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Archives - August 2007

August 31, 2007

Um... no: "Global warming – who pays and when?" - "The economics of climate change is driving what kind of pact nations may be willing to make." (The Christian Science Monitor)

The only real question is which leader will have the courage and honesty to stand against the stampeding herd and admit we don't have a known climate catastrophe looming, don't really know what the global temperature is, what it should be or how to knowingly and predictably adjust it even if we decided good reason existed to attempt to do so?

So, who will put their hand up? Who will lead mankind away from the abyss?

"George Monbiot: zero emissions by 2030" - "Many people in the global warming movement have lost their minds. For example, we have seen that Al Gore and James Hansen predict 82-feet rise in the sea level. There's a huge competition between these folks.

George Monbiot wants to promote his new book so he doesn't want to stay behind. Instead, he wants to remain the number 1 "moonbat" as people outside his movement call him. What can he do to achieve this non-trivial goal and beat his tough competition?" (The Reference Frame)

"Deferred Forecasts Of Global Warming - An Example Of The Misuse of Science" - "A blatant example of masking an untested hypothesis as a scientific paper has been published in Science. The paper is “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model” Doug M. Smith, Stephen Cusack, Andrew W. Colman, Chris K. Folland, Glen R. Harris, and James M. Murphy (10 August 2007) Science 317 (5839), 796. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1139540]." (Climate Science)

That poor virtual world, again: "NASA study predicts more severe storms with global warming" - "NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms. 

Previous climate model studies have shown that heavy rainstorms will be more common in a warmer climate, but few global models have attempted to simulate the strength of updrafts in these storms. The model developed at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies by researchers Tony Del Genio, Mao-Sung Yao, and Jeff Jonas is the first to successfully simulate the observed difference in strength between land and ocean storms and is the first to estimate how the strength will change in a warming climate, including “severe thunderstorms” that also occur with significant wind shear and produce damaging winds at the ground. This information can be derived from the temperatures and humidities predicted by a climate computer model, according to the new study published on August 17 in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters. It predicts that in a warmer climate, stronger and more severe storms can be expected, but with fewer storms overall." (NASA/GSFC)

"When climate patterns line up and 'beat' in sync, it can change everything" - "Most climatologists believe a rise in global temperatures has been going on for more than a century. But the warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of other fluctuations. Every few decades, the Earth's climate appears to undergo a major shift. 

Temperature trends reverse, from warmer periods with frequent and strong El Niños, to relatively cooler, stable eras and vice versa. It's as if someone flips a switch. 

The shifts have profound impacts on regional climates. Storm patterns are altered, long stretches of relatively wet or dry years end, and new periods with opposite conditions dawn." (Union-Tribune)

"Soggy summer set to enter the record books" - "You probably thought so, and now it's official – the summer which finishes today has been the wettest since British records began, the Met Office has said.

Provisional rainfall figures up to Tuesday show that the UK as a whole had 358.5mm of rain, just beating the previous record of 358.4mm set in 1956.

Since it is such a narrow margin between the figures, and further rainfall data has to be gathered, summer 2007 – defined as June, July and August – might yet end up being the second wettest since the UK rainfall series began in 1914. But the previous second-wettest summer, 1985, when 342.7mm of rain fell, has already been surpassed by a considerable margin.

"These figures confirm what most people have already been thinking – this summer has been very disappointing for most," said Keith Groves, the Met Office's head of forecasting." (London Independent)

"Scientists find elusive waves in sun's corona" - "Scientists for the first time have observed elusive oscillations in the Sun's corona, known as Alfvén waves, that transport energy outward from the surface of the Sun. The discovery is expected to give researchers more insight into the fundamental behavior of solar magnetic fields, eventually leading to a fuller understanding of how the Sun affects Earth and the solar system." (NCAR)

"Major implications from our analysis of 20 yrs of global warming perceptions" - "Here are the major implications from our study analyzing twenty years of American public opinion data on global warming:
3. Global warming remains very much a public communication problem. 

Scientists, environmental groups, and some Democratic leaders have been very good at mobilizing a certain baseline level of urgency, but if the rest of the public is going to be activated, new media platforms, opinion leaders, and frames will have to be employed. For more, see the recent articles published at Science and at the Washington Post." ( Matthew C. Nisbet, Framing Science)

Actually gorebull warming is strictly a public miscommunication problem! The public have been mislead to believe climate stasis is possible, even 'normal' and that whatever the temperature was before industrialisation was optimal.

"Scientists warm up to Watts' work" - "For a weatherman who has spent most of his career in front of a TV camera or radio microphone, Anthony Watts was a little concerned about speaking in front of dozens of scientists. 

"Although I'm great at giving a weather forecast, I'm a little rusty giving a scientific presentation," Watts said Friday. 

During a scientific workshop this week in Boulder, Colo., Watts presented his research on hundreds of weather stations used to help monitor the nation's climate. 

The preliminary results show Watts and his volunteers have surveyed about a quarter of the 1,221 stations making up the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. Of those, more than half appear to fall short of federal guidelines for optimum placement." (Enterprise Record)

Demonstrating there's pretty much nothing people can't or won't attribute to 'climate change': "Climate change could be causing cougar attacks: expert" - "CANMORE, Alta. -- A combination of warm winters and Alberta's population boom is causing a recent jump in cougar attacks, says a spokesman for the government agency that collects cougar-related data." (CanWest News Service)

"Sea to "Engulf" Tract of China's Pearl River Delta" - "BEIJING - A huge swathe of China's booming Pearl River Delta will be "engulfed" by rising sea water by the middle of the century because of global warming, state media said on Thursday, quoting weather officials." (Reuters)

"Chinese industrial expansion threatened by global warming" - "The huge industrial zone at the heart of the "Made in China" economic miracle is directly threatened by global warming, which could lead to it being inundated by sea water, scientists have warned." (London Telegraph)

Playing to misanthropist greenies: "China Says One-Child Policy Helps Protect Climate" - "VIENNA - China says its one-child policy has helped the fight against global warming by avoiding 300 million births, the equivalent of the population of the United States." (Reuters)

"Global food crisis looms as climate change and population growth strip fertile land" - "Climate change and an increasing population could trigger a global food crisis in the next half century as countries struggle for fertile land to grow crops and rear animals, scientists warned yesterday." (The Guardian)

Better crank up biotechnology then, eh?

"Rich Countries Deadlocked Over 2020 Climate Goals" - "VIENNA - Industrial nations were deadlocked on Thursday about whether to set stringent 2020 goals for cutting greenhouse gases at a first UN session about long-term climate targets, delegates said." (Reuters)

"Malaysia criticises APEC climate change agenda" - "RAWANG, Malaysia - Malaysia said on Thursday Australia and the United States should not hijack next week's summit of Asia-Pacific leaders to discuss climate change, saying it was not the right forum." (Reuters)

"EU and UN Agree Long-Awaited Carbon Market Link" - "LONDON/BRUSSELS - A long-awaited trading link between carbon markets in the European Union and under the UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol on global warming should be completed in November, EU and UN officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

D'oh! "Wind farm cash-in for renewable energy companies" - "Energy companies are cashing in on Government subsidies by building wind farms that will never make any money because they are being constructed on sites with not enough wind, it has been claimed. 

Despite Britain being the windiest nation in Europe, some farms are proposed for sites where companies have exaggerated their potential, a BBC investigation alleged.

To meet EU targets for renewable energy, the Government has subsidised the wind turbine industry by half a billion pounds. Yet companies have not managed to deliver even 0.5 per cent of Britain's electricity needs. (London Telegraph)

"The OPA's nuclear vision" - "Proposal to energy regulator would end coal-fired power generation by 2015." (Toronto Star)

"Green Groups Seek Freeze on Canada Arctic Pipelines" - "CALGARY, Alberta - Regulators should slap a moratorium on pipelines in Canada's North because governments and oil companies have not planned for long-term environmental impacts, a green-group representative said Thursday." (Reuters)

"The great submarine burp: Methane from the oceans could power the world" - "MUCH effort is quietly going into the pursuit of what is probably the world’s greatest store of fossil fuel—caches of methane, the primary component of natural gas, stored in structures called methane hydrates, or clathrates (a general term for gas molecules trapped by water molecules). Looking just like ice, they are methane molecules trapped within tiny cages of water molecules. They form where temperatures are low and pressures are high, which is to say, on the sea-floor at the continental shelves, and within the permafrost at the Earth’s poles.

As with all fossil-fuel resources, it is hard to estimate just how much methane is trapped in clathrates worldwide. But there is a lot. One litre of clathrates can hold more than 150 litres of methane. Numerous deposits have been identified off the coasts of all of the continents. Even a few of the lakes in Central Asia are just frosty enough to support clathrate formation. Some guess that clathrate methane reserves could equal twice the rest of the world’s fossil fuel supplies combined." (Economist.com)

"Iowa State researcher studies the sustainability of the bioeconomy" - "This spring farmers responded to the ethanol industry's demand for grain by increasing their corn acreage by 19 percent over last year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. 

What if that happens again next year?" (Iowa State University)

Hmm... "Bigfoot May Gain Protection by Canadian Parliament" - "A member of the Canadian Mounted Police by the name of Mike Lake has officially notified the Canadian Parliament that he believes that Bigfoot should be added to the Nation's, Species at Risk Act. This is similar to the Endangered Species List in the United States." (Associated Content)

The last time this surfaced we seem to recall it was a public petition presented to a sitting member that required this be presented to parliament, now it's allegedly a Mounty (Mounties always get their Sasquatch?)...

"Breeders fortifying wheat with consumers in mind" - "AMARILLO -- Wheat breeders are working to put a "little muscle" into bread, in addition to helping producers get better yields, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher. 

Bread producers need stronger gluten flours, said Dr. Jackie Rudd, Experiment Station state wheat breeder in Amarillo. Gluten is the protein in wheat that allows bread to expand and hold the shape. 

At a meeting of the Wheat Quality Council, Hayden Wands, director of procurement for Sara Lee Corp. said flours with a stronger gluten are needed for breads to ensure they will not squash during stacking on the grocery shelves, Rudd said." (Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications)

August 30, 2007

"The Australian Warming Swindle debate" - "Martin Durkin is not necessarily 100% saint, his documentary wasn't 100% free of errors, and his answers are not quite 100% perfect. But look how he was treated in Australia after his The Great Global Warming Swindle was aired by ABC, the Australian TV station, on July 12th:" (The Reference Frame)

Oh boy... "Mankind to Blame for Warming but Can Slow Damage - UN" - "VIENNA - Mankind is to blame for climate change but governments still have time to slow accelerating damage at moderate cost if they act quickly, a draft UN report shows. (Reuters)

... those marvelous magical multiplier effects again -- what a pity they haven't been found to exist in the real world.

Bottom line: we don't really know what the current temperature is, we don't know what it was and we don't know what it "should be". We most assuredly can not knowingly and predictably change it and we have no real idea whether avoiding some amount of warming would be better than encouraging it.

"Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory" - "Comprehensive survey of published climate research reveals changing viewpoints

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the "consensus view," defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes' work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising. (Daily Tech)

The Hansen phenomenon (Number Watch)

Whassa matter, Albert? "India tribe to honor Al Gore on global warming" - "GUWAHATI, India - Tribal people in India's remote northeast plan to honor former U.S. Vice President Al Gore with an award for promoting awareness on climate change that they say will have a devastating impact on their homeland." (Reuters)

Not enough cash in it for you?

The chieftains have invited Gore to their remote village for the award ceremony on Oct 6 where they expect 300,000 local people to attend. The award will consist of some traditional gifts and a "small amount of money".

A spokeswoman for Gore said he was "very humbled" to hear of the award but did not know whether he would be able to attend the ceremony.

We hear Al won't front for anything under US$100,000 these days and that only gets you an hour of the big fellow's time.

Oh boy... "Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers" - "The industry still has a lot of power to influence people. How about if newspapers abandon their old way of doing things when it comes to the issue of global warming, and turn their influence to good?" (Steve Outing, Editor & Publisher)

We generally find media coverage of gorebull warming more objectionable than objective. If it were objective it would point out that total net estimated change in global mean temperature since the Industrial Revolution is in the order of 0.2% (0.7/288 K) and that global mean temperature varies almost 1.5% through the normal course of the year (from NCDC monthly averages that is 287 ± 2 K). Those are just the averages although year to year variation can be much, much larger.

Objective coverage would be that we think there has been a minor change in the global mean temperature but, unless you live at that hypothetical location "globally averaged," this has no relevance to you.

Anyone expect to see such objective coverage any time soon? Us neither.

More: "Minister: Forecasts should highlight climate change" - "Environment Minister John Gormley today urged weather forecasters to flag up the impact of climate change during their reports on television and radio.

The Green Party leader also launched a broadside at sections of the media for being ignorant about global warming or allowing "flat earther" sceptics to air their views." (Online Ireland)

"Climate change impact worsening, Ireland getting wetter: report" - "DUBLIN - Climate change is affecting Ireland at an increasingly rapid pace, the country's Environment Minister John Gormley said Wednesday, as he launched a major report on the issue.

Gormley, one of two Green Party ministers in Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's coalition government, was unveiling a study from the country's Environmental Protection Agency on key meteorological indicators of climate change.

The report says that Ireland's average annual temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees centigrade between 1890 and 2004." (AFP)

That's funny, scatter plotting data from Armagh Observatory fails to reveal any precipitation temperature correlation.

From Precipitation at Armagh Observatory 1838-1997: "We note a roughly constant upward trend, with a slope of +0.0039 ±0.001mm/day/yr, in annual precipitation from the beginning of the series until approximately 1960. The only really significant departure from this trend is the dip in rainfall around 1890 close to, but possibly a little later than, a dip in mean air temperature. The generally upward trend in both mean air temperature and rainfall over the period 1890–1950 could be explained by the increased evaporation rate over the Atlantic as air temperature rises. A similar explanation would presumably be viable for the dip in temperature and precipitation around 1890. Between 1850 and 1880 the approximate correspondence between precipitation and temperature breaks down, with temperature around 1850 higher and rainfall lower than average. After 1970 the precipitation drops significantly and thereafter remains roughly at the level recorded at the beginning of the series." [em added]

"More On Another Climate Forcing Effect - Ozone" - "There is a paper in Nature which discusses an effect of increased ozone on the carbon assimilation and release into the atmosphere. The paper is S. Sitch, P. M. Cox, W. J. Collins and C. Huntingford, 2007: Indirect radiative forcing of climate change through ozone effects on the land-carbon sink, Nature 448, 791-794 (16 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06059; Received 9 September 2006; Accepted 3 July 2007; Published online 25 July 2007" (Climate Science)

"Hurricanes Down Under" - "For a variety of reasons, most of the research we have reviewed has been conducted in the Northern Hemisphere on tropical cyclone trends that have occurred in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the Southern Hemisphere gets its fair share of tropical cyclones, and the global warming supporters do not differentiate hemispherically in their never-ending claims that elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases will cause an increase in tropical cyclone frequency and/or intensity. 

An interesting article has appeared in Earth and Planetary Science Letters regarding tropical cyclone activity in northeastern Australia over the past eight centuries. Eight centuries? A researcher would need to be very clever to figure out the number of large tropical cyclones that occurred every year from AD 1226 to AD 2003 in northeastern Australia." (WCR)

"Predictions Off for Global Warming Flood Risk - Study" - "LONDON - Current predictions for global warming underestimate the risk of floods and overestimate the impact of droughts by not taking into account the role plants play in absorbing carbon dioxide, researchers said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Climate change on APEC agenda: Hu" - "CLIMATE change is a priority for Beijing and should be on the agenda at the Asia-Pacific leaders summit next week, China's President Hu Jintao said during a phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister John Howard." (The Australian)

"Harper to seek breakthrough on climate change when APEC leaders meet" - "OTTAWA — Canadian officials are hoping that Prime Minister Stephen Harper can help broker a breakthrough in global negotiations on climate change at next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney, Australia." (CanWest News Service)

"No Sign of US Carbon Trading Consensus - Watson" - "VIENNA - It will be very difficult to reach agreement on a carbon market for the United States as there is no sign of consensus between regional schemes, the US chief climate negotiator said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"US Praises Developing Nations' Climate Curbs" - "VIENNA - The United States praised developing nations' efforts to curb greenhouse gases on Wednesday, a marked shift from its usual call for big emitters such as China and India to do more to fight global warming." (Reuters)

"U.S. Plays Down Split With EU on Climate" - " The United States and Europe are working together to tackle global warming, the chief U.S. climate negotiator said Wednesday, deflecting growing criticism within the EU and the developing world over Washington's perceived go-it-alone stance." (AP)

We could wish... "Global warming could delay next ice age: study" - "Burning fossil fuels could postpone the next ice age by up to half a million years, researchers at a British university said Wednesday." (AFP)

"Climate change causing Arctic ice meltdown" - "BOULDER, Colo. -- This summer's record melt of Arctic sea ice has unlocked the fabled Northwest Passage shipping route more completely than ever before, says the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

"It's open," said Mark Serreze, of the research institute in Boulder, Colo. "It's unprecedented. You could take a ship from Tokyo through the Northwest Passage to Boston. Not a Sunday cruise, but it has started to happen." (CanWest News Service)

"Is a zero-carbon Britain possible?" - "This week the Liberal Democrats unveiled plans to eliminate our greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Leo Hickman considers the implications." (The Guardian)

Imagine that... "More people, more concrete, and lots more heat in Phoenix" - "An 'urban heat island' effect, fed by the city's growth, is trapping heat and making temperatures soar." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Fighting climate change like crime" - "Should the California attorney general be a crusader on climate change? If not, what should be a bigger priority for him? All this week, Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, and Ventura City Manager Rick Cole debate the state's role in pushing local government to do better in planning for global warming." (LA Times)

Eye-roller: "Climate Report May Have Cut Katrina Impact - Analyst" - "WASHINGTON - Hurricane Katrina might have caused less damage if the Bush administration had completed a required report of US vulnerability to global warming before the storm hit, an environmental policy analyst said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Sigh... "The great global coal rush puts us on the fast track to irreversible disaster" - "The dirtiest fossil fuel of all is on the resurgent, dressed in climate-friendly garb. We'd be wise not to flirt with it." (John Harris, The Guardian)

"Low-emission coal test success" - "AUSTRALIA will have a blueprint for a near-zero-emission coal-fired power plant by the end of next year after drill tests proved the central Queensland coal and gas fields could safely store greenhouse gas underground." (The Australian)

"Japan tries to bury CO2 emission problem" - "Japan is digging in deep to curb its carbon dioxide emissions--a kilometer into the ground to be more precise. 

The Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) based in Kizugawa, Kyoto Prefecture, is developing technology to store carbon dioxide underground before the greenhouse gas is emitted into the atmosphere. 

The plan is for the geological sequestration technology to be adopted at power plants, steel works, cement factories and other facilities that emit large amounts of CO2. 

The biggest hurdle is the cost." (Asahi Shimbun)

"Volcanic Activity Key to Oxygen-rich Atmosphere" - "Next time you catch a breath, be thankful, for a change, that the Earth's surface is dotted with volcanoes." (NSF)

"Arsenic in Water a Risk to 140 Million People" - "LONDON - Naturally-occurring arsenic in drinking water poses a growing global health risk as large numbers of people unknowingly consume unsafe levels of the chemical element, researchers said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Discovery could help stop malaria at its source -- the mosquito" - "As summer temperatures cool in the United States, fewer mosquitoes whir around our tiki torches. But mosquitoes swarming around nearly 40 percent of the world’s population will continue to spread a deadly parasitic disease — malaria. Now an interdisciplinary team led by researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found a key link that causes malarial infection in both humans and mosquitoes." (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

"Keeping Romania impoverished" - "For decades, Nazi and Communist regimes ruled Romania, kept her people impoverished and exploited her resources – tearing vast mineral wealth from her mountains, with little regard for worker safety, people’s health or the environment. When the Soviet Empire collapsed, Romania eagerly embraced a more hopeful future and embarked on a course to join the European Union. 

Life has improved for many, especially in cities like Bucharest. But Romania remains one of the EU’s poorest nations, and valleys that once echoed with the shouts of workers and roar of heavy equipment are now silent. Over 300,000 miners are jobless. Their villages have descended into squalor, misery and despondency that have no historic parallel. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

Get the Mine Your Own Business DVD at the DemandDebate.com Store

"The Green Regulatory State" - "Over the years, the environmental lobby has advanced a considerable number of laws—leading to the passage of hundreds of environmental statutes. But the legacy does not end there; a great many of these laws require federal agencies to issue regulations on an ongoing basis. The following analysis employs several tools to assess the scope and growth of the environmental regulatory state. It shows that environmental regulations comprise a considerable size of the total federal regulatory agenda, and the impact expands annually in the absence of congressional activity." (Angela Logomasini, CEI)

"You're likely to order more calories at a 'healthy' restaurant" - "An important new study from the Journal of Consumer Research explains the “American obesity paradox”: the parallel rise in obesity rates and the popularity of healthier food. In a series of four studies, the researchers reveal that we over-generalize “healthy” claims. In fact, consumers chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main dish was positioned as “healthy”." (University of Chicago)

"For the Overweight, Bad Advice by the Spoonful" - "Americans have been getting fatter for years, and with the increase in waistlines has come a surplus of conventional wisdom. If we could just return to traditional diets, if we just walk for 20 minutes a day, exercise gurus and government officials maintain, America’s excess pounds would slowly but surely melt away.

Scientists are less sanguine. Many of the so-called facts about obesity, they say, amount to speculation or oversimplification of the medical evidence. Diet and exercise do matter, they now know, but these environmental influences alone do not determine an individual’s weight. Body composition also is dictated by DNA and monitored by the brain. Bypassing these physical systems is not just a matter of willpower." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"The War on (Expensive) Drugs" - "On the surface, it makes perfect sense. Prescriptions for hormone-replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause plummeted after interim results from a big government study of the drugs showed they were causing heart attacks. But beneath the surface is another, lesser known story. In the five years since federal researchers first unveiled their results, a series of follow-up studies calculated off the same government data found that many of the initial conclusions were premature, indefinite or just plain wrong.

The $725 million Women's Health Initiative was rooted in some good intentions, but was set against a backdrop of fiscal and political bickering over the efficacy of the costly drugs. Unfortunately, this influenced not only how the findings were computed but also how they were received. As this newspaper's Tara Parker-Pope first reported in July, when initial results confirmed populist refrains that the drugs were being overused, the data were rushed to print with a carefully orchestrated PR blitz, while subsequent efforts to test the initial conclusions were sluggish.

Federal researchers refused to share bottom-line results, even with outside academics or the companies that manufactured the drugs. This allowed them to closely guard their monopoly over the original data and therefore the prerogative to publish follow-up findings. It's a sure bet if the data had been more widely shared, important analyses that debunked some of the initial conclusions would have come to light much sooner.

And unless something is done to make sure that data is shared, there will be many similarly flawed government studies to test the efficacy of drug treatments, especially the politically popular "comparative" studies that pit expensive new medicines against older, cheaper alternatives with the aim of cutting health-care spending." (Scott Gottlieb, Wall Street Journal)

"Ingsoc" - "The latest issue of Health Freedom Watch, published by the Institute for Health Freedom, has a “this couldn’t happen in America” story. 

The IHF reported that “the Minnesota Department of Health has been collecting and storing blood and DNA material on newborn babies without their parents’ consent.” The Citizens’ Council on Health Care (CCHC), a health-policy organization based in Minnesota, discovered that the health department has been illegally collecting DNA material for ten years and has DNA on at least 670,000 babies which it is giving away for genetic research." (Junkfood Science)

Be aware this is based on a Nude Socialist item... "New doubts raised over mobile phone safety" - "Just five minutes of exposure to mobile phone emissions can trigger changes that occur during cancer development, according to new research. 

Scientists found mobile signals can activate cell division – central to the growth of tumours - even at very low power levels. 

Government guidance that mobile phone use is safe is based on the mainstream scientific assumption that electromagnetic radiation from devices such as mobiles could only cause health hazards as a result of heating. 

The new research, highlighted in this week’s New Scientist, supports the position of some researchers who argue handsets can trigger potentially harmful changes to cells irrespective of temperature changes. 

However other scientists said cell division is a natural process that occurs constantly in the body and does not usually signify health hazards." (London Telegraph)

... thus raising significant credibility concerns.

"Monsanto Stays Course Despite French GMO Attacks" - "PARIS - Fresh attacks on Monsanto's French test sites for genetically modified (GMO) maize have not put it off research in France, the US biotech giant said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

August 29, 2007

"Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?" - "The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on the Hillsdale College campus on June 30, 2007, during a seminar entitled “Economics and the Environment,” sponsored by the Charles R. and Kathleen K. Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence." (Imprimis)

"Not So Hot" - "The latest twist in the global warming saga is the revision in data at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, indicating that the warmest year on record for the U.S. was not 1998, but rather 1934 (by 0.02 of a degree Celsius).

Canadian and amateur climate researcher Stephen McIntyre discovered that NASA made a technical error in standardizing the weather air temperature data post-2000. These temperature mistakes were only for the U.S.; their net effect was to lower the average temperature reading from 2000-2006 by 0.15C.

The new data undermine another frightful talking point from environmentalists, which is that six of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1990. Wrong. NASA now says six of the 10 warmest years were in the 1930s and 1940s, and that was before the bulk of industrial CO2 emissions were released into the atmosphere." (Wall Street Journal) | .pdf version for the access-impaired.

"How not to measure temperature - part 30" - "Russ Steele is out on vacation and doing several surveys while traveling. This one below is from St. George, UT. Here we see an MMTS measuring the temperature near the surface of an elevated parking lot. The effect of the asphalt and vehicles that park near it, engine forward, probably dwarfs the effect of the nearby a/c unit. The shading may help daytime temps some, but the asphalt likely biases Tmin the most." (Watts Up With That?)

Uh-huh... "Greenhouse Gases Fueled 2006 US Warmth - Report" - "WASHINGTON - Greenhouse gas emissions -- not El Nino or other natural phenomena -- pushed US temperatures for 2006 close to a record high, government climate scientists reported on Tuesday." (Reuters)

We wonder how they'd know. The mid-troposphere track over the 48 states is, uh, volatile, to be sure (influence of a meandering jet stream? Hard to say). Additionally, the surveys done by volunteers for surfacestations.org, coordinated by Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That?), do not inspire great confidence in our ability to track trivial trends in surface measures. Particularly since Captain Jimmy Hansen of The Space Cadets points out there is no standard definition of what we are trying to measure or how to go about doing so (Captain Jimmy! Captain Jimmy! What should we do?).

"Regional climate forecasts" - "Rasmus Benestad wrote a long article about the predicted impact of a hypothetical climate change on individual regions. In the context of the IPCC, this question is discussed in chapter 11 of the report of the first working group. Rasmus argues that it is very hard for the existing models to predict regional changes but he overwhelms us with a lot of unreliable information collected from random modelers at random places anyway." (The Reference Frame)

"Are Media Reporting Global Warming Too Objectively or Inhibiting Free Speech?" - "In the past couple of days, there have been two articles written about how the media are covering global warming.

In one, the author contended that the press are acting to inhibit free speech by exclusively reporting one side of the climate change issue as they castigate skeptics as deniers and operatives of the oil industry.

By contrast, another article suggested that the press in their attempts to appear objective are not doing a good enough job stressing the dire nature of global warming, and should be taking a much stronger position as advocate for the supposed consensus." (News Busters)

"Global Warming at Church: Religious Leaders Spread Word of the Gore" - "There are many climate change skeptics around the world who have suggested that global warming is a new religion being spread by hysterical zealots like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore." (News Busters)

"The Sad Legacy Of David Suzuki" - "A religious fervor for protecting nature has transformed Canada’s leading environmentalist into an emotional bully intolerant of scientists who don’t see things his way. Over the years I’ve heard and read statements by David Suzuki that are too often misleading or incorrect, especially about climate. He, and many like him, claim natural events are unnatural thus guaranteeing that they appear right. What he conveniently overlooks, and may have learned had he remained a scientist rather than becoming an activist, is that nature and climate frequently change dramatically and in very short time periods." (Timothy Ball, Orato)

"John Blakeley: Kyoto faces major world opposition" - "The outcomes of two international meetings next month may determine whether the Kyoto Protocol lasts even one full year into its five-year commitment period that starts in January." (New Zealand Herald)

"Climate change can't bog down APEC" - "NEXT week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum meeting in Sydney won't be its last, but if we accept Kevin Rudd's view of the world then, like John Howard, its days may be numbered." (The Australian)

"Crisis After Kyoto Confronted" - "VIENNA - Human-made emissions of greenhouse gases believed to provoke damaging climate change must peak in the next 10 to 15 years, and be reduced afterwards by well over 50 percent from current levels until 2050, a top UN climate official said here Tuesday." (IPS)

<chuckle> "U.N Says Climate Deal in 2009 Ideal, But Complex" - "VIENNA - The UN's top climate official said on Tuesday that agreeing a global deal by the end of 2009 to combat climate change would be ideal but noted much needs to be done." (Reuters)

"China, Japan have more than climate in mind for Merkel trip - Feature" - "Beijing/Tokyo - The battle against global warming is the focal point of German chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to China and Japan. But her hosts in Beijing and Tokyo appear to have a different agenda on their minds." (DPA)

"Wen to Merkel: Mind Your Own Business" - "Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel encouraged China’s Premier Wen Jiabao to do more to stop climate change. “The Chinese wish, like all people, for blue skies, green hills and clear water,” Wen said at a joint news conference in Beijing. Then, the “People’s Premier” told the Germans—and by implication, everyone else—to mind their own business. He essentially said that China must finish its industrialization before it can consider minimizing its impact on world climate. “China has taken part of the responsibility for climate change for only 30 years while industrial countries have grown fast for the last 200 years,” he said.

China does not have a severely degraded environment—the world’s worst—because it is industrializing. And it’s not because of a shortage of money—China possesses the world’s largest pile of foreign currency reserves, now in excess of $1.3 trillion. Nor is it due to a lack of technology: China already possesses much of the know-how, and foreign governments and companies are tripping over themselves to supply what it does not now have.

The country has polluted its land, water, and air because its political system has prevented its disgusted and frustrated citizenry from stopping the damage. The Communist Party’s bottom-up patronage system rewards economic growth at any price, providing an incentive to dump raw sewage, scatter industrial waste, and release toxic smoke. Beijing’s leaders are afraid that an economic slowdown will lead to the collapse of the one-party state." (Commentary Magazine)

"Energy Efficiency Seen Easiest Path to Aid Climate" - "VIENNA - Energy efficiency for power plants, cars or homes is the easiest way to slow global warming in a long-term investment shift that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, the United Nations said on Tuesday. 

A UN report about climate investments, outlined to a meeting in Vienna of 1,000 delegates from 158 nations, also said emissions of greenhouse gases could be curbed more cheaply in developing nations than in rich states in coming decades." (Reuters)

This should help demonstrate the stupidity of gorebull warming hysteria: "Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change" - "EVER since “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore has been the darling of environmentalists, but that movie hardly endeared him to the animal rights folks. According to them, the most inconvenient truth of all is that raising animals for meat contributes more to global warming than all the sport utility vehicles combined. 

The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.

More gibbering nitwittery: "Lib Dems see zero-carbon Britain setting the global green agenda" - "The Liberal Democrat leadership yesterday outlined a vision of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050 when it published the most ambitious blueprint for climate change reform ever produced by a mainstream political party. Citing extreme weather events such as the Australian drought, the destruction of New Orleans by a hurricane, warm winters in Canada, and Britain's summer floods, Sir Menzies Campbell insisted that climate change was finally moving up the political agenda worldwide. "This time it's different," he told a press conference in London." (The Guardian)

"The looming food crisis" - "Aug 29 2007: Land that was once used to grow food is increasingly being turned over to biofuels. This may help us to fight global warming - but it is driving up food prices throughout the world and making life increasingly hard in developing countries. Add in water shortages, natural disasters and an ever-rising population, and what you have is a recipe for disaster. John Vidal reports." (The Guardian)

"Wind farm debate split environmentalists" - "Long Island's half-decade tango with offshore wind power tested the definition of the term environmentalist, pitting fervent advocates for green power against potential supporters who wanted stronger assurances about the project's potential impact on birds, bats and fish.

After the controversial project was terminated last week, the wind farm's strongest advocates seemed divided on whether the $800 million price tag should have been the deciding factor given the global warming crisis. Meanwhile, those who always questioned whether the proper studies would ever be done to know the project's environmental impacts pointed to divisions in the community that question the claim the wind-farm was done in by a horde of NIMBYs." (Newsday)

D'oh! "Antarctic Ozone Hole Appears Early in 2007 - UN" - "GENEVA - A hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica has appeared earlier than usual in 2007, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday. 

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said it would not be clear for several weeks whether the ozone hole, which is expected to continue growing until early October, would be larger than its record size in 2006. 

"It is still too early to give a definitive statement about the development of this year's ozone hole and the degree of ozone loss that will occur. This will, to a large extent, depend on the meteorological conditions," the Geneva-based agency said." (Reuters)

It's true that conditions have been cold in the southern hemisphere winter and that the so-called 'ozone whole' is strongly cold associated. The environmental lore about it being significant to life on Earth is another matter, however, as is human culpability.

Misguidance from 'experts'... marvelous! "Warming-Fueled Hurricanes Need New Tactics - Experts" - "WASHINGTON - Global warming is expected to cause more severe hurricanes, and that means US communities will need new tactics to minimize storm damage, emergency preparedness experts said on Monday." (Reuters)

Yelling 'Fire!' again: "Forecast: Storm Warning" - "Their names are seared into the minds of those who lived through them. Andrew. Charley. Hugo. Ivan. Rita. And, of course, Katrina." (Center for American Progress)

"GMA Gets Its Fill of Food Police" - "Much like tasty snacks, the networks can never stop their addiction to “food police” groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest.Yesterday morning it was Good Morning America that was shilling for them, saying, “Did you realize you were paying more for less food?” 

What was the target this time? The 100 calorie “snack packs,” that CSPI themselves have fought for. CSPI is upset about the cost, even though companies have gone out of their way to create less fattening snacks, (in smaller portions, and with some new recipes)." (News Busters)

August 28, 2007

The further adventures of Captain Hansen of The Space Cadets: "NASA's Hansen Reaches Escape Velocity" - "James Hansen, NASA's True Believer in the global warming credo, has just been quoted by the Globe & Mail of Canada as follows: 

"Prof. Hansen and his colleagues argue that rapidly melting ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland could cause oceans to swell several metres by 2100 - or maybe even as much as 25 metres, which is how much higher the oceans sat about three million years ago." 

In an email to the Globe and Mail, Hansen writes

"If we follow 'business-as-usual' growth of greenhouse gas emissions... I think that we will lock in a guaranteed sea-level rise of several meters, which, frankly, means that all hell is going to break loose."

For all you non-metric folks, 25 meters equals 82 feet, or about as high as an eight-story building. "Several meters" is only about 9-15 feet. That's the wall of water that is going to drown all the coastal plains of the world if Hansen's predictions come to pass." (James Lewis, American Thinker)

Hmm... we're starting to wonder whether the most significant climate feedback loop might not be Hansen beginning to believe his own press and using his press releases as input into his computer games, which then produce even more, uh... interesting results and more press releases.

"IPCC Member: NASA’s Hansen Moving 'Dangerously Away From Scientific Discourse to Advocacy'" - "NASA's James Hansen, whose work is continually exposed as shoddy while he refuses to share data gathering techniques and computer codes used for such things with others, has been criticized by a contributing scientist to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as moving "dangerously away from scientific discourse to advocacy." (News Busters)

"Hansen: all hell is going to break loose" - "Will oceans surge 82 feet or 97 miles?" (The Reference Frame)

"We Have Never Been at War with Eastasia" - "In this commendably balanced story by New York Times journalist Andy Revkin about the recent NASA temperature data fiasco, a certain someone at NASA plays a Jedi mind trick:" (Iain Murray, Planet Gore)

"A Denier's Confession: Global warming is more alarmist than alarming" - "The recent discovery by a retired businessman and climate kibitzer named Stephen McIntyre that 1934--and not 1998 or 2006--was the hottest year on record in the U.S. could not have been better timed. August is the month when temperatures are high and the news cycle is slow, leading, inevitably, to profound meditations on global warming. Newsweek performed its journalistic duty two weeks ago with an exposé on what it calls the global warming "denial machine." I hereby perform mine with a denier's confession

I confess: I am prepared to acknowledge that Mr. McIntyre's discovery amounts to what a New York Times reporter calls a "statistically meaningless" rearrangement of data.

But just how "meaningless" would this have seemed had it yielded the opposite result? Had Mr. McIntyre found that a collation error understated recent temperatures by 0.15 degrees Celsius (instead of overstating it by that amount, as he discovered), would the news coverage have differed in tone and approach? When it was reported in January that 2006 was one of the hottest years on record, NASA's James Hansen used the occasion to warn grimly that "2007 is likely to be warmer than 2006." Yet now he says, in connection to the data revision, that "in general I think we want to avoid going into more and more detail about ranking of individual years." (Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal)

Has anyone seen any sign of the MSM picking up on a major incongruity in all this? Note that we agree a change in the assessed temperature of -0.15 kelvins for a chunk of the planet is statistically meaningless (its expected temperature being about 288 K). The difficulty we have is finding anything to get excited about a temperature change from 1938 to 1998 of a mere few thousandths of a kelvin either way. This is "catastrophic warming"? Oh puh-lease!

"Forensic Climatology and the Central England Temperature (CET) record" - "A very welcome guest post by Willis Eschenbach which raises questions over the UK's long running temperature record." (An Englishman's Castle)

"$500 million worth of eco-hypocrisy" - "Like Hillary Clinton, Al Gore's paranoid tendencies are rarely far below the surface. Where Hillary likes to invoke the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy as her personal bogeyman, Al Gore likes to invoke the 'well-funded climate denial industry' as his arch-enemy. 

"There has been an organized campaign," Gore told a forum in Singapore, "financed to the tune of about $10 million a year from some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community."

Having worked for three different think tanks over the years, I can personally attest that most are incapable of allying in any kind of ongoing organized campaign, so the predicate of Al Gore's comments are clearly wrong. But the more interesting question is who, exactly, is the real "well-funded climate industry?" An article today in Ad Age tells the tale:" (Ken Green, Planet Gore)

"Scientists See First Signs of Long-Term Changes in Tropical Rainfall" - "NASA scientists have detected the first signs that tropical rainfall is on the rise, using the longest and most complete data record available.

The international scientific community assembled a 27-year global record of rainfall from satellite and ground-based instruments. The researchers found the rainiest years between 1979 and 2005 occurred primarily after 2001. The wettest year was 2005, followed by 2004, 2003, 2002 and 1998. The study appeared in the August 1 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate. The rainfall increase was concentrated over tropical oceans, with a slight decline over land.

"When we look at the whole planet over almost three decades, the total amount of rain falling has changed very little. But in the tropics, where nearly two-thirds of all rain falls, there has been an increase of 5 percent," said lead author Guojun Gu, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md." (NASA)

Really? Sounds like support for precipitation efficiency and "iris effect" then, doesn't it?

"India's Monsoon to Revive, Crops Looking Good" - "NEW DELHI - India's monsoon, vital for farmers and the larger economy, will revive in central states by Friday, and crops are growing well following good rains in key agricultural states, officials and traders said.

There has been devastating flooding in the last month in some eastern states, but overall this year's rains have been a boon at 103 percent of the long-term average up to Aug. 22, a weather department official, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters. 

"We are happy that monsoon rains have neither been extreme nor deficient barring some extra rains in isolated areas, causing floods," the official said." (Reuters)

"US farmers at odds with government over weather" - "An annual US publication with a track record for accurately predicting the weather found itself at odds Monday with the government weather service over what winter is going to be like in the United States." (AFP)

"Strong Evidence Points to Earth's Proximity to Sun as Ice [age trigger]" - "The Dome Fuji deep ice core, Antarctica, with drill. This ice was retrieved from a depth of 1,332 meters (4,370 feet), which was deposited about 89,000 years ago. Photo: Dr. Hideaki Motoyama, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

A question unresolved for more than a century may have an answer Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UC San Diego 

When do ice ages begin? In June, of course.

Analysis of Antarctic ice cores led by Kenji Kawamura, a visiting scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, shows that the last four great ice age cycles began when Earth's distance from the sun during its annual orbit became great enough to prevent summertime melts of glacial ice. The absence of those melts allowed buildups of the ice over periods of time that would become characterized as glacial periods.

Results of the study appear in the Aug. 23 edition of the journal Nature.

Jeff Severinghaus, a Scripps geoscientist and co-author of the paper, said the finding validates a theory formalized in the 1940s but first postulated in the 19th Century. The work also helps clarify the role of carbon dioxide in global warming and cooling episodes past and present, he said.

"This is a significant finding because people have been asking for 100 years the question of why are there ice ages," Severinghaus said." (YubaNet)

Still seems to ignore GCRs and cloud feedback but at least it's a sensible step away from the absurd "carbon dioxide is everything" groupthink.

"New Paper On The Role Of Landscape Degradation And Resultant Dust On The Climate System" - "There is an interesting paper on the role of dust within the climate system that may also be relevant for the record loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years. It is Painter T. H., A. P. Barrett, C. C. Landry, J. C. Neff, M. P. Cassidy, C. R. Lawrence, K. E. McBride, G. L. Farmer (2007), Impact of disturbed desert soils on duration of mountain snow cover, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L12502, doi:10.1029/2007GL030284." (Climate Science)

"The New Math on Global Warming UN climate change panel, natural climate cycle" - "The UN climate change panel told us in 2001 that human-emitted CO2 might drive the planet's average temperature upward by 5.8 degrees C—a bigger average warming than the world has had in the past 100,000 years. The UN's 2007 report scales the possible overheating back a bit, to a maximum of 4.5 degrees—still a very large warming. 

But wait! The environmental movement is now conceding that the earth has a natural, moderate climate cycle. Jon Coifman of the Natural Resources Defense Council said recently on the Hannity and Colmes TV show, "The earth has natural temperature and climate cycles. Nobody has disputed that." 

We're glad that the NRDC finally accepts the natural warming cycle as fact. Until Coifman's admission, I don't think the words "natural climate cycle" had ever escaped the lips of a climate alarmist." (Dennis T. Avery, SPPI)

"Study links greenhouse gas to changing ecology of global rangelands" - "Rising carbon dioxide levels are almost certainly fueling the encroachment of shrubs on global grasslands, a trend that could eventually jeopardize the use of these lands for cattle grazing, according to a study released Monday." (AFP)

Today's obligatory... "Extreme conditions: What's happening to our weather?" - "This summer is set to be the wettest ever. It's the latest in a series of broken records which suggest climate change is here already." (London Independent)

From CO2 Science this week:

The Plasticity of Plant Strategies for Acquiring Nitrogen: How well equipped are diverse types of plants to tapping into sources of different forms of nitrogen in response to environmental changes that might require their doing so in order to survive?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Hudson River Estuary, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tannins (Oak Trees): Elevated CO2 concentrations and air temperatures tend to increase tannin concentrations in oak tree leaves, leading to positive consequences for man and nature alike.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Corncockle, European Yellow Lupine, Narrowleaf Lupine, and Perennial Ryegrass.

Journal Reviews:
Mid-Holocene Surface Temperatures of the South China Sea: How do they compare with those of the present?

Two Thousand Years of East African Droughts: What do the data reveal about the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods?

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Western Equatorial Africa: What were the two climatic periods' most defining characteristics?

Global Warming, Atmospheric CO2 Increase, and Northeast China's Forest Carbon Stocks: How have northeast China's forests responded to the supposedly unprecedented increases in air temperature and CO2 concentration of the past several years?

Leaf Photosynthetic Rates of Mature Holm Oak Trees Growing in Close Proximity to a Natural CO2 Spring: How do they compare with photosynthetic rates of similar-aged trees growing further away in ambient-CO2 air?

New Castle, PATemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from New Castle, PA. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, New Castle's mean annual temperature has cooled by 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (co2science.org)

"Climate Talks Start With Calls for New Global Deal" - "VIENNA - Climate negotiators from more than 150 nations assembled in Vienna on Monday with calls for a global deal beyond 2012 to replace the UN's Kyoto Protocol and include outsiders such as the United States and China." (Reuters)

"US Says Steep Climate Curbs May Not be Needed" - "VIENNA - Curbs needed to fight global warming could be less drastic than a 50-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 favoured by the European Union, the United States' chief climate negotiator said on Monday." (Reuters)

"Indonesia Hopes to Include Peat in New Climate Deal" - "YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia wants emission cuts from preserving its vast carbon-rich peatlands to be eligible for trade in a new deal on combating global warming at upcoming climate talks, a forestry official said on Monday." (Reuters)

"India and China urged to cut emissions" - "A UN climate change conference began yesterday with a call from the most vulnerable developing nations for large and rapidly developing countries such as China and India to do more to tackle global warming." (The Guardian)

"Intolerance mars climate change debate" - "NEW DELHI — What's up with journalists in the mainstream media? In most cases, they tend to be unconditional supporters of free expression and strive to report on controversial views.

However, reporting on issues relating to global warming has become strikingly one-sided. With no need to persuade using rational argument, a new conventional wisdom is being formulated that is beyond challenge by "sensible" people.

Creating group-think and mass behavior should be anathema to honest journalists. Otherwise, reporters become opinion makers rather than neutral observers.

Along these lines, there are signs of a growing intolerance in the debate on global climate change. Climate-change denial has become a taboo that invites a sense of moral repugnance toward deniers." (Japan Times)

"It's Really Not Easy Being Green" - "August 27, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg may need to tinker with his plan to save the planet from global warming, according to a provocative news report from London. 

To combat climate change, Mayor Mike's PlaNYC calls for a million new trees, curbing traffic through congestion pricing, opening waterways, etc. 

Yet such ideas could actually worsen greenhouse gases, according to findings from several studies compiled by The Times of London's Dominic Kennedy:" (NY Post)

"New Climate Change-Friendly Dish Introduced Called ‘The Al Gore’" - "Better get all fluids away from your computer, because a pair of caterers in Australia have created a new climate change-friendly dish they call "The Al Gore" which is "an organic mix of chunked mutton and aromatic root vegetables." (News Busters)

Freco film fad short lived? "Starbucks movie promotions disappoint bean counters" - "Starbucks' efforts to market movies have had tepid results. Only $600,000 has poured into the box office for the current documentary 'Arctic Tale.'" (LA Times)

"Climate-proofing economic growth" - "Latest round of UN talks that start in Vienna today will focus on business end of global-warming battle." (Toronto Star)

"German Energy Plan Faces Reality Check" - "FRANKFURT - A government plan to make Germany a global leader in fighting climate change must win the support of a reluctant finance minister to succeed." (Reuters)

"Charged up and ready for the road" - "Toyota's popular Prius first hit the North American market in 2000, and in another year or two the owners of those first hybrid cars, including environmentalist David Suzuki, will have to face the reality of replacing their vehicle's battery system." (Toronto Star)

"Sun set to shine on solar" - "Prominent venture capitalist is betting big on solar-thermal tech" (Toronto Star)

"Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. :)" - "One reader wrote in with a terrific comment, explaining why he doesn’t use his real name on those grocery store discount cards. He said he's just waiting for the insurance folks to figure out a way to access our food purchase records to make sure we’re “eating healthy.” (Junkfood Science)

"Useful Mutants, Bred With Radiation" - "VIENNA — Pierre Lagoda pulled a small container from his pocket and spilled the contents onto his desk. Four tiny dice rolled to a stop.

“That’s what nature does,” Dr. Lagoda said. The random results of the dice, he explained, illustrate how spontaneous mutations create the genetic diversity that drives evolution and selective breeding.

