Friday, November 30, 2012

More Settled Science: Wrong about Ice Melt in Greenland, Sea-Rise

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tends to now show that ice melt estimates previously calculated for Greenland have not significantly accelerated- as has been previously postulated- nor has the melt contributed in a meaningful way to the rise of sea levels.

Recently, much of the destruction on the east coast as a consequence of Super-Mega-Hurricane Sandy Gore was blamed on the rise in sea-levels, which have been blamed on… drum roll…global warming.

The newest revelation, amongst many in the last several years that have muffled the global warming chants of “settled science, settled science, settled science,” confirms that the model generally used to support climate change, global warming and/or Super-Mega-Hurricane Sandy Gore, is neither settled nor scientific.

Global Warming theorists have advanced the notion the melt from Greenland’s ice sheet is the prime culprit in elevated sea-levels. They advanced this theory after their previous theory- the ice melt in the Himalayas- was shown by the same process that has now debunked the Greenland ice theory to have been exaggerated.

And yes, the seas have risen not withstanding Obama’s election promise to make the seas stop rising. Presumably the Greatest Superhero President Ever was going to use some sort of magical veto power that was transmitted to him through his cartoon Nobel Prize Heroes to compel the seas to stop rising.

But back in the real world where science is based on facts, and prizes are awarded based on real accomplishments outside of Scandinavia and American Idol, the new report- which was generated by researchers at Princeton University- shows that the Greenland ice melt is happening at such a slow pace that in fact, there is no need to fret over the loss of ice in the Land of Green.

From the UK’s Register:

"If the Greenland ice losses aren't accelerating, there's no real reason to worry about them. According to the Princeton statement:

At current melt rates, the Greenland ice sheet would take about 13,000 years to melt completely, which would result in a global sea-level rise of more than 21 feet (6.5 meters)."

So does this mean that Obama has to serve 3,250 four-year terms as president before he can make the seas actually stop rising?

Liberals would like to think so. It will probably take that long just to get an Obama budget passed.

The Register says what the report really means is that sea-rise levels from the Greenland melt will be insignificant.

“Put another way, in that scenario we would be looking at 5cm of sea level rise from Greenland by the year 2130: a paltry amount,” writes the Register. “Authoritative recent research drawing together all possible causes of sea level rise bears this out, suggesting maximum possible rise in the worst case by 2100 will be 30cm. More probably it will be less, and there will hardly be any difference between the 20th and 21st centuries in sea level terms.”

But that’s very much a different conclusion than was drawn over the summer when scientists at NASA told us- gasp!- that all the ice in Greenland was melting at once, an event that had never been recorded in 30 years of satellite imaging of the ice sheets!

Imagine ice melting in the summer. Well, I never…

Yes. Never before- um, since they started looking at it in the late 1970s- had all the ice in Greenland melted at the same time. There must have been some union rule against it until now.

Bloggsters, like ScienceBlogs’ Greg Laden jumped on that NASA report saying “I have always felt that sea level rise would be quicker and higher than my colleagues in climate science have suggested.”

And he cited the report as more proof that the global-warming apocalypse, created by the fossil fuels that made possible things like indoor plumbing, modern medicine, sanitation and footwear not made from bark, will destroy the hallmarks of civilization like indoor plumbing, modern medicine, sanitation and footwear not made from bark.

But now we know that Laden was wrong. And he’ll just have to find some other culprit for the change in the weather.

But getting past all the scientific inquiry and theorizing based on fantasy, not facts, is what global warming scientists do best.

It doesn’t have to be settled or science. It just has to sell.


New paper finds Roman Warming Period in Florida was warmer than today

A new paper published in Quaternary International reconstructs temperatures in SW Florida and finds that summer temperatures during the Roman Warm Period [RWP] from 300 BC-550 AD were "insignificantly different from today" and that winters during the RWP were "colder than today at 150-200 AD and 250-300 AD, similar to today at 200-250 AD, 300-350 AD and 450-500 AD, and warmer than today at 500-550 AD." The paper adds to hundreds of other peer-reviewed papers demonstrating temperatures during the Medieval, Roman, Minoan, and other unnamed warming periods were as warm or warmer than today.

The paper also shows that tiny variations in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] of less than 1 W/m2 correlated with significant changes in reconstructed temperature of up to 5C. The IPCC claims that changes in TSI during the 20th century of about 1.5 W/m2 cannot account for 0.7C observed global warming, but data from this paper and others suggests otherwise. In addition, the paper shows TSI lagged by 50 years is better correlated to reconstructed temperatures, perhaps as a result of the enormous thermal inertia of the oceans.
Seasonal climate change across the Roman Warm Period/Vandal Minimum transition using isotope sclerochronology in archaeological shells and otoliths, southwest Florida, USA

Ting Wang et al.


Archaeological evidence suggests that southwest Florida experienced variably warmer and wetter climate during the Roman Warm Period (RWP; 300 BC-550 AD) relative to the Vandal Minimum (VM; 550-800 AD). This hypothesis was tested by reconstructing seasonal-scale climate conditions for the latter part of the RWP (1-550 AD) by using high-resolution oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) of archaeological shells (Mercenaria campechiensis) and otoliths (Ariopsis felis). Eight shells radiocarbon-dated to 150-550 AD recorded that the RWP summers at 150-250 AD were insignificantly different from today and the RWP summers at 250-350 AD and 450-550 AD were drier relative to today. Eight otoliths indicate that the winters were variable during the RWP, colder than today at 150-200 AD and 250-300 AD, similar to today at 200-250 AD, 300-350 AD and 450-500 AD, and warmer than today at 500-550 AD. The climate reconstructions agree with archaeological observations and are partially coherent with the history of sea-level change, with a drying and cooling trend at the 95% confidence level across the RWP/VM transition. The climate transition is not only consistent with falling sea level, but also coherent with reduced solar radiation. Reduced solar radiation may have triggered a change in atmospheric circulation patterns that precipitated the observed climate transition.

Some British industries to be shielded from green energy costs as household bills to soar

Energy-intensive industries will be shielded from subsidising new nuclear power plants and wind farms, under Government plans that will see other businesses and consumers paying billions of pounds more for electricity.

Government estimates show that policies to subsidise low-carbon power alone will add £95 to household bills by 2020.

Ministers will on Thursday unveil the long-awaited Energy Bill, intended to encourage £110bn of investment in low-carbon generation this decade. It will offer generators long-term contracts guaranteeing prices for electricity from new power plants - paid for through levies on electricity bills.

Government estimates show that these and other subsidies for low-carbon power will add £95 to household bills by 2020. The cost to all energy consumers is likely to triple, up to cap set at £7.6bn a year by 2020 - with other 'green’ policies adding yet more.

Industry and consumer groups have warned that the additional costs could plunge more households into 'fuel poverty’, put some firms out of business and force industries to relocate overseas.

In an attempt to assuage fears, the Government will today unveil plans to exempt energy-intensive industries from additional costs arising from the new long-term electricity contracts.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. There would be no advantage in simply forcing UK businesses to relocate to other countries.”

Ministers are yet to specify which industries will be exempt, or how much money they will save.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the exemption would not affect the £7.6bn total for subsidies by 2020 - so would see other businesses and households pick up the costs instead.

He insisted the impact of the exemption on others was “likely to be extremely small”.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the move was a “critical reform” to ensure industry remained competitive.

Manufacturers union EEF welcomed the move but said the Government must act to protect all energy consumers.

The British Chambers of Commerce called on the Government to address wider concerns over business energy costs, warning that nearly 40pc of businesses felt rising energy bills had adversely affected their growth.

Ministers will also today announce a consultation on plans to reduce the UK’s energy demand. These could include paying consumers for electricity saved by installing energy-efficient lighting.


Alice in Wonderland science

Our energy and environment deserve better – in South Africa and Qatar

By Kelvin Kemm (Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant in Pretoria, South Africa)

A few weeks ago, perhaps as a prologue to the “global warming disaster” convention in Doha, Qatar, South Africa’s Department of Environment Affairs took out a full-page advertisement in our country’s newspapers, promoting National Marine Week.

The ad showed a map of the Antarctic continent, from above the pole, surrounded by the vast blue Southern Ocean. It also promoted South Africa’s new Antarctic research vessel, SA Agulhas II.

The advertisement’s text mentioned the massive Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which is responsible for distributing vital nutrients to the world’s oceans. It noted that the truly massive quantities of phytoplankton found in the ocean are vital marine building blocks in ocean processes. All that is true, and I certainly applaud efforts to protect the environment and promote National Marine Week and our country’s research efforts.

But then, sadly, the ad’s discussion of physics content went off the rails. Referring to phytoplankton, it said “these microscopic creatures also use carbon to create energy.” Wrong!

