Saturday, October 31, 2009

The luck of the Irish

A fun email from a reader below:

I was trying to figure out how much carbon was produced in the manufacture and installation of a wind turbine compared to how much it actually saves over its lifetime. Being mathematically illiterate I had no hope of actually doing this but it was an interesting project and during my searches I came across THIS.

Apparently peat bogs can store "three times as much carbon as is held in tropical rainforests". So naturally, in Ireland they dug one up to build a wind farm. As you do. After causing a huge landslide, polluting the river, killing more than 50000 fish, and annoying the locals the Irish Government is now being prosecuted in the EU Court of Justice.

Great Pumpkin soon upon us

The Senate is losing its grip on unreality, so it may be up to whoever can teach manners to cows and pigs to save us from the consequences of global warming. (We're supposed to call it "climate change" now, but some of us, being strict constructionists, remain faithful to the original text as set down by the founding father, Al Gore.)

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, a leading Democrat, says he now has "serious reservations" about Sen. Barbara Boxer's global-warming bill, and if he deserts Babs and her coterie of climate hysterics there may be no global-warming legislation this year. This would probably suit most senators, even those who would have to vote for it.

Babs and her like-minded Senate colleagues want to get the legislation passed quickly, just like the health care "reform" legislation, and for the same reason. The longer the wait, the more it smells. A lot of legislation, like mackerel and other fishes, must be consumed quickly, or else not at all. Babs, Al and their congressional friends and colleagues must hurry, before the multitudes notice that the sky is still safely overhead.

Certain kooks insist that we don't have much time before everything goes poof, anyway. The year 2012 is often cited as the year the cosmic screen will go dark, perhaps when the Hadron Collider will either swallow our globe whole, like a python breakfasting on the family dog, or reduce the globe to the size of a tennis ball. "Imagine seven billion of us trying to stand on a tennis ball," observes Rod Liddle in the London Spectator. "You just hope personal hygiene standards won't be sacrificed."

But even being swallowed whole in a nanosecond would be less painful than being parboiled over time, as Al Gore predicts. Better swallowed than sauteed. This could be Al's most persuasive argument if he could only think to make it.

Even short of parboiling, bad times lie ahead. Lord Stern of Brentford, identified by the London Times as "a leading authority on global warming," says we must all consider becoming vegetarians to conquer global warming, or earthly cooling, or climate change, or whatever the season's fashionable terminology may be. "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases," he says in an interview. "It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better."

Direct "emissions" of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases, and methane, Lord Stern says, is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas. Anyone stranded in a crowded elevator on a Friday afternoon, the day Navy bean soup is the special in the cafeteria, would offer no argument to Lord Stern's stern warning.

Teaching cows and pigs to show consideration for their fellow creatures would be only a very long-term solution, perhaps beyond even the persuasive powers of Al, Babs, Barack Obama, John Kerry and others peddling the frantic alarums that somebody has to do something about the weather, even if it bankrupts the nations of the world. Lord Stern concedes that "a successful deal" at the forthcoming Copenhagen conference on global warming, where the United States and the developed nations of the world are expected to answer the altar call to repent and reform, would lead to soaring prices of meat.

Lord Stern, once the chief economist at the World Bank and now a professor at the London School of Economics, predicts that a juicy cheeseburger or a ham sandwich -- not to speak of a tenderloin of beef, medium rare -- will one day be as unfashionable as driving drunk. "People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food." Lord Stern says he is not a vegetarian himself, of course. It is not important to do as he does, but to do as he says do.

Rude as burping sheep, windy cows and flatulent pigs may be, as they go about doing what comes naturally in the rustic innocence of the barnyard, vegetables are sources of bucolic villainy, too. The glorious tomato, the senior partner of bacon and (iceberg) lettuce in that best of all sandwiches, is a source of greenhouse gas, too. So, alas, are many other fruits and vegetables. Beer and booze may have to go, too, since hops and malt generate nearly 2 percent of greenhouse gases in certain countries.

Unless the Hadron Collider can finally get cranked up in time to send us into the safe embrace of an enormous black hole, we may soon be freezing (or parboiling) in the dark, supping on thin pumpkin gruel with Babs and Al. All is woe.


The ghosts of global warming

By John Humphreys

In just over a month, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to work out a plan of action to tackle climate change. But something spooky is happening in America that may get in the way of an agreement. According to the latest Pew poll on climate change, only 36% of Americans agree that the Earth is warming and that humans are responsible. By comparison, a Gallup poll has found that 37% of Americans believe that houses can be haunted.

At first the two issues don’t seem linked – but there are some similarities between global warming and ghost stories. Both are supposed to be dangerous. Both are hard to see. Both are used to frighten children and simple-minded people. Stephen King has made a fortune writing about haunted houses while Al Gore has made a fortune talking about global warming.

But there is a very important difference. Belief in ghosts is silly but harmless. There is no Copenhagen ghost conference, with more than 15,000 officials discussing ways to introduce a ghost trading system and arranging multi-trillion dollar compensation for ghost victims.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that higher concentrations of greenhouse gases are going to warm up the world. Temperatures haven’t changed much in recent years, but many climate watchers expect the upward trend to continue eventually.

When that happens, there will be costs and benefits. William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer estimated that 2.5 degrees of warming may cost America 0.5% of GDP. Richard Toll has a higher estimate of 1.5% of GDP, while Robert Mendelsohn and James Newmann predict a net benefit from warming of 0.1% of GDP, primarily due to benefits to agriculture. So climate change is a potential threat. But the bigger threat comes from what politicians are going to do to ‘save’ us.

The movies tell us that if a meteor is going to hit Earth, all we need to do is shoot Hollywood actors at the inbound rock while we listen to emotional music. In the same vein, when the Earth is threatened with climate change, all we need to do is to send our politicians to a conference and have them agree to global treaties.

But the Copenhagen conference is almost guaranteed to fail. The developing world is not going to agree to give up cheap energy, and the developed countries are going to find ways to look busy while not doing too much. The Copenhagen agreement will be as useful as the Kyoto Protocol.

Unfortunately, while a global treaty may not achieve much, it will still be costly. If an emissions trading system (ETS) wasn’t bad enough, we’re also facing suggestions of massive compensation payments and even a global tax. Belief in ghosts is much less costly.

The above is part of a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated October 30. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310

Exaggerated claims undermine drive to cut emissions, scientists warn

Al Gore exaggerates?? Who knew? A big backdown from some prominent Warmists below. They are not climate atheists yet, though: More like climate Anglicans. They think there is a big Daddy somewhere but are not quite sure where

Exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the threat from global warming risk undermining efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change, senior scientists have told The Times. Environmental lobbyists, politicians, researchers and journalists who distort climate science to support an agenda erode public understanding and play into the hands of sceptics, according to experts including a former government chief scientist.

Excessive statements about the decline of Arctic sea ice, severe weather events and the probability of extreme warming in the next century detract from the credibility of robust findings about climate change, they said. Such claims can easily be rebutted by critics of global warming science to cast doubt on the whole field. They also confuse the public about what has been established as fact, and what is conjecture.

The experts all believe that global warming is a real phenomenon with serious consequences, and that action to curb emissions is urgently needed. They fear, however, that the contribution of natural climate variations towards events such as storms, melting ice and heatwaves is too often overlooked, and that possible scenarios about future warming are misleadingly presented as fact. “I worry a lot that NGOs [non-governmental organisations] are very much in the habit of doing exactly that,” said Professor Sir David King, director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and a former government chief scientific adviser.

“When people overstate happenings that aren’t necessarily climate change-related, or set up as almost certainties things that are difficult to establish scientifically, it distracts from the science we do understand. The danger is they can be accused of scaremongering. Also, we can all become described as kind of left-wing greens.”

Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said: “It isn’t helpful to anybody to exaggerate the situation. It’s scary enough as it is." She was particularly critical of claims made by scientists and environmental groups two years ago, when observations showed that Arctic sea ice had declined to the lowest extent on record, 39 per cent below the average between 1979 and 2001. This led Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, to say that Arctic ice was “in a downward spiral and may have passed the point of no return”. Dr Pope said that while climate change was a factor, normal variations also played a part, and it was always likely that ice would recover a little in subsequent years, as had happened. It was the long-term downward trend that mattered, rather than the figures for any one year, she added.

“The problem with saying that we’ve reached a tipping point is that when the extent starts to increase again — as it has — the sceptics will come along and say, ‘Well, it’s stopped’,” she said. “This is why it’s important we’re as objective as we can be, and use all the available evidence to make clear what’s actually happening, because neither of those claims is right.”

Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford, said: “Some claims that were made about the ice anomaly were misleading. A lot of people said this is the beginning of the end of Arctic ice, and of course it recovered the following year and everybody looked a bit silly.” Dr Allen said that predictions of how the world was likely to warm also needed to be framed carefully. While there was little doubt that the Earth would get hotter, there were still many uncertainties about the precise extent and regional impact.

“I think we need to be very careful about purporting to be able to supply very detailed and apparently accurate information about how the climate will be in 50 or 100 years’ time, when what we’re really giving is a possible future climate,” he added. “We’re not in a position to say how likely it is and what the chances are of it being different. There’s an understandable tendency to want to make climate change real for people and tell them what’s going to happen in their postcode, and that’s very dangerous because it gets beyond the level on which current models can operate.”

Chris Huntingford, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: “I think the research scientists in general are extremely cautious about making projections for the future, but that caution is vital. We don’t dispute that warming is happening, but it’s important that the NGOs and other people interested in the issue don’t always pick the high scenario and present it as fact.”

Temperature trends of the past two decades have also been widely mis-interpreted to support particular points of view, the scientists said. Rapid warming in the 1990s, culminating in the hottest year on record in 1998, was erroneously used to suggest that climate change was accelerating. Since then, temperatures have stabilised, prompting sceptics to claim that global warming has stopped. “In 1998, people thought the world was going to end, temperatures were going up so much,” Dr Pope said. “People pick up whatever makes their argument, but this works both ways. It’s the long-term trend that counts, which is continuing and inexorable.”


EU countries fail to agree on fund to help developing nations go green

The host of the Copenhagen climate change talks made a desperate appeal to European leaders to stop arguing and open their wallets to save the prospects of a deal next month.

Nine Eastern European countries have refused to commit to an international fund to pay developing countries to go green, despite a plea from Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister. Gordon Brown was one of the few leaders to push an EU plan to pay €10 billion a year into a global fund of €30 to €40 billion from 2020, which he warned was crucial to success in Copenhagen.

But Germany was leading another group of countries, including France, that argued it was bad tactics for the EU to show how much it was prepared to pay this far in advance of the talks.

“Some countries have a position where for strategic reasons they think we should keep the wallet in our pocket for some weeks. I really disagree,” Mr Rasmussen said.

“Copenhagen is a definite deadline and the people of the earth will be very disappointed if we do not reach a comprehensive agreement. There must be money on the table and hopefully we can agree that we are prepared to pay our share.”

Poland led the opposition from Eastern European countries who want to know how much they are in line to pay to countries in Africa and South America before signing up to a general EU commitment.

The former Iron Curtain countries argue that they cannot pay in the next few years while they adapt their own coal-based economies to meet strict EU emissions targets. Gordon Bajnai, the Hungarian Prime Minister, said that sharing costs between all nations was not acceptable for the poorer members. He said: “We want a result this weekend, but not at any price.”

But Mr Brown warned: “Unless we have a plan for funding the action we are taking on climate change we will not get agreement in Copenhagen.”


Republicans may stall climate change bill

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer said late Thursday that she wants to hold drafting sessions as early as Tuesday on the climate change bill pending before her committee, but the meetings could be delayed by Republican stalling tactics.

A spokesman for Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the panel, said committee Republicans were leaning toward boycotting the sessions and would meet soon to decide whether they would stay away. At least two members of the minority must attend the sessions, known as markups, for them to be convened, according to committee rules.

A decision is expected from committee Republicans on Friday. Mrs. Boxer, a California Democrat, told reporters she would "use every tool" to get the bill voted out of the committee, where it is expected to pass easily with no more than two Democratic votes against it. "We're going forward, we're going to do our job," she said.

The exact timing of any drafting sessions depends on Mrs. Boxer, who must give Republicans at least three days notice before scheduling a committee meeting. No notice had been sent as of Thursday evening.

She said her staff planned to work over the weekend to address the concerns of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, who wants a less-stringent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than is contained in the bill, as well as the elimination of regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, also raised concerns about the so-called price collar that would establish minimum and maximum prices for emissions permits, or allowances, that polluters would need to obtain to comply with the law. Asked whether she was planning to alter the bill, Mrs. Boxer said "we may have a couple of small things," in order to address Mr. Specter's concerns.

She said, however, that committee staff would be sending additional information to Mr. Baucus in the hopes of winning his support. She said the 2020 reduction target of 20 percent in her bill has become more easily attainable because emissions have already fallen up to 8 percent during the economic recession.

Her comments came after the conclusion of three days of sometimes contentious hearings on the climate change bill. Republicans, led by Mr. Inhofe and Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, said the committee should not proceed to votes until it had a full economic analysis of the bill from EPA. No Republicans have signaled that they will back the bill.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told the committee Tuesday that her agency relied heavily on its economic analysis of the House-passed version of the bill in writing its analysis of the Senate bill co-authored by Mrs. Boxer and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. She said they were similar enough not to require a repeat of a full analysis.


Warmism means salvation to the British Left

Beyond the change-your-lives-or-the-planet-gets-it hectoring, the government’s increasingly intense call to reduced-energy arms meets a political need, too. It provides a fading New Labour administration with an urgent purpose, an objective, no matter how doom-infused, around which they can rally an anxious citizenry. And with international climate talks due in Copenhagen in December, there is a prime opportunity to posture as warriors in the good fight. Little wonder that energy minister Ed Miliband sounded almost proud when speaking at the climate map’s launch: ‘With less than 50 days left before agreement must be reached, the UK is going all out to persuade the world of its need to raise its ambitions so we get a deal that protects us from a four-degree-celsius world.’

The more heightened the threat, the grander the posture. This logic was also at work when prime minister Gordon Brown addressed the Major Economies Forum in London recently. Enthusiastically talking up the prospect of droughts and a rising wave of floods, he stated: ‘If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. So we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of the catastrophe we face if present warming trends continue.’

Despite the catastrophe-friendly content, there is a sense that when it comes to climate change, New Labour is enjoying itself. Where fighting the ‘war on terror’ lost its purpose-giving, moral-authority-providing function in Iraq, and now on the demoralising plains of Afghanistan, the good war is still there to be fought, but this time on the field of climate change. At every opportunity ministers trumpet this historic moment, and their own historic role. At the Science Museum, Ed Miliband was proclaiming Britain’s ‘historic responsibility’ to reduce carbon emissions, and, at the Major Economies forum, Gordon Brown was keen to play the world statesman: ‘In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history’. If we were in any doubt, that day of reckoning arrives in December in Copenhagen.

The problem with all the bluster, its catastrophism and its hope is what we, as a society, are being asked to do is so limited and limiting. It amounts, as the father (New Labour) said to his little girl (the public), to not using so much energy to heat homes or move around. This miserable vision of the low-wattage good life is presented as the national mission in which we are begged to believe. ‘To tackle the problem of climate change’, boomed Ed Miliband, ‘all of us, foreign ministries, environment ministries, treasuries, departments of defence, and all parts of government and societies, must work together to keep global temperatures to two degrees Celsius’.

There we have it. If ever a vision captured the bankruptcy of the today’s rulers it’s one based around temperature. They have given up on development, on all the gains of modernity, and on all the aspirations towards a better future; instead they just want to turn the heat down.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Friday, October 30, 2009

China, India vitiate Copenhagen discussions

With less than two months to go before the big Copenhagen Conference on global warming, two major nations have said "no thanks" to the no-growth agenda. For that reason alone, so should we.

Following a deal signed late Thursday between China and India, anything we might agree to do in Copenhagen is likely moot anyway. The two mega-nations — which together account for nearly a third of the world's population — said they won't go along with a new climate treaty being drafted in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012. They're basically saying no to anything that forces them to impose mandatory limits on their output of greenhouse gas emissions. Other developing nations, including Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, will likely reject any proposals as well.

The deal was already in trouble. Three weeks ago, the Group of 77 developing nations met in Thailand to discuss what they wanted to do about global warming. Their answer: nothing.

William Hawkins, writing in the American Thinker, quotes a piece in China's Science Times journal that sums up how China — and other developing nations — feel: "Why do the developed countries put an arguable scientific problem on the international negotiations table?" the article's author, Wang Jin, asks. "The real intention is not for the global temperature increase, but for the restriction of the economic development of the developing countries."

They see clearly what the rest of us seem to miss — that, for all its bad science, the Copenhagen Conference is about the world's Lilliputians tying down its Gullivers, not about global warming at all.

So, thanks to China and India, Copenhagen is dead — just as Kyoto was when it was signed in 1992, though no one knew it at the time. Without them, no global treaty on climate change will be workable. The two nations are not only the world's most populous (with, together, more than 2 billion people), they are also the fastest-growing major countries. China is now the world's No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases, and India is catching up fast.

Even with their participation, Copenhagen should have been a non-starter for the U.S. Indeed, the main reason for the greenhouse gas deal, all but admitted to by its major participants, is to cripple the U.S. economy — the most successful economy in the world.

True enough, as green critics keep saying, we produce nearly 20% of the world's CO2 and other greenhouse gases with just 5% of the world's population. But our GDP of roughly $14 trillion is nearly 25% of the world's total — in line with our gas output. We provide jobs and consumption not just for Americans, but for tens of millions of people overseas whose livelihoods depend on satisfying the massive American market.

In case you're still worried about warming, stop. Since 1998, the data show global temperatures have fallen. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says this can't be happening. None of the IPCC's models shows a possibility of rising CO2 output and declining temperature. But even Paul Hudson, the pro-warming-theory BBC climate correspondent, recently had to admit: "For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise."

Yet, the IPCC estimates that "remediation" of the warming trend will cost about 1.7% of world GDP. In the U.S., that's about $240 billion a year. For the entire world, it's about $1 trillion a year — or $71 trillion over the next 70 years or so.

Proposals to slash CO2 won't work anyway. Department of Energy estimates indicate that 97% of all CO2 emissions would continue even if humans didn't exist.

Even so, climatologist Chip Knappenberger estimates that laws like the recent Waxman-Markey bill would, if fully enacted, reduce future warming by just 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 — not enough even to measure accurately.

Can the world really afford to give up $71 trillion in the coming decades to solve a phantom problem? Given the shoddiness of the science behind warming claims and the refusal of the biggest CO2 emitters to play along with the climate change sham, it would be economically ruinous for the U.S. to do anything other than wish the rest of the world a nice day, and go about our business.



China's busy climate change diplomacy has become increasingly feverish weeks before crucial talks that could forge a new pact to fight global warming, or end in rancour that could rebound onto the world's biggest emitter. President Hu Jintao told U.S. President Barack Obama last week that China wants a successful outcome in Copenhagen when the world gathers from Dec. 7 to wrangle over the proposed new climate pact, and the topic is sure to feature when Obama visits Beijing in mid-November.

Recent weeks have brought a flurry of meetings between China and other big hitters in the negotiations, including India. Global warming will feature too at a China-European Union summit late in November. But Chinese diplomats and advisers doing footwork for the negotiations have echoed growing international gloom, warning the Copenhagen talks could end with a feeble agreement that evades key issues or even fails to reach a deal. "The real negotiations will be after Copenhagen," Yi Xianliang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official involved in the climate talks told a meeting in Beijing last week. "Copenhagen will be a starting point, not an ending point."

Hopes negotiators will agree on a firm goal to halve worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to recent levels appear dim, said Pan Jiahua, an expert on climate change policy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As a coal-dependent behemoth with output of greenhouse gases likely to rise for many years yet, China could bear much of the brunt of any backlash if the talks fail to produce a solid deal. That could spill over into greater tensions over trade.

"With China such a big emitter, it wants to avoid becoming the scapegoat if negotiations are unsuccessful or even fall apart," said Wang Ke, who teaches environmental policy at Renmin University in Beijing. "We feel it's already game-over. Copenhagen will be a rough compromise," he said. "China wants to take the initiative so it avoids being blamed if that's called a failure."

China's emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas generated by human activity, reached 6.8 billion tonnes in 2008, a rise of 178 percent over levels in 1990, according to the IWR, a German energy institute. U.S. emissions rose 17 percent over this period to 6.4 billion tonnes.

China is often denounced by Western critics as a stumbling block to agreement, because it argues developing countries should not submit to binding international caps on emissions while they grow out of poverty. In turn, China and other developing countries have said the rich countries have done far too little in vowing to cut their own greenhouse gas output, and in offering technology and money to the Third World to help cope with global warming.


India to the USA: You first

In India, Left, Right and Green think the developed nations should do the cutbacks

The political cost of a shift on climate change negotiations increased for the UPA government with the Left, BJP and the green lobby standing on common ground to oppose any political drift before the crucial Copenhagen climate talks in December. While the RSS voiced its opposition to any dilution of India's stand in its mouthpiece `Organiser', CPM took out a resolution warning the government against bending to accommodate the US on the issue.

A group of key green groups have also written a strong letter to the PM warning, "Civil society in India would oppose any moves to change India's negotiating position in the direction being suggested by the minister of environment and forests."

The flurry of political action also marked a leap for environment as a subject on the political sphere. CPM, in its resolution, said, "India should firmly resist pressure from the US and other advanced countries to abandon the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC framework and stick to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

Indicating that the UPA government's proposal to move a law on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the winter session of Parliament may not see smooth sailing, CPM warned, "India should take up and announce measures for control and reduction of growth rates of emissions not unilaterally but only conditional upon the US and other advanced countries undertaking the deep emission cuts as called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The RSS said in Organiser's latest edition, "The developing countries led by India till have held their position in trying to make the rich nations accept responsibility for the poison they spew. By suggesting that India should change its stand on Kyoto Protocol... the minister has attempted to break the spirit of the developing nations."

The missive from a chunk of green and development NGOs, including Action Aid, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and grassroot organisations, to the PM also echoed the political consensus emerging from the Opposition benches. However, observers pointed out that some important NGOs had kept off the list, clearly showing that divisions still existed in the green brigade.

Sunita Narain, director of Centre for Science and Environment and member of the PM's Council on Climate Change, said, "We want an effective climate deal at Copenhagen, not a bad deal or a cop out. India is asking for its right to development, not the right to pollute."

With environmental issues ratcheting up on the political scene ahead of the Copenhagen meet, the UPA government will find it tough to make concessions without seeking trade-offs at the negotiations, observers noted.



"AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling". This is an interesting headline. We thought the debate is over global warming. Apparently, not. Last week, a poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press showed that there has been an erosion of the percentage of American's who think that the earth is heating up. And now, the AP's Seth Borenstein is out there trying to find out whether or not the earth is cooling!

How things have changed during the past 10 years. Borenstein had been hearing so much recently about the possibility that the earth has been cooling that he decided to go out and find some statisticians that could analyze the earth's temperature history and give him some insight as to what has been going on: In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

Hmm. Why go to all the bother? This analysis has already been done numerous times. A recent example that clearly lays out the ups and downs of current temperature trends was posted about two weeks ago at the blog The figure below is taken from that post. It shows the current temperature trends from 5 to 15 years in length from all available global temperature datasets.

Figure 1. Each point on the chart represents the trend beginning in September of the year indicated along the x-axis and ending in August 2009. The different colored lines represent different temperature datasets as indicated. The trends which are statistically significant (<0.05) are indicated by filled circles. The zero line (no trend) is indicated by the thin black horizontal line, and the climate model average projected trend is indicated by the thick red horizontal line. By judiciously selecting the time period and the dataset, you can make a case or cooling, warming, or neither.

Borenstein quoted John Christy who pretty well summed up the situation: "It pretty much depends on when you start," wrote John Christy, the Alabama atmospheric scientist who collects the satellite data that skeptics use. He said in an e-mail that looking back 31 years, temperatures have gone up nearly three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit (four-tenths of a degree Celsius). The last dozen years have been flat, and temperatures over the last eight years have declined a bit, he wrote.

In other words, over the last dozen years, the earth's average temperature has remained relatively steady during a time period when the globe should be warming rapidly as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions -or at least that is what all of the climate models are projecting should be happening.

While you would think this would be headline news-"Global Warming Is Not Proceeding According To Plan"-instead, Borenstein opts to run a story primarily focused on various people struggling to explain why the decline in the earth's temperature over the past 8 years really isn't global cooling.

This biggest message from Borenstein's article is that global warming proponents are starting to get irritated at the earth's lack of cooperation. Especially with big national and international negotiations taking place on actions aimed at reducing the rate of global temperature rise. If the earth's temperature isn't rising along with greenhouse gas emissions as expected, then why all the bother?

This desperation is none more obvious than in remarks made by NASA's Gavin Schmidt, as quoted by Borenstein: NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend "will be never talked about again." That's pretty wishful, but unrealistic, thinking. After all, 10 years ago, the year 1998 smashed all previous global temperature records and yet today everywhere you turn, as evidenced most recently by Seth Borenstein's article, you are greeted by discussions of global cooling.

It is hard to see how one year would end such talk forever.



"...unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020."

But they do say that "first ice-free summer expected to occur between 2060 and 2080?. By then there will be nobody that remembers this forecast. Yet on the same day, bumbling Arctic explorer Pen Hadow says in a UK Telegraph interview: "To all intents and purposes the Arctic will be ice free in a decade. I do find the implications of this happening in my lifetime quite shocking.".

Gosh, who to believe? Somebody that fakes biotelemetry data or somebody that won't hand over climate data for replication studies? From a Met Office press release on October 15th:
The extent of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing since the late 1970s. In 2007 it decreased dramatically in a single year, reaching an all-time low. At the time it was widely reported that this was caused by man-made climate change and that the rate of decline of summer sea ice was increasing.

Modelling of Arctic sea ice by the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model shows that ice invariably recovers from extreme events, and that the long-term trend of reduction is robust - with the first ice-free summer expected to occur between 2060 and 2080. It is unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020.

Analysis of the 2007 summer sea-ice minimum has subsequently shown that this was due, in part, to unusual weather patterns. Arctic weather systems are highly variable year-on-year and the prevailing winds can enhance, or oppose, the southward flow of ice into the Atlantic. Consequently, the sea ice has not declined every year, but has shown considerable variability - both in extent and thickness.

The high variability has made it difficult to attribute the observed trend to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, although there is now enough data to detect a human signal in the 30-year trend. The trend and observed variability, including the minimum extent observed in 2007, is consistent with climate modelling from the Met Office.

About half of the climate models involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report, show that ice declines in steps - failing to recover from extreme years. The observed temporary recovery from the 2007 minimum in 2008 and 2009 indicates that the Arctic ice has not yet reached a tipping point, if such exists. We expect Arctic ice to continue to decline in line with increasing global temperatures. If the rate of global temperature rise increases then so will the rate of Arctic sea-ice decline.


Australia: Conservative politicians lose faith in Warmist laws

LIBERAL Party frontbenchers have begun to dump their support for carbon emissions trading after receiving party research showing voters are increasingly skittish about putting a price on carbon. Despite Malcolm Turnbull's ongoing attempts to broker a deal with Labor that would clear the way for Kevin Rudd's proposed ETS, political hardheads among the Liberals are moving closer to the Nationals' view that endorsing carbon trading is political poison. They are now urging the Opposition Leader to take a harder line in negotiations and to reject Labor's legislation unless the government accepts the Coalition's proposed amendments in full. And they believe their best chance in next year's election is to attack Labor's proposals as leading to higher costs for consumers.

The shift has been on for the past few weeks and has gained pace since Liberal MPs were briefed on Tuesday on party research indicating voters overwhelmingly want action on climate change but do not understand the detail of the ETS proposals. Several sources said party director Brian Loughnane told the meeting that when interviewers explained the implications of an ETS to survey respondents, they were negative about the proposed scheme.

News of the shift emerged yesterday before today's launch by Liberal ETS opponent Cory Bernardi of a highly critical assessment of the European Union's emissions trading scheme which estimates it has cost consumers up to E116billion ($190bn) since 2005, with little environmental benefit.

The study, prepared by Britain's Taxpayers' Alliance, says climate change policies there form 14 per cent of household electricity prices and that electricity generators have made windfall profits at the expense of low-income earners and the elderly.

The Coalition has been negotiating with the government for more than a week on proposed amendments to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Kevin Rudd told parliament this week the bill would be introduced in the Senate on November 23, before the UN's global climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. If it is rejected the Prime Minister can use the Senate vote as the basis to call a double-dissolution election for both houses of parliament next year.

Mr Turnbull, a strong supporter of the need for a properly designed ETS, wants the government to amend its scheme to provide greater support for industries affected by a shift to carbon trading to adjust to the change.

Yesterday, the government rejected a Coalition bid to force an early vote on the scheme in the House of Representatives.

While Mr Loughnane refused to comment on party research yesterday, accounts of his briefing to MPs were broadly similar from sources on all sides of the ETS debate, with their differences relating to conclusions about the meaning of the findings. Some said the research made clear that the party should not back Labor's legislation unless the government embraced all of its amendments -- an unlikely prospect. "There is a move afoot in our party, depending on what happens, to say we should actually dump an ETS as a policy and go with something better and more effective," one source said.

But another shadow cabinet source said the research demonstrated that the party could not afford to accept the Nationals' approach of an outright rejection of carbon trading, and therefore must press hard for its amendments. "The message he was sending was that this is a dangerous zone but that because of the public acceptance that something must be done on climate change, doing nothing is simply not an option," the MP said.

Whatever the interpretation, Liberal frontbenchers who previously supported the idea of passing an amended ETS and then holding the government accountable for the outcome have shifted their view, insisting that only a "wholesale capitulation" from the government to Coalition demands would stand any chance of winning Coalition backbench endorsement.

Senior Liberals are now saying the party polling, and public polls, show increasing concern about the costs of an ETS. They believe the best political option is to run a campaign against the government based on increased costs to households and industry. Another MP said voters were starting to doubt the seriousness of climate change. It is also understood backbench pressure is growing from marginal seat holders who fear they will lose their seats. The Taxpayers' Alliance says the EU's ETS "has failed to perform and is imposing serious costs on ordinary families".

According to the EU's own figures there were only minor reductions in most European countries in greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2008. Senator Bernardi, who is leading the Liberal revolt in the Senate and running a direct opposition campaign, said yesterday the British report showed an ETS was "a massive economic impost that has no real environmental benefits". "An ETS in any form is bad for business, bad for families and bad for our economy," he said. "With clear evidence of how ineffective and expensive it has been in the European Union, there is no way an ETS should be introduced in Australia."

Last night the author of the report, Matthew Sinclair, said from London that the European ETS had failed to "produce a stable carbon price, leaving consumers with an unpredictable addition to their bills".

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said he was not surprised by the Liberals' research, which reflected his long-standing position.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amusing: North Carolina sea levels rose at the "wrong" time

They try to glide over it below but Greenies normally identify the postwar years (1945+) as the time of a big rise in CO2. But the big jump in sea level reported below was at a time (1879 to 1915) when the industrial era was in its infancy! Correlation does not prove causation but lack of correlation certainly DISPROVES causation

An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise, at least in North Carolina, is accelerating. Researchers found 20th-century sea-level rise to be three times higher than the rate of sea-level rise during the last 500 years. In addition, this jump appears to occur between 1879 and 1915, a time of industrial change that may provide a direct link to human-induced climate change.

The results appear in the current issue of the journal Geology.

The rate of relative sea-level rise, or RSLR, during the 20th century was 3 to 3.3 millimeters per year, higher than the usual rate of one per year. Furthermore, the acceleration appears consistent with other studies from the Atlantic coast, though the magnitude of the acceleration in North Carolina is larger than at sites farther north along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast and may be indicative of a latitudinal trend related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Understanding the timing and magnitude of this possible acceleration in the rate of RSLR is critical for testing models of global climate change and for providing a context for 21st-century predictions.

"Tide gauge records are largely inadequate for accurately recognizing the onset of any acceleration of relative sea-level rise occurring before the 18th century, mainly because too few records exist as a comparison," Andrew Kemp, the paper's lead author, said. "Accurate estimates of sea-level rise in the pre-satellite era are needed to provide an appropriate context for 21st-century projections and to validate geophysical and climate models."

The research team studied two North Carolina salt marshes that form continuous accumulations of organic sediment, a natural archive that provides scientists with an accurate way to reconstruct relative sea levels using radiometric isotopes and stratigraphic age markers. The research provided a record of relative sea-level change since the year 1500 at the Sand Point and Tump Point salt marshes in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system of North Carolina. The two marshes provided an ideal setting for producing high-resolution records because thick sequences of high marsh sediment are present and the estuarine system is microtidal, which reduces the vertical uncertainty of aleosea-level estimates. The study provides for the first time replicated sea-level reconstructions from two nearby sites.

In addition, comparison with 20th-century tide-gauge records validates the use of this approach and suggests that salt-marsh records with decadal and decimeter resolution can supplement tide-gauge records by extending record length and compensating for the strong spatial bias in the global distribution of longer instrumental records.



by Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc. - Head of Space research laboratory of Russia's Pulkovo Observatory

Total Solar Irradiance above -- trending downwards

We should fear a deep temperature drop —not catastrophic global warming. Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth. A deep temperature drop is a considerably greater threat to humanity than warming. However, a reliable forecast of the time of the onset and of the depth of the global temperature drop will make it possible to adjust in advance the economic activity of humanity, to considerably weaken the crisis.

Experts of the United Nations in regular reports publish data said to show that the Earth is approaching a catastrophic global warming, caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is “not guilty” and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop.

Life on earth completely depends on solar radiation, the ultimate source of energy for natural processes. For a long time it was thought that the luminosity of the Sun never changes, and for this reason the quantity of solar energy received per second over one square meter above the atmosphere at the distance of the Earth from the Sun (149,597,892 km), was named the solar constant.

Until 1978, precise measurements of the value of the total solar irradiance (TSI) were not available. But according to indirect data, namely the established major climate variations of the Earth in recent millennia, one must doubt the invariance of its value.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, German and Swiss astronomers Heinrich Schwabe and Rudolf Wolf established that the number of spots on the surface of the Sun periodically changes, diminishing from a maximum to a minimum, and then growing again, over a time frame on the order of 11 years. Wolf introduced an index ("W") of the relative number of sunspots, computed as the sum of 10 times number of sunspot groups plus the total number of spots in all groups. This number has been regularly measured since 1849. Drawing on the work of professional astronomers and the observations of amateurs (which are of uncertain reliability) Wolf worked out a reconstruction of monthly values from 1749 as well as annual values from 1700. Today, the reconstruction of this time series stretches back to 1611. It has an eleven-year cycle of recurrence as well as other cycles related to onset and development of individual sunspot groups: changes in the fraction of the solar surface occupied by faculae, the frequency of prominences, and other phenomena in the solar chromosphere and corona.

Analyzing the long record of sunspot numbers, the English astronomer Walter Maunder in 1893 came to the conclusion that from 1645 to 1715 sunspots had been generally absent. Over the thirty-year period of the Maunder Minimum, astronomers of the time counted only about 50 spots. Usually, over that length of time, about 50,000 sunspots would appear. Today, it has been established that such minima have repeatedly occurred in the past. It is also known that the Maunder Minimum accompanied the coldest phase of a global temperature dip, physically measured in Europe and other regions, the most severe such dip for several millennia, which stretched from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries (now known as the Little Ice Age).

The search for a relationship between large climate variations and phenomena observed in the Sun led to an interest in finding a connection between periods of change in the terrestrial climate and corresponding significant changes in the level of observed solar activity, because the sunspot number is the only index that has been measured over a long period of time.

Determinative role of the Sun in variations in the climate of the Earth

The Earth, after receiving and storing over the twentieth century an anomalously large amount of heat energy, from the 1990’s began to return it gradually. The upper layers of the world ocean, completely unexpectedly to climatologists, began to cool in 2003. The heat accumulated by them unfortunately now is running out. Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop. Meantime the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over these years has grown by more than 4%, and in 2006 many meteorologists predicted that 2007 would be the hottest of the last decade. This did not occur, although the global temperature of the Earth would have increased at least 0.1 degree if it depended on the concentration of carbon dioxide. It follows that warming had a natural origin, the contribution of CO2 to it was insignificant, anthropogenic increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide does not serve as an explanation for it, and in the foreseeable future CO2 will not be able to cause catastrophic warming. The so-called greenhouse effect will not avert the onset of the next deep temperature drop, the 19th in the last 7500 years, which without fail follows after natural warming.

The earth is no longer threatened by the catastrophic global warming forecast by some scientists; warming passed its peak in 1998-2005, while the value of the TSI by July - September of last year had already declined by 0.47 W/m2.

For several years until the beginning in 2013 of a steady temperature drop, in a phase of instability, temperature will oscillate around the maximum that has been reached, without further substantial rise. Changes in climatic conditions will occur unevenly, depending on latitude. A temperature decrease in the smallest degree would affect the equatorial regions and strongly influence the temperate climate zones. The changes will have very serious consequences, and it is necessary to begin preparations even now, since there is practically no time in reserve. The global temperature of the Earth has begun its decrease without limitations on the volume of greenhouse gas emissions by industrially developed countries; therefore the implementation of the Kyoto protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.

Consequently, we should fear a deep temperature drop—not catastrophic global warming. Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth. A deep temperature drop is a considerably greater threat to humanity than warming. However, a reliable forecast of the time of the onset and of the depth of the global temperature drop will make it possible to adjust in advance the economic activity of humanity, to considerably weaken the crisis.

Source. Full PDF here

"Energy-saving" lightbulbs cost 2700 jobs in Europe

There have been similar job losses in the USA too -- but the nonsense has created jobs in China. No wonder that the Chinese are pretending to play ball with the Warmists

US industrial giant General Electric said overnight it will axe 2700 jobs in Hungary over the next two years after a decision to phase out traditional energy-guzzling light bulbs in Europe. The cuts, which were announced at meetings with employees and trade unions on Wednesday, would begin at the start of next year, GE said. The group is the biggest US investor in Hungary, where it currently employs 14,000 people.

A new EU regulation phasing out old-style light bulbs by 2012 came into effect in September. And this would inevitably hit GE's Hungarian operations, said Phil Marshal, regional chief of GE Lighting. The factory in Nagykanizsa, southwest Hungary, would be hardest hit, with 1300 jobs to go there. But six other sites would also be affected, said company spokesman Balazs Szanto, pointing out that the factory in Vac, near Budapest would be shut down entirely in 2011. GE would also close one of its five GE Energy plants in Hungary.

Last year, GE laid off 500 employees and closed down a lighting factory and cut back output citing fierce global competition.


The View from Vanuatu on Climate Change: Torethy Frank had never heard of global warming. She is worried about power and running water

By BJORN LOMBORG -- with his usual doomed message about setting priorities rationally. Greenies are emotional, not rational

Global warming is a serious challenge that has captured the world's attention. But in the areas that will be worst hit by climate change, what do locals value and want prioritized? The tiny island nation of Vanuatu speaks with a big voice on global warming, calling for larger countries to make immediate carbon cuts. In a warning often repeated by environmental campaigners, the Vanuatuan president told the United Nations that entire island nations could be submerged. "If such a tragedy does happen," he said, "then the United Nations and its members would have failed in their first and most basic duty to a member nation and its innocent people."

Torethy Frank, a 39-year-old woman carving out a subsistence lifestyle on Vanuatu's Nguna Island, is one of those "innocent people." Yet, she has never heard of the problem that her government rates as a top priority. "What is global warming?" she asks a researcher for the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Ms. Frank has more immediate concerns—problems that are not spoken about on the world stage, and that do not attract the attention of the media or environmental advocates.

Torethy and her family of six live in a small house made of concrete and brick with no running water. As a toilet, they use a hole dug in the ground. They have no shower and there is no fixed electricity supply. Torethy's family was given a battery-powered DVD player but cannot afford to use it.

Three of Torethy's four teenage children have never spent a day in school. The eldest attended classes on another island, which cost Torethy and her husband 12,000 vatu ($110) a year, but she now makes him stay home because "too many of the kids at the school were smoking marijuana."

Three years ago, an outbreak of malaria ravaged Torethy's village, Utanlang. The mosquito-borne illness is a big problem in Vanuatu, although aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is helping. This deadly disease causes fever, headaches and vomiting, and can disrupt the blood supply to vital organs. One small clinic in Utanlang provides basic medicines like painkillers and bandages. For real medical care, Torethy must travel to the capital, Port Vila. In perfect conditions, that involves a 30-minute boat trip and then a two-hour car ride. Because the villagers are too poor to own any boats other than outrigger canoes, it can take up to five hours.

To get by, Torethy's village sells a few fish, fruit and baskets in mainland Vanuatu. But after paying for transport, little money is made. Torethy has learned that "it's best to return with no money and nothing new," because otherwise other villagers ask for their share.

The government, too, takes its cut in the form of tax. "But it doesn't give anything back," Torethy says. "No education, no power, no water, no transportation, no health care. Why should we pay them?"

Torethy's life would not be transformed by foreign countries making immediate carbon cuts. What would change her life? Having a boat in the village to use for fishing, transporting goods to sell, and to get to hospital in emergencies. She doesn't want more aid money because, "there is too much corruption in the government and it goes in people's pockets," but she would like microfinance schemes instead. "Give the money directly to the people for businesses so we can support ourselves without having to rely on the government."

Vanuatu's politicians speak with a loud voice on the world stage. But the inhabitants of Vanuatu, like Torethy Frank, tell a very different story.


Baucus balks at climate change legislation

A key Democratic senator said Tuesday that he could not support the Senate's global warming bill in its current form, even as President Obama praised the legislation and Democrats moved to push it through committee.

Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, said at the start of a series of hearings in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that he had "serious reservations" about the climate change bill's target of a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. He also said the bill should not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate emissions.

Mr. Baucus, who also chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, became the first Democrat on the panel to object to the bill, which was released Friday in revised form by committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, California Democrat.

The Senate bill is stricter than a companion climate bill narrowly passed by the House in June. The House bill requires large carbon dioxide emitters, primarily power plants and factories, to reduce emissions by 17 percent by 2020. The House bill would also bar the EPA from regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Both bills call for the same long-term goal: a reduction in emissions of about 80 percent by 2050, achieved through a "cap-and-trade" system. The system could mandate reductions based on declining annual emissions limits and require polluters to obtain permits through a government auction or from other polluters.

Mr. Baucus' Senate Finance Committee is expected to write its own bill covering the distribution of free emissions permits in the bill's early years, a move intended to insulate consumers, small businesses and farmers from many of the higher energy prices resulting from the legislation.

Mrs. Boxer said that Mr. Baucus told her Friday that he could not back the bill in its current form. Still, she expressed hope that recent declines in U.S. emission levels caused by the economic recession of as much as 8 percent since 2005 would make the 2020 target more palatable for Mr. Baucus and other bill critics.

Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-wrote the legislation with Mrs. Boxer, would not rule out altering the bill's EPA provisions to meet Mr. Baucus' objections, while standing firm on the 2020 reduction target. "If people come to us and say they're willing to vote for the bill if it's not there, I'll listen to them," he said.

Mr. Obama has called the cap-and-trade climate legislation "critical" to making renewable energy profitable.

Three Cabinet secretaries and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson appeared before Mrs. Boxer's committee Tuesday to lend their support for a comprehensive climate and energy bill, despite Republican criticisms that the climate bill would impose huge new expenses on the U.S. economy and do little to curb global warming.

Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe, the committee's ranking Republican, warned the bill would cost far more than the roughly $100 annually per household estimated by EPA. He put the total annual cost to the economy from the climate change bill at between $300 billion and $400 billion. "That's something that the American people can't tolerate and I don't believe they will," Mr. Inhofe said.

Ms. Jackson said that while EPA was moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, she and Mr. Obama still backed legislation as the preferable approach. She said the Kerry-Boxer bill was similar enough to the House-passed climate bill that it would achieve the same goals: a more efficient domestic economy at a low cost to families - less than 50 cents a day.


Last stand for climate bill this year?

Top Obama administration officials and Senate Democrats on Tuesday began a three-day process aimed at swaying Republicans to back an energy bill that aims to curb global warming emissions and invest in cleaner energy — but Republicans showed no signs of backing down, countering that the bill would raise energy prices and cost jobs.

Sen. Barbara Boxer opened the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing by calling the bill "our best insurance against a dangerous future." The California Democrat chairs the committee.

Boxer challenged the Republican view, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the bill would cost the average American family about $100 a year, or about 30 cents a day. "What will America’s families get for 30 cents a day," she asked. "For 30 cents a day, we will put America in control of our own energy future and take a stand for home-grown American energy rather than foreign oil from countries who don’t like us. "For 30 cents a day, we will protect our children from dangerous pollution," she added. "For 30 cents a day, we will send a signal that sparks billions of dollars of private investment and job creation. For 30 cents a day, we will be the world’s leader in clean energy technology."

The White House has made clear its support for the 900-page Democratic bill that would cut greenhouse gases by 80 percent over the next 40 years. It was sending three Cabinet secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to the hearing in hopes of persuading some wavering senators to support the measure.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the United States "has fallen behind" on clean energy while China and others have sped ahead. "The world’s largest turbine manufacturing company is headquartered in Denmark," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of the batteries that power America’s hybrid cars are made in Japan. We manufactured more than 40 percent of the world’s solar cells as recently as the mid 1990s; today, we produce just 7 percent." "China is spending about $9 billion a month on clean energy," he said in comparison. "It is also investing $44 billion by 2012 and $88 billion by 2020 in ultra high voltage transmission lines. These lines will allow China to transmit power from huge wind and solar farms far from its cities."

Chu also cited a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that found that "the cumulative investment in wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels from now through 2030 could be $2.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion, respectively." "The policy decisions we make today will determine the U.S. share of this market," he said. "And many additional dollars, jobs and opportunities are at stake in other clean technologies."

Senate Democrats have all but abandoned the likelihood of getting a climate bill passed this year, although they hoped that they could show some progress at the hearing — such as clearing the bill out of a key committee — in advance of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the leading sponsor of the Democrats' climate bill, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday and said it was urgent for the United States to show "some movement in the Senate" on restricting greenhouse gases ahead of the upcoming talks in Copenhagen. Kerry acknowledged that the Senate's tight schedule and heavy focus on health care has made action on climate difficult.

Similar to a House-passed bill, the legislation would cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and large industrial facilities. Polluters would have to obtain emission permits, and the number of permits would be ratcheted down gradually to achieve the reductions. To ease the transition, polluters would be able to buy and sell allowances as necessary to meet the government-imposed caps.

The EPA said that the Senate bill is so similar to the House-passed bill that the economic impact would likely be the same — between $80 and $100 in additional energy costs a year for an average household. Critics of the bill argue the costs would be much higher.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How unsettled can science get?

Below is the body of a letter to the EPA by Howard C. Hayden [], Professor Emeritus of Physics, UConn. Prof. Hayden added to his email the comment: "People will do anything to save the world -- except take a science course"

It has been often said that the "science is settled" on the issue of CO2 and climate. Let me put this claim to rest with a simple one-letter proof that it is false. The letter is s, the one that changes model into models. If the science were settled, there would be precisely one model, and it would be in agreement with measurements.

Alternatively, one may ask which one of the twenty-some models settled the science so that all the rest could be discarded along with the research funds that have kept those models alive. We can take this further. Not a single climate model predicted the current cooling phase. If the science were settled, the model (singular) would have predicted it.

Let me next address the horror story that we are approaching (or have passed) a "tipping point." Anybody who has worked with amplifiers knows about tipping points. The output "goes to the rail." Not only that, but it stays there. That's the official worry coming from the likes of James Hansen (of NASA/GISS) and Al Gore.

But therein lies the proof that we are nowhere near a tipping point. The earth, it seems, has seen times when the CO2 concentration was up to 8,000 ppm, and that did not lead to a tipping point. If it did, we would not be here talking about it. In fact, seen on the long scale, the CO2 concentration in the present cycle of glacials (ca. 200 ppm) and interglacials (ca. 300-400 ppm) is lower than it has been for the last 300 million years.

Global-warming alarmists tell us that the rising CO2 concentration is (A) anthropogenic and (B) leading to global warming.

(A) CO2 concentration has risen and fallen in the past with no help from mankind. The present rise began in the 1700s, long before humans could have made a meaningful contribution. Alarmists have failed to ask, let alone answer, what the CO2 level would be today if we had never burned any fuels. They simply assume that it would be the "pre-industrial" value.

The solubility of CO2 in water decreases as water warms, and increases as water cools. The warming of the earth since the Little Ice Age has thus caused the oceans to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

(B) The first principle of causality is that the cause has to come before the effect. The historical record shows that climate changes precede CO2 changes. How, then, can one conclude that CO2 is responsible for the current warming? Nobody doubts that CO2 has some greenhouse effect, and nobody doubts that CO2 concentration is increasing. But what would we have to fear if CO2 and temperature actually increased?

* A warmer world is a better world. Look at weather-related death rates in winter and in summer, and the case is overwhelming that warmer is better.

* The higher the CO2 levels, the more vibrant is the biosphere, as numerous experiments in greenhouses have shown. But a quick trip to the museum can make that case in spades. Those huge dinosaurs could not exist anywhere on the earth today because the land is not productive enough.

* CO2 is plant food, pure and simple.

* CO2 is not pollution by any reasonable definition.

* A warmer world begets more precipitation.

* All computer models predict a smaller temperature gradient between the poles and the equator. Necessarily, this would mean fewer and less violent storms.

* The melting point of ice is zero degrees Celsius in Antarctica, just as it is everywhere else. The highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is -14 degrees, and the lowest is -117. How, pray, will a putative few degrees of warming melt all the ice and inundate Florida, as is claimed by the warming alarmists?

Consider the change in vocabulary that has occurred. The term global warming has given way to the term climate change, because the former is not supported by the data. The latter term, climate change, admits of all kinds of illogical attributions. If it warms up, that's climate change. If it cools down, ditto. Any change whatsoever can be said by alarmists to be proof of climate change.

In a way, we have been here before. Lord Kelvin "proved" that the earth could not possibly be as old as the geologists said. He "proved" it using the conservation of energy. What he didn't know was that nuclear energy, not gravitation, provides the internal heat of the sun and the earth. Similarly, the global-warming alarmists have "proved" that CO2 causes global warming. Except when it doesn't.

To put it fairly but bluntly, the global-warming alarmists have relied on a pathetic version of science in which computer models take precedence over data, and numerical averages of computer outputs are believed to be able to predict the future climate. It would be a travesty if the EPA were to countenance such nonsense.

Proxy crisis: Stalagmite climate record disputes ice-core findings

During the last glacial period, a number of rapid climate variations known as Greenland interstadials (GIs; also known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events) took place. These climate shifts have been observed in ice core records, but the precise timing of these events has been uncertain. To assign precise ages to some of the GI events, Fleitmann et al. obtain a new, well-dated carbon and oxygen isotope record from stalagmites in the Sofular Cave in northwestern Turkey. The authors note that the new stalagmite record, which covers the past 50,000 years, differs from the most recent Greenland ice core chronology by as much as several centuries at some points. Furthermore, although some scientists had suggested that GIs occurred on a 1470-year cycle, the new stalagmite record does not support that interpretation, the authors find. They also note that the new record indicates that the climate and ecosystem in the eastern Mediterranean changed rapidly in response to the GIs; these changes could have affected Neanderthal populations living in the area.


The journal article is "Timing and climatic impact of Greenland interstadials recorded in stalagmites from northern Turkey" by D. Fleitmann et al., published in Geophysical Research Letters, 2009

British science museum's climate change poll backfires

The museum’s Prove It! website, which is designed to influence politicians at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, allows members of the public to pledge their support, or lack of it, to the environmentalist cause. But so far those backing the campaign are out-numbered nearly six-to-one by opponents.

By Saturday, 2,385 people who took the poll said “count me out” compared to just 415 who said “count me in”, after being asked whether they agreed with the statement: “I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.”

The website, which accompanies a major new exhibition at the venerable South Kensington museum, claims to offer "all the evidence you need to believe in climate change".

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, helped to launch the project by unveiling a map devised by the Met Office which depicts how Britain will be affected by rising sea levels, flood and drought if global temperatures rise more than seven degrees F (four degrees C).

At the launch, a statement from the Science Museum said: "We're convinced climate change is caused by humans and requires urgent action." The Prove It! project is designed to win public support for a global deal on climate change, and will also be used by the Foreign Office to persuade other countries to agree a cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

A Science Museum spokesman said: "Three thousand responses in just three days shows how important this subject is in the run up to the Copenhagen summit. "Prove It! has mobilised both sides of the debate and this was one of the aims of the project. The Science Museum stands by its position that climate change is real and urgent."



Japan cautioned on Friday that it could water down planned 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if other rich nations fail to make deep reductions as part of a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December.

In Brussels, a draft report showed that European Union states were preparing to endorse an estimate by the European Commission that developing countries will need about 100 billion euros ($150.1 billion) annually by 2020 to tackle climate change.

Disputes over 2020 emissions cuts by developed nations and the amounts of cash to help developing nations combat global warming are among the main sticking points in sluggish U.N. talks meant to end in Denmark on Dec. 18 with a new treaty.

"The possibility is not zero," Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa told Reuters when asked if Japan could change its 2020 target of cutting emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels if Copenhagen falls short on ambition.

He declined to say what alternative target Japan, the world's fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, had in mind for cutting emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

Japan's 25 percent offer made last month is tougher than that put forward by the previous government and among the deepest by any rich nation. "As environment minister, I want to go ahead with this pledge, but the government announced it with a precondition at the United Nations (climate change summit last month) so of course it could change," he said.

Many other nations have offered a range of cuts, hinging on Copenhagen's outcome, but Tokyo has not given a fallback position. Its offer is premised on an ambitious goals by all major emitters, including China and the United States.


In praise of scepticism

In a light-hearted essay, Australian humourist and crypto-conservative Clive James looks at Montaigne and attitudes towards climate change sceptics, among other things. Excerpt only below

What do I know? Montaigne asked himself, and in answering that question during the course of several volumes of great essays he touched on many subjects...

From our viewpoint, he often doesn't seem very sceptical at all. But at the time he seemed sceptical enough to excite a whole generation of readers with the idea that some falsehoods might masquerade as facts, and that an enquiring, critical attitude was the one to have.

Shakespeare was only one of his many readers who caught fire at that idea. Shakespeare knew Montaigne's writings inside out. They helped set the standard for the way our greatest playwright separated what he knew from what he didn't know.

In Montaigne's day you could get into terminal trouble for taking scepticism too far, which is probably one of the reasons why not even he pushed it on the subject of religion.

Since then, a sceptical attitude has been less likely to get you burned at the stake, but it's notable how the issue of man-made global warming has lately been giving rise to a use of language hard to distinguish from heresy-hunting in the fine old style by which the cost of voicing a doubt was to fry in your own fat.

Whether or not you believe that the earth might have been getting warmer lately, if you are sceptical about whether mankind is the cause of it, the scepticism can be enough to get you called a denialist.

It's a nasty word to be called, denialist, because it calls up the spectacle of a fanatic denying the Holocaust. In my homeland, Australia, there are some prominent intellectuals who are quite ready to say that any sceptic about man-made global warming is doing even worse than denying the Holocaust, because this time the whole of the human race stands to be obliterated.

Really they should know better, because the two events are not remotely comparable. The Holocaust actually happened. The destruction of the earth by man-made global warming hasn't happened yet, and there are plenty of highly qualified scientists ready to say that the whole idea is a case of too many of their colleagues relying on models provided by the same computers that can't even predict what will happen to the weather next week.

In fact the number of scientists who voice scepticism has lately been increasing. But there were always some, and that's the only thing I know about the subject. I know next to nothing about climate science. All I know is that many of the commentators in newspapers who are busy predicting catastrophe don't know much about it either, because they keep saying that the science is settled and it isn't.

Speaking as one who lives at sea level, I don't relish the prospect of my granddaughter spending her life on a raft 30 feet above where she now plays in the garden, but I still can't see that there is a scientific consensus. There are those for, and those against. Either side might well be right, but I think that if you have a division on that scale, you can't call it a consensus.

Nobody can meaningfully say that "the science is in", yet this has been said constantly by many commentators in the press until very lately, and now that there are a few fewer saying it there is a tendency, on the part of those who still say it, to raise their voices even higher, and harden their language against any sceptic, as if they were protecting their faith.

Sceptics, say the believers, don't care about the future of the human race. But being sceptical has always been one of the best ways of caring about the future of the human race. For example, it was from scepticism that modern medicine emerged, questioning the common belief that diseases were caused by magic, or could be cured by it.

A conjecture can be dressed up as a dead certainty with enough rhetoric and protected against dissent with enough threatening language, but finally it has to meet the only test of science, which is that any theory must fit the facts, and the facts can't be altered to suit the theory.


A much-honoured Greenie nut

Being a crank makes you a "public intellectual" apparently. Comment from Australia by Andrew Bolt below

THIS sure is a strange way for Professor Clive Hamilton to spend the few years that he - and we - have left. I mean, if you thought the end of the world was nigh, would you really waste your last moments trying to become the next member for Higgins?

Still, who knows what now goes on in the grim skull of the Greens candidate for the Melbourne seat just vacated by former treasurer Peter Costello. And who understands what dark currents swirl in the brains of the thousands who will vote for him on December 5, in a poll that will measure how mad these times now are.

Hamilton has a CV that might make an innocent reader, impressed by titles, think: "Wow! This man must be smart." He describes himself as a "public intellectual". He's written books and is professor of public ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. The Rudd Government made him a Member of the Order of Australia. Yet that CV measures not Hamilton's greatness, but this country's idiocy.

His message is just one preached by religious cranks for centuries: "Repent, for the end of the world is nigh!" Here's his new version of this faith: "I think where we're going is to begin to see a Gaian earth in its ecological, cybernetic way, infused with some notion of mind or soul or chi, which will transform our attitudes to it away from an instrumentalist one, towards an attitude of greater reverence." And if we don't repent? "Unless we do that, I mean we seriously are in trouble, because we know that Gaia is revolting against the impact of human beings on it."

In fact, Hamilton fears we're doomed already by Gaia's revolt against wicked us and our greenhouse gases: "It now seems almost certain that, if it has not occurred already, within the next several years enough warming will be locked into the system ... (and) humans will be powerless to stop the shift to a new climate on Earth, one much less sympathetic to life."

So sure is Hamilton of this danger that voters may get just one chance to vote him in - and none to throw him out if the world's temperatures start rising again: "The implications of (a rise of) 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of emergency responses such as the suspension of democratic processes."

Even our freedom to shop offends this embryonic dictator: "Shopping has become both an expression of the meaninglessness of consumer society and an attempted cure for it." But good news: "It has recently been shown that compulsive shopping disorder can be effectively treated with certain anti-depressant drugs ... "

Can't wait to see Hamilton lash the ladies of Higgins out of their fine shops in Chapel St and Toorak Rd. Still, be fair. He actually wants all of us to be poorer, and not just the rich: "We can only avoid catastrophe - including millions dying in the Third World - if we radically change the way we in the rich countries go about our daily lives. Above all, we must abandon our comfortable belief in progress."

Here's how: "Australia, along with the rest of the world, must cut its emissions by at least 60 per cent ... " But how to get people to agree with a target so ruinous? Hamilton's answer: "Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor." Actually, Clive, consider that fear factor ramped. If you're now the kind of thinker voters prefer, even I will agree we're doomed.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The real climate change catastrophe

In a new book, Christopher Booker reveals how a handful of scientists, who have pushed flawed theories on global warming for decades, now threaten to take us back to the Dark Ages

Next Thursday marks the first anniversary of one of the most remarkable events ever to take place in the House of Commons. For six hours MPs debated what was far and away the most expensive piece of legislation ever put before Parliament.

The Climate Change Bill laid down that, by 2050, the British people must cut their emissions of carbon dioxide by well over 80 per cent. Short of some unimaginable technological revolution, such a target could not possibly be achieved without shutting down almost the whole of our industrialised economy, changing our way of life out of recognition.

Even the Government had to concede that the expense of doing this – which it now admits will cost us £18 billion a year for the next 40 years – would be twice the value of its supposed benefits. Yet, astonishingly, although dozens of MPs queued up to speak in favour of the Bill, only two dared to question the need for it. It passed by 463 votes to just three.

One who voted against it was Peter Lilley who, just before the vote was taken, drew the Speaker’s attention to the fact that, outside the Palace of Westminster, snow was falling, the first October snow recorded in London for 74 years. As I observed at the time: “Who says that God hasn’t got a sense of humour?”

By any measure, the supposed menace of global warming – and the political response to it – has become one of the overwhelmingly urgent issues of our time. If one accepts the thesis that the planet faces a threat unprecedented in history, the implications are mind-boggling. But equally mind-boggling now are the implications of the price we are being asked to pay by our politicians to meet that threat. More than ever, it is a matter of the highest priority that we should know whether or not the assumptions on which the politicians base their proposals are founded on properly sound science.

This is why I have been regularly reporting on the issue in my column in The Sunday Telegraph, and this week I publish a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the obsession with climate change turning out to be the most costly scientific delusion in history?.

There are already many books on this subject, but mine is rather different from the rest in that, for the first time, it tries to tell the whole tangled story of how the debate over the threat of climate change has evolved over the past 30 years, interweaving the science with the politicians’ response to it.

It is a story that has unfolded in three stages. The first began back in the Seventies when a number of scientists noticed that the world’s temperatures had been falling for 30 years, leading them to warn that we might be heading for a new ice age. Then, in the mid-Seventies, temperatures started to rise again, and by the mid-Eighties, a still fairly small number of scientists – including some of those who had been predicting a new ice age – began to warn that we were now facing the opposite problem: a world dangerously heating up, thanks to our pumping out CO₂ and all those greenhouse gases inseparable from modern civilisation.

In 1988, a handful of the scientists who passionately believed in this theory won authorisation from the UN to set up the body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This was the year when the scare over global warming really exploded into the headlines, thanks above all to the carefully staged testimony given to a US Senate Committee by Dr James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), also already an advocate for the theory that CO₂ was causing potentially catastrophic warming.

The disaster-movie scenario that rising levels of CO₂ could lead to droughts, hurricanes, heatwaves and, above all, that melting of the polar ice caps, which would flood half the world’s major cities, struck a rich chord. The media loved it. The environmentalists loved it. More and more politicians, led by Al Gore in the United States, jumped on the bandwagon. But easily their most influential allies were the scientists running the new IPCC, led by a Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin and Dr John Houghton, head of the UK Met Office.

The IPCC, through its series of weighty reports, was now to become the central player in the whole story. But rarely has the true nature of any international body been more widely misrepresented. It is commonly believed that the IPCC consists of “1,500 of the world’s top climate scientists”, charged with weighing all the scientific evidence for and against “human-induced climate change” in order to arrive at a “consensus”.

In fact, the IPCC was never intended to be anything of the kind. The vast majority of its contributors have never been climate scientists. Many are not scientists at all. And from the start, the purpose of the IPCC was not to test the theory, but to provide the most plausible case for promoting it. This was why the computer models it relied on as its chief source of evidence were all programmed to show that, as CO₂ levels continued to rise, so temperatures must inevitably follow.

One of the more startling features of the IPCC is just how few scientists have been centrally involved in guiding its findings. They have mainly been British and American, led for a long time by Dr Houghton (knighted in 1991) as chairman of its scientific working group, who in 1990 founded the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for research into climate change. The centre has continued to play a central role in selecting the IPCC’s contributors to this day, and along with the Climate Research Unit run by Professor Philip Jones at the University of East Anglia, controls HadCrut, one of the four official sources of global temperature data (another of the four, GIStemp, is run by the equally committed Dr Hansen and his British-born right-hand man, Dr Gavin Schmidt).

With remarkable speed, from the time of its first report in 1990, the IPCC and its computer models won over many of the world’s politicians, led by those of the European Union. In 1992, the UN staged its extraordinary Earth Summit in Rio, attended by 108 prime ministers and heads of state, which agreed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and this led in 1997 to the famous Kyoto Protocol, committing the world’s governments to specific targets for reducing CO₂.

Up to this point, the now officially accepted global-warming theory seemed only too plausible. Both CO₂ levels and world temperatures had continued to rise, exactly as the IPCC’s computer models predicted. We thus entered the second stage of the story, lasting from 1998 to 2006, when the theory seemed to be carrying everything before it.

The politicians, most notably in the EU, were now beginning to adopt every kind of measure to combat the supposed global-warming menace, from building tens of thousands of wind turbines to creating elaborate schemes for buying and selling the right to emit CO₂, the gas every plant in the world needs for life.

But however persuasive the case seemed to be, there were just beginning to be rather serious doubts about the methods being used to promote it. More and more questions were being asked about the IPCC’s unbalanced approach to evidence – most notably in its promotion of the so-called “hockey stick” graph, produced in time for its 2001 report by a hitherto obscure US scientist Dr Michael Mann, purporting to show how global temperatures had suddenly been shooting up to levels quite unprecedented in history.

One of the hockey stick’s biggest fans was Al Gore, who in 2006 made it the centrepiece of his Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. But it then turned out that almost every single scientific claim in Gore’s film was either wildly exaggerated or wrong. The statistical methods used to create the hockey-stick graph were so devastatingly exposed by two Canadian statisticians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (as was confirmed in 2006 by two expert panels commissioned by the US Congress) that the graph has become one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.

The supporters of the hockey stick, highly influential in the IPCC, hit back. Proudly calling themselves “the Hockey Team”, their membership again reflects how small has been the number of closely linked scientists centrally driving the warming scare. They include Philip Jones, in charge of the HadCrut official temperature graph, and Gavin Schmidt, Hansen’s right-hand man at GISS –which itself came under fire for “adjusting” its temperature data to exaggerate the warming trend.

Then, in 2007, the story suddenly entered its third stage. In a way that had been wholly unpredicted by those IPCC computer models, global temperatures started to drop. Although CO2 levels continued to rise, after 25 years when temperatures had risen, the world’s climate was visibly starting to cool again.

More and more eminent scientists have been coming out of the woodwork to suggest that the IPCC, with its computer models, had got it all wrong. It isn’t CO₂ that has been driving the climate, the changes are natural, driven by the activity of the sun and changes in the currents of the world’s oceans.

The ice caps haven’t been melting as the alarmists and the models predicted they should. The Antarctic, containing nearly 90 per cent of all the ice in the world, has actually been cooling over the past 30 years, not warming. The polar bears are not drowning – there are four times more of them now than there were 40 years ago. In recent decades, the number of hurricanes and droughts have gone markedly down, not up.

As the world has already been through two of its coldest winters for decades, with all the signs that we may now be entering a third, the scientific case for CO2 threatening the world with warming has been crumbling away on an astonishing scale.

Yet it is at just this point that the world’s politicians, led by Britain, the EU and now President Obama, are poised to impose on us far and away the most costly set of measures that any group of politicians has ever proposed in the history of the world – measures so destructive that even if only half of them were implemented, they would take us back to the dark ages.

We have “less than 50 days” to save the planet, declared Gordon Brown last week, in yet another desperate bid to save the successor to the Kyoto treaty, which is due to be agreed in Copenhagen in six weeks’ time. But no one has put the reality of the situation more succinctly than Prof Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy, one of the most distinguished climatologists in the world, who has done as much as anyone in the past 20 years to expose the emptiness of the IPCC’s claim that its reports represent a “consensus” of the views of “the world’s top climate scientists”.

In words quoted on the cover of my new book, Prof Lindzen wrote: “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

Such is the truly extraordinary position in which we find ourselves. Thanks to misreading the significance of a brief period of rising temperatures at the end of the 20th century, the Western world (but not India or China) is now contemplating measures that add up to the most expensive economic suicide note ever written.

How long will it be before sanity and sound science break in on what begins to look like one of the most bizarre collective delusions ever to grip the human race?


There are expensive ways of doing things...

And there are ludicrously expensive ways of doing this. This being attempting to mitigate climate change of course. Start from the point that the IPCC and the Stern Review are correct: it's happening, it's us and we should think about doing something about it. This allows every fanatic with a plan to leap aboard the bandwagon and insist that they, and only they, know how to save the world: amazingly, that salvation always comes from whatever it is they were already proposing without the now accepted problem.

Take, for example, solar photo voltaic power generation. For boring technical reasons I think it will in the future be part of the solution but similarly I don't think it is yet. Yet all and sundry are screaming that we must have feed in tariffs for solar PV for that is exactly what will save Flipper from boiling at the end of times. We should, indeed must, do as German has been doing. So how has Germany been doing?
Given the net cost of 41.82 Cents/kWh for PV modules installed in 2008, and assuming that PV displaces conventional electricity generated from a mixture of gas and hard coal, abatement costs are as high as 716 € (US $1,050) per tonne.

Ah: we've already specified that we agreeing with the Stern Review above and he said that the cost of a tonne of CO2 is $80. Paying more to abate emissions than those emissions will cost us is known as making us poorer: in this case, feed in tariffs make Germany poorer by $970 for every tonne abated. That is what is known technically, in policy circles, as "screaming nonsense".

So no, we must close our ears to those siren songs telling us that we must copy Germany on this matter. We do not want to have feed in tariffs for solar PV in the UK. But if we're not going to have them then what should we do? I've already mentioned that I think the technology will, when it has matured, be part of the solution. But there's one or two iterations, generations, of technology to go before it really is. And I've also mentioned in other posts here what we should be doing about all of this at the moment.

Nada, nothing, zip, bupkis. We just wait while those two iterations of the technology pass us by and we start using it when it makes financial sense to do so: when the subsidy needed is less than the benefit of the CO2 abatement. In the meantime we just sit back and let the German taxpayer make themselves poorer to our future benefit. We can always send them a thank you card later: or if you want to be more serious, we can trade those things we've been able to make by not pouring money into a subsidy hole for those solar cells that they have made by doing so.


Shocker from Newsweak below: 'Green Subsidies Aren't Working'

And: 'Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades...created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors'

Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades. Each year as much as $100 billion is spent by governments and consumers around the world on green subsidies designed to encourage wind, solar, and other -renewable-energy markets. The goals are worthy: reduce emissions, promote new sources of energy, and help create jobs in a growing industry. Yet this epic effort of lawmaking and spending has, naturally, also created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors. Witness the 1,150 lobbying groups that spent more than $20 million to lobby the U.S. Congress as it was writing the Clean Energy bill (which would create a $60 billion annual market for emission permits by 2012). Government has often had a hand in jump--starting a new -industry—both the computer chip and the Internet got their start in American defense research. But it's hard to think of any non-military industry that has been so completely and utterly driven by regulation and subsidies from the start.

It's a genetic defect that not only guarantees great waste, but opens the door to manipulation and often demonstrably contravenes the objectives that climate policy is supposed to achieve. Thanks to effective lobbying by American and European farmers, the more cost--efficient and environmentally effective Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol is locked out of U.S. and EU markets. Even within Europe, most countries have their own "technical standard" for biofuels to better keep out competing products—even if they are cheaper or produce a greater cut in emissions. Because the subsidies are tied to feedstocks, there is zero incentive to develop better technology.

Both the International Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have asked Germany to end its ludicrous solar subsidies that will total $115.5 billion by 2013. In theory, these subsidies are designed to create viable markets for climate-friendly technology by bringing down production costs, after which subsidies could be phased out. But Germany's solar program has been a textbook case of how subsidies achieve the opposite of their stated intention. As the share of renewable power has jumped from 3 percent in 2001 to 15 percent now, subsidies per -kilowatt-hour of renewable power aren't going down but up, meaning that clean energy is getting more expensive. Energy economist Manuel Frondel of Germany's RWI Institute says the country's lavish subsidies have blocked innovation and delayed the advent of cost-competitive solar power worldwide. For several years solar-module costs stagnated because German subsidies sucked up global production at virtually any price. Only when Spain decided in 2008 to scrap a similar subsidy scheme it had copied from the Germans did the global solar bubble collapse and costs fall. The German solar case also defies the green-jobs model. The idea is that subsidies create a new industry and a lot of high-tech jobs. Yet Germany's solar producers are downsizing. With little pressure to become efficient and cost--competitive, they are now getting crowded out by Chinese producers.

In truth, green tech is no longer the tender niche industry the public debate makes it out to be. Global wind-turbine production alone is already a $50 billion annual market. And just as the bulk of farm subsidies don't go to farmers, but to agro-conglomerates and food giants, it's not small green-tech ventures but big corporations that are getting the best seats on the green gravy train. DuPont, Siemens, power companies, and investment banks are hungry for a slice of the subsidy pie or the new -carbon-trading market. Defenders rightly point out that fossil fuels get a staggering $500 billion in subsidies each year. Yet 80 percent of these are consumer subsidies in a handful of developing countries such as China, Russia, and Iran, and pale in significance when you account for fossil fuels' much higher share of the energy supply. No one denies the necessary role of governments in environmental policy. But of the 10 most cost-effective and measurable ways for the world to cut emissions, for example, subsidies for renewables don't even make it onto the list. Much more effective is putting a price on emissions, or finding other ways to mandate reductions and letting the market decide which technologies are the best. Here's hoping governments take the point soon.


How to be a Jerk

By Alan Caruba

Let us begin with a fact that whole legions of global warming alarmists cannot wish away or hide from public view. The Earth has been cooling since 1998 and it is getting demonstrably cooler almost everywhere in the world. The cooling will continue for decades.

So it follows that the best way to be a complete jerk is to have your book, “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”, published at the same time that a recent Public Strategies Inc/Politico poll revealed that “Just four percent (4%) ranked climate change as the top issue." If the congressional election—-next year’s midterms—-were held today the economy would be the top issue (45%), followed by insane government spending (21%) Another survey, one by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted between September 30 and October 4, found that “fewer respondents see global warming as a very serious problem,; 35% say that today, down from 44% in April 2008.”

James Hoggan, the cofounder of DeSmogBlog, along with Richard Littlemore are the proud authors of what has to be the silliest book of the year. It actually has a blurb on the back cover from Leonardo DeCaprio, famed actor and, until now, an unknown meteorological savant.

In the interest of full disclosure, both Hoggan and I have plied the magical arts and craft of public relations for a living. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus, clunkers program, ownership of General Motors and other former private enterprises, I have been forcibly retired. I am looking forward to not being retired as I have rent to pay and enjoy eating on a regular basis.

Hoggan’s preface begins by saying, “This is a story of betrayal, a story of selfishness, greed, and irresponsibility on an epic scale. In its darkest chapters, it’s a story of deceit, of poisoning public judgment—of an anti-democratic attack on our political structure and a strategic undermining of the journalistic watchdogs who keep our social institutions honest.”

Did he say “journalistic watchdogs”? Last year more than 40,000 of them lost their jobs due to an ailing economy, bad business models, and the growing perception that the “news” they were reporting was biased and unreliable. To this day, reporters are still writing about "global warming" as if it is real and blathering about greenhouse gas emissions as if they have anything to do with the climate.

From Hoggan’s description I thought he was talking about the huge global warming hoax that has been foisted on the world’s population by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore, countless feckless politicians, grant-seeking scientists, and so-called environmental organizations. But no, Hoggan is talking about “an organized campaign, largely financed by the coal and oil industries, to make us think that climate science was somehow still controversial, (that) climate change still unproven.”

Climate “science” based on appallingly manipulative and misleading computer models is controversial. As for “climate change”, it is the new term being used by “global warming” alarmists because there is NO global warming.

Ignoring the billions the U.S. government under several presidents have lavished on scientists lined up to prove the Earth was dramatically warming, the sea levels were rising at unprecedented rates, that polar bears—-excellent swimmers-—were drowning, and just about other natural phenomenon was affected by or demonstrated global warming, so far as Hoggan is concerned, “Denier scientists were being paid well, not for conducting climate research, but for practicing public relations.”

Like many alarmists, Hoggan does not care much for humanity or its achievements, noting that “We can kill one another more quickly than ever in human history, and we can change the world’s climate in a way that scientists say is threatening our ability to survive on Earth.” Only ignoramuses think that human beings “can change the world’s climate.”

Oh wait, it turns out that the President of the United States, speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was critical of the “naysayers” who “make cynical claims” that ignore the alleged scientific evidence about greenhouse gas, i.e., carbon dioxide, emissions. Move over Hoggan, it turns out that Obama is as big a jerk as you.

Obama has been touting “clean energy” technologies such as solar and wind that are so wanting in practicality and dependability that only government requirements keep these providers of barely one percent of all electricity in business.

As part of the stimulus and the horrid Cap-and-Trade bill lingering a slow death in Congress, billions of taxpayer dollars would go to “clean energy” companies while the Obama administration wages an economic war on coal and oil companies, denies permits to mine coal, the opportunity to drill for oil in Alaska or in 85% of the nation’s continental shelf.

If coal and oil companies that provide 99% of our power for transportation and all other uses are evil, then surely General Electric that manufactures wind turbines and stands to make a lot of money thanks to a government ban on the manufacture and use of all incandescent light bulbs is the epitome of all that is good and wonderful. “We are standing at the edge of a cliff,” writes Hoggan of global warming and “Behind us is a considerable crowd, 6.7 billion people and counting.”

Oh, those terrible human beings who want a standard of living that includes electric lights, television sets, computers, air conditioners, automobiles, and a dinner that does not require burning animal dung to cook. Maybe Hoggan is bucking for a prize for publishing one of the most idiotic books of the year, ten years into a worldwide cooling of the Earth.


The nonsense never stops: Ordinary people are the enemy

Drop meat for vegetarian diet to fight climate warming says British apparatchik

PEOPLE will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming. Lord Stern said: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet is better." Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.

Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

He predicted that people's attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. "I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating," he said. "I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food."

Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about pounds 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.

He also issued a clear message to President Obama that he must attend the meeting in Copenhagen in person in order for an effective deal to be reached. US leadership, he said, was "desperately needed" to secure a deal.

He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. "I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary," he added.

Up to 20,000 delegates from 192 countries are due to attend the UN conference in the Danish capital. Its aim is to forge a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent an increase in global temperatures of more than 2C. Any increase above this level is expected to trigger runaway climate change, threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Lord Stern said that Copenhagen presented a unique opportunity for the world to break free from its catastrophic current trajectory. He said that the world needed to agree to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 25 gigatonnes a year from the current level of 50 gigatonnes.

UN figures suggest that meat production is responsible for about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions, including the destruction of forest land for cattle ranching and the production of animal feeds such as soy.

Lord Stern, who said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself, was speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change. His remarks provoked anger from the meat industry.

Jonathan Scurlock, of the National Farmers Union, said: "Going vegetarian is not a worldwide solution. It's not a view shared by the NFU. Farmers in this country are interested in evidence-based policymaking. We don't have a methane-free cow or pig available to us." On average, a British person eats 50g of protein derived from meat each day - the equivalent of a chicken breast or a lamb chop. This is a relatively low level for a wealthy country but between 25 per cent and 50 per cent higher than the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Su Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, welcomed Lord Stern's remarks. "What we choose to eat is one of the biggest factors in our personal impact on the environment," she said. "Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water. One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet." The UN has warned that meat consumption is on course to double by the middle of the century.


Australia: The latest Greenie attack on ordinary people

They want to evict everyone from waterfront properties "for their own good" -- because of allegedly rising sea-levels

MORE than 80,000 buildings on Victoria's coast may be at risk of rising sea levels, but Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott isn't worried. Mr Abbott says he is unconcerned that beachfront areas of his northern Sydney electorate may be inundated by rising sea levels caused by climate change. Sea levels had risen along the NSW coast by more than 20 centimetres during the past century, the Liberal frontbencher said. "Has anyone noticed it? No, they haven't," he told reporters in Canberra today.

Mr Abbott, whose electorate of Warringah takes in Manly, Harbord, Dee Why Curl Curl and Balmoral, on Sydney's north shore, was responding to a parliamentary inquiry report which canvassed the option of forcing people living near the coast to move from their homes as climate-induced sea levels rose. Australia had the resources to cope with the issue in "the normal way", he said. "Ask the Dutch, they've been coping with this kind of thing for centuries and they seem to manage."

In Victoria, the Western Port region is especially vulnerable amid estimates that 18,000 properties valued at almost $2 billion are in the danger zone. And the effects of storm surges, heatwaves and insect-borne diseases associated with climate change are likely to increase the nation's mortality rate.

The alarming forecasts emerged last night in a new report tabled in Federal Parliament by the all-party House of Representatives Climate Change, Environment, Water and the Arts Committee. Titled Managing our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate: the Time to Act is Now, the 368-page report urged the Federal Government to take greater charge of protecting the nation's coastline in co-operation with state and local governments.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today a rise in sea levels would cause a big re-alignment of coastal housing and other buildings. "(Climate Change Minister) Penny Wong herself has said that up to 700,000 properties are threatened this century by rising sea levels on the eastern Australian seaboard," he told reporters. The government and opposition should be looking at how they would prevent people settling in areas threatened by rising sea levels in coming decades.

Senator Brown had some advice for people already living in areas likely to be under threat. "Assess your future and become active with the Rudd Government and the Opposition who simply don't get the need for action on climate change."

Greens climate change spokeswoman Christine Milne said the inquiry's finding revealed a "complete disconnect" between science and the climate change policies of Labor and the coalition. "This is not just for people on the coast, people who live on estuaries are extremely vulnerable as well," she said, urging householders to check their insurance policies to ensure they were covered for storm damage and flooding.

It is estimated 80 per cent of Australia's population lives in coastal areas and 711,000 addresses lie within 3km of the coast and less than 6m above sea level.

Expert evidence to the committee estimated one metre of sea level rise this century - the upper limit of expectations - would drive the shoreline back 50-100m, depending on local wind, wave and topographical features....

Today. senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz admitted he had not read the report, but hoped it was based on sound information. Sea levels were unlikely to rise overnight, he said, "So, we've still got some time."

Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said sea levels had been rising for about 10,000 years. "And if you wait around they'll cover the flood plains of the major capital cities," he told reporters, adding that a "massive new tax" from an emissions trading scheme (ETS) would not stop the sea rising. He accused the government of "grossly exaggerating" the effects of climate change to get its package of ETS bills approved by parliament.



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