Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gross climate fraud in Australia again

Look at the raw data (jagged blue line) in the second graph below and what you see is essentially a picture of random fluctuations. Amid such large fluctuations, a tiny overall trend is meaningless. And if industrialization has caused what warming there is, how come temperatures were so high in the early decades of the 20th century? Most people rode horses in that era

Retired school principal Kenskingdom was alarmed by this Bureau of Meterology graph, showing a strong warming trend for Victoria:


He checked the data from which the trend, and found it had first been adjusted and turned into “high quality” data. As a BOM spokesman assured him:
On the issue of adjustments you find that these have a near zero impact on the all Australian temperature because these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network (as would be expected given they are adjustments for random station changes).

Actually, no, though. You see, Kenskingdom discovered that the adjustments served to exaggerate Victoria’s warming remarkably:


Kenskingdom goes through the individual stations for you and concludes:

There is a distinct warming trend in Victoria since the 1960s, which has been especially marked in the last 15 years. The first half of the record shows a cooling trend.  BOM’s adjustments have attempted to remove this. 2007, not 2009, was the warmest year in the past 100 years.

Three stations identified as urban in 1996 have been included. Many stations’ data have been arbitrarily adjusted to cool earlier years. Only one station has had its trend reduced.  Two are essentially unchanged. Ten of Victoria’s 13 stations have been adjusted to increase the warming trend, to the extent that there is a warming bias of at least 133%, more likely 143%.

These adjustments, and the Australian temperature record to which they contribute, are plainly not to be trusted. 


Solar Ovens Prove Greenhouse Gas Theory is cooked

By John O'Sullivan

An American university study of solar ovens has produced a surprising result: a challenge to the global warming theory.

Brigham Young University (BYU) Professor Steven E. Jones of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and his student, Jenni Christensen Currit, have conducted experiments that prove that solar ovens are not just a cheap and reliable way of ‘free energy’ cooking but are also useful tools for disputing theories that the planet is in danger of any runaway catastrophic warming due to fossil fuel emissions.

Their study entitled, ‘Solar Cookers for Developing Countries’ shows that the predicted harmful back radiation effect defined by the greenhouse gas theory (GHG), whereby carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is supposedly responsible for re-radiating heat energy (repeatedly up and down as if under a blanket) doesn’t exist in the real world.

The finding challenges the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and certain world governments who have premised trillion-dollar cap-and-trade tax policies on fears that catastrophic global warming may ensue if levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to rise.

Cooling or Warming: Ovens Satisfy Laws of Thermodynamics

Remarkably, the researchers tested solar ovens not just as cookers but also for their potential to cool food and water both day and night. All solar cookers tested proved highly successful at cooling both day and night as long as they were carefully aimed.

The paper explains, "If at night the temperature was within 6 °C or 10°F of freezing, nighttime cooling could be used to create ice. Previous tests at BYU (in the autumn and with less water) achieved ice formation by 8 a.m. when the minimum ambient night-time temperature was about 48 °F."

Brigham Young proved that solar ovens will produce ice when the ambient air temp is +6 deg C. Currit reports that this occurs when solar cookers are, "aimed away from buildings, and trees.”

It is proof of a cooling effect that appears to contradict the so-called re-radiation properties of carbon dioxide; if CO2 does cause warming it isn’t showing up in these tests. This is because if back radiation was actually reaching the Earth, solar ovens would produce heating at night. But clearly they are not. The findings are set to become a hot topic in the ongoing global warming debate.

The report finds that cooling must be occurring, “ because all bodies emit thermal radiation by virtue of their temperature. So the heat should be radiated outward.” This is in accordance, says the study, with, “ the second law of thermodynamics which states that heat will flow naturally from a hot object to a cold object.”

Less Cooling Noted During Day Time

However, it was found there existed a discrepancy between the night time and daytime effectiveness of oven cooling.

Currit explains why; “One possible reason that daytime cooling was not greater has to do with the different types of solar radiation. There are two kinds of solar radiation; direct and diffuse. Direct radiation is the portion of light that appears to come straight from the Sun. Only direct radiation can be focused. Diffuse radiation is sunlight that appears to come from all over the sky.”

