Monday, March 31, 2008

Zebras endangered

This just in from Greenpeace UK media centre: 020 7865 8255 Fax 7865 8200

ALL THREE surviving species of African zebras could lose their stripes in as little as 50-70 years as global warming threatens their habitat and way of life, Greenpeace UK reveals. Zebras, horses and wild asses are all equids: long-lived animals that move quickly for their large size. Their teeth have evolved to crop and grind grass. Zebras have horse-like bodies, similar to stocky ponies. The most noticeable difference between zebras and horses -- for now -- is the zebras' distinctive striped coats, making them one of the most instantly-recognizable of Africa's ruminants, and a particular favourite with children.

The most numerous and widespread species in East Africa is the common or Burchell's zebra. Grevy's zebra, chiefly found in northern Kenya, was named for Jules Grevy, a president of France in the 1880s who received one from Ethiopia as a gift. The mountain zebra, Equus zebra, is, found in southern and southwestern Africa.

The zebra's coat can vary greatly in pattern, number and width of stripes. The stripes' disruptive coloration breaks up the outline of the body. At twilight, when their predators are most active, zebras appear indistinct.

Zebras' shiny coats dissipate over 70% of incoming heat. In one of the strange coincidences of science, the albedo or reflectance of a typical zebra's coat -- at around 31% - is identical to that of the entire planet Earth as seen from space. Sir John Houghton, the first chair of the IPCC's science working group, says albedo is a scientific measure of the percentage of radiant energy incident upon a surface that is reflected off that surface rather than transmitted through it or absorbed and emitted by it.

But this uncanny coincidence will not last long. As the Earth warms and polar or glacial ice melts, the planetary albedo is set to fall, causing a temperature feedback that will amplify global warming. Zebras, however, according to Dr. Ieuan ap Rhyl of the African Union's new International Zoological Survey Division, are responding to increasingly warmer ambient temperatures by a progressive reduction in the breadth of the black stripes on their coats. In each new generation, the mean thickness of each stripe is reduced by up to 6%, so that more of the zebra's coat will be able to reflect the sun's rays, helping to keep the zebra cool. In 50-70 years, says Dr. Ap Rhyl, the zebras' coats will appear very similar to grey horses' coats. The stripes will be gone.

Al Gore spoke up for the zebras on CBS 60 Minutes yesterday: "This is another wake-up call for the planet. How much more hard evidence do our leaders need before they act to protect the Earth's most precious creatures from the selfishness and greed of humankind? Political will, unlike zebra stripes, is a renewable resource."

Greenpeace stands for positive change through action. We defend the natural world and promote peace. We investigate, expose and confront environmental abuse by governments and corporations throughout the world. We champion environmentally responsible and socially just solutions, including scientific innovation. Our goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity. We have been working with the Zoological Survey of the African Union on this and other projects to save the continent's threatened wildlife.

Yes. It's a spoof -- from the inimitable Christopher Monckton. It came out a couple of days ago and fooled even some knowledgeable people -- showing how hard it is to send up people as absurd as the Warmists are. They have made so many outlandish claims in the past that it is hard to think of something more absurd that what they have already said. See below for another instance of wild-eyed panic

Another heroic effort to save the world

More fighting in Iraq. Somalia in chaos. People in this country can't afford their mortgages and in some places now they can't even afford rice. None of this nor the rest of the grimness on the front page today will matter a bit, though, if two men pursuing a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole or something else that will spell the end of the Earth - and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely - though they have done some checking just to make sure. The world's physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.

But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a "strangelet" that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called "strange matter." Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Although it sounds bizarre, the case touches on a serious issue that has bothered scholars and scientists in recent years - namely how to estimate the risk of new groundbreaking experiments and who gets to decide whether or not to go ahead.

The lawsuit, filed March 21 in Federal District Court, in Honolulu, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting CERN from proceeding with the accelerator until it has produced a safety report and an environmental assessment. It names the federal Department of Energy, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the National Science Foundation and CERN as defendants. According to a spokesman for the Justice Department, which is representing the Department of Energy, a scheduling meeting has been set for June 16.

Why should CERN, an organization of European nations based in Switzerland, even show up in a Hawaiian courtroom? In an interview, Mr. Wagner said, "I don't know if they're going to show up." CERN would have to voluntarily submit to the court's jurisdiction, he said, adding that he and Mr. Sancho could have sued in France or Switzerland, but to save expenses they had added CERN to the docket here. He claimed that a restraining order on Fermilab and the Energy Department, which helps to supply and maintain the accelerator's massive superconducting magnets, would shut down the project anyway.

James Gillies, head of communications at CERN, said the laboratory as of yet had no comment on the suit. "It's hard to see how a district court in Hawaii has jurisdiction over an intergovernmental organization in Europe," Mr. Gillies said. "There is nothing new to suggest that the L.H.C. is unsafe," he said, adding that its safety had been confirmed by two reports, with a third on the way, and would be the subject of a discussion during an open house at the lab on April 6. "Scientifically, we're not hiding away," he said.

But Mr. Wagner is not mollified. "They've got a lot of propaganda saying it's safe," he said in an interview, "but basically it's propaganda." In an e-mail message, Mr. Wagner called the CERN safety review "fundamentally flawed" and said it had been initiated too late. The review process violates the European Commission's standards for adhering to the "Precautionary Principle," he wrote, "and has not been done by `arms length' scientists."

Physicists in and out of CERN say a variety of studies, including an official CERN report in 2003, have concluded there is no problem. But just to be sure, last year the anonymous Safety Assessment Group was set up to do the review again. "The possibility that a black hole eats up the Earth is too serious a threat to leave it as a matter of argument among crackpots," said Michelangelo Mangano, a CERN theorist who said he was part of the group. The others prefer to remain anonymous, Mr. Mangano said, for various reasons. Their report was due in January.

This is not the first time around for Mr. Wagner. He filed similar suits in 1999 and 2000 to prevent the Brookhaven National Laboratory from operating the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. That suit was dismissed in 2001. The collider, which smashes together gold ions in the hopes of creating what is called a "quark-gluon plasma," has been operating without incident since 2000.



Now for some real science: A recent paper showing that clouds and the sun have important climate effects and that disentangling the various sources of warming is problematic. From Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 9, 09636, 2007

Solar- and greenhouse radiative forcings and the rapid temperature rise in Europe during the last two decades

By R. Philipona et al.


During the last two decades, surface temperature rise over mainland Europe is twice as large than over the northern hemisphere, and considerably larger than expected from anthropogenic greenhouse warming. Solar radiative forcing, also termed solar brightening, and water vapor feedback, apparently added to the temperature rise. Recent aerosol optical depth (AOD) analyses from six measurement sites from the North Sea to the central Alps show aerosols decreasing by about 60 percent from 1986 to 2000, followed by reduced decline and a present stabilization of AOD. Concurrent, solar radiation measured under cloud-free skies and averaged over 30 Swiss radiation stations, shows significant increase of 1.3 ~0.7 Wm-2dec-1 between 1981 and 2005, which reduces to 0.6 ~1.0 Wm-2dec-1 after 1995. Also, from 1995 to 2005 measurements show high correlation between cloud-free longwave downward radiation and increasing temperature and absolute humidity, demonstrating greenhouse forcing with strong water vapor feedback. The strong AOD decline and consequent solar brightening apparently led to the steep temperature rise at the end of the century, whereas, the observed aerosol stabilization after 2000, which ends solar brightening, suggests reduced temperature rise in the new century that is just due to greenhouse warming.

Atmospheric chemical explosions celebrate opening of Earth Hour?

The enemies of carbon show their typical confusion of mind. They celebrate the opening of Earth Hour by exploding carbon-based ordnance in the atmosphere -- no doubt giving off lots of that condemned CO2 in the process!

From the Sydney Opera House to Rome's Colosseum to the Sears Tower's famous antennas in Chicago, floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.

The environmental group WWF urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were.

The campaign began last year in Australia, and traveled this year from the South Pacific to Europe to North America in cadence with the setting of the sun.

"What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."

Earth Hour officials hoped 100 million people would turn off their nonessential lights and electronic goods for the hour. Electricity plants produce greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.


It is Gore who is the denier of science

Al Gore says that those of us who are skeptical that man is warming the planet have a flat-Earth mind-set. But if Gore would open his mind, he'd learn that more than likely the opposite is true.

In Sunday's appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes," Gore tells reporter Lesley Stahl that the skeptics of man-made global warming are "almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the world is flat.""That demeans them a little bit," he says, "but it's not that far off."

In addition to being gratingly sanctimonious, Gore is wrong. A study conducted by Texas A&M professors found that the more Americans know about global warming, the more likely they are to dismiss it."More informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming," the researchers write in "Personal Efficacy, the Information Environment, and Attitudes toward Global Warming and Climate Change in the USA," an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Risk Analysis.

The authors of the study and the accompanying article believe that Americans' strong confidence in scientists has made them less concerned about global warming. It seems the public believes science can solve any problems that might arise. Just as plausible, though, is the probability that when Americans learn about the facts, they understand that the anthropogenic global warming theory is filled with holes. That would explain why the "more informed respondents . . . feel less personally responsible for global warming."

The study was no put-up job by oil interests. It was conducted by Paul M. Kellstedt, a Texas A&M associate professor of political science, who said the findings that were "just the opposite" of what they were expected out to be. Co-authors were Arnold Vedlitz, the Bob Bullock chair in government and public policy at A&M's George Bush School of Government and Public Service, and Sammy Zahran, now an assistant professor of sociology at Colorado State University.

