Monday, December 14, 2009

Another UN Scientist Bails: UN IPCC Coordinating Author Dr. Philip Lloyd calls out IPCC 'fraud'

Note: The UN IPCC’s Dr. Lloyd wrote this on November 23, 2009 and apparently did not yet know about Climategate and makes no reference to it

Prof Bruce Hewitson (Uninformed vitriol, November 19) pontificates on Andrew Kenny’s assessment (Ideology and money drive global-warming religion, November 16). Unfortunately for him, there has been a reformation. The time for pontification is over. The critics must be answered. Instead Prof Hewitson stood in his pulpit and preached the gospel according to St IPCC.

He says he was a lead author for the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). That is not material — I was a co-ordinating lead author, but it gives me no mantle of infallibility. Instead, it gave me insight into the flaws behind the whole process.

The IPCC claims that it has thousands of scientists and almost as many reviewers of the scientists' work to produce their reports. There are two problems, however. In the scientific world I move in, “review” means that your work is scrutinised by several independent, anonymous reviewers chosen by the editor.

However, when I entered the IPCC world, the reviewers were there at the worktable, criticising our drafts, and finally meeting with all us co-ordinators and many of the IPCC functionaries in a draftfest. The product was not reviewed in the accepted sense of the word — there was no independence of review, and the reviewers were anything but anonymous. The result is not scientific.

The second problem is that the technical publication is not completed by the time the IPCC reports. Instead, it produces a Summary for Policy Makers. Writing the summary involves the co-ordinators, the reviewers and the IPCC functionaries as before, and also various chairmen.

The summary goes out in a blaze of publicity, but there is no means of checking whether it represents what the scientists actually said, because the scientific report isn’t published for another four months or more.

In the Fourth Assessment, the summary was quietly replaced several months after it was first published because some scientists who were involved complained of misrepresentation.

In the early years of the IPCC, there was a slightly different process. The Summary for Policy Makers and the scientific reports were issued at the same time. In those years, however, the Summary for Policy Makers bore a warning that it was the last current word on the subject, whereas the scientific reports were correctly identified as being subject to continuing development. Someone smelled a rat about the “last word” story, so the process was changed, and now the summary is issued with no means of checking.

It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay.


Is this a last hurrah for ocean acidification?

Below is an article from "The Times" of London. The writer has not kept up with the science however. His high-school chemistry has not prepared him for the complexity of nature: Both shellfish and corals THRIVE under higher levels of CO2. And warmer water EXPELS CO2 anyway, which is probably what is causing the present slight elevation of atmospheric CO2 levels. The Comments on the article give the author quite a caning anyway. He really is a drip who should stick to something he knows about. He is just a smug journalist with a chip on his shoulder

Ocean acidification has been quite scandalously left out of the reckoning in the past few weeks. I am not for a moment belittling the science behind man-made global warming. This still seems to me solid, despite the shenanigans at the University of East Anglia. That levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are rising is not disputed. We have known since the 19th century that carbon dioxide was a crucial greenhouse gas. Venus has a lot of it and is hot as hell. Mars has almost none and is cold as ice. [Errr... could we mention their very different distances from the sun?]

However, even if you happen to believe that everything we know about greenhouse gases is illusory — unlikely though that is — we would still need to agree at Copenhagen this week to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide because of what is happening to the sea, the source of roughly half our food and provider of other useful services that we tend to take for granted.

We know the ocean absorbs about 25% of the carbon dioxide we emit each year. This CO2 dissolves through wind and wave action to form carbonic acid. This is altering the chemistry of the seas in ways that are not disputed and are far simpler to understand than the effect the same pollutants are having on the atmosphere. I recommend the startling practical demonstration on YouTube of what acidity will do to the oceans given by Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to a congressional select committee this month.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in about 1750, sea water acidity has increased by 30%. The speed and degree of this change are faster than anything that had happened for 55m years. The changes being observed are beginning to disrupt the ability of any organism to make shells out of calcium carbonate. Organisms that do this include corals, crabs, lobsters, small creatures vital to the diet of fish and plankton of the kind that die and form chalk deposits such as the white cliffs of Dover.

Projections show that by 2060, given the current rate of fossil-fuel emissions, sea water acidity could have increased by 120%. Lubchenco showed Congress a scary picture of what a shell would look like if it had spent a month in water as acidic as this. The shell had begun to dissolve.