The most basic law of thermodynamics says energy is neither created nor destroyed, but merely converted from one form to another. The only way to “create” energy is via a nuclear process, whereby matter is converted to energy in a nuclear reaction, as Einstein famously postulated over a century ago. Nuclear processes operate outside the laws of thermodynamics, but there is certainly no nuclear process going on in phytoplankton.

I could have lived with that slip up in the physics. But it got worse – much worse. The ad went on to blame global warming for upsetting the phytoplankton. In a declaration straight out of Alice in Wonderland, it asserted: “The increase in surface temperature over Antarctica from climate change is having a catastrophic knock-on effect, depleting phytoplankton stocks, melting the Antarctic ice sheet and causing an alarming reduction in all marine life.”

First, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no “alarming reduction in all marine life.” None of my colleagues are aware of it. Second, the surface temperature over Antarctica is not increasing.

In fact, a new record has just been attained. Antarctic sea ice has just reached an all-time record for total acreage. Day 265 of the year 2012 set an all time record, and then on day 266 that record was broken. The days 265 to 270 were the six highest Antarctic sea ice extent days of all time.

The environment department then compounded these errors by committing the unforgivable scientific sin of claiming a supposed increase in surface air temperature over Antarctica “is having a catastrophic knock-on effect” – then providing no evidence to back up its assertion and not telling readers what the alleged knock-on effect is.

I cannot even begin to imagine how this knock-on is supposed to alter the Circumpolar Current, which in turn is somehow supposed to affect the “energy creation” capabilities of phytoplankton. Come off it, folks.

There is so much good Antarctic science to be proud of – and, for that matter, really fine South African scientific achievements in the Antarctic to brag about. That the DEA would feel compelled to celebrate National Maritime Week by resorting to phytoplankton scares supposedly related to nonexistent Antarctic heating is beyond mystifying.

Meanwhile, over the last few months, newspaper stories have told of reduced sea ice extent at our planet’s other pole, the Arctic. Terms like “alarming rate” of ice depletion were bandied about casually. Yes, there were reductions in Arctic sea ice cover.

However, on September 18, a video posted by NASA on its website showed that a large and long lasting Arctic cyclone “wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover,” by “breaking up sea ice.” The unusual reduction in Arctic sea ice cover was due to high winds – not to any warming of the Arctic or global warming in general. NASA’s belated analysis demonstrated that a large section of ice north of the Chukchi Sea was cut off by the churning storm, broken up and pushed south into warmer waters, where it melted.

The storm also broke up other ice, accelerating drifting and melting elsewhere. Reuters finally reported that “NASA says a powerful cyclone formed off the coast of Alaska in early August and moved toward the centre of the Arctic Ocean, weakening the already thin sea ice as it went.”

NASA noted that this was an “uncommon event” and that there have been only about eight storms of similar strength during August in 34 years of satellite records. However, a major storm every four years is not all that “uncommon.” Paul A. Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheric Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, added that such wind disturbances produce many effects and can also lift warmer water from the depths of the Arctic Ocean up to the surface to accelerate melting.

For some reason – probably having to do with its regular promotion of “dangerous manmade global warming” claims – the storm story was barely mentioned in the mainstream popular media. By contrast, the “alarming ice cover reduction” narrative was covered extensively.

Now jump back in time five years, to December 12, 2007. On that date Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein distributed an article that stated: “An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer – a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.”

Well, five years have come and gone. Borenstein was dead wrong. Does anyone suppose the AP will now publish an apology, admitting that its “science writer” was on thin ice when he made this outlandish statement, and saying he should not have tried to scare the public like that?

Perhaps the answer can be found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

“There's no use trying,” Alice said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Especially with the Doha climate change confab in full swing, taxpayers, newspaper readers – and anyone dreaming of a better life through reliable, affordable energy – deserves more honest reporting and more science-based energy and environmental policies than they have been getting.

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Carbon Taxes

One suggestion for dealing with greenhouse gas emissions is to implement a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions. If we implemented a carbon tax and cut income taxes by the same amount, we would be reducing taxes on something we want (income) and increasing taxes on something we don’t (air pollution).

As good as it sounds, I’m skeptical of the merits of carbon taxes, even if our CO2 emissions cause global warming. Fossil fuels have been the energy source behind the remarkable economic progress we have had since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Taxing that energy source will lower economic growth. Reducing income taxes should increase economic growth, but the issue is more complex than just which tax would, in theory, be the least detrimental to growth. Here are six reasons for my skepticism on carbon taxes.

1. Fossil fuels have powered the Industrial Revolution. Let’s say that the Earth is 2-3 degrees warmer today than it would have been had the Industrial Revolution never occurred. Is that amount of warming worth it? Would you rather live in today’s world, or have the standard of living of people in 1750 and an Earth 2-3 degrees cooler? If that is the cost of the remarkable economic progress that has resulted from the Industrial Revolution, most people would gladly accept the warming.

2. Carbon taxes would slow economic growth not only because they would make the power that fuels it more costly, but also because carbon taxes are unlikely to be revenue-neutral, even when their advocates propose it. Look at the VAT in the EU, which was proposed as a revenue-neutral tax reform, and sparked a substantial growth of government across the EU countries. Look at the federal income tax, which started as a progressive tax with a top marginal tax rate of 7%. A carbon tax would not be implemented by an omniscient benevolent government that would produce the “optimal” policy, but by a democratic process that is laced with special interest politics and cronyism. A new revenue source, even if intended by its architects to be revenue-neutral, ultimately would lead to bigger government, placing even more of a burden on the productive capacity of the economy.

3. If we are concerned about our children and grandchildren, then combining the first two points, would we make future generations better off by leaving them a world that is slightly cooler, but also poorer?

4. We should weigh the benefits as well as the costs of global warming. What if the people arguing that human use of fossil fuels is warming the planet are right? CO2, which is often viewed as a pollutant, is necessary for plant growth, and a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will mean healthier plants. A warmer climate will mean a longer growing season, so we can better feed our population. It would open up land to crops that currently is too far north. People in some places would surely be made worse off from a warmer planet, but people in other places — Siberia, Canada — would be better off. People are mobile, and populations would shift as climate change made some places more desirable relative to others. Global warming would bring with it benefits as well as costs.

5. There are benefits to waiting to deal with global warming, if it is a problem. One is that technology will develop so that it will become cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. For example Air Fuel Synthesis is a company that takes CO2 from the air and hydrogen from water to make oil. I don’t know whether this is the winning technology, but over time more technological advances like this will occur, making it more cost-effective to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Also over time, people get wealthier (if we don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs), and are willing to pay for “green” energy. People in wealthier countries are choosing to spend their own money to buy solar panels to generate electricity, and to engage in other “green” activity without any government mandates telling them they have to. If it is desirable to do something to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, there are some benefits to doing something later rather than now.

6. Carbon taxes could increase the emissions of greenhouse gasses. If the US implemented carbon taxes unilaterally, that would raise the cost of manufacturing in the US, which would push manufacturing to other countries (like China) where manufacturing produces higher emissions than in the relatively clean US. The shift in manufacturing from low emissions countries to high emissions countries would result in more greenhouse gas emissions.

People who are skeptical about global warming will, of course, see no reason for carbon taxes, but the six points above make the argument that people who think global warming is real and man-made have good reason to question the desirability of carbon taxes.


Climate Change Think Tank Warns of Robot Uprising

Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society, and ueber-alarmist, continues his descent into fringe theories

You know that sneaking suspicion you’ve always had that climate change alarmists are all doom fetishists with an unhealthy obsession with apocalyptic scenarios? Well you’re not too far from the mark, it would seem.

Martin Rees, former president of the Royal Society, and author of uber-alarmist global warming book Our Final Century, has teamed up with philosophy professor, Huw Price and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn to form the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), a think tank devoted to looking at climate change and other ways we could all die. Maybe. Perhaps.

The BBC reports on the think tank and the inspiration behind it:

"The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology and climate change.

The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.

Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films."

It is certainly appropriate that climate change is to be studied under the same roof as robot uprisings and fears about the triffids taking over the planet. Perhaps Bigfoot will also be looked into as well, we’re not sure on that one yet.

But what is certain is that from being a front page news story and worldwide concern, climate change alarmism has slipped ever further down the slope to fringe status, joining crackpot theories like robot uprisings at the outer margins of speculation. How fitting.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now SNOW is set to fall as Britain faces coldest winter for 100 years

Definitely global cooling

Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.

The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.

Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3c (27f) in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.

The torrential rain which has deluged the country for the last week is expected to ease at last but the clearer skies, coupled with northerly winds, will send the mercury plummeting.

Tonight’s cold snap heralds a freezing winter ahead with long-range forecasters warning that temperatures could fall to as low as minus 20c (4f) in some areas through December and January.

They fear snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks across the country as winter takes hold.

