Tuesday, July 22, 2008


When is peer review not peer review? When a beehive says so! ("Bienenstock" is German/Yiddish for "beehive")

Thank you for your message concerning the American Physical Society's treatment of the article by Lord Monckton in the Newsletter of the Forum on Physics and Society. I am writing to discuss issues raised by some of you.

Some of those writing to me have claimed that the American Physical Society is censoring Lord Monckton's article in the Newsletter of the APS' Forum on Physics and Society. That is far from the case. The article has been presented and retained in the form agreed upon by him and the Newsletter's editor. You will find it readily available on the APS' website in that form. Indeed, there was absolutely no censoring. The APS did not even do a scientific evaluation or peer review of the article.

Lord Monckton's presentation of the interaction between him and the editor indicates clearly that the editor's review was aimed at ensuring the clarity and readability of the article by the intended audience. As Lord Monckton points out in his covering letter to me, "Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity - a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain." That is, the review was an editorial review for a newsletter, and not the substantive scientific peer review required for publication in our journals. No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article and no censoring was performed.

As indicated above and in Lord Monckton's letter to me, the article appears in the form agreed upon by Lord Monckton. Some people and news services misinterpreted the Newsletter publication of one editor's comments and Lord Monckton's article as a retreat by the American Physical Society from its official position on the contribution of human activities to global warming.

Consequently, the APS felt it necessary to ensure that its official position was known both to those who logged on to the APS website and those who had followed a link to Lord Monckton's article on our website and were unaware of the context in which it appears. That is the origin of the comment that appears at the top of the article on the website. I am sure that you would not want the Society's position to be misunderstood in this important matter. I hope that this clarifies matters for you. Let me thank you again for your interest in the American Physical Society's activities.

Arthur Bienenstock, President, American Physical Society


Dear Dr. Bienenstock,

I have had your notice of refusal to remove your regrettable disclaimer from my paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered. Since you have not had the courtesy to remove and apologize for the unacceptable red-flag text that, on your orders, in effect invites readers of Physics and Society to disregard the paper that one of your editors had invited me to submit, and which I had submitted in good faith, and which I had revised in good faith after it had been meticulously reviewed by a Professor of Physics who was more than competent to review it, I must now require you to answer the questions that I had asked in my previous letter, videlicet -

1. Please provide the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it (if any) who considered my paper (if anyone considered it) before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper;

2. Please provide a copy of this rapporteur's findings (if any) and ratio decidendi (if any);

3. Please provide the date of the Council meeting (if there was one) at which the report (if any) was presented;

4. Please provide a copy of the minutes (if any) of the discussion (if there was one);

5. Please provide a copy of the text (if any) of the Council's decision (if there was one);

6. Please provide a list of the names of those present (if any) at that Council meeting (if there was one);

7. If, as your silence on these points implies, the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, please explain with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts -

primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed, when it had (let us have no more semantic quibbles about the meaning of "scientific review");

secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the "overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community"; and,

tertio, that "The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions"? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

And, if the Council has not in fact met to consider my paper as your red-flag text above my paper implies, how dare you state (on no evidence) that the Council disagrees with my conclusions?

8. Please provide the requested apology without any further mendacity, prevarication, evasion, excuse, or delay. Finally, was the Council's own policy statement on "global warming" peer-reviewed? Or is it a mere regurgitation of some of the opinions of the UN's climate panel? If the latter, why was the mere repetition thought necessary?


The climate change lobby tends to react like scalded cats should anyone have the temerity to question their assertion that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. So certain are they of the righteousness of their case that it has taken on the aura of a religious faith - and heresy will simply not be tolerated.

The latest example is Ofcom's ruling that Channel 4's programme The Great Global Warming Swindle breached its guidelines by not being impartial and by failing to reflect a range of views on a controversial issue. The programme was actually polemical and since when are polemics supposed to be impartial? Yet for daring to suggest that there is no proven link between human activity and global warming (not least because there has been a marked atmospheric cooling in recent years), the programme makers were deluged with protests in what looked suspiciously like an orchestrated operation by the true believers. One complaint was 188 pages long and alleged 137 breaches of the Broadcasting Code.

Yet while Ofcom ruled that its rules on partiality had been broken, it also concluded that that this did not lead to viewers being "materially misled". In other words, the programme makers had sought to debunk a cherished theory by challenging an orthodox view, yet did so in a way that did not mislead the viewer. So what exactly is the problem?

