Friday, July 31, 2009

Climate Revolt: World’s Largest Science Group 'Startled' By Outpouring of Scientists Rejecting Man-Made Climate Fears!

Scientists seek to remove climate fear promoting editor and 'trade him to New York Times or Washington Post'

An outpouring of skeptical scientists who are members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are revolting against the group's editor-in-chief -- with some demanding he be removed -- after an editorial appeared claiming “the science of anthropogenic climate change is becoming increasingly well established.”

The editorial claimed the "consensus" view was growing "increasingly difficult to challenge, despite the efforts of diehard climate-change deniers.” The editor now admits he is "startled" by the negative reaction from the group's scientific members. The American Chemical Society bills itself as the "world's largest scientific society."

The June 22, 2009 editorial in Chemical and Engineering News by editor in chief Rudy Baum, is facing widespread blowback and condemnation from American Chemical Society member scientists. Baum concluded his editorial by stating that “deniers” are attempting to “derail meaningful efforts to respond to global climate change.”

Dozens of letters were published on July 27, 2009 castigating Baum, with some scientists calling for his replacement as editor-in-chief.

The editorial was met with a swift, passionate and scientific rebuke from Baum's colleagues. Virtually all of the letters published on July 27 in castigated Baum's climate science views. Scientists rebuked Baum's use of the word “deniers” because of the terms “association with Holocaust deniers.” In addition, the scientists called Baum's editorial: “disgusting”; “a disgrace”; “filled with misinformation”; “unworthy of a scientific periodical” and “pap.”

One outraged ACS member wrote to Baum: "When all is said and done, and you and your kind are proven wrong (again), you will have moved on to be an unthinking urn for another rat pleading catastrophe. You will be removed. I promise."

Baum wrote on July 27, that he was "startled" and "surprised" by the "contempt" and "vehemence" of the ACS scientists to his view of the global warming "consensus."

"Some of the letters I received are not fit to print. Many of the letters we have printed are, I think it is fair to say, outraged by my position on global warming," Baum wrote.

Selected Excerpts of Skeptical Scientists:

“I think it's time to find a new editor,” ACS member Thomas E. D'Ambra wrote.

Geochemist R. Everett Langford wrote: “I am appalled at the condescending attitude of Rudy Baum, Al Gore, President Barack Obama, et al., who essentially tell us that there is no need for further research—that the matter is solved.”

ACS scientist Dennis Malpass wrote: “Your editorial was a disgrace. It was filled with misinformation, half-truths, and ad hominem attacks on those who dare disagree with you. Shameful!”

ACS member scientist Dr. Howard Hayden, a Physics Professor Emeritus from the University of Connecticut: “Baum's remarks are particularly disquieting because of his hostility toward skepticism, which is part of every scientist's soul. Let's cut to the chase with some questions for Baum: Which of the 20-odd major climate models has settled the science, such that all of the rest are now discarded? [...] Do you refer to 'climate change' instead of 'global warming' because the claim of anthropogenic global warming has become increasingly contrary to fact?"

Edward H. Gleason wrote: “Baum's attempt to close out debate goes against all my scientific training, and to hear this from my ACS is certainly alarming to me...his use of 'climate-change deniers' to pillory scientists who do not believe climate change is a crisis is disingenuous and unscientific.”

Atmospheric Chemist Roger L. Tanner: "I have very little in common with the philosophy of the Heartland Institute and other 'free-market fanatics,' and I consider myself a progressive Democrat. Nevertheless, we scientists should know better than to propound scientific truth by consensus and to excoriate skeptics with purple prose."

William Tolley: "I take great offense that Baum would use Chemical and Engineering News, for which I pay dearly each year in membership dues, to purvey his personal views and so glibly ignore contrary information and scold those of us who honestly find these views to be a hoax."

William E. Keller wrote: “However bitter you (Baum) personally may feel about CCDs (climate change deniers), it is not your place as editor to accuse them—falsely—of nonscientific behavior by using insultingly inappropriate language. [...] The growing body of scientists, whom you abuse as sowing doubt, making up statistics, and claiming to be ignored by the media, are, in the main, highly competent professionals, experts in their fields, completely honorable, and highly versed in the scientific method—characteristics that apparently do not apply to you.”

ACS member Wallace Embry: “I would like to see the American Chemical Society Board 'cap' Baum's political pen and 'trade' him to either the New York Times or Washington Post."

More HERE. (See the original for links)

Carbon trade fraud already happening in Europe

The government on Wednesday said it would make carbon emissions credits exempt from value-added tax (VAT) from Thursday in response to fraudulent trading on a French emissions exchange. Skip related content

"The new law, which takes effect from midnight tonight, follows evidence that commodity trading in emissions allowances is being used by fraudsters to steal VAT revenues from the UK, and that the UK may become a major target for this activity in the coming months," the government said in a statement.

"The threat became apparent after fraudulent trading on the BlueNext exchange prompted the French government to remove VAT from supplies of emissions allowances in France."

France and the Netherlands made changes to their carbon credit VAT rules after rumours began circulating that a recent surge in trading volumes on BlueNext was related to carousel tax fraud. In carousel fraud, also called missing trader fraud, fraudsters import goods VAT-free from other countries, then sell the goods to domestic buyers, charging them VAT. The sellers then disappear without paying the tax to the government.

Spain is reportedly looking into following suit.


Climate skeptic trumps British Met office with accurate medium-range forecast

The official Met office predicted a "BBQ summer" but July in Britain has in fact been wet and miserable -- which doesn't say much for the usefulness of the models they rely on, particularly since they have got it wrong 3 years a in a row. Private forecaster and climate skeptic Piers Corbyn works from different assumptions, enabling much more accurate prediction

In response to the question 'Does the technology exist?' to do the 'seasonal forecasting' the Met office find so hard. Piers said: "It is not a matter of technology but of the application of Physics and equations. Just as computer models of the economy fail so does the Met office approach to long range forecasting. We can predict in detail months ahead how solar particle and magnetic effects modulated by the moon cause the Jet stream - the tracks of lows - to shift. That is the key to weather type change prediction in Britain & Ireland."

He read out his WeatherAction summer forecast headline (see below) issued on 22 February which well describes the summer so far - and said it also gave more detail in 13 weather periods through the summer which were developed into 27 weather periods in the monthly forecasts. This contrasted dramatically with the Met Office 'barbecue summer' forecast issued in April - which made no attempt to identify sub-periods - and their recent meandering admissions of failure.

Piers said key points about his Solar Weather Technique (SWT) of long range forecasting are available on the web and more would come but some investors were countenancing against that. Philip Avery of BBC/Met Office then commented "Yes, because they make money". In response to this admission by the Met Office that there is merit in WeatherAction forecasts Piers said: "Yes, more will be published but you and governments will not welcome it because it will pull the rug from under your belief in man-made global warming. The world is now cooling and we can explain why."

Afterwards Piers said:

"Our summer forecast under SWT25d has gone excellently. We are especially pleased with the DETAIL in July (see below). Our month ahead forecast graph issued at end of June specifically predicted that Tuesday 28th July would be the best day in the S/E for a while, which it was.

We said the period 29th-31st would be a 'TOP Extra Activity' Red Weather Warning period with High Whirlwind/tornado risk and that during this period a month's worth of rain was likely in a few hours in places. "These extremes have been realised. Some western parts were hit by 60mm of rain on 29th and whirlwind / tornado events hit Scotland and Western parts with floods in places.

We issue weather warnings over forty days ahead while the Met Office often finds it hard to make them four hours ahead. "It's a pity that Climate campers don't feel able to use our forecasts and are getting drenched once again because their dogmatic belief in the unbelievable provided by their mates in the Met Office means they cannot make weather-wise plans. I hope soon that real climate Karma will run over their Dogma!"


Pesky Great Lakes

Warmists are determined that their water level will fall, but it is instead rising

For some time now, global warming alarmists have been squawking about how global warming will evaporate the Great Lakes to such a large extent that it will totally change the ecology of the entire region of the U.S. and Canada. Here's an article (just one of many examples mind you) from the Detroit News more than a year back about how global warming will lower lake levels: Global warming may drop Great Lakes water levels (Thu May 29, 2008). Here's a snippet from that article:
The report draws on science about global warming to make predictions for the Great Lakes, such as:

• Climate change will boost daily high temperatures between 5.4 and 10.8 degrees.

• Warmer lakes will mean less ice cover and lower water levels of 1 to 3 feet in the next century.

• Biological "dead zones," where plants and animals can't live, will spread.

• Intense storms will swamp stressed sewage treatment plants, forcing them to release raw and partially treated sewage into the lakes.

Unfortunately for the ignorant MSM, observable data contradicts their assertions and alarmism. I have pointed to data that the Great Lakes have seen increases in water levels, not decreases....

But hey - why let inconvenient observable data interfere with the narrative? The meme now is that the recovery is temporary and that global warming will still chop 3 feet off the Great Lakes and change the ecology of the entire region and parts of Canada. Groan. From The Detroit News: "Great Lakes water levels rebound after long slump".
Great Lakes water levels are rebounding after a decade-long slump that hammered the maritime industry and even fed conspiracy theories about plots to drain the inland seas that make up nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.

