Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Dangerous Rise of Carbon Fundamentalism

The article below from a Greenie source makes an excellent point but is wrong in one respect -- in saying that there are few scientists left who deny anthropogenic climate change completely. There are hundreds of them and more shifting to the skeptical camp almost daily

* A professor writing in the Medical Journal of Australia calls on the Australian government to impose a carbon charge of $5,000 on every birth, annual carbon fees of $800 per child and provide a carbon credit for sterilization.

* Another recent article in the New Scientist suggests that the problem with obesity is the additional carbon load it imposes on the environment; others that a major social cost of divorce is the additional carbon burden resulting from splitting up families.

* A recent study from the Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development argues that males have a disproportionately larger impact on global warming ("women cause considerably fewer carbon dioxide emissions than men and thus considerably less climate change").

* The Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that those who suggest that climate change is not a catastrophic challenge are no different than Hitler (he now claims that his words were taken out of context, but the reporter who conducted the interview, Lars From, stands by it).

* E. O. Wilson calls such people parasites. Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman writes that "global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers."

There are always fringe articles and unfortunate comments in areas of active public debate. But the sheer volume of articles, the vicious language and the retranslation of so many social and cultural trends -- divorce, obesity, gender conflict and much else -- into terms of carbon footprint suggests that something more fundamental is going on. Most obviously, the extreme language -- comparing academics who disagree about interpretation of data to Hitler or to Holocaust deniers -- is indicative of a profound if subtle reframing of climate change. One does not debate Hitler: the use of such language indicates a shift from helping the public and policymakers understand a complex issue, to demonizing disagreement, especially regarding policies favored by the scientific community.

The data driven and exploratory processes of science are choked off by inculcation of belief systems that rely on archetypal and emotive strength. Importantly, the extreme language is directed not against those who deny anthropogenic climate change completely, for there are few of those left (a credit to the traditional scientific debate process while it still existed in this area), but those who, while accepting the existence of the phenomenon, do not believe it is an existential and immediate crisis.

The authority of science is relied on not for factual enlightenment but as ideological foundation for authoritarian policy prescriptions which might otherwise be difficult to implement. This is reinforced by the number of articles, some verging on self-parody, that redefine more and more social and cultural phenomena in terms of carbon footprint.

It is not that each assertion may be wrong; indeed, since life at base is creating order, it is not surprising that changes in individual, social and institutional networks will have concomitant implications for coupled natural systems -- especially energy and material consumption and thus the carbon cycle.

Defining complex human behaviors and states, such as obesity or having children, in terms of carbon footprint, however, enables a new structure of good and evil to be imposed on society. Obesity is now morally questionable not for health reasons or Calvinist theology, but because it is evil in that you are destroying the world through your carbon footprint-generating gluttony. A complex public health problem is nicely converted into a simplistic moral mapping. Similarly, the Swedish article uses climate change to reinvent the ecofeminist condemnation of males as evil destroyers of the environment (the New Scientist lead on the news item read "Male eco-villians").

The campaign to create a moral universe predicated on carbon footprint, which began with anti-SUV initiatives, is now extending across society as a whole. Climate change science and policy is rapidly becoming carbon fundamentalism, an over-simplistic but comprehensive structure of moral valuation that can be applied to virtually any individual or institution. As the IPCC Nobel Peace Prize and perusal of journals reveals, many scientists are active participants in this process.

But fundamentalism of any stripe is dangerous because it oversimplifies complex problems and because it facilitates "good" versus "evil" framing that cuts off dialog and thus tends to be profoundly anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, anti-rational -- and anti-scientific.

Because science is for many people an important source of information, guidance and truth, in the short run it can provide substantial authority for carbon fundamentalism. Converting science into an authoritarian belief system is, however, dangerous not just to those whom it demonizes but, eventually, to the health of the institution itself.


Is climatology a pseudoscience?

By climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

The short answer, I will disappoint many of you by saying, is no. Like I wrote before, climatologists are generally nice people genuinely struggling with understanding the immense complexities of the oceanic-atmospheric (and space!) system. It might be that many of them are misleading themselves by custom tailoring models to show them what they expect (or desire?) to see, but this has not reached a level where it is done with intent. Most mistakes that are made are honest ones. And it is also true that much has been learned while examining climate models. Still, while scientists are in general noble creatures, there does exists the possibility of them sliding into the abyss.

So suppose, if you are able, that significant man-made climate change is false; further, that it cannot happen, and that all changes to the climate system are due to external forcings, such as those caused by changes in solar output. Just suppose all this is true for the sake of argument.

Now put yourself in the place of a climatologist, one of the many hundreds, in fact, who was involved with the IPCC and so shared in that great validator, the Nobel Peace Prize*. You have spent a career devoted to showing that mankind, through various forms of naughtiness, has significantly influenced the climate, and has caused temperatures to grow out of control. Your team, at a major university, has built and contributed to various global climate models. Graduate students have worked on these models. Team members have traveled the world and lectured on their results. Many, many papers were written about their output, and so forth.

But something has gone wrong. The actual temperature, predicted to go up and up, has not cooperated and has instead stayed the same and even has gone down. What do to? Let's take a "What would a scientist do" quiz and find out. Your model has predicted that temperatures will go up because CO2 has, but unfortunately temperatures have gone down. Do you:

1. Abandon the model and seek a new career

2. Discover where the model went wrong; publish results admitting why and how you were wrong

3. Sit and wait: after all, the temperature is bound to increase sooner or later, hence validating your model

4. Believe that the model cannot be wrong, else so many people wouldn't believe it, and so posit some new source that is "holding back" warming, and only if that new source weren't there, your model would be perfect.

The correct answer, it should go without saying, is (2), though (1) is not a horrible option for the shy, but it is really only open for beginning graduate students or professors reaching emeritus status. And if you do go for (2), as you should, option (1) naturally follows from it. (I must remind you here that significant man-made global influence is an impossibility by assumption.)

Would anybody opt for (3)? Certainly, because it's the easiest thing to do, though not as many as you would think will go this route mostly because it would be too difficult to answer critics with a "Just wait and see!"

The slide begins with choosing (4). Nobody would, or should, abandon a well-developed model because an observation or two is not consonant with that model. Some time has to pass for enough failed predictions to mount up. How much time? That's always difficult to tell. If the best climate models over-predict global temperature for a year, this is not cause for concern. For two years, no big deal. Even three to five years would not cause undue suspicion. But more than that, then something has gone wrong.

That is the state of the art today: climate models regularly over-predict temperatures; certainly the IPCC "scenarios" are too high, and they have been for more than five years. No climate scientist yet has gone to the quiz and opted for answers (1) or (2); several, of course, have opted for (3), saying five to ten years isn't enough and that "more time" is needed. Nobody, that I know of, has said how much more time.

Has anybody gone for answer (4)? Yes. Already we are seeing papers-peer-reviewed, to be sure-that posit sources that are "masking" the true warming. So far, these papers are concentrate on aerosols, which are particles, caused by mankind naturally, that can, through various mechanisms, block incoming solar radiation and lead to cooling. Aerosol cooling only gets you so far, however, because aerosols are heavy, short-lived particles whose effects are actually easy to measure. So if models continue to over-predict, even after accounting for aerosols, some other source that "masks true warming" will have to be found.

Bob Park, physicist and resident curmudgeon at the American Physical Society, writes regularly on pseudo-science, and has identified "The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science." Not all of these signs now apply to climatology, but number [3], "The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection" is most relevant.

Since we haven't detected the predicted warming, it must be masked or otherwise held up by something. Aerosols were one source, but an inadequate one, so another is needed. What will this source be? Of course, we cannot know for certain, but I can guess, though I blush when I do so: I predict it will be statistics.

Yes, it will not be long before we begin to hear arguments like the following: "The predicted warming cannot, of course, be detected with the naked eye. You have to use our extra-special statistical model which accounts for various factors and which shows a statistically significant warming has indeed taken place, thus our models are accurate. Oh, yes, we have a low p-value, too." These models will, in the course of things, be criticized, then modified to become more complex and opaque, but they will always lead to the same conclusion: the models, though they appear wrong, are actually right.

Not all climatologists will fall prey to these temptations; many or most will modify their models, will see that mankind is not as much trouble as originally thought, and move on to explaining, for example, the Indian monsoon. But others, because they cannot admit to being wrong or because they want it to be true, will stay the course and claim that only they and their models can detect the true warming. Here is where Park's six other signs will be found. These scientists will [1] pitch their "claim directly to the media" and say [2] "that a powerful establishment [big oil] is trying to suppress his or her work." They will [6] work "in isolation", and offer [4] "anecdotal evidence" in the form of temperature anomalies from select locations. They will claim that it was [5] always known that mankind has a harmful effect on the environment and they will propose [7] ever more complicated "new laws of nature to explain" the apparent lack of warming. And it will be at that point that climatology becomes a pseudo-science.

