Wednesday, September 30, 2009


An email from David Whitehouse [] below regarding Global warming could happen sooner on the BBC

It took quite a while for the fact that global annual average temperatures haven't altered for a decade to become accepted by mainstream science, even if there are many who still doubt that it is either happening or important. Likewise one must also be glad that the media is catching up. Especially glad because it is the BBC.

One should take encouragement from the broadcast version of the Met Office's "Four degrees of warming 'likely'" in that when referring to the recent temperature standstill it says that scientists have questioned it. The report did not call these questioners sceptics. Lets hope this nomenclature is applied consistently in the future by the organisation that said in 2005 that the science was settled.

However, the report did let a scientist get away with a biased interpretation of why the standstill has occurred, or rather bypassing the problematic nature of its existence. Dr Myles Allen said that one should look at the figures that are relevant, that is decade to decade changes. He said that temperatures are rising exactly as predicted as long as 30 years ago.

Well, I will let the comment about as long as 30 years ago for your perusal in the context of climatic variations.

Dr Allen is wrong. The latest spell of warming began about 1980 following 40 years of standstill (still not adequately explained) and 90 prior years of warming. His decade to decade change is a less than two decade spell of warming, to the mid 1990's, during which the warming increased at a rate much faster than the IPCC estimated the CO2 effect could account for. Since then there has been no change although of course it is warmer than it was in the 70s. This is another example of scientific double standards. The recent standstill is, of course, natural variability, the recent rise is, of course, man-made. It couldn't possibly be the other way around? (Computer models can explain the recent trends, or more accurately, it is possible to select a few models that do from amongst the many that do not.)

Let's look at decade to decade variability. In the past 15 decades it was warmed in 10 of them and stayed static in 5. But 8 of those decades were pre-1940 when we are told that man-made climate change had not taken effect. Since it has taken effect, a review of papers suggests a consensus of 1950, there have been 4 decades of standstill and 2 of warming. The recent warm decade is also no further above the mean global temperature than the cold Victorian age was below it.

It is alarming that the argument is moving away from real-world data and its inconvenience. The computer models point decades ahead and cannot be refuted. The UK met office says that global warming will resume 2009-2014, other scientists disagree. But even if the Met Office is proven wrong in its 2009-2014 forecast then it can still look to future decades and say it's easier to predict 50 years ahead than 5!

The IPPC's next assessment is due in 2014 but since the last one did not take into account the overwhelming major aspect of climate change of our time - the recent standstill - a more urgent review is needed.

Another comment on the latest Warmist fraud: CHERRY PICKING OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS

A big news day. It appears Steve McIntyre (volunteer unpaid auditor of Big-Government-Science) has killed the Hockey Stick a second time... The details are on the last three days of Steve McIntyre's site Climate Audit, and summed up beautifully on Watts Up. The sheer effrontery and gall appears to be breathtaking.

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

Kieth Briffa used 12 samples to arrive at his version of the hockey stick and refused to provide his data for years. When McIntyre finally got hold of it, and looked at the 34 samples that Briffa left out of his graphs, a stark message was displayed. McIntyre describes it today as one of the most disquieting images he's ever presented.


Since 1995 Kieth Briffa has been publishing graphs about temperature of the last thousand years. Like Michael Manns' famous (and discredited) Hockey Stick graph, Briffa's graphs were based on tree rings and appeared to show dramatic evidence that the current climate was extraordinarily warm compared to previous years. They were used in the infamous spagetti plots, and the IPCC 3rd Assessment Report, and recycled in other publications giving the impression they had been replicated. His work has even made it into school resources (Cimate Discovery, p4). His publications since 2000 are listed here.

Unaudited science

Suspiciously Briffa refused repeated requests to provide the Yamal data that his analysis was based on (something about the data belonging to the Russians). As Steve McIntyre points out, this kind of data should be archived and freely available after any peer reviewed paper is published.

Last year Briffa published a paper in a journal (Philosophical Transactions of Biology, the Royal Society) that did maintain basic standards, (after being prodded), and a few days ago McIntyre noticed the data was finally up. This data had been used in papers going back as far as 2000. (And no one thought to politely inform McIntyre that the information he'd requested for years was now available.)

Hiding data in science is equivalent to a company issuing it's annual report and telling the auditors that the receipts are commercial in confidence and they would just have to trust them. No court of law would accept that, yet at the "top" levels of science, papers have been allowed to sit as show-pieces for years without any chance that anyone could seriously verify their findings. In science, getting the stamp of Peer Review has become like a free pass to "credibility".

Now we know why he might not have been so forthcoming with the data... If all the tree rings are combined, the graph looks like this below. (I've added the black thick line to the original to make the merged data stand out). Obviously today is not as warm as things were 1000 years ago (at least not in far north Russia), and it's also clear things have been warming since 1800 in Yamal.

Here's a map to help put places to the names. These are the four sites mentioned as sources of the tree ring data. Yamal and Taymir are roughly 400 km apart.

In the mid 1990's the Polar Urals were the place to be for interesting tree rings, but then as the data got updated and yielded a medieval warm period that Team AGW preferred to ignore, they moved their focus to the Yamal Peninsula. There was plenty of data to pick from, but that's the point. They chose 10 data sets from 1990, and only 5 post 1995. Which seems curious as presumably there is no shortage of 20 year old trees on the Yamal Peninsula. As Ross McKitrick notes, a small sample may have been passable, but it appears that these trees were not selected randomly.

McKitrick expands:

Thus the key ingredient in a lot of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series (red line above) depends on the influence of a thin subsample of post-1990 chronologies and the exclusion of the (much larger) collection of readily-available Schweingruber data for the same area.

Honest scientists who believe in there is a crisis in carbon must surely be starting to ask questions about what's going on with their colleagues. If the evidence is so strong, so undeniable; if the warming recently has been so unprecedented, why won't people offer their data up freely so that science can progress as fast as possible? When is deluding the public, other scientists and our elected representatives ever a useful thing to do? People have invested money and careers, governments have paid millions for reports, and billions for research; and companies have planned years ahead, all partly based on the Hockey Stick Graph.

If the data had been archived immediately for the public, the world could have had access to better information for nearly a decade.

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)


Nuclear energy is set to be revived in Germany as Chancellor Angela Merkel can form her coalition of choice after this Sunday's elections. Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union and the pro-business Free Democratic Party were in coalition negotiations Monday; a government will be formed within the next four weeks, the chancellor said. With the CDU and the FDP both supportive of nuclear energy, their coalition agreement is slated to address the country's nuclear phase-out plan, which foresees all German reactors to be shut down by 2021.

Claudia Kemfert, an energy expert with the Berlin-based DIW research institute, said the phase-out, drafted and defended by the SPD and the Greens, should no longer hold. "The running times of Germany's most modern nuclear power plants will likely be extended," she told UPI in a telephone interview. A construction of new reactors is not likely to happen, she added.

Germany's three main energy companies, Eon, RWE and ENBW, all gained in Monday trading in Frankfurt.

The CDU and the FDP argue that nuclear provides secure, relatively cheap CO2-free power and should remain in the mix until renewables are ready to take over; the SPD and the Greens point to the dangers of accidents, nuclear proliferation and the unsolved issue of how to store the highly radioactive waste created in the process.

Kemfert said a decision to extend the running times of nuclear power plants should include a guarantee to haul back the utilities' additional revenues in the form of a tax. That money could be spent on nuclear waste storage or renewable energy technologies, observers say.

Mirko Bothien, a German power plant turbine expert working for a large international energy company in Switzerland, is not too excited by the new government's plans for the future German energy mix.

"The CDU and the FDP bank on cheap energy production to help the German industry. Let's hope this does not go at the expense of climate protection," Bothien told UPI in an interview.

The physicist gave his vote to the Greens, "because their party program is the most ambitious when it comes to supporting renewable energy sources."

Thanks to a lucrative feed-in tariff for green power, the German renewable industry has boomed over the past 10 years.

Kemfert said the new coalition would likely not touch the successful German renewable energy law, the EEG.

"But there might be a discussion regarding cutting the feed-in tariff for solar energy," which is threatening to cost the government billions of dollars over the next few years.



China's ambition to create "green cities" powered by huge wind farms comes with a dirty little secret: Dozens of new coal-fired power plants need to be installed as well.

Part of the reason is that wind power depends on, well, the wind. To safeguard against blackouts when conditions are too calm, officials have turned to coal-fired power as a backup.

China wants renewable energy like wind to meet 15% of its energy needs by 2020, double its share in 2005, as it seeks to rein in emissions that have made its cities among the smoggiest on Earth. But experts say the country's transmission network currently can't absorb the rate of growth in renewable-energy output. Last year, as much as 30% of wind-power capacity wasn't connected to the grid. As a result, more coal is being burned in existing plants, and new thermal capacity is being built to cover this shortfall in renewable energy.

In addition, officials want enough new coal-fired capacity in reserve so that they can meet demand whenever the wind doesn't blow. This is important because wind is less reliable as an energy source than coal, which fuels two-thirds of China's electricity output. Wind energy ultimately depends on wind strength and direction, unlike coal, which can be stockpiled at generators in advance.

Further complicating matters is poor connectivity between regional transmission networks, which makes it hard for China to move surplus power in one part of the country to cover shortfalls elsewhere.


