Category ►►► Globaloney Sandwich
December 11, 2012
A Brazen Proposal
We all recognize the anti-carbon hysteria sweeping the sinistrosphere, leading to such energy-killing proposals as carbon caps (death to industry!), carbon-credit markets (millions to Algore!), bans on fracking and drilling on federal land (what the frack -- ?), upwardly spiraling CAFE standards (lighter, flimsier cars that crumble in a crash), and downwardly spiraling mandatory emissions standards (the death-spiral of Capitalism). Not to mention a thousand international climate conferences every year, which are as annoying as all get out.
To quote the late George Carlin, "some see the glass as half full, some see the glass as half empty; but I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be!"
The solution is obvious: Instead of banning carbon, shouldn't we encourage industry to burn more carbon-based fuel, producing even more carbon dioxide? That "pollutant" is really a gas!
- Our factories should burn more fuel to produce lots and lots of CO2.
- The factories capture the gas, pump it into tanks, and sell it on the free market to farmers.
- Meanwhile, farmers should get busy enclosing their fields in giant, airtight greenhouses. (This might be easier for hydroponic farms, also a good idea.)
- They buy the CO2 tanks and use them to pump up the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere in the greenhouse, thus producing much better yields, and incidentally needing to use much less pesticide.
- As the plants grow, they produce more O2 (pure oxygen)... which the farmers can capture and sell right back to industrial use (for oxyacetylene torches, hospitals, military jet aviation, rocket fuel, and so forth).
See? Win, win, win! When life gives you limes, make apple martinis.
I don't know why nobody else ever thinks of these things; or at least, nobody with the power to do anything about it.
August 20, 2012
A Market ! Who Knew?
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
Here's the take-away: "[L]eading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming," because "market forces" drove it, "rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide." Who'd'a thunk it!
(And could one concoct, even in fiction, a better empirical proof that "the world's leading climate scientists" are in fact a bitter, politicized group of Luddite nanny-staters and "watermelons" -- green on the outside, but deep, deep red on the inside? Their goal was never to cool the Earth; it was always to redistribute wealth from the "Haves" to the "Have nots.")
This is not some sensationalist claim from the Weekly World News or the Hufflepuffington Post; it comes ultimately from the Department of Energy under President Barack "You didn't build that" Obama and clearly constitutes an admission against interest:
In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.
While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.
How long will it be before Obama rushes to a microphone, trampling two old ladies on walkers and a toddler who doesn't jump aside quickly enough, to grab all the credit for this reduction in "air pollution?" (Where pollution has that special definition that includes a gas vital to plant growth.) But no, the drop was caused by the hated free market; and of all people in the world, Barack Obama is the least able to claim that he built that!
Does this "surprising" drop in CO2 emissions mean the green insurgents will finally end their war on carbon dioxide, now that the United States is leading the way in de-carbonizing the universe? Hah, don't hold your carbon-dioxided breath:
[W]hile natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it still emits some CO2. And drilling has its own environmental consequences, which are not yet fully understood. [But must surely be catastrophic! -- DaH]
"Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the CO2 problem," [Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado] warned.
Of course not; to an enviro-mental case, the only "real solution" is to smash the looms. Or in this case, ban all carbon-based fuel, without exception, hurling Mankind back into the age before we even knew how to light a fire:
"The Sierra Club has serious doubts about the net benefits of natural gas," said Deborah Nardone, director of the group's Beyond Natural Gas campaign.
"Without sufficient oversight and protections, we have no way of knowing how much dangerous pollution is being released into Americans' air and water by the gas industry. For those reason, our ultimate goal is to replace coal with clean energy and energy efficiency and as little natural gas as possible...."
Some worry that cheap gas could hurt renewable energy efforts.
"Installation of new renewable energy facilities has now all but dried up, unable to compete on a grid now flooded with a low-cost, high-energy fuel," two experts from Colorado's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute said in an essay posted this week on Environment360, a Yale University website.
Some say a neoconservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality. So what happens when radical enviromentalism itself gets cudgled by a reality that stubbornly refuses to be silenced? If history is any guide -- see When Prophecy Fails -- the most likely response will be for the bulk of the green reds to dig in their heels and redouble their efforts to proselytize, even evangelize the world to convert to the First Church of Fundamentalist Environmentalism. (Barry Commoner, Algore, and Howard Dean are charter members of the congregation.)
It may take a geological epoch for the tide to change its spots; but at least a few green weenies, such as Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann, have found food for thought in the market-driven reduction of CO2 emissions:
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.
Hallelujah, and pass that natural gas!
February 10, 2011
Ooh, Cold Snap!
The administration of Barack H. Obama is at last proposing to cut some federal spending; according to the National Journal, his budget will slash about 50% from LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program:
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, would see funding drop by about $2.5 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion.
I reckon the thinking is, now that we're in the midst of such robust anthropogenic global warming, with 2010 tying for the hot-test year in the his-to-ry of Pla-net Earth, why should anyone need government assistance for home heating costs? With the current heat wave sweeping the country, poor people should be sweltering! Obviously, they have not obeyed instructions.
It appears not everybody has climbed aboard the same page, however:
In a letter to Obama, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., wrote, "We simply cannot afford to cut LIHEAP funding during one of the most brutal winters in history. Families across Massachusetts, and the country, depend on these monies to heat their homes and survive the season."
Perhaps Senator John "On the one hand, on the other hand" Kerry (D-MA, 95%) should get in contact with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK, and synchronize stories. On the other other hand, so too might President B.O. himself:
Obama tapped the LIHEAP discretionary fund in January during a record-shattering cold snap in the Northeast.
Fortunately for the future of Obamunism, there will not be any real cuts; under the adminstration's core guiding philosophy of "SpendGo," any cuts in spending must be offset by corresponding spending increases:
Officials were quick to stress that while LIHEAP was being trimmed, many other Department of Health and Human Services programs, particularly those funding early childhood education initiatives, will see their funding rise.
So poor people may freeze during the current "record-setting," "brutal" "cold snap" that characterizes global warming; but at least, thank goodness, pre-schoolers will still receive intense instruction in avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and attitude adjustments about same-sex marriage.
December 31, 2010
If I could have global-warming prophet-in-chief James Hansen, or the directors of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (those lovable, old curmudgeons who brought us Climategate), or any other "warm-monger" on the witness stand for just one, single question about putative anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) -- the conjecture that the Earth is warming, the warming is primarily due to human activity, and that it's a looming catastrophe for the human race which must somehow be prevented, reversed or mitigated -- this would be it:
Anything? Is AGCC falsifiable at all? Or does every possible result of every possible measurement inevitably support AGCC? Can you even imagine a result that would invalidate it? Because if a scientific theory is not falisifiable, then it most assuredly is not a scientific theory.
I wonder if I would get any response. Incredulous minds want to know! I suspect the witness, any such witness, would be loathe to describe any such experiment or test... because he would know that some well-credentialed but skeptical climate scientist would be sure to set it up and run it, just to be perverse.
And suppose it came up negative; what could the AGCC evangelist possibly say except "Hamina-hamina-hamina" -- and weep for his lost millions in grant money, and his lost tens of millions in royalties from the carbon-trading companies in which so many warmists have so heavily invested?
August 30, 2010
Hell Gets Mildly Slushy
Hades didn't exactly freeze over; but in addition to the permafrost at the ninth circle, the rest of the infernal realm has become sort of Margarita-like (or Slurpee-like, for teetotalers -- subglobal winter?) For an independent review panel, the "InterAcademy Council," which is associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has actually suggested that future IPCC reports should be (a) more transparent about their own conflicts of interest and how they may drive the IPCC's alarmist conclusions, and -- wait for it -- (b) more open to alternative points of view:
The scientists involved in producing the periodic United Nations reports on climate change need to be more open to alternative views and more transparent about their own possible conflicts of interest, an independent review panel said Monday.
Those were among numerous recommendations made by the panel appointed last March to assess how a few glaring errors -- including a prediction that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 -- made it into the last such United Nations report, released in 2007.
The revelations about the errors contributed to the already highly charged debate about the science of climate change and gave added ammunition to critics doubting assessments that the earth is warming. Coming on the heels of the unauthorized release of e-mails written by some of the leading climate change researchers, which led critics to claim they were manipulating data, the mistakes contributed to what surveys showed were an erosion in public confidence in the science of climate change.
Be still my fluttering heart. (Well, not too still.)
It's a good beginning, but still only a beginning; we'll see whether the empire-builders at IPCC seize upon this report as their opportunity to hoist the entire project back onto the rails of scientific reason -- or their challenge to flam-flam their way to a mere pretence of reform, like the politicians they are.
In any event, it's remarkable that the InterAcademy Council even feels compelled to pay lip service to "alternative views" and the IPCC scientists' "own possible conflicts of interest," and perhaps even more remarkable that the New York Times, of all media venues, feels compelled to report it. The Times, they are indeed a changin'.
July 7, 2010
Wonderful News on Climate Change!
Remember the University of East Anglia (UEA), whose Climate Research Unit (UEA-CRU) was the subject of "intense media scrutiny," after e-mails filtched from its server disclosed numerous violations of basic science and simple honesty in the debate over global warming? The e-mails appeared to show such obviously fraudulent or extortive practices as secretly switching measuring methods in the middle of an experiment, burying data that conflicted with their hypothesis, and behind-the-scenes pressuring of scientific journals to prevent publication by globaloney skeptics, no matter how well conducted the science.
In order to investigate the scandal, the UEA set up and paid for a blue-ribbon panel, the Independent Climate Change E-Mail Inquiry; the university investigated itself, and discovered itself and the UEA-CRU to be blameless, or at least innocent of any serious breach:
A British panel on Wednesday exonerated the scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate of charges that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.
But the panel also rebuked the scientists for several aspects of their behavior, especially their reluctance to release computer files backing up their scientific work. And it declared that a that graph they produced in 1999 about climate in the past was “misleading” and should have contained caveats....
The university solicited and paid for the new report....
"On the specific allegations made against the behavior of CRU scientists, we find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt," said the new review, led by Muir Russell, a retired British civil servant and educator.
You can find the final report here.
Independent Inquiry head Sir Alastair Muir Russell is a Scottish career civil servant; the Scottish government is, if anything, even more enthusiastic about global warming than the British government. But I'm sure a politician would never allow political considerations to cloud his scientific judgment.
His team comprised the following:
- Geoffrey Boulton is a Scottish climatologist whose field of study actually appears to be the science of chairing committees -- he chairs or is a member of thirteen committees, councils, or royal societies. Oh, and "[h]e leads the Global Change Research Group in the University of Edinburgh, the largest major research group in the University’s School of Geosciences." But surely he wouldn't allow his deep professional commitment to global climate change research to bias his findings.
- Professor Peter Clarke is a physics professor whose CV includes nothing to do with climate change; but I'm sure he has considered himself a quiet expert in the field, ever since he first read the original report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- David Eyton is an engineer with British Petroleum, the Group Head of Research and Technology (R&T). He, too, appears to have no background in climate change research. BP, of course, like every other oil company, is very heavily invested in climate change and expects that some form of carbon-trading commodities market will prove to be a glory hole for the entire industry. Though certainly, Mr. Eyton would never allow himself to be influenced by such crass commercial concerns.
Finally, we have the Jack of All Trades, Professor Jim Norton. He is -- well, I suppose I'd better just let Professor Norton tell his own tale (I presume he wrote his own CV):
Aged fifty-seven, Jim Norton is an independent director and policy adviser. He is an external member of the Board of the UK Parliament's Office of Science & Technology (POST) and council member of the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM). Jim is a Non-Executive Director of F&C Capital & Income Investment Trust plc, where he chairs the Audit & Management Engagement Committee. He is a Board Member and Trustee of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), as well as a member of the 'Electronic Communications Expert Advisory Panel' for the Irish Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Jim chairs the Steering Group for the Secure Software Development Partnership (SSDP) of the Technology Strategy Board.
He was a founder member of the Cabinet Office Performance & Innovation Unit in 1999, a former Chief Executive of the DTI Radiocommunications Agency (the UK's radio spectrum manager 1993-1998) and has held senior positions in Cable & Wireless (Marketing Director C&W Europe 1990-1993), Butler-Cox (Director Vendor Consulting Practice 1987-1990), and British Telecom (Senior Manager International Business Development).
Jim is a Visiting Professor of Electronic Engineering at Sheffield University and an Honorary Doctor of Engineering of that University. He is an External Examiner for the IoD Certificate in Company Direction’. Jim is a Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), where he is chair of the ‘Professionalism Board’ and is a Vice President and Trustee. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and is Chairman of the IET IT Sector Panel. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Commerce and Manufactures and of the Institute of Directors. Jim holds the Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Director.
I can't imagine how Professor Norton forgot to add "devilishly handsome, dashing, and terminally narcissistic." In any event, his expertise in climate change should be clear: He is obviously an expert in everything, like the professor in Giligan's Island.
In any event, one can see that global-warming skeptics were well represented on the Independent Inquiry; so that final report should settle the matter once and for all and be the final word.
Except... the Independent Climate Change E-Mail Inquiry affair gives me the opportunity to repeat, for the eleventy-first time, my favorite quotation from one of my favorite writers, the late, great Robert Anton Wilson (channeling Lemuel Gulliver):
I look forward to several more such definitive investigations, wherein the accused examines himself deeply in the mirror -- and really, really likes what he sees.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
June 28, 2010
No Light Bulb at the End of the Tunnel
The Obamunists in Congress and in the administration are still on track to effectively ban all incandescent light bulbs by 2014, in yet another self-congratulatory scheme to stave off global warming.
Think I'm joshing?
Press coverage has described federal law on incandescents as a "ban," although this is not strictly true. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 raised efficiency standards for "general service" incandescent lamps, the light bulb known to millions. The targets will take full effect in 2014.
However, these standards are high enough that incandescents used today -- which basically resemble the one designed by Thomas Edison in 1879 and perfected by General Electric in 1906 -- won't make the grade.
The U.S. phaseout parallels efforts in other wealthy countries, as well as some developing countries, to reduce incandescent use or ban them outright.
Ultimately, those politicos that Jonah Goldberg calls "liberal fascists," who have exiled God and worship health care and environmentalism in His place, want to force us all to use those God-awful compact fluorescent bulbs.
I suppose some like them, but I despise them:
- They flicker.
- They produce an audible buzz (at least, I can hear it).
- If you drop them, they have enough mercury that you should probably call a HazMat team and evacuate.
- A 150-watt equivalent costs about $13-$15, compared to $6-$7 for a regular incandescent or $9-$10 for a halogen.
- But worst of all, they produce a sallow, sickly light that makes food look spoiled and people look jaundiced.
Fluorescents make me feel physically ill; the flickering plus the color give me headaches and nausea. But I suppose that won't bother President Barack H. Obama; I should simply turn to the government "option" to prescribe Motrin and anti-emetics.
We still have a chance to overturn this policy; there are two elections before the final rules go into effect, and one of them can remove the Incandescer-in-Chief himself. For right now, halogen bulbs -- which are modified, more efficient incandescents and don't have the problems enumerated above -- can still meet the new standards; but those standards will continue to tighten until nothing but fluorescents will ever pass:
Paul Simonetti, a spokesman for Philips, said its "Halogena" has been out for a few years; it is about a third more efficient than standard bulbs and costs about $4. But when standards are raised in 2014, he said, Halogena won't have much time left.
"The halogen, which is a good replacement right now, actually would not meet the standard in 2020," he said. "The long-term solutions are in LEDs. That's what we see."
Now, I would love to be able to buy LED bulbs that have the same light output as 100-watt (1250 to 1600 lumens) and 150-watt (2000 lumens) bulbs; they don't flicker, they last far longer than any other kind of bulb, they don't buzz, they contain no poisons (at least not in significant quantities), they're even cooler than fluorescents, and they can be tuned to any color spectrum desired.
But at the moment, this is a typical Obamic fantasy solution: First, you can't even buy LED lights brighter than the equivalent of 60 watts... and even that is even more hideously expensive than fluorescents -- the cheapest I've seen them is still in excess of $40 a throw. (That's for a bulb that illuminates in all directions, like a normal, Edison-style, incandescent. Directed-beam bulbs are cheaper, but they're more like flashlights.)
The limitation derives from the technology: All manufacturers can presently do to make an LED brighter is to pack a bunch of them in a globe-shaped lump.
They need to be able to make each individual LED significantly brighter in order actually to compete with incandescents. Either that, or get the government to make incandescents even more overpriced than LEDs by taxing the heck out of them, or simply banning them outright. This is, not surprisingly, the tack the Obama administration has chosen to sail.
I am optimistic that the technology curve will eventually bring LED prices down as demand increases, triggering a huge increase in production; but I don't believe LEDs, compact fluorescents, or halogens will ever be as cheap, bulb for bulb, as ordinary incandescents. It must be said, though, that over the long haul, all three are more cost-effective, given their longer lifespans (assuming you don't accidentally damage or destroy them).
However, I am not at all optimistic that LEDs with the lumens I demand for lighting in my house (we like it bright, b'dad!) will be available before the bulb-grabbers take away my incandescents.
In this sense, the Obamunists are consistent: When they ban some technology for the sin of being insufficiently "green," they never worry whether a replacement is available; it's enough that some technology exists, at least in theory, that will eventually be just as good -- under the most optimistic possible fairyland scenarios. Thus, they want to ban fossil fuels and nuclear power now, on the supposition that sometime in the distant future, technology elves will invent ludicrously efficient solar cells and windmills to replace today's power plants.
Alas, this means that we're in for a number of years in which incandescents are already banned, but LEDs not yet ready for prime time. I think I must begin hoarding halogens; maybe I can stockpile enough to last me through the seven lean years.
I'm most irritated by the ease with which societal planners declare themselves to be seers and oracles (or Obamacles, in this case). This is my stock in trade; believe me, there's more to being a "futurist" than watching Captain Eo a couple hundred times at Disneyland. You actually have to, you know, think about the future and how you can bring it about in the real world, step by step, taking all constraints of cost, availability, and opportunity into account, and understanding that you can no more command scientific innovation to adhere to a timetable than King Canute could order the tides in and out.
Lennon-ism notwithstanding, it's not enough simply to "imagine" a world of unicorns and free lunches.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
March 5, 2010
Bride Mistress Tawdry One-Night Stand of Climategate
The "Climategate" scandal began last November, when several thousand e-mails and other documents hacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (the CRU at the UEA, for you alphabet-soup lovers) were dumped at a separate website, RealClimate (which, by the way, supports the "consensus opinion" of the IPCC, vigorously defends predictions of carbon-driven climate catastrophism, and evinces little but contempt for global-warming skeptics).
The hacked documents stunned the world, as they appear to demonstrate that the "consensus opinion" of climate research was not driven by strong and uncontroverted science -- as we'd been told ad nauseam since the 1990s -- but by political calculation and activism, sloppy research techniques, malfunctioning or mis-sited measuring equipment, predetermined outcomes and the "desk drawer" fallacy, bullying of peer-reviewed literature to exclude dissent, hounding and character assassination of "deniers" (skeptics), and above all, driven by the lure of hundreds of billions of dollars in "carbon credits," with all the anti-scientific pressures such massive monetary manipulation inevitably entails.
And it all began with such promise... the promise of a world cleansed of the contagion of religion, technology, Capitalism, and conservatives!
Anthropogenic ("man caused") global climate change (AGCC) was promoted by a portion of the scientific community which consistently identified itself as representing the whole, quivering with eagerness to (a) join the bandwagon, (b) not be seen as unhip, (c) not be seen as (even worse!) non-liberal, (d) get their hands on the literally hundreds of millions of dollars available in government-sponsored research grants, issued only to those scientists whose research arrived at the "correct" conclusion.
It's important not to make the same mistake in reverse; the motives above do not prove that the "consensus opinion" is wrong. But the degree of cross-citation in the AGCC echo chamber does call into question the independence of the data that supposedly corroborate each other. (I have the mental image of a great circle of true believers, each pointing at the fellow behind him, with the last pointing at the first... rather like the world-girdling serpent that swallows its own tail.)
Climate modeling replaced more traditional scientific research as the source of "evidence;" that is, a general circulation model predicts a temperature increase over the next hundred years... and that prediction is itself used as "evidence" that global warming is ongoing and civilization-threatening. Papers were published with peer review conducted entirely by guaranteed true believers; contrary evidence was suppressed, while supportive evidence was generated through poor methodology by researchers who already knew what they were going to find; surprise, surprise, they found it.
Climatological papers began to read like pronunciamentos, manifestos, or at times, theocratic fatwas. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was not simply seeking the truth, it was saving the world!
Alternative explanations that didn't start from human industrial activity and end in Armageddon were rejected out of hand, without investigation but with an unhealthy dollop of ridicule; alternative responses to the "crisis" that didn't require stunning deindustrialization -- accompanied by a ruinous transfer of wealth from developed to developing countries -- were dismissed as "too little, too late." Global warming became a political battle cry and a shibboleth separating Left from Right (with the "consensus" establishment firmly ensconced on the Left, of course)
This is not an environment conducive to unbiased, persuasive scientific research.
Simply put, if a someone was not an IPCC cheerleader and New Luddite, if he didn't call for "smashing the looms" -- crippling reductions in energy use coupled with draconian deindustrialization and global transfer taxes -- then regardless of his scientific credentials, he was a knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, slope-browed, Bible-thumping, drooling, ignorant, uneducated, right-wing member of the "booboisie," who shouldn't even be allowed to mouth such uninformed and foolish opinions and offend his betters. And obviously in the pay of Big Oil, to boot.
When Climategate broke, it was swiftly followed by Glaciergate and a couple other scandals that forced retractions from science journals and even the IPCC itself. It was "hack heard 'round the world."
America and the rest of the world jerked awake, stared at the crumbling edifice of the AGCC "consensus opinion," and collectively breathed, "what the hell?" Those thoughtful souls who were not climate scientists, who had nervously followed (and believed) the hype of the last two decades -- that the entire climatological scientific community was on board with the IPCC's predictions of calamity and the scientific urgency of communalism -- abruptly discovered that the "consensus" was ginned up the old-fashioned way... by strategems, threats, and bribes. To quote Robert Anton Wilson on quite a different subject, as I have done several times before and will persist doing, world without end --
To unbiased (if appalled) observers, the release of the Climategate "papers" and the ensuing retractions, backing and filling, admissions against interest, recriminations, resignations, and regrets, is occasion to step back from the Globaloney hysteria and refocus our research efforts on putting the basic science of climatology on a sounder footing.
But like President Obama, who infamously insists upon sticking with his predetermined narrative on ObamaCare with only cheap and cosmetic changes, the IPCC and its acolytes take quite a different lesson from the the last four months' imbroglio:
Undaunted by a rash of scandals over the science underpinning climate change, top climate researchers are plotting to respond with what one scientist involved said needs to be "an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach" to gut the credibility of skeptics.
In private e-mails [!] obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of "being treated like political pawns" and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times.
"Most of our colleagues don't seem to grasp that we're not in a gentlepersons' debate, we're in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules," Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails.
There you go! Taking a page from the Progressivist playbook, when caught red-handed in biased conclusions, confabulations, skulduggery, and corruption, the best tactic is always to lash out at the accusers, blaming them for stirring up trouble and raking muck. Go on the offensive and charge opponents with everything one's own team has done, hoping that the confusion will induce a "he said, she said" unresolvable "paralysis by analysis" that (one hopes) leads to a scientific civil war. Or perhaps a brain aneurysm... anything to prevent, or at least delay, the dread necessity of an honest re-evaluation of the basic premises of AGCC.
Waverers must be reborn in the faith; or failing that, lumped with the accusers and destroyed alongside them:
Some scientists question the tactic and say they should focus instead on perfecting their science, but the researchers who are organizing the effort say the political battle is eroding confidence in their work....
George Woodwell, founder of the Woods Hole Research Center, said in one e-mail that researchers have been ceding too much ground. He blasted Pennsylvania State University for pursuing an academic investigation against professor Michael E. Mann, who wrote many of the e-mails leaked from the British climate research facility.
Woodwell concludes by committing an epigram, with malice aforethought: "We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths" ...working himself into such a lather that he mixes subject and predicate, inadvertently implying that it is he and his compadres who "hold themselves in high regard" and think their every utterance is "obvious truth."
But there are still a few sane scientists left in the world, thank goodness, who recognize that climatology's situation is of the climatologists' own making, because -- like contemporary journalists -- they started seeing themselves as saviors, not seekers:
"Sounds like this group wants to step up the warfare, continue to circle the wagons, continue to appeal to their own authority, etc.," said Judith A. Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Surprising, since these strategies haven't worked well for them at all so far."
She said scientists should downplay their catastrophic predictions, which she said are premature, and instead shore up and defend their research. She said scientists and institutions that have been pushing for policy changes "need to push the disconnect button for now," because it will be difficult to take action until public confidence in the science is restored.
"Hinging all of these policies on global climate change with its substantial element of uncertainty is unnecessary and is bad politics, not to mention having created a toxic environment for climate research," she said.
We wait with bated breath to see whether the scientific community remembers that it is supposed to be a community, not a Lysenko-like dictatorship cum grant-grabbing bureaucracy; and that its first allegiance is to the truth... even if that truth doesn't comport with political correctness or the messianic zeal of individual scientists, eager to spread the dire news -- and enforce a "solution" that, funnily enough, is just the political regime they've always wanted to impose anyway. If climate science can shake itself from dreams of empire and recover its real purpose -- to learn, not lead -- then we may yet come out of this dark night with our civilization intact.
But if the delusions of grandeur and martyrdom run too deep, if the high of political clout and grant money overwhelm the day to day grind of real science, then we may be headed for yet another theocratic attack on our liberal, democratic society... this time under siege by the First Church of Fundamentalist Anthropogenicism.
I have high hopes that this too shall pass, and science will return to its own yard and stop tarting up to play in the geopolitics yard. To paraphrase another great sage, I keep my optimism, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really wise when they need to be.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
January 25, 2010
The Rear Ends Justify Their Meanness
Fake but accurate
This is too rich for my carburetor:
The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.
Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.
‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’
Woo hoo. Now can we have a real national media debate about anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC)? Or is even admittedly bogus science nevertheless still "settled?"
We discussed this a while ago, in Slicing the Globaloney: a Case Study!, when the mendacity of the melting-glacier claim first came to light.
You may think everybody already knew the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) document was nothing but a political talking-points memo; but I think fair-minded readers of the Big Lizards blog may yet overestimate how much the average person studies AGCC or pores over reports from the IPCC -- and underestimate how much ordinary folks are influenced by authoritative-sounding "scientific" pronunciamentos. In a sense, the entire "green" movement was kick-started by the increasingly dire and sepulchral warnings about a melting Earth, evaporating artic and glacial regions, global Noachian flooding, and poor, little polar bears helplessly adrift, clinging to icebergs, like 1920s "pole sitters" in dirty white fur coats.
The melting Earth!
Unquestionably, scientists practiced deep, deliberate deception, prostituting their scientific, academic, and government credentials for leftist politics... as well as for money; remember, climate scientists who report results in line with the IPCC and globaloney are rewarded with lucrative research grants; while those who report results at odds with the "storyboard" pushed by the AGCC agitators are frequently cut off from funding, often by deliberate sabotage from their own supposed colleagues.
The anointed must have their vision.
But will you still respect me in the morning?
By their scandalous dumping of science in favor of AGCC boosterism, the globaloney slicers not only shredded their own reputations, they squandered many decades of increasing public respect for and reliance on science as an independent arbiter of material truth. Today, the mission statement of the IPCC simply drips with hot irony:
According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information -- IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.
Or to put it another way:
We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.
Worse, Dr. Lal, who started the whole "melting glaciers" canard, casually lets slip that the entire peer-review system shivered like a cheap make-up mirror in the case of AGCC. It doesn't even seem to bother him; does he not comprehend the enormity of his confession?
Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’
Thus brake science.
Activists are baiters; and at that task, these chaps as masters
It's important to understand that anthropogenic ("Man-caused") global climate change -- globaloney, we call it here -- is a creature of the New Left; and its partisans follow the same strategies and tactics of that thuggish politics. Judge Robert Bork writes that the New Left began with the 1962 Port Huron Statement, written for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) principally by Tom Hayden, later of the 1968 Chicago DNC riots fame.
While the old (Soviet Marxist) Left loved industrialization, the New Left lashes together old radical organizing and power-mongering, Marxian rhetoric about the proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie, and anti-technology, Luddite "green" boondoggling. Globaloney is one of the New Left's most successful projects; AGCC uses false science to raise hysterical claims of apocalypse that can only be averted by...
- Slashing worldwide technological advancement and industrialization to the level of some mythical, bucolic age of ancient shepherds and aboriginal tribes who "lived in harmony with Gaia;"
- And incidentally, redistributing hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars from the rich, capitalist North and West to the impoverished, dessicated, socialist East and South, typically under a regime of mandatory "carbon credits."