Such an effect could trigger a chain of reactions through entire ecosystems, from whales to fish and shellfish, with huge implications for economies and wildlife. It could even stop the sea absorbing as much carbon dioxide as it does now, accelerating global warming. It is pretty scary stuff.

Predictably, the science of ocean acidification, which is accepted by governments on both sides of the Atlantic, does not go uncontested by the global warming sceptics. They say you can’t acidify the ocean because it washes over alkaline rocks. This process of weathering rocks is indeed how the alkalinity of the ocean will recover, but leading scientists say it will take hundreds of thousands of years. At the unprecedented speed that acidification is happening, the marine organisms will be knocked out before the rocks can dilute the acid.

There is plenty we still need to know about the acidification of the ocean. However, it looks as if unpleasant things start to happen if we go beyond 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (bear in mind we reached 390ppm earlier this year). That is, coincidentally, the threshold for holding the Earth’s average temperature rise down to a relatively “safe” 2C.

So ocean acidification, which people are beginning to call climate change’s “evil twin”, may be an even more pressing reason to move to a low-carbon economy than climate change itself. And that makes it doubly irresponsible for those people who scorn the need to cut carbon emissions to ignore what is going on in the oceans.


A.A. Gill in Copenhagen

Gill is famously in love with words but he has an important point below: Warmism is the establishment now. He does not consider that we may be seeing its highpoint before a decline -- a sort of Edwardian England in 1913

Standing here for half an hour to get my accreditation, which is all done by Danish schoolgirls with impeccable mockney accents, I realise that I am standing on one of those ley lines of history, a joint in the space-time continuum. I am stepping across an invisible border, balancing, Nureyev-like, on a pivot of a remarkable moment, a moment of moment.

This chilly melee is the tipping point. Not the climatic one — more important than that. Copenhagen is where the principle and the process of environmental change and global warming have gone from being the exclamation of a pressure group, and a charity whine, to being the orthodoxy, the accepted wisdom, the mainstream.

The environment was outside the big tent. Now it’s inside and it makes absolutely no difference what opinion polls or referendums say. It matters nought that the Green party has singularly failed in every democracy. It doesn’t matter that they’re all as boring and righteous as goodness. It doesn’t matter that scientists fake messages and bury statistics, that they do everything in secret. None of this matters now. It doesn’t even matter if it’s actually going to happen. All that matters is that the people who matter think it matters.

When the heads of nearly every government turn up here to make promises, sign agreements that they will undoubtedly break and fudge and chuckle over and lie about, that’s not what’s important. They may bounce the cheque, but they won’t bounce the reason for writing it. They’re on board for global warming.

Global warming is where the momentum is. Global warming is the future. The deniers, the sceptics, are now the crusties, the Swampies, the loonies with the sandwich boards, the swivel-eyed Cassandras. They will of course go on complaining and gainsaying, they will pick nits and write books and turn up on late-night cable TV shows. But they’re out of the big room. This is the new deal.

Inside the Bella centre you notice a number of things. First, that the Danish don’t make pastries and, second, that there aren’t any signs. They don’t like to tell you what to do.

I spend three days dazed and lost, aimlessly skidding round thousands of folk in bits of tribal costume sitting in makeshift huddles round the communal computer. Talking endlessly and tapping ancient rhythms into their keyboards.

There is a distinct absence of hippies, although there are three Asians dressed as trees. There aren’t any ponytails; there are hardly any beards or home-knits or hand-woven things. The people here aren’t the ones you see in the demos. They’re not wearing Peruvian hats. They haven’t shaved up the sides of their heads while drunk and they’re not the kids outside doing street theatre.

This is the third generation of ecowarrior. It started with the wild prophets in the 1970s, who wrote books in woad and became hermits in distant wildernesses, listening to Gaia and talking oblivion. And then it was their students, the alternative geeks, the white rastas, the furless models, skinny boys in bands, fashion designers, folk who made cider and grew hemp. But they’re all gone. Now there’s traction. And it’s being made by professionals. The technocrats.

This room is full of thousands of the overqualified, who are softly spoken in four languages. They’re the people you find running NGOs and huge charities and UN agencies. The alternative bureaucracy of the world and they’re almost all under 45.