Global warming is now killing elephants

Is there any damage that it cannot do? As there has been no warming since 1998, is is a demonstrable misattribution anyway. The unfortunate Kenyan lady below just believes what the Warmists say without checking it

The drought has resulted in the death of young elephants as they cannot reach foliage high up in trees. Statistics at KWS show that more than 30 elephants have died since 2007. Animals are becoming bolder and more violent as the effects of climate change take their toll on them. Hippopotamus have been witnessed eating fruits on farms such as pawpaws and bananas, while elephants have become more violent.

Dr Judith Nyunja, a senior scientist at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said some animals were altering their behaviour to adapt to the changing climate. “Wildlife such as elephants have become bolder, frequently raiding human settlements in search of food and water, and baboons have been seen killing lambs,” said Dr Nyunja. She said the adverse change in climate had resulted in reduction of plant and animal species. The move, she said, was affecting tourism, the country’s main export and major foreign exchange earner.

It is estimated that the country’s wildlife earns an average of Sh8.4 billion per year with considerable prospects for growth. “Approximately 20 to 30 per cent plant and animal species are at high risk of extinction as global temperatures (rise),” said Dr Nyunja. She said that up to 35 per cent of birds, 52 per cent of amphibians and 71 per cent of reef-building corals were threatened by climate change. She said an increase in sea temperatures would raise acidity resulting into coral “bleaching”. Dr Nyunja said that the increased frequency of wild fires had affected wildlife and resulted in loss of biodiversity. She said there was need to map out areas prone to wild fires, provide adequate capacity to fight the fires, and develop proper road networks in parks to make them easily accessible.

“In areas such as Laikipia, the drought has resulted in the death of young elephants as they cannot reach foliage high up in trees. Statistics at KWS show that more than 30 elephants have died since 2007,” said Dr Nyunja. She said wildlife mortalities arising from diseases were also likely to increase as livestock interacts with wildlife, especially in areas where parks border pastoralists. “Increase in human-wildlife conflicts due to competition for resources has also contributed to an increase in wildlife mortalities,” said Dr Nyunja.


El Nino cycle to give U.S. Northeast Coldest Winter in a Decade

Climate variations are produced by oscillations in wind and ocean currents! How pesky for the Warmists!

The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group. “Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It’s pretty good odds.”

Warming in the Pacific often means fewer Atlantic hurricanes and higher temperatures in the U.S. Northeast during January, February and March, according to the National Weather Service. El Nino occurs every two to five years, on average, and lasts about 12 months, according to the service.

Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long positions, or bets prices will rise, in New York heating oil futures in the week ended Sep. 22, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data Sept. 25. “It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade,” Rogers said.

U.S. inventories of distillate fuels, which include heating oil, are at their highest since January 1983, the U.S. Energy Department said Sept. 23. Stockpiles of 170.8 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 18 are 28 percent above the five-year average. Heating oil for October delivery rose 1.38 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1.6909 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.



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, September 29, 2009

Google monkey business again

They have blocked me from updating DISSECTING LEFTISM on the pretext that it seems to be a spam blog. Since it has had daily updates since July 2002, they must have moronic algorithms to think so. Even more moronic is the fact that they have not blocked the large font version of the blog, which has identical content and is also updated daily. I have applied for a review of the block so I hope the block is lifted soon. I am not due to post there again until roughly 12 hours from now. They have blocked this blog three times.

Our Earth and climate change

Another dissenter writes below. Doug Wyatt is a Ph. D. geologist and geophysicist

As a geoscientist who works in that often strange area where government policy, academia and commercial practicality overlap I fully understand the quote, paraphrased from Heraclitus, circa 500BC, that "nothing is constant except change." I suspect Heraclitus had some geoscientist in him.

A recent article in EOS, the weekly magazine of the American Geophysical Union, by Kastens and others, describes a study, by a very diverse research group including theologians, anthropologists, sociologists, as well as earth scientists, about how geoscientists think. Geoscientists think temporally, in time, far into the past and future, think of the earth as a system of complex inter-related processes, stress learning based on observations of data from what the Earth tells us, and think spatially about how things are arranged in all dimensions. Change is inherent in a geologist's understanding of the Earth and is a principal tool for defining what happens between various observed events. Thinking like a geologist is a very good approach to understanding large-scale, complex problems and this includes climate change.

The issue surrounding the current climate change concern, in reality, only involves two concepts - the climate is changing and CO2 from man-made sources is the cause, or the climate is changing and it is a natural process. Common to both concepts is that the climate is changing - remember Heraclitus - and nobody argues that fact. Those scientists who study the Earth always see in their data the continuous process of global climate change occurring in predictable cycles far into the past. As a matter of fact, we count on those changes to help us understand the present and predict effects in the future.

All geoscientists, whether they study groundwater, volcanoes, earthquakes, shorelines, work in environmental cleanup, look for oil and gas, search for minerals, evaluate foundations, search the deep sea, or explore the Arctic, depend, as a primary source of information, on the cyclical process of past climate changes to help them understand the Earth. Everything that depends on geoscience knowledge, from roadways and dams, nuclear waste storage and landfills, beach renewal to hazardous waste cleanup, and anything that involves our utilization of the Earth, also depends on the understanding of past climate change processes that have produced the planet we currently know.

Thank goodness we can understand the past Earth because it is a sure predictor of what will happen in the future Earth. It is scientific folly at the most, and irrational at the least, to assume that all of a sudden the long-standing processes that affect Earth are now a lesser influence than man-made activities. There is a humanistic component to this assumption. The Earth is changing, change must be bad, humans are the greatest influence on the planet, therefore humans must be bad. The assumption implies we must "fix" the planet. We can do much, but our ability to change our orbit, regulate the sun, stop the continents, re-route ocean currents, or even accurately predict next months weather is not currently among our skills. They might be one day with more 'understanding'. Heraclitus had it right, 'change' happens, and what we must strive for is an 'understanding' of change in order to benefit from it.

There is an old joke often heard in the Earth sciences. If you ask mathematicians what two plus two is, they will say, in purist understanding, "four". If you ask an engineer what two plus two is they will say, in an engineering understanding, "four point zero." However, if you ask a geoscientist what two plus two is your answer may likely be "three for low values of two and five for high values of two" reflecting the wide range of variability found in the Earth and the understanding that change is a constant.

What we need to change is our understanding of climate and the Earth as a whole. The Earth is constantly changing, typically in cycles, always in fact, and as humans, we can strive to understand the processes of change. As humans, we are a change agent, as part of the complex set of systems that operate on our planet. Human effects on our environment must always be considered but within the balance of all existing natural Earth processes. However, human activities simply cannot dominate long-standing natural Earth processes. As numerous and important as we see ourselves, we pale in comparison to the large-scale, ancient processes and changes that define our planet. We must understand this in order to move forward. Our future welfare depends on it.


Another 'Couldifmite' Weasel Word Global Warming Story From Reuters

Could. If. Might. Take a look at almost any global warming alarmism story and you are likely to see a plethora of those speculative weasel words. It happens so frequently that your humble correspondent, in his previous global warming story about the "Modoki," labeled a new term incorporating those words: "Couldifmite."

It was my recommendation that a mineral rock be given the name of Couldifmite. Any MSM reporter in the vicinity of of Couldifmite will be subjected to the uncontrollable urge to overload his global warming stories with "could," "if," and "might" along with the related speculative weasel words of "may" and "should." Okay, there probably won't be a rock that would be given that name but it could happen if some geologist out there might have a good sense of humor. See, even I can play the Couldifmite game.

However, Gerard Wynn of Reuters isn't joking. He goes full scale Couldifmite in this latest global warming story. Even the intro to his story is chock full of Couldifmite: "Global temperatures could rise 4 degrees by 2050s. Rainfall may fall by a fifth in many regions"

This is only the Couldifmite warmup for the body of the story and Wynn does not disappoint:
LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Global temperatures may be 4 degrees Celsius hotter by the mid-2050s if current greenhouse gas emissions trends continue, said a study published on Monday.

...Leaders of the main greenhouse gas-emitting countries recognised in July a scientific view that temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, to avoid more dangerous changes to the world's climate.

...Temperature rises are compared with pre-industrial levels. The world warmed 0.7 degrees last century, scientists say.

Really? So how accurate were measuring instruments at the start of the 20th century to make that assertion? Plus there were still areas of the earth unexplored. Roald Amundsen did not reach the South Pole until 1911 so how were temperature measurements there even made before then? Same is true of the North Pole prior to 1909 yet we are assured that the world warmed 0.7 degrees last century. Not 0.6 or 0.8 degrees but 0.7 degrees state the scientists based on crude measurements at the early part of the century and incorporating large parts of the globe that were not even accessible back then.
A global average increase of 4 degrees masked higher regional increases, including more than 15 degrees warmer temperatures in parts of the Arctic, and up to 10 degrees higher in western and southern Africa, Monday's study found.

Whoa! Stop the music! At the beginning of this article we are told that global average temperature could rise by 4 degrees celsius. Suddenly "could" is dropped and we are presented with this speculative forecast as an absolute fact as if it already happened. Sorry, 2050 is still over 40 years away.

It appears that Gerard Wynn needs another dose of those Couldifmite rays to keep his global warming speculation story in order.


Greenie destructiveness in high gear in California

Sen. Dianne Feinstein votes to deny water to California's drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley. Farmers, families and food are being held hostage to an endangered fish called the delta smelt.

There was a time when the San Joaquin Valley was the most productive agricultural region in the world. It was a large part of what made the Golden State golden. Now it's a place where farmers no longer farm, but instead line up at food banks to feed the families of those who once fed the rest of the country and a good chunk of the world.