The three biggest lakes -- Superior, Huron and Michigan -- have risen steadily since fall 2007, when for a couple of months Superior's levels were the lowest on record and the others nearly so. Erie, shallowest of the lakes, actually exceeded its long-term average in June. So did Lake Ontario, although its level is determined more by artificial structures than nature.

The lakes follow cycles, rising and falling over time. Scientists say it's a natural process with environmental benefits, such as replenishing coastal wetlands. But extreme ups or downs can wreak havoc for people.

During the mid-1980s, levels got so high that houses, businesses and even sections of roads were swept away along Lake Michigan's southeastern shoreline.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Environment before people, says Australia's Wilderness Society

Article by Sara Hudson

The misanthropic attitude of conservationists was revealed on Tuesday night when a group of Aboriginal protestors from Cape York gate-crashed a Wilderness Society and green fundraiser.

Dressed in chains and in two giant koala suits, the Cape York Aborigines crashed the party to protest against Queensland’s Wild Rivers legislation, which bans development within two kilometres of the Lockhart, Stewart and Archer rivers.

The protestors blame the Wilderness Society for instigating the legislation, which they argue denies them the ability to build businesses and enterprises on their traditional land – so that more of their people can move out of welfare into the real economy. Tania Major, the spokesperson for the Cape York Aborigines, said they weren’t against conservation but they were protesting because the Wilderness Society had not consulted with them or given them a choice on how to manage their land.

These arguments left the Wilderness Society members unmoved, with spokesperson Anna Christie saying on ABC Radio that environmental sustainability should come before people.

Only those comfortably off are able to so quickly disregard the importance of economic development. They forget that the only reason they can afford to shop at Macro and buy organic food is because they live in an industrialised society. Try living in the outback and getting an organic soy latte.

The fact that the greenies and the Aborigines have fallen out over this issue is a first. Historically, the green movement has tended to support Aboriginal causes. Protesting against the Intervention and the Howard government was a trendy pastime for many greenies.

However, the green movement has failed to address the causes of Aboriginal disadvantage, tending to rely on detached commentary rather than tackling real issues.

The green way of looking at sustainable development is typical of the affluent world that sees sustainability as being environmentally friendly—recycling, living in eco houses, and driving fuel-efficient cars. But for the poor and disadvantaged, sustainability is about having essential services such as housing, water, sewerage, and transport.

It is deeply hypocritical for the green movement to deny Aboriginal development on the premise that this will preserve the environment when they owe their own comfortable existence to Australia’s developed economy.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated July 31st. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310

Is this the wackiest global warming accusation yet?

Dozens of elementary school students in Cirebon, West Java were injured after the ceiling of their classroom collapsed on Wednesday. Subagja, a fifth-grade teacher at SD Negeri Kramat III Cirebon, said the accident happened at noon, when 54 students were hard at work studying the Indonesian language. “I’d warned the children to be careful because the ceiling had cracked, but I really didn’t expect this to happen,” he said.

Five students suffered serious injuries, while dozens of other students were slightly injured. “The students were screaming because they were frightened and they instantly rushed out of the class,” Subagja said. “I saw that some of them were bleeding.”

Subagja said the two-floor building was built with state funds and had been in use for just three months. However, the cracks on the ceiling had been noticeable for some time, he said. Subagja said the steel beams used to support the ceiling had expanded over the summer.

School headmaster Sukhemi blamed the contractor who built the school, and said the builder should take responsibility for the accident.

Dedi Windiagiri, the head of the Cirebon school board, denied that the contractor was to blame. Climate change, he said, was the true cause of the accident. “I’ve already asked the contractor to fix the ceiling immediately,” he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interdict lifted

Well. That didn't take long. This blog was under a Google interdict that forbad me from posting anything new here. But that was lifted within 24 hours so I am posting here at around my normal time. All that hard work that the Warmists did in "flagging" this blog was for naught! Their attempted censorship was a flop!

Original versus "adjusted" temperature data

It sure speaks for itself

As CA readers know, Phil Jones keeps his CRU data secret. Embarrassingly, the UK Met Office relies on this secret data and says that it is unable to provide this supporting data for the most relied upon temperature data set in the world. Their statements in response to FOI requests as to what they actually hold seem contradictory, but most recently they state that they do not hold original data, but only the "value added version" provided to them by Phil Jones. Whether they are entitled to keep the "value added version" secret is something that their FOI officer is presently considering.

Recently, Anthony Watts discovered that the Honolulu Observatory data, which NOAA and NASA lost track of in the 1980s, continued to the present day. Anthony observed the substantial difference between trends at Honolulu airport and at more rural sites.

When I've done previous benchmarking of GISS data, I've usually tried to use relatively isolated stations so that the effect of data inclusions and exclusions could be simplified. Since Hawaii is relatively isolated, it seemed like it would be an interesting exercise to look at the Hawaiian gridcell, to get a preview of whether the "discovery" of a long data set might have an impact at the gridded level.

As so often, when one goes down a climate science rabbit hole, wonderland awaits. First, here's a graphic showing an interesting contrast between the CRUTEM gridded data and the NOAA/GHCN gridded data for the Hawaii gridcell (157.5W, 22.5N). In one of his FOI obstructions, Phil Jones argued that CRUTEM data was already available at GHCN. But as you see, the CRUTEM gridded version for the Hawaii gridcell is remarkably different from the NOAA GHCN version.


One "precautionary policy" that WOULD make sense

by Jonah Goldberg

This vision of the end times came to me on hearing the news that something hit Jupiter in the breadbasket the other week and nobody saw it coming. It left a Jovian scar as "small" as the Pacific Ocean or as big as Earth. An amateur astronomer in Australia saw it first because none of the pros were even looking. Then again, the rock was probably pretty small, between 50 and a few hundred meters wide. That is to say, about the size of John Edwards' house.

Now, I know what you're saying: So what? It's not like we need an early warning system for Jupiter, a "gassy giant." What have the Jovians done for us? When God starts pelting rocks at Earth, or our own gassy giants, like Chris Dodd, then we can worry.

Well, He has been, on a regular basis. In March, a meteor called 2009 DD45 came within a few inches, astronomically speaking, of smashing into Earth (about 45,000 miles). Fortunately, we spotted that one ahead of time -- a mere three days ahead of time. That's just enough warning for Keith Olbermann to knock out several top-notch diatribes on why George Bush is to blame, but not enough time to, you know, keep New York City from being liquefied.

In 1908, a DD45-sized meteor exploded over Siberia with a force 1,000 times the Hiroshima blast. It leveled 80 million trees over an area twice the size of Los Angeles. If it had arrived five hours later, St. Petersburg would have been gone.

Scientists think there are millions of such "small" near-Earth meteors out there, and more than 1,000 that are at least a kilometer wide. Those are the ones that really leave a mark. Just ask the dinosaurs. And we're discovering more every day.

A few years ago, a book titled "The Black Swan" came out. No, it's not about swans singled out by the Cambridge Police Department for breaking into their own roosts, but about sudden, unpredictable events occurring far more often than we'd like to think. There are flocks of black swans out there, but we find it discomfiting to contemplate their existence.

In 2008, science writer Gregg Easterbrook surveyed preparedness for a "space-object strike" for the Atlantic magazine. He found that even though serious experts believe there's as much as a 1-in-10 chance of a significant Earth strike within the next century, NASA doesn't much care.

Things are improving, but it's still a cottage industry. A scientist quoted last month in Maclean's magazine noted that "there are more people working in a single McDonald's than there are trying to save civilization from an asteroid." Meanwhile, the global warming industry -- and it is an industry now -- could fill football stadiums.

It makes you wonder. For all the rush and panic, the truth is, climate change -- if real -- is a very slow-moving catastrophe. Moreover, it happens to align with an ideological and political agenda the left has been pushing for generations: Unregulated economic growth is bad and must be controlled by experts; nature is our master, and we must be her servants. What a convenient truth for environmentalists.

Meanwhile, a "deep impact" is a terribly inconvenient threat, partly because it requires making peace with the idea that nature can be conquered. Better to not even think about it.


Africa’s real climate crisis

By an African writer, Fiona Kobusingye

Life in Africa is often nasty, impoverished and short. AIDS kills 2.2 million Africans every year according to WHO (World Health Organization) reports. Lung infections cause 1.4 million deaths, malaria 1 million more, intestinal diseases 700,000. Diseases that could be prevented with simple vaccines kill an additional 600,000 annually, while war, malnutrition and life in filthy slums send countless more parents and children to early graves.

And yet, day after day, Africans are told the biggest threat we face is – global warming. Conferences, news stories, television programs, class lectures and one-sided “dialogues” repeat the claim endlessly. We’re told using oil and petrol, even burning wood and charcoal, will dangerously overheat our planet, melt ice caps, flood coastal cities, and cause storms, droughts, disease and extinctions.

Over 700 climate scientists and 31,000 other scientists say humans and carbon dioxide have minimal effects on Earth’s temperature and climate, and there is no global warming crisis. But their views and studies are never invited or even tolerated in these “climate crisis” forums, especially at “ministerial dialogues” staged with United Nations money. Al Gore refuses to debate any of these experts, or even permit questions that he hasn’t approved ahead of time.