The cold, drier spell that starts tonight could be only a brief respite from the rain. More heavy showers are expected to return early next week, causing more misery to those trying to combat flood damage.

‘The weather will be much colder and drier across most of the UK today,’ said Meteogroup forecaster John Lee.

‘Northerly winds and clearer skies will make it feel much colder and we can expect widespread frost overnight when temperatures drop below freezing.

‘Wintry showers will bring sleet, snow and hail to higher ground tomorrow and there’s a risk of heavy snow showers in northern Scotland on Friday.

Local authorities say they are prepared for a harsh winter and have taken steps to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when a lack of gritters and snowploughs caused roads and transport networks to grind to a halt.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said councils had stockpiled 1.3million tons of road salt and had ‘hundreds’ of gritters on standby.

‘Keeping the country moving is a community effort,’ said Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board.

‘Councils will be treating as  many roads as they can and have  also installed and filled thousands of extra grit bins for people living in  side streets, villages and housing estates.

‘They’ve given equipment to  parish councils, community groups and snow wardens who have volunteered to grit hard-to-reach areas, and farmers will be helping out on country lanes.

‘Highways, street-cleaning and park staff could also be drafted in to help clear snow and ice around places like shops, schools and sheltered accommodation.’

He said councils would be using  social media, including Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, to keep people up to date about how weather is affecting their area.


The WMO has its two cents worth at Doha

And two cents is its maximum value.  So what if a lot of ice at one pole only has melted?  There's clearly nothing global going on.  And there has been no global warming for 16 years so global warming cannot be the culprit anyhow.

And how come we hear nothing of subsea vulcanism?  There's heaps of it at the Gakkel ridge, which runs right under the Arctic sea ice.

There's NOTHING that they say below that proves ANYTHING!  It's a parade of illogic

AN area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the UN weather agency's annual climate report.

In a report released at UN climate talks in Doha, the World Meteorological Organisation said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012.

Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering.

But it was the ice melt that seemed to dominate the annual report, with the UN concluding ice cover had reached "a new record low" in the area around the North Pole and that the loss from March to September was a staggering 11.83 million square kilometres - an area bigger than the United States.

"The alarming rate of its melt this year highlighted the far-reaching changes taking place on Earth's oceans and biosphere," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

"Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so as a result of the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which have risen constantly and again reached new records."

The dire climate news - following on the heels of a report on Tuesday that found melting permafrost could significantly amplify global warming - comes as delegates from nearly 200 countries struggled for a third day to lay the groundwork for a deal that would cut emissions in an attempt to ensure that temperatures don't rise more than 2C over what they were in preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 0.8C, according to the latest report by the IPCC.

Discord between rich and poor countries on who should do what has kept the two-decade-old UN talks from delivering on that goal, and global emissions are still going up.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with former US Vice President Al Gore, urged delegates to heed the science and quickly take action.

"When I had the privilege in 2007 of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, in my speech I asked the rhetorical question, 'Will those responsible for decisions in the field of climate change at the global level listen to the voice of science and knowledge, which is now loud and clear,' " he said.

"I am not sure our voice is louder today but it is certainly clearer on the basis of the new knowledge."

Delegates in Doha are bickering over money from rich countries to help poorer ones adapt to and combat the impacts of climate change, and whether developed countries will sign onto an extension of a legally binding emissions pact, the Kyoto Protocol, that would run until 2020.

A pact that once incorporated all industrialised countries except the US would now include only the European Union, Australia and several smaller countries which together account for less than 15 per cent of global emissions.

And the US is refusing to offer any bolder commitments to cut its emissions beyond a non-binding pledge to reduce emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

"For developed country parties like the United States and the European Union, the pledges and commitments ... put forward on the table are far below what is required by the science," Su Wei, a member of the Chinese delegation, told reporters.

"And far below what is required by their historical responsibility."

Developing countries have said they are willing to take steps to control emissions, but that they must be given space to build their economies. Although China is the largest carbon polluter and India is rapidly catching up, both countries lag far behind the industrial countries in emissions per person and still have huge populations mired in poverty.


The real cause of variations in oceanic Ph ("acidity")

Warmists talk as if there is one level of Ph for all the globe and that global warming is moving it towards an acidic balance.  None of that is true.  Ph varies greatly from place to place in the oceans  and the idea of getting a precise global average for it is a dream.  

This video shows one of the main NATURAL causes of Ph variation in different areas of the ocean:  Undersea volcanoes.  The video is of a volcano in the Pacific  around 4,000 feet down.  The water temperature rose to 2,200 degrees F. and the eruption turned the water more acidic than battery acid.  And this is just one volcano.  There are lots of them under the Arctic ocean and elsewhere -- JR.

World Bank turns up the heat on global warming debate

A recent report by the World Bank has found that the world will warm by 4 degrees Celsius this century, and that the negative impacts of climate change will disproportionately hurt developing, poorer regions.

The report, “Turn Down the Heat,” warns of rising sea levels, less arable land, droughts, water contamination, more storms at greater strength and more, saying it was “likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today.”

“We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently told reporters in a conference call highlighting the piece.

The report itself is light on details of how exactly the world’s temperature will be reduced, other than through amorphous “international and regional agreements” to substantially reduce carbon emissions, particularly in developed regions like the U.S. and Europe.

But even if the U.S. and other nations were to voluntarily restrict carbon emissions — a questionable proposition in itself — other nations like China and India would certainly fill in the gap to meet the needs of their own growing populations.

From that perspective, the World Bank’s report makes perfect sense. Perhaps the real agenda of those who cling to a belief in man-made climate change has little to do with alleviating global poverty or combating climate change.

The fact is, without enforcement of agreements restricting carbon emissions, which would require a near totalitarian control over the global economy and sovereignty by some internationalist body, agreements will simply fail to reduce carbon emissions. It is not a realistic policy objective.

So, maybe that is not the goal of such agreements. Examining their likely effects, however, reveals they will simply redirect the flow of the world’s energy trade, redistributing energy resources and wealth toward developing economies and away from the West.

That makes a whole lot more sense than these tortured “scientific” analyses amounting to little more than “the gods are angry”-type explanations for the state of the climate.

Besides, if the radical environmentalists ever did manage to substantially reduce carbon emissions and hence energy output all over the world, would we be able to produce enough food and water for 7 billion people? Or would conditions worsen?

Jim Yong Kim in the report’s foreword promises that “many opportunities exist to dramatically reduce the climate impact of development, without slowing down poverty alleviation and economic growth.” The report then subsequently fails to outline what those opportunities might be, of course.

Probably because they do not actually exist. Instead, it appears likely that a sudden, dramatic decline in energy output everywhere would wreck the global economy. Slower growth would lead to higher unemployment and less resources to go around. All of which would create more poverty, not less.

So let’s cut to the chase. This is about who controls the world’s energy supply. No more, no less. The questionable science of man-made climate change is merely the means to that redistributive end.


Can the EPA end logging? Supreme Court to decide

In June, when the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its ruling regarding the health care law, everyone sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation.  And for a good reason; this law impacts every American.

Likewise, the Supreme Court is hearing the case Georgia-Pacific West v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center that will greatly impact an entire sector of businesses and jobs across the nation.

This is one of the biggest environmental cases to come before the Supreme Court in years.  One that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said has the capacity to “shut down forestry on private, state, and tribal lands.”

Since the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 runoff on logging roads, the point of contention in this lawsuit, is not subject to the same reviews or permitting process as factories, mines or chemical plants, because forestry falls under the section governing agriculture.  At least until now.

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that these logging roads should have to comply with the same rules as those of factories and chemical plants.  The Supreme Court has taken up the case and oral arguments are expected to be heard on Dec. 3.

If the Supreme Court sides with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the entire logging industry in these northwestern states will be brought to its knees.

Though this battle is specific towards logging road, opposition towards this industry as a whole is not new.  In fact, even the federal government has taken a swing or two at the logging trade.

Some 20 years ago a 1-pound owl contributed to the demise of this very industry.  The northern spotted owl was once thought to only be able to survive in old forests, overgrown and unmaintained.  When it became an endangered special in 1990, and even before, great cutbacks were made in the logging industry throughout California, Oregon and Washington states.  Yet, despite massive growths in forest land, the owl’s population continues to decline.

Bob Mion, communications director at California Forestry Association, said that many sawmills in Washington State were forced to shut down because of the spotted owl.  Come to find out, he says, the owl thrives on managed lands, not the untouched, mismanaged federal lands.  The owl’s favorite food is a wood rat, Mion claims.  “If the forest is overgrown, it can’t see the rat.”

Furthermore, partly due to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and also for regulation purposes, the federal government now owns about 1 out of every 2 acres of land in western states like Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) told Americans for Limited Government (ALG) in a previous interview.

