Sunday, February 10, 2013

Some examples of scientific reasoning

Can I just recommend the Twitter feed of Paul Ehrlich [Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology] to my readers. Try these choice excerpts from the last ten days or so.

    #Climate disruption. Remember this when denier morons claim snow proves no warming. Just the opposite. #greed.

    #Overpopulation and idiocy -- more on the WSJ's latest moron. Right wing struggling to find even dumber "analysts"

    #Climate disruption. Arizona pol gives more evidence we'll never run out of morons

    Friends of Fraud -- #Republithugs on the rampage #plutocracy #greed

    Tricky Dick pioneering the techniques of todays #Republithug #plutocrats. Richard Nixon's Even-Darker Legacy …

    WSJ gibbing idiocy on #population  no accident. Part of Murdoch empire's attempt to murder our grandkids for profit.

    #Population. Julian Simon proved by example long ago the ultimate resource, which will never be exhausted, is morons

For those who don't use Twitter, there is a thing called Friday follow, where you suggest good people to follow to your own followers. I think everyone on the dissenting side of the debate should be recommending Erlich. He's a hoot.

You can see why Paul Nurse and the other big wigs at the Royal Society would want to elect him a fellow. The voice of calm rationalism is just the thing don't you think?



Instant interpretation again

The usual nutty claim:  Warming makes us colder (when it's not making us warmer).  They did not need to comment at all, of course.  It would have been perfectly reasonable to dismiss the latest storm as simply "weather".  Instead, however, everything has to be fitted into the Warmist straitjacket.   Comment from meteorologist Joe Bastardi at the foot of the article

As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn't real.
The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it.

They would be wrong.

"Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not," said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.  "As long as it's cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls."
blizzard walker

The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it. "It's basic physics, and it's irrefutable," Mann said.
Super-saturated air

The science behind this is clear: Warmer temperatures cause more water to evaporate into the atmosphere, and warmer air holds more water than cooler air. The air's "water-holding capacity," in fact, rises about 7 percent with each Celsius degree of warming. This results in air that becomes super-saturated with water, often bringing drenching rainfall followed by flooding or – if it is cold enough – heavy and intense snowfall.

A study of 20th century snowstorms, published in the August 2006 Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – before the big storms of recent years – found that most major snowstorms in the United States occurred during warmer-than-normal years. The authors predicted that "a warmer future climate will generate more winter storms."


Joe Bastardi comments:

The three stooges of climate science,  McKibben, Mann and Cullen cannot possibly have looked at past weather patterns. The cold pdo, wam amo winter/summer  patterns  are as plain as the nose on my Italian face.  Today's day 11 super analog is astounding -- as  5 of the top 10 analog patterns are out of the  1950s!

As someone who has always revered phds because of the work they must do  to get that, and the phds I knew at PSU,  I can not believe these people actually have that level of education. They violate all that I was taught about testing your answer, from simple math classes, to challenges  to any ideas.

I believe it's a sign of a much deeper cancer on society as a whole, the lack of actual competition to prove worth,  and in a strange way, an almost messianic desire to be worshipped  without challenge.

I know for a fact that Mann demands questions written on paper a day before a talk if he is going to answer him. I am friends with a former TA of his, and in his class he would not accept students challenging his position in front of the class, instead demanded they talk to him personally

It would be funny if we did not see people starving in our streets while money is thrown at the god of  climate change and good honest academics truly striving for answers weren't being blackballed

As a ditch digging synoptics person (as low as one can get on the climate/meteo food chain), I  realize today that the Forest Gump adage of stupid is as stupid does applies with these people. It's no country for old men, especially if they love the weather

CO2 argument begins cooling

Corroborating scientific studies have all come to the conclusion that CO2 is not actually causing the "greenhouse effect" that was once advertised. Surprising to some, not so surprising to others.

Albeit very quietly, a major mainstream news publication came forward admitting the once over-hyped threat of CO2, as it relates to alleged “global warming,” may no longer be as much of a problem as previously advertised.

An extraordinarily strange phenomenon has occurred within the world of science and news.

A gigantic shift is taking place in the way a potential threat to mankind has been largely viewed by “science” and the public for decades. Yet, somehow, the entirety of the vast media-industrial complex has managed to overlook this massive situation.

Once billed as the end of human civilization as we know it, CO2, labeled a “greenhouse gas” by the EPA and potentially threatening all life on the planet, if not brought under control, is now all of the sudden being acknowledged as much less of a threat to the public as was once thought.

Despite this incredible revelation, somehow no one in the establishment's media has either seen it or is willing to touch it, other than the original journalist and a blog or two.

Any other time news of this magnitude becomes public, it would typically be seen as a gigantic story. But when a respected NYT earth-science blog unearths a damning report, downplaying a formerly impending situation, one would think it would become one of those news days that would go down in the annals as one of the more memorable.