Instead, Africans are told climate change “threatens humanity more than HIV/AIDS.” More than 2.2 million dead Africans every year?

We are warned that it would be “nearly impossible to adapt to the loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet,” which would raise sea levels by “5 to 15 meters.” That certainly would impact our coastal communities. But how likely is it? The average annual temperature in Antarctica is minus 50 degrees F! Summer in its Western Peninsula barely lasts two months and gets maybe 10 degrees above freezing for just a few hours a day. Not even Mr. Gore or UN computer models talk about raising Antarctic temperatures by 85 degrees F year-round. So how is that ice supposed to melt?

Let’s not forget that sea levels have risen 120 meters since the last Ice Age ended. Do the global warming alarmists think cave men fires caused that? Obviously, powerful natural forces caused those ancient glaciers to come and go – and caused the droughts, floods and climate changes that have affected Africa, the Earth and its animals and people for millions of years.

Just consider northern Africa, where green river valleys, hippopotami and happy villages suddenly got turned into the Sahara Desert 4,000 years ago. Scientists don’t know why, but it probably wasn’t Egyptian pharaohs building pyramids and driving chariots.

However, the real problem isn’t questionable or fake science, hysterical claims and worthless computer models that predict global warming disasters. It’s that they’re being used to justify telling Africans that we shouldn’t build coal or natural gas electrical power plants. It’s the almost total absence of electricity keeping us from creating jobs and becoming modern societies. It’s that these policies KILL. The average African life span is lower than it was in the United States and Europe 100 years ago. But Africans are being told we shouldn’t develop, or have electricity or cars because, now that those countries are rich beyond anything Africans can imagine, they’re worried about global warming.

Al Gore and UN climate boss Yvo de Boer tell us the world needs to go on an energy diet. Well, I have news for them. Africans are already on an energy diet. We’re starving! Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished. Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside of wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning – or offices, factories and shops to make things and create good jobs.

Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities. Hypothetical global warming a hundred years from now is worse than this?

Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development – except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels – is immoral. It is a crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, China and India are building new coal-fired power plants every week, so that they can lift their people out of poverty. So even if Africa remains impoverished – and the US and Europe switched to windmills and nuclear power – global carbon dioxide levels would continue increasing for decades.

Even worse, the global warming crusaders don’t stop at telling us we can’t have electricity. They also campaign against biotechnology. As American, Brazilian and South African farmers will tell you, biotech seeds increase crop yields, reduce pesticide use, feed more people and help farmers earn more money. New varieties are being developed that can resist droughts – the kind Africa has always experienced, and the ones some claim will increase due to global warming.

Environmental radicals even oppose insecticides and the powerful spatial insect repellant DDT, which Uganda’s Health Ministry is using along with bed nets and modern ACT drugs to eliminate malaria. They claim global warming will make malaria worse. That’s ridiculous, because the disease was once found all over Europe, the United States and even Siberia.

Uganda and Africa need to stop worrying about what the West, the UN and Al Gore say. We need to focus on our own needs, resources and opportunities. We don’t need more aid – especially the kind that goes mostly to corrupt officials who put the money in private bank accounts, hold global warming propaganda conferences and keep their own people poor. We don’t need rich countries promising climate change assistance (maybe, sometime, ten years from now), if we promise not to develop.

We need to stop acting like ignorant savages, who thought solar eclipses meant the gods were angry with them, and asked witch doctors to bring the sun back. We need to stop listening to global warming witch doctors, who get rich telling us to keep living “indigenous,” impoverished lives. We need trade, manufacturing, electricity and transportation fuels to power modern industrial economies. We need to do what China and India are doing – develop – and trade more with them. That is how we will get the jobs, prosperity, health and environmental quality we deserve.


Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Ian Plimer gets a plug in the Vancouver Sun

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him. Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia's best-known and most notorious academic. Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of "anthropogenic global warming" -- man-made climate change to you and me -- and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour -- cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks -- can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth -- Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become. But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth's climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth's evolution. (Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined. So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.


Greenie bird and landscape lovers stymie Greenie warming-haters

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Europe's largest onshore windfarm project has been thrown in severe doubt after the RSPB and official government agencies lodged formal objections to the 150-turbine plan, it emerged today. The setback adds to the problems facing the government's ambition to install 10,000 new turbines across the UK by 2020 as part of its plan to cut the carbon emissions causing climate change.

The proposed 550MW windfarm, sprawling across the centre of Shetland's main island, would add almost 20% to existing onshore wind capacity. But the objectors say the plans could seriously damage breeding sites for endangered birds, including a rare wader, the whimbrel, which was unexpectedly discovered by the windfarm developer's own environmental survey teams. Other species at risk include the red throated diver, golden plover and merlin.

The RSPB heavily criticised the proposal from Viking Energy after initially indicating it could support the scheme. The RSPB also claims now that installation of the turbines could release significant carbon dioxide from the peat bogs affected, undermining the turbines' potential to combat global warming. The group's fears have been endorsed by the government's official conservation advisers, Scottish Natural Heritage, and SNH has also objected to the "magnitude" of the scheme, claiming it could kill many of these birds through collisions with the 145-metre-high structures.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), which oversees pollution and waste laws in Scotland, has also formally objected, making it inevitable the scheme will now go to a full public inquiry and intensifying pressure on the developers to alter the scale of the project.

In a detailed critique of the proposal, Sepa has asked Viking Energy to significantly rethink its plans to cut out and dump up to 1m cubic metres of peat during construction, and asked ministers to impose tough conditions to protect local water quality and freshwater species .

Bill Manson, a director of Viking Energy, the community-owned company which is collaborating with Scottish and Southern Energy on the scheme, said it would be prepared to negotiate. "I believe there's a dialogue to be had, which will assuage their fears, I hope," he said.

A Scottish government consultation on the £800m scheme closed yesterday, with more than 3,600 of Shetland's 21,000 islanders signing a petition calling for the project to be scrapped. The Shetland Amenity Trust, a local heritage and archaeological charity, and one of Scotland's major countryside access organisations, the John Muir Trust, have also objected, arguing that the proposal would have a "hugely damaging detrimental impact" on the treeless, hilly landscape.

The dispute has highlighted the conflicts arising over the siting of major windfarms on land, between the need to exploit the most windy locations and the desire to preserve the rural environment.

The government wants to have an additional 6,000 onshore and 4,000 offshore wind turbines installed by 2020 to meet its legally binding target of generating 15% of all energy from renewable sources . There are currently about 2,400 turbines. Ed Milliband, the energy and climate change secretary, has set out an ambitious plan to transform the UK to a low-carbon economy. But the plans to change the planning system to make windfarm approvals quicker and give priority to renewable projects in granting national grid connections prompted significant criticism on the siting and cost of windfarms.

Within a week, the newly formed National Association of Wind Action Groups pledged to campaign against the harmful impact of wind turbine developments on communities and landscapes. Another blow came from the decision of Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to close the UK's only blade manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight. The company said the UK wind market was not growing fast enough and that projects had been slowed down by planning objections.

Existing windfarms have 3,000MW of capacity, but another 9,600MW is in the planning process. A further 6,000MW has planning permission but no funding and on Monday the government announced a £1bn loan package to try to fill that funding gap. It argues that the UK has the largest potential for wind power in Europe and already has more offshore wind installed than any other country. Miliband has said that climate change poses a greater threat to landscapes than windfarms and that opposing them should be "socially unacceptable".

Scotland is already home to more than half the UK's onshore wind capacity and Shetland is a key location. The islands reputedly experience the highest and most consistent wind speeds of any comparable place on earth. One small turbine at Lerwick, known as Betsy, is believed to be the world's most productive, reaching 59% of its potential output.

The Viking scheme, if approved by ministers, would alone generate a fifth of Scotland's domestic electricity needs and earn up to £37m a year in profits for Shetland. Manson said yesterday that the scheme had to be large-scale for the energy regulator and National Grid to agree to lay the £300m interconnector cable that would carry the electricity to the mainland. A scheme even half its current size would not be commercially viable. But opponents claim that the scheme is far too large and that, with a further 62 miles of access roads, it would significantly affect a fifth of the main island's desolate interior and industrialise the landscape.

"We can't simply build our way out of climate change," said John Hutchison, chairman of the John Muir Trust. "It is both cheaper and less destructive to reduce energy need and waste, rather than cover the wild landscapes that define Scotland and its people with wind turbines."


Germany stymies carbon capture plan

Another Greenie nostrum bites the dust

It was meant to be the world's first demonstration of a technology that could help save the planet from global warming – a project intended to capture emissions from a coal-fired power station and bury them safely underground. But the German carbon capture plan has ended with CO2 being pumped directly into the atmosphere, following local opposition at it being stored underground.

