Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Epidemiologists are known for their poor grip on logic but this guy beats the band

The Warmist epidemiologist below is perfectly correct that past natural climate changes have been disastrous but the disastrous ones were episodes of COOLING. Periods of warming -- as in the Roman warm period -- were periods of prosperity and civilizational advance. Yet he is trying to make the case that history shows warming to be bad. He must know that history indicates the opposite so I say without hesitation that he is a lying crook of zero credibility on anything. I could go on to dispute more of his patently false claims but what's the point?

A LEADING Australian disease expert says prompt action on climate change is paramount to our survival on Earth. Australian National University Epidemiologist Tony McMichael has conducted an historical study that suggests natural climate change over thousands of years has destabilised civilisations via food shortages, disease and unrest.

"We haven't really grasped the fact that a change in climate presents a quite fundamental threat to the foundations of population health," Prof McMichael said. "These things have happened before in response to fairly modest changes to climate.

"Let's be aware that we really must take early action if we are going to maintain this planet as a liveable habitat for humans."

In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof McMichael argues the world faces extreme climate change "without precedent" over the past 10,000 years.

"With the exception of a few downward spikes of acute cooling due to massive volcanic eruptions, most of the changes have been within a band of about plus or minus three-quarters of a degree centigrade," he said today.

"Yet we are talking about the likelihood this century of going beyond two degrees centigrade and quite probably, on current trajectory, reaching a global average increase of three to four degrees."

Prof McMichael's paper states that the greatest recurring health risk over past millennia has been from food shortages mostly caused by drying and drought.

Warming also leads to an increase in infectious diseases as a result of better growth conditions for bacteria and the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Drought can also result in greater contact with rodents searching for scarce food supplies.

The ANU academic says while societies today are better equipped to defend themselves physically and technologically, they lack the flexibility smaller groups had in the past. That's partly because the world is now "over populated", according to Prof McMichael, so there are fewer areas available to retreat too.

Populations are also increasingly packed into large cities on coastlines which are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Prof McMichael has been examining the impact of climate change on population health for 20 years and says it's not easy to raise awareness of the risk.

"Most of the attention has been of a more limited shorter-term kind relating to things around us like the economy, our property, infrastructure and risks to iconic ecosystems and species."


Electricity blackouts can be fatal

And with their innumerable attacks on reliable forms of electricity generation, Greenies are pushing us towards ever more blackouts

A vast electricity blackout in the United States and Canada in 2003 led to the deaths of nearly 100 people, a study found, linking the deaths — higher than official estimates — to not only accidents caused by lack of power, but also underlying diseases.

Researchers said the study published in the journal Epidemiology was the first to show that the death toll of such a power outage comes not only from accidents, such as carbon monoxide poisoning from using generators, but also from chronic health issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

“Our results from this study indicate that power outages can immediately and severely harm human health,” said lead author Brooke Anderson, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Little is known about the health impact of power outages, Anderson and a colleague wrote.

To get a sense of the mortality from a blackout, they collected data on New York City’s weather conditions, air pollution levels and causes of deaths reported during the blackout in August 2003.

Though most of New York City was dark for only about a day, August 14 to 15, the blackout affected a wide swath of the northeastern United States and Canada, lasting as long as four days in some cases — including some pockets within the city.

Afterwards, the New York City health department attributed only six deaths to the blackout, most of them from carbon monoxide poisoning.

But Anderson found there was an overall 28 percent spike in deaths during the outage. Twelve of those additional deaths were caused by accidents, 38 by cardiovascular conditions, three from respiratory problems and 37 by various other health conditions.

Conditions during a blackout may explain why health problems can worsen. Many residents in high-rise apartments had no water for the duration, for example, and firefighters had to rescue hundreds of people from elevators.

“People were trapped in the subway in the dark and didn’t know what happened. Especially after September 11, people are more scared, and stress can trigger a heart attack or exacerbate asthma,” said Shao Lin, an epidemiologist with the New York State Department of Health, who was not involved in the study.

Increased air pollution from idling buses or other sources could also aggravate respiratory conditions, Lin said. In a previous study, she and her colleagues found that hospital admissions for respiratory conditions increased during the blackout.

Though pollution monitors didn’t work through the outage, shortly afterward there was an uptick in certain air pollutants, the researchers said.

Anderson said that people with chronic health issues could also have problems managing them.

“Most food sources and pharmacies were closed, which could be a serious problem for someone with diabetes or someone who is low on prescription medicines,” she said in an email.

Ambulances were slower, home medical equipment that used electricity couldn’t operate and cell phones didn’t work during part of the blackout.

Anderson said that while energy companies are working to stop power outages from taking place in the future, such as during heat waves when power grids struggle, increased stress on the grids could make blackouts more common in the future.

“The most direct way to reduce excess deaths from a blackout is to try to prevent blackouts,” she said.


A Really Inconvenient Truth Is Earth Is Not Melting After All

Earth is not warming. According to Big Green enviros, only Luddites and lunatics would believe such a ludicrous statement.

Well, now government scientists must be added to the long list of the so addled. Here it is, straight from the (high tech) horse's mouth, a new report from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies titled "Global Temperature in 2011, Trends, and Prospects:"

"Global temperature in 2011 was lower than in 1998."

But don't worry. Even as climate scientists -- and an ever-gullible media -- are forced by new data to admit that the Earth is not warming, they take pains to assure us that the Earth is still warming.

The Associated Press was typical in its contortions, as in this Jan. 20 statement: "The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures."

Not as warm, but still a "general trend" of rising temperatures. Got that? No? Well, don't worry. The high priests of warming have apparently assumed a plane far above our mere mortal logic.

Besides, it all depends on how you define "trend," doesn't it? If you go far enough back, you can prove any trend you like about global temperatures. If you start at about 650 million years ago, when the Earth was covered pole to pole in ice, you can say current data show we are in a "general trend" of rising temperatures. If you go back to 1998, not so much.

It is cute, in a pathetic kind of way, to watch the global warming cult try and fudge and spin this fact like nobody's business. Here's another hilarious example, from the same AP story:

"'It would be premature to make any conclusion that we would see any hiatus of the longer-term warming trend,' said Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. 'Global temperatures are continuing to increase.'"

Yes, it would be premature to draw a conclusion (that global warming is not happening) based on current data (that global temps are lower today than in 1998). That's what we foolish mortals do.

Government scientists, and the functionaries and bureaucrats they serve, however, know better. Aren't we lucky?

In another sickening example, NASA scientists admit that while the new data is "suggestive of a slowdown in global warming, this apparent slowdown may largely disappear as a few more years of data are added."

An apparent slowdown that may disappear. Talk about covering your bases. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

One can understand this disappointment. Lucrative climate-scaremongering careers are at stake. So it is no surprise that many cling to the hope that maybe we will burn up after all, that maybe this new data is just a fluke, a blip, a natural respite from man's descent into an unnatural global conflagration.

