Sunday, February 28, 2010

Geert Wilders

Most readers here probably know Geert Wilders as the Dutch politician who dares to speak the truth about Islam. He is at the moment on trial in a Dutch court for doing just that -- but will probably be acquitted. A Dutch reader writes to tell me however that Wilders is also "The only firm anti-green in Western Europe".

A few days ago, however, the Dutch government fell, because of divisions between the coalition partners over Afghanistan -- which tends to discredit the parties involved. New elections will be held in June and Wilders is riding high in the polls. If his party gets more votes than any other, which seems possible, he would be in a very good position to become the next Prime Minister. Nederland has proportional representation so it is very unlikely that any party will get an outright majority in the Dutch parliament.

One can only dream but wouldn't it be good if a Dutch Prime Minister dismissed the global Warming hoax? Wilders is just the man to do so.

Dr. Richard Lindzen's Talk at Fermilab

Richard Lindzen PhD, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was recently invited to give a talk entitled "The Peculiar Issue of Global Warming" at Fermilab 2/10/10 which you can watch in its entirety with slides here.

Dr. Lindzen calmly eviscerates the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) and the IPCC "consensus". Highly recommended. Some of the key slides from the presentation are archived at the link below. Below are 2 slides from the earlier part of the presentation, the first noting that the theory of intelligent design sounds rigorous by comparison to the theory of anthropogenic global warming, the second noting that 3 pro-CAGW publications have already acknowledged that temperature data has contradicted the man-made attribution assumption (primarily CO2), which is the inherent assumption of the IPCC models.


1989 NYT: No Warming In US Since 1895

From the archives of the New York Times:

After examining climate data extending back nearly 100 years, a team of Government scientists has concluded that there has been no significant change in average temperatures or rainfall in the United States over that entire period.

While the nation’s weather in individual years or even for periods of years has been hotter or cooler and drier or wetter than in other periods, the new study shows that over the last century there has been no trend in one direction or another.

The study, made by scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was published in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters. It is based on temperature and precipitation readings taken at weather stations around the country from 1895 to 1987.

Dr. Kirby Hanson, the meteorologist who led the study, said in a telephone interview that the findings concerning the United States do not necessarily ”cast doubt” on previous findings of a worldwide trend toward warmer temperatures, nor do they have a bearing one way or another on the theory that a buildup of pollutants is acting like a greenhouse and causing global warming. He said that the United States occupies only a small percentage of Earth’s surface and that the new findings may be the result of regional variations.

Readings taken by other scientists have suggested a significant warming worldwide over the last 100 years. Dr. James E. Hansen, director of National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, has reported that average global temperatures have risen by nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit in this century and that the average temperatures in the 1980’s are the highest on record.

Dr. Hansen and other scientists have said that that there is a high degree of probability that this warming trend is associated with the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide and other industrial gases that absorb and retain radiation.

But other scientists, while agreeing with this basic theory of a greenhouse effect, say there is no convincing evidence that a pollution-induced warming has already begun.

Dr. Michael E. Schlesinger, an atmospheric scientist at Oregon State University who studies climate models, said there is no inconsistency between the data presented by the NOAA team and the greenhouse theory. But he said he regarded the new data as inconsistent with assumptions that such an effect is already detectable. More Droughts Predicted

Many of the computer models that predict global warming also predict that certain areas, including the Midwest in the United States, would suffer more frequent droughts.

Dr. Hanson of NOAA said today that the new study does not in any way contradict the findings reported by the NASA scientists and others. He said that his study, in which he was joined by George A. Maul and Thomas A. Karl, also of NOAA, looked at only the 48 contiguous states.

Dr. Hanson said that global warming caused by the greenhouse effect might have been countered by some cooling phenomenon that has not yet been identified and that the readings in his study recorded the net effect.

”We have to be careful about interpreting things like this,” he said. What About Urbanization? One aspect of the study that Dr. Hanson said was interesting was the finding that the urbanization of the United States has apparently not had a statistically significant effect on average temperature readings. A number of scientists have theorized that the replacement of forests and pastures by asphalt streets and concrete buildings, which retain heat, is an important cause of rising temperatures.

Dr. Hansen of NASA said today that he had ”no quarrel” with the findings in the new study. He noted that the United States covered only 1.5 percent of Earth. ”If you have only one degree warming on a global average, how much do you get at random” when taking measurements in such a relatively small area, he asked rhetorically.

”We are just arguing now about whether the global warming effect is large enough to see,” he added. ”It is not suprising [sic] we are not seeing it in a region that covers only 1.5 percent of the globe.”

Dr. Hansen said there were several ways to look at the temperature readings for the United States, including as a ‘’statistical fluke.”

Possibililty of Countereffects

Another possibility, he said, was that there were special conditions in the United States that would tend to offset a warming trend. For example, industrial activity produces dust and other solid particles that help form liquid droplets in the atmosphere. These droplets reflect radiation away from Earth and thus have a cooling influence.

Notice that Dr. James Hansen is saying that industrial activity drives down the temperature of the Earth. So doesn’t that mean we need more rather than less industrial activity?
Dr. Hansen suggested that at some point there could be a jump in temperature readings in the United States if the measurements in the new study were a statistical aberration or the result of atmospheric pollutants reflecting heat away from Earth. He noted that anti-pollution efforts are reducing the amount of these particles and thus reducing the reflection of heat.

Several computer models have projected that the greenhouse effect would cause average global temperatures to rise between 3 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the next century. But scientists concede that reactions set off by the warming trend itself could upset these predictions and produce unanticipated changes in climate patterns.

Legislative Action Sought

Coincidentally with the new report, legislation was introduced in the Senate today prescribing actions for addressing the threat of global warming. Senator Al Gore, Democrat of Tennessee, introduced a bill that calls for creating a Council on World Environmental Policy to replace the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. This change would emphasize the international aspects of environmental issues.

The bill would also require a ban on industrial chemicals that not only are depleting the atmosphere’s ozone layer, which blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation, but are believed to be contributing to the warming trend. It would also require stricter fuel-economy standards for automobiles to reduce the consumption of gasoline to reduce carbon dioxide.

So there must have been a helluva lot of warming between 1989 and 1995, which is 15 years ago — and we haven’t had any warming since.


What is Obama's Climate Czar Up To?

Judicial Watch is spearheading a comprehensive investigation into President Obama's appointment of unconstitutional "czars," individuals charged with executing Obama's policy agenda in secret and without congressional oversight. Our first major "czar" lawsuit is over the role of controversial "Climate Czar" Carol Browner.

In February, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain documents related to Ms. Browner (who holds the official title of Special Assistant on Energy and Climate) and her role in crafting official U.S. climate policy. Ms. Browner, who was never subjected to Senate confirmation, reportedly served as the Obama administration's point person in secret negotiations to establish automobile emission standards in California and also participated in negotiations involving cap and trade legislation.

Through our FOIA request filed on December 28, 2009, we're specifically seeking all records of communications, contacts, or correspondence between Browner and the Energy Department or the EPA concerning:

A. Negotiations and/or discussions among the auto industry, the State of California, and agencies of the United States with respect to fuel-standards/auto emissions for the time period between January 20, 2009, and June 1, 2009; and

B. Negotiations/discussions with respect to cap and trade legislation for the time period between June 1, 2009, and October 1, 2009.

The EPA has failed to respond to these requests in any manner. Subsequent to filing its lawsuit on February 18, Judicial Watch received a letter from the Energy Department (dated February 17) in which the agency denied that it even had any documents responsive to Judicial Watch's FOIA requests. (I'm not sure I believe that!)

According to press reports, Ms. Browner instructed individuals involved in auto emissions negotiations to "put nothing in writing, ever." The New York Times reported that Browner made every effort to "keep their discussions as quiet as possible."

And here's something else to make you nervous about Browner. Her involvement in these important discussions is particularly troubling given her documented ties to the radical socialist organization Socialist International, which reportedly calls for "global governance" and advocates that wealthier nations should shrink their economies in order to address the climate change "crisis."

According to Fox News, Browner's name was "scrubbed" from the organization's website once she became linked to the Obama administration, but evidence of her involvement (including a photo of Browner speaking to the group's congress in Greece) remained.

So, here we have an unconfirmed Obama administration official conducting secret meetings and instructing participants to avoid producing a written record. This is the perfect storm of corruption: concentrated executive power with no congressional oversight and no transparency. And this stonewalling on the "Climate Czar" documents adds yet another chapter in the growing Climategate scandal. (Click here to read more.)

Too many of Obama's czars seem to wield a tremendous amount of authority and power and they have not been vetted as required by the Constitution. And I don't think it's any accident that every time one of them ends up in the news, it's because of their radical leftist ties. (See Van Jones.)

That's why we're so aggressive in our pursuit of documents detailing the role of Obama's czars in crafting and executing the Obama White House agenda.


IPCC member admits to not reading IPCC report

In another blow to the organization's crumbling credibility, a senior Irish member of the IPCC admitted that he has not bothered to read the fourth IPCC report in its entirety, but advocates "changing our lifestyle" based on its findings.

Pat Finnegan is a member of Working Group III (WG3), which is the mitigation panel of the IPCC. In a shocking admission, he recently disclosed on Irish Radio, during a debate with documentary film maker Phelim McAleer that he has not read the full IPCC report.

Mr. Finnegan explained he had not read the report because "it was over 1800 pages long." But not reading 75 percent of the report didn't stop Finnegan from telling us in a 2007 press release that the world needs to change because of what was in the report and that we all need to "change our lifestyle."

Pardon me, Mr. Finnegan, but given the IPCC's recent difficulties, I think you have some reading to do. You need to read a report before you use it as a basis for changing people's lives — particularly some of the poorest people on the planet who depend on cheap energy so that they and their children can have a future.

For instance, if you had read the whole report you might have noticed a long list of errors spanning from mistaken predictions about melting Himalayan glaciers, counting the sea levels twice in the Netherlands, or simply noticing the IPCC chairman's conflicts of interest.

Perhaps it's time for the IPCC and Pat Finnegan to stop giving advice and start taking it, for starters, by fact-checking their own reports. Rumor has it you do that by actually reading it.