The largest man-made agricultural disaster since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s is unfolding in the valley due to yet another attempt to protect a fish declared to be threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This damage is being done to protect the hypomesus transpacificus, otherwise known as the delta smelt. Last December the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in its finite wisdom, issued something called a biological opinion imposing water restrictions on the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding areas to protect the habitat of this tiny fish. The authorities forget the species homo sapiens, also part of the ecosystem, is threatened. Its habitat is being destroyed — by government edict.

To protect the smelt, billions of gallons of water from the mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channeled away from farms and into the ocean, while farmers watched their crops wither and their once-productive land become barren.

Kern County authorities say that 145,000 acres that are usually irrigated with this water were killed or underirrigated last year. The loss was estimated at $100 million in that county alone. The University of California, Davis, estimates that San Joaquin Valley farm revenue losses ranged from $482 million to $647 million. Total economic losses could hit $3 billion this year. In affected areas, the jobless rate is at 14%, with farming towns such as Mendota experiencing unemployment near 40%. In August, 50 valley mayors signed a letter to President Obama asking him to come and witness the devastation firsthand.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he "doesn't have the authority to turn on the pumps" that the feds have ordered turned off. In June, the administration denied his request to designate California a federal disaster area because of the drought even though the U.S. Drought Monitor lists 43% of the state as being under "severe drought" conditions.


"Green" British councils escalate their war on garbage

Worried residents thought their rubbish was being stolen when council 'spies' dressed in hoodies started rifling through their bins. Concerned neighbours saw mysterious men emptying their bins into black sacks and loading them into an unmarked white van. When homeowners questioned the official binmen an hour later they learned their council was conducting a survey of what was being thrown away.

The 'spies' were part of a week-long waste analysis study by the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership, a collaboration of eight local authorities working to reduce rubbish going to landfill. An external contractor was told to go through the bins of residents. One thousand houses were targeted as part of the survey, including 780 in Northamptonshire.

But none of the inhabitants of Cedar Close, Irchester, near Wellingborough, Northants, had received any notice from their council about what was going on. Resident Gillian Barnett, 61, said the snoopers made her feel 'very uncomfortable'. She said: 'Three young men parked outside my house and just started going through my bins - I thought they were pinching my rubbish. It was very suspicious. 'We haven't had a leaftlet or a letter, all my neighbours were going round asking each other what was happening. 'If they'd had "County Council" marked on their van it would have been less concerning but as it was nobody knew what was going on. 'It made me worry about what I had put in the bin - I didn't know I was going to be fined or what. 'I heard this was happening in nearby streets like Pine Close too.'

Another resident, who asked to remain anonymous, slammed the council for using 'Big Brother' tactics.

Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough Borough Councils have authorised waste experts Resource Futures to go through the bins of people living in their boroughs as part of this survey. This was to provide Project Reduce - a £138million government-funded enterprise headed by Northamptonshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council - with information about what was being sent to landfills.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive at the TaxPayers' Alliance, condemned Northampton County Council for what he described as an 'aggressive' campaign. He said: 'This sneaky behaviour on the part of the council is underhand and alarming. 'Taxpayers are sick and tired of being spied on by their councils, it is an infringement of both their dignity and personal space. 'People are doing all they can to recycle, if they are throwing something away it's because they have to. 'This approach is unnecessarily aggressive and a waste of taxpayers' money and precious resources.'

But a Northampton County Council spokeswoman insisted the survey was purely for informative purposes. She said: 'This is not a punitive measure and all data gathered will be kept strictly confidential. 'We just want to gather more information about what people are throwing away so we can target our resources to better meet their needs.'..

Corby Council lead member for the environment Cllr Peter McEwan said: 'Landfill charges are currently in excess of £60 per tonne and rising. 'It is vital that we continue to search for cleaner, greener ways to treat and dispose of our rubbish.'



Three current articles grouped below

Lots of climate skeptics among Australia's conservatives

(Reminder for readers outside Australia: The Liberal party is Australia's major conservative party)

Only 12 members of Malcolm Turnbull's backbench support their leader's plan to negotiate with Labor on an emissions scheme. [And the National Party is SOLIDLY opposed]

The opposition's emissions trading spokesman says he's not surprised two-thirds of Liberal backbenchers are opposed to negotiating with Labor over its carbon pollution reduction scheme. But Ian Macfarlane insists the alternative is to let Kevin Rudd force a "crazy" scheme on Australia that could destroy the economy. It's been revealed more than two-thirds of Liberal backbenchers disagree with Malcolm Turnbull's plan to negotiate amendments with the government on its ETS.

Just 12 of 59 federal Liberal MPs support Mr Turnbull's decision to negotiate, The Australian reports. Another 41 want the opposition to either oppose the draft laws completely or negotiate amendments only if a parliamentary vote is delayed until after global climate change talks in December.

"It is obvious to everyone on our side of politics that this is an emissions trading scheme, in its current form, that will cost jobs and will see industry close and move overseas," Mr Macfarlane told ABC Radio. "On that basis, I'm not surprised to see such strong opposition from the backbench." But while everyone in the coalition would prefer the legislation not to come before parliament until after Copenhagen, the prime minister was vowing to rush "headlong into this" so the coalition had to negotiate.

"I'm being pragmatic and I'm being open with everybody," Mr Macfarlane said. "The reality is we do not control the parliament. Control of the parliament lies with the prime minister (and) he is on this crazy path that will potentially destroy Australia's economy. "Without being able to stop him we need to ensure that the legislation that goes forward is in fact legislation that will protect jobs ... and industry." Mr Macfarlane admitted the partyroom would have the final say, but stressed the best option was to amend the legislation "if Kevin Rudd won't see sense".


Victoria celebrates as September's rainfall hits highest level since 2000

A teeth-grinder for the Greenies and their claim that drought proves global warming. Only disaster makes them happy

FARMERS are rejoicing in the best September rainfall for nine years, which could have far-reaching benefits for the Victorian economy. The Wimmera and Mallee in particular have had significant falls, providing a much-needed boost for local farmers. "A lot of people who would have been questioning their future have had their faith restored," said Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad. "It is pretty much the best start to spring we could have hoped for."

At the weekend, many parts of the state gained more than 100mm [4 inches] in 72 hours. The wettest area is Mt Baw Baw, which has received 357mm of rain this month.

And it is also good news in Melbourne as well, with the city's catchments boasting an increase of 17 billion litres. Water storages for the capital have risen from 30.8 to 31.7 per cent. But while Victoria celebrates, parts of southern NSW are still up to 20 per cent below their average for the month.


Coal firms' advertisements hit emissions plan

COALMINING companies have rolled out a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign in key mining areas warning that the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme could force pit closures and job losses. The campaign - designed by Neil Lawrence, creator of the "Kevin 07" advertising blitz that helped put Labor into office - was launched yesterday by Australian Coal Association executive director Ralph Hillman. The "Let's Cut Emissions, not Jobs" campaign began in central Queensland, which includes the key Labor-held seats of Flynn, Capricornia and Dawson, and will be rolled out in other major coalmining areas such as the Hunter Valley in NSW.

Mr Hillman said Canberra's proposed carbon reduction scheme was flawed in its treatment of coal. "The proposed plan would not cut carbon emissions while costing regional Queensland thousands of coal industry jobs," he said.

The advertisements were launched as Anglo-American chief executive Cynthia Carroll warned the ETS could cost Australia's coal industry $14 billion in its first 10 years of operation. The ads, to run on regional TV, radio and newspapers, say: "A new tax on coal mines is coming. Many thousands of regional jobs could be going."

But Assistant Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Treasury modelling showed the coal industry would continue to grow under the government's scheme. He said only about 12 per cent of Australian coalmines would face a "material" cost under Canberra's plan, and they had been allocated $750 million in targeted assistance over the first five years of the scheme.

Mr Hillman said the coal industry accepted the science of global warming and supported action to cut carbon in the atmosphere. He said the campaign - revealed last week by The Australian - was being run because coalmining communities had not been properly warned of the effects on regional areas of the scheme in its current form. "People need to understand mines will close and thousands of jobs could go as a direct result of the proposed tax," he said. "Even more frustrating is the reality that global carbon emissions will not be reduced."



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.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Massive scientific fraud: Blatant and grossly deceptive data selection ("cherrypicking") by Warmist "scientists"

These guys would not make a real scientist's a**hole. They were pretending to use tree-ring data to create a picture of the climate before thermometers were invented. And they claimed that their data showed no Medieval warm period but record warming in the late 20th century. And their data did exactly that. But how did they get their data? By ignoring a whole heap of data and just picking out a tiny subset of trees that suited their preconceptions. And if you use ALL the tree-ring data, you get totally opposite results. See the divergence in the graph below. Following the graph is a summary of the huge battle skeptical scientists had in order to get the raw data concerned. The Warmists knew that they had committed a repeated fraud and did their damndest to cover it up. Scientific fraud is a serious matter. They should lose their jobs.

Here’s a re-cap of this saga that should make clear the stunning importance of what Steve has found. One point of terminology: a tree ring record from a site is called a chronology, and is made up of tree ring records from individual trees at that site. Multiple tree ring series are combined using standard statistical algorithms that involve detrending and averaging (these methods are not at issue in this thread). A good chronology–good enough for research that is–should have at least 10 trees in it, and typically has much more.

1. In a 1995 Nature paper by Briffa, Schweingruber et al., they reported that 1032 was the coldest year of the millennium – right in the middle of the Medieval Warm Period. But the reconstruction depended on 3 short tree ring cores from the Polar Urals whose dating was very problematic.