The truth is this: There is no such thing as an "average" global temperature. The history of our planet is a history of wildly fluctuating temperatures, locally and globally, from season to season, century to century, epoch to epoch.

Only a generation as narcissistic as the baby boomers would assume that the temperature they were accustomed to as they came of age in the mid-20th century is the "correct" or "average" global temperature, which must be maintained in perpetuity no matter the costs.

Again, from NASA: "Global temperature in 2011 was lower than in 1998." Now there's an inconvenient truth for you.


The Massive NASA & IPCC Embarrassment: Hansen's Abysmal Global Warming Model Predictions

James Hansen has provided proof over the last few decades that climate models are worthless as climate prediction tools - will NASA & the IPCC admit failure?

Using the December-end temperature anomalies (topmost chart), it is readily apparent that NASA's James Hansen is entirely incapable of producing accurate global temperature predictions over the long-term. His predictions have been so bad that even the mainstream press is finally coming around to the realization that the alarmist global warming scenarios are truly without merit.

The second chart exhibits the non-predicted deceleration of global temperatures over the last 15 years using the IPCC's gold-standard HadCRUT dataset.

Whether it is long or short-term, Hansen/NASA models are no better than a Ouija board as a tool to predict global temperatures. This massive failure by Hansen et al can also be seen in his model's prediction of ocean heat content and sea level rise.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Little Ice Age recognized in top journal

Michael Mann's "hockeystick" says that the LIA did not happen. And in 2007 Phil Jones said "it's important "not to cling to outdated concepts of the past such as the MWP and LIA"

That the "modelling" of the authors below excludes a solar influence as the cause of the LIA need not detain us of course. You can get anything you like out of a model.

Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks

by Gifford H. Miller et al.


Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures over the past 8000 years have been paced by the slow decrease in summer insolation resulting from the precession of the equinoxes. However, the causes of superposed century-scale cold summer anomalies, of which the Little Ice Age (LIA) is the most extreme, remain debated, largely because the natural forcings are either weak or, in the case of volcanism, short lived. Here we present precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland showing that LIA summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD. Intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half centuries of the past millennium. A transient climate model simulation shows that explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg. The persistence of cold summers is best explained by consequent sea-ice/ocean feedbacks during a hemispheric summer insolation minimum; large changes in solar irradiance are not required.


Phil Jones in June 2003 admits to changing his treatment of the data so as to confirm a warming trend

Email 2530

"Also, note that I've changed the way we smooth the series to preserve the late 20th century trend, like we did in the Eos piece. I've always estimated the uncertainties a bit more conservatively as described in text--so they're a bit expanded now. None of the conclusions change, although the globe is actually a bit more anomalous in the late 20th century when you spreserve the late 20th century trend in the smoothing, so I've tweaked the wording there just a bit..."



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Monday, January 30, 2012

Britain's Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.

According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.

However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.

Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.’ Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: ‘Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’

These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.

‘World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,’ said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute. ‘It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.’

He pointed out that, in claiming the effect of the solar minimum would be small, the Met Office was relying on the same computer models that are being undermined by the current pause in global-warming.

CO2 levels have continued to rise without interruption and, in 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to ‘come roaring back’. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998.

So far there is no sign of any of this happening. But yesterday a Met Office spokesman insisted its models were still valid. ‘The ten-year projection remains groundbreaking science. The period for the original projection is not over yet,’ he said.

Dr Nicola Scafetta, of Duke University in North Carolina, is the author of several papers that argue the Met Office climate models show there should have been ‘steady warming from 2000 until now’.

‘If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories,’ he said.

He believes that as the Met Office model attaches much greater significance to CO2 than to the sun, it was bound to conclude that there would not be cooling. ‘The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate,’ Dr Scafetta said. Meanwhile, one of America’s most eminent climate experts, Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand.

‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.

She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .

Pal Brekke, senior adviser at the Norwegian Space Centre, said some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans – not CO2 – caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun – which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.

‘Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,’ he said. ‘Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.’

Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.

‘We’re now well into the second decade of the pause,’ said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. ‘If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.’


The Cost of Obama's Green Appeasement

This weekend’s Boston Globe Magazine will feature a gargantuan, 3600 word homage to rabid environmentalism in the form of a profile on 350.org founder Bill McKibben. The piece and President Obama’s disastrously short-sighted decision Wednesday to reject permitting for Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline are both symptomatic of a much larger ailment plaguing liberal politicking in general and the Obama administration in particular: a continual willingness to sacrifice the well-being of the majority for an elite, hypocritical minority.

The Keystone project, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would bring crude from Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect decent-paying American jobs and reduce our dependency on the oil of despotic, anti-western nations with questionably sane leaders. But radical environmentalists like McKibben – a second generation jailed protestor and disciple of John Kerry – seem either not to know or else don’t care what real poverty looks like. And he is among the leaders of the voting contingent to which our president is pandering – purely for political reasons.

The Harvard-educated McKibben, who was among the 1,252 people arrested during protests against the pipeline outside the White House last year, is on a mission to “end the tyranny of oil” and coal. Along with his worship of the false god of climate change, McGibben like many leftist elitists is committed to “social justice” according to the Globe. What McGibben and his ilk overlook is that real social justice begins with a job, the dignity of work, and the ability to care for and feed one’s own family. McGibben & Company’s quest is anti-jobs and therefore anti true social justice.

According to analysis released just this week by the Brookings Institution, child poverty has risen 4% in the past five years – an addition of 3 million impoverished kids, most of them added in the time Obama has been in office. The state with the highest rate? Mississippi, in the Gulf Coast – the very region in which many of the Keystone XL’s quarter-million jobs would have been created, and where the Obama administration’s six-month deepwater drilling moratorium cost Americans tens of thousands of jobs. T.V. talk show host – and Obama supporter – Tavis Smiley said recently, “Many of the ‘new poor’ are the former middle class.”

Obama claims to be “all in” for domestic energy production and job creation, but when handed a no-brainer like Keystone, he choose to side with a radical minority of his base. Why? As Michael Brune, the head of the Sierra Club said, “it shores up the base, definitely.”

On Capitol Hill there has been almost universal silence from Congressional Democrats who apparently are listening to that same “base.” So, what does that say about what agenda really drives the Democratic Party? Politico.com says that according to a “top Democratic fundraiser” the issues driving the party donors are “Keystone and gay marriage.”

Obama and the Democrats may soon grow to regret the Keystone decision. There are about 25 million Americans unemployed, under employed, or that have given up even trying to find a job. If you’re out of work or struggling to get by, a politician focused on killing jobs and promoting gay marriage probably doesn’t sound like one that has your best interests at heart.

Besides all jobs we now stand to lose out on, we also face a considerable new security challenge in the form of a bolstered China. As Rep. Steve King of Iowa said this week: “If we block [the pipeline] that oil will certainly go to China. It will enrich their economy.” Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper has no intention of waiting for the United States to reverse this wrongheaded move; his goal is to see Canada at the forefront of the energy game. Harper will travel to Beijing next month, where he will likely take part in talks on selling his country’s vast oil supplies to the Chinese government. And China is serious about quenching its thirst for oil.