Cancel indexed phone books such as Yellow Pages to tackle climate change -- say British councils

Households are being asked to opt out of receiving their annual phone book to stop thousands of tonnes of paper being dumped in landfill every year. Unwanted phone books left on doorsteps or dumped in the bin cost councils more than £7 million every year to clear up. The Local Government Association (LGA) said the money could be used on more important services and have launched a campaign asking households to cancel the service.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the move and said it was just the start to the gradual phasing out of phone books as more and more people use the internet to find out about local services. However charities feared that households without good internet connection or the elderly may be unable to contact vital services without access to the phone book.

Every year 25 million households in Britain are sent up to three phone books from Yellow Pages, Thompson and BT. Gary Porter, Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said most are dumped in the bin without even being opened and urged households to cancel the directories by phone or email.

"Council taxpayers’ money could be spent on better things than picking up phone books, many of which are never even used. Cutting down on the number of pointless phone directories could save millions and allow councils to spend more on vital services like care for the elderly," he said.

But Hannah Bellamy of Global Action Plan said most people are too "lethargic" to cancel the phone book. Instead she said there should be a well-publicised campaign asking people to "opt in" so only people who request the phone book receive a copy. "We should go further," she said. "The phone book is not necessary. It is a waste in terms of energy, oil and other resources."

The Say No to Phone books campaign, backed by and the Global Action Plan, is lobbying Government to introduce a centralised opt-in system. An independent survey commissioned by the campaign found that 70 per cent of people would back the phasing out of free phone books in favour of an opt in.

But Michelle Mitchell, the Director of Age Concern and Help the Aged Charity Director, feared the end of free phone books would isolate the elderly. "While many services are shifting online, provision must always be made for people who do not have access to the internet," he said.

Trevor Fenwick, chairman of the Data Publishers Association, said the production of directories like BT and Yellowpages is not only a multi-million pound advertising industry in itself but boosts local business who are unable to publicised their services any other way. "The business to consumer directory sector contributes well over £1 billion to local economies, and therefore local business rates, playing a vital economic and social role in linking businesses with their market," he said. "Millions of people in the UK use our paper directories on a regular basis, and it is simply not the case that consumers who search for businesses online will have no further use of a printed directory."



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Warmist claims of more extreme weather are contrary to the facts

Thomas Friedman argues (February 17) that global warming should instead be called “global weirding” because as a result of global warming, “The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.” The only thing getting weirder, however, is Friedman’s interpretation of reality.

To claim, as Friedman does, that “the hots are expected to get hotter” is quite misleading. Most of the warming from carbon dioxide emissions is expected to occur at night, as carbon dioxide prevents some of the earth’s heat from radiating back into space after the sun sets. Daytime highs are not expected to change much, but evening lows will become somewhat milder. The moderation in nighttime low temperatures, moreover, is expected to occur more in the winter than in the summer. This would make conditions more, not less, comfortable for people.

Far from “global weirding,” this should translate into “global milding.” Global temperature data confirm this, showing no signs of “the hots getting hotter.” The all-time high temperature in Africa was set in 1922; in North America, 1913; in Asia, 1942; in Australia, 1889; in Europe, 1977; and in South America, 1920. In the United States, 30 of the 50 states experienced their all-time high temperature between 1910 and 1940. Fully 40 of the 50 states experienced their all-time high temperature before 1980.

As to “the wets” allegedly getting wetter, global precipitation increased during the 20th century, but this did not happen in a weird or harmful manner. National Climatic Data Center records show U.S. precipitation has increased nearly 10 percent in the past 115 years, but fully half of this increase occurred during the fall drought season, when the least amount of precipitation happens and an increase in precipitation would be most beneficial. Far from a “weirding,” this can best be described as a blessing.

A study of stream flows and flooding events published in the April 2009 peer-reviewed Journal of the American Water Resources Association confirms this. “There is broad evidence … for increased magnitudes of low and moderate flows both regionally and nationally” while “trends in high flows have been much less evident,” the study concluded.

Likewise Friedman’s assertion that global warming is causing the “dries” to get drier. Not only is precipitation--and particularly precipitation during the fall drought season—becoming more dependable, but drought as a whole is in sharp decline. A study published in the May 2006 peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters reported, “Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.”

A study in the March 2006 peer-reviewed Journal of Hydrology reached a similar conclusion. “Evidence indicates that summer soil moisture content has increased during the last several decades at almost all sites having long-term records in the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank.”

Finally, the claim that “the most violent storms [are becoming] more numerous” is demonstrably false. National Weather Service records show the number of strong (F2 and higher) tornadoes in the United States has been declining for the past 35 years. Roughly twice as many strong tornadoes struck the nation during the 1960s and 1970s, when the globe was cooling, than struck in the 1990s and 2000s.

The hurricane record is similar. National Weather Service records show hurricanes struck the United States far more frequently in the late 1800s through the 1950s than has been the case since the 1960s. In fact, global hurricane frequency during the past two years was lower than at any time since at least the 1970s.

Thomas Friedman may believe there is value in drumming up public alarm by falsely claiming global warming makes the weather “weirder.” In the real world, however, the weather is becoming milder.


Vanishing "experts"

FOR years the media have told us that there is a "scientific consensus" on catastrophic, man-made global warming with anything up to 99.9pc of scientists supporting it.

I decided to carry out a survey to see if this claim had any merit, and asked journalists, politicians and alarmist lobbyists to name two prominent scientists not funded by government or an alarmist lobby group who have said we are seeing a catastrophic degree of warming. As yet, none have been able to do so. Scientists who are seeking government funds have been understandably reluctant to speak.

With more than 31,000 scientists having signed the Oregon petition saying that man-made global warming is bunkum, if there were anything like a consensus to the contrary it would be easy to find a similar number of independent scientists saying so.

I have had a total of two positive responses to my request for the names of independent scientists, who are on record supporting the theory of catastrophic, man-made global warming.

One came from the letters editor of the 'Independent' in London who said she had checked with the paper's environment correspondent who was able to give one name -- Professor James Lovelock. The other came from a South African online journal and also gave only one name -- that of Prof Lovelock.

Prof Lovelock is certainly an eminent and forthright gentleman whose Gaia hypothesis, while not generally accepted, does account for our planet's history. However, to place the entire burden of being the "consensus" among the majority of the world's scientists who are not being paid by government is going too far.

The good name of science has been deliberately abused by this claim of "scientific consensus". There may well be, or may have been, a consensus among politicians and the journalists who have taken their lead from them -- but there is no such consensus among scientists and never has been.

I think it is clear beyond dispute that all those broadcasters, newspapers and "personalities" who over the years have denigrated science by claiming this "consensus" owe an apology to the profession.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming and the philosophy of science

As people around the world watched the Winter Olympics this week, they were treated not only to images of the world’s greatest Winter athletes performing superbly in the sports at which they excel but they were also given a behind-the-scenes window into the frustrations dealt with by the games’ Canadian hosts. From bare mountain slopes to rain delays that turned what little snow there was into slush to scenes of dump trucks hauling snow up to peaks that should already be white at this time of year, an unusual warm spell in Vancouver has posed problems for the games this time around.

Not surprisingly, Global Warming advocates have pointed to the abnormally warm weather in Vancouver this year, as supporting evidence for their theory. As also did Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., last year, when he published a piece reminiscing about the snowier winters he experienced in the Washington area as a child and bemoaning the relative lack of snow in recent Washington Winters.

Of course, that was before this winter’s record snows in the nation’s capital. Now, critics of Global Warming have understandably mocked Kennedy for his remarks, as they slogged through nearly fifty combined inches of Global Warming in one short week. Undaunted by such skeptics, defenders of the theory have countered “that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events,” as reported recently in the New York Times and Time magazine.

What a strong theory then is Global Warming, some may think, that supporting evidence can be found for it in such diverse, seemingly opposite, and apparently unrelated events.

But some well-established insights from the Philosophy of Science would quickly disabuse someone of this notion. For, as famously pointed out by giant-in-the-field Karl Popper, it is not a strength of a theory that nearly any observation can be taken as confirming it but this may actually mark it out as a bit of pseudo-science, immune to falsification and held tenaciously by its defenders as an article of faith.

The problem, Popper emphasized in his monumental Conjectures and Refutations, is not one of being able to find confirmatory evidence for a theory, for proponents of pseudo-scientific theories find confirmatory evidence for their theories around every corner. If you held such a theory, he notes, “you saw confirmed instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth…”

What Popper admired most in a theory, and what he thought separated one out as scientific, was that it took risks by making predictions which, if not borne out by observational evidence, would actually disconfirm or falsify it. And perhaps this is a good time to ask the proponents of Global Warming if there is any possible observation that they would take as disconfirming their theory.

To be fair, it did happen once. Last year, Stephan Faris of the UN’s IPCC predicted that “if global warming continues at its current rate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates, the glaciers could be mostly gone from the mountains by 2035.”

Citing inaccuracy in the data on which it was based: “it [the IPCC] plucked the date for the glaciers’ disappearance from a 2005 report by the environmental advocacy group WWF, which in turn had taken the figure from a 1999 magazine article attributing the claim to an Indian glacier expert, who now denies he ever said such a thing.”

This move, while saving the theory from falsification, hardly engenders confidence in the IPCC and shows that scientists can make similar critical mistakes causing misguided government intervention.


British Communist newspaper publishes skeptical letter!

From inveterate Scottish letter-writer Neil Craig of Glasgow. Glasgow probably has Britain's greatest concentration of Communists so Neil's address may well have helped -- JR

Paul Levy (M Star February 18) is erecting a straw man argument when he denounces Jean Johnson (M Star February 17) for claiming "a systematic attempt on the part of the climatic research unit to manipulate" in her response to Michael Meacher's playing down of the collapse of the catastrophic warming evidence.

She did not say that the disappearance of data from Chinese sites and the Climate Research Unit's reliance on measurements which have been urbanised or moved or both was deliberate manipulation.

She merely said that it had happened - though untrusting folk like myself may find it improbable that all the errors uncovered here and elsewhere should accidentally be angled towards scaring us.

The urban heat island effect is well proven and indeed it is obvious that cities, using electricity, cars, fire etc will give off more heat than countryside.

With the very rapid industrialisation of China it is equally obvious that this is an even greater effect there. Those claiming to see catastrophic CO2-caused warming by using uncorrected or not fully corrected measurements from urban areas are clearly doing very bad science, if it can be called science at all.

Unfortunately time after time in figures from country after country this is what we see being done. When Stephen McIntyre found a programming error of this sort in the US figures, he proved that the actual warmest year in the non-urban US was 1933, not 1998.