2. In the 1990s, Schweingruber obtained new Polar Urals data with more securely-dated cores for the MWP. Neither Briffa nor Schweingruber published a new Polar Urals chronology using this data. An updated chronology with this data would have yielded a very different picture, namely a warm medieval era and no anomalous 20th century. Rather than using the updated Polar Urals series, Briffa calculated a new chronology from Yamal – one which had an enormous hockey stick shape. After its publication, in virtually every study, Hockey Team members dropped Polar Urals altogether and substituted Briffa’s Yamal series in its place. PS: The exception to this pattern was Esper et al (Science) 2002, which used the combined Polar Urals data. But Esper refused to provide his data. Steve got it in 2006 after extensive quasi-litigation with Science (over 30 email requests and demands).

3. Subsequently, countless studies appeared from the Team that not only used the Yamal data in place of the Polar Urals, but where Yamal had a critical impact on the relative ranking of the 20th century versus the medieval era.

4. Meanwhile Briffa repeatedly refused to release the Yamal measurement data used inhis calculation despite multiple uses of this series at journals that claimed to require data archiving. E.g.

5. Then one day Briffa et al. published a paper in 2008 using the Yamal series, again without archiving it. However they published in a Phil Tran Royal Soc journal which has strict data sharing rules. Steve got on the case.

6. A short time ago, with the help of the journal editors, the data was pried loose and appeared at the CRU web site.

7. It turns out that the late 20th century in the Yamal series has only 10 tree ring chronologies after 1990 (5 after 1995), making it too thin a sample to use (according to conventional rules). But the real problem wasn’t that there were only 5-10 late 20th century cores- there must have been a lot more. They were only using a subset of 10 cores as of 1990, but there was no reason to use a small subset. (Had these been randomly selected, this would be a thin sample, but perhaps passable. But it appears that they weren’t randomly selected.)

8. Faced with a sample in the Taymir chronology that likely had 3-4 times as many series as the Yamal chronology, Briffa added in data from other researchers’ samples taken at the Avam site, some 400 km away. He also used data from the Schweingruber sampling program circa 1990, also taken about 400 km from Taymir. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of pooling samples from such disparate locations, this establishes a precedent where Briffa added a Schweingruber site to provide additional samples. This, incidentally, ramped up the hockey-stickness of the (now Avam-) Taymir chronology.

9. Steve thus looked for data from other samples at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size in the Briffa Yamal chronology. He quickly discovered a large set of 34 Schweingruber samples from living trees. Using these instead of the 12 trees in the Briffa (CRU) group that extend to the present yields Figure 2, showing a complete divergence in the 20th century. Thus the Schweingruber data completely contradicts the CRU series. Bear in mind the close collaboration of Schweingruber and Briffa all this time, and their habit of using one another’s data as needed.

10. Combining the CRU and Schweingruber data yields the green line in the 3rd figure above. While it doesn’t go down at the end, neither does it go up, and it yields a medieval era warmer than the present, on the standard interpretation. Thus the key ingredient in a lot of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series (red line above) depends on the influence of a thin subsample of post-1990 chronologies and the exclusion of the (much larger) collection of readily-available Schweingruber data for the same area.


Garbage In, Gospel Out

The global-warming crowd has absurd faith in computer modeling

There are two kinds of models that mean anything to most Americans. There are the models who pose for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or the cover of Vogue, date movie stars, host talk shows, and have their antics chronicled on Page Six of the New York Post. Then there are computer models, those nerdy systems driven by thousands of points of data input. This latter type of model serves as the fundamental basis for the belief that unchecked anthropogenic global warming imperils the planet.

These two types of models don’t overlap much — but they do have one critical feature in common: Each suffers from severe limitations. Runway models’ limitations keep the vast majority of them from crossing over into areas like acting or singing — professions that require savvy and talent along with beauty. The limitations of the computer models on which the entire global-warming edifice is built are even more severe, and they could have a profound effect on every single American.

In considering these limitations, it’s worth reviewing the history of using computers to predict the future. In the 1950s, an MIT researcher named Jay Forrester helped develop the first large digital computers. These were designed to track and defend against Soviet bombers, and they worked very well. Soon, Forrester began using the newly arriving generations of IBM mainframes for more general modeling applications, such as for industries and cities. “From a computer’s perspective, the problems were not all that different from tracking bombers,” wrote Peter Huber in his 2000 book Hard Green, which provides a wonderful account of computer models and their limitations. It was a matter of moving otherwise-unsolvable equations into the powerful new computers, and the results were decidedly positive.

At this point, there was every reason to think that running other problems through these increasingly powerful machines would yield useful results. That was the thinking that led Forrester to collaborate with the Club of Rome in the early 1970s. They devised a model of planetary resources that considered a variety of interconnected dynamic systems and global scenarios — death rates, birth rates, natural-resource depletion, population density, capital investment, crowding, pollution, etc. They fed the model into a large MIT mainframe and flipped the switch.

Forrester’s partners published the results in the 1972 bestseller Limits to Growth. They predicted a rapidly growing global population combining with rapid resource depletion to spark violent social upheaval. Limits to Growth suggested that disasters and die-offs were imminent, and that the survivors would live in a world of misery and scarcity.

The model turned out to be wrong — spectacularly and embarrassingly wrong. Despite a large increase in world population, people all over the globe are richer and healthier than they were when Limits to Growth made its predictions. Not only did the Club of Rome fail to predict the future with any accuracy, it failed to account accurately for the past; its model showed that quality of life had peaked three decades earlier.

How could this happen? Turns out the model Forrester had dreamed up could only do so much. Obsessing about population growth, Forrester plugged into his model the mouths that would need to be fed. But he didn’t consider that each mouth was accompanied by a brain, and that brains create wealth and solutions that tend to offset the needs of the mouths. Neither could Forrester successfully model the workings of markets. “If markets could be reliably modeled, as the Soviets thought they could, we wouldn’t need markets at all,” wrote Huber.

Today, computer models predict everything from the stock market to virus outbreaks. And the sole basis for calls to pass cap-and-trade legislation, to drastically curb greenhouse-gas emissions, and to fundamentally reorient the world’s energy economy are projections from the computer models employed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Unlike the Club of Rome’s calculations, which tried to divine the relatively near future (2000), today’s considerably more complicated climate models purport to tell us how the world will look nearly a century out.

The models, data, and methodology have certainly improved since the Club of Rome took its crack 37 years ago. But they still leave much to be desired. Consider the comments of the eminent physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, who said recently, “I have studied their climate models and know what they can do. . . . The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics and do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and biology of fields, farms, and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.”

Unable to accurately describe and account for these factors, modelers “parameterize” them. Freeman says the problems with that approach are obvious: “They are full of fudge factors that are fitted to the existing climate, so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe that the same fudge factors would give the right behavior in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Some fear that it may not be only the models’ variables that are being fudged. Pat Michaels details elsewhere on NRO today the disconcerting facts about the U.K.’s Climate Research Unit, which has repeatedly refused to release its global surface-temperature data so that its climate modeling can be verified by outside experts — and now claims that the raw data have been lost.

What does that say about the trust the public is supposed to place in those who tell us that the world is heading for disaster? Ultimately, what you put into your model determines what you get out of it. If you subscribe to the notion that even the least plausible catastrophe is at least a possibility, you can make your model predict it.

None of these flaws necessarily mean that the IPCC’s predictions for temperature and sea-level rise by 2100 will not materialize. On the other hand, they should inspire some skepticism.

If there is one factor that should make us all sit up and take notice about the deficiencies inherent in modeling, it was supplied in a recent article by Vinod Khosla — the Sun Microsystems co-founder and green venture capitalist who in 2006 helped bankroll California’s failed Proposition 87. Had it passed, Prop 87 would have socked Golden State oil companies with extra taxes and given that money to renewable-energy ventures. Among the cap-and-trade crowd, Khosla is a prophet on the level of Al Gore, and he’s a prized speaker on the clean-energy lecture circuit.

In a recent piece for Grist on the future of electric cars, Khosla wrote: " So what kinds of technology are we investing in? I think the traditional approach to lithium ion battery making, such as A123, is going to be competing in an overheated, nearly-commoditized market and will probably not (I guess never say never!) get down the cost curve in the next 5 years. (Longer-term forecasts are futile because so-called experts can make anything they want up — we all know long term we will be on fusion power.)"

That second parenthetical could hardly be more telling, coming as it does from an established leader of the green brigade, a billionaire activist who counsels President Obama’s White House on climate-change policy. In essence, what Khosla is saying is that when you are investing your own money, you shouldn’t trust a forecast looking more than five years out because “experts can make anything they want up.”

Fair point, and good investment advice. But shouldn’t it apply to climate policy as well? The IPCC’s “so-called experts” aren’t offering five-year forecasts, but 100-year ones. Do the rules of forecasting somehow change when the subject is justifying higher energy taxes, or justifying the punitive taxation of oil companies to give their profits to uneconomic green-energy projects? Probably not, which suggests at the end of the day that the green regime is more interested in political payoff than in applying sound science and analysis to questions about climate change. One would hope that even a supermodel could figure that out.


CO2 is not melting the Arctic

It is modern myth that CO2 is melting the Arctic sea ice. No doubt many people will take immediate offence at the mere title of this post but they would do well to listen to the data before they jump. CO2 is supposed to heat the earth's atmosphere and then would melt the ice from above. The atmosphere can't get past the ice to warm the water below so the only logical conclusion is that a warm atmosphere should melt the ice from above.