“Chinese firms aren’t just buying stakes, they’re buying whole operations,” reads a piece this month in Canada’s daily Globe and Mail. “It’s a new phase of China’s step-by-step Canada strategy. It will change not just the oil patch but Canada’s foreign policy. And a game of international energy politics is afoot in Canada’s West.”

When Obama finally turns around for a gander at his fellow Washington backers on this latest political choice, he will see he has precious few.


America's worst regulatory agency outdoes itself

California continues its leading role as the national laughingstock of regulatory absurdity. This week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), forged another link in its unbroken chain of disastrous environmental policies. New CARB regulations reflect a decision process heavily influenced by three primary sources: Joseph Stalin, Al Gore and Pee-Wee Herman.

Let's look at the latest batch of lunacy from those swell 'crats in Sacramento. As an added bonus, we read from SFGATE, the reliable Left Coast mouthpiece that happily shills for the hard left Democratic mouth breathers.

".... the California Air Resources Board unanimously approved strict vehicle emissions regulations that will mandate production of more than a million zero-emission vehicles."

Unanimously? And you only thought I was kidding about the reference to Stalin.

"... the Advanced Clean Car program, will cut in half current greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. It means automakers will have to cut exhaust by two-thirds and begin mass-producing cars that do not run on gasoline."

"Although there may be some bumps in the road for individual vehicles, the steady drumbeat that is driving us to get off of petroleum continues." [Said Mary Nichols, the resources board chairwoman]

The new standards require 15 percent of new cars and small trucks sold each year in California to run on batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or plug-in hybrid technology within the next 13 years.

The new requirements will get increasingly stricter. By 2018, more than 70,000 cars and light trucks sold in California will have to run without spewing fossil fuel exhaust. An estimated 1.4 million zero-emission vehicles will be buzzing around the state by 2025.

By 2025, consumers will save an average of $4,000 over the life of a car compared with today - even though new vehicles will cost more, according to the Air Resources Board.

"Some bumps in the road for individual vehicles," "the new requirements will get increasingly stricter" and "new vehicles will cost more?" And you only thought I was kidding about the reference to Stalin.

Here is the money paragraph. Inhale the pungent aroma of liberal steer droppings lobotomizing the logic pathways of your frontal lobes.

"Scientists say the reductions in greenhouse gases that will result from the new rules are necessary for the world to avoid the most catastrophic effects of human-caused climate change. Regulators say the rules will also drive innovation and, therefore, job growth, reduce U.S. dependence on oil from hostile countries, and save people money on the cost of gasoline and medical care."

What mythical scientists are we talking about? Dr. Gore or Dr. Pee-Wee Herman? What mythical regulators? Perhaps a famous CARB bureaucrat with a fake degree who saddled taxpayers with millions of dollars of regulations? And how about that reduction of U.S. dependence on oil from hostile countries? Do you think they are referring to Canada and Keystone? And what in blue blazes is that last bit about medical costs, kinda creepy huh?

So what is driving all this idiocy? Last year it was called global warming, now neatly repackaged as global climate change. Let's look at today's article from the Daily Mail.

"Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.

The supposed 'consensus' on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years."

Somehow the MSM overlooked this story; it must have been a busy news day. I'm just speculating here, but we won't see or hear about this on the major news networks any time soon.

Was global warming used as a wedge issue for the hard left to enact repressive and onerous governmental regulations to debase our freedoms and property rights?

Do you think that all this hooey from Al Gore and the global warming crowd what just a well orchestrated con game to scare taxpayers into funding billions of dollars of new bureaucracies? Was global warming just another consumer product, advertised and sold like mouthwash by the MSM to an indifferent and scientifically uneducated population?

Damn straight, that is exactly what happened.


Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Prior to the year 2000, the USHCN and GISS temperature database showed US temperatures as having peaked in the 1930s, with 1934 (by far) the hottest year – and 1998 the fifth hottest.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Dr. James Hansen from NASA wrote at the time :

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.


Around the year 2000, USHCN and GISS decided to “adjust” the temperature record, in a way which caused the 1930s to get much cooler, and recent temperatures to get much warmer.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record


The animated image below shows how the data was adjusted. The year 1934 was cooled several tenths of a degree, while the year 1998 was warmed by half a degree. How is that two years prior to the adjustment, over 365,000 US temperature readings were measured improperly by half a degree?

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

The adjustments that were made can be seen on the USHCN map below.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record


The map below uses the same images, but with regions of no temperature change removed. Note how the area of warming temperatures was nearly doubled, while the area of cooling temperatures was reduced by about 90%.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Where is the data that was used before the Y2K corruption? Why is it not made available by the scientist who wrote the text below in 1999?

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought.

It is deeply disturbing that a group of climate activists (Hansen and Karl) have made adjustments which turned a cooling trend into a warming trend.


Biodiesels pollute more than crude oil, leaked data show

Greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels such as palm oil, soybean and rapeseed are higher than those for fossil fuels when the effects of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) are counted, according to leaked EU data seen by EurActiv.

The default values assigned to the biofuels compare to those from Canada’s oil sands – also known as tar sands – according to the figures, which should be released along with long-awaited legislative proposals on biofuels in the spring.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said she could “not comment on leaked documents, such as impact assessments which have not been published.”

But industry and civil society sources described the data as credible and in line with other studies. One said it would sound a death knell for the biodiesel industry, if published.

“I think the science has proved clearly that because of the link to deforestation in places such as South East Asia, a lot of the biodiesels have significantly negative impacts on the climate,” Robbie Blake, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth, told EurActiv.

Indirect land-use change

ILUC happens when forests and wetlands are cleared to compensate for lands taken to grow biofuels elsewhere.

One recent report predicted that all of Malaysia’s tropical peatswamp forests would be destroyed by the end of the decade because of ILUC - with alarming consequences for greenhouse gas emissions - unless the expansion of palm oil production was halted.

To measure the climate impact of fuels, Brussels favours assigning default values based on a calculation of their full lifecycle emissions, hence the debate over ILUC factors and biofuels.

In its recent review of the Fuel Quality Directive, the EU proposed a default value of 107g CO2 equivalent per megajoule of fuel (CO2/mj) for oil from tar sands, as compared to 87.5g CO2/mj for crude oil, reflecting the greater environmental harm that its production causes.

Yet while advanced ‘second generation’ biofuels comfortably outperform fossil fuels in the EU’s new data, palm oil is ascribed a value of 105g, soybean 103g, rapeseed 95g, and sunflower 86g, once ILUC is factored in.