That sociologists tend to back candidates from the Democratic Party, such as Gore, is no secret. But the Nobel Prize/Oscar winner isn't running this time. He has, however, been nominated by columnist Joe Klein, who wrote in Time magazine last week that Gore would be "the answer to the Democratic Party's dilemma" that has been created by the Clinton-Obama brawl.

To Klein's suggestion we say: Run, Al, run. His candidacy would let us get this global warming issue aired out so we can finally be done with it. Maybe then the country will think back to this weekend's asinine Earth Hour, when we were all expected to turn off our lights, and realize it was a metaphor for the darkness that global warming alarmists have been operating under.



Canadians and the citizens of other Western industrialized countries are growing increasingly worried about the losses of high-paying manufacturing jobs to low-wage developing countries, particularly China and India. Yet, as these jobs go up in smoke in the West, the jobs replacing them in Asia are themselves creating a lot of real smoke with all its attendant pollutants and carbon emissions.

As CIBC economist Jeff Rubin put it this week: "It becomes absurdly quixotic to ban coal plants in North America while at the same time China's got 570 coal plants slated to go into production between now and 2012, 30 plants between now and the Olympics."

With the growing realization in the West that the economy and the environment are but two sides of the same coin, a consensus is emerging that the only sure way to halt climate change is to put a realistic price on carbon that captures the environmental damage it is doing. This view, however, is being fiercely resisted on the other side of the planet, where carbon emissions are surpassing those of the West.

But putting a carbon price on goods produced in the West, through either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, will raise the price of those goods and thus lead to the export of even more jobs to countries that refuse to impose a price on the carbon that goes into the goods they produce. The net effect would be an economic loss in the West without any gain on the global climate change front.

When the link between trade and climate change are viewed from that perspective, the solutions become obvious. If developing countries are not willing to incorporate the price of carbon into the prices of the goods they produce, the industrialized world will have no choice but to impose a carbon tariff on imports from those countries.

By levelling the playing field in that way, the West would not only give these other countries a real incentive to start cutting their own carbon emissions, but it could also win back some of the jobs in industries where the reduction or elimination of carbon content more than offsets the developing world's low-wage advantage.

The time has come to recognize that globalization doesn't simply mean mutual dependence in trade and investment; it has to be reinterpreted to mean interdependence on a far broader scale.



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.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Media Hype on `Melting' Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth

Post below recycled from Marc Morano -- minus the fonts

The media is once again hyping an allegedly dire consequence of man-made global warming. This time the media is promoting the ice loss of one tiny fraction of the giant ice-covered continent and completely ignoring the current record ice growth on Antarctica. Contrary to media hype, the vast majority of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years and ice coverage has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1979, according to peer-reviewed studies and scientists who study the area. (LINK)

Former Weather Channel Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo rejected the hype surrounding the recent Wilkins Ice Shelf collapse in Western Antarctica. “Theshattered part of the Wilkins ice sheet was 160 square miles in area, which is just 0.01% of the total current Antarctic icecover, like an icicle falling from a snow and ice covered roof,” D’Aleo wrote on March 25. ( LINK) “We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record [for Southern Hemisphere ice extent]. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear,” D’Aleo added.

Climate scientist Dr. Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, stated, “It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what's happening around the [western] peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net ‘no change’ or ‘cooling’ over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently.”

Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.”Pielke wrote on March 25, “Themedia has ignored in their reportingthe increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added,“Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publically identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!” (LINK)

But the news media sadly tossed out objectivity and balance when it came to this new Antarctic story. Media headlines blared: Bye-bye, Antarctica? (Salon Magazine 3-26-08); Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica (C/Net News 3- 26-08); Slab of Antarctic ice shelf collapses amid warming (Reuters 3-26-08); Ice shelf 'hangs by a thread' (Sydney Morning Herald 2-26-08).

True to form, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein could not allow himself to include any scientists or peer-reviewed studies countering alarm over the allegedly “melting” Antarctic. Borenstein instead hyped alarm by writing on March 27, “Scientists said they are not concerned about a rise in sea level from the latest event, but say it's a sign of worsening global warming.”

[Note: Borenstein has a long history of incomplete reporting on global warming. See here, and here . Also see related links section below for examples of the media's shoddy environmental reporting. In addition,ABC World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris this week produced a low brow smear segment on atmospheric physicist Dr. Fred Singer, a prominent dissenter of man-made climate fears. ABC News violated basic journalistic standards by citing "anonymous" scientists to attack Dr. Singer. See: here, here, here and here. ]

Yet, if only the media would spend a moment to get beyond the hype and alarmism, they would discover that scientists are already thoroughly debunking the media characterization of the “melting” Antarctic.
[Note: 2007 and now 2008 are overwhelmingly turning into the “tipping points” for climate alarmism as new peer-reviewed studies continue to debunk rising CO2 fears, a U.S. Senate minority report reveals over 400 scientists dissented from man-made climate fears, and more and more scientists continue in 2008 to declare themselves skeptical of a man-made climate “crisis.” The Earth’s failure to continue warming has also confounded promoters of man-made climate fear.

Here is a sampling of inconvenient developments for climate alarmists in 2008 alone: 1) Oceans Cooling! Scientists puzzled by “mystery of global warming's missing heat”- LINK 2) New Data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is showing “greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide.”- LINK 3) Former NASA Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer found not one peer-reviewed paper has 'ruled out a natural cause for most of our recent warmth' – LINK 4) UN IPCC in 'Panic Mode' as Earth Fails to Warm, Scientist says – LINK 5) UN IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri “to look into the apparent temperature plateau so far this century.”- LINK 6) New scientific analysis shows Sun “could account for as much as 69% of the increase in Earth's average temperature” – LINK & LINK. 7) An International team of scientists released a March 2008 report to counter UN IPCC, declaring: “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate” – LINK 8) MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen’s new analysis finds the Earth has had “No statistically significant warming since 1995.”- LINK ]

Below are a few samples of what scientists have said in the past few days since the Antarctic “melting” stories have hit the media:

1) Climate Scientist Dr. Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, isa member of both the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth’s Executive Committee and the Committee on Global Change. Herman commented on March 25:

“That ice [the media is hyping] is just a tiny fraction of the Antarctic ice and probably the increase each winter more than compensates. The ice loss does not show up, at least not yet on the Illinois site,, which still shows increasing sea ice heading into [Southern Hemisphere’s] winter. It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what's happening around the (Western) peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net ‘no change’ or ‘cooling’ over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently,” Herman wrote on March 25.

2) Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo served as the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel,was the Chief Meteorologist at Weather Services International Corporation and served as chairman of the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting. D’Aleo commented on his website on March 25:

“Theshattered part of the Wilkins ice sheet was 160 square miles in area, which is just 0.01% of the total current Antarctic icecover (just 0.003% of the extent last September), like an icicle falling from a snow and ice covered roof. And this winter is coming on quickly. The latest satellite images and reports suggest the ice has already refrozen around the broken pieces. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The total ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere fall season and 6 months ahead of the peak. We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record [for Southern Hemisphere ice extent]. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear,”

D’Aleo wrote on march 25. (LINK). Other scientists and peer-reviewed studies have recently debunked the notion of a “melting” Antarctic as well.

3) Former Virginia State Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger, a senior researcher with New Hope Environmental Services posted comments on Antarctica in February on their website Michaels and Knappenberger wrote a February 27, 2008, article titled “Antarctica Ain’t Cooperating”: “Another major article on temperature trends in the Antarctic has appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research by a team of scientists from Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, and the Goddard Space Flight Center; the research was funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Glaciology Program. […] That is correct – despite all you have heard elsewhere on the subject, the South Pole has been cooling over the past half century. The previous research team also reported that any warming in Antarctica has slowed and the cooling has accelerated in the more recent three decades. According to Monaghan et al., yet another team previously examined Antarctic temperatures and “noted that prior to 1965 the continent-wide annual trends (through 2002) are slightly positive, but after 1965 they are mainly negative (despite warming over the Antarctic Peninsula).” The truth from Antarctica is hard for the greenhouse crusade to accept, and in the long run, the truth from Antarctica might melt away the flimsy, well-publicized claims about global climate change—especially the concerns of a rapid sea level rise.”

