Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NYT yearns for that good old, long-lost consensus

At last they admit that there is no consensus -- but they lament that fact as a bad thing -- because it tends to "confuse" people. Dr Goebbels would agree. Intellectual diversity and debate are OUT! Excerpt:

When science is testing new ideas, the result is often a two-papers-forward-one-paper-back intellectual tussle among competing research teams. When the work touches on issues that worry the public, affect the economy or polarize politics, the news media and advocates of all stripes dive in. Under nonstop scrutiny, conflicting findings can make news coverage veer from one extreme to another, resulting in a kind of journalistic whiplash for the public.

This has been true for decades in health coverage. But lately the phenomenon has been glaringly apparent on the global warming beat. Discordant findings have come in quick succession. How fast is Greenland shedding ice? Did human-caused warming wipe out frogs in the American tropics? Has warming strengthened hurricanes? Have the oceans stopped warming? These questions endure even as the basic theory of a rising human influence on climate has steadily solidified: accumulating greenhouse gases will warm the world, erode ice sheets, raise seas and have big impacts on biology and human affairs.

Scientists see persistent disputes as the normal stuttering journey toward improved understanding of how the world works. But many fear that the herky-jerky trajectory is distracting the public from the undisputed basics and blocking change. "One of the things that troubles me most is that the rapid-fire publication of unsettled results in highly visible venues creates the impression that the scientific community has no idea what's going on," said W. Tad Pfeffer, an expert on Greenland's ice sheets at the University of Colorado. "Each new paper negates or repudiates something emphatically asserted in a previous paper," Dr. Pfeffer said. "The public is obviously picking up on this not as an evolution of objective scientific understanding but as a proliferation of contradictory opinions."

Several experts on the media and risk said that one result could be public disengagement with the climate issue just as experts are saying ever more forcefully that sustained attention and action are needed to limit the worst risks. Recent polls in the United States and Britain show that the public remains substantially divided and confused over what is happening and what to do. Some environmentalists have blamed energy-dependent industries and the news media for stalemates on climate policy, arguing that they perpetuate a false sense of uncertainty about the basic problem.


Valuable seagrass faces global warming threat

More bunk! If sea temp were really rising, the sea grass would adjust by favoring warm-loving species. That's how sea grass survived the much larger temp swings of the past 1000 years

Seagrass meadows, which are vital for the survival of much marine life and a source of household materials in Europe and Africa, face a mounting threat from global warming, a report said on Friday.

The report, from the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said the submerged meadows -- many around the Mediterranean -- could be saved through concerted action by governments and scientists."Seagrass habitats are already declining due to increasing water temperatures, algae (seaweed) growth and light reduction, which are all effects of global change," said IUCN specialist Mats Bjork, one of the authors of the report.

The report said the grass -- flowering plants found in shallow waters around the globe -- provides food and shelter for prawn and fish populations and is used traditionally as mattress filling, roof covering and for medicines.If much of it were to disappear, a wide range of species -- including dugongs, sea turtles, sea urchins and seabirds who feed on it -- would also come under increased threat, according to the report.

The report said some of the healthiest seagrass areas known to exist today were off the North African coast of Libya and Tunisia in areas where there had been little industrial or tourism development. Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of IUCN's Global Marine Program, said the meadows could be saved by making seagrass more resilient to climbing temperatures through mixing genetically more diverse populations.

The report, issued at a conference in Barcelona, said the introduction of protected areas and linking the underwater meadows to nearby mangrove plantations or coral reefs would also give a huge boost to their chances of survival. Lundin said it was also vital to extend research into how seagrass can be protected -- a effort already promoted by IUCN that would require governments and scientific institutions to devote resources and time.


Global warming disputed in New Zealand court case

A verdict against a wind farm could have wide interest

Cited environmental benefits of Meridian Energy's proposed Project Hayes wind farm were based on misleading scientific information, an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell was told yesterday. Prof Bob Carter, of Queensland, Australia, appeared as a witness for appellant Roch Sullivan to give evidence at the hearing on issues of climate change.

Prof Carter said the Government's justification of its support of Project Hayes - in order to reduce global warming - was a waste of time and money. "No significant increase in global average temperature has occurred since 1998 despite an increase in carbon dioxide over the same period of about 5%."

Information used by Meridian and the Government to justify the relatively expensive development of wind energy was based on reports made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which suggested fossil-fuelled energy generation created global warming, he said. The IPCC's processes were flawed and there was a large body of independent scientists around the world who discounted its policies on climate change, Prof Carter said.

"There are alternative, very soundly based views on the effects of carbon dioxide and warming of the climate. "A human effect on global climate change has not yet been distinguished and measured . . . meanwhile, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does, and a phase of cooling has succeeded the mild late 20th century warming," he said.

Prof Carter said the available scientific data on global warming did not justify the belief carbon dioxide emission controls could be used as a means of managing or stopping future climate change, which the Government believed Project Hayes could do. Therefore, the Government's notion of global warming, which prompted its 10-year moratorium on new fossil fuel power stations, would cost taxpayers dearly for no additional environmental benefit, he said.