He rolled the dice again. This time, he was mimicking what he and his colleagues have been doing quietly around the globe for more than a half-century — using radiation to scramble the genetic material in crops, a process that has produced valuable mutants like red grapefruit, disease-resistant cocoa and premium barley for Scotch whiskey.

“I’m doing the same thing,” he said, still toying with the dice. “I’m not doing anything different from what nature does. I’m not using anything that was not in the genetic material itself.”

Dr. Lagoda, the head of plant breeding and genetics at the International Atomic Energy Agency, prides himself on being a good salesman. It can be a tough act, however, given wide public fears about the dangers of radiation and the risks of genetically manipulated food. His work combines both fields but has nonetheless managed to thrive.

The process leaves no residual radiation or other obvious marks of human intervention. It simply creates offspring that exhibit new characteristics.

Though poorly known, radiation breeding has produced thousands of useful mutants and a sizable fraction of the world’s crops, Dr. Lagoda said, including varieties of rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum. The mutant wheat is used for bread and pasta and the mutant barley for beer and fine whiskey." (New York Times)

Best thing Greenpeace has done for anyone in decades: "GM protest goes awry as passers-by grab fruit, run" - "Eleven tonnes of papayas were dumped outside the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry yesterday by Greenpeace in protest at the agency's move to lift a ban on open-field trials of genetically-modified crops.

Greenpeace's protest against the lifting of a ban on open-field trials of genetically-modified (GM) papaya yesterday was met with an unexpected reaction from a crowd of onlookers. 

Passers-by took matters, and tonnes of papayas dumped by Greenpeace, into their own hands, and ran off. 

The environmental group dumped the papayas in front of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry yesterday to make its objection to the lifting of the ban loud and clear to the government." (Bangkok Post)

August 27, 2007

"Was this really proof that bariatric surgeries save lives?" - "Not a single medical professional, scientist or journalist has dared take a critical eye to this study. That fact alone is the best evidence yet of the power of financial interests and bias. What is most disturbing, and should be for everyone who cares about research being used to learn the truth rather than sell us on something, is that this is about life and death." (Junkfood Science)

"How real is the crisis of undiagnosed high blood pressure in children?" - "Worrisome news hit parents this week that more than a million children have high blood pressure that’s not being diagnosed by their pediatricians. Childhood obesity was blamed for growing numbers of children with elevated blood pressures. Before parents become alarmed that their pediatricians aren’t caring for their children properly, or that they need to put their kids on weight loss plans to prevent them from having organ damage, strokes and heart attacks, they’ll want to learn a few things about this study that the news hasn’t reported." (Junkfood Science)

"An advertising opportunity" - "Do you fill out those product registration cards? You know, the ones that ask all about your lifestyle, hobbies, the car you drive, products you shop for, favorite brands, age, marital status, salary, if you own or rent, etc. Many of us think we have to fill them out to validate a warranty and receive important product updates. Or, perhaps, we’re lured by the promise of special promotions, free products and discount coupons. 

The same precautions about sharing our personal information on product registration and warranty cards apply to our health information." (Junkfood Science)

Must be August... "TAU researchers discover correlation between birth month and short-sightedness" - "Planning for a summer delivery for your child? You might want to choose an ophthalmologist along with an obstetrician.

If your child is born in the winter or fall, it will have better long-range eyesight throughout its lifetime and less chance of requiring thick corrective glasses, predicts a Tel Aviv University investigation led by Dr. Yossi Mandel, a senior ophthalmologist in the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps.' (American Friends of Tel Aviv University)

"Gray Shades of Green" - "Before you embrace new ways to save the environment, think about whether you're doing more harm than good." (Tom Keane, Boston Globe)

"Live Green or Simply Live?" - "In a rich nation such as the United States, it can be easy to be green. 

Americans can often afford heeding the advice of Al Gore and reducing their "carbon footprint" with 40-watt fluorescent light bulbs that are almost 15 times more expensive than traditional bulbs. They can choose to feed their kids Annie's "Peace, Pasta and Parmesan" organic macaroni and cheese at double the price of the traditional Kraft mac and cheese. 

It's not the same in developing nations - such as those found in Africa - where finding food, water and shelter of any kind is often an achievement in itself. Where so many live a day-to-day existence, the luxury of "living green" takes a backseat to simply living." (Stella Dulanya, National Center)

"I praise the poor" - "Where would most politicians be today without the ubiquitous poor? "Oh Madame Poor, how so many craven pols, shyster lawyers, activist judges, cloistered, out of touch academics, Hollywood hacks, union thugs, bumbling bureaucrats have gotten rich in thy name?" "Oh Madame Poor, how many government programs have been created in thy name?" – A Square Deal (Theodore Roosevelt), A New Deal (FDR), War on Poverty (LBJ), New Markets Initiative (Bill Clinton), Compassionate Conservatism and No Child Left Behind (George W. Bush), yet the poor are still in thy midst, ... I praise the poor. 

Despite the ineffectiveness of poverty programs to eradicate poverty, poverty and despair has only increased exponentially as more and more poverty programs are added somewhere throughout the world almost daily, costing taxpayers trillions of dollars in direct and ancillary costs." (Ellis Washington, WND)

"Do thorough inspection of hotel room to avoid bringing home unwanted critters" - "How many of you were sent to bed or send your kids to bed with the little ditty, "Good night, sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite"? I heard that all my life and have said the same to my kids never giving a second thought to the possibility that a bed bug may indeed be lurking in their bed. 

I grew up and have lived my entire life during a time when this pest was all but totally absent from the United States. Unfortunately, once again we may need to remember the advice of our grandparents to "sleep tight" to avoid being bitten by bed bugs. Our parents and grandparents likely remember the days prior to World War II and the scourge of bed bugs. 

Why prior to World War II? Well, after the war the miracle chemical known as DDT was widely used for the control of bed bugs and dozens of other pests of man and plants. Bed bugs were almost totally eradicated in the United States during the years prior to the elimination of this and other widely used chemicals. Although DDT has been and continues to be much maligned, it has without a doubt saved millions of lives from malaria and other maladies." (Birmingham News)

Lester's still after your flush toilet: "Farewell to 'Flush and Forget'" - "WASHINGTON - In urban settings, the one-time use of water to disperse human and industrial wastes is becoming an outmoded practice, made obsolete by new technologies and water shortages." (IPS)

"The Return of the Old Gods: A Challenge to Green Evangelicals" - "Their names are Legion, for they are many; the Romans knew them as Juno, or Diana, or Ops. Freyr, Gerd, Idun, and Jord ruled the Norse, Dziewona and Mokosh were their names to the Slavs. The Hawaiians had Papa, the Aztecs Coatlicue, the Egyptians had Geb and Nut. The Celts had many: Cerunno, Cyhiraet, Druantia, Maeva. The ancient Canaanites had their Baal, who would cause so much trouble for the Israelites. 

They are all gods and goddesses of the earth, of nature, the old rulers of the ancient world. Far older than Christianity, older even than Hinduism, worship of nature gods is a cultural element shared by every race and tribe of Man since before recorded history. They are the gods of the worldly, the gods of the Fall.

Their demands have differed, their gifts have traditionally been good fortune, magic and fertility. Often earth gods have doubled as fertility gods, and sex has often been an integral part of Gaia worship. Their rule over the world of Man lasted a long, long time, stretching back into the mists of prehistory." ( Timothy Birdnow, American Thinker)

"The liberals’ war against liberalism: What is so scary about free thought?" - "Whatever happened to liberals?

One thing I have learned by writing columns on global warming the past two weeks is that liberals are less interested in free expression of ideas than in total compliance with their ideas, less interested in critical thinking than in being critical, and less interested in the truth than in their truth." (Frank Miele, Daily Interlake)

Want to talk about climate change? These guys are hosting a Red Team / Green Team forum. We've only had the briefest of perusals and found a brand new site that might develop into something. Appears to be something of a belief-driven site at this stage with "Your climate change questions answered" containing links to the Hockey Team's reiteration of excessive CO2 sensitivity statements as opposed anything useful but -- you never know -- the "Green Team" just might be amenable to some genuine information and the "Red Team" could use some help. Why not drop by and help them liven things up a little?

Right idea, if many years too late: "BBC news chiefs attack plans for climate change campaign" - "Two of the BBC's most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation's plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster's job to preach to viewers.

The event, understood to have been 18 months in development, would see stars such as Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross take part in a "consciousness raising" event, provisionally titled Planet Relief, early next year.

But, speaking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival yesterday, Newsnight's editor, Peter Barron, and the BBC's head of television news, Peter Horrocks, attacked the plan, which also seems to contradict the corporation's guidelines. Asked whether the BBC should campaign on issues such as climate change, Mr Horrocks said: "I absolutely don't think we should do that because it's not impartial. It's not our job to lead people and proselytise about it." Mr Barron said: "It is absolutely not the BBC's job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped." (The Guardian)

"Porto Velho and Londrina" - "Porto Velho and Londrina are two somewhat similar sized Brazilian cities (populations 335,000 and 500,000 respectively) which have remarkably different Hansen adjustments. One is adjusted up by 2 deg C and one is adjusted down by 2 deg C. It’s pretty strange to see." ( Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Revkin on the Hansen Fiasco" - "Andrew Revkin of the New York Times writes here in a compacted story. Me versus Jor-El. I spent quite a bit of time saying that the errors mattered a lot at the individual station level and were “significant” for U.S. temperature. For example, consider this page at NASA which shows a comparison between temperatures by individual stations for 2000 and after. The majority of values on this graphic are wrong and the entire graphic will have to be replaced." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Highly sensitive weather radar a gain for climate research" - "The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has taken a new weather radar system into use, the 'Drizzle Radar', which can observe even the lightest of drizzles. This is an enormous gain for climate researchers and is attracting international attention. The radar was successfully installed on the 213 metre-high Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) measurement tower on the 23rd of August. From this spot the highly sensitive radar, together with the other advanced instruments of the CESAR observatory (Cabauw Experimental Site for Atmospheric Research), is to provide a complete picture of the interaction between dust, clouds, rain and radiation. The latter is still one of the least understood factors in climate models." (Delft University of Technology)

Climate Lesson of the Moment: Excerpted from 'The Fed's Subprime Solution' - "... Late in the 1880s, long before the institution of the Federal Reserve, Eastern savers and Western borrowers teamed up to inflate the value of cropland in America's Great Plains. Gimmicky mortgages and loose talk of a new era in rainfall beguiled the borrowers. High yields on Western mortgages enticed the lenders. But the climate of Kansas and Nebraska reverted to parched, and the drought-stricken debtors trudged back East or to the West Coast in wagons emblazoned, "In God we trusted, in Kansas we busted." To the creditors went the farms..." [Emhasis added] (International Herald Tribune)

Be afraid! Be very afraid! "Global Warming Ads From Al Gore Coming Soon" - "I guess we should have expected this: Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Change is about to spend $100 million a year advertising global warming alarmism." (News Busters)

"Global Warming rivals Sponsorship Scandal" - "Many years ago, I warned Henry Hengeveld of Environment Canada (EC) that, if he thought it was difficult to convince ministers and MPs that global warming was due to human carbon dioxide (CO2) production, it would be twice as difficult to change their minds once they were convinced. The theory was, and still is, unproven of course, but by adopting it so completely so early on, Hengeveld would find himself on a treadmill virtually impossible to get off. After all, it would be very dangerous for a bureaucrat to go back to those same politicians with the message that their political positions were wrong because they were based on wrong information.

Yet Hengeveld made a career out of CO2 by producing a monthly magazine on the topic. Instead of following the scientific method of trying to disprove the hypothesis that human CO2 was causing climate change, Hengeveld and other EC employees were essentially directed to find evidence that it was correct--despite increasing indications it wasn't." (Tim Ball, CFP)

Oh boy, the nude socialist rides again... "Saltier North Atlantic should give currents a boost" - "The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. And this might actually be good news for the effects of climate change on global ocean currents in the short-term, say the study's researchers.

This is because saltier waters in the upper levels of the North Atlantic ocean may mean that the global ocean conveyor belt – the vital piece of planetary plumbing which some scientists fear may slow down because of global warming – will remain stable." (NewScientist.com news service)

... remember this from a few months ago?

"Global Warming Makes Sea Less Salty" - "You won't want to drink water straight from the ocean anytime soon. But the salt content is on the decline, a sign of potentially worrisome consequences that scientists can't accurately predict. 

Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say. Now for the first time researchers have quantified this fresh water influx, allowing them to predict the long-term effects on a "conveyor belt" of ocean currents.

Climate changes in the Northern Hemisphere have melted glaciers and brought more rain, dumping more fresh water into the oceans, according to the analysis." (Michael Schirber, LiveScience)

That marvelous, magical gorebull warming, eh? Capable of two mutually exclusive results simultaneously.

Parenthetically, the real case is that we have insufficient baseline data to determine any real change, what we observe now might be part of various as yet undetermined natural cycles -- we simply do not know and won't be able to determine potentially for centuries.

It's high time people settled down and realized what is, is -- deal with it.

"Cooler ocean temp has scientist puzzled, looking for answers" - "Despite fears of global warming, the north Pacific has suddenly turned a lot colder. 

But don’t expect it to be a cold winter here. 

The ocean cooling in this part of the world isn’t the result of an El Nino, said ocean scientist Howard Freeland, who added he is “baffled” by what’s happening. 

He and fellow scientists don’t know what’s caused a huge chunk of the Gulf of Alaska to drop three degrees Centigrade colder than average for this time of year -- a huge change of six degrees Celcius just two years after a lengthy period of warmer than usual waters. 

“This is quite striking,” he said. It might just be a natural “transitory event,” said Freeland who warned the sudden cooling should not be used by global warming sceptics who reject scientific evidence that clearly shows the planet is heating up." (Goldstream News Gazette)

Actually these obligatory "evidence clearly shows planet heating up" statements are quite frustrating. James "Father of Global Warming" Hansen explicitly (and correctly) states in The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT):

Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT ?
A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.

... For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.

In short, we don't really know what the global mean surface temperature is, how to measure it or what it "should be". We don't know for certain that the trend is as advertised (it's entirely possible we are measuring urbanization rather than general trends) and the expected "signature" of enhanced greenhouse warming, namely accelerated warming in the mid-troposphere compared with the near surface, has failed to materialize. Has the mid-troposphere warmed over the last quarter century while we've really been trying to measure it? Maybe, a little, but it sure hasn't delivered the multiples of surface warming expected.

If the world is warming as believed then it surely isn't as hypothesized from enhanced greenhouse and we can not be certain that it is warmer than it "should be" or simply not cooler than average due to other factors.

"Further Analysis Of Radiative Forcing By Norm Woods" - "In the book Cotton, W.R. and R.A. Pielke, 2007: Human impacts on weather and climate, Cambridge University Press, 330 pp, we presented results by Norm Woods (who works with Graeme Stephens) on the magnitude of radiative forcing for three types of vertical temperature and moisture soundings (tropical; winter subarctic and summer subarctic). Climate Science has summarized this study in the past (e.g., see the May 5th blog entitled Relative Roles of CO2 and Water Vapor in Radiative Forcing). This weblog presents further analyses of these soundings by Norm Woods." (Climate Science)

Greenhouse warming: wrong altitude and latitude dependence

Figure 1: Predicted greenhouse warming (left) versus reality (right) as a function of latitude (x) and altitude (y)

Lord Monckton has written down a convincing paper showing that the greenhouse effect predicts a "hot spot" at certain rather high altitudes above the equatorial zones, something that isn't really observed:

Monckton's fingerprints HTML, PDF
This point was emphasized to me by Fred Singer half a year ago. Thanks to Robert Ferguson who also offers a text explaining that consensus is rubbish. (The Reference Frame)

"'Momentum Building' for New Climate Deal-UN" - "VIENNA - The United Nations says momentum is building for broader long-term action to fight global warming beyond the UN's Kyoto Protocol and a climate meeting starting in Vienna on Monday will be a crucial test." (Reuters)

Public mostly against global warming ideology (The Reference Frame)

Partly right... "Who Will Pay for the Next Hurricane?" - "Because of increasing development in hazard-prone areas and the effects of climate change, we are in a new era of catastrophic losses from natural disasters." (Howard Kunreuther, New York Times)

... at least about people building in disaster-prone areas. The 'effects of climate change' are largely imaginary, immeasurably small and of unknown sign.

"AccuWeather's Bastardi Argues Against Blaming Global Warming for Hurricanes" - "On the Tuesday August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi poured water on claims that a global warming trend has been the cause of hurricanes of increased intensity as he contended that the Northern Hemisphere similarly saw periods of increased hurricane activity in past decades, going back to the 1890s. Bastardi: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. ... And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities." (News Busters)

"Climate Science Is Retiring - Thank You To Everyone For Your Participation!" - "I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the diverse subjects on Climate Science! The site has been active since July 2005. However, the maintenance and preparation for the weblog requires quite a bit of time, and I have decided to move onto other activities. I have also extensively presented my perspective on climate science. The weblog will remain available as an archive on our research website. 

After the remaining weblogs have posted (on September 2), the last weblog will identify where the archive can be found. Comments, of course, will not be accepted after that time, but the entire history of the weblog will be available for those who are interested." (Climate Science)

"Climate, Biofuel New Challenge to Poverty Alleviation" - "HONG KONG - Climate change and biofuels pose fresh challenges in the fight against poverty, which requires more than ever cooperation among scientists, the new head of an international body for agricultural research said." (Reuters)

"Canadian Opposition Party Threatens Fall Election Over Global Warming Policies" - "If you had any question as to how hot the climate change debate is getting in governments around the world, all you need do is look at our neighbor to the north for answers. 

On Thursday, members of Canada's Liberal Party threatened Prime Minister Stephen Harper with a fall election if he didn't change course on his global warming policies." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Cool summits" - "In Central Canada, a cool summer filled with clean air is winding down. No mention hereabouts of Environment Canada's seasonal prediction, back in June, of a summer filled with "more of those torrid days" and dreaded smog events. We got neither. Instead, temperatures have been normal, even below normal. Smog-wise, data show Toronto with only 10 days so far with air that was poor for an hour or more, a low number and a sign that the city's air quality remains very good and is now at its cleanest in decades, if not in a century.

Which means nobody is talking climate change or Kyoto. Attempts to generate public support for dramatic policy to curb global warming tend to run cold when there's no sign of global warming. In Ottawa, the government again announced that, for Canada, Kyoto was dead and it would not be making any attempt to meet its targets. The report barely made the media." (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Eye-roller: "Warming for a fight" - "DOES climate change threaten international peace and security? The British Government seems to think it does. (Courier-Mail)

Sigh... "Ministers plan new Thames barrier as flood risk rise" - "Plans for a new Thames barrier are being considered by ministers, amid fears that global warming will increase the threat of London succumbing to floods.

Proposals for a £20bn system of flood defences to the east of the current Thames barrier at Woolwich are being drawn up as part of a series of measures to protect the capital from rising sea waters." (London Independent)

?!! "Goodbye beautiful Britain" - "Enjoy the countryside while you can. In the near future there will be no place for sentiment, no eye for beauty and no room for cows and sheep. Don't blame the farmers: the culprits are population growth, global warming and the energy gap." (Sunday Times)

"Climate Fight Brings Mega Profits to EU Power Firms" - "LONDON - European power companies are making billions of euros in excess profits in the European Union's battle to beat global warming by cutting emissions of carbon gases, and consumers are paying for it, economists say." (Reuters)

Ah, socialists... "$6.5bn hot water bill" - "HOUSEHOLDS will have to pay up to $6.5 billion extra from 2012 to replace their electric hot water systems under a Labor plan to impose an effective ban on the appliances as part of its strategy to cut greenhouse emissions.

Under the ban, up to half of all Australian households will have to switch to expensive solar hot water systems when their old electric tanks fail. 

Each solar hot water system will cost about $2800 more than a standard electric system replacement. 

Labor will offset this higher cost by extending the $1000 solar rebate already promised by the Howard Government. It will also offer low-interest loans in the hope that projected energy savings of up to $300 a year will help households pay for the transition. 

But the Master Plumbers Association has warned that the scheme will need to be backed by a rigorous assessment process before each system is changed to ensure households do not simply install the cheapest possible system, which may deliver almost no greenhouse and cost benefit." (The Australian)

"The Dangers of Wind Power" - "Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?" (Der Spiegel)

"To eat . . . . or to drive?" - "Farmers all over the world are finding a sudden boom in demand for their crops – but as fuel for cars rather than as food." (London Times)

"The agonies of agflation: Fuel for the body and the car" - "SHARING pain is usually deemed a good thing. So advocates of dishing out agony will be gladdened that the wallet-crunching pangs of car drivers filling up with petrol are now equalled by the wince-inducing stabs felt by shoppers piling up their supermarket trolleys. As oil prices stay high, wheat prices hit an all-time peak of over $7.50 a bushel for December delivery at the end of trading in Chicago on Thursday August 23rd.

The soaring prices of bushels and barrels are not unconnected. The cost of agricultural commodities, just like oil and metals, has gone up sharply over the past couple of years. Aside from wheat, the prices of corn, rice and barley have all risen by over a third since 2005. Food prices around the world are rising so quickly that a new term has been coined to describe the ballooning price of breakfast staples and dinner-time favourites: agflation." (Economist.com)

"Police tear-gas farmers in clash over French GM crops" - "Growing tensions in France between opponents and supporters of genetically modified crops have led to violent confrontations. 

Gendarmes used tear gas and batons to prevent pro-GM farmers from invading a picnic for militant opponents of genetically modified maize at the town of Verdun-sur-Garonne in south-west France over the weekend. 

Hardly a day has gone by this summer without opponents of GM maize - both environmental campaigners and small farmers - invading fields and trampling or cutting down crops. The protesters, led by the small- farmers' leader, José Bové, claim a citizens' right to destroy crops which, they say, threaten ecological calamity and the subjection of farmers to the whims of agro-industrial, multinational companies." (Belfast Telegraph)

August 24, 2007

"Baby Video a No-No?" - "Is Baby Einstein doing your child more harm than good?" The answer to that question, posed by the cover story of Time magazine (Aug. 27), may depend on how you feel about drive-by product disparagement committed by anti-TV fanatics." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Over the past 20 yrs, the proportion of the public paying 'very close attention' to news coverage about science and technology has dropped 50% (Framing Science)

Hmm... maybe, maybe not. In the first period cited there was no data for "health and safety" while one in three expressed interest in "Science and technology" (was this where health items where classified?). Summing data for health and science would suggest increasing interest with results of 33, 40 and 45%, respectively, so up 36 as opposed down 50% and a very different picture.

Of potentially greater significance is the fall since the '80s of interest in man-made and natural disasters -- possible scare overload, perhaps?

Hmm... "Soda warning? New study supports link between diabetes, high-fructose corn syrup" - "Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels. They reported results at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society." (American Chemical Society)

"Infectious diseases spreading faster than ever: U.N." - "GENEVA - Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly around the globe, spreading faster and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

In its annual World Health Report, the United Nations agency warned there was a good possibility that another major scourge like AIDS, SARS or Ebola fever with the potential of killing millions would appear in the coming years.

"Infectious diseases are now spreading geographically much faster than at any time in history," the WHO said." (Reuters)

Why? Gosh, maybe it's got something to do with the speed at which people can now travel the globe?

"Frogs get help from global awareness" - "A worldwide effort to save frog populations from a mysterious killer fungus calls for 500 frogs of 500 species to be held in biosecure facilities.

Next week, members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums will meet in Hungary to discuss the effort, called Amphibian Ark, and the initial $US50 million ($A61.92 million) needed to avert the crisis.

"Protective custody has got to happen now, or within a year or two. Otherwise, it'll be too late. Extinction is forever," said Jeffrey Bonner, chairman of the Amphibian Ark initiative, who also heads the Saint Louis Zoo." (AP)

"Wish You Weren't Here" - "Having determined that nearly every feature of modern human existence is bad for the environment -- driving, eating meat, turning on the lights, having children, exhaling -- the greens have followed the argument to its logical limit. The problem is human existence.

That, at least, is the message of this summer's surprise eco-hit, "The World Without Us." Science writer Alan Weisman explores how nature would respond if Homo sapiens abruptly went extinct. Though the book continues to climb the bestseller lists, it isn't exactly beach reading.

Cities and towns in a few decades would be reclaimed by wilderness. Our dogs will be killed off quickly by natural predators, but without pesticides the new world will be good for mosquitoes. For the most part, Mr. Weisman intends to show the enduring harm of, well, us." (Wall Street Journal)

"Green with shame" - "It is a familiar sensation to feel guilty about things that do not matter a jot: leaving the lawn uncut, having a coffee stain on one's blouse or a shaving nick on one's cheek. Far worse is the moral embarrassment engendered by the hijacking of the word "ethical".

Ethical now means green or environmental. As we report today, more than half the population thinks unethical living is as much of a social taboo as drink driving. Since, at the same time, we forget to reduce carbon consumption, we are becoming a nation of hypocrites.

It has sharply been observed that if Pol Pot had made his killing fields organic, then the new morality would call him ethical. Ethics must be about right and wrong, for heaven's sake, about love and hate - not about turning off the television from standby." (London Telegraph)

"Vibrations on the Sun may 'shake' the Earth" - "What do dropped mobile phone calls, mysterious signals in undersea communications cables, and tiny tremors on the Earth have in common? They are all caused by vibrations on the Sun, according to one team of scientists. But other researchers question the claim, arguing that the pulsations may never escape the Sun's surface in the first place." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Taming the Hurricane" - "On September 28, 1955, a Category 5 hurricane named Janet slammed into Chetumal, on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, killing over 600 people.

Hurricane Dean, another Category 5, and the third-strongest storm ever measured at landfall, hit in exactly the same place earlier this week (Tuesday, August 21,2007) and killed no one. Maximum winds in both storms were indistinguishable. The hurricane-hunter pilot who flew through the eyewall of the storm Tuesday reported severe turbulence, which is a temporary loss of aircraft control. Probably for the first time in human history, a Category 5 storm hit a populated area and everyone lived." (WCR)

"Storm Surge" - "Even as the clean-up continues in the Atlantic Basin, a lot has been written about Hurricane Dean. Some commentators believe nature is sending us a message. They say that the effects of climate change are getting out of hand, and it is time to take action.

We have heard this point many times before. With every "extreme weather event," passionate climate change activists ride a public wave of concern. Former Vice President Al Gore believes we must make drastic reductions in carbon emissions because weather-related disasters are on track to cost as much as $1 trillion by 2040. Mr. Gore is right that there is a growing problem, but he has identified the wrong solution.

The global cost of climate-related disasters has increased relentlessly over the past half century. Hurricane Dean has left behind many billions of dollars of damage. But when Mr. Gore links global warming to the spiraling increase in weather-related insurance costs, he misses the fundamental points.

It has become more popular than ever to reside in low-lying, coastal areas that are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. In Florida, more people live in Dade and Broward counties today than lived in all 109 coastal counties from Texas through Virginia in 1930. It's obvious that more damage will occur when many more people with much more wealth live in harm's way.

No matter how you look at it, however, the prospect of $1 trillion of weather-related damage by 2040 is frightening. But it is just as frightening that we have developed a blinkered focus on reducing carbon emissions as a way to somehow stop the devastation of events like Hurricane Dean." (Bjorn Lomborg, Wall Street Journal) | For those unable to access, here it is in .pdf

"Part 2: Feedbacks, the Infrared Iris, and the Role of Precipitation Processes by Roy Spencer" - "In my last post, I used a simple time-dependent energy balance model to demonstrate that our traditional methods of shortwave feedback diagnosis from observational data are likely leading to “false positives”. Without going into great detail again, suffice it to say that much of the interannual SW variability we see in the tropics is likely to be the result of non-feedback cloud forcing. This will always act to bias any diagnosed feedback (even a negative one) in the positive direction, which would then mislead climate researchers in their development and validation of cloud parameterizations and estimates of climate sensitivity." (Climate Science)

"Global Warming, Climate Change and related Matters: An Indian Perspective" - "The topic of climate change has turned into a major global debate. Politicians and media world over are vociferous that drastic climate changes are imminent, with disastrous effects on mankind. There is some evidence to show that our planet Earth is becoming warmer and that human action is probably partly responsible, especially in the matter of greenhouse gas emissions. What is in doubt, however, is whether the steps that are proposed to be taken to reduce carbon emission will really bring down the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere and whether such attempts, even carried out on a global scale will produce the desired effect." (B.P. Radhakrishna, Geological Society of India)

"SPPI Papers by British Peer Disprove Catastrophic Human-Induced Global Warming and 'Consensus'" - "In two major new Science and Public Policy (SPPI) papers, Lord Monckton, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher as UK Prime Minister, startlingly but definitively demonstrates that the distinctive fingerprint of human greenhouse warming predicted by the UN’s computer models is absent from real-world observations, and that the reputed scientific “consensus” on “global warming” is likewise non-existent." (SPPI)

"U.S. Temperature Rankings Rearranged, Problems and Concerns with Temperature data sets" - "Trumpets were blaring at the Washington Post when, on the front page of the January 10th, 2007 edition of the paper, they proclaimed “Climate Experts Worry as 2006 is Hottest year on record in U.S.” The Post was relying on temperature data supplied to them from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)." (Robert Ferguson, SPPI)

"Greenhouse Warming? What Greenhouse Warming?" - "THE FACT of warming tells us nothing of the cause. Yet the scientific “consensus” is that, though the rapid climatic warming from 1906 to 1940 was a natural recovery from the historically low temperatures of the Little Ice Age, it is we who are chiefly to blame for the equally rapid warming from 1975 to the present." (Christopher Monkton, SPPI)

"Wildfires in a warming West, The relationships between drought, wildfires and global temperatures" - "Whenever it is hot and dry in the western United States, the frequency and intensity of wildfires there pick up. A good number of paleo records of climate and fire occurrence show that such has been true for many hundreds of years into the past. And just as it has been in the past, it likely will be in the future, with or without alleged human alterations in the climate." (Robert Ferguson, SPPI)

"Hansen and the Great White North" - "Here’s something interesting: I’ve collated the GISS raw(dset=1) and GISS adjusted (dset=2) versions and then calculated the range of adjustments. The largest positive adjustment was over 8 deg C and the largest negative adjustment is greater than -6 deg C. I separated out the stations that had no adjustments (max adjustments under 0.01 deg C either way) and plotted their locations in the first figure. I then plotted figures showing stations with only positive adjustments, only negative adjustments and with two-way adjustments. (Nearly 40% of the 5990 stations with adjustments had zero adjustment.)" ( Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"The HO-83 Hygrothermometer" - "In the discussion of the Tucson weather station, Ben Herman of the U of Arizona observed that there were serious biases with the HO-83 hygrothermometer - introduced in the early 1990s - which was said to be a contributor to the uptick to Tucson values. Although USHCN has implemented adjustments to U.S. data to deal with time-of-observation bias and station history, both of which resulted in significant upward adjustments of recent data relative to earlier data, I have been unable to see any evidence that either NOAA or NASA made any attempt to adjust for the upward bias of recent readings using the HO-83 thermometer, although its problems are thoroughly discussed in the specialist literature." ( Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"UK Satellite Mission To Improve Accuracy Of Climate-Change Measurements Gains Global Support" - "TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies) is a proposed satellite mission, led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to improve tenfold the accuracy of earth observation satellites used to deliver climate change data. TRUTHS will launch a calibration laboratory into space to help settle international debates around climate change and provide a robust statistical baseline from which to monitor and predict changes in the Earth's climate." (SPX)

Stupid headline of the moment: "Cold summer forces earliest French wine harvest on record" - "The first bunches of grapes for the manufacture of champagne will be snipped in north-eastern France today - one of the earliest wine harvests ever recorded. Despite miserable weather across much of France in June, July and August - which will greatly reduce the amount of wine produced - the 2007 vendanges, or grape-picking, will be two to three weeks ahead of the normal timetable in most of the country." (London Independent)

Since when did cold weather ripen grapes? Don't know? Well, no use reading this item in an attempt to find out since it merely states "The wet summer, which produced savage attacks of mildew in some vineyards, has not prevented an early harvest."

Uh-huh... "Problem of global warming is at heart of currant affairs" - "It is not only Bangladesh that is threatened by global warming. It is the British blackcurrant: warmer, wetter winters have led to a gradual deterioration in the quality of the blackcurrant crop. Without a heavy frost, blackcurrant buds do not break properly and the result is a decline both in the quantity and quality of the fruit. Climate change could make it impossible to grow two kinds of blackcurrant – Baldwin and Ben Lomond – in many parts of southern England within a decade. 

The plight of the blackcurrant is just one example of how rising temperatures promise to transform the face of the English countryside and challenge the business of British horticulture. If by 2050 summer temperatures in the South East of England are 1.5C to 3C warmer than they are on average this decade, the apple orchards and hop gardens of Kent could find themselves eased out by grape vines and apricot trees. It will take only a slight increase in the temperature – and a small leap of imagination – for Maidstone to be encircled by olive groves. 

But climate change is not an exercise in futurology. Hotter and more unpredictable weather is already presenting businesses with a disruption to production, an expensive requirement for new R&D and a fresh set of difficult choices." (London Times)

We could wish... "Fossil-fuel hangover may block ice ages" - "THE fossil fuels we burn today may leave an atmospheric "hangover" lasting hundreds of thousands of years, which may cause enough residual warming to prevent the onset of the next ice age. This is the most far-reaching disruption of long-term planetary processes yet suggested for human activity. 

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes carbon dioxide as having a lifetime in the atmosphere of between five and 200 years before it is ultimately absorbed by the oceans. In fact, as much as one-tenth of the CO2 we are emitting now will linger in the air for at least 100,000 years, and perhaps much longer, says Toby Tyrrell of the UK's National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. 

"It is often assumed that the Earth will always recover from perturbations. But our research shows that it doesn't necessarily behave like this," says Tyrrell. "It isn't always inherently self-rectifying." (Fred Pearce, New Scientist)

"Climate Fight Must Be Won in Developing Nations - UN" - "LONDON - More than two thirds of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed by 2030 to fight climate change will have to come from developing countries, the United Nation's climate change secretariat said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - UN Voices Concern Over US, Australia on Climate" - "OSLO - US and Australian calls for a new world deal to fight climate change and ditch the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol misrepresent key elements of the UN plan, the global body's top climate official said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"UN Climate Chief Sees Variable Treaty" - "AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The treaty that will eventually replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change could be a potpourri of legal obligations, nonbinding commitments and aid arrangements for the developing world, but each nation should choose its own course, the U.N.'s top climate official said Thursday. 

At the outset of a season of climate negotiations, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said countries such as the United States are mistaken if they dismiss the Kyoto process on the grounds it is forcing them into unwanted legal commitments. 

"Countries themselves are in the best position to decide how they can achieve a target to which they commit," he told The Associated Press from his headquarters in Bonn, Germany. "You should not seek to impose legally binding commitments on countries." (Associated Press)

"Reducing greenhouse gas will cost $200bn" - "Rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions around the world mean it will cost more than $200bn a year to return to today's level of emissions by 2030.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat on Wednesday laid out in detail how much it would cost to return emissions to today's levels by 2030, which may not be enough to avoid some of the adverse consequences of climate change." (Financial Times)

"Malta and Lithuania to join forces against EU CO2 caps" - "The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is under increasing pressure as eight of the bloc's 27 member states are threatening the Commission with legal action, following its decision to slash the amount of carbon allowances allocated to companies." (EurActiv)

"Fire threatens plan to extend carbon scheme" - "The European Union's emissions trading scheme could be pushed into meltdown by a repeat of this summer's forest fires in southern Europe if proposals to include woodlands within the scheme are approved, according to carbon traders and green groups.

EU leaders agreed to examine the inclusion of forests in the emissions trading scheme in June after a lobbying campaign by countries with big landmasses, such as France and Poland, who could gain from the change." ( Financial Times)

"Chicago Climate Exchange to Offer Kyoto Contracts" - "NEW YORK - The Chicago Climate Exchange said on Thursday it will launch a futures contract on Friday representing clean projects under the Kyoto Protocol that are designed to cut greenhouse emissions." (Reuters)

"German Government Backs Measures to Battle Climate Change" - "MESEBERG, Germany - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition on Thursday agreed a package of energy saving measures aimed at helping in the battle against climate change." (Reuters)

"Ruhrgas Fears German Climate Plan is Unfair to Gas" - "BERLIN - Leading German gas supplier E.ON Ruhrgas fears that a packet of government measures to save energy could discriminate against gas and destroy capital invested in gas distribution infrastructure." (Reuters)

"German Nuclear Firms To Go To Court - Minister" - "BERLIN - Germany's nuclear power station operators are going to court to resolve a dispute with the government about whether they can prolong the life of existing plants, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday. (Reuters)

"The winds of (climate) change" - "Do carbon offsets mean we can travel with a clean conscience?" (Toronto Star)

"LIPA Chairman Advises a ‘No’ on Offshore Windmills" - "GARDEN CITY, N.Y., Aug. 23 — Soaring costs have apparently doomed an ambitious project to build what might have been the nation’s first offshore windmills, clustered in 40 huge towers near Jones Beach.

The Long Island Power Authority’s new chairman, Kevin S. Law, is recommending that the agency cancel the electricity-generating project and said he expected the other board members to agree at their Sept. 25 meeting. 

“My decision is based strictly on the costs,” Mr. Law said, citing a consultant’s study, released on Thursday, that estimates the project’s cost at $811 million, making wind power more than twice as expensive as that from conventional sources." (New York Times)

"Russian Coal Firm Aims to Reopen Arctic Mine" - "BARENTSBURG, Svalbard - An Arctic Russian coal producer aims to begin reopening an abandoned mine at Grumant in the Svalbard archipelago in 2010 and sees production there of 500,000-600,000 tonnes per year from 2020, a mine manager said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"Stricter US Refinery Emission Rules Not Needed - EPA" - "WASHINGTON - Health risks linked with toxic air pollution from crude oil refineries are "acceptably low" and don't justify tighter federal rules, the US Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday." (Reuters)

"Anti-Biotech Wactivist Group Forced to Retract Libelous Accusation" - "A long-standing dispute between scientists and activists over a scholarly paper has recently resulted in several embarrassing defeats for the activists.

The dispute began with the 2003 publication by the British Food Journal of "Agronomic and consumer considerations for Bt and conventional sweet-corn", authored by Douglas A. Powell, Shane Morris, and two of their colleagues. In 2004, the journal honored the paper with its Award for Excellence for Most Outstanding Paper." (CGFI)

Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech and Industrial Agriculture
Monday August 13, 2007

Media bias is a charge that one often hears when a group gets less than favorable coverage. There are arguments about whether there is media bias and whom it favors and who is harmed by it.
Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech and Industrial Agriculture (Part 2 of 5)
Tuesday August 14, 2007

The media mania for "both sides" of an argument means that one has to balance informed opinion with misinformed opinion. This frequently allows the public to believe that there is a controversy among scientists on an issue when there is not.
Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech and Industrial Agriculture (Part 3 of 5)
Thursday August 16, 2007

Not long after the avian influenza outbreak in Asia began to hit the news, the ideological activists were hitting the media with op-ed pieces and stories seeking to define the issue and its causes. In the United Kingdom, the activists have a coterie of journalists doing their bidding. All that is necessary is to keep them informed of the party line.
Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech and Industrial Agriculture (Part 4 of 5)
Thursday August 16, 2007

Since Thailand seems to be the focus of the attack by writer Wendy Orent and others on industrial (as opposed to old-fashioned, small-scale) chicken production in Asia -- as the purported origin of avian influenza -- it warrants looking at what the Thai and other scientists have to say in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech and Industrial Agriculture (Part 5 of 5)
Friday August 17, 2007

Since Thailand seems to be the focus of the attack by writer Wendy Orent and others on industrial (as opposed to old-fashioned, small-scale) chicken production in Asia -- as the purported origin of avian influenza -- it warrants looking at what the Thai and other scientists have to say in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

August 23, 2007

"Study Finds No Link Between Working The Night Shift And An Increased Risk Of Cancer" - "Working the night shift doesn't appear to increase the risk of developing cancer, suggests the findings of a new study of Swedish workers. 

Recent studies – and corresponding news headlines – have found that regularly working the night shift may increase the risk of developing breast, prostate and colon cancers. Some researchers say that the connection could be due to a decrease in the production of the hormone melatonin, as some animal experiments suggest that the hormone may have anti-cancer properties." (Ohio State University)

Chasing imaginary health benefits: "Vitamin E's lack of heart benefit linked to dosage" - "Nashville (Tenn.) - The reported failure of vitamin E to prevent heart attacks may be due to underdosing, according to a new study by investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

The findings, published early online in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, suggest that these earlier studies all had a fundamental flaw – the doses used weren’t high enough to have a significant antioxidant effect. In fact, no studies have ever conclusively demonstrated the dose at which vitamin E can be considered an antioxidant drug, the researchers report." (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

"Doctor Charged in Autistic Boy's Death" - " A doctor was charged with involuntary manslaughter Wednesday for administering a chemical treatment that state police say killed a 5-year-old autistic boy. 

The child, Abubakar Tariq Nadama, went into cardiac arrest at Dr. Roy E. Kerry's office immediately after undergoing chelation therapy on Aug. 23, 2005. 

Chelation removes heavy metals from the body and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating acute heavy metal poisoning, but not for treating autism. Some people who believe autism is caused by a mercury-containing preservative once used in vaccines say chelation may also help autistic children.

The boy's parents had moved from England to the Pittsburgh area to seek treatment for his autism. They have filed a wrongful death suit against Kerry, and the Department of State is trying to revoke his license." (AP)

And they should also go for wrongful parenting or some such because, having sought out voodoo practitioners and treatments, they are now trying to sue for having received it.

"When is advocacy for you?" - "The Canadian Obesity Network believes 500,000 Canadians are in need of obesity treatment, specifically bariatric surgery. Years of lobbying the Ontario government to increase funding for bariatrics are paying off, in part because of a uniquely Canadian argument that CON was able to use. (Junkfood Science)

"Skin-care industry skipping out on science?" - "BOSTON, Aug. 22, 2007 — The multi-billion-dollar global cosmetics and skin-care-product industry sometimes is beset by a me-too mindset in which research and development focuses on matching the competition rather than applying sound science to improve products, a scientist told the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society." (American Chemical Society)

"Next forecasting challenge: predicting hurricane's wallop" - "Despite big improvements in predicting a storm's track, researchers struggle to peg its intensity." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Bunny Fence Experiment In Western Australia - A Field Campaign To Better Understand The Role of Landscape As A Climate Forcing" - "There is an ongoing study of land use change, led my my close research colleague, Udaysankar Nair, that will add to our understanding of the role of landscape in weather and climate. The program is called BUFEX for The Bunny Fence Experiment. The New York Times published an article on this program by Sonal Noticewala on August 14 2007 entitled “At Australia’s Bunny Fence, Variable Cloudiness Prompts Climate Study“.

A University of Alabama at Huntsville press release summarizes this field campaign to collect real world data on this climate forcing." (Climate Science)

How not to measure temperature - part 29 (Watt's Up With That?)

Rothamsted Temperature Record - Atmospheric Sulphur to Blame? (An Englishman's Castle)

Global warming summer drought, UK style: "Britain set for wettest summer on record" - "Since the start of June, 313mm of rain has fallen. According to the Met Office it could only take a few more showers between now and the end of the month to break the record, 329mm set in 1927. (London Telegraph)

"New NASA Temperature Data Yet Another Reason to Re-Assess Global Warming Scare" - " Imagine basing a country’s energy and economic policy on an incomplete, unproven theory – a theory based entirely on computer models in which one minor variable is considered the sole driver for the entire global climate system. 

This is precisely what Al Gore, Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer and others want their nation to do." (Tim Ball and Tom Harris, Business & Media Institute)

"Truth Stripped Naked" - "Warming: As protesters pose sans clothing on an Alpine glacier, a new study documents how puny man's effect on climate is and how futile are attempts to change it. (IBD)

"Corals and climate change" - "A modest new lab at the Rosenstiel School is the first of its kind to tackle the global problem of climate change impacts on corals. Fully operational this month, this new lab has begun to study how corals respond to the combined stress of greenhouse warming and ocean acidification. The lab is the first to maintain corals under precisely controlled temperature and carbon dioxide conditions while exposing them to natural light conditions." (University of Miami)

Alright, I give up. Why was this funded? It's outcome (if any) will not have any effect on the net amount of human emissions. Corals evolved under conditions of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide and more acidic oceans and they have certainly survived periods of much greater warmth, so there is no question they will manage similar conditions again. What is the value of this 'study'?

Idéfix:  "ODP scientists say no large Northern Hemisphere ice sheets 41 million years ago" - "New research to test global ice volume approximately 41.6 million years ago shows that ice caps at this time, if they existed at all, would have been small and easily accommodated on Antarctica.

The findings contradict a recent controversial suggestion that Earth was extensively glaciated at this time despite having been much warmer than today, most likely because of high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. In an article published in Nature on 23 August, researchers using pinhead-sized fossils (foraminifera) – collected from sediments deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean, 380 km north of Suriname, South America – say large continental ice sheets did not exist in both hemispheres around 41 million years ago. Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Expedition 207 explored and sampled the Central Atlantic’s Demerara Rise in January and February of 2003." (Joint Oceanographic Institutions)

These guys are like a dog with a Frisbee aren't they? "... much warmer than today, most likely because of high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels." There remains no evidence atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causal, either of ice ages or warm interludes. In fact there is no known correlation.

Everybody's gotta get into the act: "Climate change goes underground" - "Climate change, a recent “hot topic” when studying the atmosphere, oceans, and Earth’s surface; however, the study of another important factor to this global phenomenon is still very much “underground.” Few scientists are looking deep enough to see the possible effects of climate change on groundwater systems. Little is known about how soil, subsurface waters, and groundwater are responding to climate change." (Soil Science Society of America)

Again with the fanciful disaster statements: "INTERVIEW - Sea Rise Seen Outpacing Forecasts Due To Antarctica" - "NY ALESUND, Norway - A thaw of Antarctic ice is outpacing predictions by the UN climate panel and could in the worst case drive up world sea levels by 2 metres (6 ft) by 2100, a leading expert said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

Trouble is, there's no evidence of increasing rate of sea level rise over the 20th Century, no useful baseline data to say there's any change in ice accumulation in the Antarctic, no agreement on the net sign of ice accumulation in either the Antarctic or Greenland ice shields and no indication of anything but cooling over most of the Antarctic, making melt fears somewhat implausible.

"Ocean Circulation Slowdown: False Alarm" - "We are sure many of you remember headlines similar to these: “Global Warming to Cause Next Ice Age!” or “Global Warming to Send Europe into a Deep Freeze!” In fact, next time New England or Europe has a cold winter, we’ll guarantee that you’ll see them again. The idea behind this scare story (and the premise of the climatefright film The Day After Tomorrow) is that the ocean’s thermohaline circulation (which among other things modestly warms the winter climate of western Europe) slows down, or even worse stops, sending the climate into disarray—all because of anthropogenic global warming. In the case of The Day After Tomorrow, this circulation shut down led to a flash freeze of the planet, while more “reasonable” climate alarmists at least give it a couple of decades to turn Europe into the icebox. But, in reality, things just don’t seem to be headed that way at all." (WCR)

Eye roller of the moment: "Court Rules Against Bush Administration in Global Warming Case: Federal Judge Orders Production of Suppressed Scientific Reports on Global Warming Impacts" - "OAKLAND, Calif.– The Bush administration was rebuked today by a federal judge for suppressing scientific reports on the impacts of global warming on the United States. In response to a lawsuit brought last year by conservation organizations, Federal District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong issued an order finding the Bush administration in violation of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 for failing to produce an updated Research Plan and a National Assessment as required by the statute." (Press Release)

"GOP seeks to limit Brown in global warming lawsuits" - "SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Jerry Brown settled a lawsuit that pressures local governments to fight global warming Tuesday, but just hours later Republicans sought to limit his power with a bill attached to the state budget. 