The more land the federal government snatches up, the more rules and restrictions come down on activities like logging.  The continuing heavy hand of government coupled with an ongoing recession stalling the need for new-built homes, deals a heavy blow to this industry.

To put it into perspective, in 1988, the booming timber industry in Oregon harvested 8,743 MMBF (million board feet) of wood.  In 2010, the amount harvested was less than half at only 3,227 MMBF.

For comparison, in 2009, Oregon Business cited Bob Ragon, executive director of Douglas Timber Operators, as saying that over the last two decades Oregon and Washington states have lost 35,000 jobs in the timber industry.

Despite the setbacks for this industry, its future and the thousands of jobs it provides very well may hang in the balance of this pending Supreme Court decision.  The Court could reverse the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and logging roads would not be subject to the Clean Water Act.  Or the Court could stand behind the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

If the latter takes place, all logging roads nationwide would require permits for each drainage point.

National Review explains why this change alone could effectively end this industry for good:

“Washington State, for example, has 57,000 miles of them [logging roads], with at least one drain point per mile. But now the Circuit Court panel has decreed that each flow-way must be permitted or shut down. By one estimate, processing a single Clean Water Act approval costs a state $2,800, meaning the decision could saddle Washington alone with a $159.6 million bill.”

What state can afford that high price—yet alone an already crippled industry?

Furthermore, that high price tag would only go up from there.  With as many drainage points as there are on each of these miles of logging roads, some, if not all of them, would get tied up in yet another environmental lawsuit.  This would not only prolong the arduous permitting process, but would cost more money.

A Court decision backing the Ninth Circuit’s ruling would not only end the logging trade on public and federal lands but also on private lands.  The repercussions would spread far and wide.  National Review further explains:

“Endangered, too, will be thousands of resorts, ranches, and communities scattered amid the circuit’s forestlands and dependent on the same roads loggers use. Controlling forest fires will become harder, posing even greater threats to everyone nearby as well as to firefighters. And regional sawmills, paper mills, and all who depend on western wood will suffer. By some estimates as many as a million jobs are in jeopardy.”

The question must be asked, how does this protect the environment?

Mark Pawlicki, director of corporate affairs and sustainability for Sierra Pacific Industries in California, told ALG in a past interview, “We are the only industry that helps air quality.”  He goes on to say that because timber harvesters must replant much more than they remove from forests, long term studies have shown a reduction of greenhouse gases because younger trees grow faster and absorb more carbon and other gases.

If the Supreme Court rules on the side of the Ninth Circuit and logging roads are forced comply with the Clean Water Act, true environmentalism would take a backseat to permitting processes and litigation battles.  Therefore, these roads and connecting waterways, which are now kept clean and healthy, would fall victim to overgrown forests, runoff and debris.

This begs the question, who are the true environmentalists: Those who care for the land and maintain it and its species, or those so hungry to destroy this one industry that any resulting environmental destruction is dismissed?


Washington state confronts ocean acidification

Gregoire as Canute

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) ordered state agencies on Tuesday to take steps to address the ocean’s increasing acidity, making it the first state to adopt a policy to take on what scientists describe as a growing environmental concern.

Ocean acidification poses a threat to the state’s $270 million shellfish industry, as well as to critical habitat off its shores.

The order signed by Gregoire, whose term will end in January, calls on the state to invest more money in scientific research, curb nutrient runoff from land, and push for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on a regional, national and global scale. It accepts the recommendations that a blue-ribbon panel issued Tuesday on how to assess and limit the effects of ocean acidification. The group was co-chaired by former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus and former Gregoire chief of staff Jay Manning...

The ocean is becoming more acidic worldwide, but certain regions are affected more than others because local factors such as ocean currents or farm runoff can intensify the impact. Washington state policymakers have focused on the problem for several years because increasingly corrosive waters off the state’s shores threaten oyster-farming operations.


Comment on the above

“Increasingly corrosive waters” affecting oyster farming? But the daily pH variation in tidal areas is naturally large.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute,

[Researcher Francisco] Chavez is measuring pH in the intertidal because, as he points out, “These organisms are seeing large swings of pH on a daily basis.” Daily variations of pH can occur from photosynthesis and from animals respiring and releasing carbon dioxide. The pH also fluctuates when upwelled water reaches the intertidal.

In other words, tidal biota don’t live at an average pH, but in a naturally fluctuating range of pH values. Moreover, to the extent pH affects survival, natural selection will enable pH-hardier biota to thrive.

The left apparently only embraces Darwin when it comes to beating up religious conservatives.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The permafrost scare is back again

This pops up every couple of years.  Most of the permafrost concerned is in Russia and Russian scientists have repeatedly said the alarmists don't know what they are talking about.

The Russian Arctic,  particularly in Siberia, is VERY cold, far too cold for a warming of a degree or two to have any effect

And the researchers below admit that they don't know what they have found! How's that as a solid basis for a climate theory?  Forgive me while I laugh

I think they know what they have found.  They just haven't been able to torture their data into saying what they want yet.  They should get a copy of Darrell Huff's  "How to lie with statistics".  Let me suggest a technique:  Extreme quintiles.  I have never used it but it's used in the epidemiological literature all the time.  It's a "respectable" way of throwing away most of your data.  And epidemiology is a sensation-dependent literature too

THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday.

"The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."

While countries the size of Australia tally up their greenhouse emissions in hundreds of millions of tonnes, the Arctic's stores are measured in tens of billions.

Human-induced emissions now appear to have warmed the Arctic enough to unlock this vast carbon bank, with stark implications for international efforts to hold global warming to a safe level. Ancient forests locked under ice tens of thousands of years ago are beginning to melt and rot, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the air.

The report estimates the greenhouse gases leaking from the thawing Arctic will eventually add more to emissions than last year's combined carbon output of the US and Europe – a statistic which means present global plans to hold climate change to an average 2degree temperature rise this century are now likely to be much more difficult.

Until very recently permafrost was thought to have been melting too slowly to make a meaningful difference to temperatures this century, so it was left out of the Kyoto Protocol, and ignored by many climate change models.

What isn't known is the precise rate and scale of the melt, and that is being tackled in a remarkable NASA experiment that hardly anyone has heard of, but which could prove to be one of the most crucial pieces of scientific field work undertaken this century.

The findings, for now, are still under wraps. "But I think 'tantalising' is probably the right word," [Or is that "inconclusive"?] said Charles Miller, the principal investigator in NASA's Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, or CARVE.

The findings of the first year of the experiment are so complex that Professor Miller and his team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are still trying to work out exactly what they have found.


Leaders face riddle of lack of warming

AROUND Doha, the capital of Qatar, which boasts the world's highest per capita carbon emissions, ramshackle humpies made of car tyres and recycled shipping pallets are springing up amid the city's shiny skyscrapers.

Together with a fleet of low-cost electric cars to ferry the A-list, the low-cost buildings are the organisers' eye-popping way to draw attention to the UN's annual climate change conference that kicks off on Monday.

In keeping with Doha's immaculately manicured image, the most common expression on eco-friendly portals has been surprise that it was possible to recycle anything in the Arabian sheikdom.

It is a mixed message that illustrates the state of global climate change negotiations. As usual, a raft of reports restating dire predictions has been released to coincide with the conference.

The World Meteorological Organisation confirmed atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide had risen to 390.9 parts a million, the highest on record.

A World Bank-commissioned report, Turn Down the Heat, warned that mankind was on track for a 4C warmer world, marked by extreme heatwaves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea-level rise.

The research was undertaken by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and mirrors the warnings of many institutions, including Australia's Climate Commission. A UN Environment Program report said countries were not doing enough to keep the world from warming 2C above pre-industrial levels.

"Not only are nations failing to close the gap between their actions and the two degrees goal," says Union of Concerned Scientists director Alden Meyer, "but the gap is actually widening."

Last month's Hurricane Sandy, which flooded New York City, has been widely cited as evidence that climate change is about bigger storms, not just higher temperatures. For climate change campaigners this is fortunate because the most recent global temperature record, released this week, shows the average global temperature fell last year for the second year.

The decline is not considered statistically significant - temperatures remain well above the long-term average - and is explained by the strong La Nina weather patterns that caused rain havoc across eastern Australia. But it is nonetheless counter-intuitive to claims that global temperatures are spinning out of control, just as increasing ice cover in Antarctica runs counter to the high level of scientific concern at increased ice melt in the Arctic.

The Antarctic ice growth does not necessarily undermine anxiety about the melting ice in the Arctic, but it does highlight the fact gaps remain in scientific understanding and that climate models don't always work.

The British Met Bureau was forced to furiously deny reports in Britain last month that the latest temperature data showed global warming stopped 16 years ago.

The bureau argues the trend is still unambiguously up, with global surface temperatures having risen by about 0.8C in the past 140 years. "However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled," the bureau said. "The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15-year-long periods are not unusual."