(Not coincidentally, some of this deluge of dollars is siphoned into the pockets of the leaders of the AGCC movement, such as former Vice President, now Green Guru Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!")
One traditional strategy of the Left, Old and New, is to infiltrate some highly respected neutral body or movement and subvert it to radical agitation; leftists have successfully played this hand from the civil-rights movement (see the Civil Rights Congress) in the 1940s, to the anti-nuclear movement (see Physicians for Social Responsibility) in the 1970s and 80s, to the "antiwar" movement of the post-9/11 period (see International ANSWER), to the IPCC the last couple of decades.
Whenever they produce this passion play, they achieve short-term political gains; but always at the cost of long-term or permanent degradation of public support and respectability for what used to be fine institutions, as everything apolitical is turned into a de facto advocate for radical leftism.
Look what has happened to the scientific field of climatology. After reciting a littany of peer-review comments that were ignored or scorned by the seven faces of Dr. Lal, the Daily Mail piece concludes on a sad and defeated note:
The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal [we call it "Climategate" -- DaH], is likely to be considerable.
Benny Peiser, the [Global Warming Policy Foundation’s] director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.
Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’
Last night, [IPCC Chairman Dr. Raj Pachauri] defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.
Or to put it another way...
In the movie Dr. Strangelove, Gen. "Buck" Turgidson learns that Gen. Jack D. Ripper ordered his planes to drop atomic bombs on the USSR -- precipitating a nuclear Armageddon in order to defend Americans' "purity of essence" and "precious bodily fluids". When Turgidson tells the president, the latter suggests that Gen. Ripper is a psychotic.
Turgidson responds, "Well I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."
I wonder how long it will take the field of climatology to cleanse its own precious bodily fluids.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
January 17, 2010
Slicing the Globaloney: a Case Study!
It's always exhilarating, not to mention educational, to see how real science is made... especially when the conclusion just happens to fit the prevailing global-warming story-board so perfectly! Here's how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main "scientific" body pushing anthropogenic global warming (AGW), developed one of their most politically influential, not to mention incendiary conclusions:
1999 -- Fred Pearce, writing for New Scientist, notices a comment by Syed Hasnain, "a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi." Hasnain warned that "climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035."
1999 -- Pearce interviews Hasnain by phone:
Pearce said: "Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis."
2005 -- Six years after the little squib in New Scientist, the WWF (I think that would be the World Wildlife Fund, not the defunct World Wrestling Federation) picks it up and incorporates it into a political white paper, "an Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China." The purpose of this paper is to push AGW theory, and not incidentally, to advertise for contributions to and membership in the WWF:
The report credited Hasnain's 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review.
2007 -- Another two years pass... and the IPCC finally stumbles across the WWF publication just as the U.N. body is preparing its "benchmark report" on global warming. Impressed by the rigorous science in the recruiting advert for the World Wildlife Fund, the IPCC incorporates the claim directly into the report without troubling to backtrack it or check its provenance.
However, the IPCC does realize that the mere handwaving in the WWF advert might not be quite strong enough as is; so the IPCC punches up the claim just a skosh, to make it sound more, you know, science-y:
When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was "very high". The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.
The report read: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate."
Thus are great scientific discoveries discovered.
2007-2010 -- There is only one fly in the soup; glaciologists almost immediately note that such a rate of melting is impossible:
Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, said: "Even a small glacier such as the Dokriani glacier is up to 120 metres [394ft] thick. A big one would be several hundred metres thick and tens of kilometres long. The average is 300 metres thick so to melt one even at 5 metres a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.”
The risible claim begins to unravel. Under withering criticism by glaciologists, some still proponents of AGCC, the main author of the "glaciers" section of the 2007 IPCC report, Professor Murari Lal, discourses on his qualifications for that critical task:
Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. "I am not an expert on glaciers, and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about," he said.
Around this same time, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri heatedly denounces those scientists who dispute the evaporating-glacier claim as practicing "voodoo science."
But by then, Pearce of New Scientist has already looked into Hasnain's original claims:
"Since  I have obtained a copy [of Hasnain's actual report] and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers, not the whole massif."
Just a week ago, the IPCC was still refusing to comment on its "massif" blunder. However, Professor Lal says that if the original Indian scientist Hasnain says that he did not base his claim on actual peer-reviewed (or even published) research, Lal will recommend that the claim be "removed from future IPCC assessments."
And thus are great scientific non-discoveries un-discovered! Don't be surprised to see this one simply slip-slide down the memory-hole.
Alas, this scenario appears to be "the norm that proves the rule" at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And welcome to the monkey house.
January 4, 2010
Neil Frank Rains on the Gorbasm Snow Job
Another denier obviously in the pay of Big Ergs. It's time to say bye-bye to this American lie:
Now that Copenhagen is past history, what is the next step in the man-made global warming controversy? Without question, there should be an immediate and thorough investigation of the scientific debauchery revealed by “Climategate.”
Clearly Frank hasn't a clue; after all, what does he know from atmospheric science? He only directed the National Hurricane Center for nine years and was the chief meteorologist for KHOU in Houston. Oh, and his fellow meteorologists elected him to the council of the American Meteorological Society for a four-year term.
But what has he done lately?
Anyway, here he goes, making a big trouble, parroting the line of the
Holocaust Globaloney deniers -- and probably being paid under the table by Gobbel Oil. I mean, why else would he say things like this:
If you have not heard, hackers penetrated the computers of the Climate Research Unit, or CRU, of the United Kingdom's University of East Anglia, exposing thousands of e-mails and other documents. CRU is one of the top climate research centers in the world. Many of the exchanges were between top mainstream climate scientists in Britain and the U.S. who are closely associated with the authoritative (albeit controversial) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among the more troubling revelations were data adjustments enhancing the perception that man is causing global warming through the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Particularly disturbing was the way the core IPCC scientists (the believers) marginalized the skeptics of the theory that man-made global warming is large and potentially catastrophic. The e-mails document that the attack on the skeptics was twofold. First, the believers gained control of the main climate-profession journals. This allowed them to block publication of papers written by the skeptics and prohibit unfriendly peer review of their own papers. Second, the skeptics were demonized through false labeling and false accusations.
Since Frank retired such a long, long time ago -- back in 2008 -- it's fair to conclude that he's totally out of touch with modern Gorospheric Global Climate Change. I can still remember how that last consensus made me smile; and I knew if I had my chance those data-sets I could enhance, and Algor would be happy for a while.
Clearly, this septuagenarian sock poppet "Frank" (if that is his real name) needs to be sacked, à la Alice in Wonderland -- that is, roped fore and aft and stuffed in a sack (along with the experiments and studies that turned out obviously wrong, in unacceptable conflict with the Vision). Otherwise, he might continue to rave such heresy and lèse majesté as ceci:
What do the skeptics believe? First, they concur with the believers that the Earth has been warming since the end of a Little Ice Age around 1850. The cause of this warming is the question. Believers think the warming is man-made, while the skeptics believe the warming is natural and contributions from man are minimal and certainly not potentially catastrophic à la Al Gore.
Second, skeptics argue that CO2 is not a pollutant but vital for plant life. Numerous field experiments have confirmed that higher levels of CO2 are positive for agricultural productivity. Furthermore, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas. More than 90 percent of the warming from greenhouse gases is caused by water vapor. If you are going to change the temperature of the globe, it must involve water vapor.
Third, and most important, skeptics believe that climate models are grossly overpredicting future warming from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. We are being told that numerical models that cannot make accurate 5- to 10-day forecasts can be simplified and run forward for 100 years with results so reliable you can impose an economic disaster on the U.S. and the world.
Surely we can't have that! Already, January makes me shiver with each prognosis I deliver: Bad news on the hock' stick; can't replicate that horse schtick.
Somebody please stop this overly Frank man before he commits further sacrilege against the anointed one... for if he's allowed to continue his anti-Big Science activities, it could be the day the IPCC * died.
* IPCC -- pronounced "ip-sick," of course.
January 1, 2010
In Theory, It Ought to Be a Theory, But...
Frequent commenter Snochasr: has responded to a previous Big Lizards post titled Gas Masquerade, which notes that even some mainstream scientific publications for lay readers have begun to think a second time about the pronunciamentos of globaloney. Snochasr japed:
This looks like my list of the "top four flaws" in the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). Those are that it's not catastrophic, it's not anthropogenic, it's not global and it's not warming. But it IS a theory.
Well actually, it's not even a theory -- at least not a scientific one.
In science terms, a "theory" is "an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations."
To continue quoting from that unimpeachable font of all wisdom, Wikipedia...
A scientific theory does two things:
- it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and
- makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class.
In the scientific or empirical tradition, the term "theory" is reserved for ideas which meet baseline requirements about the kinds of empirical observations made, the methods of classification used, and the consistency of the theory in its application among members of the class to which it pertains. These requirements vary across different scientific fields of knowledge, but in general theories are expected to be functional and parsimonious: i.e. a theory should be the simplest possible tool that can be used to effectively address the given class of phenomena.
Here are the theoretical problems with the "theory-ness" of AGCC:
- AGCC is not primarily based upon empirical observation but rather computer modeling; as the models are designed by global-warming activists, they naturally show global warming... but that is purely an artifact of the modeling: A spurious characteristic introduced by human manipulation, whether deliberate or unconscious.
- It is inconsistent with about half the available data -- which is therefore suppressed, e.g. Michael Mann's infamous "hockey stick" graph, which wished the Mediaeval Climate Optimum out of existence. When observation is subservient to the model, when data is cherry-picked, when results are misreported or manipulated, when contrary results are censored, that is not science; it's politics.
- It is not functional; it cannot even "predict" the warming from 1900 to 2000; nor can it explain the lack of warming since 1998, other than by denying it.
- It is not parsimonious, in that there are simpler explanations than AGCC that account for what observational evidence does exist -- variations in solar output, for example.
- It is not testable, since even its proponents proclaim that there are too many confounding factors to make firm predictions.
- It is not falsifiable, as "climate change" can mean a climate that is warming, a climate that is cooling, or a climate showing unusual stability, each of which thus becomes "evidence" for AGCC.
Ergo, AGCC is not a scientific theory. At best, it could be an interesting hypothesis for future scientific study.
More accurately, as currently used, AGCC modeling is a political formulation whose true function is to rationalize and facilitate the gargantuan transfer of wealth from developed to underdeveloped nations and the accumulation of totalitarian power within an international quasi-government.
This global regime is cobbled together from environmental regulations, economic utopianism, and radical misanthropy... "hatred of humanity" so extreme it calls for the destruction of most of the human race (or all of it, in some cases) and the degredation of whatever fraction remains.
So... AGCC Theory is not anthropogenic, not global, not climate change -- and it's not even a theory. Strike four, and globaloney is really, really, really out!
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
December 31, 2009
One remarkably serendipitous effect of Climategate is that mainstream science publications -- written for laymen, I mean, not scientists -- are beginning to take a hard look at the core contradictions of globaloney: Science-oriented magazines that never before so much as considered the evidence of "deniers* " are now calmly questioning the catechism of the First Church of Fundamentalist Catastrophism.
Here is a perfect example; Science Daily, which appears very "mainstream" -- that is, alarmist and intolerant -- has just published the following without much comment:
[S]ome studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.
Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. Because understanding of the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase....
In contradiction to some recent studies, [Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol] finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.
Let me explain as best I can, given that I'm not an atmospheric scientist (or indeed any other kind of scientist). This doesn't mean that the amount of carbon and carbonoids in the atmosphere is decreasing or even that it's not increasing; the question is, what percent of that carbon dioxide that is generated is absorbed by the oceans and "terrestrial ecosystems" -- plants, essentially -- and what percent goes into the atmosphere?
Generally, 55% of CO2 is sucked up by the ocean and by plants, leaving 45% to enter the Earth's atmosphere... where it could cause warming, if you buy into globaloney. Many true-believers insist, as part of their Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) obsession, that human production of CO2 is overwhelming the planetary ecosystem: Our industry and farming practices, not to mention our very existence in numbers larger than the human-hating globaloney hysterics think optimal, are swamping the Earth's ability to cope.
This conjecture demands that the oceans and plants absorb a dwindling percent of the carbon dioxide released. Assume the amount of CO2 created rises by 30%; if the Earth's ecosystem is being "overwhelmed," the sea and the greenery wouldn't be able to absorb 30% more than it used to do -- so it wouldn't absorb its "share," leaving a greater proportion to "pollute" the atmosphere. Thus, an increase of 30% in the rate of creation or release of CO2 would lead to a greater than 30% rise in atmospheric CO2 -- perhaps 40% or more.
The claim by acolytes of AGCC is that the percent of emitted CO2 entering the atmosphere would necessarily rise from the historic 45% of total emissions to a much larger percent. In this example, the atmospheric percent of carbon dioxide would be almost 50%, rather than 45%. It's not much of a difference, but it would have given a needed boost to the evidence in favor of AGCC.
But what Dr. Knorr, Senior Research Fellow and QUEST Deputy Leader at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, found was just the opposite: The percent of emitted carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere has not changed since 1850, nor has it changed in the past five decades... despite the fact that emission of CO2 itself has increased 1,750% during that same period. From the Bristol University newsletter:
New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.
A greater capacity to absorb carbon dioxide means that the increase is much less likely to cause disastrous problems... in this case, good news is bad news for globaloney!
The newsletter also makes explicit what was only hinted by Science Daily:
The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.
I love the word "expects" in the first sentence; as they say on Mythbusters, "well there's yer problem right there!" Too much of AGCC theory is based, not upon observation and analysis of existing data, but in the expectation that future data will confirm the thesis, regardless of what the dirty, lying, treacherous data indicates today.
Oh, and a final kick in the seat of globaloney's trousers:
The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.
Yes... complex and typically error-riddled and artifactual, if not outright fraudulent climate models.
So once again, the high priests of AGCC and their journalistic groupies discover that facts are stubborn things, the truth will out -- and that reality bites. It couldn't happen to a nicer group of idealogues.
* An AGCC "denier" currently includes any person or agency that wants further investigation on any of the following "settled" questions -- none of which needs any further research, as we've already learnt everything we need to know about them:
- The Earth has warmed and is continuing to warm as we speak, and will continue to warm to Venusian temperatures unless -- well, read on.
- The warming is primarily due to human industry and technology, with a large chunk of the remainder due to human agriculture and exhalation.
The warming (and the CO2 itself) will lead to a cataclysmal, Malthusian die-off of the human species, and will leave the few remaining people in the condition described by Thomas Hobbes: "Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (Kind of like how we'll end up after ObamaCare.)
- The negative effects will include racist ocean rises; patriarchal swarms of hurricanes, tornados, and floods; genocidal "Dustbowl" droughts; and the complete collapse of Western civilization.
- There will be no positive effects whatsoever; don't be stupid! (Well, maybe one: the complete collapse of Western civilization.)
- This pending Armageddon can only be averted one way: By cutting energy production to a tiny fraction of its current level, terminating industry, smashing the looms, and returning to the idylic, pastoral lives we used to lead when there was a world-girdling Earthmother religion, before all those patriarchal, conservative, Republican, Judeo-Christian "penis religions" conquered everything and enslaved the world. This may require reducing the human population from its current six billion to approximately 500 million... but you can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
December 15, 2009
A Modish Proposal
A silly thought just occurred. Utterly ridiculous.
One of the big bugaboos of angloamophous google climbup chants, often played as the trump card in any AGCC debate -- where "debate" has that special liberal definition of a lengthy series of pronunciamentos by the anointed, followed by the suppression of Mr. Opponent's research papers, and topped off by a short prison term -- is that global
warming climate change must surely cause the oceans to rise, unless we slavishly follow the path of least prosperity enunciated at Copenhagen and send "tens of trillions of dollars" to the Third World (whence Algore can skim a good tithe off the top for his various carbon-trading ventures). Such propitiation is necessary to keep the oceans unaroused.
Algore says the seas will surge 20 to 50 feet this century alone, but he may be exaggerating just slightly. Gore's fellow climatologists and oceanographers seem to believe that a rise of 0.6 to 2.0 feet is more plausible.
But I had this ridiculous thought, as I said, of an alternative. A risible one, but perhaps it's worth at least mentioning... if for no other reason than to confirm readers in their condescending opinions that I am nought but a fool and clown.
Thus: Instead of spending hundreds of billions to cripple our energy production, paid for by even more hundreds of billions in carbon taxation, capped with those tens of trillions op.cit., why doesn't the West simply agree to build 10-foot levees protecting every populated, low-lying area in every developing country?
Ten feet would surely cover the rise. (Heck, five feet would do it; but let's not be stingy.) We could dredge local lagoons for the dirt, or even dig strip mines around nearby volcanos... in between sacrifices of native virgins, assuming any can be found.
Suppose we're talking about twenty thousand miles of levees. Considering the price of labor in those countries, it's hard to believe that such berms would cost more than, say, a million dollars a mile. That means the entire project could be executed for a scant $20 billion; even adding in 100% overhead, that's doubtless less than the amount Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 100%) has personally looted from the U.S. Treasury in earmarks alone.
In addition, think of the melodramatic improvements in third-world economies that would flow from actually hiring locals to perform real work, work that protects their own country and floods the local municipalities with stacks of American dollars! Much better and more dignified than pouring water upon the sand in the form of U.N. welfare checks.
I know, I know: preposterous, absurd, nonsensical, whimsical, buffoonery. But hey, somebody has to make such doltish suggestions. I've always said that the next time I need some idiot to make a proposal, I'd do it myself. And now I have.
That's it; I'm done.
They Don't Love Nature - They Just Hate Mankind
That was my honest, stunned conclusion some years ago about the "environmentalist" movement; if anything, the evidence of anti-human insanity has become even clearer since then:
- The increasingly violent, even murderous tactics of terrorist groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and their enablers -- Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Fund, and other ostensibly "mainstream" environmentalist organizations;
- The callous disregard of real science in the zeal for "reducing the human footprint" (eventually to zero)... accompanied on the side by mindless chanting, drumming, and puppetry in place of reason, debate, and consensus;
- The rise of modern "Earth religions," which recognize no law but "save the animals -- no matter what the cost to people"... a quasi-spiritualism that bears no relation to ancient pagan beliefs (which always recognized not only the friendly but also the malevolent nature of, well, Nature);
- And the obsession on the part of every branch of government, from municipality all the way up to international tribunals, with enforcing environmentalist dogma and propagandizing children with the preservationist catechism, showing literally no concern whatsoever about the enormities inflicted upon individuals and communities by vague laws interpreted into enviro-madness by administrative agencies and judges run amok.
In America, the ultimate enabler of eco-terrorism is the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the entire "green machine" that enforces the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and similar anti-human legislation enacted over the decades. Many of those who supported the Nixon-era ESA were simply soft-hearted, soft-headed conservationists; but they were rolled by environmental extremists who frankly believe that the entire human race should be expunged.
Most of the elite media refuse even to report on how much of our current economic devastation is caused in fact by environmentalism run rampant:
New data from satellites show the vast underground pools feeding faucets and irrigation hoses across California are running low, a worrisome trend federal scientists largely attribute to aggressive agricultural pumping.
The measurements show the amount of water lost in the two main Central Valley river basins within the past six years could almost fill the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead in Nevada.
"All that water has been sucked from these river basins. It's gone. It's left the building," said Jay Famiglietti, an earth science professor at the University of California, Irvine, who led the research collaboration. "The data is telling us that this rate of pumping is not sustainable."
Darn those agricultural robber barons! They're despoiling the very water we need to drink, just so they can make their obscene profits. Why are they doing this? Why?
We get only a single, slight hint, two vague words buried in the midst of the story:
Hundreds of farmers have been drilling wells to irrigate their crops, as three years of drought and environmental restrictions on water supplies have withered crops, jobs and profits throughout the San Joaquin Valley, where roughly half of the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown.
What environmental restrictions are those? The story never elaborates.
Even worse is this piece in Science Daily, which attributes the increased pumping to... well, see if you can guess:
New space observations reveal that since October 2003, the aquifers for California's primary agricultural region -- the Central Valley -- and its major mountain water source -- the Sierra Nevada -- have lost nearly enough water combined to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir. The findings, based on satellite data, reflect California's extended drought and increased pumping of groundwater for human uses such as irrigation.
At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week in San Francisco, UC Irvine and NASA scientists detailed the state's groundwater changes and outlined research on other global aquifers conducted via twin satellites called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. GRACE monitors tiny month-to-month differences in Earth's gravity field primarily caused by the movement of water in the planet's land, ocean, ice and atmosphere. Its ability to "weigh" changes in water content provides new insights into how climate change is affecting Earth's water cycle.
Ah ha, so all this increased pumping of groundwater wells in the San Joaquin Valley is due to global warming. If only we would agree to Kyoto II, all would be well; just ask Algore.
On the other hand, maybe this has something to do with it:
The Delta smelt issue in California is a prime example how an ESA interpretation has resulted in lost jobs and businesses, Stirling says. The smelt population has declined for decades attributed to the diminished quality of Delta water, predation by other fish, invasive species consuming the smelt’s food chain, and pumps that propel Delta water through the Central Valley to Southern California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a biological opinion in 2005 indicating the smelt decline was caused by several factors including the pumps, Stirling explains. A lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other preservationist groups challenged the biological opinion. A judge ordered the pumps shutdown when smelt are young and in the pump vicinity.
The pump shutdown reduced 2008 Delta water deliveries via the California aqueduct and caused a 30 percent reduction of pumped water and a $300 million loss to California’s economy, Stirling says. Delta water deliveries in 2009 were reduced by 90 percent in some parts of the Central Valley.
The real reason for most of the increased (and "unsustainable") groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley (a.k.a., the Central Valley) is what AP so obliquely called "environmental restrictions": To protect the Delta smelt, farmers have been cut off from the surface water they formerly used for irrigation; now, the only options they have are (a) pump the groundwater dry, or (b) abandon the farmland that provides nearly half of all American fruits, nuts, and vegetables... let the land become a desert and allow the entire country to go hungry.
But at least we can bask in the knowledge that some thumb-sized fish still survive. After all, what's more important, an endangered fish -- or a few measley humans?
Only an enviro-mentalist apparatus that nurses an intstitutional hatred of humanity could possibly enforce the ESA in such a way:
On the ESA loss-of-private-property-rights claim, Stirling points to the case of Paul Fisher whose home in Perdido Bay, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Before the Fishers could gain local permits to rebuild, FWS declared Fisher’s private property as a critical habitat for the Perdido Key beach mouse.
“The federal government has virtually taken their (Fisher’s) property as a nature preserve for the mouse in effect,” Stirling said, “but refuses to pay them just compensation under the Constitution’s 5th Amendment.” PLF is representing Fisher in a lawsuit.
The apotheosis of enviro-mentalism is Globaloney itself, of course; and its synecdoche is found in ClimateGate: erstwhile climate "scientists" became so absolutely certain that human technology is destroying the Earth that when the evidence just wouldn't behave -- when other scientists kept asking inconvenient questions and finding confounding and complicating answers -- the true believers started falsifying the science, blocking independent investigation, banning publication by the wrong sorts, destroying the careers of "deniers," and ultimately, so utterly politicizing the field of AGCC research (anthropogenic -- "man caused" -- global climate change) that today we face a mandated energy cut-off that could hurl us back into the Dark Ages.
At the core of enviro-mentalism is an arrogance so intense and narcissistic, it mimics the hubris of classical Greek theater: The AGCC inquisitors literally seem to believe they can remake the Earth by signing a treaty, passing a law, or electing one of the anointed. After all --
This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.
Environmentalism became a religion long before the rise of "global warming;" in fact, even before the earlier exercise in catastrophism, "global cooling." The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was not the beginning, it was just the warning shot that should have been heard round the world, but was ignored. I suspect the First Church of Fundamentalist Enviro-Mentalism was founded in the early 19th century, wrought by the Romantics and their anti-industrialism nature-worship.
But it's finally come to the boiling point today. And unless we find the guts and the will to turn off the heat -- and if necessary, identify the lunatics who want to cleanse the planet of pesky humanity and exile them from the halls of science, politics, and the judiciary -- we'll all be boiled in our own primordial soup.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
December 5, 2009
Washington Post Warming to Climategate...
...But it still can't bring itself to admit there are reputable scientists who dispute the core theory of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC).
In its article today, the WaPo finally raises the issue of Climategate -- gingerly, and with great sensitivity to the feelings of the climate hystericos:
Except now, much of that attention is focused on the science's flaws. Leaked just before international climate talks begin in Copenhagen -- the culmination of years of work by scientists to raise alarms about greenhouse-gas emissions -- the e-mails have cast those scientists in a political light and given new energy to others who think the issue of climate change is all overblown.
The e-mails don't say that: They don't provide proof that human-caused climate change is a lie or a swindle.
But they do raise hard questions. In an effort to control what the public hears, did prominent scientists who link climate change to human behavior try to squelch a back-and-forth that is central to the scientific method? Is the science of global warming messier than they have admitted?
That's about as harsh as the Post is willing to go. They write not a single word about such fundamental questions as:
- If human technology spurred AGCC in the last century, what caused the Mediaeval Warm Period from A.D. 800 to 1300? And what caused the Little Ice Age that followed?
- Can other, completely natural factors explain the warming we have seen -- such as a change in the sun's output, or volcanic activity spewing "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere?
- Is a warming Earth truly catastrophic, as alarmists insist? Or does higher CO2 and warmer weather bring benefits as well as risks?
- Will any of the suggested reparations actually make a significant difference? Or is it just feel-good politics that will push us towards the even greater catastrophe of energy starvation?
- And why is it that, no matter whether the Earth is freezing into a gigantic, spherical glacier or turning into the hellish inferno of Venus, the solution is always the same: Smash the looms!
- Most basic, why cannot the general-circulation computer models -- on which the entire theory is based -- even accurately "predict" the warming from 1900 to 2000, or the lack of warming occurring right now? Do they need minor tweaks... or are they utterly wrong from the beginning?
The Post does at least touch on the question of climate models, but so gently even an alert reader could be excused for missing it:
These are the facts: After an increase in 1998, the world has been historically warm, but its average temperatures have not climbed steadily. Does that mean climate change has stopped?
Many mainstream scientists say no: This is just a tic of nature, as cycles of currents in the Pacific Ocean and a decrease in heat coming off the sun have temporarily dampened warming. Some researchers, though, have said the models -- and, by extension, the human researchers that built them -- could be missing something about how the climate works. That point was made in one stolen e-mail, in which climate researcher Kevin Trenberth wrote it was a "travesty" that models could not explain why the Earth hadn't warmed more.
"We're simply not tracking where the heat is going," said Trenberth, who heads the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
The paper quotes no scientist opining that they're not "tracking where the heat is going" because the Earth may not be warming at the moment; the reporters assume all along that it's there... it's just hidden somehow. Yet if warming did abruptly stop, that causes a serious problem in the reliability of the general-circulation models -- since none of them predict such a thing. (At the very least it implies there are forces unaccounted for in current theory that operate counter to the supposedly warming effects of greenhouse gases.)
The Post does note one anomaly that should sound a Klaxon about the integrity of AGCC researchers:
The diversity of opinion on this topic, however, wasn't evident late last month, when a group of 26 climate researchers issued a report called "The Copenhagen Diagnosis," summarizing scientific advances since the last major U.N. climate report in 2007.
"Has global warming recently slowed down or paused?" the report said. "No."
Yet privately, researchers admit that global warming has "recently slowed down or paused." They just don't want to admit that in public; if people and politicians saw all the facts, including the messy ones that current AGCC theory cannot explain, they might get the wrong impression, you see.
And here's another chilling quote that cuts right to the heart of the debate, rather, it's lack:
Mainstream climate scientists say they have kept an open mind but have rejected papers that lack proper evidence. In Pielke's case, "the literature doesn't show" his ideas about the importance of land use are correct, said Tom Karl, head of the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Top climate scientists say that in recent years most of the new, worthy research has only made the threat of climate change seem bigger and faster.
But of course, research that draws the wrong conclusion can hardly be called "worthy."
It's certainly true that peer-reviewed scientific journals cannot willy-nilly accept just any paper that's submitted; but the charge -- and it's one of the most serious in science -- is that papers are rejected not for lack of evidence but rather because they draw the "wrong" conclusions. If the globalista establishment pushes climate journals to reject any paper that invalidates or even questions a key element of AGCC, which some e-mails show the researchers at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia doing, then it's hardly a surprise that the scientific literature doesn't support the skeptics. It becomes, as I said, artifactual: Scientists get the literature they enforce.
So on the one hand, we have a pure, linear, public face of science; and on the other, we see a messy, muddied private face. On the third hand, in the hacked CRU e-mails, we're shown the intersection of the two faces in a raging, secretive conversation about which facts can safely be released... and which are so explosive they must, at any cost, be suppressed. While this is the norm for politics, it makes for absolutely dreadful science.