The scheme appears a victim of "numbyism" – not under my backyard. Opposition to the carbon capture plan has contributed to a growing public backlash against renewable energy projects, raising fears that Europe will struggle to meet its low-carbon commitments. Last week, the Danish firm Vestas blamed British "nimbies" opposing wind farms for its decision to close its turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Many countries continue to use coal for generating power as it is the cheapest and most readily available fuel in the world. It will probably power the development of China and India. But coal is also seen as the dirtiest fuel. So, Vattenfall's Schwarze Pumpe project in Spremberg, northern Germany, launched in a blaze of publicity last September, was a beacon of hope, the first scheme to link the three key stages of trapping, transporting and burying the greenhouse gases.

The Swedish company, however, surprised a recent conference when it admitted that the €70m (£60.3m) project was venting the CO2 straight into the atmosphere. "It was supposed to begin injecting by March or April of this year but we don't have a permit. This is a result of the local public having questions about the safety of the project," said Staffan Gortz, head of carbon capture and storage communication at Vattenfall. He said he did not expect to get a permit before next spring: "People are very, very sceptical."

The spread of localised resistance is a force that some fear could sink Europe's attempts to build 10 to 12 demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) by 2015. The plan had been to transport up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the power plant each year and inject it into depleted gas reservoirs at a giant gasfield near the Polish border.

Scientists maintain that public safety fears are groundless: the consequences of escaping CO2 would be to the climate, not to public health. Many big environmental groups support CCS, both off and onshore, as a necessary evil in the battle against climate change. But Jim Footner, a Greenpeace climate campaigner, said the German protests were "a stark warning to those that think CCS is an easy solution to the huge climate problems of coal-fired power stations".

The first wake-up call came in March, when a Dutch council objected to Shell's plans to store CO2 in depleted gas fields under the town of Barendrecht, near Rotterdam. This was despite a successful environmental impact assessment and the enthusiastic backing of the Dutch government, which, in September, must decide whether to give Shell the green light, despite the council's opposition.

Wim van de Wiel, a Shell spokesman, said: "For Shell the only suitable location for the tender was, and still is, Barendrecht, because of the safety and the depleted status of the [gas] field."

Jeff Chapman, chief executive of the the Carbon Capture & Storage Association, said Vattenfall should study the example of Total, which made great efforts to engage the local community when it launched its CCS pilot project in Lacq, southern France.

Stuart Haszeldine, a CCS expert at the University of Edinburgh, warned of the danger of opposition towards CCS snowballing into a "bandwagon of negativity" if too many early projects were rejected. "Once you've screwed up one or two of them, people are going to think 'if they rejected this in Barendrecht, there must be a reason'," he said.

In the UK, CCS is one of the four "pillars" of the government's decarbonisation strategy. A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "We plan to store the CO2 from CCS plants offshore, for example in depleted oil and gas fields in the North Sea. We are one of the first countries to have legislation … to regulate environmental and safety risks."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A carbon protection racket

If your neighbors were making a terrible racket, would you offer to pay them to stop? Of course not. Sure, they'll stop today. But they'll soon be clamoring for more payments.

One of the major features of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill – the ambitious climate change legislation recently passed by the House – offers just such payments. It pays polluting countries not to pollute. And, as with the noisy neighbor, this will just encourage a continuing racket.

Here's the story: India has offered to cap its greenhouse-gas emissions – but only at a level 10 times higher than its own emission rate. China will not accept a cap at all, and at the Major Economies Forum on July 9, China and India even blocked setting a target for world emissions in 2050. This trend confirms that other developing countries will also stick with their anti-cap positions, leaving half the world's emissions unchecked and growing far faster than emissions from the industrialized nations.

The Waxman-Markey bill was supposed to remedy this problem by providing US leadership, which poor nations would follow by accepting caps. But this hope ignored the inequities of caps and ignored the bill's offer of an estimated $13 billion a year – growing to $83 billion annually in 2050 – to buy "international offset credits" from developing countries.

Such offset purchases encourage poor countries not to accept caps. Global cooperation requires a reversal in US climate policy toward developing countries. We must reward cooperation rather than the lack of it.

Buying offset credits pays emitters in developing countries to emit "less than they would have emitted." But implementing a cap cuts back on what "they would have emitted," and reduces their profits from selling offsets.

The House bill did not create this offset problem. The European Union's cap-and-trade scheme has long allowed European companies to buy UN-certified offset credits instead of cutting their own emissions. As Stanford researchers Michael W. Wara and David G. Victor found over a year ago, Europe's offset purchases have not drawn developing countries into "substantial limits on emissions," but have, "by contrast, rewarded them for avoiding exactly those commitments." As a result of this perverse incentive, Europe's cap-and-trade market is considering rules to ban the purchase of UN offset credits from major developing countries.

One of the offset schemes that Europe might ban involves a type of chemical plant found, among other places, in China. While dumping a notorious greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, the plant's owners suggest to the UN that the plant could incinerate the gas instead – if the owners were allowed to sell offsets. The particular gas emitted is 11,700 times worse than carbon dioxide, so naturally the UN agrees that the owners can sell 11,700 tons of emission offsets for every ton of gas incinerated. With offsets worth about $15 a ton, the profits have been enormous.

By purchasing such offsets, Europe pays poor countries not to harm the climate, and the House bill would do the same. Most markets, however, pay for "goods," not for stopping "bads." In the private sector, we call a market for not doing harm a "protection racket." By offering to pay protection money – by buying offset credits – we invite the protection-racket way of thinking into the realm of international negotiations.

For example, if China had committed to even a weak cap or carbon tax, it would have curbed its horrendous chemical-plant emissions. But instead, the Chinese and others have allowed these emissions to continue and have offered to protect the world from them – for a price.

There's nothing wrong with contributing funds to fight climate change in poor countries. They have done little to harm the climate. But our contributions should reward those who commit to join us in the fight. Although China and India are not likely to reconsider caps, there is still hope for a policy that rewards cooperation. Top economists, from N. Gregory Mankiw on the right to Joseph E. Stiglitz on the left, have long recommended a carbon tax as far better than a cap.

Poor countries reject effective caps because they limit their per-person emissions to far less than our own. But carbon taxes lack this offensive inequality. So China, India, and others might well commit to taxing carbon, especially if given some assistance for doing so.

With half the world rejecting caps, we must change course. First, remove the foreign offsets from the Waxman-Markey bill. They cost us dearly and only work against us. Then, devise a policy to reward those who commit to join us. Offering to be the "mark" for a global protection racket is no way to lead the world toward climate stability.


British Met Office/CRU Finds the Mole

Climate data must be kept secret!

by Steve McIntyre

Late yesterday (Eastern time), I learned that the Met Office/CRU had identified the mole. They are now aware that there has in fact been a breach of security. They have confirmed that I am in fact in possession of CRU temperature data, data so sensitive that, according to the UK Met Office, my being in possession of this data would, “damage the trust that scientists have in those scientists who happen to be employed in the public sector”, interfere with the “effective conduct of international relations”, “hamper the ability to protect and promote United Kingdom interests through international relations” and “seriously affect the relationship between the United Kingdom and other Countries and Institutions.” [Wow! If that's not a confession that they deceive the public about their data, I don't know what would be]

Although they have confirmed the breach of security, neither the Met Office nor CRU have issued a statement warning the public of the newCRU_tar leak. Nor, it seems, have they notified the various parties to the alleged confidentiality agreements that there has been a breach in those confidentiality agreements, so that the opposite parties can take appropriate counter-measures to cope with the breach of security by UK institutions. Thus far, the only actions by either the Met Office or CRU appear to have been a concerted and prompt effort to cover up the breach of security by attempting to eradicate all traces of the mole’s activities. My guess is that they will not make the slightest effort to discipline the mole.

Nor have either the Met Office or CRU contacted me asking me not to further disseminate the sensitive data nor to destroy the data that I have in my possession.

By not doing so, they are surely opening themselves up to further charges of negligence for the following reasons. Their stated position is that, as a “non-academic”, my possession of the data would be wrongful (a position with which I do not agree, by the way). Now that they are aware that I am in possession of the data (and they are aware, don’t kid yourselves), any prudent lawyer would advise them to immediately to notify me that I am not entitled to be in possession of the data and to ask/instruct me to destroy the data that I have in my possession and not to further disseminate the sensitive data. You send out that sort of letter even if you think that the letter is going to fall on deaf ears.

Since I am always eager to help climate scientists with these conundrums, I’ll help them out a little here. If, prior to midnight Eastern time on Thursday, a senior executive of the Met Office or the University of East Anglia notifies me that I am in wrongful possession of the data and directly requests me to destroy my copies of the CRU station data in question and thereby do my part in the avoidance of newCRU_tar proliferation, I will do so.

I will, of course, continue my FOI requests since I do not believe, for a minute, that their excuses have any validity nor am I convinced that the alleged confidentiality agreements actually exist nor, if they exist, am I convinced that they prohibit the provision of the data to me.


BOOK REVIEW of "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years"

The book has been out for some time but for those who have not had time to read it, the following review by Rachel Alexander may be helpful

S. Fred Singer, a climate physicist, and Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, have written the definitive book about global warming. They carefully explain the complexities and facts so the average person can understand. It is true the earth goes through warming phases, but they are cyclical and not manmade. Climate change is not a dramatic event but something as regular and dull as grass growing. A close look at the evidence reveals that climate change is probably due to variations in the sun’s radiation – sunspots. Global warmings and coolings have occurred regularly about every 1,500 years. The earth’s temperature increased in the early 20th century, before most man-made emissions began, but stopped increasing in the latter half of the century when man-made emissions were highest.