In short, there is agreement that the rising trend has stalled.

Many scientists accept there are natural processes at work that are not properly factored into the global temperature models.

German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt, a former Social Democrat Party senator, founder of wind-energy company REpower and president of the German Wildlife Foundation, has been particularly outspoken.

"According to the IPCC climate models, there should be an increase in global temperature of 0.2C per decade," he says.

"But if you look at the data series of satellite-based temperature measurements and the data from the British Hadley Centre (HadCRUT), you find that since 1998 there has been no warming; the temperature has remained at a plateau. We know how mainstream climate scientists would answer this question: 15 years is not a climate signal; it must happen for 30 years," Vahrenholt says, "But there must be an explanation for the unexpected absence of warming."

Vahrenholt's answer is that the exclusion of solar activity and decadal oscillations from climate models leads to erroneous results. Vahrenholt's point is not that climate change shouldn't be addressed but that fear-driven energy policy works against the interests of nature, the poor and economic good sense. He says there is time to find solutions that work.

This is the background against which governments will meet in Doha to negotiate a globally binding agreement to cut carbon emissions, as agreed at last year's meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

First, the developed world must decide what it wants to do about a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

After linking to the European carbon trading scheme, Australia has agreed to sign up to a Kyoto II, but Japan, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have said they are out.

Australia's Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson says there are three possible outcomes from Doha.

One is the collapse of talks, with Kyoto II falling over and the Bali Action Plan, where countries pledge carbon cuts, faltering.

Another possibility is that parties simply agree to keep talking.

Jackson says he is mildly confident of a focused outcome in which amendments are made to implement a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and the Bali Action Plan negotiations are closed. Such an outcome would allow talks to be integrated into a single track towards a global legally binding agreement.

The timetable set last year was for details of an agreement to be set by 2015, to take effect from 2020. Key, as always, will be the actions of the US, China and India, each motivated by its own self-interest.

The world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, China, is keen to show good faith to deflect attention from its phenomenal rate of growth and emissions. But despite signing on to negotiations for a global treaty, China remains fiercely protective of preserving the ethic of "differentiated responsibility" between developed and developing countries.

As does India, which remains concerned primarily with achieving energy security as it struggles to lift hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India reluctantly agreed to the Cape Town agreement last year because it did not want to be seen as wrecker.

And despite the hype that a post-Sandy Obama administration will restart action on climate change, the biggest challenge may be keeping the US inside the UN framework.

The Obama administration reportedly is considering taking the action away from the annual UN climate summit into the Major Economies Forum, a platform of the world's largest CO2 emitters.

Such a move would leave the UN process with little more than the symbolism of a Doha humpy.


Doubts on $30 billion aid for climate change overshadow UN talks

Doubts mounted about whether developed nations honored a pledge to deliver $30 billion in aid for fighting and defend against climate change after two analysts estimated different amounts had been paid out.

The question over how much finance was provided under the “fast-start” program has the potential to undermine trust between donor and recipient nations during two weeks of United Nations talks on a treaty to curb global warming. Aid is the linchpin of the talks starting today in Doha after industrial nations pledged in 2009 to channel $100 billion a year for climate projects by 2020.

“We can’t say if it was delivered or not because we can’t be sure,” Seyni Nafo, a Malian envoy who speaks for a bloc of African nations, said in an interview yesterday, referring to the $30 billion pledge. “The process of fast-start finance was supposed to build trust, but it created more tension and frustration that what was proposed was not delivered.”

The European Union, U.S., Japan and other developed nations paid out $23.6 billion of assistance to poorer countries during the three years through 2012, falling short of the $30 billion promised in 2009, the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development said today. An estimate today from the World Resources Institute in Washington put the total paid at almost $34 billion.

A third estimate for the sum from Nick Robins, head of the Climate Change Center at HSBC Holdings Plc in London, valued it at $32 billion as of Oct. 25. Of that, $25 billion so far has been allocated to projects, HSBC said. Allocation doesn’t necessarily mean the funds have been paid.


“While countries are on track to fulfil their initial pledges, there continues to be a lack of clarity around the exact definition of what can count toward fast start finance,” Cliff Polycarp a senior associate at the WRI said in a statement. “This leaves room for doubt as to whether these targets are indeed being met.”

The UN talks involving more than 190 nations are working toward adopting a treaty in 2015 that would limit greenhouse gases starting in 2020. Richer countries pledged aid for poorer nations struggling to cope with the impact of global warming as a first step toward worldwide limits on fossil fuel emissions.

With the three-year fast-start aid period ending this year, envoys in Doha must also ensure aid doesn’t end next year, by doubling pledges to $60 billion for the three years through 2015 and plowing $10 billion to $15 billion into a new Green Climate Fund that was set up at last year’s round of talks, said the environmental group Conservation International in Washington.

‘Empty Promise’

“The $100 billion figure must not be an empty promise nor the Green Climate Fund an empty bank account,” Fred Boltz, vice-president for international policy at the group said today in an e-mailed statement.

As well as falling short of their pledges, developed countries didn’t make good on plans to detail the destination and nature of their payments and make them more transparent, the International Institute for Environment and Development said.


Global climate talks: If at the 17th you don’t succeed

Richard S J Tol

The 18th UN Conference on climate change negotiations has just started in Doha. This column suggests that the probability of success is a mere 2.3%. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent on fruitless negotiations. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UN should close that chapter and try something new.

Game theory suggests that attempts to negotiate an international environmental agreement, aiming to provide a global public good such as greenhouse gas emission reduction, are bound to fail (Barrett 1991, Carraro and Siniscalco 1992, Carraro and Siniscalco 1993). The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) nonetheless sought to find an agreement on legally binding targets for emission abatement. International conferences have been held each year since 1995. This year’s event, the 18th Conference, is from 26 November to 7 December in Doha, Qatar.

The previous 17 conferences have failed to reduce emissions. There were glimmers of hope in 1997 and 2001 when the Kyoto Protocol was, respectively, initiated and finalised. This international treaty, however, bound Europe and Japan to do nothing much and most other countries to do nothing at all. The US and Canada would have had substantial obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, but the US decided not to ratify the treaty and Canada withdrew after ratification.

Suspending game theoretic insights for the moment, let us assume that the first Conference of the Parties in Berlin in 1995 had a 50-50 chance of succeeding. If we further assume that the successive negotiations were independent tries, we can estimate the probability of success in Doha. The outcome of the series of negotiations follows a binomial distribution. Initialising with a Jeffrey uninformative natural conjugate Beta prior, Figure 1 shows the evolution of the expected probability and its one-sided 95% confidence bound over time. There is a 2.3% change of success in Doha, and we are 95% confident that the success probability is smaller than 22%.

Figure 1. The expected probability of negotiation success (solid line), its 95% confidence bound (dashed line) and the annual costs of climate negotiations (triangles).

An obvious critique of this calculation is that the negotiations would have changed over time. This is not the case. In the run-up to Doha, a number of organisations have released alarming reports. This has happened every year. The only surprise in 2012 was that the report by the World Bank was prepared by a former director of Greenpeace (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics 2012). In the run-up to Doha, negotiators and climatocrats have called for legally-binding targets and timetables. Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, has called for a “centralised transformation” of the energy sector (Kolbert 2012), echoing other calls for a world government to solve the climate problem (Biermann et al. 2012). The policy rhetoric in 2012 is much the same as it was in 1995.

Empty promises and token actions by politicians are not new and not limited to greenhouse gas emission reduction policy. The international climate negotiations are expensive, though. Almost 1,000 delegates attended in 1995 (Schroeder et al. 2012). This rose to almost 11,000 in 2005 and to 24,000 in 2009. The numbers have fallen somewhat since then, with only 16,000 delegates in Durban in 2011. 17,000 delegates are expected in Doha. Almost 7,000 person-working-years have been spent on the conferences alone.

But the UNFCCC organises more than one meeting per year. In 2012, 107 meetings were held, down from 111 meetings in 2011. Meetings were (much) rarer in the earlier years. I reckon that the UNFCCC has organised 682 meetings since 1995. Some of these were small. Negotiation meetings, now held once every quarter, attract thousands of participants. Assuming an average attendance of 200 delegates (one per country) and a duration of one week (including travel), 3,000 person-working-years have been spent at subsidiary meetings. Travel and subsistence for these meetings (say $2,000/person for a subsidiary meeting and $3,000/person for a conference) would amount to over $700 million. If delegates earn $30,000/year on average, the total costs of the UNFCCC meetings alone (ignoring preparation and overhead) would be $1 billion.

Figure 1 depicts the estimated cost per year. Recently, over $100 million per year was spent in fruitless negotiations. This is not a large sum of money, but Figure 1 suggests that ever more effort has been put into an increasingly obviously hopeless venture. This seems foolhardy.