Thereby, indirect atmospheric radiation is so weak that the so-called intensifying ‘greenhouse effect’ cannot practically occur in the real world. This accord with the Stephan-Boltzmann Law that affirms "Objects that absorb energy will increase in temperature and radiate all the energy it absorbed"

Most likely, our planet has successfully operated this cooling mechanism for billions of years. Thus, it is more conceivable that atmospheric gases are nature’s coolants.

No Evidence of any Back Radiation Effect

It is this failure by the BYU test thermometers to detect any warming effect that suggests so-called back radiation from CO2 isn’t happening, contrary to the predictions of government climatologists.

It was this feared back-radiation effect that certain western governments had predicted was the greatest danger for our planet's future. Alongside the mainstream media, politicians have touted runaway global warming as a consequence of further human emissions of GHG. The solution proposed by environmental lobbyists was to levy taxes to help cut fossil fuel emissions from increased worldwide industrial production and our modern way of living.

But without evidence of physically provable back-radiation the greenhouse effect appears to be in question, and the need for tax hikes is likewise questionable.

Tombstone Evidence Supports University Results

But there is more evidence to support the Brigham Young findings and its data coming from weather station evidence at Tombstone, in the desert of southern Arizona, southeast of Tucson where NOAA has moved its measuring apparatus in 1970.

The year is significant, as explained below, because it allows us to observe the difference of this station’s historical temperature record by observing the effects made on it between the older and newer sites and pre- and post-1970.

The date 1970 matters because IPCC climate models only require the addition of anthropogenic CO2 after 1970 – prior to that the warming is explained with natural forcings.

Thus, if the greenhouse gas theory holds true then the effect of increasing CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the desert should be most noticeable at night when the Earth is radiating heat.

But if we compare graphs found here of the station data for pre- and post-1970 it tells us, contrary to predictions, that there has been no warming in the Tombstone minimum temperature during the “CO2 era”.

Greenhouse Gas Skeptics Vindicated

Theorists skeptical of the GHG theory argue that such evidence shows that greenhouse gases have no obvious and measurable impact on temperatures. They say the sky and upper atmosphere will always be at a lower temperature so that heat will, in turn, always be readily transferred away from the warmer ground (and solar oven) to the cooler sky, which possesses an average high-atmosphere temperature of approximately -20 °C.

A growing number of scientists are critical of the GHG theory, most notably recently have been Dr. Richard F. Yanda, Alan Siddons and Heinz Thieme. While over 130 German scientists have declared that global warming has become a “pseudo religion” and rising CO2 has “had no measurable effect” on temperatures. Siddons believes the GHG theory is disproved because, " Re-radiated energy is neither reflected nor absorbed by a surface."

Thus the Brigham Young experiments have inadvertently added weight to the debate proving that any heat created, just like the cooking vessel, will always be radiated from Earth to the outer atmosphere and then to space because of this unique cooling property of ‘greenhouse’ gases.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Do IR-Absorbing Gases Warm or Cool the Earth's Surface?

By Charles R. Anderson, a materials physicist

I have just finished reading an excellent article by Alan Siddons called The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory on American Thinker from way back on 25 February 2010. The article is a little slow in developing, but finishes with a death blow to the usual theory put forth by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming advocates. I intend to explain more concisely what Siddons explained and to add comments of my own in this post which make the deathblow much more gory.

First of all, I am going to enlarge the context of the discussion. The primary source of heat for the surface of the Earth is the radiant energy of the sun. The solar wind of the sun, materials dumped into the atmosphere from space, heat from the deep interior of the earth, and the interplay of changes in the Earth's magnetic field and the sun's magnetic field are also contributors of heat, though the sum of these is much less than that from the sun's radiant energy spectrum of ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infra-red (IR) light. The entire catastrophic greenhouse gas hypothesis ignores effects upon the incident IR portion of this spectrum of light from the sun. This is foolish.

UV light is 11% of the radiant energy from the sun. The UV light variance of 0.5 to 0.8% with the solar cycle is much larger than is the visible light variance of 0.22%. UV light is absorbed throughout the atmosphere, but much still reaches the ground and is absorbed there. The amount of UV radiation absorbed in the upper atmosphere is highly dependent upon the amount of ozone there. The amount of ozone is said variously to be dependent upon the solar wind, CFCs, water vapor, and volcanic activity. When UV light is more absorbed in the stratosphere than the ground, its surface warming effect is diminished. The absorbed energy is re-emitted as IR radiation and much of that energy is quickly lost to space.