Higher levels of CO2 are not responsible for the current warming trend. Satellite and high-altitude weather balloon data confirm that the lower atmosphere is not trapping lots of additional heat due to higher CO2 concentrations. It is earth’s surface that is warming, and it is warming more rapidly than the lower atmosphere where the CO2 is accumulating.

Global warming alarmists assume that the increase in CO2 is also due to an increase in water vapor. Water vapor makes up about 60% of the natural greenhouse effect, with CO2 only making up about 20%. Minor gases including ozone, nitrous oxide, and methane make up the remaining 20%. If there was only an increase in CO2, the difference in temperature would be miniscule, so alarmists are forced to assume that water vapor is increasing too. North Dakota state climatologist John Bluemle has stated that doubling CO2 levels would have a miniscule effect on temperature. It is true that warmer air can hold more water vapor. But there is no evidence that the water vapor is remaining in the air – contributing to the greenhouse effect - or whether it is raining down more quickly.

Antarctic ice cores reveal that there is a close correlation between CO2 levels and the earth’s temperatures throughout the last three ice ages including global warmings. However, CO2 levels have lagged behind the global warmings by about 800 years, evidence that CO2 is not the causal factor. According to Hulburtus Fischer, an environmental physicist, and his research team from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, when the ocean warms, it releases CO2, stimulating more plant and tree growth. As the vegetation absorbs the additional CO2, it becomes lusher and bigger in size. This process takes approximately 800 years. So in reality, whenever earth’s temperatures have risen, things have improved on earth. A two degrees Celsius change would result in more beneficial conditions than now. “The Romans, Chinese and Medieval Europeans all tell us that the last two warming phases of the 1,500 cycle were prosperous times for humanity…The prosperity of the Medieval Warming is apparent to us today through the beautiful castles and cathedrals of Europe, which date mainly from that period. How could these have been built if the warmings were accompanied by the flooding, epidemics of malaria, massive famine, and constant storms assumed by the gloomy advocates of man-made warming?”

Unlike the computer simulation models environmental alarmists rely upon to create artificial worst-case scenarios, evidence shows that the earth has done a pretty good job regulating its atmospheric temperatures. Studies done by NASA’s Goddard Space Center and a NASA-MIT study in 2001 led by atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen found that the ocean’s surface temperature always remains at 28-30 degrees Celsius due to self-regulation. When the temperature rises, more water evaporates into the air, which in turn creates more clouds that send cool, dry downdrafts of air that lower the sea temperature. “When the clouds deposit the increased moisture from that rapid evaporation on polar ice caps and glaciers around the world, the ice caps and glaciers will actually grow unless the local temperatures are warm enough to increase local melting.”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is responsible for much of the global warming alarmism. It has been highly criticized by genuine scientific organizations like the International Union for Quanternary Research (INQUA). INQUA is a 75-year old scientific think tank that researches global environmental and climate changes throughout history. INQUA asserts that the IPCC ignored the scientists who produced most of the data and observations on sea level science, substituting computer models which produce “the falsification of scientific observational facts.”

The IPCC and its simulated computer models cannot explain why the earth became colder between 1940-1975. The frequently cited landmark 1996 global warming report issued by the IPCC simply omitted the portions contributed by scientists which expressed skepticism about global warming, instead relying principally upon the writings of global alarmist extremists like scientist Ben Santer of the U.S. government’s Lawrence Livermore National Library. Sentences like this were deleted from the report by Santer, “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”

There is plenty of evidence indicating that the earth has not been warming in recent years. The Indian Ocean’s level was higher between 1900-1970 than it is today. The Maldives, 1,200 islands which sit in the Indian Ocean, are 20-30 cm lower today than they were in 1970. Lester R. Brown, an agricultural economist who has made wrong predictions about world famines since the 1960s, claims that First World countries are flooding the Pacific Islands due to greenhouse gases from power plants. In reality, since 1993, the island of Tuvalu has seen ocean levels decrease by four inches.

The environmental extremists’ simulated computer models can be manipulated to generate any outcome wished. They are even further askew considering they are based on thermometers located in urban areas where there is a concrete jungle effect, increasing temperatures and overstating surface temperature increases by as much as 40 percent. Using the models’ conclusions, there should have been a rise of several degrees Celsius at the poles since 1940. In reality, the temperature at both poles has been decreasing. Temperatures at and near the North and South poles are lower than they were in 1930. This is evidence the Greenhouse Theory is not correct, because manmade emissions began dramatically increasing around 1940. In fact, 97% of the Antarctic has been cooling since the mid-1960’s. Alarmists point to the 3% that is warming because that is where most of the scientists and thermometers are, and it reinforces their Greenhouse Theory.

If the earth warms, wetlands won’t dry up. They will simply move slightly upslope, as they have in years past when the climate warmed. Similarly, animals will change locations and relocate to areas most conducive to their habitat. By the time Arctic regions have warmed enough to shift penguins and polar bears around, they will begin cooling again and the animals will shift back to their previous habitats, without causing any extinction. Glaciers also naturally shift around, which includes both retreating and growing. Physicist and meteorologist professor Johann Oerlemans of Utrecth University in the Netherlands produced a graph in 2001 which showed that the major glaciers of the world started to shrink around 1850, but by 1940 only half of them were still shrinking, and many of them had started to grow again.

The U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol was little more than a scam designed to punish wealthier countries. It did not enforce restrictions upon big developing countries like China and India, which refused to sign it. The only evidence provided for the Protocol was that the temperature of the earth had increased by .6 Celsius over the last century (conveniently omitting that the increases had mostly been during the first forty years of the century), along with simulated computer models that created any conclusions chosen to be programmed.

Global warming extremists like to point to the “Scientists Statement on Global Climatic Disruption” petition from the group Ozone Action as evidence that a majority of scientists believe manmade global warming is occurring. It was signed by 2,611 scientists worldwide in 1996 and sent to President Clinton. But according to Citizens for a Sound Economy, only about 10 percent of the signers had degrees in fields related to climate science – about 260 signers total. The signers included landscape architects, psychologists, a traditionally trained Chinese doctor, and a gynecologist.

On the other hand, these extremists ignore the Oregon Petition, which was signed by more than 17,000 scientists and expressed doubt about man-made global warming. More than 2,600 of its signers have climate science credentials. Global warming extremists tried to discredit it by saying a few of the signers were fake names, but there were only a few and were probably planted there by extremists in order to later discredit the petition.

In 2001, the IPCC issued a report that included a “hockey stick” graph showing global warming trends since the year 1000. The graph eliminated the Little Ice Age which occurred during the 17th and 19th centuries, and exaggerated the increase in global warming in the 20th century, making it appear as if this was the highest hike in global warming in the past 1000 years. This graph was discredited when it was pointed out that the earth’s warming in the early 15th century greatly exceeded any warming in the 20th century.

There was also a greater warming at the beginning of the last 1000 years. About the time the Vikings discovered Newfoundland, they also discovered “Vinland,” so named in 1001 A.S. due to the widespread growth of grape vines. This area has remained too cold to sustain grape vines, even up until today when environmental extremists tell us we are experiencing a dramatic increase in global warming unprecedented in the last 1000 years.

Sallie Baliunus, an astrophysicist with a degree from Harvard, and Willie Soon, also an astrophysicist, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, looked at 102 studies which analyzed whether the 20th century was the warmest, and found that 78% of them did not. Another four studies found that the earliest part of the 20th century was the warmest – before most manmade CO2 emissions.

Global warming alarmists warn that animal species will die out as the earth warms. In reality, not a single species has become extinct due to the .6 percent increase in the earth’s temperature over the past 150 years. Most alarmists point to a single species they claim has become extinct due to global warming, the Golden Toad of Costa Rica. In reality, the toad became extinct due to clearing by natives of the lowlands it inhabited. Overall, there are less species becoming extinct today than in the past. The United Nations Environmental Program issued a report in 2002 which found that the world lost only half as many major species during the last 30 years of the 20th century as it did during the last 30 years of the 19th century.

The artificial divide set up by global warming extremists between the underdeveloped countries and First World developed countries falsely portrays industrialized countries as the ones responsible for air pollution. The environmental movement uses an emotional argument to make people feel guilty about its wealth. In reality, “richer people have f children, feed themselves with much less land per capital, gradually but largely reduce industrial pollution, generally plant more trees than they cut, do most of the research on environmental preservation, and make most of the investments in actual conservation.” Whereas “primitive peoples have never ‘lived in harmony with nature’ as the urban legend would have us believe. They have, instead, exploited nature unsustainably because their populations always crept upward to the absolute limits of their resources – and then beyond…today [they] practice slash-and burn farming, cook and heat with wood from trees they don’t replant….”

