Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Paper: The Sun’s Impact On Earth’s Temperature Goes Far Beyond the simplistic total solar irradiance (TSI)

TSI is the only measure Warmists will consider

A recent paper published by the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestial Physics (74) 2012 87-93 and authored by Souza Echer et al. suggests that solar cycles, to a substantial extent, drive global temperatures, and that likely through amplification mechanisms.

The paper is titled: "On the relationship between global, hemispheric and latitudinal averaged air surface temperature (GISS time series) and solar activity"

The authors decomposed average air surface temperature series obtained from GISS and sunspot number (Rz) from 1880 – 2005 to see if a correlation could be found. They performed a cross correlation analysis between band-passed filtered data around 11-year and 22 years.

Although the authors did not find a strong correlation with the 11-year solar cycle, they found a “very significant correlation” in the 22-year Hale cycle band. The abstract states:
A very significant correlation (Rz 0.57 to 0.80) is found in the 22 yr solar Hale cycle band (16–32 years ) with lags from zero to four years between latitudinal averages air surface temperature and Rz. Therefore it seems that the 22 yr magnetic field solar cycle might have a higher effect on Earth’s climate than solar variations related to the 11-yr sunspot cycle.”

Well then, can we not assume that if the 22-year cycles have an impact, also the 78-year, 210-year, and 1000-year solar activity cycles must have a “significant correlation” with the earth’s climate too? Already there are dozens of proxy records showing that this is precisely the case.

Recall that the CO2 warmists in their half-baked models stubbornly keep focusing only on total solar irradiance (TSI), which itself varies only about 0.1% over an 11-year cycle (and thus by itself is no real climate driver) and ignore all the other amplification mechanisms. Well, the results of this study, as do dozens of others studies, show you can’t do that. Like it or not – the sun is a real player. Eventually the CO2 warmists will have to admit this, as anyone with even just an inkling of intuition would do.

Obviously there are others who feel the same way when it comes to the role of the sun on the earth’s climate. Another paper just published at the same journal shows that other scientists are hot on the sun’s trail. Here Magee and Kavic in their paper titled: "Probing the climatological impact of a cosmic ray–cloud connection through low-frequency radio observations" suspect a solar mechanism and so propose a method of observation. In the abstract they write:
…in order to establish whether or not such a relationship exists, measurements of short-timescale solar events, individual cosmic ray events, and spatially correlated cloud parameters could be of great significance. Here we propose such a comparison using observations from a pair of radio telescopes arrays,the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) and the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (ETA). These low-frequency radio arrays have a unique ability to simultaneously conduct solar, ionospheric and cosmic rays observations and are thus ideal for such a comparison.”

The direction of climate science and investigation is clear. The real discoveries will involve unraveling the solar mechanisms, and not baking simplistic, straight-line CO2-temperature models. With each new study, the CO2 warmists look more and more like broken records that keep repeating: CO2…CO2…CO2…CO2…

Obviously some scientists just aren’t clever enough to snap out of it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Shock News : Sea Level Almost As High As Eight Years Ago

Sea level has been rising over the last few months (as it does every Northern Hemisphere autumn) and is almost as high now as when Envisat started taking measurements in 2003. If sea level continues to rise at this rate, an ant may drown sometime in the next millennium. Or perhaps not.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

A tip from Michael Mann on how to handle scientific debate: Set up your email server so that it automatically rejects email from people who disagree with you

Email 1566:

"...It appears, by the way, that [McIntyre] has been trying to break into our machine ("multiproxy"). Obviously, this character is looking for any little thing he can get ahold of...

The best that can be done is to ignore their desperate emails and, if they manage to slip something into the peer-reviewed literature, as in the case of Soon & Baliunas, deal w/ it as we did in that case--i.e., the Eos response to Soon et al---they were stung badly by that, and the bad press that followed.For those of you who haven't seen it, I'm forwarding an interesting email exchange from John Holdren of Harvard that I got the other day. He summarized the whole thing very nicely, form an independent perspective...



p.s. I'm setting up my email server so that it automatically rejects emails from the "usual suspects". You might want to do the same. As they increasingly get automatic reject messages from the scientists, they'll start to get the picture..."


A Bad Green Dream

Steve Milloy

“The Obama administration promised a green energy future. What it delivered, though, is a present filled with rancid politics, aching failure and tawdry scandal.”

Investor’s Business Daily editorializes,
… Going where few mainstream media outlets dare to tread because they don’t want to hurt the president’s re-election chances, the [Washington Post] actually took a realistic look at the White House’s $80 billion clean-technology program. It found that “as Solyndra tottered, officials discussed the political fallout from its troubles, the ‘optics’ in Washington and the impact that the company’s failure could have on” a second term for Obama…

While the Post took a hard line, it was not the first left-leaning newspaper to do so. The New York Times provided similar coverage in August, reporting that “the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned.”

But all this came out in 2011. Let’s see how much these newspapers mention Solyndra and the green scandal when the 2012 campaign heats up.

Check out the WashPost’s prior assaults on Obama’s green subsidies:

WashPost: Politics powered decisions on Solyndra

WashPost: Obama $5 billion investment in EVs sputters

WashPost: Stop subsidizing clean energy

WashPost: Before Solyndra, a long history of failed government energy projects

WashPost dumps on subsidized electric cars again

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Fifty New Hampshire "scientists" called on the Republican presidential candidates to accept the “overwhelming” scientific evidence behind climate change.

A group called Carbon Solutions New England has circulated a petition that it says was signed by 50 scientists urging the Republican presidential candidates and all other candidates for public office "to acknowledge the overwhelming balance of evidence for the underlying causes of climate change, to support appropriate responses to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and to develop local and statewide strategies to adapt to near-term changes in climate."

The petition lists recent temperature and weather trends, such as warmer autumns and winters and more storms, and asserts such indisputably rigorous scientific assessments as: "These shifts in New Hampshire’s climate are clearly connected to changes in global climate."

To respond with equal scientific authority: No, they're not.

That is, some seem to be, others might not be, but where is the proof of a connection to human behavior? They provide none.

It is a funny little bit of propaganda made all the more humorous by its labeling as "scientists" a historian, a sociologist, two political scientists, a professor of health economics, several civil engineers, two medical doctors, and some Ph.D. candidates.

Nothing says "We are serious scientists; heed our doomsday predictions!" quite like the overstating of credentials. If they'll overstate their credentials, then why wouldn't they overstate the connection between recent weather events and human behavior?

Nonetheless, the petition got written up in The Hill, which lent it some undue legitimacy. Voters ought to ignore it.


Politics, tax money corrupts Global warming 'science'

The Libertarian News Examiner occasionally writes articles belittling the politicized Algorian version of Global Warming and occasionally takes flack for it. So let's examine some of that flackery:

Climate Change denial

"Climate change" and "global warming" are two different things. The Earth has gone through repeated Ice Ages, interglacial "tropical ages," and virtually every climatic condition in between including the well documented "Medieval Warm Period" and "Little Ice Age." That's proven climate change.

Political opinion pieces are no place to debate science.

But of course they are. Current global warming discussion has become so corrupted by politics, ideology, and government money that it's impossible to separate science from politics. It should and must be debated by political pundits.

The science is peer reviewed

In What's Going on Behind the Curtain H. Sterling Burnett discussed how the WikiLeaks memos exposed the undermining of the peer review process: "On the latter point the researchers involved threatened to boycott and get editors fired at journals publishing findings questioning the urgency of the climate crisis."

Don't wander into conspiracy theory type claims

Again quoting Burnett, the WikiLeaks memos revealed some scientists "conspiring to avoid legally required disclosure of taxpayer-funded data." What's your definition of "conspiracy?"

Still, AGW may be real and dangerous.

That's like saying "Even though there's no scientific proof that God exists we'd better believe in Him anyway just in case." Is that science too?

Every time laymen get into scientific arguments with scientists the laymen lose

But none of the Libertarian News Examiner articles argue the science per se. Articles rest on pointing out that the science is corrupted by politics, and that because many scientists just as credible and numerous as the GW and AGW scientists dispute the legitimacy of the science – some even claiming evidence for global cooling – that the science itself is profoundly immature. How many scientists argue over the existence of gravity or that the Earth orbits the Sun?

As Geophysicist David Deming says in Why I Deny Global Warming, "Global warming predictions cannot be tested with mathematical models. It is impossible to validate computer models of complex natural systems."

