Sunday, January 12, 2014

Warmists becoming ever more authoritarian as the data goes against them

Their latest claim is that "Only 1 of 9,136 Recent Peer-Reviewed Authors Rejects Global Warming".  It is based on a non-peer-reviewed survey of the recent literature by James Lawrence Powell, who is a  geologist and a well known alarmist.  He describes the methodology of his survey as:

"Read some combination of titles, abstracts, and entire papers as necessary to judge whether a paper "rejects" human-caused global warming or professes to have a better explanation of observations."`

So the first problem of the survey is that it relies on one biased man's opinion.

But there is a bigger hole than that in the claim:  For a scientist to come out and specifically reject global warming would see your paper rejected for  publication by the journal.  So all the survey shows is the current editorial bias in the literature.  Editors have been fired (e.g. Saiers at GRL) for daring to publish what the climate mafia didn't like.

Papers by skeptics do get published but are very careful about not throwing out global warming altogether. They simply report data that presents "difficulties" for global warming or the like.  And that is in fact normal scientific caution.

But the need for authority of some kind to prop up your beliefs is fundamentally childish, particularly among scientists.  A scientist appeals to the data, not the authority of some hokey "consensus".

BBC's six-year cover-up of secret 'green propaganda' training for top executives

The BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds over six years trying to keep secret an extraordinary ‘eco’ conference which has shaped its coverage of global warming,  The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The controversial seminar was run by a body set up by the BBC’s own environment analyst Roger Harrabin and funded via a £67,000 grant from the then Labour government, which hoped to see its ‘line’ on climate change and other Third World issues promoted in BBC reporting.

At the event, in 2006, green activists and scientists – one of whom believes climate change is a bigger danger than global nuclear war  – lectured 28 of the Corporation’s most senior executives.

Then director of television Jana Bennett opened the seminar by telling the executives to ask themselves: ‘How do you plan and run a city that is going to be submerged?’ And she asked them to consider if climate change laboratories might offer material for a thriller.

A lobby group with close links to green campaigners, the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), helped to arrange government funding for both the climate seminar  and other BBC seminars run by  Mr Harrabin – one of which was attended by then Labour Cabinet Minister Hilary Benn.

Applying for money from Mr Benn’s Department for International Development (DFID), the IBT promised Ministers the seminars would influence programme content for years to come.

The BBC began its long legal battle to keep details of the conference secret after an amateur climate blogger spotted a passing reference to it in an official report.

Tony Newbery, 69, from North Wales, asked for further disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC’s resistance to revealing anything about its funding and the names of those present led to a protracted struggle in the Information Tribunal. The BBC has admitted it has spent more than £20,000 on barristers’ fees. However, the full cost of their legal battle is understood to be much higher.

In a written statement opposing disclosure in 2012, former BBC news chief and current director of BBC radio Helen Boaden, who attended the event, admitted: ‘In my view, the seminar had an impact on a broad range of BBC output.’

She said this included news reports by Mr Harrabin, and a three-part BBC  2 series presented by geologist Iain Stewart, who told viewers global warming was ‘truly scary’. According to Ms Boaden, ‘Editors and executives who attended were inspired to be more ambitious and creative in their editorial coverage of this slow-moving and complex issue.’ She claimed the seminar sought to  ‘identify where the main areas of debate lie’. However, there were no expert climate sceptics present.

Mr Newbery, who finally won his battle last month, said: ‘It is very disappointing that the BBC tried so hard to cover this up. It seems clear that this seminar was a means of exposing executives to green propaganda.’ The freshly disclosed documents show that a number of BBC attendees still occupy senior roles at the Corporation.

All four scientists present were strong advocates of the dangers posed by global warming. They were led by Lord May, former president of the Royal Society, who, though not a climate expert, has argued that warming is a greater threat than nuclear war. Other non-BBC staff who attended included Blake Lee-Harwood, head of campaigns at Greenpeace, John Ashton from the powerful green lobby group E3G, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, who argued there were only 100 months left to save the planet through radical emissions cuts, and Ashok Sinha of Stop Climate Chaos.