Global warming alarmists never discuss using nuclear power, the only non-CO2 producing energy alternative that would be a cost-effective alternative to today’s energy uses. Unfortunately, activist lawsuits have driven up the costs of nuclear regulation. It is possible however; France currently gets about ¾ of its energy from nuclear reactors. Many of the environmentalists’ proposed energy solutions wouldn’t work. For example, to convert energy use to rely upon windmills, a landmass the size of South Africa would have to be cleared of all forests in order to install enough windmills. And that wouldn’t even cover the cloudy/windless/high-wind days.

There will always be environmental alarmists. In 1975, environmental alarmists warned that the earth was cooling. The National Academy of Scientists issued a report claiming “…a finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years…”

It’s better to look at rocks, fossils, and sediment cores as more reliable predictors of climate temperature than simulated computer models. They reveal that there is a correlation between variations in the sun’s irradiation and the earth’s temperature. When there are larger sunspots, the earth’s temperature increases, and visa versa. In addition, some of the increased temperatures may be artificially due to urban heat islands, since the vast majority of higher temperatures have been reported in industrialized areas.

The authors conclude:

Human society should attempt to put binding constraints on human emissions of greenhouse gases only if the advocates of man-made warming can demonstrate three things:

1. That the greenhouse gases are certain to raise global temperatures significantly higher than they rose during previous natural climate warming cycles;

2. That the warming would severely harm human welfare and the ecology;

3. That rational human actions could actually forestall such overheating.

To date, the advocates of man-made warming have not been able to meet any of these minimum requirements. The IPCC’s claim to have found the ‘human fingerprint’ in the Modern Warming was bogus when Ben Santer first altered the science chapter in the IPCC’s 1996 report, and it remains bogus today. No one has been able to distinguish natural from man-made warming.


British Air passenger tax is just another burden for families that will stop those nasty average people from messing up tourist spots

WITH so much grim news at home, from the recession to swine flu, plenty of us are hoping that summer holidays will be a much needed respite from the doom and gloom. Unfortunately, even when we try to get away from it all and take a holiday, the Government uses that as another excuse to raid our bank account. Last summer, the TaxPayers' Alliance revealed that a family of four travelling to Florida for a summer holiday faced a £200 tax bill before they even got on the aircraft.

Part of that big tax bill is the Air Passenger Duty (APD) that is charged on airline tickets. You would hope that the Government might try to help out and cut the burden on ordinary families when the country is in recession. Since 2006, however, APD for one-way, short-haul flights to Europe has doubled to £10 and it is set to rise to £12 by the end of next year – that means we'll have had a 140 per cent increase in four years.

This week we've discovered that APD isn't just pushing up the cost of travelling abroad. It is also contributing to a cut in the number of flights available, making it less likely that we can go where we want, when we want. The no-frills airline Ryanair, Europe's largest operator, has announced that it is to cut flights from UK airports. These cuts, which amount to a 40 per cent reduction in capacity, are most likely to fall on London Stansted, the start of many families' holidays.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, blamed the "Scottish misers", as he described the Chancellor and Prime Minister, and said the move was a protest against plans to increase Air Passenger Duty on short flights, which he branded "insane and damaging". It is not just Ryanair which has criticised excessive APD rates. Easyjet, Ryanair's chief rival, has attacked the tax, branding it "certifiably bonkers".

Virgin Atlantic has also come out against the tax and started printing anti-APD messages on their e-tickets. BALPA, the airline pilots' union, has said that the rise will cripple the industry and put long-haul holidays out of reach of ordinary families while the Association of British Travel Agents has said the rise in APD will have a substantial impact on the airline industry.

Attacking the airlines like this will have serious consequences for the British economy. Ryanair's cuts are set to cost 2,500 jobs – from its own staff and among workers such as baggage handlers.

Air Passenger Duty isn't just hurting airlines and travel agents. With the pound so low against the dollar and euro, we should be attracting more tourists, but visits from abroad are down by 32.8 million. Big taxes on flights put off people from visiting the UK.

Ironically, earlier rises in APD probably increased emissions from air travel. Air Passenger Duty encourages people to fly further within its "bands", to Sydney instead of New York or the south of Italy instead of the north of France for example, and that means higher emissions. That issue has been addressed to a certain extent by the new bands introduced this year, but it is still doing little to reduce emissions.

There are other anomalies, too. For example the distance is measured to each country's capital city, so flights to Barbados, an eight-hour flight from London, are charged at a higher rate than flights to Los Angeles, which is 11 hours away. That can mean punishing extra bills for families – for example a family of four travelling to Egypt, just a couple of hours from Europe, will pay an extra £240 from 2010.

APD is supposed to be a green tax designed to correct negative externalities. Put simply, the Government makes polluters pay for the costs they impose on everyone else by increasing the level of climate change in the years to come, that way they will only pollute if the benefits of doing so really outweigh the costs.

TaxPayers' Alliance research has shown that we are already being charged more than we should in green taxes to compensate for the greenhouse gases that Britain produces. The Department for Transport itself has produced research which shows taxes on flights are higher than necessary to compensate for the environmental harm created by aircrafts' emissions.

It is clear that Air Passenger Duty is functioning not as a green tax but as another means to raise revenue. All that is achieved by increasing the cost of air travel is to make it harder for ordinary families to enjoy a much-needed break, as the higher taxes mean not just more expensive flights but fewer options over when and where to fly.

It really is sad that the people who suffer the most are those who were able to enjoy foreign holidays for the first time when budget airlines made them affordable.


Some wind power disillusionment from Britain

An aquarium in Devon has taken down two wind turbines after seagulls were killed when they collided with the blades.

The 15m (50ft) high 6kW turbines at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth were installed in 2006 for a £3.6m sustainable energies project. But the Hoe-based attraction has taken them down after several birds died, it said. The aquarium also said they had not produced as much electricity as hoped.

Caroline Johnson, of the aquarium, said: "The major problems included where they were positioned. "The eddying effect of the wind meant they weren't producing as much energy as they potentially could have. "The loss of life of seagulls flying into the turbines was also a problem and, following a gale, the turbines were damaged."


Australia: Greenie sewage scheme stinks

Google is on the nose with the workers and residents of Pyrmont, and it’s got nothing to do with the quality of its products. A mystery pong has been lingering around the harbourside Sydney suburb for weeks. The epicentre of the offensive odour appears to be the sewer mining facility connected to Google's new Sydney headquarters, which produces recycled water for toilet flushing and irrigation of the site.

The stench is impossible to avoid for anyone working or living around the Darling Island wharf or Star City casino. For many workers at Pyrmont-based companies including Fairfax Media, Google, Seven Network and Accenture, eating lunch by the water has become a hazard best avoided. ‘‘It honestly smells like something has died - I haven’t smelled anything like that since a sewerage pipe burst in my neighbour’s house,’’ an office worker said. Another said: ‘‘We decided it smells like dead bodies buried by the Mafia and coming up to the surface.’’ ‘‘It’s gross, and kind of turns me off the whole recycled water thing,’’ said another.

The stench is particularly offensive in the early morning and early evening but it has also put the kybosh on some midday exercise and sports sessions in the nearby park. Google initially blamed a Sydney Water vent located a few metres from its building but a Sydney Water spokesman said it had not determined the exact source of the smell. Later, a Google spokeswoman said: ‘‘It’s a bit of a mystery to us Pyrmont residents. We’re definitely downwind from something whiffy. Sydney Water tells us they’re looking into it - and we’re holding our breath.’’

The Sydney Water spokesman all but pointed the finger at the sewage recycling facility connected to Google’s headquarters. ‘‘Sydney Water’s sewer is functioning normally with no interruption to the natural flow. It’s also worth pointing out that our nearby sewage pumping station does not store waste water for any length of time,’’ the spokesman said.

GPT Group, which owns the innovative building that houses Google, named workplace 6, appeared to take responsibility for the pong, saying: ‘‘We’ve undertaken significant work to address the problem to date’’ and promising to ‘‘continue to work to resolve the issue’’. ‘‘There’s the Sydney Water [sewerage] plant and then there’s the plant that’s connected to our building ... my understanding is it’s that connection that’s the problem,’’ the GPT spokesman said.

The issue is particularly worrying for food-catering company Doltone House, which plans to open a cafe, food and wine emporium and conference centre in workplace 6 in October. The smell could turn customers off, particularly those seated outside. ‘‘We understand that GPT, the building owner, has it under control and is in the process of having it rectified,’’ Doltone House project manager David Hume said.

Michael Mobbs, a sustainability coach who helps businesses with environmental issues such as this, blamed the expensive, over-the-top sewage recycling facility connected to Google’s headquarters. He called it ‘‘the caviar approach to sewage treatment’’ and said a much simpler, cheaper system would have done the job far more effectively. ‘‘They’ve got this rocket-science filtration system - it’s basically a mini desal plant which is so fussy and fiddly that it requires almost a full-time maintenance person to adjust it as the stuff gets caught up in the very fine filters,’’ he said. ‘‘The same sort of system kept failing in Melbourne.’’

Complicating matters further is the fact that some Pyrmont residents have reported experiencing similar foul smells in the area for some years, long before Google’s new office opened earlier this year. It’s not clear whether or not there are multiple sources of the odour but Sydney Water said it starting investigating foul smells in the area only after workplace 6 opened and the building’s management raised the issue.