4) In addition, the media’s reporting on the alleged “melting” of Antarctica fails to take into account other factors. “Volcano, Not Global Warming Effects, May be Melting an Antarctic Glacier” read a headline in a January 21, 2008, article. The article read in part: Scientists have discovered a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards in Antarctica, evidence of an old eruption by a still active volcano that researchers believe may be contributing to the thinning of Antarctic glacial ice. Hugh F.J. Corr and David G. Vaughan, two scientists with the British Antarctic Survey, recently published their discovery of the volcanic layer in the journal Nature Geoscience. The discovery is unique, according to Dr. Vaughan. He said, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet.” The volcano’s heat could possibly be melting and thinning the ice and raising the speed of the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. (Other links on Antarctic Volcanoes: Map of volcanoes in Antarctica; and NASA Image of Antarctic Peninsula and pacific ring of fire groups of volcanoes. )

5) Another inconvenient fact that the media likes to avoid is Antarctica ice extent GREW to record levels in 2007. A September 11, 2007, article on IceCap.US explained: “While the news focus has been on the lowest ice extent since satellite monitoring began in 1979 for the Arctic, the Southern Hemisphere (Antarctica) has quietly set a new record for most ice extent since 1979. This can be seen on this graphic from this University of Illinois site, The Cryosphere Today, which updated snow and ice extent for both hemispheres daily. The Southern Hemispheric areal coverage is the highest in the satellite record, just beating out 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2006. Since 1979, the trend has been up for the total Antarctic ice extent.” (LINK)

6) A January 12, 2008, peer-reviewed paper in AGU (American Geophysical Union) found “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.” The abstract of the paper by Thomas, E. R., G. J. Marshall, and J. R. McConnell, states: We present results from a new medium depth (136 metres) ice core drilled in a high accumulation site (73.59°S, 70.36°W) on the south-western Antarctic Peninsula during 2007. The Gomez record reveals a doubling of accumulation since the 1850s, from a decadal average of 0.49 mweq y−1 in 1855–1864 to 1.10 mweq y−1 in 1997–2006, with acceleration in recent decades. Comparison with published accumulation records indicates that this rapid increase is the largest observed across the region. (LINK) & (LINK)

7) A February 2007 study reveals Antarctica is notfollowing predictedglobal warming models. Excerpt: “A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models." The research was led by David Bromwich, professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. [See: Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions - (LINK)]

8) Dr. Duncan Wingham, Professor of Climate Physics at University College London and Director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modeling, has presented evidence that Antarctic ice is growing. According to a December 15, 2006, article in Canada's National Post, "Early last year at a European Union Space Conference in Brussels, for example, Dr. Wingham revealed that data from a European Space Agency satellite showed Antarctic thinning was no more common than thickening, and concluded that the spectacular collapse of the ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula was much more likely to have followed natural current fluctuations than global warming." "One cannot be certain, because packets of heat in the atmosphere do not come conveniently labeled 'the contribution of anthropogenic warming,' " Wingham said, noting that the evidence is not "favorable to the notion we are seeing the results of global warming." Wingham and his colleagues found that 72% of the ice sheet covering the entire land mass of Antarctica is growing at the rate of 5 millimeters per year. "That makes Antarctica a sink, not a source, of ocean water. According to their best estimates, Antarctica will ‘lower global sea levels by 0.08 mm' per year" the National Post article reported. (LINK)

9) Statistician Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and professor at the Copenhagen Business School, questioned former Vice President Al Gore's claims about Antarctica in a January 21, 2007, Wall Street Journal op-ed. "[Gore] considers Antarctica the canary in the mine, but again doesn't tell the full story. He presents pictures from the 2% of Antarctica that is dramatically warming and ignores the 98% that has largely cooled over the past 35 years. The U.N. panel estimates that Antarctica will actually increase its snow mass this century. Similarly, Mr. Gore points to shrinking sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere, but doesn’t mention that sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is increasing. Shouldn't we hear those facts?" Lomborg added. (LINK)

10) UN scientist Dr. Madhav L. Khandekar, a retired Environment Canada scientist and an expert IPCC reviewer, noted in 2007 that the Southern Hemisphere is COOLING. Dr. Khandekar wrote on August 6, 2007: "In the Southern Hemisphere, the land-area mean temperature has slowly but surely declined in the last few years. The city of Buenos Aires in Argentina received several centimeters of snowfall in early July, and the last time it snowed in Buenos Aires was in 1918! Most of Australia experienced one of its coldest months of June this year. Several other locations in the Southern Hemisphere have experienced lower temperatures in the last few years. Further, the sea surface temperatures over world oceans are slowly declining since mid-1998, according to a recent world-wide analysis of ocean surface temperatures.” ( LINK)

11) Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, the chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that the Earth has been warming for about 20,000 years, and humans have only been collecting data for about 200 years. "For most of earth's history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has only rarely been cooler," Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article. (LINK) Giegengack further explained that extremely long geologic timescales reveal that "only about 5% of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice."


by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD


Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the product of oceanic respiration due to the well?known but under?appreciated solubility pump. Carbon dioxide rises out of warm ocean waters where it is added to the atmosphere. There it is mixed with residual and accidental CO2, and circulated, to be absorbed into the sink of the cold ocean waters. Next the thermohaline circulation carries the CO2?rich sea water deep into the ocean. A millennium later it appears at the surface in warm waters, saturated by lower pressure and higher temperature, to be exhausted back into the atmosphere.

Throughout the past 420 millennia, comprising four interglacial periods, the Vostok record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is imprinted with, and fully characterized by, the physics of the solubility of CO2 in water, along with the lag in the deep ocean circulation. Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases. Increased carbon dioxide has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, carbon dioxide is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures. When global temperature, and along with it, ocean temperature rises, the physics of solubility causes atmospheric CO2 to increase. If increases in carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gas, could have in turn raised global temperatures, the positive feedback would have been catastrophic. While the conditions for such a catastrophe were present in the Vostok record from natural causes, the runaway event did not occur. Carbon dioxide does not accumulate in the atmosphere.

Source. Also see here

The cynical global warming bubble

By Steve Milloy

You didn't have to be a rocket scientist in the 1990s to figure that speculative investment in dot-coms with no revenues would be disastrous. The same goes for lenders giving mortgages to borrowers with no job, no income and no assets. So after surviving the tech bubble and while trying to extricate the economy from the housing bubble, why are we bent on heading into the global warming bubble?

Just this week, the Environmental Protection Agency issued its economic analysis of the Lieberman-Warner global warming bill that is now being considered by the Senate. The EPA projects that, if the bill is enacted, the size of our economy as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP) would shrink by as much as $2.9 trillion by the year 2050. That's a 6.9 percent smaller economy than we might otherwise have if no action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For an idea of what that might mean, consider our current economic crisis. During the fourth quarter of 2007, GDP actually increased by 0.6 percent, yet trepidation still spread among businesses, consumers and the financial markets. Though the EPA says that Lieberman-Warner would send our economy in the opposite direction by more than a factor of 10, few in Congress seem concerned. For more perspective, consider that during 1929 and 1930, the first two years of the Great Depression, GDP declined by 8.6 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

And what would we get for such a massive self-inflicted wound? It ought to be something that is climatically spectacular, right? You be the judge. The EPA says that by the year 2095-45 years after GDP has been slashed by 6.9 percent-atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels would be 25 parts per million (ppm) lower than if no greenhouse gas regulation was implemented.

Keeping in mind that the current atmospheric CO2 level is 380 ppm and the projected 2095 CO2 level is about 500 ppm, according to the EPA, what are the potential global temperature implications for such a slight change in atmospheric CO2 concentration? Not much, as average global temperature would only be reduced by a maximum of about 0.10 to 0.20 degrees Celsius, according to existing research. Sacrificing many trillions of dollars of GDP for a trivial, 45-year-delayed and merely hypothetical reduction in average global temperature must be considered as exponentially more asinine than the dot-bombs of the late-1990s and the NINJA subprime loans that we now look upon scornfully.

So who in their right mind would push for this? I met many of them up-close-and-personal last week at a major Wall Street Journal conference at which I was an invited speaker. My fellow speakers included many CEOs (from General Electric, Wal-Mart, Duke Energy, and Dow Chemical, to name just a few), California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the heads of several environmental activist groups.

The audience-a sold-out crowd of hundreds who had to apply to be admitted and pay a $3,500 fee-consisted of representatives of the myriad businesses that seek to make a financial killing from climate alarmism. There were representatives of the solar, wind, and biofuel industries that profit from taxpayer mandates and subsidies, representatives from financial services companies that want to trade permits to emit CO2, and public relations and strategic consultants to all of the above.

We libertarians would call such an event a rent-seekers ball-the vast majority of the audience was there to plot how they could lock-in profits from government mandates on taxpayers and consumers. It was an amazing collection of pseudo-entrepreneurs who were absolutely impervious to the scientific and economic facts that ought to deflate the global warming bubble.

In the interlude between presentations by the CEOs of Dow Chemical and Duke Energy, for example, the audience was shown a slide-similar to this one-of the diverging relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and average global temperature since 1998. That slide should have caused jaws to drop and audience members to ponder why anyone is considering regulating CO2 emissions in hopes of taming global climate. Instead, it was as if the audience did a collective blink and missed the slide entirely. When I tried to draw attention to the slide during my presentation, it was as if I was speaking in a foreign dialect.

The only conclusion I could come to was that the audience is so steeped in anticipation of climate profiteering that there is no fact that will cause them to reconsider whether or not manmade global warming is a reality. The callousness of their blind greed was also on display at the conference. In an instantaneous poll, the Wall Street Journal asked the audience to select the most pressing societal problem from a list of five that included infectious disease (malaria, AIDs, etc.), terrorism, and global warming.

Global warming was the most popular response, receiving 31 percent of the vote, while infectious disease was far behind in last place with only 3 percent of the vote. It's an amazing result given that billions are sickened, and millions die every year from infectious disease. The consequences of future global warming, on the other hand, are entirely speculative.

Finally, I was astounded by the double-speak practiced by the global warmers. Virtually every speaker at the conference professed that they were either in favor of free markets or that they supported a free-market solution to global warming. But invariably in their next breath, they would plead for government regulation of greenhouse gases and government subsidies for alternative energy. It's hard to conceive of any good coming from a public policy in which facts play no substantial role in its development and words have no meaning in its public debate.