The entire atmosphere is transparent to visible light which is the form of 44% of the radiant energy from the sun, so aside from reflection from clouds and aerosol particles, the visible light reaches the ground or oceans and warms them near their surfaces.

Finally, the IR radiation is not absorbed by nitrogen, oxygen, and argon gases which make up 99% of the atmosphere, so a large fraction of it directly warms the Earth's surface. Some, is absorbed by the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor, and small amounts are absorbed by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The incoming IR radiation absorbed in the atmosphere is less effective in warming the Earth's surface than is that which is absorbed by the Earth's surface directly. This is because some this energy absorbed in the atmosphere then is radiated again in the form of IR radiation, but now half or more of that is directed out to space. In other words, more water vapor and CO2 in the atmosphere results in a less effective warming of the surface than does less of these gases with respect to the incoming IR energy from the sun. The greenhouse gases have a cooling effect on the original solar radiance spectrum for the 45% of the solar energy in the form of IR.

In each case, whether UV, visible light, or IR, not all of the radiation of that form striking the Earth's surface is absorbed. Some fraction is reflected and the fraction is very dependent on whether the ground is covered with snow, plowed earth, grasses, forests, crops, black top, or water. There are two real ways that man does have some effect on the Earth's temperature. He changes the surface of the earth over a fraction of the 30% of its surface which is land. He also converts fossil and biomass fuels into heat. Compared to the overall natural effects, these man-made effects are small, yet they are probably large compared to the effect of his adding CO2 and methane to the atmosphere.

Wherever the atmosphere is heated, there is transfer of heat. In the outer, very low density atmosphere, the primary means of heat transfer is radiant transfer by IR emission from an energetic molecule or atom, since collisions of molecules and atoms for direct energy transfer are rare. In the denser atmosphere, most energy transfer is due to collisions and the convective flow of masses of warmed air. Near the Earth's surface, almost all of the energy lost by the warmed surface is due to gas molecules striking the surface and picking up heat and then colliding with other molecules to transfer heat from one to another. Once a body of air is so heated, then masses of warmed molecules are transported upward into the cooler atmosphere at higher altitudes or laterally toward cooler surface areas by convection. Any warmed molecule, most of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon will radiate IR radiation. However, no molecule or atom at a low temperature such as that near the Earth's surface is a very effective energy radiator, since the Stephan-Boltzmann equation depends upon the fourth power of the absolute temperature, which commonly near the Earth's surface is about 290K. Thus, gas molecule collisions and convection are the very dominant means of heat transfer. These processes on balance cool the surface of the Earth and redistribute some of the heat back into the upper atmosphere and cooler places such as those shaded from the sun or the arctic regions.

The favorite claim of the catastrophic greenhouse gas global warming people is that an increase of carbon dioxide and methane gas in the atmosphere will cause energy radiated into the atmosphere from the ground to be absorbed by these molecules and they will radiate half of it back toward the ground, where that energy will warm the surface again and reduce the cooling due to the ground originally radiating that heat into the atmosphere. According to Alan Siddons, less than 1% of the cooling of the Earth's surface is due to IR emission of the surface or the gases near the surface. More than 99% is due to direct contact and convection according to Siddons. Ian Tulloch informs me that at night the IR cooling may increase to as much as 20%, so future improvements may require a more informed average value. For the moment, let us consider an average value of about 10% to be more conservative.

Since the dominant source of energy warming the surface of the Earth is the sun, let us do a simple calculation based upon the facts presented above. Let us say that greenhouse gases absorb a fraction f of the incoming IR radiation from the sun, which is 45% of the sun's incoming energy. Thus the energy absorbed by greenhouse gases from the incoming spectrum of solar energy is 0.45f and a fraction of this, say k is radiated back into space without coming near the surface. NASA says k is 0.5, but it is actually slightly larger than that given that much of this absorption occurs at appreciable altitudes. The total cooling due to greenhouse gases, somewhere in the atmosphere, is now 0.45fk. Of this energy, had it become incident upon the surface as IR radiation, a part would have been reflected rather than absorbed. The fraction that would have been absorbed at the surface if it had not been absorbed by IR-absorbing gases is q. The net energy then lost to the warming of the surface is then 0.45fkq.