But what is happening is the Arctic ice is melting from below due to warm waters that normally are about 100-200 m below the surface. I am going to show that due to a change in the winds, the Arctic ocean became more salty (salinization). The increase in salinity caused the underlying deeper waters to come into contact with the ice above, which melts the Arctic ice from below. Unless one can demonstrate that the wind change is due to global warming, one can't claim that CO2 is melting the Arctic ic.

Let's start by looking at the vertical temperature profile of the Arctic ocean. The surface layer, the layer in which the ice floats, is in general is fresher than the warm Atlantic sea water below.

Note that about 200 meters beneath the sea surface, the water temperature is 2 deg C--well above the melting point. If that heat can get up to the surficial layer, past the fresh water, it would melt the ice. Since fresh water is less dense than salt water, the density difference is what keeps the warm water from the ice.

Now, the halocline, the layer of fresh water is about 50-100 meters thick. The ice above is only about 3 meters thick--people think the Arctic sea ice is hundreds of feet thick but it isn't ( What happened in the Arctic is that the halocline, the freshwater layer has been destroyed, or significantly reduced, and that has allowed heat from below to rise beneath the ice, melting it.

Much more HERE

Who are the Branch Carbonians?

Are radical environmentalists members of a political movement or more like the devotees of a religious cult, one that might dubbed the Branch Carbonians?’s Jim Guirardi suggests the label and offers an illuminating case for the latter in this post from the American Thinker.

There is much more to Guirardi’s piece, but as a sample, here are his 10 reasons these fanatical devotees qualify as participants in a cult. If these sound somehow familiar, they are based on the criteria elaborated upon in the 2003 book, “Kingdom of the Cults,” by Walter Martin and Ravi Zacharia:

1. Leadership by a self-glorifying, manipulative New Age Prophet -- in this case, former Vice-President Al Gore, though he is rapidly being supplanted by President Barack Obama.

2. Assertion of an apocalyptic threat to all mankind.

3. An absolutist definition of both the threat and the proposed solution(s).

4. Promise of a salvation from this pending apocalypse.

5. Devotion to an inspired text which (arguendo) embodies all the answers -- in this case, Prophet Gore's pseudo-scientific book "Earth in the Balance" and his more recent "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary.

6. A specific list of "truths" (see the Ten Commandments listed below) which must be embraced and proselytized by all Cult members..

7. An absolute intolerance of any deviation from any of these truths by any Cult member.

8. A strident intolerance of any outside criticism of the Cult's definition of the problem or of its proposed solutions.

9. A "Heaven-on-Earth" vision of the results of the mission's success and/or a "Hell-on-Earth" result if the cultic mission should fail.

10. An inordinate fear (and an outright rejection of the possibility) of being proven wrong in either the apocalyptic vision or the proposed salvation.



European leaders voiced growing doubts on whether the world will meet a December deadline for a new climate deal as a summit here looked set to take up global warming in generalities. Twenty leaders who represent 90 percent of the global economy were holding two days of talks in the eastern US city of Pittsburgh, itself billed as a model of transition from decaying steel town to a green technology hub.

The summit opened two days after a high-powered climate meet at the United Nations, where Japan and China offered new pledges on how to save the world from rising temperatures predicted to threaten entire species if unchecked. But with just a little more than two months before a conference in Copenhagen -- designated two years ago as the venue to seal the successor to the landmark Kyoto Protocol -- pessimism was growing. "When it comes to the negotiations, they are in fact slowing down; they are not going in the right direction," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the current head of the European Union. "We are very worried that we need to speed up the negotiations," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sounded a sour note. "There has been progress, in particular from the Chinese side, from the Japanese side now, and the UN meeting with (UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon," Merkel told reporters in Berlin before heading to Pittsburgh. "But I have to say that when I consider what still has to be achieved before Copenhagen, we cannot be happy," she said.

World leaders are expected to discuss climate change in Pittsburgh but few expected any breakthrough. Climate negotiators, however, will meet next week in Bangkok in a new effort to make progress before Copenhagen. The Kyoto Protocol's obligations for rich nations to cut emissions blamed for global warming expire at the end of 2012.

President Barack Obama sharply reversed the US line on global warming after assuming the White House in January by pledging to take strong action, although Congress has yet to finalize legislation on restricting emissions.

Despite their divisions over the Kyoto Protocol, developed nations are united in insisting that emerging economies must make commitments under the next treaty. Chinese President Hu Jintao told the UN summit that the emerging power would reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions as its economy keeps growing but offered no figure.

Japan's new left-leaning prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, pledged to ramp up the emission-cutting commitment of the world's second largest economy, in one of the few major recent gestures on climate change by developed nations.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who ratified the Kyoto Protocol as his first act in office in 2007, said that developed and developing nations all favored a new treaty but needed to find a "grand bargin" to seal the deal. Rudd, speaking to students at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, said that the Group of 20 should see a climate deal as a way toward a sustainable growth in the world economy. "Beyond avoiding another crisis, our parallel challenge is how to generate the economic growth and the jobs of the future given that the debt-driven consumption model of the past is unlikely to be trusted anymore," he said. A climate deal could "turn the threat of climate change into a great transformational economic opportunity," he said.


Australia: Solar Energy Hits the Dust

Dust on a solar panel will reduce its efficiency by up to 50%. See here

The Day Solar Energy disappeared in the Australian Dust Storm (23/9/09). This picture was taken from the office of the Carbon Sense Coalition in south eastern Queensland, Australia.

The green coalition in Canberra recently decreed that by 2020, just a decade away, Australia must produce 20% of its power using feeble energy sources such as sunbeams and sea breezes. This Green Plan will require vast areas of dry and dusty Australian deserts to be covered by solar panels.

Have they allowed for the army of cleaning persons and the Murray Rivers of water that will be needed to wash the panels after every dust storm? Maybe this where the Green jobs are coming from, and why Penny Wong is hoarding water permits?



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.


Sunday, September 27, 2009


An email below from Patrick Moore [], a co-founder of Greenpeace, to Benny Peiser

The issue of melting glaciers in the Himalayas, and elsewhere, makes my head hurt due to cognitive dissonance.

The UN COP15 Newsletter states, "Mountain glaciers in Asia are melting at a rate that could eventually threaten water supplies, irrigation or hydropower for 20 percent to 25 percent of the world's population, according to the UNEP report."

Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute puts it this way, "The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau will deprive the Indus, Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow rivers of the ice melt that sustains their flow during the dry season and the irrigation systems that depend on them."

In other words the supply of melt water from the melting glaciers is threatened by the melting of the glaciers. This is correct in that if the glaciers melt completely there will be no more melt water from the glaciers.

What if the glaciers were not melting due to a colder climate? Then where would the irrigation water come from? How about if the glaciers were advancing 100 meters per year toward the villages that need the melt water for irrigation? How does the logic of this situation escape these bright minds?

It snows every winter in the Himalayas. When the snow melts it fills the rivers. Where there is net melting of the glaciers this adds additional water to the rivers. But they can't have it both ways. If they want to have continued melt water from the glaciers then the glaciers must continue to melt. Seeing that the glaciers are finite in size this would eventually result in no glacier, and reliance on annual snow melt. Am I missing something here?


Barack Obama has talked down the importance of sealing a global deal on climate change before the end of the year, world leaders said yesterday.

Obama's comments, made in private talks at the G20 summit, downplay the need to reach a strong deal at UN talks in Copenhagen in December and contradict the United Nations and others, who have billed the meeting as a crucial moment for the world to avoid catastrophic global warming. The president did win a partial victory on his signature climate issue at this G20 summit – removing fossil fuel subsidies – but there was no headway on the much bigger issue of climate finance, which Obama had taken up as his issue at the last G20.

Barring small but significant steps forward from China and India, there has been little progress this week at a UN summit or the G20 towards a deal at Copenhagen. Obama's remarks yesterday resonated among world leaders, who have been looking to America – as historically the world's greatest polluter – to lead on climate change.

"I would cite what President Obama said to us at our meetings and that is that while Copenhagen is a very important meeting we should not view it as a make or break on climate change. It will be a step, an ongoing step, in an important world process to deal with this critical issue," Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said yesterday. Harper cited the comments when he said he was not inclined to take up Gordon Brown's challenge to attend the meeting himself, in order to add political weight to the negotiations.

South Korea's Lee Myung-bak also referenced Obama's remarks. "The Copenhagen climate summit meeting is not the end, but it is going to be the start of a new beginning, and having that kind of perception is more realistic," he said. There was no immediate comment from the White House on Obama's remarks.

It is accepted that the Copenhagen negotiations will not be able to finalise all details of a treaty to get the world to act together on global warming. But Obama's comments could jeopardise efforts to get the most comprehensive agreement possible, said observers.



By David Whitehouse

The recent spate of scientific papers that are attempting to predict what the earth’s temperature might be in the coming decades, and also explain the current global temperature standstill, are very interesting because of the methods used to analyse temperature variations, and because they illustrate the limitations of our knowledge.

Recall that only one or two annual data points ago many scientists, as well as the most vocal ‘campaigners,’ dismissed the very idea that the world’s average annual temperature had not changed in the past decade. Today it is an observational fact that can no longer be ignored. We should also not forget that nobody anticipated it. Now, post facto, scientists are looking for an explanation, and in doing so we are seeing AGW in a new light.

The main conclusion, and perhaps it’s no surprise, to be drawn about what will happen to global temperatures is that nobody knows.