Don't laugh, because this sort of thing happens all the time. Some readers will be old enough to remember when paranormal research was the rage in the early 1970s. Peer-reviewed papers appeared on the subject, even in prestigious journals like Science. Just around the corner, mankind would be able harness untold power by just using his mind. Goats, for example, could be killed just by staring at them (yes, really). It was an exciting time. Early on in the work, it was obvious that man only used 10% of his brain, and that psychic events were real. Experiments were run, but most failed. New experiments, toning down the original claims were run, but these failed too. Various physical and biological mechanisms to explain psychic abilities were proposed, but none could be validated.

Test after test failed, until the number of failures was so huge that, by the mid-1980s, most people wised up and left the field. But not all did. Some claimed, through the use of "sophisticated" statistics, to find the signal that nobody else could see. Most of these statistical methods were poorly or improperly executed, and to those of us who know something about these statistical models, it was obvious that paranormal researchers were just fooling themselves (I wrote a book on this topic).

So did the parapsychologists take the scientist quiz and opt for number (2), admit they were wrong, say so, and then move on? Do I even need to answer? The idea, the allure and promise, of paranormal powers are just too powerful for some people to fight against, and so they seek patches to the theory instead of pitching it. Psychic abilities just have to be real, and it is this desire instead of empirical observations that drives current research (such as it is).

We are only just starting to see parallels with parapsychology and climatology, the most prominent now is model patching. Of course, it might turn out mankind really does significantly influence climate, so the fact the we now see model patching is not proof that mankind has no influence. But it should give us pause and should lead us to examine, in a systematic way, the deviation of model forecasts from actual observations. And remember the old saying, there's nobody so easy to fool as yourself.

*No Arafat jokes, please


Morano has another shot at the egotistical Pierrehumbert of

I am surprised you are still engaging in your smear campaign after the embarrassment of having your tactics so well exposed at the hands of the non-scientist Alexander Cockburn. But I guess you are still hopeful that one of your voluminous critiques will actually have an impact.

Your tiresome and predictable "swift-boating" of atmospheric scientist William R. Kininmonth follows your same failed critique methods. You reject Kininmonth as "unqualified" to have an opinion on man-made climate fears because he does not meet your arbitrary rule that "peer-review" is the "sole" means of determining whether a scientist is "qualified."

Maybe Kininmonth was too busy heading working as Australia's National Climate Centre chief or too busy coordinating the scientific and technical review of the El Nino event for the World Meteorological Organization to meet your criteria to be "qualified." Perhaps Kininmonth should have consulted with you first to find out what "rules" he needed to follow and what criteria he needed to meet to be "qualified" to hold an opinion on climate change.

You set all the rules of the game, serve as sole judge of which scientist is and is not "qualified," based only on your criteria, and then you declare victory. I am happy for you that you feel your critiques are "winning." I would be alarmed if you felt you were losing, given that you control the rules of YOUR game.

It must be frustrating for you. When faced with a Senate report featuring well over eight times the number of scientists who participated in the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers, you have no option but to invent any means necessary to besmirch the skeptical scientists and their reputations. Alas, until you spend time analyzing the UN IPCC scientists' credentials with the same zeal and criteria, you will just be continuing your selective "research."

As previously requested, please take some time and really try to find an effective way to challenge the Senate report of 400-plus skeptical scientists (and growing - well over 450 now). After the years you have spent invested in activism on this issue, you owe it to yourself to craft critiques with more impact. I leave you again with Cockburn's dead-on critique of your tactics. Enjoy!

Cockburn Excerpt: Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus. End Excerpt.

For Cockburn's full essay see here. By all means, continue with your little "qualification" games, Mr. Pierrehumbert. All I ask is that as you continue (in the words of Cockburn) to "witch-hunt" scientists please don't run for cover when your tactics are so easily stripped bare.

Source (Comment 415)

Global Warming Hoax, Just How Crazy Is Al Gore?

Just how crazy is Al Gore? That was the question that popped, once again, into my brain as I read a January 24 Agence France Press news story out of the Davos meeting of business and political elite. Gore asserted that, "the North Pole ice caps may disappear entirely during summer months within five years." I was instantly reminded of the story that ran in The New York Times in August 2000 claiming that the Pole was free of ice for the first time in 50 million years. It wasn't, of course, because people who have actually been to the Arctic quickly noted that, in the summer, some ice actually does melt there. The Times retracted it three weeks later.

This kind of apocalyptic nonsense has been ratcheting upward ever since the new century began and my theory is that lunatics like Al Gore know that they are running out of time when it comes to imposing draconian restrictions on the use of every form of energy known to mankind. This is the purpose of the global warming hoax.

The Times later published another story about Arctic ice loss, adding the equally bogus issue of polar bears dying as the result. Currently, Greens are trying to get polar bears declared an "endangered species" in order to close off all of Alaska to any exploration or the extraction of the billions of barrels of oil known to exist there. The problem with this latest ploy is that the polar bear population has risen from approximately 5,000 in 1950 to around 25,000 today as documented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the same agency being asked to declare the bears endangered and, for good measure, a species of loon as well.

Speaking of loons, Gore has been spewing forth his insane forecasts since the early 1990s during which time he published "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit." In fact, Gore blames everything that happens on Earth or in its atmosphere on humans. "Human civilization is now the dominant cause of change in the global environment."

This must surely come as news to people who pursue volcanic, oceanic, solar, and atmospheric sciences. Then there are all those large and small earthquakes going on as tectonic plates shift. What have I left out? Oh, yes. There's the tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated islands and parts of the mainland.

How about Hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina that rearranged the landscape enough to destroy big chunks of the human communities on it? Forest fires, anyone? Ask any Californian about them and, while you're at it, ask about the mudslides, and.well, you get the picture. These are not man-made phenomena.

Back in 2000 when the global warming folks were getting into high gear to further their theory, Dr. S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, paused to pen a commentary for The Wall Street Journal. Responding to The New York Times fantasy of a melting North Pole, Dr. Singer asked, "Do we believe theoretical models of the atmosphere or the atmosphere itself?"

He might as well have asked, do we believe the bloviations of Al Gore or do we take note of his lifestyle that includes a house large enough to burn through more energy than twenty average homes, the use of private jets and limousines, or any other aspect of his life that suggests he is not into bicycles or walking.

Dr. Singer stated that "It is warmer now than it was 100 years ago" at the end of the last mini-Ice Age and that "This has had an influence on polar ice, which has been slowly thinning, as it melts from beneath. And the ice will continue to thin for some time to come even though the climate is no longer warming. Moral: It takes a lot of time to melt ice."

No longer warming? Yes, that's another inconvenient truth that Al Gore ignores. When you add in the fact that the earth is at the end of a well-known interglacial cycle of 11,500 years, large portions of the planet are likely to get a lot cooler with the advent of a new Ice Age. Then Al Gore will not have to worry about a barren, rocky, ice-free North Pole. He will have to worry about a huge new glacier headed for Tennessee.


Australian government again told by adviser to relax greenhouse cuts

The Rudd Government will have to abandon plans for rigid interim targets for greenhouse gas cuts to allow its emissions-trading scheme to work properly, a senior economist has said. Warwick McKibbin, whose economic models on climate change are being used by Treasury to calculate the costs involved, yesterday added his voice to concerns that mandating a specific cut for 2020 could lift the cost of tackling global warming. "That's the problem with politicians who make promises that can't be sustained," Professor McKibbin said. "I think the Government will realise they can still be credible enough, even if they drop a few things."

Kevin Rudd has said Australia needs interim targets for emissions cuts, beyond its existing pledge to reduce greenhouse emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. The Prime Minister commissioned Australian National University economist Ross Garnaut to advise the Government on how the targets should be set. Professor Garnaut suggested yesterday it would be more efficient to use targets as a guide for allocating carbon permits, rather than as exact and enforceable cuts for specific years.

Professor McKibbin agrees, saying business should in some years be allowed to exceed the target for emissions. "It can't be all or nothing," he said. "There has to be a balance between the environmental benefit and the economic costs, and that's what's missing."

However, a spokesman for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the Government would not abandon its election commitment on targets. "The Government expects (Professor Garnaut) will raise a number of interesting questions and ideas for consideration," Senator Wong's spokesman said. "Of course, given Professor Garnaut is independent, his ideas may not necessarily reflect government thinking."

WWF climate program director Paul Toni warned that some companies would risk doing nothing to cut emissions if there were no binding interim targets, in the hope they could lobby future governments to soften the rules later. "Instead of the crunch coming in 10 years or five years, there will be some industries that will be asking for further support and will be able to exert pressure," Mr Toni said. "It will just postpone rent-seeking to a date further in the future." Australian Industry Greenhouse Network chief executive John Daley said he favoured less government interference and more market freedom in an emissions-trading system.

More here


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bush holds the line

He has always insisted that all the USA should do is invest in research

THE US will commit $US2 billion over the next three years for a new international fund to promote clean energy technologies and fight climate change, President George W. Bush will tell Congress today in his annual State of the Union speech. "Along with contributions from other countries, this fund will increase and accelerate the deployment of all forms of cleaner, more efficient technologies in developing nations like India and China, and help leverage substantial private-sector capital by making clean energy projects more financially attractive," the White House said in a fact sheet on Mr Bush's speech.