On the plus side, the leftstream media is finally starting to nibble around the edges of the Climategate scandal; but they're still not willing to admit that, far from merely presenting establishment climate researchers in an unflattering light, Climategate reveals them compromising the very data and scientific integrity they need to prove their theory... and one cannot help but conclude that if the facts really supported AGCC -- they wouldn't need to fudge them.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
November 30, 2009
Wheels of Fire
I love beginning posts with personal anecdotes, which you can deduce from the fact that I never do it. No time like the present to start!
One week in high school, my all-time second-favorite social studies teacher, Lyle Thornton Wolf, presented us with a fascinating unit:
On Monday, he passed out forty-eight distinct high-school and college level American history textbooks (there being 48 students in the class). Each of us got a different textbook, though some were merely later versions of an earlier text that somebody else had. Each of us took his book home with instructions to read and "brief" (like a lawyer would) the factual events -- not interpretations or speculations -- recounted in his book about the Boston Massacre.
Then on Wednesday, Mr. Wolf began going through the incident, student by student, making a "comparison table" on the blackboard using every important fact from each book... e.g., the number of colonists killed by the redcoats, the number wounded, how many lobster-backs and Yankee doodles were present, what provocation (if any) did the colonists give to the soldiers, how long the shooting lasted, who was the first shot, and so forth.
As a court trial followed the shootings, and that trial took eyewitness and forensic evidence (future President John Adams defended the soldiers), one would expect nearly all the facts to be reported the same way in every textbook. Not so; there was significant variation in the details taught to students about that infamous eruption of anti-democratic violence.
But Mr. Wolf didn't stop there, and this was his genius; he was more interested in teaching us good researching skills than specific numbers of people killed in the Boston Massacre. Thus he also made each of us read the footnotes, endnotes, and any other errata indicating the source of the supposed facts reported in his assigned book; he then put up a posterboard list of all the textbook titles arranged like a matrix.
As we reported the sources for each book, Mr. Wolf drew an arrow from the source to the book that cited it. After about ten books, we quickly realized that not a single one of the 48 textbooks cited any primary document or original source material; each cited only other high-school or college textbooks. In fact, only a couple of them cited texts not already in our hands (both times older editions of books we did have).
Worse, the entire set of citations was a snarl of textbook "daisy chains": Textbook A (let's say it was the 1962 edition) would have an arrow pointing to B (1964); B pointed to C (1965), which pointed to D (1968)... but D then pointed to a later version of textbook A, say the 1970 edition.
In other words, there was no "ultimate source": The books just referenced and reinforced each other.
Thus it was hardly a surprise that, variations aside, all the books agreed on the core issues: The colonists were disorderly but didn't provoke the shooting; no colonist used a firearm; the British were almost entirely to blame; and they only got off because of the eloquence of Adams. The issue was closed; no need to rethink any basic premise. After all, if that interpretation of the data wasn't perfectly true, what are the odds that all those textbooks would just happen to agree with each other?
On Saturday, as Climategate really began to heat up, the princes of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) started to get their backs up. They were driven to agree, at long last, to release the raw data behind their predictions... or as much of it remained after they deliberately destroyed most of it in the 1980s.
Faced with the charge that the data they destroyed could have shown that globaloney theory was built on sand (and fabricated sand at that), one of the university's vice chancellors concocted a novel counterargument:
Professor Trevor Davies, the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement, said yesterday: "CRU's full data will be published in the interests of research transparency when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies."
Like a speech by Barack H. Obama's teleprompter, it sounds good out of the corner of your ear; but in reality, this argument is a complete non-sequitur. And the inability of Professor Davies to apprehend his own paralogia speaks volumes about the real failure of the anthropogenic global climate-change (AGCC) cabal.
The charge against the CRU is not that they know their theory is unfounded, nor yet that they deliberately and with malice aforethought suppress the opposing view, nor that they do so for sinister, political reasons. Not a bit of it.
The real charge is that certain scientists have utterly bought into AGCC; they consider themselves the "anointed," and they're so adamant in their cosmic certainty that they reject any contrary claims or findings as so much nonsense, unworthy even of an answer. The anointed treat AGCC heresy as they would treat Holocaust denial or creationism.
But while no reputable scientist denies the Nazi mass murders or rejects evolution by natural selection, AGCC hardly enjoys such universal acceptance. In fact, it is quite controversial, with reputable, published, peer reviewed scientists in relevant fields on both sides of the issue.
AGCC proponents insist that they are more numerous than AGCC critics; but scientific consensus is not settled by voice vote. In order for a "consensus position" to form on man-made climate change, it's not enough to have 75% of scientists agree, or 80%, or even 95%. Rather, every respected scientist in a relevant field must agree; and every objection or demur lodged by such a respected scientist in the atmospheric sciences must be fully and completely answered to the satisfaction of the entire field. So long as that remains undone, the hypothesis remains controversial, and there is no consensus.
Scientific consensus is very different than, say, political consensus, which can mean at little as a two-to-one majority; mistaking the one for the other is scientific malpractice.
But that is precisely what to call a process where supposed "consensus" is achieved by patently unscientific means -- by extorting scientists into pledging undying support for the AGCC thesis and renouncing all dissenters as unscientists, on pain of never getting another grant, publication, or university position if they refuse.
This isn't a scientific argument, it's a street brawl!
To the anointed (I deliberately use the Thomas Sowell term from his seminal book, the Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy), denying the obvious cosmic truth of AGCC brands the denier as a pseudo-scientist; since pseudo-scientists are just quacks and charlatans, there is no need to answer any of his objections, conveniently enough.
Ergo, all respected scientists agree with AGCC theory... because by definition, if you don't agree, you're not a respected scientist.
Given that explosive charge -- that AGCC theory has become a scientific cult -- it's immediately apparent that if the charge is true, we would expect to find the identical problem rampant at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Indeed, Goddard is in fact run by James Hansen, who was one of the first major scientists to sound the globaloney alarmism klaxton, even before the Kyoto Protocol, and has been perhaps the biggest booster of the idea that there is a scientific "consensus" on AGCC (and that anybody who disagrees is not a real scientist).
But if the NOAA and ISS are completely controlled by the anointed, just as the CRU appears to be, then it's hardly surprising that they come up with similar global temperature timelines; more than likely, they all link to and cite each other.
Such a "consensus," based upon shared computation, methodology, and analysis, is purely artifactual... just like the "consensus" of the core story of the Boston Massacre: an artifactual consensus forced by incestuous linkages between ostensibly independent publications.
With such deep links of people, methods, and funding between all three groups, it would be astonishing were they not completely in synch with each other.
What is needed to make the argument that Professor Davies evidently wants to make is the following:
- AGCC supporters within the community should push for full funding of respected atmospheric scientists who are AGCC skeptics.
- Skeptics must be given access to all raw data used by supporters to make their case.
- Skeptics must be allowed to pursue different methodologies and new data streams beyond those used again and again (changelessly) by supporters.
- Results discovered by skeptics must be treated fairly in the scientific literature, not rejected as "pseudo-science" merely because they come to a different conclusion on a controversial, cutting-edge topic.
There are of course limits and caveats; let's take a small detour into another field of science to see the right way to answer skeptics. Recently a new attempt is underway to destroy the edifice of evolution by natural selection; its supporters call it "intelligent design" (ID). Its thesis is that some biological processes are too complex to arise naturally, so they must have been consciously designed by an intelligent being.
The alert reader will immediately realize that, window dressing aside, the "intelligent being" must exist outside the normal confines of physical law -- else how could it manipulate the biology of an entire planet -- and outside the timeline of the universe... else where did the intelligent being itself come from? Thus, whether IDers are willing to admit it or not, they're talking about God, and this is a variation on Creationism tarted up as science this time.
The same reader will also recognize that such a thesis is literally untestable:
- Just because we cannot explain how a particular biological system evolved doesn't mean it's inexplicable, nor that it's too complex to have evolved naturally. It just means we can't explain it today. No system can ever unambiguously satisfy Michael Behe's requirement of "irreducible complexity," so no evidence can ever be produced to prove ID;
- No claim of ID can ever be falsified, even in theory; if a designer is so intelligent, so powerful, and so remote as to be invisible that it can manipulate the entire biological spectrum of life on Earth, then it's also clever enough to be able to hide its own tracks. So there is no possible experiment that can disprove it, either.
Logically, then, since Intelligent Design can neither be proven nor disproven, it is not science. But wait, what about everything I said about consensus above? Very well: Despite the logical problems of ID, evolutionary biologists have answered ID's questions anyway. Behe presented numerous examples of what he called "irreducible complexity" -- a system so complex that its individual components would have no function, hence confer no evolutionary advantage, hence the system itself -- the sum of the components -- could not have evolved.
But scientists have in fact broken down each of these systems (e.g., the eye, the bacterial flagella) into components and shown how each really did have a function... albeit a different function than what the system eventually evolved to perform. They have answered all of Behe's questions, and he has not responded to any of their counterarguments.
Thus at some point, the field of biology must cease considering Behe and his fellow IDers to be "respected scientists"... not out of prejudice or because the biology mainstream disagrees with them, but rather because the IDers refuse to play by the rules of science everyone else must follow. Their own actions (and inaction) brands them pseudoscientists.
By contrast, while some AGCC supporting scientists make an effort to respond to the arguments of the skeptics -- for example, about the role sun activity plays in forcing temperature changes -- very few of the skeptical counterarguments have been answered satisfactorally, even to scientists who more or less support AGCC: They agree that skeptics are playing by the rules of science, using proper methodology, taking all previous results into account, and so forth; they admit the counter-argument is powerful and must be answered; they agree it hasn't been so far; but they have confidence that it will eventually be shown to be in error.
(Note, I'm not saying the skeptics have "proven" that AGCC is wrong; only that supporters have not proven it is right... and the supporters have the burden.)
That is not the sign of scientific consensus; that is the sign of scientific controversy. And that is the difference between those scientists skeptical of AGCC and those contrarians who refuse to accept evolution by natural selection.
There is no requirement to respond to ill-performed experiments that purport to overturn long-settled science without any willingness on the part of the contrarians to engage in scientific debate. There simply isn't enough time to debunk them every time they bubble up again, lest we be dragged into a creationism-like endless loop of demanding an infinite number of "missing links." But honestly performed experiments by scientists ready and willing to engage in proper debate, using data not denunciations, must be answered; that is the scientific method in action.
Similarly, nobody outside a particular journal can mandate that it publish submitted paper. But journals need to be forcefully reminded that their mission is to discover reality -- not mold it into a congenial shape.
Finally, it's important to bear in mind that there are "anointed" on the anti-AGCC side as well; it's entirely possible that a "skeptical" inquirer may actually be a true believer in the opposite of AGCC. He might reflexively reject pro-AGCC evidence, even from his own experiment, because he "knows" it's a crockobaloney. Such charlatans who have ceased being scientists (on both sides) should be shunted aside; but we mustn't throw out honestly interpreted experimental results that produce alternative, natural explanations for recent temperature rises (or deny such rises altogether).
Only after skeptics get their day at bat can the scientific community truly get its mits around what is really happening to the Earth's temperature, what effects (bad and good) that might have, and what, if anything, we can do about it -- and whether we should if we could.
I am quite disappointed that a vice chancellor at such a highly respected venue as the University of East Anglia would be unable to reason through to a scientific solution... and would lunge instead for the classic "teen logic" argument: "But Mom, all my friends are doing the same thing!"
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
October 18, 2009
Have You Stopped Beating Your Climate Science Yet?
I always love it when the "sophisticated" side of the aisle demands an immediate "yes or no" answer to a complex, multifaceted question; and when the Right can't give it and won't fake it, the Left brays that we're dodging the question!
I stumbled across this crock of globaloney that occurred in the Virginia governor's race, between Republican candidate Robert F. McDonnell and surrogates for Democratic candidate R. Creigh Deeds:
The issue had simmered since a debate Monday with Democratic rival R. Creigh Deeds, in which Mr. McDonnell never definitively answered a question about whether he thinks man-made climate change is a serious threat [wow, that's specific! -- DaH]. It flared Friday after former vice president and climate change watchdog Al Gore held a fundraiser for Mr. Deeds, and Virginia Republicans said it proved Mr. Deeds supports cap-and-trade legislation that they claim will increase energy costs and worsen unemployment. They dismissed the Nobel laureate as "the Goracle."
Virginia Democrats fired back by calling Mr. McDonnell and the Republican ticket he heads "the most backward, anti-science" ever in Virginia.
"For the better part of a week, Bob McDonnell has had the opportunity to answer the straightforward question, 'Do you believe in the science of global warming,' and he still refuses. It's not a hard question," said Deeds strategist Mo Elleithee.
Oh isn't it? Phrased the way they phrase it here -- does McDonnell "believe in the science of global warming?" -- it's not hard, it's impossible to answer Yes or No. Which science does Elleithee mean?
- The badly conducted or mendacious "science" that produced, e.g., the infamous "hockey stick" diagram?
- The pseudoscience of Al Gore's boneheaded movie, which has the oceans rising by twenty or more feet in the next few decades?
- The science that tells us the Earth warmed for a long period but now may be entering a cooling phase, neither era being particularly affected by human activity?
- The science that suggests the real danger is not global warming but global cooling, even a new ice age? That would be far more catastrophic than warming... and if we really can affect the temperature, and we try to lower it when it's already poised to plummet, we would be slitting our own throats out of sheer ignorance and hubris.
- Or -- what about the science that correctly states that we just don't know what the climate will do over the next twenty years, let alone the next century, nor to what extent the change will turn out to be anthropogenic?
On that last, who alive today could possibly prophecy what power humans will possess in a hundred years to fine-tune the Earth's temperature and other elements of climate? Maybe we'll be able to dial in any climate conditions we want... or maybe we'll be as helpless as we are today.
At the very least, I hope we'll have general circulation climate models that actually work -- replacing the current models, on which all global-warming hysteria rests, that fail miserably even to predict past climate changes we already know about.
The question hurled by the Deeds campaign is, quite frankly, one of the stupidest I've ever seen -- scientifically. Politically, it may be very astute, as I don't like McDonnell's answer. Here's a compilation of McDonnell's greatest climate hits:
"I think it's a real concern, and we need to find ways to be able to reduce [carbon dioxide] emissions," Mr. McDonnell said in advocating development of technology to eliminate pollutants from coal-fired energy plants...."
"Well, there's some debate that various scientists are going on in that," he said. "I think the temperature of the earth, from the science I've seen, is going up...."
"Look, it's not going to affect my policy decisions. What the policy decision needs to be is to find ways that are creative to be able to reduce CO2."
"I am going to accept the science that's out there, and the science is that we need to do everything that we can to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, and that will help," he said.
This projects weakness, vacillation, and evasion.
Here is what I would have advised him to say when the inevitable bubbled up in debate. This isn't a real quote, more's the pity; this is what I wish McDonnell had said, which would have been much more forceful and senatorial than what he actually mumbled:
MCDONNELL: Science is not something you believe in, like I believe in God. Science is a process. If it's done right, we usually get good answers. If it's done wrong, we get nonsense answers -- garbage in, garbage out.
DEEDS: Stop dancing around the bush! Do you accept the consensus of nearly all scientists that the Earth is warming due to human carbon pollution, and we'll have a worldwide catastrophe if we don't immediately cut energy use by 90%?
MCDONNELL: How many things are wrong in that one sentence? First, science isn't decided by voice vote; a scientific "consensus" would require every reputable scientist in the field to agree with what you just said -- and they don't. There are thousands of highly respected, well-credentialed climate scientists who dispute both the warming -- there hasn't been any global warming in eleven years, since 1998 -- and they also dispute that human activity caused the warming in the two centuries before 1998. Some even say we're headed for a period of serious global cooling; maybe we need more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not less!
I don't know which group of scientists is correct. And you know what? Neither do you, and neither does Guru Gore. None of us is qualified to answer that question, because none of us is a climatologist or an atmospheric scientist. And the folks who are qualified to answer are fighting a scientific civil war among themselves.
I passionately believe in the scientific process -- all of it, not just when it fits Al Gore's agenda. And the science is very much in flux right now. Many scientists believe we're somewhat responsible for global warming -- though none believes that as a religion, as your mentor, Al Gore, does. But many scientists believe we're not responsible and there's nothing we can do to stop it.
We can, however, cripple our own economy trying to hold back the tides. And I will flatly tell you right now that I am not willing to crash the entire American economy in a futile and arrogant attempt to play God with our atmosphere. I'm focused on creating new jobs, not taxing energy production out of existence. I'm very happy to vote for greatly increased funding in basic climate research, but only if it's equally available to scientists on all sides of this controversial issue... not if it's restricted only to those who support the politically correct, convenient conclusion of the anti-energy, anti-business Left.
Dang, how I wish a candidate would respond forcefully and unapologetically on this issue! There is a great, great argument for doing exactly nothing... nothing but pure research for another twenty, thirty years until we have a tremendously better understanding of the basic science than we have now. Who knows? Maybe by 2030 or 2040 there will actually be a real scientific "consensus."
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
July 17, 2009
Cool Ain't Cool
Just seven years ago at this time, Sachi and I were preparing ourselves for an extensive trip hiking in the Grand Canyon. We knew it would probably be hot, so we were training ourselves by deliberately going out and hiking (here in SoCal) in July and August.
By this time, mid-July 2002, we were routinely getting temps here over 100° F, some days as high as 105° F in the shade (not that there's much shade on the ridge hike we take). We were day-hiking while wearing full-sized backpacks filled with rocks and bottled water, to simulate a full pack.
Even so, we really weren't prepared at all when we got to Grand Canyon. During one hike along Clear Creek Trail, the temperature in the sun (there is no shade on that part of the Kaibab Plateau) was more than 125° F: That's as high as our thermometer registers, and it was pegged. Sachi swore she was evaporating.
Even during the night, the temperature never dropped below 100° F until an hour or so before dawn, the coldest time of day. We should know; we got dehydrated and suffered through the night before turning back the next morning.
And this was on September 24th-25th, 2002. (This isn't my seven-years faded memory; I just now went to the file and looked it up.) I can't imagine how hellish it would have been two months earlier.
What's the point? Well, so far this year, the temperature here in Southern California has only topped 90° F once, I think. And according to the 7-day forcast by the National Weather Service for Phantom Ranch (right at the bottom of Bright Angel Trail, on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon), the highs range from 109° F to 113° F, and the overnight lows are mid to high 70s! In mid-July!
The hottest temperature ever recorded at Phantom Ranch, according to the National Park Service, was 120° F in the shade, "on several dates." Clearly, the current temperature is much lower than the maximum, and indeed, significantly lower than just seven years ago -- both in SoCal and in the Grand Canyon.
I worry a lot more about global cooling than I do about global warming; at least the latter would be accompanied by a staggering increase in crop growth. Global glaciation could well be accompanied by worldwide crop failures.
Vikings -- the sea warriors, not the football team -- called their island Greenland precisely because it was lush and burgeoning; they even grew grapes for wine there. Today it's pretty much ice-locked; but I doubt even Al Gore could find a way to blame the Mediaeval Warm Period on industrial release of carbon dioxide.
During the last actual full-blown glaciation -- which peaked about 18,000 years ago -- the ice sheets completely blanketed Canada and Alaska and came all the way down to Minneapolis. They carved out the Great Lakes, and the ice-melt filled them. Glaciers created Niagara Falls (by rerouting the river) and the Ohio River system.
Oh, and another minor side effect: Glaciation produced a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska... which is why the Americas were already inhabited by humans (and old-world mammals) before Columbus got here... or even Vikings.
"Too hot" just means too hot. Maybe a little rise in the sea level, but nothing a good seawall can't handle; the Dutch have been reclaiming land from below sea level since the 1500s. It doesn't mean molten lava lakes in Kansas.
But "too cold" can mean "no longer human habitable," at least not without massive technological intervention, which most of the rest of the world could not possibly afford: hydroponics, animal-protein synthesis, underground raising of livestock, nuclear powered heating, environmental suits for venturing outside, transportation challenges, and so forth.
For our own sakes, let's hope that if we're destined to live to see the nightmarish predictions of a group of global alarmists come true -- it's the ones of today, not the global-cooling nuts of the 1970s!
July 1, 2009
With Fiends Like These...
Is the worm beginning to turn the tide?
AP breathlessly writes about President Barack H. Obama's health-care insurapalooza today in Virginia -- but look what they're saying! The tough-love starts with the headline: "Emotion, few details, in Obama's health care pitch"... and it only goes south from there:
"The health care changes that Obama called for Wednesday would reshape the nation's medical landscape. He says he wants to cover nearly 50 million uninsured Americans, to persuade doctors to stress quality over quantity of care, to squeeze billions of dollars from spending.
"But details on exactly how to do those things were generally lacking in his hour-long town hall forum before a friendly, hand-picked audience in a Washington suburb."
"Some of Obama's questioners Wednesday were from friendly sources, including a member of the Service Employees International Union and a member of Health Care for America Now, which organized a Capitol Hill rally last week calling for an overhaul. White House aides selected other questions submitted by people on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
"Republicans said the event was a political sham designed to help Obama, not to inform the public.
"'Americans are already skeptical about the cost and adverse impact of the president's health care plans,' Republican National Committee spokesman Trevor Francis said. 'Stacking the audience and preselecting questions may make for a good TV, but it's the wrong way to engage in a meaningful discussion about reforming health care.'"
"'The biggest thing we can do to hold down costs is to change the incentives of a health care system that automatically equates expensive care with better care,' the president said. He said the formula system drives up costs 'but doesn't make you better.'
Obama did not make specific recommendations for changing the incentive formulas."
- "Obama said, however, that he is working with the American Medical Association to explore ways to reduce liability for doctors and hospitals 'when they've done nothing wrong.' He offered no specifics for a problem that has vexed the medical and legal industries for decades."
"Obama said a government-run 'single-payer' health care system works well in some countries. But it is not appropriate in the United States, he said, because so many people get insurance through their employers working with private companies.
Still, he again called for a government-run 'public option' to compete with private insurers, a plan that many Republicans oppose."
Each of these points is factually correct, and one might argue that each is neutral; but they are not presented in a neutral way... and astonishingly enough, the spin is entirely anti-ObamaCare.
Even the last point presents the government option as a refutation of his pledge not to push a "single-payer" system, tacitly accepting the well-founded GOP warning that a subsidized and privileged government option will necessarily drive employers away from private plans for their employees, plans that are overtaxed, heavily regulated, and disfavored in a myriad other ways.
The Washington Post was nearly as bad; please pay close attention to the adjectives used in the opening of their story:
President Obama offered today a wonkish defense of his embattled health care reform effort during an hour-long town hall meeting in Annandale that featured seven questions, including one sent in via Twitter and several from a hand-picked audience of supporters.
As the president's health care bill struggles on Capitol Hill, the administration increasingly is seeking to pressure lawmakers with evidence of the public's desire to get something done as well as proof that the health care industry is a stakeholder in -- not an opponent of -- the effort.
The tone sometimes turns neutral, but never pro-Obama. And I nearly fell out of my chair reading this a few paragraphs later:
In the highly stage-managed event, questions for Obama came from a live audience selected by the White House and the college, and from Internet questions chosen by the administration's own new-media team.
Of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his own staff from people who submitted videos on the White House Web site or who responded to a request for "tweets" from the administration.
The president called randomly on three audience members. Each turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the SEIU union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence.
Yeah, yeah, a "coincidence" -- that's the ticket!
If the president turns to the New York Times for succor, he will be disappointed. Here is a news commentary story on the global-warming bill just passed in the House; the story is written by John M. Broder, and it's found in the Politics section, not among the Op-Eds:
As the most ambitious energy and climate-change legislation ever introduced in Congress made its way to a floor vote last Friday, it grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts intended to win the votes of wavering lawmakers and the support of powerful industries.
The deal making continued right up until the final minutes, with the bill’s co-author Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, doling out billions of dollars in promises on the House floor to secure the final votes needed for passage.
The rest of the piece details some of these payoffs -- including a number that are sure to produce screams of anguish and rage from potential Obama supporters, including:
- Utilities that operate coal-power plants will receive "tens of billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits," as well as "billions for work on technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal combustion to help meet future pollution targets." Broder notes that the deal was negotiated by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA, 84%), "a conservative Democrat from Virginia’s coal country;" that is the only concession to the Times' traditional animus against "conservatives." (When did someone who votes 84% liberal become a conservative Democrat?)
- A billion dollars of pork for Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL, 33%) to distribute around Chicago.
- "Democrats from Southeastern states" got a special deal: reducing the target for getting energy from renewable resources from 25% to 15%, "with states given the ability to reduce it further if they cannot meet the target."
- More tens of billions of dollars in government goodies for refineries, rural energy co-ops, and a massive expansion of "carbon offsets" that can be sold by argibusiness -- as well as shifting their regulatory burden from the EPA to the "farmer-friendly Department of Agriculture."
I wonder if this change in the media weather has something to do with the Obamacle's sagging approval ratings? Today, Rasmussem Reports has the president's approval down to 54% positive, 45% negative -- which can hardly be called "sky high" anymore -- and with an approval index (percent strongly approving minus percent strongly disapproving) in negative territory, at —1% -- 32% strongly approve, 33% strongly disapprove.
CNN/Opinion Research notes that, although Obama's approval remains high at 61%...
"Since March, Obama's approval rating has gone down one percentage point each month in CNN polls," notes CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
If that continues for another year...
In the current ABC/Washington Post poll, Obama's approval advantage has dropped from 43 points in February to 34 points in June -- still high, but still shrinking.
Gallup still maintains the fiction that Obama's approval is 2-1 positive; but even they show his disapproval rating rising 20 points since he was inaugurated.
In any event, no matter what the reason, the antique news media have begun to wake from their Obamic torpor: They are finally starting to question the One about his supposed solutions, though they still give him a pass on his own litany of the problems he "inherited" from "the previous administration." (Watch for them to give Barack Obama the credit for winning the Iraq war, because the final pullout will occur on his watch.)
Huzzah. Now let's see some actual coverage of the many, varied, and far more American Republican alternatives to Obamunism.
May 2, 2009
Weapon of Gas Discussion
A left-wing enviro "think tank" -- well, I reckon that's a misnomer! -- has suddenly tigged to what's stopping the mass conversion to Globaloney that the econuts have predicted (demanded!) for decades: It's not the preposterous premise, the muddled modeling, the risible rejection of ratiocination, the brouhaha of bullying, the abhorrent adhering to ad-hominems, or even the inconvenient injection of raw reality... the misbehaving meteorological malaise that causes ice storms and blizzards to descend upon global-warming gabfests like starving seagulls upon a seaside soirée.
No, none of that is the problem. It's that damned phrase, "global warming." It just doesn't sing. Liberal lexicographers at ecoAmerica have fallen into a frenzy of phraseology, trying to find a New! Improved! dictionary of doom and disaster to awaken the weary bourgeoisie:
The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”
The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.
They advocate globaloney proselytizers eschew "grim warnings" in favor of terms that sound vague but are in fact meaningless... but which poll well. Ecospeak dictionary in hand, they plan to send "TALKING POINTS" (caps are theirs) out to advocacy groups around the world, helping them gin up support by spinning up their speech.
How did we find out? Well, EcoAmerica e-mailed its secret report to a number of friendly (that is, liberal Democratic) lawmakers; it wanted to keep the results under wraps until they could find a way to frame it so that the entire project would not end up a laughingstock. Alas for them, some well-meaning cement-head on their website accidentally cc'ed a number of news organizations.
Of course, they have every reason to worry about the report leaking prematurely:
Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists. “We know why it’s lowest,” said Mr. Perkowitz, a marketer of outdoor clothing and home furnishings before he started ecoAmerica, whose activities are financed by corporations, foundations and individuals. “When someone thinks of global warming, they think of a politicized, polarized argument. When you say ‘global warming,’ a certain group of Americans think that’s a code word for progressive liberals, gay marriage and other such issues.”
Well, yeah. We do. And so it is. As word trickles down to the masses about how their legislators are spending the staggering emergency deficits they have voted to snow voters with hot air on global warming, strong steps might be taken through the proper channels. 2010 approaches faster with every passing month.
Here are some of ecoAmerica's suggested circumlocutions. I wonder how much they got paid for this?
- "Global warming" → "our deteriorating atmosphere;"
- "Carbon dioxide" → "the dirty fuels of the past;"
- "Cap and trade" → "pollution reduction fund;"
- "Energy efficiency" → "saving money for a more prosperous future;"
- "Environment" → "the air we breathe, the water our children drink." (That's still boring; now if they had it, "the water we breath, the children we dunk," they might have something.)