The other conclusion to be drawn is that without exception the papers assume a constantly increasing AGW in line with the increase of CO2. This means that any forecast will ultimately lead to rising temperatures as AGW is forever upward and natural variations have their limits. But there is another way of looking at the data. Instead of assuming an increasing AGW why not look for evidence of it in the actual data. In other words let the data have primacy over the theory.

Lean and Rind try to isolate and analyse the various factors that affect decadal changes in the temperature record; El Nino, volcanic aerosols, solar irradiance and AGW. Their formula that links these factors together into a time series is quite simple (indeed there is nothing complicated about any of the papers looking at future temperature trends) though in the actual research paper there is not enough information to follow through their calculations completely.

El Nino typically produces 0.2 deg C warming, volcanic aerosols 0.3 deg C cooling on short timescales, solar irradiance 0.1 deg C (I will come back to this figure in a subsequent post) and the IPCC estimate of AGW is 0.1 deg C per decade.

It should also be noted that natural forces are able to produce a 0.5 deg C increase, although over a longer period. The 0.5 deg C warming observed between say 1850 and 1940 is not due to AGW.

The temperature increase since 1980 is in fact smaller than the rise seen between 1850 - 1940, approx 0.4 deg C. This took place in less than two decades and was followed by the current standstill. A fact often overlooked is that this recent temperature increase was much greater than that due to the postulated AGW effect (0.1 deg C per decade). It must have included natural increases of a greater magnitude.

This is curious. If the recent temperature standstill, 2002-2008, is due to natural factors counteracting AGW, and AGW was only a minor component of the 1980 -1998 temperature rise, then one could logically take the viewpoint that the increase could be due to a conspiracy of natural factors forcing the temperature up rather than keeping the temperature down post 2002. One cannot have one rule for the period 2002 - 2008 and another for 1980 -1998!

Lean and Rind estimate that 73% of the temperature variability observed in recent decades is natural. However, looking at the observed range of natural variants, and their uncertainties, one could make a case that the AGW component, which has only possibly shown itself between 1980 - 98, is not a required part of the dataset. Indeed, if one did not have in the back of one’s mind the rising CO2 concentration and the physics of the greenhouse effect, one could make out a good case for reproducing the post 1980 temperature dataset with no AGW!

Natural variations dominate any supposed AGW component over timescales of 3 - 4 decades. If that is so then how should be regard 18 years of warming and decades of standstills or cooling in an AGW context? At what point do we question the hypothesis of CO2 induced warming?

Lean and Rind (2009) look at the various factors known to cause variability in the earths temperature over decadal timescales. They come to the conclusion that between 2009-14 global temperatures will rise quickly by 0.15 deg C - faster than the 0.1 deg C per decade deduced as AGW by the IPCC. Then, in the period 2014-19, there will be only a 0.03 deg C increase. They believe this will be chiefly because of the effect of solar irradiance changes over the solar cycle. Lean and Rind see the 2014-19 period as being similar to the 2002-8 temperature standstill which they say has been caused by a decline in solar irradiance counteracting AGW.

This should case some of the more strident commentators to reflect. Many papers have been published dismissing the sun as a significant factor in AGW. The gist of them is that solar effects dominated up to 1950, but recently it has been swamped by AGW. Now however, we see that the previously dismissed tiny solar effect is able to hold AGW in check for well over a decade - in fact forcing a temperature standstill of duration comparable to the recent warming spell.

At least the predictions from the various papers are testable. Lean and Rind (2009) predict rapid warming. Looking at the other forecasts for near-future temperature changes we have Smith et al (2007) predicting warming, and Keenlyside et al (2008) predicting cooling.

At this point I am reminded that James Hansen ‘raised the alarm’ about global warming in 1988 when he had less than a decade of noisy global warming data on which to base his concern. The amount of warming he observed between 1980 and 1988 was far smaller than known natural variations and far larger than the IPCC would go on to say was due to AGW during that period. So whatever the eventual outcome of the AGW debate, logically Hansen had no scientific case.

There are considerable uncertainties in our understanding of natural factors that affect the earth’s temperature record. Given the IPCC’s estimate of the strength of the postulated AGW warming, it is clear that those uncertainties are larger than the AGW effect that may have been observed.


Lean and Rind 2009, Geophys Res Lett 36, L15708

Smith et al Science 2007, 317, 796 - 799

Keenlyside et al 2008, Nature 453, 84 - 88



The Arctic ice “is melting far faster than had been previously supposed,” we heard this week from the UN’s Environment Program, in releasing its 2009 Climate Change Science Compendium.

This same week, National Geographic reported that the Arctic ice is probably melting far slower than previously supposed. After ramping up the rhetoric — two years ago National Geographic told us that “the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions,” and last year that “Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer” — National Geographic now advises that “the Arctic probably won’t experience ice-free summers until 2030 or 2040.”

If you’re confused by stats on Arctic melting, you have lots of company. Arctic stats are easy to misunderstand because the Arctic environment is unlike our own — the Arctic magnifies the changes we experience in the temperate regions. In summer, our days get longer and theirs get really, really long, just as in winter, when our days gets shorter, theirs all but disappear. By analogy, the Arctic also magnifies temperature variations, and resulting changes to its physical environment.

In the Arctic, the ice has indeed been contracting, as the global warming doomsayers have been telling us. But it has also been expanding. The riddle of how the Arctic ice can both be contracting and expanding is easily explained. After you read the next two paragraphs, you’ll be able to describe it easily to your friends to set them straight.

Each winter, the Arctic ice pack rapidly expands and each summer it rapidly contracts, as you can see thanks to photos from a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite that tracks the changes in the ice pack. On its website, you can also get data showing the area of sea ice for every month going back to 2002.

Compare March of this year to previous Marches, for example, and you’ll see that the Arctic ice has been expanding of late — a story rarely told. But compare August of this year to previous Augusts and you’ll see that the August ice over the years has tended to contract — this is the basis of the scary stories that we hear about the Arctic ice disappearing. A snapshot of the Arctic ice, without knowledge of the bigger picture, can lead to scary conclusions.

To give your friends an even bigger picture, inform them that during the Little Ice Age, in the 1600s, much of the continent was frozen over. New Yorkers in winter could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. Ever since, the ice has been contracting, spurring attempts by fabled explorers such as Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin to seek a Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic. By the early 1900s, as we continued to come out of the Little Ice Age, the ice had receded enough to allow Roald Amundsen to traverse the Northwest Passage in fits and starts, his ship needing three years to navigate through the ice. Not until 1944 did the ice recede enough to allow a schooner to cross the Northwest Passage in a single season. The Northwest Passage remains too risky to allow commercial shipping to thrive, and although some have confidently predicted the advent of commercial shipping, the insurance premium required to navigate through the perilous ice floes effectively rules it out for the foreseeable future. If a new Little Ice Age soon sets in, as many scientists consider likely, commercial shipping will not happen in our lifetimes.

By taking a snapshot in time, and by ignoring the history and the ecology of the Arctic, global warming alarmists can make a grim case for a disappearing Arctic, and even fool themselves. In May of this year, a six-country effort involving 20 scientists and an aircraft outfitted with precision equipment went to Canada’s Arctic in an expedition designed to prove that the Arctic ice was thinning. The expedition found the opposite — newly formed ice was up to four-metres thick, twice what was as expected. Around the same time, three other explorers, on behalf of the Catlin Arctic Survey in London, set off on skis on a trek to the North Pole to measure the thickness of the melting spring ice. Unprepared for blizzard winds of 40 knots and Arctic temperatures of 40 degrees below zero, the expedition made little headway, ran out of food, suffered from frost-bite, and finally had to be airlifted to safety — at their slow-going rate of progress, they couldn’t have survived the 82 days required to travel the remaining 542 kilometers.


An epidemic of OCD: Obsessive Carbon Dogma

From living in virtual darkness to minutely measuring their water-use, greens’ fixation with carbon counting is verging on a mental illness.

It was the seventieth anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s death yesterday. Despite the work of Freud and others, it is tragic that many people are still debilitated by the affliction known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Freud characterised it as Obsessive Neurosis. Others describe OCD – a disorder that compels a person to commit ritualistic actions – as a physiological disorder caused by neurological triggering mechanisms in the brain. Whatever the cause, the sufferer’s repetitive behaviour is intended to reduce anxiety, but can still lead to depression and thoughts about self-harm.

Like ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), OCD is regularly caricatured as one of the ailments of our modern, materialistic Western societies, endorsed by the fact that it has some curious symptoms and some celebrity sufferers. Cameron Diaz says that she habitually rubs doorknobs before opening doors. Leonardo Di Caprio forces himself not to step on chewing gum stains on the pavement. Daytime TV ‘therapist’ Jeremy Kyle licks his mobile phone every time it rings and Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman says that he has ‘self-diagnosed OCD’ whereby he needs to eat the same breakfast every morning from £220 Waterford crystal bowls, hence their inclusion on his expense account.

For some celebrity hypochondriacs, OCD has become a fashion statement, for others it is just a chain around their neck. But there is one major obsessive compulsion that has become a central feature of all our lives to the extent that there is real kudos in becoming its victim. Far from reducing anxiety, the latest OCD – Obsessive Carbon Dogma – actually raises anxiety in order to give itself some therapeutic rationale. Fear of rising tides, of population growth, of China and India, of motor cars, of energy use, and of most other aspects of contemporary society, has led us to develop an infatuation with carbon and the mindless repetitive trivia of everyday life. Such is the extent of this compulsion that it has even become government policy in many developed countries.