UN climate scientists have been arguing for decades that carbon emissions from various sources, like cars, factories, cows, etc., are all causing a dramatic and unsustainable rise in global C02 emissions. According to the UN and former UN lawyer Al Gore and his Academy award-winning documentaries and best-selling books, this was causing a greenhouse effect that was quickly approaching a point of no return for all life on the planet.

The focal point of the UN's climate alarmist arguments were in regard to “climate sensitivity,” in relation to additional atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It referred to how much warming can be expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, based on current (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions projections.

According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 2007 report concluded that:

"Climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values.” In IPCC parlance, likely means that there is a 66 percent probability that climate sensitivity falls between 2 and 4.5°C (3.6 to 8.1°F), with 3°C (5.4°F) as the best estimate."

Conversely, some researchers even suggested the UN's figures were conservative and likely much worse than even that.

In layman's terms, should industrial CO2 emissions not be addressed in any meaningful way, according to many of the world's climate alarmists piggybacking off of the UN's information, the earth was warming and the eventual rise in overall global temperature averages would lead to polar ice cap melting, rising oceans and ocean temperatures, natural disasters of epic proportions and a domino effect leading to vast famine and disease.

If global carbon taxes weren't implemented on all of the pollution and CO2 emitting corporations, in a vast transfer of wealth to those who would be self-proclaimed as responsible for managing the situation for the rest of humanity, all life on the planet would be eventually doomed to man's inability to see the “warning signs,” before it was too late. Humanity was in desperate peril.

Now, as if somebody just switched on the lights, scientists have begun discovering that CO2 may not actually be anywhere near the problem it was originally being sold to the public as.

According to a substantiated group of corroborating studies, recent figures suggest that climate sensitivity is drastically less than the IPCC's old estimate. In the NYT report, the publication suggests:
* critically important metric — how hot the planet will get from a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration of greenhouse gases, a k a “climate sensitivity” — some climate researchers with substantial publication records are shifting toward the lower end of the warming spectrum....

* But while plenty of other climate scientists hold firm to the idea that the full range of possible outcomes, including a disruptively dangerous warming of more than 4.5 degrees C. (8 degrees F.), remain in play, it’s getting harder to see why the high-end projections are given much weight.

* This is also not a “single-study syndrome” situation, where one outlier research paper is used to cast doubt on a bigger body of work — as Skeptical Science asserted over the weekend. That post focused on the as-yet-unpublished paper finding lower sensitivity that was inadvisedly promoted recently by the Research Council of Norway.

* In fact, there is an accumulating body of reviewed, published research shaving away the high end of the range of possible warming estimates from doubled carbon dioxide levels. Chief among climate scientists critical of the high-sensitivity holdouts is James Annan, an experienced climate modeler based in Japan who contributed to the 2007 science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It seems as though, best estimates of climate sensitivity are now merging into a commonly understood figure that is even lower than 2°C… A vast reduction from alarmist's original estimates.

And although having trouble with just how much of a reduction that is, while still holding on to the belief that even the new, much lower estimates could still potentially cause eventual warming detrimental to the well-being of the planet's current ecosystem, the publication ends by by acknowledging “libertarians” as having been right all along, saying:
I can understand why some climate campaigners, writers and scientists don’t want to focus on any science hinting that there might be a bit more time to make this profound energy transition. (There’s also reluctance, I’m sure, because the recent work is trending toward the published low sensitivity findings from a decade ago, from climate scientists best known for their relationships with libertarian groups.)  Nonetheless, the science is what the science is.

That's for sure.


A Swedish moderate voice

"We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified. Yes, humankind is affecting the climate. But no, there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic”, says Lennart Bengtsson, one of the most accomplished Swedish climate scientists, who has been more and more “frustrated” by the debate of late.

The frustration lies in the fact that the debate usually divide everything into two camps, those who believe in global warming and those who don’t, when the truth usually isn’t so black and white, especially in science.

He goes on to say that we create unjustified anxiety, which doesn’t lead to any ability to act. Instead he thinks it is most important that we reach reasonable solutions. That carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses promote warming has been known for a 100 years, and that humans contribute to raising the levels of those gasses isn’t under debate either. What is being debated and still not settled is how big this effect is.

“The warming we have had the last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have had meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all”, he goes on to state. One of the main points the article makes is that the Earth appears to have cooling properties that exceeds the previous thought ones, and that computer models are inadequate to try to foretell a chaotic object like the climate, where actual observations is the only way to go.

It is a very interesting read, and in my opinion a very sensible and moderate voice in a debate which has grown ever more polarized.

SOURCE.  Original in Swedish here.

British recycling con: Millions of tons end up in landfill as officials admit success is exaggerated

Millions of tons of rubbish carefully sorted by families for recycling has been buried in landfill.

After years of denials, officials admitted yesterday that much of the waste councils claim to have recycled is turned away by depots.

A paper from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs revealed that most managers at plants that recycle rubbish for industrial use say that at best ‘some’ – and in other cases ‘hardly any’ – of the waste sent to them is usable.