Climate science isn't the only science subject to corruption. Michael A. Cremo writes about similar self-serving deception and hypocrisy in what he calls Forbidden Archeology.

From Deming on global warming again: "Anyone who is an honest and competent scientist must be a denier."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are 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, December 30, 2011

Hansen's explanation of why the oceans are not warming

Improving observations of ocean heat content show that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. The inferred planetary energy imbalance, 0.59 ± 0.15 W m−2 during the 6-year period 2005–2010, confirms the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain together constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be −1.6 ± 0.3 W m−2, implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. We conclude that recent slowdown of ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era is readily accounted for by ice melt and ocean thermal expansion, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade.


One doesn't need to go into the physics involved to see that this is bad science. It is in fact a particularly egregious example of a post hoc explanation -- being wise after the event in layman's terms. Such explanations get as little respect in science as elsewhere.

Such explanations are given when something predicted by theory fails to occur -- and when there is one clear confounding factor they can have some status. But Hansen's paper has no such status. He has to invoke a whole range of special influences, some of which seem to be entirely imaginary. Without any evidence for it he extends the influence of the Pinatubo eruption to two decades, which is wildly outside the normal expectation of a couple of years at most. The paper is a patent work of desperation.

On the amusing side, he admits an effect of solar variations, something long denied by Warmists, including himself.

Steve Goddard sinks the knife in too.

New Paper Shows Profound Urban Warming Impact

A new paper written by Maeng-Ki Kim, Department of Atmospheric Science, Kongju National University, and Seonae Kim of the Applied Meteorology Research Team, Environmental Prediction Research Inc. of Korea has been published by the Journal of Atmospheric Environment.

The two scientists examined cities in South Korea and the urban heat island effect. According to the abstract:
The quantitative values of the urban warming effect over city stations in the Korean peninsula were estimated by using the warming mode of Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis of 55 years of temperature data, from 1954 to 2008. The estimated amount of urban warming was verified by applying the multiple linear regression equation with two independent variables: the rate of population growth and the total population. [...] The cities that show great warming due to urbanization are Daegu, Pohang, Seoul, and Incheon, which show values of about 1.35, 1.17, 1.16, and 1.10°C, respectively. The areas that showed urban warming less than 0.2°C are Chupungnyeong and Mokpo. On average, the total temperature increase over South Korea was about 1.37°C; the amount of increase caused by the greenhouse effect is approximately 0.60°C, and the amount caused by urban warming is approximately 0.77°C.”

According to their results, that means well over a half of the warming is caused by urban warming.

Why aren’t we surprised? Anyone who has read Ed Caryl’s very recent stories here at this blog and is familiar with Anthony Watts’s surface stations audit knows why.


Ludicrous: U.S. Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency guess at 2025 car sales

If Congress is seriously interested in finding people to cut perhaps they just need to look at those responsible for producing automobile company sales projections for the year 2025. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation spent your tax dollars to make up sales projections for a model year that is thirteen years from now.

Of course, this should not be surprising for the EPA which regularly creates regulations based upon speculative global warming models that project weather patterns fifty to one hundred years in the future. So, automotive industry sales projections for the year 2025 must have seemed like legitimate economic analysis after dealing in the politically driven climate guessing world for the past few years.

Not shockingly, the analysis is based upon the automakers current line-up of vehicles and their dependence upon vehicles which are likely to no longer exist if the Transportation Department’s rule increasing the average gas mileage for a company’s fleet of vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025 becomes the law of the land.

The projections were created as part of the CAFÉ standard rulemaking process, and Automotive News quotes Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive as indicting the guesswork on two fronts noting that the report relied upon 2008 sales data making it, “a bit dated, especially given all the changes in the automotive industry over the last few years.”

Schuster continued calling any forecast that far out, “… a crapshoot,” noting, “They don’t even know what their lineup is going to be in 2025, so it’s difficult for a forecaster to know.”
The official government forecasts were not good for twice bailed out Chrysler Corporation which is projected to have a devastating 54% drop in vehicle sales.

Not surprisingly, the government sees good things for Tesla Corporation, the recipient of $465 million in low interest federal loans. In the third quarter of 2011, Tesla reports that they sold 184 of their $109,000 Roadsters, fewer vehicles than the Chevy Volt.

However, in 2025, the crystal ball gazers in the federal government estimate that Tesla will sell 31,974 vehicles, not 31,000 or 32,000 vehicles, but 31,974 little Tesla electric cars will be buzzing around terrorizing the deaf who can’t hear them coming.

Of course, if private bankers believed that Tesla had this kind of massive upside, they would not have had to rely on taxpayer loans to build their manufacturing facilities, so it is reasonable to assume that like Solyndra, the projections of success may be more driven by the hoped for outcome rather than any real market analysis.

Now, a cynical person would believe that the stunningly unreachable CAFÉ standards set for 2025 are less based upon any real expectation that conventional combustion engines will be able to be tweaked to achieve them and more from a social policy desire to force internal combustion engines off the road all-together.

If this is the case and the standards survive, perhaps Tesla is a good investment bet for the future. After all, they are basing their electric engine on 1885 technology and claim a range between charges of around 300 miles. This is compared to the fire-prone Chevy Volt which suffers from an electric charge limitation of 40 miles.


High Prices Will Limit Sales of Electric Vehicles in 2012, According to Pike Research

Many potential buyers will hold off on purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) during 2012 due to the premium pricing of the vehicles, according to a new white paper from Pike Research. Nissan raised the price of the Leaf for 2012, and while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.

According to data from Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers hoping for an affordable EV ride have been left wanting. These relatively high selling prices will constrain the market for PEVs in 2012. The white paper, which includes 10 predictions about the EV market in 2012, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” says research director John Gartner. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter million vehicles in 2012 – a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real?’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”

Pike Research’s industry predictions for 2012 include the following:

* Car-sharing services will expand the market for EVs and hybrids.

* Battery production will outstrip vehicle production.

* The Asia-Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.

* Third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales.

* Employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers.

* EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

Pike Research’s white paper, “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2012”, analyzes 10 key trends that will influence the development of the electric vehicle market in 2012 and beyond. Conclusions and predictions in this paper are drawn from the firm’s ongoing Smart Transportation research coverage, with forecasts included for key market sectors. A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the firm’s website.


Greener energy will cost £4,600 each a year in Britain

The Coalition's plans to convert Britain to green energy would cost the country the equivalent of £4,600 per person a year, according to official forecasts. Reducing dependence on fossil fuels and moving to renewable and nuclear energy would cost an additional £60billion every year until 2050, the officials said.

But Professor David MacKay, a government adviser on climate change, said that doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions would prove even more expensive because of rising energy prices.

Although the cost of converting to green energy will initially be paid by energy companies and the Government, they are likely to pass it on to taxpayers through higher energy bills and taxes.

The bulk of the cost will lie in replacing the ageing fossil fuel and nuclear power stations and meeting the Government's commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to hit European Union targets.

Meeting the country's current energy needs costs an estimated £220billion, equivalent to £3,700 per person every year.

The cheapest option for switching to green energy would increase the estimated cost of energy to £4,598 per person per year.

Under this plan, just over 40 per cent of energy would come from wind, solar and renewable power, a third would come from nuclear plants and a quarter from gas stations.

The estimates suggest that failing to replace fossil fuel plants with greener energy would be even more costly.

Continuing to rely on coal and gas would cost about £4,682 a year per person, according to the forecasts.

The most expensive scenario, working out at £5,181 per person a year, would rely on a far higher use of nuclear power than any of the other options.

The "cost of energy calculator" has been designed by Prof MacKay for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Government estimates that household bills will probably increase by around £200 a year over the next decade, with about half of this rise caused by Britain's climate change policies.

Household energy bills are already at record levels, with the average domestic fuel cost estimated to be about £1,175 for 2011, compared with £1,075 for the same level of energy consumption last year.

Energy companies were criticised for raising their prices this summer. The industry has claimed that gas prices have risen because production has fallen from the Middle East during the Arab Spring, and extra supplies have gone to Japan following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan last March.

Prof MacKay said: "I was irritated by all the twaddle being talked about energy and the misleading comparisons made. I just wanted the numbers without the hype. I am just the numbers guy, trying to be helpful."



