Sunday, April 04, 2010

The week that was

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

One of the remarkable changes over the past few months is the extent to which public skepticism of global warming science has grown. The sloppiness and gross errors of the IPCC reports have been far more widely reported in Europe than in the US and some of the strongest advocates of human-caused global warming are backing down from their prior positions. Various opinion surveys reflect this change.

Perhaps, even a better indication of the change than opinion polls is a major change in editorial policy of various newspapers that previously accepted human-caused global warming unquestionably. One newspaper that has undergone a major shift is the German, Der Spiegel. The online version now carries an eight-part series entitled “A Superstorm for Global Warming Research.”

However, politicians and bureaucrats still act as if nothing has happened. No doubt it will take some time, and voter anger, before these politicians and bureaucrats realize what is happening. The arrogance they exhibit is staggering. The British Prime Minister is now attempting to develop a scheme whereby western nations send $100 Billion a year to third - world dictators so they will do what many of them do best – suppress the economic opportunities of their citizens.

In other news, President Obama announced a plan for off-shore drilling on the southeastern US continental shelf. After initial praise, some commentators began to express concern. Prior to this administration assuming power, most bans on drilling had been removed. The new plan bans drilling off the coasts of western US and much of Alaska. It also delays drilling off Virginia and other states that desire to permit drilling. A recent action by the Interior Department to place greater regulations on drilling in the Rocky Mountains should give many enthusiasts of off-shore drilling pause. Similar actions for off-shore drilling may be in store one or two years from now.

The EPA continues to move forward in its efforts to control the American economy. It has unilaterally announced increased automobile mileage standards, citing its finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare gives it the power to do so. If this is not rigorously contested, no doubt EPA will aggressively move into other areas.

On Thursday, EPA released two “scientific reports” claiming they show that mountain top removal for coal mining destroys water quality in the regions where such mining activities take place. The same day, EPA announced new guidelines for issuing permits for such activities. Mountain top removal is a contentious issue. But the EPA actions were done in secret and there was no opportunity for public comment on the reports or the guidelines. Apparently, EPA confuses transparency with opaqueness.

Global Warming Science: In the past two TWTW’s it was pointed out that IPCC’s claim that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the principal driver of global warming rests on two crucial assumptions. The first assumption is that the three datasets used to calculate average global surface-air temperatures have been rigorously maintained. Climategate, the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis, the work of Joseph D’Aleo, Anthony Watts, et al, revealed that this critical assumption is false. Hadley-CRU, NOAA-NCDC, and NASA-GISS have failed to rigorously maintain their datasets. It is likely that the datasets contain a significant warming bias of an unknown magnitude.

The second assumption required for IPCC’s claim is that the IPCC has a virtually complete understanding of the natural causes of temperature change. The failure of the earth to warm over the past ten years even as carbon dioxide emissions increased demonstrates the failure of this assumption.

Figure SPM-2 in the Technical Summary for Policymakers of IPCC’s Assessment Report 4 (2007) shows the natural and human forcings on climate considered by the IPCC. There is only one natural warming influence considered – changes in solar irradiance. There are three major human warming influences considered (for purposes here, cooling influences are ignored). The human warming influences are carbon dioxide emissions, other greenhouse gases, and tropospheric ozone. The sum of the coefficients given to the human warming influences is 25 times that of the coefficient for the only natural warming influence considered. With calculated human warming influence 25 times that of natural warming influence, no wonder the IPCC considers it necessary to bury the Medieval Warm Period.

Also, Figure SPM-1 in the same report gives changes in greenhouse gases from ice cores over the past 10,000 years. It shows gradual rise since 5,000 years ago and exponential increase over the last century. When comparing this with temperatures from Greenland ice cores for the past 10,000 years [Figure 2.B, NIPCC 2008 p. 4] one realizes that changes in greenhouse cases cannot begin to explain past changes in temperatures.

An upcoming TWTW will discuss how the IPCC reports dismiss the physical evidence showing significant changes in temperatures over the past 10,000 years.

ClimateGate Whitewash

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

There is now a desperate effort afoot by assorted climate alarmists to explain away the revelations of the incriminating e-mails leaked last year from the University of East Anglia (UAE). But the ongoing investigations so far have avoided the real problem, namely whether the reported warming is genuine or simply the manufactured result of manipulation of temperature data by scientists in England and the United States.

The latest report is by the British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, which largely absolved Philip Jones, head of UEA’s Climate Research Unit and author of most of the e-mails. How can we tell that it’s a whitewash? Here are some telltale signs:

* It refers to the e-mails as “stolen”

* It did not take direct testimony from scientifically competent skeptics

* Yet it derives the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with the basic science and that warming is human caused – essentially endorsing the IPCC

None of the investigations have gone into any detail on how the data might have been manipulated. But this is really the most important task for any investigation, since it deals directly with the central issue: Is there an appreciable human influence on climate change in the past decades?

