger necessarily, but a tree lover."But Gooch said he doubts the existence of global warming, the gradual heating of the Earth's atmosphere at least in part by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

At Wednesday's hearing, Gooch invited rebuttal of global warming theory from two people: a British journalist who said strong solar rays might be the cause rather than carbon dioxide, and a lawyer from a free-market think-tank partially funded by ExxonMobil. Politicians are mistakenly turning away from coal because of fears of "alarmists," Gooch said yesterday. "I just don't believe that scientists -- many of whom were predicting global cooling 30 years ago -- are capable of predicting with their computer models what the weather is going to be like 100 years from now, or whether the oceans are going to rise or whether the ice caps are going to melt," Gooch said.

Some House Democrats said they were shocked and embarrassed to read news stories about Gooch's hearing. Bad enough that he disputes global warming at this late date, they said, but to hold a one-sided hearing without scientists was inexcusable. "It's a good thing the writers are on strike in Hollywood so we don't wind up on the late-night comedy shows again," said Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee. "His committee meeting was a laughable farce -- or it would have been, if it wasn't so scary.

"Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said he'll urge House Democrats at a retreat later this month to either remove Gooch from his chairman's post or instruct him to handle his position more responsibly. However, Richards and House Democratic Whip Rob Wilkey, D-Scottsville, said there are no such plans. After the General Assembly convenes in January, House Democrats may bring their concerns forward, Wilkey said. "The hearing came out of the blue," Wilkey said. "We were not expecting it and we have not had a chance to discuss it as a caucus.

"Democratic Gov.-elect Steve Beshear and outgoing Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jonathan Miller both said they believe in the threat posed by global warming. But they deferred to House leaders on who should run committees. Beshear called Gooch "a friend" and said he looks forward to working with him.It would be highly unusual for the House to dethrone a chairman, said Philip Laemmle, political scientist emeritus at the University of Louisville. Nor is it likely that House leaders worry much about Gooch's insensitivity to the environment, Laemmle said."Until recently in Kentucky, except for activists specifically concerned about it, the environment frankly hasn't been that big of an issue," Laemmle said. "So from a leadership point of view, is it worth it to take this guy on and try to deal with him? My guess is no."

The coal industry, which donates to the state's Democratic and Republican parties, stands by Gooch."He is obviously pro-business -- not just pro-coal, but pro-business," said Bill Caylor, president of the Kentucky Coal Association. "The fact that he is makes him a target not just of environmentalists but also the news media. I think he's been doing a good job overall."

Gooch denied any suggestion that his family's coal-related business unduly affects his legislative actions. If anyone wants to examine conflicts of interest, he said, lawmakers who work in the hotel industry are pushing for casino gambling, and lawmakers who are workers' compensation attorneys have advocated for black-lung disease legislation. "Look, there are lots of cases where legislators have interests," Gooch said. "You can't live in rural Western Kentucky and be in business and not at some time have done some business for some mining or mine-related business. To say because of that that we should somehow disqualify ourselves and not represent our districts is just simply ludicrous."



Post below lifted from EPW blog. See the original for links

Widely respected non-partisan Charles River Associates (CRA) issued a November 8 analysis of Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill (S.2191) that reveals it will cost $4-6 trillion dollars in welfare costs over 40 years and up to one trillion per-year by 2050. (LINK)

American Council for Capital Formation's (ACCF) new analysis on November 8 of the Lieberman-Warner bill finds the bill will lead "to higher energy prices, lost jobs and reduced GDP (gross domestic product)." (LINK)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "is not endorsing the Warner-Lieberman bill `because it doesn't include the nuclear issue by name,' according to his spokeswoman Melissa Shuffield. `We can't effectively reduce our emissions without including nuclear energy, which is more efficient than the technologies in the bill.' (Source: 10-18-07 Washington Post - LINK)

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the co-author of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill, conceded on November 1 that his bill would cost "hundreds of billions of dollars." (LINK)

Democrat Presidential candidate John Edwards has also come out in strong opposition to the Lieberman-Warner bill, calling it "a massive corporate windfall" on November 1. (LINK)