Mr Bush plans to reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with major economies and through the United Nations to complete an international agreement that will slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. "This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride," the White House said.


Another Greenie censorship attempt -- from Britain's red heart

A senior mayoral adviser ordered the authors of a report on road safety to rewrite it so it was politically acceptable, it was claimed today. His alleged intervention came after a three-year study by Transport for London into whether motorcyclists should be allowed to use bus lanes. A trial had found that accidents on two routes where motorbikes were allowed into bus lanes were nearly halved. But aide Kevin Austin allegedly ordered the rewrite to avoid the loss of the "green vote", because cycle groups opposed sharing bus lanes with motorcyclists.

Now the authors fear the new version will be a whitewash and conceal the road safety benefits shown by the trial, which took place in Brixton Road and Finchley Road. It found the bus lanes were much safer for pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and motorcyclists when motorcycles were allowed access, with a 42 per cent fall in the rate of collisions. The report, presented to the Mayor in September, stated this, but officials claim they have been told to "bury" the findings and rewrite key sections to show the trial produced no safety gains.

City Hall insiders allege the order came amid fears that opening up bus lanes would alienate thousands of cyclists opposed to the move. A source told the Standard: "We have been told to cook the books and expect the new report to be a whitewash. The original report showed that the trial sites were far safer than on other 'control' roads, including for cyclists. "It meant the Mayor would have to open up bus lanes across London, followed by other regions closely watching the experiment. Now it has to be rewritten to appear the trial sites are no safer, so the Mayor can announce he will not proceed."

The study of the trial routes found accidents directly involving motorcycles fell by 45 per cent, compared with 19 per cent increase on a nearby 'control' route. Pedestrian casualties fell by 39 per cent against a three per cent rise on control routes. Collisions between cyclists and motorcyclists fell by 44 per cent. The draft report said: "These figures demonstrate that crashes involving powered two-wheelers and other vulnerable road-users become more infrequent even when considering the increased concentration of riders."

Cycling campaign group CTC said "noisy" motorcycles travelling at higher speeds would intimidate cyclists, threatening the increase in commuters turning to bicycles. But the draft report said: "The measure has no tangible adverse consequences to cyclists. In contrast to the level of concern... the number of casualties from collisions between cyclists and powered two-wheelers users is remarkably small."

A spokesman for the Mayor said: "There are serious issues of safety and efficiency involved in this issue so it required proper consideration based upon the collection and analysis of the relevant evidence. "Transport for London had concerns about the validity of some of the early results of the study. These concerns were shared by GLA officials. TfL therefore undertook further work. "All the results will be included in a final report, which will be submitted to TfL senior management and the Mayor. A decision will be made on the basis of full consideration of all of the evidence and this will be made public."


Global cooling hits China

Driving sleet, freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow across southern China have paralysed trains and aircraft, stranding tens of millions of people trying to get home for the biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar. The worst weather in 50 years pummelled swaths of central, southern and eastern China as migrant workers and students, business travellers and officials assigned to provincial postings battled for tickets to join their families for the lunar new year holiday.

The human tide strains public transport every year even though the authorities pull dozens of extra trains into service and lay on additional flights to try to cope. With new year's day falling on February 7 this year, the bad weather has swept China just as the number of travellers is reaching its peak.

The China Meteorological Administration issued a red alert warning of more snowstorms and blizzards in central and eastern China, particularly around Shanghai, the country's commercial hub. It placed a notice on the central forecast website that said: “Cut unnecessary outdoor activities.” Among the worst-hit cities is southern Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province that borders Hong Kong. The province is one of China's most important manufacturing regions, with thousands of factories making everything from T-shirts to electronics staffed by millions of migrant workers from poorer inland provinces. Hundreds of thousands of those workers, many with young children, found themselves stranded at the Guangzhou railway station after snowstorms snapped power lines to passenger trains from neighbouring Hunan province, an important hub for trains on the main line between Guangzhou and Beijing.

Officials struggled to control an estimated 200,000 travellers at the station — a number expected to swell to 600,000 over the next couple of days. Temporary shelter was being arranged for the migrant workers in schools and conventions centres. Soldiers were deployed to stand guard around the station and police barked orders through bullhorns to try to maintain order. Notice boards inside the station were a sea of red, showing that almost every train had been cancelled. Radio announcements urged people not to go to the station since most trains had been cancelled and tickets were no longer being sold until new year's day.

Liu Si, who hoped to travel back to the western metropolis of Chongqing, had been stuck at the station for days. “The number 1059 train to Chongqing didn't go on the 26th, it didn't go on the 27th and there's no way it's going today on the 28th.” With officials warning that it could take until the end of the week to work through the backlog of passengers, Mr Liu was not optimistic of spending the festival with his family. “I've been in Guangdong a decade. I've never spent a Chinese New Year here. This year I might have to. It just won't feel right.”

The freakish weather has already affected 67 million people and economic losses so far have been placed at 18.2 billion yuan ($2.6 billion). Chinese New Year sees the biggest human migration on earth, with an estimated 2.47 billion journeys over the holiday season this year — almost double the entire population of 1.3 billion. More than a dozen airports around the country were closed because of icy conditions, including one of China's busiest airports — the Hongqiao hub for domestic flights serving Shanghai. In a sign of official anxiety that the travel chaos could trigger social unrest, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered local officials to mobilise all possible resource to ensure people get home. He said: “More heavy snow is expected. All government departments must prepare for this increasingly grim situation and urgently take action.”



It was appropriate that, just as our MPs were voting last week to hand over yet more of the power to run this country in the EU treaty, the EU itself should be unveiling easily the most ambitious example yet of how it uses the powers we have already given away. The proposals for "fighting climate change" announced on Wednesday by an array of EU commissioners make Stalin's Five-Year Plans look like a model of practical politics.

Few might guess, from the two-dimensional reporting of these plans in the media, just what a gamble with Europe's future we are undertaking - spending trillions of pounds for a highly dubious return, at a devastating cost to all our economies. The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills.

The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost. At 2 million pounds per megawatt of "capacity" (according to the Carbon Trust), the bill for the Government's 33 gigawatts (Gw) would be 66 billion (and even that, as was admitted in a recent parliamentary answer, doesn't include an extra 10 billion needed to connect the turbines to the grid). But the actual output of these turbines, because of the wind's unreliability, would be barely a third of their capacity. The resulting 11Gw could be produced by just seven new "carbon-free" nuclear power stations, at a quarter of the cost.

The EU's plans for "renewables" do not include nuclear energy. Worse, they take no account of the back-up needed for when the wind is not blowing - which would require Britain to have 33Gw of capacity constantly available from conventional power stations.

The same drawbacks apply to the huge increase in onshore turbines, covering thousands of square miles of countryside. They are only made viable by the vast hidden subsidies that wind energy receives, through our electricity bills. These make power from turbines (including the cost of back-up) between two and three times more expensive than that from conventional sources.

This is crazy enough, but the EU's policy on biofuels is even more so. The costs - up to 50 billion by 2020 - would, as the EU's own scientific experts have just advised, "outweigh the benefits". To grow the crops needed to meet the target would require all the farmland the EU currently uses to grow food, at a time when world food prices are soaring. Even Friends of the Earth have called on the EU to abandon its obsession with biofuels. Yet the Commission presses on regardless.

As for the "emissions trading scheme" (a system originating with the Kyoto Protocol, whereby businesses can buy or sell "carbon credits", supposedly to allow market forces to ensure that targets are met), the Commission last week predicted that by 2020 this could be raising 38 billion a year from electricity users. Of this, 6.5 billion a year would be paid by the UK, equating to 260 pounds for every household in the country.

The Commission itself predicts, in recently leaked documents, that this will have major consequences for the EU's economy, and that heavy industries, such as steel, aluminium, chemicals and cement, will have to raise their prices substantially, some by as much as 48 per cent. Yet when it was pointed out that this will put EU industries at a competitive disadvantage, the Commission's only response was to suggest tariffs on imports from countries such as China or America that are not signed up to Kyoto.

It looks like the most expensive economic suicide note in history. But just as alarming is how little this madness has been exposed to informed analysis. It seems, finally, that the price we pay for membership of the EU and the price of our obsession with global warming are about to become very painfully synonymous. And no one seems to have noticed.


Australian government told "Manyana" on greenhouse targets

("Manyana" is Spanish for "tomorrow" and is often used to refer to not worrying about the future)

The economist advising the Rudd Government on climate change has warned nations against locking in to strict interim greenhouse-gas reduction targets in their zeal to tackle global warming. Professor Ross Garnaut is examining the economic costs of tackling climate change and is due to deliver his report to the Federal Government in the second half of this year. At December's international climate talks in Bali, the Rudd Government refused to commit Australia to interim emissions-reduction targets until the Garnaut review was complete.

