Tuesday, August 21, 2018

More attribution baloney

I have reproduced below just the first part of a large article splashed across NBCnews.  I give the link for anybody who is masochistic enough to read the whole thing. The title of the article is "Global warming can make extreme weather worse. Now scientists can say by how much. Researchers no longer hesitate to blame climate change for floods, fires and heat waves. Here's how the science works."

The intellectual level of the article is apparent in the first sentence: "When the heat waves, droughts, wildfires and deluges come — as they *seem to* with increasing regularity these days — the question inevitably arises: Did climate change play a role?"

What sort of scientific statement is "seem to"?  Where are the statistics that would confirm that key statement? There are plenty of statistics available from NOAA and elsewhere.  Skeptics point gleefully to them all the time -- because they all show that extreme weather events are no more frequent now than they were in the past. In other words, James Rainey, the author of the article has not got even to first base. He has not established even the starting point of his article -- because it is baloney. "Seem to", indeed!

And there is not one thing new in what he reports.  It's just more modelling, that reliable generator of false prophecies.  You get out of modelling what you put in, nothing more.  Modelling is like putting clothes into a washing machine. They come out wet but they are still the same clothes.  In other words there is no way modelling can be checked against reality at the time the modelling is done.  All you can do is hope that it is right.

Most Greenie modelling is done for the purposes of prediction and that has the virtue that it can EVENTUALLY be tested against reality.  The prophecies are always way out, however, because they are based on the fiction that tiny amounts of CO2 have big effects.

But the modelling below is COMPLETELY untestable. It makes no prophecies so can NEVER be shown as true or false. It is just a computer game.  It is science only in that modelling has a place in science but it is NOT science in that science deals with testable propositions.

So why the baloney?  It is just another way of amping up the hysteria about the tired old scare of global warming

When the heat waves, droughts, wildfires and deluges come — as they seem to with increasing regularity these days — the question inevitably arises: Did climate change play a role?

The answer scientists gave for years was that greenhouse gases created by humans likely contributed to extreme weather, but it was hard to definitively tie the warming atmosphere to any single episode.

But that cautious approach, repeated in thousands of news reports for more than a decade, has been changing in recent months. Now, scientists say that they will increasingly be able to link extreme weather events to human-caused global warming and to make such determinations quickly, sometimes within days.

So when a heat wave beset Northern Europe early this summer, bringing temperatures in Scandinavia into the 90s, a consortium of researchers operating under the name World Weather Attribution whipped together a series of computer simulations. Within three days, the scientists issued a finding that the hot spell had been made at least twice as likely because of human-driven climate change.

In less frequent instances, scientists taking more time have reached even bolder conclusions — finding that some extreme events would not have happened at all in a pre-industrial era, when Earth's atmosphere had not been pumped full of carbon dioxide.

The trend promises to become even more pronounced in the coming years, because national weather agencies in countries like Germany and Australia, and the weather service for the European Union, expect to begin issuing regular findings on whether unusual weather events grew out of climate change.

“Usually scientists have been quiet or said only that ‘This is the kind of event that we would expect to happen more often,'" said Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University in England. "But now we can, and will, be able to say more."


Otto is one of the leading scientists in the rapidly evolving field of extreme events attribution. The discipline is being driven by an increasing focus among academics, by better data collection worldwide and by open-source computer models that allow researchers ready access to complex climate simulations, particularly of what Earth’s temperatures likely would have looked like without the profusion of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the last century.

Many of the researchers in the field are determined to ensure that experts, not amateurs, drive the discussion of unusual weather. “If the answer is not given by scientists, it will be given by politicians or someone with an agenda,” Otto said. “We want to make sure there is scientific evidence in this debate.”

Martin Hoerling, a scientist at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Boulder, Colorado, said another factor is influencing the more definitive statements about the impact of global warming. “That signal from climate change is becoming larger, large enough to be detected in the data itself," Hoerling said, "and also in the computer models” that extrapolate on that data.

But scientists say they remain uncomfortable with more definitive statements, such as the question of whether global warming caused a string of wildfires, or a deluge of rain or a particular heat wave.

“The thing we are trying to do is not to give you a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” said Stephanie Herring, a NOAA scientist who edits a report on attribution studies that has been published annually since 2012. “We are trying to show how much of an impact climate change is having now and to suggest how much of an impact it might have in the future.”


A double ban gets a double reversal

Interior Department reverses activist-initiated Obama-era ban on farming activities in refuges

Paul Driessen

I don’t pull my punches over destructive, inhumane or just plain lunatic policies demanded by extreme environmentalists. I criticize them, as well as friends and “good guys,” when I think they got it wrong on energy or environmental issues. I also offer praise when it is deserved.

When Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke – whom I admire greatly – let a last-minute Obama endangered species designation for the “Rusty Patched Bumblebee” (RPB) take effect in March 2017, I faulted the decision (here and here). Now I want to praise his recent decision to reopen certain wildlife refuges to modern farming practices.

The RPB decision did the unthinkable. It gave Interior’s often hyper-activist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) potential veto power over every farm operation, building project and land use decision across 378 million Eastern and Midwestern acres, the RPB’s (possible) erstwhile habitat. That’s equal to Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana combined!

All to “protect” a ground-nesting bee that provides minimal pollinating services, has supposedly been sighted” a number of times since 2000 in 13 states, has long been rare for multiple reasons, and got its “endangered” status due to an collusive sue-and-settle lawsuit between agitators and regulators.

This is the same FWS that told a timber company it had to create “potential” habitat on its land in Louisiana for a “dusky gopher frog” that has not been seen in the state for 33 years and could not survive on the 1,544 acres of company land selected by the FWS, because the chosen area did not offer essential habitat conditions. So Fish and Wildlife ordered the company to convert the land into “suitable” habitat, at company expense – after which the company could never cut trees in the area!

The RPB decision was particularly perilous for farmers because, just a few years earlier, the Service had eagerly negotiated yet another sue-and-settle style agreement with radical greens in the Center for Food Safety, to ban genetically engineered crops (aka GMOs) and neonicotinoid insecticides on the extensive lands the FWS leases to farmers in often enormous U.S. wildlife refuges.

The ban was issued without any public consultation or comment period. Worse, it was wholly at odds with USDA and EPA findings on the environmental safety of both GMOs and neonics. But it was a huge gift to activists who have been campaigning against those technologies for years. It set a dangerous precedent of basing government decisions on “precautionary” criteria, much like Europe’s wholly unscientific regulatory process, which is completely antithetical to the risk-based U.S. system.

The infinitely malleable “precautionary” pseudo-guideline says chemicals and other technologies should be restricted or banned if there is any possibility (or accusation by radical activists) that they could be harmful, even if no evidence-based cause-effect link can be shown.

Even worse, the “Precautionary Principle” only examines (often inflated) risks from using technologies that activists or regulators dislike. It never considers the risks of not using them – or risks that using them could reduce or eliminate. Just as perversely, anti-technology factions ignore or actively suppress evidence of harmful impacts from supposed alternatives – and from any technologies they support.

The European Union has formalize the Precautionary Principle as official policy. Regulators thus have carte blanche authority to take any action, at any time, no matter how arbitrary, based on the claim that sometime in the future, in ways not yet understood, something might possibly have a negative impact on people or the environment. Scientific evidence is not needed.

It’s an open door to regulation by activists who are experts at raising alarms and making claims of impending Armageddon unless a targeted technology is banned. Europe’s embrace of “precaution” in agricultural regulation is a major reason why the continent has become a net importer of food, despite having some of the most fertile land and predictably temperate weather in the world.

If this horrendous refuge precedent had stood, combined with the Endangered Species Act, it could have given a few USFWS activist regulators the power to micro-manage enormous swaths of the American public and private landmass, and large segments of the nation’s agricultural and construction economy.

Its impacts would have been felt almost as widely as the infamous “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to kill and which the EPA under Scott Pruitt began to dismantle – or the even more insidious Paris climate treaty, which would have given international and United Nations climate alarmists control over the entire U.S. economy.

I’m therefore happy to note that Mr. Zinke Department has implemented a double reversal of the USFW double ban. In an August 2 memo, Interior again spelled out the need to raise crops in parts of wildlife refuges to provide food for people and forage for ducks, geese and other wildlife – and to note the important role that genetically engineered plants and neonics play in that effort.

Of course, the GMO-neonic ban never made an iota of scientific sense. Hundreds of government and independent studies – and decades of eating and other real-world experience – confirm that GMOs are as safe for human and animal consumption as the almost 100% of crops that have been genetically modified by traditional breeding … or by soaking seeds in harsh chemicals or bombarding them with radiation to cause multiple mutations, some desirable, others unknown, but just fine with organic food promoters.

Equally important, the massively funded environmentalist campaign against neonics was based heavily on the wholly fabricated “bee-pocalypse” scare of several years ago. As most people now know, honeybee populations have been rising the entire time since neonics were first used, and the problems honeybees had for several years were due to due to Varroa destructor mites and an assortment of bee diseases.

Anti-neonic agitation also ran headlong into EPA’s scientific risk assessments. Even amid the regulatory frenzy of the final Obama years, EPA could find no scientific reason to take away the long-standing approvals of these vital crop production tools, which target only insects that actually feed on crop plants.

Not surprisingly, though, once the honeybee-pocalypse was debunked, activists immediately switched gears to the equally fraudulent claim that wild bees are on the path to extinction – because of neonics, of course. However, wild bee problems are also almost entirely due to disease and long-term habitat loss.

The vast majority of wild bee species are “doing just fine,” prominent U.S. Geological Survey wild bee expert Sam Droege has noted. Even more telling, a recent global study of wild bees found that those which pollinate crops and thus come into most frequent contact with neonics are flourishing.

Greens have already announced they will sue to block the refuge decision, but that’s par for the course.

Secretary Zinke deserves high praise for starting to rein in USFWS’s regulatory power grab. However, it’s only a start. There’s much more left to do: at Interior, Agriculture, Energy and of course EPA.

Next up should be the Fish and Wildlife Service’s role in implementing the Endangered Species Act. Even if congressional attempts to rein in some of the worst abuses of the ESA finally succeed, after years of futility resulting from environmentalist intransigence, agency activists will find ways around them.

Mr. Zinke also deserves major kudos for pushing back on the nonsensical claim that 129 million dead trees in California, repeated conflagrations that completely wipe out wildlife habitats and species, over 700,000 once-Golden State acres burned so far this summer (Rhode Island plus Washington, DC), and 57 Californians killed by forest fires in two years – are due to that all-purpose villain: climate change.

As the Secretary makes clear, this horrific destruction is the result of near-criminal mismanagement of that state’s forests, at the behest of rabid greens who refuse to allow any timber harvesting anywhere.

There’s an old saying that “personnel is policy.” Secretary Zinke next needs to replace DOI zealots with permanent, career service land and resource managers who can keep the eco-power-grabbers under control, by honestly, dispassionately and transparently applying evidence-based science to rulemaking.

Via email

 Greenpeace and ‘the awful reality of anti-science activism’

The Austrian research portal “Addendum” released a bombshell video regarding the facts, figures, and positions regarding GMO foods. In this report that attempted to explain the reality of both the technology, economic implications and public discourse, the site sat down with both current and former Greenpeace activists, leading them to reveal the awful reality of anti-science activism.

Whoever was under the illusion that organizations the likes of Greenpeace are actual environmentalists who pursue the improvement of human health and biodiversity, will suffer a severe shock from the exchange included in the Addendum video. Sebastian Theissing-Matei, spokesperson for Greenpeace in Austria gave these answers:

Interviewer: In organic shops, I can buy that were produced with radiation of chemicals (sic). Does it make sense to allow one thing, while demonizing the other [GMO foods]?

Theissing-Matei: This is indeed a certain unsharpness which is born historically –  we have to be honest about it.

Interviewer: Shouldn’t Greenpeace also fight against certain types of apples that are being sold in organic shops and that were produced through radiation?

Theissing-Matei: As said, these are types that historically have existed for much longer. There is an unsharpness in the law, no doubt. We always concentrate on the things that are currently political debates.

Interviewer: Should the arguments of Greenpeace not be based on reality, meaning the danger or non-danger and possible utility [of technological progress], and not only on based on what is being discussed in the media?”

Theissing-Matei: We are a political organization. Of course we try to act in the best interest of the environment, but momentarily the political debate is whether or not new methods for genetic modification should be placed under current legislation of genetic modification.....

Greenpeace has more or less consistently refused to accept grants from governments (including the European Union), which does not endanger any of their funding by that token. It would have to be pointed out that the billion-dollar NGO has, in Europe in particular, benefited from financial support from green political parties, which themselves are entirely government-funded.

As for the political debate that the Austrian Greenpeace spokesperson addresses, it is interesting hearing such a thing from this particular organization. As far back as 1996, Greenpeace was seen protesting the arrival or a transport ship in the harbour of Hamburg, Germany, containing “the first set of genetically modified soybeans in Germany”.

The protest had shown its effects: The then German minister for research demanded that producers label all of their foods if they have been genetically modified. So people talk about an issue that Greenpeace raised, and now this is the only topic it can address. Greenpeace is, in a beautiful fashion, fulfilling its own prophecies.

By any means, it is one thing to oppose genetically modified food in 1996 than it is more than 20 years later. The recent Nature-published meta-analysis on genetically engineered maize on agronomic, environmental and toxicological traits shows clearly that insect that do not feed off of maize are not effected, and that genetically modified maize shows considerably lower concentrations of cancer-causing mycotoxins.

But for Greenpeace, it’s not the scientific evidence that counts, but the fear it can spread as an effective business model. This is confirmed in the same Austrian report, by former Greenpeace activist Ludger Wess, who is now a science writer who was one of the first journalists in Europe to cover the emerging biotechnology and high-tech industries:

“Greenpeace was actually open-minded towards the idea of genetically modified foods. They said: “If it’s true that plants become resistant to insects, then that’s great because we’ll use less insecticides. So we’re for it.”

After getting back from a science-conference on genetically modified maize in 1989, Wess returned to Greenpeace:

I came back, armed with a whole suitcase of papers, and after having a lot of conversations with scientists, and they were all able to defuse my worries. I wasn’t convinced anymore that it would be a danger to human health. I told them [Greenpeace]: we cannot continue to claim that genetically modified foods are bad for human health, it’s simply not true.

I was told that Greenpeace would still continue to make that claim, because only if people are in fear over their health or the health of their children, they’ll open their wallets for donations. Everything else, they said, isn’t suitable for campaigns.

Greenpeace has a history of being more interested in publicity than actual constructive debate and informed discussions. Be it violently blocking petrol stations in Luxembourg, aggressively disrupting the work of an oil rig, or even painting a massive roundabout in Berlin yellow, with water-polluting paint, and causing car damages and thousands of euros of cleaning costs: Greenpeace is an attention-seeking, anti-science activist group, that uses the environment as an excuse to propagate it’s illiterate bias against anything that advances human health and nutrition.

Current donors of this organization need to ask themselves the question whether they want to support this self-admitted political organization, which has no regard for the truth.


Bid to limit commercial fishing in Australian marine parks defeated by conservative Coalition

The last Labor government locked up vast areas of Australian waters into marine parks where commercial fishing was banned.  The whole thing was just Green/Left bastardry -- the usual Green/Left desire to  hurt people rather than help nature.

Commercial fisheries in developed countries are normally sustainably managed.  Throughout the world -- for instance in the Mediterranean -- many fisheries have continued in productive  use for hundreds of years or more.  And there is no reason why Australia could not do the same.