Now, let us suppose that a fraction g of the total energy from the sun is absorbed in the Earth's surface or in the very lower part of the atmosphere. We know that g is a larger fraction of 1 than is f, since most of the solar radiation does reach the ground, including that part in the IR part of the spectrum. Of the energy g absorbed in the surface, only 0.01 times it is emitted as IR radiation according to Siddons, but to be conservative as discussed above, let us be generous and peg this at an average value of 0.1. Since the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere is unchanged the amount of outgoing radiation, serving to cool the surface, is now 0.1gf. A fraction j of this energy will be emitted by the IR warmed greenhouse gas molecules back toward the ground. NASA has said this fraction is 0.5. Let us then say j is about 0.5. The greenhouse gas warming of the surface due to absorbing IR radiation from the ground would then be about 0.05gfq, where q is the fraction of back-reflected IR radiation that was incident upon the surface and absorbed. Remember that some radiation is reflected.

There is another term for the IR radiation which is reflected from the surface without having been absorbed in the surface. The fraction of the incoming IR radiation reflected from the surface is (1-q) and the fraction of the total incoming energy from the sun that was initially IR radiation was 0.45. The total of initial incoming solar radiation reflected from the surface is then 0.45(1-q). Of this outgoing reflected IR radiation, a fraction f is absorbed by IR-absorbing gases as was the case of initial incoming IR radiation from the sun. Of the gas-absorbed IR radiation reflected from the surface, half is re-emitted toward the surface and a fraction q of that is absorbed by the surface. The result is that this reflected IR contribution to warming the atmosphere closer to the surface is 0.225(1-q)fq.

Now we will compare the greenhouse gas cooling effect upon the incoming solar radiation of 0.45fkq to the re-warming of the surface due to 0.005gfq times the total solar radiant energy and the reflected IR contribution of energy re-directed to the surface from IR-absorbing gases. The ratio of the warming terms to the cooling term is:

(0.05gfq + 0.225(1-q)fq) / 0.45fkq

= 0.11g/k + 0.5(1-q)/k

Now let us consider the approximate size of these terms.

* k is slightly more than 0.5, while g is the surface absorptivity for the entire solar spectrum and is likely to be between 0.7 and 0.9, so 0.11g/k is about 0.07.

* q is likely to be nearly equal to the total solar absorption fraction at the ground, though it is specifically the IR ground absorption fraction. (1-q) is surely less than 0.5 and is likely to be about 0.2. Taking k equal to 0.5, 0.5(1-q)/k is about 0.2

* Thus the net warming effect of greenhouse gases is smaller than the cooling effect, since surface heating is about 0.07 + 0.2 = 0.27 times the greenhouse cooling effect in the atmosphere, mostly removed from effect transfer of energy to the ground.

In sum, using a simple calculation we can approximate the effect of greenhouse gases on the surface temperature of the Earth. It turns out that the cooling effect due to keeping incoming solar IR radiation away from the surface is about 3.7 times the re-heating effect due to so-called greenhouse gases. Now, if the effect were very large in either case, this might be cause for concern. We would likely be better off heating the surface of the planet than cooling it. But, then we are heating with land use changes and the release of energy from fossil fuels, so the generation of cooling CO2 may simply be compensating for these other small effects. Another cooling effect is particulates and aerosols. Much more important to this issue than CO2 and methane IR-absorbing gases is water vapor in any case. So, most of this net cooling effect is due to water vapor and only a small part is due to CO2 and methane.

Now, of course so much is going on here that this calculation is but an indicator of the likely net effect of greenhouse gases. A more careful calculation would consider the different weight of IR frequencies in the original spectrum of the sun and in the Earth surface emission spectrum. But, any changes due to these secondary issues are likely to be small. In any case, this calculation makes mincemeat of the usual simple rationale for greenhouse gas warming alarmism which fails to consider a number of aspects of this simple calculation.

It is insane to focus only on the outgoing IR radiation due to light absorbed in the Earth's surface while ignoring the large part of the sun's total incident radiation which is IR from the get-go. It is also insane to ignore gas collisions and convection currents as mechanisms for heat transfer. The fact that IR absorbed from the incoming solar spectrum occurs higher in the atmosphere and the energy cannot be as effectively transported to the lower atmosphere or even worse to the ground is very important. But, convection and gas molecular collisions can take the energy of the ground and transport it to higher altitudes to replace air cooled by radiating IR energy out into space. This means that the most important warming effect on the surface is that radiation absorbed by the surface upon the incidence of the radiation. Additions of IR-absorbing gases just mean that more energy of the solar spectrum is deposited somewhere in the atmosphere rather than in the ground. This results in a net cooling effect.

