Monday, June 30, 2008

Alarmist cloud assumptions debunked

Greenies get the feedback effect precisely wrong. Feedback effects are the Greenie way of magnifying the trivial 20th century warming (less than one degree) into something threatening -- so this should really be the death-knell of Warmism


This article addresses new satellite and modeling evidence that previous satellite diagnoses of high climate sensitivity--which directly translate into predictions of dangerous levels of global warming--contain a large spurious bias. It is shown that those exaggerated estimates were the result of faulty assumptions regarding clouds when analyzing variations in average global temperature and average reflected sunlight off of the Earth.

Specifically, it has been assumed (explicitly or implicitly) that, for global averages on time scales of three months or more, temperature variations cause clouds to change, but that cloud variations do not cause temperature to change. But when properly filtered, the satellite data reveal evidence of cloud variations indeed causing temperature changes, and that this source of natural climate variability biases the estimate of climate sensitivity in the direction of a very sensitive climate system.

The new interpretation suggests a very low sensitivity. If the new sensitivity estimate is accurate, it would suggest only 0.5 deg. C of manmade warming by the year 2100. The new sensitivity estimate also suggests that warming over the last century can not be explained by human greenhouse gas emissions alone, but instead might require a mostly natural explanation


Richard Courtney comments:

Re Spencer's finding that "when properly filtered, the satellite data reveal evidence of cloud variations indeed causing temperature changes, and that this source of natural climate variability biases the estimate of climate sensitivity in the direction of a very sensitive climate system.".

I find it interesting because I have been arguing the following since 1991 when Ramanathan & Collins published their first paper reporting maximum sea surface temperature (ref. Nature, v351, 27-32 (1991) ).

Increased temperature implies more evaporation with resulting increase to cloud cover. The evaporation removes heat from the surface with resultant surface cooling (just as evaporation of sweat cools hot skin). And clouds reflect solar radiation with resulting reduction to surface heating (as every sunbather has noticed) so increased cloud cover reduces surface warming. The effect of increased cloud cover with increased temperature is that the tropical warm pool has a maximum surface temperature of 305K (because additional heat increases cloud cover). Similar but lesser increase to cloud cover can be expected everywhere that sea surface temperature is increased for any reason.

(Richard Courtney, DipPhil, is a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant)

Australian astronomical Society warns of global COOLING as Sun's activity 'significantly diminishes'

A new paper published by the Astronomical Society of Australia has a warning to global warming believers not immediately obvious from the summary:
Based on our claim that changes in the Sun's equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun's orbital motion about the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun's meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

Or as one of the authors, Ian Wilson, kindly explained to me: It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 - 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World's mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 - 2 C. Oh. Global cooling coming, then. Obvious, really.


Silly Sharon Blames Midwest Floods on Global Warming

Newsweek's senior editor Sharon Begley has taken it upon herself to publicly declare the recent floods in the Midwest are being caused by global warming.Those familiar with her work shouldn't be even slightly surprised by this, as Begley was the person responsible for the August 13, 2007, Newsweek cover story "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine" which evoked widespread criticism including from one of her fellow editors. Regardless, Begley is at it again with an article in the upcoming issue of Newsweek disgracefully entitled, "Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year's Extreme Weather"
The frequency of downpours and heat waves, as well as the power of hurricanes, has increased so dramatically that "100-year storms" are striking some areas once every 15 years, and other once rare events keep returning like a bad penny. As a result, some climatologists now say global warming is to blame. Rising temperatures boost the probability of extreme weather, says Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center and lead author of a new report from the Bush administration's Climate Change Science Program; that can "lead to the type of events we are seeing in the Midwest." There, three weeks of downpours have caused rivers to treat their banks as no more than mild suggestions. Think of it this way: if once we experienced one Noachian downpour every 20 years, and now we suffer five, four are likely man-made.

As is her typical modus operandi, Begley chose not to offer any balance concerning this recent report, or identify that top scientists around the world have been critical of both its findings and the lead author. As the University of Colorado at Boulder's Dr. Roger A. Pielke Sr. wrote on June 20:
This report perpetuates the use of assessments to promote a particular perspective on climate change, such as they write in the Executive Summary. "It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences. The increase in heavy precipitation events is associated with an increase in water vapor, and the latter has been attributed to human-induced warming."

This claim conflicts with the 2005 National Research Council reportNational Research Council, 2005: "Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties". Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp -- where a diversity of human climate forcings were found to alter global average radiative warming, including from atmospheric aersosols and due to the deposition of soot on snow and ice. The claim of an increase in atmospheric water vapor conflicts with a variety of observations as summarized on Climate Science (e.g. see).

To further illustrate the bias in the report, the assessment chose to ignore peer reviewed research that raises serious questions with respect to the temperature data that is used in their report. As just one example, they ignored research where we have shown major problems in the use of surface air temperature measurements to diagnose long term temperature trends including temperature extremes.

Pielke concluded: "Since this assessment is so clearly biased, it should be rejected as providing adequate climate information to policymakers. There also should be questions raised concerning having the same individuals preparing these reports in which they are using them to promote their own perspective on the climate, and deliberately excluding peer reviewed papers that disagree with their viewpoint and research papers. This is a serious conflict of interest,

Of course, Begley chose not to offer her readers an opposing view, and just continued with the hysteria:
The Midwest, for instance, suffered three weeks of intense rain in May and June, with more than five inches falling on some days. That brought a reprise of the area's 1993 flooding, which was thought to be a once-in-500-years event. The proximate cause was the western part of the jet stream dipping toward the Gulf of Mexico, then rising toward Iowa-funneling moisture from the gulf to the Midwest, says meteorologist Bill Gallus of (the very soggy) Iowa State University.

The puzzle, he says, is why the trough kept reforming in the west, creating a rain-carrying conveyor belt that, like a nightmarish version of a Charlie Chaplin movie, wouldn't turn off. One clue is that global warming has caused the jet stream to shift north. That has brought, and will continue to bring, more tropical storms to the nation's north, and may push around the jet stream in other ways as well.

Interesting that Begley cited Bill Gallus, but chose to ignore some of his other opinions concerning the floods, as well as those of one of his colleagues. For instance, as reported by Radio Iowa on June 10:
The recent spate of wet weather that's stormed over Iowa is very similar to what happened 15 years ago. Iowa State University meteorology professor Bill Gallus has reviewed the data."In many ways, the pattern we've had the last two or three weeks is very similar to what lasted for a much longer time in 1993," Gallus says.....

Iowa State University meteorologist Bill Gutowski says so-called "climate change" might be a part of this weather equation, but it's too soon to say. "There are physical reasons as well as results from models that indicate that we could expect more intense rainfall events occurring in a much warmer climate, but it'd be really hard to say based on what's going on this year that this is directly an outcome of global warming," Gutowski says. "We would need to see that the...frequency of those events is increasing."

According to Gutowski, one of the challenges researchers face is there are "natural fluctuations" in the climate system, so weather data from a single year is just not indicative of any trend.

Sadly, people like Begley choose to ignore such natural fluctuations, and, instead, blame everything on man. On the other hand, Gallus did attach one cause of this year's flooding to humans, but not in a fashion that supported Begley's hysteria as reported by Iowa's Gazette on June 6:

The rains' effect on Eastern Iowa streams and rivers is exaggerated by the lack of crops in nearby fields, said Bill Gallus, Iowa State University professor of meteorology."Most of the crops were delayed getting in," said Gallus. "That tends to lead to more water running off into streams and rivers" because there's no vegetation to catch runoff.