Prof Garnaut said it was more important to achieve an overall greenhouse-gas reduction target longer-term - for example over 40 years - than to meet short-term targets in particular years. Instead, the market should decide how quickly to cut emissions, he said. "By focusing on a particular date you may diminish the environmental impact of what you're trying to do and you may increase the economic costs of it," he told ABC radio today. "We're trying to address the question of how we can meet the strong environmental goals in a way that minimises cost. "You have to ask a question about how strongly you focus on particular dates and how much you look at the overall impact over a number of years."

He denied this amounted to a recommendation that governments set looser rather than tighter emissions-reduction targets. "You're looking at a binding total amount of emissions over a long period of time," Prof Garnaut said. "If you just focus on one year or particular years then you can do an awful lot of emitting in other years and so you don't meet the environmental objective that's absolutely crucial - and that's the total amount of emissions going into the atmosphere." However, he acknowledged there was a danger that countries could leave it 10 or 20 years before doing anything if they refused to commit to interim emissions cuts.



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.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Response to Critiques of U.S. Senate 'Consensus Busters' Report by Eli Rabett, Andrew Dessler and Raymond Pierrehumbert

The following comments by Marc Morano appeared on the NYT climate blog -- as comment 264. As Marc says, their nitpicking really is pathetic. In true Green/Left style, they are reduced to "ad hominem" attacks rather than addressing any of the substantive issues involved. A true scientist would say "X is wrong because...". All these guys can say is "X does not meet with my personal approval". And even then they confine their attacks to just a few people in the report -- ignoring the large numbers whom they cannot find any grounds to attack. It is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. They are pushing a barrow rather than being seekers after truth.

Simply stated: By focusing your attack tactics on picking out a few members in the Senate report and smearing them and raising the most trivial of issues, you have implicitly acknowledged defeat.

First, sorry to disappoint you Rabett, but your basic problem with your latest critique is your poor math skills. There are well OVER 400 scientists in the Senate Report. In your zeal to throw as much mud at the report as you can muster, you tripped up on simple arithmetic. Even if YOU disqualify one scientist in the report, the number does not drop to "399" as you erroneously claim. We will forgive your little embarrassment for now.

Second, you mentioned the Senate report had "TV garden show guys." Once again, you reveal more basic mathematical woes. Is there more than one individual that you denigrate as a "TV garden show" guy in the report? It appears you have serial addition deficiency. Let's examine your "TV garden show guys" charge carefully. By calling someone a "TV gardener," I gather that is your low brow way of mocking them?

It appears you are referring to Alan Titchmarch, a prominent award winning UK horticulturist/naturalist in the Senate report. Oh, and he also hosts a TV show. Using your tactics, you could downgrade anyone you wish. If any scientist hosted a weekly TV show on climate, would you refer to him as a "TV Host" only? (the answer is obviously yes if their views differed from yours). Understandably from your point of view, you would not want to highlight anything but a horticulturist's "TV" work.

By your condescending tone, you also seem to think climate science can have nothing to do with horticulture. But let me quote atmospheric scientist William R. Kininmonth. (His short bio: He headed Australia's National Climate Center from 1986 to 1998 and coordinated the scientific and technical review of the 1997-98 El Nino event for the World Meteorological Organization and its input to the United Nations Task Force on El Nino.) (Quick, Rabett, Dessler and, Pierrehumbert, you have another scientist to smear!)

Kininmonth explained the research horticulturists have conducted as it relates to CO2: "CO2 is an essential component of photosynthesis: Increased CO2 in the atmosphere is an effective fertiliser of the biosphere as shown by horticulturalists artificially increasing the CO2 content within glasshouses. CO2 is NOT a pollutant," Kininmonth said in a May 30, 2007 article." End excerpt. Including a horticulturist/naturalist in the Senate report to comment on his area of expertise makes perfect sense. Titchmarch is quoted in the Senate 400 plus report discussing his views on climate change as it relates to vineyards and the potential impact on the natural world.

Rabett, you are so desperate to ridicule and foment your brand of nastiness that you do not tell your web readers any of this basic information. Why don't you give a complete and accurate picture Rabett?

Rabett, and Andrew Dessler have both also attempted to ridicule meteorologists included in the Senate report. Once again they use the obvious tactic of they are on "TV" as a way to denigrate them and imply they cannot understand atmospheric science. What Rabett - the math challenged critic - fails to note is the meteorologists are certified by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) or the National Weather Association. (Yes, the AMS, the same group so many in this forum hold in such high esteem) Many of them have masters degrees or PHD's in meteorology.

The meteorologists in the Senate 400 plus report stand out as prominent skeptical members of the AMS, in stark contrast to the two dozen or so governing board members of AMS who approved the so-called `consensus' statements.

The attempts to discredit the Senate report are growing more bizarre. We even have the hilarious scenario of Andrew Dessler trapping himself by his own logic. Dessler in his blogs at rejects broadcast meteorologists as unqualified. But when Dessler erroneously thought he found one TV weatherman who agreed with his climate views, Dessler proclaimed that the TV weatherman was now suddenly qualified to have an opinion on man-made climate fears. How convenient Dessler.

Dessler's "research" of the Senate report has also uncovered a meteorologist who believes in God. Dessler attempted to besmirch the meteorologist for his religious comments. But Dessler never once printed the meteorologist's scientific reasons for rejecting claims of a "climate crisis."

Rabett also wrote that the Senate report contained "web site owners who think they know everything about climate." Now Rabett, no wonder your critiques have gained no traction. The "web site owners" you refer to are scientists who happen to have a website. Once again, you are caught in grade school level intellectual bullying.

Rabett also singles out the signers of the German Climate Manifest as being "totally clueless." Rabett, have you even read the Senate report? The signers of the German Manifest include: Physics Professor Hubert Becker; Professor of physics Dr. Ludecke Horst-Joachim; Peter Martin; Chemical and environmental engineer Donald Clauson; Physicist Dr. Theo Eichten; Biochemist Flick Hendrikje; Chemist Dr. Hauck Guenther; Professor of environmental and climate physics Dr. Detlef Hebert; Astrophysicist Dr Peter Heller; Chemist Dr. Albert Krause; Chemist Dr. Hans Penner; Mathematician Dr. Paul Matthews; Chemist Dr. Wuntke Knut; and Meteorologist Klaus-pulse Eckart.

Mr. "Eli Rabett", it may be easy for you to label all of the above scientists "totally clueless" as you hide behind your pseudonym. But anyone who actually uses their real name in public and has to be held accountable for what they write would not make such baseless comments. Rabett also claims that one of the 400 plus scientists "sent a clear email asking to be taken off the list." Really Rabett. Where is your proof or do we have to just take your word for it? The scientist in question never responded to multiple emails or a voicemail trying to confirm he actually did send an email. Here (comment 185) is the full story behind Rabett's claim.

Rabett's desperation to find ONE scientist he can claim does not want to be in the Senate report out of WELL OVER 400 provides endless humor. Go ahead Rabett, hang your hopes on your ONE scientist to discredit the entire report of over 400. If you actually do find ONE scientist out of over 400, by all means, pop the champagne corks!

Rabett also brings up my challenge to Andrew Dessler to name the names of the only "two dozen" skeptical scientists that Dessler deems "qualified' to comment on climate change. It is a fair challenge. The U.S. Senate released its report detailing the 400 plus (and growing) skeptical scientists for public scrutiny (and derision by you three.) Why won't Dessler name the names of the only "two dozen" skeptics he deems "qualified" to have an opinion? It's very easy for Dessler to bloviate about who is "qualified", but when publicly challenged to name names, he predictably shrinks away and suddenly goes silent. Dessler knows once he lists his "two dozen" skeptical scientists he deems "qualified;" he will be further ridiculed for his baseless and absurd assertion. Alas, that is the reason we will continue to hear nothing but the sounds of crickets chirping as we await Dessler's response to the public challenge.

The Senate list of 400 plus scientists (and growing) has the same make up of scientists as your fabled UN IPCC "thousands" of scientists. Again, read this report to find out about the backgrounds of scientists who make up the UN IPCC.

The Senate 400 plus report has many current and former IPCC scientists from all types of disciplines. Excerpt from Senate `Consensus Busters' Report : The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are experts in diverse fields, including: climatology; geology; biology; glaciology; biogeography; meteorology; oceanography; economics; chemistry; mathematics; environmental sciences; engineering; physics and paleoclimatology. Some of those profiled have won Nobel Prizes for their outstanding contribution to their field of expertise and many shared a portion of the UN IPCC Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore.. Have you ever spent any time researching whether IPCC scientists meet your "standards?"

Pierrehumbert, you wrote to me: "You seem to be saying that peer review is worthless." Once again Pierrehumbert, this is another example of your failed attempt at distortion. I used Cockburn's writing to expose your tactics of claiming peer-review is the "only" standard by which to judge a scientist. Please take the time to actually read what is being written before you shoot from the hip.

As I have written, you seem to believe that unless someone published a study in a publication of your approval, they are not qualified to have a view on climate change. What about field research, university research, professional papers, advanced degrees, certifications, real world observational data? None of these criteria seems to matter to you if the scientist does not meet your arbitrary criteria.