The movement should have come to me; I would have given them much more bewildering babble at a small fraction of the probable millions they forked over to ecoAmerica. Viz.:
- "Banning all industrial operations" could be renamed "greenlining;"
- "Carbon rationing" becomes "redistribution of illth;"
- "The Kyoto Protocol" -- frightening, technical, foreign -- becomes "atmospheric contingency operation;"
- "Tailpipe emissions of carbon and carbonoids" becomes "van-caused disasters;"
- "Mandating use of hybrid cars for all non-governmental usage" becomes "the Prius is right;"
- A "collapsed economy" is a "global financial resimplification;"
- An "ice-age Earth" is defended as "it's cool to be blue;"
- And complaints from globaloney deniers of "flawed general circulation models that cannot even accurately predict the past" shall henceforth be referred to as "exochronic evidentiary discrimination."
See? No need to modify hypotheses that are shot down and predictions which fall flat. All we need do is change the user interface, and presto! Hope meets anthropogenic global climate change.
April 25, 2009
Albert & Me
Monckton challenges; Gore clucks
According to what appears to be a blog (it's hard to tell these days), Lord Christopher Monckton, former advisor to the Iron Lady of Britain, was invited by Republicans to give skeptical testimony at a globaloney hearing, to respond to the "celebrity witness" brought by the Democrats: None other than Rantin' Al himself:
"Shut up," he explained
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Rotunda... Lord Monckton suddenly found himself un-invited by the majority Democrats:
UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington. Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.
“The House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,” Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “They are cowards.”
Monckton evidently chased Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA, 95%) around the Capitol -- rather like Michael Moore in Roger & Me chasing Roger Smith, CEO of GM; Monckton was trying to get himself reinvited to the hearing, but no dice. In the end, the Democrats reluctantly allowed the GOP to bring a different witness... the well-known climatologist Newt Gingrich.
Evidently, they find it less nerve wracking for Algore to debate another dilettante politician than one who, despite not being a scientist, has nevertheless devoted a very substantial portion of his life for many years to a skeptical inquiry into the pseudoscience of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC).
For example, Monckton raised the funding necessary to successfully prosecute a case in the High Court of Justice, in October 2007, preventing Algore's mission-to-Kyoto agitprop cult film "An Inconvenient Truth" from being played in British schools as part of the science curriculum. Monckton has published many articles heaping derision upon the crackpot theory... and he is likely to be far more up on contemporary research casting doubt on the AGCC than is the intellectually profligate Gingrich:
“The Democrats have a lot to learn about the right of free speech under the US Constitution. Congress Henry Waxman's (D-CA) refusal to expose Al Gore's sci-fi comedy-horror testimony to proper, independent scrutiny by the House minority reeks of naked fear,” Monckton said from the airport Thursday evening.
“Waxman knows there has been no 'global warming' for at least a decade. Waxman knows there has been seven and a half years' global cooling. Waxman knows that, in the words of the UK High Court judge who condemned Gore's mawkish movie as materially, seriously, serially inaccurate, 'the Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view,'” Monckton explained. Monckton has previously testified before the House Committee in March.
Not having the expertise of Algore -- who, after all, won the Nobel Piece Prize for a piece of liberal lunacy -- Monckton was mailed back to England postage due. How fortunate -- how (dare I say it?) convenient -- that Algore will not have to respond to Monckton after all. Isn't it nice to have such useful friends in high places?
April 22, 2009
Waiting for the Sun
Is it just me? (And how many times recently have I said or written, "is it just me?")
For a beautiful example of the miracle of circular reasoning that is globaloney, take a gander at this -- the world and solar system according to Prof. A. Michael Lockwood of Southampton University. This BBC story notes the recent extreme inactivity of the sun, the output of which has been diminishing since 1985:
Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.
According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.
"There's no sign of us coming out of it yet," she told BBC News.
"At the moment, there are scientific papers coming out suggesting that we'll be going into a normal period of activity soon.
"Others are suggesting we'll be going into another minimum period - this is a big scientific debate at the moment."
Many of us believe that the sun plays a large role in the temperature of the Earth -- since it's the ultimate source of nearly all of it (though some might be caused by the Earth's molten core). Therefore, some unenlightened souls might reason, if the sun radiates less energy, the Earth may begin to cool... and so long, global warming.
To nip this ray of sunshine in the bud and thoroughly squelch the idea that climate change may even conceivably be driven by anything other than the vile burning of oil, coal, and the emissions produced by Detroit iron, the Beeb recruits the current go-to guy on the "consensus view" of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), the aforementioned Lockwood, who has bravely taken up the dour man's burden since at least last July:
"I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case," he said.
Prof Lockwood was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun's activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.
"If you look carefully at the observations, it's pretty clear that the underlying level of the Sun peaked at about 1985 and what we are seeing is a continuation of a downward trend (in solar activity) that's been going on for a couple of decades.
"If the Sun's dimming were to have a cooling effect, we'd have seen it by now."
(He said the same thing in a National Geographic article in July 2007.)
An interesting point, because, of course, we have seen a cooling effect by now. But that's an inconvenient truth (sorry)... and Lockwood inadvertently neglects to mention it:
He added that the current slight dimming of the Sun was not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."
But wait... what about this?
All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.
Perhaps that's just a one-year fluke; on the other hand, there is also this:
Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century.
Don J. Easterbrook , Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University and a frequent writer in refereed journals of climatology, in fact predicts a succession of cooling periods and warming periods over the next century. He likely bases some of his own findings on the same data that prompted Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to publish a paper in Geophysical Research Letters predicting the same thing, as reported in World Climate Report:
“Has the climate recently shifted?” is the title of a just-published paper in Geophysical Research Letters by researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Their examination of this topic was undoubtedly prompted by the recent behavior of global temperature which shows that the rate of warming has dramatically slowed during the past 7-12 years.
Updating a methodology that they had previously developed and used to identify several changes in the climate state that occurred during the 20th century, Swanson and Tsonis examined the temperature data from recent years to see if another state change had taken place:Here, a new and improved means to quantify the coupling between climate modes confirms that another synchronization of these modes, followed by an increase in coupling occurred in 2001/02. This suggests that a break in the global mean temperature trend from the consistent warming over the 1976/77–2001/02 period may have occurred.
In other words, the authors think that they have identified another in a string of break points that signal a change in the general state of the earth’s climate.
WCR notes that Swanson and Tsonis still support the idea of AGCC, but this may be due to their unexamined assumption that the increased variability of the actual climate, compared to the predictions of the climate modelers at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC -- sorry about all the acronyms) -- a completely political organization whose members are primarily political appointees from various nations (the IPCC hires scientists to justify its political decisions) -- indicates that the IPCC must have underestimated 21st-century warming. WCR does a good job of debunking that facile and unsupported conclusion:
But do the models have the the climate sensitivity too low (as Swanson and Tsonis suggest) or too high? Or is the climate model climate sensitivity even coupled to the size of the model internal variability (as it is in the real world)?
There are hints that the latter two may be the case -- that is, the model climate sensitivity is (artificially) disconnected from the model-produced internal variability, and that the model climate sensitivity is too large.
WCR notes that the IPCC tried to correct their first ludicrously false climate models -- which could not even correctly predict past climate change, overestimating it by a whopping amount -- by adding the use of aerosols as a "knob" to adjust the models so that they at least accurately predicted the climate change from 1900 to 2000, as actually observed.
Briefly, tame IPCC
apologists scientists suggested that aerosol polution in the atmosphere acted to cool the atmosphere, counteracting the greenhouse gases that warmed it. But since we significantly curtailed the use of aerosols from the 1970s onward, carbon and carbonoids reasserted control, and warming took command again. Thus, they explained one of those temperature "break points" that occurred in mid-century, in defiance of the original (pre-aerosol-knob) models.
In earlier work (Tsonis et al., 2007), the authors concluded that:The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols. However, [our result] suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend.
Their new work further supports this conclusion as do plain and simple observations -- after all, there is no way that declining influence of aerosols which was invoked to help explain the warming of the 1980s and 1990s can be used to explain the lack of warming thus far during the 21st century.
So if aerosols don’t play a large role in the 20th century temperature behavior, then the models get things right for the wrong reasons and, when fed the right reasons, they would get things wrong (i.e. produce too much warming -- an indication that their climate sensitivity is too large).
So to sum up, much current research indicates that we have seen a fairly sudden "break point" in both average global temperature and also the trendline of average global temperature since 1998; it was high and rising, but now it's cooler and staying about the same. Considering how long it may take a system as large as the Earth to stop a warming trend and confounding factors that may be at work, it's not unreasonable to conclude that the reduction in the sun's radiative output may be responsible for the 12-year hiatus in global warming. Lockwood notwithstanding, such a conclusion is not contradicted by a continued "global temperature rise" in the Earth's temperature, as he claims; the trend since 1998 has been the other direction.
It appears that, just as Mann, Bradley, and Hughes conveniently ignored the inconvenient Mediaeval Warm Period in their now-infamous "hockey stick" diagram, in order to make today's temperatures seem the highest ever, today's Professor Lockwood completely ignores the abrupt cessation of global warming for the past 11 years in order to pooh-pooh the idea that the sun's output could have anything to do with the Earth's temperature.
And here is the capper; the BBC article actually argues that the sun cannot be having any affect on the Earth's climate because, even though the sun's output is diminishing, the IPCC still predicts global warming!
I rib you not; here is the rest of that section quoted earlier:
[Lockwood] added that the current slight dimming of the Sun was not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."
Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows global average temperatures have risen by about 0.7C since the beginning of the 20th Century.
And the IPCC projects that the world will continue to warm, with temperatures expected to rise between 1.8C and 4C by the end of the century.
QED -- which in this case stands for "quite easily debunked."
So the sun cannot be driving climate change, because if it were, the IPCC would already have changed its predictions from catastrophic global warming to something else (presumably catastrophic global cooling). Since the IPCC hasn't changed, clearly the sun has no influence on the Earth's mean global temperature. So there.
Of course, eventually, the IPCC may be unable to find
shills scientists to continue denying that any cooling has happened, especially if Swanson, Tsonis, Easterbrook, and scores of other climatologists are correct, and the cooling trend continues for several decades. Eventually, the IPCC will have to flip in their choice of catastrophes.
But not to worry; no matter what the disaster, the salvation will always be the same: Smash the looms, stop producing energy, cut back, minimize industry, and go back to the calm, peaceful, pastoral existence the human race enjoyed before all this technology came along and ruined everything. That is the dream of the New Left; and not coincidentally, as that movement has taken power around the world and set up international bodies connected to the U.N., that also appears to be the dream of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
February 11, 2009
Climate Change Derangement Syndrome
A new malady has presented itself to the medical community. They haven't yet taken the obvious step of dubbing it "Climate Change Derangement Syndrome," but surely that's mere oversight.
By CCDS, I don't mean the increasing delusion that anthropogenic global climate change (AGCG) has been proven beyond all doubt and beyond all permitted debate, though that is an essential element of CCDS. Rather, I mean the increasing number of cases of anxiety, paranoia, and hysteria verging on psychosis in people who have become convinced that AGCC is going to destroy the world. Viz.:
Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of "climate change delusion."
Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.
This can be considered "collateral damage" in the war against science waged by the politicians -- both inside and outside the scientific community (I include NASA scientist James Hansen) -- pushing the leftist agenda implicit in the "consensus view" of AGCC. ("Can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.") But the victims of such hypnotic hypochondria could also be considered "useful idiots" in the socialist march towards totalitarianism; in this view, AGCC is simply one more tool to dismantle the sovereignty of the United States and institute an international regime in its place.
Whatever their motivation, AGCC hoaxsters have busied themselves raising terror of global warming to a fever pitch:
- By dismissing all questions about the validity of those predictions (based, as they are, entirely on general circulation climate models that do not, in fact, model anything in the real world);
- By using political power within the government and the academy to squash any dissent and ruin the lives of dissenters;
- By floating nightmare scenarios that even the hoaxters themselves know are cartoonish and overblown;
By mocking the very idea that increased CO2 in the atmosphere might have some positive effect on, e.g., plant growth and resistance to pests;
- By attaching supposedly scientific conclusions to bills in parliaments, legislatures, and congresses, thus "legislating" science (as Adolf Hitler did by mandating so-called "race science," and as Josef Stalin did by mandating Lamarckian theories under Trofim Denisovich Lysenko);
- And by signalling that governments will look very favorably on any evidence of AGCC -- even the "evidence" that the fear of AGCC is already wreaking havoc -- and will reward such "evidence" with money and prestige.
I call that last point the AIDS Inflation Theory: In Africa, if a person is diagnosed with cholera or syphilis or meningitis, he's more or less on his own; but if he is diagnosed with AIDS, a vast network of international aid pours resources onto the patient and into the village whence he came. Thus, compassionate doctors, seeing the unalleviated suffering throughout the "dark continent," tend to report any serious illness in Africa as AIDS: AIDS-related cholera, AIDS-related meningitis, AIDS-related machete wounds, and so forth. Thus the number of reported cases of AIDS in Africa is many, many times higher than the reality.
I believe the same thing happens with AGCC: Every unpleasant weather event, from hurricanes to monsoons to icy chills to hot weather in August, is declared to be due to global climate change. This causes the ponderous machinery of international aid to chug into motion; it causes papers to be accepted at prestigious scientific journals; it causes grant money to gush from the government teat.
Now that "climate change delusion" (or as I call it, Climate Change Derangement Syndrome) has been discovered (or fabricated), is there any doubt that millions of dollars will flood the grant empires of psychiatrists and scientists who study it?
Such anxiety over current events is not a new phenomenon. Worries about contemporary threats, such as nuclear war or AIDS, have historically been woven into the mental illnesses of each generation. But global warming could have a broader and deeper effect on mental health, even if indirectly.
"Climate change could have a real impact on our psyches," says Paul Epstein, the associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.
...As well as a real impact on the bottom line of the Center for Health and the Global Environment. The Center was created in 1996 -- eight years after the U.N. birthed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 and a scant four years after the infamous Rio conference, from which the Kyoto Accord or Protocol eventually flowed the year after the Harvard Center was established.
The Boston Globe includes the obligatory prognostications of what the climate future holds, offered by the anonymous experts who are the greatest prognosticators since Nostradamus:
Over this century, the average global temperature is expected to rise between 1 degrees [sic] and 6 degrees Celsius. Glaciers will melt, seas will rise, extremes in precipitation will occur, according to scientists' predictions....
Climate change is expected to create about 200 million environmental refugees [!] by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body established within the United Nations to evaluate causes and consequences of global warming.
They can't show any such correlation in the past; but as they say about the stock market, past performance does not predict future results. Clearly the lack of previous examples of an uncontrolled greenhouse effect on this plant is proof positive that just such a catastrophe looms, complete with an entire nation of "environmental refugees," who will, quite naturally, be the target population for a pandemic of Climate Change Derangement Syndrome.
Do something, quick! Perhaps Democrats in Congress can roll a few tens of billions of dollars for funding CCDS research into the "stimulus" bill.
The Globe admits that there really is no evidence for any part of this theory:
The links between mental illness and the weather can be tenuous or even downright contradictory. Depending on which studies you read, suicide is more common, less common, or equally common in hot weather. Ditto dry weather.
But it instantly follows with a tenuous, link-laden litany of woes that will sear our psyches:
Indeed, climate change may eventually deplete natural resources, make it more difficult for people to live off the land, and disrupt the global food supply.
"That will mean declining socioeconomic status and quality of life across the world," North said, and "depression, demoralization, disillusionment...."
On the other side of the globe, the changing Arctic climate is expected to make hunting and fishing far more difficult for the people who live there....
"Climate change is a massive driver of change in people's home environment," Albrecht said. "These changes become sources of chronic stress."
Fortunately, we needn't strain our brains trying to figure out what to do; the "anointed" will tell us:
In the long term, we may also derive some psychological benefit from banding together with other citizens to mitigate the effects of global warming. Taking action might not only give us back a sense of our own sense of efficacy [sic] against a powerful outside force, but also help us build community and social ties that offset stress, said Epstein and other specialists.
"Getting involved can be an antidote to the depression that can come from the overwhelming realizations that we have to face...," Epstein said. "It can be empowering to realize that what you do is effective."
Break out another package of community organizers! I suppose it's not very likely that Paul Epstein would accept "advocating free-market solutions to environmental problems" as an example of an "empowering" method of "getting involved." The position -- and I believe the underlying purpose -- of AGCC advocacy from the beginning has been creeping socialism and the destruction of Capitalism, the market, and national sovereignty, each of which would be swallowed up by the internationalist environmental treaty-archy (now there's a mouthful!)
Climate Change Derangement Syndrome is just the latest manifestation of the medicalization of public policy: People are going crazy from fear of global warming, so smash the looms! Other examples include:
- Anti-smoking zealots abusing research on "second-hand smoke" to force a total ban on smoking;
- Attempts by vegan activists to ban all trans fats, which turn polyunsaturated vegetable fats into the equivalent of saturated fats found in animal products like butter;
- Leftist-feminists banning breast implants for ideological reasons by citing nonexistent illnesses (e.g. "silicone disease" or "connective tissue disorder") or real illnesses or conditions whose causes are unrelated to silicone breast implants (breast cancer, miscarriage, fibromyalgia);
- Attempts to ban power lines (no offence, John, Paul, and Scott!) by claiming they cause cancer;
- Anti-punishment hysterics trying to classify all crimes as "mental disorders" in order to shut down the prisons;
- The use of bogus claims of toxic threats to prohibit military training, and so forth.
In short, AGCC in general, and Climate Change Derangement Syndrome in particular, is just another front in the global war against the individual, the family, and the nation-state. Couple that with the Democratic Congress' and the Obama administration's staggering economic assault on the market, and I believe our way of life and our freedom is under greater threat than anytime since the peak years of the Cold War.
January 15, 2009
But in Theory...
Of all the crazy memes flogged by Democrats and liberals, this one is, I believe, the most psychotic:
Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder forcefully broke from the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies Thursday, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantanamo Bay detainees in U.S. courts.
It was the latest signal that President-elect Barack Obama will chart a new course in combatting terrorism. As recently as last week, Vice President Dick Cheney defended waterboarding, a harsh interrogation tactic that simulates drowning, saying it provided valuable intelligence.
The CIA has used the tactic on at least three terrorism suspects, included alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In past hearings, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, frustrated senators by repeatedly sidestepping questions about waterboarding.
It was the first topic discussed at Holder's confirmation hearing, and he made an unambiguous statement about its nature: "Waterboarding is torture."
As a practical matter, Holder said torture does not lead to reliable intelligence. And on principle, he said the United States needs to live up to its own high standards, even in the face of fear and terrorism.
Let's walk it through; what exactly is Holder saying? Many members of President George W. Bush's administration have testified -- from those interrogators who were directly involved in the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, each in 2003 (the only time evidence indicates we ever used waterboarding), to experienced military and intelligence experts, to high officials (including, op.cit., Vice President Dick Cheney) -- that waterboarding those three top terrorists in fact yielded a wealth of intelligence; that intel directly led to hundreds of arrests and the disrupting and interdicting of scores of follow-on terrorist attacks against the United States, saving thousands upon thousands of American civilian lives.
Numerous people are in custody in Guantanamo Bay today because we caught them red-handed in the midst of plotting terrorist attacks -- with ample physical evidence to back up the charges -- on the basis of searches and investigations sparked by the intelligence gained from waterboarding Mohammed, Zubayday, and Nashiri.
But no... the Left considers waterboarding to be "torture," and the Left's theory about torture states unequivocally and without exception that "torture does not lead to reliable intelligence."
Ergo, none of the foregoing ever really happened: We didn't actually get intelligence from waterboarding the Three Amigos; we didn't really disrupt any terrorist plots; we didn't actually arrest anyone (or if we did, they were necessarily innocent bystanders); and in fact, we didn't stop further attacks on the country; thus, by a simple deduction, we actually were hit again and again by the terrorists -- and the Bush regime just covered it all up, yet another Bush war crime!
Sure, physical observation appears to indicate that waterboarding, the putative "torture," in fact yielded reliable and even vital intelligence; but appearances can be deceiving. Theory proves this cannot be, so logic dictates we must throw out the observations as obviously flawed.
Oddly, this is the same argumentative technique used in the globaloney debate; perhaps it needs its own name: How about Argument of the Irresistable Theoretical Construct?
- Your so-called "measurements" claim that the Earth's temperature rise since 1900 correlates almost exactly with solar activity, and there has been no global temperature increase since 1998 (in fact, a decrease). But the theory of anthropogenic ("human created") global warming -- which every legitimate scientist accepts -- belies that claim. Therefore, your measurements must be in error... go and fix them, and don't come back for more funding until you do!
- According to all supposed observers in Iraq, including those vehemently opposed to the war from the beginning, since the Bush regime implemented the surge, military and civilian deaths have plummeted to the normal base-level of violence found in Arab countries. But as we told you repeatedly, the "surge" could not possibly work, because there is no military solution to military defeat. So who are you going to believe -- the considered weight of expert opinion from nearly all foreign-policy professionals, including some who have won the Nobel Peace Prize... or your own lyin' eyes?
- All those revisionist historians and economists have been busy tarnishing the reputation of the greatest president of the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, producing fact after evidence after measurement indicating that none of his New Deal programs did anything to end the Great Depression, that it continued unabated until the beginning of World War II; but it's utterly impossible in theory that programs with such good intentions -- implemented by a brilliant president who was not only the darling of liberal, compassionate professors and socialist progressives and reformers but even of the masses -- could possibly fail. Clearly then, FDR's NRA and other programs restored the American economy and ended the depression... and any claims to the contrary are just mean-spirited attacks by frustrated conservative Republican robber-barons.
- John Lott and other eggheads have published numerous books purporting to show that increasing civilian ownership of guns decreases, not increases, the homicide and other violent crime rates; but this is absurd on its face: The only purpose of a gun is to kill; and everybody knows that guns are useless in self-defense because the criminal will simply take it away from the victim (and get very angry). So the only explanation for the spate of pro-gun books is... Lott, et al, are being paid off by the NRA! (The other NRA, the bad NRA -- not the good one of the previous example. Nitpicker.)
Argument of the Irresistable Theoretical Construct: Add that one to the list; it will crop up again and again.
September 15, 2008
Novel New Criminal Defense: Globaloney Made Me Do It!
The headline raises immediate and insistent alarm bells: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law.
The Independent reports that a British jury has just acquitted eco-vandals of spraypainting the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant, causing damages to the tune of £35,000 ($63,000); the successful defense was that the defendants had to "tag" the plant -- because of the urgent imperative to stop global warming:
Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage -- such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.
The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.
"Lawful excuse" was, in fact, the only defense offered by the six defendants, members of Greenpeace all.
However some might try to spin this, it is not an example of "jury nullification" -- where a jury accepts that the defendants committed the criminal offense but hold that the law itself is wrong, throwing it back in the teeth of judge and prosecutor. By contrast, this judge actually allowed the defense that vandalizing the smokestack was necessary to prevent global warming... which is tantamount to begging the jury to run with it.
Whatever one thinks of jury nullification, what happened in Great Britain is far worse and more dangerous. It's utterly clear that the legal defense of "lawful excuse" was never meant to include the kind of situation in this trial. As the example cited above illustrates, the law was meant to cover immediate and urgent actions taken to stop an already extant and undisputed threat from spreading -- e.g., breaking down the door of a house to put out a fire inside.
This is entirely different from what happened in this case:
- The supposed peril the defendants were trying to avert -- global warming -- is highly disputed. There is no scientific "consensus;" many respected, oft-published scientists working in the relevant fields argue that it either isn't happening at all; or that the damage is less than people like the high priest of globaloney, James Hansen, claim; or that to the extent that such damage might occur, it is caused much more by factors outside of human control, such as sun activity.
- The supposed peril is not at all "imminent," as Hansen claims; even he speaks in a time frame of decades and centuries.
- And most pointedly, the defendants' actions have no direct connection whatsoever to averting the supposed peril.
Unlike firemen smashing down a door to put out a fire, where the connection is obvious and direct, spraypainting insulting comments about the prime minister, Gordon Brown, as the defendants intended -- or even just spraypainting "Gordon," which is all they succeeded in doing -- has only the most tenuous, indirect effect on the energy policy of Great Britain... and an even more gossamer effect, if any at all, on global energy policy, which is driven far more by the ravenous energy needs of India and Red China and the energy policies of much more influential countries like the United States. Very few Americans will decide to oppose clean-coal technology because some idiots climbed a smokestack in Kingsnorth and sprayed the word "Gordon" at the top.
The judge had to fold himself into a Gordian Knot to equate the political war waged by Greenpeace against energy production with a burning conflagration that had to be extinguished. It's as ludicrous a stretch as arguing that bombing a random tube station in London is utterly necessary to bring the world to Islam.
Nevertheless, the judge allowed the defense team to make the argument to the jury, presenting numerous "expert" witnesses (including James Hansen himself) to speak about "the gravity of the climate danger," the "imminent peril," and the "bleak picture" of Britain's future if more coal-fired plants are allowed to be built. In other words, to hell with the voters and the government officials they elected; Greenpeace knows best, and it has license to force its own agenda on Great Britain by any means necessary.
(Hansen, you no doubt recall, was the putative scientist -- has he actually committed any real science since the early 1980s, when he made his bones? -- who recently called for energy-company executives and even other climate scientists to be criminally prosecuted for "high crimes against humanity and nature"... for daring to dissent against the "consensus opinion" of globaloney. At least Hansen didn't call it an "intergenerational crime," as co-globaloney religionist David Suzuki did.)
A verdict cannot be "jury nullification" when it is encouraged, practically demanded, by the judge. In this trial, the judge twisted court rules to admit "evidence," such as "experts" in AGCC -- including "the world's leading climate scientist," as the Independent's "Environment Editor," Michael McCarthy, characterizes James Hansen -- to testify that a childish graffito scrawled on a smokestack, with the intent to change election results towards the Left, has the same kind of "lawful excuse" as breaking down a door to put out a fire. This isn't jury nullification; the correct term for this is "legislating from the bench."
The best conclusion to be drawn is that the judge himself is an ardent believer in anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), and he saw this trial as an opportunity to force an acquittal, embarass the government, and foster further such "actions directes," thus furthering his own political goals.
Either that, or the judge is a baboon.
What is "direct action?" In essence, it means any action taken outside the normal legal, constitutional, political, and elective mechanisms to institute political changes or circumvent the will of the voters. For example, when Earth Liberation Front activists burn down condo complexes in order to prevent development, that is direct action -- but it's also direct action when militant Islamist terrorists raid a Jewish hospital's maternity ward and shoot to death all the mothers and babies.
Although the term can theoretically refer to actions on both left and right, in practice, only lefties proudly use it; they use it to label themselves as heroic resistance fighters when they vandalize other people's property or interfere with other people's lives. Or when they assassinate innocent victims from ambush.
In this case, the damage was minimal: painting "Gordon" on the smokestack. But the precedent set by the acquittal -- that a fervent belief in the leftist cause celebre du jour gives the anointed license to commit a crime in order to "call attention" to the politics of the issue -- is terribly corrosive to civil society. It may well hasten the destruction of the once great nation of Britain. In fact, this verdict could become precedent for a defense against the crime of terrorist murder; does anybody really believe that the "Kingsnorth Six" believe in AGCC any more fervently than the "Leeds Four," who committed the London bombings on July 7th, 2005, believe in radical, Salafist Islamism?
If a judge will allow six members of Greenpeace to get away with criminal activity because of their "honestly held belief" that they must save the planet from global warming, then what is to stop another judge from allowing future "holy warriors" to get away with blowing people up because of their honestly held belief that they must save the planet from heresy and blasphemy against Allah and His prophet Mohammed?
As an immediate stopgap to prevent its use as precedent, British lawmakers had better get busy and rewrite the Criminal Damage Act of 1971; but you know they will not, because most of those in both the major political parties in the UK believe in globaloney almost as fervently as the Kingsnorth Six. And even if MPs found their huevos and did make explicit that the defense is not meant to excuse politically motivated violence and thuggery, I suspect the British courts would swiftly declare that the original law had created a "right," which would then preclude a subsequent law from "taking away" that right.
Take note, Americans: More and more American judges are looking not to our own Constitution but to "international law and standards" to judge cases here in the United States; this includes even Supreme Court justices, such as John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy. If this becomes the norm in Europe and the UK -- a sincerely held leftist worldview gives the anointed license to commit crimes to further their vision -- then it will swiftly become the norm here in America, as well.
One presidential candidate, John H. McCain, will nominate judicially conservative judges and justices who will fight this trend. The other, Barack H. Obama, will work feverishly behind the scenes to appoint federal judges who would backdoor it into the Constitution.
Please express your preference by sending money to the party of your choice... and of course on November 4th as well.
July 15, 2008
Here's How to Get That Scientific Consensus on Globaloney: Jail "Deniers"
Though he now insists he didn't mean it "literally" (any of the several times he said it), Canadian anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) advocate and occasional scientist David Suzuki has called for imprisonment of politicians who didn't kow-tow to globaloney hysteria, for the "intergenerational crime" of rejecting the Kyoto Protocol and other international global-warming demands:
"What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act," said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
"It's an intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years."