In settling the lawsuit filed by Brown, San Bernardino County officials promised to identify greenhouse-gas emission sources and set reduction goals as part of updating its general growth plan. 

Brown has warned local governments statewide to join the cause or face similar lawsuits. He has specifically contacted the city of San Jose over the Coyote Valley development and Contra Costa County over expansion of oil refineries. 

"San Bernardino now sets the pace for how local government can adopt powerful measures to combat oil dependence and climate disruption," said Brown. "This is a model I encourage other cities and counties to adopt." 

Senate Republicans had blocked the budget until Tuesday, holding out in part for assurances that voter-approved bond money for transportation and flood protection would not be squandered on lawsuits filed by Brown." (MediaNews)

"Georgia Legislature Dismisses Gore, Global Warming Alarmism" - "An amazing thing happened in the Georgia Legislature Tuesday that national media seem guaranteed to ignore: House members dismissed claims that man is responsible for warming the planet." (News Busters)

"Canada Report Defends Saying No To Kyoto Target" - "VANCOUVER, British Columbia - An attempt to force Canada to say how it will meet its Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions has produced a government report warning that doing that will damage the economy and drive up energy costs. 

The report, released quietly by Environment Canada on Tuesday, instead promotes the Conservative government's alternative to Kyoto. But it also acknowledges emissions in 2012 will be 31 percent higher than the Kyoto target and only slightly below what they were in 2005. 

The Conservatives say Canada cannot meet its commitments set out under the Kyoto treaty, which was signed by a previous Liberal government." (Reuters)

"Activists eye lawsuit to force Ottawa into Kyoto compliance" - "OTTAWA - Canada's biggest environmental groups are contemplating legal action against the Harper government because they believe it has violated a new law designed to ensure it complies with Canada's international climate change obligations." (Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service)

"Rich 'can pay poor to cut carbon'" - "Rich nations should be absolved from the need to cut emissions if they pay developing countries to do it on their behalf, a senior UN official has said. The controversial suggestion from Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has angered environmental groups. (BBC)

"Kyoto Gives Chemical Plants Windfall Profits - UNEP" - "LONDON - Chemical plants in China can earn substantial windfall profits by destroying powerful greenhouse gases, underlining the need for changes to the rules of a Kyoto Protocol incentives scheme, a UN report shows." (Reuters)"A Carbon Tax Would Be Cleaner" - "Though skeptics may still grumble that the science isn't settled, some 84% of Americans think humans are contributing to climate change, with 78% (and 60% of Republicans) saying we should do something about it "right away," according to a recent poll.

The political answer to all this anxiety has arrived. Prominent politicians -- including first-tier Democratic and Republican candidates -- are embracing a national "cap and trade" program to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. Powerful corporate leaders are right behind them; and even the Bush administration, led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is reportedly considering the costs and benefits of various cap and trade proposals after years of opposition.

The mechanics of such regulation are complex, but one result is certain: It will exact a toll on our economy." (Nicole Gelinas, Wall Street Journal)

"Democrats in $7bn plan to turn US green" - "America's politicians are waking up to the moneymaking and job creation possibilities of combating global warming and challenging the Bush administration to invest in a new generation of "green-collar" jobs. 

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wants to spend almost $7bn (£3.5bn) in the coming year to reduce the nation's enormous carbon footprint. This has put it on a collision course with the White House, which remains in denial about the dangers of global warming.

A major clash is expected between the White House and Congress in the autumn, with President George Bush sceptical of the Democrats' newfound enthusiasm for the environment. The best way to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil is to drill for more, he believes.

The oil industry is keen to open up vast new areas off Alaska's coast for drilling. The rising temperatures, brought on by global warming, have made this a possibility, which the industry wants to exploit." (London Independent)

"Government 'to miss climate change and greenhouse gas targets'" - "THE government is set to miss by a wide margin a series of targets for increasing renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions, a report warned today. 

According to forecasts by Cambridge Econometrics, an economic consultancy, carbon emissions will be just 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 - far less than the 26-32 per cent interim target proposed in the Draft Climate Change Bill. 

Members of the joint committee set up to examine the bill earlier this month recommended removing the upper limit of 32 per cent and warned that the longer-term goal of a 60 per cent reduction by 2050 may not be enough to prevent dangerous levels of climate change." (The Scotsman)

"German Ministers Agree to Cut CO2 Emissions 36 Percent" - "BERLIN - Germany's economy and environment ministers have agreed that Germany should reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 36 percent by 2020 compared with the level of emissions in 1990, the environment minister said on Wednesday." (Reuters)

"Shell Game: The greens try to sue their way to an energy policy." - "Just about everyone claims the U.S. must urgently become "energy independent," yet at the same time just about every policy that may actually serve that goal is met with environmentalist opposition. That contradiction has impeded the Bush Administration's attempts to increase domestic energy production. And even the modest progress so far may be blocked because litigation is driving the conflict out of politics and into the courts.

To see this trend at work, look north to Alaska, where lawsuits are blocking an offshore drilling program. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay that will suspend all operations until at least September, when the court will hear full arguments. The decision noted that the litigants--environmental pressure groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council--had shown "a probability of success on the merits." Uh-oh.

This is bad news for Shell, whose three-year exploration program in the Beaufort Sea was green-lighted by the Department of the Interior in February. The company planned to sink up to four temporary wells this summer to determine the available resources. But there's a limited open-water window before the winter ice moves back in, so the Ninth Circuit could delay work for a year, even if it decides in Shell's favor." (Opinion Journal)

"Researchers look at fossil fuel impacts" - "A team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers report that the choices U.S. officials make today could limit how the nation’s future energy needs are met and could cost consumers billions in idle power plants and associated infrastructure systems. 

In the upcoming Sept. 1 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon researchers Paulina Jaramillo, W. Michael Griffin and H. Scott Matthews show that liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported from foreign countries and used for electricity generation could have 35 percent higher lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal used in advanced power plant technologies." (Carnegie Mellon University)

"Ecologist: "'Increased Use of Biomass Fuels Criminal'" - "Our fear of global warming has now become the biggest threat to the world’s wildlife and forests, warns Jesse Ausubel, one of the nation’s pioneer ecologists.

American farmers are clearing trees and draining wetlands to grow millions more acres of corn for ethanol, even though the United States would need to plant corn on virtually all of its 1.9 billion acres of land area to “grow” our gasoline supply. That would wipe out our forests and wild species.

Europe is importing massive amounts of palm oil for biodiesel from steep Indonesian slopes that used to be covered with tropical forest and endangered wild species—and where the annual monsoon rains deliver 100 inches of massively erosive rainfall in three months each fall. This is conservation? Of what?" (CGFI)

"Is Global Warming Serious Enough To Lift Calif. Ban On Nuke Plants?" - "Global warming has become a lot like the weather: Everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it." (IBD)

"Coal Dependency Seen Braking China's Climate Drive" - "NY ALESUND, Norway - China will have trouble cutting its dependence on coal despite growing pressures to fight global warming, a leading Chinese official told an international panel of experts on Wednesday on an Arctic island." (Reuters)

"More arable land 'needed' by 2030" - "The country's grain harvest is likely to fall considerably because of global warming and it will need an additional 10 million hectares of arable land to feed the people by 2030, a top climate official said yesterday." (People's Daily)

August 22, 2007

Must Read-Then-Buy of the Day..."Make Up Your Own Mine - The Wall Street Journal's John Fund reviews the terrific documentary Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism. MYOB documents how an impoverished town strikes gold -- but George Soros and foreign environmentalists say, leave it in the ground. A must-see-DVD!

After you've read about it, get the DVD at the JunkScience.com Store

"Narrow ideology keeps taps dry" - "A billion people lack clean water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation but the obstacles they face usually have more to do with ideology than practicality, as we see in Stockholm where nearly 2,500 experts have gathered for World Water Week.

Even though private water services deliver clean and safe water to millions around the world, many politicians and NGOs oppose profit being made from "essential resources" like water. Oxfam says: "Rich country governments and international agencies such as the World Bank... hinder development by pushing private sector solutions that do not benefit the poor." (Alex Nash, CFD)

Um... no: "News Target readers demand retractions from major media outlets" - "When the mainstream media refuses to print the truth about a significant study detailing the health benefits of antioxidants and, instead, parrots the erroneous conclusions of a pro-pharmaceutical medical association, it's time for citizens to take a stand and demand accountability. Today, NewsTarget announces a grassroots action campaign to demand retractions, corrections or clarifications from major media outlets -- Fox News, ABC News, CNN, Reuters, WebMD and more -- all of which printed incorrect, incomplete or misleading statements concerning the results of an antioxidant study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study clearly showed that women who took vitamins E and C experienced a statistically significant and rather remarkable reduction in risk of heart attacks (22 percent reduction), strokes (31 percent reduction) and other cardiovascular events. Yet the American Medical Association issued a press release implying that the study found antioxidants to be of no use whatsoever, and the mainstream media ran that as de facto news without bothering to assess whether the opinion of the AMA was, in fact, true. (And apparently without actually reading the study in question.)" (American Chronicle)

News Target has badly missed their target here. The study clearly showed... no efficacy ('a 22% reduction' means RR=0.78, which is a null result while RR<0.5 might be mildly interesting). The AMA didn't call promoters of antioxidants 'snake oil sellers' although there is no evidence to suggest they'd be wrong to do so. Should the media have paid this 'study' more attention? Well, my rule-of-thumb is that it takes a huge study make interesting reduced risk RR=0.5 or increase in the region RR=2.0 and such results from truly large studies are rare. Ordinarily I wouldn't bother reading anything where the relative risk is in the range 0.3-3.0 since this is borderline random chance.

"Arrested Development" - "In the 1990s, most people who played video games were teenagers. Now the average gamester age is nearly 30. Cultural products aimed at tots and preteens capture the attention of adults. "SpongeBob SquarePants," intended for the 6-to-11 age group, draws almost 19 million viewers from the 18-to-49 crowd. Some famous museums, uncomfortable with their adult role as guardians of historical memory, have gone adolescent, staging exhibits on motorcycles, hip-hop and "Star Wars" movies. Many college courses, even on major campuses, make rainy-day activities at summer camp seem profound.

Such examples of America's descent into perpetual adolescence populate Diana West's provocative "The Death of the Grown-Up." Ms. West, a columnist for the Washington Times, argues that the country is suffering a case of arrested development, with teen tastes and desires eclipsing traditional adult conduct and values. A good deal of evidence supports her. An obsession with play and self-expression and a resistance to limits--conventional hallmarks of adolescence--are increasingly strong "adult" themes too." (John Leo, Opinion Journal)

"Team tracks antibiotic resistance from swine farms to groundwater" - "The routine use of antibiotics in swine production can have unintended consequences, with antibiotic resistance genes sometimes leaking from waste lagoons into groundwater." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

"Media Risk Bias Feedback" - "Recently a friend mentioned that he was concerned about health effects from wifi. I pointed out that this was likely an overblown concern, fed by the media echoes of a scare mongering BBC Panorama program, and pointed him at the coverage at Ben Goldacre’s blog Bad Science for a through takedown of the whole issue.

To my surprise he came back more worried than ever. He had watched the program on the Bad Science page, but not looked very much at the damning criticism surrounding it. After all, a warning is much more salient than a critique. My friend is highly intelligent and careful about his biases, yet fell for this one. 

There exists a feedback loop in cases like this. The public is concerned about a possible health threat (electromagnetic emissions, aspartame, GMOs) and demand that the potential threat is evaluated. Funding appears and researchers evaluate the threat. Their findings are reported back through media to the public, who update their risk estimates. 

In an ideal world the end result is that everybody get better estimates. But this process very easily introduces bias: the initial concern will determine where the money goes, so issues the public is concerned about will get more funding regardless of where the real risks are. The media reporting will also introduce bias since the media favour reporting newsworthy news, and risk tends to cause greater interest than reports of no risk (or the arrival of reviews of the state of the knowledge). Hence studies warning of a risk will be overreported compared to risks downplaying it, and this will lead to a biased impression of the total risk. Finally, the public will have an availability bias that makes them take note of reported risks more than reported non-risks. And this leads to further concerns and demands for investigation." (Anders Sandberg, Overcoming Bias)

"Acrylamide not linked to breast cancer in US women, study finds" - "BOSTON, Aug. 21, 2007 — Foods that contain acrylamide are unlikely to cause breast cancer in women, according to preliminary results of a new study involving 100,000 U.S. women. The finding, the largest epidemiological study to date exploring the possible link between acrylamide and cancer in humans, was described today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society." (American Chemical Society)

Sometimes it's the simplest questions... El Niño (Number Watch)

"Tellus More About Hurricanes" - "Tellus is a professional scientific journal published on behalf of the International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm and is highly respected by atmospheric scientists throughout the world. A recent issue is devoted to hurricanes (a.k.a., tropical cyclones), and three articles in the issue are of significant interest to us at World Climate Report." (WCR)

"December 2007 Session ‘The “Divergence Problem’ In Northern Forests" - "This is a copy of the e-mail sent to a number of scientists about an important upcoming meeting. I made a suggestion to add a topic, which I have included at the end of this weblog. The topic of the ‘divergence problem” was discussed on Climate Science; see A New Paper On The Differences Between Recent Proxy Temperature And In-Situ Near-Surface Air Temperatures." (Climate Science)

"An oldie but goodie - Microsite and UHI in 1952" - "Well before the current debate over the value of the near surface temperature record and its many possible biases, and well before Parker’s UHI studies sought to minimize the effect based on windy -vs- non windy days, J. Murray Mitchell published a paper in 1952 titled: On the Causes of Instrumentally Observed Secular Temperature Trends which was a quality study on the numerous possible effects of localized micro-site effects, as well as broader UHI effects related to population growth in cities. He created a tree chart of the known influences at the time:" (Anthony Watts, Climate Audit)

"Believe long-range weather forecasts at your own risk" - "According to the NEC SX-8, one of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet and the heart of the Met Office's weather-forecasting operations, it's going to be a fine bank holiday weekend. Probably. Oh, and with a small risk of showers. As we near the end of an August that has seemed more unpredictable than most, you might be forgiven for wondering if the Met Office really knows anything.

Part of the problem is that weather systems are inherently chaotic: unpredictability is built in, and rapidly magnified. The Met Office says its 24-hour forecasts are correct about six times out of seven, but further into the future, the accuracy rate falls precipitously. As a result, some forecasters argue that we should be receiving "probabilistic" bulletins on TV and radio, with percentage chances of rain or sun, along with an indication of how much confidence the meteorologists have in any given prediction." (Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian)

"Replication Policy Re-Posted" - "Here’s a discussion of replication policy posted up in the relatively early days of the blog, which I’ve re-posted in light of NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt’s attempts to justify Hansen’s refusal to provide the source code used in his temperature calculations. It seems that these calculations are important enough to prompt a concern over the “destruction of Creation” but apparently only the elect will be permitted to see these calculations. The discussion of replication is based on experience in economics and social science unrelated to the present controversy but fully applicable to it.

We get considerable criticism from paleoclimate scientists that complying with requests for data and methods sufficient to permit replication is much too onerous and distracts them from "real work". However, the problem is not our request, but that any request should be necessary in the first place. In my opinion, a replication package should have been archived at the time of original publication so that any subsequent researcher can replicate the results without needing to contact the original author. From my personal experience, non-academics typically assume that there are adequate due diligence packages and find it difficult to believe otherwise. It appears that significant academic experience is necessary to instill a belief that a due diligence package is an imposition." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Tipping points, sweet spots, and model ensembles" - "In his Musings about models, Gavin Schmidt discusses three topics:

  1. Tipping points
  2. Sweet spots
  3. Model ensembles

Because there are both valid points as well as significant confusion in his short text, let's try to clarify the situation." (The Reference Frame)

"Man-Made Global Warming Links Challenged" - "Many media outlets — such as the recent Newsweek magazine cover story — portray man-made global warming as fact and those who deny it as conspirators. But skeptics are increasingly certain that the scare is vastly overblown.

A new study by Brookhaven National Lab scientist Stephen Schwartz contends that the Earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the United Nations' recent climate study claims. Schwarz's work will be published in The Journal of Geophysical Eesearch.

The study is just one of several peer-reviewed scientific studies challenging global warming alarmism:

The Belgian Weather Institute concludes that carbon dioxide does not have a decisive role in global warming.

A study by two Chinese scientists says CO2's role in warming is "vastly exaggerated."

And new research by University of Washington mathematicians shows a correlation between high solar activity and periods of warming." (Brit Hume, Political Grapevine)

"Reuters Headline: ‘Climate Change a Security Issue Like Cold War’" - "So, did you know that climate change is the biggest security challenge since the Cold War? Hadn't heard that? Well, you're just not reading the finer alarmist wire services! (News Busters)

"California attorney general strikes deal on global warming case" - "SACRAMENTO—The attorney general's office and a sprawling Southern California county settled a lawsuit Tuesday over the negative effects of runaway growth on greenhouse gas emissions, an accord that could have implications for cities and counties throughout the state. 

The announcement ends a four-month legal struggle that also became a key factor in California's nearly two-month-long budget impasse, which also ended Tuesday. 

The settlement calls for San Bernardino County to account for the effects its land-use decisions will have on the emissions blamed for global warming. The county, which stretches from the Los Angeles County line to California's eastern border, is the largest by geographic size in the lower 48 states and has seen rampant growth in recent years." (Associated Press)

"Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching" - "The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of methane a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey." (Der Spiegel)

"Environmental groups slam German climate plans" - "Environmental groups on Tuesday described as woefully insufficient plans by the German government to combat global warming which are set to be finalised this week." (AFP)

From CO2 Science this week:

Marine Photosynthesis and Oceanic pH: What's the connection between the two? ... and why is it important?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Marcacocha Lake, South Central Andes, Peru. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Streamflow (Natural Variability - North America): Have the supposedly "unprecedented" increases in air temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration of the past century led to equally unprecedented changes in streamflow characteristics throughout North America?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Good King Henry, Harding Grass, Hemlock, and Purple Foxglove.

Journal Reviews:
Global Warming and Climate Variability: How does the former affect the latter?

A Record of Millennial-Scale Climate Variability from Northernmost Europe: Does it reveal the existence of the major cold and warm periods of the past two millennia that the world's climate alarmists refuse to recognize?

Impacts of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment and Global Warming on Semiarid Grassland Ecosystems: Are they horrendously negative or tremendously positive? ... or do they lie somewhere in between?

The Variable Response of Rice Cultivars to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Just how variable is it? ... and what are the implications of the results?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Growth Responses of Soybeans to High Temperature and UV-B Radiation: To what extent can atmospheric CO2 enrichment compensate for the deleterious effects of global warming and increased ultraviolet-B radiation in soybeans?

Pilot Rock, ORTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Pilot Rock, OR. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Pilot Rock's mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (co2science.org)

"Nations Vying for Arctic Treasures" - "As climate change liberates the Arctic Ocean from ice, it is also triggering a race to claim the ownership of natural resources. First Russia, and now Denmark, the United States and Canada are launching geological expeditions to support their claims. Their calculation: If the polar ice cap melts, they will get access to massive oil and gas reserves." (Der Spiegel)

"Statoil Taps Gas from Arctic Field, LNG in Sept" - "OSLO - Norwegian oil and gas producer Statoil received the first gas from its Snoehvit field in the Arctic on Tuesday and said it would open Europe's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility next month." (Reuters)

"Blue Source To Capture Kansas CO2, Up Oil Output" - 'NEW YORK - Blue Source, LLC, a company that advises businesses on how to reduce carbon emissions, said it will capture greenhouse gas from a Kansas fertilizer plant and inject it into aging petroleum fields to boost oil output." (Reuters)

"Kenya: Global Food Miles Row Enters Tourism Sector" - "The food miles row that has been rocking Kenyan exports to the European Union has now entered the tourism industry.

Food miles labels have been used to show the distance that food travels from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer and its accompanying contribution to environmental pollution. 

The labels, which are seen as punitive and unnecessary, have been giving Kenyan exporters sleepless nights and various efforts have been put in place to counter them. The concept has now been introduced in tourism and seeks to highlight the increasing contribution that air travel used by tourists has on the global environment.

If applied globally, analysts say it is bound to negatively affect economies of tourism dependent countries like Kenya." (Business Daily)

"Controversy over GM corn approval in Brazil" - "Brazil's biosafety committee has approved two sets of guidelines governing the use of genetically modified (GM) corn, despite criticism from within its ranks." (SciDev.Net)

"Do higher corn prices mean less adherence to ecological principles?" - "Expectations of higher corn prices are leading some farmers to neglect or ignore integrated pest management strategies, and their behavior could undermine the very technologies that sustain them, University of Illinois researchers reported at the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a set of principles developed to minimize the ecological impacts of pesticides, transgenic crops and other pest management technologies. A primary goal is to slow the emergence of “resistant” insects that have adapted or evolved to evade management strategies that work. Traditional approaches for slowing the development of insect resistance include crop rotation and scouting for pests to determine whether and when to use chemicals to limit damage. Newer strategies include planting non-transgenic corn “refuges” alongside crops of transgenic corn." (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

August 21, 2007

Hmm... "Monster storms more frequent, more severe" - "EXTREME natural disasters have become more frequent and their impact more severe, affecting about 250 million people around the world and costing more than $67 billion a year.

Nine in 10 people affected by natural disasters and seven in 10 of those killed by natural disasters since 2000 lived in the APEC region, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Asia and Pacific regional chief, Terje Skavdal, said.

In an address to an APEC Emergency Management chief executives seminar in Cairns, Mr Skavdal said savage flooding across Asia and parts of South America, Africa and Europe served as a reminder that recent decades had brought a higher rate of extreme disasters." (The Australian)

Wait for it: The Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, which hit 14 countries on two continents, accounted for 37 per cent of all recorded fatalities from natural disasters since 2000, with most of the deaths in APEC states. And you thought it was going to be about gorebull warming, didn't you?

But wait, there's still more: In the past decade, fewer than one million people died in natural disasters worldwide, compared with three million deaths in the same period 40 years ago. So, despite a doubling of population there's been only one-third the casualties -- isn't development wonderful? We are so much safer now.

"Was Thomas Jefferson an alarmist?" - "James Hansen has released a new scientific paper The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla reflecting the most rigorous kind of scientific "thinking" that this director of a NASA institute is capable or willing to perform. He explains that all global warming skeptics are controlled by big fish and that no errors in his work can ever matter. I suppose that everyone has already seen these "theories" and everyone could be bored if we responded again.

But there is a brand new "argument" in Hansen's new "paper", after all: it turns out that Thomas Jefferson was an AGW alarmist! Who could have thought? That should really settle the question about global warming! :-)" (The Reference Frame)

"Hansen and the “Destruction of Creation”" - "Hansen has followed up his “Lights Out Upstairs” outburst with another outburst dismissing critics as “court jesters” with whom he will have no truck. His new jeremiad re-iterated the position of NASA spokesman Gavin Schmidt that U.S. errors “didn’t matter” because the U.S. was only 2% of the earth’s surface. Today I’ll take a look back at Hansen et al 1999 and, especially Hansen et al 2001, the latter entitled “A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change” and being entirely devoted to coaxing a few-tenths of temperature change out of the U.S. record, a matter now said to be unimportant. Hansen also linked interest in the NASA computer programming errors to somehow acquiescing in the “destruction of Creation”." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Inconveniently, the 1930s were the hottest decade" - "Recent days have brought to light four more highly "inconvenient truths" for our global warming alarmists. The first caused acute embarrassment to Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), exposing a serious flaw in its record of US surface temperatures since 1880. The error was so glaring that, on August 7, GISS had to post revised figures which show, instead of temperatures reaching their highest level in the past decade, that the hottest year of the 20th century was not 1998 but 1934. Of the 10 warmest years since 1880, it turns out that four were in the 1930s and only three in the past decade." (London Telegraph)

"Hot tempers and global warming" - "It used to be said that there were two things you should not talk about at the dinner table — religion and politics — in order to avoid unpleasant disagreements. To that we may now add global warming, a topic which certainly leads to hotter tempers if not always rising temperatures." (Frank Miele, Daily Interlake)

"Watts Rattles Global Warming Theologians" - "Big things happen when you’re discovered by the Drudge Report. 

Ask Anthony Watts. He’s the veteran meteorologist from Chico, Calif., who was featured in the June 17 edition of this column because of his project to quality-check the 1,221 official weather stations used to take the country's average surface temperature. 

In the hours after DrudgeReport.com posted The Pittsburgh Tribune’s "scoop" about Watts, his Web site Watt’s Up With That? was visited by 20,000 people. Normally it gets 3,000 hits a month, which is why he had to shut it down. 

Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity subsequently did pieces on Watts' project, which is not looked upon warmly by climate-change alarmists. Predictably, the liberal media ignored Watts." (Bill Steigerwald, Townhall)

"Quantitative implications of the secondary role of carbon dioxide climate forcing in the past glacial-interglacial cycles for the likely future climatic impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcings" - "A review of the recent refereed literature fails to confirm quantitatively that carbon dioxide (CO2) radiative forcing was the prime mover in the changes in temperature, ice-sheet volume, and related climatic variables in the glacial and interglacial periods of the past 650,000 years, even under the "fast response" framework where the convenient if artificial distinction between forcing and feedback is assumed. Atmospheric CO2 variations generally follow changes in temperature and other climatic variables rather than preceding them. Likewise, there is no confirmation of the often-posited significant supporting role of methane (CH4) forcing, which despite its faster atmospheric response time is simply too small, amounting to less than 0.2 W/m2 from a change of 400 ppb. We cannot quantitatively validate the numerous qualitative suggestions that the CO2 and CH4 forcings that occurred in response to the Milankovich orbital cycles accounted for more than half of the amplitude of the changes in the glacial/interglacial cycles of global temperature, sea level, and ice volume. Consequently, we infer that natural climatic variability notably the persistence of insolation forcing at key seasons and geographical locations, taken with closely-related thermal, hydrological, and cryospheric changes (such as the water vapor, cloud, and ice-albedo feedbacks) suffices in se to explain the proxy-derived, global and regional, climatic and environmental phase-transitions in the paleoclimate. If so, it may be appropriate to place anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions in context by separating their medium-term climatic impacts from those of a host of natural forcings and feedbacks that may, as in paleoclimatological times, prove just as significant." (Willie Soon, Physical Geography)

"New Paper On The Diagnosis and Significance Of Ocean Heat Content Changes" - "A new paper has appeared that further documents the value of using ocean heat trends to diagnose global climate heat system changes, which we have identified as being the most accurate way to diagnose global warming and cooling; Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335. 

The paper is Schwartz, S. E. 2007: Heat capacity, time constant, and the sensitivity of Earth’s climate system. JRG. accepted." (Climate Science)

"Two Studies That Document Further Why We Need A Regional Focus to The Study of Climate Variability and Change" - "There are two new studies that assess climate variability and change with a regional focus, as was recommended in National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp." (Climate Science)

"Scientists: Polar ice clouds may be climate change symptom" - "Fairbanks, Alaska—As the late summer sun sets in the Arctic, bands of wispy, luminescent clouds shine against the deep blue of the northern sky. 

To the casual observer, they may simply be a curiosity, dismissed as the waning light of the midnight sun. But to scientists, these noctilucent ice clouds could be an upper-atmospheric symptom of a changing climate.

“The question which everyone in Alaska is dealing with is what are the symptoms of climate change and, as in medicine, how do these symptoms reflect the underlying processes,” said Richard Collins, a researcher at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It is believed that [these clouds] are an indicator of climate change.”(University of Alaska Fairbanks)

"8,200-year-old cooling is analyzed" - "Canadian scientists studying ice core records are questioning current theories about the rapid cooling of the Northern Hemisphere 8,200 years ago." (UPI)

"Cool response to climate change: Just how accurate are our weather-prediction models?" - "PREDICTING climate change is a tricky business, so thank heavens for computer programmes that can take a melting ice sheet here and an El Niño effect there and turn it into a recipe for disaster. But not so fast, says Lenny Smith, a statistician at the London School of Economics who is concerned by the “naïve realism” of climate modelling. 

“Our models are being over-interpreted and misinterpreted,” he told a conference organised by the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. “They are getting better; I don’t want to trash them per se. But as we change our predictions, how do we maintain the credibility of the science? We need to drop the pretence that they are nearly perfect.” 

Smith singles out the British Government’s UK Climate Impacts Programme and the Met Office for making detailed climate projections for regions of the UK when the global models vary widely. 

Policymakers “think we know more than we actually know. We need to be more open about our uncertainties”, Smith says." (London Times)

This is good: "Scientists Verify Predictive Model for Winter Weather" - "Scientists have verified the accuracy of a model that uses October snow cover in Siberia to predict upcoming winter temperatures and snowfall for the high- and mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere." (NSF)

An indicative model operating on hemispheric scale -- and a whole season in advance, too (a major improvement)!

"New Paper On The Assessment Of Relative Risks Of Future Damage From Tropical Cyclones" - "There is a new paper on the relative role of society and climate change with respect to future damages from tropical cyclones. This study fits within the concept of the need to quantify the vulnerability of social and environmental threats to important resources that is one of the major themes on Climate Science." (Climate Science)

"Environmental Disasters Reduce the Likelihood of Pro-Green Votes by Members of Congress" - "Conventional wisdom holds that environmental disasters lead Congress to toughen regulatory standards. But a new UCLA study has found that members of Congress were less likely to take pro-green positions on legislation in the wake of such disasters than at other times during the same calendar year. 

The reason? Legislation following these environmental "shocks" is typically written by those with strong pro-environment voting records who propose more radical legislation. Such legislation tends to overreach, leading moderates and more conservative lawmakers to vote against the bills." (UCLA)

"New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears" - "Washington DC – An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analysis, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming “bites the dust” and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be “falling apart.” The latest study to cast doubt on climate fears finds that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have the previously predicted dire impacts on global temperatures. This new study is not unique, as a host of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast a chill on global warming fears." (EPW)

"Scientist Unveils Plan on Climate Change" - "SOCORRO, N.M. - A New Mexico Tech scientist believes he has found a way to head off dangerous climate change. Oliver Wingenter said the idea is simple - fertilize the ocean so that more plankton can grow.

Plankton growing in the ocean emits a gas known as dimethyl sulfide, or DMS, that once in the atmosphere, helps spur cloud formation. That, in turn, would cool the planet and offset some of the global warming caused by human emitted greenhouse gases, he said." (AP)

"Global warming: No urgent danger; no quick fix" - "It's summer, it's hot and global warming is on the cover of Newsweek. Scare stories abound. We may only have 10 years to stop this! The future survival of our species is at stake!

OK, the media aren't exactly nonpartisan, especially on global warming. So what's the real story and what do we need to know?" (Pat Michaels, AJC)

"Sizzling study concludes: Global warming 'hot air'" - "A major new scientific study concludes the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on worldwide temperatures is largely irrelevant, prompting one veteran meteorologist to quip, "You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide." 

That comment comes from Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, who said the temperature of the earth is increasing, but that it's got nothing to do with what man is doing." (WND)

"Environmental bullies" - "When it comes to CO2 emissions, Europe's newest and poorest members are being told to shoulder an unfair burden." (Valdis Dombrovskis, The Guardian)

"Europe's Carbon Con Job" - "With all the supposed truths out there about global warming, here's one that doesn't get reported very often. Europe isn't the climate-change champion that its leaders, and their American apologists, would have you believe.

It's true that emissions -- both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis -- remain higher in America than in the EU-15 (the countries that belonged to the European Union before its 2004 expansion, and which are widely used as a comparison for the U.S. when the subject is global warming). And when it comes to decrying the planet's impending doom and making grand gestures about preventing this, Europe is second to none.

Let's assume, though, for argument's sake, that most Americans believe global warming is a real danger, that carbon dioxide is public enemy No. 1, and that the only question is what to do about it. Before following Europe's lead in adopting a cap-and-trade system or mandatory renewable energy targets, wouldn't you want to know that those actions will lead to something better than the status quo?

So would I. And the numbers show that if America is the Great Carbon Satan, Europe is certainly no angel.

Since 2000, emissions of CO2 have been growing more rapidly in Europe, with all its capping and yapping, than in the U.S., where there has been minimal government intervention so far. As of 2005, we're talking about a 3.8% rise in the EU-15 versus a 2.5% increase in the U.S., according to statistics from the United Nations.

What's more, preliminary data indicate that America's CO2 output fell by 1.3% from 2005 to 2006. If these numbers hold up, it would mean U.S. emissions growth is nearly flat so far this decade. Europe hasn't yet released figures for last year, but it did report in June that emissions from the participants in its carbon-trading scheme, which account for almost half of Europe's CO2 production, rose slightly in 2006.

The news gets worse for Europe when you consider that during this decade, the U.S. population has grown at roughly double the rate of the EU-15 while the American economy has been expanding about 40% faster. It seems Europe is becoming less efficient in its carbon production while U.S. efficiency is improving." (Kyle Wingfield, Wall Street Journal)

Typical ignorant politicians: "ALP to phase out electric hot water" - "LABOR plans to rid Australian homes of off-peak electric hot water systems, in a move it claims will cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5million tonnes each year." (The Australian)

Australia runs a split tariff system because it's an efficient way of reducing peak load and utilizing idling baseload generators that must be kept hot overnight anyway (you can't have instant on, instant off systems, unfortunately, which means burning coal overnight so the boilers are ready to generate steam for the morning demand). Consequently Australia has a system encouraging overnight domestic water heating with daytime storage, something which reduces the net power demand and total fuel consumption (along with associated greenhouse gas emission). How will causing more fuel to be burned reduce the emissions they claim to be so concerned about?

Letters of the moment: Heathrow protesters ignore evidence against global warming (London Telegraph)

"No New UK Nuclear Power Likely Before 2020 - Poyry" - "LONDON - No nuclear power plants are likely to be built in Britain before 2020, if they are built at all, which will be too late to fill the country's looming power generation gap, according to a report published on Monday." (Reuters)

"Coal-based fuels and products hit the refinery" - "A variety of end products including jet fuel, gasoline, carbon anodes and heating oil may be possible using existing refineries and combinations of coal and refinery by-products, according to a team of Penn State researchers." (Penn State)

"Coal and black liquor can produce energy from papermaking" - "Adding a little coal and processing the papermaking industry's black liquor waste into synthesis gas is a better choice than burning it for heat, improves the carbon footprint of coal-to-liquid processes, and can produce a fuel versatile enough to run a cooking stove or a truck, according to a team of Penn state engineers." (Penn State)

"One of the Three Biggest Boondoggles of the Century" - "Many times politics can be good. But when it’s bad—it’s bad. Especially when it means the death of millions. Unfortunately, sometimes the road has to be traveled for years before facts become known. One of the most hideous ones was the banning of a chemical named dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Or as the name many fear like the plague---“DDT”." (Kevin Roeten, Opinion Editorials)

"Environmentalism's deadly record" - "Environmentalists, with the help of politicians and other government officials, have an agenda that has cost thousands of American lives." (Walter E Williams, Voice of the Times)

"Greenpeace blasts Boreal forest destruction" - "An investigative report by an environmental group has singled out 35 companies, many of which are popular household brand names, for fueling the destruction of Canada's Boreal forest." (Mike De Souza, The Ottawa Citizen)

Greenpeace says... who cares?

"As autism diagnoses grow, so do number of fad treatments, researchers say" - "SAN FRANCISCO – Ineffective or even dangerous fad treatments for autism, always a problem, seem to be growing more pervasive, according to researchers who studied the problem. 

“Developmental disabilities like autism are a magnet for all kinds of unsupported or disproved therapies, and it has gotten worse as more children have been diagnosed with autism,” said James Mulick, professor of pediatrics and psychology at Ohio State University .” 

“There's no cure for autism, and many parents are willing to believe anything if they come to think it could help their child.” (Ohio State University)

"Common virus may contribute to obesity in some people, new study shows" - "Scientists today reported new evidence that infection with a common virus may be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic sweeping through the United States and other countries. In laboratory experiments they showed that infection with human adenovirus-36 (Ad-36), long recognized as a cause of respiratory and eye infections in humans, transforms adult stem cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells. Stem cells not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged." (American Chemical Society)

"Cartoon characters labelled food villains" - "Food products promoted by popular cartoons and film characters are undermining parents' efforts to make their children eat healthily, according to a survey published by a consumer group today." (The Guardian)

"Pathogens prevalent in unpasteurized milk" - "NEW YORK - A survey of unpasteurized milk samples drawn from dairy farms across Wisconsin found a significant presence of Coxiella burnetii and Listeria monocytogenes, two different types of bacteria that can cause serious infection and even death in some people.

These findings have particular relevance for consumers seeking raw milk products." (Reuters Health)

Weird that some people in our obsessively risk-averse society actively seek to avoid product safety measures. They must be dumber than doorknobs...

August 20, 2007

"A New Home for DDT" - "DDT, the miracle insecticide turned environmental bogeyman, is once again playing an important role in public health. In the malaria-plagued regions of Africa, where mosquitoes are becoming resistant to other chemicals, DDT is now being used as an indoor repellent. Research that I and my colleagues recently conducted shows that DDT is the most effective pesticide for spraying on walls, because it can keep mosquitoes from even entering the room. 

The news may seem surprising, as some mosquitoes worldwide are already resistant to DDT. But we’ve learned that even mosquitoes that have developed an immunity to being directly poisoned by DDT are still repelled by it.

Malaria accounts for nearly 90 percent of all deaths from vector-borne disease globally. And it is surging in Africa, surpassing AIDS as the biggest killer of African children under age 5." (Donald Roberts, New York Times)

Save 50% now on DDT T-Shirts at the JunkScience.com Store!
Outrageous: "NASA’s Hansen Says Global Warming Skeptics Are Court Jesters Working for Big Oil" - "Well, it only took a week for NASA's James Hansen to formally address the changes made to the United States historical climate record by the agency he oversees. I guess it's better late than never. 

Oddly, Hansen's statement didn't appear at GISS's website, but instead cropped up unceremoniously at Slashdot Friday morning (h/t Glenn Reynolds).

Regardless of the delay, Hansen's piece entitled "The Real Deal: Usufruct & the Gorilla," represents a marvelous example of how unscientific the alarmists are in their approach to this issue, and how even the head of a major NASA division feels the need to insult and attack those who disagree with him and pay his salary through their tax dollars." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

Actually Hansen is a very clever politician and has used distractions like the above to misdirect attention. The issue is not that there are errors in global temperature data collection and processing -- that has always been and probably ever will be the case. Nor is it the magnitude of error in a specific instance or who found it (or their degree of difficulty induced by uncooperative publicly funded researchers). The real issue is that the global mean temperature as currently derived is a complete nonsense, which Hansen admits in the GISS-hosted document The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT):

Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT ?
A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.

Q. What do we mean by daily mean SAT ?
A. Again, there is no universally accepted correct answer. Should we note the temperature every 6 hours and report the mean, should we do it every 2 hours, hourly, have a machine record it every second, or simply take the average of the highest and lowest temperature of the day ? On some days the various methods may lead to drastically different results.

There is no agreement on what we are trying to measure or how to go about it. Given the site audit results so far discovered by volunteers coordinated by Anthony Watts (Watt's Up With That?) and posted at surfacestations.org it's really a wonder anyone pays attention to alleged trends in surface data at all.

One thing process models are good at is helping us understand more about some of the complex systems around us and the variety known as climate models strongly indicate under the influence of enhanced greenhouse we should see greater warming in the troposphere than at the surface, about 1.3 times as much, peaking in the mid-troposphere. There is no evidence this might be happening and the reverse appears to be true. In fact, the stratosphere, which theoretically should be cooling in direct response to a greater proportion of Earth's longwave emission being absorbed in the troposphere and causing warming there, has warmed slightly (but not significantly) over the past decade. The same set of time series shows that there has been a trivial step warming in the mid troposphere but no trend bearing any semblance to that expected of an enhanced greenhouse signature.

Hansen, via constant protestations of being censored, censured and, well, everything but tenured, keeps the drumbeat of global warming going when the hypothesis of enhanced greenhouse obviously needs to be reexamined because key expected indicators have failed to materialize. Admirable politicking, we admit but really crappy science, as he should admit.

When the fit hits the shan over the great global warming fiasco, as it surely will, Hansen will be able to point at the document The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature and say "See! I never claimed we could measure global temperature or even that there was some specification for such a thing." and he will walk away relatively unscathed. That's the mark of an outstanding politician. Pity it does nothing for the science.

A lot of spinning going on: "'Misuse' of NASA correction raises researcher's temperature" - "A top NASA researcher is angrily rejecting claims made by climate skeptics and Internet bloggers who are using a statistical error in the agency's U.S. temperature records to challenge the scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

Although NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies made corrections to its U.S. data last week in response to questions raised in an e-mail from a former Canadian mining executive who lives in Toronto, climatologist Gavin Schmidt said the adjustments do not significantly affect global averages and the overwhelming evidence that the planet is getting hotter." (Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service)

"Cold, hard facts take the heat out of some hot claims" - "Imagine if the American government agency responsible for temperature records had announced a fortnight ago that it had overestimated annual temperatures since the year 2000. Imagine if, at the time of correcting this error, the hottest year on record was mysteriously altered from 1998 to 1934. Imagine further that if you considered the 10 hottest years on record after these corrections, the hottest decade changed from the 1990s to the 1930s.

Would that change your views on global warming? It should, because climate change theory says increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere raises the temperature. Yet the hot 1930s was hardly a decade of carbon-spewing industrial growth." (Michael Duffy, SMH)

"Warming debate: Scene 1, take 2" - "IF THERE'S anything climate-change crusaders are adamant about, it is that the science of the matter is settled. That greenhouse gases emitted through human activity are causing the planet to warm dangerously, they say, is an established fact; only a charlatan would claim otherwise. In the worlds of Al Gore, America's leading global warming apostle: "There's no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. . . . There is no more scientific debate among serious people who've looked at the evidence."

But as with other claims Gore has made over the years ("I took the initiative in creating the Internet"), this one doesn't mesh with reality." (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

"Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven: climate sensitivity is 1.1 Kelvin" - "Many of the recent entries included in the weekly dose of peer-reviewed climate denier literature were published in Geophysical Research Letters. For the sake of diversity, today we offer an article that will appear in Journal of Geophysical Research." (The Reference Frame)

"A Critique on the Lockwood/Frochlich Paper in the Royal Society Proceedings" - "Mike Lockwood and Claus Frohlich published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society which concludes that the Sun could not be responsible for the global temperature rise over the last twenty years." (SPPI)

"Climate Change Chaos" - "Climate scientists have known for many years that the energy output from the Sun varies and believe it or not, when the Sun is putting out more energy, the Earth heats up and when the Sun cools down, so does the Earth. What appears to be so simple is actually much more complex as the Sun can vary its output differentially in the various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. For example, the Sun can actually increase its production of gamma rays while decreasing the level of infrared emission, and these patterns of energy output can reveal themselves quite differently in terms of response of Earth’s climate." (WCR)

 "UK satellite mission to improve accuracy of climate-change measurements gains global support" - "TRUTHS (Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio- Studies) is a proposed satellite mission, led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to improve tenfold the accuracy of earth observation satellites used to deliver climate change data. TRUTHS will launch a calibration laboratory into space to help settle international debates around climate change and provide a robust statistical baseline from which to monitor and predict changes in the Earth’s climate. Enabling the provision of data of sufficient accuracy to improve the predictive quality of climate models such as those of the UK Hadley centre a key requirement highlighted in the Stern review." (National Physical Laboratory)

"Kyoto Goes Dodo As APEC Says No-no to Carbon Emissions Targets" - "Some extraordinary statements concerning global warming have been made in the past couple of days by a key member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that could signal the end of the Kyoto Protocol as we know it. 

Of course, you likely didn't hear about this, for even though America is part of APEC, our media seemed thoroughly disinterested.

However, as this is indeed quite important news for folks on both sides of the anthropogenic global warming debate, the following was reported by the Associated Press via the International Herald Tribune Friday." (News Busters)

"Carbon's upside" - "House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell has decided that the debate over global warming calls for a tax increase. Surprise, surprise!

Albert Einstein recalled in his later years a realization he had as a young boy: "Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle."

Einstein had unfortunately not met Al Gore or John Dingell, who now have it all figured out." ( John Linder, Washington Times)

"Climate change moral failings are cowardice and ignorance, not inaction" - " Virtually overnight, Portland (Maine) High School student Kristen Byrnes has become a climate change sensation and a role model for freethinking young people everywhere. As an extra credit project for an earth science course, she created "Ponder the Maunder", an attractive website designed to demonstrate "that the Earth's warming climate is a result of natural variance and that man-made changes in the warming climate in the last 40 years are negligible at best." After being highlighted in a number of articles in two local newspapers and on several prominent Web sites, "Ponder the Maunder" attracted over 500,000 hits in May." (Professor Bob Carter & Tom Harris, CFP)

"Global warming as a con" - "I'm not part of a conspiracy. The oil companies are not writing me checks. I'm just an American speaking my mind.

And I think man-made global warming is a crock. Worse, I think it's a fraud perpetrated on the developed world by an anarchist cult that wraps itself in liberalism and environmentalism. But global warming isn't about the environment, it is about a new slavery.

This is a slavery that seeks to take away the economic freedom and prosperity of men and nations. A slavery that, like all slaveries, depends on the whip lash to succeed. That whip lash is a scorched-earth denunciation of those who dare disagree with the cult's premise that the activity of mankind is warming the climate.

In the era of political correctness, when freedom of speech is functionally repealed, those who question global warming are equated with those who question the Holocaust. It has been proposed that publicly questioning global warming be criminalized, that people who do so be banned from certain professions or professional organizations.

Cult leaders have gone to extraordinary lengths to stigmatize and savage those who question their worldview. The most recent claim is that all those who disagree with them are part of a conspiracy funded by the oil companies." (Washington Times)

"Junkscience in Global Warming Theory? Let's Count the Ways" - "In spite of what some call a national debate on global warming, there really hasn’t been one. There has been name calling, personal attacks, calls for defunding the skeptics, calls for Nuremburg trials, muzzling the critics. This isn’t debate, this is not a discussion, this isn’t consensus, and it isn’t science. It is bullying and thuggery, and reminiscent of remedial behavior classes. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

"Ban says US shifting on climate change" - "TOKYO: The United States is shifting tack and joining international efforts to fight global warming, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in remarks published on Monday." (AFP)

"No constitutional clash likely over climate change: environment minister" - "OTTAWA -- The Harper government is rejecting suggestions from a former Alberta premier that its climate change policies would throw the country into a devastating constitutional crisis.

Environment Minister John Baird said Thursday that his government is committed to working constructively with the provinces and wouldn't repeat mistakes that he said were made nearly 30 years ago by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's government." (Mike De Souza, CanWest News Service

"Parliamentary report devastates 'Global Warming' scam" - "The Australian Federal Parliament's Standing Committee on Science and Innovation recently completed a report entitled Between a Rock and a Hard Place, on the subject of "Geosequestration of Carbon Dioxide". However, four members of that committee have issued a "Dissenting Report" which devastates the Committee's major premise — that mankind causes global warming.

The dissenting MPs are former CSIRO scientist Dr. Dennis Jensen, Hon Jackie Kelly, Hon Danna Vale and Mr. David Tollner. Their report was compiled with the assistance of a number of leading scientists, including climate scientist Dr. John Christy, former lead author of the IPCC. It is a must read for anyone concerned with the subject." (CEC)

D'oh! "Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Record Low" - " There was less sea ice in the Arctic on Friday than ever before on record, and the melting is continuing, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported. "Today is a historic day," said Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the center. "This is the least sea ice we've ever seen in the satellite record and we have another month left to go in the melt season this year." (AP)

But satellite monitoring didn't start until virtually the end of the looming ice age scare, so it covers only a small warming phase. Gee, there isn't as much summer Arctic ice during warming cycles? Who wouldda thunkit?