Such facts pertaining to the Midwest floods eluded Begley, much as they did with her following declaration: "Hurricanes have become more powerful due to global warming." Really, Sharon? That's not what hurricane experts such as William Gray and Christopher Landsea believe. But why should their opinions matter when you're on a roll? Although the last time Begley was so reckless with her reporting, one of her colleagues, contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson, called the piece "fundamentally misleading" and "highly contrived." We can only hope her most recent addition to this debate is similarly derided


The UN climate change numbers hoax

It's an assertion repeated by politicians and climate campaigners the world over: "2,500 scientists of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis." But it's not true. And, for the first time ever, the public can now see the extent to which they have been misled. As lies go, it's a whopper. Here's the real situation.

Like the three IPCC "assessment reports" before it, the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) released during 2007 (upon which the UN climate conference in Bali was based) includes the reports of the IPCC's three working groups. Working Group I (WG I) is assigned to report on the extent and possible causes of past climate change as well as future "projections". Its report is titled "The Physical Science Basis".

The reports from working groups II and II are titled "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability" and "Mitigation of Climate Change" respectively, and since these are based on the results of WG I, it is crucially important that the WG I report stands up to close scrutiny.

There is, of course serious debate among scientists about the actual technical content of the roughly 1,000-page WG I report, especially its politically motivated Summary for Policymakers which is often the only part read by politicians and non-scientists. The technical content can be difficult for non-scientists to follow and so most people simply assume that if large numbers of scientists agree, they must be right.

Consensus never proves the truth of a scientific claim, but is somehow widely believed to do so for the IPCC reports, so we need to ask how many scientists really did agree with the most important IPCC conclusion, namely that humans are causing significant climate change - in other words the key parts of WG I?

The numbers of scientist reviewers involved in WG I is actually less than a quarter of the whole, a little more than 600 in total. The other 1,900 reviewers assessed the other working group reports. They had nothing to say about the causes of climate change or its future trajectory. Still, 600 "scientific expert reviewers" sounds pretty impressive. After all, they submitted their comments to the IPCC editors who assure us that "all substantive government and expert review comments received appropriate consideration". And since these experts reviewers are all listed in Annex III of the report, they must have endorsed it, right?


For the first time ever, the UN has released on the Web the comments of reviewers who assessed the drafts of the WG I report and the IPCC editors' responses. This release was almost certainly a result of intense pressure applied by "hockey-stick" co-debunker Steve McIntyre of Toronto and his allies. Unlike the other IPCC working groups, WG I is based in the US and McIntyre had used the robust Freedom of Information legislation to request certain details when the full comments were released.

An examination of reviewers' comments on the last draft of the WG I report before final report assembly (i.e. the "Second Order Revision" or SOR) completely debunks the illusion of hundreds of experts diligently poring over all the chapters of the report and providing extensive feedback to the editing teams. Here's the reality.

A total of 308 reviewers commented on the SOR, but only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and only five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters of the report. Only about half the reviewers commented on more than one chapter. It is logical that reviewers would generally limit their comments to their areas of expertise but it's a far cry from the idea of thousands of scientists agreeing to anything.

Compounding this is the fact that IPCC editors could, and often did, ignore reviewers' comments. Some editor responses were banal and others showed inconsistencies with other comments. Reviewers had to justify their requested changes but the responding editors appear to have been under no such obligation. Reviewers were sometimes flatly told they were wrong but no reasons or reliable references were provided.

In other cases reviewers tried to dilute the certainty being expressed and they often provided supporting evidence, but their comments were often flatly rejected. Some comments were rejected on the basis of a lack of space - an incredible assertion in such an important document.

The attitude of the editors seemed to be that simple corrections were accepted, requests for improved clarity tolerated but the assertions and interpretations that appear in the text were to be defended against any challenge. An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that "hundreds of IPCC scientists" are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely "Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years".

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, "Understanding and Attributing Climate Change". Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60 per cent of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

Two of these seven were contacted by NRSP for the purposes of this article - Dr Vincent Gray of New Zealand and Dr Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph, Canada. Concerning the "Greenhouse gas forcing ." statement above, Professor McKitrick explained "A categorical summary statement like this is not supported by the evidence in the IPCC WG I report. Evidence shown in the report suggests that other factors play a major role in climate change, and the specific effects expected from greenhouse gases have not been observed."

Dr Gray labeled the WG I statement as "Typical IPCC doubletalk" asserting "The text of the IPCC report shows that this is decided by a guess from persons with a conflict of interest, not from a tested model".

Determining the level of support expressed by reviewers' comments is subjective but a slightly generous evaluation indicates that just five reviewers endorsed the crucial ninth chapter. Four had vested interests and the other made only a single comment for the entire 11-chapter report. The claim that 2,500 independent scientist reviewers agreed with this, the most important statement of the UN climate reports released this year, or any other statement in the UN climate reports, is nonsense.

"The IPCC owe it to the world to explain who among their expert reviewers actually agree with their conclusions and who don't," says Natural Resources Stewardship Project Chair climatologist Dr Timothy Ball. "Otherwise, their credibility, and the public's trust of science in general, will be even further eroded."

That the IPCC have let this deception continue for so long is a disgrace. Secretary General Ban Kai-Moon must instruct the UN climate body to either completely revise their operating procedures, welcoming dissenting input from scientist reviewers and indicating if reviewers have vested interests, or close the agency down completely.


Right and wrong ways of driving down fuel prices

by Irwin M. Stelzer

Students of energy policy despair, and at times believe that Dante's inscription on the entrance to hell should be emblazoned on the entrances to the Capitol and the White House, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Our president has just gone to Saudi Arabia to grovel before the royal family in the hope of persuading the kingdom to open its taps just a bit to bring soaring oil prices down.

The caribou lobby in the Senate has voted down a bill that would have opened a small portion of Alaska's untapped oil fields to exploration and development. (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted to continue the restriction, and John McCain would have joined them had he not been out of town reveling in the applause for his speech promising to lead the fight on global warming.) And the farm and ethanol lobbies are prepared to crush the groups calling for an end to the food-for-fuel mandate that requires motorists to use nine billion gallons of ethanol (auto fuel made from corn) this year.

A good part of the energy policy muddle stems from a tendency to ask the wrong questions. Ask the wrong questions, and you get the wrong answers. The question now being asked by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and other politicians whose notion of the long run extends only for the six months until the November election is, "How can we lower gasoline prices?" Their answer: Reduce the approximately 18 cent-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline during the summer driving season.

The reasons that is exactly the wrong policy are too many to list. One is that oil producers, or oil companies, or service station operators would raise prices by an equivalent amount. Hillary Clinton, in her new populist incarnation, might dismiss this as the ranting of pointy-headed economists, but it is nevertheless true. But give the pandering pols the benefit of the doubt, and assume that prices would go down. The right question would have been, "Is it good policy to lower gasoline prices?" The right answer is "no."

Higher prices seem to be persuading Americans to use less gasoline, witness the increased use of mass transit reported in many cities around the country. Lower gasoline prices would encourage Americans to drive more, use more of the cheaper gasoline, emit more pollutants, and increase the demand for crude oil. So regimes hostile to the United States would sell us still more oil.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, whose government owns some 8,000 Citgo gasoline stations in America, must be astonished to learn that leading American politicians are eager to increase his revenues so that he can step up his propaganda campaign against America. And the Saudi financiers of jihadists and of the Wahabbi mullahs who fuel anti-Americanism would be pleased to have a few extra hundred million. So would Vladimir Putin.

Better that, figure our politicians, than to take the political risk of increasing taxes on gasoline, reducing demand, and getting to the consumers' wallets before OPEC and its allies do.

The wrong question--how do we lower prices?--also led Congress last week to pass legislation ordering the president to stop buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The reserve now contains 701.3 million barrels, a record. Bush wants to fill it to its capacity of 727 million barrels this year, and eventually double the capacity.