The statement elicited rounds of applause.
After a furor erupted over the "scientist's" call for an end to freedom of speech on this issue, Suzuki claimed he didn't really mean it literally. It was just a joke.
If we were talking about the United States, I wouldn't be worried; but this is Canada... the same country that is prosecuting both Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant for violating the "human rights" of Moslems by opposing creeping sharia-law through the West. The National Post notes at least one legal means by which Suzuki's joke could actually be implemented into law:
The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, a Liberal-sponsored private member's bill that passed and was given Royal Assent last year, legally requires the Conservative government to abide by the international pact's short-term environmental targets.
In the event that conditions are not met, government officials are held liable.
"Every person who contravenes a regulation made under this Act is guilty of an offence punishable by indictment or on summary conviction, as prescribed by the regulations," the act reads, "and liable to a fine or to imprisonment as prescribed by the regulations."
Adding fuel to this carbon-releasing fire, in late June, James Hansen -- the NASA scientist who has been the prime mover behind Globaloney for the past two decades -- agreed with Dr. Suzuki: Jail those globaloney deniers! He wants us to start with the CEOs of energy companies, who (it is well known) legally have no freedom of speech rights, because they're always saying things that any fool knows are damned lies:
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature (?), accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress -- in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming -- to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.
In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."
Yes; any fool. Hansen was unavailable to reveal whether this, too, was just a joke.
Here is the transcript of that "interview," which appears to be more of a monologue by Dr. Hansen:
Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.
CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.
Mr. Hansen was also unavailable to answer whether he thinks that infamous "deniers" who are also prominent, independent scientists, unconnected to any "fossil energy companies," should also be tried for "high crimes against humanity and nature." (Some of these AGCC dissenters, or "deniers," as Lawrence Solomon puckishly dubs them, are enumerated in the "slither through.")
The lesson here should be clear: Global warming hysteria is a creature of the Left; and like all leftish projects, freedom of speech is globaloney's enemy: Those who dare speak out are liars; liars are criminals; and criminals should be prosecuted... on whatever fanciful charges can be plucked from the ether. ("Intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years!" "High crimes against humanity and nature!")
Persuading the world that terrorism by Islamists has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam is another project of the Left... and as such, it too is subject to the "wicked words" exemption to freedom of speech, as Steyn and Levant have discovered: Both are now fighting for their liberty as of this writing.
I have a simple rule: If your thesis can only be supported by gagging anyone who dissents, then it is almost certainly wrong, and risibly so. Apply as needed.
As noted above, NASA scientist and AGCC High Panjandrum James Hansen has not stated whether he wishes to see criminal prosecutions against the following
Holocaust Anthropogenic Global Climate Change deniers; each of these is mentioned in the Lawrence Solomon book the Deniers, whence I compiled the list.
These are the men that Hansen, Suzuki, et al dismiss as poseurs, charlatans, and lickspittles of Big Energy:
- Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and its Director since its establishment in 1998 until January of 2007. Previously he was director of the Geophysical Institute since 1986;
- Reid Bryson (deceased), atmospheric scientist, geologist and meteorologist; professor emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; first chairman of the Department of Meteorology; first director of the Institute for Environmental Studies;
- Robert Carter, research professor in the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Australia; geologist and marine geologist with special interests in stratigraphy and, more recently, climate change; former Director of Australia's Secretariat for the Ocean Drilling Program;
- Rhodes Fairbridge, Australian geologist and expert on climate change; taught at Columbia University from 1955 until his 1982 retirement; supervising editor for the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences; developed the Fairbridge Curve, a record of changes in sea levels over the last 10,000 years;
- Eigil Friis-Christensen, expert in space physics; Director of the Danish National Space Center; geophysicist at the Danish Meteorological Institute; between 1976 and 1997, Principal Investigator of the Greenland Magnetometer Array; 1991 paper, "Length of the Solar Cycle: An Indicator of Solar Activity Closely Associated with Climate", published in Science, presented his findings on global warming and sun activity correlation, pre-dating the Rio Conference and Kyoto Conference; between 1991 and 1997, Head, Solar-Terrestrial Physics Division, Danish Meteorological Institute; Friis-Christensen and Henrik Svensmark were the earliest scientists to suggest a possible link between galactic cosmic rays and global climate change assisted by solar wind intensity variation, termed cosmoclimatology; Adjunct Professor of geophysics and space physics, 1996 to 2006, Niels Bohr Institute of University of Copenhagen;
- Vincent Gray, New Zealand-based coal chemist, climate author, self-selected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expert reviewer, founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition;
- William Gray, pioneer in the science of forecasting hurricanes; Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU); head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences;
- Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw; former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation; principal investigator of three research projects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and of four research projects of the International Atomic Energy Agency; held posts with the Centre d'Etude Nucleaires near Paris; the Biophysical Group of the Institute of Physics, University of Oslo; the Norwegian Polar Research Institute and the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo;
- George Kukla, retired professor of climatology at Columbia University; researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; co-author of a chapter in the book "Natural Climate Variability on Decade to Century Time Scales" published by the National Research Council;
- Christopher Landsea, Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center; formerly research meteorologist with Hurricane Research Division of Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory at NOAA; member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society;
- Richard Lindzen, Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
- Paul Reiter, professor of medical entomology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France; member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Committee on Vector Biology and Control; employee of the Center for Disease Control (Dengue Branch) for 22 years; Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society; specialist in mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever;
- Nir Shaviv, Israeli associate professor of physics, carrying out research in the fields of astrophysics and climate science (correlations between sun activity and climate change); associate professor at the Racah Institute of Physics of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
- Sami Solanki, Professor at the Institute of Astronomy at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (Swiss Federal Institure of Technology in Zürich); Director for the Sun-Heliosphere Department of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research; scientific member of the Max Planck Society; Chair (and spokesperson) of the International Max Planck Research School on Physical Processes in the Solar System and Beyond at the Universities of Braunschweig and Göttingen; editor-in-chief of the Living ReviewsTM in Solar Physics, an online review journal for solar physics and related fields;
- Henrik Svensmark, physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen; director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI), a part of the Danish National Space Center; previously headed sun-climate group at DSRI;
- Hendrik Tennekes, former director of research at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut, or KNMI); former professor of aeronautical engineering at Pennsylvania State University;
- Richard Tol, Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland; Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Adjunct Professor at the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (PA, USA); Associate of the Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University and Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science, Hamburg, Germany;
- Edward Wegman, statistics professor at George Mason University and chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Senior Member of the IEEE.
July 13, 2008
How Bush Got His Groove Back
Today, President George W. Bush did something that shocked some of us: With a sweep of his presidential hand, he rejected the attempt by a low-level advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency to force the administration to regular carbon dioxide (which we all exhale) as a "pollutant," defying both the Democrats and the Supreme Court:
The Bush administration, dismissing the recommendations of its top experts, rejected regulating the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming Friday, saying it would cripple the U.S. economy.
In a 588-page federal notice, the Environmental Protection Agency made no finding on whether global warming poses a threat to people's health or welfare, reversing an earlier conclusion at the insistence of the White House and officially kicking any decision on a solution to the next president and Congress.
The Democrats -- both their political wing in Congress and their journalistic wing -- reacted with befuddled fury; how dare the president try to censor Jason K. Burnett, the Democrats' best friend, when all he wanted to do was save the planet!
But we say good on President Bush that he finally found, well, the courage to tell both the Democratic mole inside the EPA and also the Supreme Court to go jump. The Democrats wanted Bush to use the Clean Air Act to "regulate" (ration and tax) carbon dioxide; but Bush said that the law was meant to cover pollutants... not perfectly natural gases that are, in fact, essential to plant life.
He says that it's up to the Democratic Congress to go through the formal process of trying to enact a new law to regulate carbon and carbonoids, if that's what they really want:
The White House on Thursday rejected the EPA's suggestion three weeks earlier that the 1970 Clean Air Act can be both workable and effective for addressing global climate change. The EPA said Friday that law is "ill-suited" for dealing with global warming.
"If our nation is truly serious about regulating greenhouse gases, the Clean Air Act is the wrong tool for the job," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson told reporters. "It is really at the feet of Congress."
But this is one of those "don't throw me in that bridal path" moments, because the minute the Democrats try to write a globaloney bill into law, they will run smack into the buzzsaw of the economy and energy prices: The people want, and will want for the forseeable future, more drilling... not lame and transparent attempts to force an end to the use of fossil fuels.
The Democrats at least realize they don't want to take the heat (no pun) for crippling the American economy; rather, they want to force Bush to do it -- then blame him for any problems:
Congress hasn't found the will to do much about the problem either. Supporters of regulating greenhouse gases could get only 48 votes in the 100-member Senate last month. The House has held several hearings on the problem but no votes on any bill addressing it. Both major presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, have endorsed variations of the approach rejected by the Senate.
What's interesting is that this is not really a fight over "anthropogenic global climate change," though that is at the heart of the dispute. The real issue here is the unitary Executive, which Democrats have failed to understand since the year Dot.
They believe, or at least claim, that the theory of the unitary Executive is that the president (the
"Executive" of the country) rules over both the other two branches, becoming supreme leader. This is risible on its face: The president cannot arbitrarily alter the Constitution, so he's stuck with the balance of powers. Rather, the theory of the unitary Executive is that the chief executive (the president) is the final voice of authority for anything emanating from an Executive department, including the EPA. Members of the agency, let alone individual, appointed members of the scientific staff, do not have authority to run their own foreign policy against the president's wishes.
Thus, it is (or should be) meaningless what a lower-level advisory committee at the EPA said about their grandiose plans; Bush has the authority to make them change their findings... especially when the science is still unsettled (scores of scientsts on "the other side" advancing very plausible counter-arguments that globaloney is just that... baloney). And especially does this president have the virtue of rightness on his side, since several other cabinet heads are totally opposed to trying to implement the Court's holding:
The EPA said it had encountered resistance from the Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Transportation departments, as well as the White House, that made it "impossible" to respond in a timely fashion to the Supreme Court decision.
"Our agencies have serious concerns with this suggestion because it does not fairly recognize the enormous -- and, we believe, insurmountable -- burdens, difficulties, and costs, and likely limited benefits, of using the Clean Air Act" to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the secretaries of the four agencies wrote to the White House on Wednesday.
While the GOP was in control of Congress, it sometimes seemed as if Bush's only function (apart from Iraq) was to rubber-stamp anything the Republican legislature sent him. But with the loss of both chambers in 2006, Rip Van Bush as awaked from his 40-year slumber and roared into his true power as president: I daresay he has had more success against the Democrats than against his own party.
July 8, 2008
Cheney vs. the EPA: the Sound of One Wing Flapping
Here's the scaremongering lede from the Associated Press -- funneled into hometown newspapers and dutifully recited on local news stations across the country:
Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former EPA officials maintains.
When six pages were cut from testimony on climate change and public health by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last October, the White House insisted the changes were made because of reservations raised by White House advisers about the accuracy of the science.
But Jason K. Burnett, until last month the senior adviser on climate change to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, says that Cheney's office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC's original draft testimony removed. [How would Cheney's involvement refute the claim that the snipped pages were scientifically inaccurate?]
"The Council on Environmental Quality and the office of the vice president were seeking deletions to the CDC testimony (concerning) ... any discussions of the human health consequences of climate change," Burnett has told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
AP and other elite media imply that the wicked George W. Bush and the administration try to censor inconvenient scientific truth that undercuts the interests of their masters at Big Oil. But what's really going on here is a desperate struggle by the Left to enshrine the conventional wisdom of anthropogenic global climate change into federal law quickly, before the public can catch up to the current science -- which has thrown a rising ride of cold water on global warming hysteria.
The Left? What has the Left got to do with the Bush administration's own former "senior adviser on climate change" to the EPA? Just a minor matter that AP forgot to include in their piece: Jason K. Burnett did not simply resign from the EPA in June "because of disagreements over the agency's response to climate change," as AP reports.
Burnett is a lifelong Democrat and well-heeled (a member of the David Packard clan, of Hewlett-Packard fame and fortune); and as even AP admits, he has donated more than $125,000 to Democrats since Algore's presidential campaign in 2000. This appears to be another sad instance where Bush foolishly reached out to Democrats, thinking they wanted to come together, right now, and solve problems.
He forgot, yet again, that to the Left, "the personal is political;" every waking moment is an opportunity to politick for their pet causes. And there is no branch of science more political today than anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), the supposition that human industrial activity causes the Earth's temperature to soar -- causing disasters we can only avert by cutting back on our energy use so markedly, civilization itself would be set back centuries.
But evidently, AP doesn't think that proponents of AGCC can be politically motivated (they have no trouble believing the same charge against critics of the orthodoxy). The fact that Burnett has become an Obama campaign worker seemed irrelevant to AP in evaluating the accuracy and veracity of his pronunciamentos on global climate change, including this one:
"Climate change endangers health and welfare," Burnett said. "The EPA is required to use existing law to reduce greenhouse gases. The sooner we begin addressing it in earnest, the better off we'll be."
This is the "senior advisor on climate change," which is -- or should be -- a position held by a scientist. But Burnett is not a scientist; he is an economist... and judging from his political positions, not even a free-market economist.
It's not unlikely that his deeply held belief that EPA is required to reduce greenhouse gases surely influences the advisory conclusions he sends to that agency... and when they're not implemented, that he conveys to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA, 89%) for her to cite at a press conference, where she accuses Vice President Dick Cheney of orchestrating a "cover-up." (Burnett stood beside her on the podium smirking as she did so.)
I will agree with Barbara "Box of Hammers" Boxer on one point: There is indeed a cover-up of vital data related to anthropogenic global climate change. Proponents of globaloney hysteria ("Hansenites," I think I'll call them, after Hysteric in Chief James Hansen at NASA) have systematically covered up all scientific evidence that casts doubt on their current catastrophe theory:
- They have ignored evidence that the so-called "Hockey Stick graph" used in all early reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), showing a sharp and unprecedented lurch upward in global temperature in the twentieth century, was completely bogus: It was, in fact, an artifact of faulty statistical modeling, as demonstrated fairly conclusively by Dr. Edward Wegman. (The IPCC stealthily dropped the Hockey Stick from subsequent publications without actually coming out and admitting it was a fraud.)
- Hansenites have tried for more than a decade to cover up the existence of the Mediaeval Warming Period -- during which the Earth experienced warming that was faster and hotter than any experienced now... and all this happened long before there was any industrial activity anywhere on the planet.
- They have studiously ignored or even attacked the scientific evidence showing a significant correlation between sun activity and climate change -- in particular, the solar magnetic field and its relation to cosmic rays and low-altitude cloud cover on the Earth. Much research remains to be done, and thousands of scientists are involved in that very task... but so far, the IPCC's only response has been to accuse them all of orchestrating a vast, right-wing conspiracy with the oil companies to smear Algore. (No, I'm not kidding. Honestly. Read as much as you can stand, without dying from terminal ennui, of this inaptly titled Newsweek story, "the Truth About Denial.")
They have tried to suppress all evidence of the beneficial effects of a higher CO2 environment on crops -- including plants that are stronger, larger, more naturally pest-resistant, grow faster, and are tastier; the effect of higher CO2 on world hunger would be remarkable.
- Hansenites have consistently applied "static analysis" in order to produce reports showing utter disaster from what seem to be fairly minor predicted effects, such as a rise in sea level of a foot or two over the next hundred years: In order to show massive catastrophe, the IPCC assumes that human society will not respond in any way to the slight rise -- for example, by building sea-surge walls and levees in vulnerable areas, such as people in Europe and elsewhere have done literally for centuries.
- And when all else fails, globaloney totalitarians portray research as "denial" and equate it with denying the Holocaust. The IPCC itself has smeared the reputations of "climate-change deniers," tried to interfere with their funding, and even advocated criminally prosecuting scientists whose research leads them to dissent from global-warming orthodoxy, and any politician who votes against the IPCC's orders. Climate absolutists suggest such charges as "intergenerational crimes" and "high crimes against humanity and nature." We've scheduled a post to be published here on Tuesday that will detail this new tactic for promoting "scientific consensus."
(I strongly recommend the book the Deniers, by Lawrence Solomon, for much discussion of several of these scientific disputes.)
Given this history of utterly one-sided "debate" of the science behind the Hansenites' pronouncements of looming global ruin if we don't rush to cripple Western economies, is it any wonder that the Bush administration wants to ensure that the "scientific" recommendations Jason Burnett gives to the EPA and the "scientific" testimony that various "experts" (such as James Hansen) offer to courts are actually accurate, complete, and include the views of respected scientists, working in relevant fields, who happen to dissent?
And is it really nefarious if the administration acts to suppress partisan politicking disguised as climate science? Until we know exactly what testimony Vice President Cheney sought to have excised from the official report, and whether there really is actual scientific concensus on those points -- or whether they constituted deliberate exaggeration by a highly political non-scientist committed to implementing the establishment view on AGCC, and allergic to contrary data -- we have no way to judge whether Cheney's actions were reasonable or constituted "censorship."
The entire field of climate change is already so thoroughly tainted by politics, mostly from the Left, that it has become toxic. Globaloney is like a bird that tries to fly with only one wing. Removing from official reports tendentious, unverifiable claims actually furthers the cause of real science; Dick Cheney should do more of it, and we should applaud and encourage him.
Algore notwithstanding, the science is not settled. There is no scientific "consensus." People are confused by the similar word in the political sphere, where a consensus might mean that only 20% of politicians or voters disagree. But in science, the term "consensus" means agreement by every major, respected scientist working in the relevant field. If even a couple of them dispute some scientific theory, the science is not "settled."
With AGCC, however, it's not "a couple" if dissenters; there are literally thousands of scientists working in areas that show some propensity to undermine the naive version of globaloney. More research is clearly needed before legislators or the courts can implement policy; scientific questions are not resolved by shouting down the opposition.
Cheney might have engaged in improper, unethical, or even criminal behavior... but the Democrats have not even presented a prima-facie case yet, let alone responded to rigorous cross-examination by the other side. Until they get a lot more specific about exactly what was cut out (or attempted to be removed) and why, they have a pocketful of empty.
And for those answers, Democrats can no longer merely talk among themselves; they're actually going to have to ask Dick Cheney those questions in the press and give him the opportunity to defend his actions. And they're going to have to allow free testimony by scientists who have a different take on what the available evidence shows.
Finally, we will need a neutral arbiter to resolve who is right. And no, Jason K. Burnett will not suffice.
June 9, 2008
Medved Runs False-Flag Operation...
I almost got snookered by Michael Medved today.
He had a guest, a mathematician named David Berlinski, who was flogging a new book titled the Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. It sounded pretty interesting: Berlinski argues that science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, which of course is a theme I have pounded on for many years now.
I was right in the middle of making an order through Amazon.com when Berlinski started speaking. He sounded plausible enough -- and I'm so much of a pushover when it comes to buying new books -- that I simply added the book to my currently open order.
But something stuck in my craw; I thought sure I had heard Berlinski's name before. So I looked him up in Wikipedia... and lo! Medved had failed to disclose a material fact about the author: David Berlinski is an evolution-denier and vocal advocate for so-called "intelligent design." He is even a member of the Discovery Institute!
Didn't Michael Medved think it relevant, in a book discussing science, faith, and atheism, to mention that his guest had a dog in that fight?
In a fit of pique at having been hornswoggled like that, I quickly deleted the Berlinski book and closed my Amazon order. But I also continued listening to see whether Medved would ever mention this fairly substantive and critical fact.
He never did during the entire interview, unless perhaps during the last five minutes (I received a phone call, so I cannot vouch for that final segment). The closest Medved came was late in the interview, when he gave an outro, just before a commercial break, saying that Berlinski had been in a movie about scientists who are "persecuted" when they "dare to challenge scientific fundamentalism." By that point, I already knew Berlinski's dirty, little secret; but had I not looked him up, I doubt I would have guessed from this capsule description.
In the next segment, Medved made clear that the movie in question was (you guessed it) Expelled, written by Ben Stein, Kevin Miller, and Walt Ruloff and narrated by Stein; I think I would have had an inkling by that point... but even then, Medved did not flatly admit that Berlinski was an IDist; he kept that up his sleeve. And Berlinski himself said nothing about it, either.
We have already dealt with Expelled in a two-post review/response; no need to explain again why I consider ID just the latest incarnation of Creationism:
- Expelled: No Intelligence Offered - part 1 (Win Ben Stein's Monkey Trial!)
- Expelled: No Intelligence Offered - part 2 (Ben in the Dock)
I certainly do not argue that proponents of Intelligent Design should be dismissed out of hand when they opine on the question of faith and science. But it's rather sharp practice to conceal from listeners a salient fact about a guest that directly speaks to his credibility on the subject.
I recall an analogous incident from the sorry history of the Los Angeles
Dog Trainer Times -- the newspaper Patterico loves so well; Friend Lee's calls this one of the "three strikes" that caused him to cancel his subscription in 1999 (I had canceled mine years earlier). When David S. Landes published the Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor, the Times selected a historian named Eric Hobsbawm to review this obviously free-market take on economics. Hobsbawm utterly trashed the book, the author, anyone fool enough to read it even on loan from the library, and in general, the entire school of economics that could produce such twaddle.
In the little blurb at the bottom of the review, the Times wrote, "Eric Hobsbawm is Professor Emeritus at the New School for Social Research in the Political Science department," or somesuch (despite the quotation marks, I don't actually have the review before me; this is from the collective memory of Friend Lee and me).
They could have added a longer description but chose not to:
Some observers outside the Times might consider this relevant to the credibility of a reviewer who attacks a book on economics that is consciously styled after the writings of Adam Smith. And by the same coin, some of us consider it relevant that the guy who wrote the book about the intersection between faith and science is a Creationist. (However, so far as I can tell, Professor Berlinski was never a member of the Socialist Schoolboys.)
Color me annoyed -- but unsurprised.
June 2, 2008
When the Democrats seized Congress in 2006, they promised, among the many promises they made -- among the seemingly millions of promises they made -- to move immediately to solve "global warming" (they hadn't yet gotten the memo about calling it "global climate change," so as to include global warming, global cooling, and global unusual stability). They swore they would reduce America's "carbon footprint." They vowed to cure the Earth's "fever" by any means necessary (a progressive term of art that means "no matter what you great unwashed, with your false consciousness, may think you want").
After two years of concerted action to surrender in Iraq, they have now turned to this particular promise. They have decided that the time for talk is over, and what we need now is action, action, action! Today, the Democrats in the Senate, having trampled underfoot a more moderate climate plan supported by John McCain and the Senate Republicans ("false consciousness!"), introduced their own draconian vision.
The proposal would cap carbon dioxide releases at 2005 levels by 2012. Additional reductions would follow annually so that by 2050, total U.S. greenhouse emissions would be about one-third of current levels.
The bill would create a pollution allowance trading system. That would generate billions of dollars a year to help people offset expected higher energy costs, promote low-carbon energy alternatives and help industries deal with the transition. Part of the $6.7 trillion projected to be collected from the allowances over 40 years would go toward $800 billion in tax breaks to offset people's higher energy costs.
These reductions "will not only enable us to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming, but will create millions of new jobs," contends Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
But this bill is only a pale shadow of what we will have if Barack H. Obama is elected; no piker he, Obama has proposed, as part of his own energy policy, a scheme to reduce carbon emissions by 80% over the next 41 years. This would not just cripple the economy; achieving such a cut in so little time would require us to paraplegicize our economy. (I don't care if there's no such word; there ought to be.) As Sen. O. puts it on his campaign web site:
Well, I don't believe that climate change is just an issue that's convenient to bring up during a campaign. I believe it's one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation.
(I wondered whether Obama considers Islamic terrorism another of the "greatest moral challenges" of our generation; but I can't tell, because, so far as I can tell, he doesn't actually mention terrorism or al-Qaeda on his website. But there's no search function either, so I can't be certain.)
Welcome to Obamanomics: You may think that you don't want to go back to the 1940s level of energy use, but that's just pesky, old false consciousness again. Just ask Barack; he'll tell you what to think. (If you don't understand what I mean, please buy and read Jonah Goldberg's tour de force, Liberal Fascism.)
But the Democrats have discovered, to their shock and anguish, that voters might actually be more concerned about their own bank accounts than the American carbon footprint. Not only that, but Republican senators and President Bush are not the irrelevancies that Democrats, in their hubris, imagine them. For now it appears nearly certain that this bill is D.O.A.... at least for this session:
With gasoline at $4 per gallon and home heating and cooling costs soaring, it is getting harder to sell a bill that would transform the country's energy industries and - as critics will argue - cause energy prices to rise even more....
The debate on global warming is viewed as a watershed in climate change politics. Yet both sides acknowledge the prospects for passage are slim this election year.
Several GOP senators are promising a filibuster; the bill's supporters are expressing doubt they can find the 60 votes to overcome the delaying tactic. [Not to mention having to find 67 votes to override a promised presidential veto.]
The problem, of course, is in the economic details hinted at by the quotation above; can any sane, sober person read the following without lurching back a bit and saying, "What the -- ?"
The bill would create a pollution allowance trading system. That would generate billions of dollars a year to help people offset expected higher energy costs, promote low-carbon energy alternatives and help industries deal with the transition. Part of the $6.7 trillion projected to be collected from the allowances over 40 years would go toward $800 billion in tax breaks to offset people's higher energy costs.
For the innumerate, a trillion is a thousand billion; so $6.7 trillion is the same as $6,700 billion. Divided by 41 years (2009 through 2050) gives us an annual collection of "allowances" (that is, a tax on businesses and on energy sales) of $163.4 billion per year... and even that assumes that the Democrats didn't lowball their own estimate; if it's business as usual, their own internal figures probably show twice that big a tax -- $326.8 billion per year -- which will also certainly be written in such a way that it grows much faster than inflation (every tax seems to do that).
By way of contrast, the estimated expenses of Medicare Part D -- the Medicare prescription-drug benefit enacted in 2003 -- which has elicited screams of anguish not only from conservatives but even many moderates of both parties -- is a mere $36 billion per year. This brand new, carbon-rationing bureaucracy will be more than 4.5 times as large as Medicare Part D, even by the Democrats' own tendentious estimate. Under the more realistic speculation, it will be nine times as big.
But wait, not all of that $6.7 trillion dollars collected will be kept by the federal government! Heaven forbid we accuse "progressives" of wanting to tax us into oblivion: They pledge to give us "tax breaks" of $800 billion. As Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA, 80% -- actually 89%, if we don't count her two skipped votes last year) said, that will "enable us to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming [and] create millions of new jobs" to boot.
Sorry, more math (arithmetic, actually): They squeeze $163.4 billion per year out of businesses -- who will pass the bill along to their customers (that's you!), of course, since the alternative is to go bankrupt; but then the same new bureaucracy will kick back $19.5 billion per year to favored clients. This will, of course, create "millions of new jobs."
Of course, they would never do this via earmarks to special interests, for Obama is an honorable man. So are Democrats all, all honorable men. And women.
(As a complete non-sequitur, did you all know that Obama earmarked $100,000 for a certain Catholic priest who has been much discussed in the news recently? According to the New York Times, "Typical of Mr. Obama’s earmarks was a $100,000 grant for a youth center at a Catholic church run by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a controversial priest who was one of the few South Side clergymen to back Mr. Obama against Mr. Rush." I'm not sure what made me think of this...)
So by all means, rejectionist Republicans: Go ahead and boycott the election, allowing Barack H. Obama to become president by default. I'm sure our nation will be able to weather:
- Declaring defeat and running home from Iraq;
- Coffee klatches with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (and his sock-puppet, Bashar Assad), Kim Jong-Il, Raul Castro, and Oogo Chavez -- all without any preconditions;
- The total government takeover of the health-care industry;
- A complete and mercilessly enforced ban on drilling for oil anywhere that isn't already tapped out, coupled with an energy policy that jacks gasoline prices up to $7 a gallon -- but which subsidizes windmills;
- A federal bench, including the Supreme Court, packed with lifetime appointments of clones of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, whom Obama himself said were his favorite justices and the model of his future appointments;
- Same-sex marriage nationwide, imposed by those judges;
- And staggering tax increases on everyone, not only via repealing the Bush tax cuts but also by raising capital-gains tax and business taxes.
Would we really easily survive as a world superpower with such radical U-turns in our national policy -- all at the same time? Would we then just pick ourselves up and elect Pat Buchanan or Tom Tancredo, and all would be right with the world?
Some appear to believe so. But for the rest of us, I think it's time not just to vote for John McCain ourselves, but for each of us to resolve to get our posteriors out into the streets and work for victory.
Remember, in war and politics, you don't win by losing... you win by winning. So unless you really, really like subsisting on yams and tofu, sweltering in the summer and freezing in winter, never going anywhere beyond walking distance, and living from welfare check to welfare check, it's time to get busy and make sure this particular liberal fascist from Chicago never has occasion to move his offices a mile west, across the National Mall to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
May 12, 2008
So What Will President McCain Do...