I have sometimes used the greenhouse gas term in the presently conventional way, but in reality, all gases when warm radiate IR energy and as pointed out by Alan Siddons, they are all really greenhouse gases. But, here I used the term only for those gases that absorb IR energy.


Laugh Riot: 190-year climate 'tipping point' issued -- Despite fact that UN began 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' in 1989!

Once again, the world is being warned of a climate “tipping point.” The latest bout of stern warnings comes from a survey of 14 climate "experts."

Get ready, we only have 190 years! Scientists 'expect climate tipping point' by 2200 - UK Independent - June 28, 2010 - Excerpt: "13 of the 14 experts said that the probability of reaching a tipping point (by 2200) was greater than 50 per cent, and 10 said that the chances were 75 per cent or more."

Such silliness. It's difficult to keep up whether it is hours, days, months or 1000 years. Here are few recent examples of others predicting climate "tipping points" of various durations.

HOURS: Flashback March 2009: 'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster -- Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

Days: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK's Gordon Brown warns of global warming 'catastrophe'; Only '50 days to save world'

Months: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

Years: Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: 'Five years to save world'

Millennium: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out'

It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate "tipping point" we can rely is this one:

Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: 'It's All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years' (He wasn't Optimistic enough -- it only took 3 years!)

Inconvenient History of Climate 'Tipping Point' Warnings

As early as 1989, the UN was already trying to sell their “tipping point” rhetoric on the public. See: U.N. Warning of 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' Began in 1989 – Excerpt: According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. According to the 1989 article, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of 'eco-refugees,' threatening political chaos.” (LINK) & (LINK)

NASA scientist James Hansen has been warning of a “tipping point” for years now. See: Earth's Climate Approaches Dangerous Tipping Point – June 1, 2007 – Excerpt: A stern warning that global warming is nearing an irreversible tipping point was issued today” by James Hansen.

Former Vice President Al Gore invented his own “tipping point” clock a few years ago. Excerpt: Former Vice-President Al Gore came to Washington on July 17, 2008, to deliver yet another speech warning of the “climate crisis.” “The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis,” Gore stated.

Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009. Excerpt: The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world. And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the "age of convenience" was over.

'World has only ten years to control global warming, warns Met Office - UK Telegraph – November 15, 2009

Excerpt: Pollution needs to be brought under control within ten years to stop runaway climate change, according to the latest Met Office predictions. [...] "To limit global mean temperature [increases] to below 2C, implied emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere at the end of the century fall close to zero in most cases."

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon further shortened the "tipping point" in August 2009, when he warned of 'incalculable' suffering without climate deal in December 2009!

Newsweek magazine waded into the tipping point claims as well. Newsweek wrote: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality." But, Newsweek's "tipping point" quote appeared in a April 28, 1975 article about global cooling! Same rhetoric, different eco-scare.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Consensuses past and present

Looking back, it turns out that a lot of scientific consensuses were wrong.

One consensus that lasted over 100 years is that stomach ulcers could not be caused by bacterial infection because the stomach was too acid for bacteria to live there. They underestimated Helicobacter pylori. For years, lots of people had drastic surgery for no good reason. Ulcers are now normally treated by antibiotics -- JR

Last week, the prestigious journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published an article that tried to assess the relative credibility of climate scientists who “support the tenets of anthropogenic climate change” versus those who do not. One goal of the study is to “provide an independent assessment of level of scientific consensus concerning anthropogenic climate change.” The researchers found that 97–98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field are convinced of man-made climate change.

In addition, using publication and citation data, the study found that the few climate change dissenters are far less scientifically prominent than convinced researchers. The article concludes, “This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change.” Translation: reporters, politicians, and citizens should stop listening to climate change skeptics.