A skeptical Congressman in Washington State

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings took aim Tuesday at believers in global warming, telling Yakima Rotarians that "the same people" who want to reverse the planet's climb in temperature also want to tear down the dams and prevent a revival of nuclear power. Hastings acknowledges the planet is heating but said scientists are far from an agreement that humans and their carbon footprint are the main cause. "Count me as being skeptical," said the Pasco native, who is in his seventh term as representative of the sprawling 4th Congressional District. "Global warming is a political battle."

Hastings has been touring the district nearly nonstop during the two-week Congressional spring recess, which ends next week. His talk at the Southwest Rotary at the Clarion Hotel was unmistakably conservative, and the surest sign yet that Hastings, a Republican, will run for an eighth term against Tri-Cities Democrat George Fearing, who has announced his candidacy. Hastings, 66, hasn't made a formal announcement but has also said there's no reason to think he won't be running.

Pointing out what he called "inconsistencies" in the environmentalist point of view on energy, Hastings complained that nuclear power using recycled fuel rods isn't viewed as "green," and that hydropower doesn't qualify as renewable under a 2006 voter-approved ballot initiative. "If solar power and wind generating electricity through a turbine are green, why isn't water running downhill?" said Hastings, referring to the new law, which requires utilities with 25,000 or more customers to meet specific renewable energy goals by 2020.

In his talk, Hastings also criticized the House Democrats' budget bill, which doesn't renew the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. Set to expire in 2010, the measures cut taxes on dividends, capital gains and inherited wealth while doubling the child tax credit and reducing the marriage penalty. Critics say the cuts benefited the wealthy, drove up taxes on the middle class and did little to help lower-income workers, who don't pay much in taxes anyway.

But Hastings has maintained that the cuts are responsible for the economic recovery after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. To eliminate them would be to raise taxes, he said. "The budget blueprint says these tax cuts will go away, and in my view that's a tax increase," he said.

Health care policy will be a welcome topic of debate during the presidential campaign, he said. "Frankly, I think we need it." But he said anything that gives the federal government a greater role in health care would be a mistake. One member of the audience spoke up in support of the publicly funded health care system in Canada, pointing out that the United States ranks low on several measures of health, including low birth weights.

But Hastings wasn't buying the Canadian model. He noted that a Calgary woman last summer delivered four identical girls at a hospital in Montana because of a shortage of neonatal beds in Canada. If he were to look to another country as a model for anything, Hastings said it would be France because it relies heavily on nuclear power.



About a year ago, Canadian environmentalist and journalist Lawrence Solomon began a series of articles in the National Post examining the credentials of and arguments made by scientists and economists labeled "deniers" by various environmentalists, a number of mainstream environmental reporters, and some politicians. Solomon, true to the finest tenets of his profession, sought the truth concerning whether there was in fact a consensus on the headline-grabbing issue of global warming, or whether in fact any "real" scientists actually dissented from the Al Gore/UN line that global warming is happening, is largely caused by humans, and threatens all manner of catastrophies.

As many people - policy wonks and fellow travelers - on this blog are well aware, dissenting scientists are not in fact rare: There are serious scholars whose views should, but too often do not, inform the debate. Solomon's columns were important because they brought this message to a wider audience. As Solomon's knowledge grew, he found that the genre limits of newspaper writing precluded an adequately in-depth exploration of these skeptical scientists' important observations. Accordingly, selecting some of the scientists discussed in his columns, Solomon has written a book: The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**and those who are too fearful to do so. As a jacket blurb puts it, "What he found shocked him. Solomon discovered that on every "headline" global warming issue, not only were there serious scientists who dissented, consistently the dissenters were by far the more accomplished and eminent scientists."

This book does not attempt to settle the science, or show that humans are or are not responsible for the present warming trend, or settle what we can expect the future harms/benefits of continued warming (or cooling) might be. Rather, the genius of the book is that it shows in a manner accessible to a lay audience that uncertainties concerning each important facet of the "consensus" view on warming abound, and that the dissenting views are at least as plausible (and often more compelling) than the IPCC/Gore camps.

The Deniers, examines what should be the active debates concerning the plausibility of the argument that human CO2 emissions (or CO2 per se) is a driver for climate change, what role the sun may play in warming, what role the present warming trend (and human activities) play in hurricane and tropical/parasitic disease patterns, and the reliability of the climate models, among other issues. In addition, Solomon notes the harsh treatment that many scientists have endured simply because they followed the scientific method, the evidence from their research, and their own consciences, all of which led them to the conclusion that this or that facet of the global-warming consensus view was woefully incomplete or flat-out wrong. This treatment has had the effect intended by global warming scaremongers - to shut down promising areas of research and to silence credible critics. As I put it in an earlier column:

"The term skeptic has historically been a badge of honor proudly worn by scientists as indicating their commitment to the idea that in the pursuit of truth, nothing is beyond question, every bit of knowledge is open to improvement and/or refutation as new evidence or better theories emerge. However, in the topsy-turvy field of climate science, "skeptic" is a term of opprobrium and to be labeled a skeptic is to be dismissed as a hack. Being a skeptic concerning global warming today is akin to being a heretic in the Middle Ages - you may not be literally burned at the stake, but your reputation will be put to flames.

"In response, many scientists whose research calls into question one or more of the fundamental tenets of global warming orthodoxy, have learned to couch their conclusions carefully. They argue, for instance, that while their research does not match up with this or that point in global warming theory, or would seem to undermine this or that conclusion, they are not denying that humans are causing global warming and they cannot account for the discrepancy between their work and the theory's predictions. These scientists have learned the hard lesson that when reality and the theory conflict, for professional reasons, they'd better cling to the theory: shades of Galileo recanting his theory that the earth revolves around the sun under pressure from the Inquisition."

Though there are many good books on global warming, The Deniers is among the most effective in showing how science is being fundamentally undermined in the current politicized atmosphere of climate research. In addition, like no other book or paper I know, it provides a concise but thorough overview of the myriad weaknesses of the consensus view, the quality and substance of the criticisms of that view, and the stellar qualifications of those scientists labeled derisively as "deniers."

This book should be read by anyone who seriously wants to understand where and why substantive debate remains concerning climate change and why there is so much vitriol surrounding what until recently was a relatively quiet, unheralded, or unnoticed (except by its practitioners) field of science. If a person could read only one book this year on climate change, this is the one I'd pick.



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.


Saturday, March 29, 2008


An email from Jens Kieffer-Olsen, M.Sc.(Elec.Eng.), Slagelse, Denmark []

Sweden has experienced the coldest Easter in more than a century:

"A violent cold front moved down from the Arctic. And places like Nikkaloukta in Northern Lappland experienced the iciest Easter in more than 100 years. 41 degrees below zero had the most hardened Nikkaloukta citizen contemplate, if it was really necessary to go outside."

See here ("En valdsam kallfront drog ner fran Arktis. Och stallen som Nikkaloukta i norra Lappland fick uppleva den iskallaste pasken pa over 100 ar. 41 minusgrader fick den mest hardade Nikkalouktabo att fundera pa om det verkligen var nodvandigt att ga ut").

Gore fails to respond to challenge from forecasting expert

Communication from Scott Armstrong below:

The extended due date for the Global Warming Challenge passed with no word from Mr. Gore. Although he and Professor Armstrong have had a number of communications, Mr. Gore offered no response to the key question:

"When and under what conditions would you be willing to engage in a scientific test of your forecasts?"

Validation of forecasting methods is a key issue in climate change because, although we know that climate varies, we have been unable to locate a single scientific forecast that supports global warming. If Mr. Gore or anyone else is aware of such a forecast, they should reveal the source to the scientific community. Claims that science supports global warming forecasts have, to date, failed to provide sources.

A history of the Global Warning Challenge is provided here. It includes all correspondence between Scott Armstrong and Al Gore. The site will post all papers that purport to provide scientific forecasts of global warming. The papers must provide full disclosure on how the forecasts were made, as full disclosure is one of the basic principles of science.

Sunspots Erupt Suddenly

Nice to see below an admission of how little we understand about variations in solar activity

After months of relative quietude, a trio of new sunspot groups appeared this week and they are all growing rapidly. But there's something strange about these spots.

Sunspots are cool regions of intense, twisted magnetic activity at the solar surface. They act like caps on the upwelling of energy, and when the caps pop, flares of radiation and ejections of charged particles are unleashed. Major solar storms can disrupt communications on Earth and even disable satellites.

The sun goes through an 11-year cycle of activity. The last peak, when sunspots were common and flares frequent, was in 2001 and 2002. The new cycle, Solar Cycle 24, began recently, scientists figure, based on a sunspot with reversed polarity appearing. But pinning down exactly when the shift occurred has proven challenging - it might have been in 2006, sun-watching scientists reported initially, or perhaps 2007, they later said.

Adding to the tangle of understanding, the new sunspots have a magnetic polarity consistent with Solar Cycle 23 rather than the new cycle, proving yet again that much remains to be learned about the temperamental sun.

One of the new sunspots, No. 989, kicked up a moderate solar flare Tuesday. NOAA forecasters put the odds at 50-50 for additional moderate flares today. Solar storms sometimes generate colorful auroras above Earth's polar regions. No significant auroral displays are expected this week, however. Though forecasts vary wildly, some scientists predict Solar Cycle 24 will be intense. If so, "it could have significant impacts on telecommunications, air traffic, power grids and GPS systems," according to a NASA statement issued in December. [Odd that they left out climate there]



A two-day bilateral summit is to culminate today (27 March) with the signing of a new accord that will see France help the UK develop a new generation of nuclear power stations. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown are to seal the agreement on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium in North London, the home of Arsenal football club.