"Merkel Inspects a Changing Climate in Greenland" - "German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Greenland to find out more about the consequences of global warming first hand, has called for the US and China to sign on to the the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. But her trip has been criticized by opposition politicians as a publicity stunt." (Der Spiegel)

"Call for network to monitor Southern Ocean current" - "The senior science advisor to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) has called for the establishment of a Southern Hemisphere network of deep ocean moorings to detect any change in ocean circulation that may adversely influence global climate.

In a commentary published in the journal Science today, Dr John Church of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre and CSIRO, through the Wealth from Oceans Flagship, said a Southern Hemisphere observing network is needed to complement a network of moorings now spanning the North Atlantic Ocean." (CSIRO Australia)

Establishing baseline data now may be useful in the future but we sure won't be able to 'detect any change' any time soon simply because we don't know what it has been before.

"Howls over hurricane insurance" - "Owners demand relief from rising costs, but without price signals, building in danger zones continues." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Climate change blamed as migrating bird numbers fall" - "CLIMATE change has caused a decline in the number of birds migrating to the Lothians in winter, according to a report by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 

The RSPB says there has been a sharp fall in numbers of dunlin and turnstone, of which there are internationally important populations in the Firth of Forth. 

They believe that birds which are traditionally attracted by the relatively mild winters are no longer forced to fly as far as Scotland to find suitable conditions. 

However, the overall number of waterbirds wintering here in the last three decades has doubled, according to the State of the UK's Birds 2006 report." (Evening News)

Eye-roller: "Two degrees of difference: the science that backs the protest" - "It is vitally important that we stabilise global temperature rises below the danger line of 2C – and the aviation industry stands in the way." (The Sunday Times)

"Tobacco road" - "A little birdie recently chirped about some usual-suspect state attorneys general preparing a litigation strategy document for/with environmental pressure groups, providing a roadmap for cooperatively replicating the tobacco litigation of a decade ago in the "global warming" context, substituting that projected catastrophe for cancer and "big energy" for tobacco companies.

The point of such exercise would not be to litigate the matter to conclusion — ever more challenging what with forced corrections of the temperature record, recent exposure of the woeful reliability of our own world's most reliable surface measuring network, and of course no global warming in a decade (or, we now know, since 1900 for that matter) — but to extract massive settlements from the energy industry to further fund the trial lawyers, greens and the greens' pet projects. Just imagine the anti-energy campaign that this model would yield! And at no cost, really, except to anyone who uses energy and/or invests in these sleepy "granny stocks". Oh, and the economy." (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

"Families face £100 green tax on holiday flights" - "The cost for an average family to fly away on holiday could increase by more than £100 under plans being considered by ministers. 

New proposals are being drawn up to raise the tax on plane tickets by more than £13.50 a trip for every passenger, or £27 for a return journey. In the case of a family of four the bill would reach £108.

It follows Gordon Brown's doubling of Air Passenger Duty in his final Budget as Chancellor." (London Telegraph)

"Italian islands ponder oil-free lifestyle" - "ROME, Aug. 18 -- A group of islands off the Tuscan coast of Italy could make environmental history by going oil- and coal-free.

Italy's ANSA news service reported this week that residents of the islands -- which include Elba and Montecristo -- are interested in protecting the area's delicate natural beauty. The proposal was made by Mario Tozzi, chief of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.

"It would be the first oil-free national park in Europe and perhaps the first in the world," he said." (UPI)

"Forget biofuels - burn oil and plant forests instead" - "It sounds counterintuitive, but burning oil and planting forests to compensate is more environmentally friendly than burning biofuel. So say scientists who have calculated the difference in net emissions between using land to produce biofuel and the alternative: fuelling cars with gasoline and replanting forests on the land instead.

They recommend governments steer away from biofuel and focus on reforestation and maximising the efficiency of fossil fuels instead." (NewScientist.com news service)

"They're fighting the wrong enemy" - "I CANNOT say I jumped at the chance to join the hoards of ardent eco-activists sunning themselves at Heathrow Airport last week.

It wasn't the prospect of a vegan diet or a spell in the "meditation tent" that deterred me - more the paucity of the protestors' arguments.

Take a look at the website of these mostly well-meaning eco-warriors, (climatecamp.org.uk) and you will find a masterclass in waffle about the evils of profits, with suggestions that we must all radically change the way we live, if the world is to survive." (London Telegraph)

Flimflam kings: " Eco-Millionaires See Boom Times Ahead" - "LONDON - Mankind's response to climate change will shift how the world gets its energy and is already making "green barons" out of early investors in renewable energy, clean technologies and carbon trading." (Reuters)

"New Field for Earmarks in U.S. Goals on Energy" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 — Tucked away among the $3.2 billion in Congressional earmarks in the recently passed energy and water spending bill is a $4 million grant to a small company in suburban Chicago that is trying to solve the problem of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions. 

The company, Jupiter Oxygen, which is run out of an office park near O’Hare airport, holds potentially valuable patents for burning coal cleanly but has fewer than 10 employees and sparse revenue. As a speculative venture in an embryonic field, it has little access to capital markets, traditional bank loans or federal grants.

It does, however, have powerful friends in Congress, including Representatives Peter J. Visclosky, Democrat of Indiana, and Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas, who sponsored the earmark and who together have received more than $41,000 in campaign donations from Jupiter Oxygen executives. In all, company officials and family members have given political donations of at least $150,000 in recent years.

The case of Jupiter Oxygen is an example of how companies in a variety of energy-related businesses, solar, biofuels and wind power, are lining up at the federal trough as the government shovels out billions of new dollars to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and combat global warming.

Enthusiasts call it cutting-edge research on a crucial national priority. Critics of this new genre of federal spending call it “green pork.” (New York Times)

"A Second Crisis in Radioactive Waste" - " The way things are going, low-level nuclear waste could end up in everyone’s backyard." ( Joseph DiCamillo, The American)

"Congestion charge potentially unsafe for motorcyclists, claim researchers" - "The London congestion charge may be having an adverse effect on motorcyclist and cyclist casualties, according to research now published online in the journal Transportation." (Imperial College London)

"Housebuilders win battle against green technologies" - "The government is preparing to torpedo a local authority policy which has been one of the few genuine drivers of renewable energy technologies in Britain, the Guardian has learned.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is to in effect abolish the so-called "Merton rule", under pressure from housebuilders who do not want to bear the cost of adding things like solar panels to the buildings they construct or the effort of marketing them as "green".

The decision to axe the Merton rule comes a week after the Guardian revealed that officials at the business and enterprise department had admitted the country had no hope of meeting EU targets on renewables over the next 13 years and had advised ministers to find ways to wriggle out of the targets." (The Guardian) "An Appeal for Help" - "I’ve never done this before – asked friends to help support an important cause. I am doing so today only because the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda does so much with so little, and truly needs your help. Please help with a tax-deductible donation to this worthy cause." (Paul Driessen, WEBCommentary)

"Kenyan malaria success strengthens call for free insecticide-treated nets for all" - "Experts have today called for international agencies to provide insecticide-treated bed nets for all children in Africa as the most equitable way of tackling malaria. Their call is supported by new research co-funded by the Wellcome Trust showing how successful a scheme run by the Kenyan government has been at distributing the nets." (Wellcome Trust)

"Disease vectors" - "Yesterday, we were told that two-thirds of all cancer deaths in America are avoidable. Our unhealthy lifestyles, smoking and unhealthy diets, are to blame. 

The President’s Cancer Panel has focused on the obesity epidemic, saying that obesity -- "the product of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity" -- is linked to higher risks for numerous cancers. It pointed to “disease vectors” in our country that must be “unmasked and resisted” because they “are at the core of so much of the cancer and other chronic diseases that are sickening and killing Americans by the hundreds of thousands each year.” 

This may be one of the most egregious departures from the scientific evidence taken by a governmental group in the war on obesity to date. Fat people, like smokers, are to become social outcasts. Tragically, those with health problems, such as cancer, are being blamed for their illnesses and made to feel they’re at fault. And everyone else, including children, is being frightened with threats of cancer and early death if they don’t behave. And nowhere is there any evidence that this will help people." (Junkfood Science)

"Yes, they actually make this stuff up!" - "Tragically, parents were given another bogus scare today, as news warned that fat babies could die from SIDS. Before new parents panic, they’ll want to learn the source for this story. It wasn’t based on any research, but the most illogical contortions of the evidence, speculations and scaremongering." (Junkfood Science)

"Low-fat is not for kids" - "A new study in Nutrition Journal could be invaluable to countless parents concerned about saturated fats in their children’s diets. Yet, despite the newsworthiness of this study and how many children and young women might be helped by the information, mainstream media has largely ignored it." (Junkfood Science)

"An Increase in Diagnoses May Not Mean a Higher Rate of the Disease, a Survey Shows" - "The number of diagnosed cases of diabetes increased by 61 percent from 1991 to 2001, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That went along with a 74 percent increase in obesity, the agency noted, “reflecting the strong correlation between obesity and the development of diabetes.”

But those numbers may or may not reveal that the actual number of people with diabetes has exploded. It may just be that more people are learning they have the disease, not that the number of those with it is increasing." (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

"Obesity May Be Only One Piece of Diabetes Puzzle" - "Researchers are struggling with a fundamental question. Why does high blood sugar lead to any of the diabetes’s complications — heart disease, stroke, nerve damage?" (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

From the 'why even bother to mention it' files: "Non-stick chemical exposure tied to small babies" - "NEW YORK - Exposure of the developing fetus to certain polyfluoroalkyl compounds, which are used in non-stick cookware and for other applications, may reduce birth weight and size, according to a report in the July 31st online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Still, the authors note that the risk conferred by such exposure appears to be small and they advise caution in interpreting the findings until they can be replicated in other groups." (Reuters Health)

Stupid 'study' of the moment: "Deer hunting may put men's hearts at risk" - "NEW YORK - Deer hunting could be a dangerous endeavor for men with heart disease or risk factors for it, research findings suggest. 

In a study of 25 middle-aged male deer hunters, researchers found that the activities inherent to hunting -- like walking over rough terrain, shooting an animal and dragging its carcass -- sent the men's heart rates up significantly. 

In some cases, this led to potentially dangerous heart-rhythm disturbances, or diminished oxygen supply to the heart. 

Of the 25 hunters, 17 had established coronary heart disease, while the rest had risk factors such as being overweight, smoking or having high blood pressure or cholesterol. 

The findings suggest that for men like these, hunting could boost the risk of heart attack or cardiac arrest." (Reuters Health)

August 17, 2007

"Atlantic Panic Debunked" - "Climate alarmists gleefully surfed a 2005 Nature study that claimed greenhouse gas emissions would slow Atlantic Ocean circulation and cause a mini ice age in Europe. Their ride now seems headed for a gnarly wipeout." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Where it's all gone wrong: "The bet on climate" - "As the policy debate over climate change unfolds, the Big Bet gets lost in the rhetoric. Congress and the American people are being asked to place a bet on how sensitive the Earth's climate is to changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A wager on the low end could trigger the catastrophic events we all dread. The alternative, a policy that acknowledges how high and likely the risk really is, leads to the best possible future." (Jon Anda, Union-Tribune)

This would be correct if the basic information on which decisions are to be made is sound, something which cannot be claimed for climate. The problem lies in the manner in which fudged 'climate models' have been made to wiggle fit estimates of recent global mean temperature with an inadequate parameter toolbox. Myriad 'adjustments' have been made and a whopping 250% multiplier imposed to make increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide drive estimated trends (through unobserved 'positive feedbacks') simply because the known physics of CO2 don't produce the goods. That empirical observations repeatedly contradict such asserted and apparently mythical magical magnifiers is curiously overlooked by an industry now desperate to pin the 'blame' on carbon dioxide and so we have these physically implausible claims of catastrophic warming injected into risk analyses -- bad idea!

"Overturning the "Consensus" in One Fell Swoop" - "New research from Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab concludes that the Earth’s climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC assumes. Schwartz’s study is “in press” at the Journal of Geophysical Research and you can download a preprint of the study here." (Joel Schwartz, Planet Gore)

"Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change" - "Abstract: The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change has focused debate on the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action on climate change. This refocusing has helped to move debate away from science of the climate system and on to issues of policy. However, a careful examination of the Stern Review's treatment of the economics of extreme events in developed countries, such as floods and tropical cyclones, shows that the report is selective in its presentation of relevant impact studies and repeats a common error in impacts studies by confusing sensitivity analyses with projections of future impacts. The Stern Review's treatment of extreme events is misleading because it overestimates the future costs of extreme weather events in developed countries by an order of magnitude. Because the Stern Report extends these findings globally, the overestimate propagates through the report's estimate of future global losses. When extreme events are viewed more comprehensively the resulting perspective can be used to expand the scope of choice available to decision makers seeking to grapple with future disasters in the context of climate change. In particular, a more comprehensive analysis underscores the importance of adaptation in any comprehensive portfolio of responses to climate change." (Roger Pielke Jr., Global Environment Change)

Oh boy... "Deniers Jump on NASA Gaff, While Greenland on Verge of Meltdown" - "TORONTO, Aug 16 - Scientists warn that climate change tipping points are imminent, and will lead to potentially catastrophic events like a seven-metre sea level rise. Meanwhile, conservatives in the North American media are focusing on a NASA admission of a climate calculation error." (IPS)

... to begin with, the NASA temperature screw-up is not particularly relevant or even significant news in climate circles -- there is no agreement on exactly what we are trying to measure or how to go about it, far less precisely what the global mean surface temperature actually is (just see Hansen's Q&A). It is only because media and the people they proselytize have unreasonable expectation regarding pronouncements of temperature and trend that this acquires any significance. Let's be explicit -- the margin of error in our attempts to derive the global mean temperature is larger than the estimate of all net warming since the Industrial Revolution (we think it exists but we cannot quantify it, nor determine causation because we have an inadequate understanding of the system).

Regarding estimates of future warming, these are all guesses and of limited value (those yielding catastrophic warming are rubbish relying on massive and imaginary feedbacks -- they exist only in virtual worlds and fevered imaginations).

Guesstimates of 'tipping points' and Greenland meltdown are similarly divorced from reality, based as they are on the absurd output of 'climate models' (this is not data and must not be treated as such) and fly in the face of history and empirical measures.

All this nonsense is predicated on physically impossible response to trivial increase in a trace gas -- the real world demonstrates that the magical multipliers do not exist as panic-peddlers postulate, so fuggedaboudit.

Uh-oh... "1998 was Colder than 1934...in 2002?" - "I've done some digging into the recent scandal over how GISS has quietly changed its data to reflect the fact that 1998 is no longer the warmest year on American record. 

However, thanks to the resources of the Wayback Machine of WebArchive, I've discovered that the 1998 data has not been quite so high for a while." (Ultra Sonic 007, Free Republic)

Audio comment

"James Hansen's Hacks" - "In retrospect, you knew there would be trouble when you put the people responsible for the Space Shuttle program in charge of tracking U.S. temperatures. So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a big surprise when it was revealed that NASA committed a bit of an oopsie regarding data constantly used by the mainstream media and other global warming proponents.

If you follow the global warming debate, one thing you "know" is that to even call it a "debate" is to whisk yourself away to the land of the Flat Earth Society and Holocaust deniers and to be on the take from Big Carbon. Another is that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998." (Michael Fumento, American Spectator)

"New Observational Paper On Surface Temperature Trends In the USA" - "We have submitted a new paper that documents the important role of vegetation on long term near surface temperature trends, as well as the actual observed trends that have been occurring." (Climate Science)

"Temperature Oscillation: Climate At Peak" (.pdf) - "This background steady temperature increase is an artifact of the methods used in the collection and processing of the surface temperature data rather than an indication of warming from increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gases." (Dr Vincent Gray, NZ Climate Science)

"Getting Order out of Climate Chaos" - "A recent paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters deserves some attention, not only for the work done, but the implications of the paper as well. The paper, “A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts”, by A.A. Tsonis, K. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov is remarkable because it brings back some common sense in the climate change debate. This paper discusses the collective behavior of four major climate “cycles” or variations and how they may interact with each other to impact the overall direction of climate or climate change. Some of these cycles are well-known to the public, such as El Nino or the North Atlantic Oscillation, and others are less known such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. 

The authors can account for the warming and cooling periods of the 20th century by examining the dynamic behavior of these climate variations. In particular, they find that the climate regime can shift when these four cycles “synchronize”. Thus, they find that climate can shift, or change, due to internal (non-linear) climate dynamics, and they don’t even have to invoke an external climate change mechanism such as solar forcing. This is new and exciting work." (Dr. Anthony Lupo, Icecap)

"Statistics and climatology: Gambling on tomorrow" - "Modelling the Earth's climate mathematically is hard already. Now a new difficulty is emerging." ( The Economist)

"NBC & global warming jihad" - "NBC has fully joined the most radical group of the global warming jihadists. It's kind of amazing but in these 2 minutes and 34 seconds, a form of the word "denier" appears seven times - a higher frequency than the appearance of "infidels" in the Islamic jihadists' speeches. They probably want to make sure that you won't miss it. ;-) Prof Patrick Michaels is chosen as the representative of all of us, the deniers. They show him walking above a caption saying "IN DENIAL". ;-)" (The Reference Frame)

"Newsweek Burns Truth in Global Warming Story" - "The extremists committed to the man-made global warming theory-that humans are causing the world to get hotter and that we have to drastically raise taxes and/or ration energy in response-are on the run. How else does one explain the sensational Newsweek cover story with the provocative headline, "Global Warming is a Hoax,*" over a photo of a boiling sun? 

Newsweek, a Washington Post property, claims to be telling us "The Truth About Denial," and to make sure everyone gets the point, it uses some form of the word "denial" 20 times, including "denial machine" 14 times. 

The article, which is the worst kind of advocacy journalism, is a shoddy attempt to suggest that those skeptical of the theory are like holocaust deniers. 

The asterisk in the Newsweek headline leads to a smaller note connecting the "hoax" charge to "well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change." Newsweek tells its readers that its cover story is about "the denial machine" -those against the theory." (Roger Aronoff, AIM)

"Parliaments Review the Evidence on Global Warming: A Note from Bob Carter" - "Parliamentary legislatures around the world, diverse though they are, generally all share a committee system of review. The review process usually consists of either ad hoc or standing committees that are convened to discuss particular issues or draft pieces of legislation." (Jennifer Marohasy)

"Is The Earth Really Warming? (Part 2)" - " Here is Part Two of the interview by Steve Elliot (President of Grassfire.org) with Congressional Staffer Marc Morano following his recent trip to Greenland as part of a Congressional fact-finding tour. In this interview, Marc and Steve get to the fundamentals of the issue: Is the earth warming? Is CO2 the primary cause? What can we do about it? With Congress getting ready to consider a huge Carbon Tax bill that could cost the average American family over $4500, this is important information:" (View From Above)

Ah, but it doesn't matter because anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are bad anyway:

Industrialization makes mice nervous(!)... "Mice use specialized neurons to detect carbon dioxide in the air" - "For mice, carbon dioxide often means danger - too many animals breathing in too small a space or a hungry predator exhaling nearby. Mice have a way of detecting carbon dioxide, and new research from Rockefeller University shows that a special set of olfactory neurons is involved, a finding that may have implications for how predicted increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide may affect animal behavior. The finding is reported in the August 17 issue of the journal Science." (Rockefeller University)

... seas absorbing it suffer (even though they also say seas are 'saturating' and will stop absorbing CO2): "States Petitioned on Ocean Acidification" - " A conservation organization has requested that Alaska and six other states add bodies of water to their list of impaired waterways: the Pacific and Atlantic oceans." (AP)

"Gore Movie Contains ‘One of the Single Stupidest Statements Ever Put on Film’" - "Though Austin Chronicle writer Robert Bryce is likely not a household name, his column published in Thursday's Energy Tribune is a must-read for all anthropogenic global warming skeptics." (News Busters)

"Climate change hits Switzerland hard" - "Geneva - Climate change will cost Switzerland an average of one billion Swiss francs (about R6,2-billion) a year over the next century as the Alpine country suffers the full force of global warming, the Swiss environment ministry said on Thursday.

The cost in today's prices is based on the impact on the economy and society of increases in storms, floods, landslides, temperature swings, drought, and the price of measures to tackle them, the report said." (IOL)

"Researchers forecast 92 percent chance of record low Arctic sea ice extent in 2007" - "University of Colorado at Boulder researchers are now forecasting a 92 percent chance that the 2007 September minimum extent of sea ice across the Arctic region will set an all-time record low." (University of Colorado at Boulder)

"Flesh-eating Disease Is On The Rise Due To Global Warming, Experts Warn" - " Scientists at the University of Hull are working on an improved treatment for a debilitating flesh-eating disease which appears to be on the rise due to global warming." (Science Daily)

"UCD report: Tahoe air, water warming up" - "Climate change affecting the 11th-deepest lake on Earth, researchers say." (Sacramento Bee)

Poor analogy of the moment: "Carbon connoisseur: The baffling menu of emissions-offset options" - "WHEN all you want is a drinkable wine at an affordable price, the sommelier's list in a posh restaurant can seem more of a hindrance than a help. So it is with carbon offsets. The list of options can seem long and confusing when set against the simple objective of getting somebody else to reduce greenhouse gases on your behalf. And, given the intangible nature of offsets, buying a dodgy short on a tonne of carbon is just as easy as getting a corked bottle." (Economist.com)

A bottle of wine might deliver health benefits, simple enjoyment or be a useful investment but carbon constraint lacks all positives, at best it can inhibit human endeavor, quality of life and wealth generation -- this has negative ramifications for humans and the environment -- but it cannot knowingly and predictably adjust some planetary thermostat, even if we knew what the 'correct' setting should be.

"Cost of Saving the Climate Meets Real-World Hurdles" - "On the Internet, erasing your role in climate change seems as easy as ordering a DVD -- and cheaper than a cup of coffee a day.

With a click, a credit card and $99, visitors can pay a Silver Spring nonprofit group, Carbonfund.org, to "offset" a year's worth of greenhouse-gas emissions. Whatever the customer put into the atmosphere -- by flying, driving, using electricity -- the site promises to cancel out, by funding projects that reduce pollutants.

The business of selling carbon "offsets" to individuals who want to minimize their footprint on the environment didn't exist 20 years ago. Organizations that sell offsets promise to balance out household and business contributions to climate change. However, the market is chaotic and unregulated, and some researchers say offsets don't always deliver what they promise.

Sites such as this one, offering absolution from the modern nag of climate guilt, have created a $55 million industry that once would have been beyond the greenest of imaginations. The market for "voluntary carbon offsets" now encompasses dozens of sellers and thousands of buyers, including individuals and corporations.

But in some cases, these customers may be buying good feelings and little else.

A closer look reveals an unregulated market in which some improvements bought by customers are only estimated, extrapolated, hoped-for or nil. Some offsets support projects that would have gone forward anyway. Others deliver results difficult to measure." (Washington Post)

"Change on climate change" - "The British government's plans to combat global warming are groundbreaking, but they still don't go far enough." (Tim Yeo, The Guardian)

"Air travel latest target in climate change fight" - "Technology, taxation, and rationing are all being eyed as possible solutions." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Hot topic" - "Persuading Britons to cut back on flying will be an uphill struggle." ( The Economist)

<chuckle> "Heathrow climate camp backfires" - "The Heathrow climate camp set up to encourage greener travel has actually created a boom in private jet travel." (London Telegraph)

"Biofuels switch a mistake, say researchers" - "Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels, according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels." (The Guardian)

Interesting location for a piece like this: "The age of endarkenment: Why is no one questioning the rise of new-age nonsense in the name of science, asks David Colquhoun" - "The enlightenment was a beautiful thing. People cast aside dogma and authority. They started to think for themselves. Natural science flourished. Understanding of the real world increased. The hegemony of religion slowly declined. Real universities were created and eventually democracy took hold. The modern world was born. Until recently we were making good progress. So what went wrong?

The past 30 years or so have been an age of endarkenment. It has been a period in which truth ceased to matter very much, and dogma and irrationality became once more respectable. This matters when people delude themselves into believing that we could be endangered at 45 minutes' notice by non-existent weapons of mass destruction. 

It matters when reputable accountants delude themselves into thinking that Enron-style accounting is acceptable. It matters when people are deluded into thinking that they will be rewarded in paradise for killing themselves and others. It matters when bishops attribute floods to a deity whose evident vengefulness and malevolence leave one reeling. And it matters when science teachers start to believe that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago." (Guardian Unlimited)

"EU Commission pays group to lobby Brussels" - "The European Commission was accused yesterday of a "grotesque" waste of taxpayers' money after it allocated funding for an organisation that exists to lobby Brussels.

The lobby group, Friends of the Earth Europe, received £562,000 funding from the EU Commission last year.

Its commission funding rose this year by 200,000 in order to meet "increased running costs." The group, which has a 25-strong staff in Brussels, is pre-eminent in lobbying the EU for tighter controls to combat global warming." (London Telegraph)

Sheesh... "Al Gore calls for civil disobedience" - "From The New York Times's Nicholas Kristof ($ub req'd):

I ran into Al Gore at a climate/energy conference this month, and he vibrates with passion about this issue -- recognizing that we should confront mortal threats even when they don't emanate from Al Qaeda.

"We are now treating the Earth's atmosphere as an open sewer," he said, and (perhaps because my teenage son was beside me) he encouraged young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources.

"I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers," Mr. Gore said, "and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants."

Say it, Al! But it's not just young people who need to do it -- everyone needs to join in, starting with you. Shutting down coal plants, blockading palm-oil importers like Imperium Renewables and other rainforest destroyers, and stopping work at oil refineries could move the climate debate beyond just personal action and put the spotlight squarely on the big polluters who are the real culprits behind the problem." ( Glenn Hurowitz, Grist)

"Just When You Thought the ‘Green’ Movement Couldn’t Get Any Weirder" - "Matt Damon dressed as gas pump? Ben Affleck as an ear of corn? No, it’s not “Good Will Hunting,” the sequel. It’s a new set of videos promoting ethanol mandates on the Web site cleanmyride.org." (News Busters)

"Green Activists Hurt the World's Poor: An Interview with Paul Driessen" - "Paul Driessen is a warrior on the front lines of the battle against Third World poverty and disease.

As a senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and a senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Driessen dedicates himself to identifying and eliminating the obstacles that keep people in underdeveloped countries from breaking through the abject poverty barrier.

All too often, Driessen has discovered, the very environmental activist groups that claim to care so much about people in underdeveloped countries are the ones keeping them down.

James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News, caught up with Driessen for a discussion of Third World nations and the environment." ( James M. Taylor, Environment News)

"DDT for Health" - "In the absence of a vaccine, eliminating the carrier -- the mosquito -- should be the key to preventing an epidemic. But in 1972, on the basis of data on toxicity to fish and migrating birds (but not to humans), the Environmental Protection Agency banned virtually all uses of DDT, an inexpensive and effective pesticide once widely deployed in the U.S. to kill disease-carrying insects. The effectiveness and relative safety of DDT was underplayed, as was the distinction between the large-scale use of the chemical in agriculture and more limited application for controlling carriers of human disease. There is a world of difference between applying large amounts of it in the environment -- as American farmers did before it was banned -- and using it carefully and sparingly to fight mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects. A basic principle of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison.

The regulators who banned DDT also failed to consider the inadequacy of alternatives. Because of its persistence, DDT works far better than many pesticides now in use, some of which are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. With DDT unavailable, many local jurisdictions are depleting their mosquito-control budgets by repeated spraying with short-acting, marginally effective insecticides.

Of course, spraying any pesticide -- let alone DDT -- has been greeted by hysteria from environmental activists, who have attacked the killing of mosquitoes as "disrupting the food chain." New York's Green Party literature declared several years ago, "These diseases only kill the old and people whose health is already poor."

Since countries around the world began to ban DDT in the 1970s, insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue, and now West Nile virus, have been on the rise. The World Health Organization estimates that malaria kills about a million people annually, and that there are between 300 million and 500 million new cases each year.

This huge toll has caused some bureaucrats to reconsider. In 2005, the United States Agency for International Development endorsed DDT for malaria control, following the lead of the WHO.

To control mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, the pesticide would need to be used extensively -- and it should be. DDT should be made available, immediately, for both indoor and outdoor mosquito control in the U.S.; and the government should oppose international strictures on the pesticide. Federal officials should also educate local authorities and citizens about its safety and potential importance. Right now, most of what people hear is the reflexively anti-pesticide drumbeat of the environmental movement.

Because DDT has such a bad rap, it will be politically difficult to resurrect. But we should begin the process now. In the meantime, we'll just slather on the insect repellent, slap, scratch -- and occasionally become infected with a life-threatening but preventable disease." (Henry I Miller, Wall Street Journal)

"Free distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets can save lives" - "Malaria is still responsible for over a million deaths every year, even though it has been known for some years that sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) greatly reduces the chance of being bitten by the mosquitoes which carry the disease. There have been heated arguments as to how best to increase the use of such nets, particularly for children and pregnant women. Now research in Kenya, published in the latest issue of PLoS Medicine, has shown that a free mass distribution programme has raised the rate of ITN use to an impressive 66%. Further good news from this research is that this high rate is more or less the same whatever the family income level." (Public Library of Science)

"Scientists seek new ways to feed the world amid global warming" - "On an agricultural research station south of Manila a group of scientists are battling against time to breed new varieties of rice as global warming threatens one of the world's major sources of food." (AFP)

"Water for biofuels or for food: it's one or the other" - "Biofuels, hailed by many as the green solution to offset a coming oil shortage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are not a cure-all solution, experts at a water conference in Stockholm warned this week." (AFP)

The cutler did it! (Number Watch)

August 16, 2007

"The Uses of DDT" - "Last year, the World Health Organization reversed a 25-year-old policy and recommended using the pesticide DDT to fight malaria in the Third World. A new study published in the public health journal, PLoS ONE, provides more evidence that the decision was long overdue.

The U.S. and Europe solved their malaria problem a half-century ago by employing DDT, but the mosquito-borne disease remains endemic to the lowland tropics of South America, Asia and Africa, where each year a half-billion people are infected and more than a million die. Despite those staggering numbers, radical environmental groups like the Pesticide Action Network continue to oppose use of the insecticide. One of their favorite arguments is that DDT is ineffective because mosquitoes can build resistance to the chemical's toxic properties.

According to the new study, however, that concern is misplaced. DDT continues to work as a repellent and irritant long after it's no longer killing mosquitoes on contact. The researchers found that three out of five DDT-resistant mosquitoes avoided homes sprayed with the insecticide and reduced the risk of disease transmission by 73%.

Repeated studies have shown DDT to be safe for people and nature when sprayed indoors, yet other supposedly greener pesticides like alphacypermethrin have been touted as viable alternatives. Nevertheless, the latest research shows that DDT continues to be the most effective tool we have, as well as among the cheapest. "To date," conclude the authors, "a truly efficacious DDT replacement has not been found." Opponents of DDT are only ensuring more misery and death." (Wall Street Journal)

"Deadly Environmentalists" - "Environmentalists, with the help of politicians and other government officials, have an agenda that has cost thousands of American lives. 

In the wake of Hurricane Betsy, which struck New Orleans in 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed building flood gates on Lake Pontchartrain, like those in the Netherlands that protect cities from North Sea storms. In 1977, the gates were about to be built, but the Environmental Defense Fund and Save Our Wetlands sought a court injunction to block the project. 

According to John Berlau's recent book, "Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism is Hazardous to Your Health," U.S. Attorney Gerald Gallinghouse told the court that not building the gates could kill thousands of New Orleanians. Judge Charles Schwartz issued the injunction despite the evidence refuting claims of environmental damage." (Walter E. Williams, Townhall)

"UCF physicist says Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science" - "Movies such as Spiderman 2 and Speed generate excitement among audiences with their cool special effects. But they also defy the laws of physics, contributing to students’ ignorance about science." (University of Central Florida)

"Mothers, keep your babies safe" - "Someone must have written a press release because this story in the news wasn’t news.... no new study had come out and nothing had happened. But, perhaps it’s given readers the idea that something had. 

That’s called publicity. But it has very real potential to harm innocent babies and pregnant women who may believe it is anything more than that.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that an idea is being floated to lower the weight recommendations for pregnant women in order to address “the country’s obesity epidemic.” (Junkfood Science)

"Losing sight of the evidence" - "Most parents, doctors, policy makers and teachers have something in common. Their primary source for information on obesity and nutrition is the news. The sheer volume of reports, even in professional circles, urgently presenting an “Obesity crisis doomed to bring catastrophic repercussions if we don’t act now!” has reached such extremes, that increasingly more experts are speaking out and calling for people to carefully reexamine what they believe and look at the evidence." (Junkfood Science)

"Fat still on the children's menu" - "Parents should think twice before offering a low-fat menu to youngsters, despite concerns over obesity. Children burn more body fat than adults for each calorie spent, according to research in the online open access publication, Nutrition Journal, evidence that fat can be included as part of a child’s healthy and balanced diet." (BioMed Central)

"Dominant cholesterol-metabolism ideas challenged by new research" - "A team of researchers investigating cholesterol and lipid transport has performed experiments that cast serious doubt on the dominant hypothesis of how the body rids its cells of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and increases "good" cholesterol (HDL). Cholesterol metabolism is an area of intense inquiry because high levels of LDL cholesterol or total cholesterol put about half of all Americans at significant risk of heart disease." (Penn State)

So they keep saying yet no one has yet demonstrated that cholesterol levels are any kind of marker for heart disease or lack thereof.

"High pollution linked to poor lung function growth in children in Mexico City" - "Children who are chronically exposed to higher levels of air pollution show marked deficiencies in lung growth and function, and not just short-term breathing problems, according to researchers in Mexico." (American Thoracic Society)

"Air pollution linked to cardiovascular risk indices in healthy young adults" - "Researchers in Taiwan have demonstrated for the first time that urban air pollution simultaneously affects key indicators of cardiovascular risk in young adults: inflammation, oxidative stress, coagulation and autonomic dysfunction." (American Thoracic Society)

"Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2007 — A mysterious epidemic of thyroid disease among pet cats in the United States may be linked to exposure to dust shed from flame retardants in household carpeting, furniture, fabrics and pet food, scientists are reporting in a study scheduled for publication the Aug. 15 online issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal from the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society." (American Chemical Society)

"Comet May Have Exploded Over North America 13,000 Years Ago" - "New scientific findings suggest that a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals." (NSF)

"Save the World -- Stop Recycling" - "My wife and I had our familiar recycling argument this weekend (Wife: You need to put that stuff in the recycling; Me: Recycling makes zero sense for anything except scrap steel and aluminum, all the rest is just a liturgy of belief we perform for the church of the environment, where labor costs are assumed to be zero)." (Coyote Blog)

"Important New Paper On Cloud-Precipitation Interactions by Roy Spencer and colleagues" - "An important new paper has appeared that observationally documents cloud-precipitation feedbacks. It is Spencer R. W., W. D. Braswell, J. R. Christy, J. Hnilo (2007), Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698. 

The abstract reads, “We explore the daily evolution of tropical intraseasonal oscillations in satellite-observed tropospheric temperature, precipitation, radiative fluxes, and cloud properties. The warm/rainy phase of a composited average of fifteen oscillations is accompanied by a net reduction in radiative input into the ocean-atmosphere system, with longwave heating anomalies transitioning to longwave cooling during the rainy phase. The increase in longwave cooling is traced to decreasing coverage by ice clouds, potentially supporting Lindzen’s “infrared iris” hypothesis of climate stabilization. These observations should be considered in the testing of cloud parameterizations in climate models, which remain sources of substantial uncertainty in global warming prediction.” (Climate Science)

"Guest weblog - A Report from the Global Warming Battlefield" - "In case you hadn't noticed, the global warming debate has now escalated from a minor skirmish to an all-out war. Although we who are skeptical of the claim that global warming is mostly manmade have become accustomed to being the ones that take on casualties, last week was particularly brutal for those who say we have only 8 years and 5 months left to turn things around, greenhouse gas emissions-wise.

I'm talking about the other side - the global warming alarmists." (Roy Spencer, Watt's Up With That?)

h/t Robert G.

"NASA's global warming misinformation needs full retraction" - "The news blackout on the erroneous NASA temperature data has been partially lifted by the Toronto Star. More than anything their story was driven by home pride in a local man, Steve McIntyre, who single-handedly exposed the vaunted American Space agency's mistakes and errors.

Drudge is linking this story so more pressure is building on the media to lift the blackout." (Christopher Alleva, American Thinker)

We must reiterate that corrections thus far refer to the US 48 States, just 2% of the globe's surface, not the global mean temperature. That said it is alarming that arguably the best financed and maintained near-surface temperature dataset suffers from such pitiful quality control (perhaps not that surprising in view of long-standing concerns regarding collection of near-surface data and the results of current reviews).

The relevance of estimated changes in estimated global mean temperature is as yet unknown -- we don't even have a definition of what specifically we are attempting to measure (no, don't take our word for it, see Hansen's Q&A). Even worse, by calculation the Earth is expected to be 288 K but, by attempted measure (after the alleged anthropogenic increase) derives to 287.91 ± 0.19 K (from 14 °C + 0.76 ± 0.19 °C, this being the favored model-derived long-term average mean Earth surface temperature plus the IPCC WGI AR4 SPM-stated warming estimate: 'The total temperature increase from 1850–1899 to 2001–2005 is 0.76°C [0.57°C to 0.95°C]'), making the Earth currently pretty much as expected (just a little cool, if anything).

Really weird basis for a panic about the Earth 'having a fever', no?

Increasingly desperate fantasies of the 'climate disaster' brigade: "Scientists warn on climate tipping points" - "Some tipping points for climate change could be closer than previously thought. Scientists are predicting that the loss of the massive Greenland ice sheet may now be unstoppable and lead to catastrophic sea-level rises around the world.

In drawing together research on tipping points, where damage due to climate change occurs irreversibly and at an increasing rate, the researchers concluded that the risks were much greater than those predicted by the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." (Alok Jha, The Guardian) | Climate change 'arriving sooner than thought' (London Telegraph)

It's far more likely to be tipsy interviews than a 'tippy' climate. Funnily enough, it was just a month or so ago that there was (brief) media mention of how much more stable was Greenland's ice than previously believed.

"Rothamsted Temperature Record Problem?" - "The Rothamsted Research Centre is one of three temperature recording centres of record for the official Central England Temperature. I can't spot the Stevenson screen on Google Maps but the research station is still fairly large and green. So is it a reliable source of data? The driver of the increasing warmth in the UK is mainly the increase in the T min (Minimum Temperature - we aren't getting the cold to bring the averages down)." (An Englishman's Castle)

"Not So Hot Air" - "In every child’s life there comes a time when childhood fantasies are shattered and he or she is forced to accept reality -- there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy; parents don’t always mean it when they promise to stay married until parted by death.

Grown-up scientists, theologians, historians, archaeologists and others who pursue facts and objective truths are rooted in reality and constantly adjusting their conclusions, theories and hypotheses when new information comes to light. Those who ignore facts and cling to outdated information, or outright falsehoods, can quickly embrace fanaticism.

So it is with “global warming,” the secular religion of our day that even has a good number of adherents among people of faith. Having decided to focus less on the eternal and whether anyone dwells there, global warming fundamentalists are pushing planet worship on us in a manner that would make a jihadist proud.

There are at least two characteristics all fundamentalists share. One is the exclusion and sometimes suppression of any and all information that challenges or contradicts the belief one wishes to impose on all. The other is the use of the state in pursuit of their objectives, overriding the majority’s will." (Cal Thomas, Townhall)

"Hot tempers on global warming" - "BOSTON: Introducing Newsweek's Aug. 13 cover story on global warming "denial," editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine's past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting.

Meacham concedes that "those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be." But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham dismisses it.

"On global cooling," he writes, "there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases."

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were "almost unanimous" in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that "the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Moreover, it said, "the evidence in support of these predictions" - everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover - had "begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it."

Yet Meacham, quoting none of this, simply brushes aside the 1975 report as "alarmist" and "discredited." Today, he assures his readers, Newsweek's climate-change anxieties rest "on the safest of scientific ground." (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

See Newsweek's hysterical global cooling piece in original format here.

"NBC News Declares Global Warming Debate Over" - "Following in the footsteps of Newsweek Magazine, and CNN's Miles O'Brien's recent claim that the debate is over, NBC News further degraded the global warming debate this evening. In a report on global warming "deniers", Ann Thompson declared the debate over anthropogenic global warming "over". (News Busters)

"Deepak Lal: Climate change: Ethics, science, economics - II" - "Inquisitors propagating the theory of climate change cannot do today what had been done to Galileo. 

We recently went to see Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo, which provides interesting parallels between the last large paradigm shift about Man’s relationship to the stars, and the current one, in the new theory of cosmoclimatology discussed in my last column. The scientific establishment was wedded to a theory which the celestial observations of the scientific sceptics Copernicus and Galileo contradicted. The Inquisition tried to suppress the heretics, by excommunication (Copernicus) or silencing them through showing them the instruments of torture (Galileo). Today, the peer reviewed process of funding and validation of scientific research in climatology is equally controlled by the modern equivalent of the Collegium Romanum (the Vatican’s Institute of Research), the Inter-government Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). 

They in turn answer to the equivalent of the Inquisition, the Green ideologists, who, mercifully, can only torment through derision or denying the heretics research funding, and not the frightening instruments of torture. But, even the Collegium Romanum was imbued by the rational scientific spirit and confirmed Galileo’s discoveries in his lifetime, though it took the Pope till 1993 to formally recognise the validity of Galileo’s work. Finally, in both cases the new theories were dismissed by the theologians as they seemed to downgrade the primacy of God’s agents (human beings) in the universe." (Business Standard)

"Consumers Not Buying Gore's '10 Myths' on Environment, But Media Keeps Selling Them, Anyway" - "So, a new survey shows that only 22% of consumers think they can make a difference regarding the environment – and that they’re far more knowledgeable on the subject than typically thought. You'd think that'd be news, given the way the mainstream media seems to love proclaiming man's suicidal assault on Mother Earth. Apparently not, if you trust Lexis or Google News to track media coverage." (News Busters)

"It’s Time to Worry about Global COOLING" - "Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest solar cycle of the past two centuries. They say this will likely lead to unusually cool conditions on Earth. It is also predicted that this cool period will go much longer than the normal 11 year cycle, as the Little Ice Age did. The climate threat is actually cooling, especially to countries like Canada. On the northern limit to agriculture in the world, very little cooling would likely destroy much of its food crops." ( Kevin Roeten, Planet Daily)

About as wrong as can be: "Hope on Climate Change? Here's Why" - "In the field of environmentalism -- where brows tend to be frozen in furrow and despair is a professional credential -- Gregg Easterbrook of the Brookings Institution is notable for his optimism. And one cause of his sunniness is smog in Los Angeles.

In 1975, Los Angeles exceeded the ozone standard 192 days out of the year -- meaning the choking smog was so bad that children, the elderly and the infirm were better off avoiding the risky practice of outdoor breathing. In 2005, the ozone standard was exceeded on just 27 days. Los Angeles has had 30 years of consistent improvement in reducing smog.

As conservatives would expect, these gains were largely the result of technology -- the catalytic converter in automobiles and reformulated gasoline -- and not by pedaling to work or undoing the Industrial Revolution. Smog was reduced mainly by innovation, not austerity.

But liberals are correct about something else: This technological progress would not have taken place as a result of the free market alone. Easterbrook argues that as long as producing pollution is a free good -- without cost to the polluter -- there is little economic incentive to produce new methods to restrict it. Federal and state regulations on auto emissions and air quality created an environment in which the invention of new technologies was economically necessary." (Michael Gerson, Washington Post)

The first problem here is that it's based on a false premise, that constraining anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions can have a predictable, even knowable effect of global mean temperature (or even that adjusting the mean temperature of the planet would have net benefit). This is just wrong. We expect that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide will elevate temperatures slightly but it's doubtful that such increase will be sufficient for us to measure (we are not yet very good at taking the planet's temperature and we have no way of telling what it "should" be anyway). Moreover, constraining the economy (by restricting energy supply or even merely artificially inflating its cost) is demonstrably bad for the environment -- only societies with a net surplus in effort and finance can afford the cosmetic waste of wildlife habitat reserves, green space, nature parks, water standards or much at all beyond the eat it or burn it necessity of underdeveloped regions. Wealth is good for the environment and wealth generation is the ultimate in environmentalism.

Misanthropic ratbags abusing the legal system against society: "Fighting climate change, one lawsuit at a time" - "PARIS: A spate of pending cases in the United States and Europe could set precedents for big judgments against companies that emit greenhouse gases.

Over the past two decades, tobacco companies and asbestos makers have paid billions of dollars in liabilities for harming consumers with cigarettes and insulation. Now companies responsible for emitting greenhouse gases may face similarly costly legal bills for contributing to dangerous levels of global warming.

Lawyers expect courts in the United States and Europe to rule on a spate of cases in coming months and years that could establish precedents for big payouts and force wrenching changes on businesses.

The size of damages, said William Holmes, a partner with the law firm Stoel Rives in Portland, Oregon, "could reach the same level as in the tobacco and asbestos cases, and if anything they could be even higher."

Such cases also could become a key way of reining in polluters, particularly if political initiatives to control greenhouse gases become bogged down, said Stephen Susman, a Houston-based lawyer who led the campaign to stop TXU, a utility, from building new coal plants in Texas." (James Kanter, IHT)

"The Cost of Cooling the Climate: A non-alarmist guide for policymakers" - "United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon is convening a high level meeting on global warming at the U.N. headquarters on September 24. The idea is to jump-start the climate change negotiations for the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP-13 is scheduled for December 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia.

President George W. Bush is also inviting representatives from the major industrial countries and large developing countries to come to Washington, DC to discuss climate change on September 27-28. The goal of both meetings is figure out what to do about reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, after 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol expires. Under the Kyoto Protocol most industrialized nations—with exception of the United States and Australia—have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below what their 1990 levels. 

What is the optimal climate change policy—the one that sets future emissions reductions to maximize the economic welfare of humans? Yale University economist William Nordhaus,perhaps the world's leading expert on the economics of climate change, has just released a new study, The Challenge of Global Warming: Economic Models and Environmental Policy, which estimates the costs of various proposed trajectories for limiting carbon dioxide over the next couple of centuries." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Cutting the Gordian Knot" - "The emerging policy consensus that we ought to do something to limit carbon emissions faces two fundamental challenges. First, it remains difficult to measure the impact of any policy on the actual level of emissions. Second, these policies may impose substantial economic harms, which are also hard to measure. An ideal policy response to the danger of global warming would both monitor the degree to which human activities are leading to warming, and adjust the incentives so that once the desired level of emissions reduction is reached, no further harm is imposed on the economy." (Pejman Yousefzadeh, The American)

"Firms warned offsetting does 'more harm than good'" - "A leading scientist with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has warned that "doing nothing is better than offsetting" on the grounds that there is a serious risk that the practice is leading to increased emissions.

Dr Kevin Anderson, an academic at the University of Manchester and energy programme leader for the Tyndall Centre, said that the failure by many offset firms to look at the wider implications of investing in carbon reduction projects in developing economies meant that they were guilty of inadvertently increasing carbon emissions." (Business Green)

"How Large Are Celebrity Homes? Google Maps Reveals All" - "Sure, we talk about the homes that celebrities live in — how eco-friendly they are (or not) — and what new additions they’ve made to reduce their footprints. Talking and seeing, however, are two different things; and using the wonders of Google Satellite we can come to our own conclusions." (ecorazzi)

"In global warming, all research is local" - "Regional or local conditions can change, even reverse, expectations based solely on world studies." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Aviation Greenhouse Curbs May Fall Short - Experts" - "OSLO - The aviation industry may be more damaging to the environment than widely thought because aircraft not only release carbon dioxide but they also produce other harmful gases that warm the earth, experts said." (Reuters)

So much we still don't know and couldn't model: "Newly discovered underwater current may hold a key to climate change" - "SYDNEY: Australian scientists have discovered a giant underwater current that is one of the last missing links of a system that connects the world's oceans and helps govern global climate.