The alarmists explained that catastrophic warming was still proven by 1998 being the warmest year outside US boundaries, but there must be doubt about that. If so not only do we not have any catastrophic warming but we have had cooling, not only over the last decade but since 1933.

Never mind. I am sure there will be another eco-catastrophe story along shortly.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Meteorological organizations promise to do better next time

World weather agencies agreed this week to enhance data-gathering significantly and allow independent scrutiny of raw figures used in assessing climate change amid charges by critics that global warming scientific data were skewed.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) made the concession after an outcry over e-mails revealing that researchers in Britain had suppressed certain data to bolster claims of global warming. Critics also said some of the manipulated data were included in a 2007 U.N. report on the subject.

Britain's Met Office formally submitted a proposal that scientists around the world undertake the "grand challenge" of measuring land surface temperatures as often as several times a day, and it was approved in principle by about 150 officials at a WMO meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

"This effort will ensure that the datasets are completely robust and that all methods are transparent," the Met Office said, though it added that "any such analysis does not undermine the existing independent datasets that all reflect a warming trend."

It also said that current measurements were "fundamentally ill-conditioned to answer 21st-century questions, such as how extremes are changing, and therefore what adaptation and mitigation decisions should be taken."

Last fall, it was revealed that thousands of e-mail messages discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims had been obtained through hacking of a server used by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. The controversy was dubbed "climategate."

The WMO move is the latest in the growing debate over climate change. Global warming theorists insist that man-made activities have the potential to produce devastating consequences, while skeptics say temperature increases are less alarming and not human-induced.

Scientists and other climate specialists said the WMO has wanted to enhance data collection for years, but it took a persistent campaign by opponents of the global warming science to take the issue more seriously.

"It's interesting how they are couching it and linking it to the skeptics' community," said Sarah Ladislaw, senior fellow in the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "There has been a big push in recent years to improve data collection to make sure we understand things better."

Melanie Fitzpatrick, a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the new measures will require additional funds, although the cost will depend on whether data will be gathered from existing temperature sensors or whether new installations are needed.


Obama’s opposition to drilling in Alaska is a romance not supported by the facts

President Barack Obama recently offered some concessions designed to improve the prospects for an energy bill this year. Notable for its absence was opening up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and gas development.

This is no surprise. ANWR has become a sacred symbol for the environmental movement, and any Obama overture to develop the refuge would have enraged many core environmental supporters. Yet, if Mr. Obama wants to demonstrate real commitment to “common sense” policies, ANWR is a leading opportunity.

The case is not complicated. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that ANWR has a likely 10.4 billion barrels of oil. At current prices, that amounts to about $800 billion in oil revenue. After production and transportation costs are accounted for, the net ANWR oil “profit” would likely exceed $500 billion. This net revenue would be divided in some fashion among oil companies, the state of Alaska and the federal government. A reasonable estimate is that the federal share would exceed $250 billion.

The potential economic gains represented by ANWR dwarf the costs resulting from environmental impacts. In 2003, for instance, a National Academy of Sciences study on the environmental consequences of oil development on the North Slope of Alaska found that in the Prudhoe Bay area, past oil development “had not resulted in large or long-term declines in the size of the Central Arctic Herd” of caribou. Some animal species—including the caribou—actually increased in numbers and benefited from “the ready availability of new sources of food from people in the oil fields.”

But ANWR is important to the environmental movement in another sense—as a powerful religious symbol. For environmentalists, ANWR has come to represent the preservation of a “last remaining wild place” on earth, a remnant of Eden. This image is powerfully appealing to many Americans. Throughout Christianity’s long history, the faithful have seen the natural world as a product of the handiwork of God at the creation. Christians can learn best about the mind of God, they have believed, by experiencing nature exactly as God designed it. As John Calvin said, “the knowledge of God [is] sown in their minds out of the wonderful workmanship of nature.”

American theologian Jonathan Edwards wrote similarly that encounters with nature “will tend to convey instruction to our minds, and to impress things on the mind and to affect the mind, that we may, as it were, have God speaking to us.”

Environmentalists today usually leave out any explicit references to God, but otherwise the message is little altered. They speak of experiencing powerful spiritual feelings in the presence of wild nature. They can more clearly see the humble place of human beings in a large and wonderful universe.

If ANWR were really a last remaining Eden, the arguments for preserving it would be compelling. Yet the ANWR of the environmental imagination is more a Disneyland creation than a true remaining product of God’s actions at the time of the creation. For one thing, the Earth is 4 billion years old and has experienced countless geological and biological upheavals over time. In truth, every place on earth has already been altered by past human actions. Even before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans hunted widely, set fires, harvested food and otherwise altered nature for their own purposes. More recently, global climate change has been affecting the ANWR ecology, and more is sure to come.

It is one thing to sacrifice hundreds of billions of dollars for a divine purpose. It is another thing to make this sacrifice for a Hollywood fiction.

Environmental groups have raised many millions of dollars, and enlisted thousands of supporters, by appealing to the powerful imagery of protecting ANWR and other remaining parts of “original nature.” Many environmentalists may in fact believe their own words. The price for the rest of us, however, is too large. America can no longer afford the enormous public expenses required to sustain the cherished illusions of the environmental faithful.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


Friday, February 26, 2010

The Big Picture on World Temperature Swings

Jo Nova has published a set of graphs produced by David Lappi, an Alaskan Geologist.

This does not look like dangerous global warming. In fact the big picture looks more like long term cooling. For the full report see here.

Note that, as the major Northern hemisphere location for land-based glacial ice, Greenland is crucial to the Warmist story.

The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory

Insulated by an outer crust, the surface of the earth acquires nearly all of its heat from the sun. The only exit for this heat to take is through a door marked "Radiation." And therein lies a tale...

Recently, I chanced upon an Atmospheric Science Educator Guide [PDF] published by NASA. Aimed at students in grades 5 through 8, it helps teachers explain how so-called "greenhouse gases" warm our planet Earth.

These guides are interesting on a number of levels, so I recommend that you look them over. But what caught my eye was this:

* Question: Do all of the gases in our atmosphere absorb heat?

* Answer: (Allow students to discuss their ideas. Don't provide the answer at this time.)

Indeed, that's a good one to think over yourself. Almost all of what we're breathing is nitrogen and oxygen -- do these gases absorb heat? Lakes and rocks absorb heat, after all, and thereby reach a higher temperature. So can nitrogen and oxygen molecules do the same?

Well, I won't keep you hanging. After allowing students to discuss it, the instructor is instructed to give them the final verdict.

* Answer: No. Only some gases have the unique property of being able to absorb heat. These are the infrared-absorbing "greenhouse gases," of course, substances like carbon dioxide and water vapor, and not nitrogen and oxygen.

Now, is something wrong here? Most definitely, for NASA has a finger on the scale. Let's review a few basics that NASA should have outlined.

Heat consists of vibrating and colliding molecules. The motion of these molecules jostles their electrons around, and this emits light. Heat and light are thus strongly related, but they aren't the same. For instance, heat can't actually be radiated; only the light that heat brings about can. By the same token, light itself has no temperature because temperature is an index of molecular motion, and a beam of light isn't composed of molecules. In short, "heat" can be regarded as molecular excitement and light as electromagnetic excitement.

Observe how NASA describes this relationship, however.

* Question: What is the relationship between light and heat?

* Answer: Things that are hot sometimes give off light. Things under a light source sometimes heat up.

Utterly false. Heated masses always emit light (infrared). Always. That's a direct consequence of molecules in motion. And while it's true that some substances may be transparent to infrared light, it doesn't follow that they can't be heated or, if heated, might not emit infrared. Yet NASA's misleading formulation implies precisely that.

There are three ways for heat (better to say thermal energy) to move from one zone to another: by conduction, convection, and radiation. Conductive heat transfer involves direct contact, wherein vibrations spread from molecule to molecule. Convective transfer involves a mass in motion: expanded by heat, a fluid is pushed up and away by the denser fluid that surrounds it. Radiative transfer arises when molecules intercept the light that warmer molecules are emitting, which brings about a resonant molecular vibration -- i.e., heating.

Heat is transferred and absorbed in several ways, then, and no substance is immune to being heated, which means that all gases absorb heat -- contrary to what NASA tells children.

So how does NASA go wrong? By consistently confusing light and heat, as you see in the illustration below, where infrared light is depicted as heat. Elsewhere, NASA expresses heat transfer in terms that pertain to radiant transfer alone: "The Earth first absorbs the visible radiation from the Sun, which is then converted to heat, and this heat radiates out to the atmosphere, where the greenhouse gases then absorb some of the heat".

Nowhere in its teacher's guide are conductive and convective heat transfer even mentioned. By selective context and vagueness, then, NASA paints an impression that only light-absorbing substances can be heated. Thus, since nitrogen and oxygen don't respond to infrared, NASA feels justified to say that "only some gases have the unique property of being able to absorb heat." Astonishing.

But a mixup like this raises a deeper question: Why does NASA go wrong? Because it has a flimsy yet lucrative theory to foist on the taxpaying public, that's why. As the space agency explains in the Main Lesson Concept, the core idea of greenhouse theory is that downward radiation from greenhouse gases raises the earth's surface temperature higher than solar heating can.

To make this idea seem plausible, therefore, it's crucial to fix people's attention on the 1% of the atmosphere that can be heated by radiant transfer instead of the 99% and more that is heated by direct contact with the earth's surface and then by convection. NASA is stacking the deck, you see. If they made it clear that every species of atmospheric gas gets heated mainly by conductive transfer, and that all heated bodies radiate light, then even a child could connect the dots: "Oh. So the whole atmosphere radiates heat to the earth and makes it warmer. All of the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas."

Crash, boom, there goes the theory. And there goes the abundant funding that this fear-promoting "science" attracts so well. For what CO2 and water vapor emit is miniscule compared to the buzzing multitude of heated nitrogen, oxygen, and even argon, all of it radiating infrared, too. Keep in mind that thermal radiation from this forgotten 99% has never been proposed or imagined to increase the earth's temperature, although by the theory's very tenets, it should....

Accordingly, any heated gas emits infrared. There's nothing unique about CO2. Otherwise, substances like nitrogen and oxygen would truly be miracles of physics: Heat 'em as much as you wish, but they'd never radiate in response.