Stop buying oil, critics, including John McCain, tell President Bush, and demand pressures will ease. Better still, start selling off some of the strategic reserve, and increase supplies of crude oil. The notion that the government can outsmart the market by buying low and selling high is, to put it mildly, questionable. As is the assumption that it is smart enough to distinguish a shock, which might justify use of the reserve, from a trend, which should be allowed to play itself out so that the economy can readjust to the new prices.

Besides, oil companies are likely to increase their own inventories when the government stops stockpiling, stepping up purchases of imported crude oil in order to do so. Net effect of all of this on demand and supply: nil. Net effect on our ability to withstand a supply cut-off: substantial.

Next wrong question, and one being asked not only in America, but in most other countries: "How can we replace crude oil with renewable sources of energy?" Answer: Subsidize construction of wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear plants, and the production of corn. But neither wind turbines nor solar energy, on the cheeriest of assumptions, can make a significant dent in the demand for crude oil and its products. As for nuclear, few of these costly plants--and cost estimates seem to be doubling every few months--will be built unless overt or covert subsidies are offered to private-sector players, licensing proceedings and construction times are shortened, and politicians are willing to override Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.

Which leaves corn. Congress has mandated that farmers be paid huge subsidies to grow corn to be converted into ethanol, a gasoline substitute, while quite inconsistently maintaining a tariff wall to deny motorists access to cheaper imported ethanol. The answer produced by the wrong question has serious negative consequences. For one thing, the negative environmental impact of these biofuels seems to outweigh their positive effect. Among other things, production requires the use of huge amounts of fertilizers, causing run-off that pollutes streams and rivers; farmers around the world cut down environmentally friendly forests to increase planting of oil-substitutes; and acreage previously devoted to growing food is converted to growing fuel. That has contributed to the massive increases in food prices that are afflicting not only Americans but, with greater ferocity, the world's poor. In essence, rich countries are trying to fill their gasoline tanks at the expense of empty stomachs in Africa, Central America, and parts of Asia.

So what are the right questions? First, have any of the programs now in place proved counterproductive? Yes, several have costs that exceed their benefits. Best example: the attempt to grow our way out of the energy problem. Admit that we have erred, and wind down the subsidies that are denuding forests and contributing to food shortages without significantly adding to fuel supplies. That's what a coalition of environmentalists, livestock producers, and consumer groups last week called on Congress to do. They are unlikely to overcome the powerful farmer-ethanol lobby.

Second, are there cost-effective ways of increasing the supply of conventional crude oil? Probably. Studies that showed that the environmental cost of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and offshore Florida and California exceeded any benefit from new discoveries are now out of date. The benefits were estimated when oil prices were less than half current levels. So the benefits of stepped up exploration have multiplied with the price and value of oil. Meanwhile, the industry claims to have learned a great deal about reducing the environmental impact of such stepped-up drilling. If new studies bear out these impressions, and suggest that the environmental and other costs of drilling are now exceeded by their benefits, restrictions on domestic drilling should be relaxed. But that is not in the cards--all three of the presidential wannabes are pledged to keep Alaska closed to drilling, no matter what the balance of costs and benefits.

Final sensible question, Can anything be done to increase supplies of oil from the world's important suppliers? Answer: Yes, if there is the will to act. The Mexican government depends heavily on remittances sent to poor Mexican families from the millions of its citizens working, legally and illegally, in the United States; the Saudi regime depends on the U.S. military umbrella for its survival; and the Saudi-led OPEC cartel, which has held production constant for eight months in the face of a 54 percent increase in prices, exists only because successive administrations have prevented the antitrust authorities from attempting to break it up. Hillary Clinton is on to something when she calls for antitrust action against this cartel, which would not be the first time the Justice Department has moved against a price-fixing conspiracy by foreign firms. Antitrust lawyers tell me that the immunity of sovereign governments from antitrust prosecution does not extend to their commercial activities.

Bush knows this. He knows that nothing frightens the Saudi regime more than the threat of the furling of the U.S. umbrella, which as Karen Elliott House put it in the Wall Street Journal, "has provided the Saudis with a security blanket that puts this desert kingdom off limits to regional predators" and prevented Iran and Syria from turning Saudi Arabia into another Lebanon. He knows that the Saudis have about two million barrels per day of shut-in, excess capacity. And he knows how vulnerable the Saudi-led OPEC cartel is to antitrust action.

Perhaps he worries that if he deploys any of these weapons the Saudis will dump some part of their dollar pile on the market, driving down the value of our currency, and increasing inflationary pressures and interest rates in America. They might, but only if they are willing to drive down the value of the billions of dollars remaining in their vaults, and damage the value of their U.S. investments. Would the president of the United States or the king of Saudi Arabia be the first to blink in a stare down? We will never know, since the administration prefers the role of supplicant to that of tough bargainer.

Nor is there any indication that we are prepared to harden our line with Mexico. No one has suggested that Mexico's continued refusal to allow American capital to flow into its oil industry might be considered when NAFTA is reviewed. Is it unreasonable to suggest that free trade in goods and services, and the virtually unhindered movement of labor across the border, must be accompanied by the free flow of capital across borders? Yes, we benefit from NAFTA, and its abrogation would impose costs on us. But so does Mexico's ban on U.S. participation in its oil industry.

A serious American administration would explain to the Saudis and their OPEC allies, and to the Mexicans, that continuation of their present policies would not be without cost to them. Continued defense of the Saudi regime, a staying of the hand of the antitrust authorities, and continued absence of restrictions on remittances to Mexico will, they should be told, depend at least in part on their willingness to allow Western firms to develop new reserves and to wring more oil from existing fields, and to relax cartel restrictions on current output.

Unfortunately, the right questions are precisely the sorts of questions that politicians abhor. Asking them produces politically difficult answers--higher not lower taxes on gasoline to encourage new technologies and discourage consumption, the opening of now-closed areas to exploration and development, the end of massive subsidies to farmers to grow corn-for-fuel.

Wrong questions and the inevitably wrong policy answers might be one reason Goldman Sachs is talking about a "super spike" that would take oil prices to $200 per barrel. Remember: These are the guys who were laughed at when they predicted that the price of oil would hit $100. Dante might have been referring to what happens to good ideas on energy policy when they are sent to the halls of Congress or the White House, when he wrote, "Through me you pass into the city of woe .??.... into eternal pain."


Global warming could increase terrorism, official says

Global warming could destabilize "struggling and poor" countries around the world, prompting mass migrations and creating breeding grounds for terrorists, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council told Congress on Wednesday.

Climate change "will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions," Thomas Fingar said. "All of this threatens the domestic stability of a number of African, Asian, Central American and Central Asian countries."

People are likely to flee destabilized countries, and some may turn to terrorism, he said. "The conditions exacerbated by the effects of climate change could increase the pool of potential recruits into terrorist activity," he said.

"Economic refugees will perceive additional reasons to flee their homes because of harsher climates," Fingar predicted. That will put pressure on countries receiving refugees, many of which "will have neither the resources nor interest to host these climate migrants," he said in testimony to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

More here

Comment on the above session from NR::

Today marked a new low for the way congressional Democrats deal with national security. This morning, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a joint hearing on a "National Intelligence Assessment" on global climate change. This analysis was ordered by the Democratic Congress last year and was issued a few weeks ago. Some highlights (or low-lights) from the hearing:

1) In response to a question by Global Warming Committee member Greg Walden (R-OR), the Intelligence Community admitted they had "low to medium confidence" in the accuracy of this estimate because intelligence officers lack the expertise to write such an estimate (it was mostly contracted out to other organizations) and climate change science is so uncertain. As Walden started to ask about why an analysis of such low reliability was issued, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), the Global Warming Committee Chairman, cut him off and told him he was out of time even though Markey let all the previous Democrats speak substantially past their time limits.

2) Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Peter Hoekstra asked what intelligence was used for this estimate and whether intelligence collection requirements were prepared. National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar said no clandestine intelligence was used and that intelligence officers extrapolated what would happen if the "mid-level estimates" by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were correct. When Hoekstra asked why the U.S. Intelligence Community would write an major analysis of low to medium confidence that contained no intelligence, Fingar answered, "because you [Congress] told us to."

3) Hoekstra noted that intelligence assessments of high confidence have proven to be wrong and he wondered why an intelligence assessment of low to medium confidence would even be published. In an attempt to dispel the debate over confidence, Intelligence Committee member Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) responded by noting that the 2002 Iraq WMD NIE had high confidence in its findings. Some Republicans thought Rep. Eshoo's statement actually made their case about the futility of issuing an intelligence assessment that intelligence officers cannot fully back.



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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Greenie scientist disowns "vanishing arctic" panic

Mark C. Serreze was the author quoted in most of the stories. He says now:

I hope that I will not be pilloried by the community for being a part of this story. From what I can gather, it started with a piece in "National Geographic Online", moved to a piece in "The Independent", another piece on CNN, and then quickly grew out of all reasonable proportion. A positive feedback process.

I'll be the first to agree that losing the ice at the north pole this summer would be purely symbolic, but symbolism can be pretty darned powerful.

Source (Comment 6)

Comment on "Real Climate"

Comment below by Jim Peden. I first had a close look at on Dec. 13, 2004 and arrived at similar conclusions, without at that time being aware of their corrupt origins -- JR

Quoting as a reliable source of information on climate science is like quoting for reliable information on mouse behavior.

"Real Climate" is a staged and contracted production, which wasn't created by "scientists", it was actually created by Environmental Media Services, a company which specializes in spreading environmental junk science on behalf of numerous clients who stand to financially benefit from scare tactics through environmental fear mongering. There you will find the word "model" used a million times, for the entire basis of the Global Warming Hoax is based on computer modeling ( not climate science ) which has thus far failed to predict anything accurately since day one.

For example, one of their past clients, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, hired them to create the illusion that Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) was somehow dangerous, despite the fact that it had been fully tested and approved by the FDA. After a lengthy national fearmongering campaign by Environmental Media Services, Ben & Jerry's proudly announced that their ice cream was "BGH-free"... as if it made any difference.

Real Climate has become the Alamo for folks like the highly discredited Michael Mann, whose original analytical blunder led to the famous "hockey stick" curve, which helped kick off the Great Global Warming Hoax after it was picked up by science illiterate Al Gore and proudly paraded around the globe. The hockey stick was proven to be an absurd blunder, but by then you couldn't put the genie back into the bottle, and today we are wasting billions of dollars on a cure for a nonexistent disease.

Perhaps the best summary of "Real Climate" was given by a Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Richard Lindzen, who said,

"This website appears to constitute a support center for global warming believers, wherein any criticism of global warming is given an answer that, however implausible, is then repeated by the reassured believers."


A different climate meeting

The Warmists are always having conferences and meetings. But others can have them too. A report:

Yesterday (25 June) I attended a lunchtime seminar in Westminster, organised by the Centre for Policy Studies, on climate change and the case against CO2 as the driver of global temperatures. Chaired by Nigel Lawson, there were several other peers in attendance, and more Ph.Ds and professors than you could shake a stick at. The speaker was Dr Fred Singer, the 84-year-old American climate scientist and author of 'Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years' and one of the founders of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), set up to examine all the evidence on the subject, including that ignored by the politicised IPCC.

The London seminar was the last in a series that Dr Singer had held around Europe, where he had also had a meeting with the EU Environment Commissioner. Apparently, after listening to Dr Singer's views, the commissioner replied that they were very interesting but he would have to seek the views of scientists!

Dr Singer gave a presentation on the NIPCC paper 'Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate' (, of which he was the editor. He showed that the most damning evidence against man-made climate change was the 'fingerprint' method of comparing what the climate models predict should be happening to atmospheric temperatures and what measurements show actually is happening - and they are totally different.

There was a question and answer session after the presentation. In response to a question from the Bishop of Chester about what was driving the whole climate change scare, Dr Singer described the financial beneficiaries (activists, scientists, industrial organisations) and ideological factors. CO2 control was also the perfect vehicle for promoting world government.

One of the issues stressed by Dr Singer was that climate policies are negatively impacting energy policies, making energy much more expensive. In his view we need to be seeking economic growth throughout the world, which can only be achieved with access to relatively cheap energy. Since the end of the current interglacial cannot be too far away, we need to be wealthy enough to have the resources to adapt to the potentially catastrophic effects of the severe cooling that is inevitable within the next few thousand years.

Dr Singer believes that continued cooling over the next ten years, plus the economic consequences of the sharp increase in energy prices that is now occurring, will be needed to cause a break in the ranks of politicians towards trying to control CO2. More recognised academics need to speak out on the issue to keep the pressure up. All in all, a very interesting meeting.

There is another issue that came up in the Q&A session that we need to take seriously. There was a question from Nick Riley, who described himself as a geologist and zoologist, about the 'acidification' of the oceans from extra CO2. Dr Singer replied that the oceans were not acidifying but they were becoming less alkaline. Riley mentioned that there had been an acidification event some 55 million years ago (he didn't say what caused it) that took some 100,000 years for the oceans to recover from.

I have done a quick Google search this morning and found this paper by Riley: which shows that he is promoting carbon sequestration and is either a true believer or is making money from CO2 alarmism.

I think I may have mentioned before that I can see the Greens and their fellow travellers changing tack once it becomes irrefutable that CO2 is not driving temperatures, and ocean acidification is likely to be their next scare. It strikes me that, with current atmospheric CO2 levels at a very low level in terms of geological time, the likelihood of the oceans becoming acidic must be remote if they did not do so when atmospheric levels were much higher. If the event Riley referred to is true, it clearly didn't kill all life in the oceans, and corals date back some 250 million years and they obviously survived. I think we need to have the answers ready on this, though, for when the Greens say we must reduce CO2 emissions, even if they don't affect climate after all.


Lawrence Solomon: What I told the Petroleum Club

On a tour earlier this week for his new book on global warming, "The Deniers", Lawrence Solomon made a presentation at the Petroleum Club in Calgary. His remarks, adapted, appear below

I'm surprised to see so many of you here today. I thought you might be at trial, for your global warming crimes. James Hansen - he's one of the leaders in the climate change movement in the U.S. - wants you in court. "CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing," he stated yesterday. "...they should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature." Come to think of it, David Suzuki also sees those who abet CO2 emissions as criminals.

And you know what, I bet some of you see yourselves as criminals - or something close to it - because there's something in human nature that makes us feel guilty, even for crimes we didn't commit, let alone for non-crimes. And I bet some of your friends and associates might look at you sideways. And your children may be teased and made to feel guilty about what their dad does for a living. Even more, you've been cowed into silence. Instead of making your case to the public, instead of defending yourselves and your industry, you've thrown in the towel, or tried to be greener than green, hoping to avoid recrimination.

As many of you know, I and Energy Probe, my organization, have long been critics of the energy industry. We have opposed Arctic pipelines and tar sands that we considered to be ill-advised. We have opposed nuclear plants and big dams. We favour conservation and renewable energy. We like clean and economic energy, something we have had too little of in Canada. For this, some of you in this room bear some responsibility.

But on the global warming issues, based on the evidence to date, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Albertans have nothing to feel guilty about either. No crime has been committed. No known harm has occurred. You've been had.

The fears of cataclysm over global warming are unfounded. There is no consensus on climate change, despite what Al Gore and the UN's Panel on Climate Change would have you believe.

Let me tell you why most people think that global warming is a serious problem. It comes down to one number: 2500. That's the number of scientists associated with the UN's Panel on Climate Change that the press reports has endorsed the UN Panel's conclusions. These are the conclusions that get released in the UN's mammoth reports every six years or so, and that then dominate the media airwaves for weeks. "2500 scientists can't be wrong," the press always says, explicitly or implicitly. Without that number, it would have no basis for the claim that they repeat over and over again - that there's a consensus on climate change.