The BBC contingent included future director-general George Entwistle, Peter Horrocks, head of TV news, Stephen Mitchell, head  of radio news, Francesca Unsworth, head of newsgathering, and Peter Rippon, editor of Radio 4’s PM.

Mr Harrabin was the seminar’s principal organiser. He ran it through the Cambridge Media Environment Programme, an outfit he set up with Open University lecturer Joe Smith. Mr Harrabin and Mr Smith did not derive personal financial benefit from the seminar.

But by teaming up with the IBT,  an avowed lobby group trying to influence coverage, and accepting government funds when Labour was advocating radical policies to combat global warming, Mr Harrabin exposed himself to the charge he could be compromising the Corporation’s impartiality.

During the legal battle, the BBC tried to airbrush both the IBT and its approach to the Government for funding from the record. Submissions and witness statements made no mention of it.

Mr Harrabin formed a partnership with the IBT in 2004. According to the newly-disclosed funding application to DFID, drawn up by IBT director Mark Galloway, it helped organise two BBC seminars on Third World themes with Mr Harrabin that year. These, Mr Galloway wrote, ‘had clearly influenced editorial staff and resulted in several new commissions’.

DFID’s budget is supposed to be devoted to overseas aid projects. But Mr Galloway asked for £115,305 for the two years from March 2005, adding: ‘We have a firm commitment from the BBC to take part in seminars in 2005 and 2006 and to give all the support they can to this project.’

The DFID did not meet the IBT’s full bid. But the documents show it paid £67,404 over two years.

A BBC spokesman said yesterday the seminar had ‘no agenda’, and that the organisers recognised  BBC rules on impartiality, while the IBT’s funding application was a ‘matter for them’.

... and how the Corporation's lessons are still paying off


Last week was a big one for weather news: the storms and floods in Britain, and the end of the bizarre saga which saw the Akademik Shokalskiy, the ship carrying climate scientists, tourists and a BBC reporter to inspect the ravages of global warming, trapped in Antarctic ice.

In both cases, the BBC stuck closely to its skewed, climate alarmist agenda.

David Cameron fuelled suggestions that the storms might be due to climate change by saying in the Commons he had ‘suspicions’ they were. The Met Office denied this was the case.

But repeatedly, the BBC followed the PM’s line. Slots on the Radio 4 Today programme and Radio 5 repeated the bogus proposition on three separate days – and in none were sceptics allowed to present an alternative view.

Yet the facts are clear. Met Office records show that December 2013 was only the 20th wettest since 1910. It had just two-thirds the rainfall of the wettest, 1914.

For October to December, 2013 was only the 14th wettest year, and there has been no discernible trend in  UK or English rainfall for more than 100 years.

But though the BBC was suggesting the storms were ‘climate’ rather than ‘weather’, it took a contradictory view over the icebound ship.

Radio 4’s Inside Science told listeners that the ice was a freak, unpredictable event – driven by weather, not climate – and even added it had been falsely ‘used by climate deniers’ to advance their case.

Nevertheless, it allowed an interviewee to state without challenge that overall, Antarctic sea ice is only one per cent above average.

In fact, it is at record levels, 15 per cent (3.5 million square miles) above normal, and has been increasing for years – a trend the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits it cannot explain.


UK homeowners caught in EU's tangle of green targets

European Union legislation influences or determines almost all aspects of energy production and use. Increasingly over the past five years, it has been widely criticised for setting clashing targets and competing objectives that have undermined living standards and the environment.

The EU's treaties make it clear that "energy mix", the question of how countries generate their electricity, remains a question of sovereignty, but binding targets for renewable power, wind and solar have undermined that principle.

The EU directive on renewable energy has probably had more impact on how power generation works and the bills paid by households than any other single piece of European legislation.