Changes in temperature preceded parallel changes in carbon dioxide and, therefore, carbon dioxide could not be the primary driver of global temperature change, he said. "Natural climate change will continue with some of its likely manifestations, such as sea-level rises and coastal change in particular locations. Adaptation to that will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of the world's energy," he said.


Is the electric car "cure" worse than the AGW "problem"?

As Curt points out in his post a round up of the AGW and energy news, the debate is raging in Australia, where they are finding resistance to their AGW mandates in the wake of Dave Evans (the man who designed FullCAM - the model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol) - switch from proponent to skeptic

Meanwhile, enviros and agenda driven pols around the world do their level best to halt any constructive means of affordable, clean energy production, as well as increasing the world's supply of oil.

There's no dearth of "cures" offered by "the debate is settled" crowd. And one of these is everyone's favorite - the electric car. To this I can only say. where is the logic? To draw the parallel between the "problem" and "cure", we need to talk water vapor. According to the pro AGW EurCarbon
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gaseous components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes between 9-26%; and ozone, which causes between 3-7%, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons. The greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere, do not remain there eternally. They can be withdrawn from the atmosphere:

Some of the beef of many skeptics is that water vapor is not included as mitigating factor in the IPCC's "consensus" of perceived global warming - now called "climate change" since the 10 year global cooling, most likely to protect the activists/alarmists' credibility.

EurCarbon argues that naturally occuring water vapor isn't a factor since it's duration in the atmostphere is short term (days) and is removed via condensation and precipitation (assuming that we are not in drought conditions, I would guess) while CO2/carbon dioxide is a variable. Again, according to them.
CO2 duration stay is variable (approximately 200-450 years) and its global warming potential (GWP) is defined as 1.
Methane duration stay is 12 +/- 3 years and a GWP of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide)
Nitrous oxide has a duration stay of 120 years and a GWP of 310
CFC-12 has a duration stay of 102 years and a GWP between 6200 and 7100
HCFC-22 has a duration stay of 12.1 years and a GWP between 1300 and 1400
Tetrafluoromethane has a duration stay of 50,000 years and a GWP of 6500
Sulfur hexafluoride has a duration stay of 3,200 years and a GWP of 23900.

Despite CO2s low rating, and ratio compared to water vapor, per the pro AGW proponents, it's the main culprit attacked. Which now brings me to one of their solutions. electric cars for everyone. Yet the hydrogen/electric car engineering emits. uh. water vapor. the single largest greenhouse gas effect. Should the world revert to all electric cars, that's a lot of water vapor emitted that is dependent on condensation and rain for removal.

So the question that comes to my mind. just what bright lightbulb thinks it's a great idea to change the world to cars emitting an increased amount of water vapor (the largest contributor to warming), and then depend on preciptation to remove that water vapor?

Let's pile on more to their arguments. AGW proponents seem to suggest that our action is necessary to reduce reduce tropical storm activity (BS in itself) and other weather disasters Yet those typhoons and hurricanes they wish to control are a natural factor in cleaning out the high content of water vapor, burying it in the oceans. And if we're adding more water vapor to the atmosphere, exactly how do they propose this will dissipate without falling back to the earth, producing more violent snow and rain storms, flooding, and other natural disasters?

This strikes me as counterproductive, especially since they are talking about adding massive amounts of water vapor with the electric car emissions. In fact, this whole notion seems to run contrary to AGU's explanation of Water Vapor in the Climate System.

Much more here

Global warming, yeah right, it's cold!

Comment from Canada

Well "Juneuary" is long over up here and we finally had a bit of sun in July. Never had I seen a colder spring. Last year was bad enough. Two springs in a row that "frosted the pumpkin" so to speak.

Utility bills not a whole lot different than winter even! And thanks to Gordo Campbell's "Save the Earth by sticking it to the taxpayer" philosophy which has brought down not one, but two separate energy taxes complete with wasteful bureaucracy gobbling it all up, the provincial government is even more pocket-emptying than before.

Enough of that. I even burnt all of my firewood the last two years for the very first time. Global warming my arse - more like a fulfillment of the old "Nuclear Winter" theory I'd say. That without the bombs even going off! So I finally got around to getting the firewood and am left wondering how soon the government is gonna get us there? Sooner rather than later I'd guess. Anyhow, here the Newfie neighbour gal is walking by and says as I'm splitting the timber, "Once you get yer summer firewood in, you can start on your winter wood!" Newfies tell it like it is!

This spring was just a horrific extension of winter says me. And as if I need further proof I goes down to the Marble River in mid-July for a swim. Well, the toes were tingling and the hairs on my legs were standing up - even under the water! And then I hit waist deep. By golly the family jewels shot up so high I looked like I had two Adam's apples for a while, eh? Couple of icebergs could have floated by and it probably would have warmed her up a bit!