John McCain has made globaloney a cornerstone of his campaign, a way (as Agence France-Presse puts it) to "differentiate" himself from George W. Bush's "skepticism on global warming":
The Arizona senator was due to propose a cap-and-trade system designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in remarks which will clearly separate him from the skepticism on global warming which has marked Bush's presidency.
The initiative will also signal that McCain plans to challenge the Democrats for independent voters in the November presidential election, targetting especially the climate change stance of leading Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
Now, if this were purely a cynical attempt to peel off some of the independents and moderate Democrats from the Democratic nominee, then as scientific data piles up debunking the myth of anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC), it would presumably be easy for McCain simply to let it all drop into the memory hole. But I'm skeptical that McCain is such a cynic; I think it far more likely that he is a true believer in globaloney... in which case, it will be difficult for him to accept the data, no matter how prestigious the scientist, university, or scientific agency may be in the fields of meteorology, atmospheric sciences, or climatology. (Not impossible but quite tough.)
It's not McCain's worst sin; that would still have to be the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 -- which was held by the Supreme Court to be constitutional in this century's "Roe v. Wade" legal fiasco, McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. 93 (2003). But a passionate belief in globaloney would surely give the "Gang of 14" a run for its money in the Sincere but Misguided Judgment sweepstakes.
But the odd thing is that McCain always seems to have lots of company in his little insanities. On the BCRA, he had the full support of President Bush and even Sen. Fred Thompson in the Senate vote on March 20th, 2002; and on globaloney, he has the enthusiastic company of both Democratic candidates, Hillary and Obama.
McCain's approach is called "cap and trade;" it includes a bit of a nod towards a free market, although with a government-enforced, anti-Capitalist, "Pigovian" ceiling:
McCain proposed a cap-and-trade system, which sets a limit of total greenhouse gas emissions but allows companies to sell unused greenhouse gas emission credits to other firms which have exceeded their quota.
His plan would seek to return emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, and a return to 1990 levels by 2020. It foresees a reduction of 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
This perfectly encapsulates the Do Something! disorder: Whenever a sufferer sees a problem (real or imaginary), his disorder prompts him to demand that the government "do something" about it.
He impatiently dismisses any suggestion that if the putative problem is let alone, it will probably cure itself. He rejects as "do nothingism" the strategy that we can best cure macro problems by allowing natural processes to work their magic (Capitalism, the ordinary weather cycle, the ordinary business cycle, the march of technology, the biennial vote). Rather, sufferers insist that "the time for debate is over" and demand "action, action, action!" Don't debate, don't plan, don't think -- just do something... anything!
Normally McCain is immune to the disorder; but on two issues -- campaign corruption and globaloney -- he exhibits symptoms of an advanced stage.
Barack Obama's plan (from his website) is strikingly similar, except he wants to reduce emissions by significantly more than does McCain:
Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
For collectors, here is the Hillary Clinton carbon plan, which is -- surprise, surprise -- virtually identical to Obama's:
Centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy and auto efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding, Hillary's plan will reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and address the looming climate crisis.
Setting ambitious targets, the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, and cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels, more than 10 million barrels per day.
But nobody really cares and it makes no difference; she is not going to be the nominee.
Both Democrats would cut emissions by a third again as much as would McCain... which is precisely why globaloney nonsense is not going to be an issue in the election: If you really rejects the whole crumbling edifice of AGCC, what are you going to do -- vote for Bob Barr?
But there is one other point that cuts for McCain in the election. I believe that, while McCain is sincere, neither Obama nor Clinton is; I believe neither Democrat cares one way or another whether we "do something" about AGCC or not: They care only that the liberal electorate cares.
Thus, while it may be difficult for John McCain to accept that his deep belief about global warming is wrong -- requiring him to admit he was taken for a ride by politicians masquerading as scientists, like NASA's James Hansen -- nevertheless, since he was rationally (if invalidly) convinced of AGCC, he is open to being rationally convinced that it's simply wrong.
But the Democrats were not "rationally convinced" of the truth of globaloney, they were politically convinced. Thus, as long as the great liberal unwashed believe in it, Obama and Hillary will support it -- no matter what the science eventually says.
While this belief in globaloney bothers me (though not nearly so much as the conservative obsession with finding "scientific" alternatives to established evolutionary theory), the Democratic candidate will be much worse than John McCain. Therefore, there's no reason to bring it up in the future: As bad as we many think McCain is, he is still better than the only plausible alternative, even on this issue.
December 14, 2007
"The Courage to Do Nothing"
There are some things Man (according to the dominant paradigm) is not meant to know...
And here's a nice round-up of forbidden knowledge from the Republicans in the Senate, led by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK, 100%), ranking member (and former chairman) of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW). Inhofe is a national treasure, one of the few Republicans not only willing to stand up against the greedy socialists at the UN (many Republicans do that), but also willing to put in the time to educate himself on the actual science involved.
This makes Inhofe a much more potent danger to the regime of so-called "anthropogenic (man-made) global climate change" than his colleagues. Hardly any other senator or representative, on either side the aisle, is willing to go so far as actually learning something about what he's talking about.
In the meanwhile, my brother sends me a link to another page of the Senate EPW Republican minority website, in which Inhofe finally nails the climatistas: He catches them confessing the real reason for all the hoopla about globaloney. This is a true "cognition" moment when all the pieces abruptly fall into place:
A global tax on carbon dioxide emissions was urged to help save the Earth from catastrophic man-made global warming at the United Nations climate conference. A panel of UN participants on Thursday urged the adoption of a tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations....”
“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.
Yes. Now you understand why I have consistently referred to the climatistas as "socialists": Because they are.
But back to the first report from EPW. Evidently, Man was not meant to know that...
An international team of scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore, descended on Bali this week to urge the world to "have the courage to do nothing" in response to UN demands.
Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday.
"Climate change is a non-problem. The right answer to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing," Monckton told participants.
"The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,)" Monckton added.
A group called Frontiers of Freedom posts several pieces by Lord Monckton; Frontiers of Freedom appears to be a much-needed force on the right side of the "Sense vs. Nonsense" debate now going on among climate scientists around the world. The exaggerated reality of globaloney has started to sink in; and climatologists, atmospheric physicists and chemists, meteorologists, and such have begun to realize how much damage would be done not only to the field but to their own personal careers, were they to be caught in the lies of the high priests of anthropogenic global climate change.
Here is a clip from another of Monckton's pieces currently on the front page of FF.org:
As a contributor to the IPCC's 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords - through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers - profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate's alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won this year's Oscar for Best Sci-Fi Comedy Horror.
Two detailed investigations by Committees of the House confirm that the IPCC has deliberately, persistently and prodigiously exaggerated not only the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature but also the environmental consequences of warmer weather.
My contribution to the 2007 report illustrates the scientific problem. The report's first table of figures - inserted by the IPCC's bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent - listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10.
Monckton goes on to note that the sea-level rise caused by melting ice sheets is actually expected to be 7 centimeters over 100 years... "not seven meters imminently, and that the Greenland ice sheet (which thickened by 50 cm between 1995 and 2005) might only melt after several millennia, probably by natural causes, just as it last did 850,000 years ago."
Had Monckton not corrected the record, a "seven meters" rise -- that's 22.965879265 feet, or rounding off, 23 feet -- would have become the new conventional "wisdom" on globaloney. It would have appeared in paper after paper, and nobody else would ever have gone back to the original source, realized the mistake the politicians (not the scientists) had made, and noted the error. Note that until Monckton did it, nobody else had.
Thus are great Nonsense discoveries made.
But here's that laundry list we promised of even more things Man was not meant to know, according to the IPCC:
- Dr. David Evans is a mathematician who does "carbon accounting" for the government of Australia: "We now have quite a lot of evidence that carbon emissions definitely don't cause global warming. We have the missing [human] signature [in the atmosphere], we have the IPCC models being wrong and we have the lack of a temperature going up the last 5 years." More from Dr. Evans.
- Evans also notes a peer-reviewed paper this month in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society, which finds that "Climate warming is naturally caused and shows no human influence." The authors are Prof. David H. Douglass (Univ. of Rochester), Prof. John R. Christy (Univ. of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson (graduate student), and Prof. S. Fred Singer (Univ. of Virginia).
- Dr Vincent Gray, a charter member of the UN IPCC Expert Reviewers Panel, writes in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition website: "Over the years, as I have learned more about the data and procedures of the IPCC I have found increasing opposition by them to providing explanations, until I have been forced to the conclusion that for significant parts of the work of the IPCC, the data collection and scientific methods employed are unsound. Resistance to all efforts to try and discuss or rectify these problems has convinced me that normal scientific procedures are not only rejected by the IPCC, but that this practice is endemic, and was part of the organisation from the very beginning. I therefore consider that the IPCC is fundamentally corrupt. The only "reform" I could envisage, would be its abolition."
Some more peer-reviewed research recently published in refereed scientific journals that casts considerable doubt on the "consensus position" of the IPCC:
- "Phenomenological reconstructions of the solar signature in the Northern Hemisphere surface temperature records since 1600", by N. Scafetta and B. J. West, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. "Under this scenario the Sun might have contributed up to approximately 50%... of the observed global warming since 1900.
- "Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data," by Ross R. McKitrick and Patrick J. Michaels, to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research (in press): "We conclude that the data contamination likely leads to an overstatement of actual trends over land. Using the regression model to filter the extraneous, nonclimatic effects reduces the estimated 1980-2002 global average temperature trend over land by about half."
- "A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-treering proxies," by Dr. Craig Loehle, Energy & Environment 18(7-8): 1049-1058: "There are reasons to believe that tree ring data may not properly capture long-term climate changes. In this study, eighteen 2000-year-long series were obtained that were not based on tree ring data.... The mean series shows the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly, with the MWP being approximately 0.3°C warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites."
Many, many more links, quotes, and snarks at the EPW minority site. Our point is not to mock those pushing the "consensus position" -- well, all right, you caught me: Our point is not entirely to mock those pushing the "consensus position;" it's also important to note that the "consensus position" of the IPCC is really not a consensus.
In politics, "consensus" may mean 75%, or even 2/3rds. For example, it only takes a consensus of 50%+1 of the House and 2/3rds of the U.S. Senate to remove a president from office by impeachment.
But in science, the word "consensus" has a very different meaning. Rather than a majority or even supermajority, a scientific consensus means that every oft-cited scientist doing contemporary research in the field must agree. That means that if there are, say, 50 specialists considered "cutting edge" in some particular scientific field, to say you have the "consensus" of scientists in that field, all 50 would have to agree.
If just one of those 50 dissented, and was publishing research he said contradicted the proposed consensus position, that research would have to be answered. In science, it's not sufficient to say, "yeah, well he doesn't count": You need to produce peer-reviewed data showing that the dissenter is wrong, and explaining why he achieved the results he did, before you can move to a consensus.
Science does not advance by majority vote; it is, in fact, precisely the dissenters -- Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg -- who produce the truly new science. The vast majority of dissenters are inevitably going to be wrong; but the vast majority of scientific breakthroughs nevertheless come from dissenters. This apparent contradiction is essential to understanding the history of science.
The problem is that the UN's IPCC is not a scientific body; it is a political body, controlled by diplomats and politicians and operating under political rules -- but releasing its "findings" as if they were science. Other politicians then seize upon these political reports to claim that "the science" backs their demands for essentially socialist redistribution of wealth from rich, modern, capitalist countries ("polluters") to poor, anachronistic, socialist ones ("innocent victims").
This further allows socialists to pretend that socialism works: It "works" when capitalists are forced by some legal regime to contribute constant coerced infusions of cash to prevent these third-world economies from completely collapsing.
In politics, the major actors know how to deal with dissenters: They are marginalized (no matter how good the science they publish), labeled extremists, and banned from participating in conventions, councils, panels, and other fora. And this is precisely what the IPCC has consistently done to those scientists who do not lovingly embrace the putative "consensus position" on anthropogenic global climate change.
More and more scientists are becoming agitated and resentful of the tactic, and even those who for the most part support the "consensus position" are starting to speak out against the bullying tactics of the IPCC itself. Look for both primary dissent (disagreement with the "consensus position") and secondary dissent (anger at the thuggish treatment of primary dissenters) to rise and rise -- faster than the sea level! -- until it floods across the whole edifice of globaloney, washing it away like a tidal wave across a Bangladeshi beachfront bistro.
UPDATE: It appears that John Hinderaker and I have two thoughts with but a single mind between them...
August 1, 2007
Russia - Trying to Annex Arctic - Had to Plough Through Deep Ice!
I was reading about Russia trying to annex a large chuck of the North Pole, when I was struck by this passage:
In an unprecedented and potentially perilous mission, veteran Arctic explorer Artur Chilingarov will descend 14,000 feet in a deep sea submersible and drop a Russian tricolor cast in titanium onto the seabed.
With Russia’s northern rivals, all eager to extend their own Arctic ambitions, looking on uneasily, two Russian ships reached the North Pole after ploughing their way through deep ice for over a week.
But lo! Haven't we been told for several years now -- and not just by Al Gore -- that global warming has caused the ice in the Arctic to melt, break up, and leave huge, ice-free passages all the way to the North Pole? Why then did the Russkies have to crash their way through thick, frozen H2O?
But maybe they didn't really mean that. I read further...
Global warming has given renewed impetus to the race for control of the Arctic.
Melting ice sheets could open up the fabled North East passage, the quest for which claimed countless sailors’ lives, for the first time.
The route, which could dramatically cut the length of a journey from Europe to Asia, could become navigable to commercial traffic within eight years.
So there you have it from the Telegraph's mouth: There is no Northeast Passage; the ice hasn't broken up; people are simply hoping that it will, because if it did, it would vastly increase the world recoverable oil supply -- and also make a big positive difference in shipping time.
In other words, here is another wonderful benefit from global warming -- that alas we don't get, because there is no significant global warming. Prompting me to repeat my plaintive cri de coeur for the last decade:
May 7, 2007
A Devil's Deal I Would Eagerly Accept
The Democrats have crafted an Intelligence Authorization Bill that diverts scarce intelligence resources into yet another insane attempt to "prove" anthropogenic global warming, a.k.a. "Globaloney."
And I very much support the bill. Have I gone mad?
Bah, ye of little lizardian faith! Yes, it wastes time, resources, and money on an absurdity (global warming has no significant national-security implications whatsoever). But it also dramatically increases funding for human intelligence (HumInt) operations... actual spies to infiltrate countries like Iran, Syria, and North Korea, instead of relying entirely on spy satellites and such... signals intelligence, or SigInt, in IntelSpeak.
The bill also increases funding for counterintelligence, which I would hope includes hunting down al-Qaeda sleeper cells and such inside the United States:
Mr. Reyes lauded his panel's work on the bill, noting that it will lead to "stronger, better intelligence," especially by adding money for human intelligence training and for sending analysts abroad.
For the first time, the bill will fund a "baseline" for intelligence activities related to terrorism and Iraq, he said.
He also said it will strengthen counterintelligence, enhance oversight and eliminate wasteful spending.
Quite frankly, I'm perfectly willing to make that trade-off, if that's what it takes to get the Democrats aboard.
If the Republicans can strip the Globaloney nonsense out of the bill and still get the Democrats to sign up, that would be wonderful. I'd love to have that. Of course, I'd also love to have a trail horse and a house on five acres of land here in Southern Cal; I think the odds of that are marginally better than the odds of getting Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX, 80%) to accept HumInt without GoreInt.
Theoretically, we could have gotten a lot of this in the 109th Congress (2005-2006); the Republicans were in charge, and the president is always eager to improve our intelligence-gathering capability. So... why didn't we?
Oh yeah, I forgot:
Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass its Intelligence Authorization bill.
Along with failing to make permanent the tax cuts and failing to enact the federal budget.
Say... I wonder why we lost Congress?
April 10, 2007
Congress Elects Itself President
Congress is getting frisky.
Flush with their success in anointing themselves Commanders in Chief of the armed forces (via the supplementary funding bill for the troops) and chiefs of foreign policy (applauding as Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%, negotiates a separate peace at any price with Bashar Assad), Democratic and a few Republican legislators now want the rest of the cake.
They plan to pass a bill establishing a new heirarchy of national security and intelligence priorities for the United States. Demoted from the top spots are global jihadism and terrorist financing networks, the Middle East, nuclear proliferation, CBW, Red China, and North Korea.
Promoted to the top spot will be -- wait for it -- global climate change!
The CIA and Pentagon would for the first time be required to assess the national security implications of climate change under proposed legislation intended to elevate global warming to a national defense issue.
The bipartisan proposal, which its sponsors expect to pass the Congress with wide support, calls for the director of national intelligence to conduct the first-ever "national intelligence estimate" on global warming.
In other news, this month is shaping up as the coldest April ever. Except on Capitol Hill, which is experiencing an unusually hot high-pressure zone.
Lest you think Congress can be satisfied merely by a quick study, which finds that there are no such "national security implications," legislators insist not only that the CIA and the Department of Defenser report -- they demand the Executive agencies arrive at the correct conclusions... and then act on them:
The measure also would order the Pentagon to undertake a series of war games to determine how global climate change could affect US security, including "direct physical threats to the United States posed by extreme weather events such as hurricanes."
The article makes it pretty plain that the purpose is to completely bypass the EPA and the president and simply force the country to implement the Democrats' preferred solutions (smash the looms, same as their solution to "global cooling" in the 1970s). Once again, science is to be decided by a roll-call vote in the House and Senate:
The growing attention to global warming as a national security issue could open new avenues of support for tougher efforts to limit greenhouse gases, according to specialists.
"If you get the intelligence community to apply some of its analytic capabilities to this issue, it could be compelling to whoever is sitting in the White House," said Anne Harrington , director of the committee on international security at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington. "If the White House does not absorb the independent scientific expertise, then maybe something from the intelligence community might have more weight."
When confronted by scientists who refuse to toe the party line on global warming, it's always in the best tradition of the scientific process to turn to Lysenkoism.
There's not much else to say about this story. You can't parody a farce.
March 21, 2007
Al Gore's Political Epitaph
Something that Dean Barnett wrote on Hugh Hewitt's blog sparked my latent urge to rewrite, and I succumbed. I believe this inadvertent collaboration (which will come as news to Dean!) has reduced Al Gore down to what will surely be history's epitaph when he finally withdraws himself from the public sphere (which will be like finally shaking a rock out of your shoe).
Here is what Dean wrote:
After watching hours of the erstwhile Veep’s congressional testimony, I think I finally understand him . Ultimately, he is a tragic if unsympathetic figure. Has there ever been a man who so desperately hungered for greatness who was so thoroughly suffused with mediocrity?
And here is the epitaph that sums up, I believe, the "erstwhile Veep's" entire adult life:
Heck, that's all I wanted to say.
February 23, 2007
And the Heat Goes On
We noted Delaware's State Climatologist and University of Delaware Professor David R. Legates in an earlier post: The First Church of Fundamentalist Climate Change. In our last chapter, Dr. Legates had espoused climatological heresy, and the Grand Inquisitor had fingered him as a possible apostate:
Along comes Professor David R. Legates, Delaware's "state climatologist." Dr. Legates stands steadfast for free scientific inquiry... which would put him on a collision course with the doyenne of the Weather Channel, if ever they were to meet:
Enter Legates, a Ph.D. climatologist who received the title of state climatologist in 2005 from Daniel Leathers, now the head of the University of Delaware's geography department.
Legates joined a group of scientists late last year in urging the court to reject the state claims, in a brief filed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. [Delaware had joined a suit demanding the federal government regulate carbon dioxide from cars because of "global warming."]
"It is simply impossible to conclude that the net effect of greenhouse gases endangers human health and welfare," the brief said.
Grand Inquisitor Dr. Heidi Cullen, "Climate Expert and host Of The Climate Code" on the Weather Channel, rebuked Dr. Legates' backsliding on matters of faith, good and hard:
If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the [American Meteorological Society] shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval.
The governor of Delaware, Ruth Ann Minner, who might have finished high school, has stepped swiftly forward to resolve this disagreement between the scientist and the TV weathergirl:
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has directed Delaware's state climatologist to stop using his title in public statements on climate change, citing a clash of views on global warming and confusion over the position's ties to the administration....
"Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration," Minner wrote.
"In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the state, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware," Minner wrote, "and not as state climatologist."
(Now there's leadership, by thunder! As Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-At Large, 100%) and Sen. Barack "Abraham" Obama (D-IL, 100%) rend the flesh from each the other's body, and erstwhile Sen. John Edwards slinks slowly in the west, perhaps the Democratic Party has at last found its new face for the presidential nomination in 2008. And why not President Ruth Ann Minner?)
Having taken her gardening shears and snipped off Dr. Legates' epaulets, Gov. Minner has now thoroughly refuted his objections to anthropogenic global climate change. Environmentalist groups are ecstatic, and the good doctor is presumed by all concerned to be sadder but wiser, following this chastening.
There is something deeply satisfying about the finality produced by the machinations of the scientific method.
February 12, 2007
Wow - Cosmic, Dude!
A fascinating new theory for global climate change -- that temperature rises and falls are driven less by human production of "greenhouse gases" but primarily by how much or how little the sun's magnetic field protects the Earth from cosmic rays -- has just gained a lot more credibilty due to a recent experiment conducted by Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark at the Danish National Space Center.
In a book, [the Chilling Stars,] to be published this week, [Dr. Henrik Svensmark of Denmark and science writer Nigel Calder] claim that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.
High levels of cloud cover blankets the Earth and reflects radiated heat from the Sun back out into space, causing the planet to cool.
Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.
This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing.
This theory holds that the more cosmic rays that strike the upper atmosphere, the greater the cloud cover on Earth. And the amount of cosmic rays we receive is due to the intensity of the sun's magnetic field, which varies: A stronger solar magnetic field means fewer cosmic ray particles, fewer clouds, and more global warming; a weaker field means more cosmic rays, more clouds, and global cooling.
How cosmic rays cause global cooling
Science writer Nigel Calder, who co-authored the book with Svensmark, explains the theory on a nutshell:
He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.
But this theory is not going down well with those who have staked everything on demonstrating anthropogenic ("human created") global climate change (AGCC). Calder reports that Svensmark had tremendous difficulty getting his research, which contradicts the globaloney orthodoxy (and how's that for an unbiased phrasing?), published at all:
Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate....
In a box of air in the basement, [Svensmark and his team] were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.
The Telegraph story mentions only one skeptic, "Giles Harrison, a cloud specialist at Reading University;" but this is not necessarily representative. I suspect that, even assuming Dr. Svensmark's experiment is replicable, the theory of AGCC will not go down without a fight. Too much political power (including a "world carbon tax" to transfer vast sums of money from the civilized West to the impoverished carbon criminals) rides on AGCC being true. Nobody "in the loop" is going to allow mere reality to decide the issue.
Still, an upcoming experiment could end up throwing a monkey wrench into a cocked hat:
A team of more than 60 scientists from around the world are preparing to conduct a large-scale experiment using a particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland, to replicate the effect of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere.
They hope this will prove whether this deep space radiation is responsible for changing cloud cover. If so, it could force climate scientists to re-evaluate their ideas about how global warming occurs.
Meanwhile, leftist newspaper columnist Ellen Goodman -- whom few realize is a world-renowned atmospheric physicist, an internationally acclaimed climatologist, and founding member of the American Meteorological Society -- has carefully explained that anyone who denies the political consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that Republicans driving SUVs are responsible for all the global warming we have experienced this winter, is roughly equivalent to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.
Think I was kidding about the Republican gibe above? O ye of little faith (in the insanity and hysteria of the BDS-afflicted Goodman):
One reason is that while poles are melting and polar bears are swimming between ice floes, American politics has remained polarized. There are astonishing gaps between Republican science and Democratic science. Try these numbers: Only 23 percent of college-educated Republicans believe the warming is due to humans, while 75 percent of college-educated Democrats believe it. [See if you can guess on which side Goodman finds herself.]
This great divide comes from the science-be-damned-and-debunked attitude of the Bush administration and its favorite media outlets. The day of the report, Big Oil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma actually described it as "a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain." Speaking of corruption of science, the American Enterprise Institute, which has gotten $1.6 million over the years from Exxon Mobil, offered $10,000 last summer to scientists who would counter the IPCC report.
That last accusation sounds familiar; now where did we recently read about that...?
Goodman goes on to psychoanalyze the dissenters -- liberalism's very favorite trick when they cannot reply with reason (which is most of the time) -- then turns to an old Jesuit argument of percentages:
In addition, maybe we can turn denial into planning. "If the weatherman says there's a 75 percent chance of rain, you take your umbrella," Shellenberger tells groups. Even people who clutched denial as their last, best hope can prepare, he says, for the next Katrina. Global warming preparation is both his antidote for helplessness and goad to collective action.
Of course, if the weatherman says it's going to be a cold winter, you don't immediately chop all your furniture and your house into firewood to keep warm.
Lost on secret scientists like Ms. Goodman is the simple fact that all decisions have consequences... not just those decisions you disagree with. Deciding to take "action" to prevent global warming -- by which promoters always mean to reduce energy use by reducing industrialization, to smash the looms -- would have a catastrophic effect on the world's economy, producing a crash that would end up killing far more people that are projected to die in the putative world heat wave of the 21st century.
As a wise man once said -- oh, wait, I think it was I -- "there are no solutions, only trade-offs." A "good solution" is a trade-off where what you lose is worth less to you than what you gain... for example, when buying an Enya CD or when throwing away a burger from Jack In the Box after only a single bite.
A "bad solution" is when you lose more than you gain: the most perfect example is the present case, crippling the world's economy to reduce warming by about a tenth of a degree per century. In a shockingly unexpected turn of events, loony lefties like Ellen Goodman, despite her unrivaled scientific credentials, consistently advocate "bad solutions."
I think I should have thrown her away after only a single bite.
February 5, 2007
What did the corned beef say to the sliced tongue? "I'm on a roll!"
Here's another insane environmentalist moment, this time from my native state again -- California, the granola state: land of fruits, nuts, and flakes. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, representing Van Nuys (that's a small city within the city of Los Angeles, in the southwest end of the San Fernando Valley), chairman of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, has introduced a bill to ban all incandescent lightbulbs by 2012.
No, it's not a rib. Sorry:
A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California's groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
The "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act" [this part may be a rib!] would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
"Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and since that time they have undergone no major modifications," California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine said on Tuesday.
Well, yeah. That's because, to quote Mary Poppins, they're "practically perfect in every way" (except they burn out too quickly).
This stands in stark contrast to fluorescent lighting, which makes me sick. I mean that literally: they flicker at some frequency that gives me a headache and makes me feel a bit queasy. When I used to work in a office, I bought a regular lamp and put it on my desk, so its light could drown out the finicky, flickering fluorescent flapdoodle overhead.
Nowadays, I always buy the GE Reveal bulbs, which are as much like outdoor light as one can get in an inexpensive lightbulb; and I like a lot of lumens... in the living room alone, we have two 150-watt bulbs and a 100-watter. That's another reason I detest fluorescent lights: they turn everything a weird, pasty-purple-ish color that makes me feel like I'm on Mars, except without the low gravity.
This brings me to the point of this post (you knew there was going to one in here somewhere): Is there anything more typical (and telling) than a lefty who is so totalitarian, he even wants to tell you what kind of lightbulb you're allowed to use? Well, maybe the Al Gore "two-flusher." Both are indicative of the Left's hatred of human choice. When they say they're "pro-choice," they certainly don't mean you to have the choice to disobey them.
They are, as Thomas Sowell dubbed them, the "anointed;" and they are anointed because they have "the Vision"... the Vision being of a man-made utopia run by -- well, by people like them. The Vision includes a rather colossal ego that compels the anointed to declare (now I'm quoting George Bernard Shaw) that "the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature." (Antony and Cleopatra, Act II)
In the present case, Mr. Levine evidently doesn't like to read much, or to do anything else involving the eyes after sunset. Thus, he sees no moral or ethical impediment to telling everyone else to pollute his home with awful, color-changing, eye-straining fluorescent lightbulbs. The wishes of hoi polloi are of no account.
But of course, the reality is that even if this abomination passed -- it would just mean a huge black market in California incandescence: we would all order lights from the internet; and if they passed a second law prohibiting the operation of the U.S. Mail or requiring inspections to ensure that nobody is obtaining the forbidden fruit, we would find a way around that, too. Maybe some enterprising mafioso would ship lightbulbs into the Golden State hidden inside bales of medical marijuana or boxes of condoms destined for Van Nuys Middle School.
And I doubt Assemblyman Levine would even care: the important thing is to make a statement; whether the plan is actually plausible -- or even possible -- is an engineering detail. (As a minor aside, it's also evident he wrote his own hagiographic Wikipedia entry.)
Liberals... can't live with 'em; can't ditch 'em in the Mojave Desert with defective cell phones.
