Sunday, August 28, 2011

IPCC Censorship

When I read the sort of thing below I am always reminded of the old Quaker paraphrase of John 3: 19-20: "The children of the light love the light, and walk in the light, but the children of darkness walk in darkness, and hate the light" -- JR

By Prof. Claes Johnson

Here is a fresh example how IPCC suppresses science which does not support the CO2 alarmism IPCC presents to the world and its leaders:

I was invited to participate in discussions on climate science in Brussels Sept 1-2 with the following letter of August 20:
SEII (Société Européenne des Ingénieurs et Industriels, Prof Henri Masson) organizes a conference for Fred Singer and Claes Johnson at the Fondation Universitaire in Brussels on September 1, at 18 h00. Official invitation from SEII follows by E-mail.

The next day 2 September there will be a workshop with some of our Think Tank . Our preliminary programme looks as follows:

18h15 S. Fred Singer : What is new in climate change?

19 h 00 Claes Johnson : Blackbody radiation and Climate Thermodynamics

19 h45 to 20 H30 : Questions and Answers

We are very happy to have this opportunity to bring together scientists and some politicians (we hope) and get some useful and interesting discussions.

No official invitation by SEII followed. Instead the following letter [Google translation] was sent on August 22 by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of IPCC, Membre de l'Académie royale de Belgique, on mission in the US, to Fondation Universitaire:
Subject: SEII and scientific integrity


The SEII it implicitly supports the denial climate on the eve of World Congress of Engineers in Geneva dedicated to the energy (when I have the honor of giving a "keynote lecture")?

The use of the stationery of SEII by your administrator Mr Masson for the attached invitation suggests. Unfortunately, despite a phrase to indicate that the hypocrite SEII no "sponsors" not the event.

You should know that Mr. Fred Singer is a person whose scientific integrity leaves much to be desired. Its activities are financed disinformation by the lobbies of fossil fuels (see XXXXXXXXXXXXXX), and it is scandalous that such a person may be associated, directly or indirectly, to SEII and the University Foundation.

Eminent colleagues have written that Mr. Johnson was no better. One of his "textbook" recently, where he spoke at random through climate change, published by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) had to be retracted by him so it contained errors.

Thank you very quickly to tell me what measures SEII take to distance themselves from this "event"? I would be happy also to know what is the mandate of this "think tank" of SEII on climate change that Mr. Masson chairs (although his resume is not available at the University of Antwerp, and I've never heard of his skills in climate).

Sincerely, Prof.. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

The effect of the letter was that the SEII/Fondation Universitaire seminar was cancelled, stopped, censored. IPCC managed to suppress questioning of the science presented by IPCC, by a forceful intervention by one of its vice-presidents.

What to say about this? Well, I am not surprised. I read that the burning of my mathematics book by KTH supported by media and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (documented as KTH-gate), is now used to motivate to also mute my voice.

But why these hysteric reactions from IPCC? There must be something in what I am saying (and/or Fred Singer), which is very dangerous to IPPC.

What is it? Van Ypersele knows. But will van Ypersele succeed in preventing IPCC from collapse under scientific scrutiny?

To burn books because they contain some incorrectnesses would be an overwhelming task: All books contain something which is incorrect. The only real reason to burn a book or suppress an oral presentation is that what is presented is correct, but unpleasant to some.

For a summary of my criticism of IPCC climate science, see my presentation at the annual meeting of Stockholm Initiative.

PS Here is a reaction from Fred Singer:
Why am I not surprised by this disreputable action of this IPCC officer.After all, we know from Climategate emails that these people will go to any length to suppress scientific dissent. Even to libel and to use bald-faced lies.

Of course, I am not supported by fossil-fuel industry. That is complete nonsense and invention. My Europe visit is paid by the Ettore Majorana Foundation -- to give an invited talk at a climate conference in Erice. I am using the occasion to accept additional invitations to speak (without lecture fees) at the Univ of Hamburg, Imperial College, Univ of Paris - Jussieu, and of course at the KNMI in De Bilt. By happenstance I was also invited to address 100+ engineers in Zurich.

Our IPCC colleague van Yp also questions my honesty. Well now -- the IPCC has been using me as a scientific reviewer, I publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and am an elected Fellow of several scientific societies. So there must be some who disagree with van Yp.


UVA goes all in on Climate Gate FOIA coverup

The University of Virginia has joined a list of institutions claiming that there has been an actual inquiry into, and even 'exoneration' of, scientists exposed by the November 2009 "ClimateGate" leak, while simultaneously through its actions making a mockery of the idea.

