Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hilarious logic

Warmists are finally getting hot and bothered (pun intended) about the lack of warming in the last 15 years. Their improbable explanation is that other things are happening which "mask" an underlying warming trend. That is however an unfalsifiable explanation unless they can show what the pesky "other" influences are -- and they have made some attempts in that direction. The latest is excerpted below.

Warmists and skeptics alike know that eddying ocean currents in the Pacific have a big influence on temperatures and precipitation in Pacific-bordering countries and elsewhere. The two major eddies are customarily dubbed el nino and la nina. So Warmists want to point to them as having a slowly increasing cooling influence to offset an underlying slow warming over the last 15 years. And the article below tries to put bones on that unlikely theory.

The first problem is that ocean currents don't behave the way Warmists want. There is nothing steady about them. It is true that several La Nina (cooling) events have happened in recent times but they alternated with "neutral" and warming (el nino) events. Fear not, however! With statistical averages we can maybe smooth that out. And so to the article below.

And he makes a sort of a case if you ignore his starting point: How he detects la ninas, el ninos and other influences. He detects such events, quite conventionally, as periods of temperature that diverged from an average. So he removed those periods from his data and, Hey Presto! He gets the desired cooling effect.

So if you remove temperature periods that you don't like, you get a temperature pattern that you do like. That proves nothing. For him to have shown extraneous influences on temperature, he would have to have measures of those influences themselves, not just the temperature changes that are attributed to them. To use a rough analogy, he is standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle. He needs to get out of the bucket.

He himself admits "the need to find the cause of the actual global temperature changes" but does not do so. He just takes out one large component of "the actual global temperature changes" -- JR.

About the Lack of Warming.

It's common knowledge among those who follow such things that global temperatures have not gone up very much in the past several years. This has caused many to believe that the recent lack of warming contradicts what climate models say should happen in response to the increasing Tyndall gases. This, in turn, has provoked the counterargument that the Earth is still warming, just on a longer time scale, or that the recent period is too short to yield statistically significant results.

These counterarguments are not compelling. Fundamentally, any change in global temperature, even if it's just from one year to another, must have a cause. Saying that we need to look at longer time scales denies the need to find the cause of the actual global temperature changes (or lack thereof) at shorter time scales.

Such causes have been sought, and a few papers have proposed various combinations of cloud cover, volcanic aerosols, the El Ni¤o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), deep ocean heat uptake, and so forth. A recent paper I like by Foster and Rahmsdorf (discussed here and here) takes a statistical approach to attempt to eliminate the effect of the other known forcing mechanisms, and what's left over is a fairly steady warming. Others have noted, more casually, that 2011 was the warmest La Ni¤a year on record.

I decided to take a simple approach at looking at the effect of ENSO. Using GISTemp Land/Ocean Index values and Ni¤o 3.4 values, I computed 12-month running averages of Ni¤o 3.4 and compared them to the average GISTemp values at lags of 0, 3, and 6 months. Foster and Rahmsdorf used a diferent ENSO index and found optimal lags between 2 and 5 months. So one would guess that a 3-month lag would fit the data best in my case, and indeed it did.

The normal threshold for El Ni¤o or La Ni¤a, as applied by the Climate Prediction Center, is for five consecutive months of at least 0.5 C above or below normal in a key region of the tropical Pacific. For working with annual data, I decided to call an annual average above 0.5 C an El Ni¤o and an annual average below -0.5 C a La Ni¤a. Then I plotted it up, color-coding each year for whether it was El Ni¤o, La Ni¤a, or neither (neutral).


The "Green" wing of the Nazis survived -- and became the foundation of the German Greens of today

No wonder they are still so heedless of other people's rights and desires. "We know what's best for you". Or "Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz" as Hitler put it

Alfred Toepfer (1894-1993) was an extremely successful German tycoon, an avid environmentalist, and a key influential supporter for the development of the European Union. Toepfer made his fortune in agri-business during the fateful years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). During the 1930s, Toepfer was also very loyal to the Nazi regime, even though he was never a card-carrying member. Toepfer was particularly loyal to Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945)'s dreaded SS, the greenest faction of the Nazi Party. Hitler put Himmler in charge of exterminating the Jews in the Baltics, Poland, Belorussia, and the Ukraine.

Hitler called the SS his "pack of wolves." The Fhrer was fascinated with wolves and loved to be called "Uncle Wolf." He used to imagine himself howling like a wolf to the frenzied crowds of Germany. In the late 1920s, Alfred Toepfer's brother, Ernst, was the secretary of a pro-Nazi organization in New York City called "Wehrwolf." Ernst was also working for his brother's international firm at the same time.