Yet this amounts to a double-whammy. For meteorologists acknowledge that our atmosphere is principally heated by surface contact and convective circulation. Surrounded by the vacuum of space, moreover, the earth can only dissipate this energy by radiation. On one hand, then, if surface-heated nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate the thermal energy they acquire, they rob the earth of a means of cooling off -- which makes them "greenhouse gases" by definition. On the other hand, though, if surface-heated nitrogen and oxygen do radiate infrared, then they are also "greenhouse gases," which defeats the premise that only radiation from the infrared-absorbers raises the Earth's temperature. Either way, therefore, the convoluted theory we've been going by is wrong.

An idea has been drummed into our heads for decades: that roughly 1% of the atmosphere's content is responsible for shifting the earth's surface temperature from inimical to benign. This conjecture has mistakenly focused on specifically light-absorbing gases, however, ignoring heat-absorbing gases altogether. Any heated atmospheric gas radiates infrared energy back toward the earth, meaning that the dreadful power we've attributed to light-absorbing molecules up to now has been wildly exaggerated and must be radically adjusted -- indeed, pared down perhaps a hundred times. Because all gases radiate the heat they acquire, trace-gas heating theory is an untenable concept, a long-held illusion we'd be wise to abandon.


Climate crooks to investigate themselves

Whom do they think that will impress?

The two most influential advisory bodies on climate change are planning independent reviews of their research in an attempt to regain public trust after revelations about errors and the suppression of data. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to appoint an independent team to examine its procedures after admitting having made errors that exaggerated the severity of the impact of global warming.

The Met Office, which supplies the global temperature trends used by the IPCC, has proposed that an international group of scientists re-examine 160 years of temperature data. The Met Office proposal is a tacit admission that its previous reports on such trends have been marred by their reliance on analysis by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Two separate inquiries are being held into allegations that the unit tried to hide raw data from critics and exaggerated the extent of global warming.

In a document entitled Proposal for a New International Analysis of Land Surface Air Temperature Data, the Met Office says: “We feel it is timely to propose an international effort to re-analyse surface temperature data in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation.”

The new analysis would test the conclusion reached by the IPCC that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal”. The IPCC’s most glaring error was a claim that all Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Most glaciologists believe it would take another 300 years for the glaciers to melt at the present rate.

The allegations about climate scientists are believed to have contributed to a sharp rise in public scepticism about climate change. This month an opinion poll found that the proportion of the population that believes climate change is an established fact and largely man-made has fallen from 41 per cent in November to 26 per cent.

The Met Office paper emphasises that the assessment would be independent and based on data freely available to the public. It says: “The proposed activity would provide a set of independent assessments of surface temperature produced by independent groups using independent methods.”

The Met Office privately proposed the reassessment last December, soon after more than a thousand leaked e-mails raised doubts about the integrity of some scientists at the Climatic Research Unit. The Times revealed on December 5 that the Department of Energy and Climate Change had stopped the Met Office announcing the reassessment because it feared that it would be seized upon as an admission of weakness on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit.

The reassessment will look at the data in much greater detail than previous attempts and provide more information about which regions are suffering extreme heat waves and the greatest average changes in climate. The Met Office said that this would allow international funding to be directed to where it was most needed.

Data from 3,000 weather stations around the world has already been published on the Met Office website and it hopes that data from the remaining 2,500 will be available later this year. The paper states that the reassessment is intended chiefly to “ensure that the datasets are completely robust and that all methods are transparent”. The Met Office says that it does not expect “any substantial changes in the resulting global and continental-scale multidecadal trends”. It said that the reassessment would take up to three years. It hopes the findings will be ready for the IPCC’s next report, to be published in 2013 and 2014.


John Deere Executives Challenged Directly Over Company Support for Cap-and-Trade

John Deere executives were challenged at its annual stockholder meeting by representatives of the National Center for Public Policy Research Wednesday. The confrontation came over John Deere's membership in the pro-cap-and-trade lobby group the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), and John Deere's support for cap-and-trade legislation.

Tom Borelli, director of The National Center's Free Enterprise Project, and Deneen Borelli, a full-time fellow of the National Center's Project 21 leadership group for conservative African-Americans, asked John Deere CEO Samuel Allen to justify the company's lobbying for climate restrictions that would hurt the company's customers, stockholders, and the U.S. economic climate generally.

They also warned Allen that in light of new SEC guidance on disclosure of climate change-related risk, a failure to fully disclose the business risk of cap-and-trade legislation could expose the company to lawsuits.

Allen defended the company's involvement, claiming farmers could benefit from cap-and-trade. (The Obama Administration argues farmers would benefit from federal government "allowance revenues" under cap-and-trade, while others, including the anti-cap-and-trade American Farm Bureau, say cap-and-trade "will mean higher fuel and fertilizer costs, which puts [U.S. farmers] at a competitive disadvantage in international markets with other countries that do not have similar carbon emission restrictions.")

Deneen Borelli sees the risk of a "green bubble" even if some farmers were to profit from government emissions credits as the Obama Administration argues: "I'm outraged by Allen's justification of the trading aspect of carbon credits where farmers could potentially benefit. Given our current economy, the last thing we need is to expose farmers and the country to another Wall Street risky derivatives trading scheme."

Tom Borelli adds: "Allen dismissed the American Farm Bureau's opposition to cap-and-trade by glibly saying other groups support the legislation. It's a bad sign for investors when a CEO is so out of touch with his customer base."

The Borellis have attended the stockholder meetings of other USCAP members, getting Caterpillar CEO James Owens to admit to his stockholders that his company had not done a cost-benefit analysis of the costs of cap-and-trade before lobbying for it.

The National Center for Public Policy Research in 2007 organized a letter signed by some 70 national organizations and prominent individuals, including a former U.S. attorney general, calling on Caterpillar to withdraw from USCAP.

Caterpillar withdrew from USCAP this year.

An audiotape of the Borellis' questioning of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt during GE's 2009 annual stockholder meeting drew significant cable and print media coverage after GE cut off the microphone of Deneen Borelli and a likeminded questioner. In the hubhub that followed, LA Weekly reported that GE's Immelt "personally issued a GE ban" on advertising with the parent company of the Hollywood Reporter, which had covered the stockholder meeting story extensively.

In an article published by on Wednesday, Tom Borelli explained the National Center's strategy in challenging these and other CEOs directly: "CEOs see big bucks in big government... Because CEOs can represent as much of a risk to liberty as elected officials, limited government advocates need a voice in the boardroom."


The Copenhagen summit result was good for everyone

The Left is wringing its hands over the “failure” of the World Climate Summit at Copenhagen to approve a binding treaty. But perhaps they should thank God (or Gore) for that fact. That’s because the mere threat of job-killing Cap and Trade legislation has been enough for independent voters in the U.S. to abandon left-leaning politicians in droves.

Along with stiff carbon taxes and straight-jacket regulations comes, inevitably, population control. At Copenhagen, China’s Peggy Liu—chair of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy—bragged about Beijing’s brutal one-child policy. That policy, said this winner of Time Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment” award, “reduces energy demand and is arguably the most effective way the country can mitigate climate change.”

Soviet Communist Party boss Joe Stalin would be proud. “You have a problem with a man. If you get rid of the man, you get rid of the problem,” said the top Communist of the Twentieth Century. (Come to think of it, Uncle Joe Stalin even topped Peggy Liu. He was named Time’s Man of the Year not once, but twice—1939 and 1942.)

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times hails China’s one-child policy as “reasonably enlightened.” He likes the fact that Beijing’s rulers—unburdened by those pesky voters voting out their betters—can “impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in 21st century.” Friedman’s best-selling book is titled The World is Flat.” (And liberals accuse us of being the Flat Earth Society?)

Isn’t it really funny how all the “errors” made by the climate scientists seem to fall on one side of the debate? If the glaciers of the Himalayas are all going to melt by 2035, that’s a real problem. But if they’re not expected to melt until 2350, it’s another matter. Guess which date the IPCC chose to publish? Just a typo?

What if the globe is indeed warming but the warming is part of a cyclical pattern of warming and cooling? That’s the thesis of Dr. S. Fred Singer. Dr. Singer and co-author Dennis Avery write in Unstoppable Global Warming that “evidence from North Atlantic deep-sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene [interglacial] climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly….Together, they make up a series of climatic shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 years (plus or minus 500 years). The Holocene events, therefore, appear to be the most recent manifestation of a pervasive millennial-scale climatic cycle operating independently of the glacial-interglacial climate state (emphasis added.)”

Dr. Singer has been abused by Left-wing bloggers, called a denier, and denounced as a tool of industry. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, worked with NASA for decades and is thoroughly conversant with satellite measurements of earth’s climate. And he taught Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia for twenty-five years. Dr. Singer might be wrong. He might be seriously in error. But so far, no one has demonstrated that his arguments are wrong. Reviling him, calling him names, trying to shut him up and close him down—none of this is a reasoned argument. It is nothing more than—in the words of Al Gore—an assault on reason. Stay tuned, folks. The earth may be warming—but not as fast as the debate over climate is heating up.


How to waste $10 billion

By Mark Sanford, Republican governor of South Carolina.

So often in politics, what makes the headlines is only half the story. For the other half, you've got to do a little digging.

Last week, President Obama announced that the federal government would guarantee $8 billion in loans for the construction of two nuclear power reactors. On the face of it, this represented good news: The nation faces serious energy challenges, and no new nuclear plants have been built in 30 years.

What the president didn't explain was what his administration planned on doing with the nuclear waste - either the waste produced by these new reactors or the waste we already have in temporary storage facilities in 39 states. He didn't explain it because, earlier this month, he ditched the only responsible and feasible option this country had for the clean disposal of nuclear waste: the Yucca Mountain Storage Facility in Nevada.

Right now, our office is actively conferring with other governors' offices, as well as with our state attorney general, to explore all options - including legal options - to prevent the U.S. Department of Energy from closing down the Yucca Mountain project. In fact, our state's attorney general yesterday began pursuing the legal option.

Let me explain why. Since the Yucca Mountain site was selected in 1987, the federal government has spent billions of dollars and countless man-hours preparing for the storage project. During the intervening 23 years, presidents and their administrations of both parties have supported the project, and despite the glacial pace of the nuclear storage permitting process and foot-dragging on the part of the Department of Energy, the Yucca Mountain project was on the verge of functioning as a safe and centralized storage facility.