February 2, 2007
Climate Change: the Dash for Cash
A new charge is roiling the scientific community; it was leveled today by the ultra-leftist Guardian, formerly the Manchester Guardian, out of the U.K.:
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
This is, of course, yet another attempt to marginalize and silence any opposition to the First Church of Fundamentalist Climate Change: the purpose is to taint all Globaloney skeptics with the stench of corruption... they're all bought and paid for! Don't listen to them! They're just mercenaries!
"Shut up," he explained.
The Guardian never does explain the "lobby group" remark (yet another libel). A lobbyist is typically hired by a particular company to individually lobby legislators or the executive (federal or state) to procure public funding via earmarks or other special-interest tax funding.
The AEI is a non-profit public advocacy group that accepts no government money; they do not engage in "lobbying," at least by the normal dictionary-definition accepted by everybody but leftists. They are no more a "lobby group" than is the MacArthur Foundation -- and less so than the left-leaning Brookings Institution, which actually does get much of its funding from taxpayer money.
This slur against the AEI tells you everything you need to know about the globaloney mobsters.
The Guardian attack exemplifies a perennial bugaboo with the Left: they like to believe that where one gets funding absolutely determines what one says... that everyone is a scientific soldier of fortune who will do or say anything to get the cash. (I assume this belief is psychological projection on the part of leftists.) The Guardian makes the connection explicit at the end of the article in a throw-away libel they quote from some Greenpiece dolt. It serves as a synecdoche, not just of the globaloneyists, but of the Left in general:
Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: "The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash."
This is about as despicable a slime as one can imagine... and it's one reason why I believe the Guardian has not fully shed its old Marxian thuggishness. But let's roll up our sleeves and get our feet wet...
Before dealing with the true risibility of the Guardian's charge -- its blind spot about its own side -- let's first get the silly elements out of the way:
The long arm of ExxonMobile
The American Enterprise Institute is "an ExxonMobil-funded [lobby group] with close links to the Bush administration;" thus, one presumes, the AEI simply does the bidding of its evil, corporate, Capitalist masters, without regard to the suffering people of the world (Haliburton!)
The Guardian backs up this attack with a single pair of statistics:
The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration.
What they don't mention is that the AEI has an operating budget of more than $30 million, all of which comes from grants by private corporations, private foundations, groups, and individuals, mostly by conservative foundations (J.M Olin, JM Foundation), rich conservatives like Richard Melon Scaife, and companies like Coors (run by the right-wing Coors family), though they also get significant funding from Microsoft (run by left-liberal Bill Gates). The AEI is a free-market think tank; who do you expect funds it?
Who funds Brookings? Liberals (duh). Their major contributers are the MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Carnegie. (Unlike the AEI, Brookings does get much of its funding from governments: Japan, the U.K., and the United States.)
That's the way think tanks work: conservative ones are funded by conservatives; liberals ones by liberals. This should not be a shock, not even to the Guardian. But their charge was more specific: they clearly want readers to believe that the AEI is a wholly owned subsidiary of ExxonMobile, and the AEI is simply Big Oil's puppet.
What the Guardian fails to mention is that grants from ExxonMobile account for only 5% of the AEI's annual budget. If they had mentioned that, readers would likely be scratching their heads over why this is supposed to be determinative. Besides, more than likely, ExxonMobile gives grants to the AEI because the AEI is free-market on energy issues -- not the other way around. The AEI has been around, with the same philosophy, since 1943.
ExxonMobile did not even exist until 1999, when Exxon merged with Mobile. Exxon did not exist until 1973, when it changed its name from Esso. Esso did not exist until 1941, just two years before the AEI was founded (probably not with any money from Esso); Esso was a brand name for gasoline sold by Standard Oil of New Jersey, one of the "baby Standards" created when Standard Oil was busted up by imperial decree in 1911. ExxonMobile (or even Exxon) would thus have begun funding the American Enterprise Institute long after the latter was in existence and promoting free-market economics.
The protocols of the learned elders of the Bush administration
"...more than 20 of [the AEI's] staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration."
Give us a break. The American Enterprise Institute is free-market and socially center-right. George W. Bush is free-market and socially center-right. Where do you think he'll get his consultants -- from the Sierra Club, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and George Soros?
This "point" is an absurdity. Bill Clinton, a center-left president, got most of his consultants from center-left or hard-left groups like the Economic Policy Institute, Brookings, and of course the major civil-rights and environmentalist organizations. Presidents pick advisors; the advisors don't pick -- or control -- the president.
Polluting our precious bodily fluids
The AEI is paying scientists $10,000 to write lies about global climate change.
In fact, the AEI is buying articles for publication and hiring speakers for some presentation. Does the Left really expect people -- scientists or anyone else -- to donate their services for free? (The Left doesn't!)
These are not publications in a peer-reviewed science journal; these are popularizations of decades of a scientist's research. Carl Sagan was paid very big bucks to put his scientific opinions in popular form on the TV show Cosmos, and in numerous books he wrote during his lifetime. That doesn't mean that Sagan was corrupt; it means he did not donate his talents for free.
For that matter, the MacArthur Foundation hands out $500,000 "genius grants" to about 400 deserving leftists every year. What is the difference?
The difference is that $10,000 is nowhere near enough to tempt a scientist to write something opposite to what he actually believes, based upon his own research and that of others found in peer-reviewed journals: Nobody would throw away a stellar reputation for a mere $10,000.
Those scientists contributing papers to the AEI publication or speaking at an AEI event are doing so because they sincerely believe, based upon scientific evidence, that the global climate-change hysteria is wildly overblown.
But at long last, we come to the real point... which the Guardian, like a drunk fumbling around for his own door back door, manages to miss throughout its entire article:
Who funds proponents of anthropogenic climate-change theory?
Science is expensive. Ideas cost money, and somebody has to pay for it.
The money comes in the form of grants; grants come from several sources:
- Public science foundations, such as the National Science Foundation;
- Private foundations, such as the AMA or Burroughs Wellcome;
- Private corporations, from defense contractors to technology startups to environmental law firms;
- Private individuals (philanthropists).
A typical grant for scientific research can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars -- often in the millions. Important scientists frequently transform into grant empire builders, piling up grant upon grant, hiring dozens or hundreds of researchers, until they come to resemble CEOs rather than working scientists. (Oft times, they are so busy administering the labyrinth of grants they control that they have no time left to do real science.)
So who is funding globaloney?
Let's start with the IPCC, the clearinghouse for anthropogenic climate-change hysteria. The IPCC is primarily funded by three sources:
- The United Nations Environment Programme -- in 1988 they named Jimmy Carter a member of the "Global 500 Roll of Honor," and in 2006 named Mikhail Gorbachev a "Champion of the Earth."
- The (United Nations) World Meteorological Organization -- this is not a scientific body; its members are countries, and it's a division of the UN.
- The IPCC Trust Fund -- according to the UNEP's website, "UNEP and WMO established the IPCC in 1988 and have created an IPCC Trust Fund where governments make contributions for carrying out climate change assessments."
All of the money for the IPCC (which employs thousands of people... including former scientists turned professional globaloney advocates) comes from taxpayers in various countries; probably most of it comes from the United States government. (Say... if a former scientist is a professional, paid advocate of anthropogenic global climate-change theory trying to get Congress to appropriate money to fight it -- and also to fund the very organization for which the former scientist advocates -- doesn't that make the former scientist a lobbyist?)
If the Guardian believes that money from the AEI, which gets 5% of its funding from ExxonMobile, automatically taints any recipient and causes him to corruptly lie to oppose globaloney... then what black magic causes massive infusions of cash for professional advocates, cash that comes from taxpayer money controlled by various countries (many of whom directly benefit from climate-change spending by the U.N.), not to offer such temptation to corruptly lie to support globaloney?
This is another leftist fantasy: that private money corrupts, but public funding sanctifies.
The IPCC is not a scientific body; it doesn't even claim to be. It doesn't do the basic science; it scavanges it from papers published in peer-reviewed journals... but it has no requirement to be an equal-opportunity scrounger: although many articles have been published in respectable, peer-reviewed journals casting doubt on many aspects of globaloney, I don't recall the IPCC ever using such "contrarian" papers as the basis for policy change.
The papers they use are published either by working scientists, or often by former scientists with emeritus positions. Those (current or former) scientists are funded, as above by grants. And those grants are invariably larger than $10,000.
Riddle me this: Suppose the World Wildlife Foundation or the Sierra Club funds a scientist (via grant) who has previously published papers supporting the anthropogenic climate-change model. Now suppose his new research causes him to change his mind, and he publishes a new paper debunking much of the IPCC vision.
How much can he expect for his next grant from that issue-advocacy organization? Try a good round figure: bubkis. The Sierra Club is not in the business of funding its ideological enemies... which descriges anyone who does not full-throatedly endorse globaloney, in all its inglory and ignobility. Doesn't this constitute a six- or seven-figure motivation to continue to champion the IPCC vision?
A hand over one eye
That is the real blind spot of the Guardian, Dr. Heidi Cullen, and other mouth-foamers on the IPCC side: they can easily behold (or even fabricate) the mote of potential corruption in the eyes of opponents of global climate hysteria... but they beholdest not the I-beam of potential corruption in their allies eyes.
Just bear that in mind the next time some liberal falls down in a seizure, screaming about the fact that anti-globaloney scientists get money. What do we imagine pro-globaloney grants are paid in... peanut brittle?
The First Church of Fundamentalist Climate Change
Just before last Christmas, Dr. Heidi Cullen, "Climate Expert and host Of The Climate Code" on the Weather Channel, threw down the gauntlet on her blog at Weather.com. She attacked "global warming contrarianism," by which she appears to mean any scientist who is skeptical of the climate-change models enunciated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)... the political scientists who brought us the Kyoto Protocol.
Dr. Cullen made it quite clear that there is to be no deviation from the law as laid down by the IPCC, and as preached through its acolytes at the American Meteorological Society:
In an interesting follow-up blog on the reason for this all too common global warming contrarianism within the broadcast meteorology community, journalist Andrew Freedman suggests local TV meteorologist may want to look to the American Meteorological Society for guidance. Freedman goes on to point out that the AMS has in fact, issued a statement on climate change that reads:"There is convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and other trace constituents in the atmosphere, have become a major agent of climate change."
Well! "Convincing evidence." Who could argue with that?
Certainly not Dr. Cullen; in fact, she does not even argue for that. By her own words, she goes even farther along those lines...
I'd like to take that suggestion a step further. If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming....
If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political statement...it's just an incorrect statement.
In other words, "shut up," she explained.
It evidently matters little how well qualified a meteorologist or climatologist is, or what relevant academic position he holds, or how much original scientific research he has done, or how many papers he has published, or how many other climatologists, meteorologists, and atmospheric scientists cite those papers: If he comes to a conclusion different from that dictated by the IPCC via the AMS -- then he should be disbarred, or whatever the heck the world society of climate luminaries, sages, and soothsayers call it when they summon a climatologist into a circle to publicly rip off his epaulets.
Along comes Professor David R. Legates, Delaware's "state climatologist." Dr. Legates stands steadfast for free scientific inquiry... which would put him on a collision course with the doyenne of the Weather Channel, if ever they were to meet:
Enter Legates, a Ph.D. climatologist who received the title of state climatologist in 2005 from Daniel Leathers, now the head of the University of Delaware's geography department.
Legates joined a group of scientists late last year in urging the court to reject the state claims, in a brief filed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. [Delaware had joined a suit demanding the federal government regulate carbon dioxide from cars because of "global warming."]
"It is simply impossible to conclude that the net effect of greenhouse gases endangers human health and welfare," the brief said.
What is instructive is how the high priests of Globaloney have chosen to "engage" Dr. Legates. Just like Dr. Cullen on her blog, rather than arguing their case for anthropogenic (human caused) global climate change... they simply attack Dr. Legates, call him names, and try to make him shut up.
Recently branded "a favorite scientist of the global warming denial machine" by one national environmental group, Legates said he was following scientific evidence in arguing the institute's position in the court case....
"I don't think the doctor [Legates] speaks for the state's position," said Philip Cherry, a DNREC administrator who recently invited Legates to address agency employees. "I think the governor speaks for the state's position."
Delaware has accepted the view human activities contribute to global warming, and changes are needed to curb risks of sea level rise and climate change. The state adopted a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2000.
Boiled down, a state regulator says that he is uninterested in input from scientists, no matter how well regarded or credentialed (Legates was "director of the University of Delaware's Climatic Research Center"), if it contradicts what has already been concluded about this scientific question by Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner... who, after all, attended Delaware Technical and Community College. (We have no idea if she graduated.)
Well who could argue with that, either?
So far as I can tell, Minner has no scientific training whatsoever; and she has never held any job other than working in state government. Yet because she has decreed that globaloney is the Delaware state position, an eminent scientist like Dr. Legates should just maintain radio silence.
So now you know how to prove a scientific theory these days: The IPCC dictates; the state-regulatory bishops interpret; the lower churches preach; and the laity -- anyone not plugged into the enviro-political machine -- is expected simply to kneel in the nave with ears flapping, waiting for more pearls to be cast before him.
And if someone like Dr. Legates dissents from Global Warming orthodoxy, then no matter how much more qualified as a scientist he might be, if it were up to the Heidi Cullens of the world, he would have his scientist license taken away.
"Shut up!" she explained.
September 27, 2006
Hey Hey Ho Ho, This Dissent Has Got to Go!
Acting on a hot tip we personally received from Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK, 100%) -- he sent emanations through the penumbra that we should read the Drudge Report and follow the links -- we discovered this astonishing letter written by Bob Ward, "Senior Manager, Policy Coordination" of the British Royal Society -- the top scientific body in the U.K. -- in which he pretty much orders Exxon/Esso to stop funding scientists who disagree with the Kyoto-Protocol party line on global warming.
The leftist Guardian is on the case -- on the side of suppressing dissent, as customary:
Britain's leading scientists have challenged the US oil company ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.
In an unprecedented step, the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific academy, has written to the oil giant to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence"....
In the letter, Bob Ward of the Royal Society writes: "At our meeting in July ... you indicated that ExxonMobil would not be providing any further funding to these organisations. I would be grateful if you could let me know when ExxonMobil plans to carry out this pledge."
Why now? Why so urgent? Actually, there is a very important policy reason:
The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to be published in February, is expected to say that climate change could drive the Earth's temperatures higher than previously predicted.
Mr Ward said: "It is now more crucial than ever that we have a debate which is properly informed by the science. For people to be still producing information that misleads people about climate change is unhelpful. The next IPCC report should give people the final push that they need to take action and we can't have people trying to undermine it."
Those of you who have always thought of the British Royal Society as a "scientific body" can perhaps be excused for being gobsmacked at its conversion to a leftist activist group; but in fact, this is just a stage in the Left's gradual and insidious takeover of all manner of previously nonpartisan, apolitical, but patriotic American and British organizations (a non-exhaustive list in vaguely chronological order):
- It started with civil-rights organizations during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, such as the Civil Rights Congress;
- Then it was civic organizations;
- Many Protestant and Lutheran churches and Reform and "Conservative" synogogues;
- The Red Cross;
- The USO;
- The entire court system;
- The news networks;
- Trade unions;
- The music industry;
- The television industry;
- Science-fiction publishing;
- The great universities, especially the Ivy League (the rot spread from Berkeley and Harvard outward);
- The national newspapers;
- The Democratic Party, which used to be chock-a-block with patriotic war hawks like Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan, Scoop Jackson and Al Gore sr., is now run by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and soon-to-be minority leader John P. Murtha;
- The literary establishments and awards organizations (from the Pulitzer to the Nobel to the MacArthur Awards);
- The primary and secondary government schools;
- The JAG corps;
- Walt Disney (especially during Michael Eisner's "de-Disneyfication" of Disney);
- The Girl Sprouts (they're still working on the Boy Sprouts... but what they can't take over, they must destroy);
- The Catholic Church (see above about what they can't take over);
So it should be no surprise that leftism and political correctness has taken over first the medical establishment, and now the great science bodies: remember the FDA banning silicone breast implants, primarily because feminists objected to the very concept of breast augmentation? Well, now the AAAS, the NSF, Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, Science Magazine, Scientific American, and many other scientific organs have toed the PC line on such issues as the Strategic Defense Initiative, nuclear power, artificial sweeters and artificial fat, second-hand smoke, AIDS, pesticides (DDT), preservatives, and yes, global warming (especially global warming).
Of course, any body that is even remotely international -- including the Royal Society and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the foremost body flogging the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which grew out of the first big IPCC conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 -- is even more in thrall to the PC police than the American versions.
The first rule of leftism is "No enemies to the Left;" but the second rule is "No dissent; shut up do your duty to the Party."
The totalitarian tendencies of the current Royal Society are simply breathtaking:
The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, adds: "I would be grateful if you could let me know which organisations in the UK and other European countries have been receiving funding so that I can work out which of these have been similarly providing inaccurate and misleading information to the public."
Translation: Tell me now everyone you fund, so we can investigate, harass, make life miserable, put career under microscope, and make sure nobody even to think of contradicting Comrade Lysenko, who has full faith of Comrade General Secretary of Central Committee.
If there really is a "scientific consensus," as the Royal Society insists, then why would they worry about a few gadflies saying the Earth was flat and disease was caused by demonic possession? Perhaps what they're really worried about is something like this:
In April 2006, sixty respected climatologists, atmospheric physicists, meteorologists, and other climate-related scientists (who didn't get the memo about the "scientific consensus") sent their own letter to new Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, begging him to reconsider the Canadian government's Kyoto-Protocol-driven energy policy. The current policy was rammed through the Canadian parliament by the former prime minister, the Liberal Party's scandal-ridden Paul Martin, who was ignominiously chucked out on a vote of no confidence last year:
As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans....
Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.
This group of -- of charlatans strike at the very heart of the international scientific community's diktat that global warming -- whoops, my mistake... global climate change -- is real, damn it; is anthropogenic; and is so bloody urgent that it must be addressed immediately, immediately, no matter what economic ruin it causes. If such groups as this are allowed to communicate directly to heads of state like Stephen Harper (especially ones who might listen... like Stephen Harper), without having to use the IPCC as intermediary, why who knows what mischief they might manufacture!
While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.
Naturally, such freethinking must be suppressed; we cannot have such people with "scientific credentials" -- such as...
- Dr. Tad Murty, former senior research scientist, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, former director of Australia's National Tidal Facility and professor of earth sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide; currently adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa;
- Mr. David Nowell, M.Sc. (Meteorology), fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, Canadian member and past chairman of the NATO Meteorological Group, Ottawa;
- Dr./Cdr. M. R. Morgan, FRMS, climate consultant, former meteorology advisor to the World Meteorological Organization, previously research scientist in climatology at University of Exeter, U.K.;
- Dr. Freeman J. Dyson, emeritus professor of physics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J.;
- Mr. William Kininmonth, Australasian Climate Research, former Head National Climate Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology; former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology, Scientific and Technical Review;
- Dr. Richard S. Courtney, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.;
...and about 54 similar individuals of no account -- gumming up the smooth dismantling of the world's energy supply.
Oddly, however, neither the British Society, the AAAS nor NSF, nor even the IPCC itself, who all insist on a consensus that we must stop putting so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere... none of these groups advocates a shift to generating electricity by nuclear fission, using modern, safe, clean, and non-breeder pebble-bed reactors or integral fast reactors.
No no; whether the problem is global cooling, global warming, or an unusal sameness in the climate, the solution is always the same: smash the looms.
And absolute conformity, of course; that is always part of any solution advanced by the Left... Comrade.
September 21, 2006
It's hard to think of a sillier lawsuit than this one, filed by California's Democratic Attorney General (and candidate for treasurer in November) Bill Lockyer, with the undoubted connivance of Republican Governor and globaloney-lover Arnold Schwarzenegger:
California sued six of the world's largest automakers over global warming on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages.
The lawsuit is the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.
In fact, it's not even a real lawsuit. It's a front. Its purpose is to force car makers to obey equally silly emissions rules, promulgated by California, to try to cram the Kyoto Protocol down everyone's throats -- and not just in California:
California has also targeted the auto industry with first-in-the-nation rules adopted in 2004 requiring carmakers to force cuts in tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks.
Automakers, however, have so far blocked those rules with their own legal action -- prompting one analyst to say California's lawsuit represents a way for California to pressure car manufacturers to accept the rules.
"That's the objective," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit organization that provides public research and forecasts about the industry. "They want to get the automakers basically to bow down and pay homage to the (emissions) law."
Since auto manufacturers are not going to make a completely separate line of cars for California than the rest of the nation, if the state wins this lawsuit, it means diesel econoboxes for everyone!
The absurdities of the lawsuit are manifold:
- The auto manufacturers are being sued for obeying the law and all EPA regulations; if this becomes the norm, then nobody is safe from the most insane among us, no matter what he does. The public-policy implications are staggering.
- Scientists are in disarray over the unanswered questions of "global climate change" theory, including how much (if any) is caused by human activity and whether it's on the whole bad or good for people: will the lawsuit explore whether increased CO2 yields larger, tastier, faster growing, and more pest-resistant crops?
- How will damages be calculated? In figuring how much "global warming" has cost the state, will Lockyer deduct how much extra tax revenue the state has gotten from cheaper cars than it would have gotten if cars had been forced all along to include cockamamie, expensive anti-carbon-dioxide systems?
- Will the defense be allowed to call expert witnesses who dispute globaloney theory, or will the judge rule that only scientists who agree with the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) be allowed?
- Which temperature figures will the judgment be based upon: the ones promulgated by the IPCC at the beginning of the case, or the revised (downward) estimates issued several years later, at the end of the case?
Finally, if the state wins, it will have succeeded in dramatically raising the cost of gasoline and cars in California, choking off the first glimmerings in the previously doleful California economy, as we recover from one economic catastrophe (Gray Davis), only to stumble into another: Bill Lockyer.
It will be a disaster for the Democrats, as it will be rightly painted as a massive regressive tax on the working poor and middle class, launched by limousine liberals "in a hurry" to fix something -- quick, before we might find out that it doesn't need fixing after all.
It pits the liberal elitists against the unions. It's anti-car, therefore unAmerican and especially unCalifornian. It's Rose Bird-ian legislating from the bench, substituting the bludgeon of the courts for the free choices of democracy.
The case is nonsense cubed. It's "junk science" in its worst form, attempting to legislate the 2006 understanding of climatology for all time, regardless of what may be discovered in 2008, 2020, or 2050.
And here is the kicker:
Lockyer -- a Democratic candidate for state treasurer in the November election -- said the lawsuit states that under federal and state common law the automakers have created a public nuisance by producing "millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide."
What is the normal response to a public nuisance? To ban it, of course: so unless Bill Lockyer calls for the abolition of all cars, he makes himself into the Compleat Hypocrite (not to mention a complete ass). He is actually trying to sue Detroit out of business!
But in the end, the ludicrous lawsuit may have a very beneficial effect. Mull this:
Ford deferred comment to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which said the lawsuit was similar to one a New York court dismissed that is now on appeal.
"Automakers will need time to review this legal complaint, however, a similar nuisance suit that was brought by attorneys- general against utilities was dismissed by a federal court in New York," the industry group said in a statement....
But Sean Hecht, executive director of the Environmental Law Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the lawsuit has a "reasonable" chance of succeeding.
He also noted the judge in the New York lawsuit cited rarely-used legal doctrine in ruling that the question at issue was political rather than legal and should therefore be addressed by the legislature and not the court.
I think it very likely this "rarely-used legal doctrine" will prevail -- if not in Oakland, where it was filed, then when the 9th Circus Court hears it... and when the Supreme Court decides it. And this oddball legal theory -- that courts mustn't usurp the power rightly left to the legislature -- will suddenly become much more prominent.
Count on it. The reign of the robes draws to a close.
September 14, 2006
Globaloney Experts Predict Zero Scientific Progress in Next 100 Years!
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the wizards who brought us the Kyoto Protocol) have now revised their estimates of upcoming global warming downwards: now they believe mean global temperature will only be 3º C warmer in 2100 than today, if we do absolutely nothing about it.
If we fully implement the Kyoto Protocol -- then we can drastically reduce that ghastly warming... by 1º C. Whew!
But what does that say about Western science and technology? That over the next 100 years, we will not even be able to cope with a scant rise of 2 or 3º C... and that mostly during winter nights in the coldest regions of the Earth!
The only explanation is that globalony lovers believe that science has come to a screeching halt, and there will be zero scientific or technological progress in the next century.
It's no wonder global-warming scaremongering comes mainly from the anti-technology Left.
August 26, 2006
Extree, extree, read all about it! Now "global warming" makes glaciers grow bigger...!
Global warming could be causing some glaciers to grow, a new study claims.
Researchers at Newcastle University looked at temperature trends in the western Himalaya over the past century.
They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.
So let's review the bidding:
- Global warming is real, man-made, and catastrophic; every scientist who doesn't actually drool not only admits this, he wants to know why Bush hasn't issued an executive order smashing the looms already.
- We know this because, for one reason, glaciers began retreating and shrinking the very instant the Industrial Revolution really kicked off in the 1940s.
- Well actually, they began retreating in Africa about 120 years ago, before there was hardly any industrial-created CO2 in the atmosphere; but that's beside the point.
- And as a matter of fact, glaciers have actually been expanding in New Zealand, North America, and Norway.
- But coincidentally enough, it turns out that expanding glaciers are also signs of global warming! Mirabile dictu!
- And while we're on the subject, Greenland has actually been cooling since about 1940 -- having earlier experienced a brief, ten-year spurt of warming in which the annual surface air temperature jumped up between 2°C and 4°C.
- But that's all right, because cooling is also a sign of global warming; that's why we renamed it "global climate change," dummy!
All right; I think I've got it now.
August 21, 2006
The Glozone Layer
Beginning 28 years ago (starting with Sweden in 1978), the hysterical fear-mongering du jour were a pair of rapidly expanding "holes" in the ozone layer high above the Earth, one above each pole in the stratosphere (10 km to 50 km altitude, or 33,000 feet to 164,000 feet). The ozone holes -- actually, areas of somewhat decreased ozone concentrations, not the absence of ozone -- would let in too much ultraviolate radiation (UVR), which would lead to skin cancer, genetic damage, and the destruction of life on this planet.
The primary culprit for ozone depletion (this is actually correct) was found to be manmade refrigerants, propellants, cleaners, and fire extinguishers, nearly all based upon chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and bromofluorocarbons (BFCs). In an orgy of enviro-mental disorder, virtually every civilized and semi-civilized nation on the planet rushed to eliminate CFCs, substituting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) for the dreaded CFCs.
But now it turns out, with an irony thick enough to spread on a muffin, that the wonderful chemicals we've shifted to using, in order to allow the "ozone holes" to "heal," are themselves very powerful greenhouse gases... and they're significantly contributing to supposedly human-induced global warming:
The chemicals that replaced CFCs are better for the ozone layer, but do little to help global warming. These chemicals, too, act as a reflective layer in the atmosphere that traps heat like a greenhouse.
That effect is at odds with the intent of a second treaty, drawn up in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 by the same countries behind the Montreal pact. In fact, the volume of greenhouse gases created as a result of the Montreal agreement's phaseout of CFCs is two times to three times the amount of global-warming carbon dioxide the Kyoto agreement is supposed to eliminate.
The international association of the perpetually aggrieved now laments the fact that nobody appears to own the earth's atmosphere... hence, there is nobody to be sued:
"But now the question is, who's going to ensure that the replacements are not going to cause global warming?" said Alexander von Bismarck, campaigns director for the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit watchdog group in London and Washington. "It's shocking that so far nobody's taking responsibility."
"A massive opportunity to help stave off climate change is currently being cast aside," he said.
Environmentalists now demand that those countries that spent themselves into recessions replacing CFCs with HCFCs and HFCs do it all over again, this time substituting for the substitutes:
The U.N. report says the atmosphere could be spared the equivalent of 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions if countries used ammonia, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide or other ozone-friendly chemicals, rather than HCFCs and HFCs, in foams and refrigerants. Such alternatives are more common in Europe.
And of course, most of the international enviromentalist organizations are -- European! What a lucky break for countries of that continent.
Of course, the only other problem (besides prohibitive cost) is that the alternatives don't work very well, if at all. But that's a small price to pay for the priviliege of being on the cutting edge of chemical conscientiousness.
What has always struck me as hilarious is that the folks who are most exercised about global warming nevertheless recoil from the single most effective method of redusing carbon and carbonoid emissions: a massive program to replace all oil- and coal-based powerplants with clean, modern, and safe nuclear fission reactors, using new technologies. As Big Lizards discussed back in December:
But there are many methods of producing energy that do not require burning anything... the most effective of which, in the short-to-medium term (0 to 50 years), are hydroelectric generators and nuclear power plants. Since the former are limited by the number of rivers you're willing to dam (which causes rather significant environmental change, to say the least!), we should probably concentrate on the latter. Recent radically improved technologies for nuclear fission, including Pebble Bed Modular Reactors (gas-cooled) and Integral Fast Reactors (liquid-metal cooled), already exist in prototype but lack either funding or a favorable political climate for wide-scale development.