This bullying is unappealing. Climate change protagonists would carry more conviction if they encouraged free debate on this issue, rather than trying to silence dissenting voices. I don't recall Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth - that's the same Al Gore whose Tennessee home consumes 20 times the amount of energy as the average American home - being impartial, or giving a voice to a range of views. It was polemic, and highly effective polemic at that. So was The Great Global Warming Swindle.



Ofcom, Britain's media regulator, seems to have been too quick to damn the Great Global Warming Swindle, and too quick to exonerate one of Britian's leading warming hysterics:
"In the closing moments of the program a voiceover from the climate change sceptic Fred Singer claimed that the Chief Scientist of the UK had said that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the planet would be in the Antarctic and that "humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic". Sir David has never made such a statement. It is thought that Mr Singer confused the comments with those made by the scientist James Lovelock, who infuriated many colleagues in the science community when he publicly questioned global warming."

Actually, Lovelock didn't publicly question global warming, but claimed in fact: "Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

But it turns out that that Singer didn't really misrepesent King that much at all. Reader Paul in a few minutes of searching discovered some King quotes that Ofcom seems to have missed in 15 months of inquiry:
"Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week."

With such extreme and scientifically unsupported scare-claims like those, why is it that King and Lovelock aren't being hounded that way that The Great Global Warming Swindle was for criticising such alarmism?



If they can't get the past right, how can they get the future right?

All the data sources have updated now for June. NOAA GHCN data was a clear outlier. NOAA called this the eighth warmest June on record for the globe in the 129 years since records began in 1880 with a positive anomaly of 0.5C (0.9F) for the month. The University of Alabama, Huntsville MSU satellite based global assessment reported the this June was the the 9th coldest in the 30 years of satellite record keeping (base period 1979-1998) with a value of -0.11C (-0.19F). The other NASA satellite source, RSS had June as the 13th coldest out of the last 30 years. Hadley came in today with their CRUV3 data update. They also were in disagreement with the satellite data sets with +0.316C, the 10th warmest June.

However both the Hadley and MSU do show a downtrend since 2002 of 0.15 to 0.2C with a rather strong negative correlation (r = - 0.44 with Hadley) with CO2 which increased 3.5% over the period.

Recall the CO2 was negatively correlated for almost 4 decades from the 1940s through the 1970s. It was positively correlated from 1900 to 1930s and again 1979 to 1998. This on-again, off-again relationship suggests CO2 is not driving the climate bus but may be a passenger in the back.

OK, but why the discrepancy of satellite and surface based data bases? Though there has clearly been some cyclical warming in recent decades, the global surface station based data is seriously compromised by urbanization and other local factors (land-use /land-cover, improper siting, station dropout, instrument changes unaccounted for and missing data) and thus the data bases overestimate the warming.

Numerous peer-reviewed papers (referenced at end) in the last several years have shown this overestimation may be the order of 30 to 50%. I believe the recent warming is comparable or less than the warming in the 1930s and is now over. See a detailed analysis of this issue here.

Even the global continental extremes show no recent decade represented. All the heat records were before 1950 with the exception of Antarctica which showed its warmest temperature in 1974. There probably was very little monitoring in prior years there.


Australian Green Paper 'too late' to save Great Barrier Reef

LOL. We have been hearing about the impending doom of the Barrier Reef for decades -- since long before the global warming scare. They used to blame it on farming! The reef has been there through many climate changes in the past and it will still be there when all of the current crop of doomsters are dead. The scares are nothing more than childish attention-seeking behaviour. I get tired of reiterating it but the reef already thrives through a very large temperature range and it in fact flourishes most where the climate is warmest. Expect zero honesty from an attention-seeking Greenie. Corals even thrive after A DIRECT ATOMIC HIT, in fact

THE Federal Government is being warned its Green Paper on emissions trading will not do enough to save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction. Leading environmentalists said Australia and other industrialised countries needed to slash emissions by 2020 if the tourism icon was to survive beyond the middle of the century.

The warning came as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was urged to extend compensation for the emissions trading scheme to self-funded retirees. Everald Compton of National Seniors Australia said self-funded retirees needed extra help after their incomes were slashed by the dive in global sharemarkets.

The Government's Green Paper released last week repeated dire predictions about "mid-century destruction" of the Barrier Reef, which is estimated to generate about $1 billion a year. But Erwin Jackson of the Climate Institute said the Government's emissions trading proposal did nothing to ensure the future of the reef. "We don't know if this paper will help save the Barrier Reef," he said. "Countries like Australia need to reduce emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020." Tony Mohr of the Australian Conservation Foundation described the Green Paper as "slim pickings" for the protection of the reef.