The data propose ILUC-incorporating CO2/mj values for biofuels as follows:

Palm Oil - 105g
Soybean – 103g
Rapeseed – 95g
Sunflower – 86g
Palm Oil with methane capture – 83g
Wheat (process fuel not specified) – 64g
Wheat (as process fuel natural gas used in CHP) – 47g
Corn (Maize) – 43g
Sugar Cane – 36g
Sugar Beet – 34g
Wheat (straw as process fuel in CHP plants) – 35g
2G Ethanol (land-using) – 32g
2G Biodiesel (land-using) – 21g
2G Ethanol (non-land using) – 9g
2G Biodiesel (non-land using) – 9g


Isabelle Maurizi, a spokesperson for the European Biodiesel Board, told EurActiv that data such as the leaked biofuels values, and recent reports by the EU’s Joint Research Centre, the European Environmental Agency, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, were not consistent with research in the US.

“We do not recognise the validity of the science due to discrepancies in the results. The science is not grounded yet and is still immature so we would favour incentives in policy-making rather than punitive proposals,” she said.

Any application of the leaked values could severely hamper the ability of biodiesel manufacturers to enter into the EU’s new biofuels certification plan, announced last August.

This stipulates that certification only be awarded to biofuels which emit 35% less greenhouse gas than petrol, with the figure rising to 60% from 2018.

Advanced biofuels producers believe they would meet this standard and Rob Vierhout, the secretary-general of ePURE, a renewable ethanol association, said that the EU needed “a different shade of ILUC factor.”

“If indeed the effects on land use change depend on the feedstock that they’re using, then this has to be recognised in the policy,” he told EurActiv.

In April 2009, the EU legislated that renewable energy sources such as biofuels should make up 10% of Europe’s transportation fuels mix by 2020, and this has legal as well as financial consequences.


Heresy at the BBC

There's an extremely interesting snippet (about 3 minutes long) on the website of BBC Radio 4's "Today" program, which is their flagship program for serious news and current affairs. Peter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford, says that contrary to environmental orthodoxy that fossil fuels will shortly run out, "the facts are very, very different. We're awash with the stuff".

The snippet then goes on, incredibly for the BBC, to talk about how the "challenge" for environmentalists is to come up with an argument against this abundant source of energy, expecially clean burning shale gas. Amazing stuff for the BBC.

See here


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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Sunday, January 29, 2012

A record of failed predictions

The acid test of any scientific theory is its ability to generate accurate predictions. David Evans shows below that Warmism has a comprehensive record of failed predictions. The Warmist predictions for the future must also therefore be expected to be wrong. Excerpt only below

There are literally thousands of feedbacks, each of which either reinforces or opposes the direct warming effect of the extra CO2. Almost every long-lived system is governed by net feedback that dampens its response to a perturbation. If a system instead reacts to a perturbation by amplifying it, the system is likely to reach a tipping point and become unstable (like the electronic squeal that erupts when a microphone gets too close to its speakers). The earth’s climate is long-lived and stable— it has never gone into runaway greenhouse, unlike Venus — which strongly suggests that the feedbacks dampen temperature perturbations such as that from extra CO2.

What the Data Says

The climate models have been essentially the same for 30 years now, maintaining roughly the same sensitivity to extra CO2 even while they got more detailed with more computer power.

How well have the climate models predicted the temperature? Does the data better support the climate models or the skeptic’s view?

Air Temperatures

One of the earliest and most important predictions was presented to the US Congress in 1988 by Dr James Hansen, the “father of global warming”:

Figure 3: Hansen’s predictions [6] to the US Congress in 1988, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites [7]

Hansen’s climate model clearly exaggerated future temperature rises. In particular, his climate model predicted that if human CO2 emissions were cut back drastically starting in 1988, such that by year 2000 the CO2 level was not rising at all, we would get his scenario C. But in reality the temperature did not even rise this much, even though our CO2 emissions strongly increased – which suggests that the climate models greatly overestimate the effect of CO2 emissions.

A more considered prediction by the climate models was made in 1990 in the IPCC’s First Assessment Report:[8]

Figure 4: Predictions of the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites

It’s 20 years now, and the average rate of increase in reality is below the lowest trend in the range predicted by the IPCC.

Ocean Temperatures

The oceans hold the vast bulk of the heat in the climate system. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since mid-2003, when the Argo system became operational.[9][10] In Argo, a buoy duck dives down to a depth of 2,000 meters, measures temperatures as it very slowly ascends, then radios the results back to headquarters via satellite. Over three thousand Argo buoys constantly patrol all the oceans of the world.

Figure 5: Climate model predictions [11] of ocean temperature, versus the measurements by Argo [12]. The unit of the vertical axis is 1022 Joules (about 0.01°C).

The ocean temperature has been basically flat since we started measuring it properly, and not warming as quickly as the climate models predict.

Atmospheric Hotspot

The climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming; the most prominent change they predict is a warming in the tropics about 10 km up, the “hotspot”.

The hotspot is the sign of the amplification in their theory (see Figure 1). The theory says the hotspot is caused by extra evaporation, and by extra water vapor pushing the warmer wetter lower troposphere up into volume previously occupied by cool dry air. The presence of a hotspot would indicate amplification is occurring, and vice versa.

We have been measuring atmospheric temperatures with weather balloons since the 1960s. Millions of weather balloons have built up a good picture of atmospheric temperatures over the last few decades, including the warming period from the late 70’s to the late 90s. This important and pivotal data was not released publicly by the climate establishment until 2006, and then in an obscure place. [13] Here it is:

Figure 6: On the left is the data collected by millions of weather balloons. [14] On the right is what the climate models say was happening.[15] The theory (as per the climate models) is incompatible with the observations. In both diagrams the horizontal axis shows latitude, and the right vertical axis shows height in kilometers.

In reality there was no hotspot, not even a small one. So in reality there is no amplification – the amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.[16]

Outgoing Radiation

The climate models predict that when the surface of the earth warms, less heat is radiated from the earth into space (on a weekly or monthly time scale). This is because, according to the theory, the warmer surface causes more evaporation and thus there is more heat-trapping water vapor. This is the heat-trapping mechanism that is responsible for the assumed amplification in Figure 1.

Satellites have been measuring the radiation emitted from the earth for the last two decades. A major study has linked the changes in temperature on the earth’s surface with the changes in the outgoing radiation. Here are the results:

Figure 7: Outgoing radiation from earth (vertical axis) against sea surface temperature (horizontal), as measured by the ERBE satellites (upper left graph) and as “predicted” by 11 climate models (the other graphs).[17] Notice that the slope of the graphs for the climate models are opposite to the slope of the graph for the observed data

This shows that in reality the earth gives off more heat when its surface is warmer. This is the opposite of what the climate models predict. This shows that the climate models trap heat too aggressively, and that their assumed amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.


Plimer challenges the climate scaremongers with answers to 101 questions

The second print run of Ian Plimer’s How to Get Expelled From School is now shipping, the publisher, Connor Court, told Australian Conservative. The first print run sold out before Christmas.

Professor Plimer penned the best-selling Heaven and Earth in 2009. His new book continues to examine the issues surrounding the massive climate change scare-up and brings historical perspective to the issue. Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne and arguably Australia’s best-known geologist.