Speaking on Tuesday on the eve of Sarkozy's arrival, UK Business Minister John Hutton said he wanted Britain to become "the number one place in the world for companies to do business in new nuclear". "I believe that the revival of nuclear power in Britain today [.] has the potential to be the most significant opportunity for our energy economy since the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas," said Hutton, according to Reuters.

EDF, the state-controlled French power utility, said it wanted to build four new plants to help replace Britain's ageing stock of 23 nuclear power stations, which currently provide about 20% of the UK's electricity. The new reactor would be the state-of-the-art EPR model developed by French group Areva, which is also partially state-owned. The deal would allow Britain to regain the expertise in nuclear power engineering that it lost following a planned phase-out of atomic power. The last of Britain's existing nuclear plants is scheduled for closure by 2035, leaving the country with a potential energy gap.

In Brussels, the European Commission has recently backed the technology, saying it will be needed if Europe is to meet its ambitious climate change goals and reduce CO2 emissions by a quarter by 2020. "Energy consumption worldwide is likely to double between 2000 and 2050, and nuclear energy will remain a key element in future low-carbon energy systems," the Commission said in September last year, presenting its new Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP)

Speaking in October 2007, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU must hold a "full and frank" debate on the nuclear issue. "Member states cannot avoid the question of nuclear energy," he said. Environmental groups have applauded the Commission's move to open the nuclear debate but argue that the technology is dangerous and not required to reduce CO2 emissions.



Senior German energy executives warned yesterday that Europe's biggest economy faces growing blackouts unless it follows the Franco-British lead in promoting new nuclear power stations. They seized on a weekend report in the Guardian that Gordon Brown and French president Nicolas Sarkozy will unveil an alliance to build nuclear plants and export the modern technology worldwide at their "Arsenal" summit at the Emirates Stadium this week to press the case for Germany to pursue its own new nuclear renaissance.

As commentators said Germany risked being left behind, Wulf Bernotat, E.ON chief executive, said the country could face an electricity shortage of 12 to 21 gigawatts (GW), according to official estimates from the German energy agency (Dena). "The conclusion arises: we still need nuclear power and we need modern gas- and coal-fired power stations that emit significantly less CO2," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

His comments echo similar warnings from Jrgen Grossmann, his opposite number at RWE, Germany's second-biggest energy group. Grossmann said that blackouts could occur as early as this summer because of problems with wind power and cooling difficulties in other power plants. RWE estimates Germany could face a 30GW power gap by 2015.

E.ON and RWE, among Britain's top five energy suppliers, have both said they are keen to build new-generation nuclear plants in the UK. Along with British Gas owner Centrica, they are cited as would-be purchasers of British Energy, the nuclear operator put up for sale a week ago.

France relies on nuclear power for 80% of its primary energy need. It is building a new-generation plant on the Channel coast and Brown has given the go-ahead for new plants in Britain, probably on existing sites already connected to the grid.

Bernotat, head of Germany's biggest power group, warned that prices were bound to rise if demand outstripped supply and said the easiest way to overcome the gap was to prolong the life of Germany's existing 17 nuclear power plants. Under an agreement between the ruling grand coalition partners, Germany will close all of its plants by 2021 and build no new ones.

Germany's nuclear plants account for 21GW of capacity, a quarter of its power production. Chancellor Angela Merkel favours prolonging their lives and building new nuclear plants, but is bound by the agreement - which could fall by the wayside if she forms a different government after next year's general election.


Earth Hour should be grounded

Comment from Andrew Bolt in Australia

A lot of hot air is going into tomorrow's Earth Hour, and I don't just mean the hot-air balloon sent up last Saturday to promote this hour-long switch-off. But, good God, why did the organisers choose that way to promote a campaign to make us cut our gases? Sending up the 32-metre light globe-shaped billboard burned so much gas - and emitted so much carbon dioxide - that we'll have to switch off 10,000 lights tomorrow just to make it up.

Perfect, then, that it landed in the Peanut Farm Reserve, and equally symbolic that The Age gave this wildly inappropriate stunt fawning coverage. Why? Because Earth Hour proves that what threatens us is not so much global warming, but lousy journalism. Asking us to turn off lights between 8pm and 9pm is a crusade by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. And already one light is staying on and flashing alarm.

You see, it's always a danger when newspapers take up campaigns. Suddenly they get tempted to report only stuff that pushes their agenda, and to ignore facts that don't. The Age and SMH - already giddy with global warming evangelism - perfectly illustrate this danger.

Earth Hour started last year in Sydney, where the SMH campaigned furiously to get everyone in the CBD to turn off their lights for an hour after dusk to "raise awareness" that our gases from electricity use were allegedly warming the world to hell. But it was a flop - lights blazed on - yet you won't read that in The Age or SMH. On the contrary, the SMH's Sunday paper, The Sun-Herald, instead ran "before and after" pictures purporting to show Sydney plunge from a blaze of light into a great gloom. But the dark "after" picture turned out to have been badly under-exposed compared with the "before" picture. And the "before" picture turned out to have been taken not just before Earth Hour but two days earlier, when, as Media Watch reported, "weather conditions helped make the whole scene look much lighter".

Nothing dishonest was done, of course. It's just that these two "mistakes" suited the paper's agenda. It didn't stop there. Check how The Age now routinely reports last year's "success":

"Last year's first Earth Hour had as many as 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2000 businesses turn off their lights, causing a 10 per cent drop in the city's energy use."

Really? First, it's mad to think half of Sydney's population switched off for a stunt centred on the CBD. This figure is actually a huge extrapolation from a poll of fewer than 800 guilty people who claimed they'd maybe switched off something or other during the hour. Second, the claimed dip in power was just for the CBD, not all Sydney. Third, the 10 per cent cut claimed for the CBD is itself a gross exaggeration.

A cut so tiny is trivial - equal to taking six cars off the road for a year. But David Solomon, a finance PhD student at the Chicago University's graduate school of business, crunched Sydney's power figures to exclude seasonal and daily fluctuations, and concluded there was actually close to no power saving at all. "When a fixed effect is included for the whole day, the drop in electricity use during Earth Hour is statistically indistinguishable from zero."

So why does The Age exaggerate? Because it's on a campaign to persuade, not inform, which is why it also won't report other awkward facts. Here's one: global temperatures have fallen since 1998. Indeed, all four big global temperature tracking outlets, including Britain's Hadley Centre, now say global temperatures over the past year have dropped sharply. NASA adds that the oceans have also cooled for the past few years.

Why doesn't The Age tell its readers this, instead of scaring them with reports, and balloons, that are just hot air? That's crusading, not reporting.



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.


Friday, March 28, 2008


An email from Kirtland C. Griffin [] of Guilford, CT

In an article in the Economist, Feb 21st 2008, it talks about the acidification of the oceans caused by anthropogenic CO2. It says that if something doesn't change, portions of the world's oceans could no longer support certain forms of aquatic life. Specifically at risk are sponges, corals and brachiopods. The concern relates in part to the huge volcanic eruptions at the end of the Permian Period 252 million years ago. They say that CO2 spewed from the volcanos caused the world's oceans to become more acidic, or probably more correctly, less alkaline.

The origin of the concern is a mathematical model. Where have we heard that before? They say that it is not only the reduction in alkalinity that is a concern but that, in conjunction with increasing ocean temperature, is more detrimental than either alone. Of course, the claim is made that this could lead to a domino effect and who knows what could happen if we continue to emit green house gas pollution?

What is important is not so much what the article says but rather how I became aware of it as well as what it does not say. An associate of mine had shown me a news release by a prominent US University. Not surprisingly, it espoused the UN IPCC line of alarmist AGW catastrophes. Knowing how I felt about the subject he asked what I thought of it because he was going there over the coming weekend and would be able to ask those responsible for the news release to comment on my input. I gave him what I though was a good assortment of scientific and political arguments and off he went as I eagerly awaited the outcome. Well, since he was "one of them" working with the department on a project, they actually told him they didn't buy the global warming thing either. That was a story for the general public to force them to do the right thing for the wrong reason. The world has to change their lifestyle for its own good. One can only imagine my surprise to hear that what many had thought, was really true.

This would have been a significant enough revelation to make this story interesting to any skeptic, but there was more to come. After relating the story to me, this individual went back a second time. This time they presented him with the article from the Economist and asked for further comment thinking that this time he had me. Now I am no ocean scientist, nor am I a chemist, but something smelled. After a little looking I found my information on the CO2, carbonic acid, calcite system.

The oceans are a vast reservoir of Carbon in various forms and there is a well regulated compensation system that covers a wide range of CO2 concentrations and temperature variation that has worked over billions of years. The other thing was that volcanos spew out CO2 but also SO2 as the Number 2 gas. Sorry, no pun intended. SO2 dissolved in water yields sulfurous acid, so I am told by Oliver Manuel, which is a much stronger acid than carbonic acid. So the effects associated with volcanic eruptions are unrelated to the current situation and was more severe. But that has never bothered the DAGW proponents. When I presented my rebuttal, the response was that this has nothing to do with the AGW agenda. This is different. IT CLEARLY IS NOT!

As sure as I am sitting here writing this, acidification is the next hoax to be perpetrated on the world to rein in our fossil fuel appetite. As the average global temperature continues to decline, the socialist opportunists will have to find another way to control the world and collect their carbon taxes to support their agenda and profit motives. Has anyone ever wondered that the primary architect of the Kyoto Protocol is a buddy of Al Gore and sells carbon credits?