The ecology thing has become too big, too momentous, to be left to romantics with nits. Let them write blogs, build cycle paths. In here, it’s about arranging the world economy for the next century.

So big business is here. Car manufacturers, airlines, oil companies. Energy providers. They know which way the wind farm’s blowing. They all want to be inside the tent. They understand that environmentalism has edged closer to the axis of power and cynicism.

There are untold fortunes to be made in fighting global warming, in technology, innovation, carbon trading, grants and guilt. Guilt is big money. And the people you want as customers are all here: young, clever, savvy, global civil servants.

In the southern, developing world, apart from tourists, the only people you see on aeroplanes are locals flying to environmental and medical conferences. This is where all the smart cash is, not with the ancient sceptics or deniers. They aren’t going anywhere. They’re not buying anything. Their only aspirations are to keep everything as it is and win a Test match.

None of this could have happened without the laptop. Everyone here has one; everyone is constantly lit from beneath, like a character from a gothic movie. They call it the green movement because that’s what it makes you look like.

None of them will ever complain or campaign about the carbon expended on the web, or by search engines, or the resources used in manufacturing laptops, or the wages of the workers who have to make them. These tools are their swords of burning gold, their chariots of fire. The ecology movement was made possible by the web, the blogs and the emails and computer modelling. Fifteen years ago, nobody would have been here.

That of course doesn’t mean there’s no more paper: there’s unfeasible reams of it. Every stall, every nation, every special-pleading NGO prints acres and acres of booklets and pamphlets and study documents, all scribbled in a densely illiterate techno-speak. The entire convention is of course plastic-bag-free, so they hand out printed and dyed cotton bags instead, which are far more wasteful and damaging and expensive.

In the two main halls (all the rooms are named after famous Danes: the biggest one is Isak Dinesen, who you’ll remember had a farm in Africa) the bureaucratic official business creeps along with all the wit, excitement and warmth of a receding glacier.

There are the bureaucratic points of order, the bland language of government, the weight of an international organisation being built like a great pyramid, with none of the excitable shouting or enthusiasms of a student demo. The delegates fit in their nationally adopted seats, dying of jet lag, boredom and incomprehension.

This for a moment is the world turned upside down, the first are last and the last are first. The developed, industrial, postcolonial world is at the bottom of the pile; the pariahs who must do the most to catch up. On top are the specks of land, the minute and unvisited corners. So let’s hear it for the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Togo.

Few things infuriate quite as much as the constant reference to indigenous people. Everyone has to say indigenous people at least once in every statement. I fight the urge to put up my hand and shout: Please sir, can you point out those that are not indigenous persons? Which of us is a disindigenous human? Which the Caliban-bastard, unconnected to even a square foot of this earth?

The patronising of indigenous people is hideous. Indigenous of course means prehistoric, ancient, pettable. The indigenous are spoken of like endangered hominids, elevated to the iconic status of pandas and polar bears. Their pictures, in colourful Victorian anthropological outfits of fur, feather and face paint, grace every stall and poster.

Because we’re up north, Eskimos abound in kayaks, hunting with spears, something they haven’t done in a generation. Eskimos hunt with rifles in plastic boats with outboard motors, wearing North Face parkas. The reason polar bears are scarce in Greenland is not because the ice is melting so much as they are being shot to shreds by unemployed Inuit with nothing better to do.

One of the things that is most depressing and disturbing about this whole green thing is that they seem to have no sense of taste at all.

They don’t care what they eat, they don’t care what they wear and they don’t care what’s on the walls. They have no concept of their own culture, only of other people’s, which they revere without criticism, grabbing bits and pieces of primitive pattern, handprint and rock carving.

All the delegates are dressed appallingly in Lego shoes and flappy fibrous urban survival gear, sporting that old school tie of liberal sensibility, the ethnic scarf.

Even communism and fascism managed to translate their philosophies into an aesthetic. The green movement is just too crap and shabby and unimaginative. It doesn’t have time. It doesn’t think it’s worth it. It’s too glued to its models and its blogs to even make up some decent protest music. No art, nothing but some sadly punning slogans and the most uninspired, turgid and solipsistically verbose writing.

But, despite that, what makes the green movement triumphantly successful is that it has the most important and precious of things: it has a story.