As it is, despite the huge area of Australian waters, we have had to import fish, some of it from New Zealand but a lot from third world countries where uncontrolled fishing practices are very destructive of fish stocks.  So the allegedly Green policy has in fact greatly damaged fish stocks overall.  And yet the wreckers want to lock away yet more of a wonderful food source that we have inherited

A push by the Greens and Labor to attempt to force greater protection of fisheries in Australia’s marine parks has failed for the second time.

The parties had vowed to reject controversial management plans for the parks proposed by the Turnbull government. But on Thursday the Senate crossbench combined with the Coalition to defeat disallowance motions on the basis that the parks would then be left with no plans in place and no limits on fishing.

In March the environment minister Josh Frydenberg issued management plans for 44 marine parks to replace Gillard-era plans that were suspended when the Abbott government was elected in 2013.

Frydenberg said the plans were a “more balanced and scientific evidence-based approach to ocean protection” but most environmental groups opposed them warning they would strip more than 35m hectares of “no-take” ocean from the parks, allowing commercial fishing activities in 37 of the 44 parks.

Labor introduced a disallowance motion, supported by the Greens, but it was defeated on 27 March when the government called it on for a sudden vote before the opposition had time to convince four more crossbench senators to support it.

The Greens and Labor this month proposed a series of new disallowance motions for the south-west, north, north-west, temperate east and Coral Sea marine park plans.

On Thursday the disallowance motions were defeated 36 votes to 29, with One Nation, Centre Alliance, and senators Tim Storer, Derryn Hinch, Cory Bernardi and Fraser Anning siding with the Coalition.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, told the Senate the choice was to “reject or reward” the government’s attempts to gut plans put in place by the fishing industry, environmental campaigners and community.

Whish-Wilson said the government had “ignored the advice of their own scientific panel” and 1,400 scientists who signed a petition urging that marine protections not be reduced. He said claims the plans were “balanced” meant the Coalition “giving their stakeholders they represent here, the big end of the fish industry and oil and gas, what they want”.

Labor senator Louise Pratt, the co-sponsor of the disallowances, accused the government of “decimating the original plans worked on for so long by putting their vastly weakened plans forward”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson warned if the Greens got their way on disallowance the marine parks would “go back to no protection, nothing”. “Why throw the baby out with the bath water? There are protections in place now and if you’re not happy with it, work on it in the next parliament.”

The Liberals and Hanson cited the Pew Charitable Trusts - the one major environmental charity that opposes the disallowance - in their reasons for backing the current marine plans.

Bodies representing recreational fishers and the commercial fishing industry welcomed the result. Seafood Industry Australia chief executive Jane Lovell said it meant the “uncertainty that has plagued much of our wild-catch sector is now gone”.


Coral Bleaching Just As Bad Or Worse 400 Years Ago

The Greenie lies about coral bleaching, excerpts:

Large-scale coral bleaching has raised concern about the future of the ecosystems and the impact their loss could have on biodiversity.

The fact that we are seeing an increase in bleaching even in these tough corals highlights just how serious the threat of coral bleaching is. –Dr Sebastian Hennige, researcher

The teams found the frequency of bleaching has increased since the 1800s and, despite corals’ ability to recover, there are fears they could now be approaching a “critical threshold”.

Dr Nick Kamenos from Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences said: “It’s clear in the core data we examined that bleaching has been occurring on the Great Barrier Reef for at least 400 years, but the frequency of bleaching events has increased markedly since the early 1800s and those events have affected 10% more corals since the late 1700s.

The facts:

The claim that the frequency of bleaching events has increased markedly since the early 1800s is an utterly dishonest one. Here is the actual graph from the paper itself:

The relevant chart is “B”, which shows the number of years in each decade when at least 20% of corals were affected.

As you can see, although there has been a rise since 1800, there is little difference between recent decades and the 18thC. Indeed bleaching was far worse in the 1890s and 1750s.

Worse still for the alarmists, chart “C” shows little change in the percentage of corals bleached per decade.

There is the usual nonsense about how things will get much worse. But the actual facts show a completely different picture.




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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