Paul Kelly, the Australian newspaper’s editor-at-large, says that ‘carbon is the currency of a new world order’; UK foreign secretary David Miliband thinks that ‘the idea of a personal carbon card is pretty iconic’; and Canadian opposition leader, Stephane Dion, has a dog called Kyoto. Meanwhile, the town board of Woodstock, New York, has adopted a Zero Carbon initiative, in what Councilman Stephen Knight called a therapeutic step towards ‘rescuing the nation from embarrassment’.

Nowadays, we are all encouraged obsessively to check what is euphemistically called ‘our waste stream’; to worry that the gas fire or bath taps are turned off; compulsively to monitor our CO2 usage and to assess our carbon footprint. We are collectively developing a carbon foot fetish. These days, many of us cannot leave the room without frantically switching off the lights, appliances and standby buttons in an obsessive, ritualistic frenzy.

So while genuine sufferers of OCD try to cure themselves, everybody else is being encouraged to suffer the Obligatory Carbon Diet. As such, many people take perverse pleasure in performing mundane tasks many times over – it seems to give them a high level of confidence and satisfaction, but in fact it locks them into a depressing, navel-gazing psychosis.

Tony Sanders, described by the Sun newspaper as ‘Britain’s greenest homeowner’, happily spends two hours a day sorting out his rubbish. But you’re never too young to be allowed into the fanatical fold. Sara Pearson, a pre-school practitioner at a nursery for three-year-olds in Barrow, England, says that her pupils ‘have all been looking forward to the trips to the recycling bins’ (1). This means that families that are outside the mainstream education system in the UK are likely to be slightly off-message. For example, in a BBC report on Romanian traveller communities, a British gypsy commented: ‘[There are] children from seven to eight years old up to maybe 12 years old, playing and sorting out rubbish. Obviously I wouldn’t want my children doing that.’ (2)

Get with the programme! All of us are told in no uncertain terms that we must carbon count, carbon trade, carbon monitor, carbon ration or carbon audit. We can track our carbon, assess it, compare it, or trade it. We can, in fact, watch every aspect of our once meaningful lives reduced to a carbon calculation and then we can spend all of our remaining time looking to see if it all adds up. As the ultimate symbol of Obsessive Carbon Decadence, we can even offset our carbon by paying someone in the Third World not to develop on our behalf (see Is carbon-offsetting just eco-enslavement?, by Brendan O’Neill). We have become a carbon-infatuated society.

It is now commonplace to insist that homeowners habitually measure their waste and carbon production, energy and water usage as if these were the most important activities in life. Rummaging in bins and parcelling up your garbage is deemed to be the new cultural highpoint of the carbonista lifestyle. Haverford College in Pennsylvania celebrates ‘an entirely student-designed-and-executed initiative’ focusing on ‘composting’.

Some acute sufferers are severely afflicted to the extent that it affects their judgement. Victoria Clarke from Stockport, for instance, was so keen to sort her rubbish that she left several bin bags on the pavement a day earlier than necessary. She was offered shock therapy in the form of a £700 fine for ‘advancement of waste’. The Ecologist magazine describes life in an OCD home: ‘I was unpacking a delivery of seasonal veg with my five-year-old daughter’, says a desperate father, ‘when I looked round and saw that she’d peeled a couple of leaves off a cabbage and was fashioning them into a pair of shoes’ (3).

Whatever help there is for these sufferers tends to remind us that we are, in fact, morally fallible and predominantly a lost cause. One private company that writes school lesson plans wants students to ‘examine their role in polluting the environment’. A British Carbon Rationing Action Group - which is a support group for carbon obsessives – reminds us that: ‘Carbon criminals leave lights on. Turn them off, even if you’re only leaving the room for a short time.’ As we can see, OCD is one of the most intrusive ailments of our time. It invades our privacy and encourages the authorities to pry into our daily lives. Under new UK guidelines, for example, each occupier of a truly zero-carbon home should flush the toilet no more than 1.46 times per day! Carbon counting is sending us all round the bend.

Many have gone over to the dark side – literally – and may never recover. In 2007, Peter and Sarah Robinson explained to BBC News how they get up early in the morning, but refuse to put the lights on. They open the curtains just enough to let sufficient daylight into the room to help them navigate their furniture safely, but not so much that too much heat escapes. In the dark mornings of winter, they see by the borrowed light from a streetlamp fortuitously placed outside their window. They own no television and their children are allowed to watch DVDs only on the weekend and only if the brightness control is turned down.

Most evenings, the family spends its time in the kitchen in order not to have to switch ‘more lights on than necessary’ in other rooms. Mr Robinson’s Obligatory Carbon Doctrine started after he visited a prison with a group of psychology students. He noticed the repetitive routine that warders used to unlock and secure doors and he was lulled into performing his own rigorous lock-down activity at home. Because of OCD, the Robinsons have turned their home into a personal prison (4).

There is a simple cure for OCD sufferers and it is up to us who haven’t succumbed to the Obsessive Carbon Delusion to save them from themselves. We simply need to argue for rationality and reasoned debate. We should point out that not only should our world not revolve around reducing carbon emissions, but it is, in fact, CO2 that makes the world go round. Humanity is not simply the sum total of its carbon emissions – in fact humans make carbon meaningful. We would be nothing without expending energy, and lots of it, to transform the world and to make us what we are.

Even if carbon emissions are causing global warming, and even if global warming has the potential to cause dangerous sea-level rise, it still doesn’t follow automatically that we should use less carbon. Maybe we should use more carbon. More carbon energy to create flood defences, build escape roads, construct new cities, expand cheap flights to improve the ability of people to choose where they live. Unfortunately, the more that we become blinded by a carbon infatuation, the more we are in very real danger of losing sight of our options and our humanity. The cure for OCD is to use, create, invent and develop more things. Rather than keeping our heads stuck in our bins, this is the creative way to solve problems.



There's a reason that the Internet backbone is made of fiber-optic cables: photons transport bits of information faster than electrons. But while photons and fiber are the most efficient way of sending data across continents, it's still cheaper and easier to use electrons in copper wiring for most data transfer over shorter distances.

Now Intel plans to sell inexpensive cables with fiber-optic-caliber speed to connect, for instance, a laptop and an external hard drive, or a phone and a desktop computer. At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco Wednesday, the company announced a new type of optical cable that it hopes will be fast, cheap, and thin enough to make it an attractive replacement for multiple copper wires.

By 2010, says Dadi Perlmutter, vice president of Intel's mobility group, the company hopes to ship an optical cable called Light Peak that will be able to zip 10 gigabits of data per second from one gadget to another, a rate equivalent of transferring a Blu-ray movie from a computer to a mobile video player in 30 seconds.



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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another lot of Warmist nonsense debunked

The medieval warm period is vastly inconvenient to Warmists and they try on occasions to erase it from their data summaries. But it is not going away so their next line of defence is to say it was a Northern hemisphere event only. That was always pretty absurd (and raised more questions than it answered) but the study reported below gives it another kick in the pants by showing that the Northern and Southern hemisphere climates move in tandem. See also here and here.

Two of the most important questions in paleoclimatology are, how are the climates of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres linked, and what are the roles of the high latitudes and the tropics in driving and transmitting climate changes? Past investigations have concentrated on the study of large, rapid climate changes like deglaciations or the Younger Dryas because they are the easiest ones to see and to date. Licciardi et al. (p. 1677) expand the scope of these investigations by determining precise cosmogenic isotope ages for glacial moraines formed in the Peruvian Andes during the Holocene (the last 11,000 years). The precision of these data reveals a broad correlation between Peruvian glacial advances and climate in the North Atlantic region, revealing important climate linkages between the tropics and higher latitudes.


Journal abstract follows:

Holocene Glacier Fluctuations in the Peruvian Andes Indicate Northern Climate Linkages

By Joseph M. Licciardi et al.

The role of the tropics in triggering, transmitting, and amplifying interhemispheric climate signals remains a key debate in paleoclimatology. Tropical glacier fluctuations provide important insight on regional paleoclimatic trends and forcings, but robust chronologies are scarce. Here, we report precise moraine ages from the Cordillera Vilcabamba (13°20'S) of southern Peru that indicate prominent glacial events and associated climatic shifts in the outer tropics during the early Holocene and late in the "Little Ice Age" period. Our glacier chronologies differ from the New Zealand record but are broadly correlative with well-dated glacial records in Europe, suggesting climate linkages between the tropics and the North Atlantic region.

Science 25 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5948, pp. 1677 - 1679

Econut Holdren says Constitution backs compulsory abortion

Obama science czar John Holdren stated in a college textbook he co-authored that in conditions of emergency, compulsory abortion would be sustainable under the U.S. Constitution, even with Supreme Court review.

WND has obtained a copy of "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," published in 1977 and co-authored by Holdren with Malthusian population alarmist Paul R. Ehrlich and Ehrlich's wife, Ann. As WND reported, the authors argued involuntary birth-control measures, including forced sterilization, may be necessary and morally acceptable under extreme conditions, such as widespread famine brought about by "climate change."

To prevent ecological disasters, including "global warming," Holdren argued the U.S. Constitution would permit involuntary abortions, government-imposed sterilizations and laws limiting the number of children as steps justified under the banner of "sustainable well-being."

A worldwide scientific agenda is emerging to link global population growth with global warming, arguing that climate change is such a severe crisis that the United States must participate in a United Nations mandate to implement global birth control in order to reduce carbon emissions. Addressing the U.N. climate summit in New York yesterday, President Obama declared climate change resulting from global warming could leave future generations with an "irreversible catastrophe."