Alfred Toepfer was born near Luneburg Heath, a plain full of meadows, forests, peat bogs, and sand dunes in northern Germany, just southeast of Hamburg. Historically, the Luneberg Heath was a place of nationalistic pride where rugged old style farming practices harmonized with the natural surroundings. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Luneburg Heath was symbolic of a strong German character patriotically rooted in the soil of the homeland. Indeed, after Heinrich Himmler committed suicide, he was buried in the Luneburg Heath in an unmarked grave.

The heath was also where Nazi environmentalists gathered together at the end of the war to find some solace. Environmentalist Hans Klose, who never became a Nazi because he was married to a Jew, reorganized what was left of the German conservation movement. He helped Nazi environmentalists graduate from the de-Nazification process with minimal difficulties. In 1949, it was Hans Klose who said that the years 1936-1939 were the green heyday of the German conservation movement. Earlier, three landmark Nazi environmental laws were passed (1933-35). During the same time frame, the Nazis also implemented sustainable forestry practices called "dauerwald," which means "eternal forest."

During the postwar period, the Luneburg Heath was an environmental flashpoint between Germany and the Allies. Not only did Nazi Germany surrender to the Allies on the heath, but the sacred ground was scarred up by British tanks, which used the southwestern portion of it for military maneuvers. Toepfer strongly opposed the presence of the British military in the heath, but the Brits did not leave until 1994. However, thanks largely to the efforts of Toepfer, the Luneburg Heath became the first national park of Germany in 1956.

In the early 1900s, the area was a natural sanctuary for what was called the "wandervogel"-- a German youth movement that sought a close contact with nature. Wandervogel literally means "wandering bird." The heath was known especially for its wild birds and recreational use. The "wandervogel" movement, which began about 1894, was also one of the first environmentally conscious movements in Germany.

The movement provided opportunities for the German youth to explore the great outdoors with a spirit of adventure and rugged self-discipline. German folklore, nationalism, patriotism, and an intense appreciation for nature were emphasized. Alfred Toepfer became actively involved in the wandervogel movement in 1913.

While the Hitler Youth later replaced the wandervogels during the Nazi regime, one could also easily argue that the SS itself was a "grown up" version of the wandervogel movement. The SS strongly promoted a "back to the land" ideal throughout the 1920s and '30s. They wanted to biologically rejuvenate Germany's health by returning people back to the natural German soil, and away from the artificial Jewified international cities that were allegedly corrupting Germany's blood. The SS called its back to nature policy "blood and soil." SS leaders Heinrich Himmler, Richard Walther Darre, and Rudolf Hoess were all involved in a wandervogel group called the Artamanens, where much of their ideology was developed. Darre was Hitler's agricultural minister from 1933-42. Rudolf Hoess was the infamous commandant of Auschwitz. Alfred Toepfer was also a "blood and soil" enthusiast.

Alfred Toepfer continued to be a nature-lover until the day of his death. He was the chairman of the Nature Park Society 1953-1985, where he helped develop many new nature parks for Germany from the North Sea to the Alps. His efforts at the Nature Park Society were greatly expanded for all of Europe under the rise of the Europarc Federation, an association which Toepfer's foundation still supports. In 1981, the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (NNA) was established. It is a state institution that emphasizes sustainable development and environmentalism. Its main office is located at an old farmstead named Hof Mor in the Luneburg Health itself.

Even Toepfer's most prestigious academic prizes and scholarships that he financed are named after men foundational to the German green movement. The Hanseatic Goethe Prize, dedicated to outstanding European scholarship, is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Goethe is considered by many to be the father of German Romanticism. Today, Romanticism is known as environmentalism. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in New York is named after naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859). Humboldt is the German father of a volkisch indigenous environmentalism.

The German word "volk" means "people" with certain racial connotations. Humboldt believed that the character of the volk is shaped by geography and climate so that man becomes indigenous to his own environment. As the 1800s progressed, the racial element became more and more emphasized by many German thinkers along with a nationalistic view of the land itself. When this concoction mixed with evolutionary theory, an Aryan Social Darwinism was born, which later became the biological bread and butter of National Socialism. By the early 1900s, race, indigenous ethnicity, and a love for nature became very popular in German culture, especially among the wandervogels.

Toepfer's academic philanthropy paid handsome dividends over the years. Both British and German scholars have been reluctant to admit the full force of Toepfer's National Socialist past. Yet it was precisely during the Nazi regime that Toepfer began funding academic awards to European foreign students with much help coming from the infamous Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1946), Hitler's foreign minister.