2500 is an impressive number of scientists. To find out who, exactly, they were, I contacted the Secretariat of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and asked for their names. The Secretariat replied that the names were not public, so I couldn't have them. And I learned that the 2500 scientists were reviewers, not endorsers. Those scientists hadn't endorsed anything. They had merely reviewed one or more of the literally hundreds of background studies, some important and some not, that were part of this immense United Nations bureaucratic process. They did not review the final report or endorse it.

Their reviews weren't even all favorable. I know that from many sources, including from among some of the scientists that I profiled - several of the deniers in my book are among those 2500. And those deniers, and others, generally consider the UN's work a travesty. There is no endorsement by 2500 top UN scientists. The press has been taken. And so the public has been taken.

The extent to which the public has been taken may surprise you. Not only is there no consensus, the scientists who are skeptics - the deniers - have extraordinary credentials, people at the very top echelons of the scientific establishment. They are the Who's Who of Science. Not only do they disagree with the UN conclusions, they often value CO2 for the benefits it provides the planet - satellite data shows the planet is now the greenest it has been in decades. Until recently, after all, CO2 was universally viewed as Nature's fertilizer.

If these top scientists are right, you are being attacked without justification. You are being painted as criminals and your children are being made to feel ashamed of what you do. You are being victimized, in a modern form of shunning.

Your present strategy of lying low and hoping all this will pass has gotten you nowhere. You need to make your case, factually and frankly. The public will be skeptical of your arguments, as it should be. But if your critics can't counter your factual arguments, it is your critics who will fail. You need to decide. Do you want to go on being attacked for something that may be laudable, for producing CO2 may well be laudable? Do you want to go on feeling guilty out of public ignorance of where scientists truly stand on the global warming issue?

On global warming, the science is not settled. You have the facts on your side. But facts will count for naught as long as you see the battle as lost.


Yellow Science

In the late 19th century, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer developed what would come to be known as yellow journalism. By disregarding what had been standard journalistic methods, particularly in regards to the verifying of sources, these two publishers were able both to push their country toward war with Spain and dramatically increase the circulation of their respective newspapers.

Man has always had a healthy desire for knowledge, and it is the feeding of this hunger that ennobles journalism. Hearst and Pulitzer were acutely aware that man has a less healthy but no less voracious desire to believe that he has knowledge, particularly knowledge of something sensational. It is the feeding of this hunger that irreparably disgraced journalism, and a century later now threatens to do the same to science.

Scientists, like journalists, are called upon to plumb the depths of the unknown and to fairly and objectively report their findings to their own professional community as well as the general public. Scientists, like the journalists of yesteryear, have specific methods for ensuring that the public trust placed in them is not abused. The most fundamental of these methods is the well-known, if not so creatively named, scientific method. The essence of the scientific method is the formulation of hypotheses (ideas) and the using of these hypotheses to make predictions that can be experimentally tested. In the words of Sir Thomas Eddington in "The Philosophy of Physical Science," "Every item of physical knowledge must therefore be an assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure."

Nevertheless, over the past several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.

The only evidence that can be said to support this so-called scientific consensus is the supposed correlation of historical global temperatures with historical carbon-dioxide content in the atmosphere. Even if we do not question the accuracy of our estimates of global temperatures into previous centuries, and even if we ignore the falling global temperatures over the past decade as fossil-fuel emissions have continued to increase, an honest scientist would still have to admit that the hypothesis of man-made global warming hardly rises to the level of "an assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure." Global warming may or may not be "the greatest scam in history," as it was recently called by John Coleman, a prominent meteorologist and the founder of the Weather Channel. Certainly, however, under the scientific method it does not rise to the level of an "item of physical knowledge."

Nevertheless, the acceptance of man-made global warming as scientific fact has become so prevalent that the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, recently declared: "The debate is over. It's time to discuss solutions." Leaving aside the question of the secretary-general's qualifications, that is certainly one of the most antiscientific statements ever made. The first question that this raises is why have so many scientists chosen to ignore this glaring failure of the global warming hypothesis to meet the standards of their own profession? The second question is what, if anything, can be done about it?

The first, and most obvious, temptation for this sort of willful blindness is financial. Hearst made only a fraction of his estimated $140 million in net worth from yellow journalism. Global warming, on the other hand, has provided an estimated $50 billion in research grants to those willing to practice yellow science. Influence in the public sphere is another strong temptation. It might not be as impressive as starting the Spanish-American War, but global-warming alarmists have amassed a large group of journalists and politicians ready to silence any critics and endorse whatever boondoggle scheme is prescribed as the cure to our impending climate catastrophe.

Finally, one should not underestimate the temptation of convenience. Just as it is far easier to publish stories without verifying the sources; so is it much more convenient to practice yellow science than the real thing. It takes far more courage, perseverance, and perspiration to develop formulas, make predictions, and risk being proved wrong than to look at historical data and muse about observed similarities. Yellow scientists have fled the risks of science that Albert Einstein described when he said, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right, a single experiment can prove me wrong."

The layman might object that this is not his problem. Surely Joe Six-Pack should not be expected to monitor the findings of research physicists; if anything is to be done about this collapse of scientific standards, it must be done by the scientific community itself. Unfortunately, history has shown the inability of professional communities to police their own ranks. When it first reared its head, yellow journalism was roundly condemned by the journalistic community. In fact, it was these critics who coined the term yellow journalism. The condemnation of their peers was an insufficient deterrent for Pulitzer and Hearst, because it was the approval of the public that drove their circulation. Eventually the entire journalistic community acceded to the sensationalism that the public seemed to insist on.

In recent decades, the scorn of prominent scientists such as John Coleman has been similarly unable to stop the ascendancy of the global-warming hypothesis as the public has been increasingly drawn by its sensationalism. The scientific community as a whole is on the brink of acceding to Ban Ki-Moon's insistence that "the debate is over" and turning now to their grant applications.

Ultimately, it is only the public that holds the power to enforce professional standards, and therefore each of us must accept this responsibility. Most of us will not be able to comprehend the latest climatologic studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but fortunately that is not necessary. However complex the information may be, the standards are quite clear. One need not be a Beltway newshound to know that whatever follows the phrase "unnamed sources in the capital" or "rumors in Hollywood are" is not real journalism. Similarly, one does not need an advanced degree in natural science to understand that whatever follows the phrase "most experts agree" or "no one can measure the exact effect but" is not real science. In fact, if there is no possible way that a statement can realistically be tested, it probably fails to meet the standards for any professional community and is of no real use to the public.

The long-term results of yellow journalism have probably been more devastating than the war it started. Journalists have lost the respectability of their profession, and the public has lost real journalism. We are in very real danger, as scientists and as a nation, of losing the respectability of a professional community that has done so much to make this country great in the past hundred years. If yellow science overcomes real science it will not only be on account of the greed, ambition, and cowardice of our scientists but also the sloth and cowardice of a public that is unwilling to stand up and demand professionalism. This is why, as the editors of the New York Press said in 1897, I "called them yellow because they are yellow."


Bellamy: Flying not to blame for global warming

Controversial environmental campaigner and botanist David Bellamy has claimed the world is getting colder and aviation should not be blamed for climate change. An outspoken critic of claims that global warming is man-made, he was talking during Haven Holidays' Big Green Weekend event last week, designed to promote eco-friendly domestic tourism. "In the next 24 hours the amount of deforestation will pour the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as eight million people flying from Britain to America. So stop the logging and we can stop the problem," he said. "There is more proof that global warming is natural climate change and we have to adapt to it. In the past 17 years the temperature has actually gone down."