The Sydney Water spokesman said both it and the building’s management had conducted gas monitoring on the site but they had yet to sit down and compare results. ‘‘We will establish the cause as soon as possible,’’ he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Does & Does Not Cause Climate Change and the threat to integrity in science

by Piers Corbyn

A letter to Professor Sir Peter Knight, Senior Principal at Imperial College for research strategy and deputy to the Rector

Dear Peter

Further to the very interesting discussions we had at the Imperial College centenary dinner event in 2008 on matters of Climate Change and the integrity of Science I attach my updated presentation on What Does & Does not Cause Climate Change. This extends the points I made to you to include new findings I presented at the RCSA Centenary dinner on Dec 9th 2008 and the New York International Climate Change Conference on March 10th 2009 and also new graphs from USA scientists showing continuing decline in world temperatures despite rising CO2 levels.

The point I made that the CO2 driver theory of Climate Change is refuted by the evidence and will be cast aside by solar-based science and therefore it would be better for Imperial to lead its demise and advances in new science rather than lose credibility by defending the indefensible, stands more strongly than ever.

The CO2-centered Climate theory and all that stands with it in business and politics is doomed; or if it is not doomed then the integrity of science itself is surely doomed. It is incumbent on scientists of with moral fibre to defend evidence-based science and the integrity of science.

I recall that 40 years ago this week I and other students at Imperial stayed up all night to watch the Moon landing on 20th July 1969. That was an historic moment. If science and engineering then had been conducted at the abysmal level of integrity now displayed by 'Climate Science' & the theory of man-made Global Warming, the Moon landing would never have succeeded and neither would much of the advances of science since then.

Please have a look at and feel free to circulate the presentation and also the information I include therein about the proven significant skill of our solar-based method of long range forecasting (Solar Weather Technique) and let me know of any comments you may have.


On wood, burning questions

Once again, there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Along the banks of the Piscataqua River, an ancient energy source is being transformed into retro chic renewable power. Every minute, a conveyor belt dumps about a ton of matchbook-sized wood chips into a seven-story-tall boiler that generates enough electricity to power 50,000 homes and, in the process, supporters say, helps combat global warming.

Wood - or biomass as it is often called - is hailed by many environmentalists, scientists, and politicians as a renewable energy source because it can easily be replenished by planting trees - and because the new trees will, over time, absorb the greenhouse gases the power plants emit.

But with more than 10 wood-burning power plants proposed throughout New England - including three extraordinarily controversial proposals in Western Massachusetts - wood’s green credentials are coming under attack. Just like wind projects, where concerns about bird safety and aesthetics have stalled dozens of proposals, biomass is the latest alternative energy source to undergo deep public scrutiny.

More than 400 people packed a Greenfield school last month to protest a proposed biomass plant there, for example. And, sparked partly by the opposition, Massachusetts energy and environmental officials are launching an in-depth review of biomass, from how the fuel is harvested to how quickly new trees can recapture the heat-trapping gases emitted from burning wood. Biomass plants burn virtually any wood material - from stumps to whole trees to branches and treetops left over from logging.

“Everyone says it is sustainable, but how do we know it is?’’’ said Mary Booth, an ecologist and cofounder of the Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance, a research and advocacy group that opposes large wood-burning power plants. While many biomass developers promise to burn wood leftover from logging or tree-trimming operations her group fears vast tracts of forests will be heavily cut. “There is no definition . . . no rules,’’ she said.

Advocates acknowledge that biomass will never make up a huge part of US power production, maybe somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent by 2030. Today in New England, less than 3 percent of electricity comes from biomass.

Yet supporters say burning trees is important because, in the end, they don’t add any heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. Biomass power plants do emit these gases, supporters say, but the same amount is reabsorbed by new trees planted to replace the burned ones - essentially recycling the pollutants over and over again. Fossil fuels, like coal, are extracted from deep in the earth and add extra gases to the atmosphere. Decades of burning fossil fuels has emitted so many heat-trapping gases, there is no natural way to absorb them all.

A growing number of states are adopting rules, or plan to, to ensure that biomass fuel is green, including potentially banning the burning of wood from threatened landscapes and requiring environmentally sensitive logging practices. Environmentalists, meanwhile, are working to ensure federal climate legislation includes rules for biomass.


Save the habitat, kill the turtles

By Vin Suprynowicz

in the name of heaven, I demand to know -- are those responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act going to do something about remediating the habitat devastation and starting to recover the minuscule remaining population, before it has dwindled past the point of no return, of that brave and noble beast, the poodle?

What? Are you serious, Vin? There are, like, 68 million domestic pet dogs in this country, and the poodle is the seventh most numerous breed. There are millions of poodles out there.

As a matter of fact, purebred poodles are among the 4 million to 6 million dogs euthanized in America each year because homes can't be found for them. America's dog and cat problem is not species extinction; it's overpopulation.

Well, to anyone tempted to respond in that manner, let me clarify for you what the Endangered Species Act is really all about. You see, the number of poodles living in domestic captivity doesn't count. Once we have succeeded in getting the noble poodle listed as threatened or endangered -- as it most certainly is, in the traditional range of its wild habitat -- all that will matter is the number of wild, untouched acres set aside. Once you've developed a house and a yard and put two happy poodles in it, for purposes of the federal ESA, you might as well have just shot the pups, because you have destroyed wild poodle habitat, and we are going to count your poodles as "taken," meaning dead. In fact, we may have to take steps to stop you from allowing them to breed, up to and including "euthanizing" your captive slave dogs, since "Unlimited breeding of an endangered species in captivity is something the community has to look into."

You think I'm making this up? Here in Las Vegas, Clark County's Desert Conservation Program -- a well-paid division of the county Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management -- is currently going hat in hand to the appropriate chain of federal agencies, asking "permission" to amend the so-called Desert Tortoise (and 77 other critters, including bugs and mosses) Habitat Plan, with the purpose of "allowing" the county to develop an additional 215,000 acres of adjoining stinking desert in the decades to come.

The theory, you see, is that any human activity which "moves dirt" destroys tortoise habitat, and cannot be allowed unless developers obtain federal permits for the "incidental take" of tortoises (regardless of whether a single tortoise is seen or killed), including a fee or fine of $550 per acre, which is used to build "tortoise fences" to keep the turtles from crossing the road to get to water, and so forth.

Wow. Under that theory, there must be practically no tortoises left in the Las Vegas Valley, which has now been heavily developed for decades. Right?

Actually, officials have rounded up more than 10,000 of the little buggers, right here in the Vegas Valley, turning them over to the Fish and Wildlife's Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, where they and their progeny are farmed out as pets, or for experiments. Those that aren't euthanized for having runny noses, you understand. Marci Henson of the county's Desert Conservation Program estimates about 2 percent of the poor little "threatened" reptiles get "euthanized." ("Run, little tortoises, run!" as former County Commissioner Don Schlesinger once put it.)

Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, I drive around this town, visiting garage sales. I've seen quite a few kids playing with their desert tortoises in their driveways. Cliven Bundy, the last cattle rancher in Clark County, tells me when the Kern River pipeline people came through and did a federally mandated tortoise population density study as part of their required Environmental Impact Statement, they found several times more tortoises per acre on the lands where the Bundys have water tanks for their cattle than they found in the hot, dry desert -- and literally 10 times the tortoise population density -- the highest densities recorded -- right here in the Las Vegas valley.

This isn't even counterintuitive. Early explorers found precious few tortoises in the dry Mojave desert, where the toothless reptiles struggle to find enough water and edible tender shoots. The Spaniards found only shells and thought them extinct. These animals developed in an ecosystem which had large toothy vegetarians -- deer, elk, whatever -- to crop back the brush, a role now filled only by cattle.

In the 1920s and 1930s, tortoise populations swelled artificially as ranchers ran cattle on these lands and killed the tortoises' main predators, the coyote and the raven. As "environmentalists" have succeeded in running the ranchers off the land, the cattle have vanished, no one is any longer shooting coyotes and ravens, and thus tortoise populations have slumped back to historically normal levels.

Are there now more tortoises, or fewer, than when cattle grazed the land? How many tortoises are there? Fish and Wildlife is still working to establish a "baseline population number," Ms. Henson replies.

Twenty years after the tortoise received an "emergency listing" as a threatened species in 1989, they're still trying to establish a "baseline"? So when will they be able to tell us whether we have enough new tortoises, bred in their joyous cattle-free paradise, to de-list the species and allow humans to get back to developing our land as we see fit? Eighty years from now? Eight hundred?

Twenty years and no one has done a simple control experiment, releasing 300 tortoises on Cliven Bundy's grazed land with its water tanks and cattle, and another 300 tortoises on an adjoining dry, desolate and cattle-free valley, coming back three years later to count which valley has more tortoises and which seem healthier?

All this bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo is based on the presumption that any "human interference" with the dry and stinking desert ruins it as tortoises habitat, when the truth -- that tortoises actually do much better with people around, just like roaches and pigeons and hummingbirds -- stares us right in the face.

Cue "Thus Spake Zarathustra." Remove the blindfold, please. No, Mr. Tortoise, you haven't died and gone to heaven. We call this ... a golf course.