Professor Plimer says that past natural climate changes have been larger and more rapid than the worst case predictions, yet humans adapted. Is human-induced global warming the biggest financial and scientific scam in history? If it is, we will pay dearly, he says:
Life [today] is far better than 100 years ago. We eat better, live longer, have better housing and have a richer life. Environmental ideologies are attractive and form part of personal growth. But, an ideology embraced without analysis of practical aspects is vacuous. Global warming is a fad. Once there are consequences that affect a comfortable life, then another issue will be found. And embraced again with passion. What is the next scare campaign? Ocean acidification? Biodiversity?

Climate change has been with us for the 4,500 million year history of planet Earth. This is what climate does. It always changes. Changes in our lifetime may be natural.

If you have wondered if pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change, this book provides an opportunity to find out.

In one section of the book, Professor Plimer lists 101 simple questions to ask teachers, activists, journalists and politicians – and provides you with answers. Here’s just one of them:
If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?

During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease. As a child, you might have been on the menu. It was certainly not an ideal temperature then. However, a clever teacher would put you in your place and may suggest that the ideal temperature for an Eskimo is not the ideal temperature for someone living in the jungles of Borneo. You could then come back and suggest that this shows that humans can adapt to a great range of temperature so why worry about a warmer world.

The Galileo Movement is promoting the book to schoolteachers and school librarians, with an offer of a free copy. Full details of the offer are available at Connor Court.


"Smart" meter cock-up in Britain

Millions of green energy meters may have to be replaced because the technology is not working properly. Homes and businesses which have already installed the digital devices have had problems switching to cheap deals and are even being hit with extra fees. Many meters could have to be stripped out altogether and reinstalled with a Government-approved model.

A Daily Mail investigation has revealed how some small businesses are being charged 20p a day simply to have a smart meter while many homeowners are being asked to give readings to energy firms because the technology is not transmitting their data properly.

The latest green energy fiasco is the result of suppliers pressing ahead with installing their own smart meters before the Government has decided on a standard model.

Every home and small business is due by 2019 to get a smart device, which is designed to show people how much energy they are using by the minute, so encouraging them to cut back to save money and energy.

However, even though installing the meters does not officially begin until 2014, many energy companies, including E.ON and Npower, are already doing so. This is because they will need to replace around 30million old electricity meters and 23million gas meters by the 2019 deadline.

Energy regulator Ofgem estimates four million smart meters are likely to be installed before 2014, while British Gas confirmed it has put in 400,000 so far.

However, because details of how the smart meters will work are not expected to be announced by the Government until March, many of the current devices may not be compatible and could have to be replaced in the future.

The scheme is due to cost energy companies £11.7billion, which they plan to pass on to consumers by hiking prices. Smart meters are expected to add £6 to the average annual bill by 2015.

In a letter to suppliers, energy watchdog Ofgem said it was also concerned that suppliers may not be able to read meters installed by a rival company. This renders the new technology useless if customers want to switch deals – in effect, the smart meter would work like the old types of ‘dumb’ meters currently in homes.

A spokesman said: ‘The meters being installed at present are not built to a common technical specification. As such, when a customer changes supplier, the new supplier may not be able to utilise the advanced functionality. ‘Furthermore, if the meter is not a compliant smart meter then it will have to be replaced by the end of the rollout.’

Consumer groups have also warned the green scheme is fast becoming a costly disaster. Zoe McLeod, of Consumer Focus, said: ‘We have repeatedly raised concerns about the cost and installation of smart meters. Customers – who will ultimately foot the bill – need to be confident that they will see tangible benefits.’

Last year, Money Mail revealed concerns that energy companies would try to sell expensive products to homeowners when installing smart meters.

Consumer groups have also warned that the devices will allow suppliers to cut off energy at the ‘flick of a switch’ without even having to enter people’s homes.


How the Friends of the Earth lost their focus

Their critics complain that the environmental activists came to represent 'Interminable meetings, not action'.

"Good gracious” exclaimed the newly retired ambassador, surveying my bald pate. “It’s Geoff Lean, isn’t it? We last saw each other when we exposed the illegal selling of a tiger skin in 1979.”

Thursday evening was that kind of an occasion. Friends of the Earth – which I have been covering since its formation in 1970 – was, rather belatedly, celebrating its 40th anniversary in a fashionable but forbidding London nightclub, and hundreds of its former campaigners were staging noisy mini-reunions with each other and with a few long-standing outsiders, like me.

And for once the pressure group, long past its youthful best, had something to celebrate besides longevity. The day before, it had scored its first significant victory for many moons when the Appeal Court ruled illegal a Government attempt to cut the feed-in tariff for solar power before the end of a consultation on the move. And there are signs that it may be beginning to revive itself after years of decline.

But the conversations – over hairily organic canapes made from food due to go to waste – were about the past, not the future. John Denham, the former Labour cabinet minister, even bumped into the man who had given him his first job, as an energy efficiency advisor for the organisation in 1977.

He, and many others from that time, reminisced about the cramped, cluttered, two-room offices in Soho’s Poland Street, where most of FoE’s – to give it its deliberately aggressive acronym – best campaigns were born. The group burst to national attention in 1971 when Schweppes stopped making its bottles returnable: on a sunny Saturday a procession of friends took 1,500 non-returnable ones back to the company’s headquarters, under the slogan: “Don’t let them Schh... on Britain.”

The demonstration’s lightheartedness – contrasting with the often ugly confrontations of the time – caught the public imagination, and over the next weeks local groups sprang up across the country. FoE went on, within three years, to win famous victories in stopping Rio Tinto Zinc from digging a vast copper mine in the Snowdonia National Park, preventing the Scottish hamlet of Drumbuie being turned into a site for building oil rigs, and persuading the government to ban the import of whale products and leopard and tiger skins.

More important, it kick-started still-continuing debates on whaling, nuclear power, renewables, transport policy, food wastage, and energy efficiency. It introduced then-revolutionary, but now commonplace, concepts, such as that building roads rarely solves congestion because it increases traffic, or that human error is the main cause of nuclear accidents and is hard to eliminate.

At the time, it seemed that FoE’s feisty group of young campaigners would rise to the top of British public life, but none, apart from Denham, did so. My ambassador, Tim Clarke (who represented the EU in Tanzania), and its most effective executive director, Tom Burke (who became a key advisor to three consecutive Conservative environment ministers before ending up at his former adversary Rio Tinto), achieved some prominence, while another early campaigner, Amory Lovins, became an alternative energy guru in America. Most, impressively, continued to pursue their concerns in academia or other pressure groups.

David Green, who gave Denham his job, spent many years in the unglamorous business of promoting combined heat and power generation. Early wildlife campaigners Sue Clifford and Angela King set up Common Ground, which has fought to save Britain’s orchards. And Fiona Weir, perhaps its best air pollution campaigner, now runs the single parent charity Gingerbead.

Meanwhile FoE grew in size, and shrank in effectiveness. Campaigners increasingly became over-specialised and over-concerned with trying to affect government policy behind the scenes, confusing access with influence, activity with achievement. Like many other green pressure groups it became increasingly seduced by the establishment it once challenged. And despite a few big successes – such as securing the 2008 Climate Change Act – it had relatively little impact.