Toepfer's loyalty to the SS continued after the war. He later employed notorious Nazis like SS Brigadier Edmund Veesenmeyer, Kurt Haller and SS Major General Hans-Joachim Riecke, all of whom were responsible for hundreds of thousands of atrocities committed during the war.

Much is made of the fact that Toepfer was arrested by the Nazis in 1937 for foreign currency violations that were forbidden under the Aryanized National Socialist economy. However, Toepfer was finally released thanks to his SS patronage together with the personal intervention of Hermann Goering (1893-1946), the second-most powerful man in Nazi Germany at the time. Even Josef Goebbels (1897-1945), Hitler's propaganda minister, was very complimentary of Toepfer in 1936. So was German Nazi expert Hans Mommsen in 2007. After a thorough investigation paid for by the Alfred Toepfer foundation, Mommsen concluded that he was "a model European."


Like all Greenies, a lot of Toepfer's thinking was irrational. His beloved Lueneburger Heide (Luneburg Heath) is not a natural landscape at all. It was originally forest-covered but the trees were cut down and the area is maintained mainly as a grassland by grazing sheep on it. It is an environment heavily altered by human intervention! And present day German Greenies regard the Lueneburger Heide as sacred ground too. You can't make this stuff up


The "Green" crooks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

And we are supposed to believe their statistics?

Scandals are shaking the Obama administration. Personnel with the highest of security clearances are being intimate, in the most basic definition of the word, with foreign nationals. Pillow talk, anyone? Other high-ranking officials cavort with clowns and psychics, all paid for on the government dime. Hot tub, anyone?

In the meantime, a human tragedy is occurring driven by a much more expensive if equally sordid scandal at NOAA that goes on under the radar of media attention. Steve Urbon of the New Bedford Standard-Times asks, "What about our scandal?"

Back in February 2011, CBS News did an expos‚ on the NOAA law enforcement scandal. As far as I know, this has been the only national coverage of the outrage other than what's appeared here at American Thinker (AT). AT has been reporting on the NOAA scandal for the past two years. Many of the citations and links in this essay are from AT's coverage. CBS showed a clip of Senator Grassley, who said, "I want to make sure that heads roll ... because in a bureaucracy, if heads don't roll, you don't change behavior."

Last week, a dozen or so Secret Service agents, including a couple of supervisors, did what boys do. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am! Problem was, they were on duty in a foreign country, protecting the president. Not a good thing.

The first cut made for three heads: one supervisor gone, allowed to retire; another supervisor being discharged, with 30 days to mount a defense; a third non-supervisory person resigned. Three more were announced on 20 April, and there are probably more to come. Six and counting! Secret Service behavior will be better in the future.

A couple of weeks earlier, we were told of some hijinks at the GSA. That's the GSA that is chartered with overseeing the spending of our money. The following is from the Washington Post on 2 April: "The chief of the General Services Administration resigned, two of her top deputies were fired and four managers were placed on leave Monday amid reports of lavish spending at a conference off the Las Vegas Strip[.]"

That's three GSA heads gone and four other heads hovering above the block. A very definite message in the behavioral department. Two scandals, two forceful responses, and two problems fixed.

And then there is NOAA. NOAA law enforcement was running essentially unsupervised for years, inflicting huge fines on fishermen for small infractions and putting the collected monies in a slush fund used for lavish trips and booze-cruise luxury boats.

The GSA conference cost $822,751 according to the GSA IG Report. To give this some context, Leon Panetta's trips home have totaled about $860,000.

I have taken a slight liberty with the dialogue in a recent Michael Ramirez cartoon:

[Q:] The GSA wasted millions of taxpayer's money[, Dr. Lubchenco, administrator of NOAA]. Do you have a comment?

[A:] Amateurs.

NOAA law enforcement collected close to $100,000,000 in fines and seized goods from fishermen over the past several years. The Department of Commerce IG investigated and found that only about $60M could be accounted for, while some $40M is just plain gone. This is not taxpayer money, but money taken in huge chunks from fishermen for infractions, some very minor. Claims by the fishermen of coercion and extortion were validated by the IG. See the IG reports here, here, and here.

One single fisherman, Larry Yacobian, ended up paying $450,000 in fines and owing $250,000 in legal fees. He was forced to sell his boats, his gear, and the farm that had been in his wife's family since the days of the Pilgrims. A special master appointed by the IG found that Mr. Yacobian had been treated unfairly. The government returned $400,000 to Mr. Yacobian, and the Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, apologized personally. But nobody has ever been punished.

