Friday, December 21, 2007

Senate report: "Who's Who?" and "Who's That?" among AGW skeptics

If it wasn't for the yeoman's work of Oklahoma senator James Inhofe and his staff -- especially communications chief Marc Morano -- we might never know that there is a vast worldwide community of people who not only challenge the orthodoxy of the Church of Global Warming (CoGW), but are willing to stand up and be counted. These people may have varying levels of training in the sciences that are relevant to the climate debate: sometimes degreed but not practicing in that profession (like your humble Heretic), sometimes internationally recognized as experts in their areas of specialization. Others, despite having no specific training in climate-related sciences, are gifted at identifying and shredding logical fallacies. Still others cannot help but notice that the policy prescriptions of the CoGW line up quite nicely with the goals of various elements of the (pick one or more of the following) environmental, anti-US, anticapitalist, global-governance Left.

AGW orthodoxy -- the notion that global warming climate change is anthropogenic (that is, human-induced) -- currently rules the land. Many who dare challenge the orthodoxy are dealt with harshly, suffering harm to reputations and funding. And yet, many "heretics" are willing to stand in harm's way and give the lie to the so-called consensus.

Inhofe's staff has done an incredible job roaming the world (via the Internet, or even in person), locating the skeptics and helping to amplify their voices. This week his staff posted a document entitled U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007. Are people like Al Gore telling the truth when they insist that the skeptics are either ideologically or financially motivated to oppose what is "settled science"? Or, are Gore and company using this claim as a convenient way to avoid engaging the skeptics on the substance of their objections?

If you rely on the mainstream media for your climate news, there's a good chance that you're not even aware of the substance of the skeptics' arguments. I dare you to spend some time reading the works of the scientists listed in the report. I dare you. Then come back and try to tell me why they are wrong.

Postscript: Early this past summer Mr. Morano contacted me and asked if he could include me in a list of skeptical scientists that he was helping to compile. I have degrees in meteorology and computer science, but chose the latter as my career. I gave a vague answer to Mr. Morano, not sure whether I was in the same class as the many skeptical scientists who have actually devoted themselves to their climate-relevant professions. Morano took that as a Yes, and so my name and website are listed in the report (hence the "Who's That?" in this blog post's title). Although my training and experience do not rise to the level of most of those listed in the report, I am happy and proud to stand with them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just think how bad it would have been without global warming

I haven't played the proof-by-anecdote game in a while, so today seemed like a good opportunity to present a single weather event as proof that Al Gore & co. are full of hot air. From Today's edition of The Ottawa (Canada) Citizen:
Ottawa will continue to crawl out from a record-breaking snowfall Tuesday as crews tackle one of the biggest snow removal operations in the city's history.

"It's no Academy Award, but it was the snowiest December day ever in the capital," said Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips.

In total, 37 centimetres fell in Sunday's storm, setting a record for the most snow in a single December day since Environment Canada started keeping records in 1938. The previous record was 30.4 centimetres, which fell Dec. 21, 1977.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The earth itself plays a role in its (perceived) climate

Just after poking some fun at The Daily Green for ignoring the sun as a culprit in climate change, I came across an Ohio State University press release that puts an interesting spin on the changes in the Greenland ice sheet.

CoGW orthodoxy, of course, insists that the Greenland ice sheet is melting (reality: it is melting in some places, but thickening in others), and that the melting is due to global warming, and that global warming is due to George W. Bush's foreign policy. Just kidding on that last part (sort of).

OSU researchers, however, have found that the earth itself joins the sun in contributing to many of the observed phenomena that are so casually attributed to AGW:
Scientists have discovered what they think may be another reason why Greenland 's ice is melting: a thin spot in Earth's crust is enabling underground magma to heat the ice.

They have found at least one “hotspot” in the northeast corner of Greenland -- just below a site where an ice stream was recently discovered.

The researchers don't yet know how warm the hotspot is. But if it is warm enough to melt the ice above it even a little, it could be lubricating the base of the ice sheet and enabling the ice to slide more rapidly out to sea.

“The behavior of the great ice sheets is an important barometer of global climate change,” said Ralph von Frese, leader of the project and a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University. “However, to effectively separate and quantify human impacts on climate change, we must understand the natural impacts, too.


The ice sheet in northeast Greenland is especially worrisome to scientists. It had no known ice streams until 1991, when satellites spied one for the first time. Dubbed the Northeastern Greenland Ice Stream, it carries ice nearly 400 miles, from the deepest interior of the island out to the Greenland Sea.

“Ice streams have to have some reason for being there. And it's pretty surprising to suddenly see one in the middle of an ice sheet,” von Frese said.

The newly discovered hotspot is just below the ice stream, and could have caused it to form, the researchers concluded. But what caused the hotspot to form?

“It could be that there's a volcano down there,” he said. “But we think it's probably just the way the heat is being distributed by the rock topography at the base of the ice.”

Dr. von Frese said it well: "[T]o effectively separate and quantify human impacts on climate change, we must understand the natural impacts, too."

Hear, hear.

The sun gets dissed again

Despite credible evidence that solar influences on earth's climate trump anthropogenic influences, The Daily Green decided the sun wasn't worth mentioning as a possible culprit in their online poll:

Given that the environmental left has invested everything in persuading us that climate change is -- for the first time ever -- human induced, I don't blame the editors of The Daily Green for the oversight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The unspeakable arrogance of bearing children

Recently we saw the story of Toni Vernelli, the British woman who killed her unborn baby and had herself sterilized because of her desire to "save the planet" from the ecological destruction her offspring would surely cause.

I noted at the time that the logic of the CoGW -- that all necessary means should be taken to reduce humanity's carbon emissions -- leads inescapably to conclusions like this (though most adherents haven't thought it through completely).

Now I have come across news of an Australian researcher who likewise recognizes that the bearing of children runs counter to the AGW Moral Imperative (to coin a new term -- I hope you're taking notes). As reports in a December 10 article:
Having babies is bad for the planet, and parents of more than two children should be charged a birth levy and annual tax to offset the "greenhouse gases" their child will be responsible for over his or her lifetime.

At the same time, those who use and prescribe contraceptives and sterilization procedures should earn tax relief for such greenhouse friendly services" that help to keep the population size down.

[...] In 2004, former Prime Minister John Howard's government announced a drive to counter the declining birthrate, urging parents to aim for three children, and offering families a financial incentive that currently stands at around $3,670.

But to Barry Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia, that undermines the campaign to fight global warming.

"Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing, but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society," he wrote in an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia Monday.

"Far from showering financial booty on new mothers and thereby rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behavior, a 'Baby Levy' in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the 'polluter pays' principle," he argued.

Walters said Australian parents who have more than an agreed number of children -- he cited a population-limitation advocacy group as suggesting a ceiling of two -- should pay the cost of planting trees to offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) the additional children will produce. (Trees absorb CO2, which along with other greenhouse gases is often blamed for climate change.)
If you think this sounds suspiciously like part of China's population-control model, you're right. It's a comparison that Walters seems to embrace (minus the occasional coercive abortion, perhaps):
Walters implied that the controversial population-control policies in place in China and India should be emulated.

"As citizens of this world, I believe we deserve no more population concessions than those in India and China."

One hundred million reasons why Al Gore loves his current job

I usually prefer to stay focused on the substance of this debate rather than on the personalities involved, but there's so much about the AGW ringleader, Al Gore, that shouts out "snake oil salesman" to me.

Put simply, Gore has profited handsomely from this TEOTWAWKI Tour. Steven Swinford of the UK's Sunday Times reports the following about Mr. Gore:
Al Gore, the former US vice-president turned environmental campaigner, has made more than £50m in just seven years from his books, speeches and shrewd investments in technology and green ventures.