Bellamy, who has faced widespread criticism for his unorthodox views, also said there is now more sea ice at the poles than ever before and that, despite concerns about climate change driving polar bears to extinction, their numbers had trebled.

However, Rachel Noble, campaigns officer at Tourism Concern, said: "Human beings are contributors to climate change and aviation is a part of that. "Every individual is responsible for their actions, including where and how they travel."

Michelle di Leo, director of pro-aviation group FlyingMatters, said: "We don't disagree with those who say climate change is a serious issue because as far as we're concerned the science is there. "Where we do agree [with Professor Bellamy] is if policy makers focus on what is, globally, just 2% of emissions we could miss the chance of cutting more damaging sources without damaging the social and economic welfare that flying brings us."



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, June 28, 2008

Climate models fail again! Scientist 'startled' to discover 50% of ozone destroyed in lower atmosphere

"Destruction Of Greenhouse Gases Over Tropical Atlantic May Ease Global Warming"

Large amounts of ozone -- around 50% more than predicted by the world's state-of-the-art climate models -- are being destroyed in the lower atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This startling discovery was made by a team of scientists from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science and Universities of York and Leeds. It has particular significance because ozone in the lower atmosphere acts as a greenhouse gas and its destruction also leads to the removal of the third most abundant greenhouse gas; methane.

The findings come after analysing the first year of measurements from the new Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory, recently set up by British, German and Cape Verdean scientists on the island of Sao Vicente in the tropical Atlantic. Alerted by these Observatory data, the scientists flew a research aircraft up into the atmosphere to make ozone measurements at different heights and more widely across the tropical Atlantic. The results mirrored those made at the Observatory, indicating major ozone loss in this remote area.

So, what's causing this loss? Instruments developed at the University of Leeds, and stationed at the Observatory, detected the presence of the chemicals bromine and iodine oxide over the ocean for this region. These chemicals, produced by sea spray and emissions from phytoplankton (microscopic plants in the ocean), attack the ozone, breaking it down. As the ozone is destroyed, a chemical is produced that attacks and destroys the greenhouse gas methane. Up until now it has been impossible to monitor the atmosphere of this remote region over time because of its physical inaccessibility. Including this new chemistry in climate models will provide far more accurate estimates of ozone and methane in the atmosphere and improve future climate predictions.

Professor Alastair Lewis, Director of Atmospheric Composition at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and a lead scientist in this study, said: "At the moment this is a good news story -- more ozone and methane being destroyed than we previously thought - but the tropical Atlantic cannot be taken for granted as a permanent 'sink' for ozone. The composition of the atmosphere is in fine balance here- it will only take a small increase in nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion, carried here from Europe, West Africa or North America on the trade winds, to tip the balance from a sink to a source of ozone"

Professor John Plane, University of Leeds said: "This study provides a sharp reminder that to understand how the atmosphere really works, measurement and experiment are irreplaceable. The production of iodine and bromine mid-ocean implies that destruction of ozone over the oceans could be global".


Don't be Fooled by America's "Armchair Environmentalists"

Despite a vast U.S. marketing and media coverage trend toward green affinity and awareness in recent years, most Americans admit putting personal comfort ahead of the environment, and a significant percentage voice ambivalence - even negativity - about increased media attention regarding the environment. So reports Eco Pulse, the newest national study on U.S. consumers and green affinity, produced by Shelton Group (, a Tennessee advertising agency focused on energy, energy efficiency and sustainability.

"What we've quantified in Eco Pulse is that by and large, consumers behave as 'armchair environmentalists' at best," said Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group. "Folks who talk up their green purchases and lifestyles at a cocktail party really aren't doing as much as they say they're doing."

Eco Pulse reveals how few Americans actually put their own environmental views into practice at the check-out counter. When asked, "How much, if any, does a company's environmental record and/or practices impact your decision whether or not to buy their products?" 49 percent said "somewhat" to "very much."

However, when asked a specific follow-up to this question, "Have you ever chosen one product over another based on the environmental record/practices of its manufacturer?" only 21 percent said "yes," and of those, only 28 percent - six percent of the total population - could name the actual product.

When asked, "Given a choice between your comfort, your convenience or the environment, which do you most often choose?" 46 percent chose comfort, while 31 percent chose the environment, and 23 percent chose convenience. When asked if they feel like they are often asked to choose between their comfort and the environment, most consumers (48 percent) were undecided, but 26 percent agreed.

In addition, a significant percentage (40 percent) admitted to a less-than-enthusiastic response to increased media attention covering human impact on the environment. While 60 percent answered in a positive fashion (such as feeling better educated or glad as a result of environmental media attention), the rest chose negative or ambivalent responses such as irritated, skeptical, guilty or unaffected.

"The market for green messages is not nearly as mature as the media often leads the public - including businesses and marketers in the sustainability sector - to believe," Shelton said.

"We work with clients all the time who initially think consumers collectively hold widespread, uniform views about the environment and have a wealth of knowledge," Shelton said. "This corporate lack of understanding about the consumer mindset can lead to a lot of poorly crafted messaging - such as promoting things about a company's sustainability that mean little or nothing to consumers, often because a proper education process was never implemented first. For example, some companies just assume consumers know what a carbon credit is and that consumers will buy into a company's green credentials based on that sort of claim alone. Not true."

"The green marketing movement is very cart-before-the-horse right now, and it seems that few players in this space really understand that investing in educational groundwork will ultimately be needed to achieve meaningful connections between green messages and consumers."

Eco Pulse respondents also confirmed the skepticism that Shelton Group has been monitoring in recent nationwide focus groups regarding green corporate positioning.

When asked why most companies that adopt environmentally friendly practices do so, most (47 percent) responded "to make their company look better to the public." Only 13 percent believed it was "because their owners/shareholders care about the environment."



Gordon Brown suffered the humiliation on Friday of Labour crashing to fifth place in the Henley by-election on his first anniversary as prime minister. The unprecedented result, which placed the government behind the Green party and the far-right British National Party, is likely to raise further questions about Mr Brown's leadership and increase calls for change from Labour MPs.

The Conservatives comfortably held one of their safer seats, vacated by Boris Johnson when he left parliament to serve as London Mayor. John Howell, the Tory candidate, secured a majority of 10,116, increasing the Tory share of the vote from 53.5 per cent in 2005 to 57.5 per cent. In his acceptance speech he said "the British public has sent a message to Gordon Brown to 'get off our backs, stop the endless tax rises and help us cope with the rising cost of living'".

Labour expectations were extremely low ahead of the vote. But even the most pessimistic Labour MPs will be shocked that the governing party won little more than 1,000 votes, lost its 500 pounds deposit and trailed two parties with no representation in parliament.

Martin Salter, the Labour MP leading their campaign in Henley, described it as a "grim result" in which the government "reaped the whirlwind" of voter dismay over the credit crunch and faltering economy. "It is very difficult to divine a clear message for Gordon Brown in a seat in which we had no chance at all," he said.

Labour's share of the vote slumped from 14.8 per cent in 2005 to about 3 per cent - well short of the 5 per cent share required to keep their deposit. Lord Renard, the Liberal Democrat chief executive, said it was "abject humiliation" for Mr Brown.

More here

And below is the high-tax "Green" mentality that lost the election:

GORDON Brown was set to signal today he is prepared to take on public opinion over green taxes. The Prime Minister was to insist "real leadership" is necessary to reduce Britain's carbon footprint.

Announcing a 100 billion pound programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Brown was due to say UK lifestyles must change over the next decade. The Government has been under pressure over green incentives such as tax hikes for owners of the most polluting, gas-guzzling vehicles.

But, at a lower carbon economy summit in London today, Mr Brown was to say a low carbon society will not emerge from a "business as usual" approach. "It will require real leadership from government - being prepared to make hard decisions on planning or on tax, for example, rather than tacking and changing according to the polls. It will require an investment programme of around 100 billion over the next 12 years. "It will involve new forms of economic activity and social organisation. "It will mean new kinds of consumer behaviour and lifestyles. "And it will demand creativity, innovation and entrepreneurialism throughout our economy and our society."

Thousands of new wind turbines could be built across the UK over the coming decade as part of the radical blueprint being unveiled today. Business Secretary John Hutton acknowledged the "green" power plants would cost more and take up more land than conventional electricity generation, but said Britain had "no choice" about moving to lower-carbon energy.



Germany might reintroduce a _5bn-a-year (œ4bn, $7.8bn) tax break for commuters to shield consumers from rising petrol prices.

Senior officials from the Christian Democratic Union led by Angela Merkel, the chancellor, told the Financial Times the pressure to bring back a tax subsidy that was abolished last year, was so high that "we will not have the political strength to resist it". The admission comes as legislators frantically seek to alleviate the effects on voters of rising food and energy prices, which they fear could weaken consumption and dent support for the ruling parties in the run-up to next year's general election.

Using taxes to offset rising petrol prices would mark a U-turn for Germany, which recently rejected French suggestions that European governments should cut levies on petrol to protect consumers' purchasing power. Coalition parliamentarians yesterday said such a move would garner a broad majority in the house.

More here


As Japan prepares to host the Group of Eight Summit in ten days' time, it appears that the agenda will undergo a change to reflect current world concerns over the prices of food and oil. According to Japanese officials directly involved in the summit preparations, the summit's focus is likely to shift from climate change to rising prices, as leaders of the world's richest countries search for solutions to escalating costs that are affecting rich and poor nations alike.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, following a summit early this month in Rome, is working on ways to implement action plans adopted at the summit to improve food security.

The results of a policy dialogue among major oil producing and consuming nations in Saudi Arabia last weekend were disappointing; the host country promised to increase production by 200,000 barrels a day, but this was not expected to have much impact on the global oil market. "The world economic outlook is quite different from that prior to the previous Heiligendamm summit," said Masaharu Kono, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, referring to last year's G8 summit in Germany. Kono was speaking to the foreign press in Tokyo last week.

Originally, the summit was expected to focus on climate change - hardly a promising agenda for leaders interested in a "successful" outcome for the meeting. This issue is "one of the most difficult problems mankind has ever faced," said Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura Tuesday at a meeting of foreign journalists in Japan. The complexity of the task was apparent at the latest Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change, which took place last weekend in Seoul, South Korea. More than 12 hours of debate failed to produce a common language of consent on long-term - let alone mid-term - carbon emissions targets.

At the G8 meeting Japan is determined to sell its Cool Earth Partnership program, outlining its proposed policy incentives and demonstrating its energy-saving technologies and low-carbon products at the summit venue. "Our main goal is to forge a post-Kyoto framework in which all the major emissions nations can participate," stressed Komura.

On the third and final day of the summit, an extended meeting between G8 leaders and what is known as the Outreach Five nations - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - will be held. These 13 nations produce almost 80 percent of global carbon emissions.

Another major item on the agenda will be Africa. Japan has invited eight African leaders to dialogue with G8 leaders on July 7, the first working day of the conference.

The summit's political issues will cover nuclear non-proliferation, focusing mainly on Iran and North Korea, as well as peace building in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.

For the host Japan, the issue of North Korea has suddenly come to the fore, as the U.S. administration is expected to remove North Korea from its list of terrorism-supporting nations and grant it other benefits, after Pyongyang submitted details of its nuclear programs to China on Thursday as part of an earlier agreement. The delisting, Japan fears, may undermine its efforts to push Pyongyang to release more than a dozen Japanese citizens abducted nearly three decades ago.

On Wednesday U.S. President George W. Bush held a 20-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, affirming that he would "never forget about the abduction cases" and promising close cooperation on the matter, according to a Foreign Ministry press release.

Among the nine leaders expected at the G8 summit - eight plus the European Union Commissioner - there will be four new faces: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The merit of the annual summit is the fact that "these leaders can talk freely and interactively without any interference," said Kono, who will serve as aide to Fukuda, the summit chairman.

This year's G8 summit carries echoes of the very first summit - then the G6 - held in Rambouillet, France in 1975, in the wake of a global recession sparked by the 1973 oil crisis. More recent summits have drifted away from economic issues to focus on post-9/11 terrorism, infectious diseases, African development and climate change. In addition to the state actors, non-state actors including non-governmental organizations - invited and uninvited - as well as business and interest groups are expected to converge around the otherwise pristine volcanic Lake Toya, site of the summit. "This summit will be very colorful and with much diversity," Kono predicts.


How "Smart Growth" Exacerbated the International Financial Crisis

The U.S. mortgage meltdown has dominated business news for months. The crisis seems to deepen daily, and its impacts are felt throughout an increasingly interdependent financial world. Only recently, the Organization for Economic and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have suggested that losses of an additional $250 billion to $1 trillion may yet be in the offing. In the ongoing debate over the causes and cures of the mortgage meltdown, one of the most important factors has been virtually absent: the role of excessive land use regulations in exacerbating the extent of losses.

What Is Excessive Land Use Regulation?

As we know from introductory courses in economics, scarcity raises prices. In a number of metropolitan markets across the country, excessive land use policies have been adopted, such as urban growth boundaries, huge areas recently declared off-limits to development, building moratoria, confiscatory and unprecedented impact fees, and excessively large minimum lot sizes.

These policies, often referred to as "smart growth," create a scarcity of land, artificially raise the price of housing, and, again, have increased the exposure of the market to risky mortgage debt. When more liberal loan policies were implemented, metropolitan areas that had adopted these more restrictive policies lacked the resilient land markets that would have allowed the greater demand to be accommodated without inordinate increases in house prices.

A few voices in the wilderness on both sides of the political spectrum have pointed to the role of excessive land use policies in driving up housing costs. For example: Liberal economist Paul Krugman of The New York Times put most of his conservative colleagues to shame in noting that the house price bubble has been limited to metropolitan areas with strong land use regulation. Conservative Thomas Sowell, no stranger to being a voice in the wilderness, has made similar points. More recently, Theo Eicher of the University of Washington produced a working paper placing much of the blame for house price escalation on land use regulation in cities around the nation.

Consequences of Excessive Land Use Regulation

How does all of this relate to the mortgage meltdown and the subprime crisis? It is very simple. There is no question that more liberal loan policies were the proximate cause. But the strict land use regulations forced prices up much more than would have been the case if the previous more traditional yet environmentally sound regulation had been retained.

Places like California, the Northeast, the Northwest, and Florida have implemented excessive land use controls. As a result, their land use planning systems have not been able to accommodate the stronger demand created in the more profligate lending environment. At the same time, as a result of its more relaxed land regulation, much of the rest of the nation was far better able to accommodate the higher demand. This includes the high-income world's three fastest-growing metropolitan areas with a population of more than 5,000,000: Atlanta, Georgia, and Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

This is illustrated by developments in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan markets. Between 2000 and 2007, house prices increased an average of more than $275,000 compared to incomes (house price to household income ratio) in the 10 markets with the greatest price escalation or the greatest affordability loss. Among the second 10 markets with the greatest affordability loss, prices rose $135,000 relative to incomes. By contrast, in the markets with the least affordability loss, house prices increased only $5,000. (See table.)

What the 20 markets that have lost the most affordability have in common is excessive land use regulation. Virtually everyone knows the distress that such cost increases mean for America's households.

But there are broader economic consequences that have expanded to the international market. From 2000 to 2007, the gross value of the U.S. housing stock rose $5.3 trillion relative to household incomes. It is estimated that $4.4 trillion of this increase occurred in the 20 most escalating markets, all of which are characterized by excessive land use planning. In each of four markets (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, and Miami), the aggregate escalation above incomes was a third of a trillion dollars or more.