Last year, a former executive director, Charles Secrett, accurately accused it and other green groups of being “out of touch, ineffective and bureaucratic”, adding: “Interminable meetings, not action, are the order of most days.”

FoE’s present leadership, however, does recognise the problem, and is finally trying to tackle it, starting with a long-overdue restructuring. The campaign team is being shaken up and new issues, which concern a broader public than just environmentalists, are being taken on. One such project on energy bill increases – mainly caused by the rising cost of fossil fuels – has already started, another on saving collapsing bee populations starts in April.

“There are finally some good signs, even if they are so far more organisational than operational”, says Tom Burke. The pressure group must hope that, for it, life can begin again at 40.


Australia: Ethanol critics push to overturn NSW fuel rule

OPPONENTS of a state government plan to ban regular unleaded petrol from July 1 are expecting to force a debate in Parliament and increase pressure on the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, to abandon the move.

Under a convention introduced by Mr O'Farrell, a petition of 10,000 signatures will trigger a debate if it is sponsored by an MP.

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association wrote to 1200 petrol station owners last month asking them to display a petition opposing the plan under which petrol stations will be forced to replace regular unleaded with an ethanol blend, E10.

About 6000 people have signed the petition since January 5, the association's general manager, Nic Moulis, said. Mr Moulis said he had already been discussing sponsorship of the debate with MPs, whom he declined to name, and was optimistic that one of them would agree.

The petition calls for an indefinite suspension of the switch to E10 and a "full independent review" of the Biofuels Act, under which the change is scheduled to occur.

The association argues the switch will be costly for service station owners due to the need to modify their petrol supply infrastructure. It says it will particularly hit those retailers who do not sell E10, many of which are in regional areas.

On Monday, leaked cabinet documents revealed the government had pushed ahead with the ban despite advice from several agencies that it would increase petrol prices and may be unconstitutional.

The same day the Herald revealed research that suggested up to 750,000 motorists would pay more than $150 a year extra as they would be forced to use premium unleaded because their cars were not compatible with E10.

As part of its campaign the petroleum marketers association is encouraging station owners to display a flyer saying: "Want to pay over 10 cents per litre more for your fuel?"


Wind power very disruptive in poor countries

Wind's biggest impact may be in the developing world – indeed, according to the Global Wind Energy Consortium, 2011 was the first year the developing world installed more wind power facilities than the developed world. India is now fifth in wind power production. China, the global wind leader, installed more wind power in 2009 than existed on the planet prior to 2003. Morocco recently finished its first wind farm (200 megawatts) and, with plans to grow its capacity 10-fold by 2020, expects to export electricity to Europe.

For all the hope that wind energy offers a world eager to move away from costlier, more environmentally disruptive forms of electric power production, the industry is barreling into some of the same controversies and conflicts that its predecessors in natural resource exploitation faced, particularly in the developing world.

On one hand, says Paul Veers, chief engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: "The wind business is doing something no new electricity source has done in almost half a century – it's beginning to make an impact."

On the other hand, says Dan Kammen, a University of California, Berkeley, renewable energy scholar working on leave at the World Bank: "The conflicts that come up [with wind] are exactly the same ones that come up in basically every other land-based activity. We have done this in the past over Manifest Destiny and national security. The issue of the moment happens to be green energy, but there has been a history of this."

Towering turbines, often with blades as long as 30 yards, are installed in huge groups – wind farms – and require large tracts of land. Acquisition of that land has been a sometimes violent flash point in the new "wind rush.

The growth of wind power is driven partly by demand: China's electric power demand has doubled in just a decade, and India's peak demand is 12 percent higher than its available supply.

But also, national and international subsidies and incentives – such as carbon offsets that allow companies to invest in clean energy to "offset" carbon emissions in their dirtier businesses – have driven wind industry growth. Critics of the incentives say that every new turbine represents a blank check to pollute elsewhere. Supporters say it's a market-based solution meant to ease business into clean energy.

For Kyoto signatory nations it has meant a global rush to acquire land for wind turbines. Wind projects have been successful – notably, in Tamil Nadu, India, which experts like Ms. Shukla and Mr. Kammen cite as a model of responsiveness to local need and manageable scale.

Indeed, wind energy projects do generally inject economic benefits wherever they're built, but the development process often sparks anger, especially among poor landowners.

"What we see in many places, if not most places around the world, is very much what I would describe as the colonial model, where Europeans would go to Africa and other places and they say 'OK, we are going to develop this,' " says James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. "And the deal that is being offered, in the end, is not a good one."

In 2001, Mr. Anaya won a landmark case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that involved logging rights in Nicaragua and established that indigenous people have exclusive right to their lands. He says that too often a government or business acquires land through unequal negotiations, in which indigenous people aren't given all the information or options.

Negotiating any wind contract is complex. Often in the developing world, communities are poorly educated or largely illiterate and don't understand the implications of a contract. They may simply have no access to legal and technical advice and they may be powerless to negotiate. And because parcels are small, they can be destroyed by turbine construction.

Kammen, a strong supporter of wind power, says that by comparison, biofuels have a far worse record than wind development for land grabs. Rampant abuses in Tanzania, he says, recently led to a ban there on all new biofuel investment. He says that most conflicts involving wind energy deal with land occupied ­– but not owned – by indigenous groups, such as in the Kutch District of India, where a case pitting local herders against Indian wind giant Suzlon Energy Ltd. went to the high court there. He worries about such conflicts arising with Morocco's nomadic herders.

In 2010, the Monitor documented a case in Dhule, India, where 2,000 adivasi – or tribesmen – were forced to accept hundreds of wind turbines on their traditional lands. They'd lived on the land for generations but had dubious title. The government gave the land to Suzlon, which, in some cases, bought out owners.

However, ownership doesn't guarantee fair treatment. In Honduras a wind energy company recently forced indigenous Lenca people who did have land title to take on a wind farm, paying each farmer as little as $80 per year to lease the land. In many cases, the owners were barred from their land.

Cases like this, in which landowners are either coerced into a contract or don't understand what they are signing, are beginning to worry indigenous rights activists.

"You are talking about land that is the basis for the existence and survival of cultures – of entire social-culture dynamics that define a people," says Anaya. "You are talking about the cultural survival of these people."

Elsewhere, it's not clear what effect the wind boom is having on civil rights. China has doubled production capacity in each of the past five years. It has a history of driving people from land for hydropower, but wind experts say China's grip on information makes it hard to know if the same goes for wind projects.

Asked about the conflicts cited here, Shukla says her industry organization is unaware of any wind development projects that have caused poor landowners any strife.

In the Great Plains of the United States, many native American communities have joined a movement to direct all development on their lands. "The tribes were no longer satisfied with business as usual ... other people coming in, building some economic development project, owning it, taking the profits out, and leaving the tribe with it at the end of its life," says Robert Gough, a consultant with the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, which represents 10 Great Plains tribes.