[...] Today Gore commands between £50,000 and £85,000 a speech, holds stock options in Google worth £15m and has made as much as £4m from advances on his book deals. He is also advising a US venture capital company on how to invest a $600m green technology fund.

He has come a long way since losing the 2000 presidential election to George W Bush when, according to official documents, Gore was worth just £1m. His biggest assets were his two homes in Nashville, Tennessee, and Arlington, Virginia, valued at £375,000, and £500,000 invested in oil company shares.
Read on to see the many other ways that AGW has been very good for Gore. For our American readers, UK£50 million translates to over US$100 million. That'll get you quite a heap of offsets. Or, perhaps, the presidential nomination of a major American political party, just as the campaign of that party's presumptive front-runner is "faltering".

But wait a minute -- I just noticed in the excerpt above that he has $US1 million invested in oil company shares. Does that mean that every time his alarmism and the government policies derived therefrom drive up the cost of oil, Gore earns profits?

Nice racket if you can get into it.

NY Times repeats the Kilimanjaro lie

If you watched An Inconvenient Truth (my condolences if you have), or if you have read any one of countless media reports on AGW, you might have gotten the impression that the snowcap on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is melting.

It's not melting.

It is in fact shrinking, but that's due to sublimation, the process by which something changes from its solid state directly into its gaseous state in below-freezing temperatures without first melting. The temperature atop Kilimanjaro is nowhere near what is needed for melting. Low humidity in the region -- not warming -- is driving the sublimation. And guess what? It's been happening for more than a century.

I suppose I shouldn't expect the New York Times' travel writers to know that, but it still irks me to see such easily-refuted assertions repeated ad nauseam in the media. Here is what the NYT had to say about Kilimanjaro in its feature, The 53 Places to Go in 2008:

Time may be running out to see the most famous snows of American literature. The ice-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is melting at an alarming rate. Within several decades, scientists predict, the glaciers will have completely disappeared.
But wait! They didn't actually say it was because of global warming. What gives, Mr. Heretic?

True, they didn't mention AGW directly, but they did substitute a code phrase -- "melting at an alarming rate" -- that leave little room for any other interpretation. Why should anyone be "alarmed" about this if they considered it to be a natural process with no human influence?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Kangaroo Jack enlists in the fight against AGW

Not all of the AGW news coming across the wires is bad. Agence France-Press reports that kangaroos can teach cattle and sheep a thing or two about how to pass gas in an eco-friendly way:
AUSTRALIAN scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say.

Thanks to special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroo flatulence contains no methane and scientists want to transfer that bacteria to cattle and sheep who emit large quantities of the harmful gas.

While the usual image of greenhouse gas pollution is a billowing smokestack pushing out carbon dioxide, livestock passing wind contribute a surprisingly high percentage of total emissions in some countries.

"Fourteen per cent of emissions from all sources in Australia is from enteric methane from cattle and sheep," said Athol Klieve, a senior research scientist with the Queensland Government.

"And if you look at another country such as New Zealand, which has got a much higher agricultural base, they're actually up around 50 per cent," he said.

Researchers say the bacteria also makes the digestive process much more efficient and could potentially save millions of dollars in feed costs for farmers.

"Not only would they not produce the methane, they would actually get something like 10 to 15 per cent more energy out of the feed they are eating," said Mr Klieve.

According to the article, some Australian scientists go even further and suggest that people modify their diets by replacing beef and lamb with kangaroo meat.

The idea is controversial, but about 20 per cent of health-conscious Australians are believed to eat the national symbol already.

"It's low in fat, it's got high protein levels it's very clean in the sense that basically it's the ultimate free range animal,'' said Peter Ampt of the University of New South Wales's institute of environmental studies.

"It doesn't get drenched, it doesn't get vaccinated, it utilises food right across the landscape, it moves around to where the food is good, so yes, it's a good food.''

Why Coca-Cola is promoting "The Golden Compass"

The movie The Golden Compass (released today) has raised a considerable amount of controversy because of the associated book trilogy's head-on challenge to the Christian worldview in general (not to mention the in-your-face symbolism of the movie's villains, The Magisterium). Although I have pretty strong opinions on this controversy (I'm basically in agreement with Al Mohler here), within the confines of this blog something else has come to my attention that fascinates me to no end.

Catholic blogger Rick Kephart, noting the Coca-Cola company's promotion of the movie, wrote to them asking why they would promote a movie with such strong anti-Christian themes. In their reply, they denied that the movie was anti-religion in any way. That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is their explanation of why they decided to promote the movie:
The Golden Compass movie is a story about friendship, love, loyalty, tolerance, courage and responsibility. This movie also provides an opportunity for Coca-Cola to help raise awareness about climate change and the perilous state of the polar bear.
Okay, it's about friendship, love, yada-yada.... AND POLAR BEARS! We at Coca-Cola like polar bears! We use them in our Christmas advertising every year! Climate change is killing the polar bears! Watch the movie and save the polar bears!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bob and Doug McKenzie, eco-criminals

Perhaps the human race should follow Toni Vernelli's example and just stop reproducing. For some time now, researchers apparently have been scrambling to prove that every human activity and technology -- especially the ones that make life easier or more enjoyable -- is dooming the planet.

Fox News reports that the CoGW's crosshairs have recently come to rest on one of Canada's beloved institutions [emphasis added]:
Scientists have found a new threat to the planet: Canadian beer drinkers.

The government-commissioned study says the old, inefficient "beer fridges" that one in three Canadian households use to store their Molson and Labatt's contribute significantly to global warming by guzzling gas- and coal-fired electricity.

"People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," British environmental consultant Joanna Yarrow tells New Scientist magazine. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people — let's hope it has an effect."
Denise Young, who led the study, is not content to allow time for her research to sink into Bob and Doug's beer-addled brains. Instead, she thinks the government should institute a beer-fridge buyback program (or simply confiscate the things), drawing moral equivalence between a kitchen appliance and the Saturday Night Special.

Come to think of it, for many people a beer fridge is a Saturday Night Special.

"Weekly Reader" on thin ice regarding polar bears

The "polar bears are going extinct" meme is still being peddled wholesale to our children, even though the claim is demonstrably false. Bob Parks writes that GeoTrek, published by the folks who publish the venerable grade-school magazine The Weekly Reader (I remember reading it in the 1960s), recently had a feature article on the subject.

Parks asked Dr. Tim Ball for his comments on the article, and he includes Dr. Ball's response. Here's an excerpt:
Dear Bob,

The exploitation of children is despicable and this is a perfect example. First let me quote Mitch Taylor probably the world expert on polar bears. Here is a comment he made last year. It still holds true today.

"Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present." – May 2006

Mitch has lived in Nunavut for over 30 years and agreed with the Inuit who were saying the counts by "fly over" scientists were wrong. He said, "The Inuit were right. There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears."
Check the first link above for more of Dr. Ball's response.

Abortion and sterilization as a moral imperative

In the view of a growing number of people, killing your baby in the womb is now considered not only praiseworthy, but the moral duty of anyone who cares about the future of our planet.

Granted, most adherents of the CoGW haven't taken their logic this far, but if you accept the premises of the AGW alarmists, it's hard to escape this conclusion. Read this excerpt from a November 21 Daily Mail (UK) article [emphasis added]:
Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.

While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."
(Of course, Mrs. Vernelli is happy to maintain her own carbon footprint for the rest of her natural life. Somehow, that's not selfish.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Al Gore, the uninvited guest at your Thanksgiving dinner

Thanks to unrelenting pressure from Mr. Gore and many others in the CoGW, all Americans will be paying more for just about everything they put on the Thanksgiving dinner table next week. As the MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, MA) reports in a November 13 article:

If you're planning a major feast this Thanksgiving, it might be a good idea to budget a few extra dollars to make sure you can get the guest of honor to the table.