The Senate `Consensus Busters' report embraces the latest peer-reviewed studies. Our award winning Senate website (thanks National Science Foundation and JFK School of Government at Harvard U. for making award possible!) is chock full of recent peer-review scientific studies debunking man-made climate fears.

Excerpt from August 20, 2007 Senate report: An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming "bites the dust" and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be "falling apart." The latest study to cast doubt on climate fears finds that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have the previously predicted dire impacts on global temperatures. This new study is not unique, as a host of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast a chill on global warming fears. Recent scientific studies may make 2007 go down in history as the "tipping point" of man-made global warming fears. See weblink here. The Senate `Consensus Busters' report also has an entire section detailing the new peer-reviewed studies.

The 400 plus scientists Rabett labeled "sad souls" (getting a bit close to sounding theological there Rabett) must really be troubling you three. The bottom line: Rabett, Pierrehumbert and Dessler - you gentlemen are spending literally hours of your life poring over every name in the Senate report looking for any angle to smear and belittle the scientists. Mr. Pierrehumbert, I believe the appropriate term you would use to describe your attacks on these scientists would be "swiftboating."

It is obvious that you all are very worried that your huge personal investments in climate activism are being seriously threatened by the mere existence of the Senate 400 plus report. Your previous claims that the "debate is over" and there are only "two dozen" skeptical scientists have been exposed for the world to see. When faced with a Senate report featuring eight times the number of scientists who participated in the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers, you have no option but to invent any means necessary to besmirch the scientists and their reputations.

Your attacks were expected. What was not expected was how weak and petty your challenges to the Senate report have been thus far. My only request to the three of you is please take a bit more time and actually do some real research before you post again about the Senate `Consensus Busters' report. Spending more time and crafting thoughtful responses would go a long way to making your attacks effective. I leave with a quote from Alexander Cockburn (yes, not a scientist, but he does not need to be one to refute the activist attacks of Rabett, Dessler and Pierrehumbert.)

Cockburn Excerpt: There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.

For more rebuttals to critics of Senate report: see: here (Comment 96) & here (Comment 72)


Last March, global warming fanatic Al Gore used a picture of two polar bears purportedly stranded on melting ice off the coast of Alaska as a visual aide to support his claim that man-made global warming is doing great harm to Mother Earth. The one he chose, but didn't offer to pay for right away, turned out to be a photo of a polar bear and her cub out doing what healthy, happy polar bears do on a wave-eroded chunk of ice not all that far from shore in the Beaufort Sea north of Barstow, Alaska.

The picture, wrongly credited to Dan Crosbie, an ice observer specialist for the Canadian Ice Service, was actually taken by Amanda Byrd while she was on a university-related research cruise in August of 2004, a time of year when the fringe of the Arctic ice cap normally melts. Byrd, a marine biology grad student at the time, was gathering zooplankton for a multi-year study of the Arctic Ocean.

Crosbie, who was also on the trip, pilfered the polar bear photo from a shared computer onboard the Canadian icebreaker where Ms. Byrd downloaded her snapshots; he saved it in his personal file. Several months later, Crosbie, who is known as an avid photographer, gave the photo to the Canadian Ice Service, which then allowed Environment Canada to use it as an illustration for an online magazine.

Today that photo, with credit given to photographer Dan Crosbie and the Canadian Ice Service, can be found all over the Internet, generally with the caption "Two polar bears are stranded on a chunk of melting ice".

It's a hoax, folks. The bears, which can swim distances of 100 miles and more, weren't stranded; they were merely taking a break and watching the boat go by when a lady snapped their picture.

On Feb. 2, 2007 Denis Simard, a representative of Environment Canada, distributed that lady's photo to 7 media agencies, including the Associated Press, and timed it to coincide with the release of the United Nations' major global warming report in Paris, France on Feb 3rd. When the press called Simard in Paris to ask if it was his picture and could they print it, he says, "I gave them permission because Dan said it was his picture."

Al Gore saw the picture shortly thereafter and contrived to use it in a presentation about man-made global warming that he staged at a conference of human resource executives on March 22, 2007 in Toronto, Canada. With an enlarged version of Amanda Byrd's polar bear picture on the screen behind him, Gore said, "Their habitat is melting. beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet. They're in trouble, got nowhere else to go."

Of course, after those words were spoken, the audience, being under the impression that polar bears are in imminent danger, gasped with concern and sympathy for the plight of the poor, pathetic polar bear population, whose diet, by the way, can include convenient humans, though attacks, like wolf-human attacks, are said to be rare.

According to Ms. Bryd, when she took the picture, the mother bear and its cub didn't appear to be in any danger and Denis Simard seems to have backpedaled when quoted by Ontario's National Post as saying that you "have to keep in mind that the bears aren't in danger at all. It was, if you will, their playground for 15 minutes. You know what I mean? This is a perfect picture for climate change, in a way, because you have the impression they are in the middle of the ocean and they are going to die with a coke in their hands. But they were not that far from the coast, and it was possible for them to swim." (The "Coca Cola Polar Bears" were introduced in 1992, and it would seem that Mr. Simard believes polar bears drink it after a swim.)

Al Gore, who was awarded a 2007 Nobel Prize for drawing the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, as well as a coveted Hollywood Oscar in `07 for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", stands to make millions of dollars selling carbon offsets through his London based corporation, Generation Investment Management.

Gore, who apparently can't tell a polar bear with nowhere to go from one that's playing on an over-sized and wave-beaten ice cube, offered to pay non-Canadian Amanda Byrd for the use of her photo after the fact. Perhaps the former University of Alaska-Fairbanks grad student and managing editor of "Mushing Magazine" let the world's Global Warming Czar off the hook for super-sizing her photo, but others who used it without permission may not be so lucky. Though she now charges from $500 to $700 for its use, Canadian courts will award photographers as much as $20,000 for each time one of their photos is published without permission, and it's almost certain that Simard and Crosbie will be paying off Amanda's school loans.

So there you have the real story about Gore's endangered polar bears, but there's more balderdash to come.

It's predicted that during his January 28th State of the Union address, Pres. Bush will mention the plight of the polar bears whose habitat is purportedly melting due to man-made global warming. Perhaps he'll surprise the environmentalists and claim otherwise, but either way, shortly after his address, Sec. of the Interior Kempthorne stands ready to announce his decision about whether or not to list polar bears as "threatened" according to Endangered Species Act (ESA) guidelines.

You may think what happens in the artic won't concern you, but if polar bears are listed as threatened, as the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned them to be, it will substantiate the global warming claim and adversely affect the lives of everyone in the United States. The claim that global warming is largely man-made is based on computer modeling and supposition, and it's being used as a manipulative tool to force us to restructure our nation's industriousness and greatly curtail our personal energy consumption. Moreover, because other countries, i.e. China and India, won't have the same onus, US citizens will have to mitigate bogus man-made global warming for them, too.

According to information from the American Land Rights Assoc., under the ESA any activity regulated by the Federal Government (i.e. air or water quality) would be subject to further regulation because of claims that "greenhouse gas" emissions have a potentially adverse effect on polar bear habitat.

Virtually everything people do involves fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and since 85% of our energy comes from fossil fuels, almost every heating, cooling, transportation (including shipping) and electricity decision will be affected. Utility and manufacturing companies will be required to slash CO2 emissions, forcing an increase in prices to cover escalated new costs.

But it won't stop there. All other sources of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases will also be regulated and restricted by environmental alarmists; bakeries, breweries, chicken and dairy farms, cattle ranches, dry cleaners, auto manufacturers, cement and other industrial facilities, and on and on, ad nauseum. As their costs go up, so will consumers' costs to heat and cool homes, drive cars, and clothe and feed their family. And, as costs go up, companies may further reduce their workforces or outsource jobs to other countries so as to stay in business.

Blue collar, poor, and fixed income families will be hit the hardest, but everyone's jobs and cost of living will be affected. However, the likes of Al Gore and other elitists will still be flying around in private jets and cashing in on their investments in a newly created multi-billion dollar alternative energy industry and carbon offset scheme designed to supposedly mitigate the man-made global warming scam.

Just as Gore's endangered polar bear picture was a hoax, so is the assertion repeated by politicians and global warming/climate change criers that "2,500 scientists of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis". According to an article authored by John McLean and Tom Harris, published in the Dec. 14th Canada Free Press, only 600 of the 2,500 IPCC scientists reviewed the specific multi-chaptered report related to the possibility of man-made global warming adversely affecting the environment. Of those 600 scientists, 308 made comments, but only 62 reviewed and made comments regarding the critical Chapter 9 related to man and his activities being the primary cause of climate change. Of those 62, fifty-five are said to have a serious vested interest, which leaves very few credible IPCC scientists out of the 2,500 who supposedly agree that global warming is man-made.

Virtually hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified and well respected scientists who have studied global warming and its causes and effects disagree with the IPCC scientists who were hand-picked by the notoriously corrupt United Nations organization to come to a consensual agreement regarding global warming. However, for the most part, those who disagree are being ignored by mass media, appointed bureaucrats, and our elected government officials.