Many tribal communities there say they pay high electricity costs or have no electricity at all. So the council decided no wind farms will be built on tribal land unless the tribe has controlling interest.

Mr. Gough says the tribes have struggled to find partners because of these demands and because federal investment incentives are designed for businesses, not municipalities or reservations.

But communal bargaining is catching on. In southern Wyoming, 2,000 owners have pooled 2 million acres in "wind associations."

Many countries are trying to start domestic wind industries. For example, 15 years ago, foreigners built China's turbines; now Chinese corporations do it.

"At the end of the day, developing countries are energy deficient. And they do need power," says Shukla. "You want to be able to give them energy that is cleaner than what we have been providing across the world."



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Saturday, January 28, 2012

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There's no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy

Editor's Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: "I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: 'The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.' In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?"

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.

If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of "incontrovertible" evidence.

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.


Correlating CO2 And Temperature In The Geologic Record

If we accept Warmist claims about the accuracy of temperature and CO2 proxies we get some very awkward findings about long-term trends

During the Ordovician, CO2 was more than ten times higher than at present. Global temperatures ranged between very hot and an ice age. We can state with 100% certainty that as CO2 increases, temperatures will either go up, go down, or stay the same.


Green Lebensraum: The Nazi Roots of Sustainable Development

By Mark Musser

Much of the European Union's green sustainable development plans are largely based on government controlled land use planning theories rooted in the lebensraum tradition. Literally, lebensraum means "living space." Lebensraum was originally developed by German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) and then greatly expanded under the banner of National Socialism (1933-1945).

Ratzel is the father of modern political geography which is commonly called geopolitics. He believed history was largely a natural evolutionary development of peoples looking for geographical living space. Ratzel also held that expanding borders reflected the biological health of a nation. The National Socialists adopted Ratzel's mixing of evolutionary theory, biology, and geopolitics in their own version of lebensraum.

Karl Haushofer (1869-1946), who was an early advisor to Hitler, was the link between Ratzel and National Socialism. Karl Haushofer's father was a friend of Ratzel. Karl was a member of the Thule Society before it was converted into the Nazi Party in 1920. Haushofer was also the mentor of Rudolf Hess, who was a green vegetarian mystic. Hess was Hitler's personal secretary up until 1941. Haushofer and Hess helped Hitler write Mein Kampf.

There was also a strong connection between lebensraum and the growing political empire of the Nazi SS under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler and Walther Darre. Himmler and Darre promoted a "back to the land" movement under the SS slogan of "blood and soil." In Darre's racist ideology, the economic catastrophe of the 1920's confirmed the decadence of the modern cosmopolitan city life. Darre believed that greedy foreign capitalism coupled with international Marxist class warfare divided the German race so that it was not allowed to sustain itself in the soil of its own homeland.

The hunger pangs of the 1920's were blamed on the international city, largely run by Jewish capitalists and communists. Darre and Himmler believed cosmopolitan cities arrogated themselves above the laws of life and nature. The answer to this crisis, therefore, was to get the German race out from under the yoke of dirty industrial cities and re-ruralize them "back to the land." In this way, the German race could recover its cultural and physical health based on a green socialistic agrarianism that was designed to compete against the cultural decadence of the cities.

There was not enough space in Germany itself to re-ruralize the population "back to the land." Without more living space there could be no proper marriage between German blood and soil. Additional lebensraum was required. It would therefore be sought in Eastern Europe and western Russia.

When the SS began to implement its "back to the land" campaign, it found itself in conflict with other powerful forces in Germany. However, by the mid to late 1930's the Office for Spatial Research and Space Planning was set up by the Nazi hierarchy to provide technocratic solutions on how to properly balance all the competing desires of the nation -- everything from the war economy, to industrial needs, housing, and even environmental protection. Sustainable development as a political ideal was thus pioneered under the auspices of Nazi spatial planning.

During the war, the SS had grandiose plans to use research garnered from the Office of Spatial Planning to create an eco-imperial empire in the conquered eastern territories. Inspired by SS planners Konrad Meyer (1901-1973), Emil Meynen (1902-1994), and Walter Christaller (1893-1969) , sustainable development as an applied political policy was to be implemented on the eastern front behind advancing German lines. Shockingly, under the SS, Ratzel's lebensraum came to mean living space for sustainable development.

The SS planned to use industry in the conquered eastern territories along with slave labor to pay for and build master planned communities. The eastern territories would also be filled with socialistic green garden villages and farms, together with national parks, forests, and many cockamamie renewable energy projects. Behind enemy lines, the living space of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia would be cleansed of unnatural Jews and Slavs who were unworthy of the soil they lived on. In particular, planning schemes based on Walter Christaller's Central Place Theory would be applied on a scale unachievable in Germany thanks to the fact that the Nazis were first going to cleanse the landscape. Christaller advocated a hierarchy of towns and villages wrapped around a central city that was to maximize economic and administrative efficiency for state planners.

Toward the end of the war, Nazi spatial and environmental planners destroyed massive quantities of records. They then re-organized themselves into the 'Academy for Area Research and Regional Planning" and the 'Institute for Spatial Planning.' In 1946, Karl Haushofer committed suicide. Konrad Meyer survived Nuremberg and later continued his work in spatial planning and sustainable development. Walter Christaller joined the Communist Party in 1951. His Central Place Theory is sometimes even considered a model for sustainable development and the so-called Green Economy. Emil Meynen, a leading geographer of the Third Reich, became an environmental spatial theorist after the war. He was also present at the infamous Wannsee Conference where the destruction of the Jews was discussed from a technocratic point of view.

After the war, social engineering based on Aryan biology was replaced with a blander form of socialism, but its ties to environmentalism and sustainable development continued unabated and grew exponentially in the decades to come. Environmental planners just exchanged brown paint with red paint -- all the while keeping the interior green. German spatial planners played an early critical role in the development of the EU's sustainable development policies.

Today, the EU is fond of using the concept of "territorial cohesion" and "supra-nationalism" in the place of lebensraum. Its stress on multiculturalism has converted the old Nazi nationalism into an EU Super State. Instead of promoting German supremacy, the EU is now promoting European supremacy. In fact, the EU is using environmental social engineering, i.e., sustainable development, to hasten the evaporation of national borders.

Yet in spite of this multicultural super-state emphasis, Germany has still become the heart of the EU from both a financial and an environmental point of view. EU's expansion has thus only served to strengthen Germany's influence, not weaken it. The global warming apocalypse was first popularized by Austrian Nazi Guenther Schwab in the 1960's, but it was the German green movement in the 1980's that helped convert the theory into the worldwide political issue it has since become.

Today, the EU even has sustainable development plans and ideas for the western Russian living space. Ironically, 65 years after the end of World War II, lebensraum has returned to the gates of Moscow, this time without panzers. The EU is also in North Africa. It wants to cover the Sahara with solar panels for the sake of renewable energy.