Alternatives have been suggested, and it is time they are taken seriously. Bradford (2008) points out that other global public goods are provided through voluntary contributions, often bolstered by international jamborees where countries pledge their contributions and review those of others. Tol (2010) argues that this is made easier by the international standards on emission monitoring and the international flexibility instruments through which countries and companies can invest in greenhouse gas emission reduction elsewhere. Having flogged, ever harder for 18 years, the dead horse of legally binding emission targets, the UNFCCC should close that chapter and try something new.


It's all over:  C.I.A. Closes Its Climate Change Office

The Central Intelligence Agency has disbanded its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a unit formed in 2009 to monitor the interplay between a warming planet and intelligence and security challenges.

The creation of the office drew fire at the time from some Republicans, who said it was an unnecessary expense and a distraction from the agency’s focus on terrorism and other more immediate threats. The agency did not say whether the closing was related to budget constraints or other political pressures.

Todd Ebitz, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency would continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.

“The C.I.A. for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change,” Mr. Ebitz said in an e-mailed statement. “As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged.”

The closing of the office was first reported Monday by Greenwire.

The C.I.A. did not conduct its own scientific studies on climate change, instead relying on other government agencies and academic researchers. The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies of Science, released an extensive report to the intelligence community last week on how it can better assess and respond to the impacts of climate change on vulnerable states.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, has been the most vocal critic of the C.I.A.’s climate change work. He welcomed the closing of its office.

“Closing the Climate Change Center at the C.I.A. was the right decision,” Mr. Barrasso said in a statement. “I offered an amendment on the Senate floor to eliminate the center because it was unnecessary, wasteful and totally out of place. It’s critically important for the C.I.A. to focus its resources on preventing terrorism and keeping Americans safe.”


EPA administrators invent excuses to avoid transparency

The Environmental Protection Agency is the latest Obama bureaucracy exposed for embarrassing efforts to avert transparency. Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, has been using the email alias "Richard Windsor" to conduct agency business, which might allow some policy conversations to avoid scrutiny and circumvent public records laws.

So far, the EPA has offered a two-part defense of such accounts, first revealed in my new book, "The Liberal War on Transparency." First, everybody does it: "For more than a decade, EPA administrators have been assigned two official, government-issued email accounts: a public account and an internal account." Second, the masses made us do it: the overwhelming volume of mail an administrator would receive from the public meant she needed an account she would actually read and write from.

Both excuses, though slight on detail, prove too much.

Consider what lies behind the anodyne phrase "for more than a decade." While researching my book, I discovered a 2008 EPA memo to the national archivist reporting a records management problem. The agency had discovered "secondary" nonpublic email accounts for EPA administrators instigated earlier, under and with the active participation of Clinton-era EPA administrator Carol Browner.

That is remarkable because in 2000, a federal court ordered Browner to preserve her records -- specifically her email -- in a lawsuit filed by Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation. Although she later pled ignorance of the order, the next morning Browner instructed EPA information technology staff to erase her hard drive and backup tapes, as a computer contractor later testified.

Her defense for having records destroyed was that she didn't use her computer for email.

You can imagine my surprise, then, to read of her involvement in arranging what is fairly described as a secret email account. The April 11, 2008, memo that I obtained acknowledges that Browner had such an account, and that such accounts were initiated for the first time under her because it would be impractical to correspond with an email account whose address was known to the public.

This, and that she had assisted in creating the account also raised further questions about her explanation for having her computer's history erased.

The reason EPA was required to report to the archivist was that its technicians found that these accounts were set on "auto-delete," destroying all records 90 days after they were last modified. As such, EPA said, it was difficult but not impossible to reconstruct the accounts' activity. The agency did reconstruct some administrators' emails by finding copies sent to or received from the accounts by others in the agency, but they made no effort to reconstruct Ms. Browner's account.

Their reason was that "Former Administrator Browner reportedly did not use her secondary email account, therefore there was no loss of records."

Note that conclusion is simply an assertion, one EPA elected not to check.

It would seem worthwhile to check, given the massive, costly operation that Browner's cyber-bonfire created. On its face, this destruction of records seemingly violates the U.S. criminal code (Title 18 Section 2071). The same court ordered thousands of hard drives examined in search of Browner's. Once it was found, the FBI conducted a forensic examination leading only to the conclusion that her hard drive had indeed been "reformatted."

There are further reasons why this matters for Obama's administrator Jackson. Has EPA in fact been searching for and producing from the "Richard Windsor" account to satisfy Freedom of Information requests for Jackson's emails? They say yes, but I have found reasons to demand verification (which Congress has also requested).

One reason is a demonstrated bureaucratic practice of inventing excuses to not search or produce certain files when they don't want them released. Another is that Obama officials have moved government over to private email accounts, private computers and even privately owned and managed servers. All of these acts indicate a desire to hide what the supposedly most transparent administration in history is up to.

Finally, for some reason EPA continues to stonewall our request for Jackson's "Windsor" emails about the war on coal and backdoor efforts to make electricity rates, in President Obama's words, "necessarily skyrocket."

EPA owes a lot of answers. So far, all it has offered are excuses.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finally!  Proof of global cooling

Warmists always assure us that droughts signal global warming so the big floods in Britain must signify global cooling!

Hundreds of homes across Britain have been flooded as heavy rain and strong winds continue to batter the country and environmental officials warn of more storms to come.

In a Twitter message, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, described scenes of flood in the rural south-western region of Cornwall as "shocking", and promised that his government "will help ensure everything is being done to  help".

Two people have died since heavy rains began on Wednesday, including a woman killed by a falling tree in the south-western city of Exeter and a man who became trapped in his car in rising waters in Somerset, also in the south-west.

The Cornish village of Millbrook was reportedly under 1.5 metres of water with 40 homes evacuated, said a BBC reporter who lives there, after torrents of muddy water swept through the village on Saturday.

Many communities were cut off after police shut waterlogged roads in Cornwall, where four severe flood warnings were issued overnight over rapidly rising river levels, and neighbouring Devon.

Across Britain, the Environment Agency said nearly 500 homes had flooded since Wednesday and warned more rain was on the way on Monday.

In Malmesbury in Wiltshire, western England, pub landlord Tom Hudson said he had water lapping at the door in the worst floods he had seen for 14 years.

"It's gone down a lot but I'm trying to get hold of some sandbags because more rain is forecast for later today," he said.

"Houses across the road have been flooded to a depth of three or four feet, with furniture floating around in the rooms.

"I've been here 14 years and there were floods in 2000 and again in 2007 but this is much worse than either of those."


Legal victories for skeptics

It is at the courtrooms of British Columbia, Canada that we must first begin our rousing roundup of news. It is here that popular Canadian climatologist, Dr Tim Ball delivers the evidence signalling not one, but two impending dramatic legal victories against carbon hating junk climate scientists. Specialist Canadian libel firm, Pearlman Lindholm are to announce the filing of separate counterclaims on behalf of  Dr. Ball and against discredited climate professors Michael Mann and Andrew Weaver. Recently the Nobel Committee affirmed that both professors lied when each claimed to be co-winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ball's legal team are to file stiff counterclaims in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to coincide with the announcement of his victory not only over Mann, but also over fellow IPCC doomsayer, Weaver. Cynics will say Weaver’s qualification as a proven and adept liar who "bribed university students with research funding" helped clinch his position as new Green Party leader.

Sadly, for Weaver his new political position will do nothing to save his junk science. The dismissal of his vexatious libel suit against Ball is set to reverberate around the world as the death knell of all those now discredited "complex computer models" touted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Weaver, the IPCC’s chief climate modeler, has fallen foul of court rules because he, just like Mann, has been timed out for failing to advance his case since since it was filed in February 2011. This boils down to a bizarre refusal to comply with court rules to show what's behind his science. Honest scientists would have no qualms over a little 'show and tell' to convince a jury their science is "settled." But these charlatans must think its worth blowing a cool million to keep it hidden. As such, for their failures to come clean both their lawsuits are now scheduled for immediate summary dismissal, plus costs.

The desperate duo are represented by libel expert, Roger McConchie, a big-hitting lawyer unused to having his butt kicked so emphatically round a courtroom. The news is a devastating blow to alarmist attack dogs, DeSmogblog and climate kook, David "jail the deniers" Suzuki who allegedly bankrolled Weaver's failed lawsuit against Ball.