Naturally, there has been some pushback against the article. For example, Georgia Institute of Technology climatologist Judith Curry who was not pigeonholed in the study told ScienceInsider, “This is a completely unconvincing analysis.” One of the chief objections to the findings is that peer review is stacked in favor of the consensus view, locking skeptics out of publishing in major scientific journals. John Christy, a prominent climate change researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is skeptical of catastrophic claims, asserted that because of “the tight interdependency between funding, reviewers, popularity. ... We [skeptical researchers] are being ‘black‑listed,’ as best I can tell, by our colleagues.”

This fight over credibility prompted me to wonder about the role that the concept of a “scientific consensus” has played out in earlier policy debates. We all surely want our decisions to be guided by the best possible information. Consider the overwhelming consensus among researchers that biotech crops are safe for humans and the environment—a conclusion that is rejected by the very environmentalist organizations that loudly insist on the policy relevance of the scientific consensus on global warming. But I digress.

Taking a lead from the PNAS researchers I decided to mine the “literature” on the history of uses of the phrase “scientific consensus.” I restricted my research to Nexis searches of major world publications, figuring that’s where mainstream views would be best represented. So how has the phrase “scientific consensus” been used in past policy debates?

My Nexis search found that 36 articles using that phrase appeared in major world publications prior to my arbitrary June 1985 search cutoff. One of the first instances of the uses of the phrase appears in the July 1, 1979 issue of The Washington Post on the safety of the artificial sweetener saccharin. “The real issue raised by saccharin is not whether it causes cancer (there is now a broad scientific consensus that it does)” (parenthetical in original) reported the Post. The sweetener was listed in 1981 in the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens as a substance reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Interesting. Thirty years later, the National Cancer Institute reports that “there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans.” In light of this new scientific consensus, the sweetener was delisted as a probable carcinogen in 2000.

Similarly, the Post reported later that same year (October 6, 1979) a “profound shift” in the prevailing scientific consensus about the causes of cancer. According to the Post, researchers in the 1960s believed that most cancers were caused by viruses, but now diet was considered the far more important factor. One of the more important findings was that increased dietary fiber appeared to reduce significantly the incidence of colon cancer.

Twenty years later, a major prospective study of nearly 90,000 women reported, “No significant association between fiber intake and the risk of colorectal adenoma was found.” In 2005, another big study confirmed that “high dietary fiber intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.” While dietary fiber may not prevent colon cancer, it is associated with lower cardiovascular risk.

In its June 1, 1984 issue, The Washington Post reported the issuance of a massive new report by the White House science office supporting the scientific consensus that “agents found to cause cancer in animals should be considered ‘suspect human carcinogens,’” and that “giving animals high doses of an agent is a proper way to test its carcinogenicity.” Although such studies remain a regulatory benchmark, at least some researchers question the usefulness of such tests today.

The December 17, 1979 issue of Newsweek reported that the Department of Energy was boosting research spending on fusion energy reactors based on a scientific consensus that the break-even point—that a fusion reactor would produce more energy than it consumes—could be passed within five years. That hasn’t happened yet and the latest effort to spark a fusion energy revolution, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, will not be ready for full-scale testing until 2026.

An article in the June 8, 1981 issue of The Washington Post cited a spokesman for the American Medical Association opposing proposed federal legislation that would make abortion murder as saying, "The legislation is founded on the idea that a scientific consensus exists that life begins at the time of conception. We will go up there to say that no such consensus exists." It still doesn’t.

In the years prior to 1985, several publications reported the scientific consensus that acid rain emitted by coal-fired electricity generation plants belching sulfur dioxide was destroying vast swathes of forests and lakes in the eastern United States. For example, the March 10, 1985 New York Times cited environmental lawyer Richard Ottinger, who asserted that there is a “broad scientific consensus" that acid rain is destroying lakes and forests and "is a threat to our health."

In 1991, after 10 years and $500 million, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program study (as far as I can tell that report is oddly missing from the web) actually reported, according to a 1992 article in Reason: “The assessment concluded that acid rain was not damaging forests, did not hurt crops, and caused no measurable health problems. The report also concluded that acid rain helped acidify only a fraction of Northeastern lakes and that the number of acid lakes had not increased since 1980.” Nevertheless, Congress passed the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments that regulate sulfur dioxide emissions through a cap-and-trade scheme. Acid rain was clearly causing some problems, but was not the wide-scale environmental disaster that had been feared.