The 2009 directive set the objective of ensuring that 20pc of the energy used by 2020 should come from renewable sources. After sharing out the obligations across the EU, Britain was set the binding target of ensuring that 15pc of energy demand must be met from renewable sources before the end of the decade.

The targets are enforceable in the EU courts, meaning the prospect of a country facing huge daily fines drawing closer as the decade draws to an end. The legislation has certainly kept lawyers busy. Since January 2011, the European Commission has opened 27 investigations into whether countries are meeting their targets. Eleven cases are pending and Poland, Cyprus and Austria have been referred to the courts.

Because renewable power generation is expensive and inefficient, in terms of the high yields needed to keep national grids going and the lights on, huge subsidies have been needed for the wind and solar farms that now litter the European landscape and sea.

When the policy was launched, the EU declared that renewables would "help to reduce bills" and the cost of using energy. But the subsidies have been passed on to the public. Between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011 the cost of electricity in the average European household rose 6.3pc.

In Denmark and Germany, which embraced the shift to renewables, green levies and taxes account for 55.8pc and 44.9pc of the final price of electricity respectively.

A study for the British government put the lifetime cost of meeting the renewables target at up to _351.7bn (œ290bn) for the whole EU, including a bill of _93.1bn for the UK. Most of that cost burden has been picked up by consumers, contributing to a marked rise in the cost of living.

The subsidies become clear in the actual cost of electricity compared with the "strike" price the Government pays to renewable generators. The wholesale cost of electricity is currently around œ55 per megawatt hour, mainly based on fossil fuel generation, coal and gas. The "strike" price guaranteed to offshore wind farm generators is a œ155 per MWh, almost three times the going rate. Onshore wind farms earn œ95 MWh.

The soaring cost of energy has hit European industry at a bad time and is seen as major obstacle to recovery. While sanguine about increasing electricity bills for households, the commission has announced a review into EU competition rules in order to help Europe's manufacturing industry cope with higher production costs.

"In recent years, the financing of renewable support measures has led in many member states to an increase of electricity costs which affects the competitiveness of energy intensive users," Joaqu¡n Almunia, the competition commissioner, admitted last month.

Another renewables target, set as part of the same directive, was that 10pc of EU transport fuel should be renewable. This means blending biofuels, such as palm oil, with conventional transport fuels. The target is widely seen as a disaster, with mounting evidence that the EU's thirst for biofuels was driving up global food prices and greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewables have created other problems and have threatened to undermine other EU energy policies. Because solar and wind power is erratic, depending on the weather, national grids are at greater risk of failing at peak demand times. To plug the gap, countries have turned to gas and cheap coal, driving up prices and carbon emissions. This problem has been compounded by the declining share of electricity generated by nuclear power.

The other binding EU energy target is to reduce Europe's greenhouse gas emissions to 20pc below 1990 levels by 2020. The EU is on track to meet the overall carbon reduction target, mainly due to the financial crisis and recession that slowed down economic activity.

Unlike the renewable targets, EU countries are allowed to use any energy mix they like to meet the carbon cuts, opening the door for nuclear power to play a greater role, as Britain hopes with opening of Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

The other innovation of the EU's energy policy has been the emissions trading system (ETS), billed by the commission as "a cornerstone of policy to combat climate change". Under the ETS, a cap is set by the EU on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by the factories or power plants. The cap is reduced over time so that total emissions fall. In 2020, emissions from sectors covered by the EU ETS will be 21pc lower than in 2005.

Within the cap, set as national allocations centrally by the EU, companies receive or buy emission allowances which they can trade with one another as needed. They can also buy limited amounts of international credits from emission-saving projects around the world. The limit on the number of allowances available ensures they have a value - or that was the idea.

Reality has proved more difficult. The recession, with shrinking economic activity and the increased use of renewables, has led to a glut of credits - leading to low prices for carbon allocations. This unintended consequence has helped make coal and gas, climate-changing fossil fuels, cheaper for energy production. Last month the EU agreed to intervene in the market artificially to restrict credits and prop up the price of carbon.

The failures have dwarfed the EU's other policy, energy efficiency. Between 1990 and 2010, energy efficiency increased by 20pc across the EU. Unfortunately, this considerable achievement has not been enough to offset the soaring bills and counter-productive climate effects of the EU's renewables targets.

Amid growing controversy, the commission will this month publish a paper to "fundamentally overhaul" climate change policies. In a more or less open admission that the current renewables target has failed, the EU executive is widely expected to drop it altogether when setting new carbon reduction ceilings for 2030. After 2020, it will be up to national governments to decide how they reduce carbon, but the damage will have done.

History seems certain to judge EU energy policy as well-meaning but wrong and counter-productive by almost every measure.


2013 Reveals Global Warmists' Favorite Alternative Fuel: B.S.

Growing desperate in their justification for denying Americans the benefits of amply available domestic fossil fuels, scientists and bureaucrats are resorting to that last best hope of institutional mediocrities caught in lies.

They are lying some more.

As the real-time data refuses to confirm the dire predictions global warming models have given us that the use of fossil fuels are warming the world at the catastrophic rate, the bureaucrats have been forced to use some alternative fuel of their own: BS.

The EPA for example has raised the ire of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for ignoring the recommendations of scientists in implementing new standards for power plants in the agency's rush to close down existing coal fired plants.

Or rather for not even soliciting the opinions of scientists: "We are concerned about the agency's apparent disregard for the concerns of its science advisors," said a letter sent to the agency by the House committee. "Science is a valuable tool to help policymakers navigate complex issues. However, when inconvenient facts are disregarded or when dissenting voices are muzzled, a frank discussion becomes impossible. The EPA cannot continue to rush ahead with costly regulations without allowing time for a real-world look at the science."

The EPA you see, in their rush to shut down coal in this country, decided to bypass the science, the peer review process-you know the stuff they always say the other side is ignoring?

Why. Because science isn't on their side.  And they aren't the only ones ignoring science.  From the Wall Street Journal:

Between 1998 and 2012 the global economy more than doubled in size-to some $71 trillion in GDP from $30 trillion. That's the good news. Over the same period the world pumped more than 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That is supposedly the bad news. Yet global surface temperatures have remained essentially flat. That's the mystery: If emitting CO2 into the atmosphere causes global warming, why hasn't the globe been warming?

That's the question we would have liked to see answered by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Friday published the summary of its fifth report on what co-chairman Thomas Stocker calls "the greatest challenge of our times." It would have also been nice to see some humility from the IPCC, which since its last report in 2007 has seen some of its leading scientists exposed as bullies, and some of its most eye-catching predictions debunked. (Remember the vanishing Himalayan glaciers?)

As one of the original writers to cover the "unexplained" halt global warming over the last two decades, I'm gratified the mainstream media is paying attention. Readers will remember that when I covered this, the usual "settled science" crowd did the usual routine of accusing me of not understanding science, math, shapes and colors.

The Wall Street Journal by the way, while right of Obama, is a pretty staid, mainstream publication that generally supports the status quo.

The fact that even the Wall Street Journal is poking at warming alarmists ought to be sounding alarm bells for those purveyors of data-manipulated doom.

As the popular website Watts Up with That points out 2013 has been a bad year in the global warming modeling business.

`Regardless of efforts to nebulize CAGW to explain all forms of climatic and weather variation," says WUWT, "in 2013 every loosely falsifiable prediction of the CAGW narrative seems to have failed. The apparent complete failure of the CAGW narrative in 2013 could make the most fundamentalist agnostic wonder if Mother Nature sometimes takes sides."

All unnoticed by regular folks, but known by global warming alarmists is that temperature and rainfall produced record crops across virtually the entire country greatly adding to economic output in the third quarter.