Two current articles below

Solar tariff scheme blows out by $46 million

Now it's Western Australia's turn

WA's solar power tariff feed-in scheme has now blown out from $114 million to $180 million - $46 millon of which will be paid by the state government. Photo: Glenn Hunt

The state government's solar panel rebate scheme has blown out by at least $46 million, after a cap imposed on the program in response to its popularity was breached.

The feed-in tariff scheme was introduced in 2009, and offered new households who fed solar-produced power back into the grid a rebate of 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

More than 76,000 households signed up to the scheme, but its popularity prompted the Barnett Government to impose a cap of 150MW earlier this year and to halve the rate to 20 cents.

The scheme was originally estimated to cost $28.2 million, before being revised to $114 million.

But yesterday's mid-year budget forecasts revealed the estimate had blown out to $180 million, after too many applications were processed and the cap was breached by 15MW. Synergy will pay $20 million of the overrun, while the state government will pay $46 million.

Treasurer Christian Porter has ordered an audit into the scheme, which will analyse all the applications received between May 21, when the cap was announced, and June 30, when it was imposed.

Mr Porter said the audit would find out if any applications were incorrectly approved, which could see the cost blowout reduced.

"The suspicion that we have in Treasury is that there are applications that said they met the requirements, but didn't," he said. "Or alternatively, the Office of Energy or Synergy made an error."

"There's been a cost overrun, there clearly has been... but the money is not wasted, the money has been spent delivering clean electricity and incentivising the product of photovoltaics.

"There weren't appropriate procedures put in place to know which bundle of applications, or which single application, represented the breaching of the cap."

Shadow Energy Minister Kate Doust said the feed-in tariff scheme had been completely mismanaged. "This scheme has been poorly regulated with poor safety records and now there have been huge cost blowouts – it has been one stuff up after another from this minister," she said. "With an extra $46 million needed over the next three years for this scheme, the (Energy Minister Peter Collier's) mismanagement and hands-off approach will ultimately cost our state for a decade."

But Mr Porter said the overrun was closer to $14 million, as the initial forecast from the Office of Energy was inaccurate and the government had always been prepared to pay $165.3 million for the project.


Global cooling hits Sydney

It's been an unusually cool December in Brisbane too

IT'S a good thing December is almost over - it's been the coldest for more than 50 years. With two days to go, it seems certain Sydney will record its coldest December since 1960, with the average daily maximum so far this month 2.2C below the long-term average. Sydney's average top temperature so far this month was a chilly 23C - only 0.2C more than in 1960.

That isn't going to change much over the next two days, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting showers and tops of just 24C.

Not once has the temperature reached 30C in the city this month, the first time since 1999 the mercury has failed to reach that mark in December. Even in 1960, Sydney recorded two days with top temperatures above 30C.

The Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker said Sydney wasn't the only city to suffer a cold start to summer, with Canberra and Brisbane also experiencing below average temperatures.

"Across eastern Australia we had a lot of cloud cover in December and on top of that we had an above average frequency of southerly winds," Mr Whitaker said.

He said La Nina wasn't solely to blame for Sydney's unseasonably cool weather, despite it being associated with cooler, wetter weather: "Each La Nina is unique, like a fingerprint. La Nina was even stronger last year but Sydney was drier than average, which was a bit unusual. La Nina is just one factor, and this year there are other factors."

One of those is rainfall. So far this month Sydney has received 77.8mm of rain, precisely the long-term average for December. "In 1960 they had 244.9mm of rain, so clearly it was an extremely wet month and that was the biggest issue behind the cooler temperatures then," he said.

Thankfully there will be an extra reason to celebrate when the fireworks go off over the Harbour - the new year will also usher in a new weather pattern, delivering Sydney its first run of blue skies and warm weather this summer.

After a cool start of just 16C, the first day of the year is expected to be sunny with a top of 26C - and the news gets better from there. The sunshine is expected to continue for at least the following two days, with top temperatures of 27C and 28C expected in the city.

"It looks like summer is on its way," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Logan said. "Longer term, it looks more like what you would expect for summer, with plenty of days in the mid to high 20s."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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, December 29, 2011

Warmist chosen as a "messenger" of science

Chris Mooney is basically an ignoramus. You will see here how ill-informed he is. He is all bluster, speculation and projection. He is not a researcher's rear end. Science is in a bad way if he counts as a scientist

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will be holding a workshop, "Science: Becoming the Messenger" on January 23, 2012, at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Hotel, 2552 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815.

We are extending an invitation to principal investigators (PI), early career researchers and engineers, graduate students and postdocs from institutions and universities in Hawaii who would like to learn to communicate effectively to a broad audience.

We are also extending an invitation to public information officers (PIO) communicating on behalf of the institutions and universities in Hawaii.

Today, across academia and the research community, there is a growing interest in science communication. Scientists are asking how they can share their knowledge and findings across an increasingly challenging information environment.

Seminars and training workshops are, accordingly, springing up to meet this need. But never before has there been a team like the one NSF has assembled to help members of the scientific community at all levels become more effective messengers.

Featuring three accomplished communicators and trainers--Emmy award winning television producer Joe Schreiber, former PBS executive Dan Agan and bestselling science author Chris Mooney--the NSF workshop "Science: Becoming the Messenger" provides one-stop shopping for those seeking to reach a broader public about their work.

Over the course of this full day of training, participants will learn how to craft a message and deliver it to a variety of audiences. They will also have the opportunity to experience live interview training, to develop writing and new media skills, to hone their public presentations and even to produce video.

Public information officers (PIO) will participate in all aspects of day one of the workshop and be able to participate with the researchers. They will attend a special breakout session designed to collaborate with NSF Public Affairs.


Maybe there is one Warmist who understands adiabatics

Warmist Pierrehumbert says:
Regarding the methane time-bomb issue, I do understand the need to respond to unwarranted predictions of catastrophe. I’ve made responses of this type myself. For example I think that Jim Hansen is demonstrably wrong in his assertion that a Venus-type runaway greenhouse is a virtual certainty if we burn all the coal; he is right about almost everything and I greatly admire him, but he is wrong about this.

Although it is a favorite Warmist assertion that the high surface temperature of Venus is the result of a runaway greenhouse effect, that is rubbish. The surface temperature of Venus is entirely as expected from the huge atmospheric pressure of the huge Venusian atmosphere.

Wriggly Wigley proposes fudging temperature data by .15 degrees C

2009 ClimateGate email:

Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I'm sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean -- but we'd still have to explain the land blip. I've chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips -- higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with "why the blip". [Tom Wigley, to Phil Jones and Ben Santer]

SOURCE (See the original for links)

A Religion Of Mindless Dishonest Superstition
Philippines floods: an expected shock

Even when we do know about climate-related hazards, we still fail to act

The typhoon that hit Mindanao in the Philippines before Christmas to claim 1,000 lives and leave nearly 50,000 homeless was a shock,

And as the planet warms, so too does the potential for meteorological disaster. Not all disasters relate to the climate, but rising levels of greenhouse gases could double the probability of catastrophic rainfall and other weather extremes.

In 2011 the United States has already experienced one of the worst years on record, with a 1,000 dead in a dozen disasters, each exacting a financial toll of $1bn or more. The total cost of these 12 assaults by tornado, wildfire, drought, blizzard, flood and heatwave is put at $52bn.

The number of events that meet the UN definition of a natural disaster has risen steadily with each decade, and catastrophic floods, windstorms and so on have become everyday events: in 2010, there were 385, and they killed 297,000 worldwide. The tally for 2011 is not complete, but the auguries are ominous.

This is complete, unmitigated bullsh*t from the Guardian. In 1927 there were almost ten times as many US disasters as there was in 2011. There is zero evidence that the weather is getting worse. The Guardian is promoting the big lie.

In 1898, a flood in the Phillipines killed 7,000 people, compared to 1,000 in 2011. These things happen, and humans have no power over them.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Even the Warmists Don't Believe In Global Warming

Much was written about the most recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held in Durban, South Africa November 28 through December 9 of this year. However, most commentators gave short shrift to the most important—in a sense, the only—outcome of the meeting. This was, of course, the agreement to hold yet another conference in yet another nice location (Qatar) about a year from now.

The Durban conference was the seventeenth conference of its kind. They have been held annually since 1995 in places such as Geneva (in July 1996) and Bali (in December 2007). Don’t hold your breath for one to be held in Newark, New Jersey, or Fargo, North Dakota.