Interestingly, the only mention of a scientific consensus with regard to stratospheric ozone depletion by ubiquitous chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) refrigerants was an article in the October 6, 1982 issue of the industry journal Chemical Week. That article noted that the National Research Council had just issued a report that had cut estimates of ozone depletion in half from a 1979 NRC report. The 1982 NRC report noted, “Current scientific understanding…indicates that if the production of two CFCs …were to continue into the future at the rate prevalent in 1977 the steady state reduction in total global ozone…could be between 5 and 9 percent.” Such a reduction might have been marginally harmful, but not catastrophic. It was not until 1986 that the mainstream press reported the discovery of the “ozone hole” over Antarctica. This discovery quickly led to the adoption of an international treaty aiming to drastically reduce the global production of CFCs in 1987. (For what it is worth, I supported the international ban of CFCs in my 1993 book Eco-Scam.)

With regard to anthropogenic climate change, my Nexis search of major world publications finds before 1985 just a single 1981 New York Times article. “There has been a growing scientific consensus that the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is creating a ‘greenhouse effect’ by trapping some of the earth's heat and warming the atmosphere,” reported the Times in its January 14, 1981 issue.

What a difference the passage of 25 years makes. My Nexis search turned up 457 articles in major publications that in the last year cited or used the phrase “scientific consensus.” Checking to see how many combined that phrase with “climate change,” Nexis reported that the number comes to 342 articles. Briefly scanning through a selection of the articles it is clear that some of them involved the controversy over whether or not there is a “scientific consensus” on climate change. The majority appear to cite various experts and policymakers asserting the existence of a scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change is dangerous to humanity.

So what to make of this increase in the use of the concept of “scientific consensus?” After all, several scientific consensuses before 1985 turned out to be wrong or exaggerated, e.g., saccharin, dietary fiber, fusion reactors, stratospheric ozone depletion, and even arguably acid rain and high-dose animal testing for carcinogenicity.

One reasonable response might be that anthropogenic climate change is different from the cited examples because much more research has been done. And yet. One should always keep in mind that a scientific consensus crucially determines and limits the questions researchers ask. And one should always worry about to what degree supporters of any given scientific consensus risk succumbing to confirmation bias. In any case, the credibility of scientific research is not ultimately determined by how many researchers agree with it or how often it is cited by like-minded colleagues, but whether or not it conforms to reality.


British government pulls the plug on "Green" cars

Britain's car industry can no longer rely on taxpayer 'emergency' bailouts, new Business Secretary Vince Cable warned today. He said:'We don't want to go around the country waving a cheque book.'

Mr Cable also signalled that the Government was unlikely to give a big taxpayer subsidy to help General Motors to have its new Ampera electric car built in Britain at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port. The plant builds the Astra and currently employs 1,800 and the deal would create hundreds more jobs. The company had sought about £300million from the previous Labour Government.

But Mr Cable, who is to meet GM's Welsh-born boss Nick Reilly to discus the matter within days, made clear today that such large sums were now out of the question, though there may be some help at the fringes in relation to training, apprenticeships, tax breaks, and environmental measures.

He said General Motors had not yet formally approached his Government about any grants to build the Ampera in Britain, but noted that the car was an 'attractive proposition' for the firm and that such projects 'shouldn't depend on Government support.'

The Business Secretary told the Financial Times online that the new Government would instead focus on indirect ways to help industry: 'We're moving out of an emergency time, and support will come in more indirect ways.'

GM UK bosses want to build the Ampera in the UK from 2011, rather than see the work go to Bochum in Germany. The UK is likely to be the largest European market for it.

Vauxhall insiders said they hoped for a productive meeting between Mr Reilly and Mr Cable, who is also to address a major automotive summit in London on Wednesday, organised by the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A Labour pledge of a £5,000 discount for buyers of new electric cars is also likely to be axed.

The new coalition Government did approve a grant for Nissan to build new Leaf electric cars in Sunderland and a loan guarantee for Ford - both deals agreed earlier with the previous Labour government.

Mr Cable was speaking on his way to Toyota's factory in Burnaston where he launched production of the first full petrol-electric hybrid vehicle in Europe. The minister saw the first Toyota Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) vehicle driven off the end of the production line at the Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Petrol engines will be built at Deeside in North Wales.

Mr Cable said: 'Toyota's decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars. 'It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you're not in the UK, then you're missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.'



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


No comments: