Thursday, May 19, 2011

Warmists are amusing

I suppose someone else will have a more extensive comment on this soon but I was amused by Joe Romm's heading:

"Wegman scandal rocks cornerstone of climate denial"

Climate skepticism was of course around long before the Wegman report and Wegman et al. concerned themselves with just one issue: Was Michael Mann's "hockeystick" diagram an accurate depiction of climate history? Wegman concluded that it was NOT an accurate temperature reconstruction.

But many before him had come to that conclusion too. The conclusion is in no way dependent on Wegman. The "hockeystick" contradicted known history for a start, not to mention its naive use of factor analysis. So pervasive were the criticisms of it that even the IPCC no longer features it. So Wegman was just one voice among many and the fact that he apparently used other people's words at times is probably some testimony to that.

It is notable that Romm makes no attempt to answer the statistical points raised by Wegman. His only focus was on whether Wegman was original in what he said! Pretty desperate!

A graphic history of Hansen

Graphic by Nik From NYC

NAS Climate Panel Fails The Laugh Test

Three environmental activists and a duck walk into a bar and start talking global warming with a dozen people who have no formal education in climate science. Sound like the beginning of a bad joke? Actually, it’s not. It’s what the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would have us believe is an expert, objective, scientifically authoritative panel qualified to produce its latest report, America’s Climate Choices.

America’s Climate Choices asserts that humans are the primary cause of recent climate change that poses significant risks to human welfare and the environment. The report asserts we need to act now to fend off future harms.

Environmental activist groups and their media allies have had a field day claiming America’s Climate Choices is an unquestionably objective and expert report providing irrefutable proof that humans are causing a global warming crisis.

USA Today, for example, claimed the report was authored by “the nation’s pre-eminent scientific advisory group” and said the report “leave[s] the deniers in the same position as the ‘birthers’” who challenge President Obama’s reported birthplace.

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post referred to the report as “the scientific consensus of America’s premier scientific advisory group” and says “climate-change deniers, in other words, are willfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three.”

These are very strong assertions. Let’s see if the facts back them up.

Only 23 people served on the panel. This is hardly sufficient to form a “scientific consensus.”

Of the 23 panelists, only five have a Ph.D. in a field closely related to climate science. That’s less than 22%.

Five of the 23 panelists are or were staffers for environmental activist organizations. That means there are as many professional environmental activists on the panel as there are persons with climate-related science degrees.

Prior to publishing the report, 19 of the 23 made statements claiming global warming is a human induced problem and/or we need to take action to reduce carbon dioxide restrictions. That means 83% of the panel was clearly and obviously biased before being selected.

Two of the panelists are or were politicians.

One of the panelists was appointed by the Clinton administration as general counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency.

To claim that a report from such a small panel, comprised primarily of non-climate scientists and environmental activists, is objective and scientifically authoritative is a joke. The fact that 19 of the 23 panelists were clearly biased before even writing the report makes the report an even bigger joke. The only thing missing from such an “expert” and “objective” panel is the presence of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar.

When environmental activists lament the fact that public opinion has turned so forcefully against global warming alarmism, they need only look in the mirror to find the answer. You can’t trot out staffers from Environmental Defense Fund, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and other environmental activist groups and claim this is authoritative, objective science. And if you are going to issue a global warming report and claim it is from impeccably qualified scientific sources, at least a quarter of the report’s authors should be climate scientists.

Environmental activists and their media allies repeatedly point out that America’s Climate Choices is a National Academy of Sciences publication. Rather than provide credibility for the panel of activists and non-climate scientists, the involvement of NAS merely illustrates how far away from quality, objective science NAS has travelled when the topic is a political one as well as scientific one. The fact that NAS chose to publish the report in no way changes the fact that the report was written by a very small panel of environmental activists and non-climate scientists. All the Washington Post and USA Today editorials in the world cannot change the fact that the NAS panel is about as close to representing an objective, authoritative scientific consensus on climate science as Donald Trump is to representing an objective, authoritative scientific consensus on the accuracy of President Obama’s birth claims.

Indeed, when three environmental activists and a duck walk into a bar to discuss global warming with non-climate scientists, the duck is most objective, qualified source in the room. Too bad the duck was the only entity left off the NAS panel.


Species Extinction Rates Grossly Overestimated

A group of researchers agrees that Earth is facing a mass extinction event, but they are daring to overturn dogma on how fast species are disappearing. The researchers say they have discovered why current estimates are overblown, and they recommend a different way to calculate the rates.

"We need to go back to revisit ... how those numbers are derived," Fangliang He, of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, said in a press briefing with fellow study researcher Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles.

We don't even know how many species actually exist, though it is known that biodiversity is declining drastically. Previously estimated extinction rates — some experts thought half the world's plant and animal species would be gone by 2000 — haven't matched what's actually been observed. Other researchers have claimed the difference originates from the lag time between when a species' habitat becomes unsustainable and when the species begins to disappear.

The researchers believe that the overestimation is actually due to how we derive these estimates in the first place.

Estimating extinction

It is very difficult to determine the number of species that are going extinct, since in most cases it's hard for researchers to know when the species is down to its last remaining individual. [10 Species You Can Kiss Goodbye]

Most estimates are derived from the rate at which members of a species would be discovered during a survey of their habitat. Researchers estimate extinction rate by simply reversing this species discovery rate in its habitat: The more habitat you lose, the fewer species you'd expect to discover.

To prove a species is extinct, however, one has to find the last remaining example of that animal. And Hubbell and He explain that the amount of habitat needed to find the last individual is much larger than the amount needed to find the first.

In fact, the researchers mathematically prove in their paper that the habitat loss required for extinction is always larger, usually much larger — up to 160 percent — than the area required for discovery of a species.

Correcting our methods

"This is welcome news in the sense that we have bought a little time for saving species," said Hubbell. "But it's unwelcome news in one sense, because we have to redo a whole lot of research that was done incorrectly as a result of the incorrect method."

Another method, called the endemics-area relationship, is more logical, the researchers say.

They tested the two methods using computer models and with known species, including rain-forest plants and birds in North America, and saw that the endemics-area model is a better fit to the actual data.

The researchers warn, though, that this shouldn't lead to complacency about habitat loss. Many species are still going extinct because humans are destroying and disrupting their habitats.


Fracking and the Greens

John Stossel

I just learned I'm going to save money! My apartment building in New York will switch from heating oil to cleaner natural gas. Gas is much cheaper than oil now because energy companies found ways to get more of it out of the ground. Even more astounding is that by using this technique, America won't run out of natural gas for 100 years or more! Time to break out the Champagne?

Not so fast, say environmentalists. To get gas out of the ground, companies use pressurized chemicals to blow up rock. It's called hydraulic fracturing -- fracking. An Oscar-nominated movie, "Gasland," says that fracking contaminates our water supply with chemicals. In the movie, some homeowners set their tap water on fire. That got my attention. I've seen Michael Moore's movies and environmental documentaries, which I thought were nonsense. But "Gasland" is more convincing.

Unfortunately, "Gasland" producer Josh Fox turned down my interview requests, as did representatives of the big national environmental groups that oppose fracking. I think I know why. The movie and the left's arguments against fracking are deceitful.

First, the movie implies that nasty chemicals get into the water table. That seems logical, since they shoot them down into gas wells. But it turns out that the shale gas wells are thousands of feet below the water table. Do the chemicals flow up -- against gravity?

But then what's the explanation for the most dramatic part of the movie: tap water so laden with gas that people can set it on fire?

It turns out that has little to do with fracking. In many parts of America, there is enough methane in the ground to leak into people's well water. The best fire scene in the movie was shot in Colorado, where the filmmaker is in the kitchen of a man who lights his faucet. But Colorado investigators went to that man's house, checked out his well and found that fracking had nothing to do with his water catching fire. His well-digger had drilled into a naturally occurring methane pocket.

"There are lots of ... naturally causing effects that occur," says Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation, a think tank in Pennsylvania -- where much of the film was shot. "It's really no surprise. We find that 40 percent of the wells in Pennsylvania have some sort of naturally occurring methane gas and other types of things."

John Hanger, former director of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, who also appeared in the film, is less sanguine:

"Gas can migrate ... from poor drilling into people's private water wells. ... We have had gas move from poorly done gas drilling through the ground and reach people's water wells. So there is a need for oversight ... gas does have some impacts. It is not perfectly clean. But compared to coal and oil, which are more dirty fossil fuels, natural gas can be produced and consumed in a manner that is cleaner than coal."

Filmmaker Josh Fox concedes that the states concluded that the fire wasn't caused by fracking, but he says the government regulators collude with industry, or don't use good science. His movie portrays Hanger as an indifferent bureaucrat. Hanger says the movie is just inaccurate. "Josh Fox has a mission. ... He is trying to shut down the gas -- drilling industry."

Frankly, I'm skeptical of all of them: lefty moviemakers who smear companies, companies with economic interests at stake and the regulators, who are often cozy with industry and lack essential knowledge. The surest environmental protectors are property rights -- and courts that assign liability to polluters.

But hydraulic fracturing is a wonderful thing. It's not new. Companies have done it for 60 years, but now they've found ways to get even more gas out of the ground. That's the reason gas is getting cheaper and panicky politicians no longer rant about America "running out of fuel."

Natural gas is not risk-free, but no energy source is. Perfect is not one of the choices.


Britain's new era of green taxes: Climate change targets to cost every household £500 a year

Tough new climate change targets will cost every household in Britain £500 a year. The targets will usher in a new era of green taxes and soaring fuel bills for millions of cash-strapped households.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday committed the UK to a legally binding 50 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in a move that will leave Britain £13.4billion-a-year worse off. The targets are the toughest of any country in the world and will come at a huge price for Britain’s struggling economy.

In contrast, the U.S. has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by only 3 per cent, while China – the world’s biggest polluter – expects its carbon dioxide emissions to rise.

Critics say the plans could have only a minuscule impact on halting climate change but could stifle economic recovery and hamper business. They will also mean higher fuel bills, hitting poorest homes the hardest.

When he attempted to counter claims that householders would face energy price increases because of the targets, Mr Huhne was only able to say that they would result in no extra cost for customers during this parliament.

The announcement of the carbon budget – the limit on emissions – comes after a bitter rift in the Cabinet between Mr Huhne and Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable, who claimed the targets would make the UK uncompetitive.

The carbon budget follows the recommendation in December of the Committee on Climate Change, an independent body of experts that advises the Government. It said the UK would need to sacrifice 1 per cent of its gross domestic product to meet the target.

At today’s prices that is the equivalent of £13.4billion a year – the money raised by increasing VAT in January – or an average of £500 for every household.

The Government will try to meet the target by raising fuel bills to pay for thousands more wind turbines to be built across the country as well as offshore. It will also have to finance a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The announcement came as it emerged that inflation had risen to 4.5 per cent – and at a time when millions are facing soaring bills, pay cuts and the risk of redundancy.

The Climate Change Act 2008 sets a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by at least 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. It also requires the Government to set carbon budgets for consecutive five-year periods.

Carbon budgets must be set at least three budget periods in advance, and the fourth carbon budget – for 2023 to 2027 – has to be set in law by next month.

Announcing it, Mr Huhne said: ‘Under this carbon budget, Britain in 2027 will be a different place and transformed for the better with warmer homes powered by green energy, many more cars powered by electricity and far less reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economy.’

He denied that Britain was ‘going ahead’ of other countries. The new target goes far deeper than the EU which has pledged to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, or 30 per cent if the world signs a climate change deal. Mr Huhne gave the UK a get-out by promising to review the target in 2014 if Europe drags its feet.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the UK’s actions would have little impact on climate change when emissions were increasing around the world.

Energy intensive industries – such as chemicals, steel, textiles and ceramics – would be particularly badly hit by the soaring costs of gas and electricity. ‘If they go ahead with this it will severely damage the economy, it will be economic suicide,’ he said.

Adam Scorer, of the official consumer body Consumer Focus, said: ‘The need for tough action on carbon is widely accepted, but this will come at a high cost. The consequences of higher bills will clearly hit the poorest households hardest.’


Australia: You can be a brainless twit (or even a blonde bombshell) if you are a Warmist

A junior Warmist at the University of Melbourne (Parkville) has excited the derision of Prof. Bunyip. He comments about the happy soul below, one Ailie Gallant

It is not Allie’s efforts to attract attention (which can also help with the funding), but her co-authored paper on water flows in the Murray Darling Basin which has brought so much reassurance.

In particular, it is the remarkably specific conclusion that there is precisely, and she is very exact about this, a 2.3% likelihood that any of the many droughts over the past 1500 years were worse than the one just ended - the same dry spell during which the she began smokin' dos' stats in her climate crib. It was a popular meme a few years ago, back when rain refused to fall and climate change was replacing global warming, so her enthusiasm at the time was understandable.

And her methods? Well, let's just say that the Professor is -- yo, lab bitches -- down with them.

The Original Custodians were not big on meteorological records, so that was a problem for Allie right there. She might have gone off to Barmah (a lovely spot) and cored a few red gums or somesuch, measured their transected rings and deduced when it had been hot and dry or cool and wet.

That was not her preferred method, however. Rather, nice and comfy at a Parkville work station, she consulted those who went before, mining their studies of celery top pines in Tasmania, teak in Indonesia, some tall timber in Western Australia, Tongan corals, kauri in New Zealand and other interesting bits of Bali, Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef. The closest survey site was a good 900 kilometres from the Murray, the furthest a 10-hour flight, even for Tim Flannery.

Data sources so far removed from the river she intended to study might have suggested an insurmountable obstacle to those who know not the miracles of modern modelling. By reviewing numbers here, sifting charts there and rejecting discordant figures in accordance with recognised climatological norms and norming, Ailie was able to feed what was left into a computerized vitamizer and - golly gosh, guess what? - demonstrate with charts and graphs that the recent drought really was the worst in centuries, just as the Phage, ABC, Guardian, World Wildlife Fund had been saying all along!

Indeed, by Ailie's reckoning, it was even worse, which must have convulsed the WWF's fund-raisers with shivers of delight: the drought was not the nastiest in 100 years or even 1,000 years - it was a full 1500 years since Australia had seen the arid like. Just to put things in perspective, that is not too long after the Romans pulled out of Britain. Amazing, ain't it, what climate science can learn about a river in southern Australia from a bit of Bali coral someone else has studied? And don't getting suspicious, thinking nobody could be that precise on the basis of such much-handled data.The science is settled, Ailie assures us, and to a 97.7% certainty, no less!

And that, as Ailie rapped the other night, is what climate science is all about. She is proud of her research, naturally, and quite probably eager to tackle the next challenge -- pinpointing Warrnambool's worst hailstorm since the Council of Trent, perhaps.


Commenter on Bunyip's site, David Joss, said...

It's a great pity that instead of studying proxies, these people did not peek into the history books.

The Federation drought ran almost as long as the most recent one.

The World War 2 drought may have been worse. It began in 1937. The Murray stopped running at Echuca in 1945 and seven million sheep died that year.

But the drought which lasted from the early 1830s until 1842 (some say 1844) was probably the worst one documented. By 1835 the Murrumbidgee had run dry at Gundagai. An early settler near Echuca, the squatter Henry Lewes, wrote that Horseshoe lagoon at Moama was dry when he arrived in 1842. There were trees growing in its bed which he reckoned were probably eight or nine years old. He watched them die as floods refilled the lagoon. And if the trees were as old as he believed, the lagoon had to dry out before the seeds could germinate.

Eye witness accounts trump tree rings every time.

Australian ski resort to open three weeks early

RECENT low temperatures and snowfalls will allow Australia's largest ski resort to kick off its winter season three weeks ahead of schedule. Perisher will officially open its Snowy Mountains Front Valley slope on Friday, following a successful round of snow-making last week.

It's the first of Perisher's snowfield to begin operations and the other slopes will follow on June 11, the official start of its season. "We are thrilled to ... be opening the resort way ahead of time," Perisher chief executive Peter Brulisauer said.

Temperatures at Perisher Valley are currently hovering around 5.7 degrees during the day. The average minimum during winter is about -3.7 degrees.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Opponents of fracking assume that the gas in the water wells comes from the gas wells that were drilled because there's obviously no way that any of that gas that been deeper there for millions of years could have escaped into the rock layers above. {end sarcasm]