Australia: Inconvenient truths for Kevin Rudd's climate dreams

Behind the hype of the Garnaut Report and the Rudd Government's carbon emissions green paper lie some very inconvenient facts. First: a carbon system applied as now proposed will barely make a dent in the growth of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2020; it will not deliver a cut in emissions below today's levels, let alone below 2000 levels. Rudd is caught here by the Howard interest rate trap: it was not what the former prime minister said about interest rates under a Coalition government that mattered, it was what the voters thought he said, and when the rates rose again and again they punished him.

In Rudd's case, he has led the voters to believe he is going to deliver relief from global warming or, at the very least, a world-leading Australian example of how this can be achieved - and he can't. He can't, first, because no matter what is done here, the key impact of human-sourced greenhouse gases on the environment will be delivered elsewhere. Second, because delivering a massive cut in Australian domestic emissions through very high energy prices will make a slaughterhouse of the local manufacturing sector and deliver more than a million direct jobs, and perhaps as many indirect ones, to the block.

Nor can Rudd escape the political cost of undermining manufacturing by relying on the ongoing minerals and energy boom, heavily based on Chinese and other Asian demand for our resources, to be the key prop of the economy. As the eminent American economist, Jeffrey Sachs, at present visiting Australia, points out, countries over-reliant on exporting natural resources rarely show much economic growth.

The most inconvenient fact of all is to be found elsewhere: in China, where the direction of the global concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere during the next few decades is already being decided. China is matched by only the US in the size of its emissions. The growth of US emissions has slowed this decade, but the growth of Chinese emissions has been, and is going to continue to be, enormous. In this country, activists obsess over each new coal mine or coal-fired power station as if it signals the end of our world, but the Chinese are duplicating our entire coal-fired power capacity every four or five months. China added 88,300MW of new coal-fired generation in 2007. Australia's total grid-connected power capacity is 48,200MW, of which 28,500MW is coal fired.

The Chinese, to quote a paper delivered to the Asia Clean Energy Conference in Manila in June by Jianxiong Mao of Tsinghua University, Beijing, intend to build another 500,000MW between 2010 and 2020 while closing 4000 of their small, very inefficient coal plants. This program includes developing 120,000MW of renewable energy - four times what the Rudd Government's mandatory clean energy target aims to achieve - but 60 per cent of the new capacity will be coal-fired generation, their gases alone each year adding more than Australia's emissions from all sources to the atmosphere.

The Chinese have on order 200 coal-powered units as big as the dozen largest in use in NSW and 16 units bigger than the 750MW plant, Australia's largest, just commissioned in Queensland. This represents some $700 billion worth of equipment orders and barely half of what will be needed to meet Chinese 2020 capacity targets.

Because global warming is above all else a global issue, where the total of greenhouse gases in the planetary atmosphere decides what happens, even a suicidal decision in Australia to scrap all coal burners in the interests of showing the world a lead - cutting emissions by 180 million tonnes a year - would have no impact in the face of what the Chinese alone have already decided to do. Moreover, the Chinese, contrary to myth, are not doing nothing about emissions: they are engaged in a massive modernisation program that will improve their carbon intensity, but it will nonetheless add huge amounts of gases to the atmosphere.

Which leads to the question: what is Australia trying to achieve? When Sachs tried very politely on ABC Television this month to make the point that effective action requires first deciding on your target, then working out how to reach it most efficiently, he was, to quote a subsequent ABC Radio news report, "dismissed" by federal Government sources.

There is a raft of things Australia can, and should, do to deal better with its own greenhouse gas emission levels. An effective, regulation-driven approach to end-use efficiency is one. This month McKinsey & Company have released a study showing how the world can halve energy demand by spending about $US170 billion ($175 billion) a year....

It is necessary to adjust (and increase) the taxation system to fund these initiatives, which require large-scale community support as well as private investment, but this should be done in a straightforward and transparent fashion, not by inventing one of the world's most convoluted regulatory systems and myriad ways to avert its worst impacts by providing "get out of jail" cards to special interests while buying off voter rage through exempting petrol.

If there is one thing that is crystal clear after a week of the Garnaut Report, his "town hall meetings" and the green paper, it is that the Rudd Government is already knee-deep in a swamp of its own making on carbon policy, and deaf to advice to stop wading.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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