The recent report of ocean temperatures cooling will not help their cause but even the National Jet Propulsion Laboratory suspects there might be a problem with the measurements. Apparently, the results did not conform to their preconceived notion of the outcome. The ocean temperature data may be a revelation as to the condition of our surface measurement system which several have demonstrated has a warming bias from the location of the stations to the corrections for the urban heat island effect.

The President of the Czech Republic, Dr Maclav Klaus, had it right when he said "A week ago, I gave a speech at an official gathering at the Prague Castle commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1948 communist putsch in the former Czechoslovakia. One of the arguments of my speech there, quoted in all the leading newspapers in the country the next morning, went as follows: "Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical - the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence of its proponents about their right to sacrifice man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality." What I had in mind was, of course, environmentalism especially in its currently strongest version, climate alarmism....It has never been about the environment."

What the ABC News attack on climate scientist Fred Singer did not mention

At the end of 2006, climate scientist S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia and the Science & Environmental Policy Project and Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute co-authored Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, a New York Times non-fiction bestseller. Yesterday, ABC's World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris aired a harsh attack on Dr. Singer in a segment titled "Global Warming Denier: Fraud or 'Realist'?"

Avery, Director of Hudson's Center for Global Food Issues, declares, "It seems likely that ABC attacked Singer now because the earth has apparently stopped warming -- in defiance of the man-made warming theory."

The earth's surface temperatures have registered no warming trend since 1998, even though the levels of atmosphere CO2 have continued to increase strongly. In 2000, the sunspot numbers turned downward, which historically has predicted a decline in the earth's temperatures roughly a decade later. The sunspot indices have continued to predict cooling ever since. Last month, three of the world's major monitoring sites announced that earth's temperatures actually declined from January 2007 to January 2008 -- the first such global temperature drop in 30 years. The Hadley Centre in the UK, NASA, and the University of Alabama/Huntsville all reported the decline.

Josh Willis, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recently told National Public Radio that the oceans had stopped warming 4-5 years ago, based on key information from new high-tech ocean buoys. The embarrassing truth is that the weak correlation between earth's temperatures and human-emitted greenhouse gases is rapidly worsening. The CO2 correlation with earth's thermometer record since 1860 is less than 22 percent. The correlation between earth temperatures and sunspots is 79 percent and strengthening.

Singer and Avery have published extensively on the evidence of the moderate, natural 1,500-year climate cycle, which was discovered in the Greenland ice cores in 1984, and a few years later in the Vostok Antarctic glacier core -- at the opposite end of the earth. The three researchers who led the climate cycle discovery received the "environmental Nobel" -- the Tyler Prize -- in 1996: Willi Dansgaard of Denmark, Hans Oeschger of Switzerland, and Claude Lorius of France.

Singer and Avery have also presented the names of more than 700 scientists who have published peer-reviewed evidence on the physical evidence of the 1,500-year climate cycle. It comes from such sources as the oxygen isotopes in the layers of ice cores and cave stalagmites, in the one-celled sediment fossils of oceans and lakes worldwide, in fossil pollen from across America, Asia, Europe, and Africa -- and even in the tooth enamel of dead Vikings buried in Greenland.

Singer and Avery emphasize that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a retired executive of Merrill Lynch who was a member of the Hudson Institute Board of Directors. Neither has received any significant funding from the energy industry.

"It seems likely that if the earth's temperatures continue to defy the 'global warming consensus' there will be more attacks on those who study the physical evidence of the earth's previous warmings," says Avery. These include the Medieval Warming (950 -- 1300 AD), the Roman Warming (200 BC -- 600 AD), and the two much-warmer Holocene Warmings, which peaked about 5,000 and 7,000 years ago. There have been at least 500 such warmings over the past one million years.



Earlier this month, Ted Nordhaus posted "The `Serious Business' of Kyoto: EU to `overshoot' its emissions reductions targets? Read between the lines." His analysis rightly takes the EU to task for overselling its GHG-emissions-reduction activities, in the hope that the U.S. will buy what they're selling and leap aboard the sinking ship of carbon cap-and-trade. Nordhaus reveals that the EU's claims to leadership and projected success on the GHG-reduction front are based on assumptions that will likely prove embarrassing in hindsight.

The December 2007 report to which he refers, incorporating emissions through 2005, is risible for its spin. The authors somehow lowered their projection of future emissions from the year before, after emissions turned upward, and strongly, in 2006 (because of a good economic year). The European Environment Agency (EEA) won't officially report the 2006 spike until June 2008, so for a few more months, this whopper of a lie has as shelf life.

The EU isn't a straight shooter on the environment - but some Americans work quite hard to ignore this. Nordhaus's post is useful, because he realizes the EU's reporting is all smoke and mirrors, and it seems that the only way to get that fact to register publicly with greens and policymakers (to the extent they don't already know it privately) is for the case to be made by realistic eco-progressives lke Nordhaus.

There is even more smoke and mirrors than Nordhaus indicates, though. He focuses on the EU's projected "reduction" by 2012 of 11 percent below 1990 GHG emission levels, and describes it as oversold for two reasons: 1) the political decisions unrelated to Kyoto: the UK's "dash for gas" and the shuttering of East German industry after reunification accounts for most of the promised "reduction," and 2) the cocktail of implausible overperformance by states, policies, and Kyoto programs. Nordhaus gets the gist of Europe's fudging, paper shuffling, and exaggerated optimism, but his focus on the EU's projection is to the apparent exclusion of looking at actual performance.

Any analysis of GHG-reduction performance to date tells us that EU emissions will be nowhere presumed levels. Nordhaus grants the projection more credit than it deserves under any reasonable scrutiny of the EEA's own muddied presentation of the facts. The EU says that if it just coasted from today, its existing measures "will" yield an average reduction over 2008-12 of 4 percent below 1990 - but that "will" depends on a host of implausible "ifs." That 4 percent reduction is patent nonsense, given the EU's admitted (if, again, not advertised) emissions increases in two out of every three years since Kyoto was agreed in 1997 - which has left them, as of a year ago, at or about their 1990 emission levels, with those emissions rising.

It is true that the report to which Nordhaus refers claims that emissions as of 2005 were 2 percent below 1990 levels. As I have previously demonstrated, that figure is the product of serially changing their 1990 baseline years after the fact. The larger subterfuge will be revealed as false when 2006 figures are finally released by Brussels, barring more funny business with their numbers. Nordhaus is far too indulgent of the EU's spin. The fact is: emissions aren't down, economy-wide or among ETS-covered sectors.

Since policies inspired by Kyoto began accumulating in Europe, emissions are rising steadily. The ETS did not change this, to much embarrassment. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas even admitted that he could identify no emissions reduction for which the ETS could claim credit. Had Nordhaus looked at how the EU's promises compare to performance, he would have seen the so-called reduction that he accepts arguendo is actually no such thing, with CO2 emissions at about 5 percent over 1990 levels through 2006 (this will be updated and formalized by EEA in June, but sufficient member-state data is available to support this assessment). To take just one isolated example: the UK's claimed reduction to date of 12 percent below 1990 levels was off by, oh, about 12 percent.

The EEA assume that this, like every year in the decade preceding it, is the year when they will wrench their trajectory from upward-ticking to a starkly downward one. For a decade they have proven wildly unreliable. There is no reason in the record to believe that the claims in the report Nordhaus reviewed are any different. Their projected reduction is far more implausible than Nordhaus lets on. In short, this analysis isn't factually wrong, but with the appropriate context could be more right.



To all of the ill-effects blamed on man-made global warming, we might add one more. It appears that an obsession with climate change can make sane people warm to mad ideas. Take the Soil Association proposals to make it harder for produce from Africa to be labelled as organic, in order to cut the amount of fruit and vegetables flown into the UK. The justification is that this will reduce "food miles", CO2 emissions and man-made global warming, and thus protect the developing world from the impact of climate change. The likely effect will be to put some of the most downtrodden farmers in the world out of work.

So how do we save Africa from a possible future disaster? Apparently, by creating a real disaster in the here and now: making poor Africans even poorer. That sounds like madness - or plain badness - to me.

Air-freighted produce makes up 1 per cent of total UK organic sales - and those remain a tiny niche in the grocery market. Only a mind as sharp as an organic Kenyan banana could seriously believe that this is a big factor in Britannia's "carbon footprint". Indeed, the whole notion of "food miles" is hard to swallow. Research suggests that growing food in the sunshine of Africa and flying them to Europe produces less carbon - not to mention more taste - than growing them under glass and artificial heat in Britain or the Netherlands. Greenhouse effect, anybody?

Some of us might even suspect that, under the fresh-looking label of environmental concern, the UK organic lobby is expressing soiled Little Englander prejudices about keeping out "foreign muck". BA and Virgin Atlantic are flying in farmers' representatives from Ghana and Kenya to put their case against the new restrictions on organic air-freight. Even this old man of the Left can see that here the corporate giants are on the side of the angels, while the "radical" organic fruitcakes are flying in the face of progress and equality. We should defend the freedom of African farmers to air-lift their produce on to our plates.

Of course, in an entirely sane world, these African farmers would not have to jet around the world to demand their right to use backward and back-breaking "organic" methods which, as one village co-operative member told The Times, are simply "the way our fathers and grandfathers farmed". In a saner world they would be raising investment in the sort of industrialised and, yes, chemically assisted agricultural methods necessary to feed their people properly as well as to fly us fresh fruit and veg all year round. But in the current mad climate surrounding climate change, no doubt that will be thought bananas.