Why? Because the NOAA outrages are based on cronyism and fully condoned by our current brand of Big Government. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the person who decides on reward or punishment at NOAA, is an environmental superstar and Obama's favorite eco-zealot. Dr. Lubchenco, with the cognizance and support of the president, has filled the upper management of NOAA with like-minded eco-zealots. They are knowingly and purposefully shrinking the fishing fleet, driving hardworking Americans out of business and out of work to consolidate the industry. Their goal, echoing the Environmental Defense Fund, is to turn fish and fishing into a commodity-based enterprise for the gain of their cronies.

Nils E. Stolpe has written extensively on this subject. I highly recommend his "The Big Green Money Machine - how anti-fishing activists are taking over NOAA." His article includes a link to a database that documents the astounding funding that the Green Money Machine has poured into its war on the fishing industry.

Now we know why nobody gets punished at NOAA. What about it, Senator Grassley? You said, "I want to make sure heads roll" on the CBS News show previously linked. Are you just another empty suit named Chuck? Where are the heads rolling out of NOAA?




Aristotle's climate

By The Right Honourable, The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

`But there's a consensus!" shrieked the bossy environmentalist with the messy blonde hair.

"That, Madame, is intellectual baby-talk," I replied.

I was about to give a talk questioning "global warming" hysteria at Union College, Schenectady. College climate extremists, led by my interlocutor, had set up a table at the door of the lecture theatre to deter students from hearing the skeptical side of the case.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle, 2,300 years ago, listed the dozen commonest logical fallacies in human discourse in his book Sophistical Refutations. Not the least of these invalid arguments is what the medieval schoolmen would later call the argumentum ad populum - the consensus or headcount fallacy.

A fallacy is a deceptive argument that appears to be logically valid but is in fact invalid. Its conclusion will be unreliable at best, downright false at worst. One should not make the mistake of thinking that Aristotle's fallacies are irrelevant archaisms. They are as crucial today as when he first wrote them down. Arguments founded upon any of his fallacies are unsound and unreliable, and that is that.

Startlingly, nearly all of the usual arguments for alarm about the climate are instances of Aristotle's dozen fallacies of relevance or of presumption, not the least of which is the consensus fallacy.

Just because we are told that many people say they believe a thing to be so, that is no evidence that many people say it, still less that they believe it, still less that it is so. The mere fact of a consensus - even if there were one - tells us nothing whatsoever about whether the proposition to which the consensus supposedly assents is true or false.

Two surveys have purported to show that 97% of climate scientists supported the "consensus." However, one survey was based on the views of just 77 scientists, far too small a sample to be scientific, and the proposition to which 75 of the 77 assented was merely to the effect that there has been warming since 1950.

The other paper did not state explicitly what question the scientists were asked and did not explain how they had been selected to remove bias. Evidentially, it was valueless. Yet that has not prevented the usual suspects from saying - falsely - that the "consensus" of 97% of all climate scientists is that man-made global warming is potentially catastrophic.

Some climate extremists say there is a "consensus of evidence." However, evidence cannot hold or express an opinion. There has been no global warming for a decade and a half; sea level has been rising for eight years at a rate equivalent to just three centimetres per century; hurricane activity is at its lowest in the 30-year satellite record; global sea-ice extent has hardly changed in that time; Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice overall; ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted; and the 50 million "climate refugees" that the UN had said would be displaced by 2010 simply do not exist. To date, the "consensus of evidence" does not support catastrophism.

"Ah," say the believers, "but there is a consensus of scientists and learned societies." That is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the reputation or appeal-to-authority fallacy. Merely because a group has a reputation, it may not deserve it; even if it deserves it, it may not be acting in accordance with it; and, even if it is, it may be wrong.

"But it's only if we include a strong warming effect from man's CO2 emissions that we can reproduce the observed warming of the past 60 years. We cannot think of any other reason for the warming." That argument from the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. We do not know why the warming has occurred. Arbitrarily to blame man is impermissible.

"The rate of global warming is accelerating. Therefore it is caused by us." That is the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi, the red-herring fallacy. Even if global warming were accelerating, that would tell us nothing about whether we were to blame. The IPCC twice uses this fallacious argument in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. Even if its argument were not illogical, the warming rate is not increasing.The notion that it is accelerating was based on a statistical abuse that the IPCC has refused to correct.

Superficially, the red-herring fallacy may seem similar to the fallacy of argument from ignorance. However, it is subtly different. The argument from ignorance refers to fundamental ignorance of the matter of the argument (hence an arbitrary conclusion is reached): the red-herring fallacy refers to fundamental ignorance of the manner of conducting an argument (hence an irrelevant consideration is introduced).