That last void is courtesy the environmentalist movement, which demands we solve a problem while nixing all possible solutions.
But hey, what do I know? I gloriously wasted my youth studying real mathematics and logic.
July 4, 2006
Sullivan's Travails and the "One Percent Solution"
A wonderful Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Professor Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, discusses the current state of knowledge about global warming -- whoops, global climate change.
Actually, I should write "the current state of ignorance and confusion," because Lindzen's conclusion is that we really know next to nothing about what really causes the observed global climate change over the last several hundred million years (hat tip to Ryan Sager at Real Clear Politics blog):
First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists--especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.
Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky.
Reading this op-ed, Andrew Sullivan finds himself in agreement... but rather than retracting his claws, Sullivan slashes out even more desperately in support of the "do something!" argument. He resurrects an argument used by the Jesuits in centuries past to extort belief by twisting logic:
Accrding to Ron Suskind, Dick Cheney's "one percent doctrine" means that if there's a one percent chance that a terrorist could have access to a WMD, we must act as if it were a certainty - because the outcome, however unlikely, would be too disastrous to risk. On global warming, Gore expresses a not-too-dissimilar equation: if there's a small chance that human behavior could lead to environmental catastrophe, we should act as if it were a certainty - because waiting too long is too big a risk to take....
A prudent attempt to rein in carbon dioxide emissions seems a no-brainer to me. A dollar rise in the gas tax would be the most effective way to achieve this.
Logicians of the Society of Jesus used to argue that, since perpetual damnation is an infinite catastrophe for a soul, then if there is even the slightest chance that Christianity is right -- even a 0.000000000000001% chance -- multiplying this miniscule chance by the infinity of damnation still means one had better believe... because "infinitely bad" times any finite percentage, no matter how small, is still "infinitely bad."
The response, of course, is that the same argument holds for Judaism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism: in each case, the consequence of non-belief, if one of them happens to be true, is infinitely bad; therefore, no matter how slight a possibility that each is true, one should believe it anyway. This sets up a bit of a quandry, since one must simultaneously believe both Judaism and also Philistine paganism, both Christianity and pre-Christian Roman Mithraism, as well as Shintoism, Tao, Hinduism, Anton Szandor LeVey's Church of Satan, and Scientology. (Well, maybe not Scientology.)
In Sullivan's case, however, the whole argument falls apart. This is because Sullivan -- who really ought to know his Jesuitical logic better, being a Roman Catholic -- does not claim that global warming leads to infinite bad. However, a moment's review makes clear that it's the very property that Sullivan's argument lacks -- the infinity of the bad result -- which makes the argument.
If the badness of global climate change is not literally infinite, then:
- Sullivan must actually calculate the probability that global climate change is primarily human driven (he can substitute his "1%" guesstimate here);
- Then multiply his 1% by the probability that a $1/gallon tax on gasoline will produce such a change in the amount of driving that it will actually significantly affect the amount of carbon entering our atmosphere;
- Times the probability that such a reduction in carbon dioxide will actually measurably reduce global temperature;
- Then calculate the probability of various negative effects from whatever measures we take to combat global warming;
- Finally, compare these two probabilities to see whether massive efforts to combat global warming (including another big tax on gasoline, which primarily hurts the working poor and citizens of western states) are more likely to do good or ill to America.
(Cheney's argument is more robust, because going after terrorists is sound policy, even if they turn out not to have WMD; while punishing those who live in the western United States or who must drive to work for a living is bad policy on its face... which means it must have a dramatically good counterbalance to make it worthwhile.)
I'm not sure where Sullivan thought he was going with this; but wherever it was, he didn't arrive.
June 27, 2006
19 Out of 19 Activists Agree!
All right, I know you guys love these: here is another "what is wrong with this picture?" conundrums....
The nation's top climate scientists are giving "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy.
The former vice president's movie - replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets - mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.
The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.
But those who have seen it had the same general impression: Gore conveyed the science correctly; the world is getting hotter and it is a manmade catastrophe-in-the-making caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
Now, imagining the "final Jeopardy" theme song in your head, figure out why those paragraphs made me laugh out loud. When you've got the answer, then slither on through the Slither On below!
Here is the key:
The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion.... Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.
But those who have seen it had the same general impression.
This is about as self-selected a group as it's possible to compose: climate scientists who actually take Algore seriously as a spokesman for the dangers of "global warming pollution!"
(While AP is quick to note that some of those they contacted were "vocal skeptics of climate change theory," you may notice they oddly fail to mention how many of the 19 who responded to them were among those "skeptics." At a guess, I'd have to say -- zero?)
If you're a climatologist -- and even if you more or less support the IPCC position on global climate change -- how likely would you be to seek out a showing somewhere of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? Most scientists I know cringe at such populist caricatures, even if they agree with the basic premise... especially if they agree.
Scientists tend to be irritated anyway by the depiction of science in movies, even so-called documentaries: everything from orbits that "decay," to explosions that can be "outrun," to a rotating space station that produces a gravitational-like force... directed along the axis of rotation.
But they're even more skeptical of science when the subject is controversial within the scientific community (which anthropogenic global warming certainly is) -- and in spades and doubled when the moviemaker is not himself a scientist but a politician with no formal training in any math or science beyond what he learned in high school (which, considering Algore's GPA at St. Alban's and at Harvard, was probably not very much).
Most climate scientists would steer so far away from An Inconvenient Truth, even if they supported global-warming theory, that they would probably pretend they didn't even know it existed. Those who went to pains to actively seek it out would be a special breed: scientists who were so tickled that someone as important as Albert A. Gore, jr. would make a movie about their crackpot theory, that they could hardly stop themselves from gushing.
I wish the Associated Press had thought to ask those 19 gushers who they thought had really won the 2000 election.
The very essence of scientific consensus is that every person must give an opinion; every position must be canvassed; all objections must be answered. If you contact 100 scientists and only 19% have seen some work, their opinion is not a consensus: at best, it's a sampling; but more likely, it's a biased pool that does not represent the whole.
If you really want to know what climatologists and atmospheric physicists think of An Inconvenient Truth, what you must do is select a pool of them representative of every major strain of thought within the community -- then arrange a viewing for them all. Get their opinions after they have all sat through the clunker, and then commit to publishing all of those opinions (not just "all the news we see fit to print!")
And while you're at it, arrange discussion sections with scientists who thought the movie was accurate and those who thought it was wildly off (the latter group including those who agreed with and those who disputed the globaloney hypothesis); have them discuss it. After they've discussed it for a few sessions, gather their opinions again: has anyone been persuaded to change his mind?
Now that is an article I'd like to see... but it's certainly not the article AP meant to print.
June 26, 2006
Although it may seem at first as if the Supreme Court is going to substitute itself for the scientific method in deciding whether anthropogenic global climate change is actually real, it's nowhere near that dire; in fact, this case is a chance for the Court to strike a blow for sanity by clarifying what only it can clarify: whether the executive has a legal duty to solve problems as determined by community leaders -- or just legal jurisdictions and prohibitions set by the Constitution. (Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 05-1120.)
Spurred by states in a pollution battle with the Bush administration, the court said it would decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency is required under the federal clean air law to treat carbon dioxide from automobiles as a pollutant harmful to health.
The decision could determine how the nation addresses global warming.
Evidently, what the states argue is that we should declare the natural exhalation from snakes, rats, monkeys, and human beings -- and even lawyers employed by the plaintiffs -- as a "pollutant" when it's inhaled by a car or a factory, and that the EPA must perforce regulate -- that is, ban -- any releases over a certain amount.
This would indeed be asking the Court to brush science aside and substitute decree. Can this actually be done? Let's not hold our breath.
The EPA said in a statement that the agency "is confident in its decision" not to regulate the chemical under the federal Clean Air Act and plans to argue its case vigorously before the high court.
Recently, Bush told reporters he views global warming as a serious problem and has "a plan to be able to deal with greenhouse gases" short of regulating their use. It includes developing new technologies for cleaner burning coal, using alternative motor fuels such as ethanol as substitutes for gasoline and expanding nuclear power to produce electricity. [All sensible policies even without taking global warming into account. -- the Mgt.]
Critics argue that carbon emissions have continued to increase - though the rate of increase has declined - and only regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will stem the amount going into the atmosphere.
President Bush has a workable plan: the only way to reduce the use of carbon-based fuel is to find an alternative that uses less carbon. (This is not a trick question.)
The states' plan, contrariwise, is to shake a fist and shout at every industry in the United States, confident this will cause emissions to disappear while the economy magically remains constant. By the way, which states in particular do you think might have been involved in this lawsuit?
- California (9%)
- Connecticut (10%)
- Illinois (11%)
- Maine (9%)
- Massachusetts (25%)
- New Jersey (7%)
- New Mexico (-1% * )
- New York (19%)
- Oregon (4%)
- Rhode Island (21%)
- Vermont (20%)
- Washington (7%)
(The number in parentheses is Kerry's margin of victory over Bush in each of these plaintiff-states. * New Mexico actually went for Bush by 1 point; but the governor of New Mexico is former Clinton Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson... and guess who made the decision for New Mexico to join the lawsuit?)
In addition, several cities joined up, including Baltimore, New York City and Washington D.C. (all Democrat, all the time), as well as America Samoa (huh?)
Besides the governmental bodies, other plaintiffs included the Union of Concerned Scientists (they of the "doomsday clock," which is always set closer to midnight whenever a Republican is elected), Greenpeace (who are in the business of sabotaging our military), and Friends of the Earth (say, I wonder where they stand on the political spectrum!)
A more motley looking crew I don't think we'll ever find. Every wild-eyed lefty in America would crawl on his hands and knees though boiling pitch to be a part of the lawsuit to force President Bush to ban carbon dioxide.
The states involved, which together account for more than a third of the car market, say the Clean Air Act makes clear carbon dioxide is a pollutant that should be regulated if it poses a danger to public health and welfare. They argue it does so by causing a warming of the earth.
Reckon they didn't get the memo about calling it "global climate change," not "global warming," so even when the weather is unseasonably cold they can still cite that as evidence.
I haven't reviewed the Act itself; but the EPA has a "Plain English Guide To The Clean Air Act." Under the heading "The Common Air Pollutants (Criteria Air Pollutants)," I find the following air pollutants listed:
- VOCs (volatile organic compounds), such as "benzene, toluene, methylene chloride and methyl chloroform"
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Carbon Monoxide
- Particulate Matter (dust, smoke, soot)
- Sulfur Dioxide
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see carbon dioxide on that list -- and no, you cannot snip the first word off carbon monoxide and combine it with the second word of nitrogen dioxide. In fact, every pollutant on this list except ozone is a polluting additive not normally found in air, something that would be virtually undetectable in the air of A.D. 1000, except perhaps in special areas (such as around a lead mine or in the bubbling cauldrons of Yellowstone National Park).
To call this "air pollution" is to strain the definition to the breaking point. It's ludicrous. Maybe it should be regulated; I don't think so, but let's suppose it should be. Then get Congress to regulate it!
But more to the point, there is no general legal duty for the executive (or Congress) to solve problems. The Court cannot tell the president that he is obliged to force oil companies to drill for more oil, or that he must resolve the immigration question, or that he has to shift U.S. troops into Jordan in order to guard against a sneak attack from Syria.
Occasionally, the courts will order the executive to act; but that is generally only as a remedy for past misdeeds... such as Brown v. Board of Education, where the executive was ordered to desegregate the schools. The Constitution is silent about the exact level of carbon dioxide that is allowed to be in the earth's atmosphere.
If the Court held that states could sue to force the president to start regulating carbon dioxide, even in the absence of any legal mandate to do so -- and clearly Congress never imagined that what it called "air pollution" would be extended to include exhalation -- just because the plaintiff-states think that would be a better policy, then that would spell the end of our form of government: every state, city, and NGO would sue in federal court to force the White House or Congress to enact specific pieces of legislation that the plaintiffs prefer. That's what we have a Congress for, for heaven's sake: to make such decisions in a democratic manner.
Although it's a logical end-point for a Court that is increasingly narcissistic, I still have confidence that, even if four justices thought this case should be heard (a divided circus-court narrowly held for the administration), the full Court will come down resoundingly against the states in their arrogant lawsuit... and by more than 5-4, too. I'm guessing that both Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice David Souter will rule for the president, and maybe even Justice John Paul Stevens (and of course Justices Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice Roberts). I am absolutely convinced this writ of cert is a dead cert.
So I look forward to the Court clarifying that no, neither the states nor Congress can simply dictate to the president how he will do his job. The executive is a co-equal branch of government... not Vermont's errand boy.
June 23, 2006
The Questions Never Asked
According to the New York Times, global warming -- excuse me, global climate change; I keep forgetting -- has raised world temperatures to the warmest it's been in at least 1,000 years, maybe more.
But this immediately raises a number of questions that, alack, are never even asked, let alone answered in the article. How many can you guess before reading them? Can you think of others that didn't occur to me? I suspect there are many more than I can spot...
An influential and controversial paper asserting that recent warming in the Northern Hemisphere was probably unrivaled for 1,000 years was endorsed Thursday, with a few reservations, by a panel convened by the nation's pre-eminent scientific body. [They mean the National Academy of Sciences. -- the Mgt.]
The panel said that a statistical method used in the 1999 study was not the best and that some uncertainties in the work "have been underestimated," and particularly challenged the authors' conclusion that the 1990's were probably the warmest decade in a millennium....
The rise in global temperature since 1900 is only about 1º F or so (0.6º C), or 0.1º F per decade. Yet mean global temperature (MGT) has fluctuated, warmer sometimes, cooler other times. But how much has the MGT risen and dropped since this study was produced in 1999? We need more information.
Prof. Bob Carter, a paleoclimatologist at James Cook University in Queensland, supplies some: MGT rose until 1998... and then it simply stopped rising:
For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).
Looking at the Wikipedia article on the temperature record, since 1850 (the "instrument period"), we see that the rise wasn't even consistent during the industriali era: from a low around 1910, the temperature rose fairly precipitously, a little less than 1º F -- until 1940; at which point, it began to drop.
It fell for 15 years, hitting local nadirs in 1955, 1965, and the late 1970s... then it started rising again for the last 20 years. There is no plausible correlation of this rise, fall, and rise again to world industrialization, which rose consistently and exponentially during this entire period.
So the "rise" in MGT has been anything but smooth: MGT rises in fits and starts, and sometimes even falls back significantly.
All right, the first question: the temperature record clearly shows that there was global cooling during the twentieth century. Since world industrialization and the release of greenhouse gases cannot account for that cooling, what natural event caused it? Does anybody have a guess?
Oh, but let's do continue:
The study, led by Michael E. Mann, a climatologist now at Pennsylvania State University, was the first to estimate widespread climate trends by stitching together a grab bag of evidence, including variations in ancient tree rings and temperatures measured in deep holes in the earth....
More broadly, the panel examined other recent research comparing the pronounced warming trend over the last several decades with temperature shifts over the last 2,000 years. It expressed high confidence that warming over the last 25 years exceeded any peaks since 1600. And in a news conference here on Thursday, three panelists said the current warming was probably, but not certainly, beyond any peaks since the year 900....
In the report, the panel emphasized that the significant remaining uncertainties about climate patterns over the last 2,000 years did not weaken the scientific case that the current warming trend was caused mainly by people, through the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Looking again at the temperature record in Wikipedia, this time using "historical proxies" for earlier time periods, we see temperatures rose to a peak during the "Mediæval Warming Period" (around AD 900-1100), then plummeted to the depths of the "Mini Ice Age" around 1600-1700, then rose again to the current highs.
But wait -- if the current warming trend is (a) "caused mainly by people, through the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," yet (b) is no hotter than the warming trend of the A.D. 900s... then what the heck caused all that global warming in the Age of Chivalry? There certainly was no mass industrialization 1,000 years ago.
Follow-up question: what caused subsequent cooling again for the next five or six centuries?
Finally, what caused even more global warming in the 1700s and 1800s?
If you're getting the strangest feeling of déjà vu, it's because you really have read this before:
- In News Flash: Catastrophic Global Warming Found - 55 Million Years Ago!, we noted extraordinary heating in that geological time period; so much so, in fact, that "the North Pole quickly developed a climate much like Florida today." Clearly, this had nothing to do with homo-sapiens, who did not even exist then (it was the age of the "wet-nosed primate," who are reputed to have been chivalrous, but we can't be sure);
- In My Globaloney Has a First Name, It's H-a-r-r-y, we rehearsed the argument that temperature has risen and fallen naturally in the last several hundred million years, typically without any correlation to the level of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere (but with a good correlation to solar activity).
- And now, we find that this same rise and fall in temperature has occurred not just in geological time but in archeological time... in fact, within recorded European history.
What is the common thread? That no matter how coarse or fine you tune the temporal focus -- from a billion years to a scant thousand -- you find the same pattern, like a global-temperature fractal: temperature rises and falls by many natural cycles, without human beings monkeying with it.
Against that backdrop, how can we make any pronouncements at all about what "causes" global warming, global cooling -- in short, global "climate change?" Let me repeat what I wrote at the end of the first item linked above:
We need a twenty-year moratorium on "doing" anything about climate. Instead, let's commit vast treasure and human resources to improving our basic scientific understanding of climatology and all that's related. It would make little difference in the projected rise of [mean global temperature]; we would better be able to decide whether the current rise was natural or anthropogenic; and even if we did decide to "do something," those twenty years would allow us to craft a much more intelligent and effective "thing" to do than striking out blindly today.
There is no significant downside to sentencing globaloney to a "timeout".
There are far too many unanswered, unasked questions about what drives climate, temperature, and the sun. Aren't any of these scientists even interested? Or does the negative political impact such questions may have on the Kyoto-Protocol sales job render them unaskable?
June 14, 2006
My Globaloney Has a First Name, It's H-a-r-r-y
This morning, I heard a sound bite of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace) on the radio claiming that Hurricane Alberto is more "proof" of global warming. (Actually, it sounded like he said Alfredo, rather than Alberto; maybe he was calling in from a swank pasta joint in D.C., after having just watched An Inconvenient Truth.)
I suppose Reid means that, since there were never any hurricanes before America's industrial revolution, every time one spawns in the Atlantic, it's undeniable evidence of Bush's perfidy in withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, that treaty that even the Clinton Administration never formally submitted to the Senate for rejection.
Unfortunately for this theory, "Hurricane" Alberto is now downgraded to a tropical storm; even Sen. Reid should be willing to concede that there were occasional tropical storms even before "those dark, Satanic mills" started releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For people still fretting about global warming, AP has some good news:
Instead of a disaster, Alberto's rainfall may turn out to be a blessing for Florida's efforts to battle wildfires and for farmers in Georgia who were worried about drought.
"It's definitely a million-dollar rain," said Joe McManus, a marketing specialist with the Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon. "It could save some cotton and peanut fields...."
Officials said the storm also gave them real-world practice on the lessons learned from the slow response to some of last year's storms. Hurricane specialists said they ran into a few computer glitches but nothing that couldn't be fixed before the next storm.
"It was a nice tune-up, a nice warm-up," said hurricane specialist Richard Pasch. Florida's Emergency Management spokesman Mike Stone put it another way: "You can train all you want, but nothing beats the real deal."
Thank George for global waming!
Sadly, it may turn out that global warming is yet another broken political promise. The critics of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose summit in Rio de Janeiro eventually led to Kyoto, have finally begun to speak out in force, having been stifled for some time now by threats and bullying behavior by academic and professional institutions passionately committed to academic freedom -- when the subject is Ward Churchill or Juan Cole.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention...."
Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"
Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.
Canada Free Press also quotes Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki; Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden; and Dr. Dick Morgan, former advisor to the World Meteorological Organization and climatology researcher at University of Exeter, U.K. on the continuing robust presence of ice at the poles... a truth quite inconvenient to one Albert J. Gore.
(Here is an interesting website we've just found; we haven't had time to go through it yet, but it looks promising: EnviroTruth.org. It could be a worthwhile clearinghouse of dissent against the globaloney slicing machine.)
But globaloney rolls on, impervious to such dissent. After all, this is such an important political issue that we cannot allow a few malcontents to muddy up the rising waters.
Besides, Harry Reid needs a bigger office and is already measuring the curtains in Majority Leader Bill Frist's joint.
June 12, 2006
Clinton Reveals Bush Is God
Former President William Jefferson "Big Bible" Clinton revealed today that President George W. "Burning" Bush is, in fact, God. One can only conclude, therefore, that the rest of the Republican leadership are the Archangels, Thrones, and Powers of the heavenly heirarchy:
Clinton Links GOP Policies to More Storms
As Tropical Storm Alberto threatened to strengthen into the ninth hurricane in 22 months to affect Florida, former President Clinton predicted Monday that Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms.
"It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes."
The Florida Republicans responded in their usual hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners style:
Jeff Sadosky, spokesman for the state Republican Party, decried Clinton's rhetoric. "Bill Clinton's class warfare and race-baiting message gets us no closer to solutions for the issues he brings up," he said.
Sadosky referred in part to Clinton's comments earlier this month in Arizona. At that event, Clinton characterized Republican Party leaders as right-wing, white Southerners.
Thus spake Clinton -- left-wing, white Southerner and the country's first black president. (At least Florida Republican spokesman Jeff Sadosky didn't refer to "the failed policies of the past.")
It is notable that Sadosky, while denouncing other things Clinton said, failed to repudiate Clinton's claim of divine powers for the current president and his party; in the tradition of the antique media, Big Lizards takes silence as assent... thus, the divinity of George W. Bush is now a bipartisan policy position.
Bush prayer rugs will shortly be available via HughHewitt.com; the White House Cathedral and Carniceria recently named Hewitt Archbishop of Blogoberry.
June 1, 2006
News Flash: Catastrophic Global Warming Found - 55 Million Years Ago!
New research has found that a scant 55 million years ago, the North Pole quickly developed a climate much like Florida today:
The new analysis confirms that the Arctic Ocean warmed remarkably 55 million years ago, which is when many scientists say the extraordinary planetwide warm-up called the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum must have been caused by an enormous outburst of heat-trapping, or greenhouse, gases like methane and carbon dioxide. But no one has found a clear cause for the gas discharge. Almost all climate experts agree that the present-day gas buildup is predominantly a result of emissions from smokestacks, tailpipes and burning forests.
"Almost all climate experts" in this case means all those who agree with the IPCC; climatologists who do not are obviously inexpert, and we want no part of them. Be off with you!
This find poses some serious problems for the globalistas, of course:
- Humans did not exist 55 million years ago. And as far as industrialization, not even General Motors had been founded yet. Scientists have no clue how that region of the earth could warm so quickly and so much; but the fact that it did indicates that massive warming can occur entirely naturally.
This implies that we know darned little about the natural cycles that govern mean global temperature (MGT)... which makes cocked hash of the claims of near-certainty by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC, the chaps who gave us the Kyoto Protocol). They don't have any more idea about how climate and MGT change than did the "wet-nosed primates" who lived back then.
- Then it got colder again... which implies that what warms up can also cool down.
With such massive shifts in temperature occuring far beyond the range of any human-induced changes (real or imaginary), it's hard to take seriously the suggestion that we should bankrupt the world's economy to shave a fraction of one degree off the projected rise in the MGT over the next hundred years.
As could be anticipated, the globaloney lobby has tried to physically wrench these findings to support Kyoto:
Experts not connected with the studies say they support the idea that heat-trapping gases — not slight variations in Earth's orbit — largely determine warming and cooling.
"The new research provides additional important evidence that greenhouse-gas changes controlled much of climate history, which strengthens the argument that greenhouse-gas changes are likely to control much of the climate future," said one such expert, Richard B. Alley, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University.
Perhaps so; but it's turtles, turtles, turtles, all the way down....
- If some huge emission of greenhouse gases caused this enormous warming, then that means there are natural events (volcanic eruptions, for example) that can release staggeringly huge quantities of carbon and carbonoids, far more than mere human industrialization has released. This certainly implies there can be smaller events that release the amounts we're seeing enter the atmosphere today.
This sounds more and more like nature flexing her glutes and squishing the idea that humans are the big factor in determining climate and temperature around the globe.
Oh, and let's not forget the corollary to 3:
- Since the Earth got cool again, that must mean that massive release of greenhouse gas was somehow reabsorbed, removing it from the atmosphere and allowing the earth to cool again. In other words, there exists some natural mechanism to regulate the quantity of greenhouse gases in the air: when the concentration rises above some trigger point, it appears to be "swallowed up" again.
Thus, once again, we're left with the puzzling question of why we need to be so concerned about slight rises in carbonoids or even temperature; nature does a pretty good job of righting things by itself, all without benefit of a PhD, the title of "expert," or even consciousness. Why cripple the economic structure of civilization trying to jump nature's gun?
All of which brings us, topsy-turvy, back to where we began: we don't know anywhere near as much as we sometimes think we do; and in particular, we know very little about what drives climate, weather, temperature, air movement, sea-levels, and large-scale icing.
We need a twenty-year moratorium on "doing" anything about climate. Instead, let's commit vast treasure and human resources to improving our basic scientific understanding of climatology and all that's related. It would make little difference in the projected rise of MGT; we would better be able to decide whether the current rise was natural or anthropogenic; and even if we did decide to "do something," those twenty years would allow us to craft a much more intelligent and effective "thing" to do than striking out blindly today.
There is no significant downside to sentencing globaloney to a "timeout".
May 31, 2006
Poisoning the Well
Most of us learned in grade school that animals breath in air primarily for the oxygen, which they uptake and use, exhaling carbon dioxide (CO2); while plants need that CO2, uptaking it and "exhaling" (releasing) O2, oxygen.
We have also been inundated by an endless parade of globaloney prophets who tell us that we're producing more and more CO2 by industrial use of carbon-based fuels -- oil, wood, natural gas. They argue that as carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere, it creates a so-called "greenhouse effect" which raises the mean global temperature (MGT) of the earth ("mean" as in average, not as in cranky).
For many years, a large number of atmospheric scientists have argued that there are positive aspects to this "greenhouse effect" as well as negative ones: true, global temperature is rising slightly -- though it's by no means clear how much is due to anthropogenic (human-caused) factors and how much is simply a natural cycle... since we don't know all the natural cycles; in the past, there have been wild swings of MGT stretching back millions of years.
The good aspects of the "greenhouse effect," just as the name implies, include much faster, healthier, more robust, and larger plant growth. Simply raising the CO2 level in an enclosed, air-tight, laboratory greenhouse leads to dramatically greater yields of virtually any crop you plant.
Well, the globalonistas have finally caught up to this idea; they have finally embraced it... but the only example they can think to focus on -- is new research suggesting that even poison ivy grows much better in a high-CO2 environment!
Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday.
And a CO2-driven vine also produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, conclude experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon-dioxide levels to those expected in 2050....
Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger - and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported.
Begging the question, if poison ivy grows so much better in a high-CO2 environment... why not wheat, corn, and rice? Why not apples and strawberries, cucumbers and kumquats?
In fact, voluminous research shows that every, single crop grows much better in a high-CO2 atmosphere: not just faster and bigger, but more resistent to pests (so you need use less pesticide). In addition, food crops respond better to higher carbon-dioxide than do most weeds.
At the same time, humans and other animals are still able to extract plenty of oxygen; we use only a small fraction of the O2 that we inhale with each breath; even with a lower partial-pressure (the percent of the air that is oxygen), we would still have plenty for breathing; it's unlikely that even asthmatics would notice any difference. Air pollution is a much more dangerous phenomenon that affects breathing far more than a slight increase in the partial pressure of CO2 in the air.
The total rise in MGT that even the primary globalonistas, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicts is about 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C over the next hundred years. But bear in mind, their own models routinely overpredict the warming that actually occurred in the twentieth century; so it's likely they're doing the same for the 21st, and that the warming will be closer to the left end of that range than the right.
1.4 °C is 2.5 °F... so we're talking a rise in mean global temperature of somewhere around 2.5 °F -- which even the IPCC agrees will mostly occur during winter nights in the coldest regions of the planet. Even the IPCC admits that the temperate regions (where people actually live) will see much a lower rise in temperature, according to their own general circulation models (GCMs).
In exchange for that, we can feed the starving everywhere, because crops will grow better in every "corner" of the globe, from Africa to Southeast Asia to Europe to the Americas. Not only will the civilized parts of the world grow more food to help out -- the areas of the globe that are most prone to mass starvation will themselves produce more crops. (And no, the oceans will not rise dozens of feet; that's a movie. The total sea-level rise would be closer to a couple-three inches per decade, even at the maximal temperature rise predicted by the notoriously overpredicting GCMs.)
Alas, we will have to put up with more poison ivy, too. Perhaps sometime in the next century, we can invent better Calamine lotion.
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