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) critiqued the Lieberman-Warner bill's proposed new Federal bureaucracy on November 8: "The very mechanisms the bill advances to contain costs seem to be more the stuff of academic theorizing than sound analysis. We have heard from no witnesses on the efficacy of the [proposed federal Carbon Market Efficiency Board] and its ability to protect the economy; veiled allusions to the Federal Reserve Board only remind us of the decades of trial and error endured before that institution regularized its procedures." (LINK)

The AFL-CIO has voiced multiple concerns with Lieberman-Warner, calling the bill "overly aggressive" in a November 5, 2007 letter. (LINK)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the Lieberman-Warner bill "does not adequately preserve American jobs and the domestic economy." The letter also stated: "Without participation by developing nations, the carbon constraints imposed by [Lieberman-Warner] would penalize domestic businesses attempting to compete in the world market while non-participating developing nations continue to get a free ride." [Note: Watch U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new TV ad opposing the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill.

A November 11th Washington Times editorial called Lieberman-Warner: "A misguided environmental-policy bill meandering through the Senate would slap U.S. businesses with pie-in-the-sky requirements for cutting greenhouse gases by unattainable amounts." The Times added: "The bill fails to compensate and protect consumers from rising natural gas prices and harms job security by encouraging companies to move overseas to nations with less draconian standards. In short, the bill's effects would land a crippling encroachment on U.S. power plants, factories and transportation sectors." (LINK)

An October 29th article in Politico details the fading momentum for the Lieberman-Warner bill. The article notes that the "climate bill faces wave of opposition" and is "headed for a bumpy ride" It quotes the National Religious Partnership for the Environment calling Lieberman-Warner "fundamentally flawed." (LINK)

Orange County Register editorial writer Mark Landsbaum wrote on November 6: "Reality is starting to bite to such an extent that even Democrat Presidential candidate John Edwards calls [the Lieberman-Warner] bill what it is, `a massive corporate windfall' for big corporations preparing to game the artificial, government-invented market for profiteering." (LINK)

Science vs. Expert Opinion: Did the Bush Administration Really Censor Science?


Once again, the press is in a tizzy over the Bush Administration's "censoring of science." The case against the Bush Administration this time is that it edited testimony presented to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) by Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The testimony, originally 14 pages, was cut to six.

However, the narrative of a scientific cover-up is overwrought to say the least. The hearing was on the potential impact of global warming on human health, an exercise in speculation. It appears, if press accounts are correct, that what the Bush Administration cut from the director's testimony was more speculation than settled science.

When judging scientific statements, one must distinguish between statements of what has happened or is happening and those about what might happen in the future. The first is derived from observation, an important component of the scientific method. The second is derived from expert opinion, a far less reliable source of knowledge, and one only tenuously linked to actual science.

ABC News claimed that Gerberding's pre-edited testimony argued that climate change would lead to "heat waves, cold spells, extreme weather events and weather disasters, air pollution, increased infectious diseases, and increased waterborne and vector-borne infectious diseases."

According to an account of the hearing by Fox News, Senator Barbara Boxer, EPW committee chairman, "produced a CDC chart listing the broad range of health problems that could emerge from a significant temperature increase and sea level rise. They include fatalities from heat stress and heart failure, increased injuries and deaths from severe weather such as hurricanes; more respiratory problems from drought-driven air pollution; an increase in waterborne diseases including cholera, and increases in vector-borne diseases including malaria and hantavirus; and mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress."

When asked about this, Gerberding agreed, "These are potential things you can expect. In some of these areas its not a question of if, it's a question of who, what, how and when."

But what is the basis for these claims? Does the CDC have evidence of a link between past climate change and harm to human health? After all, levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are already three-quarters of the way towards an effective doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations, the benchmark typically used in making global warming predictions. And the global average temperature has risen. If global warming predictions are true, and such a link exists, then the harms mentioned by Senator Boxer should already be evident in the data. However, the data fail to reveal such a link.

In reality, the list of horrors provided by Senator Boxer is little more than speculation based on the opinion of a few experts, not on science. The following sections review the available data on each of the harms mentioned. In each case, the harms to human health with respect to various climate indicators seem to be decreasing.

Much more here


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