The meeting in Durban provided an opportunity for Progressives to make their latest argument that ordinary people should surrender their freedom and hand all money and power over to unelected, unaccountable “experts” like, well, the people at the conference. This is, of course, in order to “save the planet” from “climate change”. (The issue that had for years been called “global warming” was rebranded as “climate change” when the most recent decade’s worth of data proved uncooperative.)

First, let’s get the known and knowable facts out of the way. Is the climate changing? Yes. One feature of the manifested universe is the impermanence of all things. The climate has changed over time and will continue to change. Is the change good or bad? Like all change, it is both good and bad.

But, overall, is it good or bad? We can’t say. We don’t even have a conceptual framework that would allow us to answer that question, or even to adequately describe how the climate is changing. “Climate” is an abstraction, and all abstractions are untrue (or at least incomplete).

Is human activity causing the climate to change? We don’t know, and there is no way, even in principle, that we can know. It is difficult enough to determine the “what” of climate change. To determine the “why”, we would need to do controlled experiments. And, for this, we would need another planet, identical in every way to our own earth, which we could use as a “control”.

But wait! Isn’t the science “settled”, thus making anyone who questions the climate change “consensus” an anti-intellectual Luddite? No. Nothing in science is ever settled.

“Science” consists of nothing but theories that have not yet been disproved by evidence, but which, in principle, could be so disproved. Even Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has been validated by thousands of experiments and measurements over almost a century, was recently called into question by experiments involving neutrinos that appeared to travel faster than light.

If something is “settled”, it is not science. It is religious dogma, and an assault upon freedom of thought and inquiry.

But don’t the climate scientists’ computer models prove that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing climate change? No. First, no computer model can ever prove anything (see the definition of “science” given above). Second, we do not have the capability to model a system as complex as the earth.

The most any computer model can be is a useful tool. As it happens, all of the computer models that have been developed over the years by climate change proponents have already been invalidated by events that they did not accurately predict. For example, given the fast rising CO2 concentration in the earth’s atmosphere, global temperatures should have gone up much faster than they have over the past ten years. (And, it is not even clear that they have risen at all,)

So, we don’t know what is really happening to the earth’s “climate”. Even if we did, we could not be sure why it was happening. And, we have no way of knowing whether the change was good or bad for mankind as a whole.

But what of the Progressives’ argument that, because the effects of climate change are potentially so disastrous, we should surrender our freedom and move to a centrally planned world economy managed by experts, “just in case”?

Two points about this: first, it’s not going to happen. The Progressives will have to content themselves with extracting a few billion dollars per year from taxpayers to fund cushy “research” and “advocacy” jobs, and to hold climate change conferences like the one that just concluded in Durban. Second, the climate change advocates obviously don’t believe in climate change themselves.

You can’t necessarily tell what people are truly committed to from what they say. However, you can always tell what they are truly committed to by how they negotiate. If someone really wants to do something, they will react to a suggestion by engaging it. They will “work with” the suggestion, trying to see how it can help them do what they say they want to do. If someone says that they want to do something but they really have some other agenda, they will respond to a suggestion with an instant, “Yes, but…”

The climate change crowd has been frantically “yes, butting” geoengineering, which involves using technology to control the climate directly. Their efforts in this regard would be hilarious if the stakes in terms of money and freedom were not so high.

It is obvious that even if “climate change” is happening, and even if it is a bad thing, it is not going to be reversed by reducing CO2 emissions. Despite decades of climate change conferences, protocols, and agreements, fossil fuel use has been rising rapidly as people all over the world have adopted free market economics as a way of escaping poverty. So, if anything at all is going to be done about climate change, it will have to be done by “geoengineering”.

Geoengineering is a far more logical response to “global warming” than are efforts to curb CO2 emissions. First of all, geoengineering does not require that our assumption that it is man-made CO2 emissions that are causing the problem be correct. It would work regardless of what was “really” causing global temperatures to rise. Second, there are geoengineering approaches that could cool the earth at a cost of a few billion dollars per year, rather than tens of trillions of dollars per year. And, third, geoengineering does not require that the people of the world surrender their personal and economic freedom.

Given that geoengineering has the potential to actually do something about the climate change “problem”, the reaction of the climate change crowd to it has been illuminating. They have gone all-out to stop geoengineering experiments from being conducted, and they are doing everything they can to prevent geoengineering from even being discussed.

Climate change proponents recently mounted a desperate effort to stop an experiment in Britain designed to spray 40 gallons of pure water into the upper atmosphere (the so-called SPICE project). Thus far, they have managed to delay the test, and they are arguing that even if the experiment goes ahead, the results should not be made public.

The Progressives are well aware that their opposition to geoengineering experiments exposes their entire game, which is all about money, power, and central-planning control of people’s lives, and has nothing to do with concern about the earth. Unfortunately (for them), they have no choice. Geoengineering solutions might actually work, but they do not require that Progressives be given taxpayer money to hold lavish conferences in lovely places like Durban, South Africa.


Biofuel project to displace 160,000 poor African farmers

Iowa-based Bruce Rastetter and AgriSol Energy have friends in high places. Why else would the US Ambassador to Tanzania step forward and defend AgriSol's activities in Tanzania with false information?

Amidst growing international criticism of AgriSol's plan to develop land and evict over 160,000 long-term residents (refugees from Burundi with over 40 years of established homes, farms and businesses) the Tanzanian government is still planning to move forward with the project. The latest in the AgriSol Energy saga is support extended by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt, who recently defended AgriSol's activities in Tanzania's Rukwa and Kigoma region, as important to ensure the country of food security and meet energy needs. See here

In response to concern over allegations of land grabbing by AgriSol in western Tanzanian regions, Mr. Lenhardt said: "Agrisol have not grabbed any land but were actually invited by the Prime Minister when he visited Iowa state two years ago and saw how American technology can produce sufficient food and energy from farms."

Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute corrected Ambassador Lenhardt with this statement: "Honorable Ambassador, our latest Brief dismantles AgriSol's lies around project benefits to the people of Tanzania. It is shocking to us that an appointee of the Obama administration would side with a project that will displace and destroy livelihoods of over 160,000 Africans to accommodate investors including US and Tanzanian politicians and businessmen with questionable records of integrity."

With growing international pressure, AgriSol Energy is rewriting their game plan as they go forward. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake it is not going to be easy to get them to back off their original plans to take fertile and inhabited land in Tanzania.

Download the latest Brief Eight Myths and Facts About AgriSol

Above summary received by email


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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, December 28, 2011

Help! Is There A Scientist In The House?

During the last couple of years, Florida was getting snow because warm air holds more moisture – which naturally causes frozen precipitation to fall on Orange groves in sub-tropical regions.

I’m confused though, because this year we are told that the lack of snow in the East is caused by warm air. Also, the record east coast snow in October was due to warm air.

This has me a tad confused. Can anyone help?


Peregrines NOT saved by DDT ban

Greenie lies never stop

Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred to [peregrine falcons] as birds that “deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account” — in 1913.

In a story about the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count, the Sacramento Bee writes,
… Even more incredible is the story of the falcon’s recovery from near-extinction, a story the Christmas Bird Count has helped document.

Decimated in the 1960s by the pesticide DDT, the peregrine was put on the endangered species list in 1973.

Harper, who has participated in the Christmas Bird Count for four decades, said one year in the 1970s created a stir when a counter thought she saw the first peregrine to return to the area. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a ceramic rendering.