A series of papers recently published by the Royal Society in Great Britain and by the United Nations have made a direct link between global population growth and anthropomorphic, or man-made global warming. The Economist magazine summed up the current argument Monday, stating, "A world with fewer people would emit less greenhouse gas."

"World experts, in a wide range of disciplines, explore the ways in which the inexorable increase in human numbers is exhausting conventional energy supplies, accelerating environmental pollution and Global Warming, and providing an increasing number of Failed States where civil unrest prevails," wrote Roger V. Short of the faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, introducing the series of articles in the current issue of Philosophical Transactions published by the Royal Society.

Arguing that "ample authority" exists to regulate population growth, Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote on page 837 of their 1970s textbook that "under the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." In the next sentence, the authors were careful to note that few in the U.S. in the 1970s considered the situation serious enough to justify compulsion.

Still, in the next paragraph, the authors advanced their key point: "To provide a high quality of life for all, there must be fewer people."

The authors of "Ecoscience" argued that a "legal restriction on the right to have more than a given number of children" could be crafted under the U.S. Constitution in crisis situations under the standard that "law has as its proper function the protection of each person and each group of persons." On page 838, the authors argued, "The law could properly say to a mother that, in order to protect the children she already has, she could have no more."

To justify the point, the authors commented "differential rates of reproduction between ethnic, racial, religious, or economic groups might result in increased competition for resources and political power and thereby undermine social order." ...

An analysis of Holdren's current statements on global warming strongly suggest the president's science czar sees global warming creating an environmental emergency.



The United Nations is pulling out the “big guns” in an attempt to create a climate of urgency about climate change so that the meeting of over one hundred world leaders in Copenhagen some 75 days from now can produce an agreement to replace to failed Kyoto accord.

Nature, however, is not co-operating. Average global temperature is rising at 1.40C per century, not the 3.90C indicated by the IPPC models. We are in the seventh year of global cooling. Sea levels, despite messages to the contrary, are rising at normal rates – eight inches per century – much less than the IPPC models suggested. There has been no significant rise in sea levels over the last four years. Arctic sea ice, currently in its summer state, is more extensive in 2009 than it was in 2007 and 2008. Antarctic sea ice is at record high. Global sea ice shows relative stability over the last thirty years. While CO2 levels are rising, the rate of growth has slowed considerably – the IPPC suggested that CO2 levels would grow at around 468 parts per million (ppm) per century, when in fact the observed growth in CO2 is 204 ppm per century – less than half of the IPPC model suggestion.

Hurricane activity, which does not appear to be connected to CO2 emissions, is at the lowest level since satellite monitoring and observation began in 1979. In the Northern Hemisphere, hurricane activity is currently one of the quietest in a decade. Reefs off the Keppel Islands on Australia's Great Barrier Reef have shown rapid recovery of coral dominance, despite repeated coral bleaching events that many ascribe to CO2-induced global warming. All in all, nature does not seem to be co-operating with Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon and the climate change negotiators.

Neither is China. Despite high expectations that they would enter into a global agreement which involves a commitment to curb green house gas emission by an agreed targeted amount, China indicated that they see this issue as a national one, requiring balance between China’s need to continue rapid development and manage its environmental conditions. It will not be told what to do by the international community. Neither will India.

The United States is ambivalent. While President Barack Obama clearly sees climate change as a clear and present danger, legislatures are deeply divided about the appropriate response. The House of Representatives has approved a bill that provides for a cap and trade for carbon credits, the free allocation of a large number of carbon credits to polluting companies and regulation of vehicle emissions. The Senate, however, is delaying consideration of the issue and is not likely to pass any legislation before Copenhagen.

The current US proposals will not have any substantial impact on either carbon emissions in the US or on global temperature. They will, however, have an impact on the economy – higher energy prices, changes in transportation systems and in consumer behaviour. They may also help to stimulate the creation of green jobs, but at the expense of jobs in other sectors. What will certainly happen is that the emerging financial services (carbon trading, carbon offsets) and climate research will expand and grow. The carbon trading industry is currently worth $100 billion worldwide and research on climate change is a $7 billion industry worldwide.

Most committed are the member states of the European Union. Collectively, they have determined emissions targeted, new transportation standards and have been operating a cap and trade system for a number of years. They are also now considering the scale of technology transfer and financial aid to developing countries. They have also enacted, through EU regulation, constraints on consumer behaviour – making it illegal to sell certain kinds of light bulbs, creating incentives for smart energy purchases and smart grid technologies.

It will be a long meeting in Copenhagen and it looks unlikely that it will be able to conclude the kind of comprehensive agreement Ban Ki Moon is seeking – the fractures between the parties and the challenges of securing agreed targets are likely to be significant.

The G8 summit showed that this was the case with just eight nations – there will be over one hundred in Copenhagen.

Some climate change scientists are becoming concerned that the momentum for Copenhagen is already fading and that the possibility of agreement is looking more unlikely than it was at the beginning of the year. They are beginning to use science to argue the polemics of the case rather than just draw attention to the science – the lines between scientific inquiry and political action are becoming blurred.

It will be an interesting time between now and December, with the voices of concern already becoming shrill. What is needed are some calm, reflective and realistic minds focused on what is possible and the consequences of the possible actions for both the environment and the economy. They may well be in short supply and will almost certainly find themselves castigated for not being committed to environmentally-sound change or as “deniers” – but we need such objective analysts to provide support for the general public in their attempts to assess the work of their governments.



Politically vulnerable Democrats say Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders aren’t offering them the protection from tough votes that they did in the last Congress. Conservative Democrats fear that dozens of members could be swept out of their districts in the midterm election next year, and that fear has been intensifying in recent weeks.

Between a tough vote on a climate change bill that many don’t expect to become law and a leftward push on healthcare legislation, Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) critics within her caucus say she’s left the so-called “majority makers” exposed. “She keeps trying to push an unpopular package,” said Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a centrist Blue Dog Democrat, referring to healthcare. “I think it’s fair to say they were better at it before.”

Another Blue Dog lawmaker put it more bluntly. “They’re seriously endangering their majority,” said the Blue Dog, who requested anonymity. “With the increased margin and a [Democratic] president, there seems to be a different feeling.” ...

Democratic members point most to Pelosi’s handling of the climate change measure. Pelosi worked the floor relentlessly to pass the fast- tracked bill, persuading a number of worried centrists to vote for it just before the Independence Day holiday. Some Democratic centrists have regretted backing that bill.

What irks them most is the sense that the Senate won’t pass anything so strong, if it passes anything at all. So they expect to get beaten up for voting on a bill that will never become law.


Australia: More disruptive seekers after personal publicity

Greenies say Queensland koalas are 'near extinction'. Even in the unlikely event that it's true, koalas are in plague proportions in other parts of Australia e.g. Kangaroo Island -- so what does it matter? And there are always plenty of koalas at Brisbane's Lone Pine zoo if anybody wants to get up close to one. Yes. I know I don't get the spirit and that a distant glimpse of one up a tree in a forest somewhere is far better than cuddling one in a zoo

CONSERVATIONISTS say koalas are on the brink of extinction in southeast Queensland and more needs to be done to protect them. Hundreds of protesters are expected to rally in Brisbane and march on Parliament House at noon (AEST) today to raise awareness of the plight of the marsupials.

Rally spokeswoman Carolyn Beaton said there had been 25,000 recorded koala deaths in southeast Queensland - the fastest growing region in Australia - over the past decade.

Ms Beaton said rapid development in other parts of the country, particularly along the east coast, was also threatening koala habitat.

"This rally will show our politicians, and indeed the world, that Australia does care about its wildlife and we, as Australians, will not stand by and let the rest of our koalas be wiped out," she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government today announced it would protect 5.6 hectares of state-owned koala habitat at Alexandra Hills.

State Climate Change Minister Kate Jones said the land, located on Windemere Road and of high commercial value, would be handed over to Redland City Council.

The Government is currently drafting a state planning policy aimed at protecting koalas to halt declining numbers and recently completed a koala mapping project.


Environmentalists Seek to Wipe Out Plush Toilet Paper

It is a fight over toilet paper: the kind that is blanket-fluffy and getting fluffier so fast that manufacturers are running out of synonyms for "soft" (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective).

It's a menace, environmental groups say -- and a dark-comedy example of American excess. The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old. They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods.

It has been slow going. Big toilet-paper makers say that they've taken steps to become more Earth-friendly but that their customers still want the soft stuff, so they're still selling it. This summer, two of the best-known combatants in this fight signed a surprising truce, with a big tissue maker promising to do better. But the larger battle goes on -- the ultimate test of how green Americans will be when nobody's watching.

"At what price softness?" said Tim Spring, chief executive of Marcal Manufacturing, a New Jersey paper maker that is trying to persuade customers to try 100 percent recycled paper. "Should I contribute to clear-cutting and deforestation because the big [marketing] machine has told me that softness is important?" He added: "You're not giving up the world here."

Toilet paper is far from being the biggest threat to the world's forests: together with facial tissue, it accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry, according to industry figures. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent. But environmentalists say 5 percent is still too much.

Felling these trees removes a valuable scrubber of carbon dioxide, they say. If the trees come from "farms" in places such as Brazil, Indonesia or the southeastern United States, natural forests are being displaced. If they come from Canada's forested north -- a major source of imported wood pulp -- ecosystems valuable to bears, caribou and migratory birds are being damaged.



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.