Yesterday (November 26, 2012) popular science blog WUWT ran a new article by Dr.Ball exposing the flaws in computer modeling. Ball and PSI are delighted and bullish after Weaver backed down over his pompous claims about the IPCC’s "complex models" that were long claimed to validate the GHE. But now the Canadian state has given ultimate legal validation of PSI's debunk of greenhouse gas physics. In his now defeated writ Weaver tried and failed to get the court to punish Ball for declaring Weaver was part of the "corruption of climate science." Ball further stated that Weaver was "unqualified" about climate and was dishonestly passing himself off as a climate expert when he wasn't. Hilariously, it seems the court agrees with Ball and Weaver has removed the claim from his website. Also now given legal validity is Ball's other claim that Weaver had his students heckle and interrupt Ball during a presentation at the University of Victoria in April, 2010.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Lonely old Mann

A group of prominent paleoclimatologists has written a paper rebutting one of Michael Mann's recent contributions to the scientific literature. The new paper was announced on the ITRBD Forum by Rob Wilson. The list of authors of the new paper is very long. Almost looks like they are ganging up on him. ;-)

    "In February of this year, Mike Mann and colleagues published a paper in Nature Geoscience entitled, "Underestimation of volcanic cooling in tree-ring based reconstructions of hemispheric temperatures". Their main conclusion was that a tree-ring based Northern Hemisphere (NH) reconstruction of D'Arrigo et al. (2006) failed to corroborate volcanically forced cold years that were simulated in modelling results (e.g. 1258, 1816 etc). Their main hypothesis was that there was a temporary cessation of tree growth (i.e. missing rings for all trees) at some sites near the temperature limit for growth. This implies Dendrochronology's inability to detect missing rings results in an underestimation of reconstructed cold years when different regional chronologies are averaged to derive a large scale NH composite.

    We scrutinized this study and wrote a response to Nature Geoscience. We are pleased to announce that our comment, along with a reply by Mann et al., was finally published on Nov. 25, 2012 -- 8 months after submission. Our comment focuses on several factors that challenge the Mann et al. (2012) hypothesis of missing tree rings. We highlight problems in Mann et al.'s implementation of the tree ring model used, a lack of consideration for uncertainty in the amplitude and spatial pattern of volcanic forcing and associated climate responses, and a lack of any empirical evidence for misdating of tree-ring chronologies.

    We look forward to a continued discussion on this subject."


U.N. talks seen falling short despite climate change fears

Despite mounting alarm about climate change, almost 200 nations meeting in Doha from Monday are likely to pay little more than lip service to the need to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions.
A likely failure to agree a meaningful extension of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding plan for cutting emissions by developed nations, would also undercut work on a new deal meant to unite rich and poor in fighting global warming from 2020.

"The situation is very urgent ... We can no longer say that climate change is tomorrow's problem," Andrew Steer, president of the Washington-based World Resources Institute think-tank, said of the November 26-December 7 talks in Qatar.

Superstorm Sandy had been a wake-up call for many Americans as the sort of extreme event predicted by climate scientists in a warming world, he said, even though individual weather events cannot be blamed on man-made global warming.

A U.N. study last week said the world was on target for a rise in temperatures of between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9F) because of increasing emissions. That would cause more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

A U.N. conference two years ago agreed to limit any rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times. But greenhouse gas levels hit a new record in 2011, despite the world economic slowdown.

And countries are showing little sign of raising ambition.

"A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible," Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said in a statement outlining hopes for the talks.

"The climate talks so far have not produced anything like the results that the science tells us that we need," said Samantha Smith, leader of global climate and energy work at the WWF conservation group.

Delegates will meet in a cavernous conference center in Qatar - the first OPEC state to host the annual talks and the nation with the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, roughly three times those of the average American.


To keep up climate action, most countries favor extending the 1997 Kyoto pact, which binds developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels between the years 2008 and 2012.

But Russia, Japan and Canada have pulled out in recent years, meaning that Kyoto backers are down to a core led by the European Union and Australia that account for about 14 percent of world emissions.

The defectors say it is meaningless to extend cuts under Kyoto when big emerging countries, led by China, India, Brazil and South Africa, have no curbs on rising emissions. The United States never ratified Kyoto, for similar reasons.

Developing countries and Kyoto backers say it is vital that developed nations lead the way towards the new worldwide accord meant to be negotiated by the end of 2015 and to start up in 2020.

Failure to extend Kyoto would leave only national actions, with no legally binding U.N. framework. "The Kyoto Protocol is going to be very important for us," said Seyni Nafo, spokesman of the African group of nations. "And ambition is very low."

The EU and others agreed at last year's talks in Durban to extend Kyoto for a new period but details remain to be agreed, such as whether it should last five or eight years.

The EU said it would not deepen its own goal at Doha, of a 20 percent cut in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, to an alternative of a 30 percent cut if other rich nations also act.

"We will ... keep the door open to go further, to 30 percent, even if that is not going to happen this year," said EU Artur Runge-Metzger of the EU Commission.

A study by the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development said on Monday that rich nations had fallen short on promises to give poor countries $30 billion in new aid to help them combat climate change from 2010 to 2012.

It said commitments so far totaled just $23.6 billion, and most was in loans that would have to be repaid by the poor.

Another study by international aid agency Oxfam also estimated that only 33 per cent of the "fast-start finance" promised at a Copenhagen summit in 2009 could be considered new.

Rich nations have also promised aid totaling $100 billion a year by 2020, but did not make any clear pledges for 2013-2019.


DOE corruption—appointed and elected officials should face prison

An exhaustive review of 350+ pages of leaked emails regarding the Obama administration’s handling of the various green-energy loan and grant programs makes several things very clear: they lied, engaged in favoritism, and rushed application approvals to suit the political agenda of the White House. At the same time, worthy projects that went through a complete due diligence process were denied or ultimately withdrawn, as the lengthy approval process “taxed investors’ patience”—as was the case with Aptera Motors, which worked closely with the DOE for two years.

Paul Wilbur, President and CEO at Aptera, didn’t think they were treated unfairly. He told me, “At the end of the day, we couldn’t get through the process.” But, he admits, he hasn’t read the emails.

Aptera was trying to build a very efficient electric vehicle with an under $30K price point. Wilbur met with Secretary Chu who could see the value in the technology. But our research shows that value was not the deciding factor in which projects got funded and which ones didn’t. Wilbur reports that he didn’t donate to any candidate. He wanted to keep the whole process clean and do what was “good for America.”

The report from the House Oversight Committee says Aptera first applied for an ATVM loan in December of 2008 and “shut down on December 2, 2011.”  The report implies that Aptera was led on: “After numerous negotiations with DOE, in September 2011, Aptera received a conditional loan commitment of $150 million if the company was able to raise $80 million privately.” And: “The loans given to Fisker and Tesla gave Aptera hope that DOE would eventually act on their application. More importantly, since the DOE continued to engage with the company throughout the time period, management was convinced that DOE was interested and willing to provide financing for the company.”

Aptera’s 100% US technology has since been sold to a Chinese company.

Aptera was applying for an Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan (ATVM). Only five loans were given out through the program and all have political ramifications. Christine Lakatos, who has worked with me on the green-energy, crony-corruption reports I’ve written, has done thorough research on the topic. She has read each and every one of the 350+ pages of emails released on October 31 and has written a blog post specifically addressing the ATVM program and its hijinks. As she cites, Fisker and Tesla (which Romney referenced in the first debate), got loans in 2010 and then the Vehicle Production Group’s loan was the only ATVM loan closed in 2011; all have ties to Obama bundlers. The other two ATVM loans went to Ford and Nissan—both of which, according to the House report, “were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012-2016 at the time the DOE was considering their applications. Both companies eventually expressed publicly their support for these standards, which the Administration described as the ‘Historic Agreement.’”

Armed with the sweeping knowledge of the House reports and subsequent hearings, evidence from DOE staffers (many of whom were appointed by Obama), Lakatos’ research, and personal experience, a different ATVM applicant has now taken its case to court citing “corruption and negligence.”

On November 16, 2012, XP Technologies filed a lawsuit against the federal government concerning the DOE’s denial of XP Technology’s loan guarantee application. The complaint alleges: “criminal activities did take place by DOE staff and affiliates.” A November 23 press release announces that XP Technologies is now represented by Cause of Action, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communication tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic activity.”

According to the document filed on November 16, “Plaintiffs' backgrounds include extensive issued patents on seminal technologies in use world-wide, White House and Congressional commendations and an engineering team of highly experienced auto-makers. Plaintiff brought a vehicle design, which was proposed as the longest range, safest, lowest cost electric vehicle, to be built in America in order to deliver extensive American jobs nationwide. No other applicant, or award ‘winner’, has succeeded in meeting, or (is) intending to meet, that milestone. XP Technology developed a patented lightweight, low-cost, long-range, electric vehicle using air-expanded foam-skinned material for a portion of the polymer body and received numerous patents, acclaim and superior computer modeling metrics over any competing solution. XP presented a vast set of letters of support to DOE from pending customers. Major auto-industry facilities and engineers had joined forces to bring the vehicle to the defense, commercial and consumer market.”