After DDT was banned, the peregrine began a slow recovery. It was removed from Endangered Species Act protection in 1999, and now there are more than 2,000 known nesting sites across the nation…

Except as pointed out in “100 Things You Should Know About DDT“:

78. The decline in the U.S. peregrine falcon population occurred long before the DDT years. [Hickey JJ. 1942. (Only 170 pairs of peregrines in eastern U.S. in 1940) Auk 59:176; Hickey JJ. 1971 Testimony at DDT hearings before EPA hearing examiner. (350 pre-DDT peregrines claimed in eastern U.S., with 28 of the females sterile); and Beebe FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages]

79. Peregrine falcons were deemed undesirable in the early 20th century. Dr. William Hornaday of the New York Zoological Society referred to them as birds that “deserve death, but are so rare that we need not take them into account.” [Hornaday, WT. 1913. Our Vanishing Wild Life. New York Zoological Society, p. 226]

80. Oologists amassed great collections of falcon eggs. [Peterson, RT. 1948. Birds Over American, Dodd Mead & Co., NY, pp 135-151; Rice, JN. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 155-164; Berger, DD. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 165-173]

81. The decline in falcons along the Hudson River was attributed to falconers, egg collectors, pigeon fanciers and disturbance by construction workers and others. [Herbert, RA and KG Herbert. 1969. In Peregrine Falcon Populations, Univ. Of Wisconsin Press, pp 133- 154. (Also in Auk 82: 62-94)]

82. The 1950′s and 1960′s saw continuing harassment trapping brooding birds in their nests, removing fat samples for analysis and operating time-lapse cameras beside the nests for extended periods of time), predation and habitat destruction. [Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Statement before Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, March 16, 1972; Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada). Condor 70:149-153; Enderson, JH.. 1972. (Time lapse photography in
peregrine nests) Living Bird 11: 113- 128; Risebrough, RW. 1970. (Organochlorines in peregrines and merlins migrating through Wisconsin). Canadian Field-Naturalist 84:247-253]

83. Changes in climate (higher temperatures and decreasing precipitation) were blamed for the gradual disappearance of peregrines from the Rocky Mountains. [Nelson, MW. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 61-72]

84. Falconers were blamed for decimating western populations. [Herman, S. 1969. Peregrine Falcon Populations, University of Wisconsin Press]

85. During the 1960′s, peregrines in northern Canada were “reproducing normally,” even though they contained 30 times more DDT, DDD, and DDE than the midwestern peregrines that were allegedly extirpated by those chemicals. [Enderson, JH and DD Berger. 1968. (Chlorinated hydrocarbons in peregrines from Northern Canada) Condor 70:170-178]

86. There was no decline in peregrine falcon pairs in Canada and Alaska between 1950 and 1967 despite the presence of DDT and DDE. [Fyfe, RW. 1959. Peregrine Falcon Populations, pp 101-114; and Fyfe, RW. 1968. Auk 85: 383-384]

87. The peregrine with the very highest DDT residue (2,435 parts per million) was found feeding three healthy young. [Enderson, JH. 1968. (Pesticide residues in Alaska and Yukon Territory) Auk 85: 683]

88. Shooting, egg collecting, falconry and disruption of nesting birds along the Yukon River and Colville River were reported to be the cause of the decline in peregrine falcon population.
[Beebe, FL. 1971. The Myth of the Vanishing Peregrine Falcon: A study in manipulation of public and official attitudes. Canadian Raptor Society Publication, 31 pages; and Beebe, FL. 1975. Brit Columbia Provincial Museum Occas. Paper No. 17, pages 126-144]

89. The decline in British peregrine falcons ended by 1966, though DDT was as abundant as ever. The Federal Advisory Committee on Pesticides concluded “There is no close correlation between the declines in populations of predatory birds, particularly the peregrine falcon and the sparrow hawk, and the use of DDT.” [Wilson report. 1969. Review of Organochlorine pesticides in Britain. Report by the Advisory Committee on toxic chemicals. Department of Education and Science]

90. During 1940-1945, the British Air Ministry shot about 600 peregrines (half the pre-1939 level) to protect carrier pigeons.

91. Peregrine falcon and sparrow hawk egg shells thinned in Britain prior to the use of DDT. [Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210; Redcliff, DH. 1970 J Applied Biology 7:67; and Redcliff, DH. 1967. Nature 215: 208-210]


£10m cost of turning OFF British wind farms

Wind farm operators are on course to earn up to £10 million this year for turning off their turbines.

Official figures disclosed that 17 operators were paid almost £7 million for shutting down their farms on almost 40 ­occasions between January and mid-September. Continuing to make payments at that rate would lead to householders paying out £9.9 million in 2011 for operators to disconnect their turbines from the National Grid.

The scale of the payments triggered a review of the rules on so-called constraint payments. The payments are made when too much electricity floods the grid, with the network unable to absorb any excess power generated. The money is ultimately added on to household bills and paid for by consumers.

Last year, only £176,788 of such payments were made, but changes in the way the National Grid, which supplies energy to retail companies, “balances” the electricity network have meant a huge expansion in their use.

The rules meant that some renewable energy companies were paid more to switch off their turbines than they would have received from ordinary operations.

In September, it was disclosed that £1.2 million would go to a Norwegian company that owned 60 turbines in the Scottish Borders, thanks to a period of unusually high wind during the spring. Because of the rising cost, the National Grid “balancing” system could now be overhauled to reduce the use of constraint payments.

Constraint payments have added to political and public hostility to onshore wind farms. A growing number of Conservative MPs are opposed to Coalition plans to increase the number of wind turbines. Ministers say Britain needs more “renewable” energy generation to reduce the dependence on gas imported from Russia and the Middle East.

Chris Heaton Harris, a Conservative MP, said the unpopularity of wind farms was eroding support for all sorts of renewable power. “I know from my mailbag and from the number of emails I receive every day on the matter that people are turning against renewables of just about every type because wind turbines are, among other things, so badly sold,” he said.

“Onshore wind generation requires a 100 per cent back-up of carbon-burning technology or nuclear energy, should the wind not blow, and in addition to the devastation of the visual environment there are the problems of noise and flicker. They are the wrong renewables choice.”

The turbine industry says that constraint payments are a sign of problems with the National Grid, and not the turbines themselves. Charles Hendry, an energy minister, confirmed the latest payments, and said the system the National Grid used to calculate the fees was being reviewed.

“Reducing or increasing the output of generators is a normal part of National Grid’s role to balance supply and demand, and it will pick the most cost-effective way to deliver what is required,” he said. “However, the recent requirement to use wind farms to manage the system has raised questions as to whether the current market-wide balancing arrangements for wind are appropriate. “National Grid has launched a consultation to seek views on the issues involved.”


OSU Fracking Study Misrepresents Natural Gas Benefits

Amanda Weinstein and Mark Partridge, two Ohio State University economists, have published a report titled “The Economic Value of Shale Natural Gas in Ohio.” The report’s primary emphasis is on statements made by industry-funded studies related to the employment benefits of natural gas extraction from the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

While I think their analysis understates the employment benefits of responsible natural gas development, the larger issue with their report occurs when the authors step outside of their expertise to analyze the costs and benefits of natural gas more generally. This section systematically understates the benefits of natural gas, selectively cites literature without acknowledging recent research, and misrepresents the industry’s current response to chemical disclosure.

No Effect on Energy Security?

The report views energy security as being solely a problem of oil imports, but this viewpoint is simplistic and does not account for the greater energy security benefits attained through global supply shifts.

A Department of Energy-funded study produced by the Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum addressed this very topic in depth in July 2011. Some of the most significant energy security findings were that shale development:

* Reduces competition for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the Middle East, thereby moderating prices and spurring greater use of natural gas, an outcome with significant implications for global environmental objectives.

* Combats the long-term potential monopoly power of a “gas OPEC” or a single producer such as Russia to exercise dominance over large natural gas consumers in Europe or elsewhere.

* Reduces the opportunity for Venezuela to become a major LNG exporter and thereby lowers longer-term dependence in the Western Hemisphere and in Europe on Venezuelan LNG.

* Reduces Iran’s ability to tap energy diplomacy as a means to strengthen its regional power or to buttress its nuclear ambitions.

These benefits have been recognized by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, a multi-stakeholder panel convened by the Obama administration, and have led MIT researchers to suggest greater market liquidity as a result of shale gas extraction will “contribute to security by enhancing diversity of global supply and resilience to supply disruptions for the U.S. and its allies.”

For the authors to understate such a significant benefit so flippantly suggests a lack of knowledge or a desire to direct attention away from the benefits of natural gas.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fracking

Weinstein and Partridge cite the highly discredited Howarth 2011 study without any reference to the numerous, substantive critiques that emerged following its release. I wanted to discount this as a review error; things emerged later in the publishing process that the writers may have missed. But the following paragraph references EPA’s recent allegations of Wyoming water pollution, which suggests the paper was updated very recently. Their statement insinuates the same conclusions as the Howarth study, without directly validating it. The authors would have been better off citing one of the many alternatives that have emerged since.