If they really wanted more tortoises, any old desert rat can tell them the solution is to shoot ravens and coyotes. Mind you, I'm not recommending that. We've got plenty of tortoises right now. These people don't care about tortoises -- they're euthanizing them, for heaven's sake. The tortoise -- or whatever moss or bug or flycatcher eventually takes it place -- is merely a stand-in, a cat's paw, to give federal bureaucrats and their lunatic green pals complete control over development of private land in the West.

Just how fecund are those 10,000 captive tortoises, I asked Marci Henson. "Oh, we think a lot of those ten thousand were pet tortoises, we believe as few as 2 percent may have actually been wild." How can they tell -- the turtles came in wearing little knitted sweaters and booties? They keep trying to sit up and shake hands? Besides, Ms. Henson said, quite seriously, "Unlimited breeding of an endangered species in captivity is something the community has to look into." "To stop it?" I asked. "Yes," said Marci Henson.


Global warming was good for the Incas

Supreme military organisation and a flair for agricultural invention are traditionally credited for the rise of the Incas. However, their success may have owed more to a spell of good weather — a spell that lasted for more than 400 years.

According to new research, an increase in temperature of several degrees between AD1100 and 1533 allowed vast areas of mountain land to be used for agriculture for the first time. This fuelled the territorial expansion of the Incas, which at its peak stretched from the modern Colombian border to the middle of Chile. “Yes, they were highly organised, and they had a sophisticated hierarchical system, but it wouldn’t have counted a jot without being underpinned by the warming of the climate,” says Dr Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a palaeo-ecologist from the French Institute for Andean Studies in Lima, Peru.

As the treeline moved higher up the mountains, the Incas re-sculpted their landscape to maximise agricultural productivity. They carved terraces into the mountainsides and developed a complex system of canals to irrigate the land. Although the climate remained dry, the gradual melting of glacial ice meant that they had a constant supply of water to nourish their crops.

The resultant surplus of maize and potatoes freed a large part of the growing population for activities outside food production, such as constructing roads and buildings, and serving in an increasingly ambitious army. “It was the perfect incubator for the expansion of a civilisation,” says Dr Chepstow-Lusty, who led the study.

The Incas’ Royal Road, which went through the highlands for a distance of 3,250 miles, and the Coastal Road, which stretched for 2,520 miles, were both constructed during the warm spell. So, too, was Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”, where temples, sanctuaries and houses stand remarkably intact today, demonstrating the scale and the skill of Inca architecture.

By the time the Spanish colonials arrived in 1533, the Incas had built up food supplies to last the population more than ten years. However, internal divisions, the Spanish invasion and the consequent introduction of new diseases led to the Inca population plummeting.

The team behind the study identified the change in climate by examining the sediment on the floor of a small lake called Marcacocha, in the Cuzco region of the Peruvian Andes, from where the Incas began their expansion. Each layer of sediment represents a period of time, rather like the rings in the trunk of a tree. By analysing pollen, seeds and other environmental indicators buried in the layers of mud, the team were able to find clues to the climate at the time.

They noted the appearance for the first time of a range of trees and crops at the lake, which is 11,000ft above sea level, over the critical period, corresponding to a tree line edging upwards. The lake sediments also revealed a major drought that took place around AD880, and that may have been responsible for the collapse of a previous empire, known as the Wari.

The study’s authors say that the findings have important implications for Peru and other countries facing the prospect of the most extreme shifts in climate because of global warming. For many countries, the prospect of warming is unwelcome. However, with the correct landmanagement techniques some of these countries might be able to turn a warmer climate to their advantage.


Treason in the Air

by Bjørn Lomborg

Discussions about global warming are marked by an increasing desire to stamp out “impure” thinking, to the point of questioning the value of democratic debate. But shutting down discussion simply means the disappearance of reason from public policy.

In March, Al Gore’s science adviser and prominent climate researcher, Jim Hansen, proclaimed that when it comes to dealing with global warming, the “democratic process isn’t working.” Although science has demonstrated that CO2 from fossil fuels is heating the planet, politicians are unwilling to follow his advice and stop building coal-fired power plants.

Hansen argues that, “the first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections, but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.” Although he doesn’t tell us what the second or third action is, he has turned up in a British court to defend six activists who damaged a coal power station. He argues that we need “more people chaining themselves to coal plants,” a point repeated by Gore.

The Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman goes further. After the narrow passage of the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill in the United States House of Representatives, Krugman said that there was no justification for a vote against it. He called virtually all of the members who voted against it, “climate deniers” who were committing “treason against the planet.”

Krugman said that the “irresponsibility and immorality” of the representatives’ democratic viewpoints were “unforgivable” and a “betrayal.” He thus accused almost half of the democratically elected members of the House, from both parties, of treason for holding the views that they do – thereby essentially negating democracy.

Less well-known pundits make similar points, suggesting that people with “incorrect” views on global warming should face Nuremburg-style trials or be tried for crimes against humanity. There is clearly a trend. The climate threat is so great – and democracies are doing so little about it – that people conclude that maybe democracy is part of the problem, and that perhaps people ought not to be allowed to express heterodox opinions on such an important topic.

This is scary, although not without historical precedent. Much of the American McCarthyism of the 1940’s and 1950’s was driven by the same burning faith in the righteousness of the mission – a faith that saw fundamental rights abrogated. We would be well served to go down a different path.

Gore and others often argue that if the science of climate change concludes that CO2 emissions are harmful, it follows that we should stop those harmful emissions – and that we are morally obliged to do so. But this misses half the story. We could just as well point out that since science tells us that speeding cars kill many people, we should cut speed limits to almost nothing. We do no such thing, because we recognize that the costs of high-speed cars must be weighed against the benefits of a mobile society.

Indeed, nobody emits CO2 for fun. CO2 emissions result from other, generally beneficial acts, such as burning coal to keep warm, burning kerosene to cook, or burning gas to transport people. The benefits of fossil fuels must be weighed against the costs of global warming.

Gore and Hansen want a moratorium on coal-fired power plants, but neglect the fact that the hundreds of new power plants that will be opened in China and India in the coming years could lift a billion people out of poverty. Negating this outcome through a moratorium is clearly no unmitigated good.

Likewise, reasonable people can differ on their interpretation of the Waxman-Markey bill. Even if we set aside its masses of pork-barrel spending, and analyses that show it may allow more emissions in the US for the first decades, there are more fundamental problems with this legislation.

At a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, it will have virtually no impact on climate change. If all of the bill’s many provisions were entirely fulfilled, economic models show that it would reduce the temperature by the end of the century by 0.11°C (0.2°F) – reducing warming by less than 4%.

Even if every Kyoto-obligated country passed its own, duplicate Waxman-Markey bills – which is implausible and would incur significantly higher costs – the global reduction would amount to just 0.22°C (0.35°F) by the end of this century. The reduction in global temperature would not be measurable in a hundred years, yet the cost would be significant and payable now.

Is it really treason against the planet to express some skepticism about whether this is the right way forward? Is it treason to question throwing huge sums of money at a policy that will do virtually no good in a hundred years? Is it unreasonable to point out that the inevitable creation of trade barriers that will ensue from Waxman-Markey could eventually cost the world ten times more than the damage climate change could ever have wrought?

Today’s focus on ineffective and costly climate policies shows poor judgment. But I would never want to shut down discussion about these issues – whether it is with Gore, Hansen, or Krugman. Everybody involved in this discussion should spend more time building and acknowledging good arguments, and less time telling others what they cannot say. Wanting to shut down the discussion is simply treason against reason.


Ignoring Science

A further comment on a paper I mentioned on 24th

A new scientific paper says that man has had little or nothing to do with global temperature variations. Maybe the only place it's really getting hotter is in Al Gore's head. Because he must be getting flustered now, what with his efforts to save the benighted world from global warming continually being exposed as a fraud.

The true believers will not be moved by the peer-reviewed findings of Chris de Freitas, John McLean and Bob Carter, scientists at universities in Australia and New Zealand. Warming advocates have too much invested in perpetuating the myth. (And are probably having too much fun calling those who don't agree with them "deniers" and likening skeptics to fascists.) But these scientists have made an important contribution to the debate that Gore says doesn't exist.

Their research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, indicates that nature, not man, has been the dominant force in climate change in the late 20th century. "The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Nino conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Nina conditions less likely" says co-author de Freitas. "We have shown that internal global climate-system variability accounts for at least 80% of the observed global climate variation over the past half-century. It may even be more if the period of influence of major volcanoes can be more clearly identified and the corresponding data excluded from the analysis."

These findings are largely being ignored by the mainstream media. They simply don't fit the worn narrative that man is dangerously warming the Earth through his carbon dioxide emissions and a radical alteration of Western lifestyles mandated by government policy is desperately needed. They will be ignored, as well, by the Democratic machine that is trying to ram an economy-smothering carbon cap-and-trade regime through Congress.

Despite efforts to keep the global warming scare alive, the growing evidence that humans aren't heating the planet is piercing the public consciousness and alarmists are becoming marginalized. Sharp Americans are starting to understand H.L. Mencken's observation that "The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it." That pretty much sums up the modern environmentalist movement.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.