Archives - November 2009

November 30, 2009

 

 

 

No Cap and Tax

Climategate: It’s the Totalitarianism, Stupid

Ultimately, the climate frauds were seeking power over our economies, our liberties, and our countries. (See full PJM/PJTV coverage of Climategate here.)

Most conspiracy theories are nonsense. But not all, it’s sad to say. A political machine is a successful conspiracy against the public, after all, and we’ve had machine politics in America since the 19th century. Chicago is run by a Democratic machine. Illinois is a machine state.

Those are successful and profitable conspiracies, at least for the insiders. They are dreadful for average citizens, because in a kleptocracy it is corruption that rules the streets. That is why the inner city schools in Chicago still fail their children; it is why drug gangs kill teenagers on the South Side; it is why kids have kids, and just pass on the social pathology; it is why Chicagoans who can afford it move out of the blasted neighborhoods, leaving them to gangsters and their victims; and it is why Governor Blagojevich openly demanded his share of the loot before appointing a U.S. senator to follow Obama.

It is no comfort to know that Barack Obama rose to power in the hustler world of Chicago politics and that Mayor Daley, Michelle Obama, and Valerie Jarrett, all faithful creatures of the machine, decided on all the appointments in this administration.

So what about the Climategate fiasco, the Watergate scandal of our age and time? Well, the global warming fraud is simply machine politics on the international level. Mark Steyn has coined the word “tranzi” for the transnational left that runs the UN, the European Union, most European capitals, and both left coasts of the United States. Tranzis are the political machine of our time.

The good news is that “anthropogenic global warming” — the most costly and widespread scientific fraud in history — just crumbled to fairy dust. We have emails from some of the biggest malefactors to prove it. (James Lewis, PJM)

 

Why 'climategate' won't stop greens

If you're wondering how the robot-like march of the world's politicians towards Copenhagen can possibly continue in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed "climategate," it's because Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don't give a s*** about "the science."

They never have.

What "climategate" suggests is many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't either. Apparently they stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.

Now they and their media shills -- who sneered that all who questioned their phony "consensus" were despicable "deniers," the moral equivalent of those who deny the Holocaust -- are the ones in denial about the enormity of the scandal enveloping them.

So they desperately try to portray it as the routine "messy" business of science, lamely insisting, "nothing to see here folks, move along."

Before the Internet -- which has given ordinary people a way to fight back against the received wisdom of so-called "wise elites" -- they might have gotten away with it.

But not now, as knowledgeable climate bloggers are advancing the story and forcing the co-opted mainstream media to cover a scandal most would rather ignore.

The problem, however, is those who hijacked science to predict a looming Armageddon unless we do exactly as they say, have already done their damage.

The moment they convinced politicians the way to avert the End of Days was to put a price on emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green was forged.

Big Government wants more of your taxes. Big Business wants more of your income. Big Green wants you and your children to bow down to its agenda of enforced austerity.

What about saving the planet, you ask? This was never about saving the planet. This is about money and power. Your money. Their power. (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)

 

My Top 10 Annoyances in the Climate Change Debate

Well, maybe not my top 10…but the first ten that I thought of. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Vincent Gray on Climategate: ‘There Was Proof of Fraud All Along’ (PJM Exclusive)

IPCC expert reviewer Gray — whose 1,898 comments critical of the 2007 report were ignored — recently found that proof of the fraud was public for years.

Nothing about the revelations surprises me. I have maintained email correspondence with most of these scientists for many years, and I know several personally. I long ago realized that they were faking the whole exercise.

When you enter into a debate with any of them, they always stop cold when you ask an awkward question. This applies even when you write to a government department or a member of Parliament. I and many of my friends have grown accustomed to our failure to publish and to lecture, and to the rejection of our comments submitted prior to every IPCC report.

But only recently did I realize that I had evidence of their fraud in my possession almost from the birth of my interest in the subject. (Vincent Gray, PJM)

 

Mark Steyn: Cooking the books on climate

My favorite moment in the Climategate/Climaquiddick scandal currently roiling the "climate change" racket was Stuart Varney's interview on Fox News with the actor Ed Begley Jr., star of the 1980s medical drama "St Elsewhere" but latterly better known, as is the fashion with members of the thespian community, as an "activist." He's currently in a competition with Bill Nye ("the Science Guy") to see who can have the lowest "carbon footprint." Pistols at dawn would seem the quickest way of resolving that one, but presumably you couldn't get a reality series out of it. Anyway, Ed was relaxed about the mountain of documents recently leaked from Britain's Climate Research Unit, in which the world's leading climate-change warm-mongers e-mail each other back and forth on how to "hide the decline" and other interesting matters.

Nothing to worry about, folks. "We'll go down the path and see what happens in peer-reviewed studies," said Ed airily. "Those are the key words here, Stuart. 'Peer-reviewed studies.'"

Hang on. Could you say that again more slowly so I can write it down? Not to worry. Ed said it every 12 seconds, as if it were the magic charm that could make all the bad publicity go away. He wore an open-necked shirt, and, although I don't have a 76-inch HDTV, I wouldn't have been surprised to find a talismanic peer-reviewed amulet nestling in his chest hair for additional protection. "If these scientists have done something wrong, it will be found out and their peers will determine it," insisted Ed. "Don't get your information from me, folks, or any newscaster. Get it from people with Ph.D. after their names. 'Peer-reviewed studies' is the key words. And if it comes out in peer-reviewed studies."

Got it: Pier-reviewed studies. You stand on the pier, and you notice the tide seems to be coming in a little higher than it used to and you wonder if it's something to do with incandescent light bulbs killing the polar bears? Is that how it works? (Orange County Register)

 

Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation - Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash, says Christopher Booker

A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement. (Christopher Booker, TDT)

 

Cleaning Out the Climate Science Cesspool

As legions of scientists, activists, journalists, bureaucrats and politicians prepare to embark for Copenhagen, a predictable barrage of climate horrors has been unleashed, to advance proposals to slash hydrocarbon use and carbon dioxide emissions, restrict economic growth, and implement global governance and taxation.

CO2 has reached a new high (0.0385% of the atmosphere), we’re told, because of cars and “coal-fired factories of death.” Rising seas are forcing families to “flee their homes.” Oceans are becoming “toxic.” Climate change is driving Philippine women into prostitution. Higher temperatures will “increase the likelihood of civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa” and “bring human civilization to a screeching halt.” The Associated Press, BBC and other “mainstream” media dutifully regurgitate every press release.

However, the planet and science are not cooperating with the fear-mongering. There has been no statistically significant global warming for over a decade, despite steadily increasing CO2 levels – and for several years average annual global temperatures have actually declined.

Carbon dioxide plays only a minor role, many scientists now say, and our climate is still controlled by the same natural forces that caused previous climate changes: periodic shifts in ocean currents and jet streams, water vapor and cloud cover, evaporation and precipitation, planetary alignments and the shape of the Earth’s orbit, the tilt and wobble of Earth’s axis, cosmic ray levels and especially solar energy output.

Far worse for the Climate Armageddon movement, newly released emails from its leading scientists reveal a cesspool of intimidation, duplicity and fraud that could rock Copenhagen and the alarmist agenda to their core. The emails cast deepening suspicion over global warming data, science and models. ( Paul Driessen, Townhall)

 

UK Prove It! poll – still taking votes

From WUWT Tips and Notes comments by Robert E. Phelan:

Ric Werme has been tracking the Science Museum “Prove It!” poll since October 29th here:

http://wermenh.com/proveit.html

Starting November 2 the “count-me-in” votes have substantially outnumbered the “count-me-out” votes, although the outs have remained ahead in the over-all tally. Since November 24th the daily count has begun to favor the “outs” again. It looks like Climategate is starting to have an effect.

For those who may not yet know the story behind the poll and the ups and downs, WUWT has a nice thread here: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row

Leading British scientists at the University of East Anglia, who were accused of manipulating climate change data - dubbed Climategate - have agreed to publish their figures in full. (TDT)

 

CRU on Global Temperature Data

The Times had an article yesterday reporting the old news that CRU did not have in its possession the original station data from some locations that comprise its global temperature index. I am quoted in the Times article as follows:

“The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.
The quote comes from a blog post I put up last August when CRU announced that it did not have some of the original station data. Here is the full context of my quote:
CRU has in response to requests for its data put up a new webpage [NOTE: Apparently this page is no longer up on the CRU emergency server] with the following remarkable admission (emphasis added):
We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value. Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.
Say what?! CRU has lost track of the original data that it uses to create its global temperature record!? Can this be serious? So not only is it now impossible to replicate or reevaluate homogeneity adjustments made in the past -- which might be important to do as new information is learned about the spatial representativeness of siting, land use effects, and so on -- but it is now also impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. CRU is basically saying, "trust us." So much for settling questions and resolving debates with empirical information (i.e., science).
Today I received an email from a climate scientist of CRU-email fame complaining about my quote in the Times. He says that the national meteorological services have the original data, suggesting that I was misrepresenting the situation. I replied to him as follows:
I would suspect that there are some very profound disciplinary differences in the handling of data here between the community I am from and yours. If, for instance, an economic research unit were releasing analyses of global economic activity in support of policy claimed to not hold the original country data -- instead saying, well the countries have it -- that would be highly problematic.

My advice to you and your colleagues is that the defense that you present in your email to me is not a very good one. Rather, I suggest instead being open and simply saying that in the 1980s and even 1990s no one could have known that maintaining this data in its original form would have been necessary. Since it was not done, then efforts should be made to collect it and make it available (which I see CRU is doing). Ultimately, that will probably mean an open-source global temperature record will be created. If you believe -- and I see no reason to suspect otherwise -- that such an open-source analysis will confirm the work of Jones et al., then you should be welcoming it with open arms.
Obviously, CRU should have taken these steps long before the present circumstances, but regardless, they are now moving towards greater responsiveness and transparency. When the data is available in its original form those skeptical of climate science can then do the temperature math themselves out in the open where everyone can see their work. If the global numbers come out as CRU has presented over the years, then it will strike a blow to skepticism about global temperature trend records produced by CRU and restore a good deal of credibility to this area of climate science. At that point, the fellow who emailed me and his colleagues can rightly boast of their integrity and say "told ya so." Until then, a defensive, circle-the-wagons approach is probably not the best course of action. But old habits die hard. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Climategate --The investigations begin

Penn State University has announced that it has begun an investigation of the work of Michael Mann, the director of its Earth System Science Center, following revelations contained in the Climategate documents that have emerged from East Anglia University in the UK. This decision follows close on the heels of a decision Saturday at East Anglia University to release climate change related data, a reversal of its previous stance. In addition, according to East Anglia’s press office, it will soon be announcing details of its own investigation.

The announcement of the chair of the East Anglia inquiry and its terms of reference are expected to be made Monday.

Here is the full Penn State announcement:

University Reviewing Recent Reports on Climate Information

Professor Michael Mann is a highly regarded member of the Penn State faculty conducting research on climate change. Professor Mann’s research papers have been published in well respected peer-reviewed scientific journals. In November 2005, Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) convene a panel of independent experts to investigate Professor Mann’s seminal 1999 reconstruction of the global surface temperature over the past 1,000 years. The resulting 2006 report of the NAS panel ( http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676 ) concluded that Mann’s results were sound and has been subsequently supported by an array of evidence that includes additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions.

In recent days a lengthy file of emails has been made public. Some of the questions raised through those emails may have been addressed already by the NAS investigation but others may not have been considered. The University is looking into this matter further, following a well defined policy used in such cases. No public discussion of the matter will occur while the University is reviewing the concerns that have been raised. (Financial Post)

 

The great climate change science scandal

Leaked emails have revealed the unwillingness of climate change scientists to engage in a proper debate with the sceptics who doubt global warming (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

 

Climate change data dumped

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation. (Jonathan Leake, Sunday Times)

 

Climategate: Time to postpone Copenhagen

Things are “starting to unravel at the AGW seams,” because, apparently, the “dog ate the homework” – more specifically the temperature data on which the whole global warming “can of worms” depends. Yes, three clichés in one sentence, yet somehow apropos for this unraveling fiasco that every day becomes more eye-rolling. Today’s unraveling – intentionally saved, I am assuming, for the weekend – comes from the Timesonline:

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

Not to worry. Carol Browner – Obama’s climate czar – assures us that global warming science is “settled.” And Carol should know. She has a B. A. in English from the University of Florida, not to mention a law degree from the same institution. (Pop quiz, Carol. What’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics? How about Einstein’s Unified Field Theory? Oh, never mind.) (Roger L. Simon, PJM)

 

Global Warming Fraud and the Future of Science

The East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) revelations come as no real surprise to anyone who has closely followed the global-warming saga. The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) thesis, to give it its semi-official name, is no stranger to fraud. It is no real exaggeration to state that it was fertilized with fraud, marinated in fraud, stewed in fraud, and at last served up to the world as prime, grade-A fraud with nice side orders of fakery and disingenuousness. Damning as they may be, the CRU e-mails are merely the climactic element in an exhaustively long line. (J.R. Dunn, American Thinker)

 

Reuter-wash: A division of the IPCC PR machine?

INTERVIEW-Climate science untarnished by hacked emails-IPCC

The IPCC says ClimateGate doesn’t change anything. (Well Shock Me! Really?)

Source: Reuters

Imagine if a politician called “Jones” had been caught emailing a colleague saying “Delete all those files. Don’t tell anyone about that off-shore tax haven I have. Burn those receipts, ask Keith to burn his too and I’ll let Casper know. By the way, I’ve used that accounting trick Mike talked about to hide the money.”

Let Reuter-wash swing into gear and the “news” article would blandly say Jones’ emails were “seized upon by his opponents, showing he made snide comments, and talked about ways to present his accounts in the most favourable light”. In other words, Reuters wouldn’t mention that he’s  been caught red-handed and implicated as a colluding fraud who squandered funds and mislead the public. What’s really newsworthy is that he’s been exposed being not-very-nice, and glossing up his reports. Would we sack those journalists? We couldn’t. But we could cancel our subscriptions and just go searching blogs for the real news. (JoNova)

 

AGW Belief Has Eaten My Newspaper!

(Letter sent to the International Herald Tribune)

> From: Maurizio Morabito
> To: letters@iht.com
> Cc: Subs@iht.com
> Sent: Thu, November 26, 2009 9:39:16 AM
> Subject: Missing pages in my IHT newspaper

Dear Editors

I wish to report a case of missing pages in the IHT I have received for the past couple of days.

A[s] I am sure you know very well, the revelations about the ’scientific’ practices at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have been causing disconcert and not just among so-called skeptics.

The internal computing code notes about a futile multi-year quest to replicate their own results looks especially worthy of a good journalistic investigation. Could it really be true, that the multi-billion-dollar climate-change bandwagon might be based on computational practices that would have made Enron’s Ken Lay proud?

That’s why I am sure you have been dedicating many pages to the topic and I have just been unlucky as those pages were not included so far in my paper.

So please send them along. I know you have published a piece by NYT’s Andy Revkin a couple of days ago. That is the same Revkin that appears to be treated as a credulous media tool in a couple of the leaked emails, so forgive me if I skip his future contributions if any (as they will be the product either of personal anger or further credulosity).

Please do not betray the trust of this longtime subscriber. I really cannot believe the naysayers claiming you have been silent on this topic because afraid of the legal implications of those emails and other documents among the leaks.

Regards

Maurizio Morabito (OmniClimate)

 

The Economist Magazine Gets It Wrong Again On The Climate Issue

The Economist magazine issue of November 29th has an article titled “ Mail-strom – Leaked e-mails do not show climate scientists at their best“  [subscription required] which is an example of a media outlet that is seeking to trivialize the importance of the leaked e-mails. Examples of their failure to understand the importance of these e-mails is given in their text, excerpts of which I present below:

“IS GLOBAL warming a trick?”

“The result has been a field day for those sceptical of the idea of man-made climate change…”

“…..the scientists are looking tribal and jumpy, and that sceptics have leapt so eagerly on such tiny scraps as proof of a conspiracy.”

The article fails to recognize that even scientists who accept a major role of humans within the climate system are disparaged by the authors in the e-mails (e.g. I was the scientist referred to in the Economist article as a “prat“), and have been excluded from presenting alternative perspectives on the climate issue (e.g. see). 

Despite the attempt to trivialize by the Economist, the issue which has been exposed by the released e-mails are that there are three distinct fundamentally different  perspectives on the role of humans in the climate system. (Climate Science)

 

Stephanopoulos: ClimateGate Complicates Copenhagen for Obama

ABC's George Stephanopoulos actually brought up the ClimateGate scandal as a topic for discussion during the Roundtable segment on Sunday's "This Week."

As NewsBusters has been reporting since this story broke more than a week ago, television news outlets have been quite disinterested in the controversy now growing with each passing day.

Breaking this trend, Stephanopoulos aggressively waded into this seemingly verboten subject by mentioning how it complicates President Obama's trip to "Copenhagen to deal with climate change."

George Will of course agreed saying that the release of these e-mail messages raises a serious question about why America should "wager trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven."

Not surprisingly, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman found "not a single smoking gun" in those e-mail messages (video in two parts embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary by myself and others involved in this debate): (Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters)

 

Skewed science

A French scientist’s temperature data show results different from the official climate science. Why was he stonewalled? Climate Research Unit emails detail efforts to deny access to global temperature data

The global average temperature is calculated by climatologists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The temperature graph the CRU produces from its monthly averages is the main indicator of global temperature change used by the International Panel on Climate Change, and it shows a steady increase in global lower atmospheric temperature over the 20th century. Similar graphs for regions of the world, such as Europe and North America, show the same trend. This is consistent with increasing industrialization, growing use of fossil fuels, and rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

It took the CRU workers decades to assemble millions of temperature measurements from around the globe. The earliest measurements they gathered came from the mid 19th century, when mariners threw buckets over the side of their square riggers and hauled them up to measure water temperature. Meteorologists increasingly started recording regular temperature on land around the same time. Today they collect measurements electronically from national meteorological services and ocean-going ships. (Phil Green, Financial Post)

 

How “The Trick” was pulled off

by Steve McIntyre

Figure 3. Blowup of IPCC Figure 2-21.

For the benefit of new readers, we discussed some aspects of the “trick” at Climate Audit in the past. Obviously, the Climategate Letters clarify many things that were murky in the past. On the left is a blowup of IPCC 2001 Fig 2.21 showing where the Briffa reconstruction (green) ends. More on this below.

Figure 1 below is the original graphic showing the MBH98-99, Jones et al 1998 and Briffa 2000 temperature reconstructions. I think that it’s fair to say that this graphic gives a strong rhetorical impression of the proxy reconstructions all going up throughout the 20th century, lending credibility to the idea that the “proxy” reconstructions would also be responsive to past warm periods – and obviously not giving any “fodder to the skeptics” by revealing the divergence between the Briffa reconstruction and temperatures. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

A heated debate: Why political orthodoxy must not silence scientific argument

“WHAT is truth?” That was Pontius Pilate’s answer to Jesus’s assertion that “Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” It sounds suspiciously like the modern argument over climate change.

A majority of the world’s climate scientists have convinced themselves, and also a lot of laymen, some of whom have political power, that the Earth’s climate is changing; that the change, from humanity’s point of view, is for the worse; and that the cause is human activity, in the form of excessive emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. A minority, though, are sceptical. Some think that recent, well-grounded data suggesting the Earth’s average temperature is rising are explained by natural variations in solar radiation, and that this trend may be coming to an end. Others argue that longer-term evidence that modern temperatures are higher than they have been for hundreds or thousands of years is actually too flaky to be meaningful.

Such disagreements are commonplace in science. They are eventually settled by the collection of more data and the invention of more refined (or entirely new) theories. Arguments may persist for decades; academics may—and often do—sling insults at each other; but it does not matter a great deal because the stakes are normally rather low.

The stakes in the global-warming debate, however, could scarcely be higher. (The Economist)

 

Getting it partly right, at least: Secrecy in science is a corrosive force

By Michael Schrage

With no disrespect to sausages and laws, Bismarck’s most famous aphorism clearly requires updating. “Scientific research” is bidding furiously to make the global shortlist of things one should not see being made.

Understandably so. Sciences at the cutting edge of statistics and public policy can make blood sports seem genteel. Scientists aggressively promoting pet hypotheses often relish the opportunity to marginalise and neutralise rival theories and exponents.

The malice, mischief and Machiavellian manoeuvrings revealed in the illegally hacked megabytes of emails from the University of East Anglia’s prestigious Climate Research Unit, for example, offers a useful paradigm of contemporary scientific conflict. Science may be objective; scientists emphatically are not. This episode illustrates what too many universities, professional societies, and research funders have irresponsibly allowed their scientists to become. Shame on them all.

The source of that shame is a toxic mix of institutional laziness and complacency. Too many scientists in academia, industry and government are allowed to get away with concealing or withholding vital information about their data, research methodologies and results. That is unacceptable and must change. (Financial Times)

 

Yeah, sure... Inquiry into stolen climate e-mails

Details of a university inquiry into e-mails stolen from scientists at one of the UK's leading climate research units are likely to be made public next week.

Announcement of a chair of the inquiry and terms of reference will probably be made on Monday, a source says.

The University of East Anglia's (UEA) press office did not confirm the date. ( Roger Harrabin, BBC)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Google’s climate ‘scholars’

Methods used to tabulate the number of experts who are skeptical of climate change leave something to be desired

There you go,” concluded Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC’s morning radio show, The Current. “According to Jim Prull’s database, of the 615 scientists who published papers on climate change, the skeptics are outnumbered 601 to 14.”

Case closed, she was saying, after Prull, a computer network manager, explained how anyone can use a spreadsheet and Google Scholar searches to separate the real climate experts from the phony ones. Just key someone’s name into Google Scholar if you think he’s a scientist and see how often he has been cited. Those who aren’t cited much have little scientific credibility, CBC’s national audience was told, and those who are cited a lot have lots. Not once during her interview of Prull did Tremonti question Prull’s methodology or his premises or his results.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Terence Corcoran: All policy is now climate policy

Copenhagen and the art of looking committed

Copenhagen (pop. 1.7 million) is the capital of Denmark (pop. 5.3 million). Unless you are from Mars, you also know that Copenhagen is about to be transmogrified from being a dullish euro capital with a cute mermaid in the harbour into a grand global symbol of climate change with dead policies in the harbour. Just as Kyoto used to be a city in Japan before it became the brand name of a failed global warming protocol, the same fate appears to await Copenhagen.

The two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference doesn’t begin in Copenhagen until Dec. 7, but the meeting is already dominating international news agendas and driving political strategists and corporate schemers all over the world.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

McIntyre: The deleted data from the “Hide the Decline” trick

By Steve McIntyre from his camirror.wordpress.com site.

For the very first time, the Climategate Letters “archived” the deleted portion of the Briffa MXD reconstruction of “Hide the Decline” fame – see here. Gavin Schmidt claimed that the decline had been “hidden in plain sight” (see here. ). This isn’t true.

The post-1960 data was deleted from the archived version of this reconstruction at NOAA here and not shown in the corresponding figure in Briffa et al 2001. Nor was the decline shown in the IPCC 2001 graph, one that Mann, Jones, Briffa, Folland and Karl were working in the two weeks prior to the “trick” email (or for that matter in the IPCC 2007 graph, an issue that I’ll return to.)

A retrieval script follows.

For now, here is a graphic showing the deleted data in red.
Figure 1. Two versions of Briffa MXD reconstruction, showing archived and climategate versions. The relevant IPCC 2001 graph, shown below, clearly does not show the decline in the Briffa MXD reconstruction.

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

The Climate E-mails and the Politics of Science

Ivan Kenneally

For years, the left has spun the debate over global warming in the starkest Manichean terms. Those who disagree with the scientific and policy orthodoxy have been maligned as greedy capitalists bent on raping the earth of its natural resources for cheap material gain; they have been cast as the benighted enemies of reason itself. Efforts to publicly challenge the science behind global warming have too often resulted in professional and political character assassination. To be skeptical about the fashionable scientific and policy platform aggressively advocated by the mainstream media and self-indulgently championed by the Hollywood elite is nothing less than an “assault on reason,” to borrow Al Gore’s hyperbolic rhetoric. In predictably technocratic fashion, the left has claimed its own peculiar position as the only scientifically legitimate one—everything else reduces to craven interest, manifest dishonesty, or antiquarian faith.

However, maintaining this self-serving narrative just got a lot harder. In the last few days, the cause of climate alarmism took a big hit when more than a thousand e-mails exchanged by scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) suddenly surfaced online. These e-mails were published by the computer hackers who apparently stole them, a crime that should be investigated and prosecuted. But notwithstanding the e-mails’ route to publication, their actual content is extraordinary. These behind-the-scenes discussions among leading global-warming exponents are remarkable both in their candor and in their sheer contempt for scientific objectivity. There can be little doubt after even a casual perusal that the scientific case for global warming and the policy that springs from it are based upon a volatile combination of political ideology, unapologetic mendacity, and simmering contempt for even the best-intentioned disagreement. Especially in anticipation of the major climate summit taking place in Copenhagen next month, the significance of this explosive disclosure is hard to underestimate. According to climatologist Patrick J. Michaels, “This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud.”

The evidence of scientific dishonesty supplied by these communications is so copious it’s hard to know where to begin an attempt to describe them. Many of the e-mails brazenly discuss the manipulation of scientific data either to provide the appearance of greater support for global warming science or to undermine the claims of skeptics. For example, CRU scholar Timothy J. Osborn explicitly describes how data can be reconfigured so that evidence of an apparent cooling period disappears. His colleague Tom Wigley discusses recasting the data on sea-surface temperatures so that the results seem considerably warmer but also scientifically plausible. The director of CRU, Phil Jones, brags about his use of eminent climatologist Michael Mann’s “Nature trick” which deliberately confuses scientific data to “hide the decline” in current temperatures. (New Atlantic)

 

Zorita calls for barring Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and Stefan Rahmstorf from further IPCC participation

From his web page: Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process

by Eduardo Zorita, Scientist at the Institute for Coastal Research, specialist in Paleoclimatology, Review Editor of Climate Research and IPCC co-author.

Short answer: because the scientific assessments in which they may take part are not credible anymore.

A longer answer: My voice is not very important. I belong to the climate-research infantry, publishing a few papers per year, reviewing a few manuscript per year and participating in a few research projects. I do not form part of important committees, nor I pursue a public awareness of my activities. My very minor task in the public arena was to participate as a contributing author in the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication. My area of research happens to be the climate of the past millennia, where I think I am appreciated by other climate-research ’soldiers’. And it happens that some of my mail exchange with Keith Briffa and Timothy Osborn can be found in the CRU-files made public recently on the internet. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

UEA Climate Scientist: “possible that…I.P.C.C. has run its course”

This is a surprise. Professor Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia suggests that the “I.P.C.C. has run its course”. I agree with him. We really need to remove a wholly political organization, the United Nations, from science.

Republished from New York Times Reporter Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth:

Dot Earth: Insights from Mike Hulme at the University of East Anglia, which was the source of the disclosed files. Hulme, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia and author of “ Why We Disagree About Climate Change,” has weighed in with these thoughts about the significance of the leaked files and emails. In November 2009, Hulme was listed as “the 10th most cited author in the world in the field of climate change, between 1999 and 2009. (ScienceWatch, Nov/Dec 2009, see Table 2).

Hulme Key Excerpt:

[Upcoming UN climate conference in Copenhagen] “is about raw politics, not about the politics of science. [...] It is possible that climate science has become too partisan, too centralized. The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display is something more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures; it is not attractive when we find it at work inside science. It is also possible that the institutional innovation that has been the I.P.C.C. has run its course. Yes, there will be an AR5 but for what purpose? The I.P.C.C. itself, through its structural tendency to politicize climate change science, has perhaps helped to foster a more authoritarian and exclusive form of knowledge production – just at a time when a globalizing and wired cosmopolitan culture is demanding of science something much more open and inclusive.

Full Hulme Statement: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Lord Monckton: Shut Down The UN, Arrest Al Gore

Appearing on The Alex Jones Show yesterday, Lord Christopher Monckton went further than ever before in his vehement opposition to the elitists running the climate change scam, calling for the UN to be shut down and for fraudulent peddlers of global warming propaganda like Al Gore to be arrested and criminally prosecuted.

Monckton said that those who are threatening to shut down economies, bankrupt nations, and deepen the problems of the third world by implementing draconian policies in the name of global warming should be indicted, prosecuted and imprisoned “for a very long time”.

“The fraudsters and racketeers from Al Gore to the people at the University of East Anglia who have been making their fortune at the expense of taxpayers and the little guy,” should be criminally charged, said Monckton, in response to the climategate scandal.

“We the people have got to rise up worldwide, found a party in every country which stands for freedom and make sure we fight this bureaucratic communistic world government monster to a standstill – they shall not pass,” he added. (Paul Joseph Watson, Prison Planet.com)

 

From Warmergate to Copenhagen Storms Gather over Global Warming

Just over a week ago, violent storm clouds swept over scientists working in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The ‘Warmergate Scandal’ had broken.

On a Russian web site there appeared a decade of their personal e-mails sent to colleagues around the world. It seemed that a malevolent hacker had broken into one of their computer servers and stolen a vast amount of data. One can imagine what they must have felt. How many of us, I wonder, would like to have our e-mails out there in the Cloud for all to read?

But this was worse, because the people involved were leading climate scientists, some of the key players in establishing ‘global warming’, the controversial thesis that it is our greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, that are the main driving force behind present-day climate change. They knew they had critics desperate to prove them wrong, who would be only too delighted to finger through their dirty linen now hanging in the public domain. (Clamour of the Times)

 

Hansen: “The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach” – “must be exposed.”

There’s an essay by Dr. James Hansen in the Guardian, the header of which is shown below. Next time people accuse of “big oil” connections for skeptics, point out that the most pro-agw newspaper on the planet is pushing Shell Oil ads.

That distraction aside, Dr. Hansen has some stunning things to say, excerpts below. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Pascal’s Wager and Global Warming

Writing in today’s The Times (‘I’m with Blaise Pascal when it comes to betting on climate change’, Saturday Review, p.4), Antonia Senior interrogates the question: Is it a better ‘bet’ to believe in ‘global warming’ [she really means ‘global warming’, and not climate change, in which everybody must believe] than not to do so? Can we apply the game theory of Pascal’s gambit, or logic, to ‘global warming’?

I am often challenged publicly with the same questions. Accordingly, I thought it might be of value to examine these propositions in more depth here, especially as I would argue that Antonia, in her thoughtful piece, has not got it quite right. (Clamour of the Times)

 

The rise of the Carbon Fat Cats

The ‘carbon market’ – trading in an invisible gas which cannot be used – has involved the redistribution of resources to unproductive green pursuits and the creation of a vast bureaucracy. Let’s bring it down before it gets any bigger. (Josie Appleton, sp!ked)

 

Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade

Market could be worth $3tn a year but enthusiasm to place it at heart of Copenhagen is matched by growing criticism of concept (Terry Macalister, The Guardian)

That's $3 trillion of your money they are talking about, stolen from the pockets of taxpayers and consumers everywhere, at every stage of manufacture, transport and consumption, even at end of product life disposal it will cost you.

 

Carbon capture costs show folly of idea - Spending billions won't even make a dent in problem

Ten thousand years from now, an archeologist will mount the platform at an academic conference to reveal the findings of his research team's latest dig -except, of course, he won't be at a physical gathering of other academics. (How 21st Century!) He'll be on a virtual platform and his team won't actually have had to dig anything up; they will merely have sent nanobots underground to analyze what's buried.

After much clearing of throat, our future PhD will announce he has discovered beneath Alberta a vast labyrinth of pipes and pumps, relays and reservoirs designed to store millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide underground.

The first reaction of his audience will be stunned silence. But after a few seconds' hush, they will break into gales of laughter.

Our earnest professor will attempt to continue, but someone will rise up from the back of the electronic hall and call out, "Hey, you mean they pumped air into the dirt?Oh, please. Who's going to believe that!"

Still, that is what the Alberta government intends to do, spend billions over the next 15 years to capture carbon emissions from industrial plants and pump it into holes in the ground. (Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Journal)

 

Protecting the Forests, and Hoping for Payback

SISTERS, Ore. — A patch of ponderosa pines here in the Deschutes National Forest has been carefully pruned over the last few years to demonstrate the United States Forest Service’s priorities in the changing West: improving forest health and protecting against devastating wildfire while still supporting the timber economy.

Yet occasionally, when tour groups come through, someone will ask what role the trees might play as the nation addresses global warming. After all, forests soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.

“We’ve always said that’s outside the scope of this project,” said Michael Keown, the environmental coordinator for the Sisters Ranger District, which includes more than 300,000 acres in the Deschutes forest in central Oregon. “But those days have come and gone.”

The giant evergreens of the West have long been proclaimed essential, whether the cause was saving salmon and spotted owls or small towns and their sawmills. Now, with evidence showing that American forests store 15 percent or more of the carbon gases produced in the nation, expectations are growing for them to do even more.

Over the next 50 years or so, experts say, some forests could be cultivated to grow bigger, more resilient trees, potentially increasing their carbon storage by 50 percent and providing an important “bridge” to a time when the nation will theoretically have shifted away from greenhouse-gas producing fossil fuels. (NYT)

 

Climate Change Does NOT Push Women into Prostitution

by Nicole Kurokawa

The United Nations Food Population Fund recently issued a new report warning that climate change pushes women into prostitution.

From GMA News:

Suneeta Mukherjee, country representative of the United Nations Food Population Fund (UNFPA), said women in the Philippines are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the country.

"Climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing, possibly driving some women into sex work and thereby increase HIV infection," Mukherjee said during the Wednesday launch of the UNFPA annual State of World Population Report in Pasay City.

Although this is a tragic tale, and one with a clear-cut solution (stop climate change! Cut emissions now!) it's not really true. The world's poor are stuck in their permanent underclass status because they don't have better opportunities available, and have a limited number of (sometimes unsavory) professions to choose from.

Mine Your Own Business, a great movie by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McIlhenney, documents how environmentalists - bent on preserving the environment and what they perceive to be an indigenous way of life - have actually prevented economic development that would provide the world's poor with real, sustainable options. In trying to maintain the "quaintness" of rural areas, they deprive the poor of the choice to improve their lot. Nobody wants to be poor - but in many cases, they don't have the chance to become anything else. Of course, this creates a big market for development professionals to distribute aid to needy people... but I digress.


What do poor women really need? They need infrastructure to get goods to market. They need microloans to give them the seed capital to start their own businesses. They need education. They don't need the UN lecturing them about slowing population growth rates and bureaucratic reports on population dynamics.

(PS: Check out the Heritage Foundation's guide to 100 storylines blamed on global warming.) (Independent Women's Forum)

 

Under heat, climate-change contrarian won't wilt

The controversial Bjorn Lomborg doesn't deny global warming. But he believes it's ‘an incredibly bad deal' to spend so much money on cutting carbon emissions, he tells John Allemang (Globe and Mail)

Um... what heat?

 

How wrong can you get? Climate Change Is Victim Of 'Tragedy Of The Commons'

One reason it is so hard to slash carbon emissions is that climate change occurs globally. The countries that produce the most greenhouse gas all need to take action to fix the problem. That raises a classic economic dilemma called the tragedy of the commons. ( David Kestenbaum, NPR)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions are the reverse case of a tragedy of the commons since increasing CO2 actively feeds the commons, nourishing green plants and reducing their water requirement, increasing crop and forage production and sparing the need for more wildlands to go under the plow. It is not a tragedy but an extremely fortunate accident that a byproduct of fossil fuel use is so generally beneficial.

 

The inconvenient truths Mr Gore and his fanatical friends DIDN'T tell you about climate change

As it happens I was Green before the word came to mean what it does now.

From a very early age, I hated the ploughing up of this country for the motor car, and grieved at the mad closure of the railways, a view that has now become much more widespread than it was then.

I began bicycling to work before bike lanes had been invented, when Boris Johnson was still at Eton.

To this day I get a sort of red mist when I see great trees being cut down by over-cautious councils, and I gaze with limitless regret on the bleak prairies of Southern England, where hedgerows once grew.

If I can take a ship and a train rather than a plane, I will do. 

So it’s no use trying to dismiss me as some kind of petrolhead polluter who wants to cover the planet with runways and motorways, nor to allege I’m in the pay of Big Oil, when I say that I doubt the existence of man-made global warming.

I just doubt it because I am not convinced it’s true. Actually, now that Big Oil has bought into the man-made warming scare itself, I generally get even cruder abuse, being called a ‘denier’ as if I were some kind of Nazi.

And if I mention my doubts at public occasions, I can feel the swelling wrath of the unreasoning mob gathering against me.

There’s seldom time to make more than a few points before you are howled down by righteous zealots. 

And that is why I, and anyone seriously interested in this subject, owes a great debt to Christopher Booker, who has set down all the arguments for doubt in a single, concise book that will no doubt be either ignored or abused. (Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail)

 

Pre-CoP15 crap: Marine scientists issue call to arms after devastating report

MORE than 70 Australian marine scientists have called for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the release of the first report card on the impact of climate change on the marine environment.

Oceans around the continent have warmed and become more acidic and the East Australian Current has strengthened, bringing hotter, saltier water 350 kilometres further south than 60 years ago.

This has caused coral bleaching and is the likely cause of a 10 per cent reduction in growth rates of corals on the Great Barrier Reef, according to the report, Marine Climate Change in Australia, 2009 Report Card. (SMH)

Drawn from this CSIRO profile- / fund- raiser.

 

Uh-huh... Permanent arctic ice disappearing, threatens polar bears

WINNIPEG — One of Canada's top northern researchers says the permanent Arctic sea ice that is home to the world's polar bears and usually survives the summer has all but disappeared.

Experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding. But David Barber says the thick, multi-year frozen sheets crucial to the northern ecosystem have been replaced by thin "rotten" ice which can't support the weight of the bears. (Canadian Press)

 

This nonsense, again? Polar bears turn into cannibals - Melting ice caps make hunting seals more difficult

Scientists say shrinking Arctic sea ice may be forcing some polar bears into cannibalizing young cubs.

"When (bears) are very hungry, they go looking for something to eat," biologist Ian Stirling said yesterday. "There's nothing much to eat along the Hudson Bay coast in the fall other than other bears."

So far this fall, tour operators and scientists have reported at least four and perhaps up to eight cases of mature males eating cubs and other bears in the population around Churchill, Man. Four cases were reported to Manitoba Conservation; four to Environment Canada.

"That's a very big number," said Stirling, a retired Environment Canada scientist, who has studied the Churchill population for 35 years.

"I worked there well over 30 years and never saw a single case of cannibalism."

Bears lose up to 30% of their body mass as they spend the summer and autumn on land waiting for the sea ice to refreeze so they can use it as a platform to hunt seals. (Canadian Press)

Do they think maybe finding more of these instances has a lot more to do with people with mechanized transport venturing out to look at bears?

Factors affecting the survival of polar bear cubs (Ursus maritimus) are poorly understood (Derocher and Stirling, 1996). Low food availability and accidents on the sea ice may be the main sources of cub mortality (Uspenski and Kistchinski, 1972; Larsen, 1986; Derocher and Stirling, 1996). Intraspecific predation, infanticide, and cannibalism have been reported in polar bears (Belikov et al., 1977; Hansson and Thomassen, 1983; Larsen, 1985; Lunn and Stenhouse, 1985; Taylor et al., 1985). However, some of the instances have followed human activities such as harvest or immobilization (Taylor et al., 1985). Regardless, intraspecific predation has been suggested as a regulating feature of ursid populations (e.g., McCullough, 1981; Young and Ruff, 1982; Larsen and Kjos-Hanssen, 1983; Stringham, 1983; Taylor et al., 1985). (Infanticide and Cannibalism of Juvenile Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard, ARCTIC, VOL. 52, NO. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1999) P. 307–310) [my emphasis]

 

ETERNAL MELTING

From the New York Times, 128 years of looming polar doom:

1881: “This past Winter, both inside and outside the Arctic circle, appears to have been unusually mild. The ice is very light and rapidly melting …”

1932: “NEXT GREAT DELUGE FORECAST BY SCIENCE; Melting Polar Ice Caps to Raise the Level of Seas and Flood the Continents”

1934: “New Evidence Supports Geology’s View That the Arctic Is Growing Warmer”

1937: “Continued warm weather at the Pole, melting snow and ice.”

1954: “The particular point of inquiry concerns whether the ice is melting at such a rate as to imperil low-lying coastal areas through raising the level of the sea in the near future.”

1957: “U.S. Arctic Station Melting”

1958: “At present, the Arctic ice pack is melting away fast. Some estimates say that it is 40 per cent thinner and 12 per cent smaller than it was fifteen years [ago].”

1959: “Will the Arctic Ocean soon be free of ice?”

1971: “STUDY SAYS MAN ALTERS CLIMATE; U.N. Report Links Melting of Polar Ice to His Activities”

1979: “A puzzling haze over the Arctic ice packs has been identified as a byproduct of air pollution, a finding that may support predictions of a disastrous melting of the earth’s ice caps.”

1982: “Because of global heating attributed to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fuel burning, about 20,000 cubic miles of polar ice has melted in the past 40 years, apparently contributing to a rise in sea levels …”

1999: “Evidence continues to accumulate that the frozen world of the Arctic and sub-Arctic is thawing.”

2000: “The North Pole is melting. The thick ice that has for ages covered the Arctic Ocean at the pole has turned to water, recent visitors there reported yesterday.”

2002: “The melting of Greenland glaciers and Arctic Ocean sea ice this past summer reached levels not seen in decades, scientists reported today.”

2004: “There is an awful lot of Arctic and glacial ice melting.”

2005: “Another melancholy gathering of climate scientists presented evidence this month that the Antarctic ice shelf is melting - a prospect difficult to imagine a decade ago.” (Tim Blair)

 

We could wish: In Greenland, warming fuels dream of hidden wealth

In Greenland, global warming fuels dreams of uncovering untapped riches as ice retreats (Associated Press)

 

You'd think under the circumstances they'd duck and cover but: Warming will 'wipe out billions'

MOST of the world's population will be wiped out if political leaders fail to agree a method of stopping current rates of global warming, one of the UK's most senior climate scientists has warned. (Scotland on Sunday)

 

Can't make up their minds... Climate change may weaken El Niño's hurricane buffering effect

The buffering effect of El Niño helped shield South Florida from hurricanes this year, but a study suggests climate change might weaken its protective power. (Miami Herald)

But gorebull warming was supposed to increase El Niños, making hurricanes less likely.

 

Say WHAT?!! Australian Wildfire Scheme Said Model To Cut CO2

OSLO - An Australian project tapping Aborigines' knowledge to avert devastating wildfires that stoke climate change is the world's best example of linking indigenous peoples to carbon markets, the U.N. University said on Sunday. (Reuters)

Where do these idiots get their information? The indigenous fire regime was specifically about reducing forest cover and clearing undergrowth to facilitate hunting. In fact Australia is considering ways of reducing forest spread on Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf Country to protect savannah habitat in lieu of the old indigenous burn cycle (Queensland is one of those relatively rare regions where tropical forest expansion is considered problematic).

Moreover, only in the monsoon belt, where this regime specifically inhibited tree growth and carbon sequestration, was there any real change in the landscape due to fire management and that led to reduced carbon sequestration. Outside this relatively predictable rainfall belt (i.e., the Center, South and West) mostly dry grasses were burned in small patches to encourage fresh growth and aggregate game, something with little or no effect on net carbon balance in good years and lossy in dry years as Australia's old friable soils blow away in the absence of protective dry grass cover.

How, one must wonder, does a regime which reduces forest cover and associated carbon sequestration in wet areas and increases soil erosion elsewhere pose a model to "cut CO2"? And why does Reuters meekly regurgitate obvious nonsense without even a moment's pause for thought?

 

No Ice Water for You

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the "policy neutral" IPCC (does anyone take this seriously?), suggests that responding to climate change means dramatically changing our unsustainable lifestyles:

Hotel guests should have their electricity monitored; hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying; and iced water in restaurants should be curtailed, the world's leading climate scientist has told the Observer.

Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that western society must undergo a radical value shift if the worst effects of climate change were to be avoided. A new value system of "sustainable consumption" was now urgently required, he said.

"Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion," said Pachauri. "The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable."

With the head of the IPCC saying that you can't have ice water in restaurants, the opponents to action on climate change can probably go on vacation. They just can't buy advocacy of this quality.

If the climate science community is going to reverse the perception that it is a highly politicized clique, then it will at some point be necessary to reign in the IPCC leadership from being overt political advocates. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Despite momentum, no smooth path to climate deal

* Commonwealth leaders see convergence for Copenhagen pact
* EU's Barroso says commitments not yet enough for deal
* Adequate funding, emissions cuts seen as crucial factors

PORT OF SPAIN, Nov 29 - Commonwealth states representing a third of the world's people said on Sunday momentum was growing towards a global climate deal, but nagging doubts remained over funding levels and degrees of commitment.

Seeking to successfully tip the outcome of U.N. climate talks on Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen, the group of more than 50 nations from across the world made the climate change issue the centerpiece of a three-day summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

They declared firm support for an "operationally binding" deal to be achieved in Copenhagen that would cover tougher greenhouse gas emissions targets, climate adaptation financing for poorer nations and transfer of clean-energy technology. (Reuters)

 

Only U.S. can inject momentum into climate talks

‘What you'll see is the President expressing a strong personal commitment ... but at the same time he's going to be deferential to Congress' (Globe and Mail)

 

Scientists Turn Trees Into Carbon Banks

There's an experiment going on in the redwood forests of northern California: people are trying to turn trees into "carbon banks."

The idea is to manage forests so they absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and slow down global warming. Carbon banking will be a hot topic at next month's big climate conference in Copenhagen, especially if negotiators can't agree on how to get industrialized countries to lower their own emissions. Carbon banking could be a way to cut those emissions by paying poor countries to save their forests and manage them better.

But to do this, climate scientists need to become climate accountants — to put hard numbers on how much carbon trees breathe in and out. That's what the California experiment is all about. (Christopher Joyce, NPR)

 

D'oh! Carbon offset schemes not working, says holiday firm

Consumer carbon offset schemes do not lead people to change their behaviour, the first holiday firm to run such a scheme has argued.

Responsible Travel said they were a "distraction" from climate change's real urgency and is ending its scheme.

Such schemes involve individuals paying a premium for the emissions generated by certain choices, such as flying.

The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance says offsetting has an impact, but governments must do more.

Carbon offset schemes also cover things like choosing to drive a car or choices around the way homes are heated. (BBC)

 

Academic Questions 'Green' Initiatives on Cutting Carbon Footprint

Global carbon markets may well have been hailed as the saviour of the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in many ways they are doing more harm than good, according to new evidence.

In fact, two academics have compiled a book which argues that measures put in place to reduce carbon emissions following the Kyoto Protocol Treaty on climate change have only made matters worse. (ScienceDaily)

 

Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?

Nasa's James Hansen was the first to point out the perils of climate change to the US Congress. Here, he begins a heated debate with experts from around the world, from China to the threatened Maldives, and argues that our leaders must be shaken out of their complacency. But will they show enough courage at next week's Copenhagen summit to take the first steps to saving the planet? (James Hansen, The Observer)

 

Argh! Senators copy NASA model for climate change

WASHINGTON -- NASA's high-profile competitions to create moon landers, astronaut gloves, ribbon-climbing robots and other space technology have been so successful they are inspiring a copycat co-directed by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Barrasso is pushing legislation that would launch a similar contest -- modeled after NASA's Centennial Challenges -- for technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. ( Hearst Newspapers)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is an asset, a resource. We do not want to reduce it for any reason!

 

Environmentalists Fume Over China Emissions Pledge

China, the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gasses, announced Thursday that will set specific targets for reducing emissions at next month's climate change conference in Copenhagen. China will pledge to reduce "carbon intensity," the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic growth, by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. The plan is an unusual one compared to most other countries, which pledge to reduce the specific tonnage of greenhouse gas emissions rather than pegging it to economic growth.  (Atlantic Wire)

 

China's Carbon Intensity Pledge

China has put some numbers on its carbon intensity pledge -- that is, its aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP. China has promised to reduced its carbon intensity of GDP by 40-45% by 2020. While a few folks have been fooled (or are trying to fool you) into thinking that it is meaningful, others including the Obama Administration are not fooled. The reality is a bit more subtle and complex than either of these perspectives.

The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change , Yvo de Boer spun the announcement as a breakthrough:

"The US commitment to specific, mid-term emission cut targets and China's commitment to specific action on energy efficiency can unlock two of the last doors to a comprehensive agreement. Let there be no doubt that we need continued strong ambition and leadership,"
In The New York Times, the Obama Administration was a bit less enthusiastic:
A senior Obama administration official said that the United States had pressed hard for a public commitment from China and was relieved that it had delivered. But the official, who spoke anonymously because of the delicacy of the matter, called the carbon intensity figure “disappointing,” and said that the administration hoped it represented a gambit that would be negotiated upward at Copenhagen or in subsequent talks.
Understanding the various receptions of the proposed target from China requires understanding a bit of the geopolitical context. Europeans simply want the US and China to come to the table talking about numbers, so any proposal is a step forward. Meantime, the US wants to avoid being cast as the international climate bad guy so will do whatever it can to portray its own proposed 17% cut from 2005 levels as more ambitious that China's intensity target.

But what do the numbers actually mean?

A 40-45% cut in carbon intensity in China is essentially business-as-usual as projected by the IEA. According to the IEA World Energy Outlook 2009 (p. 350), here are China's GDP and CO2 projections under its BAU "reference scenario" (with GDP in 2008 PPP dollars):

2007 -- 6.1 GtC and $7.6T
2020 -- 9.6 GtC and $18.8T

These numbers result in a decrease in carbon intensity of GDP of 40% by 2020 (from 2007 values, China's pledge is off a 2005 baseline, so right in the middle of the 40-45% range).

Other analysts have seen the proposal as little more than a promise to achieve business as usual, from the NYT:

Michael A. Levi, director of the climate change program at the Council on Foreign Relations, called the target announcement disappointing because it did not move the country much faster along the path it was already on.

“The Department of Energy estimates that existing Chinese policies will already cut carbon intensity by 45 to 46 percent,” Mr. Levi said. “The United States has put an ambitious path for emissions cuts through 2050 on the table. China needs to raise its level of ambition if it is going to match that.” Some environmental advocates have also said that the substance of Mr. Obama’s announcement on Wednesday was weak as well.

President Bush also used a carbon intensity target with goals based on achieving business as usual, and his administration was skewered (and rightly so) for trying to couch business as usual 9BAU) as some sort of meaningful emissions reduction policy. The difference between the Bush Administration's carbon intensity goals and those promised by China are that the Bush Administration based its targets on historical BAU whereas China has its based on BAU inclusive of a set of very aggressive energy efficiency goals. I recently had a correspondence in Nature questioning China's BAU trajectory (more details here and here and here). While the IEA numbers suggest a less aggressive version of BAU than do China's domestic numbers, they still imply an annual average rate of decarbonization of China's economy of about 3.7% per year.

A focus on carbon intensity of economic activity is a step in the right direction. At the same time, policy makers and analysts should not be distracted by the details of China's promises in the context of various BAU reference scenarios. What matters is the actual annual rate of decarbonization in coming years, and to discern this will require good data on both emissions and economic activity. If China can sustain a rate of decarbonization of 3.7% per year or more that would be a very impressive achievement. However, if China is going to continue to grow its economy at 9% per year, it is obvious that much more would need to be done to address ever growing emissions.

Bottom line? China's decarbonization target is indeed very similar to some versions of BAU, suggesting a lack of ambition. At the same time these versions of BAU already have rapid rates of decarbonization built in, so much so that I am skeptical about their realism. Even so, discussions about climate these days are more focused on politics than policy, so the exact details of China's emissions policy probably matter less than how its promises are perceived and spun in the negotiating process. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

China says no emissions checks without foreign funds

* China will only allow checks on foreign-funded projects
* No room for increase of emissions intensity target
* Rich nations must not shirk obligations, China says

BEIJING, Nov 27 - A top Chinese climate envoy said on Friday Beijing would only allow outside scrutiny of emissions reduction projects which had international financial support, probably only a "very small proportion" of its total cuts.

Yu Qingtai, China's climate change ambassador, also said the world should not expect China to push up a new target to curb growth in emissions of greenhouse gases -- described by some as modest -- because it represented the "very best of our efforts". (Reuters)

 

Indian climate envoy resists emission targets

NEW DELHI — India's chief climate change negotiator has flatly rejected taking on emission reduction targets a day after Premier Manmohan Singh said the country would commit to cuts conditionally.

India, one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, has yet to offer figures on reining in its carbon output, with just over a week to go until UN climate talks start in Copenhagen.

Singh said on Saturday that India was "willing to sign on to an ambitious global target for emissions reductions or limiting temperature increase" provided developed countries shared in the burden of funding mitigation.

But in an interview broadcast Sunday, chief negotiator Shyam Saran told the NDTV news channel that India was under no pressure to join the United States and China -- the world's top two carbon sources -- in announcing firm numbers ahead of the summit.

"There cannot be any emission cuts," said Saran, adding that the developed world did not expect countries like India to adopt emission reduction targets but instead to accept "deviation from business as usual." (AFP)

 

Turmoil in Australia: Ramming the scam through Parliament

This is what it comes down to:

Turnbull is sacrificing his leadership ambitions, ignoring his party members, brushing off thousands of emails, denying the devastating ClimateGate scandal and the evidence of fraud, and doing his utmost to force through legislation in a break-neck rush when the only reason for the hurry is to make Rudd (his opponent) look good in Copenhagen.

D-Day is tomorrow. If Turnbull can find six complicit senators they can pull the “guillotine” on questions, and force a vote. With their seven votes the ETS legislation could be passed, and from that instant, Australians will be poorer. Even if the scheme doesn’t start, from that moment on businesses and banks will ‘invest’ and demand compensation if it’s not carried through.

Turnbull will face almost certain wipeout the next day as leader in a spill he claims he can win, but has “deferred” from Monday until Tuesday. He is nothing but naked bluff. His determination to help the Labor Party at the expense of his own ambition defies logic and begs dark questions.

Turnbull could stay on as leader if he delays the ETS

“My office has had an absolute deluge of emails,” Abbott said.

“The phone lines have been in meltdown with people saying the Liberal Party would not be doing its job as an opposition simply to pass this thing without the scrutiny that the people calling my office think it demands.

“Even at this late stage if Malcolm was prepared to change his mind, if he was prepared to say, `Well, look, there is a case for being a bit more collegial on this issue, then I think that I’d be very very happy to support Malcolm.” [The Australian]

His party members have approached him offering to avoid a leadership spill if he just agrees to delay the ETS and allow a full inquiry into it. But what’s extraordinary is that this man who obviously had hoped to lead the country is so willing to give that up in order to pass legislation on a topic that is hardly that close to his heart (or so it would seem anyway).

It’s not like Turnbull has made it his moniker to save forests, spotted quolls, or rescue islands (that aren’t sinking). He hasn’t spent his life working with Greenpeace, or written books about saving whales. He’s an ambitious, aggressive investment banker. And that’s now looking like an ominous connection. I haven’t made a lot of his past work with Goldman Sachs, but there is an inexplicable undercurrent here.

It’s one hell of a legacy to leave the country. Turnbull is going out of his way, and at considerable personal cost to force this legislation through. Why?

He’s sacrificing his ambitions and going to extreme lengths to force through a piece of legislation that is so detested within his party that his front bench has mutinied en masse, and on what is widely tipped to be his last day as opposition leader. It’s one hell of a legacy to leave the country. He is going out of his way, and at considerable personal cost, to force this legislation through.

Maybe this is just blind determination. He’s a determined man. But it doesn’t add up. Wonder where his next job will be?

Maybe the dark shadows of the tentacles of Goldman Sachs are at work. (JoNova)

 

Conned by Tricksters

Look at these two quotes:

Kevin Rudd at the Lowy Institute on November 6:

“The overwhelming need for Australia to tackle the great challenge of our generation is being frustrated by the do-nothing climate change sceptics. My message to the climate change sceptics, to the big betters and the big risk-takers, is this: You are betting our children’s future and the future of our grandchildren.”

Malcolm Turnbull on ABC radio’s AM, 27 Nov 09:

“This is not a game. We are talking about the future of our children and their children, we’re talking about the future of our planet. The vast majority of Australians want to see action on climate change. The issue boils down in the mind of the Australian people, which party can we trust to take effective action on climate change?”

Turnbull has already used trickery to frustrate the majority in the party room who wanted to at least delay the Ration-N-Tax Scheme.

Now Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have devised a another tricky plan to get the CPRS Bill through the Senate on Monday 30th November, the day before the Liberal party meeting he has called for Tuesday, where he is expected to be blasted out of office.

The plan is to move the guillotine in the Senate on Monday where the ALP’s 32 senators will be supported by Turnbullite Liberal senators in sufficient numbers to pass the guillotine. Once that has been done the CPRS Bill will be immediately put to the vote, and the same coalition of ALP and Turnbullite senators will pass the Bill.

This is indeed a cunning plan and demonstrates the length of trickery to which Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are prepared to go together to impose this monstrous regime of command and control on Australia.

Read the full document: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/temperature-trickery.pdf [PDF, 91KB] (Carbon Sense Coalition)

 

Hey lookit! Mikey's tripped over the LIA and the Medieval Warm Period! Past regional cold and warm periods linked to natural climate drivers

Intervals of regional warmth and cold in the past are linked to the El Nino phenomenon and the so-called 'North Atlantic Oscillation' in the Northern hemisphere's jet stream, according to a team of climate scientists. These linkages may be important in assessing the regional effects of future climate change.

'Studying the past can potentially inform our understanding of what the future may hold,' said Michael Mann, Professor of meteorology, Penn State.

Mann stresses that an understanding of how past natural changes have influenced phenomena such as El Nino, can perhaps help to resolve current disparities between state-of the-art climate models regarding how human-caused climate change may impact this key climate pattern.

Mann and his team used a network of diverse climate proxies such as tree ring samples, ice cores, coral and sediments to reconstruct spatial patterns of ocean and land surface temperature over the past 1500 years. They found that the patterns of temperature change show dynamic connections to natural phenomena such as El Nino. They report their findings in today's issue (Nov. 27) of Science.

Mann and his colleagues reproduced the relatively cool interval from the 1400s to the 1800s known as the 'Little Ice Age' and the relatively mild conditions of the 900s to 1300s sometimes termed the 'Medieval Warm Period.'  (ScienceCentric)

 

Further Comment On The Surface Temperature Data Used In The CRU, GISS And NCDC Analyses

In my post

An Erroneous Statement Made By Phil Jones To The Media On The Independence Of The Global Surface Temperature Trend Analyses Of CRU, GISS And NCDC

I discussed that Phil Jones implied that the GISS and NCDC surface temperature data sets confirmed the robutness of the magnitude of the multi-decadal global average surface temperature trend, even if his CRU data was excluded, since GISS and NCDC provide  independent assessments.

To present this issue further, I have reproduced below my question in 2005 on this issue and the CCSP response from

Compilation of Comments on the Public Review Draft of CCSP Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.1: “Temperature trends in the lower atmosphere – steps for understanding and reconciling differences”

Question [by Roger A. Pielke Sr]:What is the overlap in the raw data that utilized by the three groups?

The best estimate that I am aware of has a 90-95% overlap. The analyses from the three groups are hardly independent assessments, and this should not be hidden in the report.  The overlap is particularly important for the grid points analyzed in the analyses where only 1 or 2 observational data points exist. We have documented for the tropical land areas, for example (20N to 20S) about 70% of the grid points have had zero or less than one observation site! Thus to compute an average surface temperature trend over land in the tropics, which is the area where the report narrowly focuses, almost all of the raw data used on the three analyses is from the same source. Thus to present a Figure to purportedly illustrate uncertainty in the surface temperature trends is misleading. (Climate Science)

 

A New Paper On Landscape Effects On The Climate System – Ballhorna Et Al 2009

There is a new paper of relevance to the role of landscape change on the climate system (and thanks to Marcel Severijnen to alerting us to!). The paper is

Uwe Ballhorna, Florian Siegerta, Mike Mason and Suwido Limin, 2009: Derivation of burn scar depths and estimation of carbon emissions with LIDAR in Indonesian peatlands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. November 25, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906457106

The abstract reads

“During the 1997/98 El Niño-induced drought peatland fires in Indonesia may have released 13–40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels. One major unknown in current peatland emission estimations is how much peat is combusted by fire. Using a light detection and ranging data set acquired in Central Kalimantan, Borneo, in 2007, one year after the severe peatland fires of 2006, we determined an average burn scar depth of 0.33 ± 0.18 m. Based on this result and the burned area determined from satellite imagery, we estimate that within the 2.79 million hectare study area 49.15 ± 26.81 megatons of carbon were released during the 2006 El Niño episode. This represents 10–33% of all carbon emissions from transport for the European Community in the year 2006. These emissions, originating from a comparatively small area (approximately 13% of the Indonesian peatland area), underline the importance of peat fires in the context of green house gas emissions and global warming. In the past decade severe peat fires occurred during El Niño-induced droughts in 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. Currently, this important source of carbon emissions is not included in IPCC carbon accounting or in regional and global carbon emission models. Precise spatial measurements of peat combusted and potential avoided emissions in tropical peat swamp forests will also be required for future emission trading schemes in the framework of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries.”

The abstract includes the text

“Currently, this important source of carbon emissions is not included in IPCC carbon accounting or in regional and global carbon emission models.”

This is in addition to the failure of the 2009 IPCC assessment to consider, as just two examples,  the effect of this biomass burning on the generation of atmospheric aerosols and their effect on precipitation (e.g. see) and of the alteration of the surface fluxes of heat and moisture into the atmosphere with a resultant alteration of large scale atmospheric patterns (e.g. see). (Climate Science)

 

A Simple Proof that Global Warming Is Not Man-Made

Guest post by Dr David Evans
PDF at sciencespeak.com

Now that ClimateGate has buried the fraudulent hockey stick for good, it is easily to prove that global warming is not man-made: just compare the timing of our carbon dioxide emissions with the timing of global warming.

Human Emissions of Carbon Dioxide

Emissions of carbon dioxide by humans are easy to estimate from our consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas, and production of cement:

Human carbon emissions

Figure 1: Carbon emissions by humans. Source: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center.

The vast bulk of human emissions occurred after 1945, during post-WWII industrialization. Half of all human consumption of fossil fuels and cement production has occurred since the mid 1970s.

Temperatures

Global temperature proxies (sediments, boreholes, pollen, oxygen-18, stalagmites, magnesium to calcium ratios, algae, cave formation, etc. over a wide geographical range) show a warming trend starting around 1700, with warming and cooling periods about the trend:

Midieval Warming Period - Loehle Graph

Figure 2: Mean global temperature reconstruction based on 18 non-tree-ring proxies, to 1935. Only 11 proxies cover the period after 1935, dotted line. Sources 1, 2, 3, 4: Dr Craig Loehle, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement.

Global thermometer records are more reliable and precise, but only go back to 1880. They confirm that the warming trend extends back to at least 1880, and show warming and cooling periods of about thirty years in each direction:

Akasofu Graph of last 200 years and IPCC predictions

Figure 3: The global instrumental temperature record to 2000, in the yellow box. Simply draw a trend line through the data. In 2009 we are where the green arrow points. .  Source: Dr Syun Akasofu, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Compare the Timing

The timing is all wrong for the theory of manmade global warming:

  • Temperature increases started in 1700, and the underlying rate of increase has been roughly steady (though there have been warming and cooling fluctuations around the trend).
  • Human emissions of carbon dioxide were negligible before 1850, and really only took off after 1945.

If human emissions of carbon dioxide caused global warming, then there would be massive and accelerating global warming after 1945 and almost no global warming before 1945. Obviously this is not the case.

Conclusions

  1. There is almost no relationship between human emissions and global temperature, so global warming is not mainly due to human emissions of carbon dioxide.
  2. Something other than human emissions caused the global warming prior to 1850.
  3. The steadiness of the underlying temperature trend since 1700 suggests that whatever caused the warming prior to 1850 is still causing warming, and that the effect of human emissions of carbon dioxide is relatively insignificant.

QED (JoNova)

 

Making Sweden warmer

We’ve already seen serious questions raised about the way a warming rise was calculated in New Zealand. Willis Eschenbach now describes how the Climategate scientists misled Sweden’s Professor Wibjorn Karlen about the temperatures over Nordic countries, too, when he asked how the IPCC had produced graphics like these for northern Europe:

image

What puzzled Karlen was that the data he was looking at for Nordic countries in fact showed no warming above what had been witnessed in the 1930s:

image

Wrote Karlen to the Climategate scientists:

It is hard to find evidence of a drastic warming of the Arctic. It is also difficult to find evidence of a drastic warming outside urban areas in a large part of the world outside Europe. However the increase in temperature in Central Europe may be because the whole area is urbanized (see e.g. Bidwell, T., 2004: Scotobiology – the biology of darkness. Global change News Letter No. 58 June, 2004).

So, I find it necessary to object to the talk about a scaring temperature increase because of increased human release of CO2. In fact, the warming seems to be limited to densely populated areas.

Eschenbach then describes the snow job. (Andrew Bolt)

 

An open letter from Dr. Judith Curry on climate science

I asked Dr. Judith Curry if I could repost her letter which she originally sent to Climate Progress, here at WUWT. Here was her response:

From: Curry, Judith A
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 2:10 PM
To: Anthony Watts – mobile
Subject: Re: request

Hi Anthony, by all means post it. I am trying to reach out to everyone, pls help in this effort. Judy

Judith A. Curry

Dr. Judith A. Curry

Dr. Curry gets props from the skeptical community because she had the courage to invite Steve McIntyre to give a presentation at Georgia Tech, for which she took criticism. Her letter is insightful and addresses troubling issues. We can all learn something from it. – Anthony

An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research – By Dr. Judith A. Curry, Georgia Tech

Based upon feedback that I’ve received from graduate students at Georgia Tech, I suspect that you are confused, troubled, or worried by what you have been reading about ClimateGate and the contents of the hacked CRU emails. After spending considerable time reading the hacked emails and other posts in the blogosphere, I wrote an essay that calls for greater transparency in climate data and other methods used in climate research. The essay is posted over at climateaudit.org (you can read it at http://camirror.wordpress.com/ 2009/ 11/ 22/ curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/ ).

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

My motivation for communicating on this issue in the blogosphere comes from emails that I received from Georgia Tech graduate students and alums. As a result of my post on climateaudit, I started receiving emails from graduate students from other universities. I post the content of one of the emails here, without reference to the student’s name or institution: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

The Curry letter: a word about “deniers”…

This comment was sent to me in case it was not posted at all or in it’s entirety over at Climate Progress. It wasn’t, so I’m repeating it here because I think it is relevant to the discussion that Dr. Judith Curry started. From my perspective, the best way to begin to foster understanding is to stop using labels that degrade, and that goes for both sides of the debate.

- Anthony


Kate says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
November 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Judith Curry wrote “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue…”

I reserve the word “deniers” for people that explicitly reject the history of Jewish extermination in wartime Germany. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

The Disgusting Use of “Denialist” by Warming Advocates Trivializes the Holocaust

Nothing in the climate debate which I’ve been paying sporadic attention to is more repulsive than the global warming advocates’ attempt to smear skeptics of their theories and models and predictions as “denialists.” As if they were some analog of holocaust deniers.

Not all those concerned about climate change use the term. (Some stick to a sneering use of “skeptics” as a stigmatizing word, as if science itself wasn’t an ongoing process of skepticism about received wisdom. Copernicus was a skeptic about the idea the sun revolved around the earth. He wasn’t a “solar denialist.”)

But nothing causes me more revulsion — and skepticism — than the warming advocates’ (I think the CRU scandal — and the shameful reaction to it — has revealed many of the most celebrated of them to be more p.r. advocates than scrupulous scientists) application of the opprobrious term “denialist” to anyone who questions the work they have so assiduously screened from scrutiny.

When I started paying attention again to the controversy after the release of the pathetic CRU e-mails, I noticed the most desperate of the last ditch defenders of the CRU charlatans — and indeed the CRU charlatans themselves — would resort to calling any of those who disagreed “denialists.” That the use of “denialist” had grown as the failure of their predictions (the discredited “hockey stick” chart) increased.

To me that shameful, trivializing word use alone is more exposure than any e-mail could be of their lack of critical intelligence of the sort that makes them unfit to call themselves scientists, or, in the case of many of their “green journalist” sycophants, ignorant of how actual science works. (Ron Rosenbaum, PJM)

 

Oil companies press industry-enviro group on refinery emissions

An internal document circulating among members of an industry-environmental coalition that favors action on global warming provides a window into the oil industry’s fight to scale back mandates in Democratic climate-change bills.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), formed with a huge splash in early 2007, helped provide an early push for cap-and-trade legislation by uniting several big green groups, large utilities, and major oil companies Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP.

But the oil industry says current Capitol Hill plans would create costly burdens, and companies inside and outside the group are seeking major changes to requirements for refiners.

The document circulating within USCAP, obtained by The Hill, offers a different approach for addressing emissions from car and truck tailpipes.

Sources inside the group say the document has been circulated by ConocoPhillips and BP. (The Hill)

 

Oil-sands hysteria only confuses climate debate

I noted with interest the outlandish comments made by Al Gore suggesting greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta's oil sands threaten our survival.

A realistic and reasonable discussion about oil-sands development must be based on fact. Sadly, Gore's doomsday assertions about an industry that makes up less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are neither realistic, reasonable nor factual. (Ed Stelmach, Premier of Alberta)

 

ScottishPower claims carbon capture breakthrough

ScottishPower says it has reduced the energy requirement for carbon capture and storage (CCS) by around a third.

Following tests at its Longannet pilot, the firm says its prototype carbon capture unit has clocked up 2,000 hours, capturing 90 per cent of the carbon content from 1,000 cubic meters an hour of exhaust gas.

ScottishPower claims a combination of process engineering and low energy solvents are behind the breakthrough, which in turn will lower operating costs of future CCS plants.

"The ability to capture CO2 without it being cost prohibitive is key to the future of CCS," said chief executive, Nick Horler. He claims that the Longannet plant will be up and running at full scale (ie 300MW) using CCS and existing pipelines to store the carbon by 2014. (Utility Week)

 

U.S. Unlikely to Use the Ethanol Congress Ordered

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, Congress ordered the nation’s gasoline refiners to do something that is turning out to be mathematically impossible.

To please the farm lobby and to help wean the nation off oil, Congress mandated that refiners blend a rising volume of ethanol and other biofuels into gasoline. They are supposed to use at least 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012, up from less than seven billion gallons in 2007.

But nobody at the time counted on fuel demand falling in the United States, which is what has happened during the recession. And that decline could well continue, as cars become more efficient under other recent government mandates.

At the maximum allowable blend, in which gasoline at the pump contains 10 percent ethanol, updated projections suggest that the country is unlikely to be able to use all the ethanol that Congress has ordered up. So something has to give.

“The market is full,” said Jeff Broin, chief executive of Poet, a company in Sioux Falls, S.D., that produces ethanol.

In theory, the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to solve this problem by tweaking the mandates imposed by Congress, and it may act as early as next week. (NYT)

 

A Growing Disaster

THE ethanol industry, once the darling of corn growers, environmentalists and the auto industry, has fallen on hard times. Producers spent this year caught between falling ethanol prices and rising corn costs, causing many to go bankrupt. In response, they are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the amount of ethanol they can blend into gasoline to 15 percent, up from the current 10 percent. Allowing this, however, would only double down on a discredited environmental policy without solving the industry’s fundamental economic problem.

That problem is simple: Ethanol prices trend higher and lower along with the price of gasoline, yet the cost of producing ethanol tends to rise with demand, since higher ethanol production exerts upward pressure on the price of corn. In a free market, corn prices might be expected to eventually fall as the market adjusts to increased demand. But because the government heavily promotes ethanol use through subsidies and regulation, the market is continually strained.

The problem is magnified because corn is a water- and fertilizer-intensive crop that requires considerable investment. Worse, since fertilizer is often an oil-based product, the cost of growing corn tends to rise at the very moment ethanol prices, which rise with oil prices, might bring a good return. (NYT)

 

Canadian biofuel cuts emissions sharply -report

* Ethanol emissions 62 pct lower measuring all stages
* Skeptics say biofuel uses more fuel than it produces

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov 26 - Canadian ethanol emits 62 percent less greenhouse gas than conventional fuel, taking into consideration all stages of the fuel's production from planting a crop to burning the fuel, a new report prepared for Canada's biofuel industry said on Friday.

The results rebut a key argument against producing biofuels, that they use more energy than they can generate, said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. (Reuters)

 

When the feds and the Greens ignore a big environmental problem

One of the biggest environmental stories in recent years is the sad saga of Chinese drywall. Upwards of 60,000 homes, and possibly as many as 300,000, are affected by the sulfide spewing gypsum board. In addition to the highly publicized corrosion of all sorts of metal parts, including air conditioning coils, and the obnoxious sulfide odors, nearly all residents of these homes are reporting health effects—usually upper respiratory complaints.

Moreover, there are dozens of reports of affected families who have left their homes, whose symptoms disappear completely in a few days. Absent actual medical tests, field confirmation of health effect etiology does not get a whole lot better than this. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Speculation alert! Swine flu epidemic 'escaped from lab'

THREE Australian experts are making waves in the medical community with a report suggesting swine flu may have developed because of a lab error in making vaccines.

"It could have happened in a lab where somebody became affected and then travelled with it," virologist Dr Adrian Gibbs said yesterday.

Conjuring up a vision of Frankenstein's fictional monster fleeing the laboratory, he added: "Things do get out of labs and this has to be explored. There needs to be more research done in this area.

"At the moment there is no way of distinguishing where swine flu has come from." (Daily Telegraph)

Well, there is this:

US Patent Application 20090010962 - Genetically Engineered Swine Influenza Virus and Uses Thereof
Application Filed on June 1, 2005
Application Published on January 8, 2009

 

What’s Your Underlying Condition?

ONE of the profound mysteries of medicine is why in the midst of an epidemic some people become severely ill and die while others remain unscathed.

During the great plagues of past centuries, like the Black Death, smallpox and yellow fever, the answer was often cast in religious terms: survival was a miracle and succumbing was a punishment. During this influenza pandemic of H1N1, doctors and health officials invoke “underlying conditions.” This phrase, now so ubiquitous in news reports, is rightly understood to mean concurrent medical problems like diabetes and lung disease. But such underlying conditions are only part of the mystery of why this flu is so mild for some and so serious for others. (NYT)

 

ObamaCare’s Cost Could Top $6 Trillion

Congressional Democrats are using several budget gimmicks to disguise the cost of their health care overhaul, claiming the House and Senate bills would cost only (!) about $1 trillion over 10 years.  Now that critics have begun to correct for those budget gimmicks, supporters of ObamaCare are firing back.

One gimmick makes the new entitlement spending appear smaller by not opening the spigot until late in the official 10-year budget window (2010–2019).  Correcting for that gimmick in the Senate version, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) estimates, “When all this new spending occurs” — i.e., from 2014 through 2023 — “this bill will cost $2.5 trillion over that ten-year period.”

Another gimmick pushes much of the legislation’s costs off the federal budget and onto the private sector by requiring individuals and employers to purchase health insurance.  When the bills force somebody to pay $10,000 to the government, the Congressional Budget Office treats that as a tax.  When the government then hands that $10,000 to private insurers, the CBO counts that as government spending.  But when the bills achieve the exact same outcome by forcing somebody to pay $10,000 directly to a private insurance company, it appears nowhere in the official CBO cost estimates — neither as federal revenues nor federal spending.  That’s a sharp departure from how the CBO treated similar mandates in the Clinton health plan.  And it hides maybe 60 percent of the legislation’s total costs.  When I correct for that gimmick, it brings total costs to roughly $2.5 trillion (i.e., $1 trillion/0.4).

Here’s where things get really ugly.  TPMDC’s Brian Beutler calls “the” $2.5-trillion cost estimate a “doozy” of a “hysterical Republican whopper.”  Not only is he incorrect, he doesn’t seem to realize that Gregg and I are correcting for different budget gimmicks; it’s just a coincidence that we happened to reach the same number.

When we correct for both gimmicks, counting both on- and off-budget costs over the first 10 years of implementation, the total cost of ObamaCare reaches — I’m so sorry about this — $6.25 trillion.  That’s not a precise estimate.  It’s just far closer to the truth than President Obama and congressional Democrats want the debate to be.

Beutler and other supporters of ObamaCare can react to this news in two ways.  They can continue to deny the enormous cost of the legislation they support.  Or they can question how President Obama’s health plan came to be so blessedly expensive, and how (and by whom) they were duped into thinking it wasn’t. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Breastmilk push is stressing mums

FIRST-TIME mothers feel they are leaving hospitals as failures because they are being pressured to breastfeed at all costs, with many saying breastfeeding was harder than giving birth.

In an exclusive The Daily Telegraph online survey, more than 500 new mothers shared their experiences and experts said the striking findings show how a fragmented and biased system is letting down NSW families.

One in two mums said they felt pressured to breastfeed, while 42 per cent said they were given no information about alternatives and 65 per cent of women said they were given contradictory advice by midwives.

Nearly one in two mums reported they hated breastfeeding and said they found it tougher than the actual labour, while a third of mothers surveyed said they moved to using formula after eight weeks.

The World Health Organisation recommends babies should be breastfed for at least 12 months. ( Daily Telegraph)

 

Children's program does fat lot of good

A NATIONAL children's activity program that has already snared more than $200 million of public money is proving an expensive flop, according to experts who say children who take part are doing barely more exercise overall than non-participants. (The Australian)

 

Cuckoo in the nest

Only two months ago our piece on the CRU was entitled Beyond satire. At that time they were still comfortable within the protection of political and bureaucratic patronage. Now that their cover has been blown, probably by an anonymous whistle blower, the patrons are in a spin, hovering between brushing it all under the carpet and setting up one of their carefully primed enquiries. Even staunch allies, such as George Monbiot and the environmental editor of the Sunday Times, are shocked at the revelation of truths that many of us had long ago already inferred.

The truly shocking thing about it all, however, is the destructive effect that the environmental movement has had on science in general.  It is bad enough that outfits such as CRU absorb such a large proportion of available funding, with their inflated staffing and inordinately costly super-computers. But as the Cat in the Hat would say, that is not all. It has been an enduring and bitter joke in these pages and throughout the scientific community that to secure your research grant you have to add to your application title “and the effect of global warming”. The line of sensor research that your bending author bequeathed only continues because it was linkable to “sustainability”. The heavy hints that such was the only path to funding were among the many reasons for deciding that it was time to leave the stage. Younger academic scientists do not have that choice. For two decades now, British universities have been closing down physics and chemistry departments. That this should happen in a nation that fought well above its weight in these fields (just look at the Nobel Prize lists) is a tragedy for humanity. Physics is dead, long live environmental science.

In parenthesis, the memory of a lovely summer afternoon spent sitting by a richer neighbour’s swimming pool leaves an indelible image that now seems so relevant. A pair of pied wagtails were desperately trying to satisfy the hunger of a cuckoo chick that had been foisted on them. It was so large that they had to stand on its back to reach its insatiable gape.

In Britain, the wiser political heads of yore created the University Grants Committee, which was designed, among other things, to insulate academia from the instant demands of political and administrative exigency. For that very reason it met its demise in 1989. Yet again a Thatcherite tactic, designed to constrain the occupation of much of academia by the destructive left, was a strategic error that enabled Tony Blair to drive his wrecking ball through the university system (though one must not forget the contribution of the woeful Major Government that demolished the economically vital polytechnics by turning them into Mickey Mouse universities). Worse, that and related policies turned universities into quasi-industrial bodies, in which harassed chief executives and centralised administrations made poor decisions based on inadequate information and undue financial pressure. Back in 2004 Number Watch made the ironic comment that Britain was planning to achieve world dominance in media studies. Well that has come to pass and we can add other essential areas, such as golf course design and surfing. Experimental sciences are expensive luxuries when government polices are based on a drive to get bums on seats. This is especially so when their potential research funds are being diverted to more politically correct activities.

One of the delusions of the new political class is that you can create institutions instantaneously (schools for example): just add water. This is a gross and destructive fallacy. Such institutions build up a corporate knowledge that cannot be written down and takes generations to accumulate, though they can be destroyed overnight. The demolition of the grammar schools in Britain was an economic as well as a cultural disaster, which virtually put an end to social mobility.

Likewise, you cannot recreate physics departments overnight. You can retrieve the condensed information from published work, but you cannot recreate the know-how of technicians that made the work possible. The political class do not understand the role of technicians, so they have simply ended their production.

These facts, however ruinous, are side issues. The monopolising of precious resources by any academic discipline, even if it were one less fatuous than the theology of modern, politically-correct environmentalism, would always be a downward step in the path of human progress. (Number Watch)

 

Sheesh! When Trees Fall Next Door, Neighbors Make the Noise

JENNIE SUNSHINE doesn’t need horror movies. She has witnessed numerous chain-saw massacres right on Ravencrest Road, her sleepy suburban block in this upper Westchester town.

“It seems like every time someone moves onto the block, they begin cutting down trees,” said Ms. Sunshine, 38, a stay-at-home mother of a 2-year-old girl. Three neighbors have deforested parts of their yards in the past two years, she said.

“I’m not a nosy neighbor, but every time I hear the saws, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, there it is again,’ ” she said. “These trees were not sick or a safety hazard; these people just wanted to rearrange the landscape. I thought, ‘If this continues, what’s Yorktown going to look like in 30 years, the Lower East Side?’ ”

Ms. Sunshine never confronted her neighbors, but she joined a group of like-minded residents who are pushing for a town ordinance requiring property owners to get approval before removing certain trees on their property.

Protecting trees on public land and parkland, and on property under development, is standard in municipalities in the New York area. But more local governments — Larchmont and Rye in Westchester County, and Chatham, Madison and Rutherford in New Jersey, to name a few — have considered or are debating more controversial restrictions on what homeowners can do with the trees on their own property. (NYT)

 

Pull plug on motorway lights to save the environment, say experts

Motorway lights should be turned off at night to protect the environment, experts have said.

Light pollution stops us enjoying the beauty of the night sky and could be disrupting the delicate life cycles of birds, bats and other wildlife, according to the Royal Commission of Environmental Pollution.

They say that motorway lights, other than those at junctions, do little to prevent accidents, and that the benefits are likely to be too small to justify the costs. (Daily Mail)

If they save even one human life then they are worth having on.

 

Chile Shows the Way on Trade

The longest and least uplifting chapter in my new Cato book Mad about Trade is Chapter 9, where I describe all the remaining duties and restrictions our government imposes on our freedom to trade with people in other countries. We are certainly not “the most open market in the world,” as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet asserted in China last week. In fact, by one measure we rank a lowly 28th.

After mentioning this fact in speeches lately, I’ve been asked more than once to name the markets that ARE the most open in the world. Here, according to the latest 2009 Economic Freedom of the World Report, are the top ten most open economies:

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Chile
4. Ireland
5. Panama
6. Netherlands
7. United Arab Emirates
8. Slovak Republic
9. Hungary
10. Luxembourg

(The list is a bit different from the one I cite in the book, which was based on the 2008 EFW report.)

One of the most remarkable members on the list is Chile. Decades ago, it was one of the most closed, protectionist economies in Latin America. Today it is the most open. In fact, when you consider that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Singapore is a tiny city state, Chile is the most open full-sized country in the world. (I hope our free-trade friends in Singapore won’t take offense at that!)

It is no coincidence that Chile has become the economic star of Latin America.

Will our own president and Congress learn from Chile’s example? (Daniel Griswold, Cato at liberty)

 

Peter Foster: Innuendo-law will hurt Canada

Bill C-300 would put Canadian firms at a competitive disadvantage and damage their reputations

The committee hearings on Bill C-300, designed to hobble Canadian mining and oil and gas companies operating overseas, heard further hysterical and bizarre testimony this week. At times accounts were reminiscent of scenes from Syriana, or a Michael Moore movie, at others like something manufactured on a psychiatrist’s couch.

The highest-profile testimony alleging Canadian corporate skullduggery came from Romina Picolotti. The former secretary for the Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina. Testifying by video link, Ms. Picolotti, who is also the founder and president of an environmental NGO, the Centre for Human Rights and the Environment, made astounding claims that Toronto-based Barrick, the world’s largest gold miner, was responsible for physically threatening not merely her and her staff, but also her children.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Blood and Gore on death of short-term capitalism

The Financial Times have humiliated themselves by printing an article by two crackpots, Blood and Gore (no kidding), called

Time is up for short-term thinking in global capitalism.

Let's ignore the fact that one of the authors is a criminal and a template for all hypocrites who should have been sitting in a jail for years, and look at their "ideas" instead. (The Reference Frame)

 

China Jails Environmentalist Wanted in U.S.

DALI, China — Justin Franchi Solondz, an environmental activist from New Jersey who spent years evading charges of ecoterrorism in the United States by hiding out in China, was sentenced to three years in prison by a local court on Friday on charges of manufacturing drugs in this backpacker haven.

After serving his time, Mr. Solondz, 30, who is on the F.B.I.’s wanted list, will be deported to the United States, where he faces charges stemming from what the authorities say was his role in an arson rampage that destroyed buildings in three western states as a member of a group related to the environmental extremist organization Earth Liberation Front. He was indicted in absentia in 2006. (NYT)

 

Climate change expert says Tesco plastic bag policy is success (two years after supermarket makes £25m donation to his university)

A climate change expert endorsed Tesco’s position on reducing plastic bag use after his institute received a £25million donation from the supermarket, it has been revealed.

Professor Mohan Munasinghe said the retailer’s policy of rewarding customers who reuse the bags with ClubCard points was ‘more effective’ than charging.

His comments appeared in the Consumers, Business and Climate Change report, which was published amid much fanfare at the Royal Society last month.

The professor, one of Britain’s leading experts on climate change, is head of the Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University, set up with the aid of a £25million donation from Tesco in 2007.

The retailer’s employees were also involved in compiling the report, it has emerged. They were mentioned by name, but their connection to the store was not disclosed. (Daily Mail)

 

Deadly fungus threatens millions of bats as they hibernate

OTTAWA -- Brock Fenton shudders when he thinks of a world without bats.

For more than 40 years, Fenton - a professor at the University of Western Ontario and Canada's foremost bat expert - has been visiting an abandoned mine 75 kilometres west of Ottawa near Renfrew, Ont., where bats hibernate by the thousands.

Fenton knows that one day soon they may all be gone, killed by a lethal fungus that is destroying the bats of eastern North America. ( Blair Crawford , Ottawa Citizen)

 

November 27, 2009

 

Steve Milloy: Climategate’s Perry Mason Moment (PJM Exclusive)

One of the released emails has the preeminent U.S. junk science critic renaming his allies: "We are no longer The Skeptics. We are The Vindicated." (See full PJM/PJTV coverage of Climategate here.)

What’s the real smoking gun among the emails allegedly “hacked” from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit? We’ll get to that in a moment, but let’s first address the alarmists’ first line of defense — that the emails were stolen, and more than likely by some dastardly skeptic.

Since news of embarrassing, if not incriminating emails broke last Friday, it has become clear that the CRU computer system was not “hacked” and the emails were not stolen. In fact, the file containing the emails had been assembled by CRU staff in preparation for compliance with a Freedom of Information request. The file was then stored in a publicly accessible portion of the CRU computer network — making it just a matter of time before someone discovered it. Why the file was so stored may never be known, but that’s not really what’s important.

Nothing illegal or unethical was done to affect the file’s release.

Moving on. (Steve Milloy, PJM)

 

Loony tunes...Science Untarnished By "Climategate", UN Says

LONDON - The head of the U.N.'s panel of climate experts rejected accusations of bias on Thursday, saying a "Climategate" row in no way undermined evidence that humans are to blame for global warming.

Climate change skeptics have seized on a series of e-mails written by specialists in the field, accusing them of colluding to suppress data which might have undermined their arguments.

The e-mails, some written as long as 13 years ago, were stolen from a British university by unknown hackers and spread rapidly across the Internet.

But Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stood by his panel's 2007 findings, called the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). "This private communication in no way damages the credibility of the AR4 findings," he told Reuters in an email exchange. (Reuters)

 

Science Doesn't Say Anything - Scientists Do

You can’t put honesty in a test tube. 

“Science” doesn’t say anything—scientists do. 

Those are a couple of the illuminating conclusions we can draw from the global warming e-mail scandal. 

“You mean science is not objective?” No, unless the scientists are, and too often they are not. I don’t want to impugn all scientists, but it is true that some of them are less than honest. Sometimes they lie to get or keep their jobs. Sometimes they lie to get grant money. Sometimes they lie to further their political beliefs. Sometimes they don’t intentionally lie, but they draw bad scientific conclusions because they only look for what they hope to find. ( Frank Turek, Townhall)

 

How to Forge a Consensus - The impression left by the Climategate emails is that the global warming game has been rigged from the start.

The climatologists at the center of last week's leaked-email and document scandal have taken the line that it is all much ado about nothing. Yes, the wording of the some of their messages was unfortunate, but they insist this in no way undermines the underlying science, which is as certain as ever.

"What they've done is search through stolen personal emails—confidential between colleagues who often speak in a language they understand and is often foreign to the outside world," Penn State's Michael Mann told Reuters Wednesday. Mr. Mann added that this has made "something innocent into something nefarious."

Phil Jones, Director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, from which the emails were lifted, is singing from the same climate hymnal. "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues," he said this week.

We don't doubt that Mr. Jones would have phrased his emails differently if he expected them to end up in the newspaper. His May 2008 email to Mr. Mann regarding the U.N.'s Fourth Assessment Report: "Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?" does not "read well," it's true. (Mr. Mann has said he didn't delete any such emails.)

But the furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or even whether climatologists are nice people in private. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at in the first place, and how even now a single view is being enforced. In short, the impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start. (WSJE)

 

Hot 'Climategate' debate: Scientists clash LIVE on RT

A respected British scientist has admitted that emails taken from his inbox, calling into question many of the accepted truths of global warming, were genuine. The documents appear to show scientists are holding back, or ignoring, evidence. One even suggested using a "trick" to hide a trend of falling temperatures. (Russia Today)

 

Climategate: The Skeptical Scientist’s View

What keeps scientists honest is knowing our colleagues are looking over our shoulders. A theory with hidden data is never to be believed.

As readers are now aware, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the main climate research center in Britain, has had 128 megabytes of secret emails and other data placed online by someone calling himself “FOIA.” A number of scientists have been trying for years to get the raw data possessed by CRU placed online, filing requests under the British Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Although required by law to release this information, CRU has not done so, or has claimed that the data were accidentally erased. We now have proof in the emails that the illegal withholding of information was intentional, and that the erasure of data was also intentional.

The now non-secret data prove what many of us had only strongly suspected — that most of the evidence of global warming was simply made up. That is, not only are the global warming computer models unreliable, the experimental data upon which these models are built are also unreliable. As Lord Monckton has emphasized here at Pajamas Media, this deliberate destruction of data and the making up of data out of whole cloth is the real crime — the real story of Climategate.

It is an act of treason against science. It is also an act of treason against humanity, since it has been used to justify an attempt to destroy the world economy. (Frank J. Tipler, PJM)

 

ClimateGate: Had It Been For AGW Believers, Enron Would Still Be In Business

Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer of the UEA, quoted yesterday by Willis Eschenbach in a comment to his “Freedom of information, my okole…“:

The University [of East Anglia, home of the CRU] takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases, handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under each particular piece of legislation.

Kenneth Lay answering an analyst’s question on August 14, 2001, as quoted in Wikipedia:

There are no accounting issues, no trading issues, no reserve issues, no previously unknown problem issues. I think I can honestly say that the company is probably in the strongest and best shape that it has probably ever been in.

(Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Hockey sticks and email leaks: Dr. Ross McKitrick responds to the “Climategate” story

Dr. Ross McKitrick is a professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph and is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. His work with Stephen McIntyre — another Canadian — provides much of the basis for skepticism of the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change. The “Hockey Stick” graph authored by Mann, Bradley and Hughes and published by Nature has come under renewed controversy after emails and data from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit were hacked and leaked revealing smoothing, manipulation, clumsy patching and omission of data used to construct climate models based on direct and indirect temperate readings. The hockey stick graph provided basis for the 2001 IPCC report, and a significant foundation for the modern mainstream view on climate change. The emails also revealed a tightly controlled and collaborative peer-review process which appeared to be designed to suppress skepticism and debate.

Leaders from industrialized and non-industrialized nations will meet in Copenhagen in just over a week to discuss a new agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol and seeks to transfer GDP from richer nations to poorer ones under the guise of aiding the implementation of CO2 emission reduction capacity around the world. I emailed Dr. McKitrick to ask him about the CRU hack/leak, the news of a pending US Congressional probe into the revelations that came from it, his opinion if such a move is necessary in Canada and whether this will affect the “scientific consensus” and political track as we move towards Copenhagen and beyond. (Stephen Taylor)

 

The skeptics are vindicated

A computer hacker in England has done the world a service by making available a huge quantity of evidence for the way in which "human-induced global warming" claims have been advanced over the years.

By releasing into the Internet about a thousand internal e-mails from the servers of the Climate Research Unit in the University of East Anglia -- in some respects the international clearing house for climate change "science" -- he has (or they have) put observers in a position to see that claims of conspiracy and fraud were not unreasonable.

More generally, we have been given the materials with which to obtain an insight into how all modern science works when vast amounts of public funding is at stake and when the vested interests associated with various "progressive" causes require a particular scientific result.

There is little doubt that the e-mails were real. Even so warmist a true-believer as George Monbiot led his column in the Guardian yesterday with: "It's no use pretending this isn't a major blow. The e-mails extracted ... could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them." (David Warren, The Ottawa Citizen)

 

Exactly who was emailing who in Climategate

This social graph of CRU emails shows how miniscule is this IPCC “power group” if you ponder how many active climatologists there must be globally. Sent in by The Iconoclast. The software counts the To and CC lines but does not count the embedded emails, many of which are duplicates. The 300kb graphic is over 3000 pixels wide, best downloaded – it prints OK in A4 but A3 would be better. (Warwick Hughes)

 

CLIMATEGATE! Fox RIPS Global Warming Advocate! 1000's of Emails / Documents Reveal FRAUD!

Hackers broke into thousands of emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University last week and uncovered the global warming conspiracy.

Stuart Varney interviews scientist Pat Michaels, with the CATO institute, who was the target of physical threat from Climate Scientist Ben Sanders. He also DESTROYS Ben Weiss, from the Center for American Progress.

Calls for an independent inquiry into what is being dubbed "Climategate" are growing as the foundation for man-made global warming implodes following the release of emails which prove researchers colluded to manipulate data in order to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.

 

Inhofe: CRU Scandal Bigger than ACORN Flap

Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, tells NRO that the leaked correspondence from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at Britain’s University of East Anglia could potentially be a bigger scandal than the release of undercover videos exposing ACORN earlier this year. “If you use financial criteria and evaluate the costs involved, then this is certainly more expensive,” says Inhofe. “It’s a wake-up call for America.”

Inhofe says that the e-mails, which reveal climate scientists working together to present a united front on anthropogenic global warming, are the “final redemption” for climate-change skeptics.

“The notion that these scientists tried to declare the science settled for personal reasons is disgraceful,” says Inhofe. “They were purposefully misrepresenting the facts. They tried to make America believe and it worked, for a time. Even my grandkids came home filled with this stuff, saying that ‘anthropogenic gases cause global warming.’ I reminded them that these things go in cycles. We’ve had warming then cooling, then warming and cooling again. I’m delighted that people are discovering that the science has been cooked for a long period of time.”

Inhofe points out that the CRU data were used in the 2007 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was subsequently used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it prepared its guidelines on carbon emissions. These connections, he says, are very worrisome for the American taxpayer.

“There are tremendous economic ramifications to what these guys were trying to do,” says Inhofe. “The IPCC, for years, has been costing the government so much money, and now, wasted time in trying to pass faulty legislation based on bad data.” (Robert Costa, NRO)

 

Ed Begley, Jr. Loses Control Over ClimateGate

Ed Begley, Jr., the enviro-wacko actor gets into a shoutfest and can't stop pointing his finger at Stuart Varney of Fox News: "You're spewing your nonsense again ..." says Begley. We're talking about Climategate, the recent discovery of e-mails by global warming 'scientists' that suggest a cover up..thousands of e-mails and documents (verified by the New York Times) have been released showing scientists trying to cover up the recent decline in temperatures and 'trick' the public.

Video Owned By Fox News Network

Peer review, Ed? About that...

 

Redefining Peer Review

In 2005 Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann, of Real Climate and CRU email fame, carefully explained that the process of peer review is a messy, incremental way to advance knowledge in fits and starts:

The current thinking of scientists on climate change is based on thousands of studies (Google Scholar gives 19,000 scientific articles for the full search phrase “global climate change”). Any new study will be one small grain of evidence that adds to this big pile, and it will shift the thinking of scientists slightly. Science proceeds like this in a slow, incremental way. It is extremely unlikely that any new study will immediately overthrow all the past knowledge.
They explained that even when results are published that do not stand the test of time, the process of peer review can successfully winnow out those arguments with the greatest merit:
. . . even when it initially breaks down, the process of peer-review does usually work in the end. But sometimes it can take a while.
With this perspective as background, one of the most damning aspects of the CRU emails was the behind-the-scenes efforts of the activist scientists to -- in their own words -- "redefine what the peer reviewed literature is."

Peer review as related to scientific publishing is a process in which experts are asked to judge the appropriateness of a paper for publication in a scientific journal. It is often cursory and focused on the merits of an argument, rather than a detailed replication or decomposition of the data or methods. Peer review does not mean that a result is right or will stand the test of time, but that it has met some minimal standards of acceptability for publication. The scientific community is replete with vignettes about papers that were rejected for publication in one venue only to be published elsewhere and which later turned out to be seminal. Similarly, every so often even Science and Nature find themselves in trouble with a paper that is badly wrong or even fraudulent. But despite these shortcomings in the process, peer review is widely viewed much as Winston Churchill viewed democracy: the worst possible system except for all the others.

Peer review works because over the long-term good ideas win out, and this process happens organically and through a decentralized process. Peer review takes place through many independent journals, with editing and reviewing conducted by many independent scholars from a diversity of disciplinary and experiential backgrounds, and with their own idiosyncratic biases and views. No one group or perspective owns the peer review process, and that diversity is part of its core strength. Truth -- meaning a convergence to agreement on scientific questions -- thus is a product of the peer review process over time. Of course the path to truth can be convoluted and indirect. For instance, it used to be true that there were 9 planets in our solar system. Now that is less true.

Some issues relevant to decisions are characterized by uncertainties and contested certainties making the distribution of scientific views not readily apparent simply by looking at the sprawling literature. In such situations a formal assessment can provide a useful perspective on the degree of consensus or disagreement among relevant experts on various claims. Such assessments are nothing more than a snapshot in time, as science is continuously evolving. When done well, an assessment will reflect the full range of views held by relevant experts, including minority views (see PDF), as well as the connections of scientific understandings to alternative possible courses of action.

Now back to the CRU emails. The emails show a consistent pattern of behavior among the activist scientists to redefine peer review in accordance with their own views of climate science. In doing so, they sought to turn the entire notion of peer review on its head.

The emails show a group of scientists frustrated with the peer review process, seeking to change how it is practiced. How so? The emails indicate concerted efforts to reshape the peer review process by managing and coordinating reviews of individual papers, by putting pressure on journal editors and editorial boards, by seeking to stack editorial boards with like-minded colleagues, by arranging boycotts of journals and other actions involving highly questionable ethics. But we might wonder why these scientists would take such steps to change peer review if, as Schmidt and Mann explained at Real Climate -- "peer review usually does work in the end." Why depart from a process that works? The answer is obvious: the short-term politics of climate change.

The activist scientists decided that the peer review process would work better in service of their political agenda if it used "truth" to determine whose views would be allowed to be published in the literature and reflected in assessments. In this case "truth" simply means the views deemed acceptable among the activist scientists and their close clique of colleagues. In an interview with NPR Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt defended this very backwards view of peer review:

Journals are supposed to be impartial filters that let good ideas rise to the top and bad ideas sink to the bottom. But the stolen emails show that a group of scientists has decided that's not working well enough. So they have resorted to strong tactics — including possible boycotts — to keep any paper they think is dubious from reaching the pages of a journal.

"In any other field (a bad paper) would just be ignored," says Gavin Schmidt at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. "The problem is in the climate field has become extremely politicized, and every time some nonsense paper gets into a proper journal, it gets blown out of all proportion."

Most of the papers Schmidt and his colleagues object to challenge the mainstream view of climate science. Schmidt says they may be wrong or even deceptive, but they are still picked up by politicians, pundits and businesses who are skeptical of climate change.

So Schmidt suggests that in order to short circuit the ability of their political opponents to cherry pick and blow out of proportion studies that the activists scientists did not agree with, they saw a convenient short cut: Simply reshape the peer review system such that those papers don't ever appear or go unmentioned in scientific assessments.

The problem with this strategy, of course, is that many climate scientists (and presumably others inside and outside of the scientific establishment) are unwilling to cede ownership of the "truth" to a small clique of scientists. In fact, peer review exists in the first place because there are no short cuts to the truth, and any such short cut will inevitably fail. Consider that the efforts revealed in the CRU emails to manage the peer reviewed literature went well beyond efforts to prevent so-called "skeptical" papers from being published, but included a focus on papers that fully accepted a human influence on climate, but which offered views that differed in some degree (e.g., here) from those preferred by the activist scientists. The emails reveal activist scientists busy extolling the virtues of peer review to journalists and the public, while at the same time they were busy behind the scenes working to corrupt the peer review process in a way that favored their views on the science and politics of climate change. Here we have a case study in the politicization of climate science by climate scientists.

The clique of activist scientists sees absolutely nothing wrong in what they are doing -- they are after all justifying their actions in terms of "truth" in support of the greater good. And the issue is made even more complex because those who share the political agenda of the activist scientists are ready to join their peer review coup whereas those opposed to that political agenda are happy to try to exploit for political gain the scientists' ethical lapses and failure to appreciate their role in politicizing climate science. So much of the discussion gets wrapped up in these distractions, rather than the issue of the integrity of climate science.

The sustainability of climate science depends upon our ability to distinguish the health of the scientific enterprise from the politics of climate change. The need to respond to climate change (which I support) does not justify sacrificing standards of scientific integrity for political ends. In fact, as the events of the past week show, when standards of scientific integrity are compromised, the political consequences can be double edged. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Smoking gun?

On the code thread, James Smith has just posted this comment:

From the file pl_decline.pro: check what the code is doing! It's reducing the temperatures in the 1930s, and introducing a parabolic trend into the data to make the temperatures in the 1990s look more dramatic.

Could someone else do a double check on this file? Could be dynamite if correct.

This is what all the fuss is about, but the reader who sent it thinks perhaps it may be a storm in a teacup. Still, it is strange that one would want to put an adjustment like this through a temperature series.


(Bishop Hill)

 

The usual suspects with 1 token "skeptic": Top climate scientists share their outlook

Climate scientists are like an exotic tribe – fascinating, sometimes hard to understand and rarely visited. The editor of a science journal warned me that I would find little to interest mainstream readers – the boffins would agree on pretty much everything. The debate, she implied, was over. She was wrong.

While climate scientists agree the world is warming due to man’s activities, there are still large areas of conflict, notably over how certain we can be about the predictions. (Financial Times)

Looks like Dick gets his wish about the scam being exposed in his lifetime :-)

 

Independent Inquiry Now Essential

When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.” [David Hume (1711 - 1776), Scottish philosopher and economist.

Since Lord Lawson called on Monday for an independent inquiry into the claims, following publication of hundreds of hacked or leaked e-mails, that leading British climate-change scientists from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had manipulated data, evaded freedom of information requests, and traduced other critical scientists and journals in order to strengthen their case for human-induced global warming, the demands for such an inquiry have been growing by the hour. The call has now even reached the BBC and Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire:

“Momentum does seem to be growing, from people on both sides of the argument, behind calls for a full independent enquiry that can once and for all get to the bottom of the many issues that have been raised. A recent survey showed that climate scepticism in this country is growing, and this episode may increase it further. Some would say that an enquiry is the only way to bring clarity to the science of global warming and climate change that has enormous implications for all of us.” (Clamour of the Times)

 

Lawrence Solomon: New Zealand's Climategate

An agency of the New Zealand government has been cooking the books to create a warming trend where none exists, according to a joint research project by global warming skeptics at the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. The chief cook?  Dr. Jim Salinger, considered one of the country's top scientists, who began the graph in the 1980s when he was at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.  CRU, of course, has become ground zero of Climategate at Dr. Salinger has maintained close relations with CRU since, as seen in the Climategate emails.

What do the uncooked books show? Rather than warming over the last hundred years, New Zealand's temperature has been steady.

For the full story, visit the site of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, here. (Financial Post)

 

Climate change: Why I'm warming to Lord Lawson

Liz Hunt is repelled by the behaviour of both sides of the climate change argument, and hopes that Lord Lawson's review can inject some sense. (TDT)

 

'Cap and Trade Is Dead' - The recently disclosed emails and documents from University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit compromise the integrity of the United Nations' global warming reports.

So declares Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, taking a few minutes away from a Thanksgiving retreat with his family. "Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week. Now they are all in."

If any politician might be qualified to offer last rites, it would be Mr. Inhofe. The top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee has spent the past decade in the thick of Washington's climate fight. He's seen the back of three cap-and-trade bills, rode herd on an overweening Environmental Protection Agency, and steadfastly insisted that global researchers were "cooking" the science behind man-made global warming.

This week he's looking prescient. The more than 3,000 emails and documents from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have found their way to the Internet have blown the lid off the "science" of manmade global warming. CRU is a nerve center for many of those researchers who have authored the United Nations' global warming reports and fueled the political movement to regulate carbon.

Their correspondence show a claque of scientists massaging data to make it fit their theories, squelching scientists who disagreed, punishing academic journals that didn't toe the apocalyptic line, and hiding their work from public view. "It's no use pretending that this isn't a major blow," glumly wrote George Monbiot, a U.K. writer who has been among the fiercest warming alarmists. The documents "could scarcely be more damaging." And that's from a believer. (Kimberley A Strassel, WSJ)

 

Showing Off The Climate Resume In Copenhagen

After some uncertainty, President Obama will go to Copenhagen for the UN climate conference on December 9 after all. He'll deliver a speech on the third day of the week-and-a-half-long conference on his way to Oslo, where he'll accept his Nobel Peace Prize the next day.

While the president is making a rather quick stop at the beginning of the conference--whereas most of the substantive negotiating will probably happen toward the end--the White House is dispatching a cadre of its top environmental officials to showcase the Obama climate resume during the summit. (The Atlantic)

 

Climategate: five Aussie MPs lead the way by resigning in disgust over carbon tax

Australia is leading the revolt against Al Gore’s great big AGW conspiracy – just as the Aussie geologist and AGW sceptic Professor Ian Plimer predicted it would.

ABC news reports that five frontbenchers from Australia’s opposition Liberal party have resigned their portfolios rather than follow their leader Malcolm Turnbull in voting with Kevin Rudd’s Government on a new Emissions Trading Scheme.

The Liberal Party is in turmoil with the resignations of five frontbenchers from their portfolios this afternoon in protest against the emissions trading scheme.

Tony Abbott, Sophie Mirabella, Tony Smith and Senators Nick Minchin and Eric Abetz have all quit their portfolios because they cannot vote for the legislation.

Senate whip Stephen Parry has also relinquished his position.

The ETS is Australia’s version of America’s proposed Cap and Trade and the EU’s various carbon reduction schemes: a way of taxing business on its CO2 output. As Professor Plimer pointed out when I interviewed him in the summer, this threatens to cause enormous economic damage in Australia’s industrial and mining heartlands, not least because both are massively dependent on Australia’s vast reserves of coal. It is correspondingly extremely unpopular with Aussie’s outside the pinko, libtard metropolitan fleshpots.

Though the ETS squeaked narrowly through Australia’s House of Representatives, its Senate is proving more robust – thanks not least to the widespread disgust by the many Senators who have read Professor Plimer’s book Heaven And Earth at the dishonesty and corruption of the AGW industry. If the Senate keeps rejecting the scheme, then the Australian government will be forced to dissolve.

For the rapidly increasing number of us who believe that AGW is little more than a scheme by bullying eco-fascists to deprive us of our liberty, by big government to spread its controlling tentacles into every aspect our lives, and scheming industrialists such as Al Gore to enrich themselves through carbon trading, this principled act by Australia’s Carbon Five is fantastic news.

Where they lead, the rest of the world’s politicians will eventually be forced to follow: their appalled electorates will make sure of it. ( James Delingpole, TDT)

Actually a lot more than that -- here's the honor roll of Liberal Party heroes (the Liberal Party is Australia's center-right coalition's major party with the National Party as less populous but more reliably right-oriented).

 

Rudd facing naked truth

JUST look at this astonishing farce in Canberra, is what I should have said. 

You see, I was talking to a class of year 11 students this week and found - to my horror - that few of that Harry Potter generation had even heard of the children's story that best explains this madness.

You know, the madness of Kevin Rudd's colossal tax on everything, which couldn't stop global warming even if that warming were real.

I mean, too, the madness of the Liberals' collapse under Malcolm Turnbull, and the startling rise of Kevin Andrews, the man they said was crazy.

Anyway, there I was in this classroom, talking of daring to speak the truth. Who, I asked, knew Hans Christian Andersen's tale of The Emperor's New Clothes?

Not one hand went up. How we've failed today's children. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

 

Starting to panic? Full text: Climate science statement

This is a joint statement from the Met Office, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Royal Society on the state of the science of climate change ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference. (The Guardian)

 

China 'will not sacrifice growth' for emissions cuts

China said Wednesday it will not sacrifice growth to cut gas emissions, illustrating the difficulty in reaching a global climate deal at a major summit next month despite US moves to boost the talks. (AFP)

 

Fear Of Low China Target Casts Cloud Over Climate Talks

BEIJING - China is preparing to unveil a target to curb carbon emissions ahead of a major climate summit in Copenhagen next month, but experts and negotiators worry Beijing's much-anticipated figure may disappoint. (Reuters)

 

Should agriculture pay the climate price?

While agriculture and food production have long been considered untouchable in international climate talks, calls to make the sector contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation efforts have been growing louder.

Food is strategic and agricultural production is a vital sector of many national economies. Yet, discussions are shifting from how to adapt farming to climate change to how to make agriculture contribute to climate change mitigation. 

In a recent interview with EurActiv, outgoing EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel even backed the possibility of an emissions trading scheme for agriculture. While the EU has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its farming sector by 21% compared to 1990, according to the European Commission, agricultural emissions from other parts of the world have soared by nearly 17%, mainly due to increases in developing countries. (EurActiv)

 

UK can cut emissions via tree planting push

LONDON - Covering an extra four percent of the nation in forests, or planting some 30,000 football pitches' worth of trees per year, could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2050, a new report said on Wednesday.

Three million hectares or 12 percent of Britain is currently covered in forests, but upping this by one third to 16 percent could reduce forecast emissions levels in 40 years, according to the report tasked by the Forestry Commission.

"Forestry can make a significant and cost-effective contribution to meeting the UK's challenging emissions reduction targets," said professor David Read, former vice-president of the Royal Society and chairman of the panel of scientists that authored the report.

"By using more wood for fuel and construction materials we can make savings by using less gas, oil and coal, and by substituting sustainably produced timber for less climate-friendly materials." (Reuters)

But we neither want nor need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide -- it's a resource.

 

Back in the realm of make-believe: Northern EU nations could profit from climate change

(BRUSSELS) - Global warming could cost the European Union as a whole up to 65 billion euros per year, but paradoxically northern nations could end up in profit, according to a study released Wednesday.

The report, published by the EU's Joint Research Centre, says that if the projected 2080 climate existed today, an average rise of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius, the bloc would face an annual bill of 20-65 billion euros (30-97.5 billion dollars) a year just to deal with the consequences. (EUbusiness)

 

I think they mean the cost of climate hypochondria (climochondria? ecochondria? whatever...) : Climate change to cost trillions, say economists

Estimates vary widely on the costs of damage from climate change, easing these impacts and taming the carbon gas stoking the problem, but economists agree the bill is likely to be in the trillions of dollars.

Figures depend on different forecasts for greenhouse-gas emissions and the timeline for reaching them. In addition, key variables remain sketchy. (AFP)

 

Climate Change Summit Becomes a Target for Protest

A number of groups are planning to hold demonstrations and protests in Copenhagen during next month's climate summit.

Is global warming the new globalization? Environmental activists are hoping that demonstrations at next month's climate summit in Denmark can forge a protest movement like the anti-globalization movement seen after the WTO riots in 1999. But the Danish authorities have other ideas.

If you missed Seattle, you won't want to miss Copenhagen. That, at least, is what Tadzio Müller, a political scientist and climate activist with Climate Justice Action -- a global network of activists and non-governmental organizations committed to combating climate change -- is telling people. The mass protest movement, he hopes, is turning green. (Der Spiegel)

 

Climate protestors face sleeping in prison gyms

Prisons prepare for an influx of detainees during the UN Climate Change Conference happening in two weeks

Overcrowding in the country’s prisons means protestors arrested during the climate conference will be held in uncomfortable conditions.

Climate activists are gearing up for the UN Climate Change Conference in two weeks, but face harsh jail conditions if arrested.

Legislation was recently tightened to allow police to hold protestors for up to 40 days if they hinder police work and the already overstretched prison service is gearing up for new arrivals. (Copenhagen Post)

 

Another Cornell eye-roller: Climate experts debate strategies for reducing atmospheric carbon and future warming

Even if the world's policymakers all agree to dramatically reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and everything were in place by the middle of the century, the world still could not meet the goals of the climate change meetings in Copenhagen, Dec. 8-18, of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), say Cornell researchers.

If everyone were on board, maybe we could contain CO2 in the atmosphere to about 400 ppm by 2050, said Cornell climate expert Charles Greene, who has published numerous papers on climate change and global ocean ecosystems.

There is already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the world is just too dependent on fossil fuels and such obstacles as the United States' poor climate record and skyrocketing emissions from India and China make lower levels unrealistic, he said. (Chronicle Online)

 

EU Bio Industry Complains Over U.S. Duty Evaders

BRUSSELS - Europe's biofuels industry said on Thursday it would lodge a complaint with EU trade authorities against companies they say are evading duties slapped on U.S. biodiesel imports.

The European Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation bloc, imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of up to five years on imports of biodiesel from the United States in May.

But the Brussels-based European Biodiesel Board (EBB) said it had strong indications subsidized and dumped U.S. biodiesel continues to enter the EU market, either via third countries based on fraudulent declarations of origin, or through blends. (Reuters)

 

Oh dear... America's increasing food waste is laying waste to the environment

Food waste contributes to excess consumption of freshwater and fossil fuels which, along with methane and carbon dioxide emissions from decomposing food, impacts global climate change. In a new paper published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, Kevin Hall and colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases calculate the energy content of nationwide food waste from the difference between the US food supply and the food eaten by the population. The latter was estimated using a validated mathematical model of human metabolism relating body weight to the amount of food eaten. (Public Library of Science)

 

Experts to probe health of Canadian oceans

VANCOUVER — An independent panel of scientists is embarking on a comprehensive report of the health of Canada's oceans, with special emphasis on climate change and marine biodiversity.

Panel chairman Jeff Hutchings, a Dalhousie University biology professor, said in an interview that Canada has a moral and geographic responsibility to care for its oceans, given that it has the longest coastline in the world.

"People tend not to focus on the oceans, but on the land-based issues," he said of the climate-change debate. "Things in the oceans belong to all Canadians, not specific groups or companies, and that lends a sense of stewardship to what happens in the oceans." ( Larry Pynn , Vancouver Sun)

 

Anti-whalers swimming in hypocrisy

If you are as vehemently opposed to whaling as most Australians, here's a potentially inconvenient truth to consider: some species of whale might not be endangered. But don't expect to hear much about that in coming weeks, as the Japanese whaling fleet sets off on its annual voyage to the Southern Ocean.

Look out, instead, for impassioned cries from environmentalists and politicians about how barbaric whaling is, and for images of high-seas battles involving good guys (brazen activists in rubber dinghies) taking on bad guy foreigners (Japanese whalers), harpoons piercing thrashing whales and bleeding carcasses being hauled on to boats.

It is understandable for people to react with revulsion to such images. There is no doubt that harpoons inflict a painful death on an animal that, in recent years, has assumed an almost sacred status in popular human consciousness. No one wants to see whales suffer or die - except, perhaps, a few media professionals who, a bit like whalers, might see some commercial value in it.

But when it comes to letting a good story and an almost universally popular cause get in the way of facts, the whale phenomenon takes some beating. (Tony Ormonde, SMH)

 

The 'bycatch' downed by industrial fishing

Concern is growing about the huge number of seabirds being killed by fisheries in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said yesterday.

Although conservationists' fears have so far focused on seabirds in the Southern Ocean, especially albatrosses, there is mounting alarm over the numbers of northern species, such as shearwaters and petrels, falling victim to large-scale industrialised fishing methods.

The most deadly of these is longlining, which involves hooks set with bait on lines which stream out for great distances behind fishing vessels. Seabirds swoop on the bait when it is on the surface, before being hooked themselves as a so-called "bycatch".

It is estimated that 200,000 seabirds are being killed in fisheries in European waters every year, the RSPB said, with one species, the great shearwater, suffering an exceptionally high annual bycatch rate of 50,000 birds in the Spanish longline hake fishery to the west of Ireland. (The Independent)

 

Supermarkets urged to widen choice to help fish stocks

Supermarkets could improve seafood ranges and give shoppers more information to help Britain’s dwindling fish stocks, according to a Marine Conservation Society (MCS) report. (TDT)

 

World rice centre appeals for donations

SINGAPORE-- The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) launched Wednesday a campaign to raise 300 million US dollars to boost regional long-term production of the crucial staple and promote food security.

IRRI, based in the Philippines and regarded as the world's leading authority on rice, got off to a strong start with 60 million dollars in donations, including over 50 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The organisation is calling for donations ranging from 1,000 dollars from individuals to larger amounts from corporate donors in its largest ever fundraising exercise.

IRRI's development director Duncan Macintosh said there was another 20 million to 25 million dollars' worth of donations in the pipeline, and the institute hopes to reach its goal in three years' time.

"The target is 2012," Macintosh said at a media briefing. (Agence France-Presse)

 

They are finally right in one respect: Organic Farming May Help Meet Climate Goals: Report

LONDON - The conversion of all UK farmland to organic farming would achieve the equivalent carbon savings to taking nearly one million cars off the road, the Soil Association said on Thursday. (Reuters)

The goal of gorebull warming hysteria is to eliminate a significant number of people and switching the world to purely organic farming would cause at least a billion or two to starve.

 

November 26, 2009

 

The Good Ship AGW Is Sinking; Still the Band Plays On

Abandon the HMS Global Warming? Never! Obama will head to Copenhagen for the UN climate change summit.

The Titanic is remembered for many things. Being unsinkable is one of them, and the dedication to duty of the members of her band who provided musical accompaniment as the ship went down is widely known. The sinking occurred in the dark very early on the morning of April 12, 1912, in a part of the North Atlantic where icebergs are at their worst from April through June. The Titanic nevertheless proceeded at full speed. It has been suggested that the fatal iceberg came from Greenland, “where large ice chunks are known to break off, or ‘calve,’ from glaciers and float south.”

Nearly a century ago, nobody blamed global warming, since the notion had not yet been invented. Nor for that matter had Al Gore gotten around to being born, much less to taking “the initiative in creating the Internet.” It was therefore an ignorant and uninformed age. Now, of course, nearly every social and economic ill, from terrorism down to and including prostitution, has been shown to be caused by global warming. Indeed, global warming may be even worse than the terrorism and prostitution which it breeds, and second only to global nuclear war.

It might be possible to draw an analogy between the Titanic and the United States, or even Western society in general. However, this article merely deals with anthropogenic global warming. Despite the dubious science and the tip of an iceberg of emails and other documents not intended for the public eye which the Good Ship Global Warming has now struck, the band plays on. The almost deafening chorus of affirmers continues to sing; a bit off-key at the moment, but loudly nonetheless. (Dan Miller, PJM)

 

DENIAL IS THE NEW WARMING

Nine’s A Current Affair just ran a piece dismissive of global warming, featuring Terry McCrann and David Bellamy, among others. Online video later.

Two points: this is further evidence of a shift in media attitudes (only a few years ago, the same network was running pieces on the proof of warming). And while several lines in the ACA item will be familiar to those who’ve followed this issue online, many watching will be hearing them for the first time.

UPDATE. Video via Andrew Bolt, who notes the change: ”A Current Affair interviews three people about global warming and the emissions trading scheme, all of whom agree the public is being duped without the reporter or presenter suggesting these people are speaking anything other than plain sense.”

UPDATE II. US networks are a little slow waking up to this recent “global warming is a complete crock” story.

UPDATE III. Credit where it’s due. CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh does an excellent job summarising the CRU email scandal, particularly on the CRU’s importance:

In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: it claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report, in turn, is what the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged it “relies on most heavily” when concluding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and should be regulated.

That’s why this matters. (Tim Blair)

 

Climate Politics: Running Scared in the EU (even before Climategate)

by Carlo Stagnaro (Guest Blogger)

The European Union is very concerned about climate.

But its concern is not principally about the scares emanating from the assumption-driven (Malthus in/Malthus out) studies regarding man-made climate change. The EU’s leaders fear that the Old Continent’s self-declared “leadership” in the “world war against climate change” might not be joined–and thus will be rendered ineffective in the global context. And the politicians know that all-pain/no-gain climate policy will increasingly trouble the voters, who must be placated.

This is a bitter pill given that the U.S. presidential elections brought into office the environmentally oriented Barack Obama and the alarmist dream team (Carol Browner, John Holdren, etc.). Europe felt like its efforts to curb emissions would enter a new phase, where the rest of the world would have progressively joined forces and leveled the playing field on pricing carbon emissions. For Europe, that would have meant shrinking the competitiveness gap that is created by its higher energy prices, as well as gaining a competitive advantage in the newly formed carbon markets. (The EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which has been active since January 2005, is the largest functioning carbon market in the world). (MasterResource)

 

Climategate: Have They No Shame?

The implicated scientists' strategy is to brazen it out and rely on the global warming alarmist establishment and the mainstream media to circle the wagons.

It is clear that the tip-top scientists implicated in the burgeoning Climategate scandal have no honor, but it is also becoming apparent that they have no sense of shame either. Their strategy is to brazen it out and rely on the great global warming alarmist establishment and the mainstream media to circle the wagons. They have got their talking point and the environmental pressure groups are already repeating it over and over: “The ‘global warming deniers’ are cherry-picking a few unfortunately worded emails and then taking them out of context.” Well, they are some pretty big, juicy cherries and there are a lots of them. (Myron Ebell, PJM)

 

Still spinning: Browner Shrugs Off Hot Debate on Climate Change Emails

White House energy and environment czar Carol Browner tried Wednesday to shrug off the swirling controversy over purloined British emails suggesting collusion on the part of climate scientists trying to stoke up fears of global warming. She hadn’t read them, she said, and besides, only a few have come to light - second hand. (Washington Wire)

 

Climategate and a Tale of Two Georges

One event, seen by two environmental activists called George, produces two, contradicting stories in the Guardian.

George Marshall, suggests that CRU email hacking was ‘orchestrated smear campaign’, but one which yielded no evidence of anything questionable, but that ‘an application of dirty political tactics to climate change campaigning’ seeks to undermine the upcoming Copenhagen conference. Innocent scientists, who know little about communication, have unwittingly handled the affair badly, causing a PR disaster for themselves.

George Monbiot, on the other hand, is uncharacteristically reflective, and ‘dismayed and deeply shaken by’ the emails. ‘There are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad’, he says.

There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request. Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Monbiot then calls for head of the CRU, Phil Jones, to resign. Nonetheless, this doesn’t support the conspiracy-theories about the hockey stick and widespread scientific fraud, he concludes, before giving a ‘satirical’ example of what it would take to convince him that such a conspiracy did exist. Most notably, however, he answers a commenter to the site:

I apologise. I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely.

This is, of course, what we’ve been telling Monbiot for several years now.

The point here is that the two Georges seem to have very different takes on what the CRU hacking has revealed. Marshall believes that the attempt to prove a conspiracy reveals a conspiracy. Monbiot says that the hacking has not substantiated the conspiracy-theory, but that certain scientists are culpable. It’s worth pointing out that, although Marshall and Monbiot accuse sceptics of conspiracy-theorising, their own arguments about ‘deniers’ and ‘well funded denial machines’ are also conspiracy theories. (Climate Resistance)

 

ClimateGate: A criminal offense (or two)

cartoon scientist behind bars

We all know something is gravely wrong, but what exactly are the crimes implicated?  This insight comes from Richard S. Courtney, who has been an expert witness for the UK Parliament, and House of Lords, the IPCC and was one of 15 scientists invited to speak for the US congress in 2000.

Jones, Briffa and Mann seem to have committed several criminal offences.

These include:

1. Misappropriation of public funds

They deliberately falsified data then used the results of the falsification to obtain additional research funding.  This is criminal fraud under English Law.

2. Deliberate attempt to prevent disclosure of information that was requested under the FOI Act

They colluded to destroy information that was the subject of an FOI request.  This is a criminal offence under English Law.

These two offences will do for starters, but there are others, too.  Indeed, both of the above offences can be doubled by charging the alleged miscreants with conspiracy in each case. Jones, Briffa and Mann should be prosecuted as a warning to others who would pervert science as a method to promote a political agenda. However, there is little probability that the Crown Prosecution Service will charge the alleged miscreants.  It is more likely that they will be awarded Knighthoods.

And those like Monbiot who colluded in all of this will say, “We did not know”.

Monbiot has repeatedly vilified those of us who have been championing the cause of science against the unfounded climate scare.  He is not alone in such behaviour.

Climate realists and our work have been vilified and smeared.  Entire web sites have been established to tell lies about us.  Publication of our scientific work has been inhibited, and personal attacks have been the norm:  for example, I have had computer systems damaged by concerted attacks, Lomborg has had a pie pushed in his face, some (e.g. Tenekes, Michaels, etc.) have had their employment terminated, and Tim Ball has had death threats.

Monbiot seems to be covering himself now what has been happening is plain for all to see as a result of the stolen (?) CRU files having been released.

In a side meeting organised by Fred Singer at an IPCC Meeting in London in 2001 I said; “When the ‘chickens come home to roost’ – as they surely will with efluxion of time – the journalists and politicians won’t say, “It was our fault”. They will say, “it was the scientists’ fault“, and that’s me, and I object!

I can still see no reason to change that opinion.

Richard Courtney


A question of justice

Any experts of the UK legal system out there? Can we expand on his thoughts. Who could bring these charges forward? What would it take to make sure that these men face justice? Not only would this remind other scientists of their scientific and legal obligations, it would also make it harder for those in power to find scientists they could exploit. This is critical if we are to stop ambitious greedy people wielding science as a weapon against us.

How do we prevent this?

These crimes appear to have been going on for ten years. The system has failed all of us, including Jones, Mann and Briffa. They would be far better off now if they had been picked up for something minor right at the start. Ideally it would be best if scientists themselves had a system to deal with this form of transgression before it became a question of criminal proceedings, but all forms of auditing have failed. The peer review system became corrupted due to monopolistic money distorting the incentives; science journals failed; scientific associations failed too (death by committee?), and poorly trained science journalists were oblivious (ignoring whistle-blowers, and logic, while they parroted press releases). Ultimately the only “net” left to catch any crimes in science were the bloggers, and a few individual scientists. (JoNova)

 

Correcting the record: 'Climategate' - What next?

Like many of you I've been watching the story at the University of East Anglia develop with interest. I first became aware of the news late last week, but because of my weather and filming commitments couldn't deal with it myself and so passed the news on to some of my colleagues in the BBC's environment and science team, including our environment analyst Roger Harrabin who wrote about it on Saturday morning, and Newsnight, who covered the story last night. 

As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, 'Whatever happened to global warming ?'

These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. Complaints and criticisms of output are an every day part of life, and as such were nothing out of the ordinary. However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others. (Paul Hudson, BBC)

Some people have been claiming Paul Hudson of the BBC was given the liberated correspondence contained in FOIA2009.zip in October, a full month prior to their general release. This is simply the result of some people misreading his earlier blog posting confirming the content of some e-mails directly relating to him which he was copied by one or more of the principals. Everyone calm down and please read things carefully. There's enough genuine malfeasance to go 'round without having to manufacture any.

 

Obama Announces 2020 Emissions Target, Dec. 9 Copenhagen Visit

President Obama today unveiled key details of the U.S. negotiation position headed into next month's global warming talks in Copenhagen, including a provisional greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020 "in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels" and a new itinerary that includes a personal appearance during the opening days of the U.N. conference.

The White House said Obama will put the 2020 target on the bargaining table "in the context of an overall deal in Copenhagen that includes robust mitigation contributions from China and the other emerging economies." Obama's emission goals closely parallel action on Capitol Hill, including the House-passed climate bill and a Senate measure that Democratic leaders hope can reach the floor with enough votes by next spring.

"This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress and demonstrates a significant contribution to a problem that the U.S. has neglected for too long," the White House said in a press release, adding that Obama was "working closely with Congress to pass energy and climate legislation as soon as possible." (ClimateWire)

 

Preparing, and Bracing, for New Emissions Rules

The nation’s corporations have long been bracing for the day when they would be required to carry out sharp cuts in the emissions that cause global warming. That day seemed to move a bit closer on Wednesday, when President Obama outlined a national target for such reductions.

Much of corporate America has already been thinking about how to comply. Many businesses concluded years ago that such limits were inevitable, and they have been calling on Congress to define the exact rules they will need to follow. (NYT)

Since there is not now and never has been any evidence anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions drive temperatures the only thing making these regulations "inevitable" is businesses surrendering to the nonsense. Stand up and fight, dopey!

 

Hunting Al Gore's snipes

Anyone who was ever in the Scouts knows what Snipe hunting is all about. For those of you less fortunate to have not had that experience, you go out at dark and with a flashlight and a paper bag you squat on the ground and shine your light straight ahead and call for the Snipes. Of course the whole thing is a hoax perpetrated by your Scout leader to prove once and for all that you will believe any lie told to you enough times as truth.

Al Gore is the master of Snipe hunting tales only his is disguised as global warming. The idea that carbon emissions are turning the earth into a hothouse is a hoax that Al Gore has painstakingly drilled the gullible into believing is truth. Carbon dioxide was formerly present in the Earth's atmosphere at 20 times today's concentrations with no dire consequences yet Al Gore has orchestrated intellectual hysteria over purely imaginary dangers. (Hernando Today)

 

Nice try :-) Hacked Climate Emails Called A "Smear Campaign"

Three leading scientists who on Tuesday released a report documenting the accelerating pace of climate change said the scandal that erupted last week over hacked emails from climate scientists is nothing more than a "smear campaign" aimed at sabotaging December climate talks in Copenhagen.

"We're facing an effort by special interests who are trying to confuse the public," said Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a lead author of the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

Dissenters see action to slow global warming as "a threat," he said.

The comments were made in a conference call for reporters.

The scientists-Somerville, Michael Mann of Penn State and Eric Steig of University of Washington-were supposed to be discussing their new report, the Copenhagen Diagnosis, a dismal update of the UN IPCC's 2007 climate data by 26 scientists from eight nations.

Instead they spent much of the time diffusing the hacker controversy, known in the media as "Climate Gate." ( Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate)

Except the data was collated by CRU staff in response to FOI requests and the motley CRU stand by their own words condemned.

 

Global warming industry becomes too big to fail

"I'm in the process of trying to persuade Siemens Corp. (a company with half a million employees in 190 countries!) to donate me a little cash to do some CO2 measur[e]ments here in the UK -- looking promising," wrote Andrew Manning, a climate-science research fellow at the University of East Anglia, "so the last thing I need is news articles calling into question (again) observed temperature increases."

Manning's e-mail, written in October to a colleague at East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit, was one of the thousands of private communiques exposed to public view by a whistleblower or a hacker. The note and others like it reveal the intriguing relationship between industry giants like Siemens and the scientists driving climate change fears. More importantly, though, Manning's e-mail shows the incentives of climate scientists: Convince people there is a climate disaster coming, get more money. ( Timothy P. Carney, Examiner)

 

An Erroneous Statement Made By Phil Jones To The Media On The Independence Of The Global Surface Temperature Trend Analyses Of CRU, GISS And NCDC

In the news today, there is an erroneous statement by Phil Jones regarding the surface temperature data sets that are used to diagnose global warming

In Harrabin’s Notes: E-mail impact  it is reported

“Professor Andrew Watson, a long-term colleague of the researchers at the CRU, said the unit should have nothing to fear from an inquiry, as the CRU temperature data set at the heart of many of the e-mails is almost identical to the two other authoritative data sets, both in the US.”

In an interview with the Guardian titled “Climate scientist at centre of leaked email row dismisses conspiracy claims” Phil Jones is quoted as staying

“….Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for Nasa and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.”

These claims of that the surface temperature series are “completely independent” is false and Phil Jones knows that. (Climate Science)

 

E-mail Documentation Of The Successful Attempt By Thomas Karl Director Of the U.S. National Climate Data Center To Suppress Biases and Uncertainties In the Assessment Surface Temperature Trends

E-mail Documentation Of The Successful Attempt By Thomas Karl Director Of the U.S. National Climate Data Center To Suppress Biases and Uncertainties In the Assessment Surface Temperature Trends

The release of the e-mails from Phil Jones further confirmed the attempts to suppress viewpoints of climate change issues, which conflict with the IPCC viewpoint.

In the example I present below, the issue is the robustness of the surface temperature trend record.  The three main groups that compile and analyze this information are NCDC (directed by Tom Karl), GISS (directed by Jim Hansen) and CRU (directed by Phil Jones). (Climate Science)

 

Jones et al 1986 methodical insertion of warming bias

Jones et al 1986 looked at 86 Australian stations and rejected 46 (25 Short term – 21 long term). Of the 40 they used 27 were short term and 13 long term. Of the long term there were 5 large cities.

The 27 short term stations were mostly only quoted from 1951 onward – regardless of what data was available. It just so happens that the years just post WWII were not prominently warm in Australia so an “automatic” warming trend was reinforced into the CRU Australian component.

Here are 11 examples where Jones et al systematically truncated pre-1951 data or ignored more rural data around many small town Australian stations. These graphics and text have been extracted from a 1992 vintage Word doc that somehow survived the decades and how many HDD’s.

Read the rest of this entry » (Warwick Hughes)

 

Peter Foster: Let the climate debate begin

Why did almost every country buy into possibly bogus science?

By Peter Foster

You’ve got to feel almost sorry for Elizabeth May and George Monbiot. The leader of the Green Party and the prominent columnist and promoter of catastrophic climate change from Britain’s Guardian are due, next Tuesday, to debate Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg and former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson in Toronto on climate change. In the latest Munk Debate, Messrs May and Monbiot will support the motion “Be it resolved climate change is mankind’s defining crisis, and demands a commensurate response.”

They have to take the stage in the wake of the devastating hack/leak from Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the Hadley Centre at the University of East Anglia, which indicates extensive scientific chicanery to support the warmist cause.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Climategate: Alarmism Is Underpinned by Fraud (PJM Exclusive)

A decorated scientist and author of the most influential book debunking global warming joins Viscount Monckton in calling the CRU behavior criminal. (Also read Roger L. Simon: Climategate and the "T" Word)

In the geological past, there have been six major ice ages. During five of these six ice ages, the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was higher than at present. It is clear that the colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas called carbon dioxide did not drive past climates. Carbon dioxide is plant food, not a pollutant.

Humans have adapted to live on ice sheets, deserts, mountains, tropics, and sea level. History shows that humans and other organisms have thrived in warm times and suffered in cold times.

In the 600-year long Roman Warming, it was 4ºC warmer than now. Sea level did not rise and ice sheets did not disappear. The Dark Ages followed, and starvation, disease, and depopulation occurred. The Medieval Warming followed the Dark Ages, and for 400 years it was 5ºC warmer. Sea level did not rise and the ice sheets remained. The Medieval Warming was followed by the Little Ice Age, which finished in 1850. It is absolutely no surprise that temperature increased after a cold period. (Ian Plimer, PJM)

 

Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC – A Repost Of And Comment On A January 13 2009 post

On January 13 2009 I posted “Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC”.

In this post, I concluded that

There are no independent climate assessments of the IPCC report “Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change”  that have been funded and sanctioned by the NSF, NASA or the NRC.

With the perspective exposed in the publication of the e-mails from the research group of Phil Jones this past week, the goal of a small group of scientists to control the information communicated to policymakers and the public is clearly illustrated in my post.  I documented my experience with respect to an attempt by a few scientists to introduce a broader examination of the role of humans and natural climate forcings beyond carbon dioxide that was being discussed at a December 8 2008 meeting at the National Research Council in Washington D.C.

This attempt was aborted as a result of who attended the National Research Council planning meeting. This included individuals mentioned in the e-mails involving Phil Jones.  Despite claims that there are thousands who are driving the focus on CO2 as the primary human climate forcing, the reality is that only a relatively small number of individuals are actually directing this effort. (Climate Science)

 

'Climate-Gate' Scandal Should Be Wake-Up Call For Press, Politicians

Last week, someone (probably a whistle-blower at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England) released e-mails and other documents written by Phil Jones, Michael Mann and other leading scientists who edit and control the content of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The e-mails appear to show a conspiracy to falsify data and suppress academic debate in order to exaggerate the possible threat of man-made global warming.

The misconduct exposed by the e-mails is so apparent that one scientist, Tim Ball, said it marked "the death blow to climate science." Another, Patrick Michaels, told the New York Times: "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud."

Although I am not a scientist, I know something about global warming, having written about the subject since 1993 and recently edited an 880-page comprehensive survey of the science and economics of global warming, titled "Climate Change Reconsidered," written by a team of nearly 40 scientists for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

The content of the e-mails doesn't surprise me or other skeptics in the warming debate. We have been saying for many years that the leading alarmists have engaged in academic fraud, do not speak for the larger scientific community, and are exaggerating the scientific certainty of their claims. (Joseph Bast, IBD)

 

Big Media Ask: What Climate Scandal?

Here's a dirty little secret about the New York Times: It likes to leak things. Important things. Things that change the course of the public conversation. From the Pentagon Papers to the ruined terrorist-surveillance programs of the Bush era, the Times has routinely found that secrecy is a danger and sunlight is a disinfectant.

Until now. A troublesome hacker recently released e-mails going to and from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain, e-mails that exposed how the "scientific experts" cited so often by the media on global warming are guilty of crude political talk, attempts at censoring opponents and twisting scientific data to support their policy agenda.

The e-mails prove just how dishonest this left-wing global warming agenda truly is. (L. Brent Bozell III, IBD)

 

Deconstructing ClimateGate’s Smoking-Gun Email

A leading light of climate change inadvertently exposes AGW’s crumbling foundation.

The evidence that the human-caused global warming/climate change effort may constitute one of the biggest scams in all of human history continues to mount. The contents of emails and other data surreptitiously obtained from a UK climate research facility add further fuel to that already burning-hot fire.

Predictably, while pretending to give the incident and its fallout reasonable coverage, the establishment media has generally ignored the most damning email of them all. Authored by Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, it addresses what has been happening with temperature changes in recent years, i.e., not a lot, with a slight cooling trend. (Tom Blumer, PJM)

 

Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate

This could prove to be climate science's Vietnam.

They’re calling it “Climategate.” The scandal that the suffix –gate implies is the state of climate science over the past decade or so revealed by a thousand or so emails, documents, and computer code sets between various prominent scientists released following a leak from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers.

Here are three things everyone should know about the Climategate Papers.  Links are provided so that the full context of every quote can be seen by anyone interested. (Iain Murray, PJM)

 

What Is — and What Isn’t — Evidence of Global Warming

All the evidence we've heard regarding global warming never constituted, in any manner, actual evidence that it was taking place.

“Climategate” has everybody rethinking global warming. Many are wondering — if leading scientists were tempted to finagle their data, is the evidence for catastrophic climate change weaker than previously thought?

Actually, the evidence was never even evidence.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding — shared by nearly everybody about the nature of anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW) — over exactly what constitutes evidence for that theory and what does not.

Remember when we heard that the icebergs were melting, that polar bears were decreasing in number, that some places were drier than usual and that others were wetter, that the ocean was growing saltier here and fresher there, and that hurricanes were becoming more terrifying? Remember the hundreds of reports on what happens when it gets hot outside?

All of those observations might have been true, but absolutely none of them were evidence of AGW.

Diminishing glaciers did not prove AGW; they were instead a verification that ice melts when it gets hot. Fewer polar bears did not count in favor of AGW; it instead perhaps meant that maybe adult bears prefer a chill to get in the mood. People sidling up to microphones and trumpeting “It’s bad out there, worse than we thought!” was not evidence of AGW; it was evidence of how easily certain people could work themselves into a lather.

No observation of what happened to any particular thing when the air was warm was direct evidence of AGW. None of it.

Every breathless report you heard did nothing more than state the obvious: Some creatures and some geophysical processes act or behave differently when it is hot than when it is cold. Only this, and nothing more. (William M. Briggs, PJM)

 

Statement on CRU hacking from the American Meteorological Society

This was just released by the AMS, source is here.

I’m reposting here in its entirety. h/t to Mark Johnson

Impact of CRU Hacking on the AMS Statement on Climate Change

AMS Headquarters has received several inquiries asking if the material made public following the hacking of e-mails and other files from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia has any impact on the AMS Statement on Climate Change, which was approved by the AMS Council in 2007 and represents the official position of the Society. (WUWT)

 

Next year may be hottest yet, Met Office says (They're working on it, anyway :-) )

There is a good chance that next year will be the hottest year recorded for the world, according to new forecasts from the Met Office's climate prediction and research branch, the Hadley Centre.

A new forecast for the decade from 2009 onwards suggests that "at least half" of the years up to 2019 will be hotter than the hottest year so far, which was 1998. And it indicates that the first of the years to break the current record will actually be 2010. (The Independent)

 

Climategate: hide the decline – codified

WUWT blogging ally Ecotretas writes in to say that he has made a compendium of programming code segments that show comments by the programmer that suggest places where data may be corrected, modified, adjusted, or busted. Some the  HARRY_READ_ME comments are quite revealing. For those that don’t understand computer programming, don’t fret, the comments by the programmer tell the story quite well even if the code itself makes no sense to you.

http://codyssey.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/software_bug.jpg

To say that the CRU code might be “buggy” would be…well I’ll just let CRU’s programmer tell you in his own words.

  • FOIA\documents\osborn-tree6\mann\oldprog\maps12.proFOIA\documents\osborn-tree6\mann\
    oldprog\maps15.proFOIA\documents\osborn-tree6\mann\oldprog\maps24.pro
    ; Plots 24 yearly maps of calibrated (PCR-infilled or not) MXD reconstructions
    ; of growing season temperatures. Uses "corrected" MXD - but shouldn't usually
    ; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
    ; the real temperatures.
    Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Are we feeling warmer yet?

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition
25 November 2009

(A paper collated by Richard Treadgold, of the Climate Conversation Group, from a combined research project undertaken by members of the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

There have been strident claims that New Zealand is warming. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among other organisations and scientists, allege that, along with the rest of the world, we have been heating up for over 100 years.

But now, a simple check of publicly-available information proves these claims wrong. In fact, New Zealand’s temperature has been remarkably stable for a century and a half. So what’s going on?

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is responsible for New Zealand’s National Climate Database. This database, available online, holds all New Zealand’s climate data, including temperature readings, since the 1850s. Anybody can go and get the data for free. That’s what we did, and we made our own graph.

Download paper (pdf, 213KB). (Richard Treadgold, Climate conversation)

 

Uh, oh – raw data in New Zealand tells a different story than the “official” one.

New Zealand’s NIWA accused of CRU-style temperature faking

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:

NIWAtemps

The caption to the photo on the NiWA site reads:

From NIWA’s web site — Figure 7: Mean annual temperature over New Zealand, from 1853 to 2008 inclusive, based on between 2 (from 1853) and 7 (from 1908) long-term station records. The blue and red bars show annual differences from the 1971 – 2000 average, the solid black line is a smoothed time series, and the dotted [straight] line is the linear trend over 1909 to 2008 (0.92°C/100 years).

But analysis of the raw climate data from the same temperature stations has just turned up a very different result: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Good luck with that: US Coast Guard ready for rush to new Arctic waters

OVER THE CHUKCHI SEA, Alaska, Nov 24 - North of the Bering Strait, a film of new ice is filling gaps between bigger ice chunks. The sea surface is only now starting to freeze up, even though it's late in the year and the winter sun slips beneath the horizon at about noon.

The freeze is overdue, experts say. "A couple of weeks ago, there was no ice at all," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Chris Colvin, head of the agency's Alaska operations, said over the roar of the C-130 aircraft lumbering over the coastline.

That's why the Coast Guard is here, far north of its usual territory where it patrols commercial fishing grounds and the daily traffic of cruise ships, cargo ships and oil tankers. (Reuters)

 

Modeling the Future: The Difficulties of Predicting Climate Change

Climate researchers use some of the most powerful computers in the world to run their models. Still, the sheer amount of data that must be crunched mandates that many details are simply left out. How accurate are the results?

"Give me ten parameters, and I'll simulate an elephant for you. Give me one more, and he'll wag his tail." The saying sums up the problem with many models. Models allow you demonstrate anything and everything, as long as there are enough knobs to turn. The real test of how good a model really is comes when you compare it to reality.

But when it comes to climate change, researchers are faced with a practically insoluble problem: We won't know for sure until the end of the century whether climate predictions for the year 2100 are correct or not. But with climate scientists around the world warning of the dangerous consequences of climate change, it becomes apparent that we can hardly afford to wait that long. (Holger Dambeck, Der Spiegel)

But a chaotic system is inherently unpredictable. We have no evidence whatsoever that the end of this century will be any warmer (or cooler) than the beginning.

 

Global warming, the next partisan divide [Updated]

It's true that we have not yet seen the finale on healthcare reform.

Nor have we heard the last about President Obama's Afghanistan policy. Or about financial regulatory reform that could pit Main Street against Wall Street.

But you can tell that the next issue on the horizon, after the smoke has cleared from the current debates, is global warming.

Already, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has mustered its considerable heft against a cap-and-trade bill moving through Congress. And Republicans have been unstinting in their criticism of what one congressman, Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, called "the global warming Gestapo." (LA Times)

 

GOP doubts grow on global warming

The barrage of Republican attacks on climate change legislation appears to be having an impact: the GOP rank and file is more skeptical that global warming is real.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released this afternoon said that the belief that climate change is happening has plummeted among Republicans to 54 percent now from the 76 percent peak in 2006.

Along with more skepticism among independents, that is driving an overall drop in the percentage of Americans who believe in global warming to 72 percent from 80 in the past year, the poll found. 

A majority of all respondents still support a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions, the key piece of the sweeping climate change legislation that Democrats are trying to push through Congress. And 55 percent of respondents believe the United States should curb its carbon output even if major developing nations such as China and India do less. 

Republicans say the legislation would dramatically raise energy costs, threatening to stall the economic recovery. (Boston Globe)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Nov.25 2009

The Round-Up comes a day early because tomorrow is Thanksgiving for my US readers and no-one wants snark with their turkey and football.

It’s been a bad week for AGW alarmists following the CRU emails hack/leak. Their script called for pre-Hopenchangen scaremonger stories of planetary doom, instead they are up to their armpits denying that the leading scientists behind global warming have manipulated data, bullied skeptics and avoided FOI requests.

All that, and now they have another weekly round-up to worry about. And it has a special CRU section. (Cue maniacal evil laugh) (Daily Bayonet)

 

Eye-roller: What If Global Temperatures Rose by 4 Degrees Celsius?

World leaders will soon gather in Copenhagen in the hopes of coming up with a binding agreement aimed at limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. But what if we're not successful? Kirsty Lewis of the Met Office Hadley Centre, a leading climate research group, introduces a new Flash map which shows what might happen should temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius. (Der Spiegel)

Then the global mean temperature would be higher, the tropics and temperate zones would be broader and life would be thriving because the killing cold zones would be smaller, wouldn't they.

 

Silly blighters: California Takes Step to Limit Emissions

WASHINGTON — California has taken a major step toward creating a broad-based trading system to limit emissions of pollutants blamed for harmful climate change.

The California Air Resources Board, often a trailblazer in environmental regulation, released a draft rule on Tuesday establishing a cap-and-trade program that sets a declining ceiling on emissions of greenhouse gases and allows companies to buy and sell permits to meet it.

California’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The proposed system would begin in 2012 with 600 major sources of global warming pollutants, including power plants, refineries and concrete factories.

Similar proposals to reduce emissions are stalled in Congress with little hope of moving through this year. And next month, world governments will assemble in Copenhagen to discuss the issue but are not expected to produce any binding agreements on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. (NYT)

 

Is Global Warming Unstoppable?

In a provocative new study, a University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions -- the major cause of global warming -- cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.

"It looks unlikely that there will be any substantial near-term departure from recently observed acceleration in carbon dioxide emission rates," says the new paper by Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences.

Garrett's study was panned by some economists and rejected by several journals before acceptance by Climatic Change, a journal edited by Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider. The study will be published online the week of November 23. (ScienceDaily)

 

Pre-CoP crap: Climate change accelerating beyond expectations, urgent emissions reductions required, leading scientists say

Global ice-sheets are melting at an increased rate; Arctic sea-ice is disappearing much faster than recently projected, and future sea-level rise is now expected to be much higher than previously forecast, according to a new global scientific synthesis prepared by some of the world’s top climate scientists.

In a special report called ‘The Copenhagen Diagnosis’, the 26 researchers, most of whom are authors of published IPCC reports, conclude that several important aspects of climate change are occurring at the high end or even beyond the expectations of only a few years ago.

The report also notes that global warming continues to track early IPCC projections based on greenhouse gas increases. Without significant mitigation, the report says global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100. (Cires)

 

From NASA's propaganda section: NASA Releases Climate Change Multimedia Resource Reel

In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, NASA has released a new multimedia climate change "resource reel" showcasing free downloadable videos, data visualizations, animations, and still images that illustrate key climate change concepts and discoveries. (PR Newswire)

 

Eye-roll: Climate experts debate strategies for reducing atmospheric carbon and future warming

Reducing carbon dioxide to safe levels may require extracting carbon from the air, says Cornell climate researcher. 

Even if the world's policymakers all agree to dramatically reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and everything were in place by the middle of the century, the world still could not meet the goals of the climate change meetings in Copenhagen, Dec. 8-18, of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), say Cornell researchers. (PhysOrg.com)

 

Sigh... Climate change will lead to civil wars in Africa, says research

The march of climate change could make civil wars much more likely, research suggests, with models predicting nearly 400,000 extra deaths in African conflicts by 2030. (Tom Chivers, TDT)

 

Heritage Comments on the CBO Brief: “The Costs of Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions.”

On November 23, 2009 the Congressional Budget Office issued “Economic and Budget Issue Brief: The Costs of Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions.”

This brief echoed many of the points The Heritage Foundation has made in its reports, WebMemos, blogs and our responses to a request from Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

For example:

A. The CBO correctly notes that efficiency mandates (standards) don’t lower the cost of cap and trade. Here’s how they say it:

“However, standards would tend to increase the costs of a cap-and-trade program if they supplanted the effective reliance on market forces—even though they would also tend to reduce the allowance price in the program by reducing emissions covered under the program.” [Emphasis added] [CBO, page 5]

Here is what Heritage said in response to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s criticism of our analysis for not including (what NRDC misunderstands to be beneficial) impacts of such mandates: Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

ANALYSIS-U.S. tariffs would chill climate pact and trade

WASHINGTON, Nov 24 - Any threat by the United States to slap fees on imports from countries it perceives as weak on cutting carbon emissions could hamper trade relations and delay international efforts to combat global warming.

Lawmakers in states that produce cement, chemicals, steel and other energy-intensive products have called for such tariffs in climate legislation. They fear those industries looking to cut regulation costs could pull up stakes and move to countries that don't have strong climate plans.

But experts say the tariffs may do more harm than good. (Reuters)

 

Road To Hopenhagen

Climate Change: Major U.S. corporations have set up a Web site calling for a global climate treaty to be signed in Copenhagen. Considering recent evidence of massive climate fraud, perhaps they should reconsider. (IBD)

 

CO2 goal could cost households big

Japan's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions could cost households ¥130,000 to ¥765,000 a year, a task force said Tuesday.

The financial burden will come in the form of estimated declines in disposable income. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has pledged a goal of slashing emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 without purchasing emissions credits from foreign countries.

The previous administration estimated that a 25 percent cut would cost each household at least ¥360,000 a year. (Kyodo News)

 

Climate doomsayers caught out

The political high drama of the Coalition's internal battle is a microcosm of how the climate change issue is playing out in the real world. (Miranda Devine, SMH)

 

The cliff of political oblivion: Laws based on fraud

As news races around the blog world and the tip of the iceberg breaks into the mainstream media,  people are waking up to the scam. Australia is in the extraordinary position of passing legislation that is known to be based on fraudulent science. True, it’s only been days since the news broke, but our politicians have Blackberries. It only takes seconds for the information to reach the palm of their hands, but it may take years for the meaning to filter through flawed neural software.

 Cartoon of the Cliff of Public Opinion

The implications are extraordinary. The unfolding ClimateGate scandal shows criminal behaviour from “leading scientists”. It damns the integrity of the IPCC process — which based its reputation on these men and their work. Legal attacks are starting. This is just the beginning. Even the big-name believers in the theory  (such as Monbiot) are asking questions they have never asked before. Blogs are coming alive with anger, with disgust, mockery and now the real war begins. Smart well educated (but busy) people like surgeons, lawyers, professors and CEOs are getting motivated. As this top layer of brains and energy coalesces into action, the scandalous neglect of many politicians will be exposed for public consumption.

How will the public feel knowing that each household will pay at least $1,100 per year more in Australia for a scheme that profits bankers and third world mafiosi, but achieves nothing for the environment or their children’s future?

Voters will learn to detest the fake scheme and will deplore those who were so gullible that they could not see the scam.

The realization that the CO2 theory is fraudulent is spreading across the political spectrum, from right to left. Hard nosed realists first, ideologues last. In Australia, the Nationals are aware, and now the Liberals are waking up to it. The ALP will be next. Some Greens may never see it.

Pew Poll Belief in Climate Change

It’s clear that people on the conservative side of politics woke up first as the science changed and the evidence shifted. The turning point for the Republicans in the US was 2007. The turning point for Independents, 2008. Maybe 2010 for the Democrats?

The Australian Labor Party feel strong and superior right now looking at the Liberal disarray, but the rising tide of awareness will sweep through them soon too. The majority of the public will realize that the Labor Government has wrecked the economy over a fraud driven by status-seeking zealots and profit-seeking corporations, and Labor will be very unpopular. Then in the Labor Party the pragmatists will battle the politically correct (who will never concede). Climate change could tear the Labor Party apart sometime in the next few years.

History will condemn the ETS legislation.


UPDATE: And if anyone wonders if the news of the scam will reach the masses, check out this video. “Hide The Decline”. There is no way this will stay suppressed. That’s it. This is the tipping point.

 

Kind of... Australia's carbon scheme gains bipartisan support

CANBERRA, Nov 24 - Australia's government gained bipartisan backing on Tuesday for its revised carbon-trade plan, avoiding an early election and boosting compensation to big carbon emitters, coal companies and electricity generators.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull said conservative senators will back the scheme in a parliamentary vote later this week, ending a deadlock that threatened the carbon-trade plan, a central part of the government's efforts to fight climate change.

However, divisions over the scheme run deep in the opposition and some members are threatening to vote against it or try to have the Senate vote, expected on Thursday, delayed until February 2010.

The centre-left government needs seven extra votes in the 76-seat Senate to pass the scheme, which aims to put a price on every tonne of carbon produced and give industry an incentive to become more efficient.

"Some of the Senators have said regardless of the party decision they will cross the floor (and vote against the legislation). I am confident enough Senators will comply with the shadow cabinet and that the legislation will pass," Turnbull told reporters after a heated, eight-hour party room meeting. (Reuters)

... but:

 

CPRS REVIEW MEANS WE DO THIS ALL AGAIN AFTER COPENHAGEN

“The ‘deal’ includes an ‘automatic statutory review of CPRS legislation, including EITE policy, as soon as practicable after Australia signs a new multilateral agreement on climate change which imposes obligations to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’.”

“This reinforces why we should wait till after Copenhagen as the whole thing will have to be looked at again in light of international agreements and obligations. There is no certainty,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today.

“The CPRS ‘deal’ does not address several of the principal issues which the Coalition said in July must be addressed in Labor’s scheme. (Senator Ron Boswell)

 

Climate unmoved, but carpetbaggers happy

Kevin Rudd’s huge new tax on your gases at least makes The New Lawyer happy:

CPRS already a lawyer’s windfall

UPDATE

Alan Wood says that’s just the start of feeding frenzy that will actually do nothing for the climate, but plenty for scammers:

WHAT a mess. In the space of four months Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull will have burdened the nation with an ill-advised renewable energy target and a flawed and questionable emissions trading scheme, both in the name of saving us from an allegedly imminent global warming disaster, which they won’t.

As a result we have seen the return of economic rent-seeking - the lobbying of government for taxpayer support - on a scale not matched since Australia’s tariff wall was dismantled in the latter decades of the 20th century, and the economic and social costs will not be negligible.

(Thanks to reader Tim.) (Andrew Bolt)

 

Their citizens are likely to be upset when they finally discover what a nonsense this all is: ANALYSIS-Tiny "carbon neutral" club struggles with costs

OSLO, Nov 24 - Norway, Costa Rica and the Maldives are struggling with high costs and technological hurdles to stay in the world's most exclusive club for fighting climate change -- seeking to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The United Nations is praising their "carbon neutrality" targets before a U.N. summit on Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen meant to agree a new pact to combat global warming. But the model is hard to imitate with its demand for a drastic shift to clean energy.

"What they're trying to do is fundamentally change the direction of their economic growth," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters. "It's a way of getting ahead of the game."

Yet all three of the small nations face big problems.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway are 7 percent above its 2012 target under the Kyoto Protocol, while emissions are rising in Costa Rica, especially in the transport sector.

And the Maldives' plan to be a tropical showcase for solar and wind power in the Indian Ocean, shifting from dependence on costly diesel, will need an estimated $1.1 billion in investments over a decade for its 310,000 people.

The Maldives is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2020, Costa Rica by 2021 and Norway by 2030.

But New Zealand and Iceland have dropped past aims of carbon neutrality because of high costs amid recession. And the Maldives failed at a meeting this month to win new recruits to the club among poor nations such as Bangladesh and Barbados.

Carbon neutrality means a nation can use fossil fuels -- in power plants, factories or cars -- only if the greenhouse gas emissions are either captured and buried or offset elsewhere, for instance by planting carbon-absorbing forests or by investing in wind turbines or solar panels abroad.

"Norway's not on track," said Knut Alfsen from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo. (Reuters)

 

Quelle surprise! Climate change help for the poor 'has not materialised'

Large sums promised to developing countries to help them tackle climate change cannot be accounted for, a BBC investigation has found.

Rich countries pledged $410m (£247m) a year in a 2001 declaration - but it is now unclear whether the money was paid.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has accused industrialised countries of failing to keep their promise.

The EU says the money was paid out in bilateral deals, but admits it cannot provide data to prove it. (BBC)

 

Why? Alberta invests in world’s biggest carbon-capture pipeline

EDMONTON — Alberta will spend up to $495 million over 15 years to support the world’s largest pipeline system for collecting and storing carbon dioxide, the Edmonton Journal has learned.

A letter of intent between the province and Enhance Energy will be signed at a ceremony Tuesday, and follows previous announcements for Shell’s Quest project at Scotford and TransAlta’s Pioneer Project at the under-construction Keephills 3 coal-fired turbine near Wabamun.

The three projects together will receive $2 billion from the province’s carbon capture and storage fund. ( Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal)

 

UN report says 1.5 bln people still living in darkness

Almost a quarter of the global population, or 1.5 billion people, lives without electricity, 80 percent of them in the least developed countries (LDCs) of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a new UN report showed Monday.

The report was produced in partnership by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

According to the report, to halve the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015 -- the first of eight, internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- 1.2 billion more people will need access to electricity and two billion more people will need access to modern fuels like natural gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also called propane.

Two million people die every year from causes associated with exposure to smoke from cooking with biomass and coal -- and 99 percent of those deaths occur in developing countries. (Xinhua)

 

Energy Poverty Crucial to Copenhagen Climate Talks

NEW YORK, New York, November 24, 2009 – Energy poverty is an issue that must be addressed at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen say top United Nations experts on public health and development.

"Almost half of humanity is completely disconnected from the debate on how to drive human progress with less emissions and greener energy because their reality is much more basic than that," said Olav Kjorven. As director of the United Nations Development Programme's Bureau for Development Policy, Kjorven is tasked with carrying out the UN's development priorities.
Olav Kjorven of the UN Development Programme (Photo by Eskinder Debebe courtesy UN)

"They carry heavy loads of food and water on their backs because they don't have transport. They cook with wood fires that damage their health," Kjorven told reporters at the launch of a new UN study, entitled, "The Energy Access Situation in Developing Countries."

The study, jointly carried out by the UN Development Programme and the World Health Organization, points out that currently over one billion people in world have no access to electricity and that 80 percent of them live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. (ENS)

 

Not just the third world: Fuel bills blamed for 50% rise in winter deaths - Almost 37,000 people died during last cold spell, new figures reveal

The number of deaths during the coldest three months of the year were up almost 50 per cent on the previous year to 36,700, sending an extra 10,000 pensioners to early graves, new figures showed yesterday.

The rise in "excess winter mortality" for England and Wales for the three months to February was the biggest for years and the highest total in a decade, sparking fresh calls for ministers to combat high energy prices. (The Independent)

 

Powering the World: A look at primary energy use in the 10 most-populous countries

As the world’s leaders, including Barack Obama, prepare for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen promises to cut carbon emissions by shifting away from fossil fuels have been heard from around the globe. [Read More] (Seth Myers, Energy Tribune)

 

Sheesh! Oil sands threaten our survival, Al Gore warns

Extracting oil from Alberta's tar sands jeopardizes the survival of our species, says Al Gore.

"Gas from the tar sands gives a Prius the same carbon footprint as a Hummer," the former U.S. vice-president told the Star in an interview prior to a Toronto speaking engagement scheduled for Tuesday evening. (Toronto Star)

 

Well, duh! E.ON chief Paul Golby fears clean coal may never be viable

Extra funding and better market conditions must be created for clean coal if it is ever to progress "beyond the blueprint" of trial plants, Dr Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, has warned. (TDT)

It never can be, nor is it desirable.

 

Still with the idiotic carbon fixation: First 'clean coal' power plant given green light

Richard Budge, the mining entrepreneur dubbed "King Coal" when he bought the rump of England's coal mining industry in 1994, has come a step closer to capping a remarkable business comeback by building the UK's first "clean coal" power station.

The European Commission has pledged €180m (*162m) towards a proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant at Hatfield colliery in South Yorkshire, a site owned by Mr Budge's Power fuel company. A deadline for European legislators to object to the plan passed at the weekend.

Mr Budge aims to build the 900MW plant next to the colliery and pump the carbon captured into depleted gas fields under the North Sea. The *2.4bn plant will require more funding if it is to be built by 2015 and further technical research. (Financial Times)

 

Cost Estimate Increases for Duke's IGCC Project

LCG, November 25, 2009--Duke Energy Indiana (Duke) yesterday announced that design modifications and growth in the scope of its coal-fired, Edwardsport integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project are expected to add approximately $150 million to the prior cost estimate of $2.35 billion.

Duke submitted the new cost estimate with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) as part of its semi-annual update and is requesting the IURC to schedule a separate proceeding by next March, following additional engineering efforts and a revised cost estimate, together with associated rate impacts. The IRUC must approve any cost increase for the project. (Energy Online)

 

The idiotic assault on affordable energy continues: EPA proposes sulfur dioxide limits for first time since 1971

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency is continuing its crackdown on coal pollution with a new plan to cut sulfur dioxide - a move that would clean up the air for millions of Americans and bring some relief to people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases.

The new rule, which was proposed this month, would be the first time since 1971 that the EPA has tightened controls on sulfur dioxide to protect the public health.

"This would be an important step to ensure the health of the American public," said Dr. Alan H. Lockwood, a professor of neurology and nuclear medicine at the University of Buffalo. "Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from inhaling pollutants from coal burning."

By targeting coal pollutants, the EPA is cleaning up the fuel that generates half the electricity generated in the U.S. Earlier, after a series of court orders, the EPA said it would require power plants to eliminate mercury pollutants. Now, the public and industry officials will be able to comment on the sulfur dioxide proposal. A public hearing is set for Atlanta in January. (McClatchy Newspapers)

 

As made obvious by Shell's bizarre "carbon position": Shell favours gas over oil for future production strategy

Gas will be at the heart of Royal Dutch Shell's production strategy ahead of oil as the world attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to the energy group's new chief executive, Peter Voser. (TDT)

Apparently they think they have greater access to gas than oil, so sabotage oil interests for competitive advantage.

 

Shell seeks stake in giant Russian gasfield

Royal Dutch Shell is hopeful that it will gain an equity stake in a giant Russian gas field that could supply all of the world’s needs for a decade. (The Times)

 

With government-mandated profits: Shell calls for carbon market gov intervention-paper

LONDON, Nov 25 - Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive has called on governments to intervene in carbon markets, the Guardian reported in its Wednesday editions.

Peter Voser told the Guardian that action needed to be taken to make expensive green projects like carbon capture and storage (CCS) economically viable. (Reuters)

 

China Faces Nat. Gas Shortages, Price Hikes

Taxis queue up to fill their tanks on an overpass in Chongqing, China, Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Central and eastern Chinese provinces faced the worst natural gas shortage in years as supplies were diverted to snowstorm-hit northern China, while producers lacked incentives to expand output because of poor margins. Photo by Imaginechina: AP

Taxis queue up to fill their tanks on an overpass in Chongqing, China, Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Central and eastern Chinese provinces faced the worst natural gas shortage in years as supplies were diverted to snowstorm-hit northern China, while producers lacked incentives to expand output because of poor margins. Photo by Imaginechina: AP

China has a new energy headache: natural gas shortages and price spikes. And those shortages are likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

Unseasonably cold weather, including heavy snow in northern China, has resulted in natural gas shortfalls of as much as 40 percent. Industrial facilities, office buildings, and even hotels have been closed to save gas and those closures have occurred in cities in the south -- Changsha, Nanjing, Hefei -- as well as in northern cities like Beijing, Harbin and Xian. Rather than close, some industrial users have begun using diesel fuel to keep their factories running. (Energy Tribune)

 

Oh... Power market needs radical reform

LONDON - Britain's power market must be radically redesigned to spur hundreds of billions of pounds of investment in low-carbon technologies needed to fight climate change and keep the lights on, the heads of two UK utilities said on Wednesday.

Energy regulator Ofgem estimated in October that at least 200 billion pounds of investment is needed over the next 15 years to meet electricity demand and climate change targets and some analysts say the final bill could be much bigger.

Most of the investment will be needed to replace Britain's ancient coal- and oil-fired power plants, expected to close by 2015, with plants able to backup an expected boom in wind power capacity in the UK North Sea over the next few decades. (Reuters)

 

Global Nuclear Plant Construction Moves Forward, Except in the U.S. (Politics and market conditions make it tough for a large-scale rival to carbon-based energy)

by Robert Peltier

July 17, 1955, was the first time electricity generated by a U.S. nuclear power plant flowed into a utility grid. In what then was an experiment, Utah Power & Light plugged in the Argonne National Laboratory experimental boiler water reactor, BORAX-III.

The plant produced merely 2 megawatts for more than an hour, as planned. Since then, the U.S. nuclear industry has steadily improved their ability to effectively manage the operations and maintenance of nuclear power plants. Now,  more than 50 years after that first nuclear power supply, America lags far behind even developing nations in new construction. New roadblocks threaten to further erode progress in the U.S. Whether this is good or not I will leave to the reader, but here is a snap-shot of the situation facing the U.S. (MasterResource)

 

US report: No evidence that swine flu vaccine is causing serious side effects

ATLANTA - There's no evidence that the swine flu vaccine is causing any serious side effects, U.S. health officials said Wednesday, in their first report on the safety of the new vaccine.

Since vaccinations began in early October, the government has been tracking the safety of the swine flu vaccine. By mid-November, about 22 million Americans had gotten the vaccine and there were about 3,200 reports of possible side effects, the vast majority for minor things like soreness or swelling from the shot.

Health officials didn't expect to see any serious problems - the swine flu vaccine is basically the same as the regular winter flu vaccine. And there weren't any signs of trouble in the tests done in thousands to find the right dose. (Associated Press)

 

World GDP: A Story of American Leadership and Asian Partnerships

In the midst of a downturn, it’s easy to lose perspective. It feels at the moment like America’s position in the world is slipping and Asia is taking our place. Permanently. On a longer view, that turns out to be only half-right: Asia is rising but America is not falling. With sound policies, the U.S. will be by far the world’s most important economy for a long time. One of those sound policies is strengthening our ties with Asia.

To get a better sense of the current situation, go back to the last time American leadership was supposedly headed for extinction. That was the oil crisis, with its stagflation, in the mid 1970’s. Starting with the Reagan Administration in 1980, the U.S. was considered by the entire globe to have recovered and cemented its place at the top. It turns out that, except for a blip in the late 1990’s, the American share of the world economy has been almost the same for 35 years. The U.S. accounts for more than a quarter of the world economy by itself and continues to hold that level even in these tougher times. Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

Comfort food reduces stress: scientists

Australian scientists have confirmed what many chocoholics already know, that "comfort food" can reduce stress.

Eating foods rich in fat and sugar can alter the chemical composition of the brain and reduce anxiety, says Professor of Pharmacology Margaret Morris.

Prof Morris, from the University of NSW School of Medical Sciences, conducted a study of rats which showed the effects of past trauma could be erased through "unlimited access to yummy food". (AAP)

 

Environmentalists target foam food trays

LOS ANGELES – Environmentalists and green businesses are targeting foam food trays used to sell vegetables, fruits and meat in grocery stores.

The ubiquitous trays, which are made from polystyrene, have a long shelf life in landfills, much like plastic bags which the green brigade also took aim at in recent years.

"The developers of expanded polystyrene made the perfect material. They brought the costs down. Functionally it works great. There are no complaints ... But it never goes away," said Richard Feldman, chief executive of G4 Packaging.

The Los Angeles-based company makes trays primarily from sugar cane pulp that can be composted in 90 days or recycled. (Reuters Life!)

 

Global study of salmon shows: 'Sustainable' food isn't so sustainable

Multi-year study points the way to sustainable salmon production, and debunks food sustainability myths along the way; mode matters more than miles

Popular thinking about how to improve food systems for the better often misses the point, according to the results of a three-year global study of salmon production systems. Rather than pushing for organic or land-based production, or worrying about simple metrics such as "food miles," the study finds that the world can achieve greater environmental benefits by focusing on improvements to key aspects of production and distribution.

For example, what farmed salmon are fed, how wild salmon are caught and the choice to buy frozen over fresh matters more than organic vs. conventional or wild vs. farmed when considering global scale environmental impacts such as climate change, ozone depletion, loss of critical habitat, and ocean acidification.

The study is the world's first comprehensive global-scale look at a major food commodity from a full life cycle perspective, and the researchers examined everything – how salmon are caught in the wild, what they're fed when farmed, how they're transported, how they're consumed, and how all of this contributes to both environmental degradation and socioeconomic benefits. (Ecotrust)

 

November 25, 2009

 

"Climate Gate" Development: CEI Files Notice of Intent to Sue NASA

Today, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies' refusal - for nearly three years - to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding "ClimateGate" scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries' freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer codes and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK's East Anglia University.

All of that material and that sought for years by CEI go to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, "cap-and-trade" legislation and the EPA's threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door. (Chris Horner, American Spectator)

 

 

GOP opens probe into climate science e-mails

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans are investigating e-mails stolen from a British climate change research center that they say show scientists attempting to suppress data that does not support man-made global warming.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, a global warming skeptic, sent letters Tuesday to the inspectors general of several agencies and to scientists asking them to retain records related to the e-mails.

House Republicans want to know how much the scientists contributed to a widely cited U.N. report on climate change. The report has served as the basis for action in Congress and by the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gases.

One of those scientists, Kevin Trenberth, said the e-mails do not show scientists colluding but arguing vigorously about the science. ( Associated Press)

 

Petition for British Citizens/Residents

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Establish an Independent Inquiry into the leaking of emails and documents from Hadley/CRU.

An inquiry to establish whether the scientists involved have (a) been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals. (petitions.number10.gov.uk)

 

Hiding evidence of global cooling

Scientific progress depends on accurate and complete data. It also relies on replication. The past couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations about the baloney practices that pass as sound science about climate change. (Washington Times)

 

Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren involved in unwinding “Climategate” scandal

Lift up a rock and another snake comes slithering out from the ongoing University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) scandal, now riding as “Climategate”.

Obama Science Czar John Holdren is directly involved in CRU’s unfolding Climategate scandal. In fact, according to files released by a CRU hacker or whistleblower, Holdren is involved in what Canada Free Press (CFP) columnist Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball terms “a truculent and nasty manner that provides a brief demonstration of his lack of understanding, commitment on faith and willingness to ridicule and bully people”.

“The files contain so much material that it is going to take some time t o put it all in context,” says Ball. “However, enough is already known to underscore their explosive nature. It is already clear the entire claims and positions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are based on falsified manipulated material and is therefore completely compromised.

“The fallout will be extensive as material continues to emerge. Reputations of the scientists involved are already destroyed, however fringe players will continue to be identified and their reputations destroyed or sullied.” (Tim Ball and Judi McLeod, CFP)

 

Why You Should Be Hot and Bothered About 'Climate-gate'

A coordinated campaign to hide scientific information about climate change appears unprecedented. Could it wind up costing us trillions? (John Lott, FOXNews.com)

 

Climategate

What the climate scientists wrote and when they wrote it

On Friday, news broke that a hacker had broken in to the computer systems used by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Britain, obtaining more than 1,000 e-mails and 3,000 documents. The material, which covers a period of more than a decade, has led many to conclude that climate scientists associated with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and various government agencies have been cooking the books to make the case for man-made global warming.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Terence Corcoran: After Copenhagen, the end of the science

Rising uncertainty over science existed long before the CRU emails surfaced

By Terence Corcoran

In the run-up to next month’s increasingly shaky Copenhagen global warming policy negotiations, the official advice from the world’s climatists is that the politicians and the rest of us should just pay no attention to the science of climate change. It is settled, they say, and all we have to do — as the Financial Times editorialized recently — is “follow the science” and get on with the business of reconstruction and redistributing world economic production. We must, in the words of Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker’s resident climatist, maintain our “faith in science.”

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

The people -vs- the CRU: Freedom of information, my okole…

Foreword: Willis asked me to carry this post here. What follows is a long and detailed series of email exchanges that outline the difficult task of getting data so that scientific replication/reproduction can be done by people external to the tight knit group of scientists that make up climate science today.

The same holds true for computer models. This 2006 paper by Rand and Wilensky of Northwestern University: Verification and Validation through Replication: A Case Study Using Axelrod and Hammond’s Ethnocentrism Model (PDF) illustrates clearly the need for replication when it comes to models, something climate science is lacking in when the data and code is not made available to independent researchers. They write:

Recent years have seen a proliferation of agent-based models (ABMs), but with the exception of a few “classic” models, most of these models have never been replicated. We argue that replication has even greater benefits when applied to computational models than when applied to physical experiments.

One of the foundational components of the scientific method is the idea of reproducibility (Popper 1959). In order for an experiment to be considered valid it must be replicated. This process begins with the scientists who originally performed the experiment publishing the details of the experiment. This description of the experiment is then read by another group of scientists who carry out the experiment, and ascertain whether the results of the new experiment are similar to the original experiment. If the results are similar enough then the experiment has been replicated. This process validates the fact that the experiment was not dependent on local conditions, and that the written description of the experiment satisfactorily records the knowledge gained through the experiment.

CRU’s decision to withhold data and code from public inspection is not only against the scientific method, given the impact their work has on governmental policies and taxpayer funded programs, it is, in my opinion, unethical. – Anthony Watts

Guest post by Willis Eschenbach

People seem to be missing the real issue in the CRU emails. Gavin over at realclimate keeps distracting people by saying the issue is the scientists being nasty to each other, and what Trenberth said, and the Nature “trick”, and the like. Those are side trails. To me, the main issue is the frontal attack on the heart of science, which is transparency. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Column - The warming conspiracy’s most damning emails

THREE weeks ago Prime Minister Kevin Rudd named me as part of an international conspiracy to spread lies about global warming. 

How I laughed. 

But I’m not laughing now. Emails leaked at the weekend show there is indeed a conspiracy to deceive the world - and Rudd has fallen for it. 

This conspiracy comprises a group of warming scientists who have been central in spreading the false claim that the world has never been hotter and man’s gases are to blame. (Andrew Bolt)

 

Real Climate Spin

Real Climate.Org is chief defender of ”consensus” climatology on the Internet. One of its enduring missions has been to defend the dubious, indeed discredited “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of Northern hemisphere temperature history. The Hockey Stick was the basis for the IPCC’s claim in its 2001 report that the 1990s were the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the past millennium.

hockey-stick1

That Real Climate (RC) should feel special solicitude for the Hockey Stick is no accident, comrade. Two of the five principals at RC — Michael Mann and Raymond Bradley — were among the three researchers (Mann, Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes) who authored the Hockey Stick.

All of the RC principals (Gavin Schmidt, Caspar Ammann, Rasmus Benestad, Mann, and Bradley) are frequent senders and recipients of the thousands of emails and other documents, now posted on many Web sites, that were hacked or leaked last week from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU).

The Wall Street Journal today published a selection of the leaked emails and an editorial concluding that the emails ”give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics.” (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

 

The emails that reveal an effort to hide the truth about climate science.

'The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. . . . We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind."

So apparently wrote Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and one of the world's leading climate scientists, in a 2005 email to "Mike." Judging by the email thread, this refers to Michael Mann, director of the Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center. We found this nugget among the more than 3,000 emails and documents released last week after CRU's servers were hacked and messages among some of the world's most influential climatologists were published on the Internet.

The "two MMs" are almost certainly Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, two Canadians who have devoted years to seeking the raw data and codes used in climate graphs and models, then fact-checking the published conclusions—a painstaking task that strikes us as a public and scientific service. Mr. Jones did not return requests for comment and the university said it could not confirm that all the emails were authentic, though it acknowledged its servers were hacked. (WSJ)

 

The global warming conspiracy - damage control

Now for the explanations… The University of East Anglia has released statements from Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit, and from the CRU, from which the leaked emails of the warming conspiracy were stolen. And they are a disgrace. (Andrew Bolt)

 

Imagine that... Climate scientist at centre of leaked email row dismisses conspiracy claims

Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia denies emails provide evidence of collusion by climatologists to fix data (The Guardian)

 

Hide The Decline


(Minnesotans for Global Warming)

 

All That’s Wrong With Global Warming Advocates

(a Jul 30, 2003 blog of mine on Ecademy…not much has changed. Or has it?)

In a few words here by John Houghton, former chief executive of the British Meteorological Office

Human induced global climate change is a weapon of mass destruction at least as dangerous as nuclear, chemical or biological arms, a leading British climate scientist said Monday

Well, I refuse to join Mr Houghton and his fellow scaremongers and agitators.

Human-caused Climate Change is something big enough to be extra-ordinary enough to warrant extra-ordinary proof.

For heaven’s sake, somebody is claiming that humans can have effects over a planet-wide phenomenon. Those same humans that can’t predict earthquakes, can’t switch off a volcano, can’t change the course of ocean currents, can’t stop hurricanes, can’t make sustainable quantities of rain, can’t even generate nor control wind (of the non-intestinal variety). We have no idea of entire major waterflows in the North Atlantic, and yet somebody thinks to be able to cause (and to tell) a few degrees difference in the Earth’s climate over 50 or 100 years?

Vague threats and doom-and-gloom scenarios make little sense. Give me a break. Or give me evidence that the climate is really changing because of humans. For example by showing what is the difference between the current temperature changes and those that happened over 3 or 4 years at the end of the “little ice age” in the mid-1800s (surely those were not man-made)? Or by showing how the amount of emissions by humans can compare to the natural ones?

Or by comparing the energy used and release by humans to that involved in the Earth’s working on a daily basis? To understand the situation, I did some quick computations last year to find out that all energy ever generated by humans would rise the ocean temperature by hundredths if not thousandth (0.01 to 0.001) of a degree…ours is still a big planet indeed, tampering with it requires enormous quantities of energy and I am aware of little work done in planetary engineering.

My mind is open to explanations, and I can definitely talk to people saying “Beware the climate beast“. But I won’t listen to those that panic to claim that the world is ending tomorrow (or this century, or this millennium). (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

Poor Tom still doesn't get it: As we wait for Round 2 of climate gate...

A number of computer scientists and engineers are analysing computer code contained in the files leaked anonymously to the Internet last week, and it will more than likely produce more controversy than the emails that have been the subject of intense discussion so far.

In fact, if the documentation (notes written by authors and fixers of the computer code) is any indication, what we have seen so far is only prelude.

But before the storm breaks, I think we should summarise what's important in the emails.

First, prominent climate scientists, including a lead author of IPCC report sections, were willing to discuss withholding or deleting information to frustrate legitimate requests made under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK. They apparently chose who could not receive information based on the requester's identity, which may have been unlawful. They threatened to delete data--data which in fact has since disappeared. They advised each other to delete emails.

Second, these same scientists worked closely together to control channels of communication regarding climate science and global warming. They banded together to minimise or eliminate skeptical discussion. While telling the world that only peer-reviewed science should be considered legitimate, they fiercely fought to prevent skeptic writings from being peer-reviewed at all. They wrote openly about replacing an uncooperative journal editor (who was later replaced), and boycotting journals that published skeptical papers. They organised peer review so that they reviewed each others' papers.

Third, they were willing to change data so that their presentations of the state of climate looked worse. At the end of the day, this is most damning--most of the rest, even apparently illegal FOI actions, is just politics and a playground media strategy. But while world governments were imposing taxes, changing energy policies, preparing energy-based conflict policies, planning to deal with warming-based immigration, these people were content to display figures that were wrongly exaggerated to show the warming they had previously predicted but could not find in actual measurements.

I am willing to speculate that further analysis of the computer code will contribute to discussions on why they were unable to show the warming they so desperately needed to find to justify their assertions that the IPCC was too consevative, but time will certainly tell.

In the meantime, while we're waiting for the next release, it's clear that different institutions should take control of several aspects of climate research. In the UK, there are a number of bodies that might be able to sort out what's been going on. Archiving and verification, proper evaluation of previous studies--the UK has a government department called The National Archive that does this for a living, and they have recently undertaken to completely modernise how they go about things. We might ask them for assistance.

Because the way we've done things so far is not getting us to where we need to be. We know there's a problem--global warming is real, and CO2 is a contributor. But we can no longer trust the numbers we have grown accustomed to using, nor the people who generated those numbers. Time for a shake-up. (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

Actually not Tom, there is absolutely no evidence enhanced greenhouse constitutes any form of problem or ever could. We do not "know there's a problem [with the climate]" or that atmospheric carbon dioxide is anything other than a boon to the biosphere.

 

The 12 C's of Climate Alarmism

Today's report about political developments surrounding the global warming issue is brought to you by the letter "C." (Paul Chesser, American Spectator)

 

Beware Saviors! By Demetris Koutsoyiannis

Guest weblog by Demetris Koutsoyiannis (http://www.itia.ntua.gr/dk/)

 Hydrological engineering is my scientific field and it is closely related to climate. In the last decade, I have been concerned about the state of research in climate and its detrimental influence on hydrology. Also, I should note up front that I try to be a skeptic; for a Greek, this is a positive quality (skeptic is etymologized from skepsis = thought). In recent years, I have tried to publish a few papers related to climate. Some of them were initially rejected, but eventually published elsewhere—usually in journals without a specific focus on climate. From the experience I gained through the review process of the rejected papers, I became more confident about the analyses I’d performed and the significance of the results I’d presented. I have not been surprised, therefore, to see that these once-rejected papers have become the most cited among my papers. (Climate Science)

 

More of the usual pre-CoP crap: Climate change quickens, seas feared up 2 meters

OSLO - Global warming is happening faster than expected and at worst could raise sea levels by up to 2 meters (6-1/2 ft) by 2100, a group of scientists said on Tuesday in a warning to next month's U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen.

In what they called a "Copenhagen Diagnosis," updating findings in a broader 2007 U.N. climate report, 26 experts urged action to cap rising world greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 or 2020 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. (Reuters)

 

Price of global warming cuts may stop deal at U.N. meeting

How much would you pay to save the world from the threat of global warming? We might find out soon.

"Everything we do is tied to energy and climate," says climate economist Graciela Chichilnisky of Columbia University. "Not just the electric bill – that's a minuscule part of it. Not just the food bill. Everything."

Come Dec. 7-18, representatives of 192 nations are set to meet in Copenhagen at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It's by far the most significant attempt at changing the course of global warming since world leaders met in 1997 in Japan to craft the Kyoto Protocol, which aimed 37 industrialized nations at cutting emissions of six greenhouse gases (such as the carbon dioxide emitted from burning coal, oil and natural gas, aka fossil fuels) by 5.2% from 1990 levels. It was never ratified by the U.S. Senate and expires in 2012.

But despite predictions that time is running out to corral greenhouse gases, expectations already have been dashed that the Copenhagen sessions will produce a successful replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. ( Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 12 Number 47: 25 November 2009

Editorial:
Cosmic Rays and Climate Change: Can changes in the former induce the latter?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 768 individual scientists from 454 separate research institutions in 42 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Outer Hebrides, Scotland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Extinction (Real-World Observations - Animals: Birds): Is global warming detrimental to earth's birds? ... possessing the potential to drive many of them to extinction?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Norway Spruce (Hall et al., 2009), Ponderosa Pine (Phillips et al., 2009), Reedgrass (Zhao et al., 2009), and Soybean (Matsunami et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Lake Victoria Basin Rainfall Over the 20th Century: How did it respond to the supposedly unprecedented warming of that period?

Late-Holocene Climate of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean: How unusual does late 20th-century warming appear within the context of the region's prior 2400-year temperature history?

Recurrent Bleaching and Storms Need Not Spell "the End" for Earth's Corals: A stellar example is a South Pacific reef that has taken licking after licking, but keeps on ticking.

Woody Plants Invading Grasslands: How does the phenomenon impact earth's carbon balance?

Soluble Exudates Produced by Ectomycorrhizal Roots of Scots Pine Trees: Why are they important? ... and how are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

 

November 24, 2009

 

Amazing Revkin Hard at Work

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent

On Friday the New York Times‘ house global warming author Andy Revkin, reporting on the breaking (Revkin would prefer it be braking) global Climategate scandal, said repercussions “continue to unfold” and that “there’s much more to explore, of course.”

So what has Sherlock Andy, Warmth Detector focused on since then? Yesterday he noted a study on Antarctic ice loss that comes with “substantial uncertainty” and a “CO2toon,” and then he elevated from Reader Comments at his original post the views of University of Chicago climatologist Raymond Pierrehumbert, who bemoaned the CRU “cyber-attack.”

After all, this is a criminal act of vandalism and of harassment of a group of scientists that are only going about their business doing science. It represents a whole new escalation…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

NY Times reporter whitewashes story that he's part of?

Mr. Hoyt,

Shouldn't Andrew Revkin haved recused himself from his Nov. 21 front-page article, "Hacked E-mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute"?

First, as Revkin briefly acknowledges in the article, he is part of the story. Isn't it a breach of journalistic ethics for a reporter to report on a story of which he is part?

Moreover, his story to a great extent defended his sources. It's one thing to rely on sources; it is quite another to defend them at the expense of unbiased and accurate reporting about them.

This is not an innocent faux pas either.

Revkin tried to whitewash the significance of the story -- including distracting readers away from the embarrassing/incriminating contents of the files and, instead, focusing them on the alleged hacking.

Finally, as we will report tomorrow, there seems to have been no "hack" at all.

The files appear to have been accumulat[ed] in preparation of a possible court-ordered FOIA release on a server to which the public had access. It is not "hacking" to access files that are publicly available. It may have been unwise/improper to store the file on a public server, but that is a different matter. There is no evidence that anything illegal occurred in the release of the files.

The hacking allegation, of course, was a terrific distraction device.

Perhaps a journalist more interested in unbiased reporting and less interested in defending his personal relationships with the subjects in the e-mails and his personal pro-climate alarmist agenda would have investigated and caught this. But then Andrew Revkin was the wrong man for the job.

Steve Milloy
Publisher, JunkScience.com

 

We are not the only ones to notice these are complete e-mail threads and collated data:

 

and: The CRUtape Letters™, an Alternative Explanation.

By charles the moderator

Rodin’s The Thinker at the Musée Rodin.

Author CJ. Licensed under Creative Commons.

I have a theory.

With the blogosphere all atwitter about the emails and data “stolen” from the Climatic Research Institute at the University of East Anglia, two theories have become dominant describing the origin of the incident.

  1. CRU was hacked and the data stolen by skilled hackers, perhaps an individual or more insidiously some sophisticated group, such as Russian agents.
  2. An insider leaked the information to the NSM (non-mainstream media)

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Glenn Beck on "ClimateGate" Man-Made Global Warming Climate Scam-Actual Proven Conspiracy 11-23-09

The title of this video speaks for itself. Hacked E-Mails prove collusion and conspiracy.

 

Viscount Monckton on Climategate: ‘They Are Criminals’ (PJM Exclusive)

The man who challenged Al Gore to a debate is furious about the content of the leaked CRU emails — and says why you should be, too.

- by Christopher Monckton

This is what they did — these climate “scientists” on whose unsupported word the world’s classe politique proposes to set up an unelected global government this December in Copenhagen, with vast and unprecedented powers to control all formerly free markets, to tax wealthy nations and all of their financial transactions, to regulate the economic and environmental affairs of all nations, and to confiscate and extinguish all patent and intellectual property rights.

The tiny, close-knit clique of climate scientists who invented and now drive the “global warming” fraud — for fraud is what we now know it to be — tampered with temperature data so assiduously that, on the recent admission of one of them, land temperatures since 1980 have risen twice as fast as ocean temperatures. One of the thousands of emails recently circulated by a whistleblower at the University of East Anglia, where one of the world’s four global-temperature datasets is compiled, reveals that data were altered so as to prevent a recent decline in temperature from showing in the record. In fact, there has been no statistically significant “global warming” for 15 years — and there has been rapid and significant cooling for nine years.

Worse, these arrogant fraudsters — for fraudsters are what we now know them to be — have refused, for years and years and years, to reveal their data and their computer program listings. Now we know why: As a revealing 15,000-line document from the computer division at the Climate Research Unit shows, the programs and data are a hopeless, tangled mess. In effect, the global temperature trends have simply been made up. Unfortunately, the British researchers have been acting closely in league with their U.S. counterparts who compile the other terrestrial temperature dataset — the GISS/NCDC dataset. That dataset too contains numerous biases intended artificially to inflate the natural warming of the 20th century. (PJM)

 

Inhofe to call for hearing into CRU, U.N. climate change research

The publication of more than 1,000 private e-mails that climate change skeptics say proves the threat is exaggerated has prompted one key Republican senator to call for an investigation into their research.

In an interview with The Washington Times on Monday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced he would probe whether the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not." (Tony Romm, The Hill)

 

Listen: Inhofe Says He Will Call for Investigation on "Climategate" on Washington Times Americas Morning Show

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

Note: This post will be updated throughout the day.

Update: The Hill: Inhofe to call for hearing into CRU, U.N. climate change research

Update: Inhofe Talks with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey about "ClimateGate"

IBD Editorial: The Day Global Warming Stood Still

Link to 2005 Inhofe Senate Floor Speech: "Today, I will discuss something else – scientific integrity and how to improve it. Specifically, I will discuss the systematic and documented abuse of the scientific process by an international body that claims it provides the most complete and objective scientific assessment in the world on the subject of climate change – the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. I will conclude with a series of recommendations as to the minimum changes the IPCC must make if it is to restore its credibility."

Listen: Inhofe Says He Will Call for Investigation on "Climategate" 

Interview on Washington Times America's Morning Show

 

Credit where credit is due: Even Monbiot says the science now needs “reanalyising”

Even George Monbiot, one of the fiercest media propagandists of the warming faith, admits he should have been more sceptical and says the science now needs to be rechecked:

It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.
Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

Sure, Monbiot claims the fudging of what he extremely optimistically puts as just “three or four” scientists doesn’t knock over the whole global warming edifice, yet…

If even Monbiot, an extremist, can say that much, why cannot the Liberals say far more? And will now the legion of warmist journalists in our own media dare say as Monbiot has so belatedly:

I apologise. I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely.

Scepticism is the essential disposition of our craft, yet too many journalists have abandoned it. Remember: the opposite of sceptical is gullible. (Andrew Bolt)

I still don't have much time for moonbat and his slander campaigns (might have something to do with being a not-infrequent target of them) but at least he is looking and has realized there is an issue here. He even admits his failure as a journalist, behaving as an advocate instead. Now, what about the rest of so-called mainstream media?

 

Where’s Climategate?

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent

The last place cable news network is following the same tack it took on the ACORN scandal, which is, ignore the story that is not only overturning the cart and its apples, but is also crushing them into a pulp fit for a Mott’s jar. Climategate was absent from CNN Sucks‘ weekend discussions (at least as far as the transcripts identify), and now this morning on its home page the network highlights a report on catastrophic sea level rise predictions from children of the same discredited bunch!

London, England (CNN) — A possible rise in sea levels by 0.5 meters by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world’s largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Our Latest GoredEarth Cartoon: Global Warming Alarmism Gets Hacked

The case for global warming alarmism continues to take a major hit after sensitive documents were lifted from the Hadley Climate Center.
Enjoy our latest cartoon:

Learn more here:

Finally, a Useful Flashback: Threats to Jail or Execute Skeptics (The Chilling Effect)

 

The CRU Hacking Song (With Apologies To George And Ira Gershwin)

(And no…I am not going to leave my day job) (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)

 

ClimateGate Heats Up Global Warming Debate before Copenhagen

1,000 emails and more than 3,000 other documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom publicly revealed by a hacker, or allegedly an inside whistleblower, are rekindling the flame to the global warming debate just weeks before the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference where the United States will propose an emissions reduction target. A sample of what the emails exposed, which date back 13 years, includes:

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

And:

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

And:

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

No Cap and Tax

Lawsuits place global warming on more dockets

A group of 12 Mississippi Gulf Coast homeowners is using a novel legal strategy to try to recoup losses suffered during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The lawsuit seeks damages from a group of 33 energy companies, including ExxonMobil and coal giant Peabody Energy, electric utilities, and other conglomerates for allegedly emitting greenhouse gases that the litigants say contributed to global warming.

That, the litigants claim, caused a rise in sea levels and increased air and water temperatures fueling the Category 5 hurricane that destroyed their homes.

The lawsuit, considered a long shot by legal experts, cleared a hurdle last month when a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said it could continue, overruling a circuit court judge who had agreed with arguments from the companies that global warming is a political, not legal, issue.

The key to the appeal was in the legal strategy, said Robert Percival, director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland. Rather than asking the court to force the companies to stop emitting greenhouse gases, the lawsuit asks for a ruling on whether damage suffered by the homeowners can be traced back to those emissions, he said.

"Just because climate change is difficult, courts aren't going to shy away from their traditional role in weighing issues of harm," Percival said. ( Chris Joyner, USA TODAY)

 

Peter Foster: A load of Hoggan-wash

The CBC has joined James Hoggan's smear campaign against climate skeptics

By Peter Foster

The full weight of the radical environmental movement and its media arm, the CBC, is being brought down upon a small Calgary-based organization called Friends of Science, which has suggested that climate change should be the subject of debate. So it must be a front for “Big Oil.”

Friends has dared to produce a couple of radio ads that note that there has been no warming for 10 years, suggesting that the main cause of climate change is the sun, and recommending that it’s “time to get the facts and start thinking.”

Leading the charge against Friends is James Hoggan, a PR man who is also chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation. Mr. Hoggan has just co-authored a book called Climate Cover-Up, which suggests a massive industry-based programme of climate disinformation.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

Lawrence Solomon spars with Anna Maria Tremonti

Lawrence Solomon, National Post columnist and author of The Deniers, appeared on CBC's The Current on Thursday morning, to comment on a book by James Hoggan, a public relations executive, that claims corporations are running a "denial machine" on global warming. Solomon argues that Hoggan has it backwards: The big money to be made lies in gaming the system, leading corporations to lobby for global warming legislation. Hear Anna Maria Tremonti's interview of Solomon here. (Financial Post)

 

Lawrence Solomon: What she didn't ask

CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti had tough questions for me this week, but none for a global warming propagandist

By Lawrence Solomon

You probably missed my heated on-air debate Thursday morning with Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC’s The Current. You certainly missed my superheated off-air debate in her studio immediately afterwards, when Tremonti lit into me for my skepticism of global warming orthodoxy. I don’t recall being berated after an interview by a broadcaster before, certainly not by a consummate professional like Tremonti. But Tremonti was visibly upset, so much so that she ended the second debate by turning away from me without the courtesy of a goodbye (she did properly thank me on air at the conclusion of our broadcast debate). (Financial Post)

 

Unskeptical Scientist Stickers and T-shirts

 unskeptical scientists Trust Committees

I’ve had requests  from around the world for larger artwork for The Unskeptical Scientist. And Ralph from Kane-TV has helped out again by producing files that can be scaled up to billboard size. (Thanks!) So here are version for Shirts, Badges and Powerpoint.

So here, you can click on the images and get larger art versions. The Illustrator files are infinitely expandable, but for a 15cm image (like a sticker) the Tif files are perfect for printers. The Powerpoint files are the right size for slides.

Feel free to use the Gif or Jpg files on any site that will let you post them.   :-)

Cheers!

Joanne (JoNova)

 

Greenhouse emissions hit 'record' level

Greenhouse gas emissions have kept increasing, reaching a record level since the pre-industrial era, the UN climate agency warned, just weeks before a crucial climate change summit.

"Levels of most greenhouse gases continue to increase," said the World Meteorological Organisation in a statement.

"In 2008, global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, which are the main long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, have reached the highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times," it said. (AFP)

And yet, temperatures go nowhere...There does appear to have been a step warming 1999-2001 and then nothing.

 

Simple Model Leaves Expensive Climate Models Cold

by J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green (Guest Bloggers)
November 23, 2009

[Editor’s note: J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten C. Green, first time guest posters, are leading researchers in the field of forecasting. Scott Armstrong is a Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Kesten Green is a Senior Research Fellow at the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University]

We have recently proposed a model that provides forecasts that are over seven times more accurate than forecasts from the procedures used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This important finding, which we report in an article titled “Validity of climate change forecasting for public policy decision making” in the latest issue of the International Journal of Forecasting, is the result of a collaboration between climate scientist Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and ourselves.

In an earlier paper, we found that the IPCC’s approach to forecasting climate violated 72 principles of forecasting. To put this in context, would you put your children on a trans-Atlantic flight if you knew that the plane had failed engineering checks for 72 out of 127 relevant items on the checklist?

The IPCC violations of forecasting principles were partly due to their use of models that were too complex for the situation. Contrary to everyday thinking, complex models provide forecasts that are less accurate than forecasts from simple models when the situation is complex and uncertain.

Confident that a forecasting model that followed scientific forecasting principles would provide forecasts that were more accurate than those provided by the IPCC, we asked Willie Soon to join us in developing a model that was more consistent with forecasting principles and knowledge about climate.

The forecasting model we chose was the so-called “naïve” model. The naïve model assumes that things will remain the same. It is such a simple model that people are generally not aware of its power. In contrast to the IPCC’s central forecast that global mean temperatures will rise by 3˚C over a century, our naïve model simply forecasts that temperatures next year and for each of 100 years into the future would remain the same as the last years’.

The naïve model approach is confusing to non-forecasters who are aware that temperatures have always varied. Moreover, much has been made of the observation that the temperature series that the IPCC use shows a broadly upward trend since 1850 and that this is coincident with increasing industrialization and associated increases in manmade carbon dioxide gas emissions.

In order to test the naïve model, we simulated making annual forecasts from one to 100 years in the future starting with 1850’s global average temperature as our forecast for the years 1851 to 1950. Then we repeated this process updating for each year up through 2007. This produced 10,750 annual average temperature forecasts for all horizons. It was the first time that the IPCC’s forecasting procedures had been subject to a large-scale test of the accuracy of the forecasts that they produce.

Over all the forecasts, the IPCC error was 7.7 times larger than the error from the naïve model. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Where the Global Warming Hoax Was Born

“Global Warming” is, and always was, a policy for genocidal reduction of the world’s population. The preposterous claim that human-produced carbon dioxide will broil the Earth, melt the ice caps, and destroy human life, came out of a 1975 conference in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, organized by the influential anthropologist Margaret Mead, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in 1974.

Mead—whose 1928 book on the sex life of South Pacific Islanders was later found to be a fraud—recruited like-minded anti-population hoaxsters to the cause: Sow enough fear of mancaused climate change to force global cutbacks in industrial activity and halt Third World development. Mead’s leading recruits at the 1975 conference were climate scare artist Stephen Schneider, population-freak biologist George Woodwell, and the current AAAS president John Holdren—all three of them disciples of Malthusian fanatic Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb.

Read entire article (PDF) (Marjorie Mazel Hecht, Infowars)

 

Planet Panel: With the possibility of no global agreement, who's to blame?

It now appears that this year's Copenhagen climate conference will not produce a binding global pact to reduce emissions, but rather a political agreement on certain key elements, with hopes for a deal in 2010. Who's to blame for this, and what sort of key questions are likely to get resolved in Copenhagen? To what extent does it represent a setback for the global push to combat climate change?
Posted by Washington Post Editor

FROM THE PANEL
Copenhagen is one step in a long journey

Progress on greenhouse gas emissions can't and won't hinge on one conference or one agreement. The issue is too complex and needs to move ahead on multiple fronts. There is no "one size fits all." For those reasons, the likelihood...

Posted by Pam Faggert, on November 20, 2009 6:08 PM

The beginning of a new treaty

I believe most observers will agree that the Danes made a good decision to use the UN climate change conference to focus on the two principal issues at play: how big will the emissions reductions be, and what will be...

Posted by Ned Helme, on November 20, 2009 9:00 AM

Delay could - and should - kill problematic global warming treaty

The December Copenhagen conference is shaping up to be something less than the history-making event its organizers intended. Gone is the expectation that participants will extend and expand the provisions of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Instead, it is looking more...

Posted by Ben Lieberman, on November 19, 2009 2:59 PM

Blame reality

Currently, things are in a sad state of affairs, where politicians are frantically trying to find some way that they can pretend that a political agreement is a 'success' - but are also looking around for others to blame for...

Posted by Bjorn Lomborg, on November 19, 2009 9:00 AM

Plenty of blame to go around

Who's to blame? Probably all of us. The biggest stumbling block to a general consensus one way or the other about human influenced climate change is that most of us have a preconceived opinion one way or the other. We...

Posted by Rick Edmund, on November 19, 2009 8:52 AM

Yesterday is not the issue; tomorrow is.

It makes no difference who is to blame for yesterday; the issue is who will accept responsibility for tomorrow. Even if there were a practical purpose to "fixing blame" there would be very few not on the list. There are...

Posted by David F. Hales, on November 18, 2009 8:51 PM

America won't go to Copenhagen empty handed

While the slow-down going into Copenhagen isn't good news, it will represent a major set-back only if there is further backsliding. So long as we continue making progress towards emissions limits in the United States while working toward locking in...

Posted by Richard L. Revesz, on November 18, 2009 1:31 PM

Ball is in our court

As reported in the Post, the joint declaration between President Obama and Chinese President Hu yesterday included a hopeful clause that the Obama administration is likely to offer emission-reduction targets in Copenhagen if the Chinese offer its proposal as well....

Posted by Donald F. Boesch, on November 18, 2009 9:45 AM

An end to blame-and-shame

Trying to assign blame for the shortcomings of the global negotiations is exactly the wrong approach. The process has for years now been focused on questions of shame and blame, and this is one of the major reasons that progress...

Posted by Lars G. Josefsson, on November 18, 2009 7:58 AM

Success is still possible

In the final weeks leading to Copenhagen, an ambitious and successful outcome is absolutely on the table, and is something that attendees at the conference can and must strive for. Of course we would have preferred Copenhagen to agree on...

Posted by Nigel Sheinwald, on November 17, 2009 2:59 PM

America is preventing progress

President Obama wasn't willing to expend the political capital to move the Senate -- the body from which he came, and which he must have known would be as dysfunctional as it has so far proven. As usual America is...

Posted by Bill McKibben, on November 17, 2009 1:40 PM

Worth the wait

When all is said and done, Copenhagen will almost certainly represent a landmark in the progressive shift to a global low-carbon economy. Whether the final agreement is reached there or 6 to 12 months later is of little consequence, provided...

Posted by David Hone, on November 17, 2009 8:54 AM

The consequences of ignoring realities

The politicians who have been pushing for an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a global agreement mandating drastic emission reductions by 2050 -- up to 83 percent -- are the responsible parties, although they will never admit it....

Posted by William O'Keefe, on November 16, 2009 7:30 PM

 

Copenhagen will fail – and quite right too

Even if the science was reliable (which it isn’t), we should not force the world’s poorest countries to cut carbon emissions (Nigel Lawson, The Times)

 

U.S. to Propose Emissions Cut Before Climate Talks

WASHINGTON — The United States will propose a near-term target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions before the United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen next month, a senior administration official said Monday. President Obama, the official said, will announce the specific target “in coming days.” 

The announcement of a target will take the current legislative stalemate over a climate bill into account, the senior official said, and thus might present a range of possible reductions rather than a single figure. 

The lack of consensus in Congress puts Mr. Obama in a tricky domestic and diplomatic bind. He cannot promise more than Congress may eventually deliver when it takes up climate change legislation next year. But if he does not offer some concrete pledge, the United States will bear the brunt of the blame for the lack of an international agreement. (NYT)

 

Global body needed to direct green technology, G77 says - Developing nations call for UN body to police battle on climate change

A green technology body with powers to direct a worldwide transition away from a high-carbon economy is needed to combat climate change, according to the world's developing nations. While most negotiations ahead of the UN's climate change summit in Copenhagen next month have been concerned with which nations should slash greenhouse gas emissions and by how much, the method in which these cuts will be achieved has received far less attention. Yet the importance of green technology – from wind turbines to electric cars to zero-carbon buildings – is enormous.

Developing nations argue that the costs should be paid by the rich nations, and that a new global body is required, perhaps working as part of the UN, to direct the world's low-carbon transformation in sectors as diverse as power, transport and heavy industry. (The Guardian)

 

Central America demands billions in climate damages

Central American nations will demand 105 billion dollars from industrialized countries for damages caused by global warming, the region's representatives said on Friday.

Central American environment ministers gathered in Guatemala to discuss the so-called "ecological debt" owed to them and to set out a common position ahead of climate talks in Copenhagen next month. (AFP)

 

BBC dispatches 35 staff to climate talks - creating as much carbon as an African village does in a year

The BBC is sending 35 people to next month's climate change talks in Copenhagen - creating as much carbon dioxide as an African village does in a whole year.

The corporation said its delegation of 12 presenters, along with a backup team of researchers, producers and camera crews, will spend up to two weeks in the Danish capital on expenses to cover the global summit.

Critics said the numbers were 'absolutely staggering' and accused the BBC of playing fast and loose with licence payers' money.

If all 35 BBC staff go by plane, they will generate around six or seven tons of carbon dioxide.

Conservative MP Philip Davies said: 'It's absolutely staggering. It's yet another example of how wasteful the BBC is.

It begs the question what all of these people will be doing when they are there. (Daily Mail)

 

Aussies want ETS delay - Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

MORE than 50 per cent of Australians want to delay the introduction of an emissions trading scheme until after global climate change talks in Copenhagen, a new survey suggests.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is using the figures to urge the Government and the Coalition to hold back on legislation presently before Parliament.

Negotiations are underway to get an amended form of the government's carbon pollution reduction scheme through the Senate before parliament rises for the year on Thursday.

But 54 per cent of Australians would rather wait, according to the survey.

The public had various concerns about the government's scheme, with 71 per cent believing it will result in higher electricity prices.

Almost every second person believes it will cost jobs, should Australia be one of the few countries to move on the climate change issue.

And 82 per cent felt the Government had not given them enough information about the scheme to allow them to make an informed decision. (AAP)

 

Fielding seeks to delay [ETS] debate

FAMILY First senator Steve Fielding is seeking to delay a vote on emissions trading until next year - and he says he has the numbers to do it.

With debate heating up on the Government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, the senator believes there is not enough time to properly assess the controversial legislation.

He will move a motion in the Senate on Monday to delay until the next sitting week - in February 2010 - and he's banking on coalition disunity to help it pass.

He believes there are enough disgruntled Liberal senators to vote with him, along with the Nationals, the Australian Greens and fellow crossbench senator Nick Xenophon.

"Given there are significant amendments being announced tomorrow its dangerous to spend just a few hours debating and agreeing to an emissions trading scheme," he said.

"The Rudd government is reckless and irresponsible trying to ram through this multi-billion dollar tax in only a few hours right at the end of the year.

"No one knows what the ETS is going to look like because of the deals being done behind closed doors, so how on earth can we have a proper debate if we don't even know what were really talking about." (AAP)

 

Disagreeable truth about the coming Copenhagen charade

We are about to see an advanced case of ''agreementism'' between world leaders at the Copenhagen climate change meeting. It is a painful and embarrassing disorder with familiar results.

Every case begins the same way. Leaders gather in summits. They confer. They reach earnest consensus that they need to solve a common problem. They commission studies and agree to meet again. Next time, they tell reporters, they will make real decisions.

This looks terrifically statesmanlike and carries lots of photo opportunities. But then they realise it will be unpopular and difficult to implement necessary reforms. Troubled, the weaker among the leaders gaze into their quivering souls and choose self-preservation over problem-solving. At this instant, the fire of activism departs.

But their huffing and puffing self-promotion has built a peak of expectation. They can't just walk away and admit failure. The conditions are now ripe - the next time the leaders gather, agreementism sets in. (Peter Hartcher, SMH)

 

Intensive land-management leaves Europe without carbon sinks

Away from Climategate and back to science, here’s something interesting fingering land use as an issue. This is from the Max Planck Society.

A new calculation of Europe’s greenhouse gas balance shows that emissions of methane and nitrous oxide tip the balance and eliminate Europe’s terrestrial sink of greenhouse-gases.

Fig.1: In order to compute whether European landscapes store or release greenhouse gases, climatologists have for the first time also considered methane and nitrogen oxide emissions from livestock farming and intensive agriculture. The bottom line is that forests, grasslands and agriculture fields, particularly in central Europe, freely release greenhouse gas (in carbon dioxide equivalents / red colouring in diagram). In this way they balance out the effect which Russian forests have as a source of carbon dioxide storage (blue colouring), almost completely. Click for larger image.

Of all global carbon dioxide emissions, less than half accumulate in the atmosphere where it contributes to global warming. The remainder is hidden away in oceans and terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and peat-lands. Stimulating this “free service” of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is considered one of the main, immediately available ways of reducing climate change. However, new greenhouse gas bookkeeping has revealed that for the European continent this service isn’t free after all. These findings are presented in the most recent edition of Nature Geoscience (Advanced Online Publication, November 22, 2009). Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Pre-CoP15 hand-wringer: Arctic Ice Volume Lowest Ever As Globe Warms: U.N.

GENEVA - Ice volume around the Arctic region hit the lowest level ever recorded this year as climate extremes brought death and devastation to many parts of the world, the U.N. weather agency WMO said on Tuesday.

Although the world's average temperature in 2008 was, at 14.3 degrees Celsius (57.7 degrees Fahrenheit), by a fraction of a degree the coolest so far this century, the direction toward a warmer climate remained steady, it reported.

"What is happening in the Arctic is one of the key indicators of global warming," Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said. "The overall trend is still upwards."

A report presented by Jarraud at a news conference showed Arctic ice cover dropping to its second lowest extent during this year's melt season since satellite measuring began in 1979.

However, the Geneva-based agency said, "because ice was thinner in 2008, overall ice volume was less than in any other year." It added: "The season strongly reinforced the 30-year downward trend in the extent of Arctic Sea ice."

 

Um, blimey! Scottish flooding 'to get worse'

Tough decisions about how to protect Scotland from worsening floods must be taken by politicians, a climate change expert has warned.

Dumfries and Galloway has just seen some of its worst ever flooding, and much of the country has been on the alert after record rainfalls.

Professor James Curran of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) fears flooding is going to increase.

He told BBC Scotland it is impossible to protect everywhere from flooding.

Prof Curran said the problem was simply down to climate change.

He said: "Globally the temperature has risen by almost one degree celsius over the past century so that actually means there is no natural weather left". (BBC Scotland) [em added]

We've... used up "natural weather". As amazing as regular readers may find this, I can't think of a single thing to say.

 

From the climate scammers' alliance: Unchecked Climate change will put world at ‘tipping point’, WWF and Allianz report says

Berlin, 23rd November 2009 – The world’s diverse regions and ecosystems are close to reaching temperature thresholds – or “tipping points” – that can unleash devastating environmental, social and economic changes, according to a new report by WWF and Allianz.

Often global warming is seen as a process similar to a steady flow of water in our bathrooms and kitchens, where temperature goes up gradually, controlled by a turn of the tap.

But the report ‘Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector’ documents that changes related to global warming are likely to be much more abrupt and unpredictable – and they could create huge social and environmental problems and cost the world hundreds of billions of dollars. (WWF)

 

Seth Borenstein doing his best for the cause: Warming's impacts sped up, worsened since Kyoto

WASHINGTON – Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated — beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before. (AP)

Uh, Seth? If Kyoto failed so miserably, why should we double down?

 

Help Stop the EPA from Imposing More Costly Regulations

Tired of having to drive safe, affordable vehicles? Can’t make a decision at the car lot and want the government to narrow down the decisions for you? Well then you’re in luck. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a great new regulation in store for you.

The agency is intending to use the Clean Air Act to improve the fuel efficiency to 35.5 miles per gallon fleetwide by 2016 - four years ahead of schedule when President Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

Why not? Everyone else wants to be a "victim": OPEC Head Backs Saudi Compensation Claims

Vienna, Austria (TML) - Saudi Arabia is gaining support from the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for its appeals to secure compensation for oil producing countries, as developed countries move away from oil towards greener energy sources. (The Media Line)

 

Study backs coal over renewables

COAL will continue to squeeze out renewables as an efficient, cheap source of energy, even with a cost of carbon many times higher than currently envisaged in the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme.

According to a secret independent report commissioned by the NSW Labor government, the abundance and efficiency of coal, along with new technologies for cutting emissions, mean coal will undercut the price of electricity produced by wind or solar for "many years".

The report, prepared by energy consultant Richard Hunwick, was commissioned by the state's Department of Primary Industries but has been withheld from cabinet out of concerns that it would antagonise officials in the NSW Department of Climate Change, Environment and Water.

According to Mr Hunwick's report, even a carbon price of $100 a tonne, about four times what is currently proposed, would leave coal well ahead of rivals such as wind, solar and gas.

His report urges the Rees government to proceed with a new coal-fired baseload power station or risk losing its aluminium smelting industry, which will move offshore unless a reliable power supply is guaranteed. (Imre Salusinszky, The Australian)

 

Study Says Air Cars Are Inefficient

There’s no question that people love the idea of compressed-air cars, which have long been under development by the French company Motor Development International and, according to a company spokesman, could be on American roads (after many delays) by 2012.

“It sounds ideal, like we could be free from the constraints of petroleum dependence,” said Andrew Papson, a transportation engineer and associate at the consulting firm ICF International.

But as much as the idea is attractive, Mr. Papson is skeptical about air cars. He finished graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, last year and was part of a team at the school that published a paper this week that was critical of air-car claims. (Wheels, NYT)

 

Green group questions economic sense of hydrogen buses

WHISTLER, B.C. — As the world’s largest fleet of hydrogen-powered buses is set to roll in Whistler, B.C., a leading environmental group is questioning the economic sense of the project.

“It is fine to scope out potential technologies of the future, but the reality is B.C.’s public transit services are on life support as far as the financial needs go,” said Ian Bruce, climate-change campaigner for the David Suzuki Foundation.

“B.C. government should re-evaluate and come out with a financial plan to make the B.C. transit plan become a reality.”

The 20 hydrogen-bus project is funded with $45 million from the federal government and $44.5 million from the province and BC Transit, the Crown agency responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of public transportation within B.C. outside of Metro Vancouver. The money covers both capital and operating costs until 2014.

Each of the hydrogen buses costs $2.1 million — four times the cost of a diesel bus, said Bruce. ( Clare Ogilvie , Vancouver Province)

 

It's Time To End The Anti-BPA Hysteria

This time, I can't improve on the title of my latest HND article.

When you hear from regulatory agencies all around the world that BPA is safe, you have to wonder what keeps the hysteria going. Here are four big factors:

  • Chemophobic nutters within the EPA and NIH, who use the granting process to keep junk science alive
  • Feckless journos whose worldview has not changed since they were in the sixth grade: Corporations are evil, big government is good, and it is just not possible that someone like Freddie vom Saal could also have an agenda
  • Disgraceful editorial standards at many technical journals
  • Fear-based fund-raising efforts by so-called Green organizations

You might like the takedown of Consumer Reports, an otherwise reliable publication, that has somehow let the incredibly biased Dr. Urvashi Rangan hijack their good name as their "technical policy director." Rangan's story is that right out of school, as a young Ph.D., she was hired by an evil pharm company, that fired her when she raised safety issues about a drug.

Excuse me if I don't believe this tale. She became a fringe chemophobe because a big bad pharm company fired her? Maybe she quit, or maybe there were other reasons. Given the FDA process, researchers are supposed to try to find issues with drugs, right?

Or maybe, riffing on my pal Bob Golden, she got religion after being in the pharmaceutical business: If the linear no-threshold model were actually true, then there would be no pharmacology, so in that sense, I suppose she had to leave the industry!

To top things off, she is likely the impetus behind Consumer Reports' absurd support of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Mobile cancer scare 'all in your head'

MOBILE phones appear to be "very safe", says an expert who points out that people were initially suspicious about mains power and microwaves.

Professor Rodney Croft, executive director of The Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR), says concerns over the location of mobile phone base stations should similarly dissipate over time.

"There really isn't a great deal of difference between your basic FM radio antenna and your base station's antennas," Prof Croft says.

"Radio transmissions have been around for a long, long time and people don't seem to mind being exposed to that."

Prof Croft, who is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Wollongong, says humans have "a tendency to be suspicious of all new things".

"When microwave ovens first came out there was a great deal of suspicion about them, when mains power came out there was a great deal of suspicion about it," he says.

"People do move on . . . providing, of course, no science comes out showing it is more dangerous. And certainly the centre's view is that's not likely to happen." (Herald Sun)

 

New Fiends of the Earth fundraiser? Nanotech widespread in cosmetics, report finds

SOME of the world's most prestigious cosmetic houses have been accused by an environmental group of using Australian women as guinea pigs.

The cosmetic industry says the controversial use of nanoparticles is not widespread. But an independent analysis by Friends of the Earth, which has described nanoparticle cosmetics as the 21st-century equivalent of lead and arsenic face powders, found nanomaterials in all 10 randomly selected foundations. (SMH)

 

Don't kiss Santa, he may have the flu

BUDAPEST - Santa Claus should avoid kissing children and shaking their hands to prevent spreading the flu and should get vaccinated against the illness, Hungary's state health authority said. (Reuters)

 

Swine flu may have hit one peak; more to come

WASHINGTON - The pandemic of swine flu may be hitting a peak in the Northern Hemisphere, global health officials said on Friday, but they cautioned it was far from over.

Officials also said they were investigating several troubling outbreaks of drug-resistant H1N1 but noted they were limited so far and that there were no indications yet the virus was mutating in a sustained way.

The World Health Organization said H1N1 flu was moving eastward across Europe and Asia after appearing to peak in parts of Western Europe and the United States. (Reuters)

 

Europe H1N1 flu deaths doubling every 2 weeks

LONDON - The number of H1N1 swine flu deaths in Europe has doubled almost every two weeks since the middle of October and 169 people died of the virus in the past week, disease surveillance experts said on Monday.

The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said 670 deaths have been reported in Europe from H1N1 flu since they began monitoring it in April and all 31 European Union and European free trade area (EFTA) countries now have cases of the virus.

"The numbers of deaths...has shown a steady increase - almost doubling every fortnight over the last six weeks," it said in its daily update. "While the most deaths have to date been in Western Europe there are increasing numbers of deaths being reported from central and eastern Europe." (Reuters)

 

Chapman on Chicago Pols and Guns

Steve Chapman has another terrific column — this one about gun regulations and the tendency of politicians to exempt themselves from such regulations — for the public good, of course.  Here’s an excerpt:

Roland Burris, another Chicagoan, has endorsed a nationwide ban on handguns and, in 1993, organized Chicago’s first Gun Turn-in Day. But the following year, while running unsuccessfully for governor, he admitted he owned a handgun — “for protection,” he explained — and hadn’t seen fit to turn it in along with those other firearms. Lesser mortals apparently can protect themselves with forks and spoons.

The Supreme Court will soon be hearing an important case about Chicago’s firearm regulations and the right to keep and bear arms.  Cato just filed an amicus brief (pdf) in that case.

Also, persons interested in this subject should know that Cato associate policy analyst David Kopel has a new book just out.

For additional Cato work, go here. (Tim Lynch, Cato at liberty)

 

White House Pushes Science and Math Education

To improve science and mathematics education for American children, the White House is recruiting Elmo and Big Bird, video game programmers and thousands of scientists.

President Obama will announce a campaign Monday to enlist companies and nonprofit groups to spend money, time and volunteer effort to encourage students, especially in middle and high school, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math, officials say.

The campaign, called Educate to Innovate, will focus mainly on activities outside the classroom. For example, Discovery Communications has promised to use two hours of the afternoon schedule on its Science Channel cable network for commercial-free programming geared toward middle school students.

Science and engineering societies are promising to provide volunteers to work with students in the classroom, culminating in a National Lab Day in May. (NYT)

 

Pelosi Eyeing Global Tax on Financial Transactions

Imagine if the government got to pick your pocket every time you engaged in a financial transaction? That nightmare scenario is a distinct possibility now that senior Democrats have joined with European politicians and urged that such a tax be applied on a worldwide based. Reuters has the disturbing details: ( Daniel J. Mitchell, Cato at liberty)

 

As Sewers Fill, Waste Poisons Waterways

It was drizzling lightly in late October when the midnight shift started at the Owls Head Water Pollution Control Plant, where much of Brooklyn’s sewage is treated.

A few miles away, people were walking home without umbrellas from late dinners. But at Owls Head, a swimming pool’s worth of sewage and wastewater was soon rushing in every second. Warning horns began to blare. A little after 1 a.m., with a harder rain falling, Owls Head reached its capacity and workers started shutting the intake gates.

That caused a rising tide throughout Brooklyn’s sewers, and untreated feces and industrial waste started spilling from emergency relief valves into the Upper New York Bay and Gowanus Canal.

“It happens anytime you get a hard rainfall,” said Bob Connaughton, one the plant’s engineers. “Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes of rain, and you’ve got overflows across Brooklyn.”

One goal of the Clean Water Act of 1972 was to upgrade the nation’s sewer systems, many of them built more than a century ago, to handle growing populations and increasing runoff of rainwater and waste. During the 1970s and 1980s, Congress distributed more than $60 billion to cities to make sure that what goes into toilets, industrial drains and street grates would not endanger human health.

But despite those upgrades, many sewer systems are still frequently overwhelmed, according to a New York Times analysis of environmental data. As a result, sewage is spilling into waterways. (NYT)

 

Terence Corcoran: Can’t we all drink from the same cow?

Free trade is great  — except to dairy marketers

By Terence Corcoran

Chirp chirp. Cluck cluck. Moo moo. It’s time, boys and girls, to put on our galoshes and take another stroll through the Canadian farm marketing annual fall fair.

It’s been a while since we toured the supply management system, and so make sure you put on those big, heavy galoshes. The doodoo is still spread around pretty thick after all these years. In fact, there’s a fresh dump out there, just dropped off yesterday by the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade.

After a couple of flash meetings in October and early November, the committee — chaired by Conservative urban cowboy Lee Richardson of Calgary Centre — issued a 3½-page “report” with a sole recommendation: “That the government of Canada affirm its unequivocal support of, and commitment to defend, Canada’s supply management system.”

Are there many dairy farms in Calgary Centre? I’ve never noticed them before.

Click here to read more... (Financial Post)

 

All Natural, All Nuclear

The Oklo uranium mine in Gabon contains well known evidence of natural nuclear reactors, but how widespread were they? A team of researchers has proposed a scenario to account for the disappearance of a radioactive mineral from the geological record. Part of their hypothesis is that a surge of oxygen billions of years ago caused the creation of millions of tiny nuclear reactors. If true, this primordial nuclear age could have played a role in the evolution of early life forms.

Appearing in the Geological Society of America's GSA Today, Laurence A. Coogan and Jay T. Cullen, both from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, have put forth a radical idea about natural nuclear reactors and the evolution of early life on Earth. In their article, entitled “Did natural reactors form as a consequence of the emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis during the Archean?,” they conjecture that once oxygen producing photosynthesis evolved, it produced local oxygen enrichment in surface water. This helped carry uranium into solution, which was redeposited at the margins of oxygen oases. These uranium deposits, they claim, would have the potential to form natural reactors due to the high concentration of 235U during the Archean Eon (3.8 – 2.5 billion years ago). How this happened is shown in the figure below, taken from the article.

Cartoon showing a possible mechanism by which oxygenic photosynthesis could lead to formation of natural fission reactors. Uraninite weathered out of igneous and metamorphic rocks is transported to isolated basins and deposited in shallow water environments, providing a ready source of U as soon as the waters become oxidizing. Photolytically produced H2O2 rains out of the atmosphere and oxidizes the uppermost water column, reducing the concentration of electron donors required by anoxygenic photosynthesizers such as H2S and Fe2+. This provides the selective pressure required for the emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis due to the abundance of H2O as an alternative electron donor.

At the time all of this was taking place Earth's atmosphere was very oxygen poor, compared with modern levels. An oxygenated atmosphere is generally considered prerequisite for the evolution of complex life. On Earth, atmospheric oxygen is produced through photosynthesis. It is widely, although not unanimously, accepted that oxygen levels in Earth’s atmosphere were very low throughout the first ~2 billion years of Earth’s history. According to the article, “[e]vidence from paleosols for soil development under reducing conditions and the occurrence of clastic sediments containing minerals that are highly soluble under oxic conditions, such as pyrite and uraninite, suggest low atmospheric oxygen before ca. 2.3 Ga.”

At about the same time, a volcanically produced mineral known as uraninite began to disappear. It is known that oxygenated water dissolves uraninite and, because most of Earth's early oxygen was present in the seas, Coogan and Cullen think the two events are linked. According to them, when the uraninite dissolved, grains of radioactive uranium-235 (235U) broke free and were eventually deposited on banks and shorelines. When enough 235U accumulated—a mass about the size of a basketball—nuclear fission occurred. Coogan and Cullen calculated that enough 235U existed at the time to have started millions of these reactors.


The ancient oceans were a happening place 2.3 billion years ago.

In 1956, while at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Paul Kuroda described the conditions under which a natural nuclear reactor could occur and there is at least one location where natural fission is known to have occurred. That is in the well known Oklo region of Gabon. When the Oklo reactors were discovered, the conditions found there were very similar to Kuroda's predictions. Concentrations of uranium in the Oklo geological formations show chemical evidence that 17 ancient reactors once operated there for more than a million years during the Proterozoic Eon (~1.8 Ga). James Lovelock, in The Ages of Gaia, put it this way:

A bizarre consequence of the appearance of oxygen was the advent the world's first nuclear reactors. Nuclear power from its inception has rarely been described publicly except in hyperbole. The impression has been given that to design and construct a nuclear reactor is a feat unique to physical science and engineering creativity. It is chastening to find that, in the Proterozoic, an unassertive community of modest bacteria built a set of nuclear reactors that ran for millions of years.

The newly proposed millions of ancient reactors would have emitted neutrons irradiating anything near by, and it is difficult to determine the impact of near-surface natural reactors on the Archean biosphere. There is a ubiquitous bacterial strain, Deinococcus radiodurans, which is naturally resistant to otherwise lethal doses of radiation. So far, scientists have been at a loss as to how that resistance evolved. Coogan and Cullen suggest, “Investigation of the evolution of radiation tolerance in some bacteria (e.g., Deinococcus radiodurans and members of the cyanobacteria), for which there is no other obvious terrestrial selective pressure, may prove fruitful.”

The nuclear reactor hypothesis is “plausible,” says geophysicist Norman Sleep of Stanford University, commenting in Science. But if the reactors were widespread, scientists should see more variation in Earth's current ratio of 235U to 238U, the two radioactive isotopes that make up uraninite. Aside from measurements taken at Oklo, this ratio is consistent everywhere on Earth, Sleep says. For more information regarding the Oklo site see page 347 in Chapter 18 of The Resilient Earth.


Site of the Oklo natural nuclear reactors in Gabon. Photo US DOE.

The paper is “not only fascinating reading, but it also generates ideas for testable hypotheses,” says health physicist and radiological specialist P. Andrew Karam of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in Science (see “Did Ancient Earth Go Nuclear?”). If it bears fruit, he adds, “the fact that ancient Earth may have hosted scores of natural nuclear reactors is certainly relevant to today's debates over nuclear energy, radioactive waste disposal, and the putative health effects of exposure to low levels of radiation.”

The widespread ancient nuclear reactor hypothesis remains controversial, and the link between such reactors and the evolution of life on our planet even more so. Still, it is interesting to note that nuclear energy, the favorite boogeyman of eco-activists everywhere prior to the advent of the global warming hysteria, has proven to be just another natural phenomenon. Most rational scientists know this, which is why the AAAS Pew poll found that 70% of scientists favor the expanded use of nuclear energy. Still, atavistic eco-activists go into meltdown at the mere mention of building new nuclear power plants. But the world's energy needs continue to rise and, whether you believe that CO2 emissions will turn Earth into a living hell or just that being an energy independent nation is a good thing, something must be done. Instead of raising forests of twirling wind turbines, which slaughter birds, bats and the occasional skydiver, or slathering every available surface with costly and intermittent solar cells, I say we go nuclear—what could be more natural?

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

November 23, 2009

Rather obviously the CRU hacking and release of potentially damaging and certainly embarrassing documents are going to occupy a significant slab of topical climate news:

Hacked: Hadley CRU FOI2009 Files

The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), usually working together with the Hadley center (recall HadCRUT3 global temperatures), has been hacked.

Speculations thrive that the data were actually obtained and posted by an insider - a whistleblower - rather than a generic Russian hacker.

If you want to download an interesting 62-megabyte file, which unpacks to 156 megabytes or so, here are some links:

Warwick Hughes (instant download; web)
File dropper (captcha only)
RapidShare (free user, wait)
Megaupload (captcha, wait)
Get via torrents (Mininova)
Original URL (FTP in Russia, defunct)
Search through the 1073 e-mails (h/t: Shug)
BBC story (confirms hacking, nothing about the content)
The Guardian (confirms; says skeptics think it proves a collusion)
Foxnews (similar)
The Telegraph (climate scientists accused)
Boston Herald, CBS, Reuters, UPI, AP/ABC (similar)
Wall Street Journal (tougher, more details about the content)
Additional newspapers (Climate Depot)
Real Climate (confirms hacking, suggests that the climate scientists are frustrated angels)
Don't worry. Those 4,556 files in various directories contain no viruses or malware; I have tested it. Bloggers' stories and discussions:
Anthony Watts (selected correspondence)
Steve McIntyre ( - || - )
Real Climate (interesting comments: glasnosť has arrived to RC for the first time)
SlashDot (a discussion of IT types)
Terry Hurlbut (Examiner)
Rush Limbaugh's take
Jeff Id (The Air Vent, the first story)
Other blogs (Blog Search)
Google News (Hot Air, a WSJ blog, American Thinker...)
The files have been confirmed to be authentic.

Since the very beginning, no clear errors had been found and your humble correspondent would have bet that the files had been authentic. Why? Well, it's just pretty difficult to type 156 MB of stuff that looks so legitimate. (See the end of this article for Jones' confirmation of authenticity.) When you unpack the ZIP file, you create two directories, "documents" and "mail". For example, "documents" has these files and subfolders:



Click to zoom in.

So far, the most interesting file I found in the "documents" directory is
pdj_grant_since1990.xls (Google preview, click)
which shows that since 1990, Phil Jones has collected staggering 13.7 million British pounds ($22.6 million) in grants. The major amounts came from HEFCE (6.6 million pounds) and NERC (2.7 million pounds). Later, we will get some idea whether he has used the money to do proper science and whether the truth and objectivity was kept as the key principle, beating a possibility to double the amount. ;-)

What is my reaction to these financial amounts? These numbers are difficult for me to comprehend so I just borrow a reaction from Jeff Id: Big Oil My Ass. :-)



At any rate, the files were clearly real. You really don't want to type all these files by hand. Each subdirectory contains either numerous subfolders or dozens of DOC, PRO, TXT, no-suffix, ARS, CRN, CRNS, DAT, RAW, and other files. I don't know anyone who could create such an amount of authentic things in a finite affine time.

The only alternative explanation to veracity is that the bulk of the files is real and some "cherries" have been added or edited. But that would still require a collaboration of a good hacker with a good person who follows climate science (a well-informed skeptic), or the unification of these two roles in one person. Somewhat unlikely. In my opinion, the most likely story is that all these files are 100% legitimate. Also, Steve McIntyre has confirmed that all e-mails in the hacked file that were sent from/to him are 100% genuine.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Those Hacked E-mails

As the world and her mouse now know, a server used by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has been hacked into, and many files, including personal e-mail messages, published on a Russian web site on Thursday [see: here; and here;; and here; and here; and here; and here; and here; and here; among many other media outlets and blogs]. The story, and some of the key details, have travelled around the world’s blogosphere quicker than Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream ("I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes"), leading to much febrile, and often ill-judged, hysteria from both sides of the more puerile end of the ‘global warming’ debate. (Clamour of the Times)

 

Warmergate and all that

Follow the money
Deep throat

It appears that a large number of files has been hacked or, more likely, released by a disgruntled insider at the world centre of Global Warming Alarmism, namely the CRU at the University of East Anglia. Links to comment may be found at http://www.climatedepot.com/ . Early indications confirm not only the scientific fraud that many of us deduced must be happening, but also dubious financial transactions.

CRU was created by the Thatcher Government as an arm in its war against the coal miners and the oil sheiks. This was  a case (unfortunately not isolated) in which the smart tactical manoeuvre became a grand strategic error, for it bequeathed a powerful tool to the new authoritarian left when they reins of power changed hands.

A quasi-scientific institute that is founded for political purposes is a misbegotten creature. It is conceived in cynicism and born to corruption. When the remit of such an institution is to manufacture evidence to support one particular hypothesis it is condemned not to produce just bad science but anti-science. The basis of modern scientific method is the principle of falsification. We do not call upon it directly for every scientific investigation, just as we do not rush to the courts of law every time we sign a contract, but it is always there to provide the rigorous framework essential to progress. To pay someone to collect data that support one hypothesis is like, to adapt the classical analogy, paying someone to count white swans to “prove” the hypothesis that all swans are white. Furthermore, once that someone’s living depends upon that payment, he will be sorely tempted to cover up any evidence of black swans and, being human, he will try to salve his own conscience by creating a justification for ignoring inconvenient observations.

That said, however, this is a phenomenon of group psychology. One of the best treatments of it in fiction is the spy novel by John le Carré, The looking glass war, in which an isolated intelligence outfit develops a fantasy world of its own, which is disrupted when its ambitions collide with reality. Such groups tend to become exclusive brethren, who avoid interaction with others who might threaten their beliefs. They develop a group paranoia and feel the need to defend themselves against what they see as hostile interest from outside. In this case, however, the “opposition” have acted to preserve the niceties of scientific discourse. Steve McIntyre, in particular, has gone to great lengths to maintain polite debate. Yet he has been foisted with the role of “devil incarnate” and subjected to outrageous ad hominem attacks and vilification. These groups lose their moral compass and excite each other to forms of behaviour that they might not have adopted as individuals. The formation of “peer review rings”,  designed to deny a hearing for alternative opinions is a notorious case in point, which was comprehensively exposed in the Wegman report. As in the days of absolute monarchy, protection offered by the powerful is an incentive towards the abuse of position. In history, favourites of the king tended to have their days in the sun ended in ignominy or worse.

If, however, sceptics think that global warming is now simply going to fade away they are very much mistaken. It is now a political theory with a life of its own, independent of any support from junk science. Governments depend on it as an excuse for onerous taxation and the erosion of human liberties. Billion dollar industries are set up to exploit it. Hundreds of the new type of journalists who call themselves environmental editors need it to pay their mortgages. The first reaction will be to ignore this development and, with complete control of the establishment press, it is a viable one. It can already be seen in the silence of the press at these startling revelations. If that fails then expect a vicious counter-attack.

We live in interesting times. (Number Watch)

 

The devastating book which debunks climate change

Just imagine if we learned we were about to be landed with the biggest bill in the history of the world - simply on the say-so of a group of scientists. Would we not want to be absolutely sure that those scientists were 100 per cent dependable in what they were saying?

Should we not then be extremely worried - and even very angry - if it emerged that those scientists had been conspiring among themselves to fiddle the evidence for what they were telling us?

This is the extraordinary position in which we find ourselves thanks to news reported in Saturday's Daily Mail which has raised huge question marks over the reliability of the science behind the theory of global warming. (Christopher Booker, Daily Mail)

 

Climate cuttings 33

Welcome Instapundit readers! Hope this is useful for you. If you are interested in more on global warming material, check out Caspar and the Jesus Paper and The Yamal Implosion, or check out the forthcoming book.

General reaction seems to be that the CRUgate emails are genuine, but with the caveat that there could be some less reliable stuff slipped in.

In the circumstances, here are some summaries of the CRUgate files. I'll update these as and when I can. The refs are the email number. (Bishop Hill)

 

Scientist: Leak of climate e-mails appalling

LONDON — A leading climate change scientist whose private e-mails are included in thousands of documents that were stolen by hackers and posted online said Sunday the leaks may have been aimed at undermining next month's global climate summit in Denmark.

Kevin Trenberth, of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Colorado, said he believes the hackers who stole a decade's worth of correspondence from a British university's computer server deliberately distributed only those documents that could help attempts by skeptics to undermine the scientific consensus on man-made climate change. (AP)

 

The Alarmists Do "Science": A Case Study

A fascinating, hot-off-the-presses story emerges from the emails that were hacked yesterday from the University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Centre. It is one of many exchanges that shed light on the priority that the global warming alarmists give to politics and career advancement over science. (John Hinderaker, Power Line Blog)

 

Climate Strife Comes to Light - Emails Illustrate Anger of Scientists Who Believe Humans Are Root of Global Warming

The scientific community is buzzing over the thousands of emails and documents, posted on the Internet late last week after being hacked from the computer of a prominent climate-change research center, which some say raise ethical questions about a group of scientists who contend that humans are responsible for global warming.

...

John Christy, a scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville who was attacked in the emails, said, "It's disconcerting to realize that legislative actions this nation is preparing to take, and which will cost trillions of dollars, are based upon a view of climate that has not been completely scientifically tested -- but rather orchestrated." (WSJ)

 

A lot of it seems trivial and actually quite juvenile: Comment On The Post “Enemies Caught In Action!” On The Blackboard

Lucia Liljegren at the Blackboard has a post Enemies caught in action! with an image depicting several individuals including me [thanks to Lucia for her post!]. The source of this juvenile presentation was in a an e-mail from Tom Peterson to Phil Jones in 2007. (Climate Science)

 

Climategate: how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

In the trenches on climate change, hostility among foes - Stolen e-mails reveal venomous feelings toward skeptics

Electronic files that were stolen from a prominent climate research center and made public last week provide a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes battle to shape the public perception of global warming. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

 

Climate Skeptics See 'Smoking Gun' in Researchers' Leaked E-Mails

Hackers broke into the servers at a prominent British climate research center and leaked years worth of e-mail messages onto the Web, including one with a reference to a plan to "hide the decline" in temperatures.

The Internet is abuzz about the leaked data from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (commonly called Hadley CRU), which has acknowledged the theft of 61MB of confidential data.

Climate change skeptics describe the leaked data as a "smoking gun," evidence of collusion among climatologists and manipulation of data to support the widely held view that climate change is caused by the actions of mankind. The authors of some of the e-mails, however, accuse the skeptics of taking the messages out of context, adding that the evidence still clearly shows a warming trend.

The files were reportedly released on a Russian file-serve by an anonymous poster calling himself "FOIA." (FNC)

 

Warmist conspiracy exposed?

So the 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory - a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science. I’ve been adding some of the most astonishing in updates below - emails suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more. If it is as it now seems, never again will “peer review” be used to shout down sceptics.

This is clearly not the work of some hacker, but of an insider who’s now blown the whistle. (Andrew Bolt)

A scandal too big for these words (Andrew Bolt)

The global warming conspiracy: how it massaged data and hid truth (Andrew Bolt)

The global warming conspiracy: its silencing of the sceptics (Andrew Bolt)

The warmist conspiracy: the emails that most damn Jones (Andrew Bolt)

 

CRU Emails “may” be open to interpretation, but commented code by the programmer tells the real story (WUWT)

 

ClimateGate and the Elitist Roots of Global Warming Alarmism

The hundreds of e-mails being made public after someone hacked into Phil Jones’ Climatic Research Unit (CRU) computer system offer a revealing peek inside the IPCC machine. It will take some time before we know whether any illegal activity has been uncovered (e.g. hiding or destruction of data to avoid Freedom of Information Act inquiries).

Some commentators even think this is the beginning of the end for the IPCC. I doubt it. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute

Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change. (Andrew C. Revkin, NYT)

 

Presto! Alarmist Emails Not Such a Big Deal

That's The Amazing Revkin for you -- the New York Times' DotEarth blogger/environmental reporter attempts some M*A*S*H-style meatball surgery this morning on the badly hemorrhaging climate alarmoscientists' scandal that has erupted in East Anglia, UK. First he acknowledges that some of the most prominent climate fictionalizers in the world said some very naughty things about global warming skeptics, but then he promptly cues the violins: ( Paul Chesser, Spectator)

 

CRU Files Betray Climate Alarmists' Funding Hypocrisy

It seems that while scientists who accept funding from oil companies are branded as bought-and-paid-for shills, those financed by renewable energy interests remain unchallenged authorities in their fields. Words can’t adequately express my astonishment. 

Amid the thousands of files apparently lifted from Britain’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) last week sit two documents on the subject of the unit’s funding. One is a spreadsheet (pdj_grant_since1990.xls) logging the various grants CRU chief P.D. Jones has received since 1990. It lists 55 such endowments from agencies ranging from the U.S. Department of Energy to NATO, worth a total of £13,718,547, or approximately $22.6 million. I guess cooking climate data can be an expensive habit, particularly for an oft-quoted and highly exalted U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chief climatologist. 

But it’s actually the second document (potential-funding.doc) that tells the more compelling tale. In addition to four government sources of potential CRU funding, it lists an equal number of "energy agencies" they might put the bite on. Three -- the Carbon Trust, the Northern Energy Initiative, and the Energy Saving Trust -- are U.K.-based consultancy and funding specialists promoting "new energy" technologies with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The fourth -- Renewables North West -- is an American company promoting the expansion of solar, wind, and geothermal energy in the Pacific Northwest. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

 

CRU’s Climate Tricksters–Context is Everything

In the case of the apparently scandalous leaked e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit in England, it’s all a matter of getting the context right.  That’s what Professor Michael E Mann, the fabricator of the celebrated hockey stick graph, told the Washington Post.  Here’s what he said in Juliet Eilperin’s story today:

Michael E. Mann, who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said in a telephone interview from Paris that skeptics “are taking these words totally out of context to make something trivial appear nefarious.”

I agree with Professor Mann that the context in which something is written or said or done is always critical.  So let’s look at the context of a couple of these e-mails.  Here’s one that looks pretty bad until you understand the context: (Myron Ebell, Cooler Heads)

 

The Death Blow to Climate Science

Global Warming is often called a hoax. I disagree because a hoax has a humorous intent to puncture pomposity. In science, such as with the Piltdown Man hoax, it was done to expose those with fervent but blind belief. The argument that global warming is due to humans, known as the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW) is a deliberate fraud. I can now make that statement without fear of contradiction because of a remarkable hacking of files that provided not just a smoking gun, but an entire battery of machine guns. (Tim Ball, CFP)

 

Climate Change Bombshell: Dr. Tim Ball on the hacked CRU emails

Retired climatologist Dr. Tim Ball joins us to discuss the significance of the recently leaked emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University which expose deceit, duplicity and collusion between climate researchers to maintain the fraud of the manmade global warming theory. These emails reveal stunning behind-the-scenes details about how this fraud has been developed and perpetuated, and Dr. Ball shares his insights on what they show. (Corbett Report)

 

No Cap and Tax

Massey's Blankenship says U.S. should expand coal use, warming science unsubstantiated

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been an outspoken critic of the science behind global warming and the push for climate legislation for decades. As Congress continues to move forward with cap-and-trade legislation, Blankenship says an emissions plan will send jobs overseas and hurt the economy. During today's OnPoint, he gives his take on the Senate's climate debate and explains why he believes the world has entered a period of global cooling. Blankenship, who is also on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discusses recent controversy surrounding the chamber's stance on climate legislation and explains why efforts to develop carbon capture and storage technology should be stopped.

watch video -- read transcript (OnPoint, 11/18/2009)

 

Cap and Trade Hits Manufacturing, Farming and Small Business

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense and sometimes the best action is inaction. With unemployment surpassing 10 percent (go here to watch unemployment grow), Midwestern Congressmen want to ensure that Congress will protect three key areas of their respective state’s economy: agriculture, manufacturing and small business. One sure way to protect these jobs is not to implement climate change legislation.

Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and 31 more Midwestern Members of Congress sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Energy and Commerce, Agriculture, and Small Business Committees requesting a joint hearing to how climate change would affect these important industries, not only in the Midwest, but all across the United States. Let us give you a preview, and the news is not good.

Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

Inhofe to Boxer: “We won, you lost — get a life!”

A moment of fun here for Senator James Inhofe, who declared victory over the global-warming hysterics this week in a speech covered by the Tulsa World. Inhofe got a few laughs from a nearly-empty room by telling Barbara Boxer that the failure of the dire predictions of disaster from last decade to come to pass showed that he had been right all along, and that they could now “stick a fork” in the effort to hobble American productivity through the restriction of carbon emissions:

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, perhaps Congress’ most vocal skeptic of man-made global warming, essentially declared victory Wednesday in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor.

“I proudly declare 2009 as the ‘Year of the Skeptic,’ the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard,’’ the Oklahoma Republican said.

“Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked.’’

Inhofe recalled his own 2003 remarks in which he said much of the debate over global warming was predicated on fear rather than science.

Alarmists warned of a future plagued by catastrophic flooding, economic dislocations, droughts and mosquito-borne diseases, he said.

Inhofe also recalled his most famous comment in which he suggested that man-made global warming would turn out to be “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

“Today, I have been vindicated,’’ he said.

What has Inhofe feeling vindicated? He points to the collapse of the Copenhagen conference, which was widely expected to produce a Kyoto-style agreement among Western nations to commit economic seppuku by restricting energy production. However, Inhofe could just as easily point to an event closer to home — Harry Reid’s rescheduling of Boxer’s bill to the spring, where Democrats will undoubtedly run as fast as possible from it in an election year.

Inhofe may have won a battle, but the hysterics aren’t done yet. We need to ensure that they don’t get another chance to impose a government-run energy rationing system in the future. (Ed Morrissey, Hot Air)

 

The Senate’s Duty on Climate

The news that world leaders have abandoned hope for a comprehensive, legally binding climate change treaty in Copenhagen next month inspired no end of finger-pointing. Environmentalists blamed eight years of inaction under George W. Bush. The Europeans noted that the Chinese and several other big developing nations had done little to move the ball forward.

Our own candidate for criticism is the United States Senate. We cannot rewrite the Bush years any more than we can persuade the Chinese of the merits of a binding treaty to control greenhouse gases. What the United States can do is assume responsibility for its own emissions, and this the Senate has manifestly failed to do. (NYT)

Actually the Senate does have a duty of care here -- to protect the people of America and the world from so-called "climate legislation". Throw it out. Keep it out.

 

Barack Obama ready to offer target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions

President Barack Obama is considering setting a provisional target for cutting America's huge greenhouse gas emissions, removing the greatest single obstacle to a landmark global agreement to fight climate change.

The Observer has learnt that administration officials have been consulting international negotiators and key players on Capitol Hill about signing up to a provisional target at the UN global warming summit in Copenhagen, now less than three weeks away. ( Suzanne Goldenberg, The Observer)

 

Ready to Pay Your $6 Trillion 'Climate Justice' Bill?

The $1,000 bill has President Grover Cleveland’s face on it. The $100,000 bill has the dour image of President Woodrow Wilson.

We’ve already seen President Barack Obama attach his name and face to the $787 billion stimulus bill. And if the left has its way, the face on the $6 trillion “climate justice” bill will also be Obama’s. Or maybe it will belong to Al Gore.

December’s global warming conference in Copenhagen looms like a dark cloud on the horizon – just a few weeks away. The greedy left (and that’s pretty much all of them) is calling for “climate reparations.” A recent Rolling Stone article made it clear where lefties stand on American money going overseas. Writer Naomi Klein, who gained notoriety bashing ‘disaster capitalism,” said, “shifting to renewable energy, according to a team of United Nations researchers, will raise the cost far more: to as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade.” ( Dan Gainor, Townhall)

 

Congress passed Cap and Trade Legislation on June 26 That Will Cost Every American Family $3000 a year. Yet, Emerging Science Clearly Shows It is not needed! This Video Explains Why.

Emerging science is providing important new under-standing on this issue. Yet, politics is preventing this information from getting to Congress and the American people. Worse, our children are being taught incorrect information in our schools.

Global Warming, Emerging Science and Under-standing brings balance and perspective to the global warming debate. Dozens of respected scientists from all over the world explain new and emerging science about global warming. This DVD and its accompanying resources provides a clear and refreshing under-standing for ages 12 and up of this important issue. It can be viewed in the middle/high school classroom or any adult wanting to understand what emerging science is revealing. You will learn that:

  • The earth may be in a cooling cycle, not warming.
  • A corrected NASA data error shows the 1930s- 1940s are the warmest period in the past 100 yrs in the US, not the 1990s and 2000s.
  • The "fingerprint" of greenhouse gas warming used in climate models does not match reality.
  • Why greenhouse warming cannot, and has not caused more severe storms and hurricanes.
  • The sun may be the primary driver of warming.
  • More CO2 is very beneficial to the earth, including people.
  • And much, much more.

Trailer of Video

 

EPA in a rush on gases - Employees, science caught up in steamroller

During his Inauguration speech, President Obama famously said, "We will restore science to its rightful place." Unfortunately, Mr. Obama's "change" memo must not have reached the Environmental Protection Agency.

News recently broke of EPA's efforts to effectively censor two agency attorneys who used a YouTube video to lay out some of the flaws with the cap-and-tax energy regulations that are working their way through Congress. This must have been just a bit too transparent for the EPA officials who threatened them with disciplinary actions.

This is not the first time Mr. Obama's EPA has tried to silence critics. A joint investigation by Republican staff with the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently found that the EPA suppressed sound science to avoid delaying a finding that will allow for sweeping climate-change regulations.

The question before the EPA was not whether climate change exists, but rather how the EPA should treat the science of climate change under the Clean Air Act. ( Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Washington Times)

 

The Gore War

In 2007 Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. I always thought this was strange. What’s the connection between Gore’s climate activism and the Peace Prize? How could a man with no science background write a book and make a movie about how mankind is screwing up the climate and then get a prize for promoting peace? Well it’s beginning to make sense. The Nobel was not a peace prize, it was a war prize. (Art Horn, Icecap)

 

The Decline of Climate Alarmism (Will the Left rethink an increasingly futile crusade?)

My ‘Left’ friends are mad at me now that the climate debate/ discussion has shifted, at least temporarily, from Save the World to Why Did We Fail? Here is what a former Enron executive (his name will remain confidential) emailed me a few days ago:

Rob- shame on you. The [Breakthrough Institute] article [Apocalypse Fatigue: Losing the Public on Climate Change] names only 3 reasons why the U.S. will not address climate mitigation: far off threat, greed, and telling them what they don’t want to hear. It ignores the real reason: the constant effort from people like yourself to undermine the case for action with its ancillary affect of dividing the country and paralyzing the system.

Then the sarcasm comes in:

I am not being facetious: you should pat yourself on that back for helping create an atmosphere that will prevent any meaningful action on the false threat of climate change from happening in this country. It is a proud moment and credit to your hard work. I tip my hat.

Now, there are a lot of people who would love to take credit for helping to derail any piece of all pain-no gain legislation. But Waxman-Markey probably would not pass the House today if a re-vote were taken, and even some Democratic Senators know that being Democrat includes not needlessly increasing energy prices for their constituents.

Still, I took some offense at this email and wrote back in all seriousness:

I am surprised …. I thought you were having second doubts about the increasingly false alarm of high-sensitivity warming. And to me the lessons of Enron include the fake green stuff we were doing–and the fake stuff that [our old colleague Jim] Rogers [of Duke Energy] is doing at the expense of his customers and broader society.

[Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography] Jerry North told me just last week that he is more convinced than ever that the warming is at the very bottom of the IPCC range, which some top climate economists say makes CO2 a positive externality, not a negative one. We have peer-reviewed articles on how feedback effects are not the big amplifiers that the models (must) assume. [Read more →] (Robert Bradley Jr., MasterResource)

 

Climate Science Corrupted

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established under the sponsorship of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP's belief in manmade warming in the late 1970's led to a stage-managed conference in Villach in 1985, which in turn led to the political decision to form the IPCC. (John McLean)

 

Ozone Al & the make-believe worlds: Al Gore: Supercomputers can sway global warming ways

PORTLAND, Ore. — Supercomputers can do more to reverse the global warming trend, according to former vice president Al Gore who gave a keynote at the Supercomputer 2009 conference held here this week.

Supercomputer simulations showed how a hole in our ozone layer had created a worldwide planetary emergency and forced us to switch from chlorofluorocarbons to other gases that do not damage the ozone layer.

Visualization tools, according to Gore, clinched the case by showing people just how big the hole was already and how it could be shrunk by switching away from chlorofluorocarbons. (R. Colin Johnson, EE Times)

He's right in one respect, stop running the models and gorebull warming ceases to exist. Oh, that ozone thing? That was always a crock too.

 

Pre-CoP15 horse spit: Climate change sceptics and lobbyists put world at risk, says top adviser

Climate change sceptics and fossil fuel companies that have lobbied against action on greenhouse gas emissions have squandered the world's chance to avoid dangerous global warming, a key adviser to the government has said.

Professor Bob Watson, chief scientist at the department for environment and rural affairs, said a decade of inaction on climate change meant it was now virtually impossible to limit global temperature rise to 2C. He said the delay meant the world would now do well to stabilise warming between 3C and 4C. ( David Adam, The Guardian)

Actually we'll be lucky of the world doesn't cool since the sun seems dreadfully somnolent of late.

 

Unforeseen climate 'crisis' - Temperatures dropping for four straight years

A climate crisis of worldwide proportions is unfolding right before our eyes, and not even the most powerful world leaders can do anything to stop it. It looks like 2009 may very well turn out to be the fourth straight year of declining global temperatures at a time when carbon dioxide levels continue to rise - the opposite of what was predicted by vaunted climate models.

Something must be done immediately to either (1) rework the temperature data so it vindicates esteemed climate visionaries, (2) come up with some scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo as to why long-term weather doesn't conform to authoritative proclamations or (3) simply ignore or downplay the reality hoping people don't finally catch on that they've been had. Perhaps it could at least be claimed that Mother Nature is giving us a reprieve to get our collective global act together before she really lowers the boom. After all, it has worked so well in the past to say that disaster is just around the corner.

Our guess is that the crafty climate chieftains will likely use a combination of the three smoke-and-mirror strategies listed (with a smattering of "denier" bashing thrown in just for fun).

But we wonder, when will ostensibly superintelligent people learn a simple fact that even a forecast is simply a guess at the future based on past and present information? Putting a lot of sincere confidence in your prognostication does not improve its predictive power. ( Anthony J. Sadar and Susan T. Cammarata, Washington Times)

 

Another CoP15 curtain raiser (can't see it getting much traction in light of other developments): East Antarctic Ice Began To Melt Faster In 2006-study

LONDON, Nov 22 - East Antarctica's ice started to melt faster from 2006, which could cause sea levels to rise sooner than anticipated, according to a study by scientists at the University of Texas.

In the study published in Nature's Geoscience journal, scientists estimated that East Antarctica has been losing ice mass at an average rate of 5 to 109 gigatonnes per year from April 2002 to January 2009, but the rate speeded up from 2006.

The melt rate after 2006 could be even higher, the scientists said.

"The key result is that [we] appear to start seeing a large amount of ice loss in East Antarctica, mostly in the long coastal regions (in Wilkes Land and Victoria Land), since 2006," Jianli Chen at the university's centre for space research and one of the study's authors, told Reuters.

"This, if confirmed, could indicate a state change of East Antarctica, which could pose a large impact on global sea levels in the future," Chen said.

Previous estimates for East Antarctica projected anywhere between a 4 gigatonne per year loss and a 22 gigatonne per year gain, according to the report.

The full study is available at www.nature.com/ngeo. (Reuters)

 

Skeptics Handbook II! Global Bullies Want Your Money

Finally, Part II in the Skeptics Handbook series – the bluster and bluff, the deceit, and the money.  Enjoy & Share.

Cover Global Bullies Want Your Money

It’s unthinkable. Big Government has spent $79 billion on the climate industry, 3000 times more than Big Oil. Leading climate scientists won’t debate in public and won’t provide their data. What do they hide? When faced with freedom-of-information requests they say they’ve “lost” the original global temperature records. Thousands of scientists are rising in protest against the scare campaign. Meanwhile $126 billion turned over in carbon markets in 2008 and bankers get set to make billions.

Twenty pages of concise commentary and cartoons:

  • The short synopsis of how we paid to find a crisis.
  • The one flaw that wipes out the catastrophe. (They can be right about carbon but wrong about water… and that eliminates two-thirds of their predicted warming.)
  • Nine behaviours of the real deniers  — there are lots of ways to deny the evidence.
  • How carbon dioxide greens the world, why clouds dominate the climate, and if carbon didn’t cause the recent warming, what else might have?
  • The short summary of the baseless hockey stick graph, with a devastating map of the vast array of peer reviewed information that demonstrates just how brazen the Hockey Stick “re-interpretation” of history was.
  • How you can create a compelling crisis in a graph in six simple steps.
  • The Checklist: How do you tell a scientist from a non-scientist?  (A Skeptic from an Unskeptic?)

“Bullying is their root strength. Take it away from them and they will crumble.”

It’s going first to Australian Senators

Full color copies are being printed right now so that all Australian Senators and crucial people in the Australian Government can have this in their hands next week. They will be hand delivered by former politician, who is flying to Canberra specially to get the booklet into the hands of our decision makers. The Australian Senate is considering the legislation starting on Monday next week. It’s line-ball. The Leader of the Opposition wants to pass it, most of his party do not. Only seven members of the opposition need to vote for it for it to pass — and condemn Australia to decades of an unnecessary tax and an impost that will achieve nothing but banking profits.

Thousands of copies will be printed in the  next two weeks in Australia, and be distributed to journalists and other leaders.

I welcome your feedback and ideas, especially this weekend before it goes to the printers.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to the invaluable team behind the scenes who have given me feedback and suggestions: Anne-Kit, Kruegar, Brad J, George W, Tel, Daniel C, Terry D, Max R, Bryan L, and of course David E :-)

Also part of the team were the people who helped to cover costs of the website, software, printing and childcare. Merci. Without this help, I could not have produced this in time for the Australian Senate and Copenhagen and been able to offer it freely to the rest of the world. I am grateful. (JoNova)

 

Be careful what you wish for: RENTAL FOR PARKING EMISSIONS IN THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SPACE

Jyoti Parikh & Kirit Parikh: Deal-making at Copenhagen - India should accept equal per capita emission quotas

Minister for Environment Jairam Ramesh wants India to be a deal maker at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. We propose here a deal that India can offer that addresses the objectives of the ‘deal makers’ and the concerns of those who oppose any deal inconsistent with India’s past stand. Our proposal is consistent with it and the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) accepted at Rio.

The most critical issue in climate change is allocation of emission rights or quotas. Any accord implies an allocation. For example, the Kyoto Protocol is a cap and trade arrangement, where caps were provided on industrialised countries, called annex 1 countries (A1C), and they were permitted to trade among themselves as well as with non-annex 1 countries (NA1C), on whom there were no caps. Thus emission rights were allocated based on past emissions to A1Cs and unlimited to NA1Cs who needed to grow. However, NA1Cs have grown at varied rates and poverty is not pressing for some of them. The A1Cs want them to act too.

There is no economic principle that suggests just and equitable allocation. Inter-personal comparison of welfare across countries with different economic, political and social environment and inequity across nations is difficult if not impossible. One needs to rely on ethical principles. (Business Standard)

How long before sharp lawyers decide the real action is changing people for use of all that currently free aerial fertilization of crops from enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide? There is no doubt whatsoever that commercial growers of all manner of crops benefit directly from carbon dioxide emissions or that they are free riding. Rent seekers could be looking for some really big bucks from Al and the carbon hogs. How would the equatorial rainforest belt countries pay for all that growth?

 

Every possible scam to prevent or delay development: Prince Charles announces funding scheme to protect rainforests

A global emergency funding scheme to drastically reduce the destruction of tropical rainforests over the next five years was announced by the Prince of Wales today, with the US pledging $275m (£165m) towards rainforest protection.

The plan relies on developed countries paying rainforest nations such as Brazil and Indonesia to reduce rates of deforestation and thereby cut carbon emissions.

Currently, the lucrative trade in logging, cattle grazing and palm oil, means tropical forests are worth substantially more dead than alive to developing countries. The plan, agreed by 35 governments of the Informal Working Group (IWG) and published at a meeting at St James's Palace, aims to make trees worth more alive. The group hopes to achieve a 25% reduction in annual deforestation rates by 2015. The felling of forests causes almost a fifth of global carbon emissions. (The Guardian)

 

Prince Charles Tries to Stamp Out Scientific Debate, Says SPPI

A climate lobby-group founded by Prince Charles to influence opinion in the world’s largest insurance market has tried – and failed – to stifle scientific debate on “global warming” in one of the industry’s foremost academic journals, says SPPI.

ClimateWise, known to skeptical brokers at Lloyds of London as Climate Foolish, was launched by the Prince of Wales in 2007 with the words, “Time is a luxury we do not have and I urge companies both at home and internationally to sign the ClimateWise principles and take the necessary action.”

The ClimateWise principles are “To lead in risk analysis, inform public policymaking, support climate awareness amongst customers, incorporate climate change into investment strategies, reduce businesses’ environmental impact, report and be accountable”.

SPPI’s Lord Monckton and a leading insurance broker, Paul Maynard, jointly wrote a learned paper for the respected Journal of the Chartered Insurance Institute, reviewing the science in detail and concluding that the climate scare is bogus and scientifically unfounded; and that CO2 is harmless and beneficial.

Before the paper was published in the Journal, members of ClimateWise first of all attempted to prevent it from appearing. Then they tried to censor it by removing the central scientific and mathematical argument that the effect of CO2 on temperature is now known to be around one-third to one-seventh of what the UN – and the Prince of Wales – would like us to believe. The co-authors stood firm, however, and successfully insisted that their article be printed in full as originally agreed. Next, ClimateWise supporters successfully lobbied the Journal not to reveal to its readers that the letters to the Editor about the paper had been overwhelming supportive of it.

Lord Monckton expressed concern to ClimateWise about “the engagement of the Prince of Wales in a lobby-group with an avowedly political purpose when the future Monarch is constitutionally constrained to be above politics.” The pressure-group has not responded. (TransWorldNews)

 

At Last a Voice for Climate Reason in the UK

Today, Nigel Lawson, Lord Lawson of Blaby, will launch a new, high-powered, all-party (and non-party) think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which he hopes, as he writes in this morning’s Times, “may mark a turning-point in the political and public debate on the important issue of global warming policy.” And so do I; we have long-needed such a body to fight for common sense about climate change in the UK. At last, as the Times headline reads, there is a senior politician in the UK brave enough to state that “Copenhagen will fail - and quite right too. Even if the science was reliable (which it isn’t), we should not force the world’s poorest countries to cut carbon emissions.”

Aims of the GWPF

The aims of the GWPF are simple. The “main purpose is to bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant.” Further:

“The GWPF's primary purpose is to help restore balance and trust in the climate debate that is frequently distorted by prejudice and exaggeration.

Our main focus is to analyse global warming policies and its economic and other implications. Our aim is to provide the most robust and reliable economic analysis and advice.

We intend to develop alternative policy options and to foster a proper debate (which at present scarcely exists) on the likely cost and consequences of current policies.”

Bravo, Nigel Lawson! May I thus encourage you to join the GWPF today. This could well be the moment when sanity returns to the UK over climate-change politics. (Clamour of the Times)

 

Cooler Heads Digest 20 November 2009

The Competitive Enterprise Institute this week launched a new video campaign to persuade Al Gore to accept Lord Monckton’s challenge for a debate on climate change. CEI is offering Mr. Gore big bucks to debate!

The Cornwall Alliance and the Heritage Foundation are holding a joint event, “Leading Evangelical Scholars Warn That…

 Read the full story (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

 

The Day Global Warming Stood Still

As scientists confirm the earth has not warmed at all in the past decade, others wonder how this could be and what it means for Copenhagen. Maybe Al Gore can Photoshop something before December.

It will be a very cold winter of discontent for the warm-mongers. The climate show-and-tell in Copenhagen next month will be nothing more than a meaningless carbon-emitting jaunt, unable to decide just whom to blame or how to divvy up the profitable spoils of climate change hysteria.

The collapse of the talks coupled with the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to put off the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill, the Senate's version of Waxman-Markey, until the spring thaw has led Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the leading Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, to declare victory over Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and the triumph of observable fact over junk science.

"I proudly declare 2009 as the 'Year of the Skeptic,' the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard," Inhofe said to Boxer in a Senate speech. "Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked."

Inhofe added: "Today I have been vindicated." (IBD)

 

Climate scientists in Potsdam create models of a changing world

At the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, some 300 scientists investigate the causes and consequences of climate change. It's not an easy task.

Climatologist Werner von Bloh nearly has to yell to make himself heard at work.

"This is the heart of the institute," he said, standing in front of six large cabinets, each the height of a man, at of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Inside are 2,000 linked processors that make up the institute's mainframe computer, one of the fastest such computers in the world. Fast computing speeds are essential to climate researchers, whose main tools are highly complex computer models.

"We couldn't very well change the earth in order to test our assumptions," said Bloh. 

But the models, no matter how much computing power they have behind them, still have their limits.

"There aren't really exact climate predictions," said Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe, the institute's assistant director. "A climate model is an if-then machine, meaning that it makes certain assumptions, which can change over time, and then comes to a certain result."

Climate researchers can develop different possible scenarios, but then again, who can say how the world economy, political conditions or environmental technology will develop over the next ten or even 100 years?

And, no one can predict the levels of future CO2 emissions, the amount of global warming and its negative consequences. (Deutsche Welle)

We can tell you how much CO2-driven global warming there will be -- an amount indecipherable from the normal noise of chaotic climate.

 

Climate change, Copenhagen and public opinion

With the Copenhagen climate change conference just over two weeks away, President Obama and other heads of government have now publicly accepted what has been clear for some time: COP15 will not result in a new post-Kyoto treaty, binding signatories to agreed emissions reduction targets. Whatever political statement is agreed to by the 12,000 plus delegates from 192 countries (plus numerous NGOs) expected to be in the Danish capital for the conference from December 7 to 18, it is impossible for this to have any meaningful effect on global emissions for several years. (Scientific Alliance)

 

India challenges Western data linking climate change, Himalayan melt

NEW DELHI -- As countries around the world prepare to flex their negotiating muscles at next month's climate-change summit in Copenhagen, India has begun to question the Western model of computing global warming statistics.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh released a report last week that says there is no conclusive evidence that climate change has caused the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. The report says that not all of the glaciers are receding at alarming rates and that a few are even advancing.

The report, an analysis of data from the past four decades, is part of India's efforts to produce a body of indigenous research assessments on the subject.

"So far, we have been depending on research conducted by the West on what is happening to our glaciers and environment," he said after releasing the report, which was prepared by a former scientist with the Geological Survey of India and included a disclaimer that it did not necessarily reflect the government's view.

"There is an urgent need to have our own studies by our scientists," he said. (Rama Lakshmi, Washington Post)

 

Stagnating Temperatures - Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out

Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

At least the weather in Copenhagen is likely to be cooperating. The Danish Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures in December, when the city will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be one degree above the long-term average.

Otherwise, however, not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations. (Der Spiegel)

 

Uh-huh... Countdown to Copenhagen: A change in the political climate on emissions

As the critical global warming conference looms, Michael McCarthy detects a new atmosphere which suggests that a significant agreement can still be achieved (The Independent)

 

So that's their plan... German climate adviser optimistic about Copenhagen

BERLIN – World leaders cannot afford to leave a U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month without a robust agreement to fight climate change, German government climate adviser Hans Joachim Schellnhuber said Friday.

Schellnhuber, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said he was convinced the 200 world leaders going to Copenhagen for the summit would be able to thrash out a deal — possibly with the help of alcohol. (Reuters)

... Schellnhuber plans to get 'em drunk & then sign 'em up! What's international law's position on people signing binding contracts while inebriated?

 

?!! Deal or No Deal

The 192 countries flocking to Copenhagen next month won't reach consensus on climate change. That won't stop them from acting alone. ( Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK)

 

EU president wants Copenhagen to give us “global management”

Sure, this talk of the warmists at Copenhagen planning a new “world government” is crazy. I just wish the warmists wouldn’t talk of it themselves. Take the new and first president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy:

The Climate Conference in Copenhagen is another step forward towards the global management of our planet… (Andrew Bolt)

 

No imagination required: Beyond Copenhagen there's more than just cutting CO2

Imagine for a minute that global warming is not changing our planet's biosphere and the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth.

Imagine that climate change abetted by rising human-generated emissions of greenhouse gases does not threaten freshwater supplies, agriculture, marine ecosystems, human health, coastal settlements and the very existence of small island states.

Imagine climate changes are not likely to trigger mass migrations and state conflicts, as growing populations of landless, hungry and thirsty people scramble to grab portions of the shrinking global pie. (Stephen Hesse, Japan Times)

 

Climate crunch

Unless they end in promises, and a treaty within months, Ed Miliband believes the Copenhagen talks will be a disaster. But can the British energy secretary, in Denmark for a frantic round of pre-summit diplomacy, win the argument? ( John Harris, The Guardian)

 

Good grief! Extremes back climate experts' warnings

IT was a weekend of extremes. Melbourne copped a month's worth of rain in just 17 hours, NSW grappled with "catastrophic" bushfire conditions and record November temperatures -- and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong linked the unpredictable weather patterns to the effects of global warming. (The Australian)

The last time Sydney had it so warm was... at the end of the global cooling scare :-) And Melbourne is finally getting some dam-fillers (we are sure that's something that will worry Melbournians no end). See below for why Wong would say such stupid things.

 

Australia Govt To Offer Carbon Reduction Changes Tues -Minister

MELBOURNE--Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said Sunday the government plans to make a formal offer to the opposition on potential amendments to its carbon pollution reduction plan on Tuesday morning. 

Wong has been in talks with the opposition Liberal and National coalition's head negotiator, said Climate Change spokesman Ian Macfarlane, on possible amendments in an attempt to win support to pass the bill through the Senate. 

"We certainly are inching forward and we anticipate we will be in a position to put a very clear offer to the opposition on Tuesday morning," Wong told Nine Network television. 

Wong said the center-left Labor government will provide details of the offer to the opposition ahead of publicly releasing it to allow them to discuss it. The government wants to pass the legislation ahead of global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December, but a formal offer of amendments on Tuesday leaves little time, with Australia's parliament entering its last sitting week of the year Monday. 

This puts pressure on opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull to reach an agreement with the government and then convince his coalition members, some of whom have voiced stern opposition to the bill, to vote in favour of the amended scheme. (Dow Jones)

The correct response is: "Not now. Not ever."

 

Don't trade emissions for unity, Turnbull told

OPPOSITION Leader Malcolm Turnbull has been warned to stop championing an emissions trading scheme to avoid a damaging rift in the Liberal Party.

Senior MPs say the party must unite and can do so only if support for the scheme is scrapped.

''Unity trumps policy,'' one frontbencher told The Sun-Herald.

 

At least they the title right: Hot air on climate change

The Government needs to reclaim the terms of the debate from the sceptics.

BRITAIN'S new high commissioner, Baroness Valerie Amos, is somewhat perplexed about where she has found herself on her new posting.

Earlier this month the Baroness gave her first interview in which she politely expressed her concern about the lack of sophistication in the debate about the emissions trading scheme.

Not because Australians are not across the scheme's details but because the debate seems to have backflipped to one of whether or not climate change is even happening.

Baroness Amos told The Sydney Morning Herald she was surprised the science was being questioned.

"These are things where there have been debates over a long period of time in other countries and where we have reached conclusions and moved on." (Stephanie Peatling, The Age)

 

Generators threaten ETS legal action

COAL-FIRED power companies are warning of price volatility, threats to future power supply, a collapse in the electricity market and even a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the government unless they win a big increase in compensation under the emissions trading scheme -- one of the final sticking points in negotiations between the Rudd government and Malcolm Turnbull's divided Coalition. 

With Climate Change Minister Penny Wong saying the final deal will not be unveiled until tomorrow and Coalition hostility to any form of ETS intensifying, the generators are mounting a last-ditch lobbying campaign to convince parliament to more than double the $3.5 billion compensation scheme proposed by the government. (The Australian)

Nope. Just don't sign on to ETS in the first place.

 

Countdown time on trading scheme

HOUSEHOLDS and businesses will know tomorrow whether the country will have an emissions trading system locked in, as negotiations between Government and Opposition representatives go down to the wire.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, yesterday said she would not make a formal offer on amendments to the trading scheme until tomorrow morning - the same day the Coalition party room will try to decide whether to accept or reject it. (SMH)

 

Lib disarray over climate deal

ANGER has deepened within the Opposition over emissions trading, with internal criticisms that chief Liberal negotiator Ian Macfarlane has become too close to the Rudd Government.

Opposition figures were shocked and infuriated when the Government revealed it would not announce its compromise offer on emissions trading until tomorrow - only to discover that Mr Macfarlane had asked for the delay. Mr Macfarlane admitted he and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull decided last Monday - when it was clear negotiations would go into the weekend - that the Opposition party room should consider the outcome tomorrow and the plan should not be unveiled by Labor until then.

The move gives opponents of the scheme less time to mobilise against it. Mr Macfarlane said he had not wanted the Government to pre-empt the party room discussion with an announcement. ''My goal is that the MPs and senators hear the outcome of the negotiations from me - not from the press, not from the Government.''

But he neglected to tell the manager of Opposition business in the House, Christopher Pyne, who was taken by surprise when Climate Change Minister Penny Wong outlined the timetable on television yesterday morning. (The Age)

 

Ukraine's `hot air' bedevils global climate deal

KONSTANTINOVKA, Ukraine – Vladimir Gapor is a plumber by trade, but now he's a scavenger, prying bits of scrap steel from the ruins of his old factory and selling them for a pittance.

For others beyond this manufacturing graveyard, however, Ukraine's economic collapse has produced a potential multibillion-dollar bonanza. In an era of climate change regulation and carbon trading, Ukraine, ironically, is profiting from the smokeless smokestacks of its industrial shutdown.

How well and how long it will profit is an under-the-radar issue complicating negotiations for a worldwide climate accord being sought at a 192-nation conference in Copenhagen next month. ( Associated Press)

 

Hey! Lookit Al & the other globetrotting carbonmongers cause! Falling polar bears put Plane Stupid cinema ad on course for controversy

Bloody deaths of CGI polar bears in Plane Stupid ad designed to highlight carbon impact of air travel

Plane Stupid polar bear advert

A polar bear falls from the sky in the Plane Stupid ad

Airline pollution activists Plane Stupid are on a collision course with the advertising regulator after launching a graphic cinema campaign that sees CGI polar bears falling to bloody deaths to highlight the impact of carbon emissions.

Plane Stupid's ad, which breaks in cinemas and online today, features dozens of animated polar bears falling from the sky onto a city centre, bouncing off skyscrapers and landing in the street and on the roof of a car, accompanied by blood-spurting special effects.

The only sound, apart from the bone-crunching thump of the impacts, is the steadily increasing whine of a jet airliner's engines.

Plane Stupid's campaign, developed by the ad agency Mother, aims to show the impact that global warming is having on polar ice caps.

The group is aiming to point out that even short flights to the continent have a major impact on carbon emissions. Plane Stupid said that the ad was inspired by the fact that an average European flight produces 400kg of carbon, which it claims is the same weight as an average female polar bear.

"We wanted to confront people with the impact that short-haul flights have on the climate," said Robert Saville, a director at Mother. "We used polar bears because they are a well understood symbol of the effect that climate change is having on the natural world."

The polar bears were created by special effects company MPC using its proprietary fur software, "Furtility", to look as realistic as possible.

The ad breaks across UK cinemas today, through the film media company DCM. It will only show in movies with a 15 certificate or above.

• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000.
• If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication". (The Guardian)

Al kills the b'ars, over here & over thar... How many will the useless CoP15 gabfest cause to plunge form the sky?

 

Say what? A climate threat, rising from the soil - Degraded peatlands in Indonesia unleash vast amounts of carbon

TARUNA JAYA, INDONESIA -- Across a patch of pineapples shrouded in smoke, Idris Hadrianyani battled a menace that has left his family sleepless and sick -- and has wrought as much damage on the planet as has exhaust from all the cars and trucks in the United States. Against the advancing flames, he waved a hose with a handmade nozzle confected from a plastic soda bottle.

The lopsided struggle is part of a battle against one of the biggest, and most overlooked, causes of global climate change: a vast and often smoldering layer of coal-black peat that has made Indonesia the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.

Unlike the noxious gases pumped into the atmosphere by gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles in the United States and smoke-belching factories in China, danger here in the heart of Borneo rises from the ground itself.

Peat, formed over thousands of years from decomposed trees, grass and scrub, contains gigantic quantities of carbon dioxide, which used to stay locked in the ground. It is now drying and disintegrating, as once-soggy swamps are shorn of trees and drained by canals, and when it burns, carbon dioxide gushes into the atmosphere. ( Andrew Higgins, Washington Post)

Carbon dioxide is not a noxious gas. In fact it's an essential trace gas.

 

Everyone wants a piece of the action: Wool a natural carbon store

Australian Wool Innovation's newly formed Wool Carbon Alliance has welcomed the Federal Government’s recognition of the positive role that farming and wool growing can play in the carbon cycle, and has brought forward new figures showing wool's important role in the carbon cycle.

WCA chair Chick Olsson said the Federal Government and Opposition had taken the right stance in excluding agriculture from the emissions trading scheme, while retaining the opportunity for woolgrowers to access "on-farm carbon credits in our future carbon economy". (Farm Weekly)

 

No, no, no! Bury Our Carbon at Sea - Here's an innovative business model that may be one way to afford the clean coal chimera.

The world's climate cabal gathers in Copenhagen next month to debate what to do with the 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the human race produces every year by burning fossil fuels. Half of this man-made exhaust is absorbed by oceans, plants and trees. The rest contributes to the atmospheric build-up of greenhouse gas that has climate scientists envisioning global catastrophe. (Bruce Upbin, Forbes Asia Magazine)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource, an asset -- we do not want to "dispose of it".

 

Misrepresentation Of Scientific Consensus By The Leadership Of Professional Organizations

There is an article in the November 3 2009 issue of EOS titled “Science Organizations Remind Senators of the Consensus on Climate Change” by K. Chell [subscription required]. The letter is signed by the leadership of American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. (Climate Science)

 

Dear Tom Friedman: Don’t Want You to Die Off … Just Get Well!

In the New York Times editorial page’s latest excursion into shrill climate alarmism, foreign affairs correspondent Thomas Friedman accuses those opposing the current cap-and-tax bill as wanting a few people, say 2.5 billion to die off.  And us bad guys are just grasping at straws. “. . . you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims,” he says. “One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax.”

Gosh, Tom, I suppose that the pace of global warming has accelerated in the last decade, and hurricanes are getting more frequent and stronger too. And those emails from the alarmist in-crowd that the climate world (and general public!) are reading about right now–those are the good guys, the real disinterested scholars at work.

So, Tom, you claim that cap and tax opponents are calling forth a mass plague–a modern Black Death–that will wipe out 2.5 billion people sometime between now and 2050. (Well, I guess this simply extrapolates what John Holdren is postulating by 2020–a possible billion deaths!)  In your world that is an inevitable result of modern living using hydrocarbon fuels.

Unlike his imaginative colleague Maureen Dowd, what Tom Friedman writes actually matters.  Many people believe that he is proficient about energy and climate. So I must again call this charlatan to task. [Read more →] (Donald Hertzmark, MasterResource)

 

Oil's Expanding Frontiers

WASHINGTON -- What city contributed most to the making of the modern world? The Paris of the Enlightenment and then of Napoleon, pioneer of mass armies and nationalist statism? London, seat of parliamentary democracy and center of finance? Or perhaps Titusville, Pa.

Oil seeping from the ground there was collected for medicinal purposes -- until Edwin Drake drilled and 150 years ago -- Aug. 27, 1859 -- found the basis of our world, 69 feet below the surface of Pennsylvania, which oil historian Daniel Yergin calls "the Saudi Arabia of 19th-century oil."

For many years, most oil was used for lighting and lubrication, and the amounts extracted were modest. Then in 1901, a new well named for an East Texas hillock, Spindletop, began gushing more per day than all other U.S. wells combined.

Since then, America has exhausted its hydrocarbon supplies. Repeatedly.

In 1914, the Bureau of Mines said U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924. In 1939, the Interior Department said the world had 13 years worth of petroleum reserves. Then a global war was fought and the postwar boom was fueled, and in 1951 Interior reported that the world had ... 13 years of reserves. In 1970, the world's proven oil reserves were an estimated 612 billion barrels. By 2006, more than 767 billion barrels had been pumped and proven reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels. In 1977, Scold in Chief Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind "could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade." Since then the world has consumed three times more oil than was then in the world's proven reserves.

But surely now America can quickly wean itself from hydrocarbons, adopting alternative energies -- wind, solar, nuclear? No. (George Will, Townhall)

 

Shell's bet heavily on gas then? Climate Goal Needs "More Than Technology": Shell

LONDON - Action to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius is beyond simply inventing new, low-carbon technologies and depends on wider changes to behavior and the way communities are built, said a Royal Dutch Shell executive.

Oil major Shell was among nine firms which signed on Friday a letter addressed to head of the European Union's executive Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, calling for a "strong deal" on climate at a global U.N. meeting next month in Copenhagen.

Climate scientists say that the world must limit average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius to avoid dangerous climate change. "I think that (it) is extremely demanding," said Graeme Sweeney, Shell's executive vice-president of future fuels and CO2, of that target.

"It is more than the (energy) supply-side, more than the technology, it will require a clear approach to the demand-side including behavior," he told Reuters on Friday. (Reuters)

 

Useless strategy: Just use less: Energy savings to be big part of nation’s energy future

Energy adviser and former Honeywell executive Maxine Savitz says there are enormous energy savings available through increased efficiency, as much as 30 percent by 2030.

The easiest way to reduce U.S. consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels may not involve changing the way it is generated, but rather simply using less of it, an energy expert said. (PhysOrg.com)

 

Coal Warriors: Why U.S. Coal Producers Could Still Have a Bright Future

King Coal is dead, long live King Coal.

For all the talk of a clean-energy, low-carbon future, U.S coal producers might not have such a black future. That’s the take from a new HSBC report, “The Green Side of Black.”

The argument? Coal is and will remain a huge part of the electricity mix in the U.S., despite—or perhaps because of—congressional action on energy and the climate.

The only difference is that coal will probably get cleaner, if the economics of carbon capture and storage ever work out. And since coal plants that capture carbon emissions need more coal to produce the same amount of energy–because the technology that traps emissions uses up some of the energy–coal miners stand to come out ahead. (Keith Johnson, WSJ)

No one but the scammers gain from CCS. Coal will not gain because it makes energy dearer and suppresses the economy, in turn suppressing coal sales.

 

<chuckle> Curbs To Ship Pollution Would Stoke Global Warming, Study Says

OSLO - Shipping is slowing climate change by spewing out sunlight-dimming pollution but a clean-up needed to safeguard human health will stoke global warming, experts said Friday.

"So far shipping has caused a cooling effect that has slowed down global warming," Jan Fuglestvedt, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research Oslo (CICERO), told Reuters.

"After some decades the net climate effect of shipping will shift from cooling to warming" because of cleaner fuels, he and colleagues in Germany, Britain and Norway wrote in this week's edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology. (Reuters)

 

Households will pay extra for green electricity

Households will pay extra on their fuel bills to pay for a new generation of "clean" coal power stations under plans to make Britain's electricity green. (TDT)

 

Breakthrough! Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute Discuss “Climate McCarthyism” And Why They Now Support Nuclear Power

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger spent most of their careers working for environmental groups as political strategists. Frustrated by the movement’s focus on pollution regulations rather than public investment in technology, they broke from the pack by writing a manifesto in 2004 called “The Death of Environmentalism: Global Warming Politics in a Post-Environmental World.” [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

BBC sells the wind farm scam to farmers - The BBC loves to talk about wind farms, but not about the glaring matter of their costly inefficiency, says Christopher Booker.

When the BBC runs one of its propaganda campaigns in favour of windfarms, as Farming Today was again doing recently, the only point of interest is how many of the basic facts they leave out. One thing they invariably try to conceal is how derisory is the amount of electricity these windmills produce.

Although Farming Today interviewed one of the sternest technical critics of wind turbines, Dr John Etherington, a retired environmental academic who has just published an excellent book on the nuts and bolts of wind power, they asked him with seemingly wide-eyed disbelief how he could justify his claim that turbines generate less than 30 per cent of their capacity.

Yet, as any half-way competent journalist should know, this information is freely available on the climate change department's website. The very last thing the BBC ever wants to admit – though the information is available from the same source – is that the total amount of power produced by all the 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain amounts on average to a mere 900 megawatts, barely the output of a single medium-size conventional power station.

The other point the BBC is always careful to conceal is how much money the developers make from these windmills, thanks to the near 100 per cent hidden subsidy we all pay them through our electricity bills. Farming Today was quite happy to encourage farmers to lease their land by telling them that they could hope to make up to £20,000 a year from each 2 megawatt turbine. What they did not explain was that the same turbine will yield its developer around £400,000 a year –a cool £10 million over its 25-year life. Something else Farming Today neglected to mention was the title of Dr Etherington's book, The Wind Farm Scam. (TDT)

 

Are too many forests being cut down for biomass?

Park Falls, Wis. — Forests are a treasure trove of limbs and bark that can be made into alternative fuels and some worry the increasing trend of using that logging debris will make those materials too scarce, harming the woodlands.

For centuries, forests have provided lumber to build cities, pulp for paper mills and a refuge for hunters, fishers and hikers. A flurry of new, green ventures is fueling demand for trees and the debris leftover when they are harvested, which is called waste wood or woody biomass.

"There simply is nowhere near enough waste wood for all of these biomass projects that are popping up all over the place," said Marvin Roberson, a forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club in Michigan.

Waste wood has become a sought-after commodity, prompting concerns that the demand might overwhelm supply and damage the ecosystem. But government officials say there's plenty available and they point to guidelines that are aimed at maintaining tree debris to give the soil nutrients. (AP)

 

After damning biofuels study, ethanol advocates fight back

Biofuels advocates on Friday tried to debunk a widely reported Science magazine study that found that corn-based ethanol production in the U.S. actually worsens global warming.

The Renewable Fuels Association publicized a paper published by biomass experts at the Argonne National Laboratory's Transportation Technology R&D Center, in which researchers poked holes in the Science study that was published last Friday.

The original study published in Science found that most models that measure the greenhouse gas impact of biofuels do not take into account land use.

The researchers calculated the effect of emissions from converting existing farmland to energy crops and from clearing formerly uncultivated land, such as forests or grasslands, for biofuels. (Green Tech)

 

Signs Swine Flu Wave May Have Peaked in U.S.

Although federal health officials decline to use the word “peaked,” the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States.

Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in Hawaii, Maine and some isolated areas.

The World Health Organization said Friday that there were “early signs of a peak” in much of the United States. (NYT)

 

Did U.S. make a swine flu mistake?

WASHINGTON - As U.S. health officials struggle to vaccinate tens of millions of Americans against the pandemic of swine flu, some are looking regretfully at one easy way to instantly double or triple the number of doses available -- by using an immune booster called an adjuvant.

These additives, often as simple as an oil and water mixture, broaden the body's response to a vaccine, reducing the amount of active ingredient called antigen needed.

They are widely used in European flu vaccines as well as in Canada. But not in the United States -- even though the federal government has spent nearly $700 million buying them.

The reason -- people might not trust them.

"If we really do want pregnant women to trust this vaccine or even parents, we have to think about what is acceptable to them," Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an interview.

"We have so much vaccine hesitancy in this country," agreed Jeff Levi of the non-profit Trust For America's Health. "To add ... a new element could well have undermined the efficacy of this campaign," Levi told a hearing this week before a Congressional subcommittee.

This frustrates the World Health Organization, which says the global capacity to make influenza vaccines is about 3 billion doses a year -- not enough to cover the population of 6.8 billion people. WHO has hoped rich countries would donate leftover H1N1 vaccine to others.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department was ready to try adjuvants had the pandemic been worse. H1N1 swine flu has infected an estimated 22 million Americans and killed 3,900, but it so far does not appear to be any deadlier than seasonal influenza.

The worry is that it is affecting younger adults and children instead of the elderly usually targeted by flu, and has the potential to mutate into something more deadly.

"If things had been worse and this would have been a more severe pandemic, we may well have needed to go that way anyway," Levi said. (Reuters)

 

Worst case H1N1 may cut UK economy by 4.3 percent

LONDON - A severe H1N1 flu pandemic could cost the UK economy 72 billion pounds ($121 billion), British scientists said on Friday, but advised against closing schools even if the current mild pandemic takes a turn for the worse.

Researchers from the London School of Economics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Edinburgh University said a "high fatality" pandemic would cut gross domestic product by 3.3 to 4.3 percent, or 55.5 billion to 72.3 billion pounds. 

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, said several factors could exacerbate that impact -- the extra strain on an economy already in recession, the closure of schools and the absence of large numbers of people from work.

"School closures and...absenteeism, whether imposed by government or the result of fear of infection in the population, could greatly increase the economic impact of a pandemic while providing questionable health gains," the researchers wrote. (Reuters)

 

Norway says found H1N1 mutation in flu fatalities

OSLO - Norwegian health authorities said on Friday they have discovered a potentially significant mutation in the H1N1 influenza strain that could be responsible for causing the severest symptoms among those infected.

"The mutation could be affecting the virus' ability to go deeper into the respiratory system, thus causing more serious illness," the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said in a statement. (Reuters)

 

Guidelines Push Back Age for Cervical Cancer Tests

New guidelines for cervical cancer screening say women should delay their first Pap test until age 21, and be screened less often than recommended in the past.

The advice, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is meant to decrease unnecessary testing and potentially harmful treatment, particularly in teenagers and young women. The group’s previous guidelines had recommended yearly testing for young women, starting within three years of their first sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21.

Arriving on the heels of hotly disputed guidelines calling for less use of mammography, the new recommendations might seem like part of a larger plan to slash cancer screening for women. But the timing was coincidental, said Dr. Cheryl B. Iglesia, the chairwoman of a panel in the obstetricians’ group that developed the Pap smear guidelines. The group updates its advice regularly based on new medical information, and Dr. Iglesia said the latest recommendations had been in the works for several years, “long before the Obama health plan came into existence.” (NYT)

 

Burden of proof: Breast cancer changes fall short

CHICAGO - Making drastic changes to U.S. breast cancer screening guidelines will take much stronger evidence than that offered by a federal advisory panel this week, U.S. doctors said on Friday.

They said the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation advising against routine mammograms for women in their 40s was a gamble many doctors are not willing to take.

The recommendations to scale back breast cancer screening touched off a fierce backlash from physicians and an outcry from women, forcing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to renounce the guidelines and assure women they did not reflect U.S. policy.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, rejects the notion offered by some Republican politicians that the guidelines are motivated by a push to ration healthcare.

But he said such decisions need to be based on strong evidence, especially when evidence is conflicting. (Reuters)

 

Addicted to Mammograms

THE United States Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation this week that women begin regular breast cancer screening at age 50 rather than 40 is really nothing new. It’s almost identical to the position the group held in the 1990s.

Nor is the controversy that has flared since the announcement something new. It’s the same debate that’s gone on in medicine since 1971, when the very first large-scale, randomized trial of screening mammography found that it saved the lives only of women aged 50 or older. Despite the evidence, doctors continued to screen women in their 40s. (NYT)

 

Mammogram Debate Took Group by Surprise

The federal Preventive Services Task Force, the group that created a political firestorm this week with its recommendation that women get less-frequent mammograms, was created to be insulated from politics.

Yet, some observers say, its apolitical nature may have made it naïve about just how strongly Congress; some professionals, like radiologists; advocacy groups, like the American Cancer Society; and members of the public would react.

As soon as the task force’s guidelines were released on Monday, recommending against routine mammograms for most women in their 40s and saying women should consider having the screening test every other year instead of annually, the maelstrom erupted.

Republicans and some groups, like the American College of Radiology, said the guidelines were made in response to the Obama administration’s wish to save health care dollars. (Gina Kolata, NYT)

 

Screening Debate Reveals Culture Clash in Medicine

This week, the science of medicine bumped up against the foundations of American medical consumerism: that more is better, that saving a life is worth any sacrifice, that health care is a birthright.

Two new recommendations, calling for delaying the start and reducing the frequency of screening for breast and cervical cancer, have been met with anger and confusion from some corners, not to mention a measure of political posturing.

The backers of science-driven medicine, with its dual focus on risks and benefits, have cheered the elevation of data in the setting of standards. But many patients — and organizations of doctors and disease specialists — find themselves unready to accept the counterintuitive notion that more testing can be bad for your health.

“People are being asked to think differently about risk,” said Sheila M. Rothman, a professor of public health at Columbia University. “The public state of mind right now is that they’re frightened that evidence-based medicine is going to be equated with rationing. They don’t see it in a scientific perspective.” (NYT)

 

Movie popcorn plus soda can equal 3 McDonald's burgers

LOS ANGELES - Moviegoers who tuck into a medium popcorn and a soft drink could be eating the equivalent of three McDonald's quarter-pounder burgers topped with a dozen scoops of butter, according to a U.S. study.

A laboratory analysis of snacks sold at U.S. cinemas and commissioned by the Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) found a medium popcorn and soft drink contained 1,160 calories and three days' worth -- 60 grams -- of saturated fat.

"Who expects about 1,500 calories and three days' worth of heart-stopping fat in a popcorn and soda combo? That's the saturated fat of a stick of butter and the calories of two sticks of butter," said CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley in a statement.

"You might think you're getting Bambi, but you're really getting Godzilla."

She said even sharing a small portion of popcorn between two people would mean consuming a day's worth of saturated fat, the kind that clogs arteries and is linked to heart disease.

Hurley said every tablespoon of "buttery" oil topping adds another 130 calories according to the study published in Nutrition Action Healthletter.

"Asking for topping is like asking for oil on French fries or potato chips," she added. (Reuters Life!)

 

NASA space cadets weigh in on 2012

NASA's rocket scientists have been debunking on their official website the current "end of the world" hysteria generated by the latest Hollywood Armageddon movie -- 2012.

In an alternately serious and mocking entry titled "No, The World Isn't Going to End in 2012" at www.nasa.gov, they explain that no, come Dec. 21, 2012, the supposed end of the Mayan calendar, the world isn't going to be destroyed by (a) unusual solar activity, the theory in 2012, or (b) getting clobbered by another planet -- another popular scenario.

Now, if only NASA's space cadets could get their own doomsday climatologist -- James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- to stop preaching end-of-the-world hysteria about man-made global warming, they might do some good.

Because as long as Hansen, one of Al Gore's senior scientific advisers on An Inconvenient Truth (enough said) and the first climatologist to start banging the Armageddon drum on global warming 20 years ago, keeps racing around the world hysterically preaching we only have a few years left to save the Earth -- his latest number is four, according to a recent interview with the Sunday Observer -- NASA will remain a maze of contradictions, hypocrisy and unintentional irony. (Lorrie Goldstein, Winnipeg Sun)

 

Too many people? No, too many Malthusians

Since 200 AD, scaremongers have been describing human beings as ‘burdensome to the world’. They were wrong then, and they’re still wrong today. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

 

THE CREEPING STORM

In the late summer of 1965 a disorganized storm system formed over the warm, tropical waters of the mid Atlantic. Soon the storm grew into a high-powered cyclone—a twisting mass of wind and water that would torment the Gulf Coast in the coming days. The National Hurricane Center gave it a hauntingly innocuous name: Hurricane Betsy.

Storm prediction was still in its infancy then and researchers could not get a read on Betsy’s erratic path. She zigzagged north from Puerto Rico and first seemed to be heading straight toward the Carolinas. At the last moment, however, Betsy swerved toward the Bahamas, then again toward Florida, finally veering west of the peninsula and straight toward Louisiana.

On September 9 Betsy hit the southern tip of the state. Almost every building in the small coastal town of Grand Isle was quickly destroyed. With 150 mph (240 km/h) winds, Betsy barreled up the Barataria Basin toward New Orleans. Lake Pontchartrain—which is just north of the city and is connected to the Gulf of Mexico—swelled with raging waters. Easterly winds pounded the high waters, in some areas easily topping the levees meant to protect the city. In streets in the eastern part of town water reached the eaves of houses.

Betsy finally calmed near Little Rock, Arkansas. She had dropped only 4 in. (100 mm) of rain on New Orleans and had claimed 81 lives and caused more than $1 billion in damage. Unlike any storm before it, Betsy made clear that the city was all too vulnerable to hurricanes. Cradled in a wide southern meander of the Mississippi River just north of the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain to the north, Lake Borgne to the east, and lakes Cataouatche and Salvador to the south. This ring of freshwater is also surrounded by hundreds of square miles of wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico. To make matters worse, most of the city is below sea level.

Soon after the damage from Betsy was assessed, Congress made a historic decision to appropriate federal funds to build a system of levees to protect the city from a similar storm in the future. Its cultural significance aside, New Orleans was fast becoming the most important port in the nation—feeding commodities up the Mississippi to all of the Midwest and serving as an important base for the burgeoning oil and gas industry. Congress was not about to let it wash away.

Today New Orleans rests within a bowl formed by 16 ft (4.9 m) tall levees, locks, floodgates, and seawalls, the edge of the bowl extending for hundreds of miles. It is bisected from west to east by the Mississippi River, which is also contained within massive engineered embankments. Water flows through and all around the city while its residents go about their daily routines. A system of levees forming a ring around the northern half of the city to protect it from surging waters in Lake Pontchartrain is set to be completed within the next decade. Construction of a similar system around the southern half of the city will probably take several years longer than that.

But almost 40 years after beginning these projects, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of reassessing them on the basis of an ominous question: Are the protective barriers high enough? (Civil engineering Magazine, June 2003)

 

Good, might show people how fast regeneration is: Google spyware will help vigilantes save rainforests

Environmentalists across the world are to be enlisted as armchair detectives to monitor satellite images of rainforests and report any illegal logging.

The images will be frequently updated and anyone with internet access will be able to make instant comparisons with historical images and spot destruction of rainforest almost as soon as it happens. (The Times)

 

There's still a few anti-fur flakes about? who knew... Would you rather go naked? Not any longer

How did fur, once taboo, become so acceptable – desirable even – again? Elizabeth Day investigates an ethical dilemma that goes to the heart of the fashion industry – and meets the animal rights campaigner who refuses to be defeated ( Elizabeth Day, The Observer)

 

November 20, 2009

 

The Long Road to Copenhagen

There are two different stories coming from the same political party on global warming, leading to only one conclusion: President Obama is about to (or has) ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mandate some type of cap on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

Harry Reid and other democratic leaders in the Senate have clearly indicated that cap-and-trade legislation will be put off at least, until what they call “spring”, which is long after the upcoming UN climate conference in Copenhagen next month. At the same time, President Obama has said that the U.S., along with China, will announce some type of emissions cap in Copenhagen. Obviously this cannot refer to legislation that has yet to be voted on in the Senate.

President Obama keeps using the language “operationally significant” when referring to what the U.S. will agree to in Copenhagen. The only way that he can get around the Senate and still have a credible position in Copenhagen is for the EPA to announce specific regulations for carbon dioxide emissions between now and the conclusion of the Copenhagen meeting in mid-December. (Patrick J. Michaels, Cato at liberty)

 

ANALYSIS-Carbon trade on brink of boom - or backwater

LONDON, Nov 18 - Emissions trading stands at a crossroads -- a future as a $2 trillion market if the United States bolsters it, or as a modest sideline to energy and commodities trade if a new climate treaty is not agreed.

Some players have bet on the growth of the $126 billion global carbon market after 2012 but regulatory uncertainty will be drawn out for another year as a deadline for a binding treaty on greenhouse gas emissions was pushed back to 2010 this week.

That uncertainty about the future form of emissions trading after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 could put off new entrants and discourage banks, brokers, funds and commodity traders from expanding their operations.

"It looks like carbon trading will remain a small backwater in commodities markets," said David Metcalfe, chief executive of UK-based research group Verdantix. (Reuters)

 

Maurice Strong's authoritarian saviour - "Our concepts of ballot-box democracy may need to be modified to produce strong governments capable of making difficult decisions."

Hollywood isn't alone in its anticipation of Armageddon. Writing in the summer issue of World Policy Journal, Maurice Strong - Canada's very own prophet of doom - unequivocally embraces the apocalypse. Straight-forwardly entitled "Facing Down Armageddon: Environment at a Crossroads," Mr. Strong's essay ends with a dire warning. "Human existence is at risk," he says. "We face an Armageddon that is both real and imminent." Yet he implicitly grasps for hope - choosing at any rate not to specify (as the new film 2012 does) the precise day, month and year of the catastrophe.

More so than most people who assert that The End Is Near, however, Mr. Strong gives humanity a provisional way out. Reform democracy, he says, by - more or less - getting rid of it. Although he doesn't say this as candidly as he could have, his exact words leave little doubt: "Our concepts of ballot-box democracy may need to be modified to produce strong governments capable of making difficult decisions." This is not a new argument. In one historic usage, it was deployed to celebrate fascism - because ballot-box democracy couldn't make trains run on time. (Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail)

 

Global Warming or Global Cooling? What is Coming?

I find it strange that liberal environmentalists, who believe human beings need to conform to nature and natural processes, say that we need to interrupt global warming to avoid mass dislocation and disaster. That seems contradictory, but they make the argument on the basis of their belief that we humans have interfered with nature and need to undo our misdeeds.

The evidence says otherwise. (Annuit Coeptis)

 

Revenge of the Climate Laymen - Global warming's most dangerous apostate speaks out about the state of climate change science.

Barack Obama conceded over the weekend that no successor to the Kyoto Protocol would be signed in Copenhagen next month. With that out of the way, it may be too much to hope that the climate change movement take a moment to reflect on the state of the science that is supposedly driving us toward a carbon-neutral future.

But should a moment for self-reflection arise, campaigners against climate change could do worse than take a look at the work of Stephen McIntyre, who has emerged as one of the climate change gang's Most Dangerous Apostates. The reason for this distinction? He checked the facts. (Anne Jolis, WSJ)

 

Dear Tom Friedman, Please Look At The Forest Instead Of The Trees

In “What They Really Believe” (NYT, Nov 17), Tom Friedman states (before the usual tirade against “willfully blind” non-believers in global warming):

if you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims. One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax

I am afraid Mr Friedman is missing the most important point.

If you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress“, and what has already come out of it in the House of Representatives, you will not find anything remotely like the “serious energy/climate bill” global warming advocates such as Mr Friedman are opining for.

Surely not even “green hawks” believe that the pork-laden 1,400-pages of the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009″ (aka “Waxman-Markey”) will bring anything practical about climate change? Unless, that is, one is talking about “green hawks” that are “willfully blind“, and (literally) “hurting America’s future to boot“. (OmniClimate)

 

Back in the make-believe realm: Climate model sets tough targets - International group outlines steps needed to reach 'safe' levels of carbon dioxide.

A new model suggests that emissions will have to near zero by 2100.Ingram Publishing

Carbon dioxide emissions will have to be all but eliminated by the end of this century if the world is to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2 ºC, scientists warned yesterday. And it might even be necessary to start sucking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

The findings are the culmination of five years work by Ensembles, a major European research consortium led by the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and involving 65 other research institutes worldwide. In the first study of its kind, scientists in the project used a variety of the latest global climate models to determine the reductions needed to stabilize levels of greenhouse gases, termed CO2 equivalents, at 450 parts per million. That level, which offers a reasonable chance of keeping the temperature rise under 2ºC, is the goal of European climate policy.

The results suggest that to achieve that target, emissions would have to drop to near zero by 2100. One of Ensemble's models predicted that by 2050, it might also be necessary to introduce new techniques that can actually pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. (Olive Heffernan, Nature News)

 

Is this real or an elaborate hoax? Breaking News Story: Hadley CRU has apparently been hacked – hundreds of files released

The details on this are still sketchy, we’ll probably never know what went on. But it appears that Hadley Climate Research Unit has been hacked and many many files have been released by the hacker or person unknown.

I’m currently traveling and writing this from an airport, but here is what I know so far: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Defending science: the disease of denialism

Fear is as infectious as any virus, and gives many Americans a warped view of the dangers posed by vaccines, genetically engineered crops and other beneficial technologies, New Yorker writer Michael Specter said in Seattle Tuesday.

Touting his new book "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens our Lives," Specter took aim at the kind of anti-science sentiment he says is hijacking public discourse and policy.

"We need to step back and look at the other side of every issue - and we never do," Specter said at a lecture at the University of Washington sponsored by the World Affairs Council.

He was particularly critical of parents, like many who live on Vashon Island, who refuse to vaccinate their children. "This is insane," he said. "Vaccines are the most effective public health measure in the history of the world, except for clean water."

Study after study has shown no evidence that vaccines cause autism, yet people ignore a mountain of data and instead focus on unproven horror stories from neighbors or things they read on the Web, he said. "People jump to conclusions. They decide what makes sense to them intuitively." (Seattle Times)

Actually they tend to get on Specter's wheel because he doesn't promote gorebull warming fears, which is exactly the kind of baseless fear promotion he writes about.

 

A New Maximum For Climate Hubris

What should one wisely think upon discovering that 200-year-old remarks sound as if uttered today?

  • within the last 40 or 50 years there has been a very great observable change of climate
  • a change in our climate … is taking place very sensibly
  • men are led into numberless errors by drawing general conclusions from particular facts

Why, one might start considering the possibility that a lot of the climate debate is as relevant and as important today as a discussion about the relaxation of costumes, the good old days and the decline in University exam standards (=something more or less in the news since the times of Cato the Censor some 23 centuries ago).

But of course…no, now it is different! Now “we have satellites monitoring high-latitude snow cover, thinning sea ice and deep-layered atmospheric temperature increases, coupled with ground observations revealing the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro (85 percent ice loss since 1912) and many other glaciers“.

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge

(OmniClimate)

 

Nations Unveil Plans to Rein in Emissions

With less than three weeks remaining before negotiators gather in Copenhagen to hammer out a global response to climate change, a rapid-fire succession of countries are unveiling national plans that serve as opening bids for reining in heat-trapping emissions. 

“The list of what is on the table is rather long,” said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the sponsor of the meeting, which runs from Dec. 7 to 18 in Copenhagen. 

But, speaking at the United Nations headquarters on Thursday, he seized on the latest pledges to take aim at the United States, which has not yet played its hand.

“We now have offers of targets from all industrialized countries except the United States,” Mr. de Boer said. He emphasized that he was looking to the United States for “a numerical midterm target and commitment to financial support.”

“This is essential, and I believe this can be done,” he said. (NYT)

 

A carbon target for Copenhagen - It's time for the Obama administration to make a commitment on emissions reductions.

CLIMATE CHANGE was at the top of President Obama's agenda in China Tuesday, just three weeks before representatives from 192 countries meet in Copenhagen for a much-anticipated international climate conference. And he came tantalizingly close to saying what the rest of the world has been waiting years to hear: that next month the United States, the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases, will finally come to the table with a specific carbon reduction target. (Washington Post)

 

McCain doesn't love climate bill

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman have been working overtime to craft a climate bill that can attract significant GOP support. But they aren’t exactly scoring points with their mutual best friend in the Senate, John McCain. 

“Their start has been horrendous,” McCain said Thursday. “Obviously, they’re going nowhere.” 

McCain has emerged as a vocal opponent of the climate bill — a major reversal for the self-proclaimed maverick who once made defying his party on global warming a signature issue of his career. (Politico)

 

USA! USA! US is a dead weight on Copenhagen talks, pulling down ambition ever lower

Europe needs to take the lead and face down Barack Obama's 'no we can't' attitude on agreeing a climate change deal (Joss Garman, The Guardian)

 

Climate change plan 'could ruin Australia'

AUSTRALIA will go broke and become the laughing stock of the world if politicians ignore basic science on climate change, a leading global warming sceptic says.

Adelaide University professor of mining geology, Ian Plimer, said he feared Australia would become an economic backwater if due diligence was not part of developing climate change policy.
"My greatest fear is this country's lights will go out and the rest of the world will think no one is home - and they will be right," Professor Plimer said today.

"Australia will go broke and will become the laughing stock of the world if our political leaders keep making decisions on climate change based on ideology rather than on science. (AAP)

 

Fur flies down-under: Emissions debate gets personal

After four days of emissions trading negotiations behind closed doors and still no deal in sight, the shadow boxing on climate change in the Senate has become personal.

Coalition climate change sceptics have accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of "bloated moral vanity" and "arrogance" in driving the debate. 

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has predicted 30 MPs and Senators will cross the floor to vote against the emissions trading scheme should the majority of Liberals decide to support the legislation at next Tuesday's party-room meeting.

After the Government ramped up personal attacks on Opposition MPs who are committed to voting against the scheme, Coalition Senators hit back.

Liberal Senator Brett Mason accused Mr Rudd of being led by his ego in pushing a scheme before next month's global climate change talks in Copenhagen.

"There's only one reason, just one reason, to rush in before the rest of the world acts, and that is Kevin Rudd's bloated moral vanity," he said.

"We have seen in this debate the ugly devolution of Kevin Rudd.

"Kevin Rudd, the nerd from Nambour, wants to transform himself into Kevin Rudd the cool kid from Copenhagen, and for that ugly transformation, thousands of Australians will be losing their jobs.

"It's not about a healthy planet, it's about Kevin Rudd's unhealthy ego. And though they might be about both of a similar size, they are not the same.

"Because what's good for Kevin Rudd is not good for Australia."

Liberal leader in the Senate Nick Minchin took a similar line, saying an emissions trading scheme was not in the national interest.

"Mr Rudd's arrogance and vanity in wanting to lead the world in cutting C02 emissions is really sickening," he said.

"He's happy for every Australian to pay a huge price to satisfy his ego. The Senate overwhelmingly rejected this abomination in August; it should do so again." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

 

Turnbull loses vital ETS ally

MALCOLM Turnbull is facing growing shadow cabinet pressure to vote down the government's emissions trading bills, with former minister Tony Abbott abandoning his earlier support for the Opposition Leader's strategy to try to amend and pass the scheme. 

Mr Abbott's shift, and Liberal Senate leader Nick Minchin's strong advocacy of the "vote no" view within the Coalition, will make it harder for Mr Turnbull to persuade his shadow cabinet to support the deal expected to be finalised between the government and the opposition by early next week. (The Australian)

 

Turnbull burnt by revolt on climate

MORE than half the Coalition's 37 senators have formally declared their opposition to Malcolm Turnbull's desire to cut a deal with Labor on the emissions trading scheme, setting up a showdown next week that many fear could tear the Opposition apart.

As the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, linked the heatwave savaging southern Australia to global warming, the Coalition senators split into two camps - those backing Mr Turnbull and those backing the Opposition Senate leader and climate change sceptic, Nick Minchin.

In the most open show of defiance to date, 12 Liberals and all five Nationals sat in solidarity behind Senator Minchin as he slammed the emissions trading scheme and Mr Rudd's desire to pass it before the Copenhagen conference next month.

''Mr Rudd is prepared to sacrifice Australia's national interest on the altar of his vanity,'' Senator Minchin said. (SMH)

 

Ag not in ETS, but definitely not out

The weekend news reports suggested that Climate Change Minister Penny Wong “backflipped” by opening up the possibility of excluding agriculture from Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

My impression is that Senator Wong is not a woman who does backflips, even in the privacy of her own home. Agriculture might not be “in”, but by no means is it “out”, either.

Many people, including yours truly, can’t see how agriculture can operate within an emissions trading scheme, particularly if our international trading partners are not on board at the same time.

But sitting outside the CPRS will be no offsets gravy train; at worst, being “out” could squeeze farmers even harder between rising input costs and inadequate returns on outputs. (Stock and Land)

 

Climate Change Gasbags Want to Shame You

In the New Scientist magazine, the writers argue that your personal carbon footprint should be made public because knowledge of your misdeeds might change your ways. They ask: "Would you want your neighbors, friends or colleagues to think of you as a free rider, harming the environment while benefiting from the restraint of others?"

This is an excellent question, for it exposes the real motivation behind most climate change apostles: to allow these gasbags the superior pleasure of shaming you.

It's all about denigrating your reputation in order to elevate theirs; a self-satisfied reward for their sheep-like devotion to climate change hysteria. ( Greg Gutfeld)

 

Clearing ground for a deal to save forests


Carbon emission: smoke rises from a devastated peatland forest in Indonesia’s Riau province

One does not have to venture off the beaten track to discover why south-east Asia’s biggest economy is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

For mile after mile on Sumatra and Borneo, the country’s once ubiquitous tropical rainforests, and crucially those growing on the especially carbon-rich peat swamps, are being systematically felled and the peat drained, releasing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The perpetrators range from wealthy paper and palm oil companies to poor farmers.

In many areas the degraded remains of the jungle are then set alight to accelerate what would otherwise be a costly land clearing process. This results in more emissions as well as areas of up to thousands of square kilometres being blanketed in a choking smog that forces schools to close, cripples regional air traffic and sees hospital admissions soar. (Financial Times)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Nov. 19th 2009

This week the round-up finds political hackery, partisan shenanigans and something called climate justice. Some Germans wonder how to get America’s attention (which might make Poland nervous) and Hopenchangen in Copenhagen is even more doomed than the planet. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Land Use As Climate Change Mitigation by Brian Stone

Land Use as Climate Change Mitigation by Brian Stone [Associate Professor Center for City and Regional Planning Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology].

 One of the earliest journalistic accounts of climate change in the American media appears in a 1950’s edition of Popular Mechanics. While only a single paragraph in length, the piece is remarkable in at least two respects. First, the description of the basic workings of the global greenhouse effect is entirely consistent with our understanding of this phenomenon today, anticipating by more than half a century what has become the most significant policy challenge of our time. Second, and perhaps more telling in this regard, is the placement of the article. Appearing on the final pages of the magazine and following a piece titled, “Dutch entertainer rides tiny bike,” the editor’s positioning of the piece reflects accurately the light in which global warming would be viewed throughout much of the intervening period: more as a meteorological curiosity than as a problem worthy of a serious policy response.

Today, one could argue that the phenomenon of the urban heat island effect is generally regarded in the climate change literature in a similar light: as a meteorological anomaly occurring over a relatively small percentage of the Earth’s land surface, with few implications for larger scale climate phenomena.  However, as I argue in a forthcoming article in ES&T (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es902150g), the urban heat island effect can be understood to be only the most acute manifestation of a more geographically expansive mechanism through which land use change is altering climate at the regional to sub-continental scales.  Consistent with an established and growing body of evidence linking land use to regional scale climate changes, an analysis of temperature trends in the most populous U.S. cities since the 1950s suggests land use to be playing a role in urban climate change comparable in magnitude to that of greenhouse gas emissions.    

In light of this body of work, focused on the climate forcing effects of land use change within both urban and rural contexts, there is a need for national and international climate change management frameworks to employ land use mitigation strategies.  Such strategies would complement well existing frameworks for emissions mitigation and, within the U.S. context at least, capitalize on as of yet unharnessed governing capacities at the local and state levels of government.  With the potential for the upcoming Copenhagen talks to produce new binding agreements now greatly diminished, treaty negotiators should focus on augmenting established mitigation strategies with new approaches that can provide signatory nations with greater flexibility in meeting binding targets and facilitate more robust participation amongst developing economies.  Land use mitigation can advance both objectives. (Climate Science)

 

Their embargo didn't hold: Gap Widening Between Human Demand and Earth's Supply, Data Show 

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 18 // -- (http://www.myprgenie.com) -- Humanity now requires the resources it would take almost one and a half planets to sustainably produce, according to figures to be released Tuesday by Global Footprint Network. The data show that humanity is demanding nature's resources and producing CO2 at a rate 44 percent faster than what nature can regenerate and reabsorb, meaning it now takes 18 months for the Earth to regenerate what we use in one year. (See www.footprintnetwork.org/factsheet2009 for key findings.) (PRNewswire)

This is an interesting spin on the recent realization that Earth's carbon absorption has been expanding apace with anthropogenic emissions -- there is a slight delay in absorption of atmospheric CO2 equivalent to about two-fifths of our emissions (expressed another way that's an annual carryover of about 1-2% of total emissions). That has apparently always been the case.

What it really means is that the biosphere really enjoys the increasing abundance of the essential trace gas, carbon dioxide and is fully exploiting the carbon we mine and return to biospheric availability in well under 2 years. We are going to have to work hard to stay in front of nature's ever increasing drawdown of this most wonderful atmospheric asset.

 

Melting Sea Ice Dilutes Water, Endangers Sea Life

HONG KONG - Melting of the Arctic sea ice due to global warming is diluting surface waters and this is endangering some species of shellfish which need minerals in the water to form their shells and skeletons, scientists have found.

In a paper published in Science, they warned that this has serious implications for ecosystems in the Arctic.

"Organisms that are likely to be affected are from the family of pteropods, also mussels and clams on the sea floor," said Fiona McLaughlin, research scientist at Canada's Institute of Ocean Sciences's department of fisheries and oceans.

Pteropods are minute swimming sea snails. (Reuters)

 

US navy braces for Arctic resources fight

The US navy has issued its Arctic roadmap, outlining the potential for competition, conflict and climate change in the waters of the icy north.

The scientific consensus is that future Arctic summers will have less and less sea ice, and that has massive implications for the surrounding nations. (ABC News)

 

Actually not just too bad: Stop Soot, Black Carbon, and Global Warming - Earthjustice

Soot, also known as black carbon, is the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide, and it's totally preventable. We already have the technology to avoid producing it; it's just a matter of using it.

For more information, go to StopSoot.org.

Black carbon does alter snowpack dynamics and precipitation so yes, addressing soot can be a very good thing to do. About the gorebull warming thing we are not too excited but we can certainly support cleaning up smoke and soot emissions.

 

Fighting climate change by turning CO2 to stone

While politicians debate the best ways to cut global carbon dioxide emissions, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory's Center for Advanced Energy Studies are charging ahead on a strategy to defuse the CO2 the world already produces. They want to inject the greenhouse gas deep underground, where it would react with rocks and remain, entombed, for thousands of years.

CAES scientists have been studying this novel approach — called mineral sequestration — for years. They have characterized promising injection sites and run many computer simulations to understand how the process works. But they will soon ramp up their efforts dramatically, thanks to collaborations with international research groups, newly installed lab equipment and a recently awarded $750,000 grant. The CAES team will play a key role in determining if mineral sequestration is a viable strategy for mitigating the impact of climate change — or just a pipe dream.
Fighting climate change by turning CO2 to stone

INL scientists Rob Podgorney (left) and Travis McLing are studying how mineral sequestration works and if it can be harnessed to help blunt the impact of climate change.

"The next year ought to be pretty exciting for us," says geochemist Travis McLing, INL's technical lead for carbon capture and sequestration. "The rubber should really hit the road." (R&D)

We do not want to waste the essential resource of atmospheric CO2!

 

Not finding any, Gore airbrushes in hurricanes for his new book

Al Gore’s new book had a problem – no big hurricanes since Katrina to put in the book to look “threatening” to the USA. Any imagined link between hurricanes and global warming has evaporated.

Solution: the artists airbrush.

Ryan Maue, hurricane expert from the University of Florida writes:

Anthony,

Not a lot of hurricanes here

The cover opens and closes half and half — so you only see one hurricane…as in the press release photo or the one on  Amazon.

But this is the real picture sequence from the book which I looked at Borders today and took cell-phone pictures, original (before the retouching by some “artist”) Note all of the Arctic ice and the size of the Florida Peninsula…

and the final product: Read the rest of this entry »
(WUWT)

 

Joe Bastardi RE: Katrina Army Corps Ruling

AccuWeather.com Professional's Joe Bastardi [BIO] asked me to post his thoughts on the recent court ruling faulting the Army Corps of Engineers for the flooding at New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Because all of Joe's blogs are on our subscription Pro site he was unable to post this publicly without doing it here. I haven't researched this topic enough to have an opinion myself, though if you post a (rational) Comment I will forward all Comments to Joe, and, should he respond, I will post responses here.

DISCLAIMER: (Just like when I rant...) These are the opinions of Joe Bastardi and may not reflect those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com.

GOVERNMENT TO BLAME FOR KATRINA FLOODING? HOW ABOUT BUILDING MUCH OF CITY NEAR OR BELOW SEA LEVEL SURROUNDED BY 86-DEGREE WATER?

The ruling that shoddy management by the Army Corp of engineers of a navigation channel seems to me to be a classic case of simply trying to find one cause for something that has multiple causes.

Here, look at this article.

Now let me, since it was on national TV on Friday p.m. before Katrina that I told people to get out of New Orleans, weigh in on this.

1) Katrina was not because of global warming. If you want to play that card, then explain why it weakened from a 5 to a 3 before landfall, something that may have happened multiple times in seasons like 1915-1916 as we didn't have constant recon then. So no global warming finger.

2) The city is lucky to be alive in the first place. Someone has got to say it, and out of respect for what happened there, I have kept my mouth shut except in talks I give, but face it, you build a city near or under sea level, and surround it with water that can support Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, what do you expect to happen? The dirty little secret that no one wants to address but I will, is New Orleans was lucky. The attack by Katrina was not a full frontal assault, but a pincer movement that spared the city the prime devastation. Push water back west to the north of the city, then have the northwest wind blast it back in. However, if you get the track of the 1947 hurricane and it's as strong as Katrina, then the city would be devastated probably beyond repair. I don't know if people understand that. The track from the east-southeast hitting NORTH of the mouth of the Mississippi and moving right over the town would push the 20- to 30-foot surge, not 9-12 feet like Katrina, back through lakes Bourne and Pontchartrain with the full fury of the storm passing directly over the city.

... (AccuWeather)

 

Pine Beetles Not a Good Reason for Climate Change Legislation

Last week Senator Max Baucus joined several mainstream environmentalists in adding pine beetle outbreaks to a long list of things that can be blamed on climate change. As Baucus said in a Congress Quarterly report,

Running on the trails by my home in Helena, seeing the red forests destroyed by pine beetles or seeing sustained drought and increased wildfires, we feel the impacts of climate change.”

Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

Really? Mysteriously warm times in Antarctica

A new study of Antarctica's past climate reveals that temperatures during the warm periods between ice ages (interglacials) may have been higher than previously thought. The latest analysis of ice core records suggests that Antarctic temperatures may have been up to 6°C warmer than the present day.

The findings, reported this week by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Open University and University of Bristol in the journal Nature could help us understand more about rapid Antarctic climate changes.

Previous analysis of ice cores has shown that the climate consists of ice ages and warmer interglacial periods roughly every 100,000 years. This new investigation shows temperature 'spikes' within some of the interglacial periods over the last 340,000 years. This suggests Antarctic temperature shows a high level of sensitivity to greenhouse gases at levels similar to those found today.

Lead author Louise Sime of British Antarctic Survey said,

"We didn't expect to see such warm temperatures, and we don't yet know in detail what caused them. But they indicate that Antarctica's climate may have undergone rapid shifts during past periods of high CO2." (PhysOrg.com)

Looks equally likely that carbon dioxide levels rise when temperatures are high (same as all the ice core records seem to indicate, with the temperature rise preceding the carbon dioxide change).

Roy Spencer also had a bit to say on the topic: Increasing Atmospheric CO2: Manmade…or Natural?, as have the Idsos: Ice Core Studies Prove CO2 Is Not the Powerful Climate Driver Climate Alarmists Make It Out to Be and David Evans and Joanne Nova: Climate: Bull or Bear?

 

CO2 and ocean uptake – maybe slowing

While this article makes a strong case, looking at SST and CO2 can also be revealing:

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ENDERSBEE.JPG

A review of this WUWT post might also be instructive: A look at human CO2 emissions -vs- ocean absorption

From Columbia University: Oceans’ Uptake of Manmade Carbon May be Slowing

First Year-by-Year Study, 1765-2008, Shows Proportion Declining

Carbon released by fossil fuel burning (black) continues to accumulate in the air (red), oceans (blue), and  land (green).  The oceans take up roughly a quarter of manmade CO2, but evidence suggests they are now taking up a smaller proportion.(Click on image to view larger version)
Carbon released by fossil fuel burning (black) continues to accumulate in the air (red), oceans (blue), and land (green). The oceans take up roughly a quarter of manmade CO2, but evidence suggests they are now taking up a smaller proportion.
Credit: Samar Khatiwala, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The oceans play a key role in regulating climate, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air. Now, the first year-by-year accounting of this mechanism during the industrial era suggests the oceans are struggling to keep up with rising emissions—a finding with potentially wide implications for future climate. The study appears in this week’s issue of the journal Nature, and is expanded upon in a separate website.

The researchers estimate that the oceans last year took up a record 2.3 billion tons of CO₂ produced from burning of fossil fuels. But with overall emissions growing rapidly, the proportion of fossil-fuel emissions absorbed by the oceans since 2000 may have declined by as much as 10%. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Natural drought causes warming

A new study by University of Newcastle researchers is questioning widespread claims that the drought experienced in Australia's Murray Darling Basin is a result of CO2 emissions.

The analysis, to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, concluded that the cause of elevated temperatures in the Murray Darling Basin was a combination of natural factors. (Science Alert)

 

NOAA: new ocean database spans to 1800

Bill Illis and Bob Tisdale will likely make use of this. h/t to WUWT reader Chris D.

NOAA Releases Expanded World Ocean Database

Large wave breaking over bow of NOAA ship.

Large wave breaking over bow of NOAA ship.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA today released the World Ocean Database 2009, the largest, most comprehensive collection of scientific information about the oceans with records dating as far back as 1800. This product is part of the climate services provided by NOAA.

The 2009 database, updated from the 2005 edition, is significantly larger providing approximately 9.1 million temperature profiles and 3.5 million salinity reports.  The 2009 database also captures 29 categories of scientific information from the oceans, including oxygen levels and chemical tracers, plus information on gases and isotopes that can be used to trace the movement of ocean currents. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Big Oil To Congress: Expand Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON - Executives from two major oil companies told Congress on Thursday that the U.S. government should open more offshore areas to oil and natural gas drilling so America can rely less on foreign suppliers.

"There is some hypocrisy in locking these resources away while relying on resources produced in other countries," said Marvin Odum, the President of Shell Oil Co., the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

"Instead, we should embrace policies that provide access to our own oil and gas resources," Odum told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at hearing on offshore energy production.

The U.S. Interior Department is considering a five-year plan that might open new offshore areas to drilling.

But many environmental groups oppose expanded offshore drilling, fearing oil spills could result, especially when energy companies move into the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico where platforms are susceptible to hurricanes. (Reuters)

 

The IEA’s “Whistleblower” Is Irrelevant

The 1999 Michael Mann movie The Insider remains one of my favorites. The story of Jeffrey Wigand’s “outing” of Big Tobacco’s lying to Congress over the real science behind cigarette addiction is inspiring. But it seems to me, we may be in danger of running away with a romantic notion of the modern phenomena of “whistle-blowing,” especially in light of the claims by an un-named insider at the International Energy Agency that the agency deliberately overstated available oil reserves.

As a highly opinionated journalist and analyst, I have a long history of engaging in public debate on numerous issues and have always been publicly accountable for my public utterances. I have long despised who believe they have the public interest at heart while cloaking themselves in personal anonymity. The chief reason is that it now becomes impossible to question the facts and motives of those who have publicly impugned the integrity of work colleagues while themselves avoiding such scrutiny.

Take how the story of the IEA’s latest energy report has gained less headlines than those garnered by an anonymous IEA whistle-blowing ‘insider’ which was was broken in the UK by The Guardian newspaper. It headlined: “Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower.” In fact, it transpires from the article itself, that this “US pressure” was more felt than applied. But then a strongly anti-American paper would not worry about such a trifle. The core of the paper’s story rests on the whistle-blowing “senior official” who ascribes “an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves”. (Peter C Glover, Energy Tribune)

 

Meantime, In the Real World

As people wonder if the Copenhagen conference will lead to any significant outcomes, the dramatic expansion of carbon-intensive infrastructure continues with little apparent worry about the effects of climate policies. From a quick tour of news from Asia over the past day or so:

From India:

JSW Steel Ltd., India’s third- biggest producer, may spend $500 million buying coal mines overseas to secure supplies for its local expansion.

The company is seeking mines in nations including Australia and South Africa, Managing Director Sajjan Jindal said in an interview in Mumbai. JSW Steel plans to source half of its coal overseas, he said.

Indian steelmakers are expanding as local demand is expected to grow by about 10 percent in the second half of this financial year. JSW Steel is looking at new locations after failing to find coking coal at its exploration project in Mozambique.

The company plans to raise capacity by more than 33 percent to 10 million metric tons at its Vijayanagar plant in South India by 2011 as demand from customers including Larsen & Toubro Ltd. and GMR Group increases, Jindal said in the interview yesterday. Later, JSW aims to build a mill in West Bengal state with an initial 3 million ton capacity, he said.

And also from India:

Top Indian power-equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL.BO) said on Wednesday it has signed a joint-venture pact to build a 1,600 megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

The power plant at Khandwa will be equipped with supercritical technology, which helps lower coal consumption and leads to lower emissions.

State utility Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Co Ltd and BHEL will initially have an equal share in the joint venture. Their stakes will later be diluted to 26 percent each, with the rest held by financial institutions and other partners, BHEL said.

BHEL has been promoting joint ventures with state utilities to set up and operate supercritical thermal power plants. It has set up joint ventures with the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Earlier this month, leading Indian power producer NTPC (NTPC.BO) said it would set up a 2,640 megawatt (MW) thermal power plant under a pact with the Madhya Pradesh state government and the MP Power Trading Co.
And from Bangladesh:
Bangladesh plans to set up a fund that will invest as much as $10 billion in energy and power projects within the next decade to resolve an electricity shortage, a senior official said.

The 11-month-old government also is seeking to attract about $4 billion of investments in power plants and a liquefied- natural-gas import terminal, and will meet potential investors in London, New York and Singapore in December, said Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, 64, energy adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed who also holds the post of energy minister.

“The potential demand for electricity is maybe twice as much as we are producing now,” Chowdhury said in an interview in Dhaka yesterday. “It’s not just trying to meet today’s gap; it’s trying to stay ahead of the curve, which is going to be very difficult.” . .

The fund will invest in the equity and debt of coal, oil and gas companies as well as power projects along with companies, he said. The government is still working on the structure of the fund, including how it will be securitized and whether it will be traded, he said.
From Australia:
The Federal Government has put Waratah Coal’s proposed $7.5 billion ‘China First’ coal project in the fast-lane, yesterday granting it Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status.

According to the company’s chief executive Peter Lynch, MPF status will the give the central Queensland development access to a more a timely and efficient approvals process.

Waratah, owned by billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer, is planning to build a thermal coal mine near Alpha, in the Galilee Basin.
The lesson from these vignettes? The world needs more energy. Much more. Reducing emissions is the wrong focus, the expansion of carbon free energy is more appropriate. But until the costs of alternatives are lower than fossil fuels then news stories like the above will continue to appear around the clock and around the world. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Bill set to boost Ofgem's powers

The Queen's Speech has outlined an Energy Bill, which is expected to give the regulator Ofgem more power to intervene on behalf of consumers.

The intention is to provide more support for energy consumers and to tackle fuel poverty.

The bill also introduces a financial incentive for carbon capture and storage (CCS) which stops greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere. (BBC)

 

Energy bill generates weak signal

With Copenhagen just days away the ragtag bill in the Queen's speech failed to send the message the green sector needs (James Randerson, The Guardian)

 

More Green Crony Capitalism

Green energy investments are coming from every direction. Whether it is the stimulus package or the cap and trade bills proposed in Congress, the government is eager to invest taxpayer dollars in renewable energy technology. As Americans become desensitized to the copious amounts of money the government is spending, clean energy investments are growing from millions to billions. And companies are chomping at the bit:

Last month, for example, President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in government-stimulus grants for power-grid projects. About one-third of the recipients are GE customers. GE expects them to use a good chunk of that money to buy its equipment.

The government has taken on a giant role in the U.S. economy over the past year, penetrating further into the private sector than anytime since the 1930s. Some companies are treating the government’s growing reach — and ample purse — as a giant opportunity, and are tailoring their strategies accordingly. For GE, once a symbol of boom-time capitalism, the changed landscape has left it trawling for government dollars on four continents.”

Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

High Capital Costs Plague Solar (RPS mandates, cost dilution via energy mixing required) Part III

Solar power has one major advantage over its more ubiquitous cousin wind power: electricity that is  generated during peak demand hours (hot, sunny, air conditioned afternoons). Such makes solar attractive to utilities that value such capacity for peak shaving, cost aside.

The problem of wind is shown by this example. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) leads the nation with more than 8,000 MW of installed wind capacity, yet their resource planning–tasked with keeping the lights on–“counts 8.7 percent of wind nameplate capacity as dependable capacity at peak.”

The limited usefulness of wind and solar is reflected by their low system capacity factors. For example, the capacity factor of a typical utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) or concentrating solar project (CSP) is still limited to about 25% compared to the average for U.S. nuclear power plants of 91.5% in 2008, with many nuclear plants operating at or above 100%.

Also, given the lower capacity factors, the amortized cost of transmission per unit of energy carried is almost four times as high given the wide difference in capacity factors. We explored this systematic problem earlier.

The physics of solar energy production, without subsidy, will continue to conspire to keep the first cost and operating costs of the solar option higher than conventional approaches to producing electricity, especially when the cost of transmission is included in the equation. The capital cost of all the solar technologies are about $6,000/kW and higher (sharp-eyed readers will note that I’ve increased this number from the $5,000/kW estimate provided in earlier posts—the reason is discussed shortly) and projects are moving forward only in particular regions within the U.S. with tough RPS requirements and large subsidies from states and the federal government.

In Part I, we reviewed the enormous scale and capital cost considerations of PV projects and then introduced the standard taxonomy of central solar power generating plants. By far the favored technology for utility-scale projects is the CSP option that either produces thermal energy used to produce electricity in the familiar steam turbine process or by concentrating the sun’s thermal energy on an air heat exchanger to produce electricity via an air turbine. In Part II, we reviewed a sampling of recent solar projects.

This final post explores the latest cost solar project cost data and then rising interest in hybrid projects that combines these two solar energy conversion technologies with conventional fossil-fueled technologies. Hybrid projects offer the opportunity for utilities to reduce fuel costs, while simultaneously helping utilities cope with onerous renewable portfolio mandates.

Creative Electricity Accounting

Renewable energy does generate a larger portion of the world’s electricity each year but the reported numbers are misleading. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA, a trade organization that promotes solar energy technologies) recently released its 2008 Year in Review report wherein the organization estimated the solar industry growth over the past year. According to SEIA’s number, the total capacity of the solar industry grew by 1,265 MW in 2008, up from 1,159 MW installed in 2007, a modest increase. However, since my first post in early October where I first referenced this report, a closer look at the numbers reveal much creative accounting in SEIA’s numbers. Their mistake, and it’s a doozie, is they sum the electrical production of a photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems that produce electricity with the thermal energy production of solar water heating. No can do. [Read more →] (Robert Peltier, MasterResource)

 

Draining Swamps To Fuel Autos

A report out from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting, which was held in Barcelona, identifies peaty wetlands as a major source of CO2. Marshes, swamps and bogs emit about 1.3 billion tonnes of CO2 a year as a result of human activity that drains them. If those dried out former swamps catch fire that amount can double and large amounts of aerosols can be emitted as well. With governments offering subsidies for growing biofuel crops the question is, how do we stop people from draining the world's remaining wetlands?

According to Hans Joosten of the University of Greifswald, Germany, one of the report’s authors, drained peatlands emit a disproportionate amount of carbon dioxide. Although drained peat occupies a only 0.3% of the world’s land surface, it is responsible for 6% of man-made CO2 emissions. The report identifies the nations most involved with this swamp draining activity. Topping the list is Indonesia, with emissions of 500 million tons of CO2 a year, not including additional emissions due to fire. Though Indonesia is by far the largest offender, a number of developed countries are guilty as well. Next on the list is Russia, followed by China, America and Finland (see chart).


Leading swamp and bog draining nations. Source The Economist.

Much of the swamp draining in Indonesia can be attributed to replacing moisture-loving rubber trees with oil palms, used to make biofuels for import to Europe and China. According to Indonesia’s own figures, 9.4 million acres of forest have been planted with oil palm since 1996, an area larger than the American states of New Hampshire and Connecticut combined. That works out to 2,000 acres a day, or about a football field a minute. Indonesia is second in palm oil only to nearby Malaysia. “This isn’t mowing your lawn or putting up a factory on the outskirts of town,” said Stephen Brend, a zoologist and field conservationist with the London-based Orangutan Foundation. “It’s changing everything as far as the eye can see.”

More than 10 years after the massive fires of 1997-98 grabbed international headlines, the problem is still far from solved. A recent report for the Indonesian government by McKinsey, a consulting firm, outlined steps to be taken to reduce the damage. The report proposed reducing CO2 emissions from the country’s peatlands by 900 million tons a year through a combination of halting further marsh deforestation, better water management, and fire control.

Guido van der Werf and a team of researchers has analyzed the density of smog during Indonesian forest fires. The analysis showed that the intensity of the forest fires is directly linked to population density and land use. Nature Geoscience published the results of this research on February 22, 2009. In addition to the major human influences, the researchers also analyzed the influence of two meteorological phenomena. The influence of El Niño on the amount of rainfall was already known, but the Indian Ocean Dipole, which exerts a major influence on water surface temperature, was identified as an equally important factor.


Ten-day fire hotspot satellite image for period 7-17 July 2009 showing hotspots throughout much of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Red dots indicate fire hotspots. This image was taken at the beginning of this year’s El Niño dry season; it is likely that substantially more hotspots will be detected as this dry season progresses. Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC MODIS Rapid Response.

Although severe drought provides conditions conducive to forest fires, it is often humans who are actually responsible. Many fires are deliberately started to free up land for agriculture. The sustained burning of biomass not only releases the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane but also large quantities of carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Consequently, during major fire years the air quality in Indonesia is many times worse than that in the worlds' most polluted cities. Given the new found importance of aerosols on atmospheric warming the problem has become even more pressing (see “African Dust The New CO2?,” “Arctic Aerosols Indicate Melting Ice Not Caused By CO2” and “Warming Caused by Soot, Not CO2”).

Even so, while forest destruction still causes “high emissions,” the “perspective has changed,” contends van der Werf. The study reflected a lower deforestation rate than the IPCC due to more detailed satellite imagery showing tree coverage. “Carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion have increased substantially” the article in Nature Geoscience said. That makes “the relative contribution from deforestation and forest degradation even smaller.” It seems that climate scientists can not even agree on the importance of not draining and burning the world's remaining swamplands.


Fires at Sebangau Forest, Central Kalimantan threaten Borneo's wild Orangutans. Photo by CIMTROP

One thing that scientists and people all over the world are beginning to understand is that water is becoming a scarce commodity. Though I have reported on the link between biofuels and extreme water use (see “Watering Down Biofuels”) a new article in Science has reiterated the magnitude of the problem. In a a news focus article by Robert F. Service entitled “Another Biofuels Drawback: The Demand for Irrigation” the problem is outlined:

Biofuels promise energy and climate gains, but in some cases, those improvements wouldn't be dramatic. And they come with some significant downsides, such as the potential for increasing the price of corn and other food staples. Now, a series of recent studies is underscoring another risk: A widespread shift toward biofuels could pinch water supplies and worsen water pollution. In short, an increased reliance on biofuel trades an oil problem for a water problem.

Converting biological feedstocks into biofuel has been found to be an inefficient process (see “Better To Burn Than To Brew Ethanol”). Now it seems that other requirements of biofuel manufacture can place an even greater strain on limited water supplies. Agriculture already consumes 70% of all global freshwater withdrawn worldwide, depleting soil nutrients, draining underground aquifers and promoting desertification. More and more, the amount of water needed to produce a given amount of energy must be factored into the true cost of a power source.

A report from Argonne National Laboratory by Deborah Elcock, an energy and environmental policy analyst, predicts that water consumption for energy production in the US will jump two-thirds between 2005 and 2030—from about 6 billion gallons of water per day to roughly 10 billion gallons per day. Though the increase is driven primarily by population growth, about half of that increase will go toward growing biofuels. Nor is this strictly an American problem.

According to the UN, the world faces a bleak future over its dwindling water supplies. The warning from the UN is based on a comprehensive assessment of the state of the world's fresh water, which involved some 24 UN agencies. “Today, water management crises are developing in most of the world,” says the 3rd World Water Development Report. The demand for water is increasing rapidly because of industrialization, rising living standards and changing diets that include more foods—primarily meat—that require larger amounts of water to produce.


Water required for energy production. Source Dominguez-Faus et al.

Deepak Divan and Frank Kreikebaum from Georgia Tech, writing in the November 2009 IEEE Spectrum, put the issue into perspective: “organic biofuels can't possibly fuel a growing world economy in a sustainable manner.” By their calculations running the world on biofuels would require crop land equivalent to 193% of Earth's surface and 173% of annual global precipitation to keep the plants watered—an obvious impossibility (see “Biofuels Aren't Really Green”). Yet in both the US and the EU government mandates have been passed requiring the use of biofuels as a way of reducing CO2 emissions and, to a lesser degree, attaining energy independence.

It is a captivating idea, growing your own fuel supply in the same way food is produced, while at the same time eliminating carbon emissions said to cause global warming. This is particularly attractive to the United States, already an agricultural powerhouse with excess arable land. The ineffectiveness of biofuels—ethanol and biodiesel—has been widely noted, with reports from the EPA, California's CARB and the EU's joint Research Council claiming that biofuels pollute more than the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace. Still, this has not prevented the biofuels industry from receiving big government subsidies. Congress's “Cap and Trade” legislation will not fix biofuel's problems either. According to a reassessment of greenhouse gas reduction goals by Timothy D. Searchinger et al., “carbon cap accounting ignores land-use emissions altogether, creating its own large, perverse incentives.”

In 2007, the perceived benefits of biofuels helped spur the US Congress to pass the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which mandated a nearly fivefold increase in U.S. ethanol production, to 117 billion liters, by 2022. Of this amount, nearly half is slated to come from corn ethanol by 2015. If this goal is pursued it will cause food prices to rise, fresh water to become scarcer, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico to expand and overall air pollution to increase. This is not good economic policy. This is not good environmental policy. This is not good energy policy. It is special interest politics at its worst. Biofuels are the last thing the world needs.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

There are an estimated 6,500 orangutans left on Sumatra, in 10 identified populations on the island. Of those, probably only six contain more than 250 individuals, with just three of those containing more than 1000 individuals. Is biodiesel production worth their extinction? (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

About time! Giant reed 'a giant danger to environment'

THE Government is being warned not to play with fire by promoting the use of an invasive weed to produce biofuel.

Biologist and project officer with the invasive species council, Tim Low, will warn of the potential dangers of cultivating the species Giant Reed (Arundo donax) in a speech to a biosecurity conference in Canberra today.

The giant reed is a member of the grass family and looks similar to sugar cane or bamboo.

The reed is one of the fastest growing plants on earth and during peak conditions is capable of growing as much as 10cm per day.

The speed at which it grows allows it to overcome native plants very quickly and has led to it being declared a noxious weed in a number of countries including some parts of Australia.

"The state of California spends many millions of dollars controlling giant reed, but in Australia, taxpayers' money is being used to promote it as biofuel," Mr Low will tell the conference.

The reed is just one of the candidates for what is known as a second-generation biofuel, where the whole plant is used to produce fuel rather than just the seeds.

The traits that make the reed attractive as a second-generation biofuel crop, being fast growing and low maintenance, also make it an incredibly invasive weed. (AAP)

 

Shocking! $124 Billion For Electric Car Subsidies

Ed. Note: This article first appeared on Geoffrey Styles' blog, Energy Outlook.

Electrification Roadmap

Electrification Roadmap cover from the Electrification Coalition

Perhaps it's merely a sign of the times, when a billion is the new million and firms in many industries have found it easier to get capital from the government than from bankers, bondholders and shareholders, but the price tag implicit in the recommendations of a new cross-industry group formed to promote electric vehicles is startling even in this context. Although I couldn't find the total anywhere in the lengthy report from the Electrification Coalition, the Washington Post tallied the combined cost of their proposals at $124 billion in new government incentives, over and above the billions already being spent under the stimulus bill and other programs to support the R&D, manufacturing, and infrastructure for plug-in electric cars, and to subsidize consumer purchases of them. The frustrating part of this is that I'm in general agreement that electric vehicles probably represent the long-term future of cars. However, I don't believe anyone can know this with sufficient certainty, any more than they knew a few years ago that fuel cell cars were the answer, or in the late 1990s that diesel hybrids were the answer. The report also raises basic questions about how new industries should be built, and at whose expense. (Energy Tribune)

 

Deaths not linked to H1N1 vaccines: WHO

GENEVA - About 40 people have died after being inoculated against H1N1 pandemic flu, but investigations so far show the fatalities were not caused by the vaccine, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

The U.N. agency reaffirmed that the pandemic vaccine was safe and voiced concern that some pregnant women and others at risk were shunning it because of a fear of side effects.

"No new safety issue has been identified from reports issued to date ... Reporting so far reconfirms that the pandemic flu vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine," Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's top vaccine expert, told a telephone conference.

Governments have so far reported that 65 million vaccine doses have been administered against H1N1, known as swine flu, in 16 countries, but the true figure is probably higher since immunisation campaigns are under way in 40 countries, she said. (Reuters)

 

Average UK woman wears 515 chemicals a day

LONDON - The average British woman "hosts" 515 chemicals on her body every day, according to a new study.

The poll of 2,016 women by deodorant-maker Bionsen said most of the pollutants are self-inflicted by women who sprayed on deodorant, slapped on body moisturiser and applied lipstick each morning.

Today's average British woman uses body and facial moisturisers, perfumes, deodorants and various other make-up products, which leave them unknowingly carrying hundreds of chemicals on their bodies throughout the day, Bionsen said.

Moisturiser can contain over 30 different chemicals and perfume up to 400, it added.

More than a third of the women who took part in the study were unaware of the key ingredients in their toiletries, with only nine percent aware of most of the ingredients in the cosmetics they put on each day.

More than 70 percent of the women polled said they were not concerned about the number of chemicals they put on their skin and only one in 10 opted for chemical-free toiletries when shopping. (Reuters Life!)

How do you apply "chemical-free" anything? Or eat, or ...

 

Low-carb, high-carb diet both help keep weight off

NEW YORK - Low-carb and high-carb diets work equally well for maintaining weight loss, Australian researchers report.

People had the same success in keeping off the weight they'd lost after sharply cutting their calorie intake for 3 months if they followed a low-carb (also called high-protein) diet or a high-carbohydrate regimen for the following year, Dr. Elizabeth A. Delbridge of the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Victoria and her colleagues found.

Some studies have suggested that high protein diets may be a more effective way to lose weight short-term than high carbohydrate diets, Delbridge and her team note in their report. But there's less evidence on which approach might be better for helping people to keep off weight they've lost, and whether the two diets have different effects on heart health. (Reuters Health)

 

Study showing alcohol may cut heart risk under fire

LONDON - Spanish research appearing to show that very heavy drinking can reduce men's risk of heart disease has come under fire from scientists who say the study is flawed and should not encourage anyone to drink more.

The controversial study found that men who drank moderate, high and very high levels of alcohol had a lower risk of coronary heart disease. 

Many previous studies have suggested that moderate drinking -- usually defined as a drink or two per day -- can be a healthy habit, particularly when it comes to heart disease risk. But experts have warned that heavy drinking can damage organs and lead to early death. (Reuters)

 

A Leviathan of Land: Perspective on the Size of the US Gov’t In Pictures

With the takeover of health care and frenzied government growth front and center, many are wondering when we will - if we haven’t already - reached a tipping point that fundamentally alters America. Much of what’s been done is described as a temporary fix. However, as President Reagan noted, “There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

With this reinvigorated discussion of how big is too big, it is worthwhile to remind Americans of just how massive the Federal government already was before our current woes began. There are few more striking measures of the government’s size than the land mass of the Federal estate. The vast majority of federal lands fall within one of four agencies: the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service. At over 258 million acres, the Bureau of Land Management alone is bigger than France and Germany combined. When combined with the other aforementioned agencies, the land area is equal that of ten European nations as shown in the accompanying graph (click it to see a larger version). (The Foundry)

 

GM crops have a role in preventing world hunger, chief scientist says - The Government should approve trials to develop crops resistant to climate change that would feed a growing population

GM crops have a role to play in preventing mass starvation across the world caused by a combination of climate change and rapid population growth, a senior government scientist said yesterday.

Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), called for UK trials of GM foods, arguing that the Government needs to be more open with the public about the risks and benefits of genetically modified foods.

"Over the next 20 to 50 years, the population is going to increase from 6.5 to 9 billion. There will be more extreme weather, more demand for food, meat, and water, a changing climate: it is a very challenging situation, which, if we don't deal with it, could become a nightmare scenario," said Professor Watson. "We have to look at all the technologies, policies and practices, all forms of bio-tech, including GM." (The Independent)

Bob Watson just can't get past not being co-chair of the IPCC, can he? Of all the reasons for using biotech-enhanced crops gorebull warming isn't one of them.

 

November 19, 2009

 

Inhofe declares victory in speech on global warming


Sen. Jim Inhofe

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, perhaps Congress’ most vocal skeptic of man-made global warming, essentially declared victory Wednesday in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor.

“I proudly declare 2009 as the ‘Year of the Skeptic,’ the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard,’’ the Oklahoma Republican said.

“Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked.’’

Inhofe recalled his own 2003 remarks in which he said much of the debate over global warming was predicated on fear rather than science.

Alarmists warned of a future plagued by catastrophic flooding, economic dislocations, droughts and mosquito-borne diseases, he said.

Inhofe also recalled his most famous comment in which he suggested that man-made global warming would turn out to be “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

“Today, I have been vindicated,’’ he said.

Inhofe pointed to the upcoming international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which previously was viewed as a chance for nations to make some kind of a binding agreement on greenhouse gases.

White House aides said Sunday that a fully binding legal agreement would be put off until a December 2010 meeting in Mexico City, The Associated Press reported.

Inhofe said Wednesday that “the reality, of course, is that Copenhagen will be a disaster.’’

Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate Environment and
Public Works Committee. He recently helped lead a Republican boycott of that panel’s efforts to act on a major climate change bill.

Democrats were forced to vote the measure out of committee without amendments, and an effort already is under way to come up with a different bill.

That measure now is not expected to be taken up in the Senate until next year. (Tulsa World)

 

Inhofe Calls 2009 "The Year of the Skeptic" Says UN Cap and Trade Effort Dead, Urges New Path Forward

Part 1 of Inhofe Floor Speech

Mr. President -

Next month, thousands of UN delegates from over 190 nations, members of the press, and eco-activists from around the world will descend upon Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the United Nations Conference on Global Warming. Yet, even before it begins, the UN conference is being called a "disaster." Just this morning, the Telegraph, a UK newspaper, noted, "The worst kept secret in the world is finally out - the climate change summit in Copenhagen is going to be little more than a photo opportunity for world leaders."

Not too long ago, however, the Copenhagen meeting was hailed as the time when an international agreement with binding limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would finally be agreed to. Eco-activists believed a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress would finally push through mandatory cap and trade legislation and that the United States would finally be ready to succumb to the demands of the United Nations.

The reality, of course, is that Copenhagen will be a disaster. The failure comes at a high cost. Despite the millions of dollars spent by Al Gore, the Hollywood Elites, and the United Nations, climate alarmism has failed. ... (Senator James Inhofe)

 

Why cap-and-trade is ‘dead policy walking’

Carbon cap-and-trade legislation appears to be Dead Policy Walking in Washington. The devaluation of the Copenhagen climate summit – now the goal is a “politically binding” rather than a “legally binding” agreement — reflects the emerging political reality in the United States. Yes, a bill did pass the House of Representatives in June. Also, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee passed a version earlier this month. So President Barack Obama won’t go to the talks in Denmark with empty pockets next month.

Publicly, Senate Democratic leaders say they are only pushing off debate and consideration of a comprehensive climate change bill until spring. But it is hard to get a major bill passed in a Democrat-controlled Senate when the Democratic majority leader of the Senate wants the bill to go away. And have no doubt that Senator Harry Reid would like to see cap-and-trade go away — or at least disappear until after 2010.

This explains why six different Senate committees will consider the bill, the same recipe for legislative inaction that bogged down healthcare reform. It’s pure politics. The 2010 midterm elections are shaping up to be tough contests for many Democrats thanks to the anti-incumbent mood of a recession-weary electorate. And most signs point to a sustained level of high unemployment.  As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a recent speech, “The best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly.” (James Pethokoukis, Reuters)

 

And who's fault is it? The One's! Who Killed Copenhagen? An FP Whodunnit.

This weekend, world leaders announced that they would not reach a legally binding deal on climate change at next month's Copenhagen summit. With the planet in the balance, who's the world's top culprit? (Foreign Policy)

 

Cap-and-Trade Is No Good for NYC

Senator Gillibrand’ wrote an op ed for the Wall Street Journal last month that understates the gains a cap-and-trade climate policy could yield New York city.  She does mention the massive increase in future trading that would result from rationing carbon fuel use.   She also correctly points out that forcing carbon constraint contracts into the Procrustean Bed of exchange trades would limit the creativity the gnomes of Wall Street could bring this market socialist enterprise.  Were Enron’s Ken Lay still with us, he couldn’t have made the case better.  Those aimed at reducing Americans to 1890 energy levels will themselves greatly profit from energy poverty.

However, Senator Gillibrand might have made several additional points.  Now that Enron has gone away, New York City is the center of financial wizards who’ve done much to mystify and confuse markets and regulations.  It is also the home of some of the most affluent individuals in the world along, of course, with some of the poorest urban dwellers in the world.  Thus, there will be great future market potential for NYC as energy rationing is extended from firms to individuals.  I raised this point with GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, one of the creative capitalists championing energy rationing, at Wall Street Journal’s ECOnomics conference in Santa Barbara a few years ago.

I noted that my wife and I - for ecological reasons - had elected not to have children.  As a middle class American, our carbon footprint is a heavy one, undoubtedly that of our children would have been even heavier.  Thus, I believed we merited a reasonable allotment of carbon credits.  Immelt dodged the question but the logic is unassailable.  But, in NYC terms, Fran and I are light-footed indeed.  We don’t jet around the world as frequently, our homes are in the relatively less energy intensive areas south of the Mason Dixon line, we don’t watch television and have only one car.  Our allotments would thus be minimal compared to the affluent of New York.
The poor in NYC would not be entitled to such credits.  They have unfortunately less environmental conscious parenting practices and already experience to a degree the energy poverty that would be exacerbated by cap-and-trade.  But, this shortfall could readily be addressed by further taxes on the rich to fund the vital social services needed to offset this problem.

Thus, one can only urge Senator Gillebrand and her fellow social engineers.  As the late Peter Bauer noted, there’s lots of money in poverty programs - and even more in energy poverty programs.  Two Cheers for the Senator! (Fred L Smith, Cooler Heads)

 

EPA Attorneys: Cap and Trade Is Fatally Flawed

Watch the video above if you have 10 minutes. It knocks cap and trade, which is good, but argues for “carbon fees and rebates,” which is code for a giant new tax.

Democrats may like the idea because it is undoubtedly an economically superior method of addressing a top-priority item for a key constituency, but it forgets the basic premise of cap and trade: don’t dare admit you’re trying to raise taxes on everyone’s gas and electric bill.

Republicans would be well advised to learn the lesson of Rep. Mark Kirk. Support a giant new tax and you can expect a broad, deep, and vocal constituency to show and ask why a massive new government tax is the solution to what many on the American right see as an unimportant problem (or, in some cases, a non-existent issue).

This is the fundamental structural weakness of every “solution” we see: we live in a country driven by innovation and less government, and yet every proposal comes in the form of a tax or regulation. Find a policy that spurs innovation with the tip of a carrot rather than the tip of a spear and the entire world would be better off.

UPDATE: This follow-up is important context:

 (Chilling Effect)

 

Scammers still spruiking their wares: Copenhagen Still "Golden Opportunity" For CO2 Market

LONDON - A U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month is unlikely to agree on a new global climate treaty, but carbon market players are urging delegates to seize the opportunity to agree reforms to the $33 billion trade in carbon offsets.

There is a growing global consensus that talks in the Danish capital to forge a successor to the Kyoto Protocol will lead to only a political agreement including emissions cuts by rich countries, with agreement on a full binding treaty in 2010.

As Kyoto is due to expire in 2012, next year is later than the December 2009 deadline some had hoped for. But market players say this presents delegates with a chance to address some key issues surrounding the carbon offset market.

"If everyone is pragmatic and asks 'what can we fix while we're here?', this could be a golden opportunity for addressing all the institutional and architectural reforms which don't require any targets to be undertaken by the U.S.," said Miles Austin of clean energy project developers EcoSecurities.

"This could be a very clear win for Copenhagen." (Reuters)

 

Best news the world's had for a while: Green technologies in peril as rich nations dither on climate deal

Uncertainty over investing in green technologies more dangerous than lack of Copenhagen treaty says Achim Steiner, the head of the UN environment programme (The Guardian)

 

Rent seekers' guide: Companies Call Government Incentives the Key to Green

IN less than three weeks, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to begin hammering out an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.

But many clean-energy companies, which make and use the technologies that in theory will help wean the world off polluting fossil fuels, are reacting with a shrug — and not merely because expectations for Copenhagen have plunged.

What matters far more in the near term, the companies say, are national governments’ efforts to provide incentives for developing technologies like wind and solar power or cellulosic ethanol.

Copenhagen “is a very important backdrop,” said Tom Carnahan, the founder and president of Wind Capital Group, a wind developer in St. Louis. “But the real battle for what our energy future is going to be is Washington.” (NYT)

 

Climate Bill Delay Jeopardizes Chances for U.S. Law

Nov. 18 -- The U.S. Senate won’t try to pass a bill limiting U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions for months, clouding the prospects for final legislation as the Obama administration focuses on health care and the economy. 

“We’re going to try to do that sometime in the spring,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said of climate-change legislation in remarks to reporters yesterday. He didn’t cite a reason for the delay. 

President Barack Obama had sought Senate action on a measure, already passed by the House, in time for talks in Copenhagen next month on a new global climate treaty. The Senate slowdown further jeopardizes the measure’s chances of passage, Whitney Stanco, an analyst in Washington for Concept Capital, said in a report today. 

“The spring timeline would push the debate closer to the 2010 mid-term elections, potentially setting lawmakers up for a difficult vote before they face their constituents in the ballot box,” said Stanco, whose company advises investors. (Bloomberg)

 

Trying to preserve the value of that big pile of carbon credits they haven't unloaded yet... Russia steps up pledge for climate action

STOCKHOLM, Nov 18 - Russia toughened its plans to curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions on Wednesday in a rare encouraging development before United Nations climate talks next month. (Reuters)

 

Fred Singer to speak at climate change sceptics conference - Climate change sceptics are fighting back in the run up to the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen with a series of talks and conferences.

Professor Ian Plimer, a geologist from the University of Adelaide, has already been in the UK to address an audience of more than one hundred. He will return to speak alongside Lord Monckton of Brencheley at a 'climate change lunch' in London in early December.

Today a conference in Brussels will ask Have Humans Changed the Climate? Professor Ross McKitrick from the University of Guelph in Ontario and Professor Tom Segalstad from the University of Oslo, who both question the conventional science, will address the issue of global warming.

The lead speaker is an American atmospheric physicist Professor Fred Singer from the University of Virginia.

Speaking before the conference, he said there was no evidence that the increases in carbon dioxide produced by humans causes global warming. He said the temperature of the planet has always varied and even if temperatures do go up, that will be good for humankind.

"We are certainly putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However there is no evidence that this high CO2 is making a detectable difference. It should in principle, however the atmosphere is very complicated and one cannot simply argue that just because CO2 is a greenhouse gas is causes warming," he said. (TDT)

 

People-Hating, Godless U.N.

Why anyone other than pro-death, Marxist radicals give any favorable attention to anything that comes out of the United Nations — whether research, policy or anything else — is a mystery to me. Nevertheless because they have the attention of the major media, they must be watched.

Obviously those interested in the Cooler Heads Coalition are focused on the pro-government, anti-freedom and anti-energy agenda-driven UN IPCC. The U.N. Population Fund, which today released a report titled “The State of the World Population 2009,” is another you should be wary of. This political body finds that “women bear the disproportionate burden of climate change, but have so far been largely overlooked in the debate about how to address problems of rising seas, droughts, melting glaciers and extreme weather.”

So global warming is sexist. More:

The report shows that investments that empower women and girls—particularly education and health—bolster economic development and reduce poverty and have a beneficial impact on climate. Girls with more education, for example, tend to have smaller and healthier families as adults. Women with access to reproductive health services, including family planning, have lower fertility rates that contribute to slower growth in greenhouse-gas emissions in the long run.

More promotion of a culture that promotes the eradication of humans for a phony cause. About as far as you can get from “be fruitful and multiply.” (Paul Chesser, Cooler Heads)

 

Reducing Humans to Carbon Ash

November 16, 2009 - The latest morally monstrous proposal out of the environmentalist cult comes from Lord Smith of Finsbury. He suggests that each British citizen be given a government “carbon allowance.”

For any transaction that increases a person’s “carbon footprint” such as using gasoline or taking an airline flight, they would have to “spend” part of their allowance. Once their allowance reaches zero, they would have to pay out of pocket to purchase more credits, assuming that they are available. It is “cap and trade” for the individual.

Appallingly anti-human

The appallingly anti-human nature of this proposal is only surpassed by the appalling ignorance and intellectual laziness of a public that is not appalled by the fact that their politicians are literally leading them to suicide.

An essential aspect of our lives as humans is to employ the materials in our environment for our survival and well-being: converting plants into food; trees into houses; oil into energy; metals into medical equipment, automobiles, and aircraft.

It is often too costly for us to employ carbon dioxide, one of the “outputs” of our act of living, efficiently for our use. We produce CO2 in some of our industrial activities and, indeed, every time we exhale. (As do all animals!) Plants, of course, breathe in our CO2.

The carbon allowance scheme dehumanizes us by teaching us to view ourselves merely as carbon output units, and the less output the better. The implication of this view is that every single human activity—indeed, the very act of living—a sinful indulgence, like some criminal urge for which we should be ashamed and which we should strive to suppress. ( Edward Hudgins, Atlas Society)

 

Not sure whether Roger is merely naïve or what... Condoms for Climate

The climate debate has plenty of signs of complete inanity, but these signs are increasingly coming from groups that should probably know better. Take the case of the UN Population Fund, which is arguing that free condoms can help to slow greenhouse gas emissions:

The battle against global warming could be helped if the world slowed population growth by making free condoms and family planning advice more widely available, the U.N. Population Fund said Wednesday.

The agency did not recommend countries set limits on how many children people should have, but said: "Women with access to reproductive health services ... have lower fertility rates that contribute to slower growth in greenhouse gas emissions."

"As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic," the report said.

What effect will free condoms have on emissions and, ultimately, on climate change?

The U.N. Population Fund acknowledged it had no proof of the effect that population control would have on climate change. "The linkages between population and climate change are in most cases complex and indirect," the report said.

It also said that while there is no doubt that "people cause climate change," the developing world has been responsible for a much smaller share of world's greenhouse gas emissions than developed countries.

Still, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the U.N. Population Fund's executive director, told a news conference in London on Wednesday that global warming could be catastrophic for people in poor countries, particularly women.

"We have now reached a point where humanity is approaching the brink of disaster," she said.

In three weeks, a global conference will be held in Copenhagen aimed at reaching a deal to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required 37 industrial countries to cut heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

The idea that family planning should be justified in terms of reducing emissions is, in my view, utter nonsense. Family planning policies are important in their own right, and to justify them in terms of climate change cheapens both the climate change agenda and the family planning agenda. Fortunately, this perspective is widely shared:

"It requires a major leap of imagination to believe that free condoms will cool down the climate," said Caroline Boin, a policy analyst at International Policy Network, a London-based think tank.

She also questioned earlier efforts by the agency to control the world's population.

In its 1987 report, the U.N. Population Fund warned that once the global population hit 5 billion, the world "could degenerate into disaster." At the time, the agency said "more vigorous attempts to slow undue population growth" were needed in many countries.

According to Boin, "Numerous environmental indicators show that with development and economic growth we are able to preserve more natural habitats. There is no causal relationship between population density and poverty."

In this month's Bulletin, the World Health Organization's journal, two experts also warned about the dangers of linking fertility to climate change.

"Using the need to reduce climate change as a justification for curbing the fertility of individual women at best provokes controversy and at worst provides a mandate to suppress individual freedoms," wrote WHO's Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum and Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan.

The dynamics going here have been well-chronicled by Mike Hulme, who has suggested that much of the debate about climate change is not really about what we can do about climate change, but what climate change can do for us. Helping to sell family planning is probably not among those things.

UPDATE: A reader writes in noting this from The Economist a few weeks ago:

Lastly, a special case: China’s one-child policy, which began nationwide in the early 1970s. China’s population is probably 300m-400m lower now than it would have been without it. The policy (which is one of population control, not birth control) has had dreadful costs, including widespread female infanticide, a lopsided sex ratio and horrors such as mass sterilisation and forced abortions. But in its own terms, it has worked—20m people enter the workforce each year, instead of 40m—and, to the extent that China is polluting less than it would have done, it has benefited the rest of the world.
People can legitimately disagree on whether the benefits of such policies exceed the costs. However, you can put me down on the side of believing (quite strongly) that they do not. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 A significant motivator for a large segment of those continually assaulting affordable energy supply is misanthropy -- Gaia-nuts constantly attack energy, industry, chemistry and agriculture as a means of limiting humans -- and they promote population as a problem rather than a resource. The AGW fraternity has long had much in common with would be population limiters, frequently sharing membership.

 

Friedman embraces “E.T.” as solution to energy problems

Thomas L. Friedman’s op-ed in the NYT today could have been written by Paul Krugman.  And that’s not a compliment.

Friedman, like Krugman, waxes hysterical about those who are opposing  the cap-and-trade energy bill - those “deniers.” And, also like Krugman, he sets up those opponents as straw men that he can readily knock down.  In today’s article, Friedman worries about U.S. dependence on foreign oil supplied by  ”petro-dictators” and he fears ever-rising prices for increasingly scarce fossil fuels.

So either the opponents of a serious energy/climate bill with a price on carbon don’t care about our being addicted to oil and dependent on petro-dictators forever or they really believe that we will not be adding 2.5 billion more people who want to live like us, so the price of oil won’t go up very far and, therefore, we shouldn’t raise taxes to stimulate clean, renewable alternatives and energy efficiency.

Friedman’s terror about world population growth, especially growth in developing countries, is Malthusian.  (See Julian Simon on population and natural resources in “The Ultimate Resource II.”) . And Friedman  doesn’t seem to want those people to use energy to improve their standard of living.  Here’s what he says about that dream for a better life:

The world keeps getting flatter - more and more people can now see how we live, aspire to our lifestyle and even take our jobs so they can live how we live. So not only are we adding 2.5 billion people by 2050, but many more will live like “Americans” - with American-size homes, American-size cars, eating American-size Big Macs.

Such horror one can’t imagine for a person living at a subsistence level in India or China.

In his article, Friedman says that “clean energy” is the answer to the world’s energy problems.  He embraces  “E.T.” (no, not that visitor from another planet), but “energy technology”  that is carbon-less and efficient.

And we believe the best way to launch E.T. is to set a fixed, long-term price on carbon - combine it with the Obama team’s impressive stimulus for green-tech - and then let the free market and innovation do the rest.

His solution then is to tax conventional energy and subsidize alternative energy sources. Right.  That’s clearly an innovative solution that nobody has thought of.  And how would this affect the population bomb he fears?  Undoubtedly, raising the price of fossil fuels could indeed have an effect on developing countries’ populations.  While waiting for those alternative energy sources to develop, they’ll  continue to face poverty and resultant devastating diseases.  Not surprisingly, Friedman doesn’t address that problem. (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

 

Global Warming Ate My Homework: 100 Things Blamed on Global Warming

Late for a party? Miss a meeting? Forget to pay your rent? Blame climate change; everyone else is doing it. From an increase in severe acne to all societal collapses since the beginning of time, just about everything gone wrong in the world today can be attributed to climate change. Here’s a list of 100 storylines blaming climate change as the problem. Continue reading… (The foundry)

 

A climate scare in Trafalgar Square - Ghost Forest, a new art installation, wants to frighten us into changing our greedy, planet-wrecking ways.

A twenty-first century tribute to the Royal Family? A satirical swipe at the Labour government? A mistaken delivery address? At first, it’s difficult to know what to make of the large hunks of dead wood currently cutting a dash in London’s Trafalgar Square.

That is, until you read the info-boards positioned around the installation or encounter the press-released promotional material. At which point Ghost Forest’s meaning, or better still, its message, will become all too clear: all this modern stuff, this industrial development, has come at an environmental cost we’ve been able to ignore for too long. Why? Because it’s always been over there, in Africa, in South America. But not any more. In the form of huge tree stumps it’s been brought close, dumped in our figurative backyard. To quote its creator, the journalist-cum-artist Angela Palmer, it is an awareness-raising, visual expression of the ‘connection between deforestation and climate change’. (Tim Black, sp!ked)

 

The BBC ‘Catastrophical AGW’ All-Out Assault Has Started!

COP15 is three weeks away, and as expected things are getting hotter by the minute in AGW media outlets such as the BBC.

Just a quick look at Nov 17: in the Science & Environment home page, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten stories with a single focus.

Then incredibly in the “Scotland” pages an article and a video, part of a “three part special” filmed…in Thailand! Including what is likely to be the silliest ever report ending: “Fiona Walker, reporting Scotland, in the Gulf of Thailand

(alas, they could kid themselves only up to a point: the “three part special” is classified under “Scotland politics” and Ms Walker clearly introduced as “BBC Scotland’s social affairs reporter“).

It is going to get worse before it gets better. (OmniClimate)

 

Eye-watering eye-roller: No Plan B for planet if climate deal not agreed

NEVER WAS a global conference so hyped up as a make-or-break event as the UN climate summit due to take place next month in Copenhagen. As 15,000 participants, plus many more observers, made their travel arrangements, the stage seemed set for a historic agreement that would start the recovery for a world staring into the abyss of dangerous climate change.

Responsible groups throughout all 192 countries participating in the event had done their bit to sensitise those in authority as to the severity of the situation.

Put simply, if we are to avoid the world warming more than three degrees above pre-industrial levels we need to see global greenhouse gas emissions start to decline seriously in the next decade and fall by at least 50 per cent by mid-century. It is a big ask, but not beyond human ingenuity if the political will and leadership were present.

In Ireland, we were well sensitised to the magnitude of the climate problem and were ready to sign up to whatever the EU countries would agree as part of a global deal. (John Sweeney, Irish Times)

Really unusual for a geographer to have adopted the gorebull warming religion, too, they are normally much better founded with long historical perspectives.

 

Global Warming Makes You Ill

The New York Times reports the now famous example of mass hysteria by proxy following the broadcast of the radio drama, ‘The War of the Worlds’, on October 30, 1938. Many listeners were convinced that a real Martian invasion was in progress.

Will the so-called make-or-break U.N. Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [COP 15], opening in Copenhagen on December 7, follow the now well-established pattern of manic-depression that has predictably characterised nearly all such previous mass climate meetings, including those in The Hague (2000), in Marrakesh, Morocco (2001), in Edinburgh around the G8 Summit (2005), in Montreal (2005), in Nairobi, Kenya (2006), in Bali (2007), and in Poznań, Poland (2008). Copenhagen is already presenting with all the hallmark symptoms, including, and especially so in the UK, hyperbolic mass hysteria by proxy. (Clamour of the Times)

 

Carbon Offsets Ease Guilt, Not Emissions

The New York Times reports today:

In 2002 Responsible Travel became one of the first travel companies to offer customers the option of buying so-called carbon offsets to counter the planet-warming emissions generated by their airline flights.

But last month Responsible Travel canceled the program, saying that while it might help travelers feel virtuous, it was not helping to reduce global emissions. In fact, company officials said, it might even encourage some people to travel or consume more.

“The carbon offset has become this magic pill, a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card,” Justin Francis, the managing director of Responsible Travel, one of the world’s largest green travel companies to embrace environmental sustainability, said in an interview. “It’s seductive to the consumer who says, ‘It’s $4 and I’m carbon-neutral, so I can fly all I want.’ ”

Unfortunately Washington DC is lagging far behind the private sector when it comes to acknowledging just how fraudulent carbon offsets are. The Waxman-Markey cap and trade Continue reading… (The Foundry)

 

Just in case anyone was in any doubt about Junior's total belief: Good Intentions, Horrible Optics

In today's Boulder Daily Camera:

On their first day together as a new board of nine elected officials, the Boulder City Council started with light stuff: curing the planet's climate crisis and advocating global nuclear disarmament.

The council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to support a two-person delegation heading to Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties.

How is the city going to pay the costs of sending its delegation to Copenhagen? By using proceeds from the Boulder's carbon tax.

Boulder is paying an estimated $2,500 for the trip, including airfare and meals. The money will come from the city's carbon-tax fund. To cut down on costs to taxpayers, the city employees will be staying at a private residence and riding bicycles to and from the conference, city spokesman Patrick von Keyserling said.

"It's a very reasonable amount," von Keyserling said of the costs to attend. "It's an international stage for Boulder to share best practices for municipalities."

Whatever you think about Boulder's ambitions to reduce emissions, the real lesson from this episode is that policy makers easily fall prey to engaging in all sorts of activities under so-called "emissions reductions policies" that have absolutely nothing to do with reducing emissions. And whatever the merits of going to Copenhagen are, the trip will do nothing to help Boulder meet its Kyoto goals, which is why the carbon tax exists in the first place. If the city values demonstrating its global leadership and vision (and why not?), it should probably earmark some funds for exactly that purpose. A more politically savvy Council would have taken the funds from elsewhere in the City budget, or better yet, secured external sponsorship of some sort.

On a more positive note, a letter-writer in the Camera today notes that since its passage in 1985, Boulder's non-nuclear policy has thus far prevented a nuclear attack on the city, so perhaps Boulder's delegation to Copenhagen can return with similar success. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

<Guffaw!> Reuters can't seriously view the misanthropic nitwits collectively known as the "Climate Institute" as "an independent research organization", surely:  Fiscal/Political Risk In Australia ETS Debate: Report

SYDNEY - The Australian government's carbon trading plan would reduce more CO2, create more jobs and produce a budget surplus, compared to opposition plans which carry billions of dollars in fiscal and political risk, according to an independent report issued Thursday.

The Climate Institute released the report on the government's planned Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the world's most comprehensive, and amendments the opposition is seeking before it will support the proposal in a Senate vote expected next week.

"Under both scenarios...the economy will continue to expand strongly even while shifting onto a low carbon footing," Institute, an independent research organization, said in its costings report. (Reuters)

If this lot said it was generally daylight at local noon it would pay to check very carefully, and often...

 

US Senate postpones climate bill

BARACK Obama will attend climate-change talks in Copenhagen next month with no domestic US laws in place to back his position, after Senate leaders confirmed yesterday that debate on legislation would be delayed until next year. 

The decision to put off debate on a climate-change bill that has already passed the US House of Representatives reflects a lack of time after congress has been sidetracked for weeks on far-reaching health reforms.

But the delay until March - a blow to the US President's domestic agenda - is also an indication of the lack of support among US politicians for pushing hard to curb carbon emissions at a time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment.

The US postponement is likely to be used by the federal opposition in Australia to argue against the Rudd government going it alone with a climate-change bill when US intentions remain unclear. (The Australian)

 

WARNING OF RIGHT WING ANGER OVER ETS

“Instead of exposing extreme green elements for what they are, Labor has got into bed with them to secure preferences and votes. That has led to a corresponding opposing reaction in the right. In fact, it is boiling in the bush,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today during Senate debate on the CPRS bills.

“The last time that level of unhappiness and frustration happened we saw the rise of One Nation. It is up to us, especially The Nationals, to keep the debate on the rails, to prevent it becoming extreme. If we are not their voice, whether by absence or timidity, then they will look to the charlatan extreme right for a lead and for political representation.”

“One view is that the Coalition can get away with supporting the CPRS because the right has nowhere to go. But recent history has shown that when there is disenchantment on the right, Labor stays in power thanks to renegade and rogue elements that hijack and split the conservative vote.”

“The Senate can prevent that move to the extreme by giving rural and regional Australians a fair hearing on the ETS. To ignore or belittle their views would be a grave mistake. They are the ones who would have to wear the ETS, far more than leafy suburb professionals.” 

“So this is a warning that we must not forget these people. Regional Australia will be the hardest hit by this ETS. Therefore they should be the first to be considered. And don’t insult them with promises of green jobs. They are seldom in the places where the non-green jobs have been destroyed. Nor do they pay as well as miners’ rates.”

“Australia is embarking on a solo voyage to a new frontier. Of all the countries in the world, none has established a scheme that threatens the competitiveness of their key industries like Rudd’s ETS.” (Senator Ron Boswell)

 

Australia's Climate Sceptics Party launches TV ad campaign

 

You can't be trusted to vote: Science Museum: close your climate change show

The museum's patronising poll against global warming ahead of Copenhagen has played right into the sceptics' hands (The Guardian)

 

Group on Earth Observations Meets to Strengthen Access to Data and Information on Biodiversity, Forest Carbon and Other Global Issues

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is holding its annual Plenary meeting in Washington on 17-18 November to assess and promote progress towards making information about global environmental change readily available to policy-makers, managers and anyone else who needs it.

"GEO is on track to make critical information about global changes widely and easily available. By making petabytes of data accessible on-line, we will dramatically improve decision-making for the benefit of society," said Jose Achache, Director of the GEO Secretariat.

Some 80 nations, the European Commission and 56 international organizations are coordinating their Earth observation assets and strategies through GEO. They are sharing and interlinking their systems for tracking global trends in carbon levels, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, water resources, ocean temperatures and other critical indicators of planetary health and human well-being. (Press Release)

 

Monsoon Model Indicates Potential for Abrupt Transitions

A self-amplifying effect presently sustains monsoon winds, but it could also disrupt the circulation over land and sea. The periodical rainfall could stop from one season to another or for months within seasons. High air pollution could lead to the disruption, researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Online Early Edition. Global warming increases the risk of abrupt monsoon transitions from high-precipitation to dry periods.

"The agricultural food supply for around two billion people in Asia and Africa depends on the eponymous regularity of monsoon rainfall," says the lead author Anders Levermann. The name "monsoon" stems from the Arabic word "mausim" for "season." However, months with extremely scarce precipitation have been observed within monsoon seasons, as in India in 2002, causing economic and humanitarian problems in the affected regions. During the past 11,000 years rainfall in monsoon regions has undergone strong and abrupt changes repeatedly. (ScienceDaily)

 

HK Climate

Two Greek Earth scientists, Antonis Christofides and Nikos Mamassis, have written down a couple of pages about the climate on their new server:

HK-Climate.ORG (click)
The co-authors of this and that paper written together with Koutsoyannis argue that there's no reason to worry about man-made warming because it doesn't seem to occur, and that the climate loves to maximize the uncertainty at all time scales (and distance scales), following a kind of critical behavior.

I won't tell you what HK stands for but regardless of this puzzling question, it's a good idea to study Hurst-Kolmogorov processes in the context of the climate! ;-)

Via Maurizio Morabito and the HK-Climate authors

Bonus

By the way, The Breakthrough Institute and others noticed that Al Gore's new book's opening page says:
I'm offering you the choice of life or death, you can choose either blessings or curses.
A true prophet? :-) Well, we should probably offer him the same, especially the latter. At any rate, you have heard the words of the Anti-Christ and thermodynamic crackpot. Amen.

Global warming destroys 9,000 buildings in China

While the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution was a record warm day in Czechia, the typical people of the planet Earth - who are Chinese, as the fans of the anthropic principle know :-) - saw something else.

In North Central China, record snow (since the recordkeeping began in 1949) killed 40 people, smashed 9,000 buildings, and destroyed 2,000 squared kilometers of crops. (The Reference Frame)

 

Ben Franklin on Global Warming

FEW would argue that the debate on global warming engenders a lot of emotion. What else are we to make of comments that “within the last 40 or 50 years there has been a very great observable change of climate,” that “a change in our climate ... is taking place very sensibly” and that “men are led into numberless errors by drawing general conclusions from particular facts”?

That these comments were actually tossed around back in the late 18th century by the Pennsylvania doctor Hugh Williamson, Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster reminds us that history has a tendency to repeat itself. (One can imagine what television talk shows would have been like then. Would Jefferson have promoted “An Inconvenient Treatise” only to be acrimoniously contradicted by Webster on “Hard Quoits,” assuming either could get a word in amid the jabbering of the host?)

In the 1780s, Thomas Jefferson opined in his “Notes on Virginia” that “both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged,” expressing views articulated as early as 1721 by Cotton Mather: “Our cold is much moderated since the opening and clearing of our woods, and the winds do not blow roughly as in the days of our fathers, when water, cast up into the air, would commonly be turned into ice before it came to the ground.”

The weather historian James R. Fleming has noted that the vexing scientific challenge in the climate debate has always been “the response of a large, complex, potentially chaotic system to small changes in forcing factors.” Benjamin Franklin understood climatic forcing factors better than anyone, surmising in a 1763 letter to Ezra Stiles that “cleared land absorbs more heat and melts snow quicker.” Franklin, our meteorologist emeritus for his seminal work on everything from lightning to northeasters, later surmised (correctly) that a prevailing haze over parts of North America and northern Europe was associated with the eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland in June 1783, and was possibly the source for the exceptional chill experienced in the winter of 1783-84 in the new United States. ( Ben Gelber, NYT)

 

Top 10 Hurricane Losses: AIR and Pielke et al. 2008

AIR-Worldwide has released an interesting top-10 list of the largest U.S. insured hurricane losses if each historical hurricane had occurred with 2009 exposures. Here are those values:

And here is a similar list of top-10 total damaging storms in the Pielke et al. 2008 (PDF) database as updated to 2009 values in the ICAT Damage Estimator:

There are 8 storms that overlap in the two lists, which we should expect to be different for several reasons. First the AIR-Worldwide list is insured damage and ours is total damage. Second, their list includes business interruption and demand surge and ours does not. This being the case, the AIR-Worldwide list has prompted us to take a second look at the 1947 Fort Lauderdale storm, which has losses that may be underestimated in the NHC database. It appears as 22nd in our 2009 list with an adjusted $16.4B in total losses.

Soon I'll take a look at the AIR-Worldwide earthquake list and see how that compares to our normalized earthquake losses (here in PDF). (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

A Non-Linear Perspective Of Climate Change

The argument over whether or not temperature data reveals global warming or global cooling... or neither... has been raging since the IPCC issued its opinion that the earth was experiencing global warming. The problem is not one of truth versus lies, but a very simple issue of “on what part of the truth are we focusing?”

Global temperature data are notoriously suspect, inconsistent, and discontinuous. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence that during the past 30-40 years, there has been a period of moderate warming. From this evidence, a whole body of scientific and political endeavor has arisen to project the environmental and political risks associated with this warming.

Most recently, a study by The National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR] has examined daily maximum and minimum record temperatures and concluded that the U.S. is likely to experience a rapid increase in the ratio of maximum to minimum record temperatures. This was based on approximately 55 years of data.

Following an A1B emission scenario for the 21st century, the U.S. ratio of record high maximum to record low minimum temperatures is projected to continue to increase, with ratios of about 20 to 1 by mid-century, and roughly 50 to 1 by the end of the century.
There are two issues with this study beyond the reliability of the data or the analysis of the selected data:
1. What is the nature of our climate?
2. What inference can be drawn by the data used?
One version of climate is the record of temperatures from 1880:

This does not show actual temperatures but variation from a 1901-2000 average. The maximum negative variation is approximately -0.35 to -0.37°C while the maximum positive variation is approximately 0.55 to 0.57°C. Total variation is approximately 0.8°C.

There are two questions that must be asked regarding these data:

1. How do these data reflect longer term changes in climate?
2. How do these data compare with other measures of climate change?
A third and somewhat more difficult question to answer is how reliable are the readings through time. (Hall of Record)

 

Controversial NOAA climate change page returns - missing original skeptical text

Two weeks ago the Climate Change Examiner reported about an online lesson from NOAA’s National Weather Service discussing climate change that questioned CO2’s effect on the climate. The page was removed within 48 hours but has recently been restored – without the controversial comments.

The original lesson, titled “It’s a Gas Man”, was part of a series of lessons on the atmosphere. In it, the lesson stated, that, “there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.” It further went on to say, “The behavior of the atmosphere is extremely complex. Therefore, discovering the validity of global warming is complex as well. How much effect will [sic] the increase in carbon dioxide will have is unclear or even if we recognize the effects of any increase.”

Two days later, on November 4th, the entire lesson was removed from the National Weather Service’s website and returned a ‘page not found’ error message. Email inquiries to the page’s webmaster questioning the page’s removal were not returned.

Now, the page has been restored however it is missing virtually the entire discussion section that had in depth analysis regarding the effects of CO2 on the atmosphere. The time stamp at the bottom of the page maintains the same modified date - September 1, 2009 - however the content has been changed considerably. (Examiner)

 

How Climate Scientists Talk to Each Other on Email

A very prominent climate scientist, who writes from a .gov address, sends this to my father after my father simply responded to a scientific query from another climate scientist who put the .gov guy (his colleague) on the distro list (along with a bunch of others, including me):

Roger,

Please remove me from your email distribution list. I have no desire to communicate with you. Ever.

XXXXXXXXX

That message comes across a bit like sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming "I'M NOT LISTENING I'M NOT LISTENING". Climate science has a few remarkable human beings in it, that is for sure.

Of course, this would be just a bit of silliness, but the unnamed scientist above has a major role in international and national climate science assessments, and is undoubtedly an active peer reviewer. Do you think based on that email he is going to give my father's scientific work a fair shake? And to the extent he is representative of a broader set of individuals, climate science is a deeply troubled institution of science. Makes me glad to be a social scientist. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Climate Change Survey Of Weathercasters

There is an interesting and quite informative survey of weathercasters that is published in the October 2009 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It is by Kris Wilson and is titled

Opportunities and Obstacles for Television Weathercasters to Report on Climate Change

There are some remarkable findings including

“Almost two-thirds of this sample disagreed that “global climate models are reliable in their projections for a warming of the planet”

“Two-thirds of this sample also disagreed with the statement that “global climate models are reliable in their projections for local weather patterns”

and

“……this sample of AMS weathercasters repeatedly expressed their desire to have access to “independent,” “unbiased,” and “reputable” sources of data and information that present “both sides” of the issue.”

The full article with its survey results is worth reading.

I have also been informed of this new survey which is being distributed by the American Meteorological Society.

UPDATE: I have been e-mailed and informed that the two surveys are actually different surveys. The first one is open to all broadcast meteorologists, while the second were selected on known climate change work] (Climate Science)

 

Oh... Told Ya So

In 2005 I wrote that it was just a matter of time before air capture -- the direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere -- was going to move to the center of climate policy debates. Since that time I have been following the issue closely and even doing a bit of research on it (PDF). Today, Nature reports on the final results of a major European research project called Ensembles:

Carbon dioxide emissions will have to be all but eliminated by the end of this century if the world is to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2 ºC, scientists warned yesterday. And it might even be necessary to start sucking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

The findings are the culmination of five years work by Ensembles, a major European research consortium led by the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and involving 65 other research institutes worldwide. In the first study of its kind, scientists in the project used a variety of the latest global climate models to determine the reductions needed to stabilize levels of greenhouse gases, termed CO2 equivalents, at 450 parts per million. That level, which offers a reasonable chance of keeping the temperature rise under 2ºC, is the goal of European climate policy.

The results suggest that to achieve that target, emissions would have to drop to near zero by 2100. One of Ensemble's models predicted that by 2050, it might also be necessary to introduce new techniques that can actually pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Here is what Ken Caldeira says:

The results suggest that simply switching to renewable sources of energy may not be enough to stabilize emissions. "It's clear that if we continue our current emissions trajectory and we want to stay at 450 parts per million, we'll need to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere," says atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, who works at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California. That could mean deploying new techniques for capturing carbon, such as biochar, reforestation or air filtering, on a massive scale.

Caldeira adds that action now could be a better option. If people stop building new CO2-emitting devices within the next decade, they could achieve the same result at a lower cost.

Any bets on whether or not people will "stop building new CO2-emitting devices within the next decade"? As I have often said, no one really knows the possibilities of air capture (chemical, biological, geological) and sequestration at scale, and we won't until a greater effort is devoted to it. But whether you like it or not, the slow pace of mitigation policies to meaningfully deflect trajectories from business-as-usual means that air capture is gaining traction as a policy option, and will continue to do so. It is not at the center of debates over climate -- yet -- but it is moving closer. (Roger Pielke Jr)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is an asset, a resource required by green plants and the basis of the food chain for surface life on this planet. Its current levels are low, which is why commercial greenhouses spend money raising the diurnal levels in their growing environments. We most assuredly do not want to restrict or reduce levels of this asset.

 

Carbon nanotubes capture greenhouse gases, desalinate water

Carbon nanotech has been applied to everything from boat construction to windshields and now, with a licensing agreement from Livermore Lab, a Hayward, Calif., company will apply it to water desalination and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has licensed a new carbon nanotube technology to its spinoff company Porifera. The company will develop permeable membranes for CO2 sequestration, water desalination, and other liquid-based separations based on discoveries made at Livermore. 

The technology integrates carbon nanotubes into polymer membranes, increasing the flux of carbon dioxide capture by two orders of magnitude thanks to the material's unique "nanofluidic" properties. This technique could enable a less expensive method of capturing carbon from coal plants, according to the Livermore. Sequestering CO2, a greenhouse gas emission, is one strategy for curbing global warming, although this particular process has yet to prove out on a industrial scale. 

"The technology is very exciting," said Olgica Bakajin, former Livermore scientist and now chief technology officer at Porifera. "The reason it makes sense to do it is because of the unique nanofluidic properties of carbon nanotube pores. It's at the right place to take it to the marketplace." ( Mark Rutherford, Military Tech)

It might be great they can capture CO2 more efficiently but we do not want to waste the atmospheric resource!

 

For the people... despite the people? Dutch To Pursue Carbon Storage Project

AMSTERDAM - A project to capture and store carbon dioxide underground near the Dutch town of Barendrecht will go ahead in phases, the Dutch Economy and Environment ministers said on Wednesday, despite local opposition to the plan. Initially a small storage test site will be constructed, and will be followed by a larger site as long as no complications emerge in the test phase, the ministers said in a statement.

The concerns of locals had been taken into account but the ministers argued that capture and storage of CO2 is a necessary transition technology to help cut emissions. (Reuters)

 

Everybody's got to get in the act... Forest Service says trees can slow climate change

WASHINGTON — National forests can be used as a carbon "sink" with vast numbers of trees absorbing carbon dioxide to help slow global warming, the Forest Service chief said Wednesday, but that goal must be balanced.

He's also concerned about the risk of catastrophic wildfires that produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said his agency is trying to manage forests to combat climate change while still easing the risk of wildfires that have increased in frequency and intensity, in part because of global warming.

Forests now store enough carbon to offset about 16 percent of the nation's fossil fuel emissions, but that number could be reduced or even reversed if wildfires and insect infestation continue to increase, Tidwell said. (AP)

 

California bans power-hungry TVs - State regulators move to become energy efficient

Power-hungry TVs will be banned from store shelves in California after state regulators Wednesday adopted a first-in-the-nation mandate to reduce electricity demand.

On a unanimous vote, the California Energy Commission required all new televisions up to 58 inches to be more energy efficient, beginning in 2011. The requirement will be tougher in 2013, with only a quarter of all TVs currently on the market meeting that standard.

The commission estimates that TVs account for about 10 percent of a home's electricity use. The concern is that the energy draw will rise by as much as 8 percent a year as consumers buy larger televisions, add more to their homes and watch them longer.

Commissioners say energy efficiency standards are the cheapest and easiest way to save electricity. (Associated Press)

 

Energy saving light bulbs get dimmer over time - Energy saving light bulbs, never the brightest way of lighting a room, become significantly dimmer during their lifetime, a report has discovered.

Traditional incandescent bulbs, which are being phased out of British shops, lose just a fraction of their brightness by the time they stop working, but energy-saving ones lose 22 per cent of brightness.

The figures come from an in-depth report from E&T, the leading trade magazine published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

It concludes that consumers are being routinely misled about the efficacy of low energy light bulbs, or compact fluorescent bulbs as they are technically known. "There is a big difference between what most bulbs' packaging promises and what the reality is. It's no wonder so many consumers are dissatisfied with the bulbs," said Dickon Ross, the editor of E&T. (TDT)

 

Origins of the Gasoline Tax (Part II of “Political Capitalism: Understanding the Beast that Broke the Cage”)

“I see no force in modern society which can cope with the power of capital handled by talent, and I cannot doubt that the greatest force will control the other forces.”

- William Graham Sumner. “Economics and Politics” [1905]. In Earth-Hunger and Other Essays. 1913. Edited by Albert Galloway Keller. Reprint. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1980, p. 329.

“It is precisely the fact that the market does not respect vested interests that makes the people concerned ask for government interference.”

      – Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (4th Edition), p. 337.

Jim Rogers (Duke Energy), Aubrey McClendon (Chesapeake Energy), John Rowe (Exelon), T. Boone Pickens, Matt Simmons…  The list goes on of the political capitalists (aka “rent seekers”) who, in the tradition of Ken Lay and Enron, are politicizing the energy market for momentary advantage–but all in the name of saving the planet.

Try to name some counterweights, some prominent free-market capitalists.  I can think of one in the energy sector who does not want the publicity (Charles Koch, Koch Industries) and one in banking (John Allison, BB&T). Any others of note (please add a comment if so)? They are few and far between.

Rent-seeking political capitalists are hardly new. The New Deal featured a variety of business leaders wanting special government favors at the expense of taxpayers, consumers, and/or competitors. And in the decades before FDR’s power grab, leading voices from the public utility industries championed entry-and-rate regulation by government, fearing market “raiders” more than mandated rate maximums (this story comes later in the series).

Energy Favors

The history of the U.S. energy industry is replete with examples of government intervention originating within the industry. As documented in Oil, Gas, and Government: The U.S. Experience (1996), there is government intervention sponsored by “Big Oil” and many more instances of intervention stemming from “little oil”–or nonintegrated independents who were particularly vulnerable to shifts in the marketplace.

Mom-and-pops with good political connections or working through trade associations could and did wield the political ax against bigger competitors and/or unorganized consumers, I found in my study.

One of the most interesting examples of the industry at political work concerns the first state motor fuel tax, passed in Oregon in 1919 at, you guessed it, $0.01 cents per gallon.

Was this tax the work of a far sighted reformer? Or was it a confluence of private and public interests creating a demand for and supply of government favor?  It was the latter.

Specifically, “Big Oil” was behind the Oregon gas tax. The major oil companies via their trade association calculated that the demand for gasoline and thus the price of gasoline would rise more from tax-financed new road construction than demand for the same would fall from the tax.

Oregon’s beginning led to road taxes in all 48 states within a decade to fund road construction.

Problem was that gas tax revenue started to be diverted to other uses to the chagrin of the American Petroleum Institute (API). “Phantom roads” became an issue. Government intervention giveth and taketh away.

Here is the story of the first motor fuel tax reproduced from Oil, Gas, and Government (pp. 1375–76). [Read more →] (Robert Bradley Jr., MasterResource)

 

Looney tunes...The US EPA is determined to prove it should not exist: Sulfur Dioxide Air Quality Standards Going Up

WASHINGTON, DC, November 17, 2009 - For the first time in nearly 40 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to strengthen the nation's sulfur dioxide air quality standard to protect public health. 

Power plants and other industrial facilities emit sulfur dioxide, SO2, directly into the air where it forms fine particles and acid rain. Exposure to SO2 can aggravate asthma, cause respiratory difficulties, and result in emergency room visits and hospitalization. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to exposure to this gas. 

"Short-term exposures to peak SO2 levels can have significant health effects – especially for children and the elderly - and leave our families and taxpayers saddled with high health care costs," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "We're strengthening clean air standards, stepping up monitoring and reporting in communities most in need, and providing the American people with protections they rightly deserve." 

EPA is taking public comment on a proposal to establish a new national one-hour SO2 standard, between 50 and 100 parts per billion may be present in the air during in any one hour period. 

This standard is designed to protect against short-term exposures ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. 

The existing standards are 140 parts per billion measured over 24 hours, and 30 ppb measured over an entire year. 

Because the revised standards would be more protective, EPA is proposing to revoke the current 24-hour and annual SO2 health standards. (ENS)

This is primarily about attacking coal-fired electricity generation and stands to decrease population health (people need affordable energy to work, play and live).

 

Looney tunes...And naturally the anti-social dipsticks at PSR are part of the campaign: Coal Pollution Undermines America's Health, Physicians Advise

WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2009 - Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases, concludes a scathing report issued today by Physicians for Social Responsibility. 

"Each step of the coal lifecycle - mining, transportation, washing, combustion, and disposing of postcombustion wastes - impacts human health," warns the report, entitled "Coal's Assault on Human Health." 

In addition, the report states, "the discharge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere associated with burning coal is a major contributor to global warming and its adverse effects on health worldwide." (ENS)

 

It’s dirty but it’s cheap — power plants sit on growing mountains of discount coal

Britain’s coal mountain has soared to its highest level in nearly 15 years as power station operators stock up on cheap supplies of the fuel.

Drax power station in North Yorkshire, E.ON’s plants at Kingsnorth, Kent, and Ratcliffe-on-Soar, in Nottinghamshire, as well as Scottish & Southern Energy’s plants at Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire and Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire are among those that have been taking advantage of the collapse in coal prices from a peak of $224.30 a tonne in July 2008 to $69 yesterday.

One industry insider said you “could ski down” the coal pile at one plant in the Midlands.

Coal plants usually hold about 30 days’ worth of supplies on site, but many stations are understood to be holding much more. Latest government figures show that coal stocks stood at 23.9 million tonnes in August, up from 15.9 million a year earlier and the highest level since January 1995.
Related Links

* Every home to get new bill for carbon-neutral coal

* Coal: the fuel of the future?

The surge in British coal stocks, news of which comes days before the start of the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, raises questions about the effectiveness of government efforts to cut emissions and switch to low-carbon alternatives, such as wind and nuclear energy. (The Times)

 

Odds Stacked Against New German Power Stations

FRANKFURT - Germany faces higher electricity prices and power supply shortfalls if the economic downturn prevents enough new power plants being built.

Power generators looking to expand must also grapple with public opposition to coal over its carbon emissions, and delays to a defined future for nuclear energy's as the new government starts to work out its energy policy.

The problem has been put off in the short term as big companies like E.ON and RWE are not eager to spend money in the face of slumping demand. Industrial consumer purchases of power in the year to September slumped by seven percent in Europe's biggest economy.

But as signs of a German recovery appear, so too are projections for rising power demand and fears there could be supply gaps and crippling prices, if the slowdown in investments is not halted.

"We could easily risk running into power capacity bottlenecks in the coming years when the economy recovers and electricity demand rises again," said Florian Haslauer of the A.T. Kearney consultancy. (Reuters)

 

Question Over Carbon Emission Savings Figure For Palm Oil

BRUSSELS, Nov 19 -- A European Commission official said the low carbon emission savings calculation for palm oil, was the best figure known at the time the EU Renewable Energy Directive was put together.

Paul Hodson, the European Commission Directorate-General for Transport and Energy (TREN) said this in explaining to dissatisfied Malaysian officials, how its scientists had derived the 19 percent level for palm oil compared to rapeseed (38 per cent), sunflower (51 per cent) and soya (31 per cent).

"If this figure is changed, then the EU will have problems in also changing the numbers to the directive," he explained. (Bernama)

Silly part is no one should give a damn...

 

3 Democrats Could Block Health Bill in Senate

WASHINGTON — Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, says he is not sure he is ready to help a Democratic health care proposal clear even the most preliminary hurdle: gaining the 60 votes his party’s leaders need to open debate on the measure later this week.

Two of his fellow Democrats, Senators Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, are proving tough sells as well, raising the prospect that one or perhaps all three of them could scuttle the bill before the fight over it even begins on the Senate floor.

“I think what is most important for me is to take a look at what is presented on behalf of Arkansans and figure out whether it is something that really makes sense,” Mrs. Lincoln said Tuesday. “I am responsible to the people of Arkansas, and that is where I will take my direction.”

Typically routine, the procedural approval needed to begin consideration of a bill looms as anything but routine in this instance. Instead, the vote is fast becoming a test of the leadership abilities of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. It will also decide at least the near-term prospects of President Obama’s top domestic priority. And it is providing a case study of the Democrats’ difficulties in managing high expectations fueled by large Congressional majorities. (NYT)

 

Will America Keep “Bending the Productivity Curve”?

Most international comparisons conclude that America’s health care sector under-performs those of other advanced nations.  Aside from other serious flaws, those studies typically ignore each nation’s contribution to medical innovation — the discovery of new knowledge and practices that improve health in all nations. Today, the Cato Institute releases a new study — the most comprehensive study of its kind — that helps fill that void.

In “Bending the Productivity Curve: Why America Leads the World in Medical Innovation,” economist Glen Whitman and physician Raymond Raad conclude that the United States far and away outperforms other nations on medical innovation, but that the legislation moving through Congress threatens America’s ability to innovate.  From the executive summary:

To date…none of the most influential international comparisons have examined the contributions of various countries to the many advances that have improved the productivity of medicine over time…

In three of the four general categories of innovation examined in this paper — basic science, diagnostics, and therapeutics — the United States has contributed more than any other country…In the last category, business models, we lack the data to say whether the United States has been more or less innovative than other nations; innovation in this area appears weak across nations.

In general, Americans tend to receive more new treatments and pay more for them — a fact that is usually regarded as a fault of the American system. That interpretation, if not entirely wrong, is at least incomplete. Rapid adoption and extensive use of new treatments and technologies create an incentive to develop those techniques in the first place. When the United States subsidizes medical innovation, the whole world benefits. That is a virtue of the American system that is not reflected in comparative life expectancy and mortality statistics.

Policymakers should consider the impact of reform proposals on innovation. For example, proposals that increase spending on diagnostics and therapeutics could encourage such innovation. Expanding price controls, government health care programs, and health insurance regulation, on the other hand, could hinder America’s ability to innovate.

Raad will discuss the study this Friday at noon at a policy forum at the Cato Institute. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Battling Malaria in Uganda

My mobile phone rang. Another nephew was down with malaria, a friend told me. Lying in his hospital bed, quinine running through his veins, Emmanuel felt the pain wracking his body. I knew it was bad, because every time I get malaria I endure the same agony and treatments.

Emma was lucky. A week earlier, he had arranged goat exports to Saudi Arabia. Although his meagre earnings would now pay hospital bills, instead of buying things he and his family desperately needed, at least he would still have his weakened body, his life and another chance.

Every day, a million Africans are stricken by this horrible disease. The possibility of sudden death is so real that all other considerations are minor, and people just find any available money for medical bills.

Malaria has been with us for thousands of years, yet ignorance about it is still rampant. Some rural Africans still resort to ancient techniques and even associate it with witchcraft practiced against them by their neighbours. They treat victims with drum sounds, herbal mixtures and restrictions against certain foods. Naturally, many die under such care, generating vicious hostility between victims’ families and suspected “spell casters,” with disputes sometimes erupting in violence.

And so, one by one by a million, malaria exacts its toll. Meanwhile, too many people who could make a difference simply attend conferences, talk, write reports, and distribute educational materials and bed nets. Environmentalists rant about the supposed risks of insecticides, but never mention their obvious benefits: preventing disease and saving lives. Businessmen worry about Europeans blocking exports if Africans use DDT or other insecticides.

It’s the Western equivalent to drums and not eating too many mangoes. And our children keep dying. (Fiona Kobusingye, Townhall)

 

How Will the Court Vote on “Incorporating” the Second Amendment?

Yesterday I described the brief Alan Gura filed on behalf of the petitioners challenging Chicago’s gun ban in the Supreme Court — asking the Court to apply the individual right to keep and bear arms to the states.

Late last night, Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy sketched out his predictions of whether the individual justices would go for Gura’s main argument: that the indefensible Slaughter-House Cases should be overturned and thus that the Court should “incorporate” the rights at issue via the Privileges or Immunities Clause.  (Cato supports this argument, as we’ll show in the brief we’ll be filing next week.) He concludes that Justice Thomas is the only vote available for this claim. According to Orin, the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Alito are too enamored with stare decisis to overturn an 1873 precedent, Justice Kennedy isn’t an originalist and likes substantive due process too much, and the other four are too afraid of Lochner and Institute for Justice-style economic liberty arguments to go there.

As George Will would say: Well. Orin could turn out to be right, but I think his analysis is too simplistic. I was just about to write my response when I saw that Josh Blackman, with whom I have a law review article forthcoming on these issues, already said it best in the comments to Orin’s post:

First, I think you present a binary choice; incorporate through Due Process OR incorporate through privileges or immunities. The question presented asked about both routes of incorporation. Neither path is by necessity mutually exclusive. As Gura’s brief makes clear, the Court could incorporate through the Due Process Clause, and alternatively recognize that the right to keep and bear arms is also among the Privileges or Immunities of Citizenship. The Court need not displace 100 years of substantive due process jurisprudence with this single case. And from a practical perspective, basically the entire Bill of Rights has been incorporated. So, unless some people start clamoring about states quartering troops in theirs homes, this would be a one time deal. Such a holding would do little to upset the apple cart, or as we put it, open Pandora’s Box.

Second, I think you may over-simplify Scalia’s views on originalism and stare decisis. Our article shows that Scalia, while on the Supreme Court, has never voted in favor of a substantive due process incorporation. The last such case was in 1982. Can Scalia really cite the doctrine that he excoriated in Lawrence, Casey, and elsewhere based solely on reliance interests? It is no secret Scalia likes guns, and he wants to incorporate the 2nd Amendment. But he does not want to enlarge substantive due process. Is he stuck between a rock and a substantively hard place? The Privileges or Immunities Clause provides an alternative method for Scalia. He could write a classic originalist opinion tracing the right to bear arms during Reconstruction, and find that it applies to the State.

Finally, fellow Volokh conspirator Randy Barnett (and Cato senior fellow) also disagrees with Orin, offering this perspective:

When choosing between the two pending cases in the Seventh Circuit, why would four Justices grant cert on the McDonald case in which the challenge was focused on the Privileges or Immunities Clause and deny cert on NRA case, which confined its argument to the Due Process Clause? Why would they have rejected the City of Chicago’s proposal which limited the question presented to Due Process?

Faced with this background and the actual question presented, I wonder how would Orin have briefed the case. Would he have offered any of the analysis in his post? Would he have told the Court just to ignore the Privileges or Immunities Clause? Or might he not have assumed as an experienced litigator that the Justices could write a Due Process Clause “incorporation” opinion in their sleep–heck, their clerks could write that opinion in their sleep–and then devoted the bulk of his brief to describing the meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause in context?

Ultimately, Orin’s analysis is based in what he thinks will be the Justices’ dislike for the interpretation of the Privileges or Immunities Clause described in the brief. The conservatives will hate the references to “natural rights” while the liberals will hate the references to “property.” Fair enough. But notice that the brief does not offer Alan Gura’s theory of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. All the phrases to which Orin objects are taken from quotes from the historical sources. Was Gura supposed to conceal these sources from the Court or faithfully report them? Orin may think this case is a hoot, but for the parties and the Court it is serious business.

In short, Orin’s legal realism/conventional wisdom may turn out prescient — and all the rest of us are engaged in a quixotic originalist/libertarian crusade – but I’ll put my money elsewhere. (Ilya Shapiro, Cato at liberty)

 

Beyond Parody

A former soldier in England has been arrested and convicted (and may even go to jail for five years) because he found a gun in his yard and he turned it over to the police. I presume this is in part a reflection of the anti-gun ideology embedded in UK law, but don’t prosecutors and judges have even a shred of discretion to avoid foolish prosecutions and/or protect innocent people from absurd charges? Here is the news report:

A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for “doing his duty”. Paul Clarke, 27, was found guilty of possessing a firearm at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday – after finding the gun and handing it personally to police officers on March 20 this year. The jury took 20 minutes to make its conviction, and Mr Clarke now faces a minimum of five year’s imprisonment for handing in the weapon. In a statement read out in court, Mr Clarke said: “I didn’t think for one moment I would be arrested.”

… The court heard how Mr Clarke was on the balcony of his home in Nailsworth Crescent, Merstham, when he spotted a black bin liner at the bottom of his garden. In his statement, he said: “I took it indoors and inside found a shorn-off shotgun and two cartridges. “I didn’t know what to do, so the next morning I rang the Chief Superintendent, Adrian Harper, and asked if I could pop in and see him. “At the police station, I took the gun out of the bag and placed it on the table so it was pointing towards the wall.” Mr Clarke was then arrested immediately for possession of a firearm at Reigate police station, and taken to the cells.

… Prosecuting, Brian Stalk, explained to the jury that possession of a firearm was a “strict liability” charge – therefore Mr Clarke’s allegedly honest intent was irrelevant. Just by having the gun in his possession he was guilty of the charge, and has no defence in law against it, he added.

… Judge Christopher Critchlow said: “This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge. “The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant.” (Daniel J. Mitchell, Cato at liberty)

 

Folic acid supplements may raise cancer risk: study

CHICAGO - Heart patients in Norway -- where unlike many countries foods are not enriched with folic acid -- were more likely to die from cancer if they took folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements compared with those who did not take them, Norwegian researchers said on Tuesday.

The team found lung cancer rates were 25 percent higher among those who took the supplements compared with the general population, but overall cancer deaths and deaths from other causes were also higher in the supplement group.

They said folic acid given over a period of more than three years may feed the growth of cancers that were too small to be detected otherwise, and raises new questions about the benefits of fortifying foods with folic acid.

"Our results need confirmation in other populations and underline the call for safety monitoring following the widespread consumption of folic acid from dietary supplements and fortified foods," Dr. Marta Ebbing of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Folic acid, a B vitamin, helps the body make healthy new cells, and getting enough of it is crucial for women before pregnancy to prevent serious birth defects like spina bifida. (Reuters)

 

Looney tunes...Still dining out on his idiotic scare campaign: Dr. Samuel Epstein's 20 Year Fight Against Biotech, Cancer-Causing Milk

CHICAGO, IL, October 28, 2009 --//-- Twenty years ago, back when Frank Young, M.D. was Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, he received a report from Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. entitled "Potential Public Health Hazards of Biosynthetic Milk Hormones," warning of the public health dangers of consuming milk from hormone-treated cows. 

Injection of cows with recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), the genetically engineered, potent variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows, sharply elevates levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in milk, Dr. Epstein warned the commissioner. (WORLD-WIRE)

Parenthetically, rBGH significantly reduces feed and water requirements and reduces waste runoff through higher productivity, something rather important according to the following item:

 

EPA, Florida Agree to Limit Fertilizer, Animal Waste in State Waters

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, November 17, 2009 - In a decision with national relevance, a federal judge in Tallahassee Monday approved a consent decree that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits on excess nutrients that trigger harmful algae blooms in Florida waters. 

The EPA agreed to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida' lakes and flowing waters by January 14, 2010. The agency has until January 14, 2011, to establish numeric water quality criteria for Florida's coastal and estuarine waters. The consent decree allows the state to set numeric criteria before these dates as long as they are approved by the EPA. 

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by five environmental groups seeking to compel the federal government to set water quality standards for nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in public waters. (ENS)

 

Looney tunes...And here's Sam's release again, under one of his pseudo identities: American Public Health Association Supports Ban On Hormonal Milk And Meat

CHICAGO, IL, November 13, 2009 --//-- The Cancer Prevention Coalition is pleased to announce that the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association has voted to oppose the continued sale and use of genetically engineered hormonal rBGH milk, and also meat adulterated with sex hormones. This decision is based on long-standing scientific and public policy information developed and published by the Cancer Prevention Coalition over the last two decades, as summarized below. (WORLD-WIRE)

 

Looney tunes...And here he is again, still carrying on about nothing worthwhile: U.K. Leads the Way in Banning Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

CHICAGO, IL, November 17, 2009 --//-- The Cancer Prevention Coalition commends the UK's largest nationwide chain of health food shops, Holland & Barrett, for its recently announced ban on beauty products containing some toxic ingredients, but warns that products containing a wide range other toxic ingredients remain on the shelves. (WORLD-WIRE)

Sam really has been a standard bearer for the "endocrine disruption" myth.

 

Looney tunes...And again: Cancer Expert Counters Reckless Claims That Hormonal Milk Is Safe

CHICAGO, IL, October 14, 2009 --//-- The Cancer Prevention Coalition is criticizing a widely publicized recent report, "Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin" (rBST) which claims that milk from cows injected with this genetically engineered hormone is safe. (WORLD-WIRE)

 

Looney tunes...and again... Hormones in U.S. Beef Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

CHICAGO, IL, October 21, 2009 --//-- Beef produced in the United States is heavily contaminated with natural or synthetic sex hormones, which are associated with an increased risk of reproductive and childhood cancers, warns Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. (WORLD-WIRE)

 

Looney tunes...again... Unrecognized Cancer and Hormonal Risks of Avon Products

CHICAGO, IL, October 8, 2009 --//-- Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel Epstein, is warning women that toxic ingredients in Avon Products put users at risk of cancer and hormonal changes. (WORLD-WIRE)

 

Looney tunes...and ... Cancer: The Health Risk Behind the Cosmeceutical Mask

CHICAGO, IL, October 6, 2009 --//-- Anti-aging skin products are known as cosmeceuticals, as they overlap the distinction between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. These products are the fastest growing sales sector of the entire cosmetics industry, and are widely marketed as being safe. But Cancer Prevention Coalition Chairman Dr. Samuel S. Epstein warns that altering the physical structure of skin with chemicals to look more youthful comes at a hidden price to the skin, and even more so to overall health. (WORLD-WIRE)

 

November 18, 2009

 

Copenhagen deal should have immediate effect -Obama

BEIJING, Nov 17 - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that climate talks in Copenhagen next month should fix a new deal which has "immediate operational effect", even if an original goal of a legally binding pact is out of reach. (Reuters)

 

No Treaty? No Problem! Obama Plans to Push Ahead With Cap-and-Trade - Obama's plans for Copenhagen accord may violate U.S. Constitution

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17 -- President Obama's plan for an international cap-and-trade agreement negotiated at the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference to go into "immediate effect" may violate the Unites States Constitution, claim representatives of the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition (see www.NoCapAndTrade.com).

Quoted in a Reuters news story today, Obama said, "Our aim is not a partial accord or a political declaration but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations and one that has immediate operational effect."

"Today President Obama exhibited the arrogance commonly associated with dictators and tyrants," said Jeff Davis, executive director of NoCapAndTrade.com. "It's hard to believe that a former constitutional law professor could forget that treaties require Senate ratification."

President Obama made the remarks amid heavy criticism from Europe about the lack of progress in the U.S. toward cap-and-trade legislation and the expected failure of the imminent Copenhagen negotiations.

But such "immediate operational effect" is impossible, said Davis.

"Article II of the Constitution requires that treaties are approved by two-thirds of the Senate, so President Obama can't just sign up the U.S. and then start enforcing treaty provisions," observed Davis. "Additionally, the cap-and-trade bill now in the Senate isn't anywhere close to having the 60 votes necessary to avoid filibuster -- trying to get 67 votes for a climate treaty looks pretty unlikely right now," Davis added.

President Obama might have been thinking of using the EPA to regulate carbon when he made his statement. The EPA has proposed to designate carbon dioxide as a hazard to the public welfare and to regulate it under the Clean Air Act.

"If President Obama signed an agreement in Copenhagen and then tried to implement it through the EPA and Clean Air Act," observed JunkScience.com's Steve Milloy, "the President would immediately be at war with Congress, including almost a two dozen Democratic Senators who are concerned about the harm cap-and-trade would do to the economy."

The German magazine Der Spiegel criticized President Obama this week, asserting he'd been "lying to" and "betraying" Europe in failing to advance cap-and-trade in the U.S.

"President Obama is Europe's last hope for ensnaring and crippling the U.S. with cap-and-trade," said Milloy. "His desperate statement today indicates he's feeling that pressure." (PRNewswire-USNewswire)

 

The "Kyoto II" Climate Change Treaty: Implications for American Sovereignty

The upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, is supposed to produce a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty signed by the Clinton Administration but never sent to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent.[1] The proposed "Kyoto II" successor agreement, if crafted along the lines of the current 181-page negotiating text, poses a clear threat to American sovereignty. This threat is primarily due to the nature of the proposed treaty--a complex, comprehensive, legally binding multilateral convention. ( Steven Groves, Heritage)

 

Low Expectations for Climate Summit - Can Copenhagen Still Be Saved?

The chances of a binding agreement being reached at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen seem slimmer than ever. But environmentalists still see a small chance of progress at the December meeting.

A few short months ago, it seemed almost inconceivable that the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen would end with anything less than a binding, legal agreement. The political pressure on the industrial states was too great, the expectations of their inhabitants too high.

"There is no Plan B," was the Danish Environment Minister Connie Hedegaard's mantra -- and the rest of the world seemed to signal its agreement, even if only in a murmur. And when world powers attending the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, in July agreed on ambitious targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, it seemed to indicate that a positive outcome from the international climate change negotiations was actually a realistic option.

However, in the meantime, something else has become clear: Success is measured by the goals one sets. And that goal was re-defined on Sunday. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Singapore, 17 heads of states and government -- including ones from China, Russia and the US -- destroyed all hopes of setting internationally binding climate targets in Copenhagen. Even the agreement to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 that was agreed upon in L'Aquila has been sidelined. Now, the only possible result of the Copenhagen talks will be a "politically binding agreement." According to the latest plan for the summit, a formal, legal agreement would then be reached at a later stage. (Der Spiegel)

 

Green Bloggers Find the Upside in Delaying Climate Change Accord

World leaders have publicly shot down hopes of any binding action on global warming at the Copenhagen talks next month. Pundits and global warming activists alike are predictably frustrated. But the wheels of optimism are already turning to find the upside in the climate change delay. A handful of green commentators think that lowered expectations could allow President Obama to attend the Copenhagen summit, and that extra time could allow America time to pass domestic legislation. So is the definite lack of agreement ahead in Copenhagen actually a good thing? (Heather Horn, Atlantic Wire)

 

Chairmen split over climate bill

Clear differences have emerged among the Democratic chairmen of the six Senate committees with jurisdiction over climate change legislation. 

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, who both represent states with significant coal industries, would like to proceed cautiously.

“Most of the country doesn’t know what cap-and-trade is. They have no idea. I would say half the Senate have no idea what cap-and-trade is and could not explain it,” Rockefeller told The Hill on Tuesday. 

He said climate legislation should not reach the floor before July of next year, putting the controversial bill on the schedule only months before Election Day.

“You have to get this stuff out to the American people before you change their lives, and we are not paying any attention to that,” Rockefeller said.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) would like to pass the bill as soon as possible.

“I’d love to get it done tomorrow,” said Boxer, who acknowledged others are less intent on moving that quickly. (The Hill)

 

Climate change bill through coal states

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 -- Several U.S. senators have a message for their chamber's leaders: The road to a climate change rumbles through their coal-rich states.

Last week in a letter, a group of 14 coal-state members told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the climate change bill needs to include more protections for coal-dependent utilities, Politico reported Tuesday.

"They don't have a deal until they get the coal-state senators, and they are a long way from doing it," Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said. "They're going to need us to pass a bill."

Coal is a driver for economic activity in 34 states, government data indicate. Department of Energy studies in 2007 indicated coal supplied about half of all U.S. power and employed more than 80,000 people. Each of those mining jobs spiders into 3 1/2 more jobs in associated industries, the National Mining Association said. 

If Democratic senators want a climate change bill, "they are going to have to accept concessions to the coal industry," Peter Gray, chairman of the environmental law practice at McKenna Long and Aldridge, told the Washington publication.

Even Senate liberals concede coal state senators constitute a voting bloc. (UPI)

 

Climate Change Bill's Five Biggest Opponents

Last year's presidential election was the first in which both major-party candidates acknowledged carbon's role in global warming. In June, the House passed far-reaching climate change legislation. Since then, climate legislation has been introduced in the Senate, and Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn., and John Kerry, D-Mass., are currently hashing out a possible bipartisan alternative.

But for all the movement toward some kind of action on global climate change, efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions aren't universally beloved in Congress. These five lawmakers are among the most outspoken opponents of legislation to combat climate change. ( Emily Vaughan, National Journal)

 

Climate talks make progress, pressure on U.S.

COPENHAGEN, Nov 17 - Environment ministers made progress on Tuesday towards a scaled-down climate deal in Copenhagen next month, with Washington facing pressure to promise deep cuts by 2020 in greenhouse gas emissions.

"We still need more movement," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference at the end of two days of talks among 40 ministers from around the world on a deal meant to be agreed at the Dec. 7-18 meeting in Denmark.

"Industrialised countries must raise their targets and financial commitments further...I look to the United States for a numerical mid-term target and a clear commitment on finance," he told a news conference. (Reuters)

Environment ministers should join the line furthest away, i.e., far queue! Ms Browner should similarly flocculate.

 

U.S. Official Expects Commitment to Climate Financing

WASHINGTON -- A United Nations summit on climate change scheduled for next month is likely to yield a financial commitment by rich countries to help poor countries fight the effects of warmer temperatures, President Barack Obama's top adviser on energy and climate change said Tuesday.

The official, Carol Browner, stopped short of saying how much the U.S. would commit to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate rising greenhouse-gas emissions. Nevertheless, she said the summit in Copenhagen is "an important step" toward forging a global treaty to cap countries' emissions of heat-trapping gases. She added the Obama administration hopes to forge such a deal within six to 12 months.

"There will be some commitment to some kind of financing" for developing countries, Ms. Browner told an audience at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington.

Ms. Browner didn't specify how much she thought the U.S. government would contribute and suggested it would be difficult for the administration to commit to specific amounts because Congress has yet to pass legislation that would raise such funds, by requiring companies to pay the government for the right to emit greenhouse gases. (WSJ)

 

Copenhagen climate conference: more a planting than a burial

There is life yet in next month's climate talks, despite the doomsayers' doubts. But, says Geoffrey Lean, time is running out for Barack Obama to secure Senate backing for his offer of emission cuts. (TDT)

 

Africa Agrees On Secret Climate Damages Demand

ADDIS ABABA - African leaders agreed on Tuesday on how much cash to demand from the rich world to compensate for the impact of climate change on the continent but kept the figure secret ahead of next month's Copenhagen talks.

The United Nations summit in Denmark will try to agree on how to counter climate change and come up with a post-Kyoto treaty protocol to curb emissions.

"We have set a minimum beyond which we will not go," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who will represent Africa at the talks, told reporters. "But I am not in a position to tell you what that minimum figure will be." (Reuters)

 

Poor guys... Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide Emissions Up by 29 Percent Since 2000

The strongest evidence yet that the rise in atmospheric CO2 emissions continues to outstrip the ability of the world's natural 'sinks' to absorb carbon is published November 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

An international team of researchers under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project reports that over the last 50 years the average fraction of global CO2 emissions that remained in the atmosphere each year was around 43 per cent -- the rest was absorbed by the Earth's carbon sinks on land and in the oceans. During this time this fraction has likely increased from 40 per cent to 45 per cent, suggesting a decrease in the efficiency of the natural sinks. The team brings evidence that the sinks are responding to climate change and variability. (ScienceDaily)

No matter how they torture the data the world keeps gratefully accepting and exploiting the additional CO2 human actions return to the biosphere. Despite the breathless reports of 29% increase in fossil fuel emissions over the period 2000-2008, atmospheric levels rose... 4% relative, accumulating to a startling [drum roll, please] 0.039% of the atmosphere [where did I leave my woohoo hat?].

Meanwhile, what tropospheric warming we can detect stopped c2002...

 

Oh dear... Global temperatures will rise 6C by end of century, say scientists

Most comprehensive CO2 study to date is expected to give greater urgency to diplomatic maneuvering before Copenhagen (The Guardian)

 

and again: World on course for catastrophic 6° rise, reveal scientists

Fast-rising carbon emissions mean that worst-case predictions for climate change are coming true (The Independent)

 

and again: Climate change: temperatures to increase 6C by end of century

World temperatures are on course to rise 6C by the end of the century because of global warming, a major British study has forecast. (TDT)

 

GIGO, GIGO it’s off to work we go

Don’t panic! It’s only a computer model.

That was just a warning rumble. Now the avalanche of pre-Copenhagen orchestrated hysteria is upon us. Louise Gray, the Telegraph’s chief hysteria correspondent, recounts the terrible future that awaits us if we fail to return to a Stone Age lifestyle. It is all in a report produced by (no, don’t laugh) the Met Office under the Aegis of the EU. What a combination!

It is all produced by computer models with feedback. An engineering model is invalidated by just one guessed parameter or coefficient. In climate science they are all guessed. Would you fly in a plane designed with the aid of a model in which all the parameters are guessed?

But that is not all. We now have the benefit of a computer game, featuring genuine CELEBRITIES.

In the dying throes of our democracy, the divide between rulers and ruled appears to be as wide as during the worst excesses of absolute monarchy.

For those of us in the infidel majority who would appreciate some good news for a change, here it is. (Number Watch)

 

4C, 6C, 10C? Ramping Up The Numbers Game Ahead of Copenhagen

We can expect climate hysteria to reach fever pitch as the Global Warming Industry’s Global Governance Conference in Copenhagen on December 11th draws closer. Today we have a double helping of computer modelled garbage based on absurdly high climate sensitivity to CO2. First up were the combined twin taxpayer funded bureaucracies of  the UK’s ‘Mystic’ Met Office and the Soviet-style EU’s European Commission, which threatened that ‘global warming will bring killer heat, floods and storms to Britain’ as reported in The Telegraph.  Apparently, if we don’t give up evils such as heating/lighting our homes, travelling to real jobs that don’t involve sponging off the taxpayer, then Italy’s pasta ‘gets it’ and temperatures could rise by up to 10C in the next 50 years. Nothing less than reducing CO2 emissions to zero by 2100 will do. I guess that rules out breathing too. Perhaps they didn’t read the 2009 European Commission paper showing that there is no greenhouse gas signal in normalized European flood losses for 1970 to 2006.

Next up, a Nature Geoscience paper enthusiastically reported by one of the BBC’s ensemble of taxpayer funded climate Marxists with the headline, Earth ‘heading for 6C’ of warming, tells us:

“Average temperatures across the world are on course to rise by up to 6C without urgent action to curb CO2 emissions, according a new analysis. Emissions rose by 29% between 2000 and 2008, says the Global Carbon Project. All of that growth came in developing countries; but a quarter of it came through production of goods for consumption in industrialised nations.”

Several points to comment on here. First, the 29% rise in CO2 emissions since 2000 has seen a zero rise in global average temperature, as illustrated by the graphs of CO2 emissions, and the 10-year temperature stagnation below:

GCP.CO2

NOAASOTC2009

HadCRU3 Global Temperature Data as published in BAMS, 2009

Secondly, what’s the point of the Nature Geoscience authors complaining goods produced in developing countries being exported to developed countries. Are manufactured goods and exports to be banned?

Thirdly, the claim that: “The team believes that carbon sinks – the oceans and plants – are probably absorbing a slightly lower proportion of the carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions than they were 50 years ago, although researchers admit that uncertainty about the behaviour of sinks remains high” contrasts with recently published real world data showing “that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.”

So, against a background of a decade of non-warming, despite rapidly rising CO2 emissions from developing countries, 20,000 CO2 emitting climate circus performers head for Copenhagen, leaving a wake of unfounded climate alarmism behind them. 12C anyone? (CRN)

 

Sheer Sobriety And Seriousness Are Needed For Climate Fix

In his quest to find how to ‘change any minds‘ about the need for a ‘climate fix‘, Tom Zeller Jr repeats the tired mantras of climate campaigners such as former US Vice president Al Gore (‘Sheer will is needed for climate fix‘, NYT, Nov 16, 2009), including an alleged lack of ‘capacity to respond quickly‘ to dangers that are not ‘tangible in the here and now‘, and the general inability to pass laws anywhere on a carbon tax.

I have a more profane explanation.

Precisely because ‘virtually every Pavlovian trigger discovered in the human brain is now pulled by advertisers‘ (in the words of Mr Gore), people have grown smarter and more skeptical to concocted gimmicks such as those incredibly mentioned by Mr Zeller, i.e. the cat video with fake subtitles and the Maldives Government’s antics scuba-diving in the latest gear to submerged desks (one hopes they found a way for the manufacturers to pay for the publicity).

The cause for a serious analysis and management of climate change is further undermined by the constant barrage of absurdly bad news, once again taking up a prominent space in Mr Zeller’s article: climate change causing mental health problems, women faring worse than men, golf participation plummeting. Who in their right mind could ever believe that everything and anything will be negatively affected by climate change?

The desire of too many to rhetorically batter the general public into climate submission by including evermore far-fetched and scary statements however flimsy the evidence and surreal the claim, can only harden the public’s resistance to do anything at all, not just about purported disasters of the year 2100 but also concerning those of 2010.

Unless and until the likes of Mr Zeller, let alone the average climate crusader, get such a simple point, I am afraid it is going to be plenty of fruitless talking, grand posturing and ridiculous feline videos for a long long time. And minds will keep changing, yes, but in the sense of turning away from climate action. (OmniClimate)

Always providing it's broken, of course.

 

Column - Give these warmists a medal

imageimageimage

I BLAME the fear merchants and hysterics. Or thank them, rather, which is why they deserve today’s prizes.

I’m sure it’s not the fact that the world hasn’t actually warmed since 2001 that’s making so many people tell pollsters they now think this new warming faith is a scam.

No, I suspect that what’s really turning people off are the characters who have scrambled on to this colossal green bandwagon. Thousands of alarmists, cranks, totalitarians, carpetbaggers, hypocrites and salvation seekers are now wailing that we’re doomed, unless you pray to Gaia and hand over a little something. Like your savings.

And, boy, haven’t you seen a lot of such folk bob up in these last weeks before next month’s United Nations Copenhagen summit on global warming - the summit the European Union says is our “last chance” to save the world.

Alert and alarmed readers have over the past two weeks scoured news items to submit the names of the most unbelievable of all these bandwagon warmists - the ones who have done best to make us doubt their cause most.

With pleasure I’ve gone through these dozens of nominations, and can today name the winners of November’s “Alarmist of the month” awards. (Andrew Bolt)

 

AMS TV weathercaster survey on climate raises eyebrows

From Alabamawx.com by Bill Murray

A survey of weathercasters’ feelings on global warming was published in this month’s edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It had some interesting findings. There were 121 respondents. 94% of the respondents had at least one of the three major seals.

Television meteorologists are the official scientists for most television stations. The overwhelming majority felt comfortable in that role for their stations. The majority agreed that the role of discussing climate change did fall to them.

The eyebrow raising responses: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Scam central: Carbon market clouded by uncertainty

The offices of London's carbon trading companies are a little quieter than usual.

The firms - many based in the City - buy and sell one of the world's newest commodities: carbon dioxide. 

The trade in such permits allows polluters to pay for emissions reductions made elsewhere. 

The market could be huge, but its future is now uncertain. It depends on how governments decide to tackle climate change beyond 2012. 

The trade was first created by the Kyoto protocol in 1997. 

Abyd Karmali was then an energy and climate change officer with the United Nations Environment Programme. 

He now heads up the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, and is the global head of carbon markets at Bank of America Merryl Lynch. (BBC)

The one thing these guys never seem to appreciate: to create wealth you need to be value-adding while artificially inflating energy costs is value-destroying. It is always and everywhere a loser.

 

"Global Warming" A Debate at Last

In the April/May 2009 Journal of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, Paul Maynard and I published an article entitled Let Cool Heads Prevail, expressing grave scientific doubt about the supposed magnitude of the anthropogenic effect on global temperature, and providing substantial evidence from the published data and from the peer-reviewed literature. 

Our article caught the insurance industry by surprise. Lloyds of London had publicly issued blood-curdling warnings of the climatic terrors allegedly to come. The Prince of Wales had established Climate Wise, a group of leading figures in the insurance market committed, in effect, to peddling and promulgating the scare, and to silencing all dissent. The market was sewn up. How, then, could no less an organ of academic opinion than the Journal have allowed two heretics – one of them a very senior and widely-respected 4 figure in the insurance world – to publish a substantial and well-referenced paper demonstrating that the scare was scientifically baseless? (SPPI)

 

U.S. vs. China: Working Together on Global Warming?

Global warming is a problem that spans the entire world, but when it comes to figuring out how to stop it, the burden will largely fall on two countries: the U.S. and China. The U.S. is the world's largest historic carbon emitter, responsible for putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the past century and a half than any other nation. China recently surpassed the U.S. as the top emitter and will be responsible for more greenhouse gases in the future than any other country. "These two countries hold the key to sustainability or catastrophe," says Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 

If that's the case, it might seem as if the world is headed toward catastrophe. Over the weekend, world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit made explicit what had long been expected — that a legal, global treaty to reduce carbon emissions was no longer possible at next month's U.N. summit in Copenhagen. The deadlock between the U.S. and China is a big reason: Beijing expects Washington to take the lead on cutting carbon, but the U.S. won't sign on to a deal that doesn't including measurable action from the Chinese. From that perspective, climate change is one more competition between the world's reigning superpower and its No. 1 challenger. (Brian Walsh, Time)

What we are really talking about is the greatest contributors to economic and environmental prosperity. Carbon dioxide is a resource and an asset, not "pollution" at all.

 

They really do hate it when people wise up, don't they? Steve Connor: Climate change is like a disaster in slow motion

There now seems to be a growing disconnection between the message that scientists are sending out about climate change and the corresponding reaction of politicians and the public. As the experts issue increasingly dire warnings about what could happen to the world's climate system if we don't do something about carbon dioxide emissions, politicians prevaricate, the public becomes more sceptical and we all continue to burn more fossil fuels.

The latest assessment by a team of 31 leading scientists from seven countries presents a bleak vision of the path upon which we are now firmly set. It is the worst-case scenario laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, suggesting average global temperature will rise by 5C or 6C by the end of the century. (The Independent)

 

What "climate change-related" natural disasters? Climate change transforming humanitarian work: survey

NAIROBI — Climate change is the leading cause of new challenges for the humanitarian community, a survey of G20 governments commissioned by the Red Cross revealed Tuesday.

As the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement gathered in Nairobi for their first ever global meeting in Africa, the "Believe in Humanity" survey warned that the humanitarian landscape was changing fast.

"World powers expect humanitarian actors to face continuing or increasing humanitarian needs driven by climate change-related natural disasters," said the survey, released days ahead of key climate talks in Copenhagen. (AFP)

 

Al Gore: the interior of the Earth is extremely hot, several million degrees

You may have heard that the stupidity of the people has no limits but you may have thought that the statement was exaggerated.

That's because you haven't heard Al Gore's opinions about the temperature of the Earth's core.

He's told by the host that the geothermal energy looks like a plan to defeat Superman. Gore's defense of this ludicrous source of energy is striking.

He says that two kilometers under the surface, there are incredibly hot rocks because the interior of the Earth is extre-hehehe-mely hot: several million degrees.

And the crust is therefore hot, too. So they have just invented drills that don't melt in these several million degrees, Gore tells us. ;-)



What a breathtaking imbecile. It's very clear that he can't possibly have the slightest clue about physics, geology, and energy flows on the Earth. It's sad that many politicians lack the basic science education.

» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)

 

Dozen Lesser-Known Chemicals Have Strong Impact on Climate Change

A new study indicates that major chemicals most often cited as leading causes of climate change, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are outclassed in their warming potential by compounds receiving less attention.

Purdue University and NASA examined more than a dozen chemicals, most of which are generated by humans, and have developed a blueprint for the underlying molecular machinery of global warming. The results appear in a special edition of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Physical Chemistry A, released Nov. 12.

The compounds, which contain fluorine atoms, are far more efficient at blocking radiation in the "atmospheric window," said Purdue Professor Joseph Francisco, who helped author the study. The atmospheric window is the frequency in the infrared region through which radiation from Earth is released into space, helping to cool the planet. When that radiation is trapped instead of being released, a "greenhouse effect" results, warming the globe. Most of the chemicals in question are used industrially, he said.

NASA scientist Timothy Lee, lead author of the study with Francisco and NASA postdoctoral fellow Partha Bera, characterized the fluorinated compounds as having the potential to quickly slam the atmospheric window shut, as opposed to gradually easing it shut like carbon dioxide. (ScienceDaily)

 

Climate Change – What Do Economists Really Think?

Last week I summarized the economics literature on the impact of climate change on human well-being.  Or more accurately, Richard Tol reviewed the economics literature for the Spring 2009 issue of The Journal of Economic Perspectives.  I simply told you about it and tossed in a few observations that I thought relevant.

In short, I reported that the peer-reviewed literature suggests that worries about some climate-induced Armageddon are probably misplaced.  We will likely gain or lose a year of economic growth sometime in the latter half of this century from forecasted changes in the world’s physical climate.  More than that cannot be said with much confidence.

Then, by coincidence, a study crosses my desk from the “Institute for Policy Integrity” at the NYU Law School.  The study, titled “Economists and Climate Change; Consensus and Open Questions,” reports the findings of a survey of 289 of those economists the institute considers to be “the world’s top economists with expertise in climate change.”  144 of those individuals returned their questionnaire.    Michael Livermore, the executive director of the institute, characterized the findings this way:

The finding that’s gotten the most attention is we asked the economists whether according to mainstream scientific views climate change posed a significant risk to the U.S. and global economies.  And 84 percent of our respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with that statement, so that’s a fairly strong consensus viewpoint that climate change poses economic risks.  That’s probably the single most attention grabbing one.  We also polled on some of the specifics of legislation or policy.  So for example, 75 percent of the economists we polled agreed that uncertainty associated with climate change, both uncertainty about what the risks are going to be in the environment and how that’s going to impact the economy, the whole range of uncertainties actually increases the value of emission controls, which is actually something that runs counter to some people’s intuition, is that they want to wait and see because of uncertainty, but actually uncertainty is a reason, in this context to act.  We also polled about whether a market-based mechanism was a good idea.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost all economists agreed that a market mechanism was the way to go.  And then we also asked about the role of the U.S. in the kind of global situation and 57 percent of the respondents said that the U.S. should act to control emissions even kind of regardless of what other states do, what other countries do.  And basically all economists, 90 plus, 97 percent, said that if there’s a global regime we should join it.

What should we make of this?  Again, Michael Livermore: [Read more →] (Jerry Taylor, MasterResource)

 

On Climate Change Efforts, China Is Key

It is time to accept that the choices of China and India, not the United States, will determine the world’s future carbon emissions. 

America’s environmental actions will achieve their biggest returns if they influence the future carbon emissions of the billion-plus-person polities of Asia. (Edward L. Glaeser, NYT)

If only carbon emissions were an issue of importance...

 

Comments On Meehl Et Al 2009 On Trends In Record High And Low Temperatures

The paper

Gerald A. Meehl, Claudia Tebaldi, Guy Walton, David Easterling, and Larry McDaniel, 2009: The relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S. Geophysical Research Letters. In press

has already been discussed in several excellent posts by others; e.g. see

http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/2009/11/critique-of-october-2009-ncar-study.html

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/16/why-ncars-meehl-paper-on-highlow-temperature-records-is-bunk/

My post is to point out that the Meehl et al paper did not investigate and question the spatial representativeness of their results, as well as possible non-climatic effects on the data they have used. We raised a number of issues of these bias and uncertainties in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229

which need to be resolved before the Meehl et al study should be assumed to be a robust conclusion.  Why was our multi-authored peer-reviewed study not consulted in preparing their paper? Even if they reject our findings, they should not have ignored the issues we raised, but presented reasons for their rejection. Since I have considerable professional respect for the lead author, Jerry Meehl, I can only assume he (and the other co-authors) were not aware of our paper. ... (Climate Science)

 

Wouldn't be a CoP without a smoking treemometer :-) Tree growth spurt 'is climate change smoking gun' - A growth surge seen in the world's oldest trees has given scientists a new ''smoking gun'' pointing to late 20th century climate change.

Temperature rises after 1950 are thought to be responsible for the unprecedented growth of bristlecone pines on high mountain slopes in the western US.

Bristlecones are the longest living trees in the world, the record being held by one pine in California's White Mountains that is almost 5,000 years old.

Their enormous lifespans, combined with well-preserved trunks from even older dead trees, make them ideal for investigating regional climate change over long periods.

Trees preserve the story of environmental change in their growth rings, the concentric dark and light bands that appear in the face of cut trunk. Wider rings indicate episodes of time when growth was unusually fast. (TDT)

 

Growth Spurt in Tree Rings Prompts Questions About Climate Change

Anyone who has ever cut down a tree is familiar with the rings radiating out from the center of a tree trunk marking the tree's age. Careful study of tree rings can offer much more: a rich record of history and indications of concerns for the future. Researchers Matthew Salzer and Malcolm Hughes of the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and their colleagues have analyzed tree-rings from bristlecone pine trees at the highest elevations, looking for the reasons behind an extraordinary surge in growth over the past 50 years. Their findings appear in the Nov. 16 early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers studied bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva) at three sites in California and Nevada, close to the upper elevation limit of tree growth. The tree-ring record showed wider rings in recent decades, indicating a surge in growth in the second half of the 20th century that was greater than at any time in the last 3,700 years.

"We've got a pretty strong pointer that temperature plays a part in this," said Malcolm Hughes in describing the work. "So the puzzle is, why does it play a part in it for the trees near the treeline and not for those only 300, 400 feet lower down the mountain than them?" (US News)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 12 Number 46: 18 November 2009

Editorial:
Ocean Acidification and the Sagittal Otoliths of Marine Fish: A new study reveals how the former affects the latter in white sea bass, while we relay what the results imply about the ocean "acidification crisis," which is being pushed to the forefront of the suite of environmental catastrophes that are currently being promoted in the absence of the global warming that was once the centerpiece of Al Gore's "climate crisis."

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 765 individual scientists from 453 separate research institutions in 42 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Bragança Peninsula, Eastern Amazon Region, Brazil. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Dimethylsulfide: What is it? ... where does it come from? ... and what does it do?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Alligator Weed (Xu et al., 2009), Chinese Broccoli (La et al., 2009), Quaking Aspen (Cseke et al., 2009), and Soybean (Matsunami et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Trends in the Timing and Magnitude of Canadian Floods: What types of regimes have been developing over the past three decades?

The Medieval Warm Period in Southern Greenland: Was it an isolated occurrence? ... or part of a larger geographical and temporal pattern?

Global Warming and Local Marine Copepod Diversity: How would more of the former (if temperatures ever begin to rise again) affect the latter?

Africa's Vegetative Future in a CO2-Enriched and Warmer World: How will it differ from its current condition?

Wind-Driven Dispersal of Seeds and Pollen: How is the phenomenon affected by global warming? (co2science.org)

 

Say what? Sea Star Swells With Tides

A species of sea star has figured out a novel way of keeping cool on rocky shorelines. The animal literally soaks up chilly water during high tides to protect itself from the blazing temperatures that persist when the tide goes out, scientists announce today. 

Sea stars live at the ocean edge on rocky shorelines, and so they endure rapid changes in temperature as the tide comes in, covering them with chilly water, and then recedes to leave them bare to the sun's rays. 

"Sea stars were assumed to be at the mercy of the sun during low tide," said the lead study researcher Sylvain Pincebourde of François Rabelais University in Tours, France. "This work shows that some sea stars have an unexpected back-up strategy." (LiveScience)

While such a trivial water reservoir might stop the sea stars from drying out in the sun it certainly won't be sufficient to keep the critter and the rock on which it resides from warming significantly in the sunshine while the tide is out. Presumably this foolish assumption was made in order to access gorebull warming funding?

 

Will Funding For Clean Coal Fuel Compromise On A Climate Bill?

A divided Senate is struggling to put together a cap-and-trade climate-change bill. One reason why the effort remains alive despite numerous obstacles is "clean coal."

Also know as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the process traps and stores the emissions from coal-fired power plants.

One Senate bill includes at least $10 billion in federal funding for CCS over the next decade. That would be on top of the $4 billion already being spent on it by the Energy Department.

The bill would also give away as much as $200 billion in carbon allowances to the coal-fired power plants should a cap-and-trade program be enacted.

Green groups had previously mocked clean coal as a "myth." Even fans say CCS is years from being perfected.

But it's very popular with the energy industry and lawmakers from coal-reliant states. Green groups back it too despite their earlier criticism. (IBD)

 

U.S. coal industry stakes survival on carbon capture

NEW HAVEN, West Va., Nov 18 - A looming government clampdown on CO2 emissions is about to confront an already embattled U.S. coal power industry with two stark options: capture carbon or die. (Reuters)

Actually the real choice is "defeat gorebull warming legislation or die".

 

Europe and Shale Gas, Lots of Unanswered Questions

For months, the shale gas hype has been spreading across Europe, with newspapers blasting headlines over how new supplies will help the continent cut its dependence of Russian gas, fight climate change, and reclaim its security of supply. But here’s the reality: shale gas is unlikely to change Europe’s energy equation of falling indigenous gas production and rising demand. And if it does cause changes, those changes are unlikely to occur for at least a decade, if at all.

“There’s a lot of potential, but we are not quite at the point where this is going to change landscape on European gas,” said Nikos Tsafos, head European gas analyst with PFC Energy, the Washington-based energy consultancy. “People recognize that this is big, but they don’t recognize what it will take to get there. People are talking about unconventional gas as a panacea for Europe without necessarily understating what needs to happen. And the gap between reality and expectations worries me.”

While only in the early exploratory phase, companies are racing to secure acreage in Sweden, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, and the UK to determine whether North America’s success in developing unconventional gas resources can be replicated. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

 

Paying Extra for Green Power, and Getting Ads Instead

The solicitations have been flooding people’s mailboxes lately: pay a bit more on your electricity bill for 100 percent clean wind power. Or, the fliers say, buy “green power certificates” to offset your global warming emissions.

Close to a million electricity customers have signed up for such payments voluntarily, and the amount of electricity sold in this way has nearly tripled since 2005, amid rising concern about climate change and energy security. But the participants are in a distinct minority, with a sign-up rate of only about 2 percent in programs run by utilities.

The low sign-up rate raises a question: If large majorities of Americans favor increased government support for clean energy, as polls suggest, why are so many people reluctant to back such programs when it comes to paying extra themselves?

One reason might be that they think the added expense is too high. Solar and wind power generally cost more than power generated with fossil fuels. While many people support alternative energy in principle, they personally may not want to spend hundreds of dollars more for electricity, especially in the current economic environment. (NYT)

Says it all really. People will pay lip service to high-ideal buzzwords - they just won't pay real money. That's the trouble with "contingent valuation" isn't it - see "Green space no guarantee of greenbacks" (.pdf, quick view) for a prime example.

 

Sensible harvesting of reliable kinetic energy: Tidal Power Turbines Producing More Energy Than Expected

Speaking recently at the Lisbon International Ocean Power Conference, Peter Fraenkel, Technical Director and co-founder of Marine Current Turbines (MCT), the UK-based company that designed and developed SeaGen, the world's only commercial scale tidal stream turbine, told delegates that "We are delighted with SeaGen's performance. It is running reliably and delivering more energy than originally expected in an extremely aggressive environment."

The turbines are powered by a consistent tidal current that surges back and forth with every tide through the Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour.

The twin generators typically produce an average of 5MWh of electricity during the 6.25 hours of each ebb and each flood tide, enough energy to meet the average electricity needs for 1500 UK homes. SeaGen has already delivered over 350MWh of power into the electricity grid of Northern Ireland.

"We are getting more energy than expected mainly because the resource is more energetic than originally predicted during earlier surveys," added Fraenkel.

Martin Wright, Managing Director of Marine Current Turbines, commented: "...this is a practical method of generation that really does do exactly what it says on the label. It is a hugely significant milestone for the company to be selling electricity consistently and earning revenue."

Although SeaGen has been operational for most of this year, it was not until September that consent was given to operate without needing to have marine mammal observers on board and onshore. According to MCT, extensive data collected so far suggests the seals and porpoises are "not at any significant risk" and as a result SeaGen is now permitted to operate unattended and by remote control, as was originally intended.

Martin Wright added: "The expectation is that this radical new technology can be developed within five to ten years to make a significant contribution to our future energy needs. Given suitable market incentives, SeaGen demonstrates that marine renewable energy is at the cusp of forming the basis for a new UK industry with considerable world-wide export potential." (Reuters)

 

John Healey unveils proposal to do away with planning permission for wind turbines

Wind turbines standing as high as 15 metres (50ft) will be allowed on farmland and industrial estates without planning permission, under proposals to boost renewable energy.

The turbines will be approved across large areas of the countryside, provided they meet noise and impact restrictions.

John Healey, the housing minister, also announced plans to fast-track applications for solar panels on stadiums, schools, railway stations and offices, as part of proposals to achieve national commitments on climate change.

The new rules would also allow councils and those with electric cars to install charging points on streets and in car parks without a planning application. Other renewable sources of energy, including ground and water-source heat pumps and biomass boilers, will be approved without planning permission where appropriate. (The Times)

 

Heller Counsel Argues for an Originalist Revolution

Alan Gura, who successfully defended the individual right to keep and bear arms under Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller has now filed his brief in the case that seeks to apply that right to the states, McDonald v. City of Chicago.  (Cato earlier filed a brief supporting Alan’s cert petition, the background to which you can read about here.)

The question presented in this case is: Whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities or Due Process Clauses.  Remarkably, only 7 of the brief’s 73 pages are devoted to the Due Process Clause, which is the constitutional provision by which almost all the the Bill of Rights has been “incorporated” against the states.  Indeed, the brief argues that the Due Process Clause “has incorporated virtually all other enumerated rights” and so there is no reason to make the Second Amendment an exception.

The rest of the brief is far more interesting, arguing for overturning the ill-fated Slaughter-House Cases, which eviscerated the Priviliges or Immunities Clause in 1873.  Slaughter-House forced the Court to start protecting natural rights and fundamental liberties under the oddly named “substantive due process” doctrine — and it remains a bugaboo for legal scholars of all ideological stripes.  Overturning it would potentially open the door to challenges against legislation that violates a host of unenumerated rights, such as the right to enter into contract or to earn an honest living. 

Understandably, libertarians are excited at the prospect of Privileges or Immunities’ revival.  But so too are liberals, at the thought of potentially filling an empty constitutional vessel with positive rights (to health care, education, pensions, etc.).  I believe this to be an overstated threat from the perspective of constitutional interpretation — as opposed to legislation – and have an article coming out with Josh Blackman in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy in January making this point.  (The article, titled “Opening Pandora’s Box? Privileges or Immunities, The Constitution in 2020, and Properly Incorporating the Second Amendment,” will shortly be up on SSRN, but for now you can read the abstract/introduction here.)

In any event, P or I (as it’s known) is a vastly superior way of giving people in the states the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. But it’s ambitious to argue this way rather than settle for the traditional jurisprudence.  As Orin Kerr says at the Volokh Conspiracy, “It’s certainly an attention-getting way to brief the case. It’s not just arguing for a win: It’s arguing for a revolution.”

For further discussion of Alan’s McDonald brief — which Cato will be supporting with an amicus brief next week – see Lyle Deniston’s write-up at SCOTUSblog. (Ilya Shapiro. Cato at liberty)

 

"Modern" disease... Mummy Scans Show Clogged Arteries as ‘Old as Moses’ in Study

Lady Rai, nursemaid to Queen Amrose Nefertari, suffered from hardening of the arteries, as did other ancient Egyptians, even though they ate unprocessed food, got exercise and didn’t smoke, according to a study.

Five of 16 mummies of priests, priestesses and members of various pharoahs’ courts showed “definite” atherosclerosis, detected by medical scans in a study by doctors from the U.S. and Egypt. Another four showed “probable” signs of the disease that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty substances build up in the lining of the arteries, can be caused by smoking, high cholesterol diets and lack of exercise, according to the Dallas-based heart association Web site. The findings challenge the notion that atherosclerosis is a disease of modern humans brought on by modern bad habits, researchers said.

“Heart disease is as old as Moses,” said Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at the Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri and one of the study’s researchers, in an interview. “Even though their lifestyles were healthier -- no processed foods, no smoking and they got more exercise -- many still contracted the disease showing a certain genetic susceptibility.” (Bloomberg)

 

Obesity Wipes Out Decades of Efforts to Reduce Threats to Heart Share Business Exchange

Nov. 17 -- Two decades of improved treatments haven’t made a dent in the threat of heart disease in the U.S. because too many adults are obese, according to researchers from the University of Texas. 

As the nation’s average body mass index, a measure of excess weight, surged between 1988 and 2006, the number of people with healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels -- important measures of cardiovascular risks -- declined, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association conference in Orlando, Florida. 

The number of people who are obese has more than doubled in the past 30 years to 72 million people, or 30 percent of U.S. adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The obesity surge has undermined advances such as the introduction of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins in the late 1980s and public health programs that the CDC says have cut smoking rates to 21 percent, from 37 percent in 1970. 

“We are getting fat just as fast as we are improving other factors,” said lead study investigator Kami Banks, a cardiology research fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, in an interview. “We as physicians have to address obesity like it’s a medical problem. We have to prescribe things to our patients that help them manage their weight.” (Bloomberg)

 

Panel Urges Mammograms at 50, Not 40

Most women should start regular breast cancer screening at age 50, not 40, according to new guidelines released Monday by an influential group that provides guidance to doctors, insurance companies and policy makers.

The new recommendations, which do not apply to a small group of women with unusual risk factors for breast cancer, reverse longstanding guidelines and are aimed at reducing harm from overtreatment, the group says. It also says women age 50 to 74 should have mammograms less frequently — every two years, rather than every year. And it said doctors should stop teaching women to examine their breasts on a regular basis. (Gina Kolata, NYT)

 

Moderate drinking may not preserve thinking skills

NEW YORK - Think that a drink or two a day help keep your mind sharp into older age? Researchers from the United Kingdom may have poked a hole into that idea.

Dr. Claudia Cooper, at University College London, and colleagues note in a study that moderate drinkers - generally that's two drinks a day for men and one for women - tend to have less forgetfulness and better mental skills as they age.

However, moderate drinkers also tend to have social, economic, and educational advantages that help them amass greater thinking skills over time.

A report by Cooper's team in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, suggests that it's these advantages - and not moderate drinking itself - that are responsible for the benefits. (Reuters Health)

 

USDA backs rewarding schools serving healthy food

WASHINGTON - Schools that serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to pupils should see higher federal support rates than those serving less-healthier meals loaded with high fats and sugar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Tuesday.

Child nutrition programs, which include school lunch and breakfast, are due for an overhaul but Congress is not expected to act before 2010. The government has targeted improving the nutritional quality and access to school meals amid rising child obesity rates.

"It is important for us to reward top performers," Vilsack told the Senate Agriculture Committee. "We would encourage this committee and the Congress to take a look at reimbursement rates that would be linked directly to increased nutritional values." (Reuters)

 

Olympic glory has had no impact in child obesity

The Herald’s Richard Hinds argues that the Crawford Report has got it right on the future of sport.

It remains to be seen if the Crawford Report will be successful in its laudable intentions: to ensure government spending leads to increased grassroots participation, greater inclusiveness, the restoration of physical education in schools, a positive impact on public health and to improve and empower poorly administered sports.

However, David Crawford and his panel should be hailed for one thing: attempting to unshackle the government-funded sports sector from the limited, stifling and self-serving influence of the Olympic movement and its costly, self-aggrandising gold-medal obsession. (SMH)

 

Mercury, Climate and the Food Web

Writing in Environmental Health Perspectives (2005), Booth and Zeller [hereafter BZ05] embark on the highly ambitious task of applying ecosystem modeling to the difficult problem of tracing the flow of methylmercury (MeHg) - the biologically active, potentially toxic form of mercury - in the Faroe Island marine ecosystem as changing functions of both fish mortality (commercial catch rates) and climate. The paper further attempts to estimate weekly MeHg intake by the Faroese from consumption of mainly pilot whale meat and cod fish - two key sources of MeHg exposures in Faroese diets. BZ05 displays the risk inherent in favoring computer modeling results over real world data. Such an exercise, increasingly common and problematic in climate science, often produces tenuous outcomes. More specifically, Booth and Zeller, with their minimal “what if” modeling efforts, cobble together a grab-bag of speculative assertions, problematic statements, harm attributions and over-reaching conclusions. (SPPI)

 

Man-Made Ponds Linked To Arsenic In Bangladesh Water

HONG KONG - Man-made ponds and rice fields irrigated using groundwater may be responsible for arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh, a study has found.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical poisonous to humans and is known to cause skin lesions and cancers of the bladder, kidney, lung and skin.

While it is known that organic carbon triggers the release of arsenic from sediments into groundwater, the source of this carbon has been unclear.

In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, researchers said they used chemical tests and models to examine the flow of groundwater in a typical agricultural area in Bangladesh and found that man-made ponds were a key source of organic carbon.

"The chemical signature of high-arsenic groundwater points toward ponds as the source of the contaminated water," wrote the scientists, led by Charles Harvey from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

They warned against the building of artificial ponds above existing tube wells.

"The development of artificial ponds above wells should be avoided if it is possible, and drinking-water wells should not be placed downstream of recharge from existing ponds, wetlands, rivers or other permanently saturated water bodies potentially elevated in organic carbon," they wrote.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh suffer from skin lesions and experts have warned for years that Bangladesh can expect more cases of cancer if its people continue drinking arsenic-contaminated water from millions of small tube wells spread across the countryside.

Ironically, the tube wells were installed from the 1970s with the help of international agencies like the United Nations Children's Fund to provide "clean water" and as an answer to dirty surface water and widespread gastrointestinal diseases. (Reuters)

 

LABOR’S ‘GREEN WAR ON FISHING’ CLAIMS THE CORAL SEA

The Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said that the Labor government has declared a green war on fishing with their successful declaration of Coral Sea Conservation Zone.

“With the vote tied at 31 to 31 on the disallowance, the motion was defeated meaning the proclamation of the Coral Sea Conservation Zone will stand,” Senator Boswell said.

“The employees of the fishing, charter boat, marine and tourism industries should be shuddering in their boots over this decision,” Senator Boswell said.

“This proclamation is a disgraceful abuse of power by the Minister for Environment who has unilaterally declared an area of nearly a million square kilometres of ocean as a conservation zone without any consultation with industry representatives at all.”

“The Minister today has over-ridden the planning process put in place by the Howard Government to profile the entire Eastern Bio-region.”

Speaking today on the motion Senator Boswell revealed there was no consultation with any industry stakeholder by either the Minister or his Department before the proclamation of the Coral Sea Conservation Zone on 19 May 2009.

“A response by the Minister to a Question on Notice (2122) revealed that only two meetings were held by the Department prior to the proclamation, one with the Australian Conservation Foundation (19/03/09) and the other with Pew Charitable Trust (14/04/09) only a month before the proclamation.” ( Senator Ron Boswell)

 

Biotech Crops Cause Big Jump In Pesticide Use: Report

KANSAS CITY - The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods, according to a report issued Tuesday by health and environmental protection groups.

The groups said research showed that herbicide use grew by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008, with 46 percent of the total increase occurring in 2007 and 2008.

The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).

The groups said that while herbicide use has climbed, insecticide use has dropped because of biotech crops. They said adoption of genetically engineered corn and cotton that carry traits resistant to insects has led to a reduction in insecticide use by 64 million pounds since 1996.

Still, that leaves a net overall increase on U.S. farm fields of 318 million pounds of pesticides, which includes insecticides and herbicides, over the first 13 years of commercial use.

The rise in herbicide use comes as U.S. farmers increasingly adopt corn, soy and cotton that have been engineered with traits that allow them to tolerate dousings of weed killer. The most popular of these are known as "Roundup Ready" for their ability to sustain treatments with Roundup herbicide and are developed and marketed by world seed industry leader Monsanto Co. (Reuters)

This is the anti-everything brigade's response to low-till farming (only the greatest soil preservation advance in agricultural history...).

 

Studying Fertilizers to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have found that using alternative types of fertilizers can cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, at least in one part of the country. They are currently examining whether the alternatives offer similar benefits nationwide. 

Nitrogen fertilizers are often a necessity for ensuring sufficient crop yields, but their use leads to release of nitrous oxide, a major greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Fertilizer use is one reason an estimated 78 percent of the nation's nitrous oxide emissions come from agriculture, according to Ardell Halvorson, a soil scientist at the ARS Soil Plant Nutrient Research Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colo. 

Halvorson compared nitrous oxide emissions from corn fields treated with either a conventional nitrogen fertilizer (urea) or either of two specially formulated urea fertilizers—one with "controlled release" polymer-coated pellets, and the other with inhibitors added to "stabilize" the urea to keep more of it in the soil as ammonium for a longer period. ( Dennis O'Brien, Ag Research Service)

 

Anti-humanists and Gaia-nuts perpetuate the "bio-piracy" scam to "protect" undeveloped regions:  In Amazon, A Frustrated Search For Cancer Cures

SAO SEBASTIAO DE CUIEIRAS - The task of harvesting the secrets of Brazil's vast Amazon rain forest that could help in the battle against cancer largely falls to Osmar Barbosa Ferreira and a big pair of clippers.

In jungle so dense it all but blocks out the sun, the lithe 46-year-old shimmies up a thin tree helped by a harness, a strap between his feet, and the expertise gained from a lifetime laboring in the forest.

A few well-placed snips later, branches cascade to a small band of researchers and a doctor who faithfully make a long monthly trip to the Cuieiras river in Amazonas state in the belief that the forest's staggeringly rich plant life can unlock new treatments for cancer.

They may be right.

About 70 percent of current cancer drugs are either natural products or derived from natural compounds, and the world's largest rain forest is a great cauldron of biodiversity that has already produced medicine for diseases such as malaria.

But finding the right material is no easy task in a forest that can have up to 400 species of trees and many more plants in a 2.5-acre (1-hectare) area, and in a country where suspicion of outside involvement in the Amazon runs strong.

"If we had very clear rules, we could attract scientists from all over the world," said the doctor, Drauzio Varella, with a mix of enthusiasm and frustration. "We could transform a big part of the Amazon into an enormous laboratory."

As it stands, though, foreigners are barred from helping oncologist Varella and the researchers from Sao Paulo's Paulista University, who are among a tiny handful of Brazilian groups licensed to study samples from the Amazon.

Varella, 66, believes his high profile has helped. He is a well-known writer and television personality who shot to fame in 1999 with a book and subsequent hit movie based on his work as a doctor in a brutal Sao Paulo prison called Carandiru.

But a move by his team in the 1990s to partner with the U.S. National Cancer Institute produced a storm of accusations of "bio-piracy" and for years it has been blocked from the international cooperation and funding that could increase the chances of finding the Holy Grail of a cancer cure. (Reuters)

 

Overpopulation Movement Tries to Hitch a Ride on Global Warming

FRONT ROYAL (PRI) - Buoyed by the new money flowing into its coffers from the Obama administration, the overpopulation movement is once again lecturing us on the need to have fewer children. But all the paid propaganda in the world can’t hide the fact that birthrates have already fallen to historically low levels throughout the world. 

Like aging sixties radicals seeking to relive their glory days, the fear mongers at the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) are still trying to scare us with the specter of overpopulation. The trouble is, the world has moved on, even if they haven’t. The latest move by the British group--a major move to push contraception as the solution to global warming—has received a less than warm welcome from the global community. 

This couldn’t have been what OPT expected when it tried to capitalize on the obsession of leftist politicians with global warming. But their press release, put out in September of this year, struck many as more than a little self-serving. Perhaps it was that it hailed contraception as, of all things, “the latest in green technology.” Or perhaps it was that OPT funded the very study that it later hyped in its press release. Then there was the study itself, by a couple of academics at the London School of Economics, that made the rather strange claim that, “considered purely as a method of reducing future CO2 emissions, family planning is more cost-effective than leading low-carbon technologies.” 

The report concluded by claiming that “the population issue must now be added into the negotiations for the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.” Although the authors stopped short of asserting, as Al Gore did, that babies cause global warming, they came close. Readers are left with the impression that fewer breathing humans equal a greener, healthier planet. We’ve never heard that one before. ( Steven W. Mosher, Population Research Institute)

 

November 17, 2009

 

Will Al Gore Change His No-Debate Policy After CEI’s Offer of Big Bucks?

New Video Challenge to Gore Offers $500, Plus Proceeds Of Worldwide Pledge-a-Dollar Campaign

Washington, D.C., November 16, 2009—For years, Al Gore has steadfastly refused to debate the global warming issue. Most recently, he ignored a put-up-or-shut-up challenge on the Glenn Beck Show from climate policy expert Lord Christopher Monckton, a former British government adviser. Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute hopes to change all that with the release of a new video campaign. In it, CEI offers Mr. Gore a $500 check, together with the proceeds of a world-wide email pledge-a-dollar drive, all aimed at persuading Mr. Gore to accept Lord Monckton’s challenge. 

“To our knowledge, Mr. Gore hasn’t been in a debate since he ran for president,” said Sam Kazman, CEI General Counsel. “But given that he and his allies are seeking the biggest tax increase in history in the form of new energy taxes and rationing, he ought to at least have to courage to engage in a face-to-face defense of his position,” Kazman stated.

CEI’s video debate challenge comes several weeks before a major United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen, which begins on December 7. Representatives from 192 countries are expected to attend that conference. Global warming alarmists hope to reach a new agreement to ratchet up international restrictions on energy use. The previous agreement, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, expires in 2012.

At the same time, the US Congress is deliberating over major climate change legislation to set up a cap-and-tax carbon trading scheme.

> View the video.
> View on-going commentary on climate policy at GlobalWarming.org. (CEI)

 

Monckton climate change video goes viral

Video of Lord Monckton Warning of Copenhagen Climate Treaty Exceeds 3.5 Million Views in a Single Month

http://i43.tinypic.com/xm3btj.jpg

Lord Monckton giving a presentation – photo by Derek Warnecke

Minneapolis – A video of Lord Christopher Monckton warning of the impending Copenhagen climate treaty has received over 3.5 million views in 30 days, according to Minnesota Majority, the organization responsible for posting the original 4-minute excerpt of Monckton’s speech.  The organization says that its original clip, together with the 100+ cloned versions that now exist on YouTube, in total exceeded 3.5 million views as of November 15, 2009.  The video clip made Minnesota Majority the #1 most viewed Non-Profit & Activism channel in the month of October on YouTube.

[ Note: Also I have a link to the draft Copenhagen Climate Change Treaty here Monckton’s Powerpoint presentation used at that speech is available in PDF format here (warning large download 17.5 MB) - Anthony]

See the video below. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Gore has no clue – a few million degrees here and there and pretty soon we’re talking about real temperature

This is mind blowing ignorance on the part of Al Gore. Gore in an 11/12/09 interview on NBC’s tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, speaking on geothermal energy, champion of slide show science, can’t even get the temperature of earth’s mantle right. Oh, and the “crust of the earth is hot” too.

Screencap of Gore on The Tonight Show 11/12/09

Temperature of the sun’s corona: 1–2 million kelvin

Temperature of the sun’s photosphere:  6,000 kelvin

Temperature of the Earths mantle, more than “2 kilometers or so down”: between 500 °C to 900 °C (773 to 1173 kelvin)

Watching Gore make a complete scientific idiot of himself on national TV: priceless

Don’t believe me? Watch the video from NBC below: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Democratic Senator Opposes Cap and Trade

While you have pseudo-Republicans (RINOs) offering political cover to national energy taxes, one Democrat in America’s senior legislative chamber is pulling the covers back. Politico reported today that Virginia’s “Jim Webb bails on cap-and-trade”:

“In its present form I would not vote for it,” he said. “I have some real questions about the real complexities on cap and trade.”

Webb is the latest in a series of Democratic moderates to raise significant concerns with the climate bill, which has floundered since passing the House in late June.

“That piece of legislation right now is something that is going to cause a lot of people a lot of concern,” he said.

It is a key loss for cap and trade in the Senate, but the far-Green fringe will continue to push economically troubling climate legislation.

Still, one wonders how South Carolina residents will feel knowing that their Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is supporting costly, destructive government interference that a Democrat from Virginia does not. (Chilling Effect)

 

Call Lindsey Graham: Tell him cap and trade turns you off

From the American energy Alliance:

Call Lindsey Graham’s state offices:

  • Greenville, SC: 864-250-1417
  • Columbia, SC: 803-933-0112
  • Florence, SC: 843-669-1505
  • Mt. Pleasant, SC: 843-849-3887
  • Rock Hil, SC: 803-366-2828
  • Pendelton, SC: 864-646-4090 (Green Hell)

 

Bjørn Lomborg: Cap and trade sows seeds of devastation

All around the world, politicians favor introducing cap-and-trade systems to cap carbon emissions, because these introduce an indirect tax that disguises the true cost. With a tax, it is obvious who pays, and how much. With a cap-and-trade system, the costs are hidden and shifted around. 

Lawmakers have vast opportunities to control the number and distribution of emissions allowances, and the flow of billions of dollars of subsidies and sweeteners. In other words, cap-and-trade schemes promote pork-barrel politics. We have already seen this with legislation in Europe and the United States, where existing industries are being paid off with massive amounts of public money. 

The privileged, big businesses that will make a fortune from exploiting this rigged market are loudly cheering on the politicians. Their personal gain is no reason to support a system that will be bad for everyone else. 

The costs of cap and trade -- financially and in terms of jobs, household consumption, and growth -- will be large. The Copenhagen Consensus Center recently commissioned research from economists -- available at www.fixtheclimate.com -- looking at the costs and benefits of many different policy responses to global warming. 

Groundbreaking research by renowned climate economist Professor Richard Tol showed that a high, global CO2 tax starting at $68 a ton could reduce world gross domestic product by a staggering 12.9 percent in 2100. The equivalent of $40 trillion a year, this would cost tens of times the expected damage of global warming. (Examiner)

Actually there is no "expected damage" associated with enhanced greenhouse but never mind...

 

Ponzi du Jour: S.E.C. Says It Found ‘Green’ Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday that it had uncovered yet another Ponzi scheme, this time with a company that purported to invest in environmentally friendly, or “green,” projects. The agency has been focusing attention on such fraud cases ever since Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme went undetected for years and years.

In the latest scheme, the commission said it had filed civil charges against four individuals and two companies, accusing them of perpetrating the $30 million fraud that bilked 300 investors nationwide. 

The S.E.C. contends that Wayde and Donna McKelvy, who were previously married and living in the Denver area, promised investors returns ranging from 17 percent to “hundreds of percent” annually by helping to finance “green” initiatives through a company called Mantria. 

The company was supposedly developing projects like a “carbon negative” housing community in rural Tennessee and produced “biochar,” a charcoal-like material used to capture and store excess carbon dioxide, which would supposedly help fight global warming. 

With the help of two other promoters, Troy Wragg and Amanda Knorr of Philadelphia, the McKelvys went after elderly investors and persons approaching retirement age, the S.E.C. said. It said the promoters tried to get these investors to attend seminars or participate in Internet “webinars” that urged them to liquidate their traditional investments to invest in the supposed “green” initiative. (NYT)

Yeah? When are they going to take out the rest of the green scams? Carbon trading would be a target rich environment since it can never deliver what it promises -- climate control, sheesh!

 

Why? US Democrats aim for climate bill by early 2010

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 - U.S. Senate Democrats will attempt to pass a climate-change bill in "early spring" of 2010, Senator John Kerry told reporters on Monday, further complicating prospects for an international summit on global warming next month. (Reuters)

 

Has the battle against climate change been lost?

World leaders have finally accepted that it will be impossible to come to a deal on climate change this year and have moved their attention to setting new deadlines for a global agreement. (TDT)

How about turning attention to genuine problems instead?

 

Bull spit! UN links hunger with climate change

The world cannot achieve food security without first tackling global warming, the United Nations secretary-general said yesterday, warning that failure at next month's international climate change negotiations would result in a further rise in hunger.

The warning by Ban Ki-Moon at the start of a three-day UN world food summit in Rome came one day after Barack Obama, US president, backed European and UN views that the Copenhagen summit would not produce a legally binding agreement to tackle global warming.

"There cannot be food security without climate security," Mr Ban said. "Today's event is critical," he added, referring to the food summit, "so is Copenhagen". (Financial Times)

At the same time they are actively trying to undermine food production by limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide and diverting food production to "biofuels". What a crock!

 

Have “Crisis” and “Catastrophe” lost their meaning for Climate Change?

Proponents of reducing greenhouse gas emissions view the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen as the point of no return. Gordon Brown has famously said that if an agreement is not made in December it will be “irretrievably too late, so we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of the catastrophe we face if present warming trends continue.” Similarly, COP15’s President, Connie Hedegaard, said that failure in Copenhagen is “not an option” and that the “the sooner we deal with the challenge of climate change, the smaller the risk of chaos and catastrophe.”

But people become increasingly less concerned about the issue. In a recent poll, Americans ranked the economy as the top priority while climate change ranks dead last. It is not just Americans who are showing a lack of concern; British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has recently lamented that people worldwide are failing to understand the eminent global catastrophe:

“For too many people, not just in our own country but around the world, the penny hasn’t yet dropped … There isn’t yet that sense of urgency and drive and animation about the Copenhagen conference.”

The problem with painting doomsday scenarios is that one cannot claim that climate change legislation will prevent hurricanes or natural disasters; furthermore one cannot even claim that cap and trade policies will reduce world-wide emissions. According to Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation,

“Proponents of this cap-and-trade bill scare us with the usual gloom and doom litany: sea level rise, more storms, more disease. But even if one accepts that litany, how much of it will go away thanks to Waxman-Markey? Proponents of the bill never really address this question, and for good reason. Globally speaking, Waxman-Markey would have a trivial impact on future concentrations of greenhouse gases. The bill only binds the U.S., and the trends in the rest of the world show clearly that emissions are rising. China alone now out-emits the U.S., and it hasn’t just inched ahead, it has raced ahead with emissions rising six times faster than ours. A similar story is true of other rapidly developing nations.”

So climate change legislation will not reduce world-wide emissions—thereby doing nothing to prevent catastrophic weather conditions, but it is very clear that it will cause great economic havoc. In his speech to the UN on climate change, Obama was right to say that “our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history” but these polls show that more and more people are do not want their children to find themselves in an America with higher energy prices, higher taxes, and fewer jobs in return for policies that will do nothing to prevent changes in the climate. That could be the real catastrophe. (The Foundry)

 

Global Warming Fatigue Spreads

In the run up to Copenhagen, global warming alarmists are spreading the word that climate change is progressing even faster than the IPCC has projected. But contradictory data from skeptics and open minded scientists continues to indicate that global warming has gone on hiatus and may not return for decades. This has sparked a noticeable drop in public concern over climate change and has led some climate change true believers to bemoan increasing public “Climate Fatigue.”

“We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously,” ecologist and IPCC author Christopher Field of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, said in February at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In March, a meeting of 2000 climate scientists in Copenhagen prompted the headline “Projections of Climate Change Go From Bad to Worse, Scientists Report.”

A news focus article in the November 13 issue of Science, written by Richard A. Kerr, starts off the IPCC propagandist party line by outlining the usual cornucopia of climate induced afflictions:

Climate news seems to have been all bad since the Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its fourth assessment in February 2007. Within months of the sober but disquieting report, Arctic summer sea ice coverage plunged to a dramatic new record low, prompting talk about catastrophic tipping points. Glaciologists watched as record meltwater on the Greenland ice plunged into chasms, slicking the bottoms of glaciers and sending them racing to the sea. Swelled by glacier losses both north and south, the sea had been rising as fast as IPCC's worst-case scenario predicted, researchers reported. Lacking ice to hunt on, gaunt polar bears roamed Arctic lands in search of food. And newly crunched numbers showed that greenhouse gas emissions had shot up in the previous 5 years to exceed IPCC's worst scenarios.

Never mind that most of these “facts” have been contradicted in the reviewed scientific literature and the press, the climate change Cassandra's are turning up the volume on their doomsday pronouncements. Why? They know that they are loosing the argument scientifically and the battle for the hearts and minds of the public. The response among the climate change true believers has been to claim the IPCC's predictions are coming true even faster than expected and that mankind is hurtling towards disaster. In an attempt to bolster the IPCC claims, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued an IPCC-like report that tries to inflate the potential for ecological damage.

The UNEP report entitled Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 presents the UN's latest case for heightened climate concerns. By its own admission, this is not an exhaustively peer-reviewed consensus assessment, but UNEP did compile its report “in association with scientists around the world.” Naturally, the UNEP update finds more sobering, even scarier, climate changes under way than IPCC did. To document its findings a new “burning embers diagram” was issued by 15 climate scientists, including some of the 2001 IPCC authors, in a March 2009 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


The red denoting high risk has crept down to smaller warmings since 2001.
Source: J. B. Smith et al. PNAS.

The prime driver of global warming, emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel, surged between 2000 and 2006, the report notes. That spurt has already contributed to a host of sooner-than-expected climate impacts, it continues, including “faster sea-level rise, ocean acidification, melting of Arctic sea-ice cover, warming of polar land masses, freshening in ocean currents, and shifts in circulation patterns in the atmosphere and the oceans.”

But even Kerr admits that this view is not universally held within the climate change community. Other scientists say the picture since the IPCC report is more complicated than that. “Things are looking much worse than was thought in the 1970s and '80s,” says Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider. “But ‘much worse than IPCC 2007’ is only true for a few things.” Oh really? Still others add that some anticipated climate changes are actually behind schedule while a few are trying to stay the course. According to Vicky Pope, the UK Meteorological Office's head of climate change advice “It's at least as bad as expected,” she says. “I don't think it's worse.”

The Met Office Hadley Centre, perhaps in an attempt to atone for having to report the past decade's halt in temperature rise, has recently announced a new “tipping point.” The Met Office has declared that the world has only ten years to control global warming or a whole litany of woes will afflict the peoples of Earth. Perhaps an indication of how desperate the climate change crowd is becoming is the warming that certain countries would lose their national dishes. According to the Met study's models, a low durum wheat yield in Italy could make pasta more expensive while in Poland potato crops are under threat. That's right, scare people into cutting CO2 emissions by threatening their favorite food—real science at work.

“Whether or not the public is hearing the right tone of voice from the right places, it doesn't seem to be getting the message anymore,” opines Kerr. Recent polls suggest that US citizens are notably less concerned about global warming than they were a few years ago. In a poll conducted at the end of September by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the proportion of Americans who “think there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades” dropped to 57% from 71% in April 2008. The proportion of the American public that views global warming as a very serious or somewhat serious problem dropped from 73% to 65%. And in a Gallup poll released in March, the proportion of Americans who believe that the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated hit 41%, a record high in the 12 years Gallup has asked that question.


Gallup polls suggest hard times for climate change activists. Source: Gallup Inc.

Nor is this trend limited to America. According to The Economist, public opinion in Europe, where attitudes are generally greener than in America, has also soured on climate change. A poll published in July by the European Commission showed that early in 2009, the number of European Union residents who saw climate change as the world’s gravest problem had dropped to 50% from 62% in spring of 2008. That was partly because the numbers citing global recession as the main worry had surged from 24% to 52%.

In Australia, a more fundamental shift towards skepticism seems to be occurring, despite the Labor government’s efforts to push the country in a greener direction. A poll in July by the Lowy Institute showed the number of Australians willing to shoulder “significant costs” to tackle global warming had fallen to 48%. This is down from 60% last year and 68% in 2006. In both America and Australia the public seems to be growing more doubtful, even in the face of ever shriller warnings from the IPCC and its minions.

“Where do you go after ‘unequivocal’?” asks Roger Pielke Jr., a science policy scholar at the University of Colorado, a reference to the measure of certainty the IPCC applied to its core findings in its 2007 report. By sounding the alarm too loudly, Pielke and others say, climate change campaigners could be causing the public to tune them out or could even provoke a backlash. Indeed, where do you go? Like a compulsive gambler doubling down on a bad hand, the climate change extremists continue to bet on their visions of pending disaster. It looks like the IPCC, the UN agency that cried “wolf” over climate change, is about to discover the consequences trying to deceive the world.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.


What's the fuss all about, Mama? — Just silly humans, baby. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

The Paradox of Apocalypse Fatigue

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger have an interesting article up at Yale360 on public opinion and climate change. Here is an excerpt:

Perhaps we should give the American public a little more credit. They may not know climate science very well, but they are not going to be muscled into accepting apocalyptic visions about our planetary future — or embracing calls to radically transform “our way of life” — just because environmentalists or climate scientists tell them they must. They typically give less credit to expert opinion than do educated elites, and those of us who tend to pay more attention to these questions would do well to remember that expert opinion and indeed, expert consensus, has tended to have a less sterling track record than most of us might like to admit.

At the same time, significant majorities of Americans are still prepared to support reasonable efforts to reduce carbon emissions even if they have their doubts about the science. They may be disinclined to tell pollsters that the science is settled, just as they are not inclined to tell them that evolution is more than a theory. But that doesn’t stop them from supporting the teaching of evolution in their schools. And it will not stop them from supporting policies to reduce carbon emissions — so long as the costs are reasonable and the benefits, both economic and environmental, are well-defined.
And for those wanting to use science as a tool to turn up the alarm, N&S argue that there exists a central paradox:
In fact, the louder and more alarmed climate advocates become in these efforts, the more they polarize the issue, driving away a conservative or moderate for every liberal they recruit to the cause.

These same efforts to increase salience through offering increasingly dire prognosis about the fate of the planet (and humanity) have also probably undermined public confidence in climate science. Rather than galvanizing public demand for difficult and far-reaching action, apocalyptic visions of global warming disaster have led many Americans to question the science. Having been told that climate science demands that we fundamentally change our way of life, many Americans have, not surprisingly, concluded that the problem is not with their lifestyles but with what they’ve been told about the science. And in this they are not entirely wrong, insofar as some prominent climate advocates, in their zeal to promote action, have made representations about the state of climate science that go well beyond any established scientific consensus on the subject, hyping the most dire scenarios and most extreme recent studies, which are often at odds with the consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
I wouldn't be surprised to see reactions to the N&S piece along the lines that the science is alarming and demands that we act now. Given the arguments about the effect of this strategy on public opinion made by N&S, that would be an ironic response indeed. Instead, it is important to recognize what public opinion allows, rather than continually emphasize that which it does not:
What is arguably most remarkable about U.S. public opinion on global warming has been both its stability and its inelasticity in response to new developments, greater scientific understanding of the problem, and greater attention from both the media and politicians. Public opinion about global warming has remained largely unchanged through periods of intensive media attention and periods of neglect, good economic times and bad, the relatively activist Clinton years and the skeptical Bush years. And majorities of Americans have, at least in principle, consistently supported government action to do something about global warming even if they were not entirely sold that the science was settled, suggesting that public understanding and acceptance of climate science may not be a precondition for supporting action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Until this last point is appreciated by advocates, including the most outspoken activist scientists, even efforts made in the best faith to motivate action by arguing politics through science are not just unlikely to work, but have the opposite effect to that intended. That is the paradox of apocalypse fatigue. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

UN chief Achim Steiner warns of high cost of climate delays

The likely delays in sealing a global deal to fight climate change would have a "human cost", and increase the risks of great harm to the planet and the economic costs of dealing with it, the head of the UN environment programme said today.

Achim Steiner also said there was an "extremely high" risk that the UN-hosted talks would drift into deadlock if the summit in Copenhagen next month failed to deliver a meaningful agreement. "The world has been focused on this moment for years," he told the Guardian.

"There have been hundreds of meetings and summits and workshops. If you then take that momentum out you run the risk of entering into an open-ended process and before you know if it you are in the same situation as the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation talks. (The Guardian)

It would be extremely complacent to assume merely crashing Nohopenhagen will seriously disrupt this lot -- they'll keep working away on this nonsense for years to come.

 

Copenhagen climate talks: US refusal to rush gives Obama time to get Senate onside

Barack Obama's admission that next month's crucial climate talks in Copenhagen will not provide a legally binding treaty is the best thing – and the worst thing – the world needed to hear.

On the positive side, the leader of the country with one of the poorest track records on climate change, in terms of emissions and the political response to the problem, is underlining the importance of the negotiations and the hoped-for deal. The US is finally taking the problem seriously, which is why it is pushing for a postponement of the final outcome. Better to wait a few months and do the deal properly, it says, than rush into something that is too weak or, perhaps worse, so hopelessly ambitious that it brings the Copenhagen talks crashing down.

On the negative side, any kind of ambition, hopeless or otherwise, has been rare on the ground when it comes to global efforts to curb climate change. Obama has confirmed we can expect more of the same. Despite the rhetoric about Copenhagen being a moment in history, a crucial last chance to deliver, it will likely revert to type – talks about talks, as Greenpeace put it today. (The Guardian)

 

Russia has yet to cash out its huge number of carbon credits... Russia's Medvedev warns of climate catastrophe

SINGAPORE - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Monday that climate change posed a "catastrophic" threat in some of the sharpest comments yet on a subject the Kremlin has often seemed reluctant to confront.

Although the United States said that the consensus amongst the 19 leaders at the weekend Asia Pacific summit in Singapore was that a climate change deal this December was unlikely, Medvedev made clear he felt it was a top priority.

"If we don't take joint action, the consequences for the planet may be very distressing to the point that the Arctic and Antarctic ice can melt and change ocean levels," he said shortly before leaving Singapore.

"All of this will have catastrophic consequences." (Reuters)

 

Fortunately not true: Climate Deal Key To Fight "Devastating" Hunger-UN

ROME, Nov 16 - The United Nations said on Monday that agreeing a climate change deal in Copenhagen next month is crucial to fighting global hunger, which Brazil's president described as "the most devastating weapon of mass destruction".

Government leaders and officials met in Rome for a three-day U.N. summit on how to help developing countries feed themselves, but anti-poverty campaigners and even some participants were already writing off the event as a missed opportunity.

The sense of scepticism deepened at the weekend, when U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders supported delaying a legally binding climate pact until 2010 or even later, though European negotiators said the move did not imply weaker action.

"There can be no food security without climate security," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the summit. (Reuters)

 

India defends its climate-change strategy

India and China have come under pressure from the U.N. to accept emissions targets in advance of the Copenhagen talks. But India's lead negotiator says economic development must not be stifled. (LA Times)

Development is defensive.

 

Asian Cold Water On Global Warming

If there's good news from Saturday's APEC summit, it's Asia's ninja blow to a global climate pact in Copenhagen. The dynamic region recognized the economy-killer for what it was and refused to commit suicide.

Global summits galore have paid obeisance to the holy grail of a global pact binding nations to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. President Obama, who is calling for a United Nations treaty in Copenhagen this December, said, "We're out of time" shortly before leaving for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

So that's why Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, who leads the U.N.'s Copenhagen group, was flown out to Singapore in a last-ditch bid to convince 19 leaders of the 21-nation APEC summit to support the pact. All he got for his trouble was egg on his face as Asian nations flatly rejected his pleas.

He's now trying to recover from that embarrassment by saying that the climate pact would be merely delayed, with the Copenhagen summit to be used to achieve a "political" commitment and next year's meeting serving as an occasion to impose emission quotas.

"We are not aiming to let anyone off the hook," Rasmussen said.

But in reality, the dubious treaty is dead, and it's Asia that put it out of its misery. (IBD)

We could wish it were dead but until this thing's had rock salt poured in its mouth and its lips sewn shut...

 

Binding Climate Treaty May Slip Far Into 2010

COPENHAGEN - A binding international treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions will slip to mid-2010 or beyond and a summit in Copenhagen next month will fall short of its ambitions, the United Nations and Denmark said on Monday.

The United Nations' top climate official said a treaty could be wrapped up at talks in Bonn by mid-2010. Denmark, host of next month's meeting, said it might take longer - until Mexico in December. Negotiations on a deal, initially due to be reached at the December 7-18 summit in Copenhagen, have stalled. (Reuters)

 

Pointless: Australian opposition confident of carbon deal

CANBERRA, Nov 17 - Australia's opposition expressed confidence on Tuesday that it would reach a deal with the government to pass laws for a domestic carbon trade scheme, with a final government offer on negotiations due next week.

The opposition's climate change negotiator, Ian Macfarlane, told Australian media he was optimistic he would secure a deal despite divisions within his own party on the issue.

"I remain confident that we'll get an outcome that I can take to the party room, and that the party room can consider," Australian Associated Press quoted Macfarlane as telling reporters.

"On that basis, I'd be optimistic that the party room would support it," he said, adding a final decision would be made by opposition lawmakers next Monday or Tuesday. (Reuters)

 

Hold the line, ya dopey galahs! Australian Senate to Start Debate of Climate Laws

Australia’s upper house of parliament is due to start debating draft carbon-reduction laws for a second time as expectations fade for a binding global accord on climate change at next month’s Copenhagen summit. 

The government needs support from seven opposition or minor party Senators to pass the proposals, approved yesterday in the lower House of Representatives, where the ruling Labor Party holds a majority. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants a vote on the legislation by the end of November, when parliament’s final sitting for the year concludes. (Bloomberg)

 

Better: COPENHAGEN ULTRA-LITE TAKES URGENCY OFF ETS PASS DATE

“The downgrading of Copenhagen’s Climate Change Conference from a 200 page treaty to a non-binding fifteen page political statement ends the argument that the CPRS should be passed beforehand,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today.

“In that environment, what use will Rudd be standing there waving around a dozen CPRS Acts and hundreds of draft regulations?”

“Copenhagen ultra-lite is dangerous for Australian jobs and industry because there is no certainty as to what our trading competitors will do. That makes it even more unwise to pass such a detailed ETS beforehand.”

“Rudd’s ETS and the Treasury modelling are totally dependent on other countries having their own ETS and accepting a carbon price. If the rest of the world is not ready for that step then Australia will be foolhardy in the extreme to venture out alone with a carbon price.” (Senator Ron Boswell)

 

U.N. Forest Plan Could Threaten Species-Scientists

LONDON - A United Nations plan to protect the world's tropical forests to fight climate change could threaten more animals and plants with extinction, scientists said on Monday.

The U.N. scheme, to be discussed at climate talks in Copenhagen next month, could save some species, while inadvertently endangering many others, according to the team of international researchers.

Under the plan, called REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, poor countries will be paid to protect their trees to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. (Reuters)

 

Chavez ready to bombard clouds, with Cuban help, to force rainfall

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced he will begin bombarding not Colombia, but the clouds so as to trigger much needed precipitations to help fill up dams and reservoirs, at record low levels, and which have forced water and power rationing. (MercoPress)

 

Come to Your Consensus

Willie Soon and David Legates, both respected members of the American Geophysical Union, tell the story of how their planned session to discuss scientific papers that consider the many contributing factors to climate variability was a "go," until suddenly it wasn't:

We developed this session to honor the great tradition of science and scientific inquiry, as exemplified by Galileo when, 400 years ago this year, he first pointed his telescope at the Earth’s moon and at the moons of Jupiter, analyzed his findings, and subsequently challenged the orthodoxy of a geocentric universe. Our proposed session was accepted by the AGU.

In response to its acceptance, we were joined by a highly distinguished list of scientists – which included members of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, France and China, as well as recipients of the AGU’s William Bowie, Charles Whitten and James MacElwane medals. Our participants faithfully submitted abstracts for the session.

But by late September, several puzzling events left us wondering whether the AGU truly serves science and environmental scientists – or simply reflects, protects and advances the political agendas of those who espouse belief in manmade CO2-induced catastrophic global warming.

Could this AGU position have anything to do with it?

The scientific consensus on climate change was expressed in an open letter sent to the US Senate on last Wednesday, 21 October....

While the signatories represent a wide variety of scientific disciplines, they all came together to express their concern over anthropogenic climate change. The letter states: “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science."

What about the independent lines of evidence of no global warming the last ten years, which the vast body could not see below their extended gut? (Paul Chesser, American Spectator)

 

The rise of the Unskeptical Scientist

I’ve done it, I’ve finally solved the dilemma of how to refer to scientists who actively promote a crisis due to carbon, but can’t provide the evidence that carbon causes major warming. Not Team-AGW, not alarmist, A far better one has come to me.

Once upon a time, a scientist and a skeptic used to be one and the same thing. Actually, it still is. The motto of The Royal Society — the longest lived scientific association in the world, is Nullius in Verba — “On no one’s word” (take no one’s word for it).  The Climate Industry marketing has tried to turn “skeptic” into a dirty word. So in perfect symmetry, if we are Skeptical Scientists, they are obviously:

the Unskeptical Scientists

(or “Unskeptics” for short).

What could be more appropriate?

It covers all bases; is true to its form, and if you think being a skeptic is so unattractive, it’s flattering —right? I can see them queuing up now to print the badges proclaiming themselves as the proud people who are not skeptics. So in the spirit of helpfulness I’ve done them up their very own T-Shirt and Badge —copyright free.

Badge for Unskeptical Scientists.

It’s time to reclaim the term skeptic. It is, after all, just what a scientist is. It’s time to rescue the brand of the word skeptic, and rebadge those who are not… skeptical.

Badge for Unskeptical Scientists.

It reflects their PR campaign right back at them.

These images are available for anyone to use. Just ask if you’d like a larger size.   :-)


Link: The Royal Society. For all their faults, even though they harassed Exxon for no good reason, they were the ones who insisted Briffa post his data. (JoNova)

 

Climate Change: Who Are The Deniers Now?

“When you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you.” Anonymous

Finger pointing rarely includes facts, especially in the climate debate. The first finger said we were global warming skeptics, but was turned back when it was explained all scientists are skeptics.

The second finger claimed we were climate change deniers. It was turned back because the opposite is true; we’re telling the public about the extent and speed of natural climate change. As Copenhagen nears, it’s evident no agreement is possible so rhetoric, and alarmism abound. Finger pointing has a new form, being a denier is now a disease. They never consider the failure is due to facts proving the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis wrong. With the left it is always someone else’s fault. (Tim Ball, Canada Free Press)

 

Distant stars shed light on the solar cycle

Sustained drops in the energy output of the Sun could be more common than modern experience suggests, according to an international team of astronomers that has studied the activity of a number of Sun-like stars. The results could mean that past changes in global temperatures are more likely to be related to variations in solar activity than previously thought, and could allow us to predict similar changes in future.

Our Sun has a well documented cycle of magnetic activity with a period of about 11 years. This cycle can be observed as a rise and a fall in the number of sunspots and a variation of about 0.15% in the power output of the Sun. Direct observations of sunspot numbers stretch back about 400 years, but the amount of carbon-14 taken up by living things drops during periods of high activity and this can be used to chart solar activity back several thousand years. 

...

The low activity levels cannot be so easily explained and might represent a typical feature in the activity of a Sun-like star. One well documented example of such a period of unusual solar quiescence was the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century, when a significant drop in sunspot numbers coincided with a recorded drop in global temperatures. If Giampapa's research rings true, it could mean that the Sun spends a significant amount of its time in a Maunder Minimum-like state – and it might reveal how likely we are to experience such periods of cooling in the future.

"This interpretation of the Sun is also supported by the terrestrial carbon-14 record showing that the abundance of this isotope is consistent with lower solar activity," Giampapa.

 

CERN: CLOUD experiment began operation



CLOUD experimental chamber. More photos.
Click the picture to zoom it in.


The newest article at cern.ch says:

CERN is home to lots of experiments and collaborations. CLOUD is an experiment that uses a chamber to study the possible link between cosmic rays and cloud formation. The experiment is based at the Proton Synchrotron; this is the first time a high-energy physics accelerator has been used in the study of atmospheric and climate science. CLOUD's results could greatly modify our understanding of our planet's climate.
Further links: Here is the newest interview with Jasper Kirkby, the boss of the experiment, and another member:



The results will arrive "fairly quickly" and detailed quantitative summaries of the experiment will emerge in 2010.



If you have gotten to this point and listened to the interview, I actually recommend you the article at The Register, especially the graphs showing the extraordinary correlation of the cosmic rays with temperature in the last 2,000 and 550 million years, while the temperature and CO2 were pretty much uncorrelated.

Concerning the "really big" experiment, note that the LHC may start collisions as early as next week. (The Reference Frame)

 

Why NCAR’s Meehl paper on high/low temperature records is bunk

One wonders why the story of a new paper covered on WUWT:  NCAR: Number of record highs beat record lows – if you believe the quality of data from the weather stations did not include the 1930’s and 1940’s and earlier, conspicuously missing from the NCAR graphic below:

temps

This graphic shows the ratio of record daily highs to record daily lows observed at about 1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States from January 1950 through September 2009. Source NCAR

From: “The relative increase of record high maximum temperatures compared to record low minimum temperatures in the U.S.” Authors: Gerald A. Meehl, Claudia Tebaldi, Guy Walton, David Easterling, and Larry McDaniel Publication: Geophysical Research Letters (in press)

The answer: those decades are inconvenient to the conclusion Meehl makes from a cherrypicked portion of the US data. There were many many temperature records during this period. For example, Richard Alan Keen writes in email:

My book, Skywatch West, covers the weather and climate of the 11 western states, plus Alaska, plus 6 western Canadian provincs and territories.

The chapter on temperature extremes includes a chart of the occurrences (by decade) of the all-time extreme temperatures for each of the 18 states, provinces, and territories (a total of 36 records in all).

Some fun statistics from this are:

  • Of the all-time record maximum temperatures, 10 occurred before 1940 (the first six decades), and 8 after (the second six decades).
  • For record minimum temperatures, the reverse is true: 8 records before 1940, 10 afterwards.
  • Half of the records – 8 maximum and 10 minimum, a total of 18 – occurred during the middle three decades of the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, and of these nearly a third of the total (10) were during the 1930’s alone.
  • No records occurred in the 2000’s up to the publication date of the book (2004).  Since then Arizona’s record maximum was tied, but not broken, in 2007.

cheers, Rich

Here is his graphic: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Further Comments On The Article “Clean the Air, Heat the Planet?” By Arneth Et Al 2009

There is an interesting statement in the article

Arneth, Almut , Nadine Unger, Markku Kulmala, Meinrat O. Andreae, 2009: Clean the Air, Heat the Planet? Science 30 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5953, pp. 672 - 673 DOI: 10.1126/science.1181568

in which the following text was written

“Like many others in the climate debate, we have focused on surface temperature, but other aspects of climate change especially the amount, distribution, and intensity of rainfall—are at least as important to human well-being. Changing aerosol burdens may alter local and regional cloud cover and precipitation, change the intensity or timing of the monsoon circulation, and even shift precipitation across national borders… Changes in cloud cover and precipitation will also feed back on the photochemistry and rainout of short-lived species … These issues must be considered if aerosol emissions are to become part of climate policy.”

While land use change is conspicuously absent in this statement, the need to broaden out beyond a focus on carbon dioxide as a human climate forcing, as we have urged in the Arneth et al 2009 article further supports the perpsective in our new contribution

Pielke Sr., Roger, Keith Beven, Guy Brasseur, Jack Calvert, Moustafa Chahine, Russ Dickerson, Dara Entekhabi, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Hoshin Gupta, Vijay Gupta, Witold Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, William K. M. Lau, Jeff McDonnell, William Rossow, John Schaake, James Smith, Soroosh Sorooshian, and Eric Wood: 2009: “Climate Change: The Need to Consider Human Forcings Besides Greenhouse Gases“. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, page 413. (Climate Science)

 

Link Between Climate Change and Cattle Nutritional Stress Examined

Kansas State University's Joseph Craine, research assistant professor in the Division of Biology, and KC Olson, associate professor in animal sciences and industry, have teamed up with some other scientists from across the United States to look into the possible effects of climate change on cattle nutrition.

Comparing grasslands and pastureland in different regions in the U.S., the study, published in Global Change Biology, discusses data from more than 21,000 different fecal samples collected during a 14-year period and analyzed at the Texas A&M University Grazingland Animal Nutrition Lab for nutritional content.

"Owing to the complex interactions among climate, plants, cattle grazing and land management practices, the impacts of climate change on cattle have been hard to predict," said Craine, principal investigator for the project.

The lab measured the amount of crude protein and digestible organic matter retained by cattle in the different regions. The pattern of forage quality observed across regions suggests that a warmer climate would limit protein availability to grazing animals, Craine said. (ScienceDaily)

 

More fashionable and unfounded panic: 25 per cent CO2 cut needed to save Great Barrier Reef

THE Great Barrier Reef has only a 50 per cent chance of survival if global CO2 emissions are not reduced at least 25 per cent by 2020, a coalition of Australia's top reef and climate scientists said today.

The 13 scientists said even deeper cuts of up to 90 per cent by 2050 would necessary if the reef was to survive future coral bleaching and coral death caused by rising ocean temperatures. 

"We've seen the evidence with our own eyes. Climate change is already impacting the Great Barrier Reef," Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said in a briefing to MPs. (Courier-Mail)

The reef chain has thrived over hundreds of millions of years despite ice ages and thaws changing sea levels by more than 100 meters -- adaptive little critters exploit any available niche in next to no time at all. At risk? Not even...

 

Bogus bidder loses shot at global-warming defense - Judge rules Tim DeChristopher's civil disobedience was a weak-hearted effort.

A federal judge said Monday that Tim DeChristopher won't be allowed to argue that global warming posed an imminent threat that justified placing bogus bids to derail a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction last year. 

"The court finds that DeChristopher's necessity defense fails because there were reasonable, legal alternatives open to DeChristopher other than his alleged criminal acts," U.S. District Judge Dee Benson wrote in his nine-page ruling. 

DeChristopher has not disputed that he placed the bids, but had hoped to argue his actions were justified to stave off climate change -- a line of argument that prosecutors successfully sought to have excluded from the trial. ( Salt Lake Tribune)

Being a disruptive jerk doesn't qualify as 'civil disobedience'? Imagine that...

 

Senators Unveil Bill to Double Nuclear Power

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Senators on Monday unveiled bipartisan legislation aimed at doubling nuclear power in 20 years and increasing funding for research into low carbon sources of energy.

Sponsored by Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander and Virginia Democrat Jim Webb, the bill would provide $100 billion in loan guarantees for carbon-free electricity projects, adding to the existing $47 billion loan guarantee program.

Although the additional loan guarantees would not be limited to nuclear power, the nuclear industry would likely be the major recipient of the extra money because it is one of the most established low carbon energy sources.

The legislation comes as Senate Democrats work to draw more support for controversial climate legislation by crafting measures that would increase support for nuclear power and offshore drilling. (Reuters)

Reliable baseload power is good but not at the cost of supporting carbon constraint.

 

U.S. airlines avoiding role in climate change

As the Congress considers historic climate change legislation and diplomats prepare for December's U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it is time that the domestic airline industry stops trying to fly above the debate over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (David Cush and Mindy Lubber, SF Chronicle)

Why should they do that?

 

Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling (Part II)

My initial post, “Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling: (Part I: A Framework and Calculator),” provided an overview of a fossil fuel and CO2 emissions calculator. It showed that industrial wind plants do not provide the claimed reductions in these important areas, which brings into question their value as good public policy.

This post provides some background, a base case and the results of taking necessary additional considerations into account. The base case has two scenarios.

The first is that every MWh of wind production directly reduces the full fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for every MWh of the “displaced” fossil fuel plant, which is a very simplistic view.  The second takes some limited considerations into account, which can show that as much of 85 percent of the simplistic-view savings are still achieved. Calculator runs illustrate how similar results can be produced.

Background

A major consideration is the need for fast-responding gas generation plants to mirror or shadow wind’s highly volatile output, especially during periods of high wind production. Figure 1 illustrates the concept. The gas production is shown in black and is necessary to render wind’s output useful. As the gas production is the complement of that for wind, the vertical axis has to be read in reverse for gas. While operating in a wind-shadowing/wind-mirroring backup role, the gas turbine plants consume more gas and produce more CO2 emissions per MWh than in their normal mode of operation.

Figure 1 – Illustration of the Shadowing/Backup Concept

clip_image002

The calculator treats these two considerations separately. The first, fossil fuel consumption (gas) per MWh, is increased by an efficiency loss factor, or heat rate penalty. The second, CO2 emissions per MWh, is increased by another efficiency loss factor, which is greater than the heat rate penalty and non-linear. This second factor is derived from a paper by White and is not in addition to the heat rate penalty.

The calculator credits wind with the full electricity production contribution as measured over a year, regardless of its short term volatile nature. The question is: what is the effect on gas consumption and CO2 emissions for the combination of wind and gas? As indicated, it is often claimed that industrial wind plants reduce fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by an amount obtained by multiplying wind’s electricity production (in some measure of watt-hours) times: [Read more →] (Kent Hawkins, MasterResource)

 

Green Power or Green Jobs

Ed. Note: This article first appeared on Geoffrey Styles' blog, Energy Outlook.

A wind farm is under construction in West Texas.

A wind farm is under construction in West Texas.

Until now I've avoided the debate over a proposed wind project in Texas involving Chinese investors, federal renewable energy stimulus grants and wind turbines from China, mainly because I didn't think I had anything salient to add to the unpleasant mix of protectionism and second-guessing that was unfolding. This morning I read a posting on the subject from the Breakthrough Institute that, while offering a coherent explanation of how we got to this point, convinced me that the real problem still hasn't been addressed. Although the inconsistency of past and present US energy policy is readily apparent, the current concerns arise from general confusion over the benefits of renewable energy, exacerbated by the recent effort to spin these projects and technologies in terms of "green jobs." When we don't really understand why we are doing something, it's easy to make any outcome look like a failure--and there is no shortage of elements from which to craft such a view in the situation at hand.

The chief complaint about the project in question is that it might be eligible to take advantage of a key energy provision of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009--this year's stimulus bill--that allows the developers of a qualifying renewable energy project to collect an up-front cash grant from the US Treasury equal to 30% of the cost of the project. In this case much of that money, along with the funds provided by the US and Chinese partners, would go to pay for wind turbines imported from China. As a result, most of the jobs this project would create would be in China, not the US. On the face of it, this looks like a colossal loophole that some high-profile legislators--who incidentally voted for the stimulus bill including this feature--are rushing to plug. However, this only looks like a nasty unintended consequence of a hastily-crafted law if you misunderstand the mechanics and purpose of the Treasury renewable energy grant program. (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)

 

Waste of perfectly good CO2: Using CO2 to Extract Geothermal Energy - Carbon dioxide captured from power plants could make geothermal energy more practical. 

Carbon dioxide generated by power plants may find a second life as a working fluid to help recover geothermal heat from kilometers underground. Such a system would not only capture the carbon dioxide and keep it out of the atmosphere, it would also be a cost-effective way to use the greenhouse gas to generate new power. (Tech Review)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource.

 

Obamacare Puts One-Fifth of U.S. On Welfare

Medicaid is a means-tested welfare program created in 1965 to provide health care for low income families. Despite the fact that it is one of the most poorly performing of all the federal welfare programs it has become the cornerstone of how health insurance is expanded under Obamacare. The Health care “reform” bills advancing in the House and Senate would expand Medicaid by making this government-run health plan available to all adults with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty line. The change would dramatically multiply eligible recipients, with 46 states seeing increases of at least 20%, including 16 posting jumps of 50% or more. Almost 21% of the entire U.S. population would be eligible for Medicaid and seven states and the District of Columbia would have eligibility rates of at least 25%.

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Oh... Does exposure to plastics make boys less masculine?

A new study suggests that in utero exposure to certain plastics may change behaviour in boys, making them less masculine.

Researchers at the University of Rochester examined the play habits of children aged 4 to 7 years old. 

The mothers of 145 youngsters had previously volunteered to be tested during pregnancy. Those boys born to women with higher levels of exposure to phthalates were less likely to play with toys like guns or trucks, or exhibit play behaviour typical of their gender, such as roughhousing or participating in sports.

"(The results) say to me that these phthalates have the ability to alter brain development in utero," said Dr. Shanna Swan, the lead researcher. 

The affected boys did not display feminine qualities, such as increased play with dolls. Instead, they acted in ways less typically masculine than peers whose mothers were not exposed to high levels of phthalates during pregnancy. (Toronto Star)

If it did this study wouldn't tell anyone. What it does suggest is that mothers who are sufficient worriers self-select for these kinds of monitoring screens and they are the same mothers who discourage little Johnny from roughhousing and stereotypical "boy play". Nothing indicates the little fellows were feminized in any way, they just weren't given or allowed to play with even toy guns.

 

Death by a thousand studies

October was a good month for Stephen Tillery.

The prolific Metro-East plaintiff's lawyer finally had his motion heard in Madison County Court to expand an already huge list of class members to a class action suit against makers of the herbicide atrazine.

In fact, October was a good month for any trial lawyer looking to secure his retirement by shielding people from atrazine. 

The Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was beginning "a new scientific evaluation of atrazine" so it could determine whether or not the popular herbicide, regularly used by corn growers, is associated with causing cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, or premature birth.

Such intent sounds appropriate until one considers the peculiar timing of the study, the results of which are scheduled to be released next fall.

The EPA has already studied this issue and cleared atrazine as safe at least twice before, most recently in 2006. The chemical poses "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other...consumers," the agency said.

So why study atrazine again?

EPA leaders surely have some answer. But one wonders whether the influence of trial lawyers such as Mr. Tillery had something to do with it. (The Record)

 

Concerns about indoor air quality get re-energized because of Chinese drywall

Ever since the energy crisis of 1973, far too much attention has been paid to those who believe that saving energy is the holy grail. A such, ventilation rates in many new homes have dropped well below the levels required to maintain healthy air.

Thus, we began to hear about sick building syndrome, and radon and mold contamination. Radon and mold, of course, have always been around, but when you seal up your homes so tightly, contaminants can and do build up—presenting problems previously unknown. It is hardly an accident that so many more people are reporting allergic reactions than before 1973.

My latest HND piece shows how the Chinese drywall mess is forcing people—and that even includes feckless regulators—to re-examine their assumptions on saving energy. We look at some disturbing findings from indoor air quality gurus Linda Kincaid and Bud Offerman, who are calling for much more outside air to be ventilated into homes—especially new homes.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Just one heart attack leads to 725 X-rays

ORLANDO, Florida - The battery of tests given to a patient having a heart attack in a U.S. hospital adds up to a dose of radiation equivalent to 725 chest X-rays, researchers reported on Monday.

One problem is that each procedure is viewed separately, and a patient's total cumulative dose is not usually considered by doctors ordering the test, the researchers told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando.

On average, a patient admitted to an academic hospital with a heart attack had a cumulative effective radiation dose of 14.5 millisieverts -- about a third the annual maximum accumulation permitted for workers in nuclear power plants.

The average American can expect to receive about 3 millisieverts a year from ground radon or flying in an airplane.

"The risk at an individual level is small with one test, but with multiple tests the risk likely increases," said Dr. Prashant Kaul of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who led the study.

"We think physicians should not only have a greater awareness of dose accumulation from the tests they are ordering, but also understand the testing patterns they use for common diagnoses."

About a third of the billions of diagnostic imaging scans done around the world every year involve some aspect of heart disease. The American Heart Association estimates patients' collective doses received annually from radiation-based medical tests jumped 700 percent between 1980 and 2006. (Reuters)

 

Potential for criminal behavior evident at age 3