Plans to force motorists to run their cars on "green" petrol could lead to higher levels of greenhouse gases, the Government's leading environment scientist warned yesterday. Professor Robert Watson said it would be "totally insane" to promote the use of biofuels for environmental purposes if it was found that their production contributed to greater carbon emissions through the destruction of forests. He called on the Government to delay the compulsory use of "green" petrol and diesel until a review has been completed into the sustainability of their production.

From next week, 2.5 per cent of all fuel sold at British pumps must be derived from biofuels, a figure expected to rise to five per cent by 2010. The move, under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), is aimed at reducing the impact of fossil fuels, regarded as a major contributor to climate change. But scientists fear it could have the opposite effect.

Last month, a study by the Nature Conservancy and the University of Minnesota, published in Science magazine, warned that clearing forests, grassland and peatland to plant crops for biofuels released more carbon than it saved.

Prof Watson, the chief scientist at the Department for the Environment, said yesterday that it was time to heed the concerns. "It would obviously be totally insane if we had a policy to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of biofuels that's actually leading to an increase in the greenhouse gases from biofuels," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.



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.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Misleading Reports About Antarctica

The OVERALL ice cover in the Antarctic is in fact increasing. See graphic below

Last year when Antarctic set a new record for ice extent, it got no media attention. They focused on the north polar regions where the ice set record low levels. This summer when unprecedented anomalous cover continued in the Southern Hemisphere again no coverage. Then this report in the news today. You probably saw it on your favorite network or internet news site (pick one, anyone).
Vast Antarctic Ice Shelf on Verge of Collapse - Latest Sign of Global Warming's Impact Shocks Scientists

A vast ice shelf hanging on by a thin strip looks to be the next chunk to break off from the Antarctic Peninsula, the latest sign of global warming's impact on Earth's southernmost continent. Scientists are shocked by the rapid change of events. Glaciologist Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado was monitoring satellite images of the Wilkins Ice Shelf and spotted a huge iceberg measuring 25 miles by 1.5 miles (37 square miles) that appeared to have broken away from the shelf. Scambos alerted colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) that it looked like the entire ice shelf - about 6,180 square miles (about the size of Northern Ireland)- was at risk of collapsing. The region where the Wilkins Ice Shelf lies has experienced unprecedented warming in the past 50 years, with several ice shelves retreating in the past 30 years. Six of these ice shelves have collapsed completely: Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and the Jones Ice Shelf.

Lets put this in perspective. The account may be misinterpreted by some as the ice cap or a significant (vast) portion is collapsing. In reality it and all the former shelves that collapsed are small and most near the Antarctic peninsula which sticks well out from Antarctica into the currents and winds of the South Atlantic and lies in a tectonically active region with surface and subsurface active volcanic activity. The vast continent has actually cooled since 1979.

The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last year's record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica's ice sheet is also starting to disappear.


The hot air of hypocrisy

The European Union summit reveals plenty of hypocrisy over climate-change targets

Demand agreement on a divorce settlement before you marry, and the world may believe many things of you: that you are prudent, or cynical, or just a bit mean. What it will not believe is that you are a swooning romantic, moved only by the high ideals of love. You can boast you are an idealist, in other words, or you can make a pre-nuptial agreement: you cannot plausibly do both.

Just such a test faced European Union leaders at their recent summit, when they reviewed their year-old plan to lead the world in the fight against climate change. A year ago they were brimming with selfless idealism. They agreed to make deep cuts in carbon emissions (by a fifth from 1990 levels by 2020), even if other rich countries did not follow. The signal was clear: Europe will start saving the planet now, even if the selfish Americans (not to mention the Chinese and Indians) are not ready. Bigger cuts were promised if other countries joined in, prompting much self-congratulatory talk about the EU's "leading role".

That was then. A year on, with the world economy looking wobblier, the March summit was a less uplifting affair. Leaders from countries with powerful heavy-industry lobbies called for explicit measures to "protect" European firms in case talks on a global climate-change deal failed (and left the Europeans pushing ahead with tough curbs on their own). In a move that would make an American divorce lawyer proud, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic all asked the EU to plan for failure, insisting that defensive measures must be agreed before climate-change talks in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

Demanding "certainty" today for businesses that have to make long-term investment decisions, the heads of governments also asked for a list of energy-intensive industries "particularly exposed to international competition". Industries making steel, aluminium, paper, chemicals and bricks were all cited, as were others such as cement that are barely touched by imports (being cheap and heavy, cement is usually produced round the corner from where it is used).

EU leaders then asked for a range of protective policies to be spelled out. Germany backed a carve-out for the most energy-guzzling factories, giving them continued access to free carbon credits from the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) after 2012, by which time other polluters will mostly be buying emissions allowances at auction. The worst idea came from France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who renewed calls for a carbon tax on imports from countries that "don't play the game" on climate change. The European Commission should find a way to "penalise" companies from such countries, he added-blithely ignoring the existence of firms that come from more than one country, source components from a dozen more and manufacture on every continent. Otherwise, he said, Europe would "get all the downsides [of fighting climate change], and none of the benefits". Other than the benefit of saving the planet, one might retort: the project in which Europe claims a "leading" role.

Others were more subtle than Mr Sarkozy, but even more hypocritical, dressing up calls for handouts as concern for the world. Endless bigwigs said heavy industry would move to countries with "lower standards" unless helped to stay (by letting factories observe, er, lower standards). This argument even has its own jargon: "carbon leakage", an ugly term gaining currency in Euro-circles, to convey the threat that carbon-spewing firms might move to places with weaker environmental laws.

Advocates of special favours for EU industry insist that factory owners will still have an incentive to install clean technology, because "free" ETS allowances will not really be free. They may be accompanied by benchmarks-eg, setting maximum carbon emissions for every tonne of steel produced-with free allowances given only to firms that meet the standard (and then only within a sector-wide cap). Another suggestion is to make importers enter the ETS and buy European emissions allowances to cover their products (though squaring this idea with fixed Europe-wide caps on allowances sounds a nightmare).

Yet listen to European industrialists, and they are saying something simpler: they may leave if carbon curbs make it more competitive to produce elsewhere. One can play with the details, but if carbon curbs bite at all, such a threat must remain. If they do not bite, it is hard to see how European production will become magically greener. (There is also the small detail, raised by countries such as Sweden, that investment may actually be more effective outside the EU: building a clean new plant in China to replace a Mao-era horror might reduce global emissions more than tweaking technology at a European factory, say).

As usual the summit ended in a fudge, after the dangers of pre-empting a global deal were pointed out forcefully by leaders from Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and the European Commission. The commission will "analyse" and "address" carbon leakage in a directive on the next generation of the ETS, coming out in early 2009. But details remain vague.

Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, insisted that the summit was "not calling into question" last year's headline targets. One might wonder. As one senior official notes, if Europe lets favoured industries fight Chinese or Indian rivals with a "race to the bottom" on emissions, that means other bits of the economy must slash emissions even more, if Europe means what it says on overall caps. There was much talk in Brussels of ensuring a "level playing-field" for EU industries. But here is the rub: if you do the right thing, you will not be on a level playing-field with those doing the wrong thing. Like marriage, fighting climate change involves a leap of faith. Does Europe accept that? Like a blushing bride suddenly demanding a pre-nup, it is sending out rather mixed signals right now.



Japan will push for an easier target for reducing greenhouse gases in the next international pact on global warming than in the previous one, a top bureaucrat said Monday. The Kyoto global warming pact requires nations to cut emissions below 1990 levels, but critics say that is too difficult because emissions in many countries have risen dramatically since then. Instead, Japan will push to set the base year for 2005 in an agreement that is meant to take effect when Kyoto expires in 2012, said Takao Kitabata, vice-minister of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Kitabata argued 1990 levels are too easy to meet for industrial nations of the European Union, which has absorbed Eastern European countries whose emissions dropped in the 1990s. The EU backs continuing with 1990 as the base year. "Comparisons with 1990 levels are extremely unfair, and that is the Japanese government's stance," Kitabata told reporters. "It would be fair to set 2005 as the base year." Kitabata, the top bureaucrat at the ministry, also argued that Japan accepted unfairly tough conditions in the Kyoto accord in 1997. He called for a more equitable burden-sharing in the next pact. "What happened in Kyoto was that we were forced to swallow disadvantageous conditions for diplomatic reasons," he said.

Kitabata also said that having 1990 as the base year "would be also difficult to obtain support from China, India and other emerging nations because that would be an enormous burden for them."

The Kyoto Protocol requires 36 industrialized countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The United States is the only major industrialized nation to have remained outside Kyoto, arguing that such cuts would hurt its economy. Washington also says the pact is unfair because it doesn't oblige major emitters such as China to make reductions.

Japan is struggling to meet its Kyoto obligation of 6 percent cuts. While Tokyo has called for cutting global emissions by 50 percent by 2050, it has not yet set a firm base year for such cuts.

Nations have agreed at U.N.-led talks to put together a new climate change agreement by 2009 to take effect when Kyoto ends in 2012. The United States and Japan are calling on China and other emerging emitters to assume a greater burden for reducing greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but developing countries say wealthy countries should take more responsibility because they industrialized first.