The truth of the matter is that the man-made global warming fear factor is based on little but computer modeling, conjecture, hype, contrived hysteria, and the desire of bureaucrats, politicians and radical greenies to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and gain control of people's lives. Regardless, SB-2191, a bill to lower the boom on "greenhouse gas" emissions and people, is pending in the Senate.

It's you or the polar bears, folks, and you're out of time. Call the White House, the Interior Department and your Congressmen now and politely tell them you do not believe man and his activities are the principal cause of global warming; that you do not want polar bears listed as threatened and do not want regulatory Senate Bill-2191 passed.


Research shows heightened CO2 boosts tree growth

Fall color may start later, but trees may grow faster, as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. Results of a decade-long study on primarily aspen trees near Rhinelander, Wis., suggest that elevating carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may prolong the growing season for northern forests. Additionally, projected 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels appear to speed trees' rate of growth. "We're seeing about a 30 to 40 percent enhancement in growth and that's been maintained pretty much throughout the 10 years of the experiment," Michigan Technological University Forestry Professor David Karnosky said.

Karnosky is the director of the Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) study. At a facility outside Rhinelander, Wis., he and other scientists have been simulating projected 2050 atmospheric CO2 levels by infusing the air at trees' canopy level with the gas. The CO2 is added through rings of vertical vent pipes encircling stands of aspen, paper birch and sugar maple. "We've noticed that basically all 10 years of the experiment, trees in those rings keep their leaves longer into the fall," Karnosky said. "They also grow faster and photosynthesize at a greater rate than the control rings."

He and 13 other researchers, including scientists doing research at a similar facility in Tuscania, Italy, published a paper documenting these findings in the current issue of the journal Global Change Biology. The title is "Future Atmospheric CO2 Leads to Delayed Autumnal Senescence." "Senescence" is the scientific term for the fall cessation of photosynthesis and color change in leaves. Karnosky said while the study shows increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will make the color change start later, it doesn't appear it will affect the extent or duration of color change.

Increased CO2 in the atmosphere could be beneficial for the forestry industry. Stands of trees may grow to a harvestable stage at a greater rate. "The rotation age may be reduced by a number of years," Karnosky said, referring to the interval of time between harvests within a stand of trees. But he cautioned the results of the experiment may not apply to more mature forest types. "The work we report in this paper is done with very rapid-growing, early-forest-stage trees," Karnosky said. "How that translates into a 30- or 40-year forest is much more difficult." He also said the increased rate of growth increases the forests' nutrient demands, so the impact of boosted CO2 levels may vary regionally depending on local soil types.

The study will continue in Rhinelander. Karnosky said the final harvest of the trees there is slated to begin in 2009 and 2010. The harvest will allow scientists to assess the impact of heightened CO2 on the forest's processes underground.


Hatred of plastic bags

They are so convenient to so many people that the Greenie elitists HAD to be "agin" them

Eradicating those unsightly plastic bags that hang in trees and clog landfills may not be in the bag just yet but the idea is reaching a fever pitch in Canada and around the world. On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural-food retailer, announced it would stop giving out disposable plastic bags at the checkout counters. All of the retailer's 270 U.S., Canadian and U.K. stores aim to be free of bags by Earth Day on April 22 of this year.

And earlier this month China launched a countrywide ban barring shop owners to hand out single-use bags. Slowly ideas are changing about the need for plastic bags. But could they go the way of the VCR or at the very least become taboo like cigarettes?

"There is a shift in perception," says Tracey Saxby, a 30-year-old environmentalist who lives half of the year in Rossland, B.C., and the other half in Whistler, B.C. "We just don't need them." [We don't need clean clothes every day either. First they came for the plastic bags, then they came for daily clean clothes. Think of all the energy we would save by washing less!]

Saxby, an Australian native, was one of the first people in North America to champion a ban in her adopted home of Rossland. About 10 years ago, the budding environmentalist worked in a retail store in Australia, where incidentally the federal environment minister is currently seeking to ban all ultra-thin plastic bags by the end of the year.

She said she would question why she had to give customers a bag even for the tiniest item. It was on a trip to Coles Bay in Tasmania that she became really passionate about doing something about the problem. "It was really cool what was happening there because it's such a tourist attraction and all of these thousands of tourists who came to see the national park were also witnessing a town without plastic bags and really seeing it work, she said by phone from her family home in Brisbane.

The village of Coles Bay, which attracts about 25,000 tourists a year, became the first community in Australia to ban the bags in 2003. The move was copied by dozens more communities in Australia and across the globe. So Saxby brought the idea home. She took the idea to city council last year in Rossland. "I said Rossland, let's do this and the whole town got excited," she said. "There was an overwhelming fervour."The town vied to be the first town in North America to go bag free, but that honour landed in the lap of the small community of Leaf Rapids, Man., on April 2, 2007.

With just over 500 residents, city officials handed out more than 5,000 free cloth bags. Leaf Rapids is about 980 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

San Francisco became the first U.S. city to adopt a ban in March after efforts to impose a tax failed, while New Jersey is seeking to be the first state to phase out bags after government implemented a bill in November. Large global cities are also jumping on board. London's 33 municipal authorities are pushing for an outright ban on plastic bags, and city council in New York trying to pass laws to bar the so-called white pollution. "It's happening everywhere now," says Saxby, "Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler - all these places are looking at options and are committed to reducing or eliminating them. Reusable bags are everywhere."

The idea is gaining worldwide momentum. There are now restrictions or bans in Ireland, Taiwan, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and South Africa, among others.... The tricky part of the equation for many Canadians is the perennial question: plastic or paper? But environmentalists say using paper isn't the answer either. Opponents say they use too many trees, create more greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and take up more space in landfills.

Environmentalists argue that consumers must look at other options."We wouldn't oppose a ban, but we currently propose a tax," said the leader of Canada's national Green Party Elizabeth May, noting a federal ban is highly unlikely in Canada. "We need to convince consumers that, on so many levels, these are not essential products," she says. "It's a created false need."

More here


One in six British households is living in fuel poverty, the highest for almost a decade, according to new figures that threaten the government's target to eradicate the problem in England by the end of the decade.

Fuel poverty is defined as when a household spends more than a tenth of its income on utility bills. The consumer group Energywatch said yesterday there are now about 4.4 million of these in the UK, with just over 3 million in England alone.

Charities and other groups, led by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, are preparing a legal challenge in the next few weeks to force the government to meet the 2010 target, to which it is committed by law.

The figures came at the end of a week in which the UK's largest energy supplier, British Gas, said it was increasing bills by 15 per cent. This month EDF Energy and Npower raised prices by up to 27 per cent, and two-thirds of British households will have to pay higher tariffs. Other suppliers are likely to follow suit soon.



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.


Monday, January 28, 2008


Below is what passes for high-powered intellect among Australian Leftists. It is from the blog of the "Lowy Institute for International Policy" which seems to have high pretensions.

No mention of scientific facts is made but "feel" is given prominent mention. Once again it is nothing but ad hominem argument and abuse -- which is totally disreputable intellectually. I suspect in fact that our poor old Leftist did not have a clue about how to address the scientific issues involved and thought he could get away with bluff. I think that Frank Lowy, the magnate who founded the Lowy Institute, should be looking for more high-powered employees.

I follow the spurt of superciliousness below with a reply that DOES address the facts. I suppose it is something that they published the reply. The reply is by Alex Avery, son of skeptical author Dennis Avery, mentioned below. Alex is Director of Research at the Center for Global Food Issues, Hudson Institute. He hits the poor old Lowy lamebrains with an actual journal abstract -- almost unfair to such simpletons -- who probably would not even know which way up to hold an abstract, let alone being able to make anything out of it!
Climate skeptics tilting at windfarms

A few weeks ago I, along with most of my colleagues on the staff and the board of the Lowy Institute, received a complimentary copy of a book called 'Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1,500 Years', by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. When I arrived at work there was an enormous pile of these tomes sitting at the Institute's reception.

The book appears to be a fairly standard example of the `climate change skeptic' genre. Contrary to the overwhelming scientific consensus captured in the most recent report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the authors argue that most global warming is not caused by human activities but by a natural 1500-year climate cycle, and that it is not nearly as dangerous as the Al Gores of this world make out.

I regret to say that this book does not have an authoritative feeling about it, starting with the spelling error in the publisher's name on the title page. A search of the authors' names by my colleague Kate Mason took us to the far-right reaches of the Internet, including links to research questioning the link between passive smoking and lung cancer, jeremiads against organic food, and the websites of various American think tanks with the word `freedom' in their title.

Anyway, people can write whatever nonsense they like; I'm more interested in the fact that someone, somewhere is sending out thousands of copies of this book to anyone they can think of who may be in a position to influence the public debate. The book's Preface states that: `A public relations campaign of staggering dimensions is being carried forward to convince us that global warming is man-made and a crisis.' It looks like an expensive campaign is being run against those propositions, too.