Taxpayers, meanwhile, had invested billions into the project. Since 1982, the nuclear power industry - and indirectly, the taxpayers of this nation served by power companies - have paid roughly $7 billion into a fund for the purpose of temporarily storing nuclear waste. To date, more than $10 billion has been spent for preparation and construction of a permanent storage site at Yucca Mountain.

Yet after all that, on Feb. 1 of this year Mr. Obama decided to abandon the entire plan. The consequence will be that taxpayers will get nothing - literally nothing - in return.

The administration says it will come up with another plan, and for that purpose it has created a "blue ribbon panel." But the panel has far more retired executives and former congressmen than scientists sitting on it. It's fairly evident that a serious plan for the nation's nuclear waste isn't at the top of the White House's agenda. Far more important were the politics of it - namely satisfying Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada who, as Senate majority leader, has the power to ram through the Obama administration's goals on health care, domestic spending and more - and who just happens to face a difficult re-election race later this year.

Rep. James E. Clyburn, the Senate's majority whip, recently suggested that Congress might fund the project despite the president's objection. That's fairly difficult to believe - but even if Congress does continue funding Yucca Mountain, given the staff reductions and relocations already under way, the project's intellectual infrastructure simply won't be there to support it.

So, that's the background behind the president's announcement that he would commit $8.3 billion worth of federal loan guarantees to the construction of two new nuclear reactors. It may sound like an encouraging sign from this president that he's willing to promote nuclear power - and for that, at least, I'd give him credit. But behind the scenes, this is nothing more than Chicago-style patronage politics: making decisions to curry favor with "friends" regardless of what's best for the nation.

Not only is this a broken promise to the taxpayer to the tune of $10 billion, the temporary storage facilities create big risks. There are 121 locations around the country where nuclear waste is stored, and more than 161 million Americans live within 75 miles of a storage site. It certainly creates a quiltwork of targets for those who would want to do us harm, as every storage site is a potential terrorist target.

In short, this is an issue we would all be wise to make a little noise about, lest this backroom deal be sealed. Energy independence and steps away from depending on the Middle East for energy are not Nevada or South Carolina issues - they're American issues. Air quality and CO2 emissions are not Ohio or Pennsylvania issues, they are American issues.

Walking away from a $10 billion investment and starting all over because of one man's race for office in Nevada doesn't make it Harry Reid's issue or that of the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This is an American taxpayer issue, and I'd ask we make our voices heard.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Climategate Meets the Law: Senator Inhofe to Ask for DOJ Investigation

He won't be heeded immediately but it is a shot across the bow for the Warmists. There could be a new administration in 3 years' time that WILL heed the call

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) today asked the Obama administration to investigate what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation” — the actions of climate scientists revealed by the Climategate files, and the subsequent admissions by the editors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Senator Inhofe also called for former Vice President Al Gore to be called back to the Senate to testify. “In [Gore's] science fiction movie, every assertion has been rebutted,” Inhofe said. He believes Vice President Gore should defend himself and his movie before Congress.

Just prior to a hearing at 10:00 a.m. EST, Senator Inhofe released a minority staff report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which he is ranking member. Senator Inhofe is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether there has been research misconduct or criminal actions by the scientists involved, including Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

This report, obtained exclusively by Pajamas Media before today’s hearing, alleges: "[The] Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works believe the scientists involved may have violated fundamental ethical principles governing taxpayer-funded research and, in some cases, federal laws. In addition to these findings, we believe the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC -backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes".

As has been reported here at Pajamas Media over the last several months, the exposure of the Climategate files has led to a reexamination of the IPCC Assessment Reports, especially the fourth report (AR4), published in 2007. The IPCC AR4 report was named by Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson as one of the major sources of scientific support for the agency’s Endangerment Finding, the first step towards allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Since the Climategate files were released, the IPCC has been forced to retract a number of specific conclusions — such as a prediction that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 — and has been forced to confirm that the report was based in large part on reports from environmental activist groups instead of peer-reviewed scientific literature. Dr. Murari Lal, an editor of the IPCC AR4 report, admitted to the London Daily Mail that he had known the 2035 date was false, but was included in the report anyway “purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

Based on this minority staff report, Senator Inhofe will be calling for an investigation into potential research misconduct and possible criminal acts by the researchers involved. At the same time, Inhofe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen its consideration of an Endangerment Finding for carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Federal Clean Air Act, and will ask Congress to withdraw funding for further consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In requesting that the EPA reopen the Endangerment Finding, Inhofe joins with firms such as the Peabody Energy Company and several state attorneys general (such as Texas and Virginia) in objecting to the Obama administration’s attempt to extend regulatory control over carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Senator Inhofe believes this staff report “strengthens the case” for the Texas and Virginia attorneys general.

Senator Inhofe’s announcement today appears to be the first time a member of Congress has formally called for an investigation into research misconduct and potential criminal acts by the scientists involved. The staff report describes four major issues revealed by the Climategate files and the subsequent revelations:

1. The emails suggest some climate scientists were cooperating to obstruct the release of damaging information and counter-evidence.

2. They suggest scientists were manipulating the data to reach predetermined conclusions.

3. They show some climate scientists colluding to pressure journal editors not to publish work questioning the “consensus.”

4. They show that scientists involved in the report were assuming the role of climate activists attempting to influence public opinion while claiming scientific objectivity.

The report notes a number of potential legal issues raised by their Climategate investigation:

1. It suggests scientific misconduct that may violate the Shelby Amendment — requiring open access to the results of government-funded research — and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policies on scientific misconduct (which were announced December 12, 2000).

2. It notes the potential for violations of the Federal False Statements and False Claims Acts, which may have both civil and criminal penalties.

3. The report also notes the possibility of there having been an obstruction of Congress in congressional proceeds, which may constitute an obstruction of justice.

If proven, these charges could subject the scientists involved to debarment from federally funded research, and even to criminal penalties.

By naming potential criminal offenses, Senator Inhofe raises the stakes for climate scientists and others involved. Dr. Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit has already been forced to step aside because of the Climategate FOIA issues, and Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State is currently under investigation by the university for potential misconduct. Adding possible criminal charges to the mix increases the possibility that some of the people involved may choose to blow the whistle in order to protect themselves.

Senator Inhofe believes that Dr. Hansen and Dr. Mann should be “let go” from their posts “for the good of the institutions involved.”

The question, of course, is whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow this investigation to proceed, in the face of the Obama administration’s stated intention to regulate CO2 following the apparent death of cap and trade legislation. The Democratic majority has blocked previous attempts by Inhofe to investigate issues with climate science.


Senator Barbara Boxer and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Throw IPCC Under the Bus

Following the release of the Inhofe Report, Boxer claimed she was only quoting "American scientists," and Jackson reversed herself on the use of the IPCC as the "gold standard."

During the review of the Environmental Protection Agency budget in today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, both Senator Barbara Boxer — the chair of the committee — and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson distanced themselves from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Boxer and Jackson’s statements, in addition to being a striking change in policy, are problematic because U.S. climate science is very closely tied to the IPCC reports (as Christopher Horner showed in his recent PJM series on the NASA FOIA emails.)

The statements by Boxer and Jackson followed Senator Inhofe’s release in his opening statement of a minority staff report documenting many flaws in the IPCC report and the other evidence revealed in the Climategate files. Both Boxer and Jackson appeared to be trying to distance the EPA from the IPCC report. Boxer said: "In my opening statement, I didn’t quote one international scientist or IPCC report. … We are quoting the American scientific community here."

When Inhofe directly asked Jackson if she still considered the IPCC report the “gold standard,” she answered: "The primary focus of the endangerment finding was on climate threat risks in this country."

Jackson also noted: "[The errors Inhofe had presented were] international events. The information on the glaciers and other events doesn’t weaken … the evidence we considered [to make the Endangerment Finding on CO2.]"

The EPA has specifically cited the IPCC AR4 report as the primary source from which it drew information to make the Endangerment Finding on CO2 as a pollutant. In the past, the worldwide nature of the climate changes, and of the data, had been cited as one of the reasons for using the IPCC report, but now it appeared that Jackson was trying to separate the Endangerment Finding from the IPCC.

However, when Inhofe asked Jackson if she was considering asking the EPA inspector general to investigate the IPCC science, she answered: "If anything changes … certainly I would call for a review of the finding, but I haven’t seen that."


Climate Change and Open Science

In the Internet age, transparency is the foundation of trust, says the article below from the WSJ. "End of certainty on global warming" was the title of this article in the print edition of the WSJ

'Unequivocal." That's quite a claim in this skeptical era, so it's been enlightening to watch the unraveling of the absolute certainty of global warming caused by man. Now even authors of the 2007 United Nations report that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" have backed off its key assumptions and dire warnings.

Science is having its Walter Cronkite moment. Back when news was delivered by just three television networks, Walter Cronkite could end his evening broadcast by declaring, "And that's the way it is." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report likewise purported to proclaim the final word, in 3,000 pages that now turn out to be less scientific truth than political cover for sweeping economic regulations.

Equivocation has replaced "unequivocal" even among some of the scientists whose "Climategate" emails discussed how to suppress dissenting views via peer review and avoid complying with freedom-of-information requests for data.

Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia scientist at the center of the emails, last week acknowledged to the BBC that there hasn't been statistically significant warming since 1995. He said there was more warming in the medieval period, before today's allegedly man-made effects. He also said "the vast majority of climate scientists" do not believe the debate over climate change is settled. Mr. Jones continues to believe in global warming but acknowledges there's no consensus.

Some journalistic digging into the 2007 U.N. climate change report revealed that its most quoted predictions were based on dubious sources. The IPCC now admits that its prediction that the Himalayan glaciers might disappear by 2035 was a mistake, based on an inaccurate citation to the World Wildlife Foundation. This advocacy group was also the basis for a claim the IPCC has backed away from—that up to 40% of the Amazon is endangered.

The IPCC report mistakenly doubled the percentage of the Netherlands currently below sea level. John Christy, a former lead author of the IPCC report, now says the "temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change." As the case collapsed, the top U.N. climate-change bureaucrat, Yvo de Boer, announced his resignation last week.

The climate topic is important in itself, but it is also a leading indicator of how our expectation of full access to information makes us deeply skeptical when we're instead given faulty or partial information. In just three years since the report was issued, we have gone from purported unanimity among scientists to a breakdown in any consensus. Opinion polls reflect this U-turn, with growing public skepticism.

Skeptics don't doubt science—they doubt unscientific claims cloaked in the authority of science. The scientific method is a foundation of our information age, with its approach of a clearly stated hypothesis tested through a transparent process with open data, subject to review.