New research shows that a current sweeping past Australia's southern island of Tasmania toward the South Atlantic is a previously undetected part of the world climate system's engine-room, said scientist Ken Ridgway.

The Southern Ocean, which swirls around Antarctica, has been identified in recent years as the main lung of global climate, absorbing a third of all carbon dioxide taken in by the world's oceans." (Reuters)

"Ocean 'supergyre' link to climate regulator" - "Australian scientists have identified the missing deep ocean pathway – or ‘supergyre’ – linking the three Southern Hemisphere ocean basins in research that will help them explain more accurately how the ocean governs global climate.

The new research confirms the current sweeping out of the Tasman Sea past Tasmania and towards the South Atlantic is a previously undetected component of the world climate system’s engine-room – the thermohaline circulation or ‘global conveyor belt’." (CSIRO Australia)

"Are extreme weather and global warming linked?" - "Maybe. But maybe not. Scientists say not enough evidence exists to blame global warming for the recent heat waves and flooding seen around the world." (Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Clues from hurricane 'fingerprints'" - "Scientists decode hurricane 'records' left in trees and rocks to try to predict the strength of future storms." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"How better-fed cows could cool the planet" - "When cows digest, they burp methane gas, a powerful greenhouse agent. Scientists are working to try to reduce that." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"US Carbon Caps to Spur Nuclear Industry - ETF Fund" - "NEW YORK - Looming US greenhouse gas regulations should make US nuclear plants cost the same or be cheaper than new coal-fired power stations, backers of a new nuclear exchange-traded fund said." (Reuters)

"'Green' allies see environmental value in logging" - "OLYMPIA -- Environmentalists and leading Democrats are advancing a new way to "green up" the state's portfolio by setting aside $70 million of state money to buy forestland for logging." (Seattle P-I)

"Humans fostering forest-destroying disease" - "Enjoying your August vacation? Well, (as they say in the summer movies) there’s a killer in the woods. Its strike has been consistently quiet, sudden, and deadly. Unknowingly, we have all been playing into its hands… But put down that rock -- you personally are not in any danger. It’s the woods themselves that are getting axed and you may be an accomplice." (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

"Freshwater supplies threatened in central Pacific: Pacific island nations face most critical freshwater supply and sanitation problems in the world" - "Madison, WI, JULY 9, 2007 – An international team from The Australian National University, Ecowise Environmental, the Government of the Republic of Kiribati, the French agency CIRAD and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission has been studying the impacts of natural and human-induced changes on groundwater in the central Pacific nation of Kiribati since 1996.

The work was initiated by UNESCO International Hydrological Programme and supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the Government of France, the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Research Council and the European Union Pacific Water Governance Programme. Their work is published in a special issue of the Aug. 2007 Vadose Zone Journal which followed an International Symposium on Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change held in Kyoto in April 2006 and coordinated by the Japanese Research Institute for Humanity and Nature.

Very limited land areas and extremely permeable coral soils in atolls reduce surface runoff to insignificant amounts and decrease the potential for surface storages of water. This means thin lenses of fresh groundwater floating over seawater are the major source of reliable freshwater for people in many atolls. The team found that both the quantity and salinity of atoll groundwater is extremely vulnerable to frequent ENSO-related droughts. Droughts can last as long as 4 years and occur with a frequency of one significant drought, coupled to La Niña events, every 6-7 years. In long droughts domestic water wells are often too salty too drink and some communities have to rely on large groundwater lenses or on coconuts." (Soil Science Society of America)

"First all-African GM crop is resistant to maize streak virus" - "Maize streak virus symptoms in a commercial maize field in Klerksdorp, NorthWest South Africa, showing chlorotic streaking and deformed cob development. This farm grew USA commercial hybrids and experienced almost total yield losses. Credit: Photograph taken in April 2005 by Dr F. Kloppers

The first all-African genetically modified crop plant with resistance to the severe maize streak virus (MSV), which seriously reduces the continent’s maize yield, has been developed by scientists from the University of Cape Town and PANNAR PTY Ltd, a South African seed company.' (Blackwell Publishing)

August 15, 2007

Please note the caveats: "Pesticide link to autism suspected" - "Women who live near California farm fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides may be more likely to give birth to children with autism, according to a study by state health officials to be published today.

The rate of autism among the children of 29 women who lived near the fields was extremely high, suggesting that exposure to the insecticides in the womb might have played a role. The study is the first to report a link between pesticides and the neurological disorder, which affects one in every 150 children. 

"We want to emphasize that this is exploratory research," said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health. "We have found very preliminary data that there may be an association. We are in no way concluding that there is a causal relationship between pesticide exposure of pregnant women and autism." (Los Angeles Times)

"Fungus spores suspected in deaths of amphibians" - "For decades, the mass disappearance of frogs and other amphibians from California's High Sierra has puzzled biologists, fishermen, hikers and even motorists who pause by roadside streams and lakeshores in vain attempts to glimpse whatever's there. 

The creatures are vanishing all over the world, too -- a major environmental disaster, as a University of California science team calls it -- and now it appears that sexual reproduction in a single fungus species that produces hardy, long-lived spores might be primarily to blame. (SF Chronicle)

"Agent Green" - " Activists opposed to herbicide use are fighting for a dangerous weed—and increasing forest fire risks." ( Stephen Albert and James Dellinger, The American)

"Graduate students find no match in evening cell phone use spike and crash data" - "It's conventional wisdom that talking on cell phones while driving is risky business, but two University of California, Berkeley, graduate student economists report that a spike in cell phone use in recent years and on weekday evenings is not matched by an increase in fatal or non-fatal car crashes from 2002-2005." (UC Berkeley)

"Study: Dredging Harming Great Lakes" - " A "drain hole" in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other commercial projects is costing Lakes Huron and Michigan a combined 2.5 billion gallons of water each day, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday." (AP)

"The Iris Opens Again?" - "Back in 2001, Richard Lindzen and colleagues made quite a stir in the climate community when they published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in which they describe having possibly identified an “adaptive infrared iris” that opens and closes to keep the earth’s temperature fairly steady even in light of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. It was proposed to work something like this—when the temperature in the tropical oceans begins to warm up, it causes in increase in the amount of low-level water clouds and an even greater decrease in total coverage of high-altitude ice clouds. Since ice clouds are net warmers (that is, they trap more outgoing longwave radiation (heat) than they reflect away incoming shortwave (solar) radiation) and water clouds are (generally) net coolers (reflecting back to space more incoming solar shortwave radiation than they absorb outgoing longwave radiation), more of the latter and a lot less of the former leads to a net cooling, and the temperatures of the tropical oceans decrease. However, cooler tropical ocean temperatures lead to less low-level (water) clouds and more high altitude ice clouds. This configuration tends to lead to a net radiation increase and to higher temperatures. And the cycle starts over again. Lindzen’s moniker “adaptive infrared iris” refers to the mechanism in which the tropical ice cloud cover opens and closes in response to tropical ocean temperatures to allow more heat to escape to space when the oceans are warm and less heat to escape to space when the oceans are relatively cool (much like the iris of an eye which opens and closes in response to varying light levels to try to maintain a constant level falling on the retina). Lindzen et al. proposed that the iris acts as a global thermostat that will keep the earth’s temperatures from rising very far even as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases increase." (WCR)

"Positive Feedback: Have We Been Fooling Ourselves? by Roy Spencer" - "There are three main points/opinions/issues I’d like to explore, which are all interrelated:

  1. The traditional way in which feedbacks have been diagnosed from observational data has very likely misled us about the existence of positive feedbacks in the climate system.
  2. Our new analyses of satellite observations of intraseasonal oscillations suggest negative cloud feedbacks, supporting Lindzen’s Infrared Iris hypothesis.
  3. I am increasingly convinced that understanding precipitation systems is the key to understanding climate sensitivity.

Unfortunately, the three of these represents too much material to present today. Since the second (Infrared Iris) results were just published by us in GRL (August 9, 2007), it would seem to be the logical one for me to discuss before the others. But the first issue is, in some sense, much more important and fundamental, and will help us put the newly published results in a more meaningful context.

So, for now, I’m going to discuss just the first issue (potential biases in feedback diagnosis) and then maybe Roger will have me back to continue with the second and third issues. 

What you are about to read is, I believe, more than a little alarming. And maybe someone here will even point out the obvious error in my analysis that will render my conclusions silly and meaningless. After all, that would save me the effort of writing and submitting our next journal article, wouldn’t it? So, let’s forge ahead with the first, feedback diagnosis issue." (Climate Science)

Flashback: "Numerical Models, Integrated Circuits and Global Warming Theory" - "Global warming theory is a prediction based on complex mathematical models developed to explain the dynamics of the atmosphere. These models must account for a myriad of factors, and the resultant equations are so complex they cannot be solved explicitly or "analytically" but rather their solutions must be approximated "numerically" with computers. The mathematics of global warming should not be compared with the explicit calculus used, for example, by Edmund Halley to calculate the orbit of his eponymous comet and predict its return 76 years later.

Although based on scientific "first principles", complex numerical models inevitably require simplifications, judgment calls, and correction factors. These subjective measures may be entirely acceptable so long as the model matches the available data -- acceptable because the model is not intended to be internally consistent with all the laws of physics and chemistry, but rather to serve as an expedient means to anticipate behavior of the system in the future. However, problems can arise when R&D funding mechanisms inevitably "reward" exaggerated and alarming claims for the accuracy and implications of these models." (Jerome J. Schmitt, American Thinker)

"At Australia’s Rabbit-Proof Fence, Variable Cloudiness Prompts Climate Study" - "A fence built to prevent rabbits from entering the Australian outback has unintentionally allowed scientists to study the effects of land use on regional climates. 

The rabbit-proof fence in Western Australia was completed in 1907 and stretches about 2,000 miles. It acts as a boundary separating native vegetation from farmland. Within the fence area, scientists have observed a strange phenomenon: above the native vegetation, the sky is rich in rain-producing clouds. But the sky on the farmland side is clear.

Researchers led by Tom Lyons of Murdoch University in Australia and Udaysankar S. Nair of the University of Alabama in Huntsville have come up with three possible explanations for this difference in cloudiness. 

One theory is that the dark native vegetation absorbs and releases more heat into the atmosphere than the light-colored crops. These native plants release heat that combines with water vapor from the lower atmosphere, resulting in cloud formation.

Another hypothesis is that the warmer air on the native scrubland rises, creating a vacuum in the lower atmosphere that is then filled by cooler air from cropland across the fence. As a result, clouds form on the scrubland side.

A third idea is that a high concentration of aerosols — particles suspended in the atmosphere — on the agricultural side results in small water droplets and a decrease in the probability of rainfall. On the native landscape, the concentration of aerosols is lower, translating into larger droplets and more rainfall." (New York Times)

"Answer to climate change is new technology" - "New technology is the way to tackle the consequences of climate change, a top adviser to George Bush has said. China, like the United States, is outside the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing carbon emissions. James Connaughton, the US president's senior environmental adviser, said that the US did oppose mandatory limits on CO2 emissions. He claimed that enforced cuts would prevent rapid economic growth which was the only way to pay for the cutting-edge technology needed to reduce greenhouse gases. Mr Connaughton was speaking in Beijing ahead of a climate summit called by President Bush in Washington next month. "The emerging consensus is that the solution to climate change is the advancement of technology," Mr Connaughton said at a press briefing." (London Telegraph)

"Abuse heats up debate" - "WHAT a surprise that four politicians still have the guts to insist there's no proof humans are causing catastrophic climate change. Why a surprise? Because look how their scientific arguments have been countered by the usual howling pack of journalists and warming believers. Not with one fact, but only with mockery and appeals to the mob. How shameful." (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

"Twisted Science: Bullies of the Beltway" - "The complexities of global warming, (renamed as climate change) should be the domain of scientific discussions. Such discussions should be held within the constraints of science, the scientific methods, the careful collection, management, and analyses of the climate data. 

There should include careful resolutions and explanations of conflicting data, replication, and passing the essential demands of explaining the observations of the climate data. 

I have never been in discussions of science and engineering issues where these values weren’t highly respected and determinant. Even competing designs, processes, and theories were lightly defended since the common understanding was that the data would determine which was superior. In contrast, falsely representing the data supporting a particular theory or design, would have been severely dealt with and career limiting." (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

“Lights Out Upstairs” (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"The hottest year: 1934?" - "It was never supposed to be a trick question. Which year is the hottest on record? Depending where one looks, there are three different answers: 2006, 1998 or 1934. Until last week, the answer was supposed to be 2006, but it might have been 1998. Now, citing corrections of faulty data, NASA says it was actually 1934. The National Climatic Data Center disagrees; it still says 1998.

The differences are a matter of tenths of a degree Celsius, which might seem to diminish the significance of the corrections. Except that unusually warm years in the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s are themselves only a few tenths of a degree Celsius away from the purportedly dangerous hot temperatures of the present. Only one thing is certain: The political debate over global warming has rushed far ahead of the science." (Washington Times)

Wow! Even The Star mentioned it: "Red faces at NASA over climate-change blunder" - "Agency roasted after Toronto blogger spots `hot years' data fumble." (Toronto Star)

Imagine... "Before Gore" - "D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all." (Washington Times)

Now, tell us again about 'summer drought' due to gorebull warming... "The end of summer?" - "Just when you thought it was safe to assume Britain's wettest summer on record was over, along comes yet more torrential rain accompanied, this time, with blustery gales and coastal flood warnings. 

The soggy summer took a turn for the worse yesterday as gale force winds and heavy rain swept across much of the UK, creating yet more misery for holidaymakers hoping to find a place in the sun. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings set to last until later today with up to 75mm of rain expected over some areas. The Environment Agency also warned that people living on the coast should be aware of the risk of coastal flooding during gale force winds." (London Independent)

"Tax On Energy Will Mean Less Of It" - "Both Houses of Congress have labored for months on energy bills that claim to reduce our reliance on oil imports, increase energy efficiency and move the country toward energy independence.

Both Houses of Congress have labored for months on energy bills that claim to reduce our reliance on oil imports, increase energy efficiency and move the country toward energy independence.

Instead, it looks like Congress is planning to tax our way to energy insecurity with provisions that put American energy companies at a global disadvantage." (IBD)

Indoctrination's working... kind of: "Almost half of population want green tax on air travel" - "Public attitudes to flying have hardened in favour of a tax on air travel to try to curb harmful the CO2 emissions that cause global warming. 

A major public survey published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed that 44 per cent now support the idea that those who fly should bear the cost of the environmental damage they cause." (London Independent)

"On US border, a surge in tidal-power projects" - "More than a dozen developers are preparing prototypes to be tested in the Bay of Fundy, said to have the world's highest tides and North America's best tidal-power spots." ( The Christian Science Monitor)

"Orang-utans home destroyed for bio-diesel" - "The Orang-utans of Borneo are facing an unprecedented threat as their habitat is destroyed to satisfy increasing global demands for bio-fuel." (London Telegraph)

"There’s Money in Oil, Oystermen Find" - "A Louisiana oysterman can make as much, if not more, collecting damage settlements from oil companies as from harvesting the bivalves, according to a study." (New York Times)

"Can Organic Really Feed The World? Activism Disguised As Science" - "A new study published in an alternative agriculture journal has gained widespread attention by claiming that organic farming not only could adequately feed the world, it might even yield more food and require less farmland. It is a truly sensational claim.

In science, the more sensational the claim, the more robust the evidence needed to support it. This time, the evidence doesn’t stack up. In fact, the evidence fell so far short that the journal that published the paper also published not one, but two scathing and dismissive “editorial responses” in the same issue. This is anything but a ringing endorsement." (CGFI

"Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech (Part 2 of 5)" - "The media mania for "both sides" of an argument means that one has to balance informed opinion with misinformed opinion. This frequently allows the public to believe that there is a controversy among scientists on an issue when there is not. And if scientists appear (at least in the media) not to agree on the safety of genetically-modified (GM) food, why should I as a consumer "take a chance"? In fact, though, there is no more controversy among knowledgeable scientists on the basic issues of transgenics in agriculture and medicine than there is among biologists and physical anthropologists about the basic fact of evolution. Nor is there controversy as to whether HIV is responsible for AIDS." ( Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

August 14, 2007

"Bedbugs tuck into Southland: Calls to exterminators are rising. Eradication is neither quick nor cheap." - "Bed feeling a little crowded? Maybe you have company.

The Cimex lectularius, better known and despised as the common bedbug, is snuggling into households across Southern California, giving people the heebie- jeebies. The blood-sucking, heat-seeking, pint-size parasites aren't believed by the experts to transmit disease, but they do have a way of cranking up stress levels.

"It was just horrendous," said a West Hollywood middle-school teacher, who, like others who have been horrified to have lived with the uninvited guests, asked that she not be identified. "Think of how you wouldn't sleep at night if you had roaches, and this is even worse," she said. "These roaches feed on you."

They used to be associated with cramped and dirty living quarters, grimy motels and high-rise living in places like New York. For much of the second part of the last century the liberal use of the eventually banned pesticide DDT seemed to all but do away with them. Now bedbugs have moved into single-family homes with a vengeance and taken up lodging in schools, hospitals and college dormitories too. The wide-open spaces of the West are no defense.

"Bedbugs are just going ballistic everywhere," said Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky. "It is going to really rock this country. I'm not trying to sound sensationalist." ( Leslie Earnest, Los Angeles Times)

So, bring back DDT for indoors use, it's more people-friendly than the alternatives and carries the added benefit of actually working.

"Measuring the Toxicity of New Car Smell" - "Environmentalists have been warning about the poisonous smell of a new car for the past two years. But now that someone has actually tested the air, guess what stinks?" (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"Bad Chemistry from California Regulators" - "You might be surprised to learn what is “known to the state of California”…

The magicians Penn & Teller have a great video on YouTube in which they persuade people to sign a petition banning “di-hydrogen monoxide,” a ubiquitous chemical found in many raw and prepared foods. “Di-hydrogen monoxide” is another name for H2O—that is, water.

Their point is that, too often, scientific facts are lost in the rush to protect ourselves from some phantom menace—trace chemicals in our bodies, minuscule pesticide residues on foods, whatever. One of the most egregious examples is California’s notorious two-decade-old referendum proposition commonly known as “Prop 65.” It requires signs in most commercial establishments, from supermarkets and pet stores to hotel lobbies, warning that consumers of their products or services may be exposed to chemicals that are “known to the state of California” to pose a risk of cancer or birth defects. Not that in the overwhelming majority of cases there’s any hint of risk greater than, say, the household cleaners in your home, but the law requires a warning about any product that contains even tiny amounts of a chemical that, at high doses, can cause cancer or birth defects." (Henry I. Miller, M.D., The American)

"Pollution causes 40 percent of deaths worldwide, study finds" - "About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases, which the World Health Organization has recently reported. Both factors contribute to the malnourishment and disease susceptibility of 3.7 billion people, he says." (Cornell University News Service)

Um... what 'rapid increase in human diseases'?

"Babies overfed due to outdated growth charts" - "British parents have been overfeeding their babies for a generation because of inaccurate growth charts.

Charts used by health visitors and GPs are based on bottle fed babies and encourages rapid weight gains which has fuelled the childhood obesity epidemic, experts said today." (London Telegraph)

"Australia's 'top half' under threat" - "SOME of Australia's most beautiful landscapes will become a "shrinking façade" if authorities ignore deteriorating environmental conditions, according to new research." (news.com.au)

"Bankrupting Florida" - "If a catastrophic Katrina-like hurricane sweeps through the state of Florida, it may leave behind more than wrecked houses, damaged shops, and ruined roads: There's a real chance that Governor Charlie Crist's recent insurance reforms could bankrupt the state." (Eli Lehrer, Weekly Standard)

"Heat wave" - "Doctor Rob at Distractible Mind is cooking. In fact, he’s on fire. As part of his reader question series, he discuses hyperpyrexia (not to be confused with pyrexomania), in a delightful article suggestive of his future career in comedy." (Junkfood Science)

"Climate of intolerance" - "Newsweek has used climate change as its cover story this week, under the title 'The truth about denial'. The gist of the argument is that there is a well-funded 'denial industry' which seeks to undermine the sound scientific basis for the prevailing concerns about human-induced climate 
change. Parallels are drawn with the tobacco industry lobby and, of course, all this is said to be taking place in the name of private profit.

This is the latest example of a deeply disturbing trend towards intolerance of dissenters, which has even led to some commentators suggesting Nuremberg-style trials of 'climate criminals'. Such a febrile atmosphere is not conducive to rational thinking or discussion, so let's take a deep breath, count to ten, and look at some of the facts." (Scientific Alliance)

"Paralyzing fog of certainty on climate" - "NEWSWEEK's global-warming cover story purports to reveal the "well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry" which for the last two decades "has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change." It's the same story run repeatedly in mainstream media: the overwhelming majority of scientists believe the debate on global warming is over -- but if there are any dissenting scientists left, they've been bought. 

Here's the rub: If dissent is so rare, why do global-warming conformists feel the strong need to argue that minority views should be dismissed as nutty or venal? Why not posit that there is such a thing as honest disagreement on the science?" (Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle)

"Important New Paper On The Role Of Aerosols On Regional and Global Climate" - "An excellent paper is “in press” on the important of aerosols and their heterogeneous spatial distribution as this affects the climate system. This type of assessment was a major recommendation of National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp, as has been stated repeatedly on Climate Science" (Climate Science)

"Danger of thawing permafrost overstated: Moss mitigates its effect on greenhouse gases" - "The thawing of vast stretches of Canadian permafrost - widely seen as a "ticking time bomb" of climate change because of its expected liberation of billions of tonnes of pent-up methane and carbon dioxide - may be much less of a threat than previously believed, according to a new U.S. study of freshly unfrozen peatlands across Western Canada's northern frontier.

Although the melting of underlying permafrost will release huge amounts of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers who sampled three sites in boreal Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have discovered that the warmer, softer, wetter soil that results also promotes the growth of new mosses that capture and store about as much carbon from the atmosphere as the thawed ground releases." ( CanWest News Service)

"Come Shine, Come Rain" - "These days, it seems a safe bet to blame everything from melting glaciers to mixed-up bird migrations on human-induced global warming. But a new study serves as a reminder that not every weather development is our fault. An international team has linked rainfall intensity in East Africa to the 11-year sunspot cycle. If confirmed, the findings would represent an example of a long-standing climate pattern that remains unaffected by greenhouse gas buildup." (Phil Berardelli, ScienceNOW Daily News)

Solar powered climate? Who'd a thought?

Hmm... "Irrigation may not cool the globe in the future" - "Expansion of irrigation has masked greenhouse warming in California’s Central Valley, but irrigation may not make much of a difference in the future, according to a new study in the Aug. 13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

That's interesting, since some solid work by Christy and Norris suggests irrigation is specifically responsible for warmer nights and net warming -- in California's Central Valley. Their presentation to the Fourteenth Conference on Applied Climatology is available here. We'd suggest there's a key difference depending on what was in the region prior to irrigation -- light colored desert darkened by irrigation would reduce albedo and increased humidity would increase downwelling radiation while dryland forests cleared for irrigated cropping might increase year-average albedo and net average temperature.

It's equally interesting there's no clear indication of whether irrigation is a net warming or cooling influence in the relatively limited locale of California's Central Valley. Has it had a net global warming (or cooling) influence at all? Granted, the lead item is well titled, irrigation may not cool the globe in the future -- then again, we don't know if it has in the past, do we?

"Nuclear “Doomsday Clock” Hijacked by Climate Change Alarmists" - "What does the famed nuclear war “Doomsday Clock” have to do with climate change hysteria? According to Al Gore’s minions, everything. 

For the first time since the Clock’s inception, its hands have been advanced for a reason other than the prospect of nuclear war. Not because of mass terrorism, not an outbreak of catastrophic conventional war, not political instability in a nuclear-armed nation or other concrete event, but rather due to that trendy, all-purpose bogeyman of the left – climate change." ( Timothy Lee, Townhall)

"IPCC Reviewer Rebuts Human Causation" - "Last month David Lillis published an article1 with the above title with a view to initiating a discussion on the topic of “Climate Change” in New Zealand Science Review.

The bulk of the article amounts to a political manifesto which gives details of what changes should be made in all of our lives as a result of his belief that “Human-induced climate change is a reality” (Vincent Gray, New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

That's right, moonbat... "The editorials urge us to cut emissions, but the ads tell a very different story" - "Newspaper exhortations on climate change sit uncomfortably alongside promotions for budget flights and oil companies." (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

... gorebull warming profiteers are a bunch of 'lying bastards', to employ your term. Um... you're one of them, aren't you? So, how are the book sales going -- still jetting around the world on the promotional tour for your scare scam are you?

"Global warming? Look at the numbers" - "In his enviro-propaganda flick, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore claims nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade. That's been a common refrain for environmentalists, too, and one of the centrepieces of global warming hysteria: It's been really hot lately -- abnormally hot -- so we all need to be afraid, very afraid. The trouble is, it's no longer true.

Last week, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- whose temperature records are a key component of the global-warming claim (and whose director, James Hansen, is a sort of godfather of global-warming alarmism) -- quietly corrected an error in its data set that had made recent temperatures seem warmer than they really were." (Lorne Gunter, National Post)

"How Important Was NASA’s Change to Historical Climate Data Last Week?" - "Last week's revelation by Climate Audit's Steve McIntyre of a serious mistake and subsequent changes made by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the temperature history of America has created quite a debate in the new media. 

While conservative bloggers were quick to point out the hypocrisy regarding the lack of an official announcement from GISS chief James Hansen as well as the possible significance to the entire global warming debate, alarmists such as RealClimate and TNR's The Plank viewed McIntyre's discovery and GISS's alterations less than earth shattering." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Faking the Figures" - "Environmental fanatics who had confidently predicted the coming ice age in the 1970s changed tack in the 1980s when the climate took the upward path of its regular 65-70 year oscillation, and revived the greenhouse gas warming theory which had failed so miserably in 1896 when Svante Arrhenius first predicted it. He was just on the wrong part of the cycle, as the temperature fell for the following fifteen years, and the two world wars took the attention away from those inclined to doomsday predictions.
The problem with the greenhouse theory, which confidently predicts a steady global temperature increase as a result of increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is that this prediction is incapable of confirmation, because it is just not practically possible to obtain a reliable average temperature of the earth's surface." (Icecap)

"Heretical Thoughts About Science And Society" - "My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models." (Freeman Dyson, Edge)

"Global warming theories leave dissident MPs cold" - "A GROUP of Government backbenchers is disputing the science that says humans are responsible for global warming, likening it to other historic claims that were later found to be incorrect.

The Liberal MPs Dennis Jensen, Danna Vale and Jackie Kelly and the Country Liberal MP David Tollner issued a dissenting report yesterday to a Government committee investigation into the viability of geosequestration - the storage of carbon dioxide - as a solution to climate change.

"The evidence that human beings are changing the global climate is certainly not compelling," the four MPs said." (Sydney Morning Herald)

Funny, lobbyists are naming them the "Flat Earth Four" when physicist Dr Dennis Jensen is perhaps the most science -qualified and -able Australian politician, certainly one of the few able to comprehend climate science and its limitations.

Whinging that indoctrination is not universal: "Wolfowitz 'tried to censor World Bank on climate change'" - "The Bush administration has consistently thwarted efforts by the World Bank to include global warming in its calculations when considering whether to approve major investments in industry and infrastructure, according to documents made public through a watchdog yesterday. 

On one occasion, the White House's pointman at the bank, the now disgraced Paul Wolfowitz, personally intervened to remove the words "climate change" from the title of a bank progress report and ordered changes to the text of the report to shift the focus away from global warming. 

But the issue predates Mr Wolfowitz's appointment as president of the bank in June 2005. According to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), which has tracked efforts to censor debate on global warming, environmental specialists at the World Bank tried unsuccessfully to press for consideration of greenhouse- gas emissions in a paper written - but never published - in 2002. 

It was politics that prevented the publication of that paper, according to one senior bank insider who spoke to the Los Angeles Times, and politics that has been the principal obstacle to progress since. Only now, with the Bush administration on the ropes politically and the scientific evidence for global warming reaching such critical mass that even President George Bush has been forced to acknowledge its reality, are those same bank officials trying again to put the issue on the agenda. "Our biggest obstacle has been that politically, [climate change] is very controversial," Kristalina Georgieva, the bank's strategy and operations director for sustainable development, told the LA Times. 

She said that, even under the best of circumstances, it will be at least two years before the bank starts measuring the impact of fossil fuel-related projects on the planet's health. "We are not moving fast enough," she added. "It's not possible to be moving fast enough." (Belfast Telegraph)

"Economic benefits of Northwest Passage opening not without costs: researchers" - "MONTREAL - While the federal government eyes the economic benefits of a shipping route through Canada's north, scientists are warning that the fabled passage cannot come about without serious costs to the environment. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ramped up efforts recently to assert Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, a potentially lucrative route to Asia that could open year-round thanks to global warming. 

But researchers studying the country's Arctic lakes say ecosystems in the north are struggling to adapt to climate change." (CP)

"Study estimates global warming costs" - "Making big cuts in emissions linked to global warming could come at considerable cost to the U.S. economy: between $400 billion and $1.8 trillion in reduced growth over the next four decades, a new study says.

The study published Monday by a nonprofit research group partially funded by the power industry concludes that reducing emissions of carbon dioxide -- the main greenhouse gas linked to global warming -- will require "fundamental" changes in energy production and consumption.

The Electric Power Research Institute said the most cost-effective way to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to make many changes at once, including expanding nuclear power, developing renewable technologies and building systems to capture and store carbon dioxide emitted from coal plants. Reducing demand for fossil-fuel power is also key, the institute said.

The EPRI cost estimate is based on a 50 percent economy-wide cut in carbon emissions from 2010 levels by 2050. Without such a cut and the shifts in technology it would bring, the Energy Department projects that U.S. carbon emissions will rise from about 6 billion metric tons a year in 2005 to 8 billion metric tons by 2030." (Associated Press)

"U.S. Talks Green, Backs Fossil-Fuel Projects" - "WASHINGTON - At the G-8 summit of world leaders in June, President Bush repeated his calls for developing nations to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases. Without their cooperation, he said, drastic measures in the United States to battle climate change would make little sense.

"We all can make major strides, and yet there won't be a reduction until China and India are participants," he told reporters.

But just weeks earlier, the U.S. government had pledged to help finance one of the world's most advanced oil refineries, taking shape in the city of Jamnagar, India. When the facility is complete by December 2008, it will not only produce petroleum products, it will emit nearly 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide - the major contributor to global warming - into Earth's atmosphere each year.

That estimate comes from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which announced $500 million in loan guarantees for the project in May. And the bank's figures do not take into account the additional emissions from the cars that will burn the giant refinery's gasoline, or the airplanes that will fly on its jet fuel or the cook stoves that will fry with its propane and kerosene." (Los Angeles Times)

"Sweden PM Urges Pressure on US, China Over Climate" - "STOCKHOLM - Sweden's prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, called on Monday for more pressure on the United States, China and India to commit to action to tackle global warming." (Reuters)

"Cap and Blockade" - "Last Thursday, Lithuania's government said it will sue the European Commission for cutting its greenhouse-gas allocation, the seventh EU member state to take legal action over this issue. The conflict highlights the absurdity of the growth-retarding Kyoto Protocol and similar "cap and trade" schemes, which would be enormously expensive and relatively ineffective at addressing climate change." (Julian Morris, Wall Street Journal)

"Eastern Europe Fights EU Emission Caps" - "Latvia and other countries that joined the bloc in 2004 have started legal challenges to CO2 targets imposed by Brussels." (EUobserver)

"Government accused of 'environment deceit'" - "Gordon Brown has been accused of presiding over an environmental policy based on "propaganda and deceit" after a leaked document suggested vital 'green' energy targets will not be met." (London Telegraph)

"ANALYSIS - London Profits While Africa Awaits Kyoto Benefit" - "LONDON - Huge profits made by London-based brokers who arrange emissions-cutting projects in developing countries contrast with little benefit for the world's poorest nations, company and United Nations data shows." (Reuters)

"Carbon Market Encourages Chopping Forests - Study" - "WASHINGTON - The current carbon market actually encourages cutting down some of the world's biggest forests, which would unleash tonnes of climate-warming carbon into the atmosphere, a new study reported on Monday." (Reuters)

"INTERVIEW - Kyoto Projects Harm Ozone Layer - UN Official" - "LONDON - The biggest emissions-cutting projects under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming have directly contributed to an increase in the production of gases that destroy the ozone layer, a senior UN official says. 

In addition, evidence suggests that the same projects, in developing countries, have deliberately raised their emissions of greenhouse gases only to destroy these and therefore claim more carbon credits, said Stanford University's Michael Wara." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

Trouble in Climate-Model Paradise: An important new study demonstrates that one of the most basic predictions of current climate models is about as wrong as it could possibly be.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tannins (Birch Trees): How do the tannin concentrations of the foliage and roots of birch trees respond to atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... and what are the ramifications of this phenomenon?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: European White Birch, Garden Bean, Holly Oak, and Thale Cress.

Journal Reviews:
The Role of Northern Peatlands in Global Climate Change: Do they provide a positive or negative impetus for global warming?

A Thousand-Year Pollen Record of Environmental Change in the Northern Altai Mountain Region of Southern Siberia: What does it tell us about the nature and uniqueness of 20th-century temperatures there?

Fifteen Hundred Years of Climate Change in Central Mexico: What does the record reveal about the primary manifestation of the Medieval Warm Period in this part of the country ... and beyond?

Effect of Elevated CO2 on Vegetative Storage Proteins in Alfalfa Taproots: What is the effect? ... and why is it important?

Effects of Elevated CO2 and O3 on the Reproductive Fitness of Paper Birch Trees: What are they? ... and how do the typically beneficial effects of CO2 compare with the generally deleterious effects of O3?

Beaver, OKTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Beaver, OK. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Beaver's mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.84 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (co2science.org)

"EU expects Britain to deliver on renewable energy target" - "The EU Commission is confident that Britain will be able to increase its use of renewable energy to an overall 20 percent despite doubts expressed in London, a Brussels spokesman said Monday.

British officials have told government ministers that the country has no chance of meeting its commitments under European Union plans to raise the proportion of energy from renewable sources by 2020, a British daily reported." (AFP)

"Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up?" - "Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in Greece have carried out a life cycle assessment to find the answer." (Inderscience Publishers)

"Verheugen speaks out for big German car makers" - "EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen has spoken out in defence of manufacturers of large German cars saying they must not bear the greatest burden in the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Mr Verheugen, himself a German, made it clear that he does not believe that large car manufacturers alone should be the ones making the biggest sacrifices in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles." (EUobserver)

"Biofuel Boom Threatens Gummy Bears" - "A rise in crop prices is threatening to jack up prices on gummy bears and other sweets. Meanwhile, the food and beverage industry in Germany is lobbying for government subsidies for biofuel crops to be eliminated." (Der Spiegel)

"Ethanol push lifts more than fuel cost: Many products are hit by inflation as energy policy disrupts markets" - "FORT WORTH, Texas — A steak dinner, a can of beer, a tank of gas, a bowl of cornflakes. Prices on these items and others are rising, all in the quest to produce more ethanol, the corn-based product touted as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil and lessen the impact of global warming." (McClatchy Newspapers)

"Tectonic plates act like variable thermostat" - "Like a quilt that loses heat between squares, the earth’s system of tectonic plates lets warmth out at every stitch. But a new study in PNAS Early Edition finds the current blanket much improved over the leaky patchwork of 60 million years ago." (University of Southern California)

"Assessing the long-run availability of copper" - "Abstract: This study questions recent research [Gordon, R.B., Bertram, M., Graedel, T.E., 2006. Metal stocks and sustainability. Proc. Natl. Acad. USA 103(5), 1209–1214] that concludes that the world is likely to experience a growing scarcity of copper over this century. In particular, it focuses on the methodology used in this work that assumes the usable copper contained in the earth is a fixed amount. While the fixed-stock paradigm is intuitively appealing—after all the earth is finite so the amount of any commodity it contains must also be finite—and used with some frequency by others as well to assess long-run trends in the availability of non-renewable mineral resources, it is flawed and can lead to overly pessimistic as well as overly optimistic expectations. A more useful and appropriate approach, the opportunity-cost paradigm, assesses long-run trends in availability by real prices or alternative measures of what society has to give up or sacrifice to obtain another ton of copper or barrel of oil. This approach indicates that copper could conceivably become less scarce by the end of the century. Whether this will be the case or whether copper will be more scarce, however, depends on a number of factors, including the future course of technological change, whose influence no one can predict with any degree of certainty decades in advance." (Resources Policy)

"Maddening Media Misinformation on Biotech" - "Media bias is a charge that one often hears when a group less than favorable coverage. There are arguments about whether there is media bias and whom it favors and who is harmed by it. Media defenders argue that there are undoubtedly biased news sources but that overall there is no consistent media bias. Bias here would be defined as allowing one's personal worldview -- be it liberal, conservative, radical, or reactionary -- to select, frame, and color the news. The defenders of the media argue that the very principles of modern journalism are such that, if followed, they reduce the possibility of conscious or unconscious bias.

The purpose of this article is to argue, though, that apart from any bias of media moguls or journalists, there is a bias built into the very structure of the modern media and the rules that govern it. On issue after issue, the structure of modern media favors the viewpoint of activists with an ideological agenda over those who seek a reasoned, more scientific understanding of an issue." ( Thomas R. DeGregori, ACSH)

August 13, 2007

Celebrate this farce? "Global Fight to Protect the Ozone Layer Celebrates 20 Years" - "SANTIAGO, Aug 11 - The main achievement of the 20-year-old Montreal Protocol was to establish the process for recovering the ozone layer that protects life on Earth, although the enormous hole that opens every year over Antarctica will continue to happen for the next decade, says the head of the Ozone Secretariat, Marco González." (Tierramérica)

What should we celebrate it as, exactly what not to do? We have never known whether the Antarctic Ozone Anomaly represents any kind of problem, we've never known it not to exist, we've seen no change since outlawing a particularly useful group of chemical compounds and we've since found that nature is a prolific creator and emitter of ODS (ozone depleting substances) in the Antarctic, right where the seasonal fluctuation occurs. The great ozone panic has always been a pointless political farce. Why should we celebrate that?

Horror of horrors... "Nitrogen overload concerns ecologist" - "On an overcast day in April, Stuart Weiss stood in the rolling hills of a Bay Area nature preserve and lifted a bag of nitrogen-based fertilizer to his shoulder.

The heavy sack, the Menlo Park ecologist explained to the small crowd gathered before him, symbolized the unprecedented release of nitrogen into the Earth's air, land and water and the insidious environmental changes the potent fertilizer is causing globally.

At Edgewood Park in Redwood City, where he stood, nitrogen in vehicle exhaust from a nearby freeway has led to the local demise of a threatened butterfly population, according to research Weiss conducted. The link he established between the exhaust and the butterflies' decline attracted international attention among the growing federation of scientists studying "nitrogen pollution." (MediaNews)

... plants are growing too well! What can we do? Who can we telephone?

What's MSM up to now? After roughly a decade, NBC has apparently discovered the Oregon Petition. About time, some might say but our interest is aroused when signers of the petition are being contacted by someone claiming to be a reporter's intern employed by NBC. The questions being asked can't be all that clear or purposeful since those contacted have only the impression they were contacted to see if they were real, credible and still supported the petition. Fair enough, JunkScience.com strongly recommends checking the data. Presumably NBC will also be checking the alleged consensus of scientists involved in IPCC assessment reports to find out whether they agree with or even signed off on the Summaries for Policymakers so trumpeted by the mainstream media. If not, it's going to look like yet another attempted hatchet job perpetrated on skeptical scientists along the lines of last week's Newsweek smear piece (The Truth About Denial). Developing, as they say...

meanwhile: "UN Climate Panel Accused of Possible Research Fraud" - "At virtually the same time NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies was correcting historical climate data with the assistance of Climate Audit's Steve McIntyre, a British mathematician discovered serious flaws in papers used and cited by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its most recent Assessment Report." ( Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

Inter alia: A right royal panic (Number Watch)

GOOGLE VIDEO: The Great Global Warming Swindle - Supplementary Material -- 59 min 17 sec

"Mark Steyn: Warm-mongers and cheeseburger imperialists" - "Something rather odd happened the other day. If you go to NASA's Web site and look at the "U.S. surface air temperature" rankings for the lower 48 states, you might notice that something has changed.

Then again, you might not. They're not issuing any press releases about it. But they have quietly revised their All-Time Hit Parade for U.S. temperatures. The "hottest year on record" is no longer 1998, but 1934. Another alleged swelterer, the year 2001, has now dropped out of the Top 10 altogether, and most of the rest of the 21st century – 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 – plummeted even lower down the Hot 100. In fact, every supposedly hot year from the Nineties and this decade has had its temperature rating reduced. Four of America's Top 10 hottest years turn out to be from the 1930s, that notorious decade when we all drove around in huge SUVs with the air-conditioning on full-blast. If climate change is, as Al Gore says, the most important issue anyone's ever faced in the history of anything ever, then Franklin Roosevelt didn't have a word to say about it.

And yet we survived." (Orange County Register)

Follow the attempted suppression of debate on DemandDebate.com's News page.

"Does Hansen’s Error “Matter”?" - "Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit blog is offline, he has asked me to post this here - Anthony

There’s been quite a bit of publicity about Hansen’s Y2K error and the change in the U.S. leaderboard (by which 1934 is the new warmest U.S. year) in the right-wing blogosphere. In contrast, realclimate has dismissed it a triviality and the climate blogosphere is doing its best to ignore the matter entirely.

My own view has been that matter is certainly not the triviality that Gavin Schmidt would have you believe, but neither is it any magic bullet. I think that the point is significant for reasons that have mostly eluded commentators on both sides." (Steve McIntyre, Watt's Up With That?)

Another record that isn't: "July wettest ever for England" - "Last month was the wettest July ever in England and Wales with double the normal amount falling, new figures from the Met Office reveal. But oddly enough the huge surge in rain was not repeated in Scotland or Northern Ireland, making it only the fourth wettest July in the UK overall. The combined levels of rain in England and Wales beat the 70 year old record set in 1936." (Life Style Extra)

Of course, the Met Office, in their bid to prove that a wet summer is a sign of global warming, are using the England and Wales Series. The "wettest ever" starts in 1914. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/seriesstatistics/ewrain.txt

When we examine the separate England and Wales Precipitation Series from www.hadobs.org we find that "ever" begins in 1766. The published figure for July is 140.9mm (from Hadobs July monthly ranked data) making July 2007 only the 14th wettest, with 1828 taking the prize at 182.6 mm.

Here's the descending list for July precipitation in millimeters:
182.6  1828
164.2  1834
158.4  1775
157.5  1880
156.6  1888
155.0  1787
152.9  1839
152.0  1816
149.5  1798
149.3  1779
148.0  1767
145.2  1822 
143.7  1829
140.9  2007 -- h/t Dennis A

"Solar Activity & Climate Change - New Evidence" (.pdf) - "We have produced new evidence that will eventually lead to the conclusion that variations in solar activity and not the burning of fossil fuels are the direct cause of the observed multiyear variations in climatic responses." (W.J.R. Alexander and F. Bailey, Energy & Environment)

A New Paper On The Role Of Irrigation On Weather and Climate In India Has Been Accepted For Publication (Climate Science)

Really? "Global warming to stunt growth of rainforest trees" - "Global warming could reduce the growth rates of rainforest trees by 50 percent, reported research presented last week at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in San Jose, California by Ken Feeley of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum in Boston. 

The study, published in April this year in Ecology Letters, found that tree growth rates in 50-hectare forest plots in Panama and Malaysia have decreased dramatically for the majority of species in two lowland tropical forests over the past couple of decades. The results contradict the hypothesis that elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would boost growth rates of trees in the tropics by speeding plant respiration." (Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com)

... we have to wonder why when there's no apparent warming in the tropics from the late 70s to current. There might be a tiny bit in the mid troposphere but they'd need to be very tall trees to notice that though, eh?

But wait... "Old-growth tree rings are showing faster growth rates in past decades" - "If a grandmother suddenly started growing, something would be amiss. Now research has found that something similar is happening to the nation’s oldest trees.

Clues found in old-growth tree rings from Michigan to Maine show an increasing growth spurt during the last century, possibly from global climate change, according to Neil Pederson, an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University.

Generally trees, like people, slow down growing as they age, Pederson said. But ring patterns in oaks, poplars and cedars — some up to 400 years old — instead show trees started growing faster in recent decades.

“It is like my grandmother suddenly growing taller and dunking a basketball or playing football,” Pederson said. “It’s not supposed to happen.”

Pederson said it’s likely that global warming is behind the change.

“Most of the climate change, particularly in the northern areas, has been driving up winter temperatures. The most important factor to limit growth in trees is low winter temperature,” he said." (Albany Times Union)

... so, these trees are actually growing faster. Gosh, wonder if that could be the result of growth-enhancing carbon dioxide returned to the atmosphere after long unavailability as fossil fuel? Previously resource-stressed and undernourished trees are thriving... must be an emergency!

"Arctic sea ice watch" - "Realclimate.org and Andrew Revkin from the New York Times seem to be very excited because the current amount of sea ice in the Arctic is pretty low on August 9th (yesterday) while the average day when the minimum is reached is somewhere around September 5th of each year.

They don't seem to understand - or they are not willing to reveal - three things." (The Reference Frame)

"Arctic Sea Ice Areal Coverage Approaching Record Low" - "Climate Science has followed the variation over time of the areal cover of Arctic sea ice using the excellent University of Illinois Cryosphere website. This site is used since the data is update daily. 

The current data shows a continued rapid loss of sea ice, and even the appearance of the “northwest passage” around North America. 

This loss of sea ice has been attributed to both greenhouse gas warming and dust/black carbon deposition.

Undoubtedly, there soon will be major news coverage and press releases on this. When they appear, it is important to recognize this is a regional climate issue. As seen on the University of Alabama monitoring of lower tropospheric temperature anomalies in the (see) the north pole region are well above average (+1.67C in June). This warmth is certainly consistent with the large melt of the sea ice. 

However, in terms of relating to the global average lower tropospheric temperature changes, in June 2007 (which is the latest data posted), the global average anomaly is +0.22 after being as high recently as +0.51C in January. Thus, it is regional warming, not “global warming” that appears to be the reason for this melting (Indeed, if it were global warming, we should see a similar reduction in Antarctic sea ice coverage, which, however, is not occurring." (Climate Science)

These little items will excite the race for the Arctic:

"Canada flexes military muscles in Arctic" - "Army training centre and new deepwater port key elements of plan." (CP)

"Now Danes test claim on Pole" - "Expedition seeks proof underwater ridge is connected to their Greenland territory" (Toronto Star)

But wait: "First-Hand Accounts from 19th Century Explorers' Logs for the Canadian Arctic Reflect Similar Climate Conditions as Present". Kevin R, Wood, Arctic Research Office & James E Overland, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 2004

"Examination of explorers' logs for the western Arctic from 1818 to 1910 reveals that climate indicators such as navigability, the distribution and thickness of annual sea ice, monthly surface air temperature, and the onset of melt and freeze were within the present range of variability. Forty four scientific reports and related narratives were analyzed; many from expeditions spanning several years. The majority of data come from large naval expeditions that had the capacity to support an intensive scientific program through the Arctic winter. 

The ship tracks and winter-over location of Arctic discovery expeditions from 1818 to 1859 are surprisingly consistent with present sea ice climatology. The climatology shown reflects percent frequency of sea ice presence on September 10, which is the usual date of annual ice minimum, for the reference period 1971-2000 [Canadian Ice Service, 2002]. On a number of occasions expeditions came within 150 km of completing the Northwest Passage. By 1859, all possible routes comprising the Northwest Passage had been discovered. -- h/t Dennis A.