The rising cost of oil and other utilities, combined with an explosion in the cost of corn feed, has increased the cost of raising a turkey by as much 35 percent and costing the industry more than a half-billion dollars.

[...] Nationally, increases in feed costs are expected to cost farmers more than $576 million, said Sherrie Rosenblatt, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Turkey Federation.

"From the consumer standpoint you probably won't see that so much at retail," she said. "(But) there is definitely an increase in production costs because of the increased cost of corn."

As an increasing number of farms devote their corn crops to the production of ethanol rather than animal feed, Rosenblatt said, feed costs have exploded, from less than a dollar per bushel last year to more than $4 today.

"Turkey feed is about one-third of the cost of raising a turkey," she said. "We feed turkeys a combination of corn and soybean."

With many growers switching to the more profitable corn for ethanol, turkey farmers are trying to cope with a one-two punch of increasing corn prices and decreased soybean production.

According to some estimates, the higher prices translate to about an 8 cent increase per pound, per turkey, or about a 35 percent increase in the cost of raising just one bird.

"No matter which way you spin it, all the feed costs are increasing," she said.

Couple that with unneccessarily* high fuel costs making it more expensive to get the food to market, and we end up with a lot to thank Al Gore for this year.

* The same folks pushing so hard for ethanol production are dead-set determined to prevent us from (1) developing proven oil resources, and (2) increasing our refining capacity.

(Found at: Carpe Diem)

UPDATE: I realize that many grocery stores still offer turkeys at fantastic prices. That's because they're using the turkey price to get you into the store, where you'll end up paying more for the other components of the Thanksgiving meal. The rising turkey prices mean that the stores will be sucking up an even greater loss as they vie for your business.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

IPCC expert reviewer: Panel is 'fundamentally corrupt'

Dr. Vincent Gray, long-time expert reviewer for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has little good to say about the work of the panel [excerpt]:
I have been an "Expert Reviewer" for the IPCC right from the start and I have submitted a very large number of comments on their drafts. It has recently been revealed that I submitted 1,898 comments on the Final Draft of the current Report. Over the period I have made an intensive study of the data and procedures used by IPCC contributors throughout their whole study range. I have a large library of reprints, books and comments and have published many comments of my own in published papers, a book, and in my occasional newsletter, the current number being 157.

I began with a belief in scientific ethics, that scientists would answer queries honestly, that scientific argument would take place purely on the basis of facts, logic and established scientific and mathematical principles.

Right from the beginning I have had difficulty with this procedure. Penetrating questions often ended without any answer. Comments on the IPCC drafts were rejected without explanation, and attempts to pursue the matter were frustrated indefinitely.

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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Clever research hoax -- Gulling the AGW skeptics?

Somebody went through an awful lot of trouble to gin up a "study" that purported to fatally undermine the AGW theory. They even went so far as to invent a scientific journal, complete with a website for the journal, to enhance the credibility of the stunt.

You can see the exceptionally well-crafted hoax here.

The paper got a brief flurry of attention today when Senator Inhofe's staff sent out an e-mail alert calling attention to the paper. To their credit, they issued a retraction only 15 minutes later when they found out it was a hoax.

Iain Murray has the goods on the originator of the hoax site.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Opportunity or opportunism?

An AP article about Hillary Clinton has a title that can be taken in at least two ways:

Clinton sees opportunity in climate woes

I think I can be forgiven for initially assuming that they were referring to the political opportunities that AGW alarmism provides, but as it turns out, Hillary was talking about the economy.

The battle against global warming means big economic opportunities as well as challenges for the U.S., Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, touting her energy proposals as she campaigned in Iowa.

"For this generation, climate change is our space race," said Clinton, speaking in a cavernous factory with giant wind turbines in the background.

Clinton, who is pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, is calling for creation of a $50 billion strategic energy fund, coupled with tougher fuel efficiency standards financed in part by $20 billion in "green vehicle bonds." It's part of a package she calls the most comprehensive offered to tackle global warming.

"The climate crisis is also one of the greatest economic opportunities in the history of our country," she said. "It will unleash a wave of innovation, create millions of new jobs, enhance our security and lead the world to a revolution in how we produce and use energy."

Instead of billions of dollars and millions of jobs being pumped into the economy, it seems to me that a "space race" style boom in the climate change arena will largely involve the shifting of money and jobs away from other industries. Why? Because such a boom will be heavily subsidized by the government (as evidenced by HRC's own proposals quoted above), and such financial incentives will be too great a temptation for most companies to resist.

We've already seen this phenomenon with the government's push for biofuels -- so far, the US and many other countries are seeing a net decrease in the amount of land under cultivation for food production.

The article continues with a masterpiece of illogic:

Global warming hits particularly hard at the poor, she said.

"One in four low-income families have already missed a mortgage or rent payment because of rising energy costs," Clinton said.

Best of the Web's James Taranto could barely contain his sniggering at this:
This is a complete non sequitur. Rising energy costs are supposed to be a solution to global warming, not a problem caused by it. What's more, if temperatures rise in winter, that ought to reduce the amount of money low-income families would have to spend heating their homes. Mrs. Clinton seems to be invoking "global warming" here just as a politically correct slogan, devoid of meaning.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Clean your plate, or the planet gets it

I hope I'm not beginning to push the boundaries of redundancy, but I must say that the world's bureaucratic busybodies have shown great imagination in the things they've managed to tie to climate change.

This week we were informed by the British Environment Minister that she has uncovered another menace. Here's how UPI reported it:
LONDON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- British Environment Minister Joan Ruddock has warned citizens that by not eating leftover food, they are effectively causing climate change.

Ruddock said that through food waste and excessive shopping, British citizens were paying a significant cost in both environmental and financial terms, The Independent reported Friday.

"At this rate we will not have a place to live which is habitable if we don't address climate change globally and the U.K. has to make its contribution," she said of such social problems.

The minister for climate change said that by eating leftovers and shopping more efficiently, British citizens could begin to help in the global fight against climate change.
No matter the agenda, it can be tied to AGW in some way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

The call of the wild(fire)

Some in the media (perhaps taking a cue from Senate majority leader Harry Reid or the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming) seem to have an irresistible urge to tie the southern California wildfires to AGW. See if you can follow the logic in this op-ed by Tom Teepen. He starts by wondering if TEOTWAWKI is near:

Are we leaving our children and grandchildren a failing Earth or a failed one? Is it, in other words, already too late?

That dire question occurs with more chilling plausibility with each new consequence, the subtle to the dramatic equally, from the accelerating biospheric implosion wrought of global warming.

What could possibly turned his mind to such depressing thoughts? The wildfires, of course. Realizing the nonsequitur, he immediately launches into a preemptive "Yeah, yeah, I know":
And, yes, I am going to bring up the wildfires in Southern California and, yes again, I am perfectly aware that weather is not climate. For now, the California fires are the work of weather, an awful convergence of drought and wind and temperature.
But his disclaimer is merely a minor speed bump as he lunges forward with his jeremiad:
But the fires, historic in number, scope and fury, are as well consistent with the catastrophes that computer modeling has long predicted from the warming. We would have to be fools to ignore that.
So. These fires are similar to what some computer models have predicted as an effect of AGW (actually, they're made more likely by drought conditions, which can happen with or without AGW, but never mind that).

Okay. Connection established. Now Mr. Teepen can tear into the "contrarian fringe" that fails to toe the line with the supposed international consensus.