UVa's August 23 release under court order of 3,800 pages of emails - records that UVa previously denied existed - was its second since the American Tradition Institute (ATI) sought judicial assistance in bringing the school into compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA).

The school has spent approximately $500,000 to date keeping these records from the taxpayer, who paid for their production to begin with.

The university again labored to avoid releasing correspondence directly addressing the now discredited “Hockey Stick” graph produced while former assistant research professor Michael Mann worked there.

At least 126 of those emails were sent to or from Mann at UVa and were central to ClimateGate, which exposed a purported, now disavowed temperature record, as well as the Hockey Stick and related activities by scientists to keep dissenting work from publication. The emails showed scientists circling the wagons to protect their claims, funding and careers.

Each of these 126 UVa ClimateGate emails, as with other related Mann correspondence with third parties of which we are aware, is covered by our VFOI request. Not one of them made it into UVa's releases.

UVa acknowledges withholding between 3,500 and 4,000 more pages. This likely represents around ten times the original number of UVa emails revealed in “ClimateGate.”

Even before ATI was able to review these emails, Mann described the release to Science Magazine, indicating a collaborative effort with the university in what amounts to hiding from the taxpayer efforts to derail exposure of the “Hockey Stick.”

We certainly appreciate that he is worried. But no argument exists that these records belong to Mann. Further, the VFOIA protects the taxpayers' interests and, secondarily, the university's. Not former faculty whose actions, once revealed, created a dense cloud of suspicion over their work.

These records are inarguably the property of the University of Virginia and therefore, barring a legitimate exemption under VFOI, the Virginia taxpayer.

A useful example of complying with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is George Mason University's prompt release to the media of correspondence from Professor Edward Wegman.

In one of life's coincidences, these involved Wegman's work exposing the dubious methods involved in creating the “Hockey Stick.”

ClimateGate emails sent or received by Mann's UVa email address include certain now-notorious, often nasty missives, many highly questionable from a legal or ethics perspective and most reflecting wagon-circling by alarmists discussing how to defeat substantive challenge and even requests for transparency involving an already published paper.

It is reasonable to surmise that these are among the 9,000 pages UVa finally identified as responsive to ATI. If so, each of them is being withheld on the remarkable claim that they are "Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for faculty ... in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issues." Really.

Excerpts of apparently scholarly research of commercial intent and value presumably include the ClimateGate gems "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!", and one gleefully noting the death of a skeptic who had dared correspond with them.

This is the sort of Top Secret “proprietary” emails UVa will risk fortune, reputation and sanction to keep from producing. A UVa official informed us on no less than three occasions that the school was, in effect, ignoring the law's mandate to interpret exemptions narrowly.

Clearly he wasn't kidding. But will the court will find this funny?

The university's legal argument remains hazy but, if it is indeed grounded in the such correspondence being somehow “proprietary,” this latest act in UVa's deeply troubling history on this matter threatens to permanently tar a name built over many years, if by the achievements of others who surely weep in their graves over the ongoing spectacle.

This is a school that prides itself on its honor code. Yet instead of acting forthrightly like its fellow ward of the taxpayer, George Mason University, UVa exacerbates the scandal and the increasingly warranted public distrust of Big Science, particularly “climate” science, an edifice built upon hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars annually and dedicated to keeping that gravy train rolling.

Why does this matter, outside of basic principles embedded in the law such as the taxpayers' right to know how their resources are being used, particularly when so much question exists about certain, well-funded activities?

Consider the UK High Court opinion about -- per the judge -- the global warming movement's "alarmist" claims, as featured in the film "An Inconvenient Truth:"

“[Claimant attorney] has established his case that the views in the film are political by submitting that Mr. Gore promotes an apocalyptic vision, which would be used to influence a vast array of political policies, which he illustrates in paragraph 30 of his skeleton argument:

“(i) Fiscal policy and the way that a whole variety of activities are taxed, including fuel consumption, travel and manufacturing … (ii) Investment policy and the way that governments encourage directly and indirectly various forms of activity. (iii) Energy policy and the fuels (in particular nuclear) employed for the future. (iv) Foreign policy and the relationship held with nations that consume and/or produce carbon-based fuels.”

This cannot be attended by such trifling by a public institution with its transparency obligations under the law. That the University of Virginia has chosen to persist in a campaign diminishing its stature and credibility changes nothing under that law. The taxpayers have rights, and we are exercising them.