Yes sir, Newfie Bob said it best, "Ever since they started babbling about this global warming theory I haven't been warm since!" But my kid and others tell us different, "That's all part of global warming too Dad," he says. I say that's a pretty indestructible theory to be sure. No doubt we are all gonna freeze to death from global warming.

That's what they'll write down in history they will. I just hope that ol' Suzuki and Gore start prophesying about global cooling sometime soon cause then sure as heck, we'll have a heat wave that will warm us up real fine like we both want and need.

Suzuki and Gore should have lived in Old Testament times I figures. When you prophesied back then in Hebrew Land, you had to deliver or you would get a free ticket to a very painful sort of rock concert where you were both the star and would also soon be seeing stars!


An orgy of climate self-satisfaction

A mocking comment from Stephen Matchett in Australia

The world is heating up because people are running their airconditioners too high, driving their four-wheel drives too fast and turning on TiVo. As the planet warms up, tide and tempest, flood and fire, plague and - you get the idea - will engulf us. Already global gloomsters are inviting the four horsepersons of the apocalypse to come and punish us for our conspicuous consumption, the way we use coal-fired power stations to run toasters, that sort of thing.

So it's fortunate that when it comes to doing something we have a Prime Minister who tells us what he is going to do, in many languages. And this time he actually remembered to stop talking long enough to act, commissioning economist Ross Garnaut and a bunch of brainy bureaucrats to work out how we can slow global warming.

And what they say is we must cut our carbon emissions in ways that only economists and the experts who blog at will ever understand. (Before I get an aggrieved email from Climate Change Minister Penny Wong's office I know the Government's response to Garnaut was a green, not a white paper, which means they have put all the politically poisonous bits in it they will later take out; but as nobody appears to have read the document they may as well have called it a puce paper for all the colour scheme signifies.)

Still, even though few have a clue what it all means everybody is delighted that Australia is leading the way in saving the planet. Everybody that is, except aggrieved industrialists and annoyed unionists who think the Government plans to do too much and greens who are convinced it is not doing enough, because only alternative energy isn't evil.

Still, the rest of us seem pretty pleased. After years of people demanding that somebody does something about the weather, somebody is. The problem is that we do not have a snowflake's in the global greenhouse chance of doing anything effective about the world's slide to ecological oblivion. While we use more energy than people whose primary power comes from dried cow dung, there are not very many of us. Australia could cut carbon emissions to zero without moving the global warming weather vane.

But let's not allow a little thing like reality to get in the way of cutting carbon. It's time we were punished for our acts of power profligacy, such as the environmental vandalism of forgetting to turn the outside light off at bedtime. So it's generous of the Government to make us - well, some of us - feel better by slugging us for the cost of carbon. And you know the pain will do us good, because emitters are upset. People who own power stations are demanding carbon credits on the grounds that change is so stressful.

There is outrage in the LNG industry because a carbon tax will make it harder to boast about ever increasing annual profits. Then there are the unions and the inevitable activists in the welfare industry who are demanding compensation for, you guessed it, working families, basically because this is their standard response to every event, from global warming to the price of potatoes.

And because the Government's green-ness does not extend to its electoral instincts, emitters, unions and activists will get the carbon compensation they demand. The chance of anything other than a carbon tax on petrol before the next, or for that matter any, election is as likely as Brendan Nelson abandoning aphorisms for English in his speeches. It's also the reason why the puce, sorry green, paper proposes parliament will decide our annual carbon emissions.

You can imagine the outcome after lobbyists get into the ears of members and senators. We will have industry exemptions and concessions for working families and farmers. And of course government MPs with marginal seats will all want headlines in thelocal papers, of the "MP saves area fromwhatever this carbon thing is all about"variety.

By the time the snouts rise from the carbon trough emissions are likely to have increased: after all, saving the planet is one thing, saving the Government's hide is entirely another.



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.



John A said...

let's see, now.

From roughly 1915 to 1940 increased industrialization, adoption of autos (and trucks - oh, and changing trains from coal and wood to diesel) caused temps to increase.

From roughly 1941 to 1974 increased industrialization, adoption of autos (and trucks - oh, and changing trains from coal and wood to diesel) caused temps to decrease.

Then from roughly 1975 to 1999 increased industrialization and even more autos (guzzling more fuel) caused temps to increase again.

And now, vastly increased industrialization and coal burning in areas such as Asia, coupled with decreasing emissions in 1st world countries such as the US, are causing temps to decrease.

OR, about every thirty years, as CO2 continues to climb, global temperature trend reverses.

Why, obviously, we must stop breathing! No more CO2 exhalation! And while we're at it, cut down on bovine flatulence (methane, donchaknow)!

Have I got it right?

TheFatBigot said...

The article on electric cars ties in with the one on windmills. In the same way that we need back-up power stations for when the windmills aren't whirring, so the electric car needs those very same generators.

It is fair to observe that the emissions from a petrol car will exceed those from a power station generating the amount required for an electric car. But even then, the quantity of CO2 emitted by a petrol car is a gnat's fart in the general scheme of things.

Keep up the good work Dr R.