It is telling us our own saga, the adventure of saving the world. This has all the elements of a great myth, the impossible trials, the dragons and giants to be defeated, the magic seeds to be found, the wells and fountains of health and youth, the band of brothers, the implacable enemy. The princesses to be rescued. The kingdoms to be won.

If you look at the global warming debate as simply the first draft of the first new creation myth to be invented in thousands of years, then you see why it’s irresistible. Who wouldn’t want to be part of their own fairy tale?


British officials cover up wind farm noise report

Coverups are the name of the game for the Green/Left

Civil servants have suppressed warnings that wind turbines can generate noise damaging people’s health for several square miles around. The guidance from consultants indicated that the sound level permitted from spinning blades and gearboxes had been set so high — 43 decibels — that local people could be disturbed whenever the wind blew hard. The noise was also thought likely to disrupt sleep. The report said the best way to protect locals was to cut the maximum permitted noise to 38 decibels, or 33 decibels if the machines created discernible “beating” noises as they spun.

It has now emerged that officials removed the warnings from the draft report in 2006 by Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP), the consultants. The final version made no mention of them. It means that hundreds of turbines at wind farms in Britain have been allowed to generate much higher levels of noise, sparking protests from people living near them.

Among those affected is Jane Davis, 53, a retired National Health Service manager, who has had to abandon her home because of the noise. It lies half a mile from the Deeping St Nicholas wind farm in south Lincolnshire whose eight turbines began operating in 2006. “Our problems started three days after the turbines went up and they’ve carried on ever since. It’s like having helicopters going over the top of you at times — on a bad night it’s like three or four helicopters circling around,” she said. “We abandoned our home. We rent a house about five miles away — this is our fourth Christmas out of our own home. We couldn’t sleep. It is torture — my GP describes it as torture. Three hours of sleep a night is torture.”

The HMP report was commissioned by the business department whose responsibilities for wind power have since been taken over by Ed Miliband’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The decision to stick with existing noise limits became official guidance for local authorities ruling on planning applications from wind farm developers. It has also been used by ministers and officials to support the view that there was no need to revise official wind farm noise guidelines and that erecting turbines near homes posed no threat to people’s health and wellbeing.

In 2007 Mike Hulme of the Den Brook Judicial Review Group, a band of residents opposing a wind turbine development close to their houses in Devon, submitted a Freedom of Information request asking to see all draft versions of the study.

Officials refused the request, claiming it was not in the public interest for them to be released. Hulme appealed to the information commissioner’s office, which has ordered Miliband’s department to release the documents. The drafts show the HMP originally recommended that the night-time wind turbine noise limit should be reduced from 43 decibels to 38, or 33 if they made any kind of swishing or beating noise — known as “aerodynamic modulation”.

The HMP researchers had based their recommendations on evidence. They took noise measurements at houses close to three wind farms: Askam in Cumbria, Bears Down in Cornwall and Blaen Bowi in Carmarthenshire. They found that the swish-swish signature noise of turbines was significantly greater around most wind farms than had been foreseen by the authors of the existing government guidelines, which date from 1996. They also found that the beating sound is particularly disruptive at night, when other background noise levels are lower, as it can penetrate walls. In their draft report the HMP researchers recommended that “Consideration be given to a revision of the night-time absolute noise criterion”, noting that this would fit with World Health Organisation recommendations on sleep disturbance.

However, an anonymous government official then inserted remarks attacking this idea because it would impede wind farm development. He, or she, wrote: “What will the impact of this be? Are we saying that this is the situation for all wind farms ... I think we need a sense of the scale of this and the impact.”

The final report removed any suggestion of cutting the noise limits or adding any further penalty if turbines generated a beating noise — and recommended local authorities to stick to the 1996 guidelines.

Hulme said: “This demonstrates the conflict of interests in DECC, because it has the responsibility for promoting wind farm development while also having responsibility for the wind farm noise guidance policy ... meant to protect local residents.”

Ron Williams, 74, a retired lecturer, lives half a mile from the Wharrels Hill wind farm in Cumbria. He has been forced to use sleeping pills since its eight turbines began operating in 2007. “The noise we get is the gentle swish swish swish, non-stop, incessant, all night,” he said. “It’s like a Chinese torture. In winter, when the sun is low in the sky, it goes down behind the turbines and causes flickering shadows coming into the room. “It’s like somebody shining car headlights at your window ... on and off, on and off. It affects us all. It’s terrible. Absolutely horrible.”