The IPCC report was instead crafted by scientists hand-picked by governments when leading politicians were committed to global warming. Unsurprisingly, the report claimed enough certainty to justify massive new spending and regulations.

Some in the scientific community are now trying to restore integrity to climate science. "The truth, and this is frustrating for policymakers, is that scientists' ignorance of the climate system is enormous," Mr. Christy wrote in the current issue of Nature. "There is still much messy, contentious, snail-paced and now, hopefully, transparent, work to do."

Mr. Christy also makes the good point that groupthink—technically known as "informational cascades"—is a particular risk for scientists. He proposes a Wikipedia-like approach in which scientists could openly contribute and debate theories and data in real time.

The unraveling of the case for global warming has left laymen uncertain about what to believe and whom to trust. Experts usually know more than amateurs, but increasingly they get the benefit of the doubt only if they operate openly, without political or other biases.

We need scientists who apply scientific objectivity, or the closest approximation of it, and then present their information with enough transparency that people can weigh the evidence. Instead of a group of scientists anointed by the U.N. telling us what to think, the spirit of the age is that scientists need to provide open access to information on which others can make policy decisions.

The lesson of the chill of the global-warming consensus is this: Those who want to persuade others of the truth as they see it need to make their case as transparently as possible. Technology enables access to information and leads us to expect open debates, conducted honestly and in full view. This is inconvenient for those who want to claim unequivocal truth without having the evidence. But that's the way it is.


Belief in climate change dives in Britain

PUBLIC conviction in Britain about the threat of climate change has plummeted after months of questions over the science and growing disillusionment with government action, a leading poll has found. Reports yesterday said the proportion of adults who believed climate change was "definitely" a reality dropped by 13 per cent over the past year, from 44 per cent to 31 per cent, in the latest survey by Ipsos Mori.

Overall, about nine out of 10 people questioned still appeared to accept some degree of global warming, The Guardian reported. But the steep drop in those without doubts raised fears that it would be harder to persuade the public to support actions to curb the problem, particularly higher prices for energy and other goods, the paper said.

The true level of doubt was probably underestimated because the poll questioned only 16 to 64-year-olds, it said. People over 65 were more likely to be sceptical, the researchers said. Another finding by the poll that hinted at a growing lack of public confidence was a significant drop in those who said climate change was caused by human activities, the report said. One year ago, this number was one in three, but this year just one in five people believed global warming to be man-made, pollster Edward Langley told the paper.

"It's going to be a hard sell to make people make changes to their behaviours unless there's something else in it for them -- (such as) energy efficiency measures saving money on fuel bills," he said. "It's a hard sell to tell people not to fly off for weekends away if you're not wholly convinced by the links. Even people who are (convinced) still do it."

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, told the paper that fluctuations in public opinion had prompted environment groups to rethink their approach to campaigning -- which had often focused on threats of climate disaster and making people feel guilty for their part in it. "All of us have (talked about these changes)," Mr Sauven said. "A lot of headlines have been grossly distorted, but that doesn't get away from the fact it's quite a complex issue, so we have got to talk about what is engaging and positive in terms of the response (that) can have many benefits to our society, for example energy security."

The shift in public opinion with respect to climate change comes after hackers leaked thousands of emails from a top British research facility showing that some of the world's most influential climatologists had been trying to disguise flaws in their work, blocking scrutiny and plotting together to enforce what amounted to a party line on climate change.

The poll comes after the UN's advisory group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was embarrassed by the revelation some alarming predictions about climate change contained in an influential report that it released in 2007 had little or no scientific basis. But The Guardian said evidence that these events were behind the increased public uncertainty in Britain was mixed.


World cools toward Warmists

They brought it on themselves with their fudged facts

The global-warming industry is getting several bailouts, none of which it wants. Last week, three major corporations - Conoco/Phillips, BP and Caterpillar - bailed out on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership lobbyist collaboration. Arizona bailed on the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade plan. The Utah House presumably wants to bail on WCI, too, because it overwhelmingly passed a resolution requesting the Environmental Protection Agency to bail on its planned regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Texas and Virginia also want the nation's top environmental regulator to cease and desist.

On Thursday, the Netherlands' Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, resigned. The guru of global-warming diplomacy, after a disastrous December summit in Copenhagen did not produce an international agreement on greenhouse gas reduction, favored bailing over failing. "I saw him at the airport after Copenhagen," said Jake Schmidt, a climate expert for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to Associated Press. "He was tired, worn out." The summit "clearly took a toll on him."

This followed an admission a few weeks ago by Phil Jones, former University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit director, that he had suicidal thoughts over his role in the Climategate scandal.

On behalf of climate realists everywhere, I beg: Spare us the beleaguered scientists story line. The collapse of the hollow cause they advocated, which spurred a sector bubble probably larger than the 1990s Internet craze and the last decade's real estate speculation combined, was inevitable. Billions of dollars - much of it belonging to taxpayers - were poured into climate-related research and heavily subsidized "green" ventures because of the hype.

Over the same period, global-warming skeptics (including respected scientists and policy scholars) warned repeatedly that there was no authoritative, unified view behind climate catastrophism. But rather than heeding their cautions, large news organizations (and the activist Society of Environmental Journalists) joined environmental harassment groups in marginalizing them. They equated the doubters with disbelievers of tobacco's harm, the moon landing and a spherical earth - you know, crackpots.

Had the media scrutinized the reports of the once-heralded U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rather than listening to the environoia movement, they would have discovered the fragile ceramics were on the alarmists' shelf. It has only taken a few curious bloggers and some journalists from the United Kingdom to finally scrutinize the IPCC's footnotes, which represented the purportedly rigorous scientific study that undergirded the report's conclusions.

What they found beneath the IPCC surface is an error-laden swamp of green groups' promotional materials and amateur compositions by college students instead of the "peer-reviewed" research alarmists had claimed. Climategate spurred subsequent daughter controversies that included "Glaciergate" (Himalayan ice not eroding as quickly as claimed), "Amazongate" (rain forests are suffering from logging, not climate, according to a World Wildlife Fund report) and "Africagate" (a Canadian environmentalist think tank said crop yields would be cut in half because of increasing temperatures). The barrage of revelations has prevented the Big Environment industrial-media complex from controlling the story line.

Climategate data-fudger Michael Mann, the scientist at Penn State University known for the "hockey stick" temperature chart, which rewrote history by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, last week bemoaned this new discourse on global warming. In an interview with the Web site the Benshi, he whined about "an organized, well-funded effort to discredit" the "scientific community," which he said was driven by the fossil-fuel industry. He accused climate realists of conducting "smear campaigns run against scientists for the sole purpose of discrediting them, so as to discredit the science."

Michael should Mann up. Whatever smudges appear on the reputations of warmism-promoting scientists have been applied by themselves. After all, the skeptics aren't the ones who made up, fudged or twisted data or who employed dubious and biased sources as the foundation for their predictions of calamity. And the alarmists had (and still do) a massive funding advantage, amplified by their colleagues at the major news organizations, which helped keep the messaging winds at their backs. Grammies, Oscars and Nobels were part of their rewards.

But now we have another climate bailout. Though the U.S. media is not hunting down the IPCC fallacies the way their British counterparts are, at the same time, they do not defend global-warming proponents the way they once did. They once championed the cause with vigor, but now a lot of big-city journalists have gone mute about the whole thing.

A suggestion to regain the attention: The scientists should undertake a Mark McGwire/Tiger Woods-like apology campaign. Only then can they start on the road to recovery and restore their lost reputations.


You can't please a Greenie

Environmentalists believe that Taiwanese Buddhists are upsetting the eco-system with their good intentions

The small group gathered after dark at Taipei's Tamshui river with tanks of catfish could be easily mistaken for fishermen. But reciting Buddhist prayers, they haul one tank after the other to the river's edge and tip it over, releasing the meaty, shiny fish into the black water. "May good karma come back to us," they chant at the end of the ceremony, one of hundreds that take place every year in Taiwan.

Freeing captive animals is an age-old religious tradition and is intimately linked to Buddhism, Taiwan's predominant faith, reflecting its emphasis on protecting life in all its precious forms. But the ceremony, known as "mercy release", has raised concerns as conservationists warn the practice hurts the environment and, paradoxically, often involves cruelty to animals. Many followers believe they can get better karma through freeing animals, and that it can help them overcome illness or other suffering, said Lin Pen-hsuan, a sociologist, at Taiwan's National United University.

Birds, fish, turtles, frogs, crabs, crickets and even earthworms are among a variety of animals used in the ceremonies, which have become larger and more specialised in recent years, Lin said. However, with millions of animals being released into the wild each year largely without supervision, conservationists fear the practice will inevitably do little good and much damage. "Wild birds have been captured and sold to religious groups to be 'set free' and the result has been massive injury and death," said Chen Yu-min, the director of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan. The society said that nearly 60 per cent of the bird shops it asked for a study in 2004 admitted to catching or breeding animals to cater to the vast "mercy release" market.

The island's fragile ecosystem is also endangered when huge numbers of animals are released into the wild at the same time, critics warn. "There is neither enough space nor sufficient food when hundreds of thousands of fish are released into a river or a reservoir for example. They could all end up dead and pollute the environment," Chen said. "'Mercy release' has become an organised commercial activity that puts both the animals and the environment at risk."

Such concerns prompted Taiwan's parliament to debate a bill in 2004 to ban the rituals but it fell through amid a backlash from some religious groups. So far there has been no new attempt to introduce a ban. "Mercy release is billed as a quick way to accumulate good karma and it offers a last chance, a bet on luck, for helpless people, particularly the terminally ill who find medicine useless," said sociologist Lin. "There is no loss if it doesn't work while believers think they have much to gain if it does, so they will continue to do it in the foreseeable future, even with a ban or a fine in place."

A main defender of "mercy release" is the China Preserve Life Association, which says that it unleashed more than 20 million animals in 2008 during 300 ceremonies - the vast majority being small acquatic creatures. "We Buddhists believe that all life is equal and it is our duty to protect all and not harm any. We only buy animals to save them from being killed," said Hai Tao, head of the association. "It's a good deed. Some groups choose to drop it because of the criticism but we will not turn our backs on the animals," he said.

The Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan said it angered many Buddhist groups when it started to campaign against "mercy release" in 2004, and many cut off their support. "We urge religious leaders to find alternatives to 'mercy release'. There are many ways to secure good karma such as picking up trash on the beach. That will actually ensure a cleaner environment and save lives," Chen said.



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


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A new retreat from the Warmists

These are getting frequent. Rats deserting a sinking ship again?

There appears to be another chink in the armor of manmade global warming supporters as a top science journal has withdrawn a study on sea level rise tied to global warming, after finding mistakes that undermined the projections.

The study published last year in Nature Geoscience predicted sea levels would rise by between seven and 82 centimeters by the end of the century. That backed up the U.N.'s climate change group.

Now The Guardian reports the scientists involved in the study say there are two separate technical mistakes in their research that led them to realize, "we no longer have confidence in our projections."


New Climate Agency Head Tried to Suppress Data, Critics Charge

The thug himself above

The scientist who has been put in charge of the Commerce Department's new climate change office is coming under attack from both sides of the global warming debate over his handling of what they say is contradictory scientific data related to the subject.

Thomas Karl, 58, was appointed to oversee the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center, an ambitious new office that will collect climate change data and disseminate it to businesses and communities. According to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the office will "help tackle head-on the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change. In the process, we'll discover new technologies, build new businesses and create new jobs."

Karl, who has played a pivotal role in key climate decisions over the past decade, has kept a low profile as director of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) since 1998, and he has led all of the NOAA climate services since 2009. His name surfaced numerous times in leaked "climate-gate" e-mails from the University of East Anglia, but there was little in the e-mails that tied him to playing politics with climate data. Mostly, the e-mails show he was in the center of the politics of climate change decisions

According to a school biography published by Northern Illinois University, Karl shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and other leading scientists based on his work at the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and he was "one of the 10 most influential researchers of the 1990s who have formed or changed the course of research in a given area."

His appointment was hailed by both the Sierra Club and Duke Energy Company of North Carolina. Sierra Club President Carl Pope said, "As polluters and their allies continue to try to muddy the waters around climate science, the Climate Service will provide easy, direct access to the valuable scientific research undertaken by government scientists and others." And Duke Energy CEO Jin Rogers said the new office, under Karl, will "spark the consensus we need to move forward."

But Roger Pielke Sr., a climatologist affiliated with the University of Colorado who has crossed horns with Karl in the past, says his appointment was a mistake. He accused Karl of suppressing data he submitted for the IPCC's most recent report on climate change and having a very narrow view of its causes.

The IPCC is charged with reviewing scientific data on climate change and providing policy makers and others with an assessment of current knowledge.

Pielke said he agrees that global warming is happening and that man plays a significant role in it, but he said there are many factors in addition to the release of carbon into the atmosphere that need to be studied to fully understand the phenomenon. He said he resigned from the IPCC in August 2005 because his data, and the work of numerous other scientists, were not included in its most recent report.

In his resignation letter, Pielke wrote that he had completed the assessment of current knowledge for his chapter of the report, when Karl abruptly took control of the final draft. He said the chapter he had nearly completed was then rewritten with a too-narrow focus. One of the key areas of dispute, he said, was in describing "recent regional trends in surface and tropospheric temperatures," and the impact of land use on temperatures. It is the interpretation of this data on which the intellectual basis of the idea of global warming hangs.

In an interview, Pielke reiterated that Karl "has actively opposed views different from his own." And on his Web site last week, he said Karl's appointment "assures that policy makers will continue to receive an inappropriately narrow view of our actual knowledge with respect to climate science." He said the people who run the agencies in charge of climate monitoring are too narrowly focused, and he worries that the creation of the new office "would give the same small group of people the chance to speak on the issue and exclude others" whose views might diverge from theirs.

Responding to the criticism, Karl told the Washington Post, "the literature doesn't show [Pielke's] ideas about the importance of land use are correct." Calls to The Commerce Department and to Karl's office went unanswered.

The IPCC in recent weeks has come under severe criticism after e-mails, hacked from a prestigious climate center, revealed some of the political infighting that occurred as its assessments were being put together and called into question its impartiality.

Climate change skeptics, meanwhile, say Karl's appointment was unnecessary and pulls scarce resources from more pressing needs. "The unconstitutional global warming office and its new Web site would be charged with propagandizing Americans with eco-alarmism," wrote Alex Newman of the Liberty Sentinel of Gainesville, Fla.

On the popular skeptic site "Watts Up With That," Anthony Watts called the site a "waste of more taxpayer money" and charged that it is nothing more than a "fast track press release service." He wrote that putting Karl in charge was an issue, because he had fabricated photos of "floods that didn't happen" in an earlier NOAA report.


Green Jobs Obsession Distracts from Real Economy Recovery

The American public has become familiar with many new political phrases since the start of the Obama administration: Jobs saved or created. Bending the cost curve. And, of course, green jobs. As with all political catch-phrase, Americans should be warned: what they think the term means and the actual policies advanced in its name are often very different things.

President Obama has made the creation of green jobs a centerpiece of his economic agenda. Becoming the “world leader in developing the clean energy technologies that will lead to the industries and jobs of tomorrow” is described by the Administration as “critical to the future of our country.” They are investing billions in pursuit of this goal. See here

The 2009 stimulus bill made a massive investment in “green” enterprises: a $6 billion loan guarantee program targeted to green industry, $5 billion for weatherization assistance, $11 billion for “smart grid” technology and modernized high-tech transmission lines, and $500 million to help train workers for green-related careers. The new budget doubles down with similar “green” investments: hundreds of millions for the research and development of new energy technologies, billions of tax breaks for companies investing in clean energy projects, and $74 million for initiatives to “inspire tens of thousands of young Americans to pursue a career in clean energy.”

Just what are American taxpayers getting for this investment? The Administration has struggled to quantify how many jobs were created by last summer's stimulus; identifying government-created “green jobs” is an even more difficult task. Part of the problem is defining exactly what counts as a “green job.” Employment produced by some initiatives--weatherization support and improving buildings' energy-efficiency--are almost indistinguishable from regular construction jobs. Even the money focused on producing “green” energy products, like solar panels and wind turbines, has effects that trickle far outside “green” sectors since the production process requires raw materials and transportation, which cut across the general economy.

Taxpayers should also be warned that creating a “green job” can be expensive. One report examining state and local efforts to encourage the creation of “green jobs” found that the subsidies sometimes exceed $100,000 per job created. Other analysts have pointed out that much of money targeted for “green job” creation is being sent overseas. ABC News reported that nearly 80 percent of the close to $2 billion in the stimulus bill dedicated to wind power went to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. See here

Yet the bigger question is whether it is sensible for the government to invest so heavily in wind power at all. A report by the minority of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy, entitled “Yellow Light on Green Jobs", revealed that alternative energy sources remain much more costly than traditional power. The report details:

“Comparisons of wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal sources of power coming on line by 2015 show that solar power will be 173% more expensive per unit of energy delivered that traditional coal power, 140% more than nuclear power and natural gas and 92% more expensive than wind power. Wind power is 42% more expensive than coal and 25% more expensive than nuclear and natural gas power.”

The report further explains that even this comparison overstates the total efficiency of wind and solar since they operate at full optimization only a fraction of the time, and require traditional sources of energy as backup when the sun or wind disappears.

American families used to hearing stories about dubious bank bailouts, wasteful earmarks, and new spending bills with hundred billion dollar price tags may shrug their shoulders. Yet these “green” efforts aren't just more inefficient, ineffective uses of federal money which require a few more bucks out of our paychecks. Government's meddling in the energy sector distorts the market process, rewarding some less promising technologies, while discouraging the creation of others that could truly revolutionize how we power the economy. Government has a habit of rewarding today's favored technology--at one time, corn-based ethanol; today, wind and solar. This discourages outside-of-the-box innovators since they know they won't be competing on a level playing field, but instead one that's stacked in favor of the politically connected.

Even more worrisome, policymakers know that direct government spending alone won't usher in a new “clean” economy, so they are also pursuing a more surefire path to “green” job creation-- driving up the costs of traditional energy sources either through regulation or a costly cap-and-trade system that acts as a carbon tax. Average American families will find that these policies cost them thousands of dollars as the price of everything from food to fuel rise. And while it may create additional “green” jobs, it will strangle many more traditional jobs, as businesses have to invest more on their energy costs and have less to spend on expansion and job creation.

The term “green jobs” must poll well, but in reality these costly initiatives steer money toward inefficient technologies, thwarted the market process, and ultimately act as a drag on economic growth. Instead of “green jobs,” the Administration should focus on facilitating private sector job creation by reducing how much the government meddles in the market.


Snow, Science, and Prizes

“The back-to-back snowstorms in the capital were an inconvenient meteorological phenomenon for Al Gore,” cracks The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank. The largest snowfall in DC’s recorded history unleashed a blizzard of ridicule of “global warming.” Milbank points out that the storms do not in fact disprove the various dire forecasts. Some theorists of climate change have said that a general trend of warming would be punctuated by extreme weather events, so the likes of what we have experienced this winter may not contradict that. But, as Milbank points out, climate alarmists have themselves leaned so heavily on anecdote—a glacier losing mass here, a species altering its habits there—that they have left themselves open to refutation in kind—in this case, millions upon millions of white, flaky anecdotes piling up beyond endurance all over Washington.

These crystalline messengers were not the only thing chilling climate alarmists this winter. There were also new revelations of errors in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored body whose 2007 report was widely heralded as the capstone on the global-warming debate. Now an embarrassed IPCC conceded that some of the sources on which it relied were amateurish and others were from the world of advocacy rather than scholarship. It also confessed to “typos,” notably in its assertion that the glaciers of the Himalayas were melting so fast that they might disappear entirely by 2035, a mere 25 years from now. The year should have read 2350, a not-so-mere 340 years from now, far enough into the future for many other things to intervene. And even this forecast for 2350 turned out to have been borrowed from an earlier UN study, which got it from an admittedly non-scholarly source.

This comedy of errors points to the question of why any entity that is sponsored by the UN should be taken seriously. This is the same UN whose Conference on Trade and Development taught poor nations that to escape poverty they needed to cut themselves off from any trade with or investment from rich nations. (As a result of widespread adoption of this topsy turvy advice, the developing world lost an entire generation to stagnation.) It is the same UN whose Human Rights Council categorically refuses to utter a word of reproach aimed at China or Saudi Arabia or Syria or Libya or any of the world’s most tyrannical regimes. The same UN whose oil-for-food program enabled Saddam Hussein to build new castles, stockpile weapons, and buy influence while hungry Iraqis received only food long past its expiration date. The same UN that invited Bosnian Muslims to take refuge in the “safe haven” of Srebrenica, then disarmed them, and abandoned them to their Serbian predators. The same UN whose peacekeepers in Africa exacted payment in the token of sexual favors from the women and children they were sent to protect. This is the UN on which we will rely for the last word on the fate of the Earth?