Christopher C. Horner is director of litigation for the American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center, which is suing the University of Virginia.


Warmist backs off over Irene

Hurricane Irene hadn’t even made landfall in the United States before some people figured out what to blame it on.

“Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming,” environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote Thursday night in The Daily Beast. He argued that this year’s hot Atlantic Ocean temperatures and active spree of hurricanes — coupled with droughts, floods and melting sea ice elsewhere on the globe — are “what climate change looks like in its early stages.”

Besides, “what’s a ‘tropical’ storm doing heading for the snow belt?” asked McKibben. He also said the storm represented bad timing for the Obama administration’s favorable environmental impact statement on TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which environmentalists label a danger to the Earth’s climate.

But not so fast, hurricane scientists say: Not only is it impossible to tie any single hurricane to global warming, but researchers are also still fiercely debating whether the changing climate is making — or will make — tropical cyclones either stronger or more frequent.

It’s also not even clear that hurricane seasons are getting worse over time, some researchers say. After all, New York City and Long Island have been hit by nine previous hurricanes from 1858 to 1991, according to NOAA records, including the disastrous 1938 storm known as the Long Island Express. And the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history struck 111 years ago — the 1900 storm that killed an estimated 8,000 people in Galveston, Texas.

“I think the state of the science is such that you cannot link any singular event to global warming,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center near Miami.

Besides, Blake added, “there’s nothing new about a hurricane hitting the Northeast” — even if it's rarer than a storm that whacks Florida or the Gulf Coast.

On the other hand, some climate researchers say they do see signs of rising global temperatures behind the Atlantic basin’s increase in especially destructive hurricanes since the mid-1990s.

“I think the evidence is fairly compelling that we’re seeing a climate change signal in the Atlantic,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Citing other recent trends of extreme weather, including hailstorms and catastrophic tornadoes, “one begins to wonder, if you add all those up, maybe you are seeing a global warming effect.”

Still, Emanuel said, “I would be reluctant myself to say anything about global warming and Irene.” For one thing, he said, Irene hasn’t been an especially unusual hurricane.


Fewer Americans See Climate Change a Threat, Caused by Humans

Though climate change hasn't received quite the same attention it had back in 2006 and 2007, it's not too surprising that the vast majority of Americans still know at least something about it. But what they know exactly is changing, and national politics certainly seems to be playing a part.

According to a Gallup poll released Friday, 96 percent of Americans in 2010 said they know a great deal or something about climate change. And while that's down 1 percentage point from 2007 to 2008, it's not a significant change, especially considering how media attention to the issue has dropped off quite significantly since around 2007, when coverage was at its peak. [Read: Do Americans care about climate change anymore?]

However, what Americans who know about climate change think about it has changed quite a bit—namely, they see it as less of a problem—and that change has happened much more rapidly than in the four other top greenhouse gas emitting countries, China, Russia, Japan, and India. In 2010, according to the poll, only 55 percent of Americans believed climate change was a threat to them and their families. That's down 9 percentage points from 64 percent in 2007 and 2008. Also, the percentage of people who believe climate change results all or in part from human causes is down a full 11 percentage points. While 61 percent of Americans in 2007 and 2008 believed that humans were at least partially responsible for climate change, only half believed so in 2010.

In Japan, where a higher percentage of people say they know about climate change, the same decline in threat perception and belief in human causes happened too, though less significantly. In Russia, people's perception of threat went up from 2007 and 2008, but there was no change in the belief in human causes. Then, by contrast, in India, more people in 2010 (an increase of 16 percentage points, from 58 percent to 74 percent) believe that climate change is caused by humans. That same increase happened in China, though it was not as significant. [Read more from the Energy Intelligence blog.]

What's interesting about these results is that climate change has been a predominantly international issue, with the United Nations and its International Panel on Climate Change taking the lead on many initiatives and scientific reports. But, it's clear that rather than listen to the multilateral body—which continues to publicize both the threat and human causes of climate change—people, especially in the United States, are much more tuned in to the politics and the news of their own country.

In America, at least, the strong push from many climate change skeptics, which are now represented by many Republicans in Congress, appear to be making a difference in public views, particularly on the issue of whether humans are the cause. The more conservatives make noise denying the problem of climate change, perhaps, the more people, especially their base, catch on to that view. The decrease in media coverage may also play a role in the public's perception of threat, as climate change has been put on the backburner in favor of energy security and green jobs. [Read about whether global warming will matter in the 2012 elections.]