Fracking Fluid and Voluntary Disclosure

Somewhat in passing, Weinstein and Partridge make accusations about unknown toxic chemicals that are present in hydraulic fracturing fluid that companies “have continually refused to disclose for proprietary reasons.” This may have been the case in years past, but industry groups, such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition, have pledged to voluntarily disclose their chemicals through According to the most recent records, Chesapeake Energy (the largest player in the region) has already voluntarily disclosed the contents of its fracturing fluid in all of its horizontal wells that are either completed or producing natural gas.

I’m not saying chemical disclosure is not warranted, but to stoke fears of chemical contamination without recognizing voluntary initiatives as well as the current regulatory trajectory, serves only to suggest sinister motives that have not proven to be true.

Final Thoughts

The economic analysis of Weinstein and Partridge is important in providing another data point into the projected employment benefits of hydraulic fracturing, but their skewed analysis in placing those benefits within the larger context is lacking and should be revised to reflect a higher standard of research.


Siberian methane researchers reject Greenie panic and urge caution about jumping to conclusions

Semiletov and Shakhova:

We would first note that we have never stated that the reason for the currently observed methane emissions were due to recent climate change. In fact, we explained in detail the mechanism of subsea permafrost destabilization as a result of inundation with seawater thousands of years ago. We have been working in this scientific field and this region for a decade. We understand its complexity more than anyone. And like most scientists in our field, we have to deal with slowly improving understanding of ongoing processes that often incorporates different points of views expressed by different groups of researchers.

Yes, modeling is important. However, we know that modeling results cannot prove or disprove real observations because modeling always assumes significant simplification and should be validated with observational data, not vice versa. Much of our work includes this field validation. Last spring, we extracted a 53-meter long core sample from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, to validate our conclusions about the current state of subsea permafrost. We found that the temperatures of the sediments were from 1.2 to 0.6 degrees below zero, Celsius, yet they were completely thawed. The model in the Dmitrenko paper [link] assumed a thaw point of zero degrees. Our observations show that the cornerstone assumption taken in their modeling was wrong. The rate at which the subsea permafrost is currently degrading largely depends on what state it was in when recent climate change appeared. It makes sense that modeling on an incorrect assumption about thaw point could create inaccurate results.

Observations are at the core of our work now. It is no surprise to us that others monitoring global methane have not found a signal from the Siberian Arctic or increase in global emissions. [This refers to the work of Ed Dlugokencky and others; see his comments in my Dot Earth post.] The number of stations monitoring atmospheric methane concentrations worldwide is very few. In the Arctic there are only three such stations — Barrow, Alert, Zeppelin — and all are far away from the Siberian Arctic. We are doing our multi-year observations, including year-round monitoring, in proximity to the source. In addition to measuring the amount of methane emitted from the area, we are trying to find out whether there is anything specific about those emissions that could distinguish them from other sources. It is incorrect to say that anyone is able to trace that signal yet.

All models must be validated by observations. New data obtained in our 2011 cruise and other unpublished data give us a clue to reevaluate if the scale of methane releases from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf seabed is assessed correctly (papers are now in preparation). This is how science works: step by step, from hypothesis based on limited data and logic to expanded observations in order to gain more facts that could equally prove or disprove the hypothesis. We would urge people to consider this process, not jump to conclusions and be open to the idea that new observations may significantly change what we understand about our world.


The great global climate con

A comment from India

India must eschew the global climate deal that was recently proposed in Durban as it will infringe on the economic freedom of Indians. The proposal seeks to raise money for a global climate fund by setting up an international license-raj for industries and imposing shipping and carbon taxes. The taxes and fees will result in the transfer of wealth from India and China to the West as the two countries will contribute the most to global economic activity in coming years.

The shipping tax will increase the cost of various goods while the carbon tax will reduce India’s competitiveness by retarding the growth of its industries.

While India potentially faces these hardships, supporters of the fund have prepared themselves to reap a windfall. The licences, known as carbon credits, will be traded on financial exchanges resulting in billions of dollars in transaction fees and profits for the European Climate Exchange and financial firms like Goldman Sachs.

A former adviser of the American presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama has even patented a carbon trading plan.

As the creation, supply and demand of the licences depend on legislation, it is certain that lobbyists will pressure governments to pass laws favorable to them. This is already the case with Al Gore, whose London-based firm, Generation Investment Management, has hoarded up carbon credits from the scheme implemented in several countries. The prices of these credits have crashed as troubled east European industries have flooded the market with the credits after getting them for shutting down manufacturing units. Investors left holding these carbon credits can be bailed out only if an international treaty forces Indians and Chinese to shop for carbon credits.

Other lobbyists include associates of American politicians who have invested in expensive, unprofitable and inefficient technologies that they have labeled ‘clean tech.’ They seek subsidies and legislation to create a market for their products by outlawing goods like incandescent light bulbs.

The proposed climate fund will be similar to other international funds that award contracts and grants to corporations and non-profit groups based in the US and Europe. Many members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will receive huge grants. It is little wonder, then, that despite claims of helping poor countries, it is the politicians in the West who are eager to set up the fund.

The rationale behind the fund too is unconvincing. Proponents of the fund claim that global warming is underway and warn of a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions if they are not given money. Supporters of the claim have been likened to members of a doomsday cult. In the 1970s, they predicted the onset of an ice age due to smoke from stoves in India blocking out sunlight. At that time, India was forced to purchase so-called ‘clean stoves’ from the World Bank for millions of dollars. In recent times, Al Gore, the messiah of global warming believers, has accused India’s poor of heating up the earth by using kerosene stoves to cook food. Ironically, Al Gore’s private jet plane burns up thousands of gallons of aviation grade kerosene on each flight.

Data related to the global warming claims too have not been without controversy and some scientists have invited ethics investigations due to scientific misconduct. Jairam Ramesh, as the environment minister, countered claims originating at NASA’s Goddard Center by pointing out that Himalayan glaciers had not shrunk but grown in size.

In recent years, NASA has also quietly lowered its baseline long term global average temperature from 15 to 14 degrees Celsius, allowing it to claim higher temperature deviations. Despite the change, collating NASA’s press releases over several years shows a decline in global temperature. NASA now puts out numbers from a computer software model instead of actual temperatures.

Indians who oppose corruption should also fight it at the global level. The desperation of the proponents of the climate fund to clinch the deal is seen from their wooing of Indian politicians at conferences organised at Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban. It is important for India to reject the climate deal and ensure that its interests are not sold by politicians for personal gains.


Australian Leftist government's pandering to the Greens costs the country a fortune

THE Labor government's tenuous hold on power has already cost taxpayers almost $15 billion.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard spent $65 for every Australian in order to keep the Greens and independents happy - and her party in government - all while facing global financial turmoil and a wafer-thin budget surplus, The Daily Telegraph reported.

An analysis shows the costs extended beyond deals struck after the election, with Labor forced to extinguish political spot fires and buy votes for policies such as the carbon and mining taxes.

The $14.95 billion bill after less than half Labor's term is in contrast to a $950 million revenue windfall after a Greens campaign to adopt its fringe benefits tax to encourage a reduction in driving.

NSW independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott strengthened their positions as major powerbrokers, involved in deals worth $4.2 billion compared to the $364 million of Andrew Wilkie.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan defended Labor's economic record, pointing to the regional focus of much of the funds as returning the proceeds of the mining boom.

But the opposition attacked the greener initiatives as wasteful and evidence that Ms Gillard was unable to stand up to Greens leader Bob Brown.

University of Melbourne professor Mark Considine said there were only minor positives in what he called an "inefficient form of democracy".

"It's very similar to what has happened in the American system where every bill has to contain inducements across the board for bringing people on board," he said. "There is a high cost in the time spent bringing people on board and the exaggerated power of some minority groups and electorates that distorts everything."

The Greens have won $10.275 billion - headlined by the $10 billion clean energy fund - while Queensland independent Bob Katter scored a $335 million renewable energy promise a day after backing the Coalition.

In one vote-buying spree last month, Labor spent $320 million securing three lower house votes to allow its mining tax package to pass.

At least one promise has blown out, with the $75 million pledged to Mr Oakeshott to expand Port Macquarie Hospital rising to $96 million.

Mr Windsor, who was promised $20 million for Tamworth Hospital but has since scored another $120 million, said his efforts had won important money for the regions and improved the outcome of key policies. "Very little is local (in my seat)," he said. "I don't think the punter in the street would object to much of this."