It's obviously not their real priority

They like their weird analogies at Gristmill. The latest comes from scientist and Green oracle Joseph Romm, in an introduction to a tirade about geo-engineering by guest poster Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project: "Geo-engineering is to mitigation as chemotherapy is to diet and exercise"

Weird. Because chemotherapy is rather more useful than diet and exercise when it comes to, say, curing someone of cancer. It's even weirder for the fact that Gristmill's last weird analogy, by Romm's fellow scientist and Green oracle Andrew Dessler, likened the planet to a sick child in need of expert medical advice. Romm, it seems, would rather turn Dessler's sick child over to some TV nutritionist to get them jogging and eating more broccoli.

The thrust of Becker's piece is that the planet might be screwed, but that efforts to mitigate global warming through geo-engineering - giant mirrors in space, the injection of aerosols into the atmosphere, carbon sequestration, seeding oceans with iron oxide, and that sort of thing - are unethical and impractical. "Intergenerational ethics argue against us leaving massive, intractable problems for future generations, forcing them to deal in perpetuity with nuclear waste, carbon sequestration sites, and geo-engineering systems - all subject to human error and to failures that would be deadly."

Apparently, however, leaving future generations without infrastructure and energy supplies to withstand the ravages of future climate, is perfectly acceptable. Moreover, it's hard to imagine any human endeavour - apart from jogging and eating broccoli, perhaps - that would meet Becker's ethical criteria. Ultimately Becker's is an argument against progress, because pretty much all human activity is geo-engineering. As William M. Briggs puts it, "It is trivially true that man, and every other organism, influences his environment, and hence his climate." And as Becker continues, his antipathy towards humanity's efforts to improve its lot shines through: "Think of dams and levees designed to control rivers so that people can live in natural floodplains - sometimes with disastrous results ... Geo-engineering is born of the dangerous conceit that human engineering is superior to nature's engineering ... Lacking regard for natural systems, we have upset them ... we lack humility."

The Greens' resistance to geo-engineering sits very uncomfortably with its message that the planet is screwed and we're all going to die. It suggests that Environmentalism has less to do with saving the planet than it does with reining in human aspirations. It suggests that they don't actually believe their own press releases, and that they know the situation is not as dire as they would like the rest of us to think it is. And that Environmentalists are cutting off their noses to spite their faces - "we'll save the planet our way or not at all." It suggests that Environmentalists regard science and engineering as the cause of problems, and not the solution.

"Even if [geo-engineering] were able to stabilize climate change - which is doubtful ... We still would be addicted to imported oil, still would be subsidizing terrorism with our gas dollars, still would suffer the cost and supply traumas that are inevitable with finite resources, still would send our children off to die in resource wars, still would pollute the air and cause respiratory problems for our children, and still would wipe out species, many of them beneficial to us, as we invade their habitat."

As if reducing CO2 emissions would stabilise the climate. The weather will continue to pick off those who are not buffered against it regardless of whether climate change predictions are realised or not. As if a stable climate would prevent resource wars or global terrorism. If anything creates resource shortages, Environmentalism does. Indeed, by drawing on the dangers of terrorism to justify environmental politics, Becker merely demonstrates how Environmentalism and the War on Terror are united in their deployment of the Politics of Fear.

There are good reasons to think that geo-engineering cannot stabilise the climate either. Control of the climate might well be too much to ask of a strategy that manipulates a single variable in a hugely complex system. And yet the tweaking of a single variable - CO2 emissions - is precisely what the Greens are demanding.

Contrary to Romm's analogy, the Greens' efforts to save the planet are far more like chemotherapy than diet and exercise. After all, it is the Greens who liken humanity to a plague, virus or a cancer infecting planet Earth. And their insistence that we batten down the hatches, tread lightly on the Earth, ration our energy and bow to the superiority of Mother Nature would leave us even more vulnerable to her whims than we are already. Engineering fixes for global warming are, says Becker, "born of desperation". Quite possibly. But what he should be asking himself is who created the climate of desperation in the first place.


Global warming: Just deal with it, some scientists say

The 'non-skeptic heretic club' says it would be easier and cheaper to adapt than fight climate change. Critics say the flaw in the theory is that the effects will be unpredictable

The disastrous hurricanes of recent years have become the poster children of global warming. But Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental policy expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder, wondered whether the billions of dollars of damage were caused by more intense storms or more coastal development. After analyzing decades of hurricane data, Pielke concluded that rising levels of carbon dioxide had little to do with hurricane damage. Rather, it boiled down to a simple equation: Build more, lose more. "Everything has been put on the back of carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide cannot carry that weight," he said.

Pielke's analysis, published last month in the journal Natural Hazards Review, is part of a controversial movement that argues global warming over the rest of this century will play a much smaller role in unleashing planetary havoc than most scientists think. His research has led him to believe that it is cheaper and more effective to adapt to global warming than to fight it. Instead of spending trillions of dollars to stabilize carbon dioxide levels across the planet -- an enormously complex and expensive proposition -- the world could work on reducing hunger, storm damage and disease now, thereby neutralizing some of the most feared future problems of global warming.

Hans von Storch, director of the Institute of Coastal Research in Germany, said that the world's problems were already so big that the added burdens caused by rising temperatures would be relatively small. It would be like going 160 kilometers per hour on the autobahn when "going 150 . . . is already dangerous," he said.

Consider a United Nations estimate that global warming would increase the number of people at risk of hunger from 777 million in 2020 to 885 million by 2080, a 14% rise, if current development patterns continue. That increase could be counteracted by spending on better irrigation systems, drought-resistant crops and more-efficient food transport systems, said Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in England. "If you're really concerned about drought, those are much more effective strategies than trying to bring down greenhouse gas concentrations," he said.

Downplaying the importance of emissions reductions has raised hackles among scientists around the world, who say that the planet-wide effects of global warming will eventually go beyond humans' ability to deal with it. "You can't adapt to melting the Greenland ice sheet," said Stephen H. Schneider, a climatologist at Stanford University. "You can't adapt to species that have gone extinct."

Other scientists say that time is running out to control carbon dioxide emissions and that the call to adapt is providing a potentially dangerous excuse to delay. If adaptation were so simple, they say, it would have already been done. But the developing world remains wrought with hunger and disease and vulnerable to natural disasters.

Pielke acknowledges that there are enormous political hurdles to overcome with his strategy, and he recognizes that his views have made him and like-minded researchers the new pariahs of global warming. "I've been accused of taking money from Exxon or being a right-wing hack," he said. But unlike those who argue that humans are not warming the globe, the new skeptics accept the scientific consensus on the causes and effects of climate change. Their differences are over what to do about it. "The radical middle -- that's how we talk about ourselves," said Daniel Sarewitz, a public policy expert at the Arizona State University who has collaborated with Pielke on climate policy studies.

Pielke, whose career has focused on the politics of science, likes to describe the scattered collection of scientists and policy wonks as the "non-skeptic heretic club." The science of global warming was laid out in a series of reports last year by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. The reports said that temperatures were likely to climb 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by century's end if emissions continued to grow. They detailed a likely future of worsening famine in Africa, expanding floods as sea levels rise as much as 23 inches, and accelerating species extinction. To avoid the worst, the reports warned that emissions must be reduced 50% to 80% by mid-century, keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees. The cost, according to the U.N. panel, would amount to as much as 3% of world gross domestic product over the next 20 years, or more than $20 trillion.

The heretics support emissions cuts too, but warn that they have been oversold as a solution to coming catastrophe. Exhibit A is hurricanes. The spate of recent storms, particularly Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has come to be seen as a harbinger of a warmer world -- a view popularized by Gore's 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Pielke's new analysis considered 207 hurricanes that hit the United States between 1900 and 2005. He looked at their strength and course and then overlaid them on a modern map that included all development over the years.

He found that the most devastating storm, had it occurred today, would be the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, popularly known as the Big Blow. Its path through the now heavily developed southern tip of Florida would have caused $157 billion in damage, followed by Katrina, whose toll was $81 billion. Six of the top 10 most damaging storms occurred before 1945. Pielke and his colleagues determined that with each decade, the damage potential for any given storm doubled, on average, because of development.

Malaria, another problem that may worsen with global warming, also has solutions. Higher temperatures could allow malaria-carrying mosquitoes to move into Africa's highland regions, where people have little natural immunity from the parasite. Still, the extra burden would be a fraction of the millions of cases that afflict the continent each year. "If you look at Africa, only 2% is above 2,000 meters," said Paul Reiter, an expert on mosquito-born disease at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He said that far more deaths would come from the malaria parasite's growing resistance to drug treatments. "We should be more concerned with controlling the disease than trying to change the weather," said Reiter, who recommended heavier use of pesticides to kill mosquitoes -- the same strategy that eradicated malaria in the United States and elsewhere. The World Health Organization estimates that over the next decade annual malaria deaths could be cut from 1 million to 250,000 for $3.2 billion a year, primarily for mosquito nets, drugs and indoor pesticide spraying.....

The heretics believe that time works to their benefit, arguing that technological advances over the next 50 years will ultimately make reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affordable. Pielke says that even if his critics are right, it is becoming clear that the world lacks the political will to enact global emissions cuts. China's growing emissions are on pace to double those of the United States in a decade, and the country shows little interest in slowing down. The United States has refused to cap its emissions, and much of Europe is failing to satisfy even the modest terms of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 landmark treaty on greenhouse gases. "I would characterize us as realists," Pielke said. "Realists on what is politically possible."



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.