I doubt whether it is a very effective campaign, though. The sheer oddness of the whole exercise - both the message and the means of communicating it - leaves the distinct impression that history has passed these people by.


A climate sceptic replies

Your comments about my father's book are lacking in any substance whatsoever. Spelling errors and perceived lack of 'authoritative feeling' aside, where is any mention of the reams of cited peer-reviewed research indicating exactly what the title of the book states: global temperatures today are not historically unusual in comparison to relatively recent times (i.e. most recently the Medieval Warm Period) and the existence of a natural, roughly-1,500-year climate cycle?

By all means, let's ignore any and all substance and impugn motives instead. How noble. How enlightened. How . . . sad.

Just so you're not completely in the dark: Dr. Singer's most recent peer-reviewed scientific paper on climate change was published last month (Dec. 2007) in the International Journal of Climatology published by the Royal Meteorological Society. Does that lack an 'authoritative feeling' as well?

As the abstract of the paper states, the authors examined 'tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 "Climate of the 20th Century" model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modeled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modeled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.'

Oh, and here is the latest peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting the argument that current temperatures are not alarming and not unusual:

Loehle, C. 2007. A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree-ring proxies. Energy & Environment 18(7-8): 1049-1058.


Historical data provide a baseline for judging how anomalous recent temperature changes are and for assessing the degree to which organisms are likely to be adversely affected by current or future warming. Climate histories are commonly reconstructed from a variety of sources, including ice cores, tree rings, and sediment. Tree-ring data, being the most abundant for recent centuries, tend to dominate reconstructions. There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not properly capture long-term climate changes. In this study, eighteen 2000-year-long series were obtained that were not based on tree ring data. Data in each series were smoothed with a 30-year running mean. All data were then converted to anomalies by subtracting the mean of each series from that series. The overall mean series was then computed by simple averaging. The mean time series shows quite coherent structure. The mean series shows the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly, with the MWP being approximately 0.3øC warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites.


Isn't all this talk of an apocalypse getting a bit boring?

This year is the 40th anniversary of Paul Ehrlich's influential The Population Bomb, a book that predicted an apocalyptic overpopulation crisis in the 1970s and '80s. Ehrlich's book provides a lesson we still haven't learnt. His prophecy that the starvation of millions of people in the developed world was imminent was spectacularly wrong - humanity survived without any of the forced sterilisation that Ehrlich believed was necessary. It's easy to predict environmental collapse, but it never actually seems to happen.

The anniversary of The Population Bomb should put contemporary apocalyptic predictions in their proper context. If anything, our world - and the environment - just keeps getting better. Ehrlich was at the forefront of a wave of pessimistic doomsayers in the late 1960s and early '70s. And these doomsayers weren't just cranks - or, if they were cranks, they were cranks with university tenure.

Despite what should be a humiliating failure for his theory of overpopulation, Ehrlich is still employed as a professor of population studies by Stanford University. Similarly, when George Wald predicted in a 1970 speech that civilisation was likely to end within 15 or 30 years, his audience was reminded that he was a Nobel Prize-winning biologist.

These predictions were picked up by people eager to push their own agendas. And a subgenre of films arose to deal with the "inevitable" environment and population crisis. Soylent Green (1973) depicted a world where all food was chemically produced, and other films imagined dystopias where amoral bureaucrats strictly controlled the population - just the sort of things advocated in The Population Bomb.

In retrospect, these fears seem a little bit silly. The green revolution that was brought about by advances in agricultural biotechnology came pretty close to eliminating the problem of food scarcity. Nor did the alarmists expect the large changes in demography and fertility rates that have occurred during the past few decades.

Nevertheless, for people in the 1970s, predictions of apocalypse through overpopulation and famine were just as real as the predictions of an apocalypse caused by climate change are today. And, just like today, environmental activists and their friends in politics were lining up to propose dramatic changes to avert the crisis. For instance, the vice-president of the Australian Conservation Foundation wrote just last week in The Age that we needed to imagine global suffering before we can tackle climate change through "nation-building" - whatever that is.

But there are substantial grounds for optimism - on almost every measure, the state of the world is improving. Pollution is no longer the threat it was seen to be in the 1970s, at least in the developed world. Changes in technology, combined with our greater demand for a clean environment, have virtually eliminated concerns about pungent waterways and dirty forests. Legislation played some role in this, but as Indur Goklany points out in his recent study, The Improving State of the World, the environment started getting better long before such laws were passed.

Goklany reveals that strong economies, not environment ministers, are the most effective enforcers of cleanliness in our air and water. Indeed, the world's 10 most polluted places are in countries where strong economic growth has historically been absent - Russia, China, India and Kyrgyzstan have not really been known for their thriving consumer capitalism.

Other indices, too, show that humanity's future is likely to be bright. Infant mortality has dramatically declined, as has malnutrition, illiteracy, and even global poverty. And there are good grounds for hope that we can adapt to changing climates as well. History has shown just how capable we are of inventing and adapting our way out of any sticky situation - and how we can do it without crippling our economies or imposing brutal social controls.

Environmental alarmists have become more and more like those apocalyptic preachers common in the 19th century - always expecting the Rapture on this date and, when it doesn't come, quickly revising their calculations. Optimism is in too short supply in discussions about the environment. But four decades after The Population Bomb, if we remember just how wrong visions of the apocalypse have been in the past, perhaps we will look to the future more cheerfully.


Leftist climate skeptic getting a barrage of abuse and attempts to silence him

Yes. There ARE some Leftists who are not taken in by speculation that the future will be catastorphic. And Alexander Cockburn is probably chief among them. He says that for his troubles he has been punished by a tsunami of self-righteous fury. It is time for a free and open `battle of ideas', he says below:

While the world's climate is on a warming trend, there is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 levels has anthropogenic origins. For daring to say this I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy. In magazine articles and essays I have described in fairly considerable detail, with input from the scientist Martin Hertzberg, that you can account for the current warming by a number of well-known factors - to do with the elliptical course of the Earth in its relationship to the sun, the axis of the Earth in the current period, and possibly the influence of solar flares. There have been similar warming cycles in the past, such as the medieval warming period, when the warming levels were considerably higher than they are now.

Yet from left to right, the warming that is occurring today is taken as being man-made, and many have made it into the central plank of their political campaigns. For reasons I find very hard to fathom, the environmental left movement has bought very heavily into the fantasy about anthropogenic global warming and the fantasy that humans can prevent or turn back the warming cycle.

This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left's optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political programme. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice.

This is a fantasy. In truth, environmental catastrophism will, in fact it already has, play into the hands of sinister-as-always corporate interests. The nuclear industry is benefiting immeasurably from the current catastrophism. Last year, for example, the American nuclear regulatory commission speeded up its process of licensing; there is an imminent wave of nuclear plant building. Many in the nuclear industry see in the story about CO2 causing climate change an opportunity to recover from the adverse publicity of Chernobyl.

More generally, climate catastrophism is leading to a re-emphasis of the powers of the advanced industrial world, through its various trade mechanisms, to penalise Third World countries. For example, the Indians have just produced an extremely cheap car called the Tata Nano, which will enable poorer Indians to get about more easily without having to load their entire family on to a bicycle. Greens have already attacked the car, and it won't take long for the WTO and the advanced powers to start punishing India with a lot of missionary-style nonsense about its carbon emissions and so on.

The politics of climate change also has potential impacts on farmers. Third World farmers who don't use seed strains or agricultural procedures that are sanctioned by the international AG corporations and major multilateral institutions and banks controlled by the Western powers will be sabotaged by attacks on their `excessive carbon footprint'. The environmental catastrophism peddled by many who claim to be progressive is strengthening the hand of corporate interests over ordinary people.

Here in the West, the so-called `war on global warming' is reminiscent of medieval madness. You can now buy Indulgences to offset your carbon guilt. If you fly, you give an extra 10 quid to British Airways; BA hands it on to some non-profit carbon-offsetting company which sticks the money in its pocket and goes off for lunch. This kind of behaviour is demented.

What is sinister about environmental catastrophism is that it diverts attention from hundreds and hundreds of serious environmental concerns that can be dealt with - starting, perhaps, with the emission of nitrous oxides from power plants. Here, in California, if you drive upstate you can see the pollution all up the Central Valley from Los Angeles, a lot of it caused, ironically, by the sulphuric acid droplets from catalytic converters! The problem is that 20 or 30 years ago, the politicians didn't want to take on the power companies, so they fixed their sights on penalising motorists who are less able to fight back. Decade after decade, power plants have been given a pass on the emissions from their smoke stacks while measures to force citizens to change their behaviour are brought in.

Emissions from power plants are something that could be dealt with now. You don't need to have a world programme called `Kyoto' to fix something like that. The Kyoto Accord must be one of the most reactionary political manifestos in the history of the world; it represents a horrible privileging of the advanced industrial powers over developing nations.

The marriage of environmental catastrophism and corporate interests is best captured in the figure of Al Gore. As a politician, he came to public light as a shill for two immense power schemes in the state of Tennessee: the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratory. Gore is not, as he claims, a non-partisan green; he is influenced very much by his background. His arguments, many of which are based on grotesque science and shrill predictions, seem to me to be part of a political and corporate outlook.