As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast this weekend, expect a round of commentary from groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council calling attention to the effects of climate change. But, with the trend shifting away from believing in such warnings, it's unlikely that many Americans will even take notice.


Germany Shelves Climate Change Bill

The German Federal Government will not introduce a Climate Change Bill in parliament, contrary to its own plans, according to a report by "Frankfurter Rundschau", citing information by the opposition.

The Social Democrats (SPD) had asked if the promised climate change bill would be introduced in this legislative period. The government’s response: No, it won’t.

Thus the plans for the reduction of CO2 emissions have been permanently relegated to non-binding letters of intent. Originally, according to international obligations, greenhouse gas emissions should have been reduced by 80 percent by 2050, compared to 1990. Whether the expansion targets for renewable energy are also abandoned remains unclear.

Federal Environment Minister Röttgen had wanted to examine the feasibility of the Climate Change Act. But he failed to do so because of resistance from his own ranks.

In light of its so-called energy transformation, the Federal Government already had to present one or the other decision as plausible, even if plausibility seemed to be missing often.

So the Government reinvented the red-green nuclear phase-out, and in turn, slowed the expansion of renewable energy by cutting their subsidies. It also looks as if coal-fired power plants and offshore wind power are favoured for electricity generation, although this would create enormous difficulties.

On the one hand, the willingness to invest in coal-fired power plants is decreasing. The reason: if the centre right collation (of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats) were to be voted out of office, a drastic change of course in energy policy could happen - for example by a red-green government that would favour decentralized power generation.

On the other hand, offshore power generation brings with it enormous costs - for example, in network expansion. And even if there appears to be currently a new gold rush for wind farms on the high seas, if the grid is not expanded, the windmills would turn often idle in the future.

Meanwhile, the Bundeslaender have made themselves independent in terms of energy policy - with their own investment programmes, for example. This has led regional utilities to start making use of their chance at independence.

These developments are a direct consequence of the Federal Government’s gradual withdrawal from energy policy. The retreat, however, appears to be mostly reflexive - by misguided compromises or simply by constitutional problems, such as the nuclear phase-out. The bill for this mess is still pending.

SOURCE. (Transl. Philipp Mueller)

At Last: UK Government Goes Anti-Green

A long-awaited government report on green aviation policy has failed to endorse independent proposals for limiting the sector's rapidly growing emissions, to the dismay of green groups.

The government yesterday published its response to an analysis presented by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in December 2009, which warned that air travel could not increase more than 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2050 if the UK was to meet legally binding targets to reduce emissions 80 per cent by mid-century.

Yesterday's formal response from the Department for Transport (DfT) acknowledged the CCC was right to warn that aviation emissions would result in the breaching of the UK's legal emissions limits "without further action".

It said aviation emissions were likely to reach 49 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year by 2050, just above the CCC's projections, although it added they could reach as high as 59 million tonnes by the same date.

But yesterday's report gave little indication as to how the government will stop emissions rising to this level when it publishes its Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation document early next year.

Instead, the response concentrates on encouraging further responses to its March scoping document on sustainable aviation, the consultation deadline for which has been extended to 20 October.

The document also underlined the government's reluctance to limit airport capacity, suggesting that displacing air traffic to other countries would not only damage the UK economy, but lead to "less-efficient routing of passengers and cargo, with a consequential increase in global demand for aviation and hence CO2 emissions".

Airlines are fiercely opposed to measures designed to reduce demand and instead have agreed voluntary technical and efficiency improvements they say will begin to help curb emissions, while also increasing investment in emerging biofuel technologies.

In a foreword to the response, transport secretary Philip Hammond made clear that cutting emissions from the sector should not compromise growth.

"I believe that to present the challenge we face as one of deciding between economic growth and reducing carbon emissions is a false choice," he wrote. "This government is anti-carbon, not anti-aviation, and our goal is to find ways to meet our carbon reduction targets while supporting economic recovery."

However, green groups said the government should prioritise demand reduction policies such as making the most of available capacity, introducing carbon caps, shifting more people to trains for domestic and short-haul flights and promoting greater use of videoconferencing.

They add that jet biofuels should only come into play once these measures have been taken.

Jean Leston, acting head of transport policy at WWF-UK, said the government was showing "a worrying lack of commitment" to including aviation emissions in the Climate Change Act or setting a national reduction target.



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