Over the weekend, we had an exclusive interview, on condition of anonymity, with a senior official at XP Technologies about the lawsuit and the experience.

He reported: “Staff from within the DOE have provided evidence which is quite compelling.” As Aptera's Wilbur made clear, the individuals within the DOE were very thorough. One of the emails, in the 350+ pages, was from Secretary Chu himself in which he criticized staffers for taking a “principled stand,” which held up the approval process of projects the White House wanted advanced. Another indicated that the pressure to rush was coming from “above the agency.” Overall, the emails show that projects were rushed so that announcements could coincide with visits, speeches, and photo ops—as well as providing talking points for the president.

Our XP source told us “We experienced, and have been provided evidence of, applicant submissions and reviews being modified in order to benefit some and disadvantage others, and the business connections between the different parties associated with the ones that benefited is quite extraordinary.”  The leaked emails support this accusation, specifically regarding the “business connections.” In her post, Lakatos calls it “green fraternizing.” The emails show that certain applicants and decision makers went bike riding together, had coffee meetings, sleepovers, beer summits, parties, dinners, and fundraisers.

While he didn’t provide us with a name, the XP official said, “We experienced a senior senator blockading our efforts and then providing favors to a competitor, which then benefited his family financially.” The discovery the lawsuit will provide will expose the “senior senator,” but our previous research shows that Senator Harry Reid’s actions seem to fit the XP official’s comment.

XP Technologies believes that “DOE officials changed the first-come-first-served published rules and standards of the funding in order to take applicants in order of who they favored and who had purchased the most influence instead of the order in which they applied, as required.”

Having extensively studied the DOE’s various loan programs, including the ATVM, Lakatos and I agree with our source’s startling conclusion: “Based on the evidence provided by investigators, and experienced directly by our team, it is hard to imagine that at least one or more elected, or?appointed, officials might not be seeing measures ranging from censure or even federal prison time.”

Time, the lawsuit, and subsequent investigation will tell.

While the House Oversight Committee has been digging deeply into the mismanagement and corruption of the green energy loans, the media has paid little attention. Other than our report, the October 31 release of the emails cited here received virtually no news reporting. Even the Fox News Channel ignored the story. The plight of promising companies like Aptera and XP Technologies would have gone unnoticed if not for the lawsuit. The legal complaint attracted attention.

On November 16, the Heritage Foundation broke the XP story: “A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday alleges mass favoritism in the Department of Energy’s decisions to award federal grants to major car companies to develop electric vehicles, according to a legal complaint obtained by Scribe.”

On November 19, Lakatos, whose work is listed as “evidence” in the legal complaint, received a call from Fox News’ Gary Gastelu—who reported on the story on November 20. The next day, Fox News covered the lawsuit on America’s Newsroom. Even the Drudge Report picked up on the story.

XP has a litigation website on which the company states: “The case has nothing to do with complaining about not getting the loans. It has everything to do with HOW the applicants didn't get the loans!” They are communicating with other applicants about participating in the lawsuit.

The XP story and subsequent media coverage offers a lesson for others—especially industries who have been wronged by the Obama Administration’s practices (such as energy). The lawsuit may—or may not—send officials to federal prison, as our XP source suggests, but it could go a long way to winning in the court of public opinion.



Three current articles below

Climate skeptics equated to pedophiles on public broadcaster

This morning on the “science” show Robyn Williams equates skeptics to pedophiles, people pushing asbestos, and drug pushers. Williams starts the show by framing republicans (and skeptics) as liars: “New Scientist complained about the “gross distortions” and “barefaced lying” politicians come out  with…” He’s goes on to make the most blatant, baseless, and outrageous insults by equating skeptics to people who promote pedophilia, asbestos and drugs.
“What if I told you pedophilia is good for children, or that asbestos is an excellent inhalant for those with asthmatics, or that smoking crack is a normal part and a healthy one of teenage life, to be encouraged? You’d rightly find it outrageous, but there have been similar statements coming out of inexpert mouths, distorting the science.”

“These distortions of science are far from trivial, our neglect of what may be clear and urgent problems could be catastrophic and now a professor of psychology at UWA has shown what he says is the basis of this unrelenting debauchery of the facts…”

What the "professor of psychology at UWA" (Stephan Lewandowsky) said:
“They were rejecting the science not based on the science... but on other factors… what we basically found was the driving motivating factor behind their attitudes was their ideology.  People who endorse an extreme version of free market fundamentalism …  They are also rejecting the link between smoking and lung cancer, and between HIV and AIDS…

Ladies and gentlemen it’s time to get serious. Both Williams and Lewandowsky are ignoring the scientific evidence, denigrating their opponents, destroying rational conversation and honest discussion before it can even start. We can’t let them get away with this.

They are paid public servants who use taxpayer funds to push their personal ideology. It has to stop.

Robyn Williams, what you do is not science. It’s crass tribal warfare.

Stephan Lewandowsky, skeptics base their arguments on evidence. You are in denial. We don’t deny AIDS or that smoking causes cancer, and we never have. Your tactic of deliberately seeking out a few nutters (or fakes) to interview, then besmirching the names of serious commentators is blatant, obvious and  documented.

Name-calling in order to suppress debate

The class of people who use regulations to control others, rather than persuasion and voluntary competition, have resorted to name calling for years to suppress the free and fair debates that they cannot win. Now they are employing that technique in other areas.

What they road-tested on skeptics, they  now use in the wider political debate against their political opponents — such as Tony Abbott and Alan Jones. With each success they are becoming more loud, aggressive, and obnoxious.

The mainstream media makes this cheap tactic successful.  As long as they promote these anti-science, baseless smears as if they were serious commentary the media is the problem.


Official prediction:  Solar and wind to be the cheapest sources of energy

Just dreams.  I wonder what the heck they are on?  Sounds like potent stuff.

Nothing comes close to brown coal for cheap energy.  Even "Green" Germany is building more brown coal power plants

SOLAR and wind could become the cheapest sources of energy and almost exclusively power the country in coming decades as carbon prices climb, the Climate Commission says.

A report, to be released today by chief commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, notes the vast potential from sunlight and wind and "solar PV and wind could be the cheapest forms of power in Australia for retail users by 2030, if not earlier, as carbon prices rise".

Prof Flannery said improvements had driven down the cost of renewable energy so much that Australia's uptake had increased more than a decade faster than earlier imagined.

He said people might find it hard to believe communities could one day be powered almost entirely by renewable energy, but people would never have believed they would one day carry around little computers in their pockets.

"It's like anything, computers or mobile phones, they started off expensive and over time the cost just declines and we've seen that with wind and now with solar," he said.

But the report The Critical Decade: Generating a Renewable Australia has no detail around how renewable energy and fossil fuel prices might compare in the future. Prof Flannery said technology moved so quickly, it was impossible to form concrete predictions.

Renewables currently make up 10 per cent of Australia's energy mix and the report says growth was subject to innovation, community acceptance and regulation.


Weather forecasting a shambles in Australia too

A NEW $30 million meteorology forecasting and warning system has failed in its key aim of freeing up staff to focus on severe weather events.

The NexGen FWS computerised system is being rolled out nationwide over five years with Queensland the second-last state or territory to get it in late 2013.

Federal Sustainability parliamentary secretary Don Farrell said the timing was deliberate to allow additional development to cater for the more complex weather in tropical areas such as cyclones.

In making its case for the NexGen FWS system to be included in the 2009-10 Budget, the Bureau of Meteorology argued that it would "provide additional time for forecasters to focus on activities such as the prediction of high-impact weather events".

But a major independent review of the bureau's capacity by Clean Energy Regulator Chloe Munro, commissioned after the 2010-11 summer of disaster, found it failed to deliver.

Unlike a system introduced by the UK's MetOffice, NexGen still requires forecasters to spend time editing automated text and images.

"While automation has enabled forecasting offices to meet greater demand for day-to-day forecasting services with current staff levels, there is no evidence that it has freed up forecaster time in a way that augments capacity to respond to severe weather events," the June report says.

Of the 500 employees classified as "meteorologists", only 220 of them had the necessary qualifications to work as "operational meteorologists" and 100 of those were employed in aviation and defence support roles, leaving just 120 frontline staff across seven regional offices.

Overall, 10 per cent to 15 per cent of text forecasts generated by NexGen FWS were altered by forecasters.

The bureau has been criticised for failing to give specific warning of the intense storm cell that hit Brisbane last Saturday until 20 minutes after it happened.

Three months ago the Crime and Misconduct Commission, in its report on the performance of dam engineers during the fatal floods of January 2011, noted that the bureau failed to issue a flood warning for the Lockyer Valley and Gatton until an hour after the disaster despite Weatherwatch forecaster Anthony Cornelius highlighting the danger four hours earlier.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here