The news confirms the fears of many householders – forced to comply with fortnightly collection rules and bin police regulations – that the painstaking recycling process ends when the dustmen have finished their round.

The abolition of weekly rubbish rounds for half the country in favour of fortnightly collections began eight years ago, supposedly to reduce landfill and carbon emissions. Many families must now sort their rubbish into several different bins, and official figures show 43 per cent of household waste is now recycled – around three million tons a year – up from just over 30 per cent seven years ago.

However, recycling has now levelled off and amounts of household rubbish sent to power-generating incinerators are going up.

Now it has emerged that the level of rubbish that is recycled has been exaggerated. The admission comes in a ‘quality action plan’ from Defra, which is under the control of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

The document contains proposals to revamp household recycling schemes run by local councils, warning: ‘Current recycling rates are likely to be overestimates as many do not account for material rejected by the MRF [materials recovery facility] during the sorting process in a robust manner.’

MRFs divide materials from household recycling bins into paper, metal, plastic and so on. Material is then sent from the MRFs to reprocessing plants, which turn waste material into usable products. However, these materials are also often inadequate.

The Defra report said a survey found that 60 per cent of reprocessing managers say that only ‘some’ or ‘hardly any’ of the material they are sent by MRFs is good enough to use.

Three quarters of the reprocessing plants added that recycling material delivered by councils is of worse quality than that from their other suppliers. The rejected material is often sent to landfill.

The survey, conducted by the Defra-financed Waste and Resources Action Programme, found that on average more than 18 per cent of mixed plastic sent to reprocessing plants cannot be recycled.

For mixed paper the figure is 15 per cent; for card and plastic bottles 12 per cent; and for newspapers and magazines 10 per cent.

The Defra document cautions: ‘If it transpires that material collected for recycling is sent to landfill or illegally exported, this can undermine confidence and damage efforts to increase recycling.’

The paper also acknowledges for the first time that the main reason for abolishing weekly rubbish collections, and demanding families put rubbish into separate recycling bins, is a European directive.

It reveals that EU rules now require householders to sort rubbish into separate bins, adding that ‘the revised Waste Framework Directive requires us to promote high-quality recycling as a way of maximizing the environmental benefits of recycling.’

Christine Melsom of the Is It Fair? council tax campaign said: ‘I am an enthusiastic recycler but I have been lied to. People will not obey recycling rules if all their efforts are for nothing.’

And Doretta Cocks of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collections warned: ‘The more you make people obey complicated rules, the more likely they are to put out contaminated recycling.’ A spokesman for Defra said councils are to get new guidance on how to calculate recycling figures.

Resource management minister Lord de Mauley added: ‘The quality of [recyclable] material is important but often overlooked.’


Outrage among British Greenies as ministers 'break vow' to bring in levy on plastic bags

Ministers were last night accused of breaking promises to reduce plastic bag usage and its devastating impact on the environment by appearing to dismiss calls to charge a small fee.

Despite growing momentum to introduce a charge for the bags, Richard Benyon said it ‘may not be the best option’ due to ‘pressures on household budgets’.

Measures to slash the billions of carrier bags handed out by retailers every year were backed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and then prime minister Gordon Brown when the Mail launched its ‘Banish the Bags’ campaign in 2008.

Usage initially dropped by 14 per cent, but the issue was then kicked into the long grass by the Coalition and in 2011 350million more bags were handed out.

Mr Cameron responded by issuing an ultimatum to supermarkets ordering them to deliver significant falls in numbers or be forced to by law.

A poll last year found a majority of the public would back a charge.

However Mr Benyon – the minister in charge of the natural environment – laid out objections on cost grounds, despite research showing a fee would make people re-use bags and therefore escape the charge.

Just three months ago farming minister David Heath said a charge – which has been successfully introduced in Wales at 5p, is coming to Northern Ireland in April and is being consulted on in Scotland – would change behaviour in ‘that very large middle group who want to do the right thing and feel guilty when they do not’.

Campaigners say plastic carriers are used for an average of just 20 minutes but damage the environment for hundreds of years, killing birds and wildlife which ingest them and blighting beaches.

Dr Sue Kinsey, senior pollution policy adviser at the Marine Conservation Society, said: ‘We are absolutely astounded that Richard Benyon has come to this decision.

'Our research shows that bag charging is popular and effective.’

Green MP Caroline Lucas accused the Government of ‘betraying its promise’ to take action and said the Mail’s campaign had ‘demonstrated the level of public support for such a measure’.

It is understood the Treasury wanted to block a charge which could raise millions of pounds a year for good causes.

The Environment Department, Defra, insist they have not made a decision yet and are still monitoring the situation in other parts of the UK while ‘considering all the relevant factors, including the pressure on household budgets at this time’.

A Number 10 source denied the idea had been axed and said it was ‘still on the table, and we are looking closely at the situation in other parts of the UK’.




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


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