Instead, much of the attention of newspapers, and of the public, has focused on secondary issues: the melting of Himalayan glaciers, the possible inundation of the Netherlands, deforestation of the Amazon, crop failures in Africa, etc. While these issues demonstrate the sloppiness of the IPCC process, they don’t tell anything about the cause of the warming: natural or anthropogenic.

So what do the e-mails really reveal? We know that Jones and his gang tried and largely succeeded in “hiding the decline" of temperature by using what he termed “Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick.” Most people think it refers to CRU tree ring data after 1960, which do show a decline in temperature. However, I believe that it refers to Michael Mann’s “trick” in hiding the fact that his multi-proxy data did not show the expected warming after 1979. So he abruptly cut off his analysis in 1979 and simply inserted the thermometer data supplied by Jones, which do claim a strong temperature increase. Hence the hockey-stick, suggesting a sudden major warming during the past century.

Only a thorough scientific investigation will be able to document that there was no strong warming after 1979, that the instrumented warming record is based on data manipulation, involving the selection of certain weather stations, [and the de-selection of others that showed no warming], plus applying insufficient corrections for local heating.

SCIENCE EDITORIAL #10-2010 (April 3, 2010)

An important press release

(To resize the type, hold down CTRL and move the wheel on your wheelmouse)

(Zermatt is a Swiss ski resort near the famous and formidable Matterhorn. It is not for the poor)

The voice of the fanatic: Greenpeace issues barely-veiled threats of violence

The excerpt below is from the Greenpeace official blog. The "peace" in Greenpeace seems to have vanished

Pressuring politicians on climate change is not working. We saw that in Copenhagen. Three months later, we also know why. Which is why the global climate movement now must do course-correction. We need to shift targets and go after the real termites that hollowed out and imploded Copenhagen.

Not Barosso, Obama or Wen Jiabao, but the real obstacles to the climate deal this planet deserves and demands. The oil and gas mafia running loose in New Delhi. The coal magnates that have Canberra by the short and curlies. The petrochemical giants that have placed a firm jackboot on the EU's throat. The fossil fools and nuclear lobbyists that have Washington DC on speed-dial.

We need to hit them where it hurts most, by any means necessary: through the power of our votes, our taxes, our wallets, and more.

We need to be inclusive. We need to join forces with those within the climate movement that are taking direct action to disrupt the CO2 supply chain. We need to embrace the conservatives too, the ones that choose scientific rigour and court injunctions as their weapons.

And we need to inspire, engage and empower everyone in between... from the AirPlotters stopping the expansion of Heathrow by purchasing bits of the proposed runway to the volunteer activists that have been making life hell for fossil fuel lobbyists in the US.

Finally, we need to prove repeatedly, consistently, doggedly, that our alternative vision of a world that runs on clean energy isn’t just a prototype, it’s already in production.

Emerging battle-bruised from the disaster zone of Copenhagen, but ever-hopeful, a rider on horseback brought news of darkness and light: "The politicians have failed. Now it's up to us. We must break the law to make the laws we need: laws that are supposed to protect society, and protect our future. Until our laws do that, screw being climate lobbyists. Screw being climate activists. It's not working. We need an army of climate outlaws."

The proper channels have failed. It's time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism.

If you're one of those who believe that this is not just necessary but also possible, speak to us. Let's talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.

If you're one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

And we be many, but you be few.


Greenies ignore the science and concentrate on personalities -- as usual

Donations to skeptics are a fleabite compared to what governments give Warmists. No mention of WHICH "misleading" statements have been circulated under the aegis of their latest boogeyman

A Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil company as the paymaster of global warming sceptics in the US and Europe.

The environmental campaign group accuses Kansas-based Koch Industries, which owns refineries and operates oil pipelines, of funding 35 conservative and libertarian groups, as well as more than 20 congressmen and senators. Between them, Greenpeace says, these groups and individuals have spread misinformation about climate science and led a sustained assault on climate scientists and green alternatives to fossil fuels.

Greenpeace says that Koch Industries donated nearly $48m (£31.8m) to climate opposition groups between 1997-2008. From 2005-2008, it donated $25m to groups opposed to climate change, nearly three times as much as higher-profile funders that time such as oil company ExxonMobil. Koch also spent $5.7m on political campaigns and $37m on direct lobbying to support fossil fuels.

In a hard-hitting report, which appears to confirm environmentalists' suspicions that there is a well-funded opposition to the science of climate change, Greenpeace accuses the funded groups of "spreading inaccurate and misleading information" about climate science and clean energy companies.

"The company's network of lobbyists, former executives and organisations has created a forceful stream of misinformation that Koch-funded entities produce and disseminate. The propaganda is then replicated, repackaged and echoed many times throughout the Koch-funded web of political front groups and thinktanks," said Greenpeace.