These developments make global warming ninnies worried.

"I'm a young scientist and am too afraid to speak out at work," reports WUWT, "because I fear repercussions. Anyway, I thought you might be interested in reading an announcement for a seminar coming up soon here at NCAR. It came in our `Staff Notes' that everybody here at NCAR [National Center for Atmospheric Research] receives every day in our inbox. Some of these folks are getting really bitter that they are losing ground in this all-important argument."

In short, as the predictions of doom remain unfulfilled year after year, and the data shows that the globe has not warmed appreciably in the last two decades count on bureaucrats, politicians and technocrats to increase the number of lies they tell to bolster their side.

"If science is the `backbone' of everything they do at EPA," asks Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, "why is the agency ignoring the advice of its own independent scientists who raised concerns over proposed power plant standards? We're asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy why the agency is muzzling dissent."

Oh, that's easy.  It's because they're losing and they're hoping to cover it up with their favorite alternative fuel: B.S.  And if that doesn't work, don't worry: They'll try more B.S.


Snails and CO2

Hope you are seated for this because it could ruin your day. “Effects of climate change could hinder a sea snail’s ability to leap away from predators on one foot”, Queensland researchers say. Did I read that right?

The study, reported in the Fjii Times, shows the Conch snail, found in sandy areas off coral reefs, finds it difficult to quickly jump out of reach of prey when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide.

Dr Sue-Ann Watson of James Cook University’s Centre of Excellence, who is a self-confessed global warmist, says the chemical CO2 disrupts the snail's neurotransmitter receptor, causing it to have a delayed response.

“The snail either stops jumping or takes longer to jump when exposed to the levels of carbon dioxide projected for the end of this century”, the marine biologist said. (Have you fallen off your chair yet?)

"This might leave the three to four centimetre Conch snail more vulnerable to the dart of the slow-moving, predatory Cone shell.

"Snails normally move slowly and crawl around on their one big foot," Ms Watson said.

So, the level of carbon dioxide in eighty six years’ time (projected of course by our global warming friends) might affect a sea snail!

Bloody hell, that makes the Syrian crisis look like a picnic.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining... in eighty six years’ time it seems the deprived, slow-moving Cone shell will find it much easier to get a feed. Phew, global warming isn’t all doom and gloom after all.

I phone-messaged Sue-Ann to ask if the dung beetle was getting enough tucker at her Centre of Excellence, but I have yet to receive a reply.


True facts about ocean radiation and the Fukushima disaster

By Kim Martini, Ph.D.

On March 11th, 2011 the T?hoku earthquake and resulting tsunami wreaked havoc on Japan. It also resulted in the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl when the tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere and ocean, contaminating groundwater, soil and seawater which effectively closed local Japanese fisheries.

Rather unfortunately, it has also led to some wild speculation on the widespread dangers of Fukushima radiation on the internet. Posts with titles like "Holy Fukushima - Radiation From Japan Is Already Killing North Americans" and "28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima" (which Southern Fried Science has already throughly debunked ) keep popping up on my facebook feed from well-meaning friends.

I'm here to tell you that these posts are just plain garbage. While there are terrible things that happened around the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan; Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast aren't in any danger.  These posts were meant to scare people (and possibly written by terrified authors). They did just that, but there is a severe lack of facts in these posts. Which is why I am here to give you the facts, and nothing but the facts.


The radioactive rods in the Fukushima power plant are usually cooled by seawater [CORRECTION: they are usually cooled by freshwater. As a last ditch emergency effort at Fukushima seawater was used as a coolant.]. The double whammy of an earthquake and a tsunami pretty much released a s**tstorm of badness: the power went out, meltdown started and eventually the radioactive cooling seawater started leaking (and was also intentionally released) into the ocean. Radioactive isotopes were also released into the air and were absorbed by the ocean when they rained down upon it. These two pathways introduced mostly Iodine-131, Cesium-137, and Cesium-134, but also a sprinkling of Tellurium, Uranium and Strontium to the area surrounding the power plant.