While there have been modest house price reductions in the most expensive markets, far larger drops would be required to restore previous levels of housing affordability in the most expensive markets. Moreover, Bureau of the Census estimates indicate that many of the markets that have lost so much affordability are also losing large numbers of households to more affordable areas of the country, which could suggest that house prices may well drop even further.[1]

Over the same period, the nation's gross residential mortgage exposure rose $4.8 trillion relative to household incomes. If the distribution of mortgage exposure increase tracked with the increase in excess value noted above, then 83 percent is attributable to the 20 most escalating markets-again, all with restrictive land use planning or smart growth. Stated another way, if price-escalating smart growth policies had not been adopted in state capitals, county courthouses, and local planning commissions, the financial risk in the current crisis would be at least $4 trillion less. This is a very high concentration of excess mortgage exposure, since these markets account for only 26 percent of the nation's owner-occupied housing stock.

The tragedy is that when most of these decisions were made, there was not the slightest consideration of economics-the upward pressure on house prices-or the number of households that would be denied home ownership in the years to come. Yet these local decisions played a major role in what The Economist magazine called a near global collapse.

Exacerbating the International Finance Crisis

Simply put, without smart growth, the international financial crisis that has raised so much appropriate concern would have been much less severe. Thus far, the policies of the Federal Reserve Board have failed to take notice of this important connection. Any serious effort to prevent a repeat of such destructive price volatility will require removing these destructive land use regulations that have done so much to destroy housing affordability in many markets while adding inordinately to the financial distress that is being felt around the world. Economics-challenged state and local politicians must not be permitted to steer the international economy into an iceberg.



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, June 27, 2008

The melted pole: More breathtaking stupidity from the mainstream media

Post below recycled from Tom Nelson. See the original for links

From The Independent:
Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic - and worrying - examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

From a June 20 National Geographic article:
Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.

But there's a big problem with this "alarming" story: it's not even rare for the North Pole to be ice free. See the details here, and note that the New York Times ran (and then retracted) a similar story back in August 2000. From a November 2000 Patrick Michaels article:
By August 29, the level of outrage the Times had incurred provoked a half-hearted retraction of sorts, on page D-3, where the paper admitted it misstated the true condition of polar ice, noting that about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is open in the summer and that those open areas do in fact sometimes extend to the Pole. McCarthy, the Times reported, "would not argue with critics who said that open water at the pole was not unprecedented." How about the truth? Open water is common.

That's apparent from even a cursory look at the U.N.'s own temperature data or from a study of climate history. Climatologists are pretty sure that polar regions were around 2øC warmer than they are today during the period from 4,000 to 7,000 years ago. That's three millennia in which summer sea-ice was likely more scattered than it is today. The only ecological catastrophe ecologists might be able say resulted from this deplorable condition was the rise of human civilization.


I have long ago lost track of all the international conferences about climate. They must be a lot of fun to have so many of them. A nice holiday at taxpayer expense, I guess. Anyway, the one below seems to be the latest

Major carbon dioxide emitters failed to agree on a numerical target for reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 even though the final session of a two-day meeting here was extended into Monday morning, conference sources said.

According to the sources, however, participants in the fourth Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change (MEM) did manage to hammer out a broad agreement on a draft MEM leaders' declaration to be issued on July 9 after talks to be held on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit meeting in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, which starts July 7.

The MEM comprises 16 nations, including China, India and South Korea, and the European Union plus the eight countries that form the G-8. Its first meeting was held at the initiative of the United States in September. The participating nations account for about 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

The G-8 groups Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Russia and the United States.

The content of the draft declaration has not been made public. According to sources, the draft indicates that developing nations also will be invited to take part in discussions on a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, based on the premise of receiving financial assistance from industrialized countries and technology cooperation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In regard to the long-term target of reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050, as proposed by Japan, the draft incorporates a certain understanding and awareness of this goal on the part of emerging economies, such as China and India, in addition to industrialized nations, according to the sources.

But this does not mean all 16 participating countries agreed to set a definite numerical goal, non-Japanese conference sources said, indicating that participants failed to clarify specific numerical targets and reach agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half.

As for a midterm goal targeted for around 2020 through 2030, opinion was divided with industrialized nations calling on the emerging economies to share the responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. For their part, the emerging economies urged the industrialized nations to reduce their emissions in advance, the sources said.

For this reason, the draft failed to incorporate a definite agreement or goal, a Japanese government source said.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mitoji Yabunaka, administrative vice foreign minister, said: "It's good that a [draft declaration] document was compiled with the aim of submitting it to the G-8 summit. But it's not yet complete."



Householders will be warned today to expect five years of higher home energy bills to pay for a green power revolution. John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will outline plans for a massive shift away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and tidal power, but will add that the change comes at a price. "We think there will be a cost," he told The Times yesterday.

The plan, which he calls the biggest shake-up in Britain's power generation since the Industrial Revolution, requires 100 billion pounds of new investment but would lead to five years of higher gas and electricity bills from about 2015, he said.

Homeowners will be given financial incentives to fit their roofs with solar panels and there will be ambitious targets to increase their use from 90,000 today to seven million within the next 12 years. The plan also envisages a 90 per cent increase in the use of ground and air-source heat pumps that provide "free" heat by tapping the warmth in the air or the earth. Mr Hutton will also outline a "feed-in tariff" allowing homes that generate surplus electricity to sell it to the national grid as an incentive to switch.

The news comes a day after the chiefs of the big six energy companies gave warning that energy bills, which have already risen more than 15 per cent this year, would rise again within the next few months because of the rising price of oil.

Mr Hutton said the renewable cost would be "relatively modest", set against the current increases in the prices of coal, oil and gas and the scale would depend on movements in world oil prices. But he said that it was a necessary price to pay if Britain was serious about addressing climate change and switching to green technology.

More here


The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says. Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest. The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change. Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020. Oxfam estimates the EU's target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report's author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol. "If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead," he said. "Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."

More here


The Antarctic set a new record (since records began in 1979) for sea ice extent at the end of last winter. It stayed well above the normal through the summer with icemelt 40% below the normal. As a new height of irony and hype, the media made a big deal about a fracture of a small part of the Wilkins ice sheet in late February (160 square miles of the 6 million square mile Antarctic ice sheet (0.0027% of the total).

Media headlines blared: Bye-bye, Antarctica? and Massive ice shelf collapsing off Antarctica. But as you can see from this Cryosphere chart, the extent never dropped to less than 1 million square km ABOVE NORMAL during or after the brief event. Currently Antarctic ice extent is running nearly 1 million square kilometers higher than last year at this time. Peak comes at the end of the southern winter (September).

This chart, also from Cryosphere, shows the Global Sea Ice Area from 1979 to present. It begs the question, where's the melt?

More here


Apparently a number of papers are "commemorating" today the 20th anniversary of James Hansen's speech before Congress warning of catastrophic man-made global warming. So let's indeed commemorate it. Here is the chart from the appendices of Hansen's speech showing his predictions for man-made global warming:

I have helpfully added in red the actual temperature history, as measured by satellite, over the last 20 years (and scale-shifted to match the base anomaly in Hansens graph). Yes, 2008 has been far colder than 1988. We have seen no warming trend in the last 10 years, and temperatures have undershot every one of Hansen's forecasts. He thought the world would be a degree C warmer in 20 years, and it is not. Of course, today, he says the world will warm a degree in the next 20 years -- the apocalypse never goes away, it just recesses into the future.

This may explain why Hansen's GISS surface temperature measurements are so much higher than everyone else's, and keep getting artificially adjusted upwards: Hansen put himself way out on a limb, and now is using the resources of the GISS to try to create warming in the metrics where none exist to validate his forecasts of Apocalypse.

More here


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.