Of course, we are informed, the contrarians are composed almost entirely of political cultists and scientists who have sold their souls to the energy industry.

That reminds me. From the day I started this blog, I have openly solicited cash from the energy industry in exchange for my advocacy (see "About the Heretic" in the sidebar). Alas, nary a penny so far. Where did I go wrong?

Could it be that some of the "contrarian" scientists are offering their views for free as well?

Dr. William Gray, world-renowned hurricane forecaster and perennial burr in Al Gore's saddle, says that there are many more heretics out there than are willing to publicly admit it. If you want to talk about financial incentives, consider that scientists who become vocal in their skepticism tend to lose grant money, so the advocates end up with both the money and the megaphone.

Thus, Mr. Teepen never gets to hear a serious presentation of what the heretics have to say. All he has to go on are Democratic Party and (WhenWillTheyEver) press releases, so who can blame him?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Consensus is a political concept, not a scientific one

In an October 9 essay, Financial Times columnist John Kay wrote about why it can be foolish to allow scientific "consensus" to drive policymaking. Here are some excerpts:
Consensus finds a way through conflicting opinions and interests. Consensus is achieved when the outcome of discussion leaves everyone feeling they have been given enough of what they want. The processes of proper science could hardly be more different. The accomplished politician is a negotiator, a conciliator, finding agreement where none seemed to exist. The accomplished scientist is an original, an extremist, disrupting established patterns of thought. Good science involves perpetual, open debate, in which every objection is aired and dissents are sharpened and clarified, not smoothed over.

Often the argument will continue for ever, and should, because the objective of science is not agreement on a course of action, but the pursuit of truth. Occasionally that pursuit seems to have been successful and the matter is resolved, not by consensus, but by the exhaustion of opposition. We do not say that there is a consensus over the second law of thermodynamics, a consensus that Paris is south of London or that two and two are four. We say that these are the way things are.

[...]Science is a matter of evidence, not what a majority of scientists think.

[...] [T]o use the achievements of science to assert the authority of scientists undermines that very process of science. When consumers believe that genetically modified foods are unsafe, mothers intuit that their children’s autism is caused by the MMR vaccine and politicians assert that HIV/Aids is a first world conspiracy, the answer that the scientific consensus is otherwise does not convince – nor should it. Such claims are mistaken because there is no evidence for them, not because scientists take a different view: scientists should influence policy by explaining facts and arguments, not by parading their doctorates.
Hear, hear.

(Via: Junkfood Science)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How Al Gore spoiled my breakfast

Each Wednesday I go to the office a couple of hours late so I can enjoy an old-fashioned, sit-down breakfast with my family. For today's breakfast I had to run to the nearby supermarket to pick up some milk and eggs. An unpleasant surprise awaited me.

For the first time ever, I was required to pay more than $2 for a dozen eggs ($2.19, to be precise).

J'accuse, Al Gore.

Because of the unrelenting push to reorder our lives and our economy to accommodate the fantasies of the CoGW, the price of goods, both durable and nondurable, is climbing.

The push for biofuels has led to more cropland being diverted to that purpose, decreasing the supply of food being grown for human consumption, thus driving up prices. Less grain is available for feedlot animals, thus driving up meat and dairy prices. Environmentalist demand for increasingly exotic fuel blends is making it more expensive to get products of any kind to market, thus driving up prices.

Those who are on the lower end of the personal wealth scale, as they ponder whether they can afford to put food on the table, should reflect on how Mr. Gore managed to get the Nobel "Peace" Prize for his efforts.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It depends on what you mean by 'peace'

Soviet ideology defined 'peace' as submission to the Soviet Union.

Islamist ideology defines 'peace' as submission to Islam.

So, in that sense, I guess it makes sense that Al Gore won the Nobel 'Peace' Prize. As chief ideologue of the radical environmental left, Gore has told us in many ways that 'peace' is submission to the views and prescriptions of the CoGW.

Discerning folks (defined as those with more than a smidgen of common sense) know that the Nobel Peace Prize has long been a vehicle for the promotion of leftist ideology. The awarding of the prize to unrepentant terror leader Yasser Arafat back in the 90s should have removed all doubt about that.

The October 12 AP article linked above shows that the Nobel committee does not even pretend to honor Alfred Nobel's intention for the peace prize:
In recent years, the Norwegian committee has broadened its interpretation of peacemaking and disarmament efforts outlined by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in creating the prize with his 1895 will. The prize now often also recognizes human rights, democracy, elimination of poverty, sharing resources and the environment.
Satirist Scott Ott added his own spin to the news:
Mr. Gore could not be reached for comment as he was returning from Oslo, Norway, in a private jet. However, his spokesman said that his efforts to bring peace on earth speak for themselves.

“Thanks to Al Gore’s movies, speeches and books,” said the unnamed spokesman, “Terrorists and tyrants around the world will soon lay aside the weapons of war and give peace a chance by working together to develop a hybrid car that runs on cheap, clean-burning gunpowder.”
With this gargantuan boost to Gore's ego, we can be sure that we won't be getting any peace from him any time soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

First we're Holocaust deniers, now this

Newsweek editor and objective climate expert Sharon Begley on why the magazine has no obligation to cover arguments against the notion that climate change is caused by humans:
When you cover the history of the space program, you don't quote the percentage of Americans who think the moon landings took place on a stage in Arizona.
For the record, the stage was in Nevada, not Arizona. You'd think she'd do a little fact-checking before spouting off like that.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A wonderful illustration of the absurdity of carbon offsets

The website CheatNeutral will allow you to pay someone to remain faithful to his or her partner in order to allow you to continue your cheating ways.

Of course it's satire, but it makes the point beautifully.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Global warming causes upsurge in antisemitism

I showed in the preceding post how AGW alarmism is a potential lifesaver for any cause that is suffering a dearth of popular support. In that case, fear of global warming was being used to gin up opposition to hydroelectric dams.

Now we see a prominent British Member of Parliament using the AGW crisis in an attempt to increase international opposition to..... Israel. It seems that Israel's very existence is hindering the fight against climate change. As reported in the September 13 Daily Telegraph:

Former Blair Government minister Clare Short made the absurd claim last month that no progress was possible on climate change treaties because Israel "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming".

Ms Short, who resigned from the Blair Government over the war in Iraq, explained that man-made climate change continues because Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbours is distracting world leaders from devising a response to global warming.

Glad to see that the Telegraph is having none of that.

Maybe we should have a contest to come up with the most ridiculous connection between climate change and something else. Why bother, though? We already have a winner!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hydroelectric dams cause earthquakes, volcanoes, severe thunderstorms, and heart attacks

Okay, try to follow along on this one.

Again we return to the observation that the AGW 'crisis' is ideally suited to the aims of the radical environmental movement. Global warming (or "climate change", if you insist) is flexible enough to encompass virtually all of their pet causes of the past four decades (with the exception of nuclear power, which keeps stubbornly popping up as the most earth-friendly energy source capable of completely replacing coal).

For example, the enviros have long opposed the damming of rivers because of the inconvenience such projects cause to snail darters and the like. They have not, however, been able to swing public support in their favor, because on the whole people like their televisions and their power tools more than they like snail darters.

That's why the AGW thing is a stroke of good luck for the environmentalists. Like just about everything else, someone has been able to suggest a connection between the damming of rivers and global warming. A September 4 article in Australia's reported:
International Rivers Network executive director Patrick McCully today told Brisbane's Riversymposium rotting vegetation and fish found in dams produced surprising amounts of methane - 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

"Often it's accepted that hydropower is a climate friendly technology but in fact probably all reservoirs around the world emit greenhouse gases and some of them, especially some of the ones in the tropics, emit very high quantities of greenhouse gases even comparable to, in some cases even much worse than, fossil fuels like coal and gas," Mr McCully said.