A spokesman for Mr Swan defended the deal-making, insisting the federal government still had a strong economic record on jobs, interest rates and maintaining the AAA credit rating.

"Regional Australia - where one third of Australians live - has every right to decent government services and to enjoy the benefits of the mining boom," the spokesman said.

Opposition government waste spokesman Jamie Briggs said while he did not object to regional initiatives such as health and road, he claimed many of the billions demanded by the Greens was a waste.

"Gillard's lack of courage to stand up to the Greens is costing taxpayers," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Could Public Health Benefits Make Combating Climate Change Free?

The bit of nonsense excerpted below is actually fairly typical of medical writing. They seem incapable of looking at the bottom line. They exult over a beneficial effect of something and ignore other effects that may more than cancel out the benefit. In this case it may be true that some parasites would spread more widely with global warming but the big seasonal killer is winter not summer -- so if winters became milder many deaths would be avoided at that time. And winter deaths show a considerable excess over summer deaths so the health benefits of a warmer world would be large

South Africa—Former entomologist Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization worries about nosebleeds more than the average person. That's because he's one of the estimated 12 million people worldwide afflicted with leishmaniasis—a potentially fatal parasitic disease characterized most often by lesions on the skin and/or mucus membranes—caused by the bite of a sandfly.

As the team leader for climate change and health at WHO and an environmental epidemiologist, Campbell-Lendrum is also in a position to worry more about how global warming is going to affect such so-called vector-borne diseases. "Is climate change going to bring malaria back to the U.S. and Europe? It's not," he asserts. "Climate change is eroding the environmental determinants of health: water, food, increasing disease," he says. Already WHO research suggests that current warming of global average temperatures of just under one degree Celsius is responsible for an additional 150,000 deaths per year, largely due to agricultural failures and diarrheal disease in developing countries. "All the inputs are on the conservative side," says Campbell-Lendrum, who helped come up with the number.

As a result, WHO—and a consortium of other public health organizations—declared climate change to be among the most pressing emerging health issues in the world at the recent climate negotiations here in South Africa. Consider some of the changes that are already taking place: extreme heat waves, such as the one in Europe in 2003 that killed 46,000 people; changes in bacterial diseases due to water contamination and a quickening of bacterial growth rates in warmer temperatures; worsening levels of ground-level ozone, otherwise known as smog, which is responsible for worsening asthma and heart attacks (among other health effects); changes in pollen making allergies worse; changes in vector-borne diseases; as well as droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather such as the 12 natural disasters in the U.S. this year that caused at least $1 billion in damage.


We are living in a COLD period of the earth's history

Above is the factual part of a speculative article in New Scientist

Large climatic variability over the last 2,000 years in Britain

The record is one of the highlights of the most comprehensive record of English weather, dating back to 56BC, which identifies the worst winters seen in Britain in over 2,000 years.

Using a wide variety of sources, including some which less diligent researchers might have eschewed, Jim Rothwell, a retired meteorologist, has built what he believes to be the fullest study of weather across central England in existence.

He has found striking examples of extreme weather going back hundreds of years.

In 1357, after a dry early summer then downpours throughout the autumn, winter saw starving wolves prowling through Sherwood Forest, taking livestock and even threatening humans.

The winter of 1458 saw a bridge destroyed over the river Trent because of floodwaters caused by melting ice which followed prolonged and heavy snowfall.

In 1635, severe blizzards led to very deep snow with drifts up to 20ft deep in Lincolnshire.

However, he had also found evidence of particularly mild winters.

In 1607, in the reign of James I, flowers were reported to be in bloom on Christmas Day.

Four hundred years earlier, in 1249, witnesses claimed the winter was so mild that there were “birds singing like it was spring”.

The summer of 1375 is also noteworthy, as evidence shows the warm, dry weather lasted well into October.

As is the rainy summer of 1315, which was so wet that on July 15 that it is thought to be the origin of the St Swithin’s Day belief that if it rains on that day, it will continue for 40 more.

Mr Rothwell worked for the Met Office for 38 years but was also the expert forecaster for filming of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball.

On his retirement in 1989, he began to piece together everything that was known about central England’s weather, a roughly pear-shaped area which extends from the north Midlands to Winchester and London in the south.

He chose the area as it is largely flat to make chronological comparison more relevant as hills create local weather patterns which are not necessarily representative of the weather for the country.

Mr Rothwell, 80, who is also a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, has now compiled The Central England Weather Series, which begins at 56 BC in the era of Julius Caesar and is housed with Nottinghamshire County Council’s archives service.

His sources, which number over 50, range from county council and university archives; to historical reference works, particularly those with pictures showing the weather in detail; to the writing of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, the 17th century diarists.

He also used local newspapers to corroborate information and even used the library of De Bilt, a publication in Holland, to get weather reports for the Middle Ages.

One of the quirks he had to overcome was the 11 days added to the calendar by the government in 1752 when England swapped the Julian calendar for the Gregorian to being it into line with the rest of Europe.

Mr Rothwell, who has a Masters degree in climatology as well as degrees in history and geography, said his combination of skills had helped him in his research.

He said: “I have used history books containing references to key periods in history as part of the research. If there was a photograph or image showing snow, I have pinpointed that date in the records.

“There has been much analysis of data to ensure I have the truest record possible. For example, Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn had a tendency to exaggerate some of their descriptions of weather in their diaries.”

Mr Rothwell said: “The records show that all sorts of unusual weather has occurred during all of the seasons in central England in the past.

“People are alert to unusual weather patterns at the time they happen, but do tend to forget these exceptions as time goes on.”

Mark Dorrington, of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic and comprehensive record of weather in Central England and we are privileged to have it in our archives.

“The weather is always a fascination for people and this collection of records is a hidden gem, so we are delighted to let people know it is available.”


His Eminence has a shot at the Warmists

Cardinal Pell's reference to the "Roman warm period" is completely factual. There is no way Hannibal could drive elephants over the Alps these days and yet that is one of the best known episodes in Roman history. But Warmists don't do real history. They just make up their own

The changeable environment loomed large in the Christmas message of Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, who said the blessings of prosperity, peace and a good climate were taken for granted. "The unusual rains after 10 years of drought are a small price to pay in this run-up to Christmas," he said.

Every age was marred by some disasters, he said. "In Biblical times, only Noah escaped the great flood and Jacob's sons had to travel to Egypt for grain during a long drought."

Cardinal Pell said Christ's birth in the "Roman warm period" was a call to worship God and "to acknowledge how powerless we all are before the mighty forces of nature, unable sometimes to escape the caprice of disease and misfortune".


Link to the full address here. He is well known for being a climate atheist.

The Worst NYT Story on Climate Ever?

Regular readers will know that I think that the print media overall has done a pretty good job on covering the science of climate change, if not always getting the politics right. They will also know what I think about the "debate" over climate change and extreme events (above). But every once in a while I see a story that is so breathtakingly bad that it is worth commenting on. Today's installment comes from Justin Gillis at the New York Times and was published on Christmas Eve. The article is so bad that it might just be the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change.

Where to begin? How about the start. The NYT laments that the work of attributing the cause of extreme events in NOAA is "languishing":

Scientists say they could, in theory, do a much better job of answering the question “Did global warming have anything to do with it?” after extreme weather events like the drought in Texas and the floods in New England.

But for many reasons, efforts to put out prompt reports on the causes of extreme weather are essentially languishing.

Set aside the unattributed "scientists say" -- a favorite construction of Gillis and the Times. The article fails to explain that NOAA already has a robust effort in place focused on climate attribution and which has put out recent assessments about phenomena as varied as the 2011 US tornado season and the 2009/2010 mid-Atlantic coast snowstorms. No one from that effort was quoted in the article nor was any of their work (perhaps because it utterly contradicts the narrative of the story).

The article repeats the tired statistic that the number of billion dollar disasters have increased in recent decades:

A typical year in this country features three or four weather disasters whose costs exceed $1 billion each. But this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has tallied a dozen such events, including wildfires in the Southwest, floods in multiple regions of the country and a deadly spring tornado season. And the agency has not finished counting. The final costs are certain to exceed $50 billion.