Lynn Hancock, 45, runs a garden maintenance business. She has suffered disruption since 2007 when the 12-turbine Red Tile wind farm began operating several hundred yards from her Cambridgeshire home. “Imagine a seven-ton lorry left running on the drive all night and that’s what it’s like,” she said. “People describe it as like an aeroplane or a helicopter or a train that never arrives. It’s like it’s coming but it never gets here.”

Such problems are likely to increase. Britain has 253 land-based wind farms generating 3.5 gigawatts, but this is expected to double or even triple by 2020 to help to meet targets for cutting CO2 emissions.


Black Activist to Obama: Promote Job Growth by Killing Cap-and-Trade

If the White House jobs summit is more than a publicity stunt, says Deneen Borelli of the Project 21 black leadership network, Obama should abandon efforts to implement a cap-and-trade policy, as it would kill jobs.

"If Obama is sincere about finding ways to fix our country's employment crisis, he should start by putting the brakes on job-killing cap-and-trade legislation," said Deneen Borelli, a Project 21 fellow.

Obama is promoting today's summit as a gathering of experts to "jumpstart" hiring and create new jobs. Unemployment recently rose to 10.2 percent, the highest rate since 1983.

Commenting on Obama's upcoming trip to the COP-15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this month, Borelli said: "President Obama will propose reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels to 'save the planet.' Tragically, even his own EPA administrator says this proposal would have no meaningful impact on the climate if done unilaterally, as he would. One thing it will do is have a devastating impact on jobs."

Cap-and-trade would limit the amount of emissions industry can release. It seeks to reduce consumption of traditional fossil fuels - such as coal, oil and natural gas - by making them more expensive. Higher costs will ultimately be borne by consumers and workers. As a candidate, Obama admitted that, under such a plan, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Legislation to implement cap-and-trade in the U.S. passed Congress in June and a similar bill is pending in the Senate. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the House version would cause job losses of about 1.15 million jobs annually between 2012 and 2030 - rising to almost 2.5 million per year by 2035.

An international scandal currently rocking climate change science makes the need for such onerous policy increasingly questionable. Concerns about climate data manipulation, as exposed in recently-posted private e-mails among prominent climate researchers, has heightened the uncertainty about the scientific basis of the theory that mankind is causing severe global warming.

"I think it's irresponsible for Obama to continue to push a destructive energy agenda while there is a growing scandal in the scientific community that turns the underpinnings of cap-and-trade policy on its ear," Borelli noted. "How can the Obama Administration move forward in good faith while so many questions about this potential miscarriage of science remain unresolved?"

"With unemployment at 10.2 percent nationwide and food stamps feeding more than 36 million people, it's common sense to stop imposing new financial burdens on America that would kill jobs and cause more individuals to be enslaved by a reliance on government aid," said Borelli.


Australian conservative spokesman challenges climate giveaways to the Third World

Given the parlous state of Australian public hospitals, the giveaways are a disgrace

BARNABY Joyce has demanded Kevin Rudd reveal how much money will be siphoned out of hospitals and roads to help developing nations meet climate change goals. World leaders, including the Prime Minister, will this week arrive at the critical point of the United Nations global climate change talks, which have become bogged down about the responsibilities of developed and developing countries.

Mr Rudd in recent days has spoken to several world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg about the meeting. "The leaders agreed on the need to increase the momentum for a successful outcome to the Copenhagen meeting and to work closely with Australia to that end," a spokesman for Mr Rudd said yesterday.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong yesterday said she was hoping for an outcome on mitigation and financing. "We will do our fair share . . . (because) we're not going to have a global agreement unless there are arrangements around financing, including private and public," she said.

But Senator Joyce, the Opposition's new finance spokesman, was concerned about Senator Wong's plan to commit Australia to a worldwide fund to help poorer countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Joyce said Australia was broke and if it had to help pay for other countries it would have to borrow money. "Australian taxpayers have a right to know how much Mr Rudd and Senator Wong have decided to give people who do not pay tax in Australia," Senator Joyce said. "How much are we going to give to (Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe (and) the regime in Sudan?

"I'm scared he's going to be a big man with someone else's cheque book. "For every dollar spent on developing countries is a dollar that can't be spent on hospitals and roads in Australia."



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