Sunday, July 16, 2017

"The Independent" doubles down: Hockeystick revived

"The Independent", known to irreverent people as "The Subservient", is a struggling British broadsheet newspaper which has now gone online only.  In its struggle to differentiate itself the newspaper has set itself up as the British Greenie newspaper.  They have hitched their wagon to the global warming star. Scarcely a day goes by without them promoting it.  Their latest is a heavy cannon in that war.

It is based on a recent statistical study called "A global multiproxy database for temperature reconstructions of the Common Era" and the star finding from that work is that Mann's "hockeystick" pops up again.  It revives the "hockeystick" picture for temperatures over the last 1,000 years.  What glory!

But being the naughty boy I am I did my usual trick and took a look at the original data.  And there is much there to laugh at.  The thing that grabbed me most was this statement:

"We do so via correlation analysis, which makes the common assumption that the relation between the proxy value and temperature over the twentieth century is representative of the entire record"


"The majority (59%) of the records are based on tree rings"


"We use the Cowtan & Way version38 of the dataset, which corrects for missing values and incomplete post-1979 Arctic coverage via the use of satellite observations. Even with the correction, the HadCRUT4.2 dataset is incomplete, with about 60% of the monthly values missing, so the remaining missing values were infilled"

So what is funny about that?  What is funny is "Mike's nature trick", the fact that Michael Mann had to DELETE his Northern hemisphere tree-ring data for the 20th century because it showed FALLING temperatures over the 20th century.

Yet the current work assumes that 20th century tree ring data PROVES that tree ring data tells us all about the temperature of the whole of the last 1,000 years.  But Mann concluded the opposite to that.  He concluded that the tree ring data was UNrepresentative of temperature during the 20th century.

The work of both Mann and the present authors is primarily a reflection of tree ring data; in particular Northern hemisphere tree-ring data.  So their revered predecessor had essentially the same tree-ring data showing a DECLINE in temperature but they somehow have managed to get it to show a RISE in temperature. Lordy, Lordy!

So how come?  Because of the poor quality of their data.  The third quote from them that I have given above gives you the feel of that.  60% of their data was "infilled" or made up.  You can get any result you want that way.  And they did.  It is rubbish science.

The newspaper makes a variety of other assertions about extreme weather but they are equally unfounded. Roger Pielke, Jr. actually wrote a book detailing the fact that there is no trend in virtually any extreme event (including tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.) with some actually decreasing. Even the UN’s IPCC acknowledges that there is no basis for attributing such events to anthropogenic climate change.

Planet Earth is warmer than it has been for at least 2,000 years, according to a study that took its temperature from 692 different “natural thermometers” on every continent and ocean on the planet.

In the most comprehensive assessment of how the climate has changed over the period to date, researchers looked at a host of sources of historic information, including tree rings, ice cores, lake and sea sediments, corals, mineral deposits and written records.

What they found confirmed the famous “hockey stick” graph, showing an undulating, but broadly flat, line followed by a sharp uptick that begins at around 1900.

The only plausible explanation for this sudden change is fossil fuel emissions, which have increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from about 280 parts per million in the 19th century to more than 400 today.

The warming effect was predicted by the Nobel Prize-winning Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius in 1895.

Writing in the journal Scientific Data, a team of nearly 100 researchers described how they had created a database of 692 records from 648 different locations in “all continental regions and major ocean basins”.

Some of these natural thermometers covered the entire 2,000-year period, with an average length of 760 years.

The original hockey stick graph, which spanned 1,000 years, was widely praised when it was published in the journal Nature 20 years ago, but also came under attack from climate change sceptics and deniers. Professor Michael Mann, one of the paper’s authors, was abused, made the subject of hostile investigations by US politicians, and even sent death threats.

The original 'hockey stick' graph, published in 1998, showed the global average temperature remains about the same from 1,000 years ago until a sharp rise in the 20th century (Mann et al)

In a blog post about the new study, one of researchers, Professor Julien Emile-Geay, wrote that it essentially confirmed the hockey stick graph was accurate.

“As a scientist, you have to go where the evidence takes you,” he said.

“You can only be smacked in the face by evidence so many times and not see some kind of pattern. (You will never guess: a HOCKEY STICK!).

“The hockey stick is alive and well. There is now so much data supporting this observation that it will take nothing short of a revolution of how we understand all paleoclimate proxies to overturn this pattern. So let me make this prediction: the hockey stick is here to stay.”

Mr Emile-Geay, of the University of Southern California, said any argument about the basic pattern of warming was over.

“In the coming years and decades, the scientific community will flesh out many more details about the climate of the past 2,000 years, the interactions between temperature and drought, their regional and local expressions, their physical causes, their impact on human civilizations, and many other fascinating research questions,” he said.

“But one thing won’t change: the 20th century will stick out like a sore thumb. The present rate of warming and, very likely, the temperature levels are exceptional in the past 2,000 years, perhaps even longer.

“The hockey stick is alive; long live the hockey stick. Climate denialists will have to find another excuse behind which to hide.”


The Church of Man-Made Climate Change on trial

A little-known court case is taking place in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. This case involves two scientists and two set of graphs. One of the graphs is very famous, and the basis for every man-made climate change believer’s faith, while the other…is not. The foundation of the church of man-made climate change is on shaky ground, and an earthquake could be coming.

Michael Mann is a climatologist and geophysicist working at Penn State University. In 1998, he was the leader of a group using statistical techniques that created a graph showing the earth’s temperature over the last 1,000 years. The graph would gain international fame and become known as the “hockey stick graph.” The graph showed steady temperatures on the earth’s surface with a sharp increase in the last few hundred years, giving it the shape of a hockey stick.

The graph is a religious artifact to those that belong to this religion. It is so revered that those who created it, were invited to work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on its 2001 scientific assessment report. The assessment came to many conclusions, but three stick out:

There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities;

Human influences will continue to change atmospheric composition throughout the 21st century;

And, global average temperature and sea level are projected to rise under all IPCC SRES scenarios.

Not surprisingly, the conclusions also involve more government control over what people do, and more money for man-made climate change research. Figure 1. shows how much money the Government Accountability Office claims the federal government has spent on combating supposed climate change between 1993 and 2010. Today, it is harder to find the facts on how much is actually being spent by the federal government, but Salon is reporting over $12 billion is to be spent this year, and other organizations are reporting up to $27 billion is expected to be spent.

The worldwide climate change industry is valued to be worth $1.5 trillion. That’s a lot of money for “research.” Enter Dr. Timothy Ball.

Dr. Ball has a PhD in climatology from Queen Mary University of London, and was a professor at the University of Winnipeg. He is an avid critic of the man-made climate change theory. It is not that he does not believe in climate change, but he does not believe humans are having the impact the church of man-made climate change says they are. He has written dozens of articles, appeared on numerous television shows, and written a book called “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science.”

Dr. Ball also created his own version of the “hockey stick graph,” but it looked nothing like Mann’s. Ball’s graph shows what is known as the Medieval Warm Period. That period occurred between AD 900 and AD 1300 in which the Northern Hemisphere was much warmer than it is now. It is a much-debated period because of the possibility it destroys the man-made climate change theory.

Dr. Ball is enemy number one for the church of man-made climate change. One article he wrote made light of the connection between Mann and the Climatic Research Unit email controversy. Mann did not take to kindly to the slight, and decided to sue for libel. It is one of Mann’s many libel lawsuits he has filed against people with whom he disagrees.

The court case has not worked out the way Mann envisioned. Dr. Ball did not lay down and instead decided to fight the case. The case was filled in Canada and known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation suit. It was filed six years ago, and is going sideways for Mann. The judge in the case has ordered all data used to make both graphs be handed over by all parties. Dr. Ball has cooperated, but Mann has not.

Dr. Ball recently stated, “We believe he [Mann] withheld on the basis of a U.S. court ruling that it was all his intellectual property. This ruling was made despite the fact the U.S. taxpayer paid for the research and the research results were used as the basis of literally earth-shattering policies on energy and environment. The problem for him is that the Canadian court holds that you cannot withhold documents that are central to your charge of defamation regardless of the U.S. ruling.”

John O’Sullivan reports on the punishment that Dr. Ball’s lawyers could ask for if Mann is found to be in contempt, “Ball is entitled to have the court serve upon Mann the fullest punishment. Contempt sanctions could reasonably include the judge ruling that Dr. Ball’s statement that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State’ is a precise and true statement of fact. This is because under Canada’s unique ‘Truth Defense’, Mann is now proven to have willfully hidden his data, so the court may rule he hid it because it is fake. As such, the court must then dismiss Mann’s entire libel suit with costs awarded to Ball and his team.”

If this holds true, then the basis of the entire Paris climate agreement, IPCC, and every climate change agreement is in jeopardy. If it was all formed from faulty data, it is all at risk. The hockey stick graph is responsible for hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars being spent around the world, and hundreds of job-killing regulations being enacted on the American worker. It is time we find out if it was all fake.


Reeling in CAFE

The former Obama administration wanted to save the environment, but rather than asking American industries for help, the administration decided they knew best and instead imposed regulations on companies. One of the most damaging regulations, affecting nearly every American citizen, was Obama’s expansion of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, regulating auto makers on fuel efficiency but instead slowing their growth and stifling innovation. Luckily, the Trump administration is giving the voices oppressed under Obama’s system a seat at the table once again.

Since the oil shortages of the 1970s, fuel regulations have been imposed on the automobile industry, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used CAFE standards to combat climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, the Obama EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) came together to force automakers to improve fuel efficiency standards by 2025, with a midterm review occurring in 2016.

Theoretically, in 2016 the EPA and the NHTSA would communicate with automakers to create standards that are feasible for compliance before they issued their Final Determination for CAFE standards; but instead, the unrestrained power Obama gave the EPA allowed them to usurp the automakers most affected by this policy and even the NHTSA, who the EPA is supposed to be working with.

As the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers explained in a letter to EPA Director Scott Pruitt, “EPA issued the Proposed Determination without coordinating with NHTSA. EPA demanded comments by December 30, 2016, even though the Proposed Determination was not published in the Federal Register until December 6. The public and industry had a mere 24 days, spanning a major national holiday, to comment on nearly I ,000 pages of documents, plus additional cited documents and computer modeling, regarding requirements that will profoundly affect the automobile industry and the more than 900,000 American workers it directly employs.”

It makes sense that automakers are angered by the EPA’s overreach, while they have been taken out of the discussion, they have the most to lose. These regulations are both realistically unattainable and extremely expensive to attempt.

The letter continues to explain, “As the Supreme Court has recognized, EPA’s regulatory efforts to address greenhouse gases have already produced ‘the single largest expansion in the scope of the [Clean Air Act] in its history’…standards. The Alliance supported these efforts-but only on the condition that EPA and NHTSA would reassess standards as data became available to test their feasibility. That commitment was essential because of the great uncertainty regarding the feasibility of the future standards. Based on the projections in the 2012 rule, manufacturers must achieve an average 54.5 miles per gallon equivalent across their new vehicle fleets by 2025. Even today, no conventional vehicle today meets that target, and conventional vehicles comprise 96.5 percent of the new light-duty vehicle fleet.”

The letter goes on to describe that the automotive industry would have to spend $200 billion between 2012 and 2025 to comply with the EPA’s rules.

Luckily President Trump has empowered the Department of Transportation to stand up to the EPA.

Under the leadership of Secretary Elaine Chao, the Department has announced they will be reviewing the midterm evaluation done solely by the EPA, allowing the NHTSA and automakers a voice in the discussion.

The Final Rules released by the Department will allow the NHTSA to reconsider the EPA’s guidelines and seek further comments from the public. The second final rule delays the imposition of the EPA’s guidelines while the NHTSA reconsiders with stakeholder input.

Finally, the Obama Administration’s unyielding power will be reined in, and the EPA will be forced to work with the industries they are affecting rather than against. President Trump is not only proving that he is willing to limit government, but also protect the industries that will truly make American great again.


Confronting the temperature taboo

The New York Times has discovered peril in the Arctic. “Explorers and fishermen find climate moderating about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic,” the newspaper reports, and seal hunters and explorers who sail those icy seas “point to a radical change in climactic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth.”

Many old landmarks have disappeared, and others have so changed as to be unrecognizable. “Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea, they have entirely disappeared.”

Woe is certainly us. True, this was on Page One of Feb. 25, 1923, which proves, among other things, that the more things change the more they stay the same. But this account might well have appeared today in The New York Times, though the language was more restrained and more persuasive for it. But the world, as the readers of that earlier century knew it, is still pretty much intact in 2017.

But today, among right-thinking folk, so called, conversations about why the climate behaves the way it does are taboo.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, proposes debates between staunch proponents of the widespread view that carbon dioxide discharged by human activity is causing global warming, and the skeptics who are still not persuaded that cause and effect of climate change is clearly understood.

A match with adversaries poking holes in each other’s arguments would be an entertaining return to authentic scientific inquiry. There’s more for everyone to fear from too little information than from too much.

This would be in sharp contrast to the immediate past, when Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency summarily proclaimed the human-induced warming argument as fact, and dared anyone to argue. The former president succeeded in shifting the center of gravity toward worldwide acceptance of environmental extremism as packaged in the Paris Climate Agreement.

It took a man with foolish courage to stand up in the sea of unanimity and ask why the United States should pass up trillions of dollars in economic growth to comply with a scheme that would produce no noticeable effect on global temperatures.

Now comes a new study concluding that nearly all global warming reported in recent decades is derived from “adjustments” to surface temperature data which was made by climate scientists, and not from actual readings. The study, by meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, climate scientist Craig Idso and statistician James Wallace, tests whether temperature data compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the United Kingdom Climate Research Unit’s Hadley Center are “sufficiently credible estimates of global average temperatures such that they can be relied on for climate modeling and policy analysis purposes.”

They found that scientists almost always made “adjustments” to data that revised temperatures upward and seldom downward to produce a steeper warming trend over the years than what the thermometer actually showed. Their summary findings are sobering: “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three … data sets are not a valid representation of reality.”

The data from the three government organizations serves as the basis for the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health. And protecting people from the unhealthy effects of global warming — hotter and dryer summers, more severe hurricanes and rising ocean levels — was supposed to be the rationale for nearly 200 nations to adopt the Paris agreement and, for Americans, submitting to a thick rule book of EPA regulations governing nearly all life.

Given the flaws in official temperature data, Director Pruitt’s ending the taboo against challenging the conventional wisdom behind the causes of climate change is the right thing to do.

Let the debate begin.


Dadaist Science

Look under the hood on climate change "science" and what you see isn't pretty

Nathan Cofnas

Earlier this month Stephen Hawking declared: “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action [withdrawing from the Paris climate accord] could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees [Celsius], and raining sulphuric acid.”

Let’s unpack this a bit, using actual science. The proportion of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is currently about 400 parts per million (ppm). The Cambrian explosion—when most animal lineages first appeared—occurred a little more than 500 million years ago when, according to all estimates, carbon dioxide levels were several times higher than today. The atmosphere of Venus is 965,000 ppm carbon dioxide, enveloped in clouds of sulfuric acid. And Venus itself is almost 26 million miles closer to the sun than Earth.

So Hawking’s claim that the earth is on the “brink” of becoming like Venus is preposterous. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explicitly notes that the Earth will not experience a runaway greenhouse effect such as might have occurred on Venus.

What is really disturbing, though, is that Hawking has flagrantly given up on even the pretense of engaging with actual science. He speaks entirely from authority: I am a scientist. Adopt this political policy that I favor or suffer fire and sulfuric acid. The threatened punishment for noncompliance substitutes sulfuric acid for the regular sulfur (brimstone) that features in old-fashioned religion. As far as the justification for the claim, there is no important difference between this and a religious statement that is supposed to be believed simply because it issues forth from a high priest.


The philosophy of Dadaism was that something is art if an artist says it is. In 1917 the Dadaist Marcel Duchamp famously proclaimed a urinal to be art. The original urinal was thrown in the trash after being exhibited, but Duchamp later commissioned several replicas, one of which sold for $1,185,000 in 2002. We can leave the merits of Dadaist art to the art critics. It is clear, however, that applying the Dadaist philosophy to science is a big mistake because it means rejecting the commitments that made science successful in the first place.

Something is science because it emerges from an investigation adhering to certain methodological principles. A scientist is someone who faithfully carries out such an investigation. The ability to speak as a scientist is entirely contingent upon one’s ongoing commitment to scientific methods. Yet public discourse about controversial issues in the past few years has promoted a misguided, Dadaist view of what science is.

Consider the physicist and aggressive science promoter Lawrence Krauss. Krauss has received a great deal of funding from the billionaire, and now registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. This last detail is important.

Epstein pled guilty to paying girls as young as 14 for sex, and was suspected of even worse crimes involving underage girls. After he went to prison, Krauss offered the following analysis of his patron: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

Got that? “As a scientist,” Krauss did not personally witness the crimes, ergo they didn’t happen. After all, if Epstein really was a sex offender, he would walk around in public surrounded by 14-year-old girls, right? Obviously, this is insane. But what’s interesting is that Krauss defended Epstein by invoking his status as a “scientist,” and his commitment to “empirical evidence.” It’s more Dadaist science: I am a “scientist,” therefore whatever I say, no matter how transparently self-serving and nonsensical, is “science.”

But let’s jump back to global warming. The intense debate about the exact percentage of climate scientists who believe in catastrophic climate change is predicated on Dadaist science. Peter T. Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman introduced the famous “consensus-of-97 percent” figure in 2009. They contacted 10,257 earth scientists from a database listing faculty and researchers at academic institutions and U.S. federal facilities; 3,146 people responded, giving their answers to two questions: (1) Compared to the pre-1800s, have mean global temperatures “risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” and “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Ninety percent of respondents answered “risen” to the first question and 82 percent answered “yes” to the second. (Note that the survey didn’t ask whether the warming was a bad thing, which is actually the most important question. But that’s a separate issue.) Doran and Zimmerman then looked at only those respondents who indicated that climate science was their area of expertise and said that more than 50 percent of their peer-reviewed papers in the previous five years were about climate change. This subgroup contained just 79 people. Of these 79, 76 (96.2 percent) said the earth’s temperature had “risen” since the pre-1800s and 75 (97.4 percent of the 77 who answered this question) said “yes,” human activity is a significant contributing factor.

Which led Doran and Zimmerman to conclude: “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to [the] public....”

In this survey, there was no pretense of engaging with reasons and argument. Doran and Zimmerman note that only 64 percent (23 of 36) of their respondents who listed “meteorology” as their area of expertise answered yes to the second question. Meteorology is, of course, the science devoted to studying the atmosphere and weather. You might say that weather is not the same thing as climate. Fair enough. But still, do the skeptical meteorologists have reasons for their opinion? What about the nearly one-fifth of earth scientists in the survey who were skeptical? To the Dadaist scientist, none of that matters. As long as the right authorities make the correct pronouncement, there is no need for investigation.


From 2004 to 2009, the U.S. government spent between $7 billion and $8 billion per year on climate-change research. Out of the 79 scientists in Doran and Zimmerman’s survey who said that more than 50 percent of their peer-reviewed publications in the previous five years concerned climate change, how many were receiving a share of this money? The survey was anonymous so we can’t check, but it’s reasonable to suspect that it might have been quite a few of them. At least.

And consider how multiple scientists (not only Krauss) who received cash from Jeffrey Epstein were willing to defend him even after he went to prison. (The eminent evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, who received around $40,000 from Epstein, didn’t go Krauss’s route of denying the charges. He rationalized the crimes, saying, “By the time [girls are] 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.”) If anything, maybe earth scientists who don’t receive funding that allows them to publish on climate change should be surveyed about their views, for the same reason we wouldn’t ask Krauss to serve on Epstein’s jury.


The idea that the opinion of experts in a narrow academic subfield reliably tracks the truth flies in the face of historical experience.

Consider, for example, the history of psychology. For three or four decades in the middle of the twentieth century, American psychology was dominated by behaviorism. According to behaviorism, animals are born without any behavioral predispositions except a tendency to find certain stimuli reinforcing or punishing. Konrad Lorenz noted that ethologists who observe animals in their natural habitat always knew that behaviorism was untenable. You have merely to witness an animal being born and commencing a suite of complex, unlearned behaviors to see that not all behavior is conditioned.

But behaviorists never bothered to look at animals in the wild. They conducted laboratory experiments, very often involving rats or pigeons pushing levers for food rewards, that simply didn’t trigger the innate responses that manifest under natural conditions. For two generations behaviorists controlled the grants, the journals, the textbooks, and the jobs. Just about everyone who didn’t get on board with them was excluded from the field of psychology. Finally, in the mid-1950s, after many lost years, cognitive scientists managed to gain a foothold in the academy and they eventually overturned the behaviorist consensus.

The history of psychology undermines the philosophy of Dadaist science because it shows how a group of experts can band together on one side of a controversy and end up being wrong. It shows that an apparent consensus in a scientific field does not always arise from the independent judgment of those acquainted with the evidence. Sometimes “consensus” is maintained by the enforcement of orthodoxy by those doling out the jobs, perks, and money.

The debate about catastrophic global warming will ultimately be settled by experts, but it will be by means of argument, not by votes or assertions of authority.




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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