He said when water flow was stopped, vegetation and soil in the flooded area and from upstream was left to rot, as well as fish and other animals which died in the dam.

They then released carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the air.

"Basically they're factories for converting carbon into methane and methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas - it's less known than carbon dioxide but it's actually about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere."

Mr McCully said global estimates blamed dams for about a third of all methane emissions worldwide.
Now we're on to something. Dams cause global warming. That's just evil.

Still no groundswell of public opposition to dams.... So, let's bring this a bit closer to home. We've mentioned some of the things said to be caused by or enhanced by AGW (such as flooding rains, amorous cats, genocide, super poison ivy, higher pizza prices, and megacryometeors). To this list we must add earthquakes and volcanoes, as we are told in this August 30 LiveScience article:

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and landslides are some of the additional catastrophes that climate change and its rising sea levels and melting glaciers could bring, a geologist says.

The impact of human-induced global warming on Earth's ice and oceans is already noticeable: Greenland's glaciers are melting at an increasing rate, and sea level rose by a little more than half a foot (0.17 meters) globally in the 20th century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


One particular feature that can change the balance of forces in Earth's crust is ice, in the form of glaciers and ice sheets that cover much of the area around Earth's poles plus mountains at all latitudes. The weight of ice depresses the crust on which it sits.

As the ice melts, the crust below no longer has anything sitting on top of it, and so can rebound fairly rapidly (by geological standards). (This rebounding is actually occurring now as a result of the end of the last Ice Age: The retreat of massive ice sheets from the northern United States and Canada has allowed the crust in these areas to bounce back.)

Areas of rebounding crust could change the stresses acting on earthquake faults and volcanoes in the crust.

(Thanks to Newsbusters)

Earthquakes and volcanoes are bad. But you're still okay with hydroelectric power, are you? Willing to play the odds that a volcano won't pop up in your back yard, eh? Let's up the ante a little more. Here's another August 30 article from LiveScience:
Global warming will make severe thunderstorms and tornadoes a more common feature of U.S. weather, NASA scientists said today.

Climate models have previously shown that Earth will see more heavy rainstorms as the atmosphere warms, but a new climate model developed by NASA researchers is the first to show the difference in strength between storms that occur over land and those over the ocean and how storms strengths will change in general.

The models don't directly simulate thunderstorms and lightning, but look for conditions that are ripe for severe storms to form.
Thunderstorms! Tornadoes! Those are real threats where I live. In fact, as I mentioned in the post before this, my PC was zapped by lightning three weeks ago. I was at work at the time, and I heard a single thunderclap -- apparently the one that got my motherboard at home. A thunderstorm with only one significant lightning strike, but it was a doozy. That's just creepy enough to blame on global warming (never mind the fact that we're experiencing the coolest summer in the 30 years I've lived in Texas). But is it enough to make me give up the hydroelectric dam? Hey, I need power to run my PC once I get it fixed (as well as the new one I have on order).

Since you haven't listened to reason yet, it's time to get personal. Global warming is coming for you. Yes, you. Here's an Associated Press dispatch from September 5:

Doctors warn that the warmer weather expected with climate change might also produce more heart problems.

"If it really is a few degrees warmer in the next 50 years, we could definitely have more cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Karin Schenck-Gustafsson, of the department of cardiology at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

[...] In higher temperatures, we sweat to get rid of heat. During that process, blood is sent to the skin where temperatures are cooler, which opens up the blood vessels. In turn, the heart rate rises and blood pressure drops. That combination can be dangerous for older people and those with weakened cardiovascular systems.

So now you're dead. If that doesn't turn you against hydroelectric dams, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

OT: You see, it's like this

In retrospect, it's not surprising that I've been able to get only one post out there in the past month. Memo to self: Just plan to put the blog on vacation next year around this time. From the beginning of August through the middle of September each year, every aspect of my life -- work, church, social -- is booked solid, and the few spare moments sprinkled therein leave me with no energy to do any blogging.

And don't even remind me about the fact that lightning (no doubt enhanced by global warming) zapped the motherboard on my PC two weeks ago today. I seized on the crisis as my golden opportunity to buy a new PC to replace the current 5-year-old one (which, once fixed, will go to my 9-year-old son).

The new PC (an Athlon64 X2 from CyberPower) will arrive next week. I expect that you'll start seeing me on the blog again not long after that (Tim said hopefully).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kill a moose to offset your SUV

Some disturbing news from Norway, as reported by Germany's Spiegel Online yesterday:
The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey.
Let's see, now... 13,000 metric miles (also known as kilometers) translates to about 8,078 American miles. I live in a small city, and drive just a little farther than that each year in my Honda Civic. So, if I can arrange for Norwegian hunters to off an additional moose in my name each year, I can drive guilt-free.

(Thanks to: Limbaugh, NewsBusters)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

OT: Ever have one of those weeks?

Did you ever have one of those weeks when you're grateful that you're allowed to go home and sleep a few hours each night? I'm having one of those weeks.

I've come across several articles that I'd like to post on, but it's not going to happen any time soon.

Hopefully, I'll be back online next week (August 13 at the earliest). In the meantime, do be so kind as to keep your emissions to a minimum.

August 22 update: Well... that week was much, much longer than I thought it would be.

Friday, August 3, 2007

President Bush knows how to play The Game as well, it appears

The Washington Post reports today that President Bush is calling on major industrialized and developing countries to attend a "climate change summit" in September.

"In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it," Bush said in his invitation letter Friday, asking other nations to take part in discussing a long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse emissions.

Under international pressure to take tough action against global warming, Bush last May had called for a meeting of nations to talk about how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy efficiency without hampering economic growth.

While the president appears to be conceding the basic arguments of the AGW alarmists, it is not clear that he is expecting to participate in any binding agreement that would harm the U.S. economically. Indeed, by his rhetoric, he seems to be setting things up so that no binding agreement will be made at all:
Bush wants to bring India, China and other fast-growing countries to the negotiating table so they are part of the solution, not the problem.
Given that China has already announced its refusal to submit to any binding agreements, it would appear that this summit is better seen as a strategic ploy to shift political pressure off of America and onto countries like China.

China knows how to play The Game

Different groups play The Global Warming Game for different reasons. Individuals and NGOs play for mostly ideological reasons (environmentalism, anticapitalism, Luddism, etc.). Corporations tend to play The Game either because there is a lot of money to be made by playing, or because they can use it to suppress their competition. Nations tend to play The Game for geopolitical reasons -- in other words, the AGW "crisis" can be used to advance a nation's strategic interests.

China has shown itself to be a skilled player of The Game. As the magnitude of that country's contribution to atmospheric pollution (both CO2 and plain old smog) becomes more and more apparent, many have begun to suggest that maybe, perhaps, pretty please, China (which was exempted from Kyoto) ought to think about participating in the reductions most other nations are expected to accomplish.

China has responded to these suggestions with a curt Mind Your Own Business. According to this Xinhua article, the PRC government says that China has little or no obligation to address mitigation any time soon -- rather, fully developed countries should do more to restrict their "luxury" emissions:

"Emissions of subsistence" and "development emissions" of poor countries should be accommodated while the "luxury emissions" of rich countries should be restricted, a Chinese diplomat said here Wednesday.

"Adapting to climate change is as important as mitigating climate change," Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, told an informal debate of the UN General Assembly on climate change.

Stressing the principles of equity and "common but differentiated responsibilities," Liu urged developed countries to "shoulder in good faith their historical and present responsibilities."