In today's political climate, it has become fairly dangerous for a young scientist or professor to step up and say: `This is all nonsense.' It is increasingly difficult to challenge the global warming consensus, on either a scientific or a political level. Academies can be incredibly cowardly institutions, and if one of their employees was to question the discussion of climate change he or she would be pulled to one side and told: `You're threatening our funding and reputation - do you really want to do that?' I don't think we should underestimate the impact that kind of informal pressure can have on people's willingness to think thoroughly and speak openly.

One way in which critics are silenced is through the accusation that they are ignoring `peer-reviewed science'. Yet oftentimes, peer review is a nonsense. As anyone who has ever put his nose inside a university will know, peer review is usually a mode of excluding the unexpected, the unpredictable and the unrespectable, and forming a mutually back-scratching circle. [Hear here! As someone who fought through all that to become a much-published academic, I know all about the frailties of peer review -- JR] The history of peer review and how it developed is not a pretty sight. Through the process of peer review, of certain papers being nodded through by experts and other papers being given a red cross, the controllers of the major scientific journals can include what they like and exclude what they don't like. Peer review is frequently a way of controlling debate, even curtailing it. Many people who fall back on peer-reviewed science seem afraid to have out the intellectual argument.

Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. One individual, who was once on the board of the Sierra Club, has suggested I should be criminally prosecuted. I wrote a series of articles on climate change issues for the Nation, which elicited a level of hysterical outrage and affront that I found to be astounding - and I have a fairly thick skin, having been in the business of making unpopular arguments for many, many years.

There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I sometimes think to myself, `Boy, I'm glad I didn't live in the 1450s', because I would be out in the main square with a pile of wood around my ankles. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.

This experience has given me an understanding of what it must have been like in darker periods to be accused of being a blasphemer; of the summary and unpleasant consequences that can bring. There is a witch-hunting element in climate catastrophism. That is clear in the use of the word `denier' to label those who question claims about anthropogenic climate change. `Climate change denier' is, of course, meant to evoke the figure of the Holocaust denier. This was contrived to demonise sceptics. The past few years show clearly how mass moral panics and intellectual panics become engendered.

In my forthcoming book, A Short History of Fear, I explore the link between fearmongering and climate catastrophism. For example, alarmism about population explosion is being revisited through the climate issue. Population alarmism goes back as far as Malthus, of course; and in the environmental movement there has always been a very sinister strain of Malthusianism. This is particularly the case in the US where there has never been as great a socialist challenge as there was in Europe. I suspect, however, that even in Europe, what remains of socialism has itself turned into a degraded Malthusian outlook. It seems clear to me that climate catastrophism represents a new form of the politics of fear.

I think people have had enough of peer-reviewed science and experts telling them what they can and cannot think and say about climate change. Climate catastrophism, the impact it is having on people's lives and on debate, can only really be challenged through rigorous open discussion and through a `battle of ideas', as the conference I spoke at in London last year described it. I hope my book is a salvo in that battle.


British road hump panic!

In the end, NOTHING suits the Greenies

They damage cars and give drivers a nasty jolt, but now speed bumps have been found guilty of an even worse crime - they are helping to destroy the planet. The traffic-calming measures double the carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption by forcing drivers to brake and accelerate repeatedly, according to a study commissioned by the AA. A car that achieves 58.15 miles per gallon travelling at a steady 30mph will deliver only 30.85mpg when going over humps.

The AA employed an independent engineer who used a fuel flow meter to test the consumption of a small and a medium-sized car at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. The results, calculated by averaging the performances of the two cars, also showed that reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph resulted in 10 per cent higher emissions. This is because car engines are designed to be most efficient at speeds above 30mph. A motorist who observed the speed limit on one mile of 20mph road during a daily journey would produce an extra tonne of CO2 in a year compared with driving at 30mph on the same stretch.

In an unusual move for a motoring organisation, the AA called for the introduction of cameras that detect average speeds to replace humps. Edmund King, the AA's president, said: "Humps are a crude, uncomfortable and noisy way of slowing people down and this research has shown they are also environmentally damaging. We accept that traffic speed needs to be controlled in residential areas where there is a problem with accidents and children are playing. We think motorists are more likely to accept average speed cameras than humps."

But he added that drivers would not support a proposal in London by the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, to make 20mph the default speed limit on all residential roads. "The AA accepts that targeted 20mph speed limits in residential areas are popular and improve safety. However, a 30mph limit on local distributor roads may be more environmentally friendly."

Previous research by the Transport Research Laboratory found that air pollution rose significantly on roads with humps. Carbon monoxide emissions increased by 82 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 37 per cent. The London Ambulance Service has claimed that the 30,000 humps on the capital's roads cause up to 500 deaths a year because its crews suffer delays in reaching victims of cardiac arrest.

Mr King said: "Humps tend to breed more humps. If one street has humps installed, the adjacent street calls for humps and eventually you find no clear roads for movement of emergency service vehicles."

Transport for London has been helping to test average-speed cameras on residential roads in Camden, North London. No tickets are being issued yet, but the mere presence of the cameras has resulted in the proportion of drivers complying with the limit increasing by a third. The new cameras are not linked but have synchronised clocks and each separately transmits information to a processing centre. This allows several cameras to work together without the need to dig up the road between them to lay cables. In urban areas this can halve the cost of installing the system. Putting in 50 standard humps on three or four connecting residential streets costs about 150,000 pounds. A set of eight average-speed cameras covering the same area would cost 250,000.

The Home Office has been monitoring trials of average-speed cameras for almost three years but has yet to approve them. The camera suppliers believe that the delay is due to a lack of staff to complete the approval process. Rob Gifford, director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said: "If we remove road humps, the clear alternative method for enforcing lower speeds is through average speed cameras. These will smooth out traffic flow and be fairer to car drivers." Mr Gifford said that research had shown that 10 per cent of pedestrians would die when hit by a car at 20mph compared with 50 per cent at 30mph.


Courts Confront Climate Change

Late last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must consider the "risks of global warming" when setting gas-mileage standards for light trucks, minivans and SUVs. Central to the court's ruling was the claim that NHTSA, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, had ignored the benefits of reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

Whatever their legal acumen, Justice Betty Fletcher and her colleagues on the bench demonstrated they have little expertise in climate science. Tighter restrictions on CO2 emissions cannot produce the imagined benefits. Greenhouse gas emissions occur globally: The court's mandate will not measurably curb CO2 levels or global warming. The court also assumed that human activity is the main cause of global warming. This has yet to be demonstrated by hard evidence.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to glacial melting, shrinking sea ice, and other consequences of global warming. But such "evidence" doesn't tell us whether the causes are natural or manmade. Other evidence, such as the claimed correlation between temperature and CO2, is circumstantial; during much of the 20th century the climate was cooling while CO2 levels were rising.

A forthcoming report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), of which I am the editor, may provide needed balance. An independent organization, not sponsored by the United Nations, national governments, or industry, NIPCC-which includes many IPCC authors and expert reviewers-was created to provide a second opinion on the IPCC's official findings, much as a physician's diagnosis may warrant a second opinion.

Drawing on peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals, NIPCC examined the data used in IPCC's May 2007 climate-change assessment, as well as research ignored in the IPCC report or published subsequent to its release. NIPCC concludes that "evidence" to support public hysteria about human-caused greenhouse warming does not hold up to scrutiny. Among the findings, expected to be published early this spring:

* Human activities-such as transportation and industrial production-contribute little to global warming. The claim that greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for rising global temperatures is based on computer models. But as NIPCC confirms, key temperature readings contradict the models. For example, while all greenhouse models show temperature trends rising with altitude in the tropical troposphere-the lowest portion of the Earth's atmosphere-weather balloon data show the opposite: a cooling trend. The models are wrong.

* Greenhouse warming has been significantly overestimated. NIPCC has found that the models exaggerate the warming effect of greenhouse gases by ignoring "negative feedback" from-that is, the possible cooling effects of-clouds and water vapor. Taking this into account, greenhouse warming might amount to no more than one-half of 1 degree Celsius by 2100, well within the climate's normal range of ups and downs.

* The leading cause of observed climate warming appears to be variability of solar emissions and solar magnetic fields. The U.N. panel ignored substantial recent research on the effects of solar activity on climate change. This evidence suggests climate changes are essentially unstoppable and cannot be influenced by controlling CO2 emissions.

* Government efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions will have little effect on the environment. The requirements of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration cannot influence the natural factors controlling the climate. Similarly, massive government efforts to replace fossil fuels with ethanol, biodiesel, and wind and solar power will little effect the climate. Besides, they are uneconomic and require large subsidies.

In view of these findings, the Justice Department should appeal the 9th Circuit's ruling to the Supreme Court. Doing so would also provide an opportunity for the high court to revisit its April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA-in which it ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. This time around, the White House should be better prepared to argue its case. Science is on its side.



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