Lebensraum is not dead. Ratzel's geopolitics is still in vogue today under the guise of the EU's sustainable development plans. While the Nazi past has been completely ignored and willfully forgotten in the development of the EU's environmental sustainability policies, the geopolitical epicenter of the green movement has been and continues to be: Germany.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Another green company bites the dust

Another green company on the government dole, Ener1, has gone bankrupt

ALG President Bill Wilson responded to the bankruptcy of Ener1 stating, “As early as 2008, an investment advisory firm Citron Research had issued dire warnings about Ener1, saying the company was ‘just a corporate shell company with a long history of failed businesses based on exaggerated promises’, citing the company’s long and shady history. When it was proposed that the ‘stimulus’ be used to give $118.5 million to Ener1, Americans for Limited Government worked with media to help expose this bogus firm for what it was. Predictably, it turns out those warnings were correct, unfortunately for taxpayers.”

This company had boondoggle written all over it from the very beggining.

In a series of articles in the Washington Times, Ener1′s connections to Vladimir Putin were exposed causing ALG’s Bill Wilson to comment in emails to the media, “If Ener 1 is even being considered for an Department of Energy loan or grant someone needs to lose their job or worse. Congress needs to look into this outrage immediately and put a stop to it now. It is as if we were subcontracting Los Alamos to the Iranians”

These loans from Department of Energy to green companies never seem to pay off. Here are some of the facts. In July of 2008 Citron research came to the following conclusion on Ener 1 .

"It is Citron’s opinion that Ener1 is just a corporate shell company with a long history of failed businesses based on exaggerated promises. Management has tried everything from video games to visualization software to set top boxes for television. All of these businesses have failed — miniscule revenues and never a penny of profit delivered to investors. They purchased Delphi’s years-old attempt to get a lithium battery business going, and got a sublease on a manufacturing plant in Indianapolis. Since then we haven’t seen a single sign of a viable business.”

As of 3/23/2009 Ener 1 is in line for a $480,000,000. Loan from the Department of Energy and is applying for part of the $2 billion grant that is part of the Advanced Battery Manufacturing Initiative in the stimulus plan.

Now it gets interesting. As of late February(2009), some 62% of Ener1’s outstanding shares were owned by privately held Ener1 Group. In turn, 66% of Ener1 Group — a recent participant in a $5.7 million loan to Think Global, which is trying to emerge from bankruptcy — is held by Bzinfin, a British Virgin Islands company whose “indirect beneficial owner” is Boris Zingarevich, a Russian businessman. Zingarevich had close ties to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.


Why Brits are no longer so keen on being green: Number of people willing to change the way they live falls by 10%

Public concern about climate change is on the wane

The number of people willing to alter the way they live in the hope of making a difference to global warming fell by around 10 per cent last year. There was also a sharp drop in those who regarded themselves as ‘fairly concerned’ about climate change.

The figures, released by the Government yesterday, suggest that doubts about global warming have been growing since the summer of 2009. This was before the damage inflicted on the cause by the ‘Climategate’ scandal later that year, in which leading scientists were accused of manipulating data to support the case of man-made climate change.

The credibility of global warming and concern about halting it appears to have been affected by the succession of three cold winters between 2008 and 2010.

More recently, doubts about the efficiency of wind turbines and the high costs of the Coalition’s drive for renewable energy have seen enthusiasm for the cause dwindling.

Fewer than two thirds now say they are at least ‘fairly concerned’ about climate change or that they are prepared to do something about it, figures published by the Department for Transport said.

According to the research, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, the share of the population who were at least fairly convinced that climate change was happening has dropped from 86 per cent in 2006 to 76 per cent last summer.

Over the same period, those who felt fairly concerned fell from 81 per cent to 65 per cent, and numbers willing to change their behaviour went down from 77 per cent to 65 per cent.

Fewer people said they were willing to use public transport or reduce how often they used their car, and only one in five said they would cut back on air travel. Most opposed higher taxes on air travel and petrol.

The findings came as the Government published a risk assessment warning of thousands of deaths because of climate change in coming decades. The report from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Britain risks ‘sleepwalking into disaster’.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: ‘It shows what life could be like if we stopped our preparations now, and the consequences such a decision would mean for our economic stability.’

But Dr Benny Peiser, of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘Climate change is dropping off the political agenda. The person in the pub no longer cares. It is bottom of their list of priorities.’


Spain Suspends Subsidies for New Renewable Energy Power Plants

Spain halted subsidies for renewable energy projects to help curb its budget deficit and rein in power-system borrowings backed by the state that reached 24 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2011.

“What is today an energy problem could become a financial problem,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in Madrid. The government passed a decree today stopping subsidies for new wind, solar, co-generation or waste incineration plants.

The system’s debts were racked up as revenue from state- controlled prices failed to cover the cost of delivering power. Costs have swollen in the past five years because of an increase in regulated payments for the power grid, support for Spanish coal mines and subsidies for renewable energy plants.

“It’s clear they have to make major cuts,” said Francisco Salvador, a strategist at FGA/MG Valores in Madrid. “The government has already ruled out a significant increase in prices, so the cuts will fall in many places and the spotlight is on renewables, but not just on renewables.”

Renewables companies fell on the Spanish action. Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the biggest wind-turbine maker, slid as much as 2.9 percent in Copenhagen. Abengoa SA, a Spanish engineering firm specializing in solar mirrors, dropped as much as 2.2 percent in Madrid and Iberdrola SA (IBE), the biggest renewable energy producer based in Bilbao, declined as much as 1.5 percent.

First Step

Spain’s decision is a “first step” to rein in debts, and officials are working on a broader package of measures, Soria said. The nation isn’t planning a levy on hydropower or nuclear plants, nor will it take on power-system liabilities, he said.

The Spanish action follows Germany’s announcement last week that it would phase out support for solar panels by 2017 and the U.K.’s legal battle to reduce its subsidies for the industry.

Spain was an early mover in developing renewables plants, and support for wind energy helped Iberdrola become the world’s biggest producer of clean power, with plants in the U.S. and Brazil. The industry sustains about 110,000 Spanish jobs, according to the Renewable Energy Producers Association.

The government is wrestling with competing priorities as it struggles to convince investors it can meet a target to cut the budget deficit to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product this year, from 8 percent last year, while trying to create jobs in a country where 23 percent of workers are unemployed.
Horse Bolted

“This is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted,” said Peter Sweatman, chief executive officer of consultant Climate Strategy. “The risk is that Spanish firms that are recognized global leaders in renewable energy feel their position undermined by lack of domestic support.”

Generating capacity is about twice Spain’s peak demand following a boom in investment in solar panel installations and combined-cycle gas-fired plants, while the country is ahead of its targets for clean power production, Soria said. The suspension won’t affect operating plants or projects that have already been approved for subsidies by the government, he said.

“It’s a real positive for the developers, the owners of assets, because it removes the risk of retroactive cuts,” said Sean McLoughlin, a renewable energy analyst at HSBC Plc. “The government could certainly have done that again when you think of how much it’s costing them but have decided not to. This suggests that the government is listening to the industry.



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