"The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol remain the international cooperation framework and effective mechanism for addressing climate change," he said.

Liu said efforts to address climate change should be conducive to sustainable development.

"For developing countries, economic development and poverty eradication are overriding priorities," Liu said. "In fulfilling these tasks, controlling greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the negative impact of climate change to the greatest extent will also contribute to achieving sustainable development."

He said the international community should take full account of the issue of adaptation to climate change and enhancing the capabilities of developing countries, small island developing countries and the least developed countries in particular, to respond to disastrous climate events.

It's just coincidental that China's competitors would be forced to cripple themselves economically in the process.

Is AGW causing the Himalayan glaciers to melt?

There is no doubt that many of the Himilayan glaciers are receding. The alarmists are quick to point to this as proof that human-produced CO2 emissions are warming the planet. A new study, though, indicates that while the alarmists got the "human-produced" part right, the actual culprit in the melting of Asian glaciers is good old-fashioned smog (The Times (UK), August 3):

They call it the Asian Brown Cloud. Anyone who has flown over South Asia has seen it – a vast blanket of smog that covers much of the region.

It is also what colours those sunsets at the Taj Mahal. Now a group of scientists has carried out the first detailed study of the phenomenon and arrived at a troubling conclusion.

They say that it is causing Himalayan glaciers to melt, with potentially devastating consequences for more than two billion people in India, China, Bangladesh and other downstream countries.

In a study published yesterday by Nature, the British journal, they say that black soot particles in the cloud are absorbing the Sun’s heat and pushing up temperatures at the same altitude as most Himalayan glaciers.

Scientists have already observed that two thirds of the 46,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are shrinking, leading to increasingly severe floods downstream and, eventually, to widespread drought. Greenhouse gases were previously thought to be the main cause of the problem, which threatens the sources of Asia’s nine main rivers – including the Indus, the Ganges and the Yangtze.

But the research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California says that the Asian Brown Cloud – made up of gases and suspended particles known as aerosols – is just as much to blame. “My one hope is that this finding will intensify the focus of Asian scientists and policy makers on the glacier issue,” Veerabhadran Ramanathan, who led the research, told The Times. “These glaciers are the source for major river systems, so at least two billion people are directly involved in this.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ocean "synchronized chaos" study proves that the AGW debate is NOT settled

Science Daily relates an American Geophysical Union press release announcing a peer-reviewed study that gives us one more reason to suspect that modern climate change is not being driven by human activity (emphasis added):
In the mid-1970s, a climate shift cooled sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean and warmed the coast of western North America, bringing long-range changes to the northern hemisphere.

After this climate shift waned, an era of frequent El Ninos and rising global temperatures began.

Understanding the mechanisms driving such climate variability is difficult because unraveling causal connections that lead to chaotic climate behavior is complicated.

To simplify this, Tsonis et al. investigate the collective behavior of known climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, and the North Pacific Oscillation.

By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, they find that the systems synchronized several times.

Further, in cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then. a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability.

The authors show that this mechanism explains all global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century.

Title: A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts

Authors: Anastasios A. Tsonis, Kyle Swanson, and Sergey Kravtsov: Atmospheric Sciences Group, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030288, 2007

Email scammers join The Cause

Countless variations of the infamous "Nigerian 419 Scam" are circulating out there, and now it appears that the scammers are ready to separate earnest environmentalists from their cash. Andrew Leonard at Salon relates an email that recently appeared in his inbox:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Random Selection as Development/Campaign Partner.

We hereby notify you that you have been selected as a partner in the World Campaign against Global Warming.

In this program, you will be required to organize a pro-environmental campaign against global warming and environmental pollution in your area/community with the funds provided to you by the World Foundation against Global Warming.

Note that this selection is subject to your acceptance and consent.

If you choose to accept this offer, you shall be awarded the sum of $610,000 and $950,000 for Individual and Corporate participation respectively. This sum is intended to facilitate your campaign.

Kindly respond, stating your acceptance to this notification and we shall give you more information on this program. Contact Mr. Zeeshan Ashraf on:

The Earth is our habitation and we are responsible for it.


Paul Brendan McGee
Our World Foundation.
Program Coordinator,
Campaign against Global Warming
The e-mail has quite a few of the hallmarks of the 419 scam -- promise of a sizable chunk of money from someone you've never met before, legitimate-sounding organization, links to legitimate websites ... and an AOL contact address. Ladies and gentlemen, anybody who can afford to drop almost a million dollars on you can afford to buy their own domain name and set up a mail server there.

After picking through the obvious red flags in the message, Leonard concludes:
Now that global warming has graduated to the rarefied status previously enjoyed primarily by deceased dictators of African countries, I think we can truly say that climate change has come of age.

(Thanks to Newsbusters)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hugo Chavez understands what the AGW movement is about

Venezuelan thug-in-chief Hugo Chavez is never one to mince words. While the more polished spokespeople for AGW alarmism in the U.S., Canada and Europe will never admit that the policy prescriptions of the AGW movement are virtually indistinguishable from the policy prescriptions of the world socialist movement, Chavez is more than happy to make the connection. The following is an excerpt from a speech he made at the World Festival of Youth and Students in August, 2005, as reported in GreenLeft Online:
I believe it is time that we take up with courage and clarity a political, social, collective and ideological offensive across the world — a real offensive that permits us to move progressively, over the next years, the next decades, leaving behind the perverse, destructive, destroyer, capitalist model and go forward in constructing the socialist model to avoid barbarism and beyond that the annihilation of life on this planet.

I believe this idea has a strong connection with reality. I don’t think we have much time. Fidel Castro said in one of his speeches I read not so long ago, “tomorrow could be too late, let’s do now what we need to do”. I don't believe that this is an exaggeration. The environment is suffering damage that could be irreversible — global warming, the greenhouse effect, the melting of the polar ice caps, the rising sea level, hurricanes — with terrible social occurrences that will shake life on this planet.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Global warming can be a homewrecker

In recent years there have been numerous stories of large chunks of ice falling from a clear sky. AP reports today that it happened again July 26 in Dubuque, Iowa, where a chunk that may have weighed 50 pounds crashed through the roof of a woman's house.

In the past, media coverage has focused on the likelihood that such ice chunks originate from an airplane (either accumulated on the outside of the craft, or ejected from the lavatories), but now a more sinister suspect is starting to ooze into the reporting. We get an early warning in the second paragraph (emphasis added):
Authorities are unsure of the ice's origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere — both rare occurrences.
How can a 50-pound chunk of ice accumulate naturally in the atmosphere? What malevolent force can suspend ice long enough to grow that large on a clear day, when even the most violent of thunderstorms could never sustain the necessary updrafts?

You guessed it -- climate change!

Enter Dr. David Travis, expert on earthbound phenomena, but not necessarily atmospheric science:
David Travis, a professor of geography and geology and an associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has studied the phenomenon of large chunks of ice falling from a clear sky. He said it's possible the ice could have been a megacryometeor — "similar to a hailstone, but without the thunderstorm."

[...] Most megacryometeor sightings have occurred in coastal areas, where atmospheric turbulence helps keep ice suspended long enough to grow into large chunks.

Travis' research team speculates the phenomenon could be linked with global warming, suggesting that climate change might make the tropopause portion of the atmosphere colder, moister and more turbulent.

A total guess, based on zero evidence, in other words.

Maybe I'm the one who's weak on the atmospheric science, so I'm open to being educated here. What kind of updraft is necessary to suspend an ice chunk of that weight, and how long must that updraft be sustained to allow the chunk to grow to that weight? Do such updrafts actually occur in nature?