"What about the cuddly polar bears?" That is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of inappropriate pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s - hardly the population profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. There is no need to pity the bears (and they are not cuddly).

"For 60 years we have added CO2 to the atmosphere. That causes warming. Therefore the warming is our fault." That is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, the argument from false cause. Merely because one event precedes another it does not necessarily cause it.

"We tell the computer models that there will be strong warming if we add CO2 to the air. The models show there will be a strong warming. Therefore the warming is our fault." This is the argumentum ad petitionem principii, the circular-argument fallacy, where a premise is also the conclusion.

"Global warming caused Hurricane Katrina." This is the inappropriate argument from the general to the particular that is the fallacy a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Even the IPCC admits individual extreme-weather events cannot be ascribed to global warming. Hurricane Katrina was only Category 3 at landfall. The true reason for the damage was failure to maintain the sea walls.

"Arctic sea ice is melting: Therefore man-made global warming is a problem." This is the inappropriate argument from the particular to the general that is the fallacy a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. The Arctic ice may be melting, but the Antarctic has been cooling for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing, so the decline in Arctic sea ice does not indicate a global problem.

"Monckton says he's a member of the House of Lords, but the Clerk of the Parliaments says he isn't, so everything he says is nonsense." That is the argumentum ad hominem, the attack on the man rather than on his argument.

"We don't care what the truth is. We want more taxation and regulation. We will use global warming as an excuse. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court." That is the nastiest of all the logical fallacies: The argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.

In any previous generation, the fatuous cascade of fallacious arguments deployed by climate extremists in government, academe and the media in support of the now-collapsed climate scare would have been laughed down.

When the future British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan arrived at Oxford to study the classics, his tutor said: "Four years' study will qualify you for nothing at all - except to recognize rot when you hear it." The climate storyline is rot. To prevent further costly scams rooted in artful nonsense, perhaps we should restore universal classical education. As it is, what little logic our bossy environmentalists learn appears to come solely from Mr. Spock in Star Trek. [Monckton read Classics at Cambridge but he is also a mathematician, among other things]




Earth Day 2012: Top 10 Positive Climate Developments

The scientific findings of the human influence on the climate system have been, and perhaps will always be, a mixed bag. Assuming strong positive feedback effects, and thus a high climate sensitivity, it certainly can be argued that the bad outweighs the good. But if feedback effects are more neutral, the sign of the externality flips from negative to positive given that, on net, a moderately warmer, wetter, and CO2-fertilized world is quite arguably a better one.

Earth Day 2012 yesterday brought forth predictable cries of doom-and-gloom. But there are plenty of positives on closer inspection on the climate front, developments which have undoubtedly spilled over into making the earth a better place for humanity at large.

Here is my Top 10 list of positive climate developments based on the recent empirical data and the latest scientific literature:

10) The growing season across the Northern Hemisphere is expanding;

9) Precipitation has increased across the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (where most of the world's crops are grown);

8 ) Higher CO2 levels are leading to more productive plants, including crops such as corn, wheat, and rice .

7) . and contributing to an increasing global output of food products;

6) The combination of the above is leading to a true "greening" of the environment;

5) Global tropical cyclone activity has been declining over the past 20 years and is now near its 40-yr low;

4) The rate of sea level rise has slowed during the past decade;

3) The rate of global temperature rise has remained moderate and likely below the central value of climate model projections for the past 30 years;

2) Evidence continues to mount against high climate sensitivity values.

And, the NUMBER 1 positive climate development for Earth Day 2012,

1) Together, these beneficial trends, along with enhancement of our energy and other technologies, has the net result of increasing public health and welfare. For example across the globe, the life expectancy at birth is the longest it has ever been, and continues to climb upwards.

What great reasons to celebrate (Resourceful) Earth Day 2012!




Big Brother in your waterpipes?

Report from Britain

Millions of homes could have smart water meters, devices that tell water companies immediately if households are breaking the hosepipe ban, as part of plans to combat drought conditions.

A number of firms are looking at the technology including the country's biggest water company, Thames Water, as part of plans to install meters in most homes by 2015.

The meters transfer readings every hour from water pipes outside the home via a mobile phone transmitter to the internet or a gadget in the kitchen so both the customer and the water company can keep an eye on water use.

The new technology is already widely used in the US to help customers spot leaks and cut wasteful water use.

It could also be used to identify households that are breaking any restrictions by immediately showing where a huge amount of water is being used to water a lawn or fill the paddling pool during a hosepipe ban.

At the moment seven water companies in the south and east have hosepipe bans in place due to the ongoing drought that is expected to last until Christmas, despite the recent rain.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: