Sunday, January 31, 2010

Criminal prosecution against Phil Jones?

Dr Phil Jones – the (suspended) head of the Prince of Wales’s favourite AGW-promotion institution the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia – had a narrow squeak the other day. Though the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found his department in breach of Freedom of Information laws (Jones and his team had deliberately withheld or conspired to destroy data), Jones was able to escape prosecution on a technicality.

Next time, he may not be so lucky. Our friend John O’Sullivan at has been looking closely at the Climategate emails and reckons there is still a very strong case for a criminal prosecution, which could see Dr Jones facing ten years on fraud charges.

O’Sullivan argues: "What is not being intelligently reported is that Jones is still liable as lead conspirator in the UK’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and may face prosecution under the United Kingdom Fraud Act (2006). If convicted of the offense of fraud by either false representation, failing to disclose information or fraud by abuse of his position, he stands liable to a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment."

As to exactly what the Crown Prosecution Service’s case might be, I recommend you read O’Sullivan’s shrewd and thorough analysis.


Dropping Water Vapor Levels are Naturally Negating Carbon's Warming Effects

Another comment on the Solomon findings

The Earth seems to be naturally blocking warming effects of increased carbon levels by dropping water vapor levels. Mother Earth appears to be solving the carbon-based warming "problem" for us

The U.S. is currently considering legislation that would enact steep restrictions on carbon emissions. Already burdened from high insurance costs, high taxes, and a struggling economy, Congress is asking Americans to shoulder another load -- an estimated cost of $1,600 per citizen per year to fight warming. And internationally climate change proponents have suggested other major lifestyle restrictions, such as bans on meat consumption and air travel.

Recently there has been a rash of incidents in which climate alarmists have been embarrassingly caught falsifying data or exaggerating facts and figures. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a leading climatology center, was found to have several curiously increased sets of temperature data in his studies, which he claimed were the result of a pesky Y2K bug. At England's East Anglia University, emails leaked from the prestigious Climate Research Unit that revealed that the university's researchers intentionally falsified data temperature data and suppressed scientists who criticized warming. The incident led to the center's director and prominent warming advocated, Phil Jones, to "temporarily" step down.

And most recently Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian official who was curiously appointed head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) despite not having any formal climate training, was forced to retract statements in a 2007 report which has been used by countries worldwide as a basis for the need to adopting sweeping emissions restrictions. Mr. Pachauri, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore, for his warming work, is now being pressured to resign.

Despite the apparent bias of many climate researchers, they do have one thing right; carbon levels have risen notably over the twentieth century from about 300 ppm to 375 ppm. While still far from the estimated levels of around 3,000 ppm during the time of the dinosaurs (appr. 150 MYA), the rising levels do mark a legitimate trend. However, there is increasing evidence that the rising carbon, contrary to alarmist reports is actually having remarkably little effect on global temperatures.

A new study authored by Susan Solomon, lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. could explain why atmospheric carbon is not contributing to warming significantly. According to the study, as carbon levels have risen, the cold air at high altitudes over the tropics has actually grown colder. The lower temperatures at this "coldest point" have caused global water vapor levels to drop, even as carbon levels rise.

Water vapor helps trap heat, and is a far the strongest of the major greenhouse gases, contributing 36–72 percent of the greenhouse effect. However more atmospheric carbon has actually decreased water vapor levels. Thus rather than a "doomsday" cycle of runaway warming, Mother Earth appears surprisingly tolerant of carbon, decreasing atmospheric levels of water vapor -- a more effective greenhouse gas -- to compensate.

Describes Professor Solomon, "There is slow warming that has taken place over the last 100 years. But from one decade to another, there can be fluctuations in the warming trend." The study was published in the prestigious journal Science.

The new research could help explain why despite tremendously higher carbon levels, the planet was not inhospitable hundreds of millions of years ago. By lowering water vapor levels, the planet might have been able to compensate, at least partially, for atmospheric carbon levels nearly 10 times higher than today's.

Admittedly the picture is still not clear about how our planet reacts to changes in atmospheric composition. Other factors may also be at play in helping the Earth balance temperatures, including ocean currents and solar activity. Ironically, no global warming model appears to accurately consider changing water vapor levels, and few offer decent consideration to solar activity. Thus much of the model based research used to predict warming is likely badly flawed.

Despite the fact that current evidence points to a minimum role of carbon in affecting our planet's climate, the expensive movement to ban or restrict carbon globally retains significant momentum. It remains to be seen whether politicians choose to consider the latest unbiased research, or instead forge ahead on a crusade against the rather weak greenhouse gas.



By Joe Bastardi, Expert Senior Meterologist -- who says that the desperate "post hoc" attempts of the modellers to make their models fit reality have left them high and dry now that major influences on the weather have changed

The US-generated CFS for the month of January on its last "nowcast" had most of the US more than 5 above normal for the month on January. Nothing could be farther from the truth in reality. A spot check of 16 selected cities I use for my monthly verifications to my clients had the forecasted temp for January for the combination of all cities at 5.6 above normal (The January run came off on the 21st) Much better was its Jan 10th forecast which they are using in the archives (good thing), but it was still a bit too warm across the north. But the point is it was out of control. The actual Temp of all the cities to approximate the nations temps: -.25! In fact only one major city in the sample, Seattle is as warm as the model says (plus 6.2) Balancing that off is Orlando at -7 This is not as cold as December which was a bit over -3. But I showed that for you on the Long Ranger, how warm the climate model was for January.

Now lest you think I am picking on NOAA, lets go to the UKMET. There is nowhere in Europe it has "Below normal" forecasted for Jan through March on its forecast. It is as bad there, as the CFS was with its nowcast. This is going to be a top 5 cold winter in eastern Europe, giving a different meaning to the cold war... because after this winter people will be at war with anyone shoving global warming down their throats. And one of the things I told Europeans in the prewinter period , and even said in on the Imus show here in the states, when this winter is done, no one is going to want to here about this.

But is this on purpose.. for Instance the UKMET folks made a boast that 2010 would be the hottest on record. I responded by saying not unless someone is cooking the books. But there must be something they are trusting in their modeling to say that. (By the way the earth's temps can be seen in the objective satellite guidance found here, courtesy of Dr. Roy Spencer

So here is my theory 1) All climate models are essentially the same. Why? Well they each have their own way of development based on physics but what happens is that the modelers watch the other models and adapt the strengths they see in the other models. Two models may be different at one time, in their early stages, but upgrades taking from other models essentially start to blend them all together. In the end, they all see about the same thing, because they have evolved through the years. This is Bill Gray's theory and I think he is right.

But point 2) Is where I take over. The models have been developed in a period of warm PDO, then warm AMO with high solar constant. Such things can not be "modeled in". Instead the model is forced to react to something it can not approximate and is forced to play catch up. When the atmosphere was warming in reaction to these un modeled driver, it probably had a cold bias. Modelers may have been forced to adjust to the this to improve the model skill scores. But they adjusted based on RESULTS. not the true CAUSES OF THE ERRORS!

Now what happens when we start taking away the drivers that may have been causing the warming. The PDO turns cold.. low solar constants have taken over, the AMO is going to turn cold in 10-15 years,. and then the wild card is seismic activity which causes increased volcanism and may be a by product of the low solar activity. Where do you think the bias will be? Its intuitive, it WOULD BE OPPOSITE.. A WARM BIAS!

Now, something I have been talking about in the debate, the lack of warming in the tropics and the drop in specific humidity, which is something that limits tropical activity, since drier air over the tropics means a storm has to "work" harder to develop.. as the pumping of moisture into the high levels would cool the air more than usual. It was part and parcel of why this was not a big year in the atlantic, or anywhere, not the el nino, as if it was el nino driven, one would have seen a marked increase in the Pacific. But now we here the global warming crowd saying, well its drying a bit, that is why its not warming. That it is drying in the stratosphere is even better (they haven't even acknowledged their bust in the troposphere over the tropics, the real smoking gun). it means the stratosphere is not cooling as they said it would (Dr. Tiffany Shaw has bravely gone where no one else would go on this, and pointed this out in her research!) And they can't explain it?

Sometimes I think they are blundering, and they dont even know it. Lets assume that was the answer, dont they understand that this means the co2 argument is done?. You are admitting that there is something bigger that is in control, and its not co2. That others have known this before, is of course not mentioned, The think by saying that, they will be able to justify the cooling and then say co2 will still be a problem. But how can it be the problem if you are telling us that water vapor increases or decreases are responsible ( which is much more likely than co 2) You can t have it both ways. So you have killed your own argument. Which is what others have done with the sunspot cycle. If they chuckle with glee if sunspots come roaring back to life because it means the earths temps may go up, then you are admitting that its the sunspots are the drivers.

Now I will again state my position, so we understand. I think we are going to get our answer in the next 20-30 years, that these large scale drivers that models can't handle and can only react to, not forecast, will have their day. If the earth cools by objective Satellite measurements, not NASA or GISS or NOAA or whoever playing around (the temps when we started measuring and the total sea ice when we started measuring in the late 70s) the its obvious I and many like me are right, that it is not a big deal. If it doesn't, then maybe C02 would be a problem but many many decades from now, especially in light of doubling CO2 would have a greater positive effect on food growth to feed people... something I think we are all in favor of. In the meantime, if it's going to get warm, these models can see it. If its going to be cold, they are helpless.

I think I have a good argument as to why, if you simply follow the evidence.


Global warming: The Political And Economic Collapse

By Professor Philip Stott

The collapse has been quicker than any might have predicted. The humiliating exclusion of Britain and the EU at the end of the Copenhagen débâcle was partially to be expected, but it was brutal in its final execution. The swing of power to the BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) had likewise been signified for some time, but, again, it came with precipitate ease, leaving even the American President, Barack Obama, with no doubts as to where the political agenda on climate change was now heading, namely to the developing world, but especially to the East, and to the Pacific Rim. The dirigiste tropes of ‘Old Europe’, with its love of meaningless targets and carbon capping, will no longer carry weight, while Obama himself has been straitjacketed by the voters of Massachusetts, by the rust-belt Democrats, by a truculent Congress, by an increasingly-sceptical and disillusioned American public, but, above all, by the financial crisis. Nothing will now be effected that for a single moment curbs economic development, from China to Connecticut, from Africa to Alaska.

And, as ever, capitalism has read the runes, with carbon-trading posts quietly being shed, ‘Green’ jobs sidelined, and even big insurance companies starting to hedge their own bets against the future of the Global Warming Grand Narrative. These rats are leaving the sinking ship far faster than any politician, many of whom are going to be abandoned, left, still clinging to the masts, as the Good Ship ‘Global Warming’ founders on titanic icebergs in the raging oceans of doubt and delusion.

The Scientific Collapse

And what can one say about ‘the science’? ‘The ‘science’ is already paying dearly for its abuse of freedom of information, for unacceptable cronyism, for unwonted arrogance, and for the disgraceful misuse of data at every level, from temperature measurements to glaciers to the Amazon rain forest. What is worse, the usurping of the scientific method, and of justified scientific scepticism, by political policies and political propaganda could well damage science sensu lato - never mind just climate science - in the public eye for decades. The appalling pre-Copenhagen attacks by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his climate-change henchman, Ed Miliband, on those who dared to be critical of the science of climate change were some of the most unforgivable I can recall.

It is further salutary that much of the trouble is now emanating from India. Indeed, the nonsense written about the Indian Sub-Continent has been a particular nadir in climate-change science, and it has long been judged so by many experts on the region. My ex-SOAS friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Bradnock, a world authority on the Sub-Continent, has been seething for years over the traducing of data and information relating to this key part of the world. In June, 2008, he wrote:

“However, in my own narrow area of research, I know that many of the claims about the impact of ‘global warming’ in Bangladesh, for example, are completely unfounded. There is no evidence that flooding has increased at all in recent years. Drought and excessive rainfall are the nature of the monsoon system. Agricultural production, far from being decimated by worsening floods over the last twenty years, has nearly doubled. In the early 1990s, Houghton published a map of the purported effects of sea-level rise on Bangladesh. Coming from a Fellow of the Royal Society, former Head of the Met Office and Chair of the IPCC, this was widely accepted, and frequently reproduced. Yet, it shows no understanding of the complex processes that form the Bengal delta, and it is seriously misleading. Moreover, despite the repeated claims of the World Wide Fund, Greenpeace, and, sadly, Christian Aid, the melting of the Himalayan glaciers is of completely marginal significance to the farmers of the plains in China, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. One could go on!”

The Media Collapse

One could indeed! But we may not need to do so for much longer. Why? Because the biggest collapse is in the media, the very ‘mechanism’ through which the greedy Global Warming Grand Narrative has promulgated itself during the last ten to twenty years.

The break in the ‘Media Wall’ began in the tabloids and in the ‘red tops’ [British popular newspapers], like The Daily Express and the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, but it is today spreading rapidly - yet once more as theory predicts - to the so-called ‘heavyweights’ and to the BBC. In the past, uncritical and apocalyptic stories and programmes were given the highest prominence, with any sceptical comment confined to the briefest of quotations from some benighted, and often snidely-mentioned, sceptic squeezed in at the very end of the piece (“For balance, you know”). Today, the reverse is becoming true, with the ‘global warming’ faithful firmly forced on to the back foot. Yet, in our post-modern world, it is the journalistic language being employed that is the true indicator of a new media order. Listening to good old Roger Harrabin this morning, reporting on BBC Radio 4’s flagship ‘Today’ programme, was a revelation in this respect; the language, and even the style, had altered radically.

Potential Losers

The collapse is now so precipitate that there will inevitably be some serious losers caught out by it all. The UK Met Office could well be one, with the BBC rightly reviewing its contract with them. At the moment, Met Office spokespersons sound extraordinary, bizarre even. They bleat out ‘global warming’ phrases like programmed robotic sheep, although they are finding it increasingly difficult to pull the wool over our eyes. It is terribly 1984, and rather chilling, so to speak. It is obvious that the organisation is suffering from another classical academic state, namely that known as ‘cognitive dissonance’ [see here and here]. This is experienced when belief in a Grand Narrative persists blindly, even when the facts in the real world begin to contradict what the narrative is saying. Sadly, many of our public and private organisations have allowed themselves to develop far too great a vested interest in ‘global warming’, as have too many politicians and activists. These are increasingly terrified, many having no idea how to react, or how to adjust, to the collapse. It will be particularly interesting to witness how, in the end, the Royal Society plays its cards, especially if competing scientific paradigms, such as the key role played by water vapour in climate change, start to displace the current paradigm in classic fashion.

Certain newspapers, like my own DNOC, The Times, have also been a tad slow to grasp the magnitude of the collapse (although Ben Webster has tried valiantly to counter this with some good pieces); yet, even such outlets at last appear to be fathoming the remarkable changes taking place. Today, for example, The Times carries a brief, but seminal, critique of the ‘science’ from Lord Leach of Fairford.

What Will It Mean?

I have long predicted, and in public too, that the Copenhagen Conference could prove to be the beginning of the end for the Global Warming Grand Narrative. It appears that I may well have been right, and, indeed, I may have considerably underestimated the speed, and the dramatic nature, of the demise.

Where this all leaves our politicians and political parties in the UK; where it leaves climate science, scientists more generally, and the Royal Society; where it leaves energy policy; where it leaves the ‘Green’ movement; and, where it leaves our media will have to be topics for many later comments and analyses.

For the moment, we must not underestimate the magnitude of the collapse. Academically, it is jaw-dropping to observe. And, the political, economic, and scientific consequences will be profound.


Cold, bitter winter is “proof” of global warming

“Winter offered as proof of warming” declares a headline in the print edition of the Washington Post, although perhaps the irony of that later struck the editors and they softened it a bit in the online edition to “Harsh winter a sign of disruptive climate change, report says.”

Nothing especially outrageous here. The enviros have been doing this for years; indeed, it’s why they adopted the term “global climate change” so that any change in climate or even just weather - which obviously this is - can be portrayed as a result of man’s nefarious activities in putting greenhouse gases into the air. The report, incidentally, is from the National Wildlife Federation that makes money by promoting global warming in the same way that GM makes money selling trucks.

But folks are having trouble buying it. A poll released Mondaypoll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked respondents to rank 21 issues in terms of priority. Global warming came in dead last. It’s come in last before, but this time just 28 percent of those surveyed list global warming as a top priority, down from 35 percent in 2008.


Using biofuel in cars 'may accelerate loss of rainforest'

Using biofuel in vehicles may be accelerating the destruction of rainforest and resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions than burning pure petrol and diesel, a watchdog said yesterday.

The Renewable Fuels Agency also warned that pump prices could rise in April because of the Government’s policy of requiring fuel companies to add biofuel to petrol and diesel. More than 1.3 million hectares of land — twice the area of Devon — was used to grow the 2.7 per cent of Britain’s transport fuel that came from crops last year.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a growing proportion of biofuel must be added to diesel and petrol. This year fuel must be at least 3.25 per cent biofuel on average. By 2020 the proportion will be 13 per cent.

The agency’s first annual report revealed that fuel companies had exploited a loophole to avoid reporting the origin of almost half the biofuel they supplied to filling stations last year. The origin of fuel from land recently cleared can be described as “unknown”. Last year Esso reported the source of only 6 per cent of its biofuel and BP reported 27 per cent. Shell was the best-performing of the main oil companies but still failed to report the origin of a third of its biofuel.

The agency said: “The large proportion of unknown previous land use is of concern. If even a small proportion of this was carbon-rich grassland or forestland, it could have substantially reduced the carbon savings resulting from the renewable transport fuels obligation as a whole, or even resulted in a net release of carbon.”

Most companies met part of their biofuel obligation by buying palm oil, one of the cheapest fuels but potentially the most damaging to the environment because of the carbon released when forest is burnt down to create plantations.

Expansion of the industry has made Indonesia the third-largest CO2 emitter after China and the US. A litre of palm oil produced on land converted from Indonesian forest produces roughly three times as much CO2 as ordinary diesel.

The agency said oil companies had failed to invest in slightly more expensive certified sustainable palm oil. Only 0.5 per cent of the 127 million litres of palm oil added to petrol and diesel last year came from plantations certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an international monitoring body.

Chevron, Murco, Topaz and Grangemouth refinery had “failed to demonstrate the sustainability of their biofuels”, the report said. ConocoPhillips was the only big oil company to meet the three voluntary targets the Government set the industry: for 30 per cent of the biofuel to meet a minimum environmental standard, for it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared with fossil fuel and for the source of at least half the biofuel to be reported.

The agency said the end of the 20p a litre fuel duty discount for biofuel from April could cause prices to rise, though probably only by less than 1p per litre.

From March 2011 companies will be required under a European directive to report the previous use of all the land from which they derive their biofuels. However, they will also gain an additional loophole because they will not have to admit using rainforest land if the trees were removed before 2008.



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


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bin Laden is a Warmist!

This gets better and better!

Al-QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden blamed industrial nations for global warming and urged a boycott of the US dollar to end "slavery."

The message, in an audiotape attributed to the terrorist leader, was aired by Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera today.

"All industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming," the message went on.

"We should stop using the dollar and get rid of it ... I know that there would be huge repercussions for that, but this would be the only way to free humankind from slavery ... to America and its companies."


Revkin is wobbling

Andrew Revkin in the chief Warmist for the NYT. He is trying to cope with the "discovery" (to Warmists) that atmospheric water vapour is a big influence on the earth's temperature. Excerpt from his article of 29th:

A new study led by Susan Solomon, a federal climate scientist and co-leader of the 2007 science review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is fascinating not only for the revelations, but the underlying lessons, too.

The study, described in an article today in The Times, finds that poorly understood variations in water vapor concentrations in the stratosphere were probably responsible for a substantial wedge of the powerful warming trend in the 1990s and a substantial portion of “the flattening of global average temperatures since 2000″

Here’s the take-home line from the paper: "[S]tratospheric water vapor very likely made substantial contributions to the flattening of the global warming trend since about 2000. Although earlier data are less complete, the observations also suggest that stratospheric water contributed to enhancing the warming observed during 1980–2000."

One lesson, discussed by me for many years, is that short-term variability even on the scale of a decade (in either the hot or not hot direction) is a distraction if one is looking for evidence of human-driven warming or trying to build an argument for or against curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Another, of course, is that the science illuminating the extent of the human influence on climate is not “settled” for many specific, and important, points, even though the basic case for rising risks from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is robust enough to merit a strong response, according to a host of experts (even if you take the intergovernmental panel’s findings with a grain of salt).

More HERE (See the original for links)

Amusing bits: He admits that the science is not "settled"; He admits that people have reason to take the IPCC with a grain of salt; He says that decade-long observations are too short to be used, even though the warming period of the late 20th century that started the whole scare was only about two decades; He then offers an alternative authority to the IPCC as confirming the "threat" of global warming -- an "authority" that was published in 1991! He had to go back to 1991 to prop up his faith!; and that he relies on "authorities" -- rather than any facts -- to prop up his faith is the most pathetic thing of all

The end is nigh

Less than a week after he claimed the IPCC's credibility had increased as a result of its handling of the "Glaciergate" scandal, Pachauri's own personal credibility lies in tatters as The Times accuses him of a direct lie.

This is about when he first became aware of the false claim over the melting glaciers, Pachauri's version on 22 January being that he had only known about it "for a few days" – i.e., after it had appeared in The Sunday Times.

However, Ben Webster writes that a prominent science journalist, Pallava Bagla – who works for the Science journal (and NDTV as its science correspondent) - claims that last November he had informed Pachauri that Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University and a leading glaciologist, had dismissed the 2035 date as being wrong by at least 300 years. Pachauri had replied: "I don't have anything to add on glaciers."

Bagla interviewed Dr Pachauri again this week and asked him why he had decided to overlook the error before the Copenhagen summit. In the taped interview, he asked: "I pointed it out [the error] to you in several e-mails, several discussions, yet you decided to overlook it. Was that so that you did not want to destabilise what was happening in Copenhagen?"

Dr Pachauri replied: "Not at all, not at all. As it happens, we were all terribly preoccupied with a lot of events. We were working round the clock with several things that had to be done in Copenhagen. It was only when the story broke, I think in December, we decided to, well, early this month — as a matter of fact, I can give you the exact dates — early in January that we decided to go into it and we moved very fast."

According to Pachauri, "... within three or four days, we were able to come up with a clear and a very honest and objective assessment of what had happened. So I think this presumption on your part or on the part of any others is totally wrong. We are certainly never — and I can say this categorically — ever going to do anything other than what is truthful and what upholds the veracity of science."

Without even Bagla's input, we know this to be lies. Apart from anything else, there was the crisis meeting under the aegis of UNEP - which we reported on Thursday – which concluded that the 2035 claim "does not appear to be based upon any scientific studies and therefore has no foundation".

Separately, we have Syed Hasnain, while stressing that he was not involved in drafting the IPCC report, claiming that he noticed some of the mistakes when he first read the relevant section in 2008.

That was also the year he joined TERI in Delhi, headed by Dr Pachauri and he says he realised that the 2035 prediction was based on an interview he gave to the New Scientist magazine in 1999. But, he claims. he did not tell Dr Pachauri because he was not working for the IPCC and was busy with his own programmes at the time.

"I was keeping quiet as I was working here," he said. "My job is not to point out mistakes. And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?"

However, Hasnain's assertions contrast rather sharply with a video interview given by him to NDTV (see clip above) on 9 November 2009 – the day that the Raina report on glaciers was published, challenging the claims made in the IPCC report. Then, he is seen to be defending the 2035 figure, and allowing himself to be styled as "author of the original IPCC report".

According to The Guardian, V K Raina, formerly deputy director general of the Geological Survey of India, has joined calls for Pachauri's resignation.

The Guardian cites India's Economic Times from over a week ago, which criticised the IPCC for damaging its own credibility, noting that "it would now seem that Mr Pachauri's steadfast unwillingness to consider an alternate position could well have given climate sceptics a stronger footing."

But today, the Deccan Herald also weighs in, declaring: "The [glacier] incident reflects poorly on the professionalism and scientific rigour of the IPCC and has done damage to its credibility." The writing is not so much on the wall as obliterating it.

Adding to the graffiti, in yet another development, the popular Indian magazine Open rips apart global warming, labelling it: "The Hottest Hoax in the World." Indian blogger Gurmeet in Liberty News Central thinks this could be the most hard-hitting article in the Indian MSM on AGW fraud ever.

Given what is about to descend upon him on Sunday, by the time the Indian media have absorbed the detail, Pachauri will be history.


Some advice to climate scientists on ethics from a finance professor

by Theo Vermaelen

An accountant sets it all out very clearly below

Climate scientists from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia have come under fire for alleged data manipulation following the release of thousands of emails and documents. As a result of ‘Climategate’, some of the climatologists involved have stepped aside or are under investigation by their university.

Why did the ‘Medieval Warming Period’ disappear?

Most observers agree that the most damaging email is the one sent by Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 1999, to three of his colleagues: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

What ‘decline’ are the scientists apparently trying to hide? A detailed discussion can be found in an article written by Marc Sheppard. I will only provide a brief summary of the arguments for those who have not being paying attention. His article may be useful in continental Europe where the whole controversy is barely discussed in the mainstream press in spite (or perhaps because) of the Copenhagen conference.

The leading authority on climate change is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It provides policy recommendations to government officials. In its first climate change assessment report in 1990, the IPCC published a graph (Figure 1) which showed average global temperature changes during the last millennium. The graph shows a large increase in temperature from 900 to 1300, called the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). This period was followed by the Little Ice Age until 1850, when the current warming period began. Obviously, if temperatures were higher in the MWP than today, global warming is not “man-made”, i.e., it cannot be the result of economic activity but rather a result of external forces we can’t control.

Figure 1: Temperature changes since 900 AD (Source: IPCC 1990 Figure 7c)

In 2001, the IPCC assessment report shows a very different graph (Figure 2) without a MWP but with a gradual decline in temperatures from 1000 to 1850, followed by a strong increase in temperatures, especially in the second half of the 20th century. The graph is based on two papers by Mann et al. (1999), Jones et al. (1999) and Briffa (2000). The graph that fits actual temperatures best from 1900 to 1980 (Mann et al. (1999)) is then shown in Figure 3 (below), which is the figure that is published in the IPCC 2001 Summary for Policy Makers. This graph (also called Mann’s “hockey stick”) has become the poster child of the man-made global warming movement and is regularly published in newspapers (e.g. the International Herald Tribune, December 8, 2009, p6).

Figure 2: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: results from individual studies. (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.21)

So why did the MWP disappear? Because actual measurement of temperatures with thermometers only started in 1850, all temperature data for prior years have to be estimated by proxies such as a lake sediments, ice cores, boreholes and tree rings. These proxies are then combined in complex computer programs. Occasionally proxies are based on tree rings only. For example Keith’s Briffa’s proxy is based on tree ring Polar Ural data.

All three graphs in figure 2 show a strong correlation between the proxies used in the papers and the actual temperatures from 1900 until 1960, which is not surprising as it appears from the source files (revealed together with the e-mails) that proxies that did not fit well with actual temperatures were purposely ignored. The problem is that these proxies are not really correlated with temperatures outside this estimation period. For example, while real temperatures rose after 1960, Keith Briffa’s proxy shows a decline in temperature. The same decline must have happened with the Mann and Jones papers after 1980, which now makes it clear what Jones meant in his e-mail. The “trick” consists of “hiding the decline” by replacing the proxy with the real temperatures after 1961 for Briffa’s paper, and after 1980 for the Jones and Mann papers. That explains the puzzling fact that in all figures the reconstructed data stop in 1980 and are replaced by instrumental data. Moreover, although instrumental data are available from 1850 to 1900, these data are not used in figure 3. One possible reason is that, as with the post-1980 data, the pre-1900 data don’t match with the reconstructed data.

Figure 3: Average Northern Hemisphere temperature anomalies: pooled results (Source IPCC, WG1, Figure 2.20)

But this of course means that the proxies in the reconstructed data are wrong, as the quality of a proxy depends on its ability to forecast outside the estimation period. This makes the whole pre-1850 period analysis irrelevant. In other words, the research does not prove that there was no MWP, which is the necessary condition for claiming that warming is driven by human activity. This is why it is not surprising that the scientists are being blamed for having manipulated the data to hide the MWP.

Lessons from finance: I strongly recommend the “best practices” of finance academics to the climate science community:

Data should be made publicly available at a reasonable cost

While climate scientists try to explain temperatures, finance professors try to explain stock prices. In the early sixties, the University of Chicago set up the Centre for Research in Security Prices to collect historical data on stock prices and other financial information. This information is made available to all academic institutions for a fee. Climate researchers should do the same. Moreover, as they use proxies for temperatures in the pre-1850 period, they should disclose how and why these proxies were chosen and how they are combined in computer algorithms. This is an important issue, as the one of the most common sources for estimating pre-1850 temperatures is tree rings. But considering that the number of trees is infinite, it seems to me that you can always find a tree that gets you the desired result. This is, I believe, the basic difference with finance: we don’t try to estimate stock prices if there is no organised stock exchange with verifiable records. This significantly reduces the potential for cherry-picking and data manipulation.

Data should be respected, theories not

The quality of a theory depends on its ability to explain the facts. So when the facts don’t fit the theory, the theory should be changed, not the facts.

For example, one of the leading Nobel Prize-winning financial models is the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). When it was first tested using data prior to 1970, it was found to be roughly consistent with the facts and became for a while the holy grail of finance. However, as time went by, anomalies were discovered, the model was rejected and alternatives were proposed. Some of these alternatives were proposed by the same researchers who provided the original empirical support for the CAPM. So there is nothing embarrassing about changing your mind after seeing new evidence.

This way of operating is quite different from the climate scientist practices revealed in an e-mail exchange of October 2009. In particular, one of the scientists says: “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”

He was referring to the fact that, since the prediction of increased global warming in 1998, global temperatures have actually declined. The e-mail was a result of the fact that Paul Hudson, the BBC’s reporter on climate change, had pointed this out. Rather than calling this a ‘travesty’ the scientists should have welcomed this as an interesting development and a call for remodelling. Perhaps we are at the beginning of a period of global cooling, as some scientists suggest. So let’s hold on to the SUV for the moment.

Don’t create institutions that decide whether an academic debate is closed

The academic finance area does not have an institution such as the IPCC that assesses periodically whether a specific theory should be accepted as absolute truth. In January 2001 the IPCC stated that “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” All main national and international science academies subsequently endorsed this opinion. For finance academics such unanimity is unusual. Academic debates in finance rarely are declared “closed.” For example, one of the debates in finance that has gone on for as long as I can remember, and will never be settled, is whether the stock market is informationally efficient. It would be unthinkable that, once in a while, there would be an official organisation declaring the state of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and deciding which papers are relevant and which ones are not. The danger is that such organisations would be dominated by academics who want to push their particular point of view and declare the academic debate closed.

Evidence consistent with such behaviour at the IPCC can be readily inferred from the fact that none of authors of the 2001 report questioned figure 3. Indeed, I find it most disturbing that none of the scientists (or policy makers, or other science academies and scientific societies that have endorsed the IPCC 2001 opinion) insisted on seeing the reconstructed data from 1980-2000, to check whether the proxies were relevant. It is as if I would use stock price data from 1900 to 1980 to design a trading rule, publish it in 2001 and then the referee would not ask me to check whether the rule works from 1981 to 2000! The only explanation for the lack of curiosity of scientists and policy makers must be that they liked the “hockey stick” picture which showed that warming in the 20th century was unprecedented. So, if climate scientists want to regain credibility, I recommend that they close down the IPCC. Alternatively, the IPCC should transform itself in a lobby group for man-made global warming, but should not pretend to be an objective assessor of climate change research.

Don’t become captive to a political movement or an industry

Although many of us are funded by financial institutions, we don’t refrain from criticising those who feed us. For example, there are numerous papers advocating the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which claims that active portfolio managers create no value and that the optimal investment strategy is to invest in an index fund. Others have shown that acquisitions destroy value for bidders, often blaming the success fees of investment bankers as well as the use of earnings multiples in valuation. This critique has not prevented finance professors from being endowed with chairs financed by asset management firms and investment banks. The reason, I believe, is that whatever we say or write does not have a major impact on the real world. Indeed, there are numerous successful active portfolio managers and bankers still use multiples when valuing companies.

Climate scientists, on the other hand, are being taken very seriously by politicians, environmentalists and business people. For example, alternative energy producers can only survive thanks to government subsidies, regulation and taxes on their competitors in the ‘non-alternative’ energy sector. These government policies will only be implemented if the public is convinced that global warming is a man-made serious problem. Hence, climate scientists may be more reluctant to revise their theories if so many people’s fortunes depend on the acceptance of these theories. So this should perhaps be another message: don’t take yourself too seriously so that others won’t take you too seriously either.


Now its Greenpeace being cited as an authority by the IPCC

The pretence that the IPCC is a scientific body is now no longer tenable

Donna Laframboise, who gave us the list of World Wildlife Fund non peer reviewed studies cited in the IPCC AR4 continues to make lists. Here’s her latest list. Those calm, rational, thoughtful folks at Greenpeace seem to have had a significant hand in the IPCC climate bible. She writes:
Considered the climate Bible by governments around the world, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is meant to be a scientific analysis of the most authoritative research.

Instead, it references literature generated by Greenpeace – an organization known more for headline-grabbing publicity stunts than sober-minded analysis. (Eight IPCC-cited Greenpeace publications are listed at the bottom of this post.)

In one section of this Nobel-winning report, climate change is linked to coral reef degradation. The sole source for this claim? A Greenpeace report titled “Pacific in Peril” (see Hoegh-Guldberg below). Here the report relies on a Greenpeace document to establish the lower-end of an estimate involving solar power plants (Aringhoff).

Read more at her blog here. In the meantime, here’s the list:


* Aringhoff, R., C. Aubrey, G. Brakmann, and S. Teske, 2003: Solar thermal power 2020, Greenpeace International/European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association, Netherlands

* ESTIA, 2004: Exploiting the heat from the sun to combat climate change. European Solar Thermal Industry Association and Greenpeace, Solar Thermal Power 2020, UK

* Greenpeace, 2004: accessed 05/06/07

* Greenpeace, 2006: Solar generation. K. McDonald (ed.), Greenpeace International, Amsterdam

* GWEC, 2006: Global wind energy outlook. Global Wind Energy Council, Bruxelles and Greenpeace, Amsterdam, September, 56 pp., accessed 05/06/07

* Hoegh-Guldberg, O., H. Hoegh-Guldberg, H. Cesar and A. Timmerman, 2000: Pacific in peril: biological, economic and social impacts of climate change on Pacific coral reefs. Greenpeace, 72 pp.

* Lazarus, M., L. Greber, J. Hall, C. Bartels, S. Bernow, E. Hansen, P. Raskin, and D. Von Hippel, 1993: Towards a fossil free energy future: the next energy transition. Stockholm Environment Institute, Boston Center, Boston. Greenpeace International, Amsterdam.

* Wind Force 12, 2005: Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace,, accessed 03/07/07


(I should perhaps point out that Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is in fact a Professor at the University of Queensland with expertise in coral reef matters. But his academic writings are much more sober than his Greenie pronouncements. See here -- JR)


Three current articles below

Save the planet! Stink out the homes and spread the gastro

The extremists who now infest local government would rather give you the trots if that’s what it takes to turn you green:
Residents in Penrith are furious after their council cut rubbish collections to once a fortnight. And to make matters worse they have cut the size of their bins at the same time.

Mothers with babies have been forced to store 14 days worth of dirty nappies, while residents have found maggots and some have complained to the local health service…

Penrith took action after the NSW Department of Environment began supporting the cut from weekly to fortnightly services two years ago in a bid to force more people to recycle. So far four councils across NSW have reduced collections and others are set to follow.

But a leading public health expert said thousands of residents were at risk of salmonella and gastro.

Why are our green fuhrers so happy to hurt humans to “save” an inanimate planet? Or is it just the power to bully that gives them their kicks? Cutting the sizes of people’s bins is just the kind of vindictiveness that appeals to the inner totalitarian.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate sceptic warmly received during debate

LORD Christopher Monckton, imperious and articulate, won yesterday's climate change debate in straight sets. Forget facts and fictions, numbers and statistics, this British high priest of climate change sceptics is a polished performer, even against the most committed of scientists.

Aided by Adelaide's Professor Ian Plimer, Lord Monckton cruised to victory before a partisan crowd of suits and ties, movers and shakers. Hundreds of them were there for the sell-out, $130-a-head Brisbane Institute lunch – and scepticism was applauded.

Climate change scientist Professor Barry Brook and teammate Graham Readfearn, The Courier-Mail's environment blogger, were stoic in argument (even if Mr Readfearn may have foot-faulted once or twice and had to be pulled into line by moderator Ray Weeks).

But Lord Monckton is a seasoned campaigner, if not a scientist, reviled and ridiculed as he is in some quarters for his view that many are too alarmist about global warming. "As every risk manager knows, you can't just evaluate the risk of whatever it is you're frightened of, you also have to evaluate the risks inherent in the precautions you take to prevent whatever you're frightened of," Lord Monckton said.

Professor Brook argued that even if projected rates of climate change were wrong, the issue would force the world to take a big step towards a more sustainable future. "We know that the climate is changing but we don't know how much . . . If the rates are wrong we will foreshorten the period society has to go through from an old, Victorian, model of industrialisation to a more modern model," he said. Mr Readfearn urged caution in buying climate change science from non-scientists.

SOURCE (Video at link)

Australian green scheme 'close to collapse'

ONE of the Rudd Government's key climate change initiatives is close to collapse amid claims of widespread rorting [fraud] and mismanagement. Just six months after its launch, the $70 million Green Loans scheme to get Australians to install energy-efficient products will be lucky to survive past March without millions more in taxpayer funding.

Similarities are already being drawn between Green Loans and the Government's bungled $3.2 billion home insulation subsidy scheme. A Senate inquiry into the insulation rebate scheme is probing accusations of malpractice, rorting and mismanagement.

The much-vaunted Green Loans program was supposed to run for three years but is being bled dry by a flurry of unregistered operators. So far, there have been just 1000 subsidised loans approved for solar power and water-saving and energy-efficient products. Now thousands of people who paid $3000 each to become Green Loans assessors will be thrown on the unemployment scrapheap if the scheme collapses.

Instead of using only registered training organisations, unregistered groups were allowed to conduct audit training courses, with one earning $300,000 in one weekend by packing 200 people in a class at $1500 a head.

The Opposition's environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, yesterday called for a "full-scale investigation", claiming the program had been a fiasco. But the Federal Government yesterday defended the scheme, with a spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett saying it had "stimulated significant growth in the market for household sustainability assessors". He said the scheme's future would be considered "in the context of Budget deliberations".

Brisbane's Gillian Steele said she thought the project had "a lot of merit" when she paid $3000 for herself and her daughter to be trained as Green Loans assessors. "I'm frustrated and disappointed," she said yesterday.



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Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama's Greenhouse Effect (in his SOTU speech)

Our favorite moment in the State of the Union was when Obama said this: "I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change."

To be sure, this was a "to be sure" sentence: The president went on to say global warming is worth fighting even if imaginary. But we liked this moment for two reasons: First, because the president felt obliged to acknowledge disagreement. Second, because his laughable assertion about "the overwhelming scientific evidence" was greeted with laughter. The climate-change climate has changed.


Americans cooling on climate change, survey says

And that's from a pro-Warmist organization

Public concern about global warming and trust in climate leaders has dropped sharply in the U.S. according to a survey. Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled at the end of 2009 and early 2010 believe climate change is happening compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008. The report, "Climate Change in the American Mind" published jointly by Yale University and the George Mason University Wednesday also reveals a picture of falling trust in scientists, politicians and the media concerning climate change.

Anthony Leiserowitz, principal investigator and director of the Yale Project on Climate Change told CNN: "I'm not surprised by the direction of the results but I am surprised at the magnitude of them. "These are steep drop offs and this is despite the fact that, if anything, the climate science is getting stronger and more concerning over the past year."

Over 1000 American adults were interviewed for the report. Respondents answered questions on a range of climate change issues including rating their trust of public institutions and climate leaders as a source of information. Trust in scientists dropped nine percent from 83 to 74 percent, while faith in the mainstream news media slumped from 47 percent in 2008 to 36 percent.

Along with the media, Al Gore experienced the biggest fall in trust according to the survey. In 2008, 58 percent of respondents said they "strongly trust" or "somewhat trust" the former vice president and climate activist. In 2010 that figure has fallen to 47 percent.

Support for President Barack Obama remained largely unchanged at 51 percent compared to 53 percent in October 2008.

Other prominent climate opinion makers faired poorly. 36 percent of people trust the former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin while only 35 percent rate Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger as a reliable source of information on climate change.

Leiserowitz thinks this widespread decline in support is down to two main factors. "Clearly the economy is dominating all issues right now. People in the U.S. are, frankly, afraid and they're angry at Washington, Wall Street and elected officials who don't seem to be responding. As a result the climate has gone down in public priority," Leiserowitz said. "But I think also in the past few weeks and months some really troubling stories have been reported around climate science," he added.

Leiserowitz points to the damage caused first by the so-called "Climategate" scandal in November 2009 which was seized upon by climate skeptics who argued scientists have been suppressing data. And more recently concerns surrounding parts of the Himalayan glacier data published in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "They [climate skeptics] have taken these as opportunities to drive home their particular message, and I think they've been successful."

What this all underlines, Leiserowitz says, is the need to educate the American people. "There is a real need for improved public education and communication on this critical issue. The science is getting stronger and public opinion is going in the opposite direction."


British scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data illegally

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny. The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails , revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails. Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.

In one e-mail, Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.

The complaint to the ICO was made by David Holland, a retired engineer from Northampton. He had been seeking information to support his theory that the unit broke the IPCC’s rules to discredit sceptic scientists.

In a statement, Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: “The e-mails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information.”

He added: “The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. We will be advising the university about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information.”

Mr Holland said: “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”

The university said: “The way freedom of information requests have been handled is one of the main areas being explored by Sir Muir Russell’s independent review. The findings will be made public and we will act as appropriate on its recommendations.”


The scandal deepens – IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers

All the years I’ve been in TV news, I’ve observed that every story has a tipping point. In news, we know when it has reached that point when we say it “has legs” and the story takes on a life of its own. The story may have been ignored or glossed over for weeks, months, or years until some new piece of information is posted and starts to galvanize people. The IPCC glacier melt scandal was the one that galvanized the collective voice that has been saying that the IPCC report was seriously flawed and represented a political rather than scientific view. Now people are seriously looking at AR4 with a critical eye and finding things everywhere.

Remember our friends at World Wildlife Fund? Those schlockmeisters that produced the video of planes flying into New York with explicit comparisons to 9/11?

Well it turns out that the WWF is cited all over the IPCC AR4 report, and as you know, WWF does not produce peer reviewed science, they produce opinion papers in line with their vision. Yet IPCC’s rules are such that they are supposed to rely on peer reviewed science only. It appears they’ve violated that rule dozens of times, all under Pachauri’s watch.

A new posting authored by Donna Laframboise, the creator of (Toronto, Canada) shows what one can find in just one day of looking. Here’s an extensive list of documents created or co-authored by the WWF and cited by this Nobel-winning IPCC AR4 report:

* Allianz and World Wildlife Fund, 2006: Climate change and the financial sector: an agenda for action, 59 pp. [Accessed 03.05.07: filelibrary/pdf/allianz_rep_0605.pdf]

* Austin, G., A. Williams, G. Morris, R. Spalding-Feche, and R. Worthington, 2003: Employment potential of renewable energy in South Africa. Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Denmark, November, 104 pp.

* Baker, T., 2005: Vulnerability Assessment of the North-East Atlantic Shelf Marine Ecoregion to Climate Change, Workshop Project Report, WWF, Godalming, Surrey, 79 pp.

* Coleman, T., O. Hoegh-Guldberg, D. Karoly, I. Lowe, T. McMichael, C.D. Mitchell, G.I. Pearman, P. Scaife and J. Reynolds, 2004: Climate Change: Solutions for Australia. Australian Climate Group, 35 pp. publications/acg_solutions.pdf

* Dlugolecki, A. and S. Lafeld, 2005: Climate change – agenda for action: the financial sector’s perspective. Allianz Group and WWF, Munich [may be the same document as "Allianz" above, except that one is dated 2006 and the other 2005]

* Fritsche, U.R., K. Hünecke, A. Hermann, F. Schulze, and K. Wiegmann, 2006: Sustainability standards for bioenergy. Öko-Institut e.V., Darmstadt, WWF Germany, Frankfurt am Main, November

* Giannakopoulos, C., M. Bindi, M. Moriondo, P. LeSager and T. Tin, 2005: Climate Change Impacts in the Mediterranean Resulting from a 2oC Global Temperature Rise. WWF report, Gland Switzerland. Accessed 01.10.2006 at

* Hansen, L.J., J.L. Biringer and J.R. Hoffmann, 2003: Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems. WWF Climate Change Program, Berlin, 246 pp.

* index.cfm

* Lechtenbohmer, S., V. Grimm, D. Mitze, S. Thomas, M. Wissner, 2005: Target 2020: Policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. WWF European Policy Office, Wuppertal

* Malcolm, J.R., C. Liu, L. Miller, T. Allnut and L. Hansen, Eds., 2002a: Habitats at Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Globally Significant Terrestrial Ecosystems. WWF World Wide Fund for Nature, Gland, 40 pp.

* Rowell, A. and P.F. Moore, 2000: Global Review of Forest Fires. WWF/IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 66 pp. /files/global_review_forest_fires.pdf

* WWF, 2004: Deforestation threatens the cradle of reef diversity. World Wide Fund for Nature, 2 December 2004.

* WWF, 2004: Living Planet Report 2004. WWF- World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund), Gland, Switzerland, 44 pp.

* WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 2005: An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China. World Wildlife Fund, Nepal Programme, 79 pp.

* Zarsky, L. and K. Gallagher, 2003: Searching for the Holy Grail? Making FDI Work for Sustainable Development. Analytical Paper, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Switzerland

Finally, there are these authoritative sources cited by the IPCC – publications with names such as Leisure and Event Management:

* Jones, B. and D. Scott, 2007: Implications of climate change to Ontario’s provincial parks. Leisure, (in press)

* Jones, B., D. Scott and H. Abi Khaled, 2006: Implications of climate change for outdoor event planning: a case study of three special events in Canada’s National Capital region. Event Management, 10, 63-76

Not only should Pachauri resign, the Nobel committee should be deluged by world citizenry demanding they revoke the Nobel prize granted to the body that produced this document.


Climate agency going up in flames

Exit of Canada's expert a sure sign IPCC in trouble

A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they've been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada's leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it's a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years. He is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, mastermind of one of the most sophisticated climate modelling systems on the planet, and lead author on two recent landmark IPCC reports.

For him to say, as he told Canwest News yesterday, that there has been some "dangerous crossing" of the line between climate advocacy and science at the IPCC is stunning in itself.

Not only is Mr. Weaver an IPCC insider. He has also, over the years, generated his own volume of climate advocacy that often seemed to have crossed that dangerous line between hype and science.

It is Mr. Weaver, for example, who said the IPCC's 2007 science report -- the one now subject to some scrutiny -- "isn't a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles."

He has also made numerous television appearances linking current weather and temperature events with global warming, painting sensational pictures and dramatic links.

"When you see these [temperature] numbers, it's screaming out at you: 'This is global warming!"

Mr. Weaver is also one of the authors of The Copenhagen Diagnosis, an IPCC-related piece of agit-prop issued just before the recent Copenhagen meeting.

The Copenhagen Diagnosis is as manipulative a piece of policy advocacy as can be found, filled with foreboding and alarming assessments. Described as "an interim evaluation of the evolving science," it was an attempt to jump-start decision-making at Copenhagen. It failed, perhaps in part because one of the authors was U.S. climate scientist Michael Mann, who plays a big role in the Climategate emails.

That Mr. Weaver now thinks it necessary to set himself up as the voice of scientific reason, and as a moderate guardian of appropriate and measured commentary on the state of the world's climate, is firm evidence that the IPCC is in deep trouble. He's getting out while the getting's good, and blaming the IPCC's upper echelon for the looming crisis.

In the language typical of an IPCC report, one might say that the radiative forcing created by Climategate and Glaciergate strongly suggest this is very likely to bring about cataclysmic melting of the organization within the next portion of the current decadal period. The words "very likely" in IPCC risk assessment terms mean a 90% or greater probability that something will happen. As it looks now, the IPCC is burnt toast and unless it is overhauled fast there's a 90% probability the climate-change political machine is going to come crashing down.


The Science (Fiction) of the Greenhouse Effect

I have mentioned this work before but below is a good layperson's explanation of it

Two German physicists have written a paper debunking the "theory" of the greenhouse gas effect by demonstrating how it violates basic laws of physics. Their paper, Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Frame of Physics, was published last year in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Modern Physics.

The authors are Gerhard Gerlich, a professor of mathematical physics at the Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina in Braunschweig, and Ralf Tscheuchner, a retired professor of theoretical physics and freelance lecturer and researcher in physics and applied informatics.

Gerlich and Tscheuschner first define carbon dioxide as a trace gas accounting for less than one percent of air's volume and mass. They say even a doubling of the concentration of atmospheric CO2 would hardly change the thermal conductivity of air. If it did, the change would be well within margins of error currently in place.

From this short tutorial, the scientists go on to show the vast difference in physical laws between real greenhouses and Earth's atmosphere. They expose the fallacies in accepted definitions of greenhouse effect from several popular sources. "It is not 'trapped' infrared radiation which explains the warming phenomenon in a real greenhouse but the suppression of air cooling." Gerlich and Tscheuschner explain Earth's atmosphere does not function in the same way, nor does it function in the way global-warming alarmists describe as "transparent for visible light but opaque for infrared radiation."

Then they make the point that climate models used to predict catastrophic global warming violate the second law of thermodynamics. The law states any closed system left to itself will continually deteriorate toward a more chaotic state. The German scientists illustrate how the idea of heat flow from atmospheric greenhouse gases to the warmer ground violates this principle. There would have to be a heat pump mechanism in perpetual motion in the atmosphere to transfer heat from a low to a high temperature reservoir, and such a machine cannot exist. They call the greenhouse effect a fictitious mechanism. "The claim that CO2 emissions give rise to anthropogenic [man-made] climate changes has no physical basis."

Throughout the paper the authors show that those who advocate the greenhouse gas theory use faulty calculations and guesstimates to arrive at their catastrophic conjectures, and though Gerlich and Tscheuschner make no specific accusation, they point out how many respected scientists have blamed alarmists for intentional fraud rather than mere scientific error. They also reveal that the idea of a greenhouse effect is modern and never mentioned in any fundamental work of thermodynamics, physical kinetics, or radiation theory. According to them, it is impossible to replicate forecasts made by climate modelers' computer simulations with any known scientific formulae.

Though their 115-page paper includes clear explanations, nearly 200 equations, tables and graphs, and 205 references, it should come as no surprise that Gerlich and Tscheuschner have been blacklisted by the climate-change community. "Stupidity," "crackpot," "dross," and "bunkum" are several of the descriptives used in online blogs blasting the paper.

The first edition of the Gerlich/Tscheuschner paper released in 2007 caused enough of a stir to prompt Arthur P. Smith with the American Physical Society to issue a 2008 rebuttal, "Proof of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect." Yet in his nine-page article, Smith cited only five sources, one of which was the Gerlich/Tscheuschner work, and failed to address most of the points raised in it. The 2009 update of the original Gerlich/Tscheuschner piece has yet to be disproved, though for the most part alarmists continue to ignore it in their mad rush toward global eco-government and a world-wide carbon trading market worth billions.


Warmists discover water vapour

The slowdown in global warming in the last few years may have been caused by a decline in water vapor in the stratosphere, a new report suggests.

While climate warming is continuing — the decade of 2000 to 2009 was the hottest on record worldwide — the increase in temperatures was not as rapid as in the 1990s.

Balloon and satellite observations show the amount of water vapor in a layer about 10 miles high declined after 2000. The stratosphere extends from about eight to 30 miles above the Earth's surface.

The reason for the decline is unknown [Could it be that a COOLING ocean gives off less water vapour?], according to researchers led by Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They report their findings in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.

Water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, and its decline in the stratosphere would reduce the rate of global warming expected from other gases such as carbon dioxide, the researchers said. According to the researchers, water vapor enters the stratosphere primary from air rising in the tropics.



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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Temperature and CO2 feedback loop 'weaker than thought'

Warmist scientists know that CO2 has been rising for many years now with no correlated rise in temperatures, and they are scratching to explain it. So they turn to their usual proxies to generate an explanation. But tree-ring proxies for temperature are garbage -- even the CRU would not use them from 1960 on -- because they DON'T correlate with temperature. So this is just a measured retreat. They say that CO2 is a weaker influence than thought but are not yet ready to go the whole hog and say that there is NO effect of CO2 on temperatures

The most alarming forecasts of natural systems amplifying the human-induced greenhouse effect may be too high, according to a new report. The study in Nature confirms that as the planet warms, oceans and forests will absorb proportionally less CO2. It says this will increase the effects of man-made warming - but much less than recent research has suggested.

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises. Further, they say their concern about man-made climate change remains high.

The research, from a team of scientists in Switzerland and Germany, attempts to settle one of the great debates in climate science about exactly how the Earth's natural carbon cycle will exacerbate any man-made warming. Some climate sceptics have argued that a warmer world will increase the land available for vegetation, which will in turn absorb CO2 and temper further warming. This is known as a negative feedback loop - the Earth acting to keep itself in balance. But the Nature research concludes that any negative feedback will be swamped by positive feedback in which extra CO2 is released from the oceans and from already-forested areas.

The oceans are the world's great store of CO2, but the warmer they become, the less CO2 they can absorb. And forests dried out by increased temperatures tend to decay and release CO2 from their trees and soils.

Commenting in Nature on the new research, Hugues Goosse from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium said: "In a warmer climate, we should not expect pleasant surprises in the form of more efficient uptake of carbon by oceans and land… that would limit the amplitude of future climate change".

The IPCC's fourth assessment report had a broad range of estimates as to how far natural systems would contribute to a spiral of warming. The Nature paper narrows that range to the lower end of previous estimates.

The report's lead author, David Frank from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, told BBC News that many of the calculations for the IPCC assessment report did not include an integrated carbon cycle. He said that if the results his paper were widely accepted, the overall effect on climate projections would be neutral. "It might lead to a downward mean revision of those (climate) models which already include the carbon cycle, but an upward revision in those which do not include the carbon cycle. "That'll probably even itself out to signify no real change in the temperature projections overall," he said.

The team's calculations are based on a probabilistic analysis of climate variation between the years 1050 and 1800 - that is, before the Industrial Revolution introduced fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Using 200,000 data points, the study - believed by Nature to be the most comprehensive of its kind so far - compared the Antarctic ice core record of trapped CO2 bubbles with so-called proxy data like tree rings, which are used to estimate temperature changes.

The most likely value among their estimates suggests that for every degree Celsius of warming, natural ecosystems tend to release an extra 7.7 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere (the full range of their estimate was between 1.7 and 21.4 parts per million). This stands in sharp contrast to the recent estimates of positive feedback models, which suggest a release of 40 parts per million per degree; the team say with 95% certainty that value is an overestimate.

The paper will surely not be the last word in this difficult area of research, with multiple uncertainties over data sources. "I think that the magnitude of the warming amplification given by the carbon cycle is a live issue that will not suddenly be sorted by another paper trying to fit to palaeo-data," Professor Brian Hoskins, a climate expert from Imperial College London, told BBC News.

Professor Tim Lenton from the University of East Anglia said: "It looks intriguing and comforting if they are right. The immediate problem I can see is that past variations in CO2 and temperature over the last millennium were very small, and this group are assuming that the relationship they derive from these very small variations can be extrapolated to the much larger variations in temperature we expect this century. "We have plenty of reason to believe that the shape of the relationship may change (be nonlinear) when we 'hit the system harder'. So, I don't think they can rule out that the positive feedback from the carbon cycle could become stronger in a significantly warmer climate."


The latest NASA deception

Nasa’s latest press release on climate change says: “Nasa researcher finds last decade was warmest on record, 2009 was one of warmest years.”

The statement is worth looking at in detail not only because of the scientific data it uses but also because of the way it portrays it. It also reveals a major difference of opinion amongst the most prominent climate researchers. The Nasa researcher referred to is Jim Hansen of the Goddard Spaceflight Centre. The press release was based on a report he wrote a little earlier.

It continues: “A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880. In the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year on record.”

As is often the case, one has to take claims like this with reservation. It is not a new analysis and everyone knows already that the last decade has been the warmest. The press release then proceeds to dilute its headline message with some more facts by adding, “The past year was a small fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest on record, putting 2009 in a virtual tie with a cluster of other years –1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 — for the second warmest on record.” In reality this makes the claim that 2009 was the second warmest year specious.

“There’s always interest in the annual temperature numbers and a given year’s ranking, but the ranking often misses the point,” Jim Hansen is quoted as saying, “There’s substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Nino-La Nina cycle. When we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

But it’s not like that. Ranking of years is the very point and when done reveals that there is no upward trend in the temperature data. If anything the GISS global temperature data set, and the HadCRUT3 one as well, shows that there is not a substantial year-to-year variability. A look at the figures shows that when the errors are taken into consideration there is not much variability as the scatter of means lies within well those errors. Also, despite La Nina – El Nino activity, the data since the two cooler years following the very strong 1998 El Nino shows am impeccable straight line

Gavin Schmidt is also quoted in the press release saying, “The difference between the second and sixth warmest years is trivial because the known uncertainty in the temperature measurement is larger than some of the differences between the warmest years.” This is a statement of the obvious.

Nasa adds, “January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Looking back to 1880, when modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely, a clear warming trend is present, although there was a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s. In the past three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.36 degrees F (0.2 degrees C) per decade. In total, average global temperatures have increased by about 1.5 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) since 1880.”

It is, in my view, misleading to mix the overall warming seen since the Victorian period with the warming seen since 1980 without any qualification. They are highly likely to be due to different causes and one does not support or confirm the other.

Then there is the question about the perceived lack of warming seen in the past ten years.

Jim Hansen writes: Frequently heard fallacies are that “global warming stopped in 1998” or “the world has been getting cooler over the past decade”. These statements appear to be wishful thinking – it would be nice if true, but that is not what the data show. True, the 1998 global temperature jumped far above the previous warmest year in the instrumental record, largely because 1998 was affected by the strongest El Nino of the century. Thus for the following several years the global temperature was lower than in 1998, as expected.

However, the 5-year and 11-year running mean global temperatures have continued to increase at nearly the same rate as in the past three decades. There is a slight downward tick at the end of the record, but even that may disappear if 2010 is a warm year. Indeed, given the continued growth of greenhouse gases and the underlying global warming trend there is a high likelihood, I would say greater than 50 percent, that 2010 will be the warmest year in the period of instrumental data.

This is an example of how simple averaging can obscure something that is obvious in the data. Most scientists see this. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science says, “There can be no argument about that. We have to face the fact.” Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Plank Institute for Meteorology adds, “We really don’t know why this stagnation is taking place at the moment.” “I hardly know a colleague who would deny that it hasn’t got warmer in recent years.”

There are some that agree with Jim Hansen. Phil Jones in the notorious leaked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit says, “those idiots saying global warming has stopped.” Although elsewhere in the leaked emails Kevin Trenberth says, “The fact is, we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

In summary, it would be fair to say that we live in a warm decade as a result of warming in the 1980’s and 1990’s but it is now incontrovertible that it hasn’t become any warmer in the past decade. I’m surprised there is still debate about this and about the lack of clarity in the Nasa press release.


And now for Amazongate

The IPCC also made false predictions on the Amazon rain forests, referenced to a non peer-reviewed paper produced by an advocacy group working with the WWF. This time though, the claim made is not even supported by the report and seems to be a complete fabrication

Thus, following on from "Glaciergate", where the IPCC grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on Himalayan glaciers – backed by a reference to a WWF report - we now have "Amazongate", where the IPCC has grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rain forest.

This is to be found in Chapter 13 of the Working Group II report, the same part of the IPCC fourth assessment report in which the "Glaciergate" claims are made. There, is the startling claim that:

At first sight, the reference looks kosher enough but, following it through, one sees:

This, then appears to be another WWF report, carried out in conjunction with the IUCN - The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The link given is no longer active, but the report is on the IUCN website here. Furthermore, the IUCN along with WWF is another advocacy group and the report is not peer-reviewed. According to IPCC rules, it should not have been used as a primary source.

Firming up the WWF link, the second of the two authors, Dr P F Moore, is cited as the coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Conservation Union (IUCN) Project FireFight South-East, Asia, Bogor, Indonesia. He works for both organisations.

His reported comments on the Amazonian rain forests are interesting, as he is by no means an Amazon specialist – or even a climate specialist. His cv tells us: "My background and experience around the world has required and developed high-level policy and analytical skills. I have a strong understanding of government administration, legislative review, analysis and inquiries generated through involvement in or management of the Australian Regional Forest Agreement process, Parliamentary and Government inquiries, Coronial inquiries and public submissions on water pricing, access and use rights and native vegetation legislation in Australia and fire and natural resources laws, regulations and policies in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia."

Perhaps, then, the lead author, Rowell A, is a more experience academic, with direct knowledge of the Amazon basin? Sadly, he is not. Andy Rowell, is an investigative freelance journalist and a green activist who writes occasionally for The Guardian and The Independent....

Thus, the IPCC is relying for its assertions that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation" on a free-lance journalist/activist and a specialist in policy and analysis relating to forest fires in Australia, Asia and South Africa.

Much more HERE

Axe the tax if you want to go green

Bjorn Lomborg is a Warmist, perhaps as a tactic, but he points out the vast irrationality of conventional political responses to the "problem". The following was written for an Australian audience

POLITICIANS are trying hard to pretend that the Copenhagen climate summit was not a complete failure. After raising expectations that they would broker a significant, binding treaty on carbon emission reductions, they are now telling us we should view Copenhagen's empty, non-binding agreement as a small but important "first step" on the journey towards solving global warming. We have heard this one before. When politicians from wealthy countries met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and promised to cut emissions by 2000, the French diplomat chairing the negotiations declared, "It's just a first step."

When leaders met again in Kyoto in 1997 and promised stricter reductions, president Bill Clinton told us that the treaty was a "huge first step" that "opened the way" to further action. Neither of these "first steps" actually took us anywhere: wealthy countries failed to meet their promises and global carbon emissions have continued to climb.

So what now? After 17 years of wasted effort, we can ill afford to squander more precious time continuing on this pointless road to nowhere. Climate change needs addressing smartly. We can only hope that December's failure will be the jolt we need to once and for all drop the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen approach and start tackling this challenge effectively.

If it wants to, Australia is certainly well positioned to demonstrate global leadership. Kevin Rudd could start the ball rolling by ditching plans to reintroduce the proposed emissions trading scheme legislation. On one level, the problem with this legislation is that emissions trading schemes disguise the true costs of reducing carbon emissions and offer an almost irresistible opportunity to spend the billions of dollars of revenue on ineffective subsidies and sweeteners. But there is a bigger reason for the Prime Minister to change course: carbon cuts are a hugely expensive, extraordinarily impractical response to global warming.

All the major climate economic models show that using carbon cuts to achieve the widely discussed goal of keeping temperature rises under 2C would require a global tax on carbon emissions starting at $110 a ton (or about 26ca litre of petrol) and increasing to $4300 a ton (or $10 a litre of petrol) by the end of the century. In all, this would cost a phenomenal $43 trillion a year. And this is an optimistic estimate based on the unlikely assumption that politicians everywhere across the globe would make the most effective choices possible (such as choosing more efficient carbon taxes over emissions-trading schemes). The ultimate price tag could actually be 10 or 100 times higher. What we know for certain is that, according to most mainstream calculations, the cost of this solution would be many, many times greater than the climate damage it seeks to prevent.

For nearly two decades now, world leaders concerned about global warming have focused single-mindedly on cutting fossil fuel use by promising to cut carbon emissions. At the same time, they have failed to invest anywhere enough money into ensuring that alternative technologies are ready to take up the slack. As a result, green energy technologies are far from competitive, scalable or effective and in many cases still require very basic research and development. In research for the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, Isabel Galiana and Chris Green examined rates of development of alternative energy sources and concluded that by 2050, green energy will be capable of producing less than half of the power needed to stabilise carbon emissions.

By 2100, the situation will be even worse.

Putting a high price on carbon and hoping that alternative technology will catch up is not a sound policy. Quite the contrary. Until the technology is there, carbon taxes will simply bleed the economy, while providing no real benefit to the climate. So if we are serious about reducing fossil fuel use without crippling the world economy, we need to radically ramp up green technologies.

To get the required technological revolution started, we need to act now. Devoting just 0.2 per cent of global gross domestic product - about $100bn a year in global spending - to green energy research and development would produce the kind of game-changing breakthroughs needed to fuel a carbon-free future for the entire planet. Not only would this be a much less expensive and less politically fraught fix than trying to cut carbon emissions, it would also ultimately reduce global warming much more.

In this regard, Australia has an opportunity to lead the world, and to do well by doing good. Creating a policy response to global warming based around the development of a research and development fund would not only be good for the planet, it would also open new avenues for Australian ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

But whatever role Australia decides to play, it is vital that we understand what happened in Copenhagen last month. Pretending that the climate summit was anything other than a failure would deny us the important lesson we should learn from it. The negotiations fell apart because the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen road is a dead end. Carbon cut promises have not worked. It is time to stop stumbling around taking one "first step" after another, and to get started on meaningful action against climate change.


Any global warming is unlikely to be a big problem amid technological advance

By Ziggy Switkowski, a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

IS it possible that global warming might be the first example of irreversible large-scale environmental change caused by humankind? Certainly over the centuries we've been responsible for wars, chemical and nuclear accidents, the spread of disease, depletion of resources, habitat and species destruction as well as experiencing the full range of natural hazards, humanitarian disasters and pandemics that have had shocking and permanent effects.

Yet from a historical and global perspective, a reversion to a positive trend occurs, albeit over generations, wherein new technologies and improved social and political processes combine to produce continuing improvements in average global standards of living, and futures unconstrained by the past.

Climate model forecasts, however, suggest that runaway climate change might defy this history and so demands urgent and costly preventive measures. What is runaway climate change? Fundamentally, a process once started - such as global warming or melting of Greenland ice - continues, perhaps even accelerates, under the influence of positive feedback, with irreversible consequences for the environment and life as we know it.

An example of positive feedback is when large white ice sheets melt, reducing the reflection of incoming sunlight and increasing solar energy absorption by the darker underlying surface, exposed rock or sea, further increasing temperatures, which leads to more melting, and so on. A textbook example of irreversible climate change is the planet Venus, which started its warming journey three to four billion years ago and evolved from a water-bearing environment to a toxic inferno. But is the threat of a billion-year transition what alarms us today?

Self evidently, there has been no consequential runaway event in the 15,000 years of modern man since the last ice age, or even in the million-year span of human existence. Climate and environment appear to have followed patterns understandable to us today. Certainly, strong climate cycles have shaped the earth's history, but concerns about runaway effects arise from complex climate models whose predictions are sometimes disputed.

But the industrial era has produced two forces that seem capable of triggering runaway-like effects on our environment: population growth and associated energy production.

Global population has increased from one billion people after the start of the Industrial Revolution about 1800 to nearly seven billion today, with a four-fold increase in the past 100 years alone. This looks like a runaway trend. But the world's population is now confidently forecast to level out near 10 billion people during the second half of this century.

Energy production and consumption loosely follow population growth but accelerate as the standards of living in the developing nations catch up to the West. As a result, global energy output will increase two or three times by the century's end.

But the combination of slowing population growth, closing the lifestyle gap with the West and the arrival of new clean energy systems supplying more efficient products and processes could stabilise greenhouse effects by century end. Along the way, adapting to climate changes is a matter of resources and resolve - barriers can be built to withstand sea-level rises, emergency services can be improved, property and personnel can be better protected, and so on.

But the legacy of generations of excessive emissions remains: our climate and environment will be highly stressed and may yet be locked into a runaway warming trajectory.

A key headline claim is that the 200-year industrial era has brought the planet to within 100 years of irreversible climate catastrophe and that the responsibility lies with today's generation to prevent such a cataclysmic situation. This conclusion rests on the assumption that the risk of climate catastrophe is growing faster than the rate at which technology can be developed to mitigate this risk. Is this a reasonable assumption?

The US National Academy of Engineering recently produced a list of the most significant technical advances of the 20th century. The top 10 included: electrification, automobiles, airplanes, water supply and distribution, electronics, radio and television, agricultural mechanisation, computers, telephony, air conditioning and refrigeration (the early internet appeared at No. 13).

Might the 21st century of innovation produce an even more influential list that, if appropriately prioritised, includes the tools to address global warming before runaway effects occur? Today even seemingly permanent damage such as species extinction appears addressable with emerging gene technology. Tomorrow, geo-engineering (extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), soil sequestration and non-fossil fuel systems may give us all the answers.

Is it a modern vanity to presume we must solve technological challenges today that will seem trivial to society next century, especially if our history of technical innovation continues? (As Jesse Ausubel writes in New Scientist, "At the start of the 20th century there was widespread concern that horse manure and chimney smoke would bury or choke cities.)

This reasoning does not suggest global inaction but emphasises the key role that public policy, innovation, research and development must play. Climate change should be a global priority that leads to collaborative focused research efforts to find solutions. Australia's leadership in carbon capture and storage technology is one good example of this. Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the required long-term investments in R&D. In any policy choice between economic growth and more conservative, restricted lifestyles, go for growth and wealth creation supporting a culture of innovation every time.



Three articles below

Official Australian climate alarmist retreats a little

Most of the remarks by Britain's John Beddington below are as alluded to yesterday in a post sourced from Andrew Bolt. But at that time Penelope Sackit had only alarmist things to say. In the report below we see that she has moved closer to Beddington's more responsible position. Beddington is a biologist and Sackit is an astronomer. Neither sounds like a plausible expert on climate science but Penny is probably the one who is most aware of that deficiency -- so she sticks to dogma for fear of making a mistake. I am beginning to think that my qualifications in social science make me as good an "expert" on climate matters as many of the so-called experts

THE impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the British government's chief scientific adviser. John Beddington said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

Australia's chief scientist, Penny Sackett, told The Australian last night she shared Professor Beddington's concerns. Professor Sackett said climate change was a scientific reality but there was a need for absolute openness and rigour in the presentation of evidence, including recognition of which aspects of climate change science were imprecise and required further research.

Professor Beddington said public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly disputed issues. He said: "I don't think it's healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can't be changed."

He said the false claim in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way some evidence was presented. "Certain unqualified statements have been unfortunate. We have a problem in communicating uncertainty. There's definitely an issue there. If there wasn't, there wouldn't be the level of scepticism. "All of these predictions have to be caveated by saying, `There's a level of uncertainty about that'."

Professor Beddington said particular caution was needed when communicating predictions about climate change made with the help of computer models. "It's unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change. "When you get into large-scale climate modelling, there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves."

He said it was wrong for scientists to refuse to disclose their data to their critics: "I think, wherever possible, we should try to ensure there is openness and that source material is available for the whole scientific community." He added: "There is a danger that people can manipulate the data, but the benefits from being open far outweigh that danger."

Professor Sackett said there was no real dispute within the scientific community about the reality of climate change but she wanted non-scientists to have greater access to the evidence to help inform the necessary public debate about crafting policy responses to the problem. "The public must be provided with the best possible advice," Professor Sackett said. "It must have available to it some understanding or the ability to develop an understanding about which issues the science is quite clear on and where there is less precision in our understanding." For example, Professor Sackett said, while the reality of climate change was clearly understood, there was less certainty about its effects on rainfall patterns in Australia. More research was required before conclusions could be drawn with any scientific confidence.

She said the work of Australian climate change scientists had been "quite good" and that people should not assume that because some British research had been questioned there was a doubt over the existence of the phenomenon.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the scientists were correct, and he accused Kevin Rudd of taking a "McCarthyist" approach to anyone who disagreed with his views on climate change. "While I happen to believe the balance of science is that there is climate change, unlike the Prime Minister I believe it is a breach of democratic responsibility to demonise scientists and the three million Australians who disagree with me," Mr Hunt said.

Phil Jones, the director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to the IPCC's reports, has been forced to stand down while an investigation takes place into leaked emails allegedly showing that he attempted to conceal data. In response to one request for data, Professor Jones wrote: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Professor Beddington said that uncertainty about some aspects of climate science should not be used as an excuse for inaction. "Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem," he said."But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of crashing?"

Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia, said: "Climate scientists get kudos from working on an issue in the public eye, but with that kudos comes responsibility. Being open with data is part of that responsibility." He criticised Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, for his dismissive response last November to research suggesting that the UN body had overstated the threat to the glaciers. Mr Pachauri described it as "voodoo science". Professor Hulme said: "Pachauri's choice of words has not been good. The question of whether he is the right person to lead the IPCC is for the 193 countries who make up its governing body. It's a political decision."


Climategate gives lord of the sceptics plenty of ammunition

The visit to Australia this week of Lord Christopher Monckton - the world's most effective global warming sceptic - couldn't have been better timed. Hot on the heels of the "Climategate" email leak, which called into question the "tricks" used to sex up the case for the war against global warming, have come back-to-back revelations tarnishing the reputation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

First domino down last week was the claim in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 - the one that won it a Nobel Prize - that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. As one of the most dire climate change outcomes, this claim received enormous publicity and was often cited by politicians. But, it turns out, the evidence was based not on credible peer-review science, but on an unsubstantiated report by the environmental group World Wildlife Fund for Nature. It stemmed from a 1999 beat-up in the popular journal New Scientist that featured an interview with an obscure Indian scientist, Syed Hasnain, who has since admitted his glacier prediction was "speculation". Hasnain now works for the Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi, whose director-general, Rajendra Pachauri, is also head of the IPCC.

Even murkier is the fact the glacier furphy reportedly netted lots of grant money for the institute. "My job is not to point out mistakes," Hasnain told The Times of London. "And you know the might of the IPCC. What about all the other glaciologists around the world who did not speak out?" Yes, what about them indeed. Are scientists just cowardly? The mendacity of the IPCC came to light when the Indian Government fact-checked its glacier claim. Belated scrutiny of the 2007 report has uncovered other bogus claims, and at least 16 WWF references.

The next domino to fall was the IPCC's assertion that global warming was to blame for weather disasters such as hurricane and drought. The Sunday Times in London reported this was based on an unpublished scientific paper that had not been peer reviewed, and that, when it was published in 2008, had found no link.

The latest revelation is that an IPCC claim about the Amazon rainforest was also drawn from a WWF report. The IPCC says it is simply a "human mistake" to parrot WWF press releases, as if they are credible science and not green propaganda, and no one bats an eyelid.

Well, except Monckton, who has been batting his considerable eyelids (large because of a thyroid ailment) for years over bogus claims. He even succeeded in having a table in the 2007 report corrected after he pointed out that it overstated sea-level rises tenfold.

Having been singled out for vilification last year by Kevin Rudd in an extraordinary speech, Monckton finds the times suit him well. Rudd's vehemence attracted the attention of semi-retired engineer John Smeed, who splits his time between Lane Cove and Noosa. He and another engineer, Case Smit invited Monckton to Australia, footing the $100,000 bill for his eight-city tour from their own pockets, offset by donations.

I was invited to a small lunch for Monckton this week, hosted by Smeed and a Newcastle engineer, Jeff McCloy. In person, Monckton is taller and more serious than he appears on screen. Being a mathematician he has a logical mind, as well as irrepressible self-confidence, which makes him a formidable opponent for climate alarmists.

Andy Pitman, a co-director of the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre, complained on ABC radio this week that climate sceptics are so "well funded, so well organised [and] have nothing else to do . . . They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, State and Federal Government." Huh? How can climate alarmists pitch themselves as the underdog when they have had on their side the full force of government (and opposition until lately), media (apart from a few individual holdouts) and big business?

Public opinion has changed as the credibility of the IPCC ebbs, the crippling cost of climate change measures becomes apparent and the array of rentseekers and phonies grows. Monckton is a man whose time has come because he owes nothing to anybody and he has the capacity to interpret the science to a public looking for answers.

As an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, he learnt that when you make policy about an issue that is outside your expertise, you must distill it down to one proposition. In this case, how much will a given increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause warming? The answer determines whether or not you spend trillions of taxpayer dollars "and wreck the economies of the West". Monckton pored over scientific papers on climate sensitivity and concluded the IPCC exaggerated climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide at least sixfold, so we have time cautiously to decide whether or not to attempt to change global temperature.

In any case, he says, what if every nation agreed to cut emissions by 30 per cent in the next 10 years? The "warming forestalled would be 0.02 celsius degrees, at a cost of trillions. There's no point doing it."

The last refuge of alarmists is the precautionary principle, in which we "give the planet the benefit of the doubt". But Monckton says bad policy guided by the precautionary principle has already led to the death of millions of people as the transfer of farmland to grow biofuels meant less food, higher prices, food riots and starvation. He cites the United Nations special rapporteur Jean Ziegler, who said growing biofuels instead of food when the poor were starving was a "crime against humanity".

Monckton says public opinion is "galloping" in his direction, which bodes ill for Rudd as he prepares to push through his emissions trading scheme next month.


Perils of population growth

Australia has a problem of immigration quality -- large numbers of unskilled, welfare dependant and crime-prone "refugees" are being let in -- but it has no problem with population quantity. Australia is roughly the size of the continental USA yet has only 14% of America's population. The map below should be instructive too. But accomodating more people would mean clearing more trees; building on more grasslands; building more dams and building more roads -- all of which are of course a horror to any Greenie

DO you get the feeling your back yard is getting smaller? Or that the patch of turf you laid last year has disappeared to be replaced by a slab of concrete? It’s one of Australia’s most pressing issues, yet political leaders refuse to do anything to stop it. I am referring to Australia’s surging population growth. Recent projections that Australia will have to accommodate 35 million people by 2050 - up from 22 million at present - is a worrying prospect.

In the post-World War II years, the rallying call in this country was to populate or perish - a response to the fear of military invasion from a powerful northern neighbour. This gave us the Baby Boomer generation, which is now nearing retirement and creating imminent pressures of an aging population.

The greying of the nation has prompted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to espouse a new call for a “big Australia”, propelled by a higher birth rate and increased immigration. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. What will happen in another 50 years? Will another prime minister call for an even bigger population boom to replace the generation reaching retirement then?

The population debate has been hijacked until now by economic greed and rationalism. The argument has been that the higher the population growth, the greater consumption will be and therefore economic prosperity and profit - at least for the wealthy few in society. Little or no attention has been paid to the limited availability of natural resources, the dire effect on the environment and loss of quality of life as more people compete for living space in our cities.

It is good to see that questions are finally being raised about Australia’s sustainable population. This week enterpreneur-adventurer Dick Smith became the latest in a string of forward thinkers who criticised Government plans to encourage population growth, saying Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. He also urged slashing immigration and discouraging women from having more than two babies, thereby allowing population growth to be contained.

Just because people in many other countries have to live in cramped high-rises in concrete urban jungles does not make it a lifestyle model Australians should aspire to.

In 1798, the Rev Robert Thomas Malthus published his Principles of Population in which he stated: “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”. He predicted that endless population growth would block progress towards a utopian society. As an Anglican minister, Malthus, believed that God had created an inexorable tendency to human population growth for a moral purpose, with the threat of poverty and starvation designed to teach the virtues of hard work and virtuous behaviour.

We carry a responsiblity to make the world a better place for the generations that will follow. Australia is well placed to embark on a journey to a more sustainable future. The future of the country may depend on it.



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