These two apotheoses of alarmism—Al Gore and the IPPC—jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. Gore also won two Academy Awards for An Inconvenient Truth, his 2006 film designed, says its director, Davis Guggenheim, to bring “everyone [to] the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message.”

The very title of Gore’s film leads us to the deepest issue here. The chief newspaper of the Soviet state was also called, Pravda (“Truth”). But those who truly seek truth know that they can never be certain they have found it. Gore, in contrast, exemplified the conceit of the alarmists that “the science is settled.” Science, however, is less a body of knowledge than a way of knowing, and one of its principles is that conclusions are always provisional, awaiting further reinforcement, refinement, or contradiction. If it’s settled, it’s not science.

Subjects that can be explored through controlled laboratory experiments tend to lend themselves to more robust conclusions. Other subjects may also be investigated in a scientific spirit, but conclusions usually must be more tentative.

Climate science, which entails the intersection of several areas of inquiries that must be explored outside a laboratory, is unlikely to yield much certainty. If Gore were more devoted to truth, he would have titled his film, A Troubling Hypothesis. This might have won no awards from Oslo or Hollywood. But it would have left him much less susceptible to the ridicule of the heavens.


Climate wars have given science bad name, say leading Australian academics

And they're right about that. Admitting that crooks have corrupted and slid past the peer review process and denouncing those crooks would be the first step to restoring the good name of science but they are not willing to go that far. In fact, by continuing to dignify fraud with the label of science they increase the damage to real science.

In any case, peer review is a very weak defence against deliberate fraud. The fact that both British and American climate researchers hid their raw data for many years was a smoking gun that alerted skeptics to the fact that fraud was going on but there is no mention of that below.

Also missing below is any mention of any scientific fact. Why? Because there ARE no facts showing man-caused global warming -- merely guesses dressed up as "models"

UNIVERSITY leaders are pressing for a public campaign to restore the intellectual and moral authority of Australian science in the wake of the climate wars. Peter Coaldrake [Best known for curbing freedom of speech at his university], chairman of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of Queensland University of Technology, told the HES yesterday he was "concerned about the way the climate change debate has flowed", and would address the role of science in the formation of public policy at his National Press Club address next week. "It worries me that this tabloid decimation of science comes at a time when we have a major national issue in terms of the number of people taking science at university,"Professor Coaldrake said.

Margaret Sheil, chief executive of the Australian Research Council, said she was deeply concerned about the backlash generated by emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, the criticisms of Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, head of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, and poor research on the rate of glacial melting in a 2007 UN report on climate change.

Professor Sheil said she feared that these black marks would spread to a "broader negative public perception" of science. "Anecdotally, we now see tabloids and talkback radio, and even some broadsheet newspapers, perpetuating these criticisms and the notion that `scientists just made stuff up'," she told the HES. "These sort of comments reflect a widespread lack of understanding of the nature of scientists and science more generally."

She urged university leaders to do more to explain the rigour of the scientific processes and peer review. "We also need to learn from the medical community to better engage with the community on these issues," she said. "The National Health and Medical Research Council, for example, has community representatives on a whole range of committees [that] build bridges and trust. Much of our collective science communication efforts are focused on engagement with science at the school level rather than the public at large."

Anna-Maria Arabia, executive director of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, called yesterday for concerted action by the funders, producers, advocates and consumers of science to "restore confidence in the scientific process and profession". Ms Arabia said scientists welcomed public debate and embraced scepticism. "In fact scientists would welcome a debate on current climate change that challenges the science with science. A scientist never regards peer-reviewed research as being beyond criticism. "But unbalanced debates pitching peer-reviewed science against opinion, anecdotal evidence or the loud voice of cashed-up lobby groups is not healthy.

"There needs to be a circuit-breaker. And the circuit-breaker is a deeper awareness of the importance of science as a discipline that is based on a time-honoured process called peer review. "Peer review allows ideas, scientific views to change, to be corrected. It allows experts to spot mistakes and omissions. Peer review allows scientists to rigorously test their ideas. It is the robust nature of this process that has given people confidence to fly in planes and feed their children nutritious food."

Ian Chubb, vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, said some populists had found it easy to denigrate science because many scientific conclusions in the field of climate change rested on a balance of probability rather than incontestable proof. "What concerns me is when you get people who are purporting to comment on the science and all they're doing is seeking to turn themselves into celebrities." he said. [The chubby one seems to think that ad hominem abuse is scholarly argument] He also scorned critics of the science who were from other disciplines. "The world can't do without science and if we denigrate it and belittle it and besmirch it by inappropriate behaviour we're in trouble," he said.

Professor Coaldrake said he was attempting to broaden the peak body's public role to include issues such as climate, immigration, ageing and open source information. In attempting to "bridge scientific knowledge, research and public policy", he was seeking a bigger public profile for "the thousands of people within our institutions with a contribution to make", he said.


Australian Labor party out on a limb as as ETS fairyland fractures

THE Rudd government stares down the gun barrel of one of the greatest policy and political retreats of the past generation that confounds its election strategy and its policy credibility.

"Cap and trade in America is dead, the idea is completely dead," Chicago-based global economist, David Hale, participant in the Australian American Leadership Dialogue and a long-time personal friend of Kevin Rudd, told The Australian this week. "The Democrats in the coal-burning states have effectively vetoed a cap-and-trade scheme and Republican gains in the mid-term congressional elections will only make it even more improbable. Cap and trade has been totally submerged in America's economic problems and unemployment near 10 per cent."

Hale says the US confronts a dual crisis of economics and governance with climate change relegated to a minority issue. "America seems crippled by the fiscal crisis," he says. "There is no remote sign of a political consensus about where we are going and my fear is that America is becoming ungovernable. The separation of powers in the US system is the real problem. It means we don't really have government policy, the way you do in Australia. We just have outcomes. There is no government control of the legislature to achieve its program. I think we are heading for some dark moments over the next few years."

Australians, unable to comprehend the scale of this sentiment, should refer to the Pew Research Centre report on the US in late January showing global warming rated the lowest priority, the last out of 21 issues, behind even moral decline, immigration, trade and lobbyists.

Only 28 per cent said global warming was a priority for the US compared with the economy, the highest rating, at 83 per cent, followed by jobs at 81 per cent. (While energy rated 49 per cent or the 11th priority in the US, this usually pertains to energy security, not cap-and-trade laws). Describing voter sentiment, the Pew Centre says: "Such a low rating is driven in part by indifference among Republicans: just 11 per cent consider global warming a top priority compared with 43 per cent of Democrats and 25 per cent of independents."

The latest decisive shift in Australian business opinion comes from the Australian Industry Group and its chief executive, Heather Ridout. "I think the political consensus on climate change both domestically and internationally is now fractured," Ridout tells The Australian. "The emissions trading scheme is on life support. Copenhagen fell well short of expectations."

The AI Group national executive meets today and Ridout's comments leave only one conclusion: the responsible path for corporate Australia is to engage with the Rudd government to find an alternative strategy. Frankly, nobody, including the Rudd government, seems cognisant of what this involves. Ridout says: "Importantly, the way forward is not clear. As an organisation we will operate on the principles that we have already outlined. We continue to believe that a market-based approach is essential. Any scheme must take into account the competitiveness of Australian industry and the current international situation only reinforces this argument."

The Rudd government is stranded without any apparent game plan on its most important first-term policy (outside its response to the global financial crisis). It is rare for a national government to face this predicament in its first term. Labor seems unable to abandon its ETS yet unable to champion its ETS; it cannot tolerate the ignominy of policy retreat yet cannot declare it will take its beliefs to a double-dissolution election; it remains pledged to its ETS yet cannot fathom how to make its ETS the law of the land. Such uncertainties are understandable, yet they are dangerously debilitating for any government. In such a rapidly shifting policy and political climate, even fallback positions risk being rendered obsolete. As Ridout says, the way forward is not clear.

In the interim, Labor's response is to launch a furious series of spins, diversions and alternatives. The list is long: it will make health the main election issue; it will be brave enough to seek a double dissolution on the private health insurance rebate; criticism of its $250 million tax break for the television networks was just a Murdoch media conspiracy; and Tony Abbott is off the planet whenever he attacks the government.

Beneath such drum beating is a government whose world view on climate change is in eclipse and whose domestic political assumptions about climate change have been broken.

As a consequence Labor has lowered, dramatically, its ETS policy profile. Its tactic is to deny Abbott's scare by playing down its ETS. Great tactics, but what's the strategy? Where does this lead? Abbott's bite may be diminished, but what happens to Rudd's credibility? For how long does Labor stop talking about the moral challenge of the age? Is the ETS the policy that dare not bear its name?

Ross Garnaut brands the present phase "the waiting game". But "the agony game" better captures Labor's plight. Garnaut calls this "awaiting the international agreement" that "provides a sound basis for international trade in entitlements". But awaiting the global conditions to make an Australian ETS viable looks like a long wait.

In strategic terms Rudd has three options. They come under the brands belief, compromise and retreat.

The belief option is to stand by the ETS and seek its passage via the deadlock provisions of the constitution at a joint sitting after a successful double-dissolution election around August-September, which approximates a full-term parliament. This is strictly for a government that believes in its policy and its powers of persuasion. Such faith is visibly draining away from Rudd Labor.

The compromise option means radical policy surgery to the ETS, such as legislating a two-year fixed carbon price of about $20 a tonne to get the scheme operational, or even a carbon tax. This is one of Garnaut's options. But it presumably requires some deal with the Greens, a fateful political step that would only create a new set of policy and electoral problems for Rudd. The truth is Labor has not recovered from last year's collapse of its parliamentary strategy of joining with the Coalition to implement its policy.

It was Abbott's election as Liberal [Party] leader that ruined Rudd's entire game plan. The retreat option equates to admitting it is too hard to legislate a policy and too dangerous to make the issue an election centrepiece. Yet saying "no, we can't" would constitute a humiliation for Rudd, making it the worst in a series of unpalatable options.



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