There aren't great estimates of how much of each of these isotopes were released into the ocean since TEPCO, the company that owns the power plant hasn't exactly been forthcoming with information, but the current estimates are around 538,100 terabecquerels (TBq) which is above Three-Mile Island levels, but below Chernobyl levels....


Practically, what does ten thousand or a million times less radiation mean? It means that these models estimate the West Coast and the Aleutians will see radiation levels anywhere from 1-20 Bq/m3,while Hawaiian Islands could see up to 30 Bq/m3 [Beherns et al. 2012, Nakano et al. 2012,  Rossi et al. 2013 ].

I could write a small novel explaining why the numbers differ between the models. For those that love the details, here's a laundry list of those differences: the amount of radiation initially injected into the ocean, the length of time it took to inject the radiation (slowly seeping or one big dump), the physics embedded in the model, the background ocean state, the number of 20-count shrimp per square mile (Just kidding!), atmospheric forcing, inter-annual and multi-decadal variability and even whether atmospheric deposition was incorporated into the model.

Like I said before, the West Coast will probably not see more than 20 Bq/m3 of radiation. Compare these values to the map of background radiation of Cesium-137 in the ocean before Fukushima (from 1990). Radiation will increase in the Pacific, but it's at most 10 times higher than previous levels, not thousands. Although looking at this map I would probably stop eating Baltic Herring fish oil pills and Black Sea Caviar (that radiation is from Chernobyl) before ending the consumption of  fish from the Pacific Ocean.


No it will not be dangerous. Even within 300 km of Fukushima, the additional radiation that was introduced by the Cesium-137 fallout is still well below the background radiation levels from naturally occurring radioisotopes. By the time those radioactive atoms make their way to the West Coast it will be even more diluted and therefore not dangerous at all.

It's not even dangerous to swim off the coast of Fukushima. Buessler et al. figured out how much radiation damage you would get if you doggie paddled about Fukushima (Yes, science has given us radioactive models of human swimmers). It was less than 0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives. Tiny! Hell, the radiation was so small even immediately after the accident scientists did not wear any special equipment to handle the seawater samples (but they did wear detectors just in case). If you want danger, you're better off licking the dial on an old-school glow in the dark watch.


For the most part the answer is YES. Some fisheries in Japan are still closed because of radioactive contamination. Bottom fish are especially prone to contamination because the fallout collects on the seafloor where they live. Contaminated fish shouldn't be making it to your grocery store, but I can't guarantee that so if you are worried just eat fish from somewhere other than Japan.

Fish from the rest of the Pacific are safe. To say it mildly, most fish are kinda lazy. They really don't travel that far so when you catch a Mahi Mahi off the coast of Hawaii its only going to be as contaminated as the water there, which isn't very much.Hyperactive fish, such as tuna may be more radioactive than local lazy fish because they migrate so far. As Miriam pointed out in this post, there is a detectable increase of radiation in tuna because they were at one point closer to Fukushima, but the levels are not hazardous.

To alleviate fears that you may be glowing due to ingestion too many visits to your local sushi joint, Fischer et al. figured out exactly how much damaging radiation you would receive from eating a tower of tuna rolls. Seriously. Science is just that awesome. Supermarket tuna hunters would receive 0.9 ?Sv of radiation, while the outdoors subsistence tuna hunter would receive 4.7 ?Sv. These values are about the same or a little less than the amount a person receives from natural sources.

To put 0.9 ?Sv of radiation in perspective check out this awesome graph of radiation by xkcd. You'll get the same amount of radiation by eating 9 bananas. Monkeys might be doomed, but you are not.


I hope this list of facts has answered most of your questions and convinced you the Pacific and its inhabitants will not be fried by radiation from Fukushima. I certainly feel safe eating sustainable seafood from the Pacific and so should you.

Much more HERE


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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