"Koch industries is playing a quiet but dominant role in the global warming debate. This private, out-of-sight corporation has become a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition. On repeated occasions organisations funded by Koch foundations have led the assault on climate science and scientists, 'green jobs', renewable energy and climate policy progress," it says.

The groups include many of the best-known conservative thinktanks in the US, like Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Foundation for research on economics and the environment. All have been involved in "spinning" the "climategate" story or are at the forefront of the anti-global warming debate, says Greenpeace.

Koch Industries is a $100bn-a-year conglomerate dominated by petroleum and chemical interests, with operations in nearly 60 countries and 70,000 employees. It owns refineries which process more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day in the US, as well as a refinery in Holland. It has held leases on the heavily polluting tar-sand fields of Alberta, Canada and has interests in coal, oil exploration, chemicals, forestry, and pipelines.

The majority of the group's assets are owned and controlled by Charles and David Koch, two of the four sons of the company's founder. They have been identified by Forbes magazine as the joint ninth richest Americans and the 19th richest men in the world, each worth between $14-16bn.

Koch has also contributed money to politicians, the report said, listing 17 Republicans and four Democrats whose campaign funds got more than $10,000from the company.

Greenpeace accuses the Koch companies of having a notorious environmental record. In 2000 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined Koch industries $30m for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than 3m gallons of crude oil leaking intro ponds, lakes and coastal waters.

"The combination of foundation-funded front groups, big lobbying budgets, political action campaign donations and direct campaign contributions makes Koch Industries and the Koch brothers among the most formidable obstacles to advancing clean energy and climate policy in the US," Greenpeace said.

A spokeswoman for Koch Industries today defended the group's track record on environmental issues. "Koch companies have consistently found innovative and cost-effective ways to ensure sound environmental stewardship and further reduce waste and emissions of greenhouse gases associated with their operations and products," said a statement sent to AFP by Melissa Cohlmia, director of communication. She added: "Based on this experience, we support open, science-based dialogue about climate change and the likely effects of proposed energy policies on the global economy."


The idiocy of running your car on corn

'Big Corn' is in bed with the Greenies

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to dump more corn into your fuel tank this summer, and it's going to cost more than you think.

The agency is expected to approve a request from 52 ethanol producers known collectively as "Growth Energy" to boost existing requirements that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent. The change means billions more in government subsidies for companies in the business of growing corn and converting it into ethanol. For the rest of us, it means significantly higher gasoline and food prices.

It's time that this shameless corporate welfare gets plowed under.

In 2007, members of Congress joined with the Bush administration in mandating by government fiat the annual sale of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. To meet the ambitious sales targets, the EPA has little choice but to approve the 15 percent ethanol fuel blend. Big Corn's advocates claim that forcing Americans to use this renewable fuel would reduce dependency on Mideast oil and lead to cleaner air. It's just as likely, however, that they want to get their hands on the $16 billion a year from the 45-cent-per-gallon "blender's tax credit" - in addition to the various state and federal mandates giving us no choice but to pump their pricey product into our fuel tanks.

The benefits are overstated. According to the EPA, reduction in foreign imports will result in $3.7 billion in "energy security benefits" at the expense of $18 billion in increased fuel costs by 2022. Environmental testing has proved inconclusive, as certain types of pollutants increase when ethanol content increases. It should be noted that the EPA's track record on "environmental" gasoline additives includes Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), a possible carcinogen whose once-mandated use has contaminated groundwater across the country.

Ethanol's environmental credentials are further weakened by its inefficiency as a fuel. Higher ethanol concentration will reduce the gas mileage of America's cars across the board by 5.3 percent. In addition to the pain that adds at the pump, repair bills will mount when engines not designed to handle 15 percent ethanol run lean and suffer increased wear and misfires. Because vehicle warranties specifically exclude damage from the use of unapproved fuels, the additional price for this boondoggle will fall on drivers.

The same problem hits gas stations where pumps and underground storage tanks are not certified for use with elevated ethanol levels. The cost of replacing perfectly good equipment will, once again, be passed on to the consumer.

Even those who do not own automobiles will begin to feel the pinch as more and more farm land is shifted towards taking advantage of government-subsidized ethanol production instead of food. Groups as diverse as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Chicken Council and the American Meat Institute realize that this policy is distorting the market for food prices.

According to the University of Missouri's Farm and Policy Research Institute, the ethanol tax credit increases corn prices by 18 cents a barrel, wheat by 15 cents and soybeans by 28 cents. That means higher prices for most food items at the grocery store and restaurants.

There simply is no justification - environmental or otherwise - for this interventionist scheme. With the economy reeling, consumers can no longer afford to bankroll the politically connected agricultural lobby. The EPA should reject the 15 percent ethanol requirement and Congress should send Big Corn's rent seekers elsewhere with the repeal of all ethanol subsidies.



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


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