One sense in which global warming IS man-made

John Brignell of Numberwatch:
When you are trying to troubleshoot an instrumentation system (whether it is in examining a PhD thesis or facing a major industrial crisis) there are, self-evidently, two vital areas you need to address:

1. The physical process of data acquisition
2. The computational process of Data handling

The central problem with data acquisition, now that data conversion is largely standardised through advances in electronics, is the housing and siting of sensors. Sometimes the problems are glaring, such as caking with mud or salt, but often they are more subtle and veiled. Particularly difficult are cases where instrumentation interacts with nearby systems (see appendix below for an example where an expensive court case was averted).

Data handling is an even greater problem, especially when “intuitive” or obscurely argued methods are implemented. Even if we discount the possibility of deliberate fraud, the power of the human subconscious to influence outcomes is a known but difficult to quantify hazard, especially in computer programs.

In considering data handling for climate monitoring in these terms, we now have the advantage of new information on siting and a description, though not a perspicuous one, of alterations made to original data.

We have long known that there have been examples of badly sited monitoring stations. The late John Daly showed seven years ago an example of bad siting, while, incidentally, raising the question of whether the surface record was as reliable as we were led to believe and proposing improvements of methodology. Daly’s analysis has not only stood the test of time, but has been vindicated by recent developments. The satellite record continues to show little or no change while the surface record shows what s alleged to be a continued rising trend.
Brignell shows two graphs displaying the difference between satellite and surface measurements in recent decades, and then goes on:
This is what John Daly wrote seven years ago about surface stations:
The only way surface data can be used with any confidence is to exclude all town/city and airport data - no exceptions. Only rural sites should be used, and by `rural’ is meant strictly `greenfields’ sites where there is no urbanisation of any kind near the instrument. Even when greenfields stations are used, those which are technically supervised (eg. managed by scientists, marine authorities, the military etc.) should be treated with greater credibility than those from sheep stations, post offices and remote motels.
As it turns out, the temperatures recorded by urbanized weather stations skew the surface averages enough to account for most of the claimed global temperature increase of the past century.

Brignell also demonstrates faults in the processing of the data.

So, in a sense, global warming really is man-made -- through man's faulty collection and processing of the critical data.

UPDATE: The American Association of State Climatologists, while apparently unconcerned about the physical location of weather stations, petitioned Congress in March to address the antiquated equipment and obsolete data collection techniques that plague America's weather station network.

(Thanks to for the links)

There's gold in them thar offsets!

I had not heard of the comic Sherman's Lagoon before last week, but I already know I like their sense of humor. Here are selections from a series that ran from July 17 to 24. The reality is not far removed from what we see here:

(Click each image to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

There's something familiar about that graph...

Thanks to Newsbusters, which today highlighted my Jack Bauer post, the visitor graph for this blog now looks like this (no, I won't embarrass myself by including the part showing the actual numbers):

(Click image to enlarge)

Hey! Using random data, I just reproduced the infamous "hockey stick"!

(Thanks to Click image to enlarge)

The feds want a piece of the carbon offset action

A July 25 AP story reports that the U.S. Forest Service is ready to take advantage of the environmental guilt of American citizens:
The U.S. Forest Service is teaming with a nonprofit foundation to allow consumers to participate in a voluntary program to "offset'' their carbon dioxide emissions.

Under the agreement to be announced Wednesday, the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation will allow individuals or groups to make charitable contributions that will be used to plant trees and do other work to improve national forests.

The Forest Service estimates that the nation's 155 national forests offset about 10 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. Forest Service scientists believe that figure can be raised to as much as 25 percent by doing such things as planting more trees in urban areas or reforesting old cropland.

I think reforestation is a worthy cause in and of itself -- totally apart from the global warming issue. If playing on people's guilt is the only way to raise the necessary money, then who am I to criticize?

The scourge of renewable energy

One of the mantras of the CoGW is that we must transition from a petroleum-based society to one based on renewable energy sources. We've already looked at the adverse environmental impact of the burgeoning ethanol market. Now, LiveScience reports on a new study which asks if we're really ready for the impact of other proposed renewable sources:
Renewable energy could wreck the environment, according to a study that examined how much land it would take to generate the renewable resources that would make a difference in the global energy system.

Building enough wind farms, damming adequate number of rivers and growing sufficient biomass to produce ample kilowatts to make a difference in meeting global energy demands would involve a huge invasion of nature, according to Jesse Ausubel, a researcher at the Rockefeller University in New York.

Ausubel came to this conclusion by calculating the amount of energy that each renewable source can produce in terms of area of land disturbed.

“We looked at the different major alternatives for renewable energies and we measured [the power output] for each of them and how much land it will rape,” Ausubel told LiveScience.

Land grab for energy

The results, published in the current issue of International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, paint a grim picture for the environment. For example, according to the study, in order to meet the 2005 electricity demand for the United States, an area the size of Texas would need to be covered with wind structures running round the clock to extract, store and transport the energy.

New York City would require the entire area of Connecticut to become a wind farm to fully power all its electrical equipment and gadgets.

You can convert every kilowatt generated directly into land area disturbed, Ausubel said. “The biomass or wind will produce one or two watts per square meter. So every watt or kilowatt you want for light bulbs in your house can be translated into your hand reaching out into nature taking land.”
What's interesting to me is that, according to the article, others have countered this reasoning with the argument that the land that must be set aside for such use is still awfully small compared to the total land mass of the U.S. I wonder if these are the same folks who scream murder because some shopping center will inconvenience some rare species of gnat.

Ausubel also opines that the most efficient non-polluting energy source -- nuclear -- would be far preferable to solar, wind, biomass or hydroelectric as a large-scale solution, since nuclear's carbon and overall environmental footprint is minimal. That opinion is sure to get him crossed off of the Sierra Club's (recycled) Christmas card list.

Oh, wait -- those credit cards are petroleum-based, aren't they?

From a July 25 Reuters story:
General Electric Co. issued a credit card on Wednesday it says will be the first to cut help U.S. cardholders voluntarily cut emissions linked to global warming.

The card, called GE Money Earth Rewards Platinum Mastercard, allows users the option of automatically contributing up to one percent of their card purchases to buy greenhouse emissions offsets.

In voluntary emissions markets, consumers who feel guilty about their greenhouse emissions can buy offsets, or credits, designed to represent emissions reductions that took place somewhere else, like a solar or wind power farm.

"Earth Rewards cardholders will now have a new tool to complement the ways they are already reducing their emissions," Tom Gentile, an executive at GE Money said in a release. "They can turn everyday purchases into extraordinary rewards."

GE's offset program will almost certainly lead to more consumption by environment-conscious customers, which will lead to more manufacturing of goods, which will lead to ... more emissions than there might have been without this program.