The article does not explain that $1 billion in 2011 is about the same as $400 million in 1980 (XLS). Nor does it explain that a $50 billion total in losses for 2011 is about exactly the same as the total in 1980, after adjusting for inflation -- however, as a proportion of the overall economy those 1980 losses were 250% larger than those experienced in 2011. That is, the equivalent 1980 losses in 2011 would be $125 billion (XLS). The article completely ignores relevant peer-reviewed research on the subject (see here also).

The article fails to cite the recent IPCC report which covered this exact subject, concluding (PDF):

Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded.

The IPCC SREX report has a lot of other things to say about extremes, which also contradict the narrative of the story. Also neglected is the US government's own review of extreme events in the US, which found no long-term trends.

The article is extremely sloppy when discussing tornadoes:

Tornadoes, the deadliest weather disaster to hit the country this year, present a particularly thorny case. On their face, weather statistics suggest that tornadoes are becoming more numerous as the climate warms. But tornadoes are small and hard to count, and scientists have little confidence in the accuracy of older data, which means they do not know whether to believe the apparent increase.

Tornadoes are not in the least bit "thorny." You wouldn't know from reading the article that the most powerful tornadoes - the F3,  F4 and F5s which cause almost all of the damage and fatalities -- have actually decreased over the past 50 years (so too has damage). Nor would you know that the NOAA Climate Attribution effort has recently looked at the 2011 tornadoes and found no evidence of causality from increasing greenhouse gases:

So far, we have not been able to link any of the major causes of the tornado outbreak to global warming. Barring a detection of change, a claim of attribution (to human impacts) is thus problematic, although it does not exclude that a future change in such environmental conditions may occur as anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing increases.

The NYT article relies on a very few people from the usual small circle of folks cited in such articles to say the usual suggestive things - Ben Santer, Jeff Masters, Peter Stott. Not one researcher is cited who actually publishes peer-reviewed work on tornadoes, economic impacts of disasters, or the long-term history of US weather extremes. However, somehow Congressional Republicans show up as the bad guys in the usual good guys-bad guys framing on this topic. No budget numbers are presented nor any specific discussion of what is going on in NOAA. Ink blot.


Obama Energy Programs “Infused With Politics at Every Level”

Even the liberal Washington Post, which hasn’t endorsed a Republican for President since 1952, seems to be souring on the Obama Administration’s failed energy programs, saying they were “infused with politics at every level.” As it noted in discussing the Solyndra scandal: “Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal ­e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials. The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra,” which was owned by major Obama backers, like George Kaiser.

As law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds notes, “all the ‘stimulus’ and ‘green energy’ stuff was never anything but a program to put taxpayer money into the hands of cronies and supporters.”

The Obama Administration hastily approved the taxpayer subsidies for Solyndra despite obvious danger signs and warnings from accountants about the company’s likely collapse, the misgivings of agency officials, and the company’s mismanagement and lousy-quality products. (Solyndra executives are now pleading the 5th Amendment to avoid disclosing incriminating information.) The Obama administration was determined to shovel taxpayer money to its cronies as fast as it could. As an Obama fundraiser and Solyndra stakeholder exulted, “there’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much of it . . . as we possibly can.” “At the time Solyndra received its grant, Vice President Joe Biden declared that the Solyndra investment is ‘exactly what the [the stimulus package] is all about.’”

While diverting taxpayer money away from productive and efficient businesses to corporate-welfare recipients controlled by political cronies, the Obama Administration is busy wiping out jobs through thousands of pages of counterproductive regulations. Some of these new regulations are designed to spawn lawsuits that will enrich trial lawyers at businesses’ and consumers’ expense.

Obama appointees at the EEOC are busy harassing businesses that hire and fire based on merit, thus discouraging employers from hiring or expanding operations, and the EEOC is bringing costly, unjustified lawsuits against businesses. The 2010 healthcare law imposes financial burdens — some of them large, and others difficult to calculate — on the nation’s employers, resulting in some business owners deciding not to expand or hire new employees.

Many businesses are also suffering from the effects of the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law, a 2,315 page monstrosity that makes it harder for small businesses to obtain credit, and also outsources and wipes out jobs in the financial sector. Even one-time Obama supporters in the business community have grown disenchanted: Democratic businessman Steve Wynn called Obama“the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime,” saying that “the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”

The Obama administration has sought to temporarily pump up the economy with stimulus spending paid for with massive deficits, but as the Congressional Budget Office has noted, the stimulus package will actually shrink the economy in the long run, so it will not be able to offset the economic drag resulting from all of the Obama administration’s new regulations and red tape.


No coal, no growth, says South African power company chief

It might be one of the world's worst polluting energy sources, but coal has allowed South Africa to become the continent's largest economy, according to the chief executive of the country's power utility company Eskom.

Speaking to CNN's Robyn Curnow, Eskom's Brian Dames said coal has been key to fueling South Africa's economic growth and improving the lives of many in the country.

"We've been very successful in the use of coal in growing one of the largest economies, in bringing electricity to the majority of South Africans -- we're absolutely not defensive about it," said Dames.

South Africa gets 86% of its energy from coal and, despite the criticism that it is bad for the environment -- when burned, coal emits more air pollution and greenhouse gases than other major energy sources -- Dames argued that South Africa will continue to use the natural resource. An edited version of the interview follows below.

CNN: Why is coal important for South Africa?

Brian Dames: It's about energy security first and foremost for us, it's about affordable energy, it's about energy access. You would agree with me without those three things there is no economic growth, no poverty alleviation, no job creation in any of our economies.

And then it is about, as we do this, how we can do it in a more cleaner manner and at the same time make sure we deal with issues such as job creation -- can we create green jobs -- so we're very clear as to where we want to go and what the balance is and that commitment is there -- it is there to move towards a lower carbon footprint over time.

Read more: Is South Africa addicted to coal?

CNN: What percentage of energy do you get from coal?

BD: It's more than 80%, about 86% of the energy, and it has put us in a position as a company and as a country to really fuel the economic growth in South Africa. That's why this country has got the largest economy on the African continent, that's why we operate one of the world's 10 largest power companies.

CNN: Eighty per cent of all your energy comes from coal -- that is dirty energy and South Africa is the biggest producer of coal in the world. Don't you find that difficult in terms of charting a green future?

BD: No, it is not difficult. We should be quite clear, because South Africa's emissions is about 1.5% of global emissions, the continent's emissions is about 3% of global emissions, it's less than 200 times than what's in the U.S.
We have a clear path as to how we make sure we grow and how we make sure we respond to the needs of the environment.
Brian Dames, CEO Eskom

What you're asking us to do is not do that, not have electricity, not have energy security and not have energy access.

CNN: I think the reality is Eskom relies heavily on coal, South Africa historically has relied heavily on coal to produce its electricity. Why do you seem a bit defensive about it?

BD: No, we're not defensive, absolutely not. Coal has been used very successfully and will be used in future in South Africa. It's a natural resource that we have, we've been very successful in the use of coal in growing one of the largest economies, in bringing electricity to the majority of South Africans -- we're absolutely not defensive about it.

Banker: Spending on climate change makes good business sense

CNN: But it is dirty energy and there is an excess of reliance on coal.

BD: It's not a question of being defensive, it's a question about the ill-informed, because you want us as a country to be cleaner and not have electricity and energy and that is a problem.

CNN: That's not what I'm saying, it's a fact that South Africa relies heavily on coal.

BD: It is a fact and successfully have done so. We've said clearly growth is important, we have said clearly that we're committed to a low-carbon future over time, so it is not growth at all costs.

South Africa has got a very clear path and strategy and is fully committed to deal with that. South Africa has made very clear commitments in terms of its CO2 emissions. South Africa has also made it very clear that it is a developing country that must grow, that we must see the establishment of funding to make sure that it is available for us to do so.

We have a clear path as to how we make sure we grow and how we make sure we respond to the needs of the environment and as a country and as company we're fully committed to that.

CNN: Is nuclear still a very big part of your plans?

BD: South Africa has produced a 20-year energy electricity plan and that plan has got an inclusion of nuclear. That plan says, of the additional capacity of the next 20 years, 42% of it will be renewables, 23% of it will be nuclear, because we do have requirement for base-load energy.

We can't stall electricity -- nuclear as a base-load energy option is a viable option for this continent and again, coming back to my previous point, no one option, whether coal or renewables or hydro will solve our energy problems in the future. We need a combination of all of it, and including nuclear for that matter.



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