"Are Greenland’s Glaciers Growing and Temperatures Cooling?" - "One of the keys to the manmade global warming myth being espoused by soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and the good folks at the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that glaciers in Greenland have been melting in the last fifty years at an alarming rate. 

In fact, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) claimed to witness such evidence of global warming during recent trips there.

Yet, a paper written by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change, and published Monday by the Science and Public Policy Institute stated that not only have temperatures been declining in Greenland in recent years, but also glaciers have actually expanded a bit." ( Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Shadow of brown clouds" - "The retreat of the Himalayan-Hindu Kush (HHK) glaciers is one of the major environmental problems facing Asia. These glaciers feed major river systems including the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang He. The livelihood of over two billion Asians are influenced by these rivers. The glacier retreat began in the mid-19th century in response to the termination of the mini Ice Age. The retreat has accelerated since the 1970s and includes major HHK glaciers such as Gangotri and over 90 per cent of the Tibetan glaciers. Glaciologists link this acceleration to the large warming trend of about 0.25°C per decade that has been observed over the elevated HHK regions. 

The prevailing understanding is that the warming trend is part of the global warming due to greenhouse gases. But several American and European scientists have speculated that solar heating by soot in Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs) and deposition of dark soot over bright snow surfaces may also be important contributing factors." (Hindustan Times)

"The “Unruly Sunne” cannot be ruled out as a Cause of Recent Climate Variation" - "On July 10, 2007, the Royal Society, one of the oldest scientific institutions in the world, published Recent oppositely-directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature by Lockwood and Frohlich . In the web-page of the journal (Fig. 1), the Society calls the paper “The truth about global warming!” and says, “The sun is not a factor in recent climate change!” (SPPI)

"Twisting Science to Fit the Global Warming Template" - "The global warming crowd does not take kindly to being contradicted, either by critics or data. Of course, critics can be defamed and data can be skewed. But unless the critics can be silenced, they can fight back and expose phony data. When it begins to look like predictions of doom are not turning out sufficiently catastrophic, a full Orwell is called for. The media mobilize their templates to completely re-cast the information." (James Lewis, American Thinker)

"Researchers 'polluted,' forced to wrong side" - "The debate on global warming becomes uglier. 

If you're a scientist who questions Al Gore's truth, you're suspect. 

If you're a company that funds the research of the scientist who questions Gore's truth, you're confusing the public. Purposely fogging our minds. 

See how nasty this is getting. And what a squelch it could put on honest public debate. In an economic situation that's already costing us billions. What if the "truth" is wrong?" ( Jack Markowitz, Tribune-Review)

"Scientists try new ways to predict climate risks" - "OSLO - Scientists are trying to improve predictions about the impact of global warming this century by pooling estimates about the risk of floods or desertification.

"We feel certain about some of the aspects of future climate change, like that it is going to get warmer," said Matthew Collins of the British Met Office. "But on many of the details it's very difficult to say." (Reuters)

Now they're going to pool a bunch of wild guesses about an inherently unpredictable system, as though that will make them more accurate (like the IPCC's model ensemble?). It's a little like the topos of the monkeys and the typewriters, which most would agree the internet proves is not true.

"Persistence in California Weather Patterns" - "Summary: The evidence for a major climate shift since the mid 1970s is quite real. California indices of rainfall and temperature have both shown an increasing trend since 1975. 

Physical changes in Earth weather systems that accompany the 1975 weather trend changes include the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index, a 1975 change in the Atmospheric Angular Momentum (AAM) index and a 1940 increase in solar irradiance. 

The PDO index is a measure of the East West sea surface temperature difference in the North Pacific Ocean. The AAM index is a measure of the ratio of East West vs. North-South winds on the planet that affect the earth rotation rate. 

Solar irradiance has been monitored from satellites for three sunspot cycles. The sunspot numbers and solar irradiance were shown to be highly correlated. Since sunspot numbers have been increasing since 1940 the irradiance must also be increasing." (Jim Goodridge, State Climatologist (Retired))

"It Takes Deep Pockets to Fight Global Warming" - "GLOBAL warming is by nature a big-enough problem to create the kind of necessity that could be mother, father and midwife to invention. And plenty of big ideas are out there to address it, some that may even lead to substantial enterprises much as our military needs have. 

But the ideas being backed in the United States are things like biofuels and carbon-emissions trading. These are good approaches, but they may not hold much potential for actually staving off climate change. James E. Lovelock, a British scientist whose 2006 book, “The Revenge of Gaia,” argued that most of humankind is doomed, does not think much of renewable energy. 

At a panel on climate change at the University of Cambridge this summer, Mr. Lovelock was asked what would be the most effective action people could take. Because humans and their pets and livestock produce about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, he said, “just stop breathing.” 

Now there’s a fine idea." (Michael Fitzgerald, Herald-Tribune)

Hmm... "Resolved: Public Corporations Shall Take Us Seriously" - "Will Sister Patricia Daly and other shareholder activists get ExxonMobil to do something about global warming?" (New York Times)

... alright, let's take them seriously, for a moment. What could or should ExxonMobil do about the phantom menace? Only one economically feasible and potentially physically plausible path would seem open to fuel suppliers and that is to make all fuel with say a 100ppb sulfur blend. This will relatively quickly and relatively affordably provide sufficient sulfate particulates to reduce the amount of solar short wave energy reaching the surface, reduce Earth's long wave emission and thus the greenhouse potential of the atmosphere. This further has the advantage of being readily adjustable (by adjusting the sulfur content of fuels) and automatically increases its anti-warming sulfate production with increasing fossil fuel use. Certainly doable, probably the only viable means of addressing the phantom menace and something we most assuredly do not want done.

"Global warming hysteria is new eugenics" - "The BP oil company ads on television are, or should be, enough to make you never buy another drop of British-Petroleum gasoline. The farmer-type guy who stands there and talks about how wonderful it would be if you could grow a crop, convert it into fuel and put it in your tractor to plant next year's crops is disingenuous, deceptive and disgusting. So is the ad that shows a kid, holding what looks like a sugar beet, talking about making fuel out of the thing he's holding and replanting it year after year. BP airs these ads to suggest that it is working toward converting to this new "natural" fuel. 

What a joke. If every acre of productive land in America were converted to growing corn, sugar beets or other so-called renewable fuel, it would not come close to meeting the demand. Moreover, it would essentially destroy the environment, since these crops are heavy feeders of both water and soil nutrients. It would force the importation of food from other countries, and the fuel product would cost more per gallon and deliver less energy than petroleum products. 

This is the future BP's ads suggest, but the company is not alone in its deception. Guru-in-chief Al Gore's relentless tent-revival evangelism calls environmental sinners to the global warming altar to confess their carbon dioxide emissions and to seek baptism in ethanol and salvation in a Toyota Prius." (Henry Lamb, WND)

Australia has some honest and informed politicians with the courage to write a dissenting report... who knew? "Australian governing party lawmakers doubt human contribution to global warming" - "CANBERRA, Australia: Four Australian governing party lawmakers rejected on Monday the idea that humans are causing global warming, the conclusion reached by their colleagues on a parliamentary committee.

The 11-member multiparty committee had examined the potential in Australia of geosequestration — the experimental process of burying carbon, emitted by burning coal, to keep it out of the atmosphere.

The majority report found that cost was the greatest obstacle to the commercial application of carbon capture and storage in Australia, the world's largest exporter of coal.

The report recommended that the government fund at least one such geosequestration system at a coal-fired power station.

It also said that "there is now compelling evidence that human activity is changing the global climate."

However, four lawmakers wrote a second report rejecting that conclusion." ( Associated Press)

Sadly, facts and politics are frequently uncomfortable fellow-travellers: "Heat on Australia PM over climate sceptic MPs" - "CANBERRA, Aug 13 - A report questioning climate change and calling global warming a "natural phenomenon" on Monday led to accusations Australia's Prime Minister John Howard was a climate sceptic, possibly denting his re-election hopes." (Reuters)

"Litigation is heating up over climate change" - "Law firms are increasingly advising clients on the risks of their greenhouse emissions, writes Siobhain Ryan (The Australian)

"McGuinty bitter after climate-change rebuff" - "MONCTON, N.B.–Premier Dalton McGuinty is lamenting "a lost opportunity" for Canada after provincial and territorial leaders failed to back his strategy for slashing industrial greenhouse gas emissions." (Toronto Star)

"Now it's green grow the houses" - "In the future, we will live in homes made out of straw. If we're serious about minimising the carbon footprint of our homes, then straw bales, coated in plaster, are the way to go - and the Clark Government does seem serious.

If you thought the food miles debate was global warming moved too close to the sun, the Government's sudden focus on the embodied energy in our homes is even more esoteric. Embodied energy is the energy used to produce a final product from raw materials, from reinforced concrete to taps.

It's the front end of a bid to put a carbon footprint on our homes by calculating their whole-of-life energy output. It's a whole new way of looking at a plank of wood." (New Zealand Herald)

Right... "Green licence plate plan under fire" - "Ontario's clean-car tags could get you branded as a sex offender in three U.S. states

It's enough to make an environmentally conscious motorist turn green. 

While Environment Minister Laurel Broten plans to offer green licence plates for energy-efficient cars next year – with perks like free parking or access to carpool lanes – at least three U.S. states are considering green plates for convicted sex offenders and pedophiles back on the streets." (Toronto Star)

"EU carbon price could crash again: report" - "LONDON - The price to emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide faces a repeat of its price crash last year on the European Union's carbon trading scheme, said a report by a London-based group opposed to closer EU political integration.

The report was attacked by some carbon market participants and lobbyists." (Reuters)

"New report finds that the EU’s key environment policy is failing" - "Open Europe today releases a major new study: “Europe’s Dirty Secret: Why the EU Emissions Trading Scheme isn’t working”. (Press Release)

"Japan to fund emission-curbing projects across Asia: report" - "Japan plans to invest in emission-curbing projects in developing Asian nations in exchange for credits that add to its own anti-global warming effort, a press report said Sunday.

The Ministry of the Environment aims to obtain 3.5 million tonnes worth of emission credits through the investment, the major Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun said." (AFP)

"Detroit's hard-driving congressman" - "Democrat John Dingell still intimidates foes after 50 years, but he may be facing his biggest battle yet: climate-change legislation." (Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times)

As a result of Australia's massive economic boom under the Howard Government... "Households switch on to green power" - "AUSTRALIANS are backing their commitment to fight climate change with their wallets, spending as much as $400 extra a year to go for green power.

Despite a lack of federal support for renewable energy, green power sales have surged.

In NSW alone the number of customers paying extra for renewable energy to be fed into the grid on their behalf has more than doubled in the past six months and more than tripled in the 12 months to June.

Nearly 8 per cent of all Australian households choose to pay more for power to ensure it is environmentally friendly. (Sydney Morning Herald)

... more Australians than ever before have more dollars than sense. 'Green power' schemes are 100% rip off.

"Nuclear renaissance will deliver challenges" - "Ontario must compete with global demand for raw materials, workers" (Toronto Star)

"Effort to build coal-to-gas plant praised, attacked" - "One side calls it clean-coal technology. The other says the proposed plant to convert coal to natural gas is a recipe for more global warming and more destruction of Kentucky landscapes." (The Courier-Journal)

"Carmakers Can't Buy Out of CO2 Rules - EU's Verheugen" - "FRANKFURT - European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen opposes letting automakers pay cash to escape strict emissions limits that Brussels is imposing on cars to help curb global warming, he said in a newspaper interview." (Reuters)

"British officials say no chance of hitting renewables target: report" - "British officials have told government ministers that the country has no chance of meeting its commitments under European Union plans to raise the proportion of energy made from renewable sources by 2020, The Guardian reported on Monday." (AFP)

"Revealed: cover-up plan on energy target: Ministers urged to lobby for get-out on renewables" - "Government officials have secretly briefed ministers that Britain has no hope of getting remotely near the new European Union renewable energy target that Tony Blair signed up to in the spring - and have suggested that they find ways of wriggling out of it.

In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists." (Ashley Seager and Mark Milner, The Guardian)

"East River Fights Bid to Harness Its Currents for Electricity" - "The river’s powerful tides have been wreaking havoc on six underwater turbines designed to turn its currents into electricity." (New York Times)

"Preferential tax eyed for biofuel" - "The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Saturday it plans to introduce a new preferential tax system in fiscal 2008 aimed at promoting a wider use of biofuel, which could help curtail greenhouse gas emissions." (The Yomiuri Shimbun)

"ANALYSIS - Weather Thwarts Boost in EU Rapeseed for Biofuel" - "LONDON - An expected surge in European rapeseed output to meet biofuels demand was thwarted by drought or wet weather that hurt yields, analysts said on Friday." (Reuters)

"Future Air Pollution Levels and Climate Change: A Step Toward Realism" - "What happens to future air pollution if the climate warms? Efthimios Tagaris and colleagues (Tagaris et al., 2007) have come closer than anyone before them in providing a realistic answer to this question. They predict that between 2001 and 2050, mean summer 8-hour ozone levels over the U.S. will decline by 11% to 28%, depending on the region, with an average decline of 20%. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) will decline by 9% to 32%, with an average decline of 23%." (Joel Schwartz, WCR)

You shouldn't have a choice, this idiot says so: "Johann Hari: We should all be at Heathrow protesting" - "It is collective pressure on government, not consumer choices, that the world needs now." (London Independent)

"Bearing arms" - "The men who founded our nation understood that government was necessary to preserve the people's freedoms. But they also knew that government agents could not always be trusted to use their authority justly, and that government remains the single greatest threat to the rights and liberties of the people.

America's Founding Fathers knew that freedom required that the people always retain the ability to take government out of the hands of abusive officials, "to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security." This was far from just some lofty theory to the Founders. They had witnessed oppressive government firsthand and had seen this principle unfold in dramatic practice as thousands of armed citizens took up their muskets and drove the king's soldiers — their government's soldiers — back to Boston on April 19, 1775. The United States was born out of the fight against tyranny.

Most important, the Framers remembered this when they created a new Constitution. To ensure that government remains in the hands of the people, the Second Amendment guaranteed that the citizen militia would remain sacrosanct.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms is the least understood of all rights mentioned in the Constitution. Few today have any idea of the true meaning and intent of this provision, and most people are more likely to deride this right either as an archaic and unnecessary remnant of an embarrassing past, or at best merely some benign assurance that "sportsmen" will be able to go hunting. Neither is true. ( Scott McPherson, Washington Times)

"Students push for guns on campus" - "College students are pushing for their schools to allow them to carry guns on campus, saying they should have the right to protect themselves in a situation like the one in which 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty were fatally shot." ( Zinie Chen Sampson, Associated Press)

"FDA warns of potentially harmful statins" - "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers of potentially harmful statins found to be adulterating three red yeast rice products being sold on the web as all-natural dietary supplements to lower cholesterol. A laboratory analysis by the FDA found the products contained significant levels of the prescription drug lovastatin." (Junkfood Science)

"The Cost of Media Scare Stories to Diabetics" - "Evidence that diabetics were put at real risk by overplaying shakey statistics showing a hypothetical risk from Avandia." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

"It’s not nice to scare mothers and babies" - "This week, we saw one of the most inexcusable examples of the misuse of “science” in the war against obesity. Not only were headlines used to scare young women that being fat could mean their babies might be born with hideous birth defects, but both the media and the press release from the journal office of the American Medical Association, failed to fully and accurately report what this study actually found." (Junkfood Science)

"Do opinion polls counts as medical research?" - "Few consumers would guess how much of the medical literature is devoted to articles on how to sell the obesity crisis in order to garner the greatest support for obesity initiatives. One article recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health provides a typical example." (Junkfood Science)

"Schools should be 'free of cars'" - "Exclusion zones should be set up around schools to force parents and children to walk to class, a report suggests. The Institute for European Environmental Policy blames car over- usage for fuelling the "twin crises" of global warming and an obesity epidemic." (BBC)

"Body Work" - "Kids are feeling pressure to devote their energies to body work at increasingly younger ages. In the latest obsession to motivate kids to lose weight, get “tighter tummies” and bigger muscles, and improve their racing times, growing numbers of parents are hiring personal trainers ... for their elementary school children." (Junkfood Science)

"Caring for health" - "A paper just published in the British Medical Journal has received no media attention here, but its messages were so thought-provoking, they are worthy of our own reflection. Three well respected doctors and medical school lecturers looked at preventive health care of the elderly and found that it needs rethinking. Right now, they said, it is failing elderly: “Rather than prolonging life, preventive treatments in elderly people may simply change the cause of death and the manner of our dying.”  (Junkfood Science)

"US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings" - " Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries." (Associated Press)

"Whose “need” are they referring to?" - "The government has earmarked nearly 700,000 Britons for bariatric surgery, according to a new report in the news today. It’s part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines — the clinical practice guidelines that doctors in the British National Health Services (NHS) must follow as part of their national contracts." (Junkfood Science)

"Are you being detailed?" - "In case you missed it this week, the Los Angeles Times published a large special series on prescription drug marketing and its influence on consumers, doctors and researchers. Much of it was review, but it may be shocking news to many readers. And for everyone else, seeing it all together serves as a valuable reminder of the need to think critically about health information we hear, regardless of how trusting the source." (Junkfood Science)

"24 hours to save the planet" - "Jack Bauer's new target is global warming. Leonardo DiCaprio's latest film is eco-conscious. David Smith reports on the greening of Hollywood" (The Observer)

Greening of Hollywood? It's had a verdant and mildewed hue for years...

"Eating fish: good for heart, bad for environment?" - "HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Doctors recommend a good dose of salmon or tuna in the diet because of its benefits to the heart. But is it good for the environment?" (Reuters)

"UNESCO ROW GETS BATTIER: Endangered Species Halts Dresden Bridge Construction" - "A row is raging in Dresden over whether to build a new bridge and risk losing the area's UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Anti-bridge advocates now have a new weapon -- a tiny bat which has caused a court to delay the bridge's construction." (Der Spiegel)

"Amazon Deforestation Drops Sharply - Brazil Govt" - "BRASILIA - Deforestation of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil fell by about a third in the 12 months through July to the lowest rate in at least seven years, the government said on Friday." (Reuters)

"How Organic Food Contributes to Climate Change" - "As the world's policymakers and business elites look to curb greenhouse gas emissions, one economic sector due for a closer look is agriculture. What many people presently view as a 'green' agriculture choice is, upon closer examination, deeply environmentally suspect. 

Most people do not realize that agriculture is a major contributor to atmospheric CO2. Further, different types of agriculture have very different CO2 emission profiles. The widespread adoption of modern agricultural biotechnology products have allowed farmers to maintain yields while reducing CO2 emissions." ( Robert Wager)

August 10, 2007

"New Science Challenges Climate Alarmists" - "“People like to complain about the weather,” goes the old saw. This is especially true nowadays as bad weather becomes an excuse for the climate alarmist-friendly media to trot out its manmade global warming boogeyman." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

Whoops! "Cirrus disappearance: Warming might thin heat-trapping clouds" - "The widely accepted (albeit unproven) theory that manmade global warming will accelerate itself by creating more heat-trapping clouds is challenged this month in new research from The University of Alabama in Huntsville. 

Instead of creating more clouds, individual tropical warming cycles that served as proxies for global warming saw a decrease in the coverage of heat-trapping cirrus clouds, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in UAHuntsville's Earth System Science Center. 

That was not what he expected to find. 

"All leading climate models forecast that as the atmosphere warms there should be an increase in high altitude cirrus clouds, which would amplify any warming caused by manmade greenhouse gases," he said. "That amplification is a positive feedback. What we found in month-to-month fluctuations of the tropical climate system was a strongly negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease. That allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space." 

The results of this research were published today in the American Geophysical Union's "Geophysical Research Letters" on-line edition. The paper was co-authored by UAHuntsville's Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. W. Danny Braswell, and Dr. Justin Hnilo of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA." (UAH)

Sounds like that gosh darn "Iris Effect" thing again, doesn't it? How irritating it must be for warmenistas that empirical science tramples their lovely disaster theories with such monotonous regularity.

Uh-oh... "Man-Made Soot Contributed To Warming In Greenland In The Early 20th Century" - "New research shows that industrial development in North America between 1850 and 1950 greatly increased the amount of black carbon--commonly known as soot-- that fell on Greenland's glaciers and ice sheets. The soot impacted the ability of the snow and ice to reflect sunlight, which contributed to increased melting and higher temperatures in the region during those years. This discovery may help scientists better understand the impact of human activities on polar climates." (SPX)

... again with the effects from other than atmospheric carbon dioxide. Wonder if the press will notice this means climate models are modeling the wrong thing (meaning they cannot possibly be correct forecasting future climate states driven by enhanced carbon dioxide)?

"Arctic climate study reveals impact of industrial soot" - "Scientists from the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and their collaborators have determined that Northern Hemisphere industrial pollution resulted in a seven-fold increase in black carbon (soot) in Arctic snow during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to new research into the impact of black carbon on Arctic climate forcing." (Desert Research Institute)

For more on the continuing saga of attempted suppression of dissent, see DemandDebate.com.

Could be fun: "U.N. head invites Czech president to global warming conference" - "Prague, Aug 7 - Czech President Vaclav Klaus will address a conference on global warming in late September in New York as he has been invited by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the event, Klaus's spokesman Petr Hajek told CTK Tuesday. 

Klaus is known as a fierce challenger of both the human factor in and the widely forecast effects of global warming. He opposes the views advocated by people like Al Gore, arguing that the "hysteria" surrounding the warming issue threatens freedom and democracy." (CTK)

Well... "Global warming and cooling linked to the sunspot cycle" - "PLANET-wide heating and cooling of the atmosphere during the 11-year sunspot cycle has been measured for the first time. Climate-change sceptics may seize on the findings as evidence that the sun's variability can explain global warming - but mathematician Ka-Kit Tung says quite the contrary is true. 

Tung and colleague Charles Camp, both of the University of Washington in Seattle, analysed satellite data on solar radiation and surface temperatures over the past 50 years, covering four-and-a-half solar cycles. They found that global average temperatures oscillated by almost 0.2 °C between high and low points in the cycle, nearly twice the amplitude of previous estimates (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2007GL030207). 

The finding adds to the evidence that mainstream climate models are right about the likely extent of future human-generated warming, Tung says. It also effectively rules out some lower estimates in those models." (Fred Pearce, New Scientist)

... yes and no. Yes, the temperature of the Earth is intimately linked to solar activity (duh!) but no, the consequences are nothing like Freddy the AGW Hysteric spins this piece. The major problem these days stems from excessive trust -- specialists of many fields apply their work to "global warming" trusting that current and historical global mean temperatures and trends are as advertised and that climate models and their output are as useful as the modelling fraternity claims. They do so without guile or malice but out of simple ignorance. Few are aware there is no agreed standard of what we are trying to measure, or how. Most don't know that models deliver a spread of ~5 K for the calculated Earth mean temperature, making the detection of changes an order of magnitude smaller over a century nothing but wishful thinking. Few know that enhanced greenhouse forcing from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide requires a massive (and yet-to-be-observed) water vapor amplification which simply refuses to manifest itself in the real world. Probably none of them realize they are attempting to found science on the unsupportable claims of a small coterie pretending to know the current temperature of the planet, along with its past and future trends.

"Urban heat islands: fabricated papers" - "Two papers, Wang et al., Urban heat islands in China (GRL 1990) & Jones et al., Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land (Nature 1990) seem to be based on fabricated data such as data from China that were claimed to come from the same stations even though the location of most stations was changing many times by as much as dozens of miles (which is, of course, a huge problem for any analysis of the urbanization effects)." (The Reference Frame)

Following discusses some research by Wei-Chyung Wang on global warming, research which I have alleged to be fabricated. (Douglas J. Keenan, InforMath)

"Clouding The Issue" - " A new study indicates that poor Asians burning dung for energy may be a major cause of global warming. It may explain why glaciers are really melting — and why climate is more complicated than some think." (IBD)

"Extreme weather? Sure. Blame global warming? Not so fast" - "Massive floods, blistering heat waves and bizarre cold snaps since the start of the year may not be the result of climate change, but extreme weather has become more frequent, some scientists say." (AFP)

Ooh! Bad timing... "Lead by example on climate change" - "One of the most serious aspects of climate change is the equity dimensions of the problem. The largest responsibility for the increase in concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere lies with the developed countries, but the worst impacts and the highest vulnerability applies to several developing countries.

The Asian megadeltas, which include cities such as Dhaka, Kolkata and Shanghai, would be some of the most vulnerable spots against the projections of sea level rise, with prospects of coastal flooding and other serious consequences that would affect a large number of people and property." (Sydney Morning Herald)

As it happens recent evaluations put global sea level rise at a trifling 5 inches per century, that is, the same as people have always tolerated since settling from their nomadic hunter-gatherer ways.

Request To Scientists Recommended By Gavin Schmidt To Assess The Relative Role of Human Climate Forcings In Altering Weather and Other Aspects of Climate (Climate Science)

"One of Deep Ocean's Most Turbulent Areas Has Big Impact on Climate" - "More than a mile beneath the Atlantic’s surface, roughly halfway between New York and Portugal, seawater rushing through the narrow gullies of an underwater mountain range much as winds gust between a city’s tall buildings is generating one of the most turbulent areas ever observed in the deep ocean." ( Florida State University)

Pragmatic, those country types... "Rural climate change sceptics shock kayaker" - "A man paddling and pulling his kayak from Brisbane to Adelaide to promote the need for action on climate change says he is disappointed with the sceptical nature of outback Australians.

Steve Posselt, who is pulling his kayak along the Darling River road due to a lack of water, says that many rural people do not believe in climate change.

He says he did not expect so many people to doubt what the majority of climate scientists agree on.

"I've been astounded by the actual lack of belief on this trip," he said.

"Many people want to argue the issue about whether there is such a thing as global warming.

"You can talk to blokes in the pub and they say yep winters aren't what they used to be, they're a lot shorter. 

"And you say, 'well do you believe in climate change? No, mate its just a cycle'." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Poor urban nitwit, so estranged from the realities of nature and the real environment he's shocked by comfortable understanding of country folk.

"Did Media Or NASA Withhold Climate History Data Changes From The Public?" - "A change in climate history data at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies recently occurred which dramatically alters the debate over global warming. Yet, this transpired with no official announcement from GISS head James Hansen, and went unreported until Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit discovered it Wednesday." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Analysts See ‘Simply Incredible’ Shrinking of Floating Ice in the Arctic" - "The area of floating ice in the Arctic has shrunk more this summer than in any other summer since satellite tracking began in 1979, and it has reached that record point a month before the annual ice pullback typically peaks, experts said yesterday. 

The cause is probably a mix of natural fluctuations, like unusually sunny conditions in June and July, and long-term warming from heat-trapping greenhouse gases and sooty particles accumulating in the air, according to several scientists." (New York Times)

"Climate Change And Permafrost Thaw Alter Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Northern Wetlands" - "Permafrost - the perpetually frozen foundation of North America - isn't so permanent anymore, and scientists are scrambling to understand the pros and cons when terra firma goes soft." (SPX)

"What we can learn from the biggest extinction in the history of Earth" - "Approximately 250 million years ago, vast numbers of species disappeared from Earth. This mass-extinction event may hold clues to current global carbon cycle changes, according to Jonathan Payne, assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences. Payne, a paleobiologist who joined the Stanford faculty in 2005, studies the Permian-Triassic extinction and the following 4 million years of instability in the global carbon cycle. In the July issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Payne presented evidence that a massive, rapid release of carbon may have triggered this extinction." (Stanford University)

"Global warming and the state budget" - "Jerry Brown, who has been confounding California Republicans for more than 30 years, is at it again. 

The Democratic attorney general – who served as governor in the 1970s and 1980s, led the California Democratic Party, ran for president and then served as mayor of Oakland – is now in the middle of a dispute that has been blamed for blocking passage of the state budget more than six weeks after it is due. 

Brown has made global warming one of his top areas of concern, and he is using his office to pressure local governments to account for the potential increase in greenhouse gas emissions when they consider new development. He has sued San Bernardino County to block its adoption of a 25-year master plan meant to guide growth in that booming region. 

Brown's campaign has put the state's business leaders on edge, and their complaints found a receptive audience among Republicans in the state Senate. As part of the price for their votes on the state budget, those lawmakers are demanding a provision that would stop Brown – or anyone else – from filing any more such lawsuits until 2012." (Union-Tribune)

"California Budget Battle Goes Green, Gets Ugly" - "SAN FRANCISCO - With Republican lawmakers in California withholding votes from a state budget bill, Democrats in search of political leverage are accusing them of stalling on behalf of builders and the oil industry." (Reuters)

Right... "Coast Attorney Blames Katrina's Fury On Oil Producers" - "In three weeks, a coast attorney will walk into the Gulfport federal courthouse and argue that since his research indicates oil companies contributed to global warming, they contributed to Katrina's devastation. 

The class action lawsuit was filed by Gerald Maples. In the past, Maples successfully took on asbestos producers. Now, the coast attorney is suing 26 oil companies for what he contends was their role in fueling Hurricane Katrina's wicked punch." (WLOX)

... and is he suing everyone who ever used electricity from coal-fired power stations, too? How about poor Asians for using dung and wood cooking fires and creating the Asian Brown Cloud? How about slash-and-burn subsistence farmers, they might be good for a few pennies, eh?

"Green Group Withdraws Bid for BSkyB Climate Campaign" - "LONDON - Environmental group Friends of the Earth said on Thursday it had withdrawn a controversial bid to become a charity partner of BSkyB, the UK broadcasting arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation media empire." (Reuters)

So much for gorebull warming angst: "Air passenger numbers reach new heights" - "The number of people using BAA's airports hit a new record last month with 15.1 million passengers passing through Britain's major air terminals. 

As the under-fire operator awaits the preliminary findings of a Competition Commission investigation into its ownership of the three biggest airports in the South-east later today, the Spanish-owned company reported its busiest ever start to the holiday season.

Concern over the impact of aviation on climate change appeared to be doing little to quell the desire to fly. Buoyed by strong growth in budget airline routes to eastern European countries, particularly Poland, and despite concerns over security, Stansted grew by 2.2 per cent. Gatwick also had a record-breaking July with figures up by 1.8 per cent.

The number of people taking long-haul flights also rose by three per cent, fuelled by booming economies in India and China." (London Independent)

"Corn, ethanol and other subsidized stupidities" - "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must welcome the heat she's getting for wobbling on the farm and energy bills. Having caved in to Detroit on fuel economy standards and compromised with Midwest agro-plutocrats on crop subsidies for millionaires, she's shown that she's more a pragmatic Baltimore pol like her father than a knee-jerk San Francisco liberal. That'll serve her well." (Sacramento Bee)

"Ontario Walks Tightrope on Plan to End Coal Use" - "TORONTO - The province of Ontario, Canada's biggest energy user, aims to close its last coal-fired power plant in 2014 and become the only jurisdiction in North America to completely phase out coal, a strategy that some critics deride as reckless and others say is overly timid." (Reuters)

"Government lowers 2007 hurricane forecast" - "MIAMI - Government forecasters minimally reduced their prediction for the Atlantic hurricane season Thursday, but said that up to nine hurricanes and up to 16 tropical storms are expected to form, still a busier-than-average season." (Associated Press)

"Scientists Examine African Dust Link to Hurricanes" - "MIAMI - Storm scientists are taking a closer look at whether giant dust clouds from the Sahara could join the El Nino phenomenon as a leading indicator of the ferocity of Atlantic hurricane seasons." (Reuters)

"US Weather Service Raises La Nina Probability" - "NEW YORK - The US National Weather Service on Thursday predicted slightly increased chances of greater than 50 percent that the La Nina phenomenon would develop during the next couple of months." (Reuters)

"Cities incite thunderstorms, researchers find" - "Summer thunderstorms become much more fierce when they collide with a city than they would otherwise be in the open countryside, according to research led by Princeton engineers." (Princeton University)

"Climate change, forest management result in bigger, hotter fires" - "Forest fires in the Sierra Nevada are bigger, hotter, more numerous and they are killing more trees than ever as a result of human fire suppression and climate change, according to data from a fire severity monitoring study released Wednesday." (SF Chronicle)

What climate change?

Oh boy... "Cheap flights cause rise in skin cancer" - " It looks like a bargain - a cheap flight to the sun. But for thousands it is a one-way ticket to cancer. 

The boom in cheap air travel is not only harming the environment but also the health of the millions who fly in search of summer warmth. Soaring rates of skin cancer were blamed yesterday on the British penchant for holidays abroad involving long periods lying on the beach. Exposing large areas of pallid flesh to the midday sun is the surest way of triggering the lethal form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma." (London Independent)

 Wonder if The Indy is considering bringing out an edition in a plain brown wrapper to help circulation numbers -- it sure us getting to be an embarrassing read...

"It's politics vs science in global health" - "July's meeting of the International Aids Society, in Sydney, was another measure of how the global fight against HIV/Aids is falling short. Despite US$31 billion spent since 2003, infection rates continue to rise and political agendas are tragically undermining sound science." (Jeremiah Norris, CFD)

"The maladies of affluence" - "The poor world is getting the rich world's diseases" (The Economist)

"Breast implants linked with suicide in study" - "WASHINGTON - Women who get cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

... waiting .. waiting ... ah!

Lipworth said she believes that some women who get implants may have psychiatric problems to start with, perhaps linked with lower self-esteem or body image disorders." (Reuters)

So in fact breast implants might be a marker for depressed women with low self-esteem and/or body image disorders (i.e., with a predisposition to self harm) rather than breast implants being, like, causal?

"Taxing Obesity: A Modest Proposal" - " Targeting foods is a needlessly indirect way of encouraging weight loss." (Adam Creighton, The American)

"A bit rich: Luxury brands are flaunting their green credentials but can conspicuous consumption come with a clear conscience?" - "Can you buy luxury goods and still care about the environment? Luxury labels and green issues are both very "now" and very sexy, but they make uncomfortable bedfellows. After all, there was much scoffing at the recent Live Earth events from those who objected to being lectured on climate change by a group of jet-setting rock stars with homes around the world.

The luxury business is thought to be worth about £77bn, according to Morgan Stanley, and will grow by a healthy eight per cent next year, according to the consultancy Bain. Does this glamorous leviathan care about subjects as dull and worthy and recycling and sustainability?" (Simon Brooke, London Independent)

"Argument is all wet" - "Why would lawmakers deny firefighters bottled water? And why would churches feel the need to condemn this commodity?

Apparently, some local governments and some private parties feel that bottled water is wasteful and they want to rest of us to stop drinking it. In particular, they maintain that energy needed to transport the bottles is too high and contributes needlessly to climate change. However, these claims are as specious as the silly policies they have produced." (Angela Logomasini, East Valley Tribune)

"Grow Iron-Rich Plants to Nourish World - Study" - "WASHINGTON - Growing iron-rich plants may be the best way to combat iron deficiencies in people around the world, Swiss scientists said on Thursday. 

With genetic engineering and selective breeding of such plants, growers can make strides against a problem that affects two billion people worldwide, they wrote in the Lancet medical journal." (Reuters)

"'Worrisome signs' for global rice crop" - "The world's top rice expert warned here Friday of "worrisome signs," with high prices for rice and fertiliser and stocks at their lowest levels for about 30 years.

Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said new farm technologies were needed to replicate the gains made from the "Green Revolution," which had lifted hundreds of millions of rural Asians out of poverty." (AFP)

August 9, 2007

Scholastic accused of indoctrinating kids on global warming (Demand Debate)

Oops! "GISS Has Reranked US Temperature Anomalies" - "The hard work of Anthony Watts (www.surfacestations.org) and of Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit) has resulted in the identification of a significant error in the assessment of the rankings of what have been the warmest years in the United States as identified by GISS. The current warmest year is 1934. This new information can be read at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1880.

Climate Science recognizes that this adjustment by GISS is but one of a slew of issues they need to explore, however, it is a clear example of the value of the research that Anthony and Steve are doing.

Congratulations for this achievement!" (Climate Science)

Pesky *&^%$#@! amateurs making them check the data!

"1998 no longer the hottest year on record in USA" - "Here's a story of scientific investigation and discovery I'm proud to have had a small part in." (Watt's Up With That?)

"Governments and Climate Change Issues: The case for rethinking" - "Governments, and in particular the governments of the OECD member countries, are mishandling climate change issues. Both the basis and the content of official policies are open to serious question. Too much reliance is placed on the established process of review and inquiry which is conducted through the agency of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This process, which is wrongly taken to be objective and authoritative, has been made the point of departure for over-presumptive conclusions which are biased towards alarm, in the mistaken belief that ‘the science’ is ‘settled’. Rather than pursuing as a matter of urgency ambitious and costly targets for drastic further curbing of CO2 emissions, governments should take prompt steps to ensure that they and their citizens are more fully and more objectively informed and advised. This implies both improving the IPCC process and going beyond it. As to the content of policy, it is not the case that the choice now lies between two extremes, of no action and the immediate adoption of much stronger measures to curb emissions. The orientation of policies should be made more evolutionary and less presumptive, with actual policy measures focusing more on carbon taxes rather than the present and prospective array of costly and intrusive regulatory initiatives." (David Henderson, World Economics)

"Clouding Asian Warming" - "In 1998, Balling et al. published an article in Climate Research dealing with summer and winter warming rates in several widely-used gridded temperature time series. As seen in Figure 1 below, the Balling crew (which includes several World Climate Report team members) found that winters were warming far more than summers, based on near-surface thermometer records, for a large part of northern and central Asia over the period 1946-1995. We repeated the analyses for the satellite-based lower-tropospheric temperature measurements over the period 1979-1995 and found the same red blob (warmer temperatures) over northern and central Asia. We suggested in the article that the build-up of greenhouse gases would most impact the coldest and driest air masses of the world, which just happen to be the air masses that cover northern and central Asia in the winter. Elevated greenhouse gas concentrations in warm and moist air masses would have less of an effect given the overwhelming greenhouse effect of naturally occurring water vapor. We had produced what appeared to be a smoking gun – the greenhouse “fingerprint” looked rather obvious in our analyses. Of course, finding that the coldest and driest air masses of the planet were warming slightly is seen by some as a blessing and not a great cause for concern – are residents of northern Siberia really worried about their winters being a bit warmer?" (WCR)

"Antarctic Sea Ice Trends: A Guest Weblog by Ben Herman" - "I was reading through the latest “State of the Climate in 2006” put out by AMS, and was kind of puzzled by their discussion of Antarctic Sea Ice on page S74. while there was considerable discussion of the reduction of sea ice in the Arctic, there was no discussion of the rising trend of March sea ice as shown on the lower left of Fig 5.22. In fact, after reading through the discussion, I at least, was left with impression that negative ice cover trends and locations where they took place were more important than the overall positive trend as shown in the figure.

Why did this deserve more attention than given? In my opinion, since it is contrary to most model predictions, it is of considerable interest to those referring to these models for future predictions, for obvious reasons." (Climate Science)

"Massive slide covers entire glacier" - "WHITEHORSE — A massive slide that hit Mount Steele could be the largest in the recorded history of the Yukon. Mount Steele, which stands 5,067 metres tall and is the fifth-highest peak in Canada, recently had two slides take place in the same area, on the northern face of the mountain. The second slide was by far the larger of the two and occurred on July 24, two days after the original slide." (Canadian Press)

Wonder how they think mountain ranges erode and have done for all these millions of years?

Inevitable, we guess... "Did Climate Change Contribute To The Minneapolis Bridge Collapse?" - "The thought didn’t cross my mind until my Minneapolis-based brother suggested it. I had asked him for his thoughts on the collapse, and that is the question he posed.

I was skeptical at first, but after doing a Google search — and after NBC reported Sunday that National Transportation Safety Board investigators are “looking at everything” including “the weather” — I think it is a legitimate question to ask." (Climate Progress)

Except they didn't even bother to check whether the weather had even been hotter than usual: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Minneapolis_Summer_Heat.pdf

"Wettest July since 1914, but Britain's also getting hotter" - "TIGER Woods shivered at Carnoustie, cricket matches were cancelled and thousands of music fans were drenched at T in the Park. And yesterday experts confirmed what we had all suspected - last month was the wettest July since 1914. Figures published by the WWF reveal that average rainfall across the country was 134.5mm - 40 per cent above average. But despite the wet summer, this year is still on target to be one of the warmest Scotland has experienced." (The Scotsman)

Oh boy... "Climate change 'to destroy Opera House'" - "Water could one day be lapping at the doors of the Sydney Opera House, one of many cultural icons vulnerable to the effects of climate change, experts warn.

Heritage experts will this week urge the federal government to increase funding to protect Australia's cultural heritage sites from the rising sea water levels and destructive weather patterns associated with climate change.

The call will come at the National Cultural Heritage Forum (NCHF) on Friday in Canberra, where heritage groups will meet with the Assistant Environment Minister John Cobb." (AAP)

Meanwhile: "Climate expert backs Canberra" - "THE head of the world's leading climate change organisation has backed the Howard Government's decision to defer setting a long-term target for reducing greenhouse emissions until the full facts are known.

Despite widespread criticism of the Government's decision last month to defer its decision on cutting emissions until next year, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said yesterday he agreed with the approach. 

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, in Canberra to meet government officials, said it was critical that policies to address climate change be rolled out only after informed debate based on rational thinking and rigorous analysis of the impact of different options. 

"Otherwise one might come up with a lot of emotional and political responses that may or may not be the best, and I think in a democracy it's important to see there is an informed debate in officialdom as well as in the public," Dr Pachauri told The Australian yesterday. 

"One would also have to look at the macroeconomic effects -- will that result in a decline in jobs and economic output?" (The Australian)

"Washington Post Cheerleads Conversion of a Small Number of Evangelicals to Anti-Global Warming Activism" - "Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post had a worthy entry in the category of wishful-thinking opinion-newswriting on page A1 of the Washington Post Wednesday, with her story "Warming Draws Evangelicals Into Environmentalist Fold." 

Based on the content of the piece, it might better have been titled, "Assiduous Environmentalist Lobbying Draws a Mere Handful of Evangelicals into Environmentalist Fold," but that doesn't have the pro-environmentalist cheerleading quality the Post goes for in these pieces." (News Busters)

For more on the ongoing attempt to suppress debate, see DemandDebate.com's news page.

Uh-oh... "DiCaprio takes on forest industry" - "VANCOUVER -- With all the sky-is-falling fervour that one might expect from a feature documentary titled "The 11th Hour," the experts who contributed to Leonardo DiCaprio's new take on environmental destruction hit the publicity tour Wednesday to take on the earth's ecological evil-doers.

Among them was Tzeporah Berman, a homegrown environmental gadfly whose cell phone was madly ringing as she scrambled across Los Angeles to do a series of interviews in the runup to Wednesday's premiere there of the movie, which is narrated and produced by Mr. DiCaprio.

The Vancouver-based co-founder of activist group Forest Ethics was getting an early start on slagging Canada's forestry industry whose logging activities, she said -- both in the film and in an interview -- produce more greenhouse gas emissions every year than does every car on the road in California.

"I think that the contribution of logging to global warming is really one of the untold stories of the climate change debate," she said." (Nathan Vanderklippe, Financial Post)

... someone's not keeping up with the literature. Temperate forests allegedly contribute to gorebull warming because they're darker than clear snowfields and absorb more solar energy.

"Congressman tackles issue of global warming" - "U.S. Rep. John Dingell, during a visit to Ann Arbor on Tuesday, said he will introduce legislation taking aim at global warming that includes a new tax of up to 50 cents a gallon on gasoline. 

Dingell, who has been the target recently of protests by environmental activists over his ties to the automobile industry, said the new gas tax would be part of a broader carbon tax on the burning of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. 

Dingell also wants to end the mortgage interest deduction on homes greater than 3,000 square feet, which he called "McMansions.'' (Ann Arbor News)

"Brussels 'can't handle climate change powers'" - "Brussels does not deserve European Union treaty powers to fight climate change because of its poor record on cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report published today." (London Telegraph)

"Japan's emissions to rise: report" - "TOKYO - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 0.9 percent in the fiscal year ending in March 2011 from levels in 1990, clouding its prospects of meeting its Kyoto Protocol target, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

While emissions from industry are expected to fall by 9 percent, those from households are likely to rise 13-16 percent and from offices by 29-31 percent, the Nikkei business daily said, citing a government report due out this week." (Reuters)

Leap of faith: "South Africa: Marion Island Clue to Global Warming Threat" - "Climate change is likely to give invasive species the edge over their indigenous counterparts, according to new research on tiny comma-like soil animals living on Marion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.

Scientists found that species of immigrant springtails that were inadvertently imported by visitors to the island over the past 70 years survived hot and dry conditions far better than those that had lived there for thousands of years. 

The study is one of only a handful to date showing direct evidence that climate change threatens biodiversity. It is published online today by UK-based peer-review journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences." (Business Day)

Critters not endemic to an isolated island might be genetically more diverse/adaptable, what could this mean? Ah! Global warming would be bad, of course.

"Unusual Snowfall in Chilean Wine Region" - "SANTIAGO - Snow coated the fields of Chile's normally temperate central valley wine and farm region for the first time in half a century on Wednesday, causing officials to declare an emergency to avoid traffic accidents." (Reuters)

From CO2 Science this week:

Coral Reef Status Two Decades After Massive 1982-83 El Niño-Induced Mortality: Has recovery been as dismal as originally predicted?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from three Estuaries off the Atlantic Coast of France. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Streamflow (Natural Variability - Eurasia): Have the "unprecedented" 20th-century increases in air temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration led to equally unprecedented changes in world streamflow characteristics?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Marine Picocyanobacterium, Rice, Soybean, and Wheat.

Journal Reviews:
Global Positioning System Adjustments to Tide Gauge Estimates of Global Sea Level Trend: Do they lead to a faster- or a slower-than-believed mean rate-of-rise of global sea level?

Native Americans and the Medieval Warm Period: How did major North American cultures fare during the anomalously warm times of the Medieval Warm Period?

The Most Important Fodder Crop of the Arid and Semi-Arid Tropics: How is it affected by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

Condensed Tannins in Leaf Litter of Silver Birch Trees: Are their concentrations influenced by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? And why should we care?

The Growth Response of Sweet Potato Plants to Very High Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations: Would increasing the air's CO2 content by as much as 7.5-fold be detrimental to earth's plant life?

Delaware, OHTemperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Delaware, OH. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Delaware's mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.69 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (co2science.org)

"Critiques of House energy bill" - "Most environmental groups applaud, but the legislation's requirement for renewable sources of electricity is one main point of contention." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"German car giants pressure EU over emissions" - "The European Commission is backing away from its draconian plans for curbs on car emissions, bowing to intense pressure from Berlin and the German auto industry. 

Fresh drafts of the EU's hotly-contested legislation have ditched the original ceiling of 130 grams of carbon-dioxide per kilometre by 2012 for the average fleet of each car company, which posed a serious threat to the German trio of Porsche, BMW, and Daimler - all relying on powerful models.

The new proposals opt instead for a series of categories that create higher CO2 allowances for heavier cars, according to a report in Germany's Handelsblatt.

"It will still be ambitious, but within the realistic possibilities of manufacturers," said Karl-Heinz Florenz, MEP, the climate spokesman for the German Christian Democrats." (London Telegraph)

"Ford Says US Gas Tax an Option in Energy Debate" - "TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan - Ford Motor Co's Chief Executive Alan Mulally said Wednesday European-style taxes on gasoline would be more effective in reducing consumption and greenhouse gas emissions than a proposed hike in US fuel-economy standards." (Reuters)

"‘World News’ Compares 'Clean Coal' to ‘Fat-Free Doughnuts’" - "As six miners are trapped in a collapsed coal mine ABC “World News Tonight with Charles Gibson” took it the opportunity to kick the coal industry while it was down – but this time in the name of global warming." (News Busters)

"Sde Boker makes solar energy viable" - "The afternoon Negev sun shone brightly on the solar panels at the National Center for Solar Energy near Sde Boker. The center's director, physicist Prof. David Feiman, squinted into the light. "After 30 years of research on solar energy, my life's work of experiments in how to produce electricity from the sun, I can say this year that I know how to manufacture solar energy that will compete with conventional energy," he says." (Haaretz)

Guess it's not delivering their desired outcome: "Net energy -- a useless, misleading and dangerous metric, says expert" - "As oil becomes scarce, the world needs new transportation fuels. As new fuel options develop we need means of assessing which are most effective at replacing petroleum. So far many scientists have used a measure called ‘net energy’. However, Professor Bruce Dale from Michigan State University claims, “Net energy analysis is simple and has great intuitive appeal, but it is also dead wrong and dangerously misleading – net energy must be eliminated from our discourse.” Dale’s perspective is published in the first edition of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining." (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

"Ethanol Raising Price of Beef" - "So, you want to use corn to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, huh? Have you thought through all of the ramifications first? 

For instance, how are cattle ranchers going to afford to feed their cows, and what might that do to the availability of beef around the country and its price?

Clearly, such issues weren't fully considered before Congress decided to mandate the use of ethanol additives in gasoline as reported by the New York Sun Wednesday." (News Busters)

"The Circus of Horrors Behind Brazil's Biofuel Show" - "Brazil is staking its claim as a great emerging power thanks to the leadership it maintains in biofuel production. The price of this ambition is paid by the environment and by the cane cutters, who are the invisible characters in this story." (Brazzil)

"DDT spray scares mosquitoes away, study finds" - "WASHINGTON, Aug 8 - Mosquitoes that carry malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever avoid homes that have been sprayed with DDT, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The chemical not only repels the disease-carrying insects physically, but its irritant and toxic properties helps keep them away, the researchers reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.

They estimate that DDT spray reduced the risk of disease transmission by nearly three-quarters." (Reuters)

"A New Classification System for the Actions of IRS Chemicals Traditionally Used For Malaria Control" - "Knowledge of how mosquitoes respond to insecticides is of paramount importance in understanding how an insecticide functions to prevent disease transmission. A suite of laboratory assays was used to quantitatively characterize mosquito responses to toxic, contact irritant, and non-contact spatial repellent actions of standard insecticides. Highly replicated tests of these compounds over a range of concentrations proved that all were toxic, some were contact irritants, and even fewer were non-contact repellents. 

Of many chemicals tested, three were selected for testing in experimental huts to confirm that chemical actions documented in laboratory tests are also expressed in the field. The laboratory tests showed the primary action of DDT is repellent, alphacypermethrin is irritant, and dieldrin is only toxic. These tests were followed with hut studies in Thailand against marked-released populations. DDT exhibited a highly protective level of repellency that kept mosquitoes outside of huts. Alphacypermethrin did not keep mosquitoes out, but its strong irritant action caused them to prematurely exit the treated house. Dieldrin was highly toxic but showed no irritant or repellent action." (PLoS One)

"Dear Readers" - "Junkfood Science has grown tremendously in just a few short months, with half a million visitors in just the first half of this year — and with no chat forum, these numbers reflect those of you coming here just to read the content. Your support and enthusiasm have also been overwhelming in the hundreds of emails you send each day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. There is clearly an appreciation — from professionals to consumers — for a source for the straight scoop and, at least, a different perspective.

Prospective sponsors haven’t recognized this yet, though, but I wanted to assure you that the search continues. It was literally a 20/7 job to do the research and writing for this website and, regrettably, those beans and tortillas were only able to stretch my savings so far. A number of you have written in concern and noticed that posts have lessened in frequency and depth over the past month or so. I want to assure you that my commitment and passion have not waned. It is simply that those adages — “don’t quit your day job” and “truth is starved out” — have proven accurate. So, I ask for your patience and understanding for awhile.

I hope that the articles here, while less frequent, will continue to help you, nurture your critical thinking skills, and help you recognize when you’re being manipulated by marketing interests and not hearing the most careful science. And I sincerely hope this blog will continue to help you and your loved ones know that the world we live in isn’t such a scary, dangerous place; and that our foods, health and bodies aren’t something to fear." (Junkfood Science)

"Our Intangible Riches: World Bank economist Kirk Hamilton on the planet's real wealth." - "Oil, soil, copper, and forests are forms of wealth. So are factories, houses, and roads. But according to a 2005 study by the World Bank, such solid goods amount to only about 20 percent of the wealth of rich nations and 40 percent of the wealth of poor countries.

So what accounts for the majority? World Bank environmental economist Kirk Hamilton and his team in the bank's environment department have found that most of humanity's wealth isn't made of physical stuff. It is intangible. In their extraordinary but vastly underappreciated report, Where Is The Wealth Of Nations?: Measuring Capital for the 21st Century, Hamilton's team found that "human capital and the value of institutions (as measured by rule of law) constitute the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries." (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

"Precautionary principle left out by Codex" - " Codex has agreed to exclude the controversial precautionary principle in its risk analysis standards, marking the end of a long battle between the EU and trade groups." (NutraIngredients.com)

Actually not, much of the impetus for this comes from the fluorescent green dietary supplement industry (can't have people figuring out 'natural' might also mean 'risky'). While we agree that the enshrined 'precautionary principle' is nothing but an anti-science aversion of everything we do view as completely hypocritical the machinations of the 'natural is best' scammers who are amongst the largest users of said principle as a tool to frighten consumers away from known-dose, known-purity industrial products.

"Another chapter of "bad" foods (not) making kids fat" - "Among efforts to slim down kids or prevent them from becoming fat, one of the most popular tactics is to restrict energy dense foods — those are the “bad” foods high in calories. The thinking is that by filling kids up with low-calorie, low-fat, high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables, they will eat fewer calories and not get as big. This popular belief continues despite volumes of contrary evidence showing that children will naturally grow up to be a range of weights, shapes and sizes unrelated to their diets; and that the focus on “healthy eating,” restricting calories and fats, has harmful effects for growing children, both physically and emotionally." (Junkfood Science)

"Britain's cancer epidemic: disease rates spiral due to 21st century living" - "Excessive sunbathing, obesity, binge drinking and smoking have been linked to spiralling rates of cancer, according to a new cancer charity study. 

Rates of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, have risen by over 40 per cent in the past decade, making it the fastest rising cancer in the UK. Incidence of mouth, womb, and kidney cancers has also shown rapid increases in the last 10 years. 

The study by Cancer Research UK suggests around half of all cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes." (Daily Mail)

Funny they forgot to mention the key reason for modern cancer rates -- people living long enough to develop cancers. Skin cancer rates are higher, mainly due to changing fashions, increased leisure time and the affordability of sun-drenched vacations.

"Panel: No Strong Signs of Plastic Hazard" - " A federal advisory panel on Wednesday found no strong evidence of health hazards from a chemical commonly found in plastics, but left the door open for further investigation. 

At issue is a chemical called bisphenol A, which is in products ranging from baby bottles to the coatings inside food cans. Some research links the chemical to reproductive abnormalities and other health problems in animals. That and widespread exposure to the plastic prompted the National Toxicology Program to appoint an expert panel to review the science. 

The panel found little if any reason for concern for the general population." (AP)

Healthiest Food Poses Greatest Risk When Eating Out - Healthinspections.com analyses CDC data and finds lettuce salads and raw veggies are the leading cause of food poisoning in restaurants.

D'oh! "Conventional plowing is 'skinning our agricultural fields'" - "Traditional plow-based agricultural methods and the need to feed a rapidly growing world population are combining to deplete the Earth's soil supply, a new study confirms. 

In fact, long-established practices appear to increase soil erosion to the point that it is not offset by soil creation, said David Montgomery, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. 

No-till agriculture, in which crop stubble is mixed with the top layer of soil using a method called disking, is far more sustainable, he said. 

"Soil loss through conventional agriculture is in a range of 10 to 100 times greater than the rate at which soil is created. No-till agriculture brings it into the ballpark, surprisingly close to being balanced with soil creation," he said." (University of Washington)

That's one of the reasons we favor biotech-enhanced crops, they're a natural fit with low/no-till ag.

"To gain muscle and lose fat, drink milk: study" - "Part of an ongoing study into the impact of drinking milk after heavy weightlifting has found that milk helps exercisers burn more fat." (McMaster University)

"Germany Agrees Draft Rules for GMO Crops" - "HAMBURG - The German government on Wednesday agreed new draft rules for cultivation of genetically modified (GMO) crops, including a minimum buffer zone from conventional plantings." (Reuters)

August 8, 2007

"Al Gore’s Film More Fiction than Fact?" (.pdf) - "Give Al Gore credit. He chose to base his multi-city “Climate in Crisis” summit in New York City in the month of July. Anyone familiar with the summer climate of the Big Apple knows why it is often referred to as the “Baked Apple.” So this made for a potentially great backdrop as attendees literally sweated it out while being told global warming will be our ruin. 

In truth, so much of what Gore has said and written about the subject is demonstrably false. Read this well-done point-by-point debunking of the Gore." ( Kevin Williams, Daily Record Columnist)

"New Scandal Erupts over NOAA Climate Data" - "The theory of global warming began to explain one simple set of facts -- surface temperature monitoring stations have shown a roughly one degree rise over the past century. But just where does these temperature readings come from? Most are reported by volunteer stations, usually no more than a thermometer inside a small wooden hut or below a roof overhang. In the US, 1,221 such stations exist, all administered by the National Climatic Data Center, a branch of the NOAA.

Two months ago, I reported on an effort to validate this network. A volunteer group headed by meteorologist Anthony Watts had found serious problems. Not only did sites fail to meet the NCDC's requirements, but encroaching development had put many in ridiculously unsuitable locations -- on hot black asphalt, next to trash burn barrels, beside heat exhaust vents, even attached to hot chimneys and above outdoor grills. 

Soon thereafter, a Seattle radio station interviewed the head of the NCDC, Dr. Thomas Peterson, informed him of the effort and quizzed him about the problems. Three days later, the NCDC removed all website access to station site locations, citing "privacy concerns." Without this data (which had been public for years), the validation effort was blocked. No more stations could be located." (Michael Asher, Daily Tech)

"Why We Can’t Ignore the Urban Factor" - "The IPCC and NCDC with their GHCN and NASA with their GISS data bases admit the importance of urban warming locally but suggest the effect of urbanization on the global data bases is small and can be neglected. This judgment is largely based on the comments in a paper in 2003 by Petersen that stated: “Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures.” This same argument is being used to discard the urban heat island adjustment of the original USHCN data set when the new version 2 is released shortly. 

In recent blogs by Stephen McIntyre, Steve discusses Petersen’s paper, his analysis and errors in the analysis and conclusion. Another paper surfaced this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres by Della-Marta et al., in which the authors blatantly admitted to cherry picking stations and adjusting data (downward) in the early warm part of the record allegedly because of changes in instrumentation. They said this suggested a more alarming warming of 1.6C instead of 1.3C since 1880 in Europe. 

See why in this blog and the links provided why both Petersen and Della Marta have it all wrong and why it is the rural areas that become towns, small towns that become bigger towns, towns that become cites where the warming seen is the greatest. Those locations are what cause the global unadjusted data sets to show the warming ithey do. That is not to exclude the natural ups and downs due to the natural variability which is superimposed on this urban induced rise." (Icecap)

Will the Real USHCN Data Set Please Stand Up? (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Shh... "Summer chill is one for the ages" - "Don't tell Al Gore, but global warming is taking a holiday in Sacramento this week. The maximum temperatures Sunday and Monday set records each day -- as the coolest "highs" for the dates since record-keeping began in 1877." (Sacramento Bee)

Actually nothing special about Sacramento (but don't tell 'em that) or July temperatures in the US this year with the mean temperature (° F) 1.75 below top-ranking 1936 and just making 15th place by a few hundredths of a degree. Here's the top 20, according to NCDC's 'Climate At A Glance': 1936: 77.49; 2006: 77.24; 1934: 77.09; 1901: 76.94; 2002: 76.64; 1980: 76.52; 1931: 76.38; 1998: 76.26; 2003: 76.22; 1954: 76.11; 2005: 76.06; 1935: 75.85; 1933: 75.80; 1966: 75.75; 2007: 75.74; 1930: 75.67; 1988: 75.57; 1939: 75.49; 1964: 75.34; 1921: 75.34.

Oh Albert... "Gore: Polluters manipulate climate info" - "SINGAPORE — Research aimed at disputing the scientific consensus on global warming is part of a huge public misinformation campaign funded by some of the world's largest carbon polluters, former Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday.

"There has been an organized campaign, financed to the tune of about $10 million a year from some of the largest carbon polluters, to create the impression that there is disagreement in the scientific community," Gore said at a forum in Singapore. "In actuality, there is very little disagreement."

Gore likened the campaign to the millions of dollars spent by U.S. tobacco companies years ago on creating the appearance of scientific debate on smoking's harmful effects." (Gillian Wong, Associated Press)

... it's beginning to look like you never met any nonsense you wouldn't embrace.

"Chilling Effect" - "Newsweek equates global warming skeptics with Holocaust deniers and accuses reputable scientists of being paid to create confusion in the face of consensus. Galileo is once again on trial." (IBD)

"On the Holland/Webster-Landsea Debate - A Guest Weblog by Roger A. Pielke, Jr." - "Some strong words have been exchanged by Greg Holland (UCAR) and Chris Landsea (NOAA) on the recent paper by Holland/Webster in the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society (hereafter, HW2007). Greg Holland inserted himself into the debate over greenhouse gas emissions, by predicting that hurricanes will increase without such reductions:

. . . my sense is that we shall see a stabilization in frequencies for a while, followed by potentially another upward swing if global warming continues unabated.

Chris Landsea responded by calling the research “sloppy science.”

I have had a long interest in the hurricane-global warming debate, so I asked Peter Webster if I could see his dataset. He declined to share it, and told me to recreate it myself, which I did. In doing so I have found some significant errors in their “hurricane arithmetic,” which I share and discuss here." (Climate Science)

"The Volcanic Record and Climatic Cycles" (.doc) - "Icecap is very fortunate to have this contribution from the preeminent climatologist, Reid Bryson, Professor Emeritus at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin who is still very active as Senior Scientist at the Center for Climatic Research. In this paper, Dr. Bryson, shows the importance historically of volcanic activity and specifically volcanic induced sulfur dioxide in climate changes. 

“After the intense research associated with the Mt. St.Helens it became clear that it was mostly the very small droplets of saturated sulfuric acid converted from volcanic (and industrial) sulfur dioxide that had a sufficiently long half-life in the stratosphere to be climatically important. It was also established at that time that the sulfuric acid droplets in the “Junge layer” had a very small absorption to backscatter ratio, and thus always produced cooling. The sulfur dioxide did not need to be “blasted” into the stratosphere, so the importance of a volcano became greater as its sulfur dioxide content rose, not by how much solid tephra was produced.” 

“...in our investigations here at Wisconsin, we included all sizes of eruptions, for two medium eruptions might introduce as much or more sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere as one large eruption. It is also now obvious that the tropopause is not an ubiquitous barrier, for isentropes from the lower troposphere in lower latitudes are continuous into the stratosphere in higher latitudes. The author has personally followed the New York City pollution plume from the ground into the stratosphere over Iceland.” (Dr. Reid Bryson, Icecap)

Oh boy... "Crimes Against the Future" - "This week's Newsweek contains an article ("The Truth About Denial") that, on the surface, offers a good look at the politics of global warming pseudo-skepticism. When you read between the lines, however, it becomes increasingly clear that we've hit a phase transition in the politics of global warming, and -- especially when coupled with this week's Time story on the fragility of the recovery of New Orleans -- how close we are to treating the carbon-emissions industries as enemies of society. In short, the tobaccofication of carbon is imminent." (Open The Future)

"Climate meeting draws doubts about action" - "WASHINGTON - Next month’s US summit on climate change, one of at least four international meetings set for this year, is already raising doubts about any action being taken before President George Bush leaves office." (Reuters)

"UN official says climate change could destroy swathes of Indian farmland" - "NEW DELHI: As exceptionally heavy rains continued to cut a wide swath of ruin across northern India, a top United Nations official warned on Tuesday that climate change could destroy vast swaths of farmland in this country, ultimately affecting food production and adding to the woes of already desperate peasants who live off of the land.

Even a small increase in temperatures, said Jacques Diouf, head of the Food and Agricultural Organization, could lower crop yields around the southern hemisphere, even as agricultural productivity goes up in northern climes, including Europe.

A greater frequency of droughts and floods, one of the hallmarks of climate change, the agency added, could be particularly bad for agriculture." (IHT)

Uh-huh... "Extreme global weather in line with climate change predictions: UN expert" - "GENEVA: Floods in Asia, a cyclone in the Middle East and extreme temperatures around the globe since the start of the year have borne out warnings made by a key climate change report, an expert with the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

"The start of the year 2007 was a very active year in terms of extreme climatic and meteorological events," said Omar Baddour, a climatologist with the World Meteorological Organization." ( Associated Press)

"Coral reef loss at unprecedented levels" - "Pacific coral reefs are dying at an unprecedented rate, scientists have found. Almost 600 square miles of reef have disappeared every year since the late 1960s - twice the rate of rainforest loss. Coral loss had become a global phenomenon caused mainly by climate change, rising sea temperatures and man-made nutrient pollution." (London Telegraph)

Except that sea temperatures are well within historic norms for the Pacific, so "climate change" and "rising sea temperatures" don't belong in this silly piece at all, do they? Granted, fishing with poisons and explosives haven't done much for a lot of islands fringing reef structure -- nor has coral mining for building and road materials as practiced on so many islands since the beginning of WWII. Anthropogenic reef damage is a fact but "addressing climate change" will do absolutely zip for reef preservation. Dopey blighters.

Right... "The Earth fights back" - "Never mind higher temperatures, climate change has a few nastier surprises in store. Bill McGuire says we can also expect more earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and tsunamis." (The Guardian)

"China Can Cut Emissions Without Hurting Growth - Gore" - "SINGAPORE - China can cut its carbon emissions without jeopardising economic growth if it uses new technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases, former US Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

Maybe they could drive a few turbines by harnessing Al's hot air emissions...

Dumb & dumber... "Gore belatedly gets the key message on emissions" - "Citing the US bill of rights, Al Gore stated during the recent Live Earth concerts: "We should demand that the US join an international [climate] treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than 50% worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth."

At last, Gore says what is needed: contraction and convergence (C&C). This is the concept that came from the Global Commons Institute, based in the UK, which I set up in the early 1990s. It says that dangerous rates of climate change can be avoided only by countries agreeing to work together to safely limit the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and agreeing that emissions entitlements converge at a level that is equal, per capita, for all countries under that limit." (Aubrey Meyer, The Guardian)

... the problem, Aubrey, is that all people -- but especially the poor in underdeveloped regions -- suffer from squandering effort and finance fighting the phantom menace. We need to do things from which people and the planet actually benefit rather than merely enriching scam artists and fear mongers.

"It's the Sun, Stupid" - "Go outside at noon on a cloudless day. 

Hold up your arm with your palm perpendicular to the blinding bright spot high in the sky. 
Feel the heat on your hand? It’s coming from 93 million miles away. Yet it’s so powerful it’ll eventually burn your flesh. 

Even filtered by our atmosphere, even after traveling eight minutes at the speed of light, sunshine is so full of energy it can create life on Earth, turn water to gas and melt polar ice. 

But the sun can’t cause global warming." (Bill Steigerwald, FrontPageMagazine.com)

"Challenging the Cult of Environmental Disaster" - "The Cult of Environmental Disaster did not arrive with the showing of "An Inconvenient Truth." In 1798, Thomas Malthus asserted that while resources grow linearly, human population grows exponentially, according to Wikipedia. This led him to predict widespread starvation within half a century. His prophecies came to nothing, but he is still revered by many because of his demand that we radically limit human population." ( Ed Iverson, Lahontan Valley News)

"Cold snap prompts Chile to seek gas deal with old foe Bolivia" - "As temperatures fall, neighboring Argentina has cut some gas shipments to Chile, causing prices to skyrocket." ( The Christian Science Monitor)

"Alberta oilsands fever moves into high gear" - "$38 billion in deals last week alone show that investors aren't scared off by skyrocketing costs." (Canadian Press)

"Durham leads on trash incineration" - "Continued skepticism from environmentalists, along with new landfill capacity in southern Ontario, have unfortunately dampened support for incineration as a way of ridding the Greater Toronto Area of some of its trash. Luckily, that short-sighted trend is being resisted in Durham Region where officials are committed to building a new garbage incinerator by 2011. They deserve support, not criticism.

Modern incineration technology is remarkably clean and each plant can be put to use generating electricity for thousands of homes. This approach is widely used across much of Western Europe and Japan, where tight environmental regulations do an excellent job of protecting the public. And it offers a way for a municipality to process at least part of its rubbish locally instead of having it all trucked away to Michigan, or to someone else's backyard. 

Despite these benefits, efforts to produce more energy from waste within the GTA have begun to wane." (Toronto Star)

"National Geographic Acknowledges Huge Loss of Life to Malaria and Need for DDT: Notes DDT ban following Rachel Carson's Silent Spring book "may have killed 20 million children" - "August 7, 2007 - National Geographic (NG), a leading environmentalist, de-population supporting magazine, has published a major cover story by Michael Finkel on the extraordinarily deadly and complex malaria parasite. The July 2007 NG edition article discusses possible solutions to the disease but also uncharacteristically acknowledges a leading expert's contention that the international ban on DDT was a terrible mistake which may have cost many millions of lives, especially in poor African nations. Environmental ideologues have been quick to slam Finkel's article as being flawed and damaging to the their past success in convincing the world to ban the DDT pesticide." (LifeSiteNews.com)

"Heads Or Whales?" - " A judge has told the Navy that it cannot use high-powered sonar in its training exercises off the California coast. Saving marine animals, it seems, is more important than protecting American lives." (IBD)

"US Court Dismisses False Claims Against Chevron" - "NEW YORK - A US court dismissed three lawsuits by Ecuadoreans who admitted allegations that pollution by Chevron Corp had caused them or their relatives' cancer were false." (Reuters)

Sheesh... "Eight-year-olds 'could be given cholesterol drugs'" - "Children as young as eight should be given the cholesterol-lowering drugs statins to reduce their risk of heart disease, say doctors. 

A week after the Government's heart adviser caused controversy by suggesting every man over 50 and every woman over 60 should take a daily statin, researchers in the Netherlands recommend that the medication should be offered to children at high risk." (London Independent)

... actually, there is some evidence that statins do do quite a bit of good for quite a number of people -- there's just no evidence this has anything to do with cholesterol or that cholesterol levels are even a useful diagnostic metric.

"Diet foods for children may lead to obesity" - "Diet foods and drinks for children may inadvertently lead to overeating and obesity, says a new report from the University of Alberta. 

A team of researchers contends that animals learn to connect the taste of food with the amount of caloric energy it provides, and children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up." (University of Alberta)

"Should This Milk Be Legal?" - "Raw milk drinkers may praise its flavor or claim it is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. No matter why they drink it, the demand for it is booming." (New York Times)

In a word, no. It's a sad fact that people sometimes really do need to be protected from themselves and others. Milk is pasteurized for the sake of your health and that of society at large (we don't need or want the cost of caring for people too stupid to consume a safer product, nor do we need these nitwits as vectors of diseases we have virtually eradicated).

And the press eat up this drivel... "Erin Brockovich takes on Australian mining giant" - "Erin Brockovich, the American environmental activist who helped Californians win a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a big power company, is supporting residents of an Australian town in what she believes may be a similar case. 

Ms Brockovich is working with an Australian law firm on a possible class action against Alcoa, an international mining giant. The inhabitants of Yarloop, a small community south of Perth, suffer from a range of health problems that they attribute to emissions from an Alcoa bauxite refinery.

Speaking in Perth yesterday, Ms Brockovich - whose US crusade was made into a film starring Julia Roberts - said she was struck by similarities between the California case and Yarloop.

She was so concerned about the health risks that she declined to visit the West Australian town. "I have no intention of going anywhere near a facility which is leaking contaminants and could be lethal for me," she told The West newspaper." (London Independent)

August 7, 2007

"Al Gore Challenged To Debate Global Warming By Best-selling Author" - "Well, sports fans, the list of folks challenging soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore to put up or shut up continues to grow, of course, with little notice from an adoring media. 

Next up wanting to take shots at the Global Warmingist-in-Chief is best-selling author Dennis Avery." (News Busters)

"The Hypocrisy of Celebrity Environmentalists" - "Readers of Hollywood news already know that Laurie David has filed for divorce from her husband, Larry David, the creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-creator of Seinfeld. Mrs. David's papers cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split. This past Sunday, the New York Post cast some light on the nature of those differences. Over the past year, neighbours have seen Mrs. David in a variety of amorous postures with a younger man, "her hottie but dumb building contractor," as one of those neighbours describes him.

OK, stop right there--this is the National Post, not the National Enquirer. Why would we reprint salacious allegations of middle-aged romance?

Well, actually, there is a serious political point to make here amidst the hanky-panky." ( David Frum, National Post)

"Green Fakers: Why eco-hypocrisy matters" - "A few weeks ago, I wrote an item about Barbra Streisand, who was on tour in England. Though she's a big backer of environmental causes, and even offers tips for low-carbon living on her personal website, she was busted by the British press for touring in a private jet with a massive entourage that required 13 trucks and vast amounts of laundry—in other words, for sponsoring a traveling CO2 extravaganza. 

I e-mailed my item to an editor at Grist, a popular environmental website and blog. The editor promptly sent back a sarcastic reply accusing me of "trolling for links by carrying right wing water." In his view, only conservative blogs would be interested in a snarky item about a liberal totem like Streisand; left-leaning sites protect their own. And here I thought hypocrisy was a non-partisan punch line." (Jeff Bercovici, FP)

"Russia Welcomes Global Warming as Answer to All Its Prayers" - "Here's a side of global warming the shills at Newsweek and alarmists such as Al Gore don't want to address: there are actually countries and peoples on the planet who would welcome a less frigid climate.

Take for example Russia, where a little warming would help such industries as agriculture, oil drilling, and tourism, while obviously cutting down on the number of cold-related deaths each winter." ( Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Senate Climate Bill Shaves $533 Billion Off US Economy" - "WASHINGTON - A Senate bill to cut US greenhouse gas emissions would raise energy prices and also reduce American economic output by more than half a trillion dollars over two decades, according to a government report released Monday." (Reuters)

Our Response To Recent Comments On Anthony Watts’ Blog by Ben Herman and Cyrus Jones (Climate Science)

"Quantifying the Hansen Y2K Error" - "I observed recently that Hansen’s GISS series contains an apparent error in which Hansen switched the source of GISS raw from USHCN adjusted to USHCN raw for all values January 2000 and later. For Detroit Lakes MN, this introduced an error of 0.8 deg C. I’ve collated GISS raw minus USHCN adjusted for all USHCN sites (using the data scraped from the GISS site, for which I was most criticized in Rabett-world). Figure 1 below shows a histogram of the January 2000 step for the 1221 stations (calculated here as the difference between the average of the difference after Jan 2000 and for the 1990-1999 period.) The largest step occurred in Douglas AZ where the Hansen error is 1.75 deg C! There is obviously a bimodal distribution." (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Ice Cold Bunk" - "Ten senators -- seven Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent -- have just returned with differing views from a tour of Greenland.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talked about the risk of Greenland's ice sheet "being lost." Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said "melting Greenland ice would cause a 23-foot rise in sea levels worldwide." Bob Corker (R-TN) was more circumspect, saying only that "we're digging in to understand this issue."

Sanders' and Mikulski's statements are reminiscent of Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which contains a montage showing much of Florida disappearing as Greenland melts away. This wacko scenario has never enjoyed much respect from the broad scientific community, and newly published research casts even more doubt on it." ( Patrick J. Michaels, American Spectator)

"Ex-Clinton Official Ties Minneapolis Bridge Collapse To Global Warming" - "A former member of the Clinton administration, and current Senior Fellow at the virtual Clinton think tank the Center for American Progress, claimed Monday that global warming might have played a factor in the collapse of the I35 bridge in Minneapolis last week.

I kid you not." (News Busters)

"Climate protesters banned from disrupting airport" - "Environmental campaigners were yesterday banned from disrupting Heathrow airport after a high court judge granted an injunction aimed at preventing unlawful conduct at a climate change protest." (The Guardian)

Ultimate moonbattery: "Because it is illegal, the climate camp is now also a protest for democracy" - "The ban on next week's Heathrow demonstration will not deter us. It will only boost the profile and raise the stakes" (George Monbiot, The Guardian)

Sheesh, George! The way you carry on you'd expect us to believe you're standing in front of tanks, taking bullets in the defense of democracy when in fact you are merely a self-aggrandizing pain-in-the-butt, out to maximize inconvenience to others in a promotional scheme to flog your ridiculous book. Presumably you'll be first in line trying to claim the cash in the Ultimate Global Warming Challenge.

"Global Warming at Odds With Science" - "Global warming fanatics insist that "the science is settled" regarding this contentious issue and they're right — two German scientist have settled it once and for all by proving conclusively that there is no such thing as a "greenhouse effect" in global climate." (Phil Brennan, NewsMax.com)

"Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’" - "Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated." (Dominic Kennedy, London Times) -- h/t Greenie Watch

"Legislation For A Bleak Future" - " The House passed a bill Sunday night that, if it becomes law, will hit oil companies with $16 billion in taxes. Do the lawmakers who voted for it understand that we need more energy, not less?" (IBD)

"Guilt relief in global warming" - "Carbon offsets, or paying others to fight climate change, are still in doubt. Who checks up on these programs?" (The Christian Science Monitor)

"Experiment suggests limitations to carbon dioxide 'tree banking'" - "SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- While 10 years of bathing North Carolina pine tree stands with extra carbon dioxide did allow the trees to grow more tissue, only those pines receiving the most water and nutrients were able to store significant amounts of carbon that could offset the effects of global warming, scientists told a national meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

These results from the decade-long Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment in a Duke University forest suggest that proposals to bank extra CO2 from human activities in such trees may depend on the vagaries of the weather and large scale forest fertilization efforts, said Ram Oren, the FACE project director.

"If water availability decreases to plants at the same time that carbon dioxide increases, then we might not have a net gain in carbon sequestration," said Oren, a professor of ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences." (Duke University)

"LNG developers in the Northeast meet resistance" - "Proposed liquefied natural gas facilities in eastern Maine face safety and environmental concerns from locals and the Canadian government." ( The Christian Science Monitor)

"Green and nuclear" - "The critics seem to be going ballistic all right over the Indo-US nuclear deal, but the agreement clearly needs it be seen in the proper perspective. For India, it would mean opening up a new vista of international co-operation in cutting-edge nuclear power generation, and much possibilities for capacity addition — fast. Revving up the share of nuclear power in overall power generation promises huge societal gains in terms of costs, logistics and efficiency. Note that our current nuclear power capacity is just about 2% of the total installed base in power." (Economic Times)

"Biofuels will help fight hunger" - "The first decades of the 20th Century heralded the automobile era. At the time, it was said that it would not be safe to trade the reliability of a horse for the uncertainty of an automobile. After all, the horse was always available and ran on alfalfa, clearly an abundant raw material. It was then too risky to trust gasoline, some argued, since it could become scarce in a few years.

Today, as we are again facing the challenges of changing our energy matrix, it is important to clearly establish what is reality and what is myth regarding biofuels." (IHT)

"FEATURE - Plastic, Not Axes, Threatens Cork Forests" - "TEMPIO PAUSANIA, Sardinia - If you buy a bottle of wine with a metal screw-top or a plastic cork, you won't just be thumbing your nose at tradition. You may also be dooming the world's cork forests." (Reuters)

"Origin of frog-killing fungus probed" - "SYDNEY: A new study is providing vital clues to the origin of a deadly disease ripping through global frog populations – it also suggests the chytrid fungus is much hardier than thought." (Cosmos Online)

"In Dusty Archives, a Theory of Affluence" - "Gregory Clark believes that the Industrial Revolution occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population." (New York Times)

"Its Poor Reputation Aside, Our Fat Is Doing Us a Favor" - "Fat’s bland and amorphous appearance notwithstanding, it represents a highly specialized organ, as finely honed to the task of energy storage as muscle is built for flexing." (New York Times)

"Seed sleuth on hunt for daily, eternal bread" - "LIKE an agricultural Indiana Jones, Ken Street searches the cradle of civilisation for ancient treasures that can help feed the modern world.

From his base in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the 44-year-old Australian roams the wilds of places like Armenia and Tajikistan looking for the ancestors of modern cereal crops before they become extinct." (Brisbane Times)

"Organic Food Fantasies Never Die" - "Way back in 1946, the esteemed British medical journal the Lancet declared in an editorial that organic fanatics were making health and nutrition claims way beyond what the science supported. Oh how little has changed since then." (CGFI)

August 6, 2007

"A cat and email — even scientists can be fooled" - "There are so many studies, stories and researchers repeating the same fallacies of logic that it might be helpful to arm ourselves with a quick review. Let’s take the biggest fallacy of the day: “correlation is causation.” (Junkfood Science)

Sigh... "Exposure to DDT is linked to cancer" - "Susan Lydon, a Bay Area author and journalist, never forgot the DDT fog trucks that rumbled through the Long Island, N.Y., neighborhood where she grew up.

She was her block's fastest youngster. The mist was cool. The trucks were slow. Lydon's speed allowed her to stay longer than any of her pals in that comforting, pesticide-laced mist the sprayers left in their wake.

Lydon died of breast cancer at age 61 in 2005, going to her deathbed certain those carefree runs decades ago sealed her fate. 

Her concern, it appears now, was justified." (Contra Costa Times)

... and does this mean that DDT is somehow causal, or that people who lived in regions needing more vector control are more likely to have cancer later in life? Or perhaps that people more exposed to vector control and who are genetically predisposed to cancer are the most likely to live long enough to show symptoms? Then again, perhaps DDT is merely a marker for those who lived near vector hotspots (swamps?) and whose health suffered from local conditions or even the more oxygen-rich atmosphere of lowlands? Whatever their statistic means (if anything) it isn't that DDT causes cancer.

"Don't play politics with lifesaving DDT" - "NEW DELHI — The specter of malaria, dengue fever and many other mosquito-borne diseases stalk the world. Despite its deserved reputation as being one of cleanest, pest-free countries in Asia, even Singapore is battling to cope with a rash of dengue cases.

The problem is that many of the pathogens carried by these winged pests have become resistant to drugs. Consequently, malaria and dengue fever are resurgent in many areas of Asia where they had once been under control. This is not merely a regional problem." (Japan Times)

"Comment: Got disaster? Thank an eco-terrorist" - "What do the following things have in common? Out-of-control forest fires, infestations of mosquitoes, hundreds of millions of deaths from diseases that were almost eradicated, skyrocketing gasoline prices, pets being eaten alive by fleas and ticks and the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina? 

OK, time's up! 

These catastrophes were all brought to you courtesy of your friendly neighborhood environmentalists." (John Kollias, Express-News)

"Informed consent" - "If you’re a parent facing the decision of whether or not to let your child or teen be screened for dyslipidemia (blood “cholesterol”), before you respond with “Why not?”, you may want to know the recommendations of the expert committee of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force." (Junkfood Science)

"Lessons still unlearned" - "It’s incredible what studies are ignored by the media. Researchers recently released a study evaluating the effectiveness of “the largest scale intervention in English children’s diet since the introduction of free school milk in 1946.” Called the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, it’s part of the 5 A-Day programme to teach children about healthy eating and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Since November 2004, every child aged four to six years of age has received a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day. This massive program has distributed 440 million pieces of produce each year to more than two million children in 18,000 schools, at a cost of $284.24 million (in U.S. dollars) just during its first two years.

With all of the attention on getting kids to eat healthy, you would think this study would be newsworthy..." (Junkfood Science)

Gets worse: "Aspartame: an inconvenient truth" - "Groups campaigning about the dangers of the artificial sweetener aspartame are disappointed that the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is shooting the messenger rather than listening to the message. 

The Soil & Health Association and the Safe Food Campaign have been hosting international aspartame expert Betty Martini at media and public meetings in New Zealand. Betty Martini has been researching the artificial sweetener for over 15 years and has the authoritative 1000 page medical text Aspartame: An Ignored Epidemic by Dr HJ Roberts dedicated to her." (Press Release: SOIL and HEALTH Assn of NZ)

More stupidity: "Kangaroo Cull Plan Catches Aussie Military on the Hop" - "CANBERRA - Australia's military, caught on the hop by public outrage at plans to shoot thousands of kangaroos on its bases in Canberra, is considering moving them in air-conditioned comfort at a cost of over A$3,600 (US$3,000) each." (Reuters)

Contrary to Peta and other animal crackers' claims, kangaroos are evolved to suit the boom-bust ENSO-driven cycle of Australian flood and drought. Perpetually pregnant 'roos undergo population explosions to exploit plenty and the majority of the population then starves or dies of thirst in the inevitable following scarcity. Shooting starving 'roos is the least-stressful option ('roos don't care for being rounded up and transported and many will inevitably die during the operation). Disney-fied urbanites are becoming far too divorced from the realities of nature. Just plain stupid.

"Disease fear over millions driven from homes by monsoon flooding" - "The worst monsoon floods in living memory have killed more than 1,200 people and displaced 19 million across South Asia, and are now raising fears of an outbreak of water and mosquito-borne diseases." (London Times)

Presumably these are the same monsoon rains being dried up by the dreaded gorebull warming?

Sadly, The Crone wouldn't recognize 'sound environmental policy' if was printed on its own front page: "The Owl and the Forest" - "The timber industry and the Bush administration are trying to use the spotted owl’s new troubles to reverse more than a decade of sound environmental policy." (New York Times)

Worried about the intellectual climate? Serious accusations of deception have been leveled at 'Global Warming Deniers' and claims have been made that the media are suppressing global warming hysteria -- see DemandDebate.com's news page for claims and the real world facts of the matter.

"Sunspot abundance linked to heavy rains in East Africa" - "WASHINGTON — A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks.

The analysis by a team of U.S. and British researchers shows that unusually heavy rainfalls in East Africa over the past century preceded peak sunspot activity by about one year. Because periods of peak sunspot activity, known as solar maxima, are predictable, so too are the associated heavy rains that precede them, the researchers propose." (American Geophysical Union)

Insufficient gorebull warming: "Coral bleaching as record cold snap hits" - "A RECORD cold snap across southern Queensland has triggered coral bleaching normally associated with the extremes of hot weather linked to climate change.

Scientists say the bleaching has been caused by a combination of cold waters, winds and air temperatures hitting exposed reefs around the Capricorn-Bunker group of islands at the southern end of the reef. 

While other sections of the reef appear to have been spared by being fully submerged or far enough north to avoid the worst of the cold snaps in June and July, bleaching has been recorded by University of Queensland researchers on Heron Island, near Rockhampton. 

The area is regarded as having some of the most pristine sections of accessible reef." (The Australian)

II: "Abnormally Cold Temperatures in Texas Threaten Cotton Crop" - "If summer heat and drought were jeopardizing crops in the Midwest, would a climate change obsessed media be having a field day (pun intended) reporting the news whilst connecting it to manmade global warming? 

24 hours a day, seven days a week, right? CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC would likely have correspondents in the cornfields giving daily updates about the gravity of the situation.

Yet, further south in Texas, there's a crop very important to Americans in tremendous danger that has gotten almost no attention.

Why? Because abnormally cold summer temperatures are threatening it, and that just doesn't fit the current media agenda." ( Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"New Zealanders being misled by unfounded claims about sea level rises" - "New Zealanders should not be misled by unfounded claims about dangerous rises in sea levels says Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, a leading world authority on sea levels and coastal erosion. He in a short visit to this country and he has addressed audiences at Victoria, Auckland and Waikato Universities.

Until his retirement, Professor Mörner was head of the Department of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at Stockholm University. From 1999 to 2003, he was president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution. INQUA, the International Union for Quaternary Research, was founded in 1928 to bring together scientists in 35 countries to study the environmental changes that occurred during the last two million years and to interpret the relevance of those changes to present day climate processes and environments.

Professor Mörner has published a booklet entitled "The Greatest Lie Ever Told," to refute claims of catastrophic sea level rise. "When we were coming out of the last ice age, huge ice sheets were melting rapidly and the sea level rose at an average of 1 metre per century. If the Greenland ice sheet stated to melt at the same rate - which is unlikely - sea level would rise by less than 100 mm - 4 inches per century. So the rapid rise in sea levels predicted by computer models simply cannot happen."

The booklet refers to observational records of sea levels for the past 300 years that show variations - ups and downs, but no significant trend." (Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

What utter rubbish! "A river ran through it" - "The Murray is the lifeblood of Australia's farming country, a legendary river that thundered 1,500 miles from the Snowy Mountains to the Indian Ocean. Now, it's choking to death in the worst drought for a thousand years, sparking water rationing and suicides on devastated farms. But is the 'big dry' a national emergency, or a warning that the earth is running out of water? Claire Scobie reports" (The Observer)

Prior to the installation of barrages, locks and the Snowy River diversion scheme the Murray was a string of seasonal waterholes, rarely a flowing river. When first explored it didn't even have an exit to the sea, the Murray 'mouth' nothing but a string of sand dunes. It wasn't a permanent water course but a flood river, draining the year or two in seven when the catchment was not in its ENSO drought phase and has only become a year round water course due to human intervention and engineering. By the way, it doesn't flow to the Indian Ocean either, which is west of Australia and the other side of the Great Victoria Desert (also a heck of a long way from the Murray Mouth, where the Murray occasionally discharged into the Southern Ocean). Ignorant twits.

"Europe Hotter Than Thought in Last Century - Study" - "LONDON - Western Europe has heated up more than previously thought over the past century, according to a new study that adds to evidence pointing to a future of hotter summers and longer-lasting heat waves." (Reuters)

Oh brother! See the work of Anthony Watts and volunteers as they assess simple compliance of recording stations and then think about the above claim.

"More on Asphalt" - "WMO guidelines state that weather stations should be at least 100 feet from paved areas. As we see the USHCN pictures unfold, we’re obviously seeing one site after another in non-compliance with this requirement, a point notably made in connection with Tucson (Univesity of Arizona) site, where the location was particularly gross, but the point is seemingly pervasive. While many of these pictures also show air conditioners, my guess is that the asphalt pavement may prove to be a more substantial problem than the air conditioners.

I notice that GISS apologist Eli Rabett has another post arguing that traditional quality control doesn’t matter - this time arguing that heat rises and thus, for example, nearby air conditioners don’t matter. Perhaps so, perhaps not. Eli’s implication is that WMO policies don’t “matter”, that, in effect, the practical WMO people are just fuddy-duddies, making pointless QC demands that are unnecessary when Hansen’s on the scene with magic adjustment software. While Eli’s implied criticism of WMO policies may be borne out, my own guess is that the WMO guidelines were created for a reason and that they embody useful practical knowledge - that there’s a reason why, for example, WMO guidelines require that weather stations be 100 feet from pavement and perhaps there are even reasons not to locate them near air conditioners.

But today a little more on pavement and specifically asphalt pavement and why it’s not a good idea to locate weather stations within 100 feet of pavement. The radius is relevant since the pavement strongly re-radiates IR and will affect weather stations that are not directly above it." ( Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

"Global warming is nature's doing" - "IN the 1970s, some climatologists warned the world about global cooling. Now it's global warming. Then it was particulates in the air blocking the sun; now it's carbon dioxide forming a greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is now presented as the most dangerous greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere, the primary cause of global warming. Some even call it a pollutant. With my education in physics and chemistry, I'd like to shed some light on this issue." ( Frank Britton, Pasadena Star News)

"Multiple Hires in Climate Systems Science At The University of Texas at Austin" - "The Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin is recruiting for multiple hires in Climate System Science. This is an exciting development that promises to signfiicantly advance our understanding of the climate system. Their announcement for this opportunity follows." (Climate Science)

Myth-information: "Bush Calls Meeting on Global Warming for September" - "WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush unveiled plans on Friday for global warming talks next month that will bring together the world's biggest polluters to seek agreement on reducing greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

Carbon dioxide emissions to atmosphere are not pollution, merely releases of an essential trace gas. No amount of agreements will measurably change the Earth's temperature, now or in the future.

"UN Welcomes Bush Climate Plan, But Test in Outcome" - "OSLO - The United Nations welcomed a plan by US President George W. Bush for talks by major emitters about cutting greenhouse gases next month but said the test would be in the outcome." (Reuters)

"UN Climate Debate Tries to Kick-Start New Treaty" - "UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly's first session devoted exclusively to climate change closed with nations worried about the devastating impact of global warming now and on future generations, although few countries altered their well-known positions." (Reuters)

Interlocking fantasies: "Global Warming Fight May Get Boost from Ozone Plan" - "OSLO - Countries can take a big and easy step this year to combat climate change by agreeing to tighten a UN treaty outlawing gases that damage the ozone layer, the UN Environment Programme said on Friday." (Reuters)

Eye-roller: "Jack Bauer's Next Mission: Fighting Global Warming" - "From "An Inconvenient Truth" to popularizing the Prius, Hollywood has helped lead the way on some environmental issues. One of the latest initiatives: Cool Change, Fox's company-wide program to reduce the network's impact on global warming. As part of that effort, the seventh season of "24" will take steps to reduce and offset the carbon emissions from the show's production, with the goal of having the season finale be entirely carbon-neutral.

It may sound like a publicity stunt, but Fox spokesman Chris Anderson says the network isn't after bigger ratings. "We are publicizing '24's' commitment to climate change for two reasons and two reasons only: to inspire the public to take global warming seriously and hopefully to motivate other studios to make changes to their production practices as well," he says." (Washington Post)

"Pennsylvania County Considers Floating Global Warming Bonds" - "If you had any questions concerning the future financial potential of selling global warming alarmism, an idea being researched by a Pennsylvania county will provide all the answers you need." ( Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Going against the herd" - "Given the rising of hysteria over global warming, it is a brave person that stands up to a gathering herd by questioning the assumptions used by the herd to support their emotional commitment to anthropogenic global warming. 

Bob Prechter, an expert in observing social behavior, thinks social herding is leading to some social hysteria over global warming." (Russ Steele, NC Watch)

"Global Warming Skeptics Advance, Says Inhofe" - "Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), told approximately 400 conservative students Thursday morning that despite attempts to silence global warming critics, the ground of the climate change debate is starting to shift their way, giving their views more exposure and effect." (CNSNews.com)

Another petition: Calling out Al Gore (Global Warming Skeptics)

"A cynic's view of global warming" - "This article could get me arrested, and possibly shot for treason if Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were to have his way. 

Speaking at the New York venue of the Live Earth concert event, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attacked those who don't believe that global warming is being increased by human activity. More sober minded people would not make such outlandish statements even when on stage with less sober minded rock stars. 

While RFK Jr. singled out politicians and villainous companies, the charge of treason has been directed against all nonbelieving global warming infidels by others who insist humanity is killing the planet. I confess…I do not believe that human activity is increasing global warming. To paraphrase Patrick Henry's call for independence, "If believing that global warming is part of a natural cycle of global warming and cooling makes me a traitor, then let them make the most of it." 

Other global warming zealots are calling for population control." (Gary Palmer, South Alabamian)

"Energy Bill Adopted by House Requires Utilities to Use Renewable Power Sources" - "WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 — The House passed a wide-ranging energy bill on Saturday that will require most utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill because it does nothing to encourage increased domestic production of oil and gas." (New York Times)

"Anti-Energy Bill: What ever happened to independence?" - "Speaker Pelosi says that HR 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act “puts us on a path towards energy independence, strengthens national security, grows our economy and creates new jobs, lowers energy prices and begins to address global warming.” It will actually do none of these in any meaningful sense. It is a new direction, certainly, but it’s the wrong direction. This is an anti-energy bill." ( Iain Murray, NRO)

"Fight Global Warming with what? Spit Balls?" - "To coin a phrase from a great democratic senator from Georgia, Senator Zell Miller, when talking of what we should arm U.S. Troops with in the war on terrorism; I use his words when talking about Greenpeace on fighting Global Climate Change. Greenpeace loves to report the problem of global warming and energy. They are against power plants that burn fossil fuels and they are very much against nuclear power. According to their Energy [r]evolution Blueprint, they say that we can get all of our energy from solar, wind and other “renewable” sources and that nuclear power has no place in their blueprint. Solar, wind and other renewable sources are small contributors to the current electricity supply (see below), or “spit balls” in the terms of this article. There is no denying that these technologies are desirable, and our goal should be to seek their maturity so that they can begin to shoulder the burden of supplying the U.S. energy demand. The problem is that these current technologies cannot make a significant contribution to the U.S. energy demand." ( Ray Hodges, ECOstrive)

"Japan to Study Carbon Trading for Companies - Report" - "TOKYO - Japan is set to start discussions on letting private companies buy and sell greenhouse gas emissions credits, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said on Sunday." (Reuters)

"Environment Vs Growth Debate Heats Up in China" - "BEIJING - The swift demise of China's green GDP figures highlights a growing policy conflict between advocates of environmental protection and officials long used to pursuing economic growth at all costs." (Reuters)

"Britain fighting foot and mouth" - "BRITAIN tried to contain an outbreak of highly infectious foot and mouth yesterday, culling cattle at a farm outside London to prevent a repeat of the ruinous damage caused by the disease six years ago." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Human error may have led to outbreak" - "Government officials believe human error at the private pharmaceutical firm Merial Animal Health is the most likely source for the return of foot and mouth disease, it emerged last night." (The Guardian)

"We can't allow this crisis to halt vaccine manufacture" - "Even if the outbreak of foot and mouth began in a laboratory, the benefits of widescale vaccinations still outweigh the risks" (Peter Melchett, The Guardian)

"A Surer Way to Feed the Hungry" - "Globally, about 800 million people are chronically hungry, and the number rises every year. The Bush administration is pushing what should be an obvious policy change to help those most acutely in need — victims of catastrophe or some other emergency. Instead of shipping American-grown food abroad, Washington would send American dollars to buy food from local farmers." (New York Times)

D'oh... "No GMO From Feed Found in Meat, Eggs, EU Agency Says" - "BRUSSELS - Animals that have eaten genetically modified (GMO) feed show no residual traces in their eggs or meat, the EU's food safety agency said on Friday." (Reuters)

... and just what did anyone expect? Eating carrots does not mean you'll sprout a bush green top, steaks don't make you grow horns and eating corn won't put you at risk of chickens so why do people have bizarre expectations of carefully developed produce?

"Reasons you should buy regular goods" - "I don't like to buy organic food products, and avoid them at all cost. It is a principled decision reached through careful consideration of effects of organic production practices on animal welfare and the environment. I buy regular food, rather than organic, for the benefit of my family. 

I care deeply about food being plentiful, affordable and safe. I grew up on a dairy farm, where my chores included caring for the calves and scrubbing the milking facilities. As a teenager, I was active in Future Farmers of America, and after college I took a job in Washington, D.C., on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee staff. 

But America no longer has an agrarian economy, and now it is rare for people to have firsthand experience with agricultural production and regulation. This makes the general public highly susceptible to rumors and myths about food, and vulnerable to misleading marketing tactics designed not to improve the safety of the food supply, but to increase retail profits. Companies marketing organic products, and your local grocery chain, want you to think organic food is safer and healthier, because their profit margins are vastly higher on organic foods." ( Jackie Avner, Denver Post)

"Food That Travels Well" - "Why imported produce may be better for the earth than local." (New York Times)

"Food Costs Increase and the Smoke and Mirrors of rbST-Free Milk Marketing Rolls On" - "The latest American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Marketbasket Survey was released in July, 2007. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items in the second quarter of 2007 was $42.95, up about 4 percent or $1.61 from the first quarter of 2007. A total of 82 volunteer shoppers in 32 states participated in the latest survey, conducted during May. Of the 16 items surveyed, 14 increased, one decreased and one stayed the same in average price compared to the 2007 first-quarter survey. Compared to one year ago, the overall cost for the marketbasket items showed an increase of about 8 percent. Regular whole milk showed the largest quarter-to-quarter price increase, up 34 cents to $3.46 per gallon. As retail grocery prices have gradually increased, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive continues to decrease. “In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures on average. That figure has decreased steadily over time and is now just 22 percent according to Agriculture Department statistics,” AFBF Economist Jim Sartwelle said. AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, conducts its informal quarterly marketbasket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. According to USDA statistics, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable income on food annually, the lowest average of any country in the world." (Terry Etherton Blog on Biotechnology)

August 3, 2007

"How Now Brown Cloud?" - "Himalayan glaciers are melting — but not nearly as fast as the fanciful notion of global warming will have you believe." (Steven Milloy, FoxNews.com)

"Asia's brown clouds 'warm planet'" - "Clouds of pollution over the Indian Ocean appear to cause as much warming as greenhouse gases released by human activity, a study has suggested. US researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the effects of the "brown clouds" on the surrounding area. Writing in Nature, they said the tiny particles increased the solar heating of the lower atmosphere by about 50%. The warming could be enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the scientists proposed. The clouds contain a mixture of light absorbing aerosols and light scattering aerosols, which cause the atmosphere to warm and the surface of the Earth to cool." (BBC)

Oops! How did this get out? "Synchronized Chaos: Mechanisms For Major Climate Shifts" - "In the mid-1970s, a climate shift cooled sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean and warmed the coast of western North America, bringing long-range changes to the northern hemisphere. Ads by Google Advertise on this site

After this climate shift waned, an era of frequent El Ninos and rising global temperatures began.

Understanding the mechanisms driving such climate variability is difficult because unraveling causal connections that lead to chaotic climate behavior is complicated.

To simplify this, Tsonis et al. investigate the collective behavior of known climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation.

By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, they find that the systems synchronized several times.

Further, in cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then. a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability.

The authors show that this mechanism explains all global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century." (Science Daily) [ em added]

And another one! "Math used in new climate change assessment" - "SEATTLE, Aug. 2 -- A team of U.S. scientists has used mathematics to assess the effect of natural solar variation on climate change.

Charles Camp and Ka Kit Tung of the University of Washington's department of applied mathematics said that to accurately assess effects from human sources on the planet's climate, scientists must first be able to quantify the contribution of natural variation in solar irradiance to temperature changes.

Camp and Tung said that while the existence of a long-term trend in solar output is controversial, its periodic change within an 11-year cycle has been measured by satellites." (UPI)

Not anti-carbon's day, is it? "Belgian weather institute (RMI) study dismisses role of CO2" (alt) - "Brussels: CO2 is not the big bogeyman of climate change and global warming. This is the conclusion of a comprehensive scientific study done by the Royal Meteorological Institute, which will be published this summer.

The study does not state that CO2 plays no role in warming the earth. "But it can never play the decisive role that is currently attributed to it", climate scientist Luc Debontridder says.

"Not CO2, but water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. It is responsible for at least 75 % of the greenhouse effect. This is a simple scientific fact, but Al Gore's movie has hyped CO2 so much that nobody seems to take note of it." said Luc Debontridder.

"Every change in weather conditions is blamed on CO2. But the warm winters of the last few years (in Belgium) are simply due to the 'North-Atlantic Oscillation'. And this has absolutely nothing to do with CO2. (Belga) Translation provided by Theo van Daele

Good grief... "'Sunshade' for global warming could cause drought" - "Pumping sulphur particles into the atmosphere to mimic the cooling effect of a large volcanic eruption has been proposed as a last-ditch solution to combating climate change – but doing so would cause problems of its own, including potentially catastrophic drought, say researchers.

Sulphur "sunshades" are just one example of a "geo-engineering" solution to climate change. Such solutions involve artificially modifying our climate to counteract the effects of human greenhouse gas emission. Other examples include space mirrors and iron fertilisation of the ocean (see also Sunshade for the planet.

Recent research has suggested that sulphur sunshades could rapidly cool the climate back down to pre-industrial temperatures (see Solar shield could be quick fix for global warming).

However, a study, led by Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in the US, warned that failing to correctly deploy or maintain such a scheme would result in sudden warming – which would be worse than the long-term warming that had been avoided because of its swiftness.

Now, Kevin Trenberth and Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, US, have shown that – even if correctly deployed – a sulphur sunshade could have deleterious effects on the environment by reducing rainfall." (NewScientist.com news service)

... if your hypothesis resolved as true a total of one in three times, would you claim it as "proof"? Us neither, however:

"However, the Agung and El Chichón eruptions did not produce a detectable signal in the precipitation records. Pinatubo is thought to have pumped significantly more particles into the atmosphere than Agung and El Chichón, releasing aerosols that increased the optical density of the atmosphere by about 10 times more than each of the other two. "We think those two were not strong enough to have an effect on precipitation," says Dai.

Dai and Trenberth say their results suggest that artificially putting large amounts of sulphate particles into the atmosphere in order to decrease solar radiation could have catastrophic effects on the planet's water cycle. "Creating a risk of widespread drought and reduced freshwater resources does not seem like an appropriate fix," they say.

Looking at their charts of net land-falling precipitation and net freshwater runoff there is another, perhaps more plausible, explanation. Plants don't seem to have enjoyed the sudden shading and cooling following Pinatubo, phyto-respiration declined and the following year freshwater runoff dramatically increased despite relatively moderate land-falling precipitation (because plants weren't using as much water and pumping it back to atmosphere?). The increase in freshwater discharge appears consistent in the years following explosive volcanic eruptions with their associated sudden shading events.

Did explosive volcanic events cause problems for plants? It certainly seems possible and is quite plausible besides. Would a gradual increase in sulfate aerosols cause drought? Good question and this hypothesis will not answer it.

"The steamrollers of climate science" - "For a fully documented indictment, read the article by David Henderson in the current issue of World Economics. Mr Henderson, a distinguished academic economist and former head of economics at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has been tangling with the IPCC for some time. Five years ago, he and Ian Castles (a former chief of the Australian Bureau of Statistics) first drew attention to a straightforward error in the way emissions scenarios were being calculated. The projections had used long-range cross-country projections of gross domestic product that were based on exchange rates unadjusted for purchasing power. This mistake yielded projections for individual countries that were in some cases patently absurd. Far from acknowledging the point and correcting the projections, the IPCC treated these eminent former civil servants as uncredentialed troublemakers. Its head, Rajendra Pachauri, issued a prickly statement complaining about the spread of disinformation.

As Mr Henderson's new article makes clear, the episode was symptomatic of a wider pattern of error (often, in the case of economics, elementary error) and failure to correct it. How can this be possible? The IPCC prides itself on the extent of its network of scientific contributors and on its rigorous peer review. The problem is, although the contributors and peers are impressively numerous, they are drawn from a narrow professional circle. Expertise in economics and statistics is not to the fore; sympathetic clusters of co-authorship and pre-commitment to the urgency of the climate cause, on the other hand, are.

Add to this a sustained reluctance - and sometimes a refusal - to disclose data and methods that would allow results to be replicated. (Disclosure of that sort is common practice these days in leading scholarly journals). As a result, arresting but subsequently discredited findings - such as the notorious "hockey stick" chart showing the 1990s as the northern hemisphere's hottest decade of the millennium - are left to be challenged by troublesome outsiders.

Underlying it all is a pervasive bias. From the outset the IPCC network was fully invested in the idea that climate change is the most pressing challenge confronting mankind and that urgent action far beyond what is already in prospect will be needed to confront it. In the minds of the panel's leaders and spokesmen, this conviction justifies public pronouncements that often go beyond the analysis which the IPCC's own scientists have presented." (Clive Crook, Financial Times)

Oh my... "UN Skips Gender Perspective in Climate Change" - "UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2 - When the United Nations concluded a two-day debate Thursday on the potential devastation from climate change, it covered a lot of territory: deforestation, desertification, greenhouse gases, renewable energy sources, biofuels and sustainable development.

But one thing the debate lacked, June Zeitlin executive director of the New York-based Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) told IPS, was a gender perspective." (IPS)

"Calling out Ozone Al" - "Al Gore isn't saying if he's feeling the heat.

Mother Nature's alpha male has been challenged by two skeptics to debate the "crisis" of global warming. Mr. Gore would, of course, take the affirmative. Dennis Avery and Lord Monckton of Brenchley would take him apart.

Is that why Ozone Al has not responded to their formal requests to debate or to be interviewed for this column?" (Dimitri Vassilaros, Tribune-Review)

Video: Heartland Institute just released a short video clip that ‘highlights 3 of Al Gore’s biggest exaggerations’

"Hot and Cold Running Temperatures" - "Let's see if there's a pattern here:" (Fred Gielow, EcoLogic)

Oh boy... "How not to measure Temperature, part 26 - counting A/C units" - "There's been some recent discussion about how only rural stations have been used in the NASA GISS analysis, and those rural stations are qualified by looking at night time DOD satellite photos, and doing a count of visible streetlights within a radius to quantify UHI potential or lack thereof. The "best" stations are labeled "lights=0"

One of those stations is Happy Camp, California, population 2182, an old gold mining and logging town located in the rugged NW corner of the state, and about 100+ miles from any major city. NOAA MMS metadata website reports data back to 1931 with 3 small distance station moves, and no changes to equipment. NASA GISS reports data back to 1914.

It looked like a good candidate to look at for a lights=0 survey. The weather station is located at the Ranger Station:" (Watt's Up With That)

"US Senators lay out new global warming plan" - "Two veteran US Senators on Thursday rolled out a market-based proposal which they said would reverse the catastrophic worst-case impact of climate change, but still safeguard the US economy.

Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Warner said their plan would focus on 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, to cut these by 70 percent below current levels by 2050, and could be used as a blueprint in the fight against global warming." (AFP)

"Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill Fails Senate Test" - "WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to the principles of an agreement reached on climate legislation by Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and John Warner (R-VA).

“The principles of Lieberman-Warner climate bill, as outlined today, fail to meet the two requirements established by the Senate to pass climate legislation,” Senator Inhofe said. “The Lieberman-Warner bill will significantly harm the United States economy and fail to mandate reductions from the developing world. With China now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, it’s even more important that the developing nations CO2 emissions be taken into consideration. As a result, I have long supported efforts that build off of the President’s Asia-Pacific Partnership that seeks to promote technology sharing among developing nations as the way forward.” (EPW)

"Oil taxes squabble sends US House Democrat leaders looking for votes on major energy bill" - "WASHINGTON: A rebellion by oil-state Democrats over $16 billion (€11.7 billion) in new taxes on oil companies is threatening to upend House Democratic leaders' plans to swiftly pass energy legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained confident she would have the votes to pass the energy package Friday ahead Congress' monthlong summer recess, according to her aides. But she needs solid Democratic support to overcome staunch Republican opposition to the bill.

"I know they're looking for votes," said Rep. Gene Green, one of the Democrats who has balked over the oil industry tax increases.

Green said some of the "Blue Dog" Democrats — moderate to conservatives, including lawmakers from oil producing states — were threatening to withhold their support." (AP)

Nude socialist champions disaster, again: "Atlantic hurricane frequency doubled last century" - "HERE'S a conundrum. If global warming is indeed responsible for the increase in hurricane frequency in the North Atlantic, then how come we've had only one tropical storm and one sub-tropical storm so far this year? In 2005, there were four tropical storms and three hurricanes before the end of July.

Don't be fooled. It's not unusual for this time of year to be quiet, and most years July passes without a single tropical storm, says Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. However, we are about to enter the busiest part of the season: "Come 10 or 15 August, it all goes mad." (NewScientist.com news service)

Preconditioned target pool: "Global Warming Used in E-mail Spam Scam" - "As if the scam of global warming isn't enough, the mythical manmade malady is now being used as part of an e-mail spam campaign likely to free concerned environmentalists of their hard-earned dollars." (Noel Sheppard, News Busters)

"Monsoon on Track to be a Wet One: Guest Weblog by Chris Castro" - "In early June I had a post on this blog “On The Importance Of Regional Climate Change Projection In The Southwest U.S. — And Its Caveats.” At the end of this blog I stated the following in a postscript, referencing the Southwest monsoon in Arizona: “Last year our monsoon was the sixth wettest on record–and I think we’re going to have another wet and early one this year…” Now that we’re well into our monsoon, I thought I’d give an update on how the monsoon it is going here." (Climate Science)

"Stray cat explosion joins list of evils blamed on global warming" - "An explosion in Toronto's stray cat population is the latest phenomenon being blamed on global warming, joining a growing list of evils that includes increases in hay fever and seal mating as well as decreases in the supply of maple syrup and Bulgarian prostitutes.

While climate change is frequently cited as the cause for hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts, not all of its alleged effects are Biblical in proportion. The Toronto Humane Society recently announced its shelter is filled to capacity and cited global warming as a possible cause of the overcrowding." (James Cowan, CanWest News Service)

"The Weather Man" - "At the 19th Annual Energy Conference, Iowa State University climatologist Elwynn Taylor shared his near-term forecast, along with his broader views on greenhouse gases, global warming and the very real possibility of a future chock-full of erratic weather." (Ethanol Producer)

"APEC finance ministers see need to 'go beyond' Kyoto" - "APEC finance ministers Friday said that the world needed to "go beyond" the Kyoto Protocol to adequately address climate change.

The call came in a communiqué issued by the ministers following an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the north Australian town of Coolum.

"Recognising the need to take strong and early action to address the challenge of climate change while maintaining economic growth, we considered the global architecture for addressing climate change and shared the view that it is important to establish an effective framework beyond the Kyoto Protocol under the UN climate change process," the communiqué said." (AFP)

From the 'They must be joking' file: "Judges should enforce climate bill targets, say MPs" - "Judges should have the power to compel the prime minister to set out the remedial measures his government will take if it fails to hit targets to reduce carbon emissions, a cross-party committee of MPs and peers has recommended." (The Guardian)

No? Duh! "Claims put heat on exports" - "EUROPEAN nations are capitalising on public concern over climate change and commissioning self-serving reports on the issue in an effort to create a backlash against Australian exports, Malcolm Turnbull declared yesterday." (The Australian)

"Emissions trading: Lightly carbonated" - "European companies are not yet taking full advantage of carbon markets." (The Economist)

"Six nations sue carbon regulators" - "Six Central and Eastern European countries, namely Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, and Latvia, have all started legal actions against the European Commission that attempts to impose low quotas on the production of carbon dioxide, the gas that we call life." (The Reference Frame)

"UN climate change meeting runs long" - "UNITED NATIONS — The first-ever U.N. General Assembly meeting on climate change needed an extra day Thursday so speakers from worried nations could discuss global warming's impact and the need for international action.

Calling climate change "the most pressing and important international issue of our time," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said "the world is actually motivated on the issue in a way it wasn't" in January — "and the political momentum has to just grow and grow." (AP)

"Brazil, Alarmed, Reconsiders Policy on Climate Change" - "Brazilian policy makers have begun showing signs of new flexibility in the tangled, politically volatile international negotiations to limit human-caused global warming." (New York Times)

"Greenhouse gases: Not the largest emitter, says India" - "United Nations, Aug. 3: India on Thursday rejected the contention it was among the largest emitter of greenhouse gases saying its per capita emission of the polluting gases blamed for global warming was just one-fourth of the world average.

New Delhi also charged the developed countries with putting the onus on developing countries to tackle climate change, a "problem" which they had created through unabated carbon dioxide emissions for over 150 years.

"The present state of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) concentration in the atmosphere is the result of over a century-and-a-half of unabated emissions by the developed countries," India's UN Ambassador, Nirupam Sen, told the General Assembly's special session convened to discuss the issue of climate change." (PTI)

Video: Check out Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi’s Live Earth send-up

"Air Emissions excluded from draft Climate Change Bill" - "The omission of future air travel emissions from the Government's proposals to tackle climate change is "a serious weakness", an all-party group of MPs and peers said in a report published today (Fri). The joint committee which examined the draft Climate Change Bill said it was "disappointing" that the Department for Transport had not carried out any analysis on the impact of including international aviation on UK targets." (London Telegraph)

"Sorry, but I have to fly - and I'm a greenie" - "I HAVE had a somewhat strained conversation with a family relation about plane travel. I was working for Greenpeace Australia and said there were people who resisted flying because of its implications for global warming. My relation looked at me is if I were some kind of neanderthal dark-green fanatic trying to drag civilisation back to the dark ages. You've got to be kidding me, he said. Now, I'm siding with the airline industry." (James Norman, Herald Sun)

"Let the Sun Shine In" - "Too much energy is wasted by converting it. We could cut energy use by as much as 30% in 10 years by removing some links from the energy chain" (Greg Blonder, Business Week)

"Ceramic tubes could cut greenhouse gas emissions from power stations" - "Greenhouse gas emissions from power stations could be cut to almost zero by controlling the combustion process with tiny tubes made from an advanced ceramic material, claim engineers today (3 August 2007).

The material, known as LSCF, has the remarkable property of being able to filter oxygen out of the air. By burning fuel in pure oxygen, it is possible to produce a stream of almost pure carbon dioxide, which has commercial potential for reprocessing into useful chemicals." (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

That's great except there's no useful reason to spend anything on not venting carbon dioxide to atmosphere, where it already serves a life-sustaining purpose.

"EU Car Makers Have a Long Road Ahead" - "BRUSSELS - Over the next few months, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will mull proposed limits on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the traffic that clogs up the continent's roads each day. If the experience so far this year is anything to go by, the MEPs will almost certainly be heavily lobbied by car makers determined to avoid measures that could prove vital in fighting climate change but which they deem too costly." (IPS)

"Methane found to fuel rare glass sponge reefs" - "Reef-building glass sponges were once thought to have been extinct for 100 million years. But a new live cluster of the organisms has been discovered off the west coast of the US – only the second known to exist. Furthermore, unlike the other known glass sponge reefs in Canada, the US reefs appear to be fuelled by methane." (NewScientist.com news service)

"Plum pox resistant tree deregulated" - "The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which has regulatory authority over genetically engineered organisms, has deregulated a new plum-pox resistant plum tree. This means that APHIS has determined that the genetically modified tree, named HoneySweet, is not a plant pest and will have no significant impact on other plants.

Although APHIS has deregulated more than 70 genetically engineered plants, only one other tree fruit has been deregulated, and that was papaya in 1996." (Good Fruit Grower)

"EFSA: GM feed does not affect meat" - "A new report from the European Food Safety Authority shows that there is no evidence the genetically modified (GM) animal feed can have a harmful effect on meat.

The EFSA research followed a call from the European Commission after a petition had been lodged to have meat, milk, and eggs from animals that have been fed genetically modified feed labelled. The commission wanted to know if transgenes or their products could be incorporated into animal tissues." (All About Feed)

August 2, 2007

"Can we trust gold stars to help us choose the best?" - "Do those insurance company and government ratings of our doctor and local hospitals reflect the quality of care we receive or simply how well they’re complying with cost containment and money-making mandates? Several recent articles in the news and medical literature give us cause to consider carefully what we hear and read about our healthcare providers." (Junkfood Science)

"Rise of obesity exacerbated by 'social multiplier' effects" - "Boston, Mass. – August 01, 2007 - According to a new study in Economic Inquiry, an individual’s body weight depends not just on physiology and economic circumstances, but also on average body weight of the population at large. The study is the first to quantitatively model body weight distribution based on the combined outcome of economic, biological and social influences." (Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)

"Secondhand Fat" - "A.J. Leibling, a vastly overweight journalist of the first half of the last century, used to say, perhaps in defense of his own avoirdupois, that in his youth a diplomat who weighed fewer than 250 pounds was considered untrustworthy. Shakespeare, recall, made Cassius "lean and hungry," implying, perhaps, that the want of food turned his mind to violent machinations. The painter Renoir liked his women zaftig, or plumply curvaceous. Were the women of his paintings alive today, half of them, such is the mania for slenderness, might now be practicing bulimics. Fashions in heft, like those in hems and heels and hairdos, change over time.

When I was a kid, a section of clothes in department stores was set aside for "Boys Husky." In the men's department, there was a rack for those known as "Portly," which meant they carried around an "alderman," or fairly extensive front footage. "Heavyset" was another word then much in use. Heavyset was not necessarily a bad thing to be; it suggested substantiality. To be husky, portly, heavyset implied no moral judgment. It was the way one happened to be shaped.

But no longer is weightiness acceptable. Only in the National Football League is the 300-pound interior lineman valued. Only on the National Basketball Association team is a "widebody" such as Charles Barkley or Shaquille O'Neal (two notably full-figured young men) made welcome. Everywhere else fat is not, distinctly, where it's at.

Serious heft is just now right up there with smoking among the deadly sins. The attack on the two evils has not been altogether dissimilar. In both instances, the modus operandi has been to publicize, then demonize; make being overweight, like smoking, seem a moral choice -- or, rather, an immoral one, not just bad for you but bad for everyone around you." (Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal)

"So What Did We Learn From Avandia? (Hint: The Media Are a Hazard to Public Health)" - "Take several critics of the way the FDA ensures the safety of drugs, rush a flawed study into print, characterize the results as catastrophic, rope in drug regulation warriors on Capitol Hill, rant about the evils of Big Pharma, talk to a credulous, statistically-illiterate media, and voila - you have Vioxx II, except the data ultimately got in the way of the story." (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

Crock of the day: "AWASH supports American Medical Association in the international dispute over salt" - "Chair of AWASH, Dr Bruce Neal, welcomed the AMA report which highlights the substantial public health gains that can be achieved from reductions in salt intake. “There is clear evidence that salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, translating into greatly increased risks of heart attacks and stroke,” he said.

“Not nearly enough is being done to reduce salt in people’s diets and Australians are consuming far too much. Most are eating well above the 6 grams per day recommended by the Heart Foundation of Australia. A reduction to 6 grams a day would prevent about one fifth of all strokes and heart attacks in Australia each year,” said Dr Neal." (Research Australia)

"We smell a rat: Fish and Wildlife accused of gaming the science" - "Sen. Wayne Allard leveled serious allegations of scientific and regulatory malpractice against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday, claiming in a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne that the agency waged a behind-the-scenes campaign to keep the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse on the endangered species list by ignoring or discrediting science that contradicted its regulatory wishes.

Further, the letter says agency officials conspired with outside academics and environmental groups to discredit Dr. Rob Ramey, the biologist who first challenged the mouse’s status as a subspecies, based on DNA and morphological analysis. Ramey’s findings embarrassed the agency, stirred controversy and led to a still-pending petition to de-list the mouse.

Ramey echoes some of the allegations in written testimony submitted to the House Natural Resources Committee for a hearing held Tuesday, claiming that “obfuscation, intimidation and ignoring contrary evidence have contributed to the continued ESA-listing of the Preble’s mouse subspecies.” | Testimony: Rob Roy Ramey II, Ph.D. | Wayne Allard's letter to Sec. of the Dept. of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne (Colorado Springs Gazette)

"Rainforests Slashed to Build Sets for Leo's Green Scare Movie: The Hollow Environmentalism of Leonardo DiCaprio" - "How do you explain this? Movie star Leonardo DiCaprio turns Chicken Little for the environment and makes the big movie to alert us all of pending ecological disaster. Its called the "11th Hour" and will be in theaters this August. At the same time, however, his own industry (Hollywood) is using rain forest wood to make movie sets. Yet, big movie star turned eco-warrior doesn't see that as a problem. I mean, he doesn't mention it in his film. Nor does he ever talk about it. So what gives?" (Bill Day, Counter Punch)

Still trying to herd people back to the dark ages: "Study: Toilets Need Radical Redesign" - "The Western World's dependence on flush toilets could be its environmental downfall.

Toilets that use less water, such as the "squat toilet" in which one squats over a hole in the ground, are prevalent in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, but a new historical study suggests that after decades of flushing, it will take radical innovations for the mainstream West to adopt any new system." (Corey Binns, LiveScience)

"Public Policy Meets Complexity" - "Good intentions and the urge to get something done can lead to disastrous policy. This is true for everyone. But add the power of government to compel obedience and the need for politicians to harvest votes and champion causes, the "obvious solution" can as often as not make the problem worse. When "compassionate" government "needs to do something", watch out." (Randall Hoven, American Thinker)

"Kenya: Climate change and malaria in Nairobi" - "Malaria is the most common disease in Africa's largest slum, Kibera, in Nairobi, say health workers, but at a cool altitude of about 1,700m, the capital city has long been considered a non-malarial zone.

The incidence of malaria in Nairobi and the resurgence of 'highland malaria' in several African countries have become controversial issues in debates about health and climate change.

The third assessment report, published in 2001, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, paid special attention to highland malaria. The report states that due to the life-cycle of the mosquito and its role as host of the malaria parasite, "at low temperatures, a small increase in temperature can greatly increase the risk of malaria transmission" and "future climate change may increase transmission in some highland regions, such as in East Africa".

However, the IPCC report continues, "there are insufficient historical data on malaria distribution and activity to determine the role of warming, if any, in the recent resurgence of malaria in the highlands of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia".

Furthermore, two subsequent studies drawing on weather records at several highland locations in Africa, including tea estates in Kenya's Kericho region, published in Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reach differing conclusions about whether temperatures were increasing and the occurrence of malaria.

The award-winning film by former US vice-president Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, says Nairobi used to be too cold for malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but now climate change is causing the disease to occur.

Paul Reiter, a malaria expert now with the Pasteur Institute, has taken issue both with the film and some of the IPCC reporting. In the International Herald Tribune in January, he wrote, "Gore's claim is deceitful on four counts. Nairobi was dangerously infested when it was founded; it was founded for a railway, not for health reasons; it is now fairly clear of malaria; and it has not become warmer." (IRIN)

"Uganda: Mosquito-Killing Weed Discovered" - "AS the use of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) still faces resistance from the environmentalists, researchers have discovered a weed called Polygonum Senegalese, commonly known as omufumbagyesi in Runyakitara, that can be used to spray and kill mosquitoes.

According to Prof Jacob Midiwo, the executive secretary of Natural Product Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa (Napreca), the weed can be used to spray the larvae in breeding places." (New Vision)

<chuckle> "Doubt Global Warming? Read Different News: Major U.S. Papers Less Likely Than International Counterparts To Confront Threat" - "Even diligent readers of the best U.S. newspapers will be left with a less than overwhelming feeling about the dire consequences that may result from global warming, and the firm scientific conclusion that humans have caused warming, according to an analysis in Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the media watchdog group.

Counterparts in Britain and elsewhere around the world were much more likely to print headlines and stories that framed global warming as a crisis that must be dealt with quickly to avert disaster.

The report is compelling, and damning. Here it is:" (Daily Green)

"Hot weather 'increases suicide risk'" - "Hot weather increases the risk of suicide, psychiatrists warn - as the British summer finally begins." (AOL)

And yet people survive in tropics where the temperature never falls that low, deserts, where the temperature ranges from that cited to double that cited in a single day and the intemperate temperate zones, where annual daily maximum temperature ranges might go from -20 °C to +40 °C.

"You think we've had bad weather? Just wait until next weekend" - "It would be nice, would it not, to think that the worst of the weather is over, at least until autumn starts to turn to winter? And although the forecasters are hedging their bets a bit, they are giving us grounds to hope for a long spell of late summer. But for those who like to live on the safe side, perhaps we ought to pass on a somewhat gloomier prediction. It's all going to get worse... starting this coming weekend." (Chris Benfield, Yorkshire Post)

"Lack of extreme heat a real rarity" - "As August arrives, Wichita has recorded zero days this year of temperatures reaching 100 or more.

None. Zip. Nada.

Wichita hasn't made it this far into a summer without reaching 100 since 1928. Herbert Hoover was president and the technological innovation sweeping the country was something called radio." (The Wichita Eagle)

"Flooded China warns of heatstroke, drought -- and snow?" - "BEIJING, Aug 2 - China, where more than 700 people have been killed in floods so far this summer, has now warned of the dangers of heatstroke and drought and said lightning killed a record 141 people last month." (Reuters)

"Pollution amplifies greenhouse gas warming trends to jeopardize Asian water supplies" - "Scientists have concluded that the global warming trend caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases is a major contributor to the melting of Himalayan and other tropical glaciers. Now a new analysis of pollution-filled "brown clouds" over south Asia by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego offers hope that the region may be able to arrest some of the alarming retreat of such glaciers by reducing its air pollution." (University of California - San Diego)

Is there any evidence of general Himalayan glacial retreat? Last we heard the mass balance was unclear.

"The Urban Heat Island" - "The National Weather Service Office in Las Vegas, Nevada put out a very interesting report recently documenting the change in temperatures (among other things) in that city, by decade, since the town began to grow in the 1940s. I would suspect most people would guess that the high temperatures there are warmer now than in previous years. However, take a look at this chart." (Craig James, WOOD TV)

"A New Paper On The Role of Land Surface Processes Within The Climate System Is Now Published" - "We have a new paper that further document the role of land surface processes within the climate system. It is Pielke, R.A. Sr., J. Adegoke, A. Beltran-Przekurat, C.A. Hiemstra, J. Lin, U.S. Nair, D. Niyogi, and T.E. Nobis, 2007: An overview of regional land use and land cover impacts on rainfall. Tellus B, 59, 587-601." (Climate Science)

"China Blames Climate Change for Extreme Weather" - "BEIJING - China blamed global warming on Wednesday for this year's weather extremes, which have led to more than 700 deaths from flooding and left more than seven million with little access to water." (Reuters)

Here we go again... "Rising seas swamp Torres Strait islands" - "GLOBAL warming is not just a theory in Torres Strait – it is lapping at people's doorsteps. The phenomenon is a visible reality as rising sea levels threaten to erase centuries-old island communities. Roads have been swallowed whole, buildings washed out, graveyards swamped and houses flooded in six of the most vulnerable low-lying island communities. Authorities have ordered evacuation and relocation plans for more than 2000 people who face losing their land and livelihood from the invading sea." (Courier-Mail)

  ... and it is true that islands in the region are sinking -- literally -- due to tectonic and volcanic activity but this has exactly nothing to do with gorebull warming.

"Climate change threatens Siberian forests" - "In Central Siberia alone, fires have destroyed 38 000 km2 in the extreme fire year of 2003. In that year the smoke plumes were so huge that they caused air pollution as far as in the United States. An international team of scientists believes that Siberian fires are influenced by climate change. The study was led by the Professor Heiko Balzter of the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester." (University of Leicester)

"Ignoring the meat of the global warming issue" - "We all emit greenhouse gases simply by breathing - one kilogram of carbon dioxide a day, on average, per person. Since there are six billion of us, we collectively emit more than two trillion kilograms of carbon dioxide a year. Scientists don't hold these emissions against us. What public policy options, after all, exist? Breath control?

All animals emit greenhouse gases and by comparison, humans are relatively restrained respirators. The planet's livestock animals alone, for example, breathe out three billion tonnes of CO2 a year. Livestock, indeed, emit more GHG into the atmosphere than all of the cars, freight trucks, railways, airplanes and container ships in the entire world.

In a comprehensive 400-page analysis, published last year, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) described the spiralling increase in greenhouse gases from livestock as "massive" and asserted that the world governments must urgently address the problem. It explicitly chided environmentalists for their apparent indifference. In essence, the FAO says, livestock have inherited the Earth - with disastrous consequences." (Globe and Mail)

Number of the month – 1,000 (Number Watch)

"An 'Inconvenient Truth' About the NIE" - "Who knew that supposedly peace loving, environmentally friendly defenders of the Earth (I capitalized Earth to show my support for all things green) could be so damn aggressive and hostile?" (Mike Baker, FNC)

"U.N. chief's tepid sense of urgency" - "IF YOU REALLY believe that the planet is at the tipping point on global warming and the consequences will be fatal for people around the world, especially the poor, then all industrialized nations need to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions. If the United States must sacrifice, so must China, which is fast emerging as largest producer of industrial greenhouse gases on Earth.

Yet U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, in a breakfast meeting with The Chronicle editorial board Friday, suggested that industrialized nations - read the United States - have a "historical responsibility" to cut emissions, which are "almost to the saturation point," while China and India, two superpowers that were not bound to reduce emissions as part of the 1997 Kyoto global warming pact, "have their own positions." (Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle)

"UN Rejects Big Kyoto Project in Equatorial Guinea" - "LONDON - An emissions-cutting project in Equatorial Guinea has become by far the biggest yet to fail a United Nations approval process under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming." (Reuters)

"Latvia to Take EU to Court Over CO2 Allowance Cut" - "RIGA - Latvia is to take the European Commission to court after the European Union executive decided to slash its planned carbon dioxide emission allowance for 2008 to 2012, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said on Tuesday." (Reuters)

"Climate experts call for clear programme to fight global warming" - "New York - Scientists and business leaders joined the United Nations on Wednesday to urge government leaders to provide clear guidance on future plans to tackle global warming and reduce harmful carbon emissions.

A two-day conference in the UN General Assembly - the first exclusively on global warming in the body's history - sought to foster a political consensus on the issue and drum up support for a climate change summit on September 24 to be attended by world leaders." (M&C)

"UN Climate Chief Skeptical About Global Carbon Tax" - "UNITED NATIONS - A top UN climate change official voiced doubt on Wednesday about a global tax on carbon, but said national taxes were possible and laws to cap global warming emissions were better for business. "I personally am skeptical on the notion of global carbon taxes," said Yvo de Boer, who heads the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change." (Reuters)

"UN's Climate Change Gurus Disagree on Cap and Trade in Debate that is Off-set for $2500" - "UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- A split emerged Wednesday between two of UN-world's big guns on climate change, on the relative merits of carbon trading or taxation." (Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press)

"UN Climate Change Meeting Aims at Rich Countries" - "UNITED NATIONS - The first UN special session on climate change focused on the world's rich countries on Tuesday, as policy-makers urged long-standing polluters to shoulder much of the burden for cutting greenhouse gases." (Reuters)

"Dingell takes on thorny climate issues" - "WASHINGTON — During five decades in Congress, Rep. John Dingell has brokered plenty of difficult-to-pass, sweeping pieces of legislation, from complex rules governing clean air to the protection of endangered species.

But the 81-year-old Michigan Democrat may be facing his most significant challenges yet: measures to require the auto industry to boost fuel efficiency standards and a much broader push to curb global warming later this year.

The stature of Dingell, the longest-serving current House member, could be on display this week when Congress considers an energy bill. And in the months ahead, his clout also will be tested when his Energy and Commerce Committee works on legislation to create a mandatory cap-and-trade program to curb carbon dioxide emissions." (Associated Press)

"No free lunch on emissions" - "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on a snake oil sales tour. To much fanfare, the Governator is traveling the country promoting his "California model" for fighting global warming. But he is an emperor without clothes, his vaunted California model an illusion." (Iain Murray and William Yeatman, Washington Times)

"France and UK warm to green taxes" - "France and Britain will next month press their European partners to boost environmental awareness among consumers through tax incentives." (Financial Times)

"Government Launches CO2 Car Rankings Site" - "LONDON - The Department of Transport has launched a Web site designed to let new car buyers choose the most environmentally friendly vehicle for their needs." (Reuters)

"Going nuclear" - "The industry is gearing up to build its first new plants in decades. But are we comfortable with that? Join Fortune's David Whitford on a road trip into America's nuclear future." (David Whitford, Fortune)

"UGANDA: A Dam That Activists Simply Can't Make Peace With" - "KAMPALA, Jul 31 - As preparations for construction of the Bujagali dam on the Nile River in Uganda gain momentum, a local civil society coalition is calling on the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to reconsider their decision to release funds for this hydro-electric project -- which the World Bank estimates will cost 799 million dollars." (IPS/IFEJ)

"Ethanol is a Budget Buster" - "News story after news story highlights the impact of ethanol mandates on food prices in grocery stores across America. The story line is familiar. Ethanol is made from corn, and the new federal ethanol mandate is raising demand for corn and thereby exerting an upwards pressure on the price of corn. Costlier corn, in turn, affects the price of a wide variety of groceries. For some products, like soda, corn syrup is a direct input, and higher corn prices are raising production costs. Corn is also a major feedstock for cattle, hogs, and chickens, so higher corn prices are again raising production costs for a wide array of products, such as milk, eggs, cheese, beef, pork, and poultry. " (William Yeatman, CEI)

"Food safety clash tells of trade battles ahead" - "The spat between the US and China over contaminated food exports highlights a rapidly spreading battle line in the world economy: the use of product standards to regulate, and some would say stifle, international trade.

Such "non-tariff barriers", particularly food standards, are frequently both more important and harder to eliminate than simple tariffs. Arguments frequently descend into a mire of competing scientific claims about safety and risk in which trade negotiators – let alone ministers and the general public – risk drowning in complexity. And while consumers' patriotic desire to protect domestic farmers or manufacturers requires some degree of altruism, given the higher prices this entails, fears of being poisoned by foreign food appeal directly to their self-interest." (Alan Beattie, Financial Times)

"South Africa Worried GMO Labels Could Raise Food Prices" - "CAPE TOWN - South Africa is resisting labelling its genetically modified foods because of fears it could raise prices and make food less available for consumers, a senior health official told the country's parliament on Tuesday." (Reuters)

August 1, 2007

"Tougher times for Christmas Island?" - "A decision from an Australian court would protect the Indian Ocean island's wildlife, but could ruin its economy." (The Christian Science Monitor)

"The Sad Legacy Of David Suzuki" - "A religious fervor for protecting nature has transformed Canada’s leading environmentalist into an emotional bully intolerant of scientists who don’t see things his way. Over the years I’ve heard and read statements by David Suzuki that are too often misleading or incorrect, especially about climate. He, and many like him, claim natural events are unnatural thus guaranteeing that they appear right. What he conveniently overlooks, and may have learned had he remained a scientist rather than becoming an activist, is that nature and climate frequently change dramatically and in very short time periods." (Timothy Ball, Orato)

"2007 Hurricane Season: Where's the Beef?"  -"Another milder-than-normal season takes shape

During the active 2005 hurricane season, the usual doom-and-gloom prophets blamed the storms on global warming. "Nature's wrath," we were told, "hath been unleashed". Aided by a complaisant media, we were told this was our wakeup call, come to punish us for our SUV-driving ways.

Then disaster struck. The 2006 season not only didn't live up to predictions, it wound up being one of the quietest seasons of the past century. No matter. We were told to ignore this year-long blip, told that 2007 would come roaring back with a vengeance.

And yet, here we are, two full months into the season, and not a single hurricane has formed. Not one. Just two mild tropical storms, one of which didn't even strike land, and a third storm which never went above subtropical status. Hurricane forecasters are busily downgrading their predictions for the rest of the season.

And so it goes. The sky isn't falling yet. But what about the future? Will global warming wreck all our beach-going vacations?" (Daily Tech)

"Three radically Different Versions of Central Park Temperatures" - "Our national centers regard station data as critical to measure recent climate change. The raw observations are taken from the stations then adjusted to account for local factors like site changes, changes in instrumentation, time of observation and in some cases urbanization (Karl 1988). One would think the differences would be small and that once adjusted, the data would stand the test of time.

We found that to be far from the truth by examining the data sets for our biggest city, New York City and the climate station in Central Park. We have looked at this in two separate blogs. I have combined the two and added to it in this analysis." (Joseph D’ALeo, Icecap)

"Autumn comes early" - "Holly berries are appearing in the hedgerows, conkers and apples are falling from the trees and mushrooms are springing up in the fields.

All the signs are that the briefest of brief English summers is coming to an end and autumn is already upon us.

A growing number of experts believe that this year’s unpredictable weather, which brought spring on early, then deluged Britain with record rainfall, has now taken us straight to autumn - bypassing summer altogether." (London Telegraph)

"Warm Winter Could Be On The Way" - "Brits finally enjoying some sustained summer sunshine can also look forward to a mild winter, according to Met Office forecasters. As summer finally arrives, forecasters have predicted a warm winter - which might be some consolation after the torrential rains which fell in June and July. And Met Office spokesman Barry Gromett said these back to front seasons, as well as the contrast between last year - when we had the hottest summer ever - and this year, which is shaping up to be the wettest, proved how unpredictable the weather could be. He said: "For August, I think we'll see a change, with far more settled weather, and it seems as if this might well be the start of that." (Life Style Extra)

With any variation from some arbitrary average now claimed as evidence of gorebull warming how will anyone recognize the inevitable cooling?

"No hot summer weather in August" - "BRUSSELS – The meteorological institute KMI predicts a pleasant start to August but does not expect any exceptionally warm summer weather. The month of July was normal in terms of temperature, but there was more precipitation than usual.

July was a gloomy summer month despite the normal temperatures, says Luc Debontridder of the Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI). Temperatures hovered around the normal July average of 17.1 and there were even a few days hotter than 25 degrees, especially in the Kempen area. The number of hours of sunshine was also in keeping with the monthly average for July.

Debontridder says July seemed gloomy because people instinctively compare it with the same month last year, which was the warmest month on record. "It is only logical that catering establishments on the coast are complaining about income of up to 10 percent less than last year. You shouldn't compare this summer to last year's. This is a typical Belgian summer." (Expatica)

"Greenland Trip Stokes Boxer's Global Warming Fire" - "A fact-finding trip to Greenland has renewed Sen. Barbara Boxer's desire to pass legislation aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to the senator who has been promising such legislation since early in her term as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee." (CNSNews.com)

"Corker travels to Greenland to study climate" - "Getting an energy policy in place "that is right" regardless of the impact climate change has is a goal that Sen. Bob Corker expressed upon returning from a trip to Greenland this past weekend.

But while they viewed glaciers and ice sheets that make up 10 percent of the world's fresh water, nothing he saw surprised him, saying instead it was the scientists that were the most informative.

"I am at the same place [opinion] when returning from the trip than I was going on the trip," Corker said" (Times-Gazette)

"Isakson Dismisses Climate Change Worries" - "Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia got a firsthand look at effects of global warming with a trip to Greenland, but the Georgia Republican says it hasn't convinced him that more urgent steps are needed." (WNEG News)

"The Cult of Global Warming" - "Global warming has become the apocalyptic cult of the new millennium. None of the other jeremiahs, throughout the ages, can hold an end-of-the-world candle to ozone-layer mystics prophesying climate Armageddon." (Don Feder, FrontPage Magazine)

From CO2 Science this week:

North Atlantic Hurricanes: How have they responded to the supposedly unprecedented warming of the 20th century?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Pearl River Delta, Shenzhen Bay, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tannins (Aspen): How are aspen foliage tannin concentrations affected by atmospheric CO 2 enrichment? ... and what are some of the consequences of this phenomenon?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO 2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Native Riparian Community of the United Kingdom, Soybean, Thrift Seapink, and Yellow Birch.

Journal Reviews:
9000 Years of Central European Winter Temperatures: What do they tell us about the nature of 20th-century global warming?

A 5000-Year History of Ocean and Climate Conditions Along Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada: What does it tell us about present conditions relative to those of the past? Are they as "unprecedented" as Al Gore and Jim Hansen claim they are?

Salt Lake City (USA) Urban-to-Rural CO 2 Gradient: Results from an intensive two-year study continue to enhance our knowledge of the "urban CO 2 dome" in terms of both its characteristics and multi-faceted origins.

Atmospheric CO 2 Enrichment: Fighting the Effects of Drought: Is there anything to compare with it, other than irrigation?

Breeding Food Crops to Take Advantage of Rising Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations: How great is the potential payoff in the case of rice?

Batavia, NY Temperature Record of the Week:
This issue's Temperature Record of the Week is from Batavia, NY. During the period of most significant greenhouse gas buildup over the past century, i.e., 1930 and onward, Batavia's mean annual temperature has cooled by 0.28 degrees Fahrenheit. Not much global warming here! (co2science.org)