So... the customer's conscience is soothed, GE reaps the financial and P.R. rewards, and pollution increases. About par for the carbon offset industry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jack Bauer gets a new mission in upcoming season

Details are still sketchy, but certain clues have been leaked about the plotline of the upcoming season of the hit TV series 24. According to the anonymous source:
  • The administration of Wayne Palmer and Noah Daniels is out, and the new president is ideologically similar to Al Gore.
  • The definition of terrorism has been expanded to include actions by individuals, corporations or other organizations that "unnecessarily" increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • CTU, naturally, has been tasked with enforcing the new regulations in the Los Angeles area.
  • Early-season incidents include hero Jack Bauer kneecapping an SUV driver and interrogating a homeowner who failed to offset his air conditioner usage.
  • Midway through the season, Middle East radicals murder all of the students in a biological attack on an elementary school, but because the attackers manage to pull off their operation with a minimal carbon footprint, the incident ends up being left for local law enforcement to handle.
I have reason to believe that the information given above may not be entirely credible, but I do know that 24 -- producers, cast, crew -- has enthusiastically joined the CoGW. In a press release on the show's official website, we're told about all of the things that will be done to establish the show's green credentials:

Beginning with production on Season 7, “24” intends to implement the following carbon emission reduction techniques and important initiatives:

  • Introducing the use of biodiesel fuels to power generators and production vehicles;
  • Running all on-stage production activities on “green power”;
  • Rewiring an entire stage to use electric, rather than diesel-generated, power;
  • Integrating fuel-saving and low-emission hybrid vehicles into the production fleet;
  • Creating a series of PSAs about the issue starring Kiefer Sutherland and key cast members;
  • When appropriate, incorporating the issue of global warming and the importance of carbon emission reduction into storylines;
  • Accruing enough carbon reduction savings through these and other innovations to render production of the entire final episode officially “carbon neutral.”
How exciting! They'll even pretend to become carbon neutral via the scam of carbon offsets! No telling how they intend to offset the electricity expended by fans watching the show (seems like a bit of a conflict of interest there).

By the way, Kiefer Sutherland has already filmed an AGW public service announcement, and Fox helpfully links to it in the press release. In order to establish a tenuous link between the original premise of the show and the show's new crusade, Sutherland begins:
Global warming is a crime for which we are all guilty.
Get it? Crime? 24 is about criminal activity! Global warming is criminal! Got it. Jack Bauer is the perfect spokesman for the cause, then.

So, maybe the show won't drift as far as the scenario given at the beginning of this post, but given the ideological commitment of everyone involved in the show, I wouldn't be surprised if we see something like this in the near future.

(Thanks to Newsbusters: 1, 2)

Dick Armey's warning to politicians who cave to environmentalists

Former congressman Dick Armey, in a July 23 press release criticizing Florida Governor Charlie Crist's decision to join California Gov. Schwarzenegger in swallowing the CoGW's agenda whole, warns:
Armey’s Axiom is “If you make a deal with the devil you are the junior partner.”
Gov. Crist, I hope you don't think your executive orders -- as destructive as they will be to Florida's economy -- have appeased the environmental left in the long run. They'll be back for more.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Britain's floods and the virtual reality of climate science

U.K.'s The Independent reported breathlessly today that the extraordinary flooding now underway in Britain is happening because George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Treaty.

Well, not really. I should really stop exaggerating like that. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if somewhere out there someone has blamed Bush for this.

What The Independent did report is the claim that "scientists" have "confirmed" a link between Britain's summer floods and "man-made global warming".

Let's look at the opening paragraphs of the article, which is riddled with superlatives:

It's official: the heavier rainfall in Britain is being caused by climate change, a major new scientific study will reveal this week, as the country reels from summer downpours of unprecedented ferocity.

More intense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere are being generated by man-made global warming, the study has established for the first time ­ an effect which has long been predicted but never before proved.

The study's findings will be all the more dramatic for being disclosed as Britain struggles to recover from the phenomenal drenching of the past few days, during which more than a month's worth of rain fell in a few hours in some places, and floods forced thousands from their homes.

So, how were the scientists able to pin the blame so unambiguously on AGW? Not by the hopelessly old-fashioned method of empirical data collection and analysis, but through the use of -- you guessed it! -- computer simulations. Climate models -- which supposedly are not useful for predicting individual weather events (the article admits as much) -- allegedly yielded something akin to this summer's individual weather events when simulations both with and without greenhouse gases were run.

The article turns out to be quite confusing. In places we are confidently assured that AGW Did It, and then in other places the confidence wavers (emphasis added):
Meteorologists agree that the miserably wet British summer of 2007 has generally been caused by a southward shift towards Britain of the jetstream, the high-level airflow that brings depressions eastwards across the Atlantic. This is fairly normal. But debate is going on about whether climate change may be responsible for the intensity of the two freak rainfall episodes, which have caused flooding the like of which has never been seen in many places.
So, rainfall events enabled by a normal shift in the jet stream are now the fault of AGW because of "unprecedented" flooding that resulted. Remember, no empirical link has been established -- just computer simulations and human inferences.

The new study, carried out jointly by several national climate research institutes using their supercomputer climate models, including the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office, does not prove that any one event, including the rain of the past few days in Britain, is climate-change related.

But it certainly supports the idea, by showing that in recent decades rainfall has increased over several areas of the world, including the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, and linking this directly, for the first time, to global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

In other words, "It looks awfully like what we think might happen." More:
"Some people would argue that you can't take a single event and pin that on climate change, but what happened in Britain last Friday fits quite easily with these conclusions. It does seem to have a certain resonance with what they're finding in this research."
Yikes! This is what passes for the scientific method among adherents of the CoGW.

The study, to be published in the journal Nature later this week, may end up being a lot less sloppy than the reporting here presents it to be, but I'm not willing to bet money on that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Martin Durkin, the Salman Rushdie of the AGW debate

Martin Durkin recently created a documentary called The Great Global Warming Swindle, intended to be "the definitive response to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth". The film, first broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 in March, definitely appears to have struck a nerve among the CoGW faithful -- not quite to the point that they have actually issued a fatwa calling for his head, but it almost seems that way at times, given the vigorous reaction wherever it is shown.

When it was broadcast last week on Australia's ABC, the network felt compelled to inoculate the viewers against the arguments made in the film. Here is how Durkin himself described the situation in a July 21 Australian essay:
I wasn't shocked that the film was attacked on the same night it was broadcast on ABC television last week, although I was impressed at the vehemence of the attack. I was more surprised, and delighted, by the response of the Australian public.

The ABC studio assault, led by Tony Jones, was so vitriolic it appears to have backfired. We have been inundated with messages of support, and the ABC, I am told, has been flooded with complaints. I have been trying to understand why.

[...] I think viewers may also have wondered (reasonably) why the theory of global warming has not been subjected to this barrage of critical scrutiny by the media. After all, it's the theory of global warming, not my foolish little film, that is turning public and corporate policy on its head.

The apparent unwillingness of Jones and others at the ABC to give airtime to a counterargument, the tactics used to minimise the ostensible damage done by the film, the evident animosity towards those who questioned global warming: all of this served to give viewers a glimpse of what it was like for scientists who dared to disagree with the hallowed doctrine.

The final sentence above raises an important point. There are many, many competent scientists out there who strongly disagree with the AGW orthodoxy, but who are unwilling to cooperate in the trashing of their reputation by mouthpieces of the CoGW.

Durkin goes on to speculate on why the AGW faithful are so zealous for their cause:
After a year of arguing with people about this, I am convinced that it's because global warming is first and foremost a political theory. It is an expression of a whole middle-class political world view. This view is summed up in the oft-repeated phrase "we consume too much". I have also come to the conclusion that this is code for "they consume too much". People who believe it tend also to think that exotic foreign places are being ruined because vulgar oiks can afford to go there in significant numbers, they hate plastic toys from factories and prefer wooden ones from craftsmen, and so on.

All this backward-looking bigotry has found perfect expression in the idea of man-made climate disaster. It has cohered a bunch of disparate reactionary prejudices (anti-car, anti-supermarkets, anti-globalisation) into a single unquestionable truth and cause. So when you have a dig at global warming, you commit a grievous breach of social etiquette. Among the chattering classes you're a leper.

I agree -- AGW appears to be the ideal vehicle (ironically, a high-emissions vehicle) to advance the various aspects of the environmental/marxist left's agenda, all in one tidy package.

Three cheers to Martin Durkin for refusing to run for cover, even in the face of withering counterattacks.

The film will be available